Aloha! Friday Favorites – Hawaii

Happy Friday!  I have been absent for a long time – life just got in the way and I haven’t devoted the time to the blog.  For today’s edition of Friday Favorites, I wanted to share some stories and photos from our recent trip to Hawaii.  Hawaii is one of our all time favorite places; this was our second trip, and God willing, will definitely not be our last.  We have only visited the island of Oahu, which we love.  Next time we may try a couple days on another island, but we love Oahu so much, we will always keep going back there.  The above pic is the view from our room at the Trump International in Waikiki, truly an iconic beach.

Imagine our surprise when we came across these Hawaiian Monk Seals while walking on the beach one morning!  They are endangered and therefore you are not allowed to approach them, and the beach patrol sets up cones to establish a safe perimeter.  We ended up seeing them each day in Waikiki, and being animal lovers, this was definitely one of the highlights!

We really enjoyed the hotel at night also.  The view looking back towards Honolulu with all the lights was breathtaking.  The lounge was also lovely, open air with great happy hour specials.  Those wasabi peanuts were the bomb!

Instead of getting big sit down dinners, we opted to graze our way through various places, taking advantage of happy hour specials, on both beverages and appetizers/small plates.  We visited the Oahu location of Maui Brewing Company, which had great live music and the wonderful island breezes coming through the open air venue.  We also discovered “frozen” beer, Kirin to be exact.  This is a glass of Kirin (a Japanese beer) topped with basically a Kirin slushy.  This was a fun twist on a glass of beer, and the happy hour price was great.

I thought this Crown & Ivy top with pineapples was perfect for a Hawaiian trip!  The colors and pattern fit in perfectly with the tropical vibe of the island.  This particular top is sold out, but they have so so many cute tops, many on sale, so please check it out if you are still looking for some additions to your summer wardrobe.

The time came to check out of the Trump International and move on to our next location.  For our last morning, we got up early, took a long walk around Waikiki, and ordered room service breakfast to enjoy on our balcony, taking in that view one more time.

Enroute to our next destination, we went to Kualoa Ranch, for a horseback ride!  We had pre-booked this, and it was well worth every penny.  The one-hour tour went up on the ridge above the ranch, and had amazing views of the ocean and Chinaman’s Hat.  The guides were very friendly and patient, and the horses well-trained and basically knew the routine with very little guidance.  Kualoa Ranch offers many different types of tours, including a movie set tour that highlights some of the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World filming sites.  Afterwards, we made our way up to the North Shore, another area of Oahu we love.  The sleepy surf town of Haleiwa has fun little surf and souvenir shops.  And of course, no trip to the North Shore would be complete without a stop at one of the shrimp trucks!  The second pic above is the view we had while eating a plate of traditional North Shore shrimp and rice for lunch.

Finally we reached our “home” for the rest of the week, Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, located in the Ko ‘Olina area of the town of Kapolei.  We are Disney Vacation Club members, and Aulani is a property included in the DVC program (you can also stay on cash if you aren’t members).  It was also our second time here, and it was just as beautiful as we remembered.  The pool area is simply spectacular, and the entire grounds are meticulous.  One of my favorite features is the Koi pond located near the open air Olelo Lounge.

We enjoyed having breakfast with Mickey and Minnie at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the resort.  It is so fun to enjoy some Disney magic in such a beautiful location.

And who can resist Hawaiian shave ice with Mickey ears!  Enjoying it overlooking the beautiful private lagoon makes it that much better.  I think it is a known fact that any food shaped like Mickey automatically tastes better!

Unfortunately, all too soon it was time to head home to North Carolina.  We again got up early and took a long walk around the Ko ‘Olina development, seeing the other resorts and marina.  This picture is from the lagoon, looking back towards Aulani.

I know this was a long post, and if you made it here to the end, thank you!  Trust me, I had a hard time keeping it this short, as there were so many great experiences and photos, it was difficult to narrow it down.  If you have visited Hawaii, you know what I am talking about, and if you haven’t, what is keeping you from going?

Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

The Un-Blogger

I am not good at blogging. I don’t have much interesting to say, I can’t seem to stay on a good schedule, and I’m not the typical 20-something drop-dead gorgeous blogger. I work full time and maintain a household consisting of one husband and one dog, so I don’t devote the time to it that I should. All that being said, I wanted to share a few reasons why I started this blog and some things I will never do on my blog.

1) I love to write. Anyone that knew me as a child knows I always got good grades on essays, book reports, research papers, and anything else that relied on writing. A former boss always had me write different documents and SOPs, often saying “everything you write is so good.” I lack creativity however, so I would not have been a good novelist. Writing, even occasionally, for the blog, gives me a bit of an outlet for my love of writing.

2) I was feeling unfulfilled at my day job, and needed something else to think about and focus on. Struggling to understand how to set up a website with all the plugins, getting a theme, etc was (and still is) very challenging for me. It forced me to think and learn new things, something I wasn’t experiencing at work.

3) I struggle with fashion choices just like many others. As a 40-something that doesn’t want to look like an old lady, I find it hard to look age appropriate and not too young or too old. Admittedly, I often err on the side of dressing too young. But, if I can give even one person an idea for an outfit or piece of clothing or accessory they haven’t considered before, then that is the most I can ask for.

Some things I will never do on the blog:

1) I will never tell you to dress like me or wear certain styles or items of clothing. I may occasionally offer a tip that I personally think is worthwhile, but feel free to disagree. Style is very personal, and I believe 100% you should wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable.

2) I will never tell you you must spend a lot of money or buy certain brands of clothing to look good. I will occasionally splurge on something I really love, not because it is a certain brand, but because I truly love it. Mostly I shop sales, clearance racks, and end of season sales. I will pay full price at a couple of the local boutiques I like, but only because if you see something at a boutique you want, you better grab it because they don’t typically restock the same items.

3) I will never pretend to be something I’m not. Social media and blogs are a dangerous thing-we all understandably present our best selves online, but the perfect images on many social media accounts are not real life. I’m not rich, not wildly successful in the traditional sense, not fashion-model gorgeous, and not always bubbly and happy. Certainly I’m not likely to post about my worst days, but I’ll always try to be real. Many years ago, in high school, a classmate told me “you’re not phony like most of the other girls.” To this day that is one of the most meaningful compliments I’ve ever received.

4) I will write about random things. I started this endeavor with fashion in mind, because I was constantly getting compliments on my outfits. But I’ve discovered I have other things to say. So there will be travel posts, posts about my dog, and other random topics that strike my fancy on any given day.

So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. All I hope for is to get a few readers that find my writing mildly interesting.

Thanks for stopping by!


Puppy Love

No, this isn’t a Valentines Day story about young people experiencing their first innocent crush! Anyone that knows me will not be surprised to see it is about my sweet, snuggly fur baby, Harrison!

Harrison loves the fire and will lay there until he is too hot to stand it

My husband and I have had 3 dogs since being married, and all have been great dogs in their own way. I loved all of them and was devastated when the first 2 had to go. This little guy we have now is so different and special. Our first 2 were pure bred (from ethical and top-notch breeders), but Harrison is a rescue. I truly believe he has a higher level of appreciation for his life, and desire to show us every day how happy he is.

Let me tell you a little about his story. He was found by the side of the road in a box with his siblings when they were tiny puppies, in rural Arkansas. As luck would have it, the lady that found them was already involved with a rescue organization, so did not hesitate to pick them up. Fast forward a couple months to us perusing the internet for a second dog, following the loss of our sweet lab, Delta. We spotted this adorable lab/boxer mix, named Dart at his foster home. After some discussion, and a phone conversation with his foster mom, we decided to adopt him sight-unseen! (Except for the photos). We lived in Ohio at the time, and the transport van bringing dogs from Arkansas to the Midwest and Northeast was coming the following week. We met the van late one night in a parking lot, feeling like we were part of some nefarious activity, and took him home. He arrived cold, scared, and having no idea what to do. Our older dog, Georgia, wanted no part of him and stood across the room barking at him nonstop!

Our sweet Georgia

Needless to say, they did become fast friends and kept each other, and us, entertained. They both shrugged off the move to North Carolina in 2015 as no big deal, settling in as if nothing had changed. We lost Georgia unexpectedly in 2016, leaving us and Harrison in a bit of a funk for awhile. However, life goes on, and Harrison quickly got back to being a silly, energetic, loving, cuddly, playful, happy boy. He loves us both dearly, but does tend to be a momma’s boy. He sleeps next to me, snuggles me on the couch, and follows me everywhere.

Harrison has also been a great comfort to me through some difficult times in my life over the past few years. There is nothing in the world like the unconditional, non-judgemental love and support you get from an animal. Just to feel their warmth and stroke their soft fur is instantly calming and brings a sense of peace.

Certainly pets are not for everyone, but if you have ever considered a pet, give it some serious thought. Rescue dogs have so much love to give, and love soaking it up as well.

You will no doubt see more mentions of sweet Harrison in the future!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

WDW Marathon Weekend

Hello! I’ve been a bit AWOL since the holidays, just a lot going on. I didn’t want to miss the chance however to tell you about the amazing weekend I just had. We just returned from the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend that takes place every January-this was year 26. Full disclosure-neither my husband nor I ran the full marathon, but we did participate in other races. The weekend offers a 5K on Thursday, 10K Friday, half marathon Saturday, and full marathon on Sunday. If you are especially ambitious, you can also do the Goofy Challenge, running the half and full, or the Dopey Challenge, which is ALL FOUR RACES. Hubs ran the 10K on Friday, and I am so proud of him! He typically chooses other forms of exercise rather than running, but he trained very hard and ran the entire distance.

Approaching the finish line, in the red shirt!
Showing off his hardware!

Saturday I ran the half marathon, and it was by far my favorite race of all time. Coming around the corner onto Main Street USA and seeing the castle was such a great moment, I actually got a little choked up. Running is very emotional for me anyway, for a variety of reasons, and being able to participate in this event was so special. The motto of the race weekend is “Every Mile is Magical” and I could not agree more. All along the course, even when not in a theme park, there is music, photo ops, spectators, signs of encouragement, and so much more. The volunteers are amazing, tirelessly handing out water and cheering everyone on. And Disney does an amazing job of keeping everyone organized and in the right place at the right time. I was a little nervous about making my way by myself from the resort to the starting area at 4:00 AM, but had no reason to be-everything ran like clockwork and there were both cast members and volunteers to guide you every step getting into the right start corral.

The most amazing sight!
Each mile marker played music that corresponded with the movie represented!
Not my actual time! The time represents the gun time, and I was 3 corrals back from the start.
I was sad the experience was coming to an end, but my legs were happy to see the finish line!

If you love running and/or Disney, I highly recommend participating in an event. You can read all about them at I think I could write a book about this experience, how wonderful and magical it was, and how much of an effect it had on me. This was truly an experience we will both remember forever, and we are already thinking about when we might be able to do it again! I’m happy to answer any questions about the event, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday Favorites-Random outfits

Happy Friday!  I never understand how the holiday season gets so busy.  I don’t have children or any family in the area, so shopping and commitments are minimal, but it still feels like I hardly have time to sit during the month of December.  I admire those of you that have kids and family activities on top of everything else, I don’t know how you manage all of it!

I had a few random outfits this week that I put together, and really ended up liking, so they are my Friday Favorites this week!  I tend to get stuck in a rut and pair the same items together all the time, or think I have to wear a certain item in a certain way.  I’m trying to be a bit more creative, which not only looks more stylish and interesting, but also makes you feel like you have a bigger wardrobe, when you learn how to mix and match things more effectively.



I wore this outfit to an event last weekend, it was casual but I still wanted to look stylish.  My first instinct would have been to wear a simple long sleeve t-shirt under this poncho, but I didn’t really have one that matched because the white is really an off-white.  So I had to get creative!  It’s pretty impossible to tell in the picture, but I wore an off-white cardigan underneath.  I ended up really liking how it looked, the cardigan has shiny buttons which gave it a much more interesting look than a t-shirt would have.  I like this poncho from Loft a lot, because it has actual sleeves rather than just a giant piece of fabric that goes over your head.  This one is from last year, I bought it on clearance over the summer.  But everything is on sale right now at Loft, and they have many ponchos to choose from.  The cardigan is a simple one from New York & Co.  They usually have every color of the rainbow and they are on sale a lot, I have a few in different colors, they are good to wear over dresses in the summer too if going somewhere that might be cool inside.


I love long cardigans, they are so comfortable and cozy in the winter.  This one from Eddie Bauer last year is actually a lighter weight, so I wore it on a day when it wasn’t too cold here.  I just threw it on over a simple tank top, put on a necklace, and was ready to go.  I wore these mules from DSW, they are comfortable and a versatile taupe color.  The shoes are actually the part of this outfit outside my comfort zone – normally I wear this sweater with the same pair of boots every time, but since it wasn’t cold, I decided to try the mules and really liked the look.  The jeans are one of my favorites, also from Loft.  Loft denim runs large, so take that into account when shopping.  (My helper is at it again!)


I’ve had this faux fur vest from Old Navy for years and years.  It seems like every couple years they become popular again.  I’ve always struggled with how to wear it, but found that I really liked it with this off-white-but-slightly-tan sweater dress from Abercrombie & Fitch.  I actually wore the vest as my coat that day, because it wasn’t too cold and this was enough for the short walk I have into work.  My office tends to be chilly, so it was also nice to have something I could put on without the bulk of a sweater or jacket.  I found a similar vest at Target, for a very reasonable price!

I purposely cut off my legs in this picture because I wasn’t crazy about the tights and boots I wore with this dress.  I’ll have to get creative with my lower half next time I wear this dress!

I would love to hear from you in the comments about outfits or looks you have discovered and how you are creative with styling items you already own!

Have a good weekend, thanks for visiting!