10 TIPS to Vacation in Hawaii Like The LOCALS

 

A couple weeks ago I was in an amazing place…

HAWAII!!!

If you’ve been around awhile then you know that Matt and I used to live there. We always joke that we had a three year long honeymoon because we moved there just two days after our anniversary!

This visit to Hawaii was incredible. My husband was there on “business” so I flew out for a few days to make it a true vaca.

It was so fun to be a tourist in the island again and but have the knowledge to vacation in Hawaii like the locals!

Have you been to Hawaii? Or maybe you are planning a trip?

I thought it might be fun to reveal some of my favorite places around the island of Oahu. Some of them are tourist spots and some are off the beaten path but all were my favorites as a local!

10 TIPS to experience Hawaii like the locals

10 tips to experience hawaii like the locals

1.  Snorkel the North Shore: North Shore is known for it’s beautiful beaches and gnarly waves but we love the underwater view! Turtle Bay and Sharks Cove are our personal favorites. You will see a ton of sea life including honu (sea turtles).

2. Visit Waimea Bay Beach: This beach is my favorite one to spend the day. We would jump in the car in the morning and not get home until late afternoon. The beach is beautiful, the water is pristine and warm. People come here for picnics and family outings. There’s a nearby cliff that some enjoy jumping off (I’ve never been so brave). It gets busy and the parking area is small so you have to come early but it totally worth it.

3. Visit the Windward Side: The Windward Side of the island of Oahu was never super touristy when we lived there but I did notice that the interest has picked up. There are amazing beaches, great food, and the people are just wonderful! Be sure to check out Lanikai beach, it’s the most beautiful on the island, to me. It’s right next door to Kailua Beach Park which is great for kayaking and paddle boarding. Also, if you like breakfast, I definitely recommend checking out Cinnamon’s in Kailua. Matt loves the carrot pancakes but I just go for the coconut syrup. It’s the bomb.

4. Eat at the Kalapawai Market: This is hands down my favorite place. I get so happy when I see this adorable green little store. Whether it’s grabbing coffee in the morning or my favorite BLTA sandwich for lunch. I absolutely love stopping in; everyone is so friendly, the food is amazing, and it just has so much aloha.

5. Two words. Shrimp Truck: In my mind there is only one shrimp truck. It’s Giovanni’s. There are several along the North Shore and I think most tourists probably stop at the first one they see but if you keep along the road another few miles you’ll see Giovanni’s, recognizable by signature graffitied truck.

6. Drive the Pali Highway: The Pali Highway goes from the Windward side of the island to downtown. We lived on the windward side of the island so driving the Pali became a regular occurrence. Somehow, I forgot about how beautiful it was. The entire drive is lined with stunning landscape. Be sure to stop at the Pali lookout that overlooks the entire Nu’uanu valley, it’s breathtaking.

7. Drive Kamehameha Highway: I think the best part of Hawaii is it’s natural beauty so my favorite parts of the island are the ones where I get to just admire it. Kam Highway allows you to just that. It probably takes just about 1.5 hours to make it from the North Shore to the windward side without stopping but of course, you have to stop. There are lots of lookouts along the way as well as stunning beaches like Sandy’s and Waimanalo, both of which I absolutely love.

8. Try a hike: Locals are very active and in such beautiful weather and surroundings you completely understand why. Get your vacation exercise by trying out one of many hike options. I personally love Mokapu’u Lighthouse. It’s a fairly decent trail and is just a mile each way. The view along the way is breathtaking and certain times of year you can even see whales.

9. Eat at the Beach House: If you have room in your budget for any upscale dining make sure the Beach House at the Moana Surfrider is at the top of your list. When we lived in Hawaii this was our go to restaurant for celebrating. The charming hotel is my absolute favorite one in Waikiki. It’s right on the water, and the food is absolutely incredible.

10. Check out China Walls: Officially known as Koko Kai Beach we just call it China Walls. It’s basically a rock along the ocean so there is a bit of climbing involved but the view is absolutely beautiful. The water slams against the rock so it can get pretty slippery so definitely be careful. We used to love going there around sunset for the one of a kind view.

Have you traveled to Oahu? Share your favorite finds in the comments!

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Deployment

Yesterday was a hard day.

If you follow me on Instagram you got a quick peek of my sweet baby girl saying bye bye to daddy.

You can never fully prepare for a deployment. This is our third one and it was still hard for all of us.

Peighton thought she was going with him and kept waving bye to me as he was holding her.

deployment day-1

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since he came home. It seems like it was just yesterday I was writing about his homecoming.
Me and my girl are a couple of tough cookies so we are going to be strong and hold down the fort until our sailor returns to us, even if that means ice cream for lunch some days (seriously happened yesterday!)
Everything ends, and this will too. I know that for sure.
I’ll be back to regular project posting tomorrow! Thanks for all of your support everyone! I have the best readers and friends! xo
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Why I Bother Decorating A Rental Home

Today’s post is for my friends who live in rentals. For those mil spouses who aren’t crazy about that hideous carpet in their base house. I’m sharing my story of frustration, and how I came to accept our situation. I’m sharing why I bother decorating a rental home.

*After publishing this I realized that it’s not just the mil spouses that can feel frustrated by rentals. It’s other renters, it’s homeowners who might be moving soon, it’s all of us. So if you are feeling trapped and are just waiting for that next house to decorate. Read on.why I bother

1. Because It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

I remember our first house after we got married. Matt was already living in Hawaii and I moved to be with him just two days after our wedding (we still joke that it was our three year long honeymoon). We waited four months on the “wait list” for a house on base. Living out in town was nearly impossible on the salary of an E-2. When our name finally came up on the list we felt like we pretty much hit the jack pot because not only was it finally time to have our own home but it was also brand spanking new. And for military housing, that was a big ol’ deal! I had big dreams of decorating that house. I remember saving every extra penny then spending it on “stuff” for the new house. I loved the process of making the house feel like “us” but in reality I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I had no idea what my style was. I thought I had to buy everything new. Now I don’t have a lot of regrets but if I could go back in time, I would have a nice long talk with myself and together, we would have returned every single thing I purchased. Since that’s not possible, I just learn and move on.

Now that I’ve discovered my style, I know that I like a collected over time look. Shiny showroom is just not “us.” I’m not sure if this taste has developed because I am cheap or if I became cheap because of my taste but it works out perfectly. I have found some of my favorite things in my home from thrift stores or craigslist. Like this chair I got for free or this night stand that we got for next to nothing.

How-to-Paint-A-Room-In-Your-Rental

2. Because Home is Where Ever We Make It

After our time was up in Hawaii we traded our brand new three bedroom house for a one bedroom apartment in Northern Virginia. Now I had too much stuff (because remember I went wild and bought everything you could imagine to perfect furnish my Hawaii home) and I didn’t even like most of it anymore. I felt frustrated. I felt like giving up. Why bother decorating rental after rental. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I realized that Home can be where ever we make it. The house itself is just a few walls in reality. Sure sometimes they come in the version of a brand new duplex or a stand alone bungalow but at the end of the day it’s not the structure that makes the home it’s the people who live in it. It sounds super cliche but seriously, I decorate my home for my family not for the house itself.

Spring Home Decorating Ideas: Spring Parade of Homes

3. Because I’ve Waited Long Enough

After that first house, where I spent too much money, and too much time, I thought, you can never make it feel like home, no matter how much you spend. I thought, just wait until you can BUY your own house, that will be home. Our fifth house changed everything. We moved into our house right after Christmas. It was a cute little bungalow on base and it wasn’t like anything we had ever lived in before. It was a single family home (very rare in the world of base housing – they are typically town house style with at least one other home attached to yours), that was built in the 1930s. It had original hardwood floors and brass hardware but the kitchen and bathroom had been renovated. I fell in love the moment I stepped in the door. It figured that we would only live there for six months. This home had so much built in character. I’m not sure if it was that the house was my taste or if I just finally got it but I finally felt the desire to just stop waiting. Decorating your home to reflect the people who live in it can change the way you feel. It did for me. And now,  almost eight years later (and two more houses later), this (rental) is home. I made the decision to stop waiting for better and realized that I didn’t want to look back five years from now wishing I would have just lived and enjoyed.

Small and Functional IKEA Desk Workspace on a Budget via Making Home Base

4. Because I’ll be Waiting Forever

The reality is my husband plans to be in them military for 20+ years. That’s at least 11 more years of moving every few years and I don’t know what the future holds. If I wait for perfect, I will be waiting forever. Perhaps, one day we’ll finally settle somewhere but that place won’t be just perfect either. We have to make where we are home.

Christmas family photos

5. Because The People I Love Live Here

I mentioned that our fifth house was the one that changed everything. In the six months we lived there we experienced so much joy. We brought Peighton home from the hospital to that house. We became a family in that house. And I finally knew, all of these places – they are just the shell. What really makes the home is US, the family inside. Home is where we make it. Home is where my people are. I want my home to be beautiful for my family – that’s why I decorate. I want us to enjoy this place and it to be a reflection of us whether it’s a rental or not.

It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect To Be Beautiful

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The Nester, a favorite blogger of mine, says “It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful.” Well nothing about this house is perfect but the beautiful thing about this house is that a family who loves lives here. And that’s just the beginning…

Where to go from here?

Check out How to Paint Your Rental. Or My Favorite picks for Affordable Area Rugs. You might also want to check out my ABOUT page to learn more about our military life.

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On Being a MOM this Mother’s Day

To The One Who Made Me A Mom, on mother's day

You guys. I’m sharing my heart today…because today’s the perfect day for it.

I know this is real predictable being Mother’s Day and all but today I’m talking about being a mom.

If I had to list all the things I love in the world, being a mom would be at the tippy top of my list.

As we quickly approach P’s second birthday (next weekend!) I’m feeling really nostalgic. I’m sure most mothers feel the same; to me it still feels like she was born yesterday. I still remember it all. The scary few days in the beginning when I felt like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Then, finally getting the hang out it. Then, feeling lost all over again with each new milestone (please don’t get the wrong idea, I still feel lost the majority of the time). I remember nights when I would hold her a little longer and try to remember that exact moment because I knew it wouldn’t last forever.  I knew that in a blink of an eye she would be turning two, and now, she is.

TWO! Dude! It seems like not that long ago she was teeny tiny and we were sending her daddy off for deployment. 8 months of Deployment. The eight months that changed my life. The eight months that made our bond really unique.

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Looking back I realized that I owe her everything. We spent so many months alone just the two of us. Matt was deployed for eight of the 12 first months of her life. She was just two months old when we had just moved into a new house, in a brand new city. The week after moving in, Matt left for a three week underway. Her and I took adventures and discovered our new city on our own. Without her, I probably would have stayed stuck in my house not wanting to go out and meet people. But P is always such a great ice breaker. Whenever I took her out, she was an attention magnet. I felt comfortable to go out and meet other moms and wives because we would already having something to talk about.

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This Mother’s Day, and every day I’m so thankful for my girl.

It’s because of her, that I have made so many wonderful friends.

It’s because of her, I made the decision to become more faithful to God. The moment I looked at her I knew that it wasn’t an accident that she became ours. I recognized it was by God’s grace and His love for me. I knew that I wanted to teach her about His love every day.

I can relax more, because of her.

I have less fear because of her. I stop being afraid (not all of the time) because I don’t ever want to push my fears and anxieties on her.

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I’m so happy to celebrate being her mama today.

Every day is worth celebrating, really. Not that every day is perfect because it’s not. Some days we end up in jammmies all day. And there are days when we both end up in tears after a botched nap time. But at the end of the day, I get to hang out with the coolest girl I know. I get to be her best buddy, her favorite one to *nuggle* (aka snuggle), and her afternoon playground partner. I get to play chase, and catch, and praise her like crazy when I hear her say a brand new word.

We get to have deep conversations about our favorite animals, read the best stories eight times in a row, and sing “rope” (aka row, row, row your boat) before bed every night.

When I think about being a mom, I think about all of these little moments. I’m cherishing them, basking in them, praying that I never forget them.

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Because in reality, being a mom is the best thing I will ever do.

Thank you Peighton, for making me the best I’ll ever be. I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Lessons in Balance.

Ya’ll I’m taking a break from normal DIY talk to keep it real.

I get asked A LOT how do you manage it all?

lessons in balance

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I kind of just chuckle and make a joke about how I don’t do it very well. ha. Most of my life these days is chaotic and crazy and by the time I sit down at night it all feels a bit like a blur.

I’ve heard this word before… you might know it. It’s called balance.

I’m learning lessons in balance.

I’m learning that it’s okay to not do it all.

lessons in balance

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I sometimes decide to snuggle with my daughter instead of writing a post. And every now and then, I spend the day at the zoo instead of working on a project. Sometimes it’s necessary to put the work away and focus on life and remind myself of my first job, my most important job, being a mom.

lessons in balance

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Thanks so much for sticking with me even when I can’t manage it all. We’re going places together.

Happy Friday!

ps. Hang with me on Instagram and get sneak peeks of latest projects, shopping finds, and one super cute little lady.

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New Year 2014 New Goals

At the beginning of each new year, I like to take time to reflect and make necessary changes. A new year is a sort of blank slate. It’s like starting the timer of life again, and you get another 365 days to make it the best you can! Last year on the blog, I only shared my home goals, just things I wanted to do around the house. While we didn’t complete the entire list, I’m pretty happy all the completed projects around our home. It’s amazing what a year of DIY can do :)

I love sharing these on the blog because it helps me stay accountable. For the new year 2014, I’m not just talking about my goals for the house but for my life.
New Year New Goals

1. Be present. This is my absolutely number one goal this year. I know we live in a world where technology rules but there is something to be said for unplugging and being present with your family. Way too often am I on my phone checking the blog or social media while trying to play with my daughter. Or rushing through the bed time routine just so  I can get a longer shower. When I’m caught up in the busyness of life I seem to forget how precious these years are. She won’t be little forever and she won’t be home with me forever so I really want to breathe in every moment and not take them for granted.

2. Be brave. I don’t step outside my comfort zone often enough. There are things I want to do in my personal life and with this blog but I get self conscience and scared. I want to be brave this year. I don’t want fear to rejection or anything else to hold me back from what I want.

3. Share. I want to share more with you guys. Stories, real life, in real time.

4. Keep a tidier home. Dude. Nobody ever told me that having a toddler would be like trying to clean in a tornado. By the end of the day I’m so exhausted from chasing after P that the only cleaning I do is the bare minimum forcing me to end up doing all my household chores in a day. Ugh. I created my super basic cleaning schedule (FREE printable here) to help me stay on top off all my household chores throughout the week.

5. Build a piece of furniture. That probably sounds dumb to some of the bomb DIYers out there. I’ve played around with my power tools and build a few things like my rustic framed map and my wood caddy but I want to build a whole piece of furniture like a desk or console table. I absolutely love the idea of having something in my home that we hand built.

6. Time management. Anyone have tips on this? Ugh. I need to learn how to manage my time better so I can get more done in a day.

7. Organize and create proper storage for my craft supplies. I’ve got craft supplies in every closet of our house. I’d love to get it all in one place and get it properly stored so I can see what I have. If I can’t see it, I can’t use it!

Okay, that’s it.

Can you relate to any of these new year goals? I’d love for you share your goals in the comments if you’d like.

Happy, happy new year!

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Merry Christmas 2013

Dear sweet readers,

Merry Christmas! It’s been such a wonderful year for my family. And I hope you all have much to celebrate this holiday season as well. Since I plan to unplug and just enjoy my family, I wanted to pop in and wish you a very merry Christmas.Christmas CardHere’s our Christmas card that I never got printed. E-cards are the way of the future I’m telling myself.

Also, we just got our family pictures back and I thought you might enjoy catching a little glimpse of my family. Some of my favorite blog posts from others are the personal ones, where they share what’s on their heart or just little glimpses into their life. I don’t do that much here but I wanted to do that today.

We haven’t had any professional photos taken since well before my daughter was born. So my Christmas present to us this year was a family photo shoot and the images captured are priceless.

Here’s a fewfamily photo ideas

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family pics

family pictures

family picture

I’m so unbelievably grateful to Tarah Sweeney Photography for capturing these moments. This little love of ours is growing so fast and having these photos to look back on mean so much.

Friends, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! I hope the Lord showers you with blessings beyond anything you can imagine.

And, I will see you back here after the new year, deal?

 

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Vintage Items With Meaning, Sharing Little Trinkets With Big Meaning

I just want to first say a BIG hello to my regulars.

I’ve missed you!

I’ve been off the grid a bit for a few days. Me and bunny traveled to my visit my Gramma. We had only planned on staying a week but we were having such a wonderful time that we extended our trip another week. Since we stayed an extra week unexpectedly, I didn’t have anything prepared for the blog but I knew you all would understand. Family first.

And let me just tell you – it was a great trip! I’ve been visiting my grandparents in northern California since I was a little girl. Even now, my visits are so much fun. My Gramma spoils me with all of my favorite foods (ehm the coconut cake and cobbler for those that follow me on Instagram), we talk, we play games of Scrabble, and watch Wheel (of fortune) together. Mostly, we just make memories. [Read more...]

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My Christmas Tree and Merry Christmas

Hi friends! I know it’s already Christmas Eve but I would love to quickly share my Christmas Tree with you all.

Making Home Base.com Christmas Tree Merry Christmas

Our tree is pretty simple. It’s full of special ornaments that we’ve collected over the last six years. This is the  first time we’ve had a tree in three years so it was thrilling getting the ornaments out.

Merry Christmas Making Home base

It was so neat seeing ornaments that we got at special places we’ve been to. This baseball ornament is from our trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame two years ago. I totally forgot about it until I started decorating the tree. I think of my husband when I see it on our tree since baseball is so special to him.

Christmas Tree Making Home Base

And this beautiful ornament from the The United State Capitol, we got while living in the Washington, DC area.

Merry Christmas Making Home Base Ornament

Of course, we’ve added a couple new ones like this baby announcement ornament I made for my daughter earlier this month.

Christmas Tree Makinghomebase.com

I also made some more paper garland to go on the tree. I love the natural brown garland. It gives it a more rustic look.

Christmas Tree Making Home Base Merry Christmas

Here is our tree all lit up. It’s nothing too fancy. But it’s ours.

Making Home Base Christmas Tree Merry Christmas

I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope that each of you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas making memories with your loved ones. I also want to humbly ask that you keep our servicemen and women in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season as many of them don’t have opportunity to spend this special time with their family. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! It has been so fun preparing for the holidays but now that Thanksgiving is here, I am reflecting on all the many blessings I have in my life. Sometimes you just have to take a moment and realize all you have to be thankful for. I hope you don’t mind if I take time to share with you some of the things I am feeling grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

I am so grateful for so many things.

Grateful for the blessing of my sweet daughter.

Grateful for every smile.

Grateful for my amazing husband who is the best dad.

Grateful for the opportunity to stay home with our daughter.

Grateful for our military. Those men and women sacrifice so much.

Grateful for family.

Grateful for friends who are like family.

Grateful for modern technology.

Grateful for the opportunity to spend this day with my family.

That’s just a few.I hope everyone has a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

 

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