Pixiebug Adventures » Family Travel Photography Blog

Succulents on Maui at 3rd Day Nursery

On the slopes of Haleakala, Maui’s largest volcano, succulents grow wild on lava rocks at the 3rd Day Nursery. These particular plants are part of the eccentric landscape of the farm located in Kula, Maui. The succulent plants for sale are either potted or in colorful arrangments created by the welcoming crew at the nursery.


Oh, how I love this presentation of succulents I harvested from the lava rocks at 3rd Day Nursery in Kula, Maui. Owner Derek Quale generously donated these plants for a fundraiser for Trucker Dukes. I was able to create several arrangments that were sold to raise money for Trucker, a three-year-old from Maui battling neuroblastoma.


Here are some of these succulents arranged in a lovely book planter. I’m so happy how this turned out and hope to make more now that the boys are back in school.

3rd Day Nursery by Pixiebug Adventures WM (21 of 28)

I met Derek a couple of years ago when I first fell in love with the forgiving plants. Jon and I spent the afternoon working on his farm in exchange for succulents thanks to a “help wanted” Craigslist ad and Jon’s willingness to do manual labor. Derek has since developed a stunning nursery with more than 20,000 plants growing Upcountry Maui. Each Saturday and Sunday 3rd Day Nursery, named after the day God created the land and the plants, is open to the public from 9 am – 4 pm.

3rd Day Nursery by Pixiebug Adventures WM (19 of 28)

When driving on Kula Highway, turn towards the ocean onto Lower Kula Road. You’ll often see hula hoopers standing next to this wooden sign to get driver’s attention. You can also find directions on Google Maps. The nursery offers neat rows of potted succulents but my favorite part of the nursery is the charming arrangments Derek and his crew have created with the plants.


3rd Day Nursery by Pixiebug Adventures WM (9 of 28)

Succulents aren’t the only type of plants for sale at 3rd Day Nursery. There are also tropical plants, ground covers, ti plants, bromeliads and banana trees.

3rd Day Nursery by Pixiebug Adventures WM (7 of 28)

Recently, Kieran and Ronan joined me for a visit to 3rd Day Nursery where Derek gave them an impromptu propagation lesson with an aloe plant. We went home with some succulents and bananas. 3rd-Day-Nursery-Pixiebug-Adventures-2-Storyboard

I love this place! If you are on Maui, make sure you stop by to see the beautiful nursery and the stunning views of the island. Also, if you mention that you learned about 3rd Day Nursery from Pixiebug Adventures, first-time customers receive 20% off all purchases!



Elvis Lives on Maui at Burn’n Love

My mom loves Elvis. She named my sister Lisa Marie. Growing up as a teenager in the 60s it didn’t matter that she was in another country. Elvis was the King, even in Mexico. She just sent me this text:

“Hi June. Today is 39 years since Elvis died.:(We were going to Mexico, you were 14 months old and we heard the news on the way to Guadalajara.” I have grown up with my mom telling me two important dates annually since I was young. The day Elvis died and the day she married my dad.

Two years ago Darren Lee began performing a Hawaii-themed Elvis show called “Burn’n Love” in Lahaina, Maui. This summer we all went to see Burn’n Love as a belated Mother’s Day gift. There were 19 of us including all the young cousins and we all had a fun and memorable night. My mom sat in the aisle hoping to get a little attention from Darren Lee and to her delight, she did get a hand-shake during one of his performances where he walks up to the audience. He also had a cute “conversation” with her after my mom yelled “I love you Elvis!” during a quiet moment between songs.

I’ve seen the show several times and love it every time! The first time I saw the show when Darren Lee appeared to rise above center-stage on the hydraulic stage floor through a mist of fog, my mom leaned over to me and whispered, “I have the chills.”

Darren Lee as Elvis at Maui

Darren Lee as Elvis at Maui’s Number 1 Rated Show Burn’n Love

These “chills” came even before Darren Lee began to play a single chord on his guitar or sing a note. Watching Elvis come to life was exciting but watching my mom’s expressions throughout the show was priceless. She later told me that she felt like she was watching Elvis.

Darren Lee as Elvis and Dancers at Maui

Darren Lee as Elvis and Dancers at Maui’s Number 1 Rated Show Burn’n Love

Darren Lee is not an Elvis impersonator. He does not lip-sync (à la Jimmy Fallon) and pretend to play the guitar. He is an Elvis Tribute Artist. In 1997 on this day he was rated the “# 1 Elvis Tribute Artist in the World” in Memphis, Tennesee. Darren Lee is Elvis. His guitar playing, voice, authentic costumes and signature dance moves bring Elvis back to Hawaii. Energetic dancers move from hula to swing dancing as the world-class musicians and backup singer accompany Darren Lee’s performances.

Darren Lee as Elvis and Hula Dancers at Maui

Darren Lee as Elvis and Hula Dancers at Maui’s Number 1 Rated Show Burn’n Love

Audio and video vignettes played during costume changes give the show dimension and provide the audience with the story of Elvis’ love of Hawaii. One portion of the show stood out as a phenomenal display of the talent of Darren Lee and his band. They gathered center stage on chairs to perform in the same style Elvis did in the 1968 television special Elvis.


Darren Lee as Elvis Performs with World-Class Musicians at Burn’n Love

Burn’n Love is performed in the 680-seat Maui Theater in Lahaina, Maui on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The audience is filled with couples and families with children. Kids 12 and under are free. Learn more at www.BurnnLove.com

Darren Lee as Elvis at Maui

Darren Lee as Elvis at Maui’s Number 1 Rated Show Burn’n Love


Maria Tomizawa - This is the Best of the best show that we have in Maui! I want to take everyone in my family who visit me, and friends, they will be trill like myself! and they will tell me, you are rigth Elvis Lives in Maui as an impersonator of the King of Rock and Roll R.I.P yesterday August 16 2016 was his Anniversary of his death 39 Years ago The KIng left the world! Like they used to said Elvis has left the building.

Sharyn williams - Love that our daughter , Chelsea is in this great show. We will see the show in October.

The Succulent Project

The Succulent Project (1 of 4)

An old book finds new life as the planter of a beautiful selection of succulents. Copyright 2016 June Harper

If someone gave me a plant as a gift I would smile and say “thank you” but in my head, I would say, “Welcome to your doom sweet plant.” Things have changed since succulents came into my life. I just love the word. Succulents. Succulents.

The Succulent Project (3 of 4)

The cut pages of an old book serve as a home for an arrangement of succulents. Copyright 2016 June Harper

These plants make me so happy. They make me feel accomplished because they are so difficult to kill. Some succulents have not survived in my care, but I’m getting better and better with learning the best way to care for these hardy plants.

The Succulent Project (4 of 4)

Jack sitting next to the succulent book planter I made for a fundraiser. Dog not included. Copyright 2016 June Harper


The Succulent Project (2 of 4)

A repurposed book is a beautiful way to display an arrangement of succulents.

Mostly, I am in love the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. If you are in need of proof of hope, check out a tiny baby succulent growing from a leaf that has fallen from a plant. This repurposed book and selection of succulents is for sale on Maui with all funds going to the Trucker Dukes Cancer Fund. The plants were donated by Third Day Nursery in Kula and the book is painted with a sealant allowing it to be perfect for showcasing these beauties.

Celebrating Boy’s Day in Hawaii

May 5th is Boy’s Day!

On May 5th, many local families in Hawaii will celebrate Boy’s Day. Originally celebrated in ancient Japan, Boy’s Day was changed to the inclusive “Children’s Day” and became a Japanese national holiday in 1948. In Hawaii, it is still just Boy’s Day. No need to get concerned with excluding daughters, we also celebrate Girl’s Day on March 3rd.
Ronan posing with Jack for Boy

Ronan posing with Jack for Boy’s Day 2015.

Raising our boys in Hawaii allows us to expose them to so many different customs. Hawaii is known as a “melting pot” where immigrants from Japan, China, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Korea settled in the islands to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations starting in the 1880s. Hawaii is busy with festivals, holidays and parades year round celebrating traditions from immigrants who settled in the islands. Visitors to the islands can experience more than just Hawaiian culture by attending events like summer-time Japanese Obon Festivals and Chinese New Year dragon dancing. Check the informative Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau website to discover cultural events throughout the islands.


Ronan playing with a pinwheel koinobori toy to celebrate Boy’s Day in 2016. His middle name, Kiyoshi, comes from his Japanese Great Grandfather Kiyoshi Tomizawa who immigrated to the U.S. from the Fukushima prefecture in 1903.

My hapa boys Kieran and Ronan are a quarter Japanese, making Boy’s Day extra important to celebrate. Driving around neighborhoods on the islands in the first week of May you may see large fish wind socks flying in the front of the house. These wind socks are called Koinobori, meaning “carp streamer” in Japanese. The black carp (Magoi) at the top represents the father, the red carp (Higoi) represents the mother, and the last carp represents the son, with an additional carp added for each additional son.

Boy’s Day Gifts from TJ’s Warehouse Outlet in Wailuku, Hawaii to celebrate the ancient Japanese holiday on May 5th. Win this by visiting Pixiebug Studio on Instagram.

Boy’s Day is a day to honor sons and celebrate their happiness. In our house, it is a fun day to thank God for our two sons and teach them about their Japanese heritage.

It’s not too late to get ready to celebrate Boy’s Day! If you are on Maui, you can shop at TJ’s Warehouse Outlet in Wailuku to purchase your own carp streamers ranging in price and size. While you are there, you can also pick up Japanese snacks and candy. One of our favorite Japanese candy is the soft and chewy Botan Rice Candy with an outer layer of rice paper wrapping that is edible!


Japanese Art Celebrating Children’s Day – Artist Unknown

If you can’t make it to TJ’s Warehouse Outlet, visit our Instagram page to enter a contest to win a Boy’s Day gift package with a pin-wheel koinobori, Enjoy brand mixed arare, Marukawa Bubble Gum and a box of Botan Rice Candy. Good luck!

We’d love to hear how you celebrate Boy’s Day in the comments! Aloha from Maui!


Boy’s Day koinobori (carp windsocks) and gifts available now at TJ’s Warehouse Outlet in Wailuku, Maui

Please enter our Instagram contest to win a Boy’s Day gift package! Click on the highlighted “@pixiebugstudio” to visit our Instagram post.

Giveaway time!!! Boy’s Day is on May 5th! # We are excited to giveaway a Boy’s Day gift package. Visit link in profile to learn more about this Japanese holiday and see more photos of Ronan and Jack celebrating! Super Easy Entry Details: 1. Follow @pixiebugstudio 2. Tag a friend in the comments below (Each friend you tag is an entry, so tag away!) Contest ends on Thursday, May 5th at 11:59 am PST. Random winner will be announced by Friday, May 6th. If you live outside of the U.S., you can gift your prize to someone in the U.S. Good luck! NOTE: By entering you confirm you are 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. This contest is not affiliated with Instagram in any way. Your Instagram account must be set to “public” to win.

June Harper•Travel/Photography (@pixiebugstudio)

Top 5 Reasons the Grand Wailea Pools are Amazing for Families!

Top 5 Reasons the Grand Wailea Pools are Amazing for Families according to Pixiebug Adventures!

The Grand Wailea – a Waldorf Astoria Resort – is located on the south side of Maui, Hawaii. It is also the place where Jon and I met and fell in love while working for the resort in 2002, back when Jon didn’t have his beard and I handed out wristbands and towels at the Activity Pool Desk. It’s a special place for so many reasons. Here are the top 5 reasons the pools at this lush forty acre property are amazing for families.

Water Elevator

The world’s first water elevator is part of the Wailea Canyon Activity Pool at the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort on Maui. You’ll find an inconspicuous metal door between the Lava and Puka water slide exits. Once the elevator is at the bottom of the shaft, a pool attendant opens the sealed door so you can swim or walk to your seat on a large round ring. A gate valve is opened by a second pool attendant releasing thousands of gallons of water to form a giant waterfall. The ring is spun slowly around as it rises thus allowing everyone a chance to get soaked by the waterfall (a wonderful family-bonding feature). Once at the top of the elevator, a gate is opened so that you can exit into another small pool. You’ll have three choices. You can ride down a long slide called Puka or a short one or you can just take the steps out and walk out the pool. The Water Elevator is open from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.


Tarzan Pool and Rope Swing

The rope swing at the Tarzan Pool brings out the wild side of all ages. It’s difficult to tell, but the rock you jump from is actually padded. A pool attendant assists guests in retrieving the rope swing, ensuring the previous jumper has safely moved out of the way. The rope swing has entertained families for entire afternoons as parents relax on chaise lounges with a view of the acrobatic activity.Grand-Wailea-Instagram-Takeover-8494

Baby Beach

Imagine a beach-pool hybrid where sand replaces tile and babies can build sand castles with no worry of waves crashing over their masterpiece. You’ll find the youngest guests enjoying this section of the 25,700-total-square-foot pool shaded by manicured palm trees.Grand-Wailea-Takeover-(133-of-578)Slides

The slides make the Wailea Canyon Activity Pool at the Grand Wailea a huge draw for families. Children under 48 inches tall can enjoy five slides including the whitewater rapids slide near the Tarzan Pool. Guests 48 inches tall or more can also enjoy two longer and faster slides. The Ana Puka slide is located at the top of the water elevator. The Lava slide, the longest and fastest slide, exits near the entrance to the water elevator.

The slides connect the nine pools on six different levels with 770,000 gallons spanning 25,700 square feet. Slides are open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Grand-Wailea-Instagram-Takeover-8553-Edit

The Grand Wailea Mermaid

Throughout the year, the Grand Wailea Mermaid makes an appearance at the Wailea Canyon Activity Pool. A lovely mermaid shows up to swim and play with the young guests. This is a perfect opportunity to take the ideal Instagram photo to make your friends at home wish they were on Maui, too! She may be seen enjoying the waterfalls or playing at Baby Beach. Guests can also purchase mermaid monofins and tails at the Beach & Pool Store located next to the Activity Pool Desk. Contact the resort to inquire on the mermaid’s scheduled appearances and for information about requesting a special appearance.


Grand Wailea Mermaid by June Harper