a mediterranean feast

thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. it's all about spending time with family and friends eating delicious food, without the commercialism of christmas. the theme for this year's thanksgiving feast - mediterranean! there was shwarma with tzatziki (or kalua turkey for the tanksgiving purists), onions, kalamata olives, shredded cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers to stuff your pitas with. plus sides of mediterranean stuffing and mashed potatoes, tabouleh, and cranberry sauce. sorry to disappoint, but there was no pumpkin baklava, just baklava and a yummy orange spice pumpkin pie. so looking forward to leftovers!


bathroom renovation

After living in our home for three years and a baby soon on his way, we finally got serious about renovating our bathroom so that we could actually take a shower in it. When we purchased our 1930s plantation style home it was in the process of being renovated and then flipped. The previous owners had run out of money before they could fix up the bathroom, so we inherited the antique claw foot bathtub, which was in great condition and had a lot of character, but was never hooked up to a water supply. The flooring was an icky, pale blue linoleum reminiscent of a 1970s institution, and the sink was a cheapo all in one. Lastly, the window needed to be changed out - anyone standing in the yard would have a clear view of someone showering from the waist up, and having blinds in a shower just wasn't going to cut it.
Local contractor, Smith Builders LLC, worked wonders and transformed our old, dilapidated bathroom into what is now my favorite room in the house (it actually saddens me that I can't spend more time in it). There were many challenges in renovating our single wall construction home, a few of which included adding support so that the shower walls could be tiled and a wainscot added along one wall, taking out the existing pulley window and installing a more discrete bathroom type window, the depth of the vanity couldn't be more than 18", and ensuring that the look of plantation style walls remained so that our modern bathroom didn't seem so out of place in our old school home. Smith Builders accomplished all of this plus some work on our laundry room, on time and in budget!

Happily ever after...

Custom walk-in shower
Shower with seat/shelf

Custom walnut vanity

  • Shower walls & wainscot: Glass 3 x 6 subway tile from Ann Sacks - Lucian in Azure
  • Shower floor: Pebbles 12 x 12 floor interlock from Ann Sacks - Bali in Maluku Tan
  • Bathroom floor: Porcelain 12 x 12 tile from Ann Sacks - Vault in Crema
  • Plumbing fixtures: American Standard from Hawaii Pacific Plumbing
  • Vanity: custom walnut, cabinet maker contracted by Smith Builders
  • Sink: Duravit Vero


lana'i love part II - babymoon

Our second trip to Lana'i was quite different from our previous camping trip. Being seven months pregnant, our trip was more about relaxation and a little bit of pampering before the sleepless nights of parenthood arrived. We enjoyed everything from easy hikes, snorkeling, swimming, spa treatments, golfing and good food. Four Seasons Lana'i was offering great kama'aina room rates, and the short ferry ride from Maui made it the perfect babymoon getaway.

Sweetheart Rock (Pu'u Pehe) is one of Lana'i's most prominent landmarks, a large reddish rock rising high out of the ocean between Hulopo'e and Manele bays. Its name comes from a Hawaiian legend, of a jealous warrior from Lana'i who kept his beautiful maiden from Maui hidden in a sea cave near the rock, so no other man could see her. A storm came in suddenly one day drowning her. Heartbroken, he carried her body to the top of the rock and buried her in a tomb that can be seen to this day, and then he jumped to his death. 

The greenhouse at Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele, is filled with the sweet scents and vibrant colors of orchids. It is just one stop along the walking pathways that traverse The Lodge, and is free for all to visit.

Sunset along the Fisherman's Trial

Majestic bluffs along Fisherman's Trail
Blowhole along side Fisherman's Trail

A little golfing for the hubby at the Challenge at Manele golf course

 Our favorite meal and seriously the best BLT I've had - The Challenge at Manele club house Hulopo`e Bay Prawn BLT was all kinds of yumminess with prawns and BLT on pita bread with caramelized onions, creole a├»oli and a side of freshly fried house-made salt and pepper potato chips.


mom's rum cake recipe

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 up cooking oil
4 eggs
1 3-3/4 oz package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix walnuts, sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Grease and flour a bundt pan well. Mix all remaining ingredients together. Put half the nut mixture on the bottom of the pan, pour half the batter then remaining nut mixture, top with remaining batter. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes.

Prepare the glaze by melting butter in a sauce pan, add water, and sugar. Boil five minutes. Stir in rum and remove from heat. Poke holes in the cake with a chopstick and drizzle the glaze over the top and down the sides. Let cool. Invert on serving plate.

Note: If you want less of a coffee cake like taste, you can eliminate the sugar and cinnamon dry mixture. I just put chopped walnuts on the bottom of the pan and pour in the batter.