Yay – I’m so excited that it’s finally summer break for the boys. While the twins will be going to Summer school in a few weeks, we still plan to take full advantage of the days we have with each other and summer for us means fun and adventures. Since the boys and I are going to be adventuring around our island like tourists this summer, I figured that I would share with all of you some of the pictures of our journey. While some of them will be fun and exciting, we also plan to revisit some of the places I played in my childhood. So many changes happen as the future evolves and this is my way of sharing all of it with my boys.
A few days ago I found myself pumping gas into my car and an overwhelming feeling of a need to visit sanctuary overcame me. As a child my parents took me to different places on the island to cool off during the summer or hot months or to just relax and as a teenager, I visited these places with friends. I wanted to take a drive to calm my mind. Out of the blue, I found myself driving to little towns that I haven’t been to in over 10 years and what I saw hurt my heart.
My first stop was to Waihee Valley and a location the locals here know as Swinging Bridges. It’s at the top of a narrow road at the base of the mountain range and somewhere I spent many summers, walking across these swinging bridges on a hike to get to the waterfall at the top of the trail. The last time we entered, we were charged a fee (about 10 years ago), even if we were Kama’ainas (local residents). So, I expected that I would need to pay a small fee to enter the grounds again. This time, I was greeted at the top of the road before the entry to Swinging Bridges with a large gate that blocked my entry.
In shock, I sat there for a few minutes to collect my thoughts. How is this even possible? I turned my car around and just as I started my descent back down the road, I passed a local man tending to his garden. His house is located just to the side of where this photo (above) was taken. If you’ve been to Hawaii or live here, then you probably know that even is Aunty or Uncle, so I greeted him by saying… “Good morning Uncle, how are you today?” He responded by approaching my car and we talked story a bit. He explained that the gate was put up about 5 years ago and the property which is owned by the plantation and a private land owner decided to remove access to the public. We talked about how the families that lived in the valley were either moving away or they were offered a lot of money to sell their homes. Long time residents that go back generations that live on the road are also blocked access to something they grew up with. We talked for about 30 minutes and the uncle ended the conversation by saying that I was welcomed to come back any time to wala’au (or talk story).
As a kid, we often went up to those areas to pick fern so that we could make haku leis (floral head wreaths) for hula, weddings and other events. The local people no longer have access to that area any longer without asking for permission. Like I mentioned before, we also swam in the ponds and waterfalls as kids to cool off from the hot Maui heat. About 10 years ago I took my eldest son to these places and he loved it, but now it is no longer accessible.
I absolutely think that those who own the property have the right to block access to the public, however, much of the land in these parts are technically not “owned” by anyone. Hawaii is known for parts of the islands that are blocked from access when they technically are not owned by the person who does so. It’s a common argument throughout the islands. I was so sad to see this gate here because I figured that if it was still easily accessible, this would be one of the places I would bring my sons to go hiking and journeying through the Valley and ending at a gorgeous waterfall. I’m sad to see that the access is blocked, but I know there truly is not much I can do about it to fix the situation. I can only hope that they open it for hiking some days and I can take my sons to visit my childhood stomping grounds.
This was just the beginning of my journey on that day. Over the next week or so I’ll be sharing more of my adventure and over the next couple of months, I’ll be sharing photos and our journey as we enjoy our summer break. Stay tuned for more.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all images are my own. Affiliate links may be posted throughout and all opinions are my own.
I am a lover of all things photography and most of my blogger friends don’t know that I actually photograph weddings and portraits and have been doing so for years. Having worked with a variety of clients and vendors, I always find it very important to work with a client that provides great service and standard for their customers and because I live in Hawaii, it is important that shipping is affordable and it gets to me quickly so I can deliver the product to my clients in a timely fashion.
Canvas HQ is a printing company that offers high quality (get it – HQ) work, quick and fast, affordable but nonetheless a great product. Printing anything from small scale Canvas prints to Artwork size large scale prints, Canvas HQ does it all in a jiffy.
My artwork piece arrived shortly after placing the order. I ordered a 14″ x 11″ semi-gloss canvas ($53.95) and it printed and shipped in about 1 day and was on its way to Hawaii. Shipping was free (though shipping may be determined on the size or price of your canvas piece) and was sent via Ground UPS. It arrived in about 8 days and was delivered to me safe and snug. As you can see from the photo above, the canvas was shipped with a plastic bag or covering over it and taped into the box so there would be no movement. The box itself held the canvas piece into place and everything arrived well and safely.
The frame is 1.5″ thick and I opted for a black frame instead of an image wrap or mirror wrap that are also options available. When I normally order canvas prints for my clients, I select the image wrap to continue their photo around the frame, but I thought the black for my photo would make the picture stand out more. The quality of the canvas material is nice and definitely uses high quality products (or as they say, ingredients) to create my artwork. The colors were true to color from what I seen on my computer, so I also loved that as well.
If you like to mount your artwork on a wall, Canvas HQ also provides Free Hanging Hardware. It’s easy to use and install which makes that a definite plus.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the product as well as the company. I have used many different canvas and artwork printers over the last few years and I consider this one to great quality – awesome value. My family is definitely enjoying our artwork and I will continue to be a customer of Canvas HQ for years to come. It’s difficult to find a canvas printer that can offer you a great price point but still give you the type of artwork you would pay hundreds for. I especially love canvas prints because I am a photographer of nature and they are the best way to display your art when it comes to landscape and floral. If you are considering purchasing a canvas for the first time, I definitely recommend checking out Canvas HQ.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
Prom Season is quickly approaching and in some areas across the U.S., it’s already in full swing. Having been out of High School for almost 16 years (yeah – I know, don’t laugh. lol) I can still remember my Prom and Senior Ball like it was yesterday. While it is such an exciting time and everyone gets so eager to plan for it – I wanted to share a few tips about dress selection and the overall night.
Buying the “Cinderella” dress is not as difficult as people think. Honestly, I think you have two choices – the formal but timeless gown, or the trendy but almost bridal gown. At the end of the day, you want to make sure it is something that makes you feel great about yourself, shows off some of your favorite curves and of course, is easy to dance the night away in. JenJenHouse, an online prom dress retailer, ships online and offers a variety of dresses for your special evening. You can visit them online at: www.jenjenhouse.com and check out their wide selection of gowns in different colors, shapes and designs. What I love about JenJenHouse is that they offer plus sizes and they ship Worldwide. Check out their recommended dresses for Prom as well as their discounts available to you.
The gorgeous Empire Waisted Sweetheart dress is a floor length gown with beading detail. It is a universally flattering color and the style can be used by many body shapes. This dress is gorgeous and provides a fashion statement without taking away from the beautiful girl wearing it. Since Prom season usually occurs during the Spring Season, this color is such a great shade to wear and pairing it with a gorgeous bouquet will provide for a showstopping entrance.
I think the Bouquet selected (or corsage) should compliment the dress selected, not over power it. But I have talked to many who have said that they have dreamed about their bouquet design and use that as the centerpiece of their entire ensemble. If that is the case, you definitely want to select a gown that compliments your bouquet. A dress that is more neutral in tone like black (or white) and even a cream would work well with a wide variety of bouquet colors. For those of you that love purple, like me – this is the perfect opportunity to rock out that perfect purple bouquet (like my photo above) without looking like a walking Barney in a purple dress. lol
Add a subtle pop of color by making the statement your footwear. I love Leopard and if I had my way – I would have rocked out a cool leopard print sandal or pumps to compliment my attire. It’s a great way to show-off your personal style without going overboard. Whatever the print or style you decide on, try to make sure you get a pair that will allow you to be comfortable. There are so many different styles, but nothing is worst than having to remove your footwear an hour into the night because your feet are throbbing. If you simply can’t give up the shoes of your dreams, compromise by bringing a pair of flip flops that you can throw on your feet when they start to ache. You definitely don’t want to walk around barefoot through the night.
The accessories are all about complimenting your dress as well. Go big and bold or tone it down with a simple look. Accessories include everything from your necklace and earrings, rings, bracelets and clutch or purse. I honestly think simple is best – but at the end of the day, use what makes you feel great. It’s your Cinderella day – you’re going to the ball, utilize your personal fashion sense and just go with it. As you can see from the Image above – I styled the couple very simply so that the dress would shine and the bouquet would compliment it all. The accessories were just the added touch.
Most importantly make sure that you HAVE FUN. Prom is about memories and you want to make sure the memories you make will be those you’ll want to remember in the future. Everyone wishes to take the perfect date, buy the perfect dress, get the best flowers and in some cases, even be chosen as Prom Queen or King… but whatever your desires, make sure you plan for a fun (and safe) time so you’ll have moments to cherish for a lifetime. Have fun & Enjoy your time and most importantly, no drinking and driving!
It seems like forever since I have gotten a bit personal on my blog. Things have been so hectic, I have been behind on my Sunday Letters too. 2014 is a new and fabulous year and I am going to start kicking it in high gear and keep with it – no excuses! So – I figured this would be a fun post to do and it’s been a while since I have done one anyway. And, since my birthday lands on the 14th of this month, I figured this would be a great time to share with all of you a little bit about me. Without further adieu… here are 14 Things I bet you didn’t know about me.
1. I am so completely head over heels in love with my husband… that some people say I’m weird. Honestly, I don’t know any other type of love except this one, that feels so perfect and so special. I still get butterflies and my knees still feel weak when he winks at me or looks in my direction. That “Happily Ever After” kind of love that people only read in Fairy Tales – that’s the kind of love that my husband and I have… when you love with all the being of your heart. Actually – those that know me, know I am a true romantic at heart… so this may have not been a good thing to add to the list – I think it is pretty apparent. lol
2. Contrary to blogging about hair, makeup and beauty in general… I do not use makeup on a daily basis. What you see is what you get with me and I have always been one of those people that lets my personality shine. I may love makeup and collecting it – but I love a bare face… and I’m so comfortable in my own skin. I have learned that before anything I must first learn to love myself!
3. My favorite color is purple. I’m sure most people already know that, but I figured I would share. When I was a little girl, my mom said she thought my favorite color was brown – because I used my brown color crayon till it was dust and I never used any other color. I don’t remember that… but I do know I loved purple since Elementary School. I was always drawn to purple sparkle pens (like the old school Gelly Roll pens). If a makeup palette has a purple in it – I think I’m pretty much drawn to it in a heartbeat. I love love love purple lipstick and purple accents like accessories. I especially love to mix purple and gold eye shadow together to create an eye look (my favorite combo). I don’t have very many purple outfits considering it’s my favorite color – but will use an accent scarf, bag or footwear to dress up my basic love for black attire.
4. I normally live off of 3 hours of sleep a night. I’m not going to lie, there was a time when I got my 8 hours of sleep (probably before the age of 16), but since having children and the fact that I’m a very light sleeper, I am always up and checking on them whenever I hear a noise. And, my brain never shuts down… I am always thinking of new ways to have fun, crafty play time with my boys, a new blog post, some chore I would like to accomplish, a new meal I would like to create or a makeup look, just to name a few things. Honestly – I sleep the longest when my husband is home (off from work) and I don’t have to go anywhere. When he holds me in his arms, I sleep easily knowing that all is good and I can be peaceful. Otherwise, yup – 3 hours of sleep is my norm. Hey – it’s not that bad. Considering I don’t sleep much – I still look pretty damn good without makeup. lol j/k
5. I have naturally curly hair. Yes, yes and yes… I know you see this in my posts but you would be amazed at how many times a week people ask me where I go to get a perm. Speaking of which, I honestly didn’t even know people still got perms… is that still around? If you look at my dad and his super curly hair, you will surely know where I got it from. I got the crazy curls (friends used to say I had Kerri Russell hair at one time, before all the color, bleach and stress I put my hair through), my sister Katt has super straight hair like my mom, my brother has super straight hair like my mom and my sister Harmony has wavy hair. Interesting huh?
6. I am an Italian Food addict. While many would think Hawaiian Food is one of my favorite foods… believe it or not, Pizza is a favorite and I would eat any type of Italian food in a heartbeat. Many would argue that Pizza may not be Italian, but hey… you get the picture. lol Pasta in all types of sorts and sauces – yummy yummy in my tummy!
7. I consider myself a True Friend. If you are a close friend, I will have your back unconditionally. I trust with all my heart. It has been my downfall in some of my relationships with past friends, but those that are near and dear to my heart know that I will always be there for you. Whether a mile away or a whole country between us, I will always be there for you. But, that also means that since we are close, I have no problem telling you my thoughts and opinions. Just a few things you’ll have to deal with when you’re friends with me. If I don’t share with you my opinion, then I don’t consider you a close friend.
8. I’m an Animal lover, but really do not like cats. I am a big dog lover – especially when it comes to Pitbulls. We now have Ikaika, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. He joined our family almost a year ago (January 13, 2013) after losing our beloved Koa (American Red Nose Pitbull) Christmas 2012. It’s been different having a small dog in our house, but he is such a sweetheart and we love him. While I don’t discriminate when it comes to dogs or pets in general – I just can’t seem to like cats. I had a few bad memories from my childhood but for the most part, they are not one of my favorite animals.
9. I Love Tea. While you may see me sporting a coffee drink in photos pretty often, I am actually a tea drinker and love it. When we were kids, we always had tea with our meals or my dad would make us tea with honey and lemon if we were not feeling well. It was something I drank for years and I love it. Green tea, oolong tea, chai tea, you name it – I have probably tried it or already love it.
10. I used to play the Clarinet and Base Clarinet in my school band. I was actually really good, ranking as 1st seat and 2nd seat. I don’t remember much of it now, it’s been so many years since I’ve picked a Clarinet up – but I really enjoyed my time playing. I come from a musically inclined family – musicians and singers, so we love to play instruments and play music. I can play the Ukulele, but I can’t hold a very good tune (I think I’m the only one out of my siblings that really can’t sing. lol), but I love music nonetheless – it is my sanctuary.
11. Prior to dating my husband (1997) my hair was down to my knees… Yes, to my knees in all its curly glory. I wish I could find photos of me and some of my friends. Since I had long hair, I left my hair up most of the time so it wasn’t so much of a fuss. Honestly, I just recently started leaving my hair down because hair ties and clips were my best friend and I always wore my hair up. Now – I embrace my long hair and curls. It’s not to my knees any longer – but just past my behind. It’s nice to finally be happy with my curly hair and not fight it. lol
12. I love Photography. It has been a love of mine since I was a little girl and something my dad instilled in me from a young age. My father is a nature and landscape photographer and I have loved taking photos for as long as I can remember. Snapping photos of foliage, flowers, sunsets and landscapes are definitely something I enjoy but capturing a couple in love is what I look forward to. Over the last 6 years I have had the opportunity to capture beautiful moments of love with my camera and innocence of children from behind the lens. I always say… “A true photographer can capture the essence of a moment – regardless of their obstacles, training or equipment. If they love what they do, you will see it in their images.”
13. 1, 13 and 14 are my lucky numbers. I’ll be honest, 1 and 14 were my lucky numbers for years (since I was a little girl) – but it was only recently (in the last 13 years or so) that 13 has been lucky for me because it was not a very lucky number most of my life. I was one of those people that wished they could crawl under a rock during Friday the 13th because it always brought on a ton of bad luck. However, after my husband and I got married, he told me that since 13 was his lucky number it would no longer be a bad number for me and that held true ever since. Case in point – 2013 was friggen awesome for me. So – 13 is now a lucky number for me along with 1 and 14. Yay – no more bad luck – just awesomeness!
14. When I was 4 years old, I was playing in our yard, behind a closed and locked fence and was almost kidnapped. My dad came out of the house to see a man driving a taxi putting me into the car and closing the door. Needless to say, I know where I get my self defense tactics from because my dad let loose on the guy. The Taxi driver claimed that I was playing by myself and that I walked up to him, unlocked the gate and followed him to his car where he had candy waiting for me. I may have been four, but I remembered exactly what happened and told my dad the whole story. If my dad had come out a minute later, I would have been someone else’s child today, if I even lived that long. My dad knocked the guy out and waited for the Police to come – but that’s a whole other story. To those that know me, know that they can NEVER approach me from behind without first warning me because since that day, I have had some pretty fierce reflexes and self defense became a part of my life.
So – there it is… 14 things about me that I’m sure you probably didn’t know. I would love to know more about you so if you are interested in sharing, leave yours in the comments below or a link to your post. Thank you for sharing a little bit of me and my life. Have a wonderful weekend!