2016 Clean Home & Organizing Challenge Week 9 ~ Master Bedroom

Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 9 ~ This week we are going to be cleaning and organizing our master bedroom. This should be a fairly easy week just because we've already tackled the clothes in our closets and dressers. Detail cleaning and surface clutter is the main priority. Things that you don't normally get to in your everyday cleaning, and things that clutter up the surface areas in your room.

I agree with what Jen says in the video about what a master bedroom should be. It should be a restful calm place for sleep and relaxation. Don't let it become a dumping ground for clutter. Don't let it become the room where you throw everything and slam the door when you get company. It's so nice to go to bed and wake up in a clean and peaceful room. If you wake up in a cluttered, chaotic mess, your mood could definitely be affected.
If you're just joining in, please read last week post here, where we cleaned out our dresser. You can very easily catch up if you want to. Fifteen minutes a day is pretty manageable and when you set a timer and put a little "pressure" on yourself, you can get a lot done! We're still using #2016HowJenDoesItChallenge on Instagram, if you want to see every ones progress.

Easy Buttered Rum Cake

Today I want to share a super easy buttered rum cake with you all! My hubby has been begging me to make this cake since October...better later than never ;)
While we were on our vacation in Kauai, we stopped by the Koloa Rum Company, and went to their free rum tasting, yes free rum! During the tasting, we decided that their Kauai Gold would be amazing in a cake. Koloa Rum Co. makes their rum from sugar cane, rainwater and rainbows...okay so only two of those are true, this is such delicious, magical, smooth rum. After we got home I ordered a bottle as fast as I could and since then it's just been sitting there in the cabinet waiting for it's moment to shine.
I used to make this cake with Bacardi Gold, but this Koloa Rum is so much better. You can use any rum that you like, this is just our favorite. I love this recipe because it's semi-homemade and is so easy to make! It's done in a little over an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat together the eggs and then add the rum, water and oil. Mix until combined. Add in the cake mix and pudding mix.
 Beat about 2 minutes until it's smooth.
Coat a Bundt cake pan with non-stick spray.
 Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on 325 for 45-50 minutes.
 Remove from oven and cool cake on a wire rack about 15 minutes.
 Invert your cake onto a plate and voila!
Melt 1 cube of butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir in the water, rum and sugar.
  Bring to a boil, and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
 Poke holes all over the cake using a fork.
 Slowly pour about half the glaze on top of the cake.
Wait about 30 minutes and pour over the rest of the glaze or wait until you are ready to serve it.
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Rum
  • 1/2 Cup Cold Water
  • 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Boxed Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 Small Box Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
  • 1 Cube Salted Butter
  • 1/2 Rum
  • 1/4 Water
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray Bundt pan with non-stick spray.
  3. (Optional) Sprinkle walnuts evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  4. In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat together the eggs and then add the rum, water and oil. Mix until combined.
  5. Add in the cake mix and pudding mix and beat for about 2 minutes until it's smooth.
  6. Pour batter into the greased pan and bake 45-50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let it cool on wire rack 10-15 minutes.
  8. Put a plate over the top of the pan and in a quick fluid motion invert the cake and voila, you have yourself a beautiful Bundt cake! (I love my Nordic Ware pan and Baker's Joy!)
  1. Melt 1 cube of butter in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add in the water, rum and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring continually for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla.
  4. Poke holes in the cake with a fork.
  5. Slowly pour about half the buttered rum over the cake.
  6. In about 30 minutes pour over the rest of the glaze. or wait until right before you serve it.
  7. This is best made at least 4 hours before you intend on serving. It gives the glaze time to set up.
Enjoy and thank you for stopping by :)

2016 Clean Home & Organizing Challenge Week 8 ~ Jewelry & Dressers

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 8 ~ This week we are going to be cleaning out our dressers and organizing our jewelry! This is one of my favorite things to do, and since I did the big Kon-Marie clean last year, it's pretty easy for me to keep my drawers organized and filled with just the things I really love.

My suggestion is to work quickly. If you know you don't like a certain top, or it's worn out, or it doesn't fit you anymore, get rid of it. Just go with your first feeling or reaction towards that article of clothing. If it's something that you love and it makes you feel good when you are wearing it, keep it, if it's not, put it in a bag to donate.
If you're just joining in, please read last week post here, where we cleaned our closet. You can very easily catch up if you want to. Fifteen minutes a day is pretty manageable and when you set a timer and put a little "pressure" on yourself, you can get a lot done! We're still using #2016HowJenDoesItChallenge on Instagram, if you want to see every ones progress.

Photography Sneak Peek ~ Toby & Jamie Maternity

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Spring is in the air and you know what that means? So are babies! My cousin Toby, who I grew up with and consider my brother & his super sweet, barrel racing wife Jamie, are expecting their 1st little one in 3 1/2 weeks, a precious baby girl named Rowdi.

I was so happy when they asked me to take their maternity pictures, and we timed it just right with this 55 degree weather we've been having. I always have fun photographing these two, soon to be three. We laugh and have such a great time! Here's a few of my favorites from our shoot.
I'm not sure if I know any other couple that are so in love, and so ready to meet their sweet little girl! Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day :)

FAQ About Traveling to the Hawaiian Islands

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

So you're planning a vacation to Hawaii?! Yay, how exciting!!! You have been saving for a long time and dreaming of this forever. Now you're finding yourself googling everything "Hawaii" related and then some!

I have been lucky enough to get to visit Hawaii a handful times. Each time is different from the last and if it's possible, it just keeps getting more beautiful. I get questions by people who are interested in traveling there pretty often. So, I decided to write this post and share a little bit of my experiences with you. If you are planing on visiting Hawaii, for the first time, or for the tenth, here are a few things to know before you go.

Which island is my favorite?
Uhhhh that's like trying to pick your favorite child! LOL okay maybe it's not that hard, but you get my point. Each island is beautiful and unique in it's own way. But if I have to choose one, it has to be...

KAUAI ~ Not only is Kauai my favorite island, it is also the least populated out of the three that I've been to. It is the least commercialized, and to me the most authentic and beautiful. The reasons why Kauai is my favorite. It is the most like everything-you-hoped-Hawaii-would-be-like. It's is lush, green, and truly is paradise. There are waterfalls all over the island. Everywhere you look is picture perfect. There are beautiful white, red and black sand beaches that are secluded and practically empty. You will see a rainbow almost every single day. You can be as busy as you want to be, zip lining, hiking, snorkeling, surfing, site seeing, horseback riding, ate riding and more. Or you can just relax in peace with your toes in the sand, salty air in your face, and a drink in your hand. I have done it both ways and enjoyed myself each time.

What are some of my favorite things to do on Kauai? 
  1. Snorkel. As soon as I get to the island I go to Snorkel Bob's (a local rental company) and rent snorkel gear. I keep it in the car that way I always have it with me when I'm out and about and find a great snorkeling spot. Snorkel Bob's will also give you a map and circle all the best places to snorkel. I also rent beach chairs from SB and keep those in the car as well. Picnics on the beach are way more enjoyable with a cozy little chair.
  2. Sight see. This might be an obvious one but it's one of the best. I love to drive around and see the island and the rain forest. I enjoy hiking into hidden waterfalls and secluded beaches. It's fun to go checkout the 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific' and some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world at the Na Pali Coast. Visiting Kilauea Lighthouse. Watching the sunrise and sunset is beyond amazing. Checking out Wailua Falls is awesome. The beautiful sights are endless. I've been to Kauai three times and each time I see something new.
  3. Zip line. Some of the most fun I had was when I went zip lining. I booked a Zip and Dip trip with Princeville Ranch Adventures and they did not disappoint. I highly recommend them! Soaring over tree canopies with views of that turquoise sea is breathtaking! They feed you lunch and you get to stop and swim at a secluded lagoon in the middle of the rain forest.
  4. Helicopter Tour. This is another must in my book and I suggest booking it as soon as you get to the island. It's a great way to see the entire island and be take note of any areas I want to visit by car and not miss. My favorite tour was the Jurassic Falls Tour by Sunshine Helicopters. They actually land at the waterfall that was on the original Jurassic Park. Breathtaking does not even begin to describe it! Also one of the only way to see the unbelievable Na Pali Coast is by boat or helicopter. They also fly into Mount Waialeale, the wettest spot on the planet. It averages more rainfall than anywhere else and it is beautiful, when you fly into the crater you are completely surrounded by waterfalls.
  5. Sunset Cruise. I went on a sunset dinner cruise and I booked through Captain Andy's, they were great! The steak & shrimp dinner was scrumptious, the bottomless drinks were a plus, the big show the dolphins gave us was fun, but that Na Pali Coast from sea level, was outstanding! The staff was fun, informative, and made us feel like family. Oh and the sunset wasn't bad either.
What are my favorite beaches on Kauai?
Again? You are making me choose favorites? Yes they are all beautiful, seriously it's Hawaii, but here are my top 6 for Kauai.

#1. Ha'ena State Park. This is located on the north side of the island. It's right up against the ironwoods and rain forest and it's just gorgeous. Don't be too sad when you get there find a spot in the sand and only see just a couple people the rest of the day.
#2. Tunnels Beach. Also located on the north side of the island. This has the most beautiful view of Bali Hai. I could, and have, spent all day there just soaking up the sun and beautiful landscape. The water is crystal clear, calm and loaded with fish, which makes snorkeling there fantastic!
#3. Anini Beach. This is a great snorkeling beach on the north side as well, especially if you have little ones. There is a natural reef that breaks the surf and creates ideal snorkeling conditions and the beach combing is great here too.
#4. Lydegate Beach Park. This is a kid friendly beach on the east side of the island. It's calm and tranquil. Palm trees, sand and crystal-clear waters, what's not to love?
#5. Shipwreck Beach. This is a beautiful beach on the south side. It's a great place to watch surfers and body boarders or join in if your adventurous. There's a nice grove of palm trees there to sit under and relax.
#6. Salt Pond Beach Park. Hands down the best snorkeling I've found on the island. It has a long run of rocks that break up the surf. That creates crystal clear, calm water, ideal for swimming and snorkeling, it is also kid friendly. Also it has amazing views of the sunset. Yet another beach where I spent an entire day.
MAUI ~  Is my second favorite island. It is beautiful and has some gorgeous beaches, the bluest water I have ever seen, delicious restaurants, huge sugar cane fields, and lots of opportunity for adventure! There are parts of the island that aren't quite so pretty and you might even think you're in the desert! There are a lot more tourists on this island which means more crowded beaches and in general everything is more expensive. But despite those things I would still recommend traveling to Maui. There are beaches and areas of the island that I didn't get a chance to see, so I definitely plan on going back. 

What are some of my favorite things to do on Maui? 
  1. Snorkeling Tour. Just like Kauai, as soon as I get to the island I go to Snorkel Bob's and rent snorkel gear and beach chairs. There are several great snorkeling spots right off the road. Next I suggest going on a snorkeling tour. There is a crater called Molokini that has the best snorkeling on Maui, and the only way to get out there is to take a tour. They also feed you lunch, drinks, and have underwater cameras you can use. I booked my tour through Pride Of Maui and they were great! Highly recommended!
  2. Iao Valley. This is such a beautiful place on the island that has a lot of history. There's is plenty of hiking opportunity to explore in this state park. You are totally surrounded by rain forest and it's such a peaceful serene place to see. If you can plan it, try to go on a sunny, clear day so you can see the Iao needle clearly.
  3. Road to Hana. Everyone suggests to do this because, #1. It's the only way to see that part of the island. And, #2. It's free, well except for the fuel it takes to drive the 128 miles of narrow, curvy, coastal highway. And you can count on it being a 12 hour day. Start early. There are many stopping points along the way. Waterfalls, black sand beaches, cliffs, bamboo forests, and rain forest, view points, etc.. Make sure and bring a swimming suit, water/hiking shoes and always lock your doors when you leave your vehicle. The Road to Hana is notorious for theft. Disclaimer* It is advised that you do not drive the back side of Hana, most rental car companies make you sign an agreement that you won't. Unpaved, rocky roads will wreck havoc on your rental car. So once you make it to the Seven Sacred Pools, turn around and head back down.
  4. Swim at Twin Falls, This is the first stopping point on the Road to Hana at mile marker #2. A little hike back to the falls and you can expect to see a little piece of paradise. I lucked out and had the falls and pool to myself. It was such a awesome experience to swim under a waterfall in the jungle! There are a few waterfalls on this trail so keep hiking!
  5. Whale Watching. If you find yourself at Maui during whale season, November-May, make sure and find some time to do some whale watching. They go to the warmer water to have their babies and spend a couple months hanging out, enjoying that Hawaiian sunshine I'm sure ;) They breech and show off their amazing strength almost non-stop and it is so awesome to see.  You really don't even have to look hard to see them, they are everywhere, waving their tails around. We lucked out and while we were on our snorkel tour we had whales all around us, so we kind of got a two for one snorkel/whale tour. They are the most active January-March.
What are my favorite beaches on Maui?
My favorite beaches are on the south side of the island, which was convenient because that the side of the island where I stayed. Here's my top 5 for Maui.

#1. Olowalu. This beach is at mile marker #14, on the way to Lahaina and is located on the south side of the island. It has the BEST snorkeling and it's right off the road! It is back in a large cove and is protected from rough water and wind. The water is the clearest and calmest I have ever seen! It was like swimming in a pool. There are plenty of palm tree and ironwoods for shade too.
#2. Charley Young Beach. This beach is located on the north end of Kamaole Beach 1, on the south side of the island. This is a great beach with plenty of sand and beautiful views of the surrounding islands. This is a great beach for families. You should try to get there early and claim your spot in the sand because this beach fills up quick.
#3. Kamaole Beach Park. This beach is actually 1 of 3 Kamaole Beach Parks, and is in Kihei on the south part of the island. Snorkeling, body boarding and swimming are popular at this beach. This was actually right in front of our condo so it was really convenient to go here. This beach also fills up quick so if you want a spot try to get there early. Sunsets are also beautiful from this beach.
#4. Big Beach. This is such a beautiful beach! And the water here is unbelievable! It has a sandy bottom which makes the water extra bright and blue. There's over a mile of sandy beach and is the perfect place to spend the day and play in the water. The waves break close to shore so it's not a beach for snorkeling.
#5. Paako Beach. Also known as Secret Cove, is one of my favorite spots on the entire island and located just passed Big Beach. It is a secluded beach, and every time I went there it was empty so I had it to myself. It is a popular wedding spot and is very photographic. And the sunsets from here are beautiful.
OAHU ~  Is home to the world famous Waikiki Beach. White sand beaches & non-stop entertainment. This is the island for you if you like to go, go, go! The beaches are crowded, but there are tons of restaurants and shops if you want something else to do. You are also surrounded by concrete jungle and is super populated and commercialized. Don't get me wrong, Oahu still has plenty of rain forest, less populated beaches, and blue water, you just have to drive to the east side of the island to see it. You will not run out of things to do and see on this island. The Polynesian Cultural Center, Sea Life Park, Pearl Harbor, Dole Plantation, the Bonzai Pipeline, International Market Place, swimming with dolphins, cage diving with sharks, surfing, hiking, shopping, the list goes on and on!

What are some of my favorite things to do on Oahu? 
  1. Waikiki Beach. You cannot go to Oahu without stopping by this world famous beach and more than likely if you are there, you are probably staying in Waikiki. It is beautiful and you have the gorgeous view of Diamond Head. This beach is great for swimming, beginner surfers, people watching, and sunbathing. Then when you've had enough sun, there are 100's of restaurants and shops just a few steps away. Not to mention, Waikiki has great nightlife entertainment. Street performers and watering holes as far as the eye can see.
  2. Macadamia Nut Farm. This was a happy accident that I stumbled upon. While at a little roadside fruit stand, I saw a sign for the MNF and decided to check it out. They give an intimate up close and personal fire dancing performance, they demonstrated how the shuck a coconut and get real milk from it, not just the water. They give you a tour of the grounds, pick you a huge bouquet of fresh flowers. There is also a shops there with, macadamia nut everything, beautiful handmade items and paintings. They show you where movies were filmed and history of the island. They also take you out in a canoe, where Gilligan's Island was filmed, and take a picture with the beautiful cliffs in the background. It was such a neat experience and one I didn't expect on such a crowded island.
  3. Pearl Harbor Memorial. This is another must see. There is so much history there and it's so sobering to see the wall of names of all the lives lost. Then to be able to see oil still bubbling up from the sunken USS Arizona 75 years ago, is unbelievable. You can also tour the Battleship USS Missouri, where Japan surrendered and WWII ended. There is a submarine, USS Bowfin that you can tour, and a large museum with war memorabilia there too. 
  4. Snorkeling. Hanauma Bay is the spot to go for the best snorkeling on the island. I have been there twice and both times it has been awesome! You can also spot sea turtles and rays. There is a reason this place is so popular, it is great!
  5. North Shore Pipeline. If you visit Oahu in the winter months, specifically November & December, you have to go and see the famous Pipeline and the surfing competitions. The huge waves that surfers compete on can reach 40 feet! It is so awesome to watch these athletes in their element.
What are my favorite beaches on Oahu?
My favorite beaches are all over the island, each one was different and beautiful in it's own way. I traveled here in 1996 and 2005, way before I had a digital camera, so my photos are not internet worthy haha! I will link where I found these google images below. Here's my top 5 for Oahu.

#1. Waikiki Beach. As I said before this is such an iconic and beautiful beach. This beach and main part of the island, is located to the south, so there is always plenty of sun! The crystal waters and gorgeous view of Diamond Head are hard to beat. It is the perfect place for all types of beach-goers. And the sunsets here are unbelievable!
Photo from astonhotels.com
#2. Hanauma Bay. This is the perfect place for snorkeling and is on the south side of the island. There are tons of fish and the water is super clear which is ideal for seeing them. Go early before the crowds get there to see the most fish and while the water stays the most pristine. There are shuttles that can take you to and from the bay.
Photo from hawaiidiscountblog.com
#3. Lanikai Beach. This is ranked one of the top beaches in the world and you can see why. It is unbelievably beautiful. Seriously, it doesn't get any more perfect than this. This beach is located on the east side of the island and has a 1/2 mile of beautiful white sand beach. When I first saw this beach my jaw dropped and I was in complete awe. Paradise!
Photo from tourist-destinations.com
#4. Kualoa Beach Park. This is another one of my favorite beaches on the east side. Beautiful turquoise water, a large grassy area, and the view of Mokoli'i (Chinaman's Hat) makes this the perfect beach to spend the day. Another reason why this is one of my favorite beaches is because behind you are the enormous Paliku cliffs, and you feel like you're in Jurassic Park, and for good reason that's where part of it was filmed, as well as all of these other movies, see the list here
Photo from pinterest.com
#5. Banzai Pipeline. One of the most famous surfing beaches around. This is on the north shore and is the spot where the surfers hang out. Don't miss the huge waves in the wintertime and when the famous surf competitions are on.
Photo from lablenetworks.com
What time of year should I go? 
Every time I have traveled to the islands it has been during the winter months. I have been there in October, November, February and March. That has been just what has worked out for me, and it's super nice to travel somewhere tropical and warm, when it's in the dead of winter around here in Idaho. The only thing bad about that is everyone has that same idea, but depending on which island you go to, you might not notice. So far October has been the least busy month that I've been there, unless you're on Oahu, Halloween is a BIG deal. In Waikiki, you can expect to see 50,000+ people walking up and down Kalakaua Ave! It is crazy to see! I would like to travel there during the summer months just to see the difference.

What is the weather like?
If you ask the locals they will tell you that they have two seasons, sunny and rainy, and that's exactly right! The weather is awesome and stays around 75-85 degrees year round. There is much more humidity in the summer and at the end of the year, compared to the first few months of the year.  There are trade winds all year long that keep you comfortable. The winter months November-May get the most rain, but in all the times that I've been there in the winter I have been super lucky and only witnessed a couple hours of rain, a couple days, and the rest of the time it was sunny and awesome. On Kauai, it would rain almost every night, but that didn't bother me, and that's the main reason that island is so lush and green, and full of waterfalls. Also the temperature of the water at the end of summer, October-November, compared to February-March, is about 10 degrees warmer.

What should I pack?
Don't over pack! I know you'll want to but really, don't do it. You will live in your swimming suit :) Here's a link to my What To Pack For Your Hawaiian Vacation To Kauai.

Do I need a rental car? 
On Kauai, absolutely. It would be really hard to see the island without one. You will definitely want one on Maui too. As for Oahu, I have been there twice. The first time I exclusively toured the island on tour buses, the second time I had a car. The tour buses are extremely informative and you definitely feel like the ultimate tourist, you also learn a lot about the island, that you wouldn't normally get to know if you were just driving yourself around. If you take tour buses you are obviously on someone else schedule, so be there on time to catch the bus or miss out. ***Check out DiscountHawaiiCarRental.com for rental cars. They have the best rates that I could find. And it's free to book and cancel, and you don't have to give your card number. I kept checking back and re-renting my car because the prices kept going down. Two days before I left, it dropped $100!

Do I need a passport?
No, not if you are a citizen of The United States. It's just like traveling to the any other state, except the flight time is a little longer :)

Time Zone
What is the time difference from the continental US? Hawaii follows Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), which is 5 hours behind Eastern Standard Time and 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time so add one extra hour to the time difference during this period (March through November).

How long is the flight to Hawaii?
Here are a few approximate flight times from US cities…
Los Angeles (LAX)- 5.75 hours
San Francisco (SFO) - 5.5 hours
Seattle (SEA) - 5.75 hours
Las Vegas (LAS) - 7 hours
Phoenix (PHX)- 8.25 hours
Salt Lake City (SLC) - 8 hours
Chicago (ORD)- 9 hours
New York (JFK) - 12.5 hours

Inter-Island Flights
Flight times from Honolulu (HNL), Oahu to:
Lihue (LIH), Kauai: 30 minutes
Kahului (OGG), Maui: 30 minutes
Kapalua-West Maui (JHM), Maui: 30 minutes
Molokai (MKK), Molokai: 20 minutes
Lanai (LNY), Lanai: 25 minutes
Hilo International (ITO), Hawaii’s Big Island: 50 minutes
Kona International (KOA), Hawaii’s Big Island: 45 minutes

Things that are overrated...
  • These are just my opinions...
  • Submarine Rides. Ugh, these are expensive and so overrated. I've been on three (Oahu, twice & Maui), ya, I didn't learn my lesson the first or second time haha! So ya you might get to see some fish and if you're really lucky, a shark or a dolphin, but you are crammed, back to back and side to side, in a little submarine, with a bunch of other tourists staring out a little porthole into the blue abyss. What you may not know is one you get down 115 ft in the ocean, everything is blue. All the pretty colorful tropical fish loose their color. It wasn't the worst experience of my life but I could think of 100 other things I'd rather spend my money on.
  • Luaus. Yikes I know, they are one of the best known Hawaiian traditions, but hear me out. I'm not saying to completely pass them up, but DO YOUR RESEARCH, and make sure you go to one that you're going to enjoy. You will spend a good chunk of money on that Kalua pork and fire dancing, and they are not all created equal. Some are very traditional and low key, others are more theatrical and not nearly as authentic, and then there are some right in the middle of the road, I've been to all three. My favorite one was on Maui it was called the Te Au Moana, it was wonderful! My least favorite was the one at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu.
  • Glass Beach in Port Allen, Kauai. The photos you see online is not what it looks like today. There is very little sea glass left on the beach and what's left are just small pieces. If you do decide to check it out, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that it is a black sand beach!
  • Fishing Trips. The only thing we caught was some seasickness. We chartered a fishing boat on Maui & one on Oahu, and didn't catch anything. It was expensive and the seas were rough. At least on Maui we did get to see whales breaching! But, in the summer months things could be a lot different and I'm sure the seas are a lot calmer.
Tips, Tricks & Tidbits
  • Shop at Costco and save money on groceries. If you are staying in a condo this will be your best bet for saving money on food.
  • Get fresh fruit at the little roadside stands and sunshine markets. It is the freshest, juiciest fruit I have EVER had. Added bonus, they will cut up your fruit for you so it's easy to snack on while you're on to your next adventure.
  • Get a polarized filter for your camera. It will make all the difference in your pictures. You're welcome.
  • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and more sunscreen. Seriously the sun is 'hotter' in Hawaii, I guess it's because it's closer to the equator.
  • Try new things. Some of the best food we had was at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant and at food trucks!
  • On Kauai, go to Tege Tege Shave Ice, located in Kapaa. It will knock your socks off!
  • There are absolutely no snakes on the islands, yay!
  • Bring closed-toe shoes for hiking, zip lining, and for helicopter tours. For most companies that is a requirement. But if you are like me, you can always run to Walmart and grab a cheap pair on canvas shoes for $5 ;)
  • Also the day you take a helicopter tour, wear black, it's the least reflective in the windows, and you have a better chance of getting better photos. 
  • Get shave ice everywhere you can! Seriously, the best treat ever!!
  • On Maui, if you drive up to Haleakala to watch the sunrise, dress for cold weather, it is cold, and you are up 10,000 feet!!!
  • There are sea turtles and monk seals everywhere! Don't be surprised if you catch a few on the beach or swimming up next to you.
  • When you are visiting the islands, respect the land, don't be in too big of a hurry, be kind, enjoy yourself, and have some aloha spirit.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope this helped answer some of you're questions. Have a great day, Aloha :)

*These are my personal opinions and I am not being compensated for them.

2016 Clean Home & Organizing Challenge Week 7 ~ Cleaning out the Closets

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 7 ~ This week we are going to be cleaning out out closets! This is one of my favorite things to do, and since I did the big Kon-Marie clean last year, it's pretty easy for me to keep my closets organized and filled with just the things I really love.

This week we are going to work in categories, so this is not just limited to the closet. For example, Monday when we work on our shirts and tops, if you keep sweaters or jackets in your dresser or another closet, clean those out as well. Depending on how many clothes you have, how big your closets are, or how long it's been since you've last cleaned out your closets, each category could take as little as 5 minutes or the whole 15.

My suggestion is to work quickly. If you know you don't like a certain top, or it's worn out, or it doesn't fit you anymore, get rid of it. Just go with your first feeling or reaction towards that article of clothing. If it's something that you love and it makes you feel good when you are wearing it, keep it, if it's not, put it in a bag to donate.

I have the one in one out rule. If I buy something new, I get rid of something old. This is just how I keep things in order and how to keep my closets from getting over filled with clothes. Another tip is to turn all of your hangers backwards. At the beginning of the year I do this, then when an article of clothing is worn and I go to hang it back up after it's laundered, I face the hanger the right direction. Then at the end of the year any hangers that are still facing backwards are the clothes I know that I didn't wear, and then I donate them.
If you're just joining in, please read last week post here, where we deep cleaned our bathrooms. You can very easily catch up if you want to. Fifteen minutes a day is pretty manageable and when you set a timer and put a little "pressure" on yourself, you can get a lot done! We're still using #2016HowJenDoesItChallenge on Instagram, if you want to see every ones progress.

DIY Valentine's Day Heart Banner

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day is only a few days away, so today I decided to make a sweet little paper heart banner to add a little love to my fireplace. Someday I will have a mantle, so for now just pretend, like I have to do, that there's one there ;)
This was super quick and easy, and the best thing is that it was free! I already had everything I needed to make this in my craft closet. I really like how this turned out and I love that is gives just a little something sweet to my living room. You could make this just the opposite, using pink or red scrapbook paper for the big hearts and book pages for the small hearts, but I wanted mine more subtle, with just a hint of pink.
First, rip out a few pages of an old book, fold them in half, and draw half of a heart on one side. I bought an old book at a thrift store for .50 cents a long time ago just for crafting purposes.

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