Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ask Your Kid #1

ask your kid - conversation starters - parent child relationship building

"Ivy, brush your teeth. Ivy brush your teeth. Did you brush them? That wasn't long enough, brush them again and hum your ABC's. Did you rinse? Spit? Oh, don't swallow the toothpaste water. Mouthwash? Ok. Oh wait, go back in and wipe the toothpaste off your face. Yes, there's toothpaste on your face."

-OR-

"Ivy, let's get in the car. Ivy, it's time to leave. Wait, maybe you should wear something different. Come on, you need to change, you'll be uncomfortable. Ok, at least take off the cinderella click clack heels. OK, you can wear the fur coat, but put on slippers. Or your TOMS. I don't know where your TOMS are, just wear slippers. Ok, let's get in the car. Hurry, we're running late. Do you need help up into the car? Yes, I know it's hot, you're wearing a fur coat." 

These are the common conversations that take place between Ivy (age 4 & three-quarters) and I all day long. Between the daily necessities like getting dressed and brushing teeth, and the daily schedule of getting places on time and making sure meals are on the table, sometimes conversations with your kids can be, well, quantity, not quality. 

Tonight I read Ivy a book, like we always do at bed time. When I finished, I could tell she was still wanting to talk. She said she wished she could make her own book. So I asked her, 

"If you could write a book, 
what would you write about?"

Ivy: "You, and daddy, and me. And grandma, and grandpa, and baby Chad." (Baby Chad is a little boy my parents watch). 

Me: "And what would we do?"

Ivy: "Hold on, I'm thinking. It has to be something easy for me to draw... (pause)… We would go to a flower shop. And get a lot of flowers and take them home."

Me: "And then give them to people?"

Ivy: "No. I want to keep them at our house so we can look at them, cause they're pretty."

I liked talking with Ivy like this. I liked being face-to-face with her and hearing about the things she thought about on her own. No interruptions, no inhibitions, just speaking from her own mind. I could psychoanalyze a few things about this short conversation: 

-Why not challenge yourself with something harder to draw? 
-Don't you want to share the flowers with others? 

But I didn't (out loud). That wasn't the point. For me, the point was listening to my child and giving her my undivided attention. She has the chance to express her thoughts, to me. I plan to continue looking for ways to have more face-to-face conversations with her, and sharing those questions with you. Try asking your child this question. I'd love to hear his/her answer! 

ask your kid - conversation starters - parent child relationship building

Aloha, Rebecca

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Acai Bowl Craving - I made my own!

Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii

This summer I discovered my new favorite eatery on Maui: Farmacy Health Bar Wailuku. It was right across from my work, the freshest food you could imagine, and it was delicious. Problem: I moved to Kauai about 2 weeks after discovering it. Boo.

Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii Wailuku Farmacy
Farmacy Health Bar Wailuku
LOOK at this Acai Bowl. Yes, that's bee pollen sprinkled on top. 
Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii

While teaching dance camps, I ate one almost every day for 2 weeks. 
They were $8 a pop, but well worth it! 
It was health in a bowl!
Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii

Papaya, strawberries, blueberries, granola and honey… oh my.
Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii

Well, I've had enough sitting around dreaming of this delicious acai bowl, 
so today I decided to make my own, and here's how it turned out:
Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii
Not bad!
 Even Ivy liked it, and she's a picky one. 

Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii

So here's how I made it:

1. Blend apple juice, granola (Anahola Granola!), honey, acai blend (Sambazon from Costco!), frozen strawberries, and a few dashes of ground ginger until it's almost smoothie consistency. A little chunky is okay. Pour it in a large bowl.

2. Cut open a papaya, remove seeds, and spoon out small pieces on top of the smoothie.

3. Add some more granola and some chocolate chips on top. 

4. Eat it before it melts! 

Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii papayas
Blessed to have fresh papaya growing in our yard!

Acai Bowl recipe from Hawaii

I had to take these pictures fast. Both the Farmacy bowl and my bowl tended to melt quickly. 
But it sure did hit the spot! I'll be eating more of these in the future. Maybe I'll find some bee pollen :)

Aloha, Rebecca

Tips For Staging Your Photos - A Behind the Scenes Look

tips for staging your blog photos

I've got a secret for you: photos like these don't just happen:
tips for staging your blog photos
How To Recover Vintage Train Cases
Props: rustic chair, notebook, stamp, lip gloss, watch, clothes pins, tin, pens

My life doesn't look like my blog pictures. My photos are staged. 
Don't be surprised. Every good blogger does it. 
tips for staging your blog photos
Yellow Herringbone Chair
Props: rug, planter, driftwood, bunting, stuffed monkey

And honestly, it should be no surprise that my blog contains staging-- I'm a dancer. 
I basically live to get things "stage-ready." 
(Don't be mad, I've also given you plenty of "Reality Show" shots. Click here and here for those.)
tips for staging your blog photos
Picket Fence Baby Soft Block
Props: distressed dresser, gerber daisy, handmade bunny, vine
In my earlier blog posts, some of my pictures are pretty bad. Case in point, look here and here. I was working with a blurry iPhone 3, and was just eager to get my info out there. I've never claimed to be a photographer, and don't really have the desire to get some huge camera and figure out all it's settings. I'm now using my iPhone 5S and fully content. All this to say, I think there are some secrets for amateur photographers to keep in mind to make sure your photos are at least presentable. 


Tips For Staging Your Photos

tips for staging your blog photos
1. Location
I try to shoot outdoors, before 9am or after 4pm. Sometimes you need to get creative when direct sun and shadows get in the way. (Hence, this ridiculous green sheet hanging up. Direct sunlight was hitting my shot!
tips for staging your blog photos
Look how close the shadow line was, even with the sheet up!!
I literally propped up the sheet with a rope and a BBQ wire brush. I was desperate for the shot!

tips for staging your blog photostips for staging your blog photos


2. Background
The best background is usually white. That's what people are drawn to. I've dabbled in using our wood dining room table for my Etsy Shop products, as well as a green fence over at my parents' house. But in the end, I prefer the white fence that was right outside our Maui house, even if it was a little dirty. (I've yet to find the perfect place here at our new house!) You've probably noticed I like to use this grey rug a lot. Way better than exposing the gravel and weeds it's concealing.

tips for staging your blog photos
Elephant Ear Dresser
Props: driftwood, natural foliage, gerber daisy, handmade bunny, DIY Mason Jar Votive

3. Styling
Style your photos. I like to create 'moments' in all aspects of my work, both onstage, and off.
Here's an example of a moment I created for the stage:
tips for staging your blog photos dance We Bought A Zoo
We Bought A Zoo
Photo by Elizabeth Yee

Props: benches, lighting, gobos, costuming
tips for staging your blog photos
Black-Washed Antique Side Table
Props: rug, doily, creamer cup, vase, natural foliage
In the same way, I want someone to look at a photo on my blog and have the desire to just jump right into it, as if it were a moment they want to be a part of. If it's a chair, they should want to sit in it. If it's an apron, they should want to wear it. The best way to do this is through complimentary everyday props: lamps, rugs, mugs, pens, notebooks, pillows, dolls, vases, driftwood, doilies... the list goes on! When I get ready to shoot a piece of furniture or sewing product, I begin to unload my house's contents.  Everything comes outside so I can quickly grab the right prop. And if you know me, you know I always have cute clothes pins on hand! Be careful not to overload the shot and use too many objects!
tips for staging your blog photos
All this, just to photograph the Dr. Suess bunting!
tips for staging your blog photos
Well, the Elephant Ear Dresser and the Antique Scallop Chair were also photographed that day. :)
photo shoot props tips for staging your photos

4. Editing
Post-photo shoot, I edit in iPhoto. I use it to crop, adjust exposure, shadows, saturation, etc.
Here's an example of the same shot, before and after editing:

tips for staging your blog photos black chalk paint vanity
Before - no photo editing
tips for staging your blog photos black chalk paint vanity
After - with photo editing
Black Chalk Paint Vanity

Props: globe, doilies, lamp, teacup and saucer, vase, mason jar, wooden color block spoons
This was actually a really good day of shooting for this vanity-- great lighting, so the editing was minimal. I know eventually I need to get into photoshop, especially because watermarking your images is essential, and I don't do it nearly enough as I should, but honestly I'm just not ready for that commitment yet, haha. This is a hobby that brings in a little bit of income. I need to be realistic about the time I spend on it. If someone steals my image, I'll cross that bridge when I get there. 

tips for staging your blog photos

5. Clean Up
And then you have to clean it all up! Seriously, clean it up immediately, otherwise your house looks like one of my Reality Show posts, you feel completely unorganized, and your husband gets agro from the mess! 

tips for staging your blog photos

Don't count on your dog to be any help. 
Godiva just likes to sunbathe while Ivy and I do all the work…  
...except in the case of the photo shoot that my pro-photographer friend, Ajja, did with Ivy and I. Godiva was ALL ABOUT participating! I think it was the comfy rugs and pillows. We couldn't get Godiva out of the shots!

tips for staging your blog photos ajja photography
Photo by AJJA Photography
tips for staging your blog photos ajja photography
Photo by AJJA Photography
So, collect your favorite objects (heck, we made a teepee and busted out the ukulele up above!) and start staging your photos! Remember these tips:

tips for staging your blog photos

photo shoot props tips for staging your photos

Happy photographing!
Aloha, Rebecca

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When Life Comes Full Circle

Today was pretty nostalgic for me. In January 2009 Kit and I opened a dance studio/creative arts center here on Kauai, and we even lived in an apartment we built in the back of it. 

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - KauaiOpening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai2 weeks later we unexpectedly found out we were pregnant. It was the hardest year of my life, being pregnant with 7 months of severe morning sickness, laying flooring, renovating, teaching dance 6 days a week, etc. 
Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai


Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - KauaiIronically, about a dozen friends and acquaintances also had babies (mostly girls) that year on Kauai. When Ivy was born in October 2009, I was just about out of energy. 

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai
We closed our business on December 31, 2009 and moved to Maui to recuperate, saying goodbye to our Kauai family, friends and our vision. 

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai
You can still see where it says Green Light above the address
Yesterday, for the first time since we closed, I went back to the building where we had our studio. It's now a yoga studio that also rents out the space to dance teachers. I went there to teach 3 dance classes for KUGA. As I began my first class, I was filled with so much joy and ease. The space we created was still being used for dance education, and it all came back to me as I remembered how I loved the studio size, the lighting and the light wood floors. But the coolest part was that 5 of those little Kauai girls, who were born in 2009, were there, as they are now old enough to dance in my classes. That was my dream 5 years ago, and today it came to fruition. 

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai
Ivy was a little sleepy when we arrived, and wasn't understanding the significance of where she stood. :)
Thank you to my friends who brought their kids to class yesterday. For you, it may have been just another day, but for me, it was one of those moments I won't forget - where life comes full circle, and everything you worked so hard for finally means something. 

Opening a dance studio when pregnant & having a baby - Kauai

Aloha,
Rebecca

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Coconut Cup Juice Bar & Cafe

I have quite a few "favorite eateries" on Kauai.
My first go-to spot to put healthy food into my body - The Coconut Cup Juice Bar & Cafe.
I love their smoothies. I instantly feel healthier once I take a sip.

Organic Coconut Cup Juice Bar and Cafe Kapaa Kauai Hawaii Acai

Organic Coconut Cup Juice Bar and Cafe Kapaa Kauai Hawaii AcaiLocated conveniently off the main highway in Kapaa, I never feel like it's out of my way to go eat there. Actually, I mainly just drink there… smoothies.
Ivy's pretty picky about smoothies, but she likes these ones. 

She's drinking the Wainiha Acai:
-Papaya (my favorite fruit since I was a kid)
-Organic Acai
-Mixed Berries
-Organic Vanilla Soy Milk
-no bananas, cause I'm allergic, so I asked for mango instead

Organic Coconut Cup Juice Bar and Cafe Kapaa Kauai Hawaii AcaiThere's something about Acai… so yummy! This year's trendy superfood, for sure.
I also like their Lumahai Cooler:
-Pineapple
-Mango
-Papaya
-Ginger
-Guava Juice

Watch out for that ginger - it's got some bite! 

Organic Coconut Cup Juice Bar and Cafe Kapaa Kauai Hawaii Acai Menu

Aside from smoothies and juices, they also have:
-Breakfast Burritos
-Acai Bowls
-Gourmet Sandwiches
-Bagels
-Wraps
-Organic Salads
-Shave Ice
-Caffeine

Organic Coconut Cup Juice Bar and Cafe Kapaa Kauai Hawaii Acai menu
HE COCONUT CUP
JUICE BAR & CAFE
Location: The Hotel Coral Reef
Address: 4-1516 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai
Hours: 8am-5pm    7 Days A Week
CALL-IN ORDERS WELCOME!
808.823.863


Located in The Hotel Coral Reef
4-1516 Kuhio Hwy
Kapaa, HI 96746

Ph: (808) 823-8630
Call in orders welcome!

Hours: 8am-5pm, 7 days a week

Organic Coconut Cup Juice Bar and Cafe Kapaa Kauai Hawaii Acai

Maybe we'll see you at The Coconut Cup Juice Bar & Cafe!

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On another note, since we've been back on Kauai, I've had time to add some new head bands to my Etsy Shop. Have you seen them yet? Here's a peek:




Aloha, Rebecca