Balmy winds, the fragrant smell of tuberose wafting up from my lei, watch new land being creating via spurting lava into the ocean, discovering new flowers at the botanical garden, and some coco-nutty cocktails - this was all part of my research trip to Hawaii (yes, I admit it, it was a vacation from chilly Reno too). One of the most inspiring moments was meeting Jeanne, the hotel owner of Hawaii Resort Retreats. Check out some of the awe-inspiring sights of Hawaii below.

Ahh, the aloha spirit writ large.

Ahh, the aloha spirit writ large.

Beautiful koi fish with their golden hues.

What amazes me is that the land what is complete lava one day, hundreds (and sometimes millions) of year later, with a little rain, turns into a botanicall forest. Hawaii has over 10 different environments on it (ecological systems). 

What amazes me is that the land what is complete lava one day, hundreds (and sometimes millions) of year later, with a little rain, turns into a botanicall forest. Hawaii has over 10 different environments on it (ecological systems). 

The Petroglyph Park.

The Petroglyph Park.

Mother Earth birthing land.

Mother Earth birthing land.

Proud, vibrant colors flaunted in the Hilo botantical gardens. 

A beautiful flower that looked like it had a white light bulb inside it.  

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Where we hiked down to Waipio Valley, some very kind soul drove us up the 1,200 foot climb. 

Ancient etching of a pregnant woman in the Petroglyph Park. Women were denoted in stone by wide hips to indicate birthing potential.

I'm about 6'2, so you can get a sense of how tall this leaf is.

Good times with hubby.

My favorite new friend at the Hilo Zoo.

My favorite new friend at the Hilo Zoo.