Mal Holcomb-Botts is a brunch loving mama of two beautiful children and wife to a born-and-raised Oahu man. Love brought her Kailua, Hawaii, 12 years ago and she swears there is no place like it in the whole world. She feels blessed to be able to raise her kids in such a beautiful, unique, and diverse place.
By Lara Franco Gomes
Photography courtesy of Mal Holcomb-Botts
After the birth of her second child, she left her job as a corporate event designer to tackle the stay-at-home mama life on the ever-gorgeous island of Oahu. At that time she also decided to start her own business: Brunch with Aloha, a glorious little labour of love that was created to provide a community for women on the island of Oahu. Every event is designed and executed with the smallest of details in mind to ensure that the guests not only enjoy themselves but have a truly one-of-a-kind experience!
She’s highly dedicated to giving back to her community and donates a portion of all the community’s proceeds to non-profits on the island.
Her way of life is fully focused on her family, being outdoors as much as possible, and supporting her community.
There is nothing more important for her in life than her family, the beach, butter, brunch and baking.
LEMON Magazine [LEMON] – Why do you think people should travel to Hawaii?
Mal Holcomb-Botts [M.H.] – Honestly, I could not imagine my life without having experienced Hawaii, even if it was only for a short while. The beauty of it is unlike anywhere I have ever seen.
LEMON – What’s the most beautiful thing about living there?
M-H. – It’s tough to choose, but it’s a pretty solid tie between the ocean and the mountains. No matter which direction you look you can find beauty in Hawaii.
LEMON – The most beautiful island? Can you say?
M-H. – Apart from living on Oahu, I have only traveled to Maui, Kauai, and Big Island. So, from personal experience I have to say that they are all beautiful in different ways. However, since Oahu is the island I have explored and experienced the most, it is where I have seen the most beauty. But I think most people would say Kauai
LEMON – Raising your kids in Hawaii, are there any downsides to it?
M-H. – Definitely the distance. I was raised on the East Coast and the majority of my family is still there, which is tough. Luckily, my younger brother moved to Hawaii as well in 2018, so that has helped a lot.
LEMON – What are the packing essentials to go there?
M-H. – Essentials? As many swimsuits as you can bring, same for sunglasses, a pair of slippers (which is what most people call flip-flops here) and possibly a beach coverup, but that one is pretty optional.
LEMON – 3 special things that can only be found there?
M-H. – The unique history, culture, and Aloha spirit, all of which beautiful historical places such as the Bishop Museum, Polynesian Cultural Center and Iolani Palace can help visitors to learn, understand and respect.
LEMON – Is it a good place to travel with kids?
M-H. – Absolutely! Especially if you have very active children. There are so many things to do outdoors and there is almost always sun shining on at least one part of Oahu! There is so much to learn, see and experience. I would absolutely recommend it as a family vacation!
LEMON – What do you think people must keep in mind when going around Hawaii with their children?
M-H. – Please be respectful of the islands. We are guests here and keeping this beautiful place clean is so important. Always take out what you bring in, especially when going on local hikes and visiting beaches. I know sometimes it is hard with little ones, so I think it is very important to bring that mindset with you and teach the next generation how important that respect is.
LEMON – Top 5 things kids love to do there?
M-H. – Swim, swim, swim, swim… swim! Honestly, the beach is really such an iconic part of Hawaii it is hard to get through all the activities there are to do just in the water alone. Between snorkeling, surfing, swimming, stand-up paddling, kayaking… I mean the list goes on and on! There is also tons of hiking and some excellent kid-centered businesses such as Keiki and Plow, The Children’s Discovery Center and Keiki and the Pineapple.
LEMON – The most beautiful place to go see?
M-H. – This is a really tough one. I think some people may disagree with me, but Hanauma Bay is one of my absolute favourite places on the island of Oahu. It was one of the first areas that I got to visit and the first place that I snorkeled in Hawaii. You must watch a short video before you can snorkel, but this helps to teach people about ocean life and some of the best ways to protect and respect it. It is a beautiful place and one of the safest for different comfort levels in the water.
LEMON – What to expect in terms of food?
M-H. – There is a very diverse selection of food in Hawaii, especially if you are on the island of Oahu. You can find traditional Hawaiian foods as well as a wide range of different cuisines to suit any preference! There are even plenty of chain restaurants familiar to mainland travelers for the less adventurous palates! Some of my personal favourites are Over Easy, Monkeypod, Liliha Bakery, Doraku, and Pint and Jigger.