Latest Posts

Brighten Your Monday With A Little Maui Magic

Happy Monday! I spend some time this weekend organizing (and reorganizing) my photos, and I found so many of these beautiful photos of Hawaiian skies. So I figured, what better way to brighten someone’s Monday than with these shots?

If you’re dreading going into work today, just remember that we live on a planet full of beauty. And even if you don’t live in a place like Hawaii, simply remembering that places like this exist is reason enough to smile through your day.

Spread the “Aloha Spirit” today and make someone smile, do a good deed, be positive, brush off negativity and just be happy. Have a great Monday! 💛

P.S. You’ve got a whole team of friends and family who love you and are rooting for you. And no matter what you’ve got on your plate, you can handle it. Give it your all. Try your best. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing all you can. And no one can ask for more than that.

10 Blog Topics That Generate Tons of Traffic (and how to promote them!)

Whether you’re just starting out with your blog, or you’ve been blogging forever, everyone can use a few new ideas here and there. I write for a living, but even I need inspiration sometimes! So I put together this list of my favorite traffic-generating blog post ideas. Happy writing!


1. How-To

What do you do when you need to know how to do something? You Google it. And guess what? So does everyone else.

This is basic SEO: If tons of people are searching “How to bake a pecan pie” and you write a blog about baking a pecan pie, they will land on your site!

Side note: When I wrote my blog on Pecan Pie, I wrote it because I had just done it and I was proud of myself. Ironically, the next day, “Pecan Pie” was trending on Pinterest! Win-win!

So, the best way to make sure you write posts that will generate a lot of traffic, is to make sure you know what is trending at the time.

2. Recipes

Since I mentioned it above, I figured it would be a perfect segue… Recipes are fantastic traffic generators because they can be shared to Pinterest!

If you spend a lot of time on Pinterest like I do, you’ll know that recipes are one of the most popular pins, which means if you write a recipe blog and share it on Pinterest, you’ll likely have a viral blog on your hands in no time! (Or you’ll just fall into a deep Pinterest black hole of no return. It happens to me daily, it’s fine)

3. Guides

Are you an expert in something? Whatever it is (baking, gardening, business, childcare), if you have tons of tips and expertise, putting together an essential guide can land you tons and tons of traffic.

People are always looking for “ultimate guides” online, so creating one will guarantee a spike in traffic and interest.

Tip: Want to increase your traffic AND email subscribers? Offer your guide as a download that your followers can receive via email! 🙂

4. Questions

Do you know what the top Google search is? (No, it’s not Jeffrey Dean Morgan… is that just me?) The top Google search is posed as a question!

If you center your blog post around frequently asked or commonly asked questions, your blog will go traffic crazy.

Why?

Because Google has this fun thing called a knowledge graph, and if you answer a common question in your blog, your site might be posted in this nifty little box!

Here’s a crackin’ example of Google’s knowledge graph:

5. Product reviews

I love working with brands and I love reviewing products, because it’s fun and helpful to readers. Product reviews are a high traffic generator for two reasons:

  1. Shoppers constantly search for reviews and testimonies from real people (aka bloggers)
  2. Brands often repost product reviews or sponsored content

6. Contests

Who doesn’t love free stuff? If you’re lucky enough to be hosting a contest, you will also be lucky enough to reap the benefits of more blog traffic! Everyone loves contests, and if you host one on your blog, it will be clicked on, engaged with, shared, reposted. You get it.

7. Advice

Just like the How-To and Questions blog topics above, “advice” blogs are extremely popular. A few weeks ago, I was actually searching for advice online and instead of finding news articles or medical journals, the first things that popped up were blogs!

If you have advice to offer, post a blog about it! Chances are, there are a bunch of people who need to hear what you have to say. And even if it doesn’t go “viral,” you’ll still be able to sleep easier at night knowing you helped at least one person with your advice. And that makes it worth it, right?

8. Travel

Have you recently gone on a trip? Are you in the middle of planning a trip? Are you a full time traveler (or at least trying to be?)

Then write about it!

When I mentioned that one of the most popular type of pins on Pinterest are recipes, the other types are travel-related. Everyone wants first-hand knowledge and tips in regards to travel, and these posts can never go wrong!

So if you’ve recently traveled or are planning to, posting a blog about it will result in traffic galore for you.

Tip: Bonus points if you write about how to travel cheaply!

9. Gift ideas

Since we’re right smack dab in the middle of the holidays, it would be wrong for me not to include a “gift ideas” blog topic.

BUT the amazing thing about these type of blogs is that they perform well any time of the year, making them evergreen (aka they never go out of style).

People are always searching for the “perfect” gift, and they’re always searching for gift guides and gift ideas, so create a really awesome one and get those views!

10. Personal posts

This is my personal favorite, and although it won’t get you the viral, crazy traffic that you’re looking for, it does give you loyal readers that keep coming back for more. By being open and letting your readers into your personal life, you’ll soon create a solid community, which is the most important thing in this blogging world.


These are my favorite traffic-generating blogs, and after working in the marketing world these are the topics I’ve found that have always performed the best for my clients, too.

Do you have any blog topics that have driven tons of traffic to your site? ⚡️

My Faith Journey

I’ve been wanting to somehow incorporate my faith into this blog for a long time now. I touch on it here and there and I occasionally throw a few verses on Twitter now and again, but I want to go more in depth. So I thought: Why not add a section to my blog dedicated entirely to my faith? There’s so much I want to discuss and talk about and offer advice on, but I figured I should start with a little backstory on my journey through faith. So that’s exactly what this is!


I was raised in a Christian home. God was mentioned. There was a cross on the wall. We went to church on the big days (Christmas, Easter, etc). I attended a religious school. But growing up, I never felt a true connection to God and faith. It was always there, but it wasn’t really there.

When I went off to college, that’s when my faith really started to slip. And no, it wasn’t because of college life, parties, boys, staying up late, and faith not being the “cool” thing. That wasn’t it at all. During college, I went through some of the toughest times of my life. I lost a friend in a drunk driving accident, another drowned in a lake, another committed suicide, my grandfather was killed by a speeding driver, my stepmother lost her battle to cancer, and my uncle lost his battle to cancer, and I was also sexually assaulted toward the end of college.

All of this left me questioning where God was and why He would allow these things to happen. I fell out of my faith. I didn’t completely stop believing, but I just fell away from it all for a while.

It wasn’t until I moved to China a few months after graduation, that I cracked open my bible again. I was homesick and feeling extremely lost living in a foreign country, that I felt all that could help me was scripture. So I started daily devotionals, and they brought me peace, but still I didn’t feel that connection to Him.

When I met my last boyfriend, God was everywhere. We met because of a bible scripture. When we were long distance, we prayed together every night. I got a job with a lady who went to their church. I started going to church again and really getting involved with volunteering and I joined a bible study group. I even had a bible study group at work, and we met at lunch to go through bible studies together. And there were just so many other incredible things that had God’s name written all over it, but basically I actually felt God.

Through this, I felt His presence. I felt a strong connection with Him. I finally felt like I developed a strong, real relationship with my faith. And now, I read the Bible every day. I do devotionals and bible study plans every day, I read my Christian bloggers, and I talk with friends about faith.

Right now, I’m at such a great place with my faith and I owe it all to the hardships I faced. I think sometimes, it takes getting to a really low point to realize the only way to go is up. I was at one of the lowest points of my life and after straying away from my faith, I was pulled back to it in a completely unexpected way that can only be explained by God.

One of the things I love so much about religion is that faith aspect: Believing in something without even seeing it. Because if you can believe in that, anything is possible, and so far that’s proven to be true for me and my journey.

I love my journey because it’s so uniquely mine, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me and my faith.


Are you religious? Have you ever strayed from your religion? I’d love to hear your stories of how you came to faith! ❤️

Pecan Pie and Homemade Crust

I love eating pie, but I’ve never baked a pie.

Sure, I’ve picked up a frozen pie from the grocery store and heated it up in the oven… but I’ve never actually baked one from scratch.

So this Thanksgiving, I wanted to challenge myself. I baked a pie, but not just any pie. I baked what is probably the sugariest pie in the world: Pecan Pie (and I made my own crust!).


For the pie and the crust, I followed recipes from The Pioneer Woman (I love her!)

Pie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable shortening)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough in half. Form 2 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.

See original recipe here.

Pecan Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (salted)
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. I made this mistake and took my pie out while it was too jiggly and my pie turned out very liquidy! 

Allow to cool for several hours. Serve in thin slivers (because it’s super sweet, although I had a huge piece because it’s so good!)

See original recipe here.


Thanksgiving at Home

The last two Thanksgivings have been very different. Last year, I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving because I was in Canada (so I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October). The year before that, I was living on my own in DC, and I spent Thanksgiving by myself.

So this year when I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was over the moon.

We spent the day baking and cooking, watching the parade, playing board games, and of course… napping. It was perfect. Here are some photos from that day!


Spending the holidays with my family will always be my favorite thing to do. Did you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family? How did you spend the day? 💛

Thankful

I love the holiday season, because it has a special way of reminding us to show gratitude and make family time a priority.

So much has happened this year, and I think it would be strange if I wasn’t thankful for it all.

It’s been filled to the brim with ups and downs. I’ve been at my highest and I’ve certainly been at my very lowest. But you know what?

I’m very thankful for everything that I’ve gone through over the past year, because all of it has helped me grow in one way or another. And, if I hadn’t experienced the things I had this year, I wouldn’t be where I am – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Before I get into what I’m thankful for, I feel like I need to preface this by saying I’m the type of person who is simply amazed by everything, I’m grateful for everything, and I think everything is beautiful. So picking and choosing just a few things to add to a list is difficult. But here we go…

Here are just a few things I’m thankful for 🍂

A perfect & loving support group

Right now, I’m at a place in my life where I feel like I’m constantly overwhelmed with love. Since moving back home, I’ve been supported non-stop. Being back home again helped me realize that family really is the only constant, and no matter what happens in life, no matter how far I move, no matter how big the mistakes I make, my family and close friends will always, always be here supporting me and lifting me up when I need it the most.

My health

If you’ve been following my story for a while, you’d know I used to be very, very ill. (Like, almost needing a transplant, almost being put onto an IV drip twice a week, taking oral chemotherapy sick). But over the past year, my health has drastically improved. I’m happy to say I’m no longer on medications of any sort, and I’m just happily living my life, pain-free!

My faith journey

Over the past year alone, my faith has gotten so much stronger. I’ve been a huge part of my church, I dive into the bible every day, and I live each day with a more christ-centered focus. I was raised a Christian, but never really had a strong, personal relationship with Jesus until this past year and I’m so glad I found it. I look forward to continuing my faith journey and getting deeper into the bible and gaining more fellowship and community!

Sunsets, waterfalls, beaches, rainbows (you get it)

Since being back in Hawaii, I see everything with a fresh pair of eyes. And I have a newfound appreciation for all the little things. I never thought I’d miss Hawaii so much, but after being away from my islands for over two years, I realize now that this is my home and my heart. Every day, I’m given a new piece of beauty to be thankful for. Yesterday, I was given not one, but two rainbows! The night before that, the skies were painted purple and pink. And even though it’s raining and storming outside today, Maui still has its magical way of turning a gloomy day into a beautiful one. I’m grateful to live in paradise, but I truly believe there’s beauty everywhere. Wherever you are in the world, find the beauty in it. Seek the wonder and be thankful that this is your home.

The opportunity to live all around the world

Over the past few years, I’ve lived on two continents and on a rock smack dab in the middle of the pacific. I’ve gone from Oregon to Hawaii to China to Hawaii to Washington DC to Canada and back to Hawaii. (And I’ve got something in the works for the next place I choose to live, but I’ll wait to announce that one… Hint: it’s going to be huge, like really huge)

Anyway, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to live all over the world. And I even lived out my dream of living abroad!

The ability to plan for the future

I’m thankful for the ability to make plans for the future. I know lots of people who are so stuck in their lives or limited by jobs, debt, finances, or family situations that prevent them from even dreaming. And that’s heartbreaking. So, I make sure to show gratitude when I make plans for my future, because I know there are so many people who are unable to do that.

My last relationship

This one is a bit tricky, and you might be thinking: “Why would you be thankful for a relationship that ended?” And well, I’m thankful for it because it taught me a lot about love, life, and ultimately, myself. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ve read all my posts about my relationship as it was unfolding – all the good, the happiness, the love, how we went from long distance to living together. But I haven’t spoken about how it all came crashing to a halt, and I don’t intend to. It’s private, personal and out of respect for others involved, I’ll keep it all to myself (and my journal).

But there are some things I do want you to know.

Sure, it was tough, it was heartbreaking, it made me an emotional, anxiety-ridden wreck.

Even so, I am unbelievably grateful for it all.

I’m thankful for all the fights we got into – how minuscule or colossal they may have been, for all the nights spent crying and alone, the yelling and driving off, the anger, the frustrations. I’m grateful for it all because they all taught me something about living with someone, loving someone else, and most importantly, they taught me things about myself, too.

I’m also thankful for all the good, happy memories we made together. I’m thankful for the laughter, the slow dancing in the kitchen at midnight, the banana bread baking on a Tuesday afternoon, movie nights with his family, and making plans and promises together. I’m thankful for being loved, and being able to love so greatly.

It’s because of this relationship that I’m in a place right now where I’m focusing on myself, my happiness, my overall well-being, my growth.

For that, I’m thankful.


What are you thankful for this year? Tell me, I’d love to hear!

And, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!  ❤️

Visiting Lumeria on Maui | Local Wild Food Challenge

I’ve lived on Maui for 20 years, and it surprises me how much there is that I haven’t done or seen on this tiny island. The other day, I was invited to visit Lumeria on Maui. I’ve driven past it countless times, but I’ve never actually gone inside – and now that I have, I know I’ll be visiting often.

Lumeria is a retreat for the mind, body and spirit. It’s a place that will help you transform into your best self through education, mindful yoga, and wellness retreat programming – sounds like heaven, right? While I was there, I didn’t want to be too invasive, so I didn’t take very many photos. But here’s a peak into the beauty that is Lumeria Maui!

The second time I visited Lumeria was for the Local Wild Food Challenge, which our family business sponsored. It was a cooking competition that supported local hunters and locally grown food/produce. It was really fun to watch and I’m really happy we were able to support a great cause! (Plus, I FINALLY met Mick Fleetwood!!!)

Seriously, dream come true. Fleetwood Mac is one of my favorite bands ever and meeting Mick Fleetwood was incredible!

Fall in Hawaii

One of the things I loved the most about living on the mainland is experiencing the different seasons. I love Hawaii, but I really wish we had all four seasons. Fall is my favorite season, and I’m definitely missing the changing leaves, crisp fall air, and the onset of winter. Here’s what fall in Hawaii looks like.

Did you visit a pumpkin patch this year? If not, what’s your favorite fall tradition? ❤️

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In 2012, I lost my stepmom to breast cancer. Last year, my mom got checked for lumps (she’s okay, thankfully). This year, one of our friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it just seemed fitting to join a walk.

I thought about my stepmom a lot that day. I was surrounded by other survivors, fighters, and people (like me) who have been affected by breast cancer by losing a loved one.

It was emotional, but smiles were everywhere.

It felt good doing good.

My mom and I before the walk!

We had a pink sunset that night. It seemed fitting after a day filled with pink and love.

Do you know anyone who is battling or has battled breast cancer? Tell me! I’d love to add them to my prayer list ❤️

Maui

About 2 months ago, I traveled back home to Maui and played “tourist.” Here’s some photos from that trip.

First hug after being away for 2 years!

Paia is one of my favorite places on Maui. I love all the little shops and the small town vibe. It makes me happy!

Sometimes, the best way to see a place is from above. Helicopter tours in Hawaii are always amazing because you realize just how lush and beautiful the islands really are.

Even rainy days in Hawaii are beautiful. They’re my favorite type of days here.

My parents got married in this church!

Lahaina is another one of my favorite towns on Maui, because of its oceanfront shops and restaurants that are built over the water. It’s such a unique place, and I miss it every time I’m not home.

This is traditional Hawaiian food (my favorite type of food!)

My brother and sister are my world. I’m so lucky to have them!

Walking around Lahaina, the harbor, and having lunch at one of my favorite places: Bubba Gumps!

Another thing I never get tired of is visiting the aquarium. I’m not sure what it is, but even though I’ve gone to this aquarium 100 times, there’s something about it that makes me feel happy and at home.

I will never, ever get over how beautiful Hawaii sunsets are. Sure, the sun sets everywhere in the world, but there’s something different and special about when the sun goes down over my little island. It’s so unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, and I love it.