Magnetic Fun with GeoSmart (Giveaway)

November 21, 2016 by Kailani  
Filed under children, featured, giveaways, toys

This giveaway is now closed.

When it comes to construction kits, my kids and I have always loved magnetic pieces because they’re easy to connect and tend to have a very strong bond. This is exactly what we found in GeoSmart.

We received the Lunar Rover ($49.99) to try out for ourselves and the kids couldn’t wait to get started. This construction kit came with 30 magnetic pieces in 5 different geometric shapes and 2 sets of wheels.

What I noticed first was the high quality feel of each piece. They were smooth, sturdy and colorful . . . but most of all, the magnets held a very strong bond.

Kids love to tinker and parents will feel secure with GeoSmart’s patented double-lock safety system. Each magnet is encased twice to ensure the building piece and not the magnet will be visible to young fingers. This sets a high bar for safety in magnetic construction toys.

There are images of 2 different versions of the Lunar Rover that the kids could make that actually move along the floor . . .

But they were also able to use their imagination and construct other types of  creations.

What I really liked about GeoSmart is that it encourages creative thinking, eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Some of the designs were not easy since the pieces instinctively connected to each other when they were in close proximity. It was up to my kids to figure out how to get just the right pieces together without everything connecting all at once. They found that it was sometimes easier to construct their vehicles flat and then bring up the sides for completion.

However, what really impressed me was how strong the magnetic bond was. We’ve played with other magnetic toys before but nothing could beat this . . .

All in all, the GeoSmart Lunar Rover was a big hit with my family. In fact, my kids have been playing with it every day since we’ve completed this review. That’s how I know that we have a winner with GeoSmart.


One (1) lucky winner will receive a 23-piece GeoSmart Solar Spinner ($29.99).

To enter:

  • Just mention in comments before midnight, November 30th who you’d like to win this for. That’s it!
  • A random winner will be selected and notified via email shortly thereafter.
  • The winner will then have 48 hours to claim their prize.

To earn extra entries, you may do one or all of the following. Each one counts as an extra ticket but you must leave a separate comment for each one.

  • Subscribe to An Island Life’s feed.
  • Follow An Island Life on Twitter.
  • Tweet this giveaway (once daily). Enter to win a GeoSmart Solar Spinner . . . perfect for the holidays!
  • Already a fan of the GeoSmartUSA Facebook page.
  • Already a fan of An Island Life on Facebook.
  • Follow me on Pinterest.
  • Follow me on Snapchat.
  • Place our button in your sidebar.
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back here.

Open to US residents only.

And the winner is . . .

aThis post was written for GeoSmart who provided the complimentary item for review and prize giveaway.











Character Dining at Disney’s Aulani Makahiki

October 19, 2016 by Kailani  
Filed under daily life, featured, hawaii, my family

This past weekend we celebrated Kaila’s 7th Birthday at Disney’s Aulani Makahiki Character Breakfast. We have always been big fans of Disney’s Character Breakfasts so we were excited at securing our reservations.

When we first checked-in, we received a card with our names on it and were then escorted outside to take family photos with Hawaiian Mickey Mouse. He was so cute in his Aloha Shirt and throwing shakas at everyone. The line went by quickly and I really appreciated that they had chairs available all along the wait line. The cast member working there was so friendly and approachable. She kept telling everyone how happy she would be to take as many photos as we wanted with our own personal cameras.

We were seated at an outdoor table surrounded by lush greenery which really made us feel like we were on vacation. The only downside was that it was a pretty windy morning so we had to make sure our linen napkins and other items didn’t go blowing away.

The breakfast buffet held the usual items . . . eggs, bacon, fruits, pastries . . . as well as some local favorites like mahi mahi, loco moco, and coconut syrup for those adorable Mickey waffles.

There were only 2 characters that circulated the tables . . . Minnie and Goofy . . . as well as periodic Hawaiian shows by “Aunty” where kids could get up and participate by dancing, singing, and playing Hawaiian musical instruments.


My thoughts . . .

I loved how everything had such a wonderful Hawaiian feel. From the decor to the cast member uniforms to the characters’ outfits . . . I really felt like I was on a Hawaiian vacation. Everybody that worked there was super friendly and more than accommodating. They really added to the overall experience.

What I was a little disappointed in was that there were only 2 characters available at the buffet. I guess we’re just used to seeing more of them when we go to the breakfasts at Disneyland.

Once breakfast was over we decided to walk off all those calories by exploring the Disney property. Here are a few photos that we took along the way . . .







Ichiran Ramen

October 11, 2016 by Kailani  
Filed under daily life, featured, flight attendant stories

I love ramen. And since I’m in Japan pretty much once a week I probably consume more of these delicious noodles than the average person. I’ve tried a variety of types at numerous establishments but my favorite by far is Ichiran Ramen.

When you first enter Ichiran Ramen you will find yourself faced with an ordering machine. There aren’t many choices to make since they offer only one basic tonkotsu broth and one size of noodle serving (790 yen) but here you’re able to add a few other items like egg, seaweed and extra pork. If you’re really hungry you can get additional noodles (kae-dame) to add to your broth later on. And yes . . . they sell beer, as well. You pay at the machine and you’ll receive tickets for each of the items you ordered.

Then you wait for a spot to become available. In the meantime, you’re handed a ‘preference sheet”. Here’s where things get a little more interesting. This sheet allows you to customize your ramen in terms of flavor strength, richness, garlic, green onions, pork, spicy red sauce and noodle texture . . . all at no extra charge.

When you enter the eating area you’ll notice something a little bit different than you’re used to. Everyone sits in their own partitioned- off cubicle. However, the dividers can be folded back half-way to allow you to interact with the person next to you.

Now it’s time to get your bowl of ramen. You place your ‘preference sheet’ and all of your tickets (except for kae-dama unless you want it immediately) in front of you. The staff will collect everything and deliver your perfect bowl of ramen pretty instantly. The great thing is that if you change your mind and would like to get anything extra including more noodles you can order it even after being seated.

Ichiran Ramen is so good that I often travel at least 30-40 minutes by train just to satisfy my craving. The tonkotsu broth is so delicious that it takes a lot of effort on my part not to just drink it directly . . . although I do see many who do. However, what I like best are the noodles. I’m not sure what makes it so different from other places but their thin flour-based noodles just appeals to the carb-loving person in me. The perfect bowl of ramen.







Owl Village in Harajuku Japan

October 3, 2016 by Kailani  
Filed under daily life, featured, flight attendant stories


When I first heard about the Owl Village my first reaction was . . . “Oh, those poor owls.” However, the more I read about the animal cafes that have become very popular in Japan my curiosity won out. So on a recent layover in Japan I decided to head to Harajuku and check it out.

Owl Village is open from 11:00am – 7:00pm with reservations being taken in 1 hour blocks. There is a limited amount of slots for each time period so make sure you get there early to sign up or you can make an online reservation ahead of time. Children must be 6 years or older.

When we visited Owl Village there were 3 packages to choose from . . .

We chose the Special Course (2000 yen) and received a drink and Macha Green Tea Shaved Ice dessert along with 2 owl souveniers.

Our package allowed us 35 minutes to spend interacting with the 8 owls. When your time comes, your small group enters a glass aviary where the owls are housed. First, the staff describes (in English) the various owl species, their specific personality traits and the best way to approach them. You can also purchase food (500 yen) to feed them.

Then they allow you to handle the owls including having them sit on your arm if you wish. Of course, because of their sharp talons you are required to wear a heavy duty glove that covers most of your forearm. Some of them will even fly to you and land on your arm.

My personal thoughts . . .

I really wasn’t sure what to expect but it did seem like the owls were being treated well with lots of downtime between the small groups of people visiting. I enjoyed petting them and found that they were a lot softer than they look. Some of them also close their eyes and start to purr when you rub their necks.

Most of the staff spoke English and were very friendly and accommodating . . . especially when we wanted to take photos with the owls. They went out of their way to get the owl’s attention so we could get the perfect photo.

This is Bob. He played Hedwig in the Harry Potter movie.

I wasn’t a big fan of owls beforehand but I have to say that I have gained a newfound love for them. How could anyone resist this adorable face?

Owl Village
21-15, Jingumae 1 Chome
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo