Are You Ready For A Lifestyle Change? How I Became Happy & Healthy Enough To Live Life On My Terms

For me all it took was a water bottle. And though it took me a while to realize that.. there’s one thing I can tell you now. It is real. And if the simple word “change” resonates with you then, Yes, you are ready.


I knew I needed a change. A big one. I had just had my 2nd baby in 2 years and moved into a new home In West Coast Cali. And I was miserable. I was miserable that I was miserable. I had the luxury car, hard-working husband, my two Beautiful children, a boy and girl, complete with all the pretty clothes and accessories. I even had my dream dog. I knew I had it to good to cry. 
But cry I did. My husband was lost in his own life and those babies were wearing me down hard and fast. The dog wasn’t getting walked or groomed enough, and neither was I. And the Clothes.. Oh the clothes. They were in never ending piles of major purchase regret. The car was Amazing though. Thank you Ernie from Witt Lincoln San Diego I still miss that MKX. 
Like I said though, All of that changed from a single water bottle. And it was a Glorious water bottle. It had to be. I sucked at drinking water. And this was something that I really wanted to change. So I figured, find a bad ass water bottle, and guzzlin’ would ensue.
It worked.

I was drinking 100+ oz a day. That was insane for me.

That kick-started a cascade of little changes over the next few months. I was starting to eat more fruits and veggies, while cutting out fast food, and I even started lite stretching at night. One of those nights I happened to be admiring my water bottle when a simple realization hit me That Changed Everything.
I was still drinking all that water and it wasn’t even something I had to think about anymore, it just was. I had dropped most of my baby weight / all I ate while I was pregnant was cheeseburgers weight, my Husband and I had started taking long walks with the kids And we found a new way of connecting through biking. The dog was getting groomed, I was getting groomed, the kids were still a screaming hurricane with food faces and sticky hands but I was keeping patience with them, and actually guiding them instead of screaming at them. This mental connection reached out and physically hit me.
And it was then that I realized | Every choice was mine
And every choice has a consequence.
I know it sounds simple but this was Not an easy thing for me to realize. And realize I did… Now I was responsible for my life.. and the things happening in it; down to the way I was feeling in every given moment. 
This required a great deal of mental stretching and breaking out of my own head.   I was so stuck in myself Scared to go out and face my own dreams and aspirations; to just plain get out in the world, simply because I was scared of societal judgments. I had to unlearn a lot of sabotaging programming from my youth and young adult hood. 
Now all of a sudden my unsatisfactory marriage, was me being a cold, resentful wife. I didn’t see his faults as an excuse for me anymore, and that left me with a long, hard look at myself. This wasn’t just in my marriage, it was my Life. From my kids, to my estranged relationship with my family.. the way it was so hard for me to build healthy relationships, and friendships, and full circle.. back to me, and the way I have always treated and thought of myself. Insert nights of hidden tears and days of ever-present overwhelm.
Now I told you this realization was not easy, but to loosely quote Tim Ferris, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. In fact, it had broken my mind, and like a butterfly shattering a chrysalis, I emerged with new capabilities.
I knew I had made an important mental shift and I had no idea what to do with it. I decided to do what was already working for me. Make Goals. Then Make better Goals.
Momentum Is Key
Never underestimate the power of mental momentum
Being without momentum is rough. It is how I had been living most of my life. For me, It was the difference between hitting the snooze button a few times in the morning, and then getting up vs just turning the damn thing off. It was persevering with a stoic face when all 3 of my children are having emotions bigger than themselves. It is wearing my keyboard out, while burning holes in my eyes as my family sleeps to pursue my passions… that way I am better apt to focus on them, and our goals together during the day.
Once I realized what momentum was for me
What it felt like for me
I was able to recognize the ebb and flow of it
Because I am very much of an up and down kind of person….
I have Huge Bursts of Energy and Insight, and I want to explode all of my feelings and understandings unto everyone around me.
These times for me are a whirlwind of making things happen, overestimating myself, surprising myself, connecting, and learning. So Much Learning that it is vital to get some down time.
Rest and Recovery is Essential
Everyone needs time for themselves. There are no exceptions. Especially for me. I would find myself craving to be alone after the constant touching and talking that comes with toddlers and at first thought I must be a horrible mother. Please. Excuses.
But with 2 littles under 2 running around I had to get a little creative for my much needed R&R. Most of my rest was not actually sleeping but if the babes are busy mommies brain was resting. Here were some of my go to strategies.
  • Nap Time

Crucial. Wear them out in the morning then stuff their bellies and send them to their rooms. Or to your bed with you if you must. Make nap time a priority for your family and make sure your taking part. No “getting stuff done” or needless cleaning. Promise, it can wait. Even a 20 minute rest with your eyes shut improves focus and mental function.
  • Take a Walk

When it’s no where near nap time and your feeling frazzled throw those babies in the stroller. Won’t stay quiet long enough.. bring snacks! The outside air and steady pace will keep them quite and entertained for a bit so you can make a phone call to family or just zone out in your thoughts for a few minutes. Ah bliss.
  • Find a park with a fence

Why aren’t these everywhere. The first time I saw one I thought well this is nice. No it is much better. It is ingenious. Yes, you still have to watch your kids moms. But the stress will be exponentially better and you can maybe lay in the grass with a book or take the time to watch the kids from afar peacefully and think of all the ways they make your life better. Regular playgrounds can work also.
  • Story Time

Cuddle up with a book. This is a great way to unwind with your children. Even the littlest ones can get involved with the right books. I would give my smallest an indestructible book while my eldest and I went through another. This will give you all the good feels and get you unplugged while bonding with your most important.
  • Get Help

Your Partner, Family, and Friends are all their to help. You just need to say when things are piling up and be specific about what could actually help you. Don’t feel bad about needing an extra hand or an hour to soak in a bubble bath.
  • Take yourself on a date

Not your husband or family or friends. Just You. My favorite way to get back in sync with myself is to be able to just be myself. i am quiet and reserved. When I am with my family I am the boss on a loud speaker. Spa day, lite lunch and a stroll through town or the beach, a scenic drive, a long hike, or a day hiding in your room with a book are all good ways to reconnect with yourself.
Once I realized I had made it this far by haphazardly implementing just these few vital keys
  • Responsible for Self / This is your Choice
  • Mental Momentum / Make Goals and Go After Them
  • Rest And Recovery / Avoid Burnout and Overwhelm
I was better able to understand the real possibilities for myself, my family, and our lives together that blew my mind and our world right open…
I have grown exponentially since those years, and my world and mind are still wide open. I have since moved with my Husband and 2 small children to Hawaii where we added another so now we are 5. Here we will be prepping for full-time travel starting fall 2019 and will be World Schooling our family.
I am so grateful everyday that I took those first steps that inspired me and re-developed my love of learning. It touches deep into my life and seeing it Now I realize I am going through, and may, very-well always be going through, an Intensive Lifestyle Change.
For most people this feels too hard to achieve and they live their life in a comfortable form of acceptance / denial. It is doable. It is actually just a way of life and all it takes is starting with key changes in the right parts of life.

Physical Health

Diet and Exercise is everything.
If you shed everything about you down to your basics you are left with nothing but a need to eat and you need to be able to move efficiently to do that. Pretty important. It just is. This is the Magic Cure you have been waiting for.


I was a fast food junkie who would’ve said the best date ever was a place with a monster cheeseburger, fries and ranch, topped off with a few choice drinks. Beer.
Simply achieving my first goal of drinking half my body weight a day in water was enough to bring on a cascade of events that led to an extremely different way of living.
  • Drink Water
Drink water for an instant upgrade in life. It alone will change everything. It has been proven to make you focus better and just be plain Happier. Plus, beyond just improved mental functions.. Literally Every Single Part of Our Bodies Function Better. Our joints move better, exercise isn’t as challenging and more effective, organs function better. And with the skin being the largest organ, it benefits greatly. Who is possibly against supple, glowing skin and feeling super-charged?
  • Start the day off with a healthy choice
I started with Avocado toast with an egg. I wasn’t far off the mark and still enjoy this quick easy breakfast all the time. There are so many reasons to make sure this meal is the one you choose to be healthy with. It fires up your metabolism, increases energy, boosts brain power, and starts your day with a positive mindset that will flow into all of your choices that day.
  • Cut out Fast Food
This can be so hard to start but a great momentum boost when you achieve it. Try saying no next time your partner or friend go through a drive-thru. If you are a fast food junkie like I was then this will be no easy feat but will gain you major reward Fast and in all parts of your life. From saving money, to increasing will-power, to saving your guts from the the processed nightmare they call food. This one is a game-changer to add on early!
  • Eat more Fruits and Veggies
This is something we all know. Or do we. The nutrition knowledge in the world is extremely lacking. It took a lot of self-propelled research for me to understand why I had been dieting and failing all my life. Everything I thought I knew about food was wrong. Food has so many functions in our body and it is so important to have a Balanced Diet.
Fruits and Veggies are so easy to start implementing in your life. Leaving a snack tray of cut veggies and humus in the fridge is a great way to reach for something healthy for a snack or to add to a lite lunch. I never thought my kids would eat raw broccoli or a beet. Experiment with new selections from your produce stand and you will often surprise yourself.
  • Cut out Processed Foods and Refined Sugar
Imagine walking into a grocery store and only needing to walk down 1 or 2 isles and the produce section. Just the time saved not looking at all those pretty pictures of yummy concoctions on these boxes and cans is worth it. Surprise yourself by making one of these delicious simple 5 ingredient recipes
Diet has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I have implemented these steps. It doesn’t mean losing weight anymore. It is a word that only refers to the way I eat. I now am implementing minimalist meal plans with ingredients from farmers markets and locally sourced meat markets. Life can change rapidly and if you keep pushing yourself you will find yourself living a life you didn’t you could reach.


  • Find Something you Enjoy
I knew it all along.. “a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest”
someone a lot smarter than me, and probably you too
Besides my short stint of running around the block in the a.m. that was back too many lifes to count, I can’t say I was much into exercise. A few simple home routines of stretching at night and I was able to enjoy movement again. That led to bike riding which let me find reunite with my love of everything outdoors. Finding even a small routine that is under your comfort level can help build the momentum for a greater challenge. Here are 18 Best Workout Apps For Lazy Girls.
  • Find Natural Exercise
The world is your playground. Don’t forget to go play in it.
I got so stuck in an inside routine where my kids watched too much t.v. and I stared at computers too long. This was exactly what I said I would avoid as a mother and I fell in the same easy trap as most of society. When we bought a kid carrier and started biking I fell in love. With more than the energy of the ride, with the sun on my skin, and the wind in my hair. This connection to the outdoors did wonders for me mentally and physically. Hiking, mountain climbing, snorkeling, and exploring are all now frequent activities that keep me out of the gym and happy and healthy.
  • Sticking to Routine

We are all creatures of habit. Our bodies are constantly trying to keep us comfortable and that is why routines are life savers. Don’t think diet and exercise were just a thing I always did or just easily started up one day. I also went from waking up at 5 p.m. to 5 a.m… which is now getting switched to 4 a.m.

What is this sorcery?

It is my wonderful brain.. rewiring itself.. to protect it’s simple emotional human. They say it only takes 30 days of enforcing a habit to make it a habit. I believe it. I have done it ..over and over. I am constantly surprised at how quickly I can change, build, and develop new skills.


Mental Health

  • Self Love Starts with Self Care

My skin has always given me trouble. Chicken bumps, ingrown hairs, acne, stretch marks were all plagues of my teenage years that led to insecurities and continuing conditions in my adult years. An epilator, exfoliating, and dressing up are my favorite tools for an instant Goddess Feeling. Find what makes You Feel Beautiful.
  • The Epilator
I had finally jumped on the band wagon and got waxed. My whole damn body.  I went back twice because I really liked my waxer but I knew instantly I had to find a better way. This bad boy gets you soft and smooth at home on your own time, in the shower or out, and even has exfoliating heads for your face and body. Game. Changer.
  • Exfoliating
When your skin is that bare you need to maintain it! Store bought body scrub is Expensive and full of chemicals but it is so easy to make your own exfoliating scrub at home. Bonus: you get to pretend your at the spa while your husband deals with the screaming kids and you level up in the shower. Go throw some raw sugar and coconut oil together, scrub away, and see how just that simple concoction makes you glow.
  • Dress For Who You Want To Be
I was always a tank top and jeans girl. I used to see and even buy cute clothes but never wear them for fear of looking out of place or silly. To possibly hear someone say..”what are you wearing?!” was mortifying. A pair of waist-high sage colored hobo shorts bought in a “I’m A New Women” mode, threw me out there and I realized something extremely freeing.. Most people don’t care what your wearing and really it doesn’t matter all that much if they did. I threw the rest of my clothes out. Seriously.
  • Organize and Minimalize your Life

One day I started throwing clothes in bags and got them the hell out of my house. I was sick of the piles of clothes I barely even liked or wore being Everywhere! It was freeing and absolutely addicting. I have now spread this concept to all parts of my life. Right down to my thoughts. I am able to actually see what matters in my life and focus on that with all my extra time and energy.
Some of the ways I have cut down on clutter in my life is

Capsule Wardrobe

When I found out I could own only a handful of clothes, look and feel amazing, save tons of money and time, plus unburden myself from too many choices and mountains of laundry.. I was ALL in. These are a few ladies and their wardrobes that inspired me to make the change.
        1. The cutest video of Kitty Cotten and her awesome capsule wardrobe. This one came right after she had a baby so it is nursing friendly and you still get to look amazing!
        2. Caroline at UnFancy will get you drooling over color palettes for her simplified wardrobe. I was hooked when I read this and instantly started creating color boards.
        3. The Calm Collective’s neutral, clean wardrobe style instantly won me over.

 Minimalist Meal Plan

I was spending too much time in the kitchen, too much money at the store,and throwing away tons of leftovers and rotten veggies. Enough was enough. I started adapting a minimalist meal plan thought up by Miranda over at Live Free Creative Co. She is another amazing maker mama who is all about Energy Management!
 Mindset is Everything
This should be first but it is last for a simple reason. I couldn’t stand to hear it before I understood it and I didn’t want to scare you away. But, hey, your at the end now so there it is.
There was a question I asked myself daily for years and when I answered it for the first time I broke down and cried till I was dry. When I was done feeling sorry myself I knew I could get up and change it or stay the way I was. So I decided I would “fake it till I make it” and got Happy.
You will always be presented with situations that are hard or will disrupt your peace and happiness. How you mentally tackle these situations will forge your path. When you are upset and irrational it is too easy to lead yourself down a destructive path. Mental toughness is built from continued success with staying positive in rough times.

The first time I knew it was working:

When my girl brought me a pen from my desk smiling and told me to “come see” while I was trying to get a moments reprieve in the bathroom; I looked at her with raised eyebrows, calmly finished up and followed her. My new white office chair had the mad but proud scribbles of a little Willow girl all over it.
I stood there for a second upset and when I would have usually snapped I thought… Well damn thats some nice scribblin’. I have no idea who that was in my head but when I bust out laughing and was then able to follow with a calm, connected talk with my girl I decided I was going to be listening to her a Lot More!
Want to know what that anguish filled question I asked myself daily was?
“Why am I Doing This”
If you are asking yourself that question still then I suggest you answer it.
Because it will put you well on your way to a great Lifestyle Change!
Hello! I am Amanda and this was my first Blog Post Ever!!!
Wish me luck, Tell me your story, Let me know how you made a change in your life or want to make a change in your life! I am here to share and connect and would Love to hear from you!

Family Stay at Alohilani Resort | Waikiki Hawaii

When my family had the opportunity to stay at Alohilani Resort in Waikiki we were thrilled. The luxury resort is in the perfect location steps from the beach and surprisingly very kid friendly. That is a big deal for my young family of 5.

concierge at alohilani resort waikiki oahu hawaii

When we arrived at Alohilani Resort we knew we were in for a special treat right away. The lobby is stunning and the staff were polite and super sweet to the kids, offering them flowers and jokes. My shy daughter was even smiling. Another big thing to note here was no matter how many people were in the lobby I never had to wait long to get help.

family at concierge at alohilani resort waikiki oahu hawaii

Another great feature of Alohilani is the insanely awesome (as the kids said) 280,000 Oceanarium. Located right out of the lobby with a convenient sitting area and bar we naturally stopped here first.

oceanarium aquarium activities for kids oahu

It’s an imaginatively designed space that invites you to be mesmerized by magnificence of our undersea world, while enjoying a bite or drink, for an experience unavailable at other hotels in Waikiki.

Alohilani Resort Oceanarium

The kids absolutely were mesmerized watching the diver swim through the fish and feeding them with her hands. My daughter squealed with delight when she waved at her through the window and by the time we made it up to our room we were all smiles and laughter. Not an easy feat for a family checking into a hotel/resort!

alohilani resort room with ocean and mountain view hawaii

When we got to the room we were in awe with the view. The city spread out before us and Diamond head stood proud and center competing with the bright blue ocean at its side. It was seriously beautiful.

vacation with kids best views alohilani resort

Snacks on the patio was a perfect way to break in our stay and get comfortable. The kids ate most of the fresh fruit provided in the mini fridge but I did get to sneak a piece or two and can confirm it was Delicious!

family vacation with young kids oahu waikiki

After filling our bellies and letting the kids blow off some steam on the beds (sorry Alohilani but they were to big and cushy to resist a bounce or two) we made our way down to Swell Pool.

diamond head view from alohilani resort family

Relax and unwind at Swell Pool & Bar, the trendsetting destination at our Waikiki resort. It’s a poolside experience unlike any other. The stunning and expansive 5th-floor pool deck defines Aloha Chic, with its saltwater infinity pool that overlooks fabled Waikiki Beach.

Alohilani Resort Swell Pool
family vacation waikiki hawaii oahu

We didn’t do much relaxing but it was easy to see why Swell Pool was named one of “The Top 10 Instagram Worthy Pools in America”. This pool was amazing. And though it looks like my children are about to fall out of the pool and off the rooftop it is actually leveled to make us seem much cooler and braver than we are.

family playing at swell pool alohilani waikiki

With chairs right in the pool ( yes in the pool ) you can sit and chill and watch the kids play or sit in the elevated hot tub that connects to the pool area. There are private cabanas you can rent for a more luxurious and private stay (in case you want to get away from wild families like mine ) and even a private pool tucked away for toddlers if they get to loud or you want a more secure place for them to play.

sunset from rooftop pool at alohilani resort

We stuck with the main pool and for good reason. Watching the sunset was magical and there is nothing better to wear the kids out. Besides maybe the beach which we snuck in a different day.

Overall we were extremely happy with our stay at Alohilani Resort and would by far recommend it to families of all ages. We will miss this view but always treasure the memories made. Read on to see what Amenities the resort offers and tips to make visiting Waikiki a blast!

ocean and city view of waikiki from alohilani resort

Alohilani Resort Extensive Resort Amenities

  • Swell Pool
  • Morimoto Asia Dining
  • Longboard Club
    This experience offers a private setting at a Waikiki club level for guests to unwind and take part in curated offerings designed to further enrich their stay at the club room hotel.
  • O Bar
    An open, relaxed gathering place and one of the most distinctive Waikiki Beach bars.
  • Lychee
    Signature Buffet and family favorites
  • Kids Club
    With the Monkeypod Kids Club, Alohilani Resort surpasses the offerings of other kid-friendly hotels in Honolulu. Through play, games and activities, kids will learn about Hawaiian culture, history, environment and traditions. Activities vary each day, so your children can participate as often as they wish.
  • Oceanarium
  • Island Club And Spa
    Your Destination For Workouts, Yoga, Spa Treatments And Massage
  • Workspace
    Whether you need dedicated time for work, or quick access to a printer, ‘Alohilani fresh, well designed work space awaits, allowing you to take care of business
  • Concierge
  • Shops at Alohilani

Waikiki Tips for Family Fun

Waikiki is filled with an incredible array of fun for the family and since Alohilani is in the prime spot you won’t have to walk far to enjoy it all!

  • The Zoo + Waikiki Aquarium
    The zoo and aquarium are both a 10 minute walk from Alohilani and offer a great way to spend the morning with kids. I would suggest early morning to beat the heat and give you time to enjoy the nearby beach and banyan trees.
  • Surfing and Beaching
    Directly across from Alohilani Resort is an iconic surf spot and perfect lagoon area for the kids. You can watch the surfers or rent a board or lesson yourself from one of the many stands accessible from the beach.
  • Waikiki Beach Walk
    There is an awesome beach walk with parks and dining when you walk down towards the other side of Waikiki. We loved packing the kids in strollers and enjoying this walk for sunset. You can even catch fireworks on Friday and Monday Nights!
  • International Marketplace
    Only a few blocks from Alohilani Resort you will find the newly built International Marketplace. Here you can find shopping, people watching, and sight seeing galore. This stylish, modern mall gives every reason to walk around and check out the scene

I hope you find a reason to come and enjoy the incredible experience offered at Alohilani Resort! Let me know if it is on the list or if you too have enjoyed the stay, I would love to hear from you!

The Power of Hiking in Motherhood + Marriage

Having 3 little ones under 5 at home had me burnt out, fed up, and overwhelmed. Then one day I had the marvelous idea to Get Out. And I mean much more than a money breaking and totally exhausting trip to target. I wanted to get out into the world with my children.

So I decided to Go Hiking With My Kids

At first this was not easy. I was not particularly in shape. Like I said I had just had 3 babies and my pregnancy hormones could only be sated with cheese burgers. I was also completely overwhelmed with how to handle all 3 of my kids alone out in the wild. Trips to the store were hard enough.

But I was Determined to make a change, and I wanted this to work.

Because anything would beat what my home life was like at the time. I was working from home and learning how to grow my photography business. This meant lots of time on the computer for me. Meaning the kids were mostly busy destroying the house. That or they had their faces planted in a screen. Just like momma.

So when I came to the conclusion that a change had to happen, hiking was the first thing on my list to try. Okay, it was the only thing on my list to try. I was grasping at straws. But I had always dreamt my family would be an outdoors family.

Hiking with my kids, I thought at the time, would also hit on a few other levels. It was great exercise, which we all needed, and it gave me an opportunity to get my camera out.

Little did I know it would lead to so much more.

hiking with my kids, bonding sibling time

Since I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, the beginning was a learning journey. The beautiful thing about that though, was that we figured it out together. And it wasn’t nearly as hard as trying to go grocery shopping. In fact, it was pretty amazing. Even when it was tough.

Here the kids could let out their wild energy. They could jump off rocks, balance on tree limbs, poke sticks in the mud and get dirty. I could laugh at their antics instead of telling them to hush, or glare at them, for the thousandth time.

Out in the wonderful world, we left behind the need for filler.

Being together in the world was enough. We traded in technology, toys, bickering, and busy work; with working together, learning together, exploring, exercising, and an immense sense of freedom, wonder and peace.

boy facing a path feeling free and unburdened by toys and technology

Here, in the wild outside, is where I learned to be a Happy Mom.

learn to be a happy mom hiking with my kids to a waterfall

Something about being in the fresh air gave me peace. Gave me a mental strength that seems to be sapped when I am indoors. But being outside, hiking with my kids, I am patient. Understanding. And completely focused on my children and us as a family.

After a while, I was even able to bring these feelings back home. I was gaining a better understanding of my children and their feelings + interest. With this newfound insight, I now saw a major discord in our home life.

Now I saw the toys and TV as a distraction to what they really enjoyed. Which was being active and engaged, learning with each other, and others, in an open environment.

I also realized my work was much more productive when I took breaks from it and refreshed myself. Being outside and away from a million thoughts and needs tying up my brain, brought my creativity back.

family activities Oahu hawaii

After a while I got my husband in on it. And that is when life really started to get good.

Watching my husband bond with our children in this way was exactly what our marriage had been needing. More often than not, he traded playing ball in the yard with the boy, for sitting on the couch together staring at a device.

To see them explore together, grow together, and unite again in such a deep way triggered a huge change for our entire family.

And it was more than the way he was interacting with the kids. We were accomplishing things together. Overcoming feats, planning together, and motivating each other.

I couldn’t get enough. I was addicted to this feeling of… togetherness.

We decided after a few short months of doing this that we would make it our lifestyle. One night I brought up a crazy idea to live in an rv, and travel with our children. And he was 100% on board. All it took was one 10 minute conversation and our whole life got thrown onto a different course.

Now I’m not saying it was all because I started hiking with my kids… but thats exactly what I am saying. I can clearly look back and remember the feeling of that first hike I took my son on. While everyone else was napping, we were changing the course of our entire families lives.

hiking with kids mom and son

So if you are a struggling momma, frustrated at home with the kids. I urge you to get outside and hike! It is a million times better than spending your day walking around target, spending too much money on regret. Maybe you can even get your husband to tag along… one day.

One great way to start hiking, even in the busiest stages of life, is finding quick hikes for a unique lunch. You can even keep it healthy and budget friendly by packing some fruits and veggies. Plus babies are the easiest when you can throw them on your back and let them be till snack time!

hiking with baby on back family adventures

So no excuses mommas! Get out and hike!

Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike | Oahu Hawaii

Hanauma Bay Ridge hike is a beautiful little trail that takes you along the edge of Koko Head Rim. You get sweeping views of the ocean, Hawaii Kai, and the beautiful reef in Hanauma Bay.

hanauma bay ridge hike landscape view

What To know

  • Moderate Hike With No Shade
  • Mostly Paved with Different Trails
  • Decent Hills for A Good Workout
  • Dog Friendly

There are a few different ways to find the entrance to the trail. You can park at Hanauma Bay and walk back up to the road to the paved trail by the guard shack. Or you can take the shorter easier way by parking on Nawiliwili St and taking the trail from the main road.

The trail from the road is short and you find yourself at the paved hike quickly. The views start right away and you find lots of little lookouts for pictures right of the main road.

When you get to the top of the incline you can veer off the road and take the path down the side of the mountain. This is the way we went both there and back.

While going down is only slightly intimidating there is a good incline at one point. But once you get past that it is smooth sailing to the end of the trail.

trail at hanauma bay ridge hike

I’d suggest doing the Hanauma Bay ridge hike early enough to catch the sunrise. It comes from the water magnificently and you beat the heat. Another great hike for sunset is Makapu’u Lighthouse.

sunrise from hanauma bay ridge hike
It won’t take long until you get to the end and can see views of the all Hanauma Bay, Hawaii Kai, and Koko Head.
happy girls from awesome hike oahu hawaii

From the end here you can keep walking even though it seems like it would be a drop off. Just face the open ocean and keep going. There is more beauty to behold.

views of koko head from hanauma bay ridge hike

Once you climb down the crazy rock formations you will find tide pools and a rock bridge. This spot is beautiful but I Do Not advise you to go on it. The water in Hawaii is very fickle and even if the water seems calm, Rogue Waves often come out of no where and will sweep you into the ocean.

If you do go near the ocean cliffs or attempt these insta famous shots make sure you know basic sea survival skills. This is quick read about How To Survive Being Swept Into The Ocean

The area is beautiful though and provides plenty of picturesque scenery to enjoy.

Once you start going back to the top you will find the hike a little more difficult. There are little steps built into the mountain though to help you up and back to the top to the trail.

But the terrain is wild here and you will find yourself on a multitude of different rock facings on the way.

guys climbing up rock face oahu  hanuama bay ridge hike
hanauma bay ridge hike steep incline

If you didn’t go down to the rock bridge you will still find the way back has a lot of incline to get back up to the paved road. But there plenty of ups and downs, and the hike is short. Besides the scenery of Hanauma Bay will have you forgetting how out of breath you are.

beautiful views and scenery of hanauma bay and koko head from ridge hike

Best Naval Air Museum Tour | Oahu Hawaii

The Naval Air Museum at Barbers Point is hands down one of the best little tours we have taken in Oahu Hawaii. Full of hands on experiences and interesting history, this museum is a great place to take the family!

Since the museum is set on an active runway so you have to schedule a tour to enter. We found that out when we arrived but it was easy to schedule and we got in not long after.

The tour starts off in a fun vintage military jeep with a quick drive around the hangars. Here you learn about where old photographs were taken and you have the opportunity to take photos to match the Historical Images from the Museum’s Collection.

jeep tour of museum with family Oahu Hawaii

Once you reach the tarmac area where the vintage planes are kept the real fun starts.

You get to climb into the aircraft and have a fully immersive experience. No signs saying do not touch, the tour guide Brad was full of history and didn’t mind one bit the kids were jumping on everything and pushing all the buttons!

When another group came for a tour Brad left us to our own devices for a bit and we got to explore all the aircraft by ourselves for a bit and really take our time. It was amazing being able to freely walk the tarmac and explore the interior of the aircraft.

The Naval Air Museum Barbers Point collection includes the following aircraft:

Beechcraft AQM-137A Jayhawk
Beechcraft SNB-5/UC-45J, BuNo 44607
Bell UH-1 Iroquois, Serial No. 69-15708
Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, BuNo 150023
Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, BuNo 151030
Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, BuNo 152061
Douglas DC-8-62CF, Constr. No. 45922, Line No. 335
Lockheed UP-3A Orion, BuNo 152169
Lockheed P-3C Orion, BuNo 160770
McDonnell F-4N Phantom II
Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion, BuNo 156964
Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King, BuNo 148043
Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King, BuNo 152701
Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk, BuNo 162102
M60A3 Patton Main Battle Tank
M901 Improved TOW Vehicle
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
M110 Self-Propelled 8-Inch Howitzer
M578 Light Recovery Vehicle
M998, M1025, and M1037 HMMWV
M35 2½-Ton Truck
M816 Wrecker
M926 and M926A1 5-Ton Trucks
M931 Tractor
Fire Trucks

hands on experience best family tour Oahu Hawaii military air museum with kids

It was a perfect spot to let the kids get out some energy and mom to explore with her camera while the men talked about military history and aircraft.

Being a military family there were a few heartfelt moments and a wonderful connection to the past.

One of my favorite parts was letting the kids explore the trucks. They loved climbing in and out of them and pretending to drive.

If you are interested in visiting you may find the following info helpful

Please call (808) 682-3982 to schedule

Tue-Fri 0800-1530
Sat-Sun 1000-1530
Closed to tours on Monday

If you are on Oahu, I highly recommend visiting the naval air museum with your family. It is away from tourist and an awesome experience for all ages.

kids playing and having fun at the naval air museum tour Oahu Hawaii

Basic Exfoliating Tools For Healthy Glowing Skin | Tried and Tested

Finding the perfect exfoliating tool may feel like a never ending job. I have used product after product searching for the elusive Perfect Exfoliator. See the good and not so good shower exfoliators I have found so far.

best exfoliating products shower skin care routine

I am tough on my skin and don’t give it nearly enough attention. When neglected, my skin is prone to ingrown hairs and stays dry and flaky. Exfoliating every few days keeps my skin cells from building up and causing those extremely annoying ingrown hairs.

I love making natural homemade body scrubs and tend to use these more often than other products. But when I don’t have the time to throw one together it is handy to have the right tools ready to get the job done.

EcoTools Dry Brush

All of ECOTOOLS products are made cruelty free and with recycled materials.

The dry brush from ECOTOOLS is an amazing pre-shower exfoliator. This dry brush is designed with synthetic bristles to exfoliate and smooth for soft, glowing skin.

The Benefits Of Dry Brushing

  • Increasing the circulation to the skin reduces the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is toxic material accumulated in your body’s fat cells. Reducing these pockets of toxic build up is on the top of most womens beauty wish list. Try this brush out for 30 days to see the difference it can make for you!!
  • Dry body brushing helps shed dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), which results in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with any pesky ingrown hairs.
  • It assists in improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. By releasing toxins, it encourages the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes so the body is able to run more effectively.
  • It helps with muscle tone and gives you a more even distribution of fat deposits.
  • Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores.
  • And, in my experience, dry body brushing first thing in the morning can actually set up a perfect day! By doing something solely for yourself first thing in the morning, you can develop a beautiful follow-through effect. Try starting with a morning boost detox drink – do this to boost all the good work you just did?

I love The Story behind the brand ECOTOOLS.

Started by 2 sisters with a mission to create an environmentally friendly, chic + high quality, yet still affordable brush set. They recycled materials, renewable bamboo, and use the best manufacturing processes.

At EcoTools® — we encourage you to embrace your own individual meaning of beauty and share it with the world — 

Because when you feel truly beautiful, you will make the world and everyone around you feel beautiful!


The Bathery Charcoal-Infused Gentle Facial Brush

Plastic hand-held facial exfoliating tool from Target.


  • charcoal-infused bristles
  • ergonomic handle
  • ultra-soft
  • ideal for sensitive skin

The ultra-soft bristles are made for sensitive skin and the ergonomic handle ensures a secure hold for controlled daily deep pore cleansing. I enjoy using this facial brush because it fits into the palm of my hand nice and always leaves my face feeling extra smooth.


  • Hard To Clean
  • Plastic
  • Leaves my skin a little Dry

Overall this is a nice deep cleaning exfoliating tool for your face. I enjoyed using it while I had it but I will be on the lookout for something better.

The Bathery® 4-in-1 Foot Wand


  • 4-in-1 foot tool eliminates the need for additional tools
  • Removes rough skin to make your feet feel smooth
  • Keeps your foot care tools organized and ready for use

I really enjoy having this foot wand in the shower. The metal file is amazing at getting thick callused skin from long walks on neglected feet. And using the pumice keeps your feet nice and smooth in between times when you need a real foot treatment and the scrub brush keeps my toes polished and pretty.

The only complaint I have is I happen to really dislike the bright colors and the fact that it is plastic. ( But Thanks Mom, I swear I love it!) I am currently on the lookout for something to replace my well-used and loved, in shower foot exfoliating tool.

Exfoliating Shower + Bath Mitt

Many different brands make this style. Not A Fan.

exfoliating glove shower skin care routine

This is the second in shower exfoliating accessory I used and while it worked fine and opened my eyes to exfoliating tools, I am Not A Fan. I still like it better than the gloves but I wouldn’t recommend them by any means.

The mitt is loose and falls off easily. My small hands didn’t hold the bath mitt well, and I usually ended up just using like a rag. Bunching it up and scrubbing with it awkwardly.

Moroccan Clay Pumice Disk

This red moroccan clay pumice disk is a powerhouse of an exfoliation tool.

This little disk is amazing at softening the tougher areas of my body. Mainly my knees and elbows. I love how easy it fits in my hand.

I keep my knees and elbows soft, and my underarms bright, by using this little guy once a week. Slathering my body with Raw Honey in the shower is a favorite indulgence of mine. And by gently rubbing these problem areas with Skin Canteens Moroccan Clay Pumice Disk, while coated in honey of course, I keep them soft, smooth, and bright.

I love supporting small business and Skin Canteen is one shop I love recommending!

ECOTOOLS Cleansing Mitt

Natural Exfoliator that works great and is easy to use.

exfoliating shower mitt for dry skin simple natural beauty products

This is a great exfoliating accessory for in the shower! It is made of ramie natural fibre and molds to your hand when wet. The band fits nicely around your wrist so that it stays snug and is easy to keep on.

This cleansing mitt feels nice and soft when you buy it but it does get a little course after use. But I find this perfect for my legs. Especially before I epilate.

Woven Exfoliating Sponge

I find this sponge at my local commissary. It is a heavy duty exfoliating tool. While it has some major power, I feel like it may be too rough on the skin. Although I did enjoy using it when I felt I really needed a good scrub though.

The bad thing about it is that after only a few washes this cheap exfoliator will be pretty torn up. You can see in the photos what happened to mine after just a few scrubs!

The Exfoliating Glove

The tried and true, most popular option available.

exfoliating shower glove for dry skin simple natural beauty products

Everybody loves these gloves. I do not.

It is not that they don’t work. They do and everyone recommends them for good reason.

  • They offer a healthy exfolitaion when used daily
  • Don’t over-exfoliate your skin.
  • They are cheap
  • They are widely available
  • They are easy to use

So what don’t I like about them?

I am all about efficiency. It may be a bit ridiculous, saying that I feel this way.. BUT I can’t stand having to put on a pair of gloves in the shower!! Seriously, I just want to grab something and get to scrubbing!

They feel dirty to me. I don’t know why I feel this way about this one and not most of the others but after just one use I want to toss them.

So which of these Exfoliating Tools do I Recommend?

exfoliating shower products for dry skin simple natural beauty routine

The ECOTOOLS Dry Brush By Far!

Dry brushing is the easiest and most beneficial way I have found to keep skin firm, healthy and ready to Glow!

Add it to Your Amazon Cart NOW to try it for yourself!

What are your favorite Exfoliating Tools? Leave me a comment and let me know your Favorite Products, Tips, and Secrets!!

Pack a Bento Box Lunch + Make Family Lunch an Adventure

Packing a Bento Box Lunch for your family can be a total game-changer. Not only will you reap the health benefits, but you will save invaluable time and a butt-load of money.

When I started forcing myself out in to the world with my littles my entire life changed. I was happier, the kids we’re happier, and the bonding was immense. We grew stronger together, emotionally and physically.

kids eating lunch on outdoor adventure from healthy bento box with fruits and veggie
Our unique lunch at Peles Chair using our Bento Box

There was only one big problem. Food.

I was spending money every single time we went out on food. And feeding myself and three hungry kids is not cheap. Not to mention, finding healthy options isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Too many times did we opt for cheap McDonalds burgers or nuggets. That was a minimum of $10 and a health bomb every time we went out.

So I began the hunt for a Bento Box that I could easily tote around on our adventures. It needed a few things to qualify:

  • stainless steel
  • stackable
  • easy enough for the kids to open
  • easy to clean
  • big enough for the family
  • leak proof

Enter this bad boy.

stackable stainless steel bento box lunch containers leakproof kid friendly

The Unichart Bento Box Lunch Containers comes with 3 tiers you can mix n match. Stainless steel makes it an easy clean and the top lid is leak proof. It has been a total game changer for our daily adventures.

Although this Bento Box has a few quirks, like not all the lids being leakproof, and being a bit large when all tiers are stacked, it is the best one I have used yet.

fruit and peanut butter sandwich with raw honey and raisins bento box lunch ideas for kids

Eating healthy is a priority for my family and this put me back in control of our lunches. Fruits, veggies, and nuts are the majority of what I like to pack in our lunch. My favorite way to pack our Bento Box is to put rice on the bottom, then our veggies in the middle container and the top with fruits or tortillas.

Super simple lunch and an amazing way to watch your budget. If you need some Kid Friendly Lunch Ideas check out The Everymoms 15 Easy Bento Box Lunch Ideas for Your Kids.

My Favorite Time to Bond With The Kids… Snack Time

baby wearing momma feeding baby vegan lunch with zero waste bamboo fork

Another big part of packing our own lunch is how earth conscious it is. We have been working towards zero waste for a while and it can be a challenge. But waste free living doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming, or break the bank. In fact, I find it does quite the opposite in my life.

Here a few products I got to go with our Bento Boxes that made our lunch zero waste possible.

  • Re-Usable Bamboo Cutlery in a Travel Carry Case. I bought 2 of these 2 packs of bamboo fork sets for my family. Each comes with a fork, spoon, knife, bamboo straw and cleaner brush all wrapped up in a nice canvas carry case.
  • Reusable Metal Stainless Steel Straws.  This set of environmentally friendly reusable drinking straws is convenient, durable and long lasting. It includes 4 metal straws, 2 wooden cases and 2 cleaning brushes. We carry these metallic straws with us everywhere now to eliminate our use of throwaway plastic straws.
  • Bee’s Wrap Paper Food Saver  These washable reusable wax papers are a super cute and easy way to save your food. They are a sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap. Wrap up cheese, fruit, vegetables, and bread. We use them to cover an extra bowl or take small snacks when the lunch boxes aren’t needed.

So if you haven’t picked up a bento lunch box for your adventures make sure to grab one soon. They make for a great way to enjoy a lunch with your kids in unique places and bond in amazing ways.

Check out some of our families Hawaii Adventures to see all the places we first took our Bento Box!

Best Raw Honey For Natural Beauty + Organic Health Recipes

Raw Honey has to be My Favorite Ingredient Ever. I use it in my facial masks, body scrubs, hair therapy, and of course my food and drink recipes.

Since my family of 5 will be living in a Mercedes Sprinter Van soon traveling the states I have been going pretty hardcore in my minimalism journey. But just because we will have no space, and most of our time will be spent adventuring, doesn’t mean I am going to just throw my skincare and health out the window!

Quite the Opposite.

Now I am getting together the best of the best Simple + Natural Recipes to make sure I can still get my good Goddess Glow on while I’m climbing mountains. I don’t like spending a lot of time on my skincare routine. Instead I opt for High-Quality and Super Simple.

When I found Royal Raw Hawaiian Honey I had to try it. I am a fan of Crystallized Honey and prefer it that way. It usually melts into my diy beauty recipes easily with a good stirring and makes a perfect thick usable consistency.

raw honey brown sugar body scrub used for natural and organic beauty and health routine

Like Royal Hawaiian Honey knows and states right on their products… The Best Raw Honey is minimally processed, preserving the pollen and active enzymes honey naturally contains. Raw Honey is a living food and it soon crystallizes after harvesting.

I first started with the Royal Hawaiian Raw Wildflower Honey and love it in my Super Simple Organic DIY Body Scrubs and Morning Detox Drink.

Then I found this Magic!

raw honey infusions used for natural and organic beauty and health routine

Royal Hawaiian Raw Honey Cinnamon, Turmeric, and Ginger Infusions. I already put all 3 of these things in most of my food and health recipes. I had to try them infused in my favorite wildflower honey.

On the box it states:

Royal Hawaiian Honey Infusions are restorative blends of Big Island Honey and spices. Our gift pack includes three distinct combinations of raw honey infused with cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric. The pungent, warming spices perfectly compliment our mild wildflower honey, creating a unique and invigorating trio from Hawaii.

raw honey infusions used for natural and organic beauty for self care and skin health routine

Royal Hawaiian Honeys are 100% raw, single-source varietal honeys harvested by a family-owned apiary on the Big Island of Hawaii. They are dedicated to producing the finest quality, artisan Hawaiian Honey.

Unfortunately ,this honey is quite elusive. I am seriously considering buying out all of Costco’s supply and filling up the van. I guess thats the cost of being dedicated to a sustainable, low energy, local family run business. Luckily their Raw Hawaiian Wildflower Honey is almost always available. Thank you amazon.

My favorite Way to Use Raw Honey

In the shower!! Thats right I love smothering my skin in this superfood! Mixed with my favorite Essential Oils, some vegetable glycerin, and an exfoliant (baking soda, salt, sugar, etc) it is magic on my dry skin. My go to is Brown Sugar, Raw Honey, Tamanu Oil, Vegetable Glycerin. See my Recipe Here.

Honey is super moisturizing and nourishing and my dry skin soaks it up. I don’t have to worry if I don’t have the time to apply a moisturizer out of the shower if I have used Raw Honey + vegetable glycerin. The Glow Is Real.

get glowing skin with raw honey, diy body scrub, self care routine

Do you use Raw Honey in your Beauty + Health Routines? I would love to hear about your favorite uses for this superfood.

How To Pursue Your Dreams With Kids + Keep Your Sanity

Do you feel like pursuing your dreams and maintaining a family is a struggle? Well it is. And it is full of challenges. But by figuring out how to balance motherhood, and work from home or for yourself, you can make living your dreams possible. And not lose your mind doing it.

When I got pregnant with my first-born I left behind any semblance of a typical job. In fact, I knew it probably would never be in the cards for me again. I would have to find another way.

Good thing for me, there about a million ways to make money from home. If you put in the research and time you will find your opportunity to raise your children and be with them at the same time.

Doesn’t that sound like a dream?

I thought so too. When I found my passion in photography and started doing sessions I was over-the-moon with my new job. I could bring the kids most of the time to my session, or only need a babysitter for 2 hours, maybe 3 max. Since I don’t trust anyone outside of my immediate family, babysitter means my mom or husband.

Little did I know that Photography is much more than taking pretty pictures. I was soon spending a good majority of my home time on my computer. Learning Website building, SEO, blogging, marketing, networking, editing, workflows, and the list goes on and on and on.

With all that new knowledge I started developing a new, much larger plan of action for my home-based business.

My love of photography has grown into multiple fields including Fashion, Lifestyle, and most of all Travel. Travel is the biggest on that list because my family spends most of our time together adventuring and exploring all that we can of this world.

pursue dreams as a mom with kids how to work with kids stay at home mom life

Because of that, I started a blog and vlog about our explorations, my lifestyle, and our unschooling adventures, all while maintaining a career as a professional Photographer. To say it is a lot to keep up with is an understatement.

So How Do I Balance My Children, Marriage, Career and Sanity?…

Scheduling, and waking up at ungodly times of day (technically night). Okay that sounds awful, but it’s not all that bad. Let me share with you how I keep sane and what I do when I start feeling overwhelmed.


Seriously, for me this is key. Without a decent schedule my wild mind takes over and I end up seeing the list of 500 things I want to do. Not to mention what has to be done, what would be best for the kids, what my husband would enjoy, and what I need to do for my “jobs”. With that many options usually nothing gets done. At least nothing successful or worthwhile.

I know it may seem boring to have your life on schedule, but keeping blocks of time set up makes a big difference. Now you have a little leeway to fill in the blocks with what fits into your life at that time. I typically have my morning blocks set up the exact same every day.

Waking up at 4am is one of the hardest life changes I have implemented. But giving myself this time in the morning, I am able to get a good bit of my work done before the family gets up. This is nearly 3 invaluable hours to get in some me time, write, and edit photos.

This routine is crucial for me as I build out of my “I am not a morning person” roadblock. Benjamin Hardy explains best why productive early mornings are so important in his article This Morning Routine Will Make You Unstoppable. His articles are a constant inspiration for me and keep me on my path of working towards my best life.

Consistency is key to developing momentum. You get it by putting intentional effort toward a singular goal or vision, and eventually the compound effect takes over. It’s as though several outside sources are working for your good. Because, they are.

Benjamin Hardy – The Two Mental Shifts Highly Successful People Make

Time Blocking for My Marriage + Family Time

It might seem ridiculous to schedule time for your marriage or kids, but it is a game changer. Putting in “time for husband” gives us a set time where nothing else matters but us. It is absolutely amazing knowing that no matter how much we need to work, or how dirty the house is, that doesn’t matter. We can let all that fall away for another time.

We fill in that time however we want. Restaurant, movie, late night walk on the beach, back rubs, and/or….other *fun* things. Sometimes its 3 hours sometimes only an hour but that block is crucial, and it is there Every Night.

Time for the kids gets treated as learning time. Good for us we like our education to be had in fun, hands-on ways. This may be going to a museum, swimming, exploring, reading, trips to the library, or a multitude of other adventures spent dedicated to them away from screens and worries.

Family time is where the Gold is at. These are hikes, exploring hidden gems, snorkeling, learning new adventurous activities, lots of laughs, temper tantrums, and other fun typical emotions that comes with young’ns. In short, taking on the world together.

One of my favorite IOS apps for time blocking is BlockyTime. It lets you schedule your time in an easy layout with a few simple taps. You can see your whole day in a glance and simply scroll to see future and past dates.

Minimize Your Distractions

Okay, so I may have a slight problem. I want to do and be Everything.

I want to be a writer, a great photographer for fashion, photojournalism, and families, a badass mom + teacher, a traveler, mountain climber, a Nikon Ambassador (thats right Nikon I’m looking at you), a mentor, a freaking yogi, an environmentalist, run a well-known and useful blog, be insta famous, and the list goes on and on. Like, seriously!!! I just can’t handle all of this. (okay I only knocked off yogi from this dream list, but you get it)

For a long time, and it still happens, I couldn’t nail down a life plan or pursue a dream because I was pursuing a hundred dreams. I would see someone doing something I knew I would like and could be good at, and instantly think… I can do that…

…No!! Stop That.

Since finally nailing down a course of actions I am set on, I have grown in numerous ways. One of the best parts of narrowing down my choices is realizing how much momentum I have gained with all my Time and well put Focus.

I have become far more sensitive about spending time on non-essential activities. Time is one thing you don’t get back. You can’t blame anyone but yourself for what you you do with it, and the consequences of those actions.

Getting rid of the time you waste is a daunting task, but one that must be tackled for you to move forward with pursuing your dreams.

Ways I have Minimized Distractions

I figured out I didn’t need 90% of the things I owned and adopted a minimalist lifestyle. I also knew going to the grocery store, and doing laundry were about my least favorite things in life. So naturally, I started my intentional living journey here.

Capsule wardrobe was the first on my list as overwhelming laundry needed to be a thing of the past. Then I focused on a set way to achieve an easy hassle free way to keep dirty clothes from taking up too much of my time. Timeblocks for the win.

Once I got that in order, I figured out I didn’t want to be a gourmet chef who was cooking a different fine cuisine dinner every night. So, I started meal planning by making a weekly meal theme and sticking to it. I know what I am going to eat each night, and depending on what I find at the market that week, I can make a simple (and still delicious) meal.

Minimalist Meal Plan.. who knew?!

With a minimalist meal plan I spend half an hour in the grocery store, and aside from the produce isle, I don’t look around wondering what I want to buy. I stick to my essentials and if I didn’t think about it before, than I didn’t need it. True Freedom.

I stopped getting on Facebook. About the only time I use FB now is when I reach out to a group I am apart of. I seriously want to fore-go it all together. It has a way of sucking you into other peoples distractions and killing all productivity. Not to mention it is a mostly negative space that kills your mindset.

Speaking of mindset, lets talk about..

Mindset For Motherhood

No matter how well I have everything planned, sometimes it all just falls apart.

work from home mom parenting tips for temper tantrums and needy kids how to deal with crying and outburst

With kids that is a certainty. Some days even the simplest things are tough. And in the right mindset, that is okay. For in life, you will always have to endure low points. Being able to handle the chaotic parts of my life in a patient and calm way has taken a lot of work, and has been very worthwhile.

It benefits my motherhood the most.

I never understood the term work-a-holic before. Like, how could that ever be a thing. I would roll my eyes when I read the quote ” when you love what you do it’s not work”. And then it happened to me. One day I realized I had made it into this elusive club.

Because of this, I try my best to stay out of the house during the day. Otherwise, I will end up on my computer. I am obsessed. I want to edit, I want to write, I want to share, and mostly I want to connect with others on this dream path I have taken. Unfortunately, this obsession takes it toll on my children.

By recognizing that, I can Change it

When my children start to throw temper tantrums or get wild I take a deep breathe and ask myself a few questions. What are they needing right now that they are trying to show me? What can I do to give it to them?

The answer to this is almost always, me. They need me. My time, my attention, my guidance, and my love. And the next part of that, comes with me setting aside my work, or my phone, or whatever was receiving what they were craving.

Instead of yelling and snapping, or telling them how much I dislike what they are doing, I now take a much different approach.

First, I force a smile. That instantly calms my brain and sends a signal that everything is fine. Seriously, try this. It will ease some tension and keep you from snappy remarks you will regret. Plus, if it comes out a super crazy smile, it will throw your kids for a loop, and they may settle right away just to see what the hell is going on with mom.

Second, I either tell them something I would like for them to do, “it would make me so happy if you guys helped me clean up this wreck you have made” or I just sit and be with them.. “hey guys, whats going on? Want to read a book with me?”

After giving them some time, connection and communication, I then come back to what the problem was. I try to mention it in a way that makes them apart of the problem solving. “Your sister yelled really loud when you grabbed that toy didn’t she? Why do you think she did that?”

Giving them prompts to get them to explain the problem will be surprisingly helpful on your end. Having them open up to you lets you figure out how they think in certain situations and they get to feel understood. My kids usually come up with the answer to the problem, and will tell me how they could do it next time, without me even asking, “what do you think would be a better way”.

Taking this route may feel like a lot of struggle and time to put into your kids throwing a temper tantrum. But what is 15 or 20 minutes of your time to ease the entire situation, make a learning scenario out of it, and connect with your children. VS. You spending the next 30 minutes to an hour, barely being able to focus on what you are doing through screaming or disciplining your kids.

Besides, they learn what we do, not what we tell them to do, right?

After spending time talking to them and connecting with them, even if only for 20 or 30 minutes, you will see a huge difference in how they behave and treat each other when left to their own devices.

get kids to play nice together, build a connection with children work from home mom

Surround Yourself With People Who Are On Your Dream Path

Reaching for the stars is tiring and can be lonely. Most of the people who are already in your life typically won’t believe in your dream. That includes most friends and family. It’s the cold hard truth. No one will believe in your dream the way that you do.

Stop trying to convince them. Show them.

Their are plenty of other people rocking their dreams, traveling the world, and working their tushes off who have kids. Find them and see how they do it.

Finding other families who are working to the same goals you are will give you the inspiration to keep going in the hard times. Sometimes “believing in yourself” just won’t seem to cut it.

Better yet, find other mommas who have gone through the point your at and succeeded. Mommas who are farther along than you or at the point you dream of being. Challenging yourself with these people by your side or in your focus point will push you much farther, much faster.

Mastermind groups, accountability partners, and challenges are also all great ways to get competitive and stay inspired in a healthy collaborative way. They will boost your confidence, your knowledge, and give you the drive you need to succeed.

Social media is a great way to find these kind of groups. Start by searching for your niche or keywords and then follow the people who inspire you. Make sure to keep it in the line of your dreams so you don’t get overwhelmed with options, and don’t hesitate to unfollow negative people who waste your time.

Keep Trying + Keep Believing

travel family remote work and how to reach for your dreams with kids

You’ve got this. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Start priding yourself in not letting others tell you what is possible or logical. My husband often tells me that I don’t understand reality. I have come to really enjoy that statement.

Reality is what you make it. So go make a reality you believe in and want to be apart of.

Be patient. Be kind. Involve your kids whenever possible. Unite with other moms and families who are pushing and succeeding.

I believe in you, as much I believe in myself. And thats a lot.

balancing mom life and be successful blogger and work from home with kids

Subscribe to keep up to date with me and follow me on my Journey of Balanced Motherhood + Pursuing My Dreams with My Family

Top 10 Kid Friendly Hikes | Oahu Hawaii

Wanting to know safe kid friendly hikes on Oahu that still have big payoff? You don’t have to fore-go the good stuff when hiking with kids. Read on to find the best waterfalls, views, and mountain trails suitable for all ages!

Makapu’u Lighthouse

Oahu hawaii travel blog adventure family hike

This family hike is perfect for a sunrise with the kids. It is a stroller-friendly paved road, that switchbacks up the mountain. . You will be climbing uphill the entire time, but it doesn’t take long and the views are worth every step.

There are look outs all along the way and once a the top you get stunning views of the offshore islands and nearby mountain ranges. For more details and pictures of the entire trail see My Post on the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail Here.


Makapu’u Lower trails will lead you to a unique area called Peles Chair. Here you can climb a short distance to the large rock (a favorite lunch spot for our family) or you can hang out in the tide pools below.

This is a short easy trail and great place for swimming, cliff jumping, tide pooling, and exploring with the kids.

Hamama Falls

family friendly hike with best waterfall on oahu

Our favorite waterfall and kid friendly hike on Oahu. The trail is maintained by the Board of Water Supply and is a quick, sometimes steep, trek to a powerful 40ft waterfall. There is a swimming hole along the way so make sure to bring your swimming clothes for a quick jump in the pools.

For all our pictures and details of the Gorgeous family hike visit my Hamama Falls With Kids post.

Pu’u O Hulu (Pink Pillboxes)

On the west side of the island you will find a multitude of hidden gems. This family hike is a bit more on the popular side and for good reason. It affords some of the greatest ocean and mountain views within a short amount of time. This is the first hike I took my son on to test him limits and it was a day I will always remember.

Though it can be steep and you will be scrambling over rocks at some points I often see children and baby wearing mommas on the hike. Be weary off the drop offs along the top and take your time on this stunning family hike.

Kaena Point

sunset hike with kids oahu hawaii family hike

You can hike this kid-friendly trail from the west side or the north side. I often hear that the west side offers better views of the ocean, with the stunning cliffs. But I enjoy the North side for all the exploring options. You can walk along the water, or along the dirt road nestled into the bottom of the mountain range, on the North side.

If you make it all the way to the end you will find a bird sanctuary with beautiful large albatross, and monk seals lazily sleeping on the sandy beach. Do not try to touch or get to to close the monk seals though, for they are endangered and that comes with a hefty fine and possible jail time.

Read my full post and see our video of the trail on the Hiking North Shore Kaena Point with Kids here.

Lanikai Pillboxes

One of the most famous sunrise hikes on the island. Though you will often find a multitude of people and tourist here it is beautiful and a short family friendly hike. You will find baby wearing mommas and kids often on this trail. Be aware though, there are some rock climbing areas and it can be a bit slippery so know you and your childs abilities before attempting.

Diamond Head

Diamond head is a fun kid-friendly hike for the whole family and affords you amazing views of Waikiki. With its close proximity to the city you will find it very touristy but quite fun. The lookouts are stunning and the family hike is easy for most ages and baby wearing.

Waimea Falls

Waimea falls is a great family activity that is more of a walk through a forest to a waterfall you can swim at. The only paid trail on the list, the walk is scenic, stroller friendly, and interactive. You can even take the trolley to skip straight to the waterfall or if you don’t want to walk back.

Once at the waterfall, you are able to use the lifejackets available, for no extra charge, and swim in the swimming pool under the waterfall. The whole family had an absolute blast swimming to waterfall and having it push us through the water.

There is even a little snack shack with hot dogs, water, and shave ice near the falls. If you are looking for a better lunch the restaurant at the entrance is a great place to eat where you can even watch peacocks roam freely.

Old Pali Road

old Pali road family hike scenic unique kid friendly trail oahu hawaiii

Though this hike is closed off by a gate it is still “accessible” and you will find many other adventure seekers on the trail. If you want a gorgeous kid friendly hike, on an old abandoned highway, hanging off the side of mountain, with hidden waterfalls and other gems, then this is your hike.

See our video and all the gorgeous pictures of the fun and intensely beautiful Hike at Old Pali Road Here.

Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is touristy and always muddy and rainy. Part of the charm of the hike. A moderately easy trail you can go on to get all the fun pictures of a big adventure. With trees you can walk through, and near constant views it’s easy to see why the trail to this 50ft waterfall is so famous.


Lyon Arboretum shares the same trail head as Manoa Falls and is much less crowded. Though I am not sure why as I love this little area. If you don’t do the whole trail you can walk the gravel road for a bit to a stunning set of trees before you enter the jungle area or stay close to the entrance for a perfect spot to have a snack or lunch after seeing the Falls.

Turtle Bay Kahana Bay Trails

This is a fun little spot on the North Shore of Oahu. With a wonderful Fruit stand market sitting across the street it makes for an all around perfect spot for the day. Start off at the market and get a bag of assorted ready to eat local fruit like dragonfruit and apple bananas, and get a fresh cold coconut chopped for you on the spot.

When you head across the street you can find A large scenic banyan tree and a multitude of trails. Here you can find magic schoolhouses hiding in the woods, pillboxes, horses on the trails, or stop at the beach for turtle spotting.

Letting Go Of Mom Guilt | Balancing Motherhood + Self Identity

Mom Guilt will hold you back from being the strong, inspiring mother and woman you truly are. To be a great mom you must love yourself. This is the first step to creating a life you and your family can love.

mother and son together on fulfilling family hike in oahu hawaii

I had been on the hunt for a photography workshop for close to a year. It had to be perfect. I needed a fantastic location, an amazing group of inspiring women, and time for some much needed Rest + Recharging.

And then the day came, I had finally found it. The most amazing workshop hosted by not one but two photographers I am completely inspired by. The location just happened to be a gorgeous AirBnB hanging off the side of the infamous Amalfi Coast in Italy. Freaking Italy lady!

I knew this would do the trick and kick in my inspiration + motivation I had been lacking for my deepest passion, photography. So did I book it? Hell Yeah I booked it. And I was completely satisfied with myself, not to mention overwhelmingly excited for the next week.

Then The Mom Guilt Set In

All of a sudden I was envisioning my one year old looking for me in the morning, and that about broke my heart. After that the flood gates opened and my thoughts ran rampant. I was imagining my kids burning the house down and wondering how they would survive meals with their father cooking?!

Is this just me being a control freak or mom guilt? Maybe they are the same thing. Or maybe one leads to the other. Either way, an overwhelm of emotions came rushing and I started feeling completely undeserving of some grandiose trip for my own selfish desires.

But I stuck it out and worked through the drowning emotions. And when I was in a better mental state I made the clear and final decision. Damn right I was going to Italy, and Hell Yes I deserve it!

Then I thought about how so many mommas out there are doing the same thing. Putting their own needs, creativity, aspirations and dreams on the back burner because of Mom Guilt.

And if you are here, than I bet you too are in need of a good motivational kick in the pants about balancing motherhood and Finding Your Self! Good thing thats exactly what you are about to get.

Letting Go Of Mom Guilt

First things first momma. You are a great mother. By not only questioning your abilities, but also taking the time to care to read about how you can better yourself in this role, is proof of that. So let me say it again. You are a Great Mother.

great mom getting parenting tips from lifestyle motherhood blog about mom guilt

Since you are here and taking the time to get some helpful tips on battling this ferocious beasts, let me go on and give them to you.

Figure out when Mom Guilt usually strikes

For me, I find that a few things spark the feelings of not being enough. And oddly, it is usually when I am doing too much. Taking care of all the babes, cooking, cleaning, working, caring for the husband, figuring out the perfect meals, planning all the activities is too much for anyone.

If you are overloading your days or being a perfectionist like me than take a step back. Figure out your limits. Because it will catch up and you will start doubting everything. Did I do this right? Should I have done that? Am I totally screwing this whole motherhood thing and my kids all up?!

Shut it! Don’t let yourself get to this point. Know your limits and ask for help. You don’t have to be all the things. In fact, you cannot be all the things. So cut that crap out.

Even if this means asking your husband to help with the dishes a few times a week or start enrolling the kids into getting the laundry together for you. My 3 year old is capable of this. Teach them the life skills young. It will save you sanity and set them up for self sufficiency. Win Win.

Another time I catch my thoughts being jerks is when I have been forsaking them.

That’s right. You need to pay attention to you to. Not just by putting on make-up or sneaking a shower. Those are crap ways of finding me time. You need to check in with yourself Mentally.

In the beginning for me that was hiding in the bathroom the second my husband came home for 5 minutes of peace and to be in a not touching zone. Oh how far I have come.

Okay, after thinking back, maybe sneaking a shower isn’t such a bad one. I have had many a mental convo in the shower. Taking a long walk is another great way to tune into yourself. But the best way to gain some clarity and get on track with yourself has got to be journaling.

I purposefully wake up at an obscenely early time to accomplish this one life changing feat. And that is Morning Pages.

Writing to yourself first thing in the morning with no judgement or worry of what to write will eventually bring you in tune with yourself. Here you will figure out what is really bothering you and what parts of you are locked up and want release. Which brings me to my biggest tip.

Find Your Passion and Live it.

Your children are not your passion. I promise.

But they may be the key in finding it if you haven’t already. I found my love of photography through my intense desire to document my growing children. And it blossomed into something so much bigger than I ever dreamt.

You Will Be A Better Mother By Taking Time To Build Time For Your Dreams

Squash any shame or guilt about taking the time to better yourself. Your children need to see that and it will give better quality family time also.

If you are lost in motherhood and needing help in finding and unlocking your inner desires you can start by asking yourself some deep questions.

These will work great to write in a journal and ponder over for a few days.

  • How am I making choices based on “I should” rather than “I desire”?
  • What would my friends and family say are my strengths? You can actually try just asking them this also!! Try asking your parents or someone close to you.
  • If I was “living the dream” with nothing holding me back what would I be doing?
  • Do people ask me for help in something particular often? If so how I can I develop something from this.
  • What do I gravitate to most on social media. Is it a desire in me that I can bring out?
If you feel like you are drawn to be creative, I highly recommend reading The Artists Way by Julia Cameron.

By taking the time to find your self-identity you will reinforce your character. This is beneficial in not only your mental toughness, but also in showing your children the possibilities and strengths of living and working through goals, and finding their own dreams.

If you can tell yourself everyday that you are doing that, than it won’t be so bad to battle silly self doubts like, “Did I feed them enough veggies today?”

Hey BTW, You are A Great Mom

Remember to tell yourself this A. Lot. Remember you gave them life. Taught them to walk, to talk, and made them giggle when they were sad. You were there for them in the best and toughest parts of their lives. And That will be what they remember.

I hope you got some feels from this and are thinking about big ways to battle the onslaught of mom guilt. You can do it momma. I would love to know your biggest challenges as a momma and how you overcome them.