A beautiful obsession

In September we took our Christmas family photos. That’s right, September and would you believe I had originally scheduled them in August, but things came up and we moved them to the end of September. I like to get these done nice and early each year.

Due to our current location, Vance REALLY pushed for Aloha wear for our photos. I was apprehensive to say the least. The thoughts that Aloha Wear conjure were enough to scare me back to my usual solids lovin’ photos. After combing the NEX, PX and Target for several weeks and fifteen shirts later, we had three that worked for the guys. I did look for something along the same lines for myself to wear, but nothing really hit the mark.


There is a catalog company, Boden, from the UK that I adore; to put it lightly. In reality, I dream of a closet full of Boden or better yet a trip to London, with my bestie Christie, to try on my beloved Boden pieces in a retail store. Anyhow, I’m getting sidetracked! I found a wonderful dress from Boden that coordinated with the Aloha shirts and fit like a dream.


One minor oversight – my jewelry. This dress begged for a statement necklace, but where oh where could I find one that I would love for the photos and afterward? Not to mention, I waited until two weeks before the photos to get seriously looking. I was stressed.

Sooo, I have this friend. She and I attended architecture school together. At the heart of every architect is an artist and Steinen’s artistic pursuits are in the form of rocks. She now owns her own company designing jewelry. I have perused her website from time to time; the website and pieces are very compelling. This turned out to be a perfect opportunity to take the leap and get one of her necklaces.


She is amazing! She was able to talk through the necklaces and what would work with my dress. In the end, she adjusted one she had on hand to fit my frame. I did not tell Vance about this purchase. Instead he noticed it at the shoot and was struck by how beautiful it was in person. I have since purchased a matching set of earrings and find myself trolling her site more often than I care to admit.

I was also in awe of her customer service as she is a mother to four young boys! Yes, FOUR. I know, she’s a little crazy! And there are days I can barely manage my TWO! Here’s her website: Steinen Jewelry. I warn you, they are addicting.

Photos my Marina Ryan.

All Aboard!

After much convincing, we finally made it to the Dole Plantation last weekend. Vance drives 90% of this route for his daily commute, so it’s a hard sale to get him to make the trip on a day off. But I did it! Thanks in large part to the many rave reviews of the DOLE WHIP we’ve heard recently.

tickets On Train

We went early, which was probably key, it was sunny and hot and after a couple hours, we were all ready to head for home. The big draw for the boys was the Pineapple Express – John’s first official ride on a train, which Brendon was sure to point out several times. At 20minutes, it was just the right length for the boys. Any longer and we may have had a man overboard situation.Boys on trainTouching

By Brendon

Brendon’s photography skills.

 Afterwards we toured the gardens (sans headsets = FREE) and let the boys run, terrorizing the tourists. Wait, do you think we were considered tourists too?

I was very intrigued by this Gum tree we saw there; seemed so Seuss inspired, or vice versa. Turns out there are some in our neighborhood that Brendon found a couple days later when he was running the hill.

Gardens mixed

We rounded out the morning with the amazing pineapple ice cream treat known as the Dole Whip. Really, you don’t need your own as they are generous with the portions, but you’ll forget you’ve ever read that when you’re standing at the register. I did. We also got a Pineapple Float in the souvenir cup for the boys. Again, way more than one person, or two mini people, really needs calorie wise, but oh so good.

Pine float

It’s a little tart if you don’t mix it.

Dad and Mini