Letting Go of Control


For the past few months, our business has been rolling along wonderfully. We’ve had time to tout our crazy-full guest calendars, revamp our welcome messages and leases, upgrade our advertisements, and put together fabulous owner packets for prospective leads. Our numbers and ratings were sky-high. In short, we had the business firmly under control.

Or at least we did, until a then-category 5 hurricane began swirling its way towards the Hawaiian islands. Guests cancelled left and right; flights were cancelled; we fielded calls and messages and inquiries and complaints all day for over a week. Our awesome numbers dropped and our chock-full calendars were marred by vacant days at the end of the month. I kept asking myself, what is happening? What did we do wrong?! Why?!

A looming hurricane felt like it had ruined everything (everything!), but the truth is that it took away our control. Hurricane Lane itself is naturally, and obviously, out of our control – but I couldn’t stop myself from running through ways of controlling the result of it. Could I open up our properties to last-minute reservations? Displaced guests? Surely one airline was still landing….

It was my fiancée that made me realize how ridiculous it all was. We had a major, potential natural disaster-level storm a few hundred miles away, and I was upset that guests had cancelled their trips? Of course they did! What in the world was I thinking?

f062b425bdf17d58915c9d0da25a3dedI realized that I love running my own business because I love having control. I love managing, watching, tinkering, tweaking things to be perfect. I dig it, and it’s been a way of life for me for a while – but it’s not really how life works.

Actually, Hurricane Lane is a pretty good metaphor for life. You can do everything on earth to ensure your life/home/business are picture-perfect and under control, and then something external and totally unexpected can swirl right through and cause some chaos and mayhem. And you have no choice but to do your best and just deal. 

As our business grows, I know the day is coming when I’ll have to relinquish control. I’ll have to trust. I’ll have to let it go – and that day is coming sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to enjoy a few days off curled up with my man and dog until the storm passes.

Aloha Friday: Kapoho Tide Pools

I barely ever make it out to the west side. Small as this island is, we all keep to our own sections 99% of the time; have our own hikes, places to eat, and secret spots. The day after thanksgiving, though, my friends decided to take a spontaneous road trip to the other side.

Hello from the other side…..

The Kapoho Tide Pools are towards Oahu’s westernmost tip, so it’s a relatively far journey for us island folk. The drive there veers off to a dirt road riddled with gigantic puddles, dips, and rocks. Thankfully, we had a truck to muscle our way through to the stopping point and continue on foot.

The hike is breathtaking; we watched waves crash against rocky sea cliffs as the sun set poetically in the distance, lighting the land and sea and equally glittering gold. We had a hard time even walking out there because we kept turning around at the stunning landscape in disbelief.

The tide pools are awesome; isolated, turquoise and teeming with life. There were crabs, vana (Hawaiian sea urchin) and small fish busying about beneath our feet. The pools were big and deep enough to swim in, and were warmer than the sea from the sun’s glare.







Aloha Friday: Kaneohe Bay

Happy Aloha Friday, folks! It’s been a busy & beautiful week full of crazy storms in the island. We’re on our sixth or seventh storm warning at the moment, and part of the island’s streets are flooded in several inches of water. Thankfully, my side of Oahu – which, ironically, is the stormiest in most cases – has stayed gorgeous and clear. We’ve only had a few hours here and there of torrential rain, thunder and lightning.

Last weekend, we battled dark clouds and found some sun on the sand bar, a kickass spot in the middle of the ocean where the water is only waist to ankle deep. You can park boats right off the shelf and party on!

  Honesty, it’s way too much fun! We’d were very lucky- the storm was all around, but it was sunny right over the sandbar.
The upside of the storms is that we get some crazy, colorful sunsets! My favorites are the ones just outside my house over the bay. Almost every night, they’ve been apocalyptic and pink 🙂

I wish all the best for the storms coming our way, and hope we all stay safe! Enjoy your Aloha Friday everybody 🙂

Marathon Training: Week 8!

It’s been quite a week – jam-packed with running, work, moving, job hunting and everything in between. Job hunting is such a complete nightmare that it’s been sucking the life out of me! Couple that with a hamstring injury and a bad cold, and it’s been rough.

Trying to get healthy with some yummy tofu pho!

Trying to get healthy with some yummy tofu pho!

Okay, okay, I’m done complaining! I still managed to do some running this week in preparation for my marathon in October, which is coming up every so quickly. I’m proud that I dragged my sickly arse through the hell-on-earth that was my 1o mile long run this Sunday (sorry, last complaint – I swear) but my cute little Camelbak made it way better 🙂


I rested monday and did a 3 mile recovery run on Tuesday, where I just stretched out my legs. One of the awesome things about my new place is that we have a dog (yay!) and I get to run in a brand-new hood. Best of all, it’s right along the bay! So I can see the water the entire time.


Wednesday I jogged a mile, did interval sprints for the second mile, and jogged home for the last mile. HIIT totally kicks my ass, so I was glad to get that out of the way.


Thursday my hamstring was acting up, so I rested 😦 Friday, I did a little bit of yoga. Or, more accurately, attempted to do yoga while Kai ran circles around me eating geckos & bugs.

World, meet Kai

World, meet Kai

Tonight, I’m heading tot he gym for some arms & shoulders cross-training and foam-rolling before my 12-mile long run tomorrow.

Hope you guys all had a good week, and a well-deserved lazy Saturday 🙂

Once in a Blue Moon


I couldn’t imagine a better time for tonight’s blue moon. Simply the second full moon in a calendar month, it represents rebirth, a fresh start, and the setting of intentions. As I face a new move and a slew of major life decisions in the near future, I look forward to tonight – and the months of change afterwards.

Travel has always given me clarity, and my recent trip to California and London pulled me out of my daily routine and into a place of peaceful reflection. I’ve always followed my heart, regardless of the consequences, and I’ve felt for a while that my current situation isn’t conducive to my ultimate happiness. I’ve spent so much time and effort carving out a life on this rock in the middle of the ocean, yet found myself stuck in the crevices.


Change is terrifying, but a welcome fear I’ve proudly conquered on the path to my own happiness. As I embark on the next change-filled chapter of my life, I do so with an open heart and all of the best intentions.

I wish you all a happy blue moon, and pray your intentions and desires come true in the next month 🙂



My First Half Marathon!


On a gloomy island Sunday,I did it. I finally popped my half marathon cherry! I wasn’t prepared, properly trained or confident, but I made it happen. I’m proud to say that I ran the Hibiscus Half Marathon, a handsome run that weaves along the coast on the island’s southeast side, and finished with a smile and the best runner’s high I’ve ever experienced. It didn’t start out pretty, but it ended quite beautifully.

Race day morning was a d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r. I woke up twenty minutes past my alarm, threw my stuff in a bag, and careened down the highway at 5 a.m. in a frantic rush. The race took off from Kapiolani Park, nestled at the end of the touristy Waikiki. Although it’s in the city, I adore the park. It’s somehow a safe haven for locals, filled with pickup soccer & lacrosse games and family bbqs. It’s a bit short on parking, though, so I parked in the neighborhood a few minutes before the race was supposed to start.

I laced up my shoes and sprinted about a half-mile to the starting line; thankfully, they were running a little late. I hadn’t picked up my packet the night before, so it took me a bit of time to track down my race bib and get going. After about a mile, it dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten more than a teeny apple banana and a cup of coffee. I also hadn’t properly warmed up or stretched at all, since I had to rush just to be there on time. Heck, I hadn’t even drank any water. I also had a pretty bad cold and had just recovered from a hamstring pull – not exactly the best situation for someone who had only ran a little over six miles in months.

I tried to stretch out a little by doing butt kicks, high knees and side shuffles as I ran. Every few miles I loosened up my knees and calves by changing up my form. I noticed my knees were really tight, so I tried to take it easy and run on grass whenever possible.

Despite my chaotic start, I settled into an easy pace. I felt comfortable, and even a little confident. I made it. I was here. I had a zillion excuses to not even start the race, but I refused each golden opportunity to flake out. I had spent the last few weeks dreading this stupid race, yet once my ability to run it was threatened, I realized how much I wanted to do it. I was so proud of myself for getting there and thankful I was able to race that all the negativity drifted away.

The sun came up gloriously, its golden glow reflecting off of the hovering clouds. We ran up towards Diamond Head and along the water, with a breathtaking view of the turquoise sea and perfect waves. I made some friends along the way, and the miles seemed to be passing by easily. I was sure that I was going very slow – I guessed about a 12 minute pace – until I checked my phone at mile 4. To the dot, I had been running for forty minutes. How could I be at my marathon goal pace? I felt heavy, congested, and out of whack – it had to be a mistake! Right??

It wasn’t. At mile 5, to the minute, I was on pace. Same with mile 6,7, and 8, all the way until mile 9. I felt tight, but nothing serious; for the most part, I felt totally fine. I was shocked that I hit 9 miles so comfortably. It wasn’t until mile 10 that the aches, pains, and fatigue set in.

Mile 10 was when I encountered the consequences of my hectic morning. I felt dizzy, dehydrated, and sickly from the lack of food & water. My stomach rumbled, my ears ached, and my cold flared up defiantly. My broken toe that I injured last November (and stopped me from running my marathon) began to ache. My hamstring tightened, my knees cramped, and I could feel my calves following suit. I really, really wanted to keep a ten-minute pace, but I realized it just wasn’t possible. All I could do was my best.

The next and last three miles I took one step at a time. I told myself, just put one foot in front of the other. That’s all you have to do. That’s all you need to do. I kept pushing, and pushing, as each mile stretched farther than the last. My toes ached. My shoulders ached. I felt so dizzy that I almost stopped a couple of times, but I knew picking up the pace again would be impossible.

Eventually, I could see Kapiolani Park looming in the distance. We sloped down back to sea level and carved along the parking lot, passing tourists and other joggers alike. Finally, I could hear the finish line’s music and spectators. I was so, so close, yet each step was monumentally challenging. I knew I couldn’t stop now, and the cheers and camaraderie from the other runners carried me for the last half mile.


I couldn’t believe my time: 2 hours & 23 minutes. Even through all the pain and misery of the last few miles, my average pace was 10:55 – a mere fifty-five seconds from my goal pace! And that was with a cold, on an empty stomach, and without stretching or hydrating before.

Completing a half marathon was a wonderful experience! I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the course, and the staff – I would definitely recommend doing the Hibiscus Half Marathon to pretty much anybody. It was a fun, laid-back race that I’m beyond happy to be a part of. Now that I have that 13.1 miles under my belt, most of my marathon jitters have dissipated. Its such a beautiful thing to find out you’re in much better shape than you thought. As I begin to train for the Marine Corps Marathon in December, I feel confident, excited, and most importantly, capable.

Aloha Friday: Paradise is Worth the Price

I live in one of the most expensive places in the country. Most may think of Hawaii as warm sands, beautiful beaches and good vibes, but those that live here know the truth: Hawaii is pretty damn expensive. Forbes rated Honolulu, Hawaii as a direct tie with New York, New York for America’s #1 most overpriced city in 2014.

Let that sink in: the cost of living here, relative to economic opportunity, is just as redic as living in Manhattan. To be fair, we do have a lot in common with our bustling counterpart: it’s crowded, traffic is terrible, we hate tourists, and we’re both islands.

However, there’s a stark difference in the metaphorical bang we’re getting for our bucks. Living in New York brings a seemingly endless breadth of economic opportunities for nearly every niche. Everyone from writers, actors, models and musicians to computer programmers, accountants, and entrepreneurs can carve out a world-class career here. In Hawaii, we put up with a glaring lack of economic opportunity and limited jobs/careers for our own piece of paradise.

As a twenty-something slugging out her early (and poorly paid) years of post-grad life, Hawaii’s price tag is a hefty one. Since we’re an island in the middle of the ocean, we have to ship everything to us – which, naturally, drives up the price. The islands are all about high demand and poor supply, and paying almost $5 for a gallon of gas when the price is around 2$ everywhere else.

Food? Expensive. Gas? Expensive. Housing? Limited, and therefore expensive. I’ll give it to you straight: every single thing you need for survival is insanely expensive. On the flip side, though, the equally indescribable beauty and happiness of the island life is free.

The beach is free. Surfing, fishing, snorkeling, diving, swimming, relaxing, camping, and bbqing at the beach is always free. And we do it so often – in fact, every single chance we can – that it’s normal to get off work early on a Tuesday and head to the beach to surf and bbq with some friends until the sun goes down. I work a full time, 40 hour a week job and still make it to the beach four or five times a week.

Despite the heavy price tag, Hawaii is a place that speaks to my higher, truer self. The people here are full of warmth and love; I’ve easily found family here everywhere I turn. The lifestyle is simple but joyous, with a general focus on happiness and relaxation above the normal stress of careers, money, and perfection. Instead of seeking economic success, I’m chasing happiness. And finding it, each and every day, in the beautiful place I call home.

It’s tough not to move back to the mainland, especially when I’m out of money or food or gas or all three at once. But, I’ve found a place that makes my soul happy. I’ve fallen deeply in love with the turquoise waters and breezy weather and fantastic people. Hawaii may not be for everyone, but it certainly is right for me.

Motivation Monday: Injured Marathon Training

This week has been a pretty tough one. I’m three weeks out from my first marathon and still can’t put any weight on my toe. While part of me is heartbroken, the other part – the stubborn part, I guess – has totally taken over. I’ve been going HAM on my workouts every single day, constantly pushing myself the way I would be if I could actually run.

When I was able bodied, it was easy to get discouraged about my lack of preparation for the Honolulu Marathon, looming a few months and now weeks away on December 14th. Injuring my toe, however, snapped me out of my lack of confidence. Not doing well or walking part of the marathon is one thing; not being able to physically compete was quite another.

My injury has been quite a blessing in disguise; it made me realize what dropping out of training would truly mean. What losing months and months of prep, all of the gains in endurance, fitness, and muscle tone, would actually feel like.

Realistically, I know that completing the marathon is a bit of a long shot for me. What’s pushing me to work so hard is that I don’t want to lose all the progress I’ve built over the last several weeks. I don’t want to have to struggle to get past the 5 or 7-mile marks. I don’t want to start from square one. While I’m remaining optimistic about the race, I’m staying firm on keeping my progress. I absolutely refuse to start from the beginning.

And my mom used to tell me I was too stubborn! Yeah, well, it does come in handy sometimes.

Anyways, here’s a roundup of my workouts for the week! I’m really excited to share my newfound love for aqua running, and how being in the water does nothing but heal 🙂

Monday – Aqua Jogging


I woke up at the crack of dawn Monday morning and headed to the beach with my aqua-jogger in tow. At first, it was a little awkward trying to keep myself straight up. The buoyancy belt kept my head & the tops of my shoulders above water, which was great. I swam out to where I couldn’t touch and tried mimicking proper form. Once I got going, though, I found it was pretty easy to mimic the foot strike & arm movement of a typical stride and keep my abs tight.

The verdict? I LOVE it. I loved being in the water and the lack of impact felt great from my back all the way down to my injured toe. Since the waters were a little rough and I kept getting slapped in the face with waves, I’d recommend trying this out in a pool. If you do venture into the ocean, I’d also recommend bringing a friend. I was a teeny bit scared of getting eaten by a shark since I was getting my aqua-jog on solo.

Tuesday – Aqua Jogging, Lifting & Elliptical


On Tuesday, I was pretty surprised by how sore I was! I was so pumped off of the fact that aqua jogging definitely was a real workout that I made Tuesday a double day.

IMG_2119I water-ran for thirty five minutes on the day before, and this morning headed back to the same spot and did the same ol’ thang. I tried to swim out a little farther since the current was pulling me back towards the sand, and my toe slapping the sand was freakin’ painful. I focused more on my form, too, and threw in some sprints here and there. I wanted to shoot for an hour, but only lasted for about thirty five minutes because I wore the wrong bottoms and my legs were totally chaffing. Other than that, though, water running still gets two thumbs up.

In the evening, I headed to the gym and slugged out 30 minutes on the elliptical. I kept my form as best as I could with my sad little toe, and went to bed happily, exhilaratingly exhausted.

Wednesday – Chest day & stationary bike



I woke up super sore and with a throbbing toe. Although I promised myself I would rest, I ended up going to the gym after work that night and doing a full shoulders workout followed by an hour of brutal, brutal intervals on the bike. I was so motivated by the fear that I was going to lose all of my hard-earned progress that I slugged it out and made it happen.

Thursday – More aqua jogging


I got up early and caught a gorgeous sunrise and logged a freakin’ HOUR of aqua running tot start the day. Holla!

Friday – Aquaq Jogging, bridges and push ups

On Friday I went totally workout-crazy and did an hour of aqua running coupled with sets of wide, narrow and regular pushpus and some bridges. Running was really rough, since all the work from the week was taking its toll on my muscles.

Satruday & Sunday – Surfing!


Both days of the weekend, I one-finned  my way into some big barrels and beautiful waves! It was so nice to get a fun workout in that loosened up my sore muscles and took it easy on my toe.

Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch!


I am such a sucker for Halloween – scary movies, spooky costumes, and especially anything pumpkin. From pumpkin spice lattes (guilty) to pumpkin oatmeal to pumpkin beer, I’m all about it.

Since fall is far less exciting in Hawaii, given the lack of seasons, I was stoked to go to the local pumpkin patch.

The view at Waimanalo Country Farms was breathtaking. The land sits on a plateau up the face of the Koolau Mountains, with waves rolling along the turquoise ocean in the distance.

IMG_1772Sadly, there were no pumpkins left in the pumpkin patch. A full week before Halloween, they had completely sold out of pumpkins. But hey – part of living on an island is that supply is limited and demand is high.

Despite the lack of pumpkins, the setup was adorable. There were bales of hay & pumpkins set up for photo ops, along with blasting country music, wooden crates and hand painted signs.

My favorite was the lemonade stand that served up the island’s famous Nalo Made Lemonade and sweet tea. Each mason jar comes with either homemade sweet tea or a halved lemon and various flavors: plain, strawberry, mango, pineapple, li hing, or any combination of the five. The cool thing is that they use whole, mashed up fruits to flavor the drinks instead of syrups or additives.


And they are a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

They also sold fresh kettle corn and roasted corn, but it was way too hot and humid for that. I was a little bummed they didn’t have any pumpkin-related treats, but considering they didn’t even have enough to sell, I kinda understood.


The pumpkin patch included a little petting zoo, a hay ride, and a few other attractions for the keiki (kids). They did have a corn maze, but it was so short we could see anyone over 5’2” working their way through it. We figured we’d leave that one to the little ones.

I loved the atmosphere, though, and the field of giant sunflowers. The beauty of the place easily lent itself to the seasonal magic.

Yeah, fall might be kinda tough in a tropical paradise. The leaves don’t fall, the temperatures don’t drop drastically, and it takes a while to get used to that.

Now that I’ve been here a while, though, I do notice the subtle changes. The air gets a little cooler, the rains start to fall, and the big winter waves begin rolling in.

I love it here, and I love October.

Happy Fall! Enjoy the picutres 🙂







Why Surfing’s a Killer Workout


Surfing is a beautiful experience. It’s mental, physical, spiritual, social, even emotional – there’s no place I’d rather be than in the ocean, sliding into a turquoise blue barrel. Weeks, months, and years later, I still dream about some of my favorite waves. I’ve never felt happier or closer to God than on a perfect beach day, conquering the ocean’s full force and surrendering my fragile self to its mercy.

While I bodyboarded occasionally in California, Hawaii’s year-round swells made it an addiction. My first semester, I worked mostly nights and trudged through brutal online classes so I could frequent the beach. As the days in the water & under the sun passed, a metamorphosis had begun. My dark hair turned golden, my skin browned, and my body tightened. The last few stubborn pounds melted away in less than a month, although I was downing enormous lunch plates and Costco pizza slices post-surf sesh. My abs began to peek out, my limbs tightened, and my arms became sculpted and defined in that way that only paddling can produce.

Bodysurfing takes strength & control

Bodysurfing takes strength & control

Now that I work full-time, I’m a lot smarter about my after-beach munchies. But the lesson is clear – charging waves is one hell of a workout. Sadly, most fitness trackers and online calculators claim that surfing burns a dismal 170 calories an hour for a 145-pound woman. Coming from experience, that’s i m p o s s i b l e. If you’re actively duck diving, paddling out, and catching waves – not just sitting there like a buoy for an hour – you’re torching zillions of calories and building a strong, sexy core.

I mean, have you ever seen a surfer’s abs??

Pro Surfer Sally Fitzgibbon's abs

Pro Surfer Sally Fitzgibbon’s abs

Since I’m a little obsessed with tracking my calorie burn, it irks me that I can’t find a good calculator anywhere. However, I do know that surfing, bodyboarding, and  bodysurfing are kick-ass workouts. After a few hours on a decent beach day, my friends and I have the same exact routine: eat, sleep, and debate if we should go back for more.

Surfing is such an effective form of exercise because it’s multi-faceted. Paddling out is brutal full-body cardio, much like swimming. If you’re a prone bodyboarder, you workout your shoulders, back, and core when you drop in, grip your board, and steer.

If you drop knee or surf, you use your core, arms and feet to push your own bodyweight up, all while maintaining near-perfect balance and control. As you ride each wave, you’re also working both sides of your body, controlling your limbs, and using your core to maintain a middle ground and stay on your rails. This asymmetric action is what lends surfers their legendary drool-worthy abs.

Secondly, our poor bodies take an extensive beating from wipeouts. Our muscles have to work overtime to repair all the damage, exhaustion, and deep bruising that comes with the sport.

From the nutrition front, surfing brings us into a relationship with nature and grooms a healthy respect for the world around us. This spiritual connection to nature often encourages us to be more  mindful of the natural world in other areas of our life, such as what we eat. I’ve never seen a bunch of hangry guys down more salads, berries, grilled veggies, fish, and rice than the dudes I surf with.

Plus, we all want to maintain our hard-earned physiques. When we look and feel healthy, we’re more likely to apply that mindfullness to what’s on our plates.

So yeah, people – GO SURF!