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Pixiebug Adventures with Puffin Rock in Kilkenny, Ireland



“Hello! Excuse me! Can you please hold the door? Thank you. Do you work here?,” I asked a surprised and kind man holding his cup of coffee and the door.

“Yes. Do you have an appointment?,” he asked.

“No, we are just traveling all the way from Hawaii and we are huge Puffin Rock fans. We just wanted to say hi,” I explained.

“Okay….follow me. I’ll see if someone can help you,” he said cautiously as we followed him up the stairs into the Cartoon Saloon offices.

This is the conversation I had with Paul Young outside of the Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon offices in Ireland. Mr. Young is the CEO of the twice Academy Award® nominated animation studio he formed along with Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey. Cartoon Saloon received Oscar-nominations for Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells features. Yeah. He works there, most recently on producing Puffin Rock.

Cartoon Saloon Gang

Tom Moore and Paul Young (on couch) of Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny pictured with the crew after being nominated for an Oscar for Song of the Sea. Picture by Dylan Vaughan.


Recognize the couch? Here is my niece Madeline reading to Ronan as we waited for a brief tour of the Cartoon Saloon offices. Copyright 2015.

Puffin Rock is a beautifully animated show set on a fictional island off the coast of Ireland. The main characters, Oona and Baba, are two puffin siblings who share adventures with other adorable animal friends. The show is created for preschoolers, but anyone can appreciate the stunning artwork found throughout the show and the humor in the narration. Irish actor and comedian Chris O’Dowd (he played the police officer that falls for Kristen Wiig’s character in the hilarious movie “Bridesmaids”) narrates and brings a goofy sense of humor when describing the adventures on Puffin Rock.

We were fortunate to meet with two Puffin Rock animators and watch them animate future episodes. The visit was brief but very special. Ronan was even given a Puffin Rock book that we will treasure as a souvenir of our trip to Ireland.

Puffin Rock is available to watch on Netflix. It is a lovely show that we hope will be produced for years to come.


Ronan posing beside a banner with Oona and Baba on Puffin Rock. Copyright 2015.


Pixiebug Adventures & the Maui Cookie Lady Instagram Giveaway


Happy National Cookie Day from Pixiebug Adventures!

Christmas is just around the corner and we’ve teamed up with the Maui Cookie Lady to give away these amazing Maui-made cookies! A random winner will receive a Christmas box with seasonal flavors. Click here to find Jack on Instagram and follow the directions in the caption. If you don’t win, you can always find these amazing hand-rolled Maui-made cookies online at The Maui Cookie Lady on Etsy. You can also score these gigantic cookies on Maui at the The Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea Resort & Spa in the Cafe Kula Shop, the Ritz Carlton Kapalua & Spa, Maui Brewing Company, Maui Pack and Ship, Maui Airport, and The Market by Capische.

How delicious do these seasonal cookies look? Believe me. They are so good! I got to try these flavors after I took some photos for the Maui Cookie Lady. Butter rum triple chunker, egg nog, red velvet, and cinnamon flavored cookies!


Kimberly lewis - Yummmm

Pixiebug Adventures at the 25th Annual Hula O Na Keiki 2015

Copyright 2015 - June Harper

Copyright 2015 – June Harper

The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel hosted the 25th Hula O Na Keiki solo hula competition November 13-14, 2015. The hotel, located beachfront on the west side of Maui, bustled with energy as 14 keiki (children) hula dancers from Maui, O’ahu and Japan competed for awards and prizes. Through performing chants and hula dances, the children learned traditional Hawaiian culture and arts. On Saturday, I walked through the craft fair on the hotel grounds and enjoyed an ‘ono plate lunch while musicians played on the outdoor stage.  To get a better understanding of the cultural event, I met with several of the key coordinators.

“The real focus of this festival is the growth of the keiki,” Ka’anapali Beach Hotel’s General Manager Mike White said. “The first day is spent with the judges interviewing every one of the haumana (students). The haumana are required to explain every piece of their costume and the significance of the choice.” White, who celebrated his 30th anniversary as the GM of the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel during the weekend, described the pride he has in the keiki who come to compete. “I’m not a judge, I’m not an aficionado, but there are times when you have someone dancing that is kind of going through the motions, but not making the most of every motion. That’s the difference, the crispness and the energy that they put into it. For me, that’s what it’s all about. What makes it special is to watch these kids perform in ways that are just really wonderful.”

Head judge and 19-year-veteran of the festival Hokulani Holt explained to me her favorite part of the weekend. “I enjoy the interviews because it is a time to really hear how the kumu hula (teachers), as well as each of the performers feel about what they are doing.” Holt has seen past winners of the competition come back to as kumu hula. Na Kumu Haunani Paredes of Halau Kekuaokalaaualailiahi, a former Miss Hula O Na Keiki, returned this year with two students who went on to win “Overall Wahine” and “Overall Kane.”

It was so wonderful to meet with amazing leaders in our community who are passionate about this long-standing event for the keiki. I especially loved chatting with the director of Hula O Na Keiki, Dee Coyle. I asked her why she does the job of producing this event and she paused and thoughtfully answered. “I do it because I see the sense of accomplishment in the eyes of the children. They practice so hard. Everyone invests so much time. The child is going to learn from their teacher. With the kumu comes all the other brothers and sisters of hula who are going to support this child. This child also has family. Then you have the parents and the aunties and uncles and brothers and sisters supporting him. There is a whole community that surrounds one child, just to come to this competition. To see them finally on stage, and for us we see their names on paper and then when we finally see them here…and to see them dance,” said Coyle.

It’s pretty amazing. I can’t wait for next year.

For a full list of winners please visit http://www.kbhmaui.com/hawaii-culture/event-details





The Hula O Na Keiki Competition Is About More Than Dance | Island Gypsy Hawaii - […] For another perspective on the weekend, please read June Harper’s post here. […]

Pixiebug Adventures at the 2nd Annual Made In Maui County Festival

Marla McManus, a dear family friend, asked me to introduce the keiki models at a fashion show during the 2nd Annual Made in Maui County Festival held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. It was a blast to announce the adorable children wearing Three Coconuts aloha fashion onto the Hawaiian Airlines Event Stage in the Yokouchi Pavilion. One strength I have is my total comfort speaking on stage in front of an audience; add adorable children to the mix and I am in my “zone.”

The festival is a gathering of talented business owners from Maui, Lanai and Molokai to showcase their products to wholesale buyers and residents and visitors to Maui. Ten thousand people attended the two-day event where 140 vendors showcased their locally made products. After announcing the fashion show, I walked around the festival with my sister and enjoyed looking at so many amazing products. The weather was Maui-perfect. I loved the chance to walk at a leisurely pace in and out of the booths, especially since Jon was home with the boys and no one was pulling my arm and asking me for a toy…just one toy!

It was so cool to see a photograph I took enlarged and printed onto a banner at the Three Coconuts booth. Other personal highlights included seeing my friend who owns Sailbags Maui. Geri Emata repurposes kite board sails into colorful and rugged bags perfect for the beach and travel. I fell in love with Lynn Baldwin’s jewelry business Sparrow Seas. Her Maui-shaped rings and necklaces are so sweet. ‘Opihi Maui creates fun island inspired signs and magnets. I picked out a wooden magnet that says “I Love You Like A Mango.” It’s in reference to a favorite song by Hawaiian recording artists The Mana’o Company called Drop Baby Drop/Who Loves you Pretty Baby.

Maui is very much like a small town. I recognized a Pixiebug Studio baby I photographed for his one year birthday Cake Smash. He was getting hugs from his Auntie Jennifer Matsumoto, one half of the duo behind Matsumoto Studio.

Did you have a chance to attend this year? Who were your favorite vendors? Share links to your company in the comments section if you were one of the vendors this year. Aloha! June Harper

Made In Maui County Festival 2015 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center

Made In Maui County Festival 2015 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center -Photos by June Harper-Copyright 2015

Jon’s All-American Birthday at Ruby’s Diner on Maui


Celebrating Jon

Celebrating Jon’s Birthday at Ruby’s Diner on Maui                                Copyright June Harper of Pixiebug Adventures 2015

Going out to dinner is an adventure with Kieran and Ronan, but having young children hasn’t stopped me from taking a break from cooking and cleaning. In fact, I love going out to dinner even more now that I’m a mom. I think I cried the first night I went out to dinner after having a baby. I appreciated the meal even more because I didn’t have to cook it myself. It could have been the hormones, too. Either way, I love to dine at restaurants and we have taken our boys out to dinner since they were wee babes. The first restaurant we took Kieran to was the Ruby’s Diner in Huntington Beach, California when he was about 1 month old. He doesn’t remember that night, but I sure do.

Fast forward nearly 7 years to last week. I asked the boys where they wanted to take their daddy to dinner for his birthday and they both agreed on Ruby’s Diner at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului, Maui. This is a perfect place for families to celebrate special milestones. Ruby’s Diner, the 1940s inspired eatery, offers an “All-American” menu complete with burgers, fries and malts. I opted for the tasty Maui Cattle Co. 1/2 lb. Premium Burger with avocado, lettuce and tomato and Ruby’s special sauce. This was a burger to remember. So ono! Jon ordered the Seared Ahi Burger with endless french fries and he said it was cooked just perfectly. The boys were super happy with their chicken fingers and hot dog and fries. All the boys enjoyed milkshakes for dessert.

The best part of the night was the awesome attention the staff gave Jon for his birthday. They announced to the entire restaurant that there was a special birthday guest and clapped and sang on their way from the kitchen to our booth to present an ice-cream sunday with a birthday candle. The boys thought it was hilarious. I asked the boys what they liked the most and it was a tie between the cars they got at the start of the night to build and decorate with stickers and the gum ball they got at the end of the night. We love Ruby’s Diner and the awesome staff made sure we wanted to come back soon! Oh, and kids eat free on Tuesdays after 4 pm! Aloha, June Harper p.s. Enjoy more photos in the slideshow below!