that awkward moment...

posted on: 11.30.2012

When we talk advertising.

Oh you guys, is this just the silliest thing?  I've put off offering any sort of long term advertising here for a while now, other than the early on commitments I'd made before I knew what I was really doing.  

I wanted to be sure that I could do it right, you know really right, geesh is that important to me.  I really love this space we are creating here.  I love the story we are telling, the boys and mine for sure, but also the one that we are writing together, you and I.  And I really wanted to allow myself the time to find my own voice.  To really hear it and be able to share it.  And, in some small way, after eight months of growing, I think I've accomplished those things and I'd love to let you all in, here, in an even bigger way.  

So... I'm opening up Local Sugar Hawaii, for the first time, with December advertising packages.

You can find all the details and sweet advertising options here.

And because I'm truly, incredibly honored to have you here and so look forward to a beautiful walk together through the month of December, a sweet code for fifty percent off of any ad package, of any size, reserved this first week of December.  Enter SweetDEC2012.

Thank you for being here.  For being you and for letting me be little 'ole me.  It truly means the whole wide world to be on this ride with you.

live sweet, 


you're invited to...

posted on: 11.29.2012

Here's to An Aloha Affair with this sweet team and here's to an incredible December team ready to journey and grow together, come meet them next week. We'll start December off with an amazing giveaway, join us?

You can enter this week's generous giveaway, a true gift from the heart, here. AND...

Hosted by: 
An Aloha Affair's Amazing November Team

Mahalo, thank you, to these beautiful ladies.  
Please do stop by to say "hi" to these women who have so graciously hosted us all month long. Here's to Aloha and to those who live it so well.  

For more info on joining future An Aloha Affair teams please email:

a heart check, give away...

Join me if you please for a sweet holiday heart check.  A remembering of self as we head into the beautiful rush of this holiday season.

I'll be hugging my boys this week, and then hugging them all over again.  I can't resist a good squishy hug, a pulling them in close.  We get so busy, this time of year, and I so easily forget that they are my reason.  That this hustle and bustle... it's my little way of weaving magic and love into their lives.  You can join me if you like.  Squeeze?

And this week, four weeks before Christmas, a sweet give away just for you and your dear heart, a story that is so very much filled with the spirit of Christmas.  

The Heart of Christmas is based on the true story of Austin and Julie Lox, who learn that their three year old son Dax has cancer.  While this isn't the biggest or fanciest of cinematic productions it is absolutely a heart check.  A reaching down deep to what truly matters.  A moment of joy and hope and love, when all else fails, and it becomes so very  painfully clear that Dax won't see another Christmas.

The wonderful people behind this story would love to share five copies of this recently released DVD.  You can enter for a chance to win one to keep for you and your heart, or to gift to someone special this magical holiday season.

A trailer for The Heart of Christmas, here.
This giveaway is open to US residents.

live sweet, 


sometimes you feel like a...

posted on: 11.28.2012

Okay, okay I won't say it.  But if you just said "nut", out loud,  in yo mind... well, I can't be held responsible.  Uh-uh tiger.  

Side story:  Sean has this little book about a tiger whose always looking over "his" little girl's shoulder jostling for her attention while she's trying to read a book causing her to chant, chorus like, "uh-uh Tii-ger.  I AM trying to read".  I followed Tyty around for a good week, and then some, chanting "uh-uh Tii-ger", every tsk-tsking chance I got.  It was nothing really, just me doing my little part to drive him nuts. hah.  But I digress.

The boys say these nuts are amazing.  And everyone should have a good recipe for nuts, don't you think?  The world would be a better place?  Just a smidge?  And so, here you go... 

A quick recipe for gift giving worthy nuts.  And a simple version of washi tape, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Candied Pecans


1 egg white
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
A dash of vanilla
A big dash of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups of pecans

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and spray paper with non stick cooking spray.(Or you could just skip the waxed paper-- clean up from this is pretty easy and so heavily spraying the pan with cooking spray works just fine.)

Whisk egg white until stiff.  (My arm got tired from the whisk-whisking so I stopped short of "stiff" when it came to the egg whites and the pecans were still amaze balls so there you have it, whisk to your heart's content and then feel free to stop.)

Blend in water, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  

Stir in pecans and coat well with mixture.  

Spread out evenly on pan and bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes stirring, (read as: move it around a little), once.

Let cool.  Store in an airtight container.

These little cones are my easy version of a fun sort of "street food" take on packaging.  

They're just a half sheet of newspaper cut into quarters and then layered with a sheet of waxed or other food safe paper and rolled into a cone.  I secured it with a little piece of masking tape cut with pinking sheers and wrote a little note of aloha on each, a simple version of washi tape.  (What is washi tape, really?  Glorified masking tape?  Sort of?)

The neighborhood kiddos marched up the street at sunset with their little cones filled with nuts.  It was beautiful and picturesque and, also, incredibly nutty. Really?  Nutty? 

Okay, so that one I completely own.  Clearly I'd held back as long as I possibly could, and well... there you go.

live sweet, 


My Anthropologie inspiration for that 
simple little bit of tape here

a long winter-ish walk...

posted on: 11.27.2012

Through a tropical pine forest, atop a volcanic mountain ridge, on O'ahu's North Shore.

If the air was as crisp as these unexpected evergreens are tall...

If a thick covering of pine needles was a blanket of freshly fallen snow...

If the warm waters of the Pacific weren't chuckling at our silliness as we pretended to be shivering from the cold...

We could have been drifting through a deep New England forest on a long winter's walk.  
... ... ...
 That one Sunday afternoon when we hiked along Hau`ula Loop Trail and found ourselves rambling through a tropical pine forest, atop a volcanic mountain ridge, on O'ahu's North Shore. 

live sweet, 


Join me, if you please, for a sweet link up with friends.

that sean harrison...

posted on: 11.26.2012

This little post is just a quick note to tell ya Sean is a silly genius.  Genius I say...

A few weeks ago I was asked if I'd be willing to help spread the word about Scholastic's new free app for the ipad.  And, I was, of course, like, "you had me at Scholastic".  

Both of my parents are teachers and having grown up in between the beautiful shelves of my mother's classroom library I have a deep affection for Scholastic and their commitment to bring quality books into the lives of students and families.  

And then life happened and I put off downloading the app and put this little project on the (book) shelf-- oh I just couldn't resist that sad little pun there, I tried, but I couldn't.  So there it, sadly, is.   

Well, a week or so later I downloaded the app and forgot to tell either of the boys.  Really, I had completely forgotten I'd done it myself until Sean did his usual nap time stall which is a well rehearsed plea for a glass of milk, "puh-weas", followed by a request to "weed book?".  

To my sweet surprise Sean toddled back into the room his little arms full to bursting with his latest finds; a collection of books and maybe a truck or two and the ipad.  Crawling up into mommy and daddy's "big, huge, giant" bed, he nudged the others aside and proceeded to open up Storia, Scholastic's eReader for kids, and select the Clifford book off of the virtual shelf and with the swipe of his finger "thumbed through the pages" telling me the story he'd made up about the giant dog and his little people.

And just as I was nodding off to sleep, a good bedtime story can have that effect on me, you know, he proceeded to ask if I wanted to watch a "moo-wie" and clicked on Emily Elizabeth's reading a story to Clifford the dog she grew "bi-i-ig huge giii-ant" with love. 

And that is how Sean got in an extra fifteen story filled minutes before nap time.

Well played Seanzy, well played.

live sweet, 


Storia is a free interactive eReader 
that brings books to life for kids 
while empowering parents to help their children
 get the most out of reading.

You can find more about Scholastic's Storia here.

No one in this house was compensated in any way shape or form for this post, except, of course, that silly little Seanzy, who added numerous minutes of story time to his sweet day.  Genius.  Silly, silly genius.  

a thankful island table...

When you live in twelve hundred feet of tropical bliss, read as not a single inch of spare storage in sight, but who's counting , really?  And you share that square footage with three boys, well, you learn pretty quick to keep it simple, reuse the heck outta things and, also, to always... go for the shell plates.  Always for the shells, it's a pretty decent island living rule, right?  

My mother in law sent these plates years ago from, World Market (?), in North Carolina and love does not begin to describe the affair I've had with them ever since. They're silly and sweet and just the perfect little nod to the sea. See?

Truth.  If pecan pie were an ocean I'd dive in and swim right through, from crust to flaky crust, mouth wide open.  It's a bit much, I know, but it's pecan pie and is so deserving of much.  Don't ya think?

That Pumpkin Crunch.  It's an island thing, sort of. There's a recipe, and some pretty sad looking photos of a very over done attempt here.

We did Thanksgiving twice this year.  

We had lunch at home together as a little tiny family of four, plus the neighbor kid whose grandma was at work and who practically lives here anyway, so, yeah, of course there was a place set for him and of course he jumped right in to fill it, and of course we wouldn't have had it any other way.  

And then we had a second turkey, (and third actually), and all the fixin's at my parent's home in Kailua, where our larger family and friends gathered later in the day.  

We are truly blessed, these boys and I.  Truly.  Blessed. Our little life here in this teensy bit of paradise is incredibly stuffed with goodness.  And so, of course, we are also truly thankful. 

Here's hoping you and your heart found many a sweet thing to be thankful for this year.  

live sweet, 



posted on: 11.24.2012

Happy Weekend.

That Thanksgiving came and went faster than the last slice of mom's sweet pumpkin pie, okay so she didn't actually make pumpkin  pie but if she had... it'd go pretty darn fast.  

And while I love Thanksgiving and the gathering that's involved and that Tom Turkey and the watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our pj's and all the while wishing we were in NYC, and... I do, I do, I really, really do love all of it; well, something happens Thanksgiving morn that's so traditional in it's consistency and not very Thanksgiving-ish at all.

It starts with a tingle and I swear the weather outside feels all kinds of "it could snow any minute now" and the house gets all comfy cozy, yes, that would be our little beach house in Hawaii, play along won't ya?   And so, I grandly choose a Christmas station on Pandora, in lieu of my father's picking a record from his Columbia Records club collection, oh the days of sweet music released by the scratching of a needle pressed against spinning vinyl, and let the wafting smells of baking goodness and roasting turkey fill the house and then, all of a sudden right on cue, Christmas is here.  

It's like, as if, in the very last second of the season long race Thanksgiving, who always successfully holds back that Christmas with a nudge and a "don't you dare pass me" glance in our house, is beat out by one little pinky toe of a carol, and Christmas again arrives two seconds before Thanksgiving, sort of.

Here's a little something to get your Christmas spirit hard rocking...

And, also...
Happy Weekend.

live sweet, 


Maybe we should all "shake 'em down" through the holidays just like this.

And this because, no one, no one beats Santa Claus.

The winner of our Xenon Project giveaway here.

you're invited to...

posted on: 11.21.2012

Hosted by: 
An Aloha Affair's Amazing November Team
Kendra Aleksandra Raven  Anna  * Harmony
Each week we'll highlight two team members' responses to our  conversation starter so that you can get to know them better. 

This month's conversation starter:
What Are You Thankful For?

For more info on joining future An Aloha Affair teams please email:

a holiday heart check...

Join me if you please for a sweet holiday heart check.  A remembering of self as we head into the beautiful rush of this holiday season.
I'm not so very sure a heart check is a thing I even need right this very second.  Thanksgiving is such a simply beautiful holiday and seems just the needed quiet sort of pause between the wild raucous of Halloween and the magical wonderland of Christmas.  

But today,  and tomorrow and hopefully the one after that when many will make the mad dash out for Black Friday sales, I'm reminding myself to count my blessings one by one. 

And suddenly I feel full.  We are so very beautifully full this little life and I, and I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours.

live sweet, 


If you're just joining us for a holiday heart check
you might like to start here.

a long sunday walk...

Before Thanksgiving.

The boys and I woke up Sunday morning and decided to start the cloudy day with a sandy walk on the beach.  

We probably should have been moving a turkey from the freezer to the fridge, to allow for proper thawing time, or searching through hand me down recipe cards for that green bean casserole recipe, you know THE one.  I can hold onto a good recipe card with religious like devotion and will search for it with just as much fervor as my rosary toting grandmother did the prayer cards she'd tuck into her purse  after mass and then handout to the grand kids like other, slightly more "normal" grandmothers, would sweet candy.  But we weren't.  

We weren't doing any of the things we should have and somehow were doing just what we needed.  We were out walking.  Together. 

We were a completely pointless motley crew with no thought towards setting a course; no concern for where we'd end up, just somehow grateful for the going.  We must have looked a ridiculous bunch turning this way and that to avoid the high, and steadily, rising tide, until one boy, with sweet surrender smeared across his salty face, was in the water and then two. 

 Charlie and I sat for a stolen moment to wonder about this life of ours and just how it was we were so lucky when the cards were dealt this go round.  We wondered too, like silly parents often will, whether anyone thought to bring a towel and, also, who locked the car and how will we ever get all of that sand out of Sean's shorts.  But mostly we listened to the giggles of two little boys rise in chorus with the surf and agreed that we are pretty darn lucky.

It was beautiful.  And short.  And so very much the perfect way to start the week, that one Sunday before Thanksgiving.

live sweet, 


Join me if you please for a sweet link up with friends.

pumpkin crunch, a recipe...

posted on: 11.20.2012

For dessert on Thanksgiving, and other pumpkin friendly holidays, well, there's pumpkin pie and then there's this...


Pumpkin Crunch is an island favorite.  And boy oh boy is it goodness in every stinkin' calorie loaded bite-- which kinda makes it practically perfect for Thanksgiving and other food centered "eat your heart out" days, right?  

So, if you'll forgive my poor photography skills, I took these in the middle of the night in pretty poor lighting, and ignore that cardboard cake tray there, this big guy went to Charlie's office this morn and so couldn't go right on the cake stand or I'd never get it back off in one piece, and if you can ignore the fact that I am hardly a baker, the caramel sauce could have been thicker, the whole thing is over done and I'm definitely not a very good follower of recipes, they're just so very bossy with their "do this" and "do that"...  

Well, here ya go, a recipe for this, so embarrassingly easy, island favorite as it's made traditionally, in a large rectangular cake style, and then with all of my rule breaking tips for that showstopper take on it up there.

Pumpkin Crunch
(a recipe)

1 can solid-packed pumpkin (29 oz)
1 can evaporated milk (13 oz)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 box yellow pudding cake mix
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup butter, melted

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and cinnamon together.  Pour into a 9x13 inch pan lined with waxed paper.  Pour 1 box cake mix (fry) over pumpkin mixture and pat nuts on cake mix.  Spoon melted butter evenly over nuts.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  Invert onto tray and peel off waxed paper.  When slightly cooled, spread frosting over.

1 package cream cheese (8 oz), room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup Cool Whip

Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spread evenly over cake.  Refrigerate.  Cut into squares.

Note: So about those rules made to be broken...

For a "show stopper" effect I use a 10 inch spring form pan lined on the bottom only with waxed paper and these adjusted measurements:

 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cup butter, melted

Spread about half of the cake mix, if you wanna have more control over the ingredients you can find a recipe to make your own cake mix here, and pour half of the butter over the cake mix.  Sprinkle, and by sprinkle I mean "dump"-- this is basically a glorified "dump cake", the rest of the cake mix, top with nuts and pour remaining butter evenly over the top.  Be prepared this version is more dense and will take longer to bake, like, a lot.

double the amount of frosting

On days when I am more patient, and willing, I substitute the Cool Whip with stabilized freshly whipped cream, done like this here.  And to garnish I spread a thin layer of whipped cream, with some sugar and vanilla added for flavor, over the entire surface and then pipe cream along the edge.  When cooled slightly run a butter knife along the inside edge of the ring to loosen the dessert and pop off the ring.  Invert onto a serving dish.  I spread about half of the frosting on immediately, there's something magical about it all sort of melting together, and the other half once it's cooled completely.  

A drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of candied pecan pieces finishes the whole thing off nicely if you're into that sort of thing.

 live sweet, 


A link to caramel sauce here.
(Or you could just melt a few caramel squares in the microwave, for one minute at a time, with a few teaspoons of milk and stir)

The easiest and best candied pecans recipe here.

that one night...

posted on: 11.19.2012

We spent a tropical moonlit eve at Art & Flea last month, I wrote about it a teensy bit here. Okay so I don't actually recall whether or not the moon was out but it sure did seem every other creature was.  

Art & Flea is this amazing downtown Honolulu shopping experience that is centered around a monthly theme, last month's was oh so appropriately, Zombie Apocalypse.  There were costumes and themed contests and shopping.  The nine year old was freaked out, and in heaven, and then freaked out some more but, also, in heaven... such is the way of nine year olds.   

We all had a sweet time soaking in all of the local creative energy.  Those creatives they're just so creative, gosh darn it.  And, that Charlie promised to take me back this month and he swore he'd even man a little Local Sugar Hawaii table with me and, well, I'm holding him to it.  

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the limited few I actually paused long enough to take that night...

This, this could possibly be the scariest yarn bomb ever-- but oh how sweet it must've been before our tropical wear and tear, wore and tore it. 

We'll be at Art & Flea this Friday, Black Friday, to shop and mingle and soak in the energy a bit.

See ya there?

live sweet, 


And... here's Art & Flea on facebook

it's been raining...

posted on: 11.17.2012

And, I've been thinking...

I don't think, you can know a thing, you know, truly know it, until it's yours to live and feel your way through.  I've been feeling an awful lot lately.  I guess, even if that feeling can be a bit much sometimes, well... I suppose, I'm still somehow grateful for the knowing that follows.  

I do think, when I look up at that cloudy Hawaiian sky, and see it, exhausted from "holding it all together", let itself fall in wet messy pieces back to the earth, well... I think then, that maybe, just maybe, I'm not so very much alone.

And then there's this perfect little thought inspiring diddy.

I'm looking forward to a sort of feeling my way through the weekend ahead.  Sometimes just the very nature of being a grown up mommy means I don't often have to feel so very much, there's just so much busyness involved with the day to day business of being a big someone to little someones.

Most days I'm grateful for the distraction; for the immediacy of two boys and the big needs of their little lives. Most.

Happy Weekend.

live sweet, 


You can enter this week's giveaway here.

Join An Aloha Affair here.

As the daughter of a Peace Corps volunteer,
I do believe, I was raised in this club here.
I'm looking forward to renewing my membership soon.

Here in lies my problem, Charlie.
Turns out I've just got way too much in common
with the average butt.

And, when all else fails. 
Well, you could just quit a job you don't actually have.

If you're on O`ahu come find me at the downtown Makahiki, Saturday.  We're closing down a whole street and replacing the cars with aloha filled people.
It should be sweet.

you're invited to...

posted on: 11.15.2012

Hosted by: 
An Aloha Affair's Amazing November Team
Kendra Aleksandra Raven  Anna  * Harmony
Each week we'll highlight two team members' responses to our conversation starter so that you can get to know them better. 

This month's conversation starter:

What Are You Thankful For?

I hope you'll enjoy getting to know these sweet souls.

For more info on joining future An Aloha Affair teams please email:

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