Ringing in 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

i found this random image, but it could be hawaii!

After the whirlwind and chaos of Christmas, the Duggs and I had a totally chill and awesome New Year’s weekend.  He surprised me with plans and a dinner rez, and it was just an awesome, quiet, cozy way for us to re-set, refresh and get ready to face a brand new year.

First, we went boating!  On Friday of the long weekend, we took out a Boston Whaler and went boating out on K-bay.

leaving the wake behind us like it's 2011. (is that cheesy enough?)

It was so sunny when we first went out, a totally gorgeous day.


i heart k-bay, and the 360 pretty views

Being out in the sun, swimming, playing with the pooch (because it was low tide and he could gallop/prance around like an antelope) – it was all so calming.  I’m so ocean-oriented, that just being out on the water seems to always cure what ails me.

It was just the antithesis of Christmas-craziness, and it felt so good.

When we got home, a bouquet of flowers was waiting for me! Thank you, Duggs, you’re such a thoughtful husband.

special delivery

The next night, New Year’s Eve, we went out to Roy’s in Waikiki.  They had a set menu, with special fare just for New Years and it was SO. GOOD.  Just amazing.  We ate crab, lobster, freshly baked lavosh, I had butterfish and mahi for my entre, Duggs had lamb, and for dessert they had fresh strawberry malasadas, strawberry mochi balls with sweet basil ice cream in the middle, and ginger soda with champagne sorbet floats.  I mean, it was so good. I love food.

Oh.  AND they had funny hats and tiaras for everyone to wear.  It was so cute! We had such a nice time on our dinner date, talking about our favorite 2011 moments.

After dinner, we headed over to The Tanner’s house, where some people were celebrating.  We literally walked in the door at 11:58, and just made the countdown!  I shared a happy New Year’s smooch with Duggs, and we had a toast with a ton of pals!

It was an awesome weekend.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!


as always, thanks for reading! oxox, hhr

a viper in hawaii (my dad/stepmom visit to us)

A Viper in Hawaii

My Dad, affectionately known as “Viper,”  and his wife/my stepmom Anna, recently just came out to our pretty little island for a tropical vacation and visitation.    So if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been absentee – that’s why!  I’ve been playing housekeeper and hostess, tourist, and vacationeer and just going a million miles an hour to ensure that they had a great time.   I did a ton of planning work and prep before their arrival that kept me running around like crazy; thus once they got here, I took a lil vacay from the computer and now it’s time to play catch up. 

Without further ado… the story of their visit:

A Viper was in Hawaii! 

hehehe… Hawaii’s one of many claim’s to fame is being snake-free, so having a Viper out here in Hawaii really is an outlandish and silly as it sounds!

For both of them, this was their first trip to the ‘aina.  It was also their first time seeing Matthew (my husband) in over a year, the first time ever meeting our pooch, JJ, and about four months since they’d last seen me.  So, most of the trip was focused on catching up, quality fam time… but as much as possible was spent seeing this beautiful place I currently call home.  Like anyone’s eight-day-Hawaiian-trip would be: we crammed a lot into a short time!

We picked them up at the airport and brought them fresh flower leis, as per request!  (We didn’t want to disappoint them right off the bat now).


After getting them home, we just unpacked, hung out, ate some dinner – a homemade meal Matthew treated us all too, fried panko shrimp, grilled chicken with homemade fresh mango salsa, sticky sushi rice, amazing! – and caught up with each other.

TAMC  (Tripler Army Medical Center, my second home) 

The first real day on the island was pretty boring.  I had a doctor’s appointment, and it ended up taking a long time.  Funnily enough, I ended up getting some shots, Trigger Point Therapy.  My Dad, a doctor, happens to be extremely familiar with the ole Trigger Point technique.  So he hung out and got to watch, and play coach.  Fun times!  Well, at least in my weird world, this is fun times.

my dad, my doctor, and me - "a little the right... a little to the left... just right!"

Sadly enough the length of the appointment kinda ruined any chance of doing much else.  So we just went home and relaxed.

Our Beach Day

For The Shapiros first real day in Hawaii (technically they’re third, but that’s how distracted I can get everyone with all my dilly dallying) we went to Kailua Beach and had a lovely day in the sun!  Well, the sun that came in between the rain anyways.   Kailua Beach is where my husband and I were married, and we just had to introduce my folks to the location. We brought beach mats and towels, both dogs (JJ + the poodle we’re dogsitting) and had a sandy good time!

Anna and Viper went swimming and while they were in the water they realized it was the first time they’d ever been in the ocean together.  How cute!  And it happened to be The Pacific, which is wild seeing as they’ve both within 30 minutes of the Atlantic for 40+ years.

anna and dad in the ocean at last!

dad, me, and jayjers playing in the warm hawaiian water

such good boys!

Once the rain and wind started to overpower the skies we packed it up and went across the way to Bob’s.  Bob’s is a pizza joint in Kailua Beach and it’s one of my all-time (if not singular all-time) favorite pizza joints.  It’s soooo good!  Dad and Anna have been griping about not having access to quality food where they hail from (Leesburg, Florida) and thus they were literally starved for tasty delights.  SO tasty delights we pursued!

our pizza, one half had sausage, mushrooms and onions (i think)... duggs and i got our usual on our half: spinach and garlic. with the red sauce. extra cheese. OH MY GOODNESS.

After having some incredible hot delicious pizza, we went right next door: Island Snow!  Viper and Anna got their first try of Shave Ice, my fave Hawaiian cold treat.

the viper likes shave ice

oh sweet pooches had such a fun day!

Horseback Riding

We went home, did a quick costume change and packed in the car for the North Shore.  Our evening actibity was horseback riding, we booked a private trail ride at the Hawaii Polo Club.

I can’t vouch for this experience enough:  the horses are beautiful athletes, the ride was fun and at a good pace (no mule horses that just tried to eat the whole time, we actually rode), the location is unreal in its gorgeousness and the good people running the joint are friendly and helpful.  I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all.   (My only qualm is that they answer the phone on Hawaii-time, so call plenty in advance to make sure you can book).

viper = tall in the saddle!

rosie the rider

our super tough horsey gang

sunset on the beach, horseback riding, in hawaii... my life feels so incredible it's hard to believe sometimes

the love of my life

The horsies were so much fun.  After the trail ride Anna, Duggs, and I all got a brief private lesson with one of the polo pros, Javier.  Javier took us around the track and we got to go super fast and feel really serious and awesome.  He told me I was a natural and that I’m really good at horseback riding.  Which I mean, I’m pretty good at everything so I wasn’t so surprised, but it just feels really great to hear from a Spanish Polo professional.  Ahh.

Hahaha… I’m just joking around, cool it.

Boating on K-Bay;  Dinner in Waikiki

The next day we went Boating and then enjoyed some Fine Dining.  It was so lovely.   We did get rained on a bit while we were out on the boat, but since we had the middle-of-the-day time slot, we still got three-ish hours of bright bright sun.

cap'n duggs

My friends Grace and Monica came with us too, and they were such a joy to have around!  They’re two of JJ’s fosters parents.  JJ lived with their family for about three or four months before Duggs and I met and adopted him.  They’re volunteers for Hawaii Dog Foundation and they foster dogs all the time.   Grace and I are both blood cancer survivors, leukemia and lymphoma, respectively, so we’ve had a special connection as soon as we met.    My stepmom is an animal rescuer as well, and she’s saved the lives of so many cats.  I knew that we’d all get along and we’d be able to chat about pets and how cute little fluffy animals are.  My assumption was correct!

monica and grace

grace with olivia, me with jj

they were amazed by how pretty the bay is, surround by lush lovely mountains

We did get some fun and swimming time in.  The tide was a little too high for the sandbar to be pooch-accessible.  We’ve been when it’s really low and JJ can literally run and frolic. But this day it was a tad too deep.  I still made took him swimming and we taught the poodle, Eros, how to swim too!

he loves it!

sunscreen is for white people

Then the rain came, eeks!

roughing out the storm in style

the cap'n sailed us to safety. motored us to safety.

After a day on the high seas, we went out for an amazing steak dinner down in Waikiki!

anna and dad, dolled up for date night and looking dapper!

my daddy and i

Then we had a “down” day. 

Like i said earlier: this was part vacay, yes, but it was mostly family catching up and visiting.   After a couple days of busy activities, we took a day and a half to just chill at home.  Dad cooked up a huge meal.  Dad and Duggs ran some errands, I think mostly stocking up on foodstuffs to cook and wares to cook with.  Anna and I made some tie dye!   I’ve dyed for years, and back when I lived with Dad/Anna, we all tie dyed together.  Since I have my “studio” for my business now – I’m well stocked up on awesome quality pre-soaks, dyes, and detergents… and my technique has vastly improved.  So, this time around produced way better results than the old days of just messing around.

Dad’d dinner was awesome.  He made a Viper specialty simply known as “stuff,” one of his own creations that I had totally missed since moving out.

watching the pooches play took up a lot of our time

dad, happily cooking

our tie dye all wrapped up and ready to rinse

Luau Fun!

The next day we hung out at home for most of the time too.  We watched TV, rinsed and washed the tie dye, and we said goodbye to the pooches.  Our friends, The Tanners (who are total saints) came over to hang out for a bit, introduce my parents to their adorable doggies Bailey, and then they collected JJ and Eros to bring to their house.   The reason being the day after the luau we took off for the north shore for a couple nights.

jed was here to collect the pooches

ashley was looking through tie dye inventory while hanging out and ended up making a purchase

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The luau was fun times!  We did Paradise Cove.  It’s the same luau Matthew and I took my sister, Anna, and his BFF, Brian, to when they visited in September.  Since that experience they’ve hired a new chef, and we could instantly tell.  The food was SO GOOD.  I literally ate so much food that Matthew made me take a pregnancy test.   I was downright gluttonous.  I had four pieces of fried chicken, six helpings of the fish, an unspeakable amount of coconut cake.  I ate civiche and salad and anything I could get my hands on.

my first trip to the buffet

The test was negative, by the way.  Cool your jets eager readers… we aren’t quite ready to try again.  Soon though, hopefully.

There was lots to do other than the food.  The sunset was epic.  Their were activities and crafts, and the show was so fun!  Hula, fire dancing, music and jokes.

i always get really into this kinda stuff. into/overboard

me and my dad, our hawaiian versions

viper making his headband

looking very local!

did i mention there were drink tickets and mai tais involved?


the show!

"stand up if you're in love!"

I promise I don’t work for Paradise Cove, I just really had a great time.

North Shore, Turtle Bay, Amazing!

The last two nights of their trip were spent on total luxurious vacation mode.  Turtle Bay Resort up on the North Shore is one of the most beautiful plaxces I’ve ever been.  It’s probably just the most beautiful.  Matthew and I did our honeymoon there and we had an amazing time.  There are two pools (and one has a water slide!), hot tubs, a full spa, five star dining, and epic escapist views.  The Resort is located up on a little jut of land that’s surrounded by water on both sides, so every hotel room is ocean-view.

Dad and Anna had toyed with the idea of making part of their trip a vacation and I really insisted if they did, they choose Turtle Bay.  Once we found out about the summer specials they were running, it was a done deal!  generously, Dad offered to treat Matthew and I to our own room on the terms that we accompany them, so our visit doesn’t have to end when the vacation part starts.  We immediately obliged and had such a great time:  thank you dad and Anna!!

So we woke up early, packed, and we were off.

Well…. almost off.  We had to stop at Bob’s Pizza first, hehe!

mmmm, bob's!

Our time at Turtle Bay was just SO AWESOME.  Lounging poolside, relaxing in the luxurious rooms, the food… oh the food!  Matthew and I just really loved every minute there and it was such a blessing to get to re-visit our honeymoon location before we leave the island.  Anna and Dad got a couples’ massage on the beach (they have this special hut on the beach, it’s awesome), and we all met up for their last official dinner in Hawaii at the Italian restaurant in the hotel.

i'm gettin my tan on!

dad and anna, sippin pina coladas and living aloha!

ole irish duggs has some very fair skin

sliding anna, so fun

we gave ourselves "tens" on form

hot tub in the rain

matthew and i, at their "goodbbye" dinner

anna and dad, saying "aloha" one last time

leaving turtle bay

We left Turtle Bay that morning, made some pit stops along the North Shore: lunch at Shark’s Cove Grill and one last shave ice at Matsumoto’s, and got home in time for my parentals to pack up and say goodbye to the pooches.  Then it was off to the airport.

daddy saying bye to the noodle one last time

TTFN: ta-ta for now!

I really hope that they had a great time out here.  Given all that we did and saw, experienced and had fun with – I don’t see how they couldn’t have.  It was sad to say goodbye, especially since we’re so very far away and we’re not sure when the next time is that we’ll all be together.   But I’m the  HAPPY hippie and thus, I don’t dwell on the sad, but rather the happy – and the happy memories are a-plenty!

Thanks for everything Dad and Anna, we had way too much fun and you were way too generous in all that you treated us to.  We love you and miss you already!!

arise and shine (and tie dye)

Arise and Shine was this year’s retreat put on by my church’s women’s ministry, Women of Hope.  February 25-27, 120 women all met at Camp Mokuleia for a weekend of fellowship, sisterhood, singing, s’mores, laughter, swimming in crystal clear water, and a giant tie dye adventure.  It was an amazing time!

I know this entry is SUPER LONG, but its full of such good stuff and happy thoughts.  (the end is the best part of the whole story btw, i’m for serious!)

How I ended up at Retreat:

Before the retreat, I didn’t even know what a retreat was.  They kept mentioning it during announcements at church… but I wasn’t really sure what it entailed, I sure couldn’t afford to go, and I had no one to watch JJ.   But, A few of my friends from church kept asking me if I was going, and insisting that Carly and I should go.  Finally, about 10 days before retreat Carly and I talked to Pastor Tami (who was in charge of the whole shebang) and we got on the list for sponsorship.  We decided that if we got sponsored, it was meant to be.

A few days later Carly and I were sitting in Church.  During his sermon, Pastor Carl mentioned that some people had just recently donated to pay for scholarships to the Women’s Retreat.  I just got this hunch that it was for us.  After service I spoke with Tami, and it was official – we were going!

We (yes, I’m speaking for Carly here) were full of a mix of excitement and nerves.   But we were officially going now, so it was time to keep an open heart and just see what happened.  God obviously hooked it up, and it came at a time when we both could use a weekend away… so we were eager to make the most of it. (Carly and I are make-the-most-of-it kinda people in general anyways).

On top of covering the costs, God also found some amazing friends to watch our dogs for us, AND to drive us all the way up to the North Shore.  Everything fell into place.

But wait. It gets better…

Tuesday morning (three days before retreat) I was having coffee with Laura and some other ladies.  One gal complimented the tie dye shirt I had on, and I mentioned that I dyed it myself (of course I was wearing tie dye, I do pretty much everyday).   I went on to say I was actually a tie dye expert, and it’s one of my most fave hobbies.  Laura gets all excited and eager… and informs me that they planned a huge tie dye project for retreat, but no one is too sure on how to do it.    Moral of the story is that I will gladly be helping to guide the project; talk about things just working out perfectly.

First Day of Retreat (Friday)

Whitni, Erin, Carly and I all carpooled up to Camp and had a super fun time snacking on McD’s and chit chatting in the van.  When we arrived, I was so taken back by how pretty the site was.  The North Shore of O’ahu is so gorgeous, and we’d be spending the weekend right on the beach taking it all in.

carly and rose (me) in the van

welcome to camp!

beautiful north shore sunset on friday night of retreat

We checked in and went to our cabins to get settled in before dinner.

our cabin

i call top bunk! (notice how nerdy and neat i am. sigh.)

We went and ate a super tasty dinner in the cafeteria.  With full bellies, we headed to the Chapel for some Praise and Worship, and some teaching from the beautiful and strong Pastor Kanani.  After some silly icebreaker involving singing Christmas Carols (which obvs my team one, I know like a million), we filled the night air with sweet feminine voices, singing up our Praise.

The theme of retreat was “Arise and Shine.”  The whole weekend we’re learning about how to shake off the burdens of everyday life, let God’s light on in, and shine it out for the whole world to see.   We got away from our everyday routines, to relax in a beautiful location.  No TVs, no chores to do.  For many of the women this weekend meant no kids, no work, no carpool, no meetings.  It was a time for us to be selfish in a good way, to let our hearts and bodies rest and recharge.

Friday Night’s message focused on being truly ALIVE.  On making the most out of life, of living the best we can.  On living for God and feeling truly alive and we’re filled with His light.

kanani teaching friday night*

My notes from the first night’s teaching:

We can rise up and accept the Lord and as He fills us with this light we can SHINE.  When we shine, we share this light and love with others.   God wants us to love life, to enjoy life – too often daily life crushes us, crushes our spirits and brings us down.  God’s love can un-crush us – rejuvenate our souls and give us light.

God sends the Holy Spirit into us, and that’s what fills us with light.

Proverbs 18:14, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spirit, who can bear it?”    – As long as our spirit remains intact, we can endure anything.

Given all of my health issues, past and present, the teaching on Proverbs 18:14 just spoke straight to me.  I can handle being sick, I can handle any physical pain – as long as I have my spirit.  I know I’ve been blessed to have a strong, optimistic spirit, and I thank God for equipping me with such a light that’s helped me get through many a hard time.

After teaching we broke for prayer and a bonfire!  Some of the ladies graciously helped pray for me and for my health, they prayed for my healing.  And while physically I’ve been in a rough place and going through a lot since the retreat (the update on my trigeminal neuralgia will be a totally separate blog) – I know their prayers helped me because my anxiety level relating my health has been totally reduced.

Outside of the Chapel that night I met a lovely lady, Lori (alliteration station right there, lovely lady Lori, whew!).  Lori was chatting about some injuries she’s endured as a result of a bad fall she had.  Hearing her talk about surgeries and medications, doctor’s visits and hospitals… I just knew she was a kindred spirit.  Her positive attitude through such adversity was amazing!  She fell at work, and refused to sue (knowing it was an honest accident).  She bears severe pain with a smile, and unless she told you what she was dealing with – you’d never know.   She embraces life and refuses to let her injuries affect her happiness.  She truly has an intact spirit, and thus sickness cannot stop her – she’s so living Proverbs 18!  Talking with her reinforced the nights’ teaching to me, so amazing.  I love this type of life-goes-on, making the best of it, attitude.

As we kept talking, I found out that Lori was an artist.  When we checked in, we were all given journals to use during the weekend.  Each had a hand painted watercolor on the front.  They are beautiful, and Ms. Lori here painted them ALL by hand.  120 paintings!

handpainted journal covers - with glitter sand, omg, glitter sand!!

Since she’s an artist, Lori was originally asked to run this whole tie dye thing.   Wanting to help out, she agreed – but admitted to not having any experience.  She bought the supplies, got all of the fabric, and hoped for the best.  When she heard that a lady with lots of experience would be at retreat (me), she was seriously relieved.  We had a funny chat about how she was so glad I ended up there, and once again – things were working out so perfectly.

SIDENOTE: I mean, how uncanny and random is it that the ministry was in need of someone who knew how to tie dye, and then I was sponsored at the last minute to attend?  It was all really overwhelming.  Honestly, I was humbled by it all and I was just so excited to be able to help.  After a stranger had paid for me to be there – I wanted to do anything I could to help out, give back, contribute.  So I was excited and honored to be asked to help.

After chatting with Lori and getting some prayer, I went to the bonfire.  Hooray, s’mores!!


my gal pals roastin' mallows*

Saturday Morning

We woke up to an insanely gorgeous sunrise:

breaking dawn

oh hay sun, i love to see you!

I didn’t get much sleep that night at all… so I was in serious need of coffee first thing.

i wish i had tiger blood so i didn't need coffee. or sleep.

We walked the beach, chit chatted over coffee and slowly we all seemed to wake up.  At 8:00am, it was breakfast time.  Cafeteria breakfast!  I was so excited.  I happen to LOVE cafeteria food.  I love the trays, I love scooping out my food.  I think its so fun.  So, no surprise, I was right at the head of the line rarin’ to get some bacon.

cafeteria brekky, yum! scrambled eggs, melons, hashbrowns, rice, and BACON.

me and erin in the cafeteria

After breakfast, we spent some time enjoying our surroundings:

carlita and crystal clear water

we met such a nice sea turtle

he decided to swim away as soon as we met him though. rude!

pretty pregnant whitni

from the rocks, looking out into the ocean. so rad!


oh hay! i'm having so much fun at camp.

Mid-morning we had another session of Praise and Worship, and teaching.  We all went into the chapel, ready to celebrate God together.

setting up for worship

carly, erin, myself and whitni in the chapel*

kacie leading worship - "i will celebrate and sing unto the Lord"*

Saturday morning’s teaching started out on John 4:7, the story about Jesus and the Samaritan woman.  As we were learning about this parable, I pulled out my iphone and went to Biblegateway.com and started reading the Scripture in so many different translations.  In my journal I even wrote out “The Message” and “The Amplified” versions.

My notes:

This Scripture speaks to me as Jesus didn’t judge the Samaritan woman.  He went and talked to her, He showed her that He was/is the Son of God – and her choices, her sins, and the fact that she was a Samaritan has no bearing on His want to approach her.

Jesus is for everyone.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’re from.  The only thing he has for us is LOVE.

Sometimes participating in a church is intimidating.  In the past, I’ve been scared of being judged, of not fitting in.  I was worried that if people know where I’d been they wouldn’t want me around.  (I am a sinner, and trust me – I’ve sinned big and hard).  But the deal is, if a church is truly Christian (Christ-like) – it doesn’t matter where I’ve been.  Just like Jesus didn’t judge, and he accepted sinners, a church that is genuine should and will accept me.  Reading this Scripture and knowing how open and welcoming Hope Chapel has been to me just solidifies what an amazing and genuine Church it is, this Scripture was reinforcing to me all those good, happy feelings I get when I’m doing anything with the Hope Chapel Family; its real.

journaling during the service*

women worshipping*

The teaching went on to talk about Fragile Clay Jars (2 Corinthians 4), and the parable of the one lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14).    The teachings of the morning focused on letting go of what ties us down.  We talked about how special we are to God.  The theme that Pastor Kanani kept reiterating was to live your life with “no strings attached.”  To not let things burden you down, and hold you down.  I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,” Jim Elliot, missionary and martyr. (Kanani actually talked about Jim Elliot and his mission the night before during her teaching, full circle!).

The gist of that quote is to get rid of the things you cannot take with you, in exchange for the things that you cannot hold.  Get rid of your worldly, material things.  Get rid of the items that stress you out, that bog you down.  Because when we die, the Chanel handbag and Gucci clothes ain’t coming with us.  Instead, fill your life with the intangibles: love, happiness, laugher, pooch smooches, hugs, rainbows, smiles.

More of my notes:

We need to empty our hearts of all our worldly stuff: pride, hate, anger.  And we need to fill them [our hearts] with love.  With God’s love.

Kanani says: God has way more stuff than we have.  Annie didn’t bring her bed from the orphanage with her into Daddy Warbucks’ house.  We cannot drag what we have into Heaven, why would we?

Saturday Afternoon

After morning worship, we had free time before lunch to go swimming! Hooray! I love the ocean so much.

me and whitni in the ocean

me and carlita. we are fishies.

After lunch… it was TIE DYE TIME!

The Tie Dye Project

According to Wikipedia, a Pareo is a wraparound skirt.   Pareos are popular in Hawaiian culture, and we would be making tie dye Pareos, that could be used as skirts, wraps, prayers shawls, tapestries, almost anything!  The fabric Lori got was this really light linen.  And Laura had picked out all kinds of pretty colored dye for us to use.  Most of the women at camp had never tie dyed before, so it was really fun seeing them learn and get excited and just enjoy themselves.

Everyone met in the chapel after lunch and did some icebreakers, while a small group of us was outside mixing the dye.  As we were mixing them up, and setting up the buckets, we realized we were way short on salt.   I advocate for dying wet garments (pre-soaking in water vs. dying somethin dry; optimally soaking a garment in water w/ soda ash) – so the idea to have people soak their fabric in the ocean came up.  The dye needed more salt mixed in, and the garments needed to be wet first.  Perfecto!

I popped into the chapel to try and give some direction.  Talking on the mic was more intimidating than I though, and I’m pretty sure my instruction was more confusing than helpful.  I ended up telling everyone to just find me and I’d be down to help anyone with anything I could.

i'm on the mic, laura is my vanna white

mixing the dye right out on the beach*

getting all set up

The only instructions I gave: get your fabric wet first (there was a spicket of fresh water, or the dunk in the ocean idea), choose a pattern and use rubber bands, we have gloves available so you don’t dye your hands, you can hang your pareo up to dry right away or you can bag it and let it soak over night – I recommend the soak and wait.

For the people doing the soak and wait I gave some washing tips – wash on the hottest cycle you have with a cup or so of whit distilled vinegar.  vinegar will help lock in the dye (think: Easter Eggs).

THE MOST IMPORTANT TIE DYE INSTRUCTION: don’t sweat it and just let it happen.  Colors will run together.  It will get messy.  Its supposed to, the meshing and blurring of colors makes tie dye beautiful.  The imperfections make it unique and show that it was dyed by hand.  Just embrace and go with it.

All that said… and they’re off:

tie dye bonanza

getting the fabric ready*

dipping the linen right in the ocean*

My hippie heart is just exploding at this point:  tie dying outdoors, right on the beach, dunking the fabric in the saltwater and just shooting the breeze with all these wonderful women… such a rad afternoon for me.  The setting was gorgeous, and here I am teaching all of these women about one of my most favorite crafts.  I was just so full of excited energy and joy.

twisting the fabric*

i'm so large and in charge

usually i dye with squirt bottles, but mixing enough individual bottles for 120 women would have taken so long and been expensive. instead we used buckets of rit dye and powdered tulip dye - so i came up with the idea of using these tiny cups to help localize where the dye went instead of only dunk dying. the technique worked SO WELL, i was so stoked.*

of course, dunking is always still an option when you have buckets o' dye*

whitni dying with some pink, pretty!*

pastor tami tie dying*

action shot of me being all bossy*

Ready for the results?  Finished products:

pareos in the wind*

they came out so awesome, right?

leeann did an AMAZING job

love how bright this one is, amazing

the starburst technique was epic on fabric of this size. perfect!

this makes my heart so happy

bright and pretty, just awesome!

are you sick of tie dye pics yet? i'm not! i love them!

I helped all of the ladies tie dye for four hours.  It was such a gorgeous day, we had so much fun out in the sun chit chatting and laughing and dying.

And then I realized, I hadn’t made one for myself yet!

i didn't get to do one yet

i labeled my fabric

super tight twist = the bomb

My final product:

my pareo is hanging up in my kitchen to make me smile everyday

Saturday Night

We had another service Saturday night.  Again we started with singing worship songs, and then had some preaching and teaching.   Saturday night’s theme was about being awake.

My notes:

Rev 3:3 = You must wake up or you’ll miss it all

Being aware, being awake not just to what’s around us – but being honest with ourselves.  Its about taking a long, hard look at ourselves; self-actualization.

God doesn’t want us to be something we’re not – He created us the way He wants us!  -That said, its about living up to our potential, being the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

We need to wake up to who we really are.

We learned about asking God to wake us up, to really open our eyes to what’s inside us and what we are.  This can mean so many things: tapping into potential that isn’t being used, facing and dealing with the things we’ve suppressed, learning who we really are, smashing down those walls and guards we’ve put around our hearts.

I believe this message is something really powerful.   But at the same time, I was having a hard time figuring out how to live it.  I feel like in the past few years I’ve gone through a huge process of learning who I really am, looking way inside me and digging up all the junk, of going through a lot of the exercises that were being discussed this night.   I feel like I know the burtal honestly about who I am, and I’ve even come so far that I love the real me and I want to be the real me forever.  Icing on the cake: my husband knows, loves, and accepts the total real me.  (seriously, does it get any better than that?)

I loved the message about not being perfect.  God never asks us to be Perfect – but just to be who we are, and to try.  I love that.  What an empowering and liberating thing to know.  I wish I could spread this message to all the women in the world, all the people even.  So many people waste the fun and happy parts of life by trying so hard to be perfect, or be something they aren’t.  I am who I am, and its such a freedom that I have not pretending to be anything else.  I wish my lightness for everyone, I really do.

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning, after breakfast we had a different kind of service together.  Pastor Ruby gave us a beautiful devotional.  She talked about Psalms 102 and 103.  Just the night before I had diligently studied Psalm 103, and it was so crazy to me that she was preaching on it the very next morning.

What Ruby had to say was personal, and touching, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the chapel.

After Ruby, Pastor Tami talked to all of us.  She put in so much hard work to make this retreat a wonderful event.  Its crazy to know she had been working and planning this all for months and months, and until a few days before I didn’t even know much about the whole thing.  I’m appreciative of her hard work though, I had such a great time and I don’t have the words to properly tell her how much I look up to her.

Then the microphone was opened up for retreat testimonials.  Hearing these women, my sisters, get up and just open up their hearts was amazing.  Women talked about what they got out of retreat.  They admitted to not wanting to come and being dragged there.  Some talked about being nervous and how they ended up making friends and having fun.  Some asked for prayer.  Some had praise reports.  It was just a cool experience to be a part of.

Last, but not least, I decided to get up on the mic myself.

tellin' my story*

I told everyone how just a couple weeks before I didn’t even know what a retreat was.  But God brought me to this retreat.  Someone paid for me.  Someone’s husband was watching my dog.  Someone even drove me there!  All I had to do was pack and keep an open mind.

I explained how it had been a rough couple of months for me:  My husband deployed in November with three weeks notice, I lost our baby right before Christmas, I was so ill because of the miscarriage I was unable to go home for Christmas and I spent the whole time alone on my couch, and the stress on my body has spurred up some exacerbations of pre-existing conditions that I have.

I’ve been trying very hard to get back into the swing of life.  I’ve been staying busy, spending time with friends, laughing, having fun.  I’ve been throwing myself into church and I’ve been loving it.  I go hiking and swimming, and try to keep my heart light and move past this sadness.  I like to be happy, and usually I am a happy girl.  But to be really truthful, the past couple months haven’t been a cakewalk, yo.

Saturday afternoon of retreat Matthew (my husband) called me from Afghanistan.  When he asked about how retreat was going I told him all the great things I was doing:  I had so much bacon for breakfast and s’mores around a campfire!  I went swimming in the ocean, and this afternoon I taught 120 women how to tie dye!! His response was, “sounds like your most ideal day ever, huh?”  LOL, he’s so right.  He also told me that I actually sounded HAPPY.  I sounded genuinely happy to him and he loves to hear that, it does his heart good while he’s over there.

So I thanked these women.  The chit chats, the giggling as we all had melted marshmallows covering our faces, swimming in the ocean and scaring away the sea turtles, just having someone to pray with: all of this sisterhood, in such a beautiful place away from my usual surrounding was just such a great way to hit the reset button.  I felt so refreshed and alive, and I just thanked all of them for being part of it.

Then I sat down.

Well, remember how I keep mentioning that a stranger paid for me to come. After I sit down, Laura leans over and whispers in my ear, “Lori is the one who sponsored you.”  Lori! LORI! The one who I related to about smiling through the pain, about doctor’s visits and being in the hospital.  Lori who loves arts and crafts, and who painted those journals for us.  Lori who didn’t know how to tie dye but said she would anyways and then heaved a huge sigh of relief when she found out some random gal attending knew how to do it.  LORI! Talk about kismet.  Talk about full circle.

I was so overwhelmed I started crying.  I ran up and grabbed the mic and announced this little tidbit to the group, and everyone burst into applause.  What an amazing, perfect, God-given fit.  The coolest things like this always happen to me, and I love it.

hugging and thanking lori as soon as i found out*

Finally it was group photo time, and retreat was over.  What an amazing weekend!!  I was so blessed to be a part of this, and I know I’ll carry these north shore memories with me long after I leave this island.  I am just so thankful.

arise and shine 2011 retreat*


*All of the pics with the lil asterisk are courtesy of the beautiful and wonderful Joy Pishcura.  Thanks Joy!!!!!


here’s a photo of Lori and me outside church on 13-March:

lori + me (and yes, i dyed that skirt!)

vog, pipeline, and shave ice

Today was a super Hawaiian day for us.

Carly, Ashley and I decided to venture to the North Shore for a beach day that wasn’t our same ole, same ole. (Usually we just go to the beaches here on base, which are gorgeous… but we’re on that whole quest to see more of the island, yeah).

This morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  It seemed like it would be a perfectly amazing beach day.  Then I learned about VOG.  Vog is volcanic fog that rolls into the skies of Oahu during “winter.”   Its a kind of pollution from volcanic sulfur dioxide mixing with oxygen (according to wikipedia anyways).   Blah blah blah science talk… the bottom line is that vog is yucky and makes everything outside look yucky.  It makes it seem like the weather is crappy, when it really isn’t.  And my asthma friends are having a hard time breathing and exercising outside. Ewwy!

Our first stop was in Laie, at Hukilau Beach Park.  We got down to the sand, and then ended up turning around and going back to the car because it just not fun beach weather at all.

Looking south at Hukilau Beach Park (Laie, Oahu)

Looking north from Hukilau Beach

Hukilau Beach Park


So we decided to keep driving north.  As we’re passing Banzai Pipeline we see a ton of cars, and people, and we see all the stuff set up for a surf contest.  We’re thinking, so rad!

We walk up to the first tent we see and there’s a big contest sign and some brackets.  I can hear an announcer off in the distance, and some people are hawking tee shirts.  Neato!

Pipe Pro

We get a little closer and see the brackets posted.  The contest claims to be “pro” – but I don’t recognize a single name in any of the heats.  Weird. Hmm.

Contest Brackets

We get down to the beach, and we can hear the announcer calling out competitors names and what colors they’re wearing.   The caliber of the crowd is pretty small and not really as pumped as you’d think for the semi-final heats of a major pro contest; there isn’t really any fanfare or commotion going on.  There wasn’t a stage, or any music, and we only could see one photographer.

Yeah, we’re idiots.  It took us a few minutes to realize this was a pro BODYBOARDING competition.

Turns out pro boogie boarding, although pretty sweet and impressive in its own way, is not really that fun or cool to watch.  Especially not if you were expecting that maybe you were about to see pro surfers.  It was also a pretty small day for Pipeline, so that was ho-hum too.  We hung out for a bit hoping it would get sunny, but the vog got the best of us today.   The beach itself (Banzai Pipeline) is really pretty, and we had a nice time just laying down and chit chatting.  Even though it was voggy, it was still warm enough for the beach.

A small day at Pipeline

The contest crowd + judges tent

Do work!

Come on... you know you wanna come out and give me a tan (cancer).

Ashley, Carly, Rose (me) - and the doggie is Bailey, Ashley's pup!

After watching some sweet boogie action, it was time to move on.

The final stop of the day was in Haleiwa, which is a super cute town that’s totally overrun with tourists.  We decided to wait in line for some shave ice from Matsumoto Store.  Word around the aina is that it’s the best save ice on the North Shore.

Matsumoto's Line

too many flavors, so hard to choose

Shave Ice is basically a sno cone, only they call it “shave ice” in Hawaii.  I have no effing idea why its not called shaveD ice, or a sno cone.  But it is what it is.  Shave Ice.  The ice itself is super duper soft, really finely crushed.  Which I guess does make it very unlike a snow cone.  Its like powdery snow really, and there’s no biting necessary.  The flavors are crazy tropical sweet awesomeness, and totally full of very poisonous dyes.  Sometimes you gotta take a walk on the wild side though.

I chose “The Hawaiian” – banana, pineapple, and coconut.

The Hawaiian (holy deliciousness)

I chose wisely.  That janx was so tasty and sweet.  This is a SMALL (can you believe that?) and it costs like $2.  I think mine was $2.75 because I opted to add “beans.”  They literally put beans in the bottom.  I know that sounds so weird, and it kinda is… but they cook the beans (Japanese red beans, although they looks and taste just like black beans/frijoles negros) in sugar water, so they’re kinda candied.  Anyways, whatever they are, they’re also delicious and I should have gotten a picture of them because I’m sure the whole thing sounds weird and crazy (because it is).

I ate mine the fastest.  And in true Rose fashion, I got it all over myself and made a mess.  A very happy, satisfied mess.

I'm queen of the shave ice!

All in all, it was a pretty fun day with my girlies.   Vog and boogie boarders aside, we still giggled and had a good time. I always do when I’m with my gal pals!