Eloping and Touring on the Big Island of Hawaii!

The beautiful Big Island of Hawaii.  There are so many reasons to visit this island over any of the others.  It is less crowded, it has multiple climates depending on where you’re located on the island, and best of all, it has active volcanoes.

We chose this island to elope and stay for our honeymoon.  It was the best decision we could’ve made.

We left May 13, 2016 and planned to stay until May 22, 2016.  After our arrival May 13th, we went straight for the Mai Tais!

May 14th was the big day.  You know how stressful this day was?  It wasn’t.  And you know how much preparation happened on this day?  Maybe an hour.  Now that is a perfect wedding day.

Leading up to the wedding, we snorkeled in the bay and laid on the beach soaking up the sun.  I eventually left everyone snorkeling and went and had my hair pulled back into a low bun.  After coming back to the room about an hour before the wedding, we put on our dress and slacks, and left to the beach.

We used a company called Destination Hawaii Wedding that made this such a breeze.  We would absolutely recommend them.  They are very well known for their sunset photos as you will see below.

My brother made an excellent photographer during our wedding ceremony.  You can choose to have someone shoot the ceremony, but we decided to only take photos after.

The spot we chose to get married was a beautiful private beach in front of million dollar homes.  There was no one around an hour before sunset.  However, we did have about 7 unexpected guests which you will see soon enough.

My sweet father walked me to our ceremony spot.

The scenery was just breath taking.  It was a little cloudy which is not uncommon for the Big Island, but it cleared just in time for sunset.

The ceremony was a traditional Hawaiian ceremony with leis, Hawaiian prayer, and personal vows.

The leis were made of real orchids and kukui nuts.  It was absolutely perfect.

After our ceremony, we took a walk together to soak in the beautiful scenery and the exciting moment of now being husband and wife!

The lava rock, the ocean, and vegetation are just breath taking.  Being able to have just gotten married and walk down this amazing path and enjoy this moment was something I will always cherish.

After finishing our walk, it was now sunset and Catherine Alisantosa did an amazing job with officiating our wedding as well as taking our photos.

And for our unexpected guests??  We had 7 resting sea turtles hanging out the entire time.

It was so much fun to be married in one of the most relaxing and peaceful places in the world.

Now that we had checked getting married off the list, we were now ready to explore this beautiful island!

Our first stop was Waipio Valley.  This valley is extremely picturesque and very rainforest like.

Black sand beaches lay below this cliff, as well as wild horses, coffee plants, and mango trees.  This side of the island gets a lot of rain so many things grow here.

From many angles around the island you can see the mountains make a “W” for Waipio.

You see it again down here as well.

There are plenty of wild horses to be seen… And it seems that they are becoming more used to people because they tend to get fed Cliff Bars!  Very beautiful area.

The next tour we really enjoyed was Volcano National Park.

This is a shot of lava that destroyed this area in the 1970’s.

We also got to take a look an the active volcano during the day and at night!

Here is the day shot.

And here is a zoom shot at night!  This volcano ended up having a full blown eruption about 1 month after we left!

This beautiful sea arch can also be seen in the Volcano National Park.  The waves are huge here and they crash so hard up against the rocks.  They suspect that this arch won’t last all that long with the strength of the waves in this area.

We had such an amazing time drinking fresh coconut water, exploring lava tubes, and snorkeling in the bay.  I can’t express how much I love this island and how happy I am to have made it such a special place for us.

If you are considering a trip to Hawaii, I would highly recommend the Big Island!



Using Adult Coloring Books as the Ultimate Snack Distraction!

coloring 1

In case you haven’t heard, adult coloring books are all the rage now-a-days!  It is very exciting and we’ll go into why!

I was walking through a bookstore this weekend and immediately entering, I noticed the center display.  Of course I had to check it out to see if I could find anything up my alley… and of course I did!

I chose a coloring book on Mandalas called Mandala Meditation Coloring Book (Serene Coloring) used for Buddhist meditation and spiritual healing.

coloring 2

Coloring books are being used for all types of reasons and I wanted to discuss some of the great benefits of using these books.


They are an excellent distraction if you are trying to stay on track with a diet!  Especially as we approach the holidays.

Lots of times we are triggered to snack when we aren’t even hungry.  Snacking has really become a type of hobby or something to do while watching TV… But next time stop.  Before grabbing that quick chip and dip, think for a second… “Am I really hungry?  Am I bored?”  And if you’re not truly physically hungry, put that food down!  Grab that nearby coloring book and get to work.  Before you know it, 15 minutes has gone by and you are fully engaged in something other than food.

Current Score: You- 1, Junk Food-0

coloring 4


As adults, all we do is stress…  “Did I pay that bill?  Do we have anything for dinner this week?  When is my son’s soccer game?  Did I remember to fill up my car with gas?”

Sometimes we need to do something simple and mindless, just for fun, to remember life doesn’t always have to be stressful.  And what better way to do that than coloring.

It can bring you back to when you were 10 years old, had no worries of GPA, bills, purchasing homes, or going to work on Monday.  Only innocent times thinking about what you wanted for Christmas and playing with friends on the playground.  A perfect memory to relive when feeling overwhelmed by life’s curve balls.

coloring 5


This is something you can do with your entire family no matter what age.  With technology now, kids hardly talk to one another let alone put the Ipad down long enough to tell you how their day went.  We use technology all too much to distract kids today.  What ever happened to promoting creativity?  Hanging up the little one’s artwork?

So why not grab a coloring book and color together as a family.  Help each other.  Talk about your day.  Turn off the gadgets and enjoy each other.

I must say, I’ve truly enjoy going back in time and coloring again.  I would highly recommend it for anyone of any age.  It’s very exciting to see something so simple become such a hot trend right now.  Especially since it has nothing to do with electronics and has everything to do with creativity, stress relief, and family!

coloring 3

Why We Enjoy A Hike

jericho 3

It was my boyfriend’s 30th birthday and I had planned surprises for him all weekend long.  One of our favorite things to do together is enjoy the outdoors.

We are avid hikers and started the Appalachian Trail a few years ago as section hikers, but we haven’t been able to take the time off to go back for our usual fall hike.

So for one of my birthday surprises, I planned a day hike to an area we had not yet visited… and of course packed a picnic!

He had no idea where we were going until he saw me filling up the camel backs full of water.  Then the wheels started spinning.  “We must be going hiking,” he said.  Of course I replied, “Maybe… Or we could be biking… or kayaking…”

The mystery must be kept!

So we pull into the parking lot of the trail head to begin a day hike to a picnic he has no idea is coming.

The hike was down a mountain for 3.3 miles and ended near a pool of trickling water with enormous limestone walls surrounding you.  The leaves were changing and the air was crisp.  Perfect for a surprise picnic.

While admiring the scenery and realizing how small we were next to the limestone walls, I spotted the perfect rock for the secret picnic.

jericho 2

I laid out the blanket then pulled out some snacks and a bottle of wine.  While I filled up the plastic wine glasses we began a game of questions that I put together.  Now these questions were not about our relationship or encouraging any serious conversation.  They were very fun and light-hearted.

If you want to shut off the phones and TV just to enjoy your significant other, I would recommend going through these questions together.  It was a lot of fun to hear the responses and see if his answers would be what I expected.


  • If you had one day left to live, what would you do?
  • Where would you most like to go on vacation next?
  • What would you do if you won $10,000 and could not save/invest it?
  • What is your most embarrassing moment?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What is something you did as a child that your parents never knew about?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite season?
  • What is your favorite restaurant?
  • What is the craziest dream you’ve ever had?
  • What do you think is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?
  • Is there a silly accomplishment you’ve made that you’re secretly really proud of?
  • If you could trade lives (or jobs) with someone, who (or what) would it be?
  • What is your favorite time of day and why?
  • Who is your favorite superhero?
  • Is there a show that you used to watch as a kid that you would love to see come back?
  • What is your favorite outdoor activity?
  • What is your favorite book?
  • What is one thing almost no one knows about you?
  • Would you rather go for a hot air balloon ride or bungee jump?
  • Would you rather give up music or TV for a month?
  • What are the top three things on your bucket list?
  • What is your favorite type of food?
  • What song can always make you dance?
  • What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • If you could choose any career (besides the one you have) right now, what would it be?
  • A meteor is headed for your house.  You have saved your family, pets, and the family photos.  You have time for one more item.  What will you save?
  • Which of these do you have the most of: sense of humor, sense of time, sense of adventure, common sense?
  • If you had $100 you could spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy?  What do you think I would buy?
  • In a regular day, what do you find yourself thinking about the most?
  • If you could change only one thing in your life, what would that be and why?
  • What things in your life bring you the greatest pleasure?
  • What country would you like to visit next that you have not yet visited?

After finishing our questions game and the last of wine in our wine glasses, we headed back up the mountain.  The scenery was beautiful, the air was crisp, and the company was wonderful.

I think hiking is one of the best things you can do to relieve stress and remember what it was like when technology didn’t rule us.

jericho 1

Clean air, picturesque scenery, and no interruptions is something that everyone can benefit from, but very few people experience.

So get out there.  Especially while the leaves are changing.  You won’t regret it.


Enjoy Each Other – Start a Fire!



In the south, the way people socialize is with food.  We eat at weddings, birthdays, funerals, baby showers, and many many more events…  So what is there to do that helps relieve stress and also allows you to socialize at the same time?


My cousin and his wife made an awesome fire ring in their back yard and invited me over to visit.  One thing that came to mind as I sat down under the stars was that I forgot how much fun it can be.  We got to catch up and enjoy the crisp fall weather.

There were lots of laughs, stories and minutes of silence… which every single one of those things were relaxing.

All too often we are rushing around, stressing about work, sucked into the television, or screaming at the guy who cut us off on our way home from the grocery store.  How often are you sitting around a fire ring enjoying old company or meeting new company?

And this weekend, I got to do both.

So a word of advice… Shut off the tv and grab friends or family and make a fire.

I can promise you, you’ll be glad you did.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

book 1


This book has become one of my favorite books of all time.  The reason?  It puts things in perspective.

Everyday we are faced with stressors… Job, kids, events, deadlines, and well… life to put it simply.

This book discusses a lot of “small stuff” that can initiate anger or frustration, and then provides you with ideas of how to look at those situations differently.

This has become our nightly reading material.  Each chapter is about one page so it is a great way to end a stressful day.

Just a few things this has help me work on:

ROAD RAGE: This was something I experienced almost daily.  If I wasn’t rushing to work in the morning, I was rushing to the gym after work, and then rushing home.  Everyone seems to be in the way when you’re in a rush.  So I decided, I need to stop rushing.  To force myself, I actually started working on being the polite driver… For example: Letting people merge if needed (even if that requires me to hit my brakes).  This has definitely helped my mood by the time I get home.

LISTENING:  When you’ve had a busy or exciting day, all you want to do is talk to someone about it.  But you have to remember, other people may have had things occur through their day they would like to talk about too.  So listening without interrupting is extremely important when trying to be an active listener.  A lot of times my boyfriend may be telling me about something that reminds me of something else.  And instead of discussing it immediately, I wait… I make a mental note to bring it up a little later, because I want to know more about what he has to say.

ENJOY LIFE:  This has been one thing I struggle with.  The book discusses how not to wait to have fun, because your “inbox” will never be empty.  I am always thinking of chores to do or errands to run.  For this reason, I may pass up a bike ride, pick-up soccer game, or a short hike.  Now I ask myself, “Can I vacuum tomorrow to go hiking today?” And most of the time, the answer is yes.

These are just a few things (of many) I’ve tried to incorporate from this book.  It truly is a great read and has helped me see life a little differently.  If you are looking for a great way to wind down your day, grab a cozy blanket and check out this book.  Figure out how to get started now eliminating stress.  Life is just too short.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff

BY: Richard Carlson, PH.D.

**I do not have any relationship with this author.  I am not promoting this book for any other reason than to offer a way to reduce stress and help others in the way it has helped me. **


Back Deck Gardening


 There are tons of reasons to garden!  It’s relaxing, rewarding, and gives you fresh ingredients without the trip to the grocery store.  The only problem is, when we think of gardening, we may think constant weeding, mosquito bites, tilling, fencing, pests, and sunburns.  So how do you garden so it’s fun, easy, and gratifying?

By using pots on the back deck!


This is a very minimalist way to garden that requires very little attention and can still provide you with great produce or herbs.  For our climate in Alabama, tomatoes grow like weeds. They do require watering every few days, but that’s about it.  It is also important to try and pick your ripe tomatoes within a day or two of reddening so they don’t get eaten by other critters (especially if you don’t want to use pesticides).

But there is something truly exciting about growing your own food.  It is extremely gratifying to make your own pico de gallo with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and garlic right from your garden.


For many of my patients, they use gardening as a way to get exercise and improve their vegetable intake in their diet.

But for me, I use it as a way to relax.  A way to provide fresh produce to my friends and family.  Especially when I have a great turn out.  Now that’s gratifying.

And if back deck gardening still seems like too much work, visit your local community garden or Food Bank.  There are always people in need of fresh food and the feeling you get helping people is beyond satisfying.

This is definitely one way to feed your mind and your belly!