just another photo challenge: eerie beauty

I’ve been a little off my game the last two weeks with all the moving craziness, so I gave myself permission to bow out of photo challenges if I didn’t have the spare brain power to participate. I finally feel like I’ve got my feet back under me (at least temporarily) and I couldn’t miss out on this week’s challenge.
Since “eerie beauty” presented an opportunity to play around with some cool effects I wouldn’t normally use, I decided to take a photo that is relatively old (a few months) and try to make it look eerie. I’m pretty pleased with the result:
I love this photo because she’s looking directly at the camera, not smiling, and her fingers perfectly frame her eye. Her face is so sweet and it creates a wonderful juxtaposition to her gritty (chocolate covered) hand. To me she looks like one of those creepy kids in those scary Japanese movies that sweetly drag you to your death. Ok maybe not that creepy, but it does have some creep factor.
The only thing that sort of snaps you back to reality is Keola in the background watching TV haha! I guess he can be the creepy couch potato or something. I don’t think I said “creep” enough in this post.


What are your Halloween plans? Or if you’re reading this after the fact, what did you do for Halloween?
Learn more about Tania’s weekly photo challenge here.
P.S. Effects were created in FX Foto Pro for Mac.

around here

Needless to say, it’s been very busy around here since my last post. Interestingly enough, our move to Hilo is not overwhelming in the slightest. I’ve already packed a bunch of stuff and booked our flights. We’re thinking of buying a car here, throwing our stuff in it and shipping it over (we heard of a dealership that will ship for free). All that stuff is fairly simple and straight forward. It’s trying to make sure Grandma’s set in her next place that’s keeping me up at night as we hit snag after snag in this short sale process. We seem to constantly be in limbo when it comes to Grandma’s future, but we do what we can, and count on others to pick up where we leave off when it’s time to go.
This move isn’t the easiest one to make emotionally. This house was built by Keola’s great-grandfather (he had a construction company, and I recently snapped a pic of the sign they’d post in front of new builds). When we leave here, we will leave a house with a lot of history, that Keola grew up in, AND the only home Noweo really remembers. Really, nobody wants to see the house go. It’s tough on the whole family. Assuming the sale goes through, Keola and his siblings will never set foot in his childhood home again, so while we’re moving to a good job and a bright future, we also leave behind a family haven on Maui. That’s a little sickening when you think of it, but our material possessions come and go, and it is our memories that stay with us.
In other news I’ve been really good about running the last couple weeks because I finally decided to run without a goal. I moved my runs to the mornings and prefer the cool air, rather than the oppressive heat of the mid-afternoon. Now, rather than run a certain distance in a certain amount of time, I simply run to get my body going for the day, and because you just can’t beat the sky at dawn. I run the same route every day – a little over a mile, a little under 15 minutes. I relish the time to myself, time to think, to listen to music, time to give my body some TLC. It’s quick, it’s a good work out (I get home sweaty but not depleted) and it forces me to get ready earlier in the day, which makes for a more productive day in general. Win, win, win win.
Today we’re celebrating the birth of a certain 5 year old (my niece) so we’ll be chasing each other with water balloons and gorging ourselves on some grilled beef teriyaki, cake and ice cream – likely the last party at the house, so we’re making this one count.


It is with teary eyes that I write this post. For nearly two years we’ve been waiting, hoping for the right job situation to come our way. Keola’s interviewed countless times. We’ve had so many almosts that it was starting to become difficult to hold on to hope.
Not anymore.
Keola got that job in Hilo. Not only is it a job that rewards the effort he made to earn his Master’s Degree, but it’s a job that he knows he’ll enjoy doing, working with staff and students that he cares a great deal about.
Waiting these two years and everything that happened in that time composes the most difficult period of my life to date, but we made it through, and it HAS made us stronger.
I’ve never talked this way on the blog, but I just need to say that God did not abandon us. He put the MOST amazing people in my life to buoy me up. He strengthened me while I cared for my nieces. He allowed me to develop new talents and skills. He helped us help Grandma move out from under the crushing burden of an expensive mortgage (that process is almost complete). He helped our relationships with our family here to grow. And on top of all that, I’ve written about a lot of these things, and I know my thoughts and experiences have helped others.
I know he’s done much, MUCH more for me that I don’t even recognize, but I’m grateful for the journey we’ve been on. It has given me more strength, more patience, more empathy, more knowledge, more faith, more gratitude, more peace, and I am convinced that I am a better version of myself.
If you are in a situation where you are at the end of your rope, just keep swimming. From the other end of bad, I can see now that things really do get better.
Start date set for mid-November. Moving date a little before then.

just another photo challenge: breakfast club

It was hard this week for me to remember to take a picture of my breakfast before shoving it in my face. I had to put a reminder on my phone. Lame, I know.
Anyway here’s what we had this morning: Corn beef hash, egg, and a smoothie. We have a smoothie every morning. Everything else changes according to our mood. Sometimes it’sbreakfast sandwiches, veggie omelets, oatmeal, doughnuts (from Homemade Bakery), leftovers…you name it.
Before I got pregnant with Noweo, I had oatmeal, a smoothie and one scrambled egg every morning, but the first trimester made me super picky and I never went back to that regiment completely. I do like the idea of having the same thing every morning for simplicity’s sake, but there are just too many good things to eat in the morning.
How about you? Do you have a strict breakfast routine or do you find yourself rummaging in the fridge every morning?
in case you’re interested:
Our Super Simple Smoothie Recipe:
1 large banana
6 frozen strawberries (we buy the giant costco bag)
a few spoonfuls of yogurt
juice – fill it up till it reaches nearly the top of the fruit. if you drown the fruit in juice it’ll be watery.
blend till smooth, enjoy!
 I’ve been contemplating adding veggies to the smoothie, but I’m slightly terrified.
Linking up with MauiShopGirl and LadiesHoliday

family time at the maui fair

We had pretty much the best day ever at the fair. We went early to avoid crowds and were able to quickly hit up all the rides Noweo was allowed on. Thank goodness Grandma came with us and we could use her handicap parking 🙂 Noweo LOVES animals in books, but I think seeing them in person proved to be a little to real for her. Who knew cows and horses got THAT big? She was a little ʻopihi and preferred to “moo” at the cows and “cluck” at the chickens from her perch in Keola’s arms. I’m also dying over that black and white rooster. How graphically stunning his feathers are! Inspiration truly pops up in the most unlikely places.
One of the coolest things about being a parent is watching your kid experience things for the first time. Last year we put Noweo in the healthy baby contest (BIG MISTAKE) and by the time we got outta there we were all tired, hot and cranky. This year Noweo got to experience 4 rides. Seeing the smile fill up her face whenever a ride got going was priceless. One of the rides even put her in the drivers’ seat and it was adorable to see how extremely focused she was on not crashing.
My favorite part about this day was that we came home empty handed but full of memories that left us far more satisfied than any shiny new thing could leave us. It was energizing to get away from technology and immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of the fair and in one another. The fair costs money of course, and I used to think that I was only getting my money’s worth if I spent it on a physical object that would be around for a while, but the glow of that day lasted longer than the thrill of a handful of shopping bags. Now I see that there is true value in making positive memories, and while it certainly is not always necessary, it’s ok to spend a little money investing in us. It’s what keeps a family together.