modern millie

The Ultimate Budget Friendly 5-day Kauai Itinerary

So, you only have a few days in the most beautiful place in the world? 

You want to make sure you “do Kauai right” and see all the beauty it has to offer in the little time (and money) you have there? 

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Well, if you think you can see everything Kauai has to offer in just a few days, you are mistaken. I will tell you up-front, that is just not possible. It’s okay, don’t panic! Before you choose to click away, I promise you will see countless jaw dropping places, I just want you to adjust your expectations to reality so that your upcoming trip to Kauai is stress-free. The worst thing you’d want to do is spend your time stressing about seeing everything on your checklist and not actually enjoying spending time in the moment. 

I mean, just think about it... Kauai is 552 square miles of endless adventure, scenic hikes, hidden trails, delicious food and the most breathtaking beaches you’ve ever seen. Keep in mind that square footage doesn’t include the dozens of gorgeous spots you can hit up snorkeling. So if you plan on covering 100+ square miles a day, seeing everything in a few days will be near to impossible.

If you’re thinking “Well now what, Millie? There’s so much to cover and not enough time”

Don’t you worry! I created a 5-day Kauai itinerary for you to follow to make the most out of your trip. I’ll be talking about the best place to stay, MUST DO experiences, need-to-try local food spots and much more all planned out for you to follow step-by-step. 

Let’s get started!

Aloha! Welcome to the “garden island”, home to the wettest place on Earth and where you’ll find chickens roaming around freely. I’ll be talking about this gorgeous island in sections: north, east, south and west. Each side of the island carries a completely different experience and that is how John and I chose to organize our days when we were there. Then I’ll break down a daily Itinerary for you to adapt to your upcoming trip. This method worked the best for us and know it will work for you!

North Shore

The Hanalei Valley Lookout

The Hanalei Valley Lookout

On the North Shore of Kauai you’ll find the town of Hanalei. If you’ve ever been to Julian, CA, Hanalei is basically the surfer beach version of that with local food trucks, shopping and views of lush mountains all on one strip. You also may have heard of it with Hanalei Bay, Hanalei Lookout or Hanalei Pier. Anyone who has been to Kauai (and visited the North Shore) I’m sure would tell you Hanalei is a MUST SEE or express one of their favorite views were in this town. 

Also, on the North Shore you will find one of the best snorkeling spots with the largest coral reef in Hawaii, Anini Beach. John and I didn’t find out about this until the 2nd to last day of our trip, but had we known, it would’ve been one of our top picks for visiting which is why I’m including it here for you! However, if you’re not picky about seeing the coral reef particularly, almost EVERY beach we did visit had an amazing snorkeling experience with an abundance of sea life and I’ll include one of our favorites later in this post.

East Shore

This is where you want to stay. If you’ve done any searching on where to stay during your time in Kauai, I’m sure you’ve discovered that there are countless options for hotels, resorts, and AirBnb’s around the island. The East side is the most convenient in our opinions. With the North and South shores being the most active locations on the island and where most of the locations we wanted to see, being right in the middle was a huge time saver.

This was the beach directly outside our hotel room captured at sunrise.

This was the beach directly outside our hotel room captured at sunrise.

If you’re looking for some more guidance on where to stay specifically, we ended up staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Kaua'i at Coconut Beach and loved every second of our stay. Our room overlooked the Pacific Ocean so we fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing gently on the shore and woke up to ever-changing sunrises. The staff treated us like family to the point where I even remember the names of some who helped us...and I’m horrible with names (shout out to Bernice, Andrew and Lisa). The food at their in-house restaurant was genuinely some of the best food we had on the island. I 100% recommend going even if it’s just for the papaya creme brulee dessert. They have morning yoga every morning at 8am and yes, ITS FREE. AND, to wrap it up, they have laundry on every floor, which came in handy for us being content creators wearing 3-4 outfits a day to take photos! 

While on the East Side there are a few local food spots that I could not get enough of. 

  • Eat Healthy Kauai - It was so nice to have a go-to place on vacation that wasn’t “junk”. Obvious what we choose to eat is our choice but what I’m saying is that it’s totally natural to go on vacation and eat anything and everything in sight. Some days you just feel heavier than others and this spot was our favorite place to go we needed that healthy boost. Our favorite was their acai bowls which not only were delicious but delicately crafted.

  • Kalalea Juice Hale - This is what I would say was the perfectly stereotypical “Hawaii experience” - in the best way possible! If you’re looking for the most authentically delicious coconut water and/or smoothies, this place will have you feeling addicted. You order from a window and they make everything within their little hut/shack. I would have to say my favorite local spot the entire trip.

  • Java Kai - This spot was probably the most crowded coffee shop we went to but so wroth it. This might be because it was also the most “Instagrammable” shop around town so tourists like us were always revolving though. I don’t want to discredit their unique coffee choices and food options. We thoroughly enjoyed every sip and last bite, just as much as we enjoyed taking pictures! 

Lastly, if you’re wanting a nice relaxing time to walk around, cool down with some shaved ice and shop for some fun souvenirs for the family and fur baby back home, Coconut Market is the way to go. This is right across the way from the hotel we stayed at too so we loved that we didn’t have to drive. We were able to get all the souvenirs we needed at the ABC store, which, if you are unfamiliar with, is Hawaii's most well-known convenience store chain. We also tried a local business owners banana macadamia bread and then some shaved ice at Jojo’s Shaved Ice. If you’ve never tried shaved ice like I hadn’t, this is your golden ticket. 

South Shore

Our time on the South and West shores were limited due to rain but we still found perfect locations we will never forget and likely visit again when we go back (yes- we 100% want to go back). When passing through the South Shore of Kauai, we found the most exciting snorkeling spot, Poipu Beach. 100% recommend! This beach was our ABSOLUTE favorite snorkeling location the entire trip! I honestly have never seen so many fish before in my life. 

Neither of us had ever been snorkeling before but we came prepared with our goggles, snorkel, fins and water shoes. Every time we went out to snorkel we found better and better spots and Poipu was the best. The water was so clear and the sea life was friendly. Definitely a place to wear water shoes though!

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West Shore

To wrap up the shore summaries, on the west side you will find Waimea Canyon. The drive up to the canyon was honestly the best part. There are countless turnouts to pull over and take pictures. If you do choose to go to the top of the lookout, there is a $5 parking fee you must pay to see the lookout. We went when during hurricane season so the lookout was cloudy but if you have an extra $5 to spend, it doesn’t hurt to check out. Plus, there’s a pop-up tent where a local sells fresh fruit and snacks...literally the best mangoes I’ve ever had in my entire life. 

If you’re on a tight budget, I would 100% recommend still driving up the mountain. The higher you get, the cloudy-er it gets, so go just high enough to where the sun is out and choose a place to pull over. The lookout is the same view as the turnouts! 

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Alright. Now that we’ve covered the shores, let’s talk about the day-to-day plan. Below you will find mine and Johns itinerary of what we did during our trip. We feel like we had the perfect balance of traveling/exploring and relaxing and hope you get to experience that as well.

Sunday

  • We landed in Kauai around noon, grabbed our rental car and went straight to the hotel to get settled in. We used this day to plan out the content we needed to create for the rest of the week and relax. 

Monday - North Shore 

  • The Hanalei Experience
    We had no idea the North Shore was going to have so much to offer so we ended up splitting it up into 2 days of exploring. This first day was dedicated to seeing everything “Hanalei”. The pier, where John proposed. The bay, where I wouldn’t recommend spending time snorkeling but definitely recommend jumping off the pier into the bay. The lookout, which is the PERFECT picture spot. Then the town, which has amazing food truck options.

Tuesday - North/East Shore

  • During our drive towards the North Shore the day prior, we took notes of all the local shops we wanted to stop at and today was the day we tried them out. We went up the coast exploring shops and beaches that looked exciting to us. This is where we tried Java Kai, Kalalea Juice Hale, and Kauai Chocolate.

  • If that isn’t something that sounds adventurous enough for you, then dedicate this day to snorkeling at Anini Beach or visiting Queens Bath! Both are “must see’s” if you’re wanting to fill up the day with a plan and less spontaneity. 

Wednesday - South/West Shore

  • Waimea Canyon was the furthest location from our hotel so we wanted to knock it off our list first thing in the morning. After eating at Eat Healthy Kauai, we drove to the lookout point (remember this is $5 for parking/entry) paused to enjoy every second and drove back down. 

  • After Waimea Canyon we were ready to dive into some water, as I’m sure you will be too. Stop at Poipu Beach for snorkeling, say hi to some turtles and friendly fish and order a coffee float from their snack stand! Yes, you read that correctly, that's a root beer float but with coffee!!

Thursday - East Shore 

  • John actually had started feeling like he was getting a cold and this was the day it hit him. We spent this last day cruising around our hotels side of the shore relaxing, which was 100% needed after back-to-back adventure. 

  • Don’t forget to grab some souvenirs and shaved ice at the Coconut Marketplace!

  • Luau time! You NEED to go to a Luau if you have never been to one before. The experience of Hawaii’s culture and food is actually indescribable. We were lucky that the hotel we stayed at hosted a Luau every few days so we walked downstairs to that one and it was so exciting.

Friday - Going home...

  • Get a massage. After all the adventures you went on this week, you deserve it. Book an afternoon or evening flight so you can get a massage before heading out. John and I both agree it was the most perfect way to wrap up our trip. 

Alright my lovely friends. I hope this Kauai guide and Itinerary helped you feel a little more prepared for your trip to Kauai. If you click away from this post remembering one thing is “embrace the island”. The weather can go from sunny to rainy in a blink of an eye depending on where you are. Be prepared for change and allow yourself to experience everything that comes your way. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you will fall in love and want to move there so you won’t have to worry about seeing EVERYTHING yet ;) 

What you need to know before working with brands!

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“I want to be an influencer that works with brands but no one is reaching out to me as often as I would like.”

“I’m tired of sitting around and waiting for collaborations. I want to take action into my own hands but I just don’t know how”

If you have ever thought, or are currently thinking, something similar to these, you are in the right place.

We all want to know the secrets when it comes to reaching out to brands and getting endless partnerships. Over the past few months I've been fortunate enough to gain experience in this area and I’m about to spill the tea. Now, I’m no “expert” on the topic but I most definitely can not wait to share with you everything that I’ve had to learn the hard way, so that you don’t have to.

First, let’s get something straight. If you are here and you are thinking to yourself:

  • I don't have enough followers to work with brands yet.

  • I don’t think brands would want to work with lil ol’ me.

  • I don't have the skills it takes to pitch to brands.

Write those thoughts down on a piece of paper and set it to flames. THOSE ARE COMPLETE LIES. Your voice matters. Your art matters. Your perspective is a perspective no one else has. Embrace it. Own it. Flawnt it.

I received my first partnership at 3,000 followers and I even know people who have 1,000 followers who work with brands on the daily, so myth busted.

Since there are a lot of tips I can give you when it comes to this topic, I'm going to be splitting this up into two different blog posts:

First, today, I will give you 5 general guidelines to follow when working with brands.

Second, will be exactly how to craft your pitch and what you should say when reaching out to brands. How about you take a quick second to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out on that post! I’ll be right here waiting for you when you come back.

All signed up? Good! Let’s dive right in:

Tip #1: Is this brand in line with the message I am sharing with my followers? Work with brands that you genuinely support or products that you will actually use. The purpose of this is to keep your page as authentic as possible and for you to remain YOU. Once I agreed to do a collaboration with a brand solely because it was paid and I wanted the money. The product wasn’t even something that I would use...ever. Then when I posted my agreed post, it was the worst engagement I had ever received on a collaboration, my followers could tell this wasn’t genuinely me! Stay true to who you are, don’t sell out.

Tip #2: Pay attention to their preferred method of communication! When reaching out to brands check their bio. If they have an email listed always reach out via email. I prefer this because 1. It looks more professional and 2. As your Instagram grows, your DMs grow. Email is the easiest way for me to keep track of my collaborations. 3. If Instagram dies today, you have stocked up on multiple brands emails and can continue to communicate with them. If they don’t reply to your email in a week, you can always send a follow-up through DM.

Tip #3: If you are planning to pitch, don’t ask for free stuff. I'm sure you're thinking “Isn’t that the goal here Millie?" And yes, technically you are correct, most collaborations are in exchange for product. However, that should not be your intent for the collaboration. If you directly say “send me x, y and z” brands can read right through you and will be able to tell that you're Pitch is not genuine. Your intention should be “How can I help this brand?”, “What do I have to offer to them?”. We’ll that more about this in my next blog post…

The goal should not be for selfish gain, but for mutual growth.

Tip #4: Treat yourself as a brand/business. This is very important when it comes to communication and professionalism. We all get those people ‘slidin in the DM’s’ trying to get our attention. “Hey, let’s shoot”, “You’re beautiful. What’s your number?”, “How much for sessions?”. As flattering as they may be, if that person spent a little more time crafting a detailed message, we would probably spend our time to reply. Same goes for brands. They are more likely going to work with an influencer who took the time to write them a professional email rather than the person who DM’d them saying “Love your products. Let’s collab” *insert mic drop*

Tip #5: Engage with them. I have said this before in a previous blog post but here we go again! There’s nothing a brand loves more than a truly dedicated and excited supporter. Follow them, comment on their photos, turn on their post notifications for the time being, etc. Just like your mother/father/teacher taught you growing up: treat others how you want to be treated.

That wraps it up for today folks. Remember, my next post will be about crafting the perfect pitch! I will teach you exactly what to say to get a brands attention and some proper etiquette tips. Sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss out!







How and Where to Spend the PERFECT Spa Day

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Imagine this:

You are drinking an iced cold Peach Bellini under the warm sun, floating in a cool relaxation pool, after the most luxurious massage you’ve ever experienced. After some time, you exfoliate your skin head to toe with a unique California Red Mud. Now with a gentle breeze brushing against your face, you take a nap on the most comfortable outdoor hammock.

What if I told you that you don’t have to imagine that...this can be your reality! This was my reality just last month. Whether you are looking for a place to relax, celebrate, or just hang out with friends, I have found the perfect hidden gem for you.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs. There is truly no destination quite like it.

For the past 7 years, I’ve been going to this beautiful location for my birthday. After attending so many times, I guess one could say I’m a “professional spa-goer”. I’m here today to teach you the in’s and out’s of how to have the PERFECT spa day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs.

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What to bring:

  • The necessities: sunglasses, sunscreen, your favorite summer outfit

  • Flip flops: If you’re attending on a hot summer day, walking around barefoot might not be the best idea (ouch!)

  • Your ID and a debit/credit card: you will be able to put these on file so you don’t have to walk around with your wallet

What not to bring:

  • Extra special valuables. If you have something that is super near and dear to your heart, it would be silly to bring to a spa. Luckily, you have access to free lockers provided to you by Glen Ivy, but if you’re walking around with your phone and you put it down to go swimming, they are not responsible for any lost or stolen items. Bottom line, just be safe and smart!

  • Your favorite bathing suit. Although it’s been said that mud baths don’t stain/ruin swimwear, I have a few bathing suits that would beg to differ.

NEED TO KNOW tips and tricks:

  • Get there early, especially if you’re going during the summer. When Glen Ivy hits capacity they will stop allowing entries (unless you have a pre-scheduled appointment) so it’s best to arrive at least 30 minutes before they open.

  • Book service appointments ahead of time. If you’re wanting to receive a service like a massage, go to the grotto or mani/pedi, call at least a week ahead of time to guarantee your spot. There had been times where I tried to book the day I arrived and everything was already booked up.

  • Go on your birthday! If you attend on your birthday, you get free admission (with a purchase of a service).

  • You don’t really NEED to bring a towel, they have clean towels around every corner. I literally only bring a towel to sit on when I get back to my car because my seats get really hot!

  • If you are someone who never goes anywhere without your favorite water bottle, bring it empty! You are not allowed to bring in your own beverages (unless its a sealed water bottle), but they have chilled water and gatorade like beverages for free throughout the spa so that you can keep your refreshment up all day.

  • Tie your locker key to your suit. After securing your belongings in a locker, you get the key! The orange band it is attached to may fit around your wrist, but it will be too loose to feel secure. Tie it to your swimsuit!

  • Bring a change of clothes. At the end of the day, I always take a shower in their locker rooms (it’s really just an excuse for me to use the body wash which smells AMAZING). They do have a dryer for your bathing suit, but I just prefer to change into fresh clothes after!

There you have it everyone. I hope you find some of these pointe useful for you.
Please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter and maybe next time I’ll create a “Day in the life” video at this beautiful destination.

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Follow your joy

Millie



JUNE FAVORITES

Happy July friends!

Before the craziness of the Fourth of July kicks off tomorrow, I thought I’d look back on last month and share with you some of my absolute favorite items I found myself using the entire month. I’d like to start off by clarifying, this blog is NOT sponsored by any of these companies. All of these items are items I truly love.

Photographer: IG  @johnsperspective

Photographer: IG @johnsperspective

As some of you know, I went on a mini vacation to Mexico for a weekend last month with my wonderful boyfriend, John, and his loving family. Before heading out there I partnered with a few awesome companies to create content for. One of the companies was a little online jewelry shop. I wore the necklaces for the photos our first day there. Then I wore them again with my outfit the 2nd day. Then I came home and found myself wearing them ALL THE FLIPPIN TIME! These two necklaces layered together are now my go-to necklace combo when I need a gold look. You can find these beauties here and use code ‘MILLIE15’ for 15% off:

 

https://blissfullylissjewelry.com/collections/necklaces/products/camille-coin-necklace
https://blissfullylissjewelry.com/collections/necklaces/products/cape-may-necklace

On the topic of accessories, my next June fav is a must if you love living a colorful life with retro vibes. My Orange Round Rainbow Optx Sunglasses are always a HIT when I wear them in public. I can promise you that if go out wearing them, you will receive compliments left and right. It might take a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when first putting them on since the tone of them is so harshly orange, but they bring a beautiful new perspective to things you’re so used to seeing every day.

https://rainbowoptx.com/collections/round-metal-frames/products/sacral-chakra-orange-round-metal-frame

Photographer: IG  @by.rob

Photographer: IG @by.rob

Moving on to my Instagram followers favorite item right now, my gray wig. If you saw my IGTV video, you may know that I am starting to wear wigs for photoshoots so I can give my natural hair a chance to grow out and be healthy again. One of the wigs I bought, made everyone go crazy (in a positive excited way) when they saw it on my story, so I thought why not share it with you all!? Originally I wasn’t a fan of the wig because of the curls it came with...they were just not good at all. Then I took the time to sit with it, straighten it, and cut it. Now I wear it ALL THE TIME because it just looks so real. This is where I got mine:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JCSGRW0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Last but not least, let’s get into a little bit of makeup. Usually my go-to foundation is the Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof longwear liquid foundation...wow that’s a mouthful. But you know, let’s be real, sometimes money can be tight and we don’t have pocket change of $40-50 to spend on makeup. A foundation that I have been using is the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation in Beige ($14). For me it’s perfect for work AND shoots because you can adjust the coverage by the amount of drops you use! When I’m doing my makeup for work, I do a lighter coverage look vs when I do my makeup for a photoshoot, I do more of a full coverage look and the foundation works great for BOTH! This is where you can get yours:

https://www.nyxcosmetics.com/total-control-drop-foundation/NYX_413.html?cgid=face

Hope you guys check out these awesome items. Let me know what some of your favorite products were last month. I'd love to check out some new stuff and maybe it will make it onto my July Favs list!

Xoxo,
Millie

Gaining control of your life

Hello everyone,

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I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but life is crazy! I’m not just talking about for me, but for you too. Not matter what age you are, now-a-days everything is GO GO GO. It can feel like the situation you are in is out of your hands and there’s nothing you can do to slow down or be in control. Ahhh control...we all want it. Sometimes we don’t even know we want it. Just think about it for a second;

Maybe you want others to be nice to you, or like you? You want time to slow down? How about wanting to go to sleep earlier? Eat healthier? Make more money? Well my friend, if you can relate to any one of those things, or thought of something, you wish to have some control.

Now, let’s explore this idea of control a little shall we?

con·trol (kənˈtrōl/)
noun
1. the power to influence or direct [people's] behavior or the course of events.
verb
1. to exercise restraint or direction over.

If you’re not a master mind controller, you might be thinking “how the heck am I supposed to control other people’s behaviors!?”. This is the part where I tell you the truth...you don’t. You can’t control how others treat you. However, aren’t you a person? Do you have the power to influence or direct your behavior? Yes. So I’d like to challenge you with this...

Go grab two pieces of paper. In the middle of one piece of paper write “Things I CAN control”. Then in the middle of the other, write “Things I CAN’T control”. Now begin your lists.

I did this the other day and felt the need to share with you all. I strongly believe this is such an important exercise for everyone to do. Writing down the things I didn’t have control over brought me such a release mentally and so much freedom from those things. Then looking at my list of things that I DO have control of made me realize that there is so much more in life I can do!

So it’s your turn! Write these two lists. How was it? How do you feel? Comment on this post what you thought, I’d love to hear!

Xoxo

How to be successful for real

 
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Success. Everyone wants to obtain this amazing idea of 'success'. By the end of this blog post, not only will have learned how to obtain ultimate success in your life, but you'll be able to answer all the questions on the image of this blog, and it's a lot easier than you think!  First, lets start with the basics, we must have an understanding of what ‘success’ is. Let’s check to see what the super handy dandy www.dictionary.com says:

(suc·cess)
noun: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

Now let’s take a look at www.urbandictionary.com, the top result is:

The product of constantly striving for self improvement.

I was talking to a good friend the other day about this very subject because they are not as successful as they would like to be at this point in their life. So we explored this idea of ‘success’.  I think our society has painted a false picture of what success should look like:

- You should have a really nice car and lots of fancy clothes to be successful.
- You should own a large, expensive house to look successful.
- You should be able to go out to dinner in nice restaurants every night so you’ll look successful.
- You should be able to buy whatever you want - all name brands- to feel successful.

Basically if you make a lot of money and you’re filthy rich THEN you have reached success, right? Not necessarily. Did you notice that none of the above definitions mentioned wealth as the destination of success? Success is about setting personal goals and putting effort and purpose into them to achieve them. Maybe one of your goals is related to money. That’s totally okay. But what if we forgot about everything we think we know about success and defined it as our own? I’ll start:

@modernnmilliee’s definition of (suc·cess)

1. The accomplishment of finding joy in every situation and persevering
2. The ability to surround myself with people who make me happy and support me
3. Finding new ways to better myself (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.)
4. Doing whatever the heck it is that makes me truly happy without caring what others think

Now it’s your turn!

Take some time right now to write in the comments what your definition of success is.