Molokai Monk Seals

Last weekend my husband and I took a trip over to the “Friendly Isle” also known as Molokai. It was my first visit and I was incredibly excited! We had a lot of ground to cover in 2 1/2 days. We kind of hit the ground running–ready to explore, learn and relax.



We saw and did lots of cool stuff, but I have to share a funny story of something that happened. Day one: we checked into Hotel Molokai, grabbed some water and snacks and headed over to the west end where most of the beaches are. My husband wanted to take a quick rest in the warm sunshine, but me? Well I can’t sit still. I saw people out on the point and told him I wanted to walk out there and check it out. So we agreed that I’d venture over while he caught some Vitamin Sea on the sand.

On my way, I came to a small sandy cove and looked down to see an awesome shell! I was so excited! I kept looking down at the sand, searching for more shells that were similar.  I walked around for a few minutes and didn’t see anything else so I headed back on the trail to the point.



When I got there, some visitors asked me “did you see those monk seals that you were right next to?” I laughed because I had no idea what they were talking about… they clearly must be mistaken. I told them “there were no monk seals over there..” The man said, “you were taking pictures or something and you had to have been less than 10 feet away from them. There were three there sleeping right on the beach.” My face did a combination of: thinking and confusion. I talked story with them quickly, nabbed a few more photos and headed back to see what they were talking about. 

dec31-199Sure enough folks, I walked toward the small cove and my husband was coming my direction saying “there’s three monk seals right there!” And then I saw it: their “scoot and flop” tracks all the way down the beach and three sleeping seals. Right there. And I hadn’t even noticed.


Yes, I had total “visitor brain” and walked right by the seals thinking that they were rocks. Oh. My. Word. I could have lost an ankle to that mama in the middle. She had now woken up and was keeping a close eye on the small group of people that had now gathered on the beach to watch them. Side disclaimer: I have no idea if this was a mother and her babies or a family of seals or, just some friends lounging on the beach on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? It seemed like a mom and her pups. The little guy to the left was as cute as a puppy. Seriously. Don’t you just want to take him home?



Moral of this story: pay attention at the beach: in and out of the water. Ha! But really, they are sometimes hard to see when they are sleeping by the waters edge close to the rocks-they lay so still and just blend right in. My foot prints were right over the seal tracks:


I posted this photo on my Instagram and my friend Darren commented that this a rare photo.



He noted that most monk seals like to be solo–like a monk. So to see them in a group, is pretty awesome. I also did some research: ” The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, and the rarest seal or sea lion in US waters..” Thanks to the Marine Mammal Center and my friend, I now know that this was a pretty unique and special beach experience.

I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this. Special Molokai memories were made for sure.

Aloha! ~B

Stop and enjoy the rainbows

Okay you know by now how much I love rainbows, right? It’s true. They are one of my favorite things. I get so excited–I’ve gone from relaxing and reading to running and shooting. This week I’ve found myself staring at a rainbow and wondering why: A) I look around and no one else is stopping to appreciate it and B) why is it that I like them so much? Is it really “just a rainbow” … #DeepThoughts


This morning brought two hours of on and off ‘bows. I was laying in bed and I heard the rain and saw the sun. My heart started beating faster and I ran to the window. Ta-Da! She was beaming in all of her glory. I threw on a hoodie over my pajamas and slipped on my slippahs and went speed walking (gently) with my fresh cup of coffee to find  a better view. By the time I got there, the color and brightness had magnified and it was quite the sight to see. It was huge!


So as I stood there switching from iPhone camera, to snapchat, to Instagram, I was wondering why no one else was out there with me? Maybe it was because it was a Sunday morning and maybe it was because it was only 8 AM, but still. Where are all the people?! It dawned on me that I’m often the only one out shooting. I’m proud to say that I know I’m a total tree-hugger and that I probably love being immersed in and around nature a little more than the rest… but is there more to it?



I went inside (and back outside 3 more times… rainbow turned on, then rainbow turned off… you know I can’t just sit there, right? #RainbowHunter ) I sat down to write in my daily prayer journal. I always start off by writing 3 things that I’m grateful for, 3 people (not myself) to pray for and then I write and pray and “talk” to God. I started off writing how grateful I was for the morning rainbows and then proceeded to draw a little picture of a rainbow next to it. Suddenly it dawned on me as I looked at that little drawing of a rainbow: I used to color rainbows -all.the.time- when I was a little girl. And now, at the tender age of 38, my drawing still looked the same as that 8 year old girls drawing. Seeing it on paper brought back so many happy memories. I decided to break out colored pencils and quickly whip one up for old times sake. I guess rainbows have been ingrained into my DNA, because for as long as I can remember, I’ve loved them.


You know what’s exciting?! Winter is on it’s way and that translates into: Rainbow Weather! Last December I saw a rainbow every day for a week and had to write a blog post about it because it was so awesome. A fun tip: Rainbows are called “Anuenue” in Hawaiian (it’s pronounced: ah-noo-weh-noo-weh) and they are found most frequently in Hawaii because of the sun to water situation. And that would be reason #832156 why I LOVE Maui.



Never stop chasing those rainbows…. or sunsets, clouds, flowers or fall leaves.


The happiness dare!

Okay so truly, I am trying to be a better blogger. I write “blog” down in my planner, I make lists about the things that I’ve done and want to document. I think about it on the daily—yet somehow, it doesn’t make it to the top of my “must do” list. Sigh. Working on it.

But I have been busy with other things.. like: reading the Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. YOU GUYS! Okay so typically my “happiness temperature” is on auto-pilot at around “sunny and 82* with a light tropical breeze.” I’m generally pretty happy (see photo below for proof..) so I really didn’t think I needed a book to tell me about happiness. I was already there. But something (a divine intervention perhaps?) told me to just get the book. GET IT. Fine. Thank you Amazon Prime.

So, there’s a happiness style quiz to find out which of the 5 styles you are: Doer, Relater, Experiencer, Giver and Thinker. I kinda had a good guess about what mine would reveal, but still let’s be honest: it’s super fun to take quizzes that make us think about and marinate on and dig deep into our self. Here’s the quiz and I really encourage you to take it. In fact, I sent the link in a text to my teenage son and daughter, and my husband with the following instructions: “Hi. Please take this quiz and screen shot me your results, as I am collecting data. Love, me” because: “The more you know,” am I right?  So…. I’m an “Experiencer” (duh!) I knew it the moment I saw it.. It’s what I scored the highest on with “Relater” being a close second.

When I read this, I literally picked up my phone and sent my husband a text asking him if he secretly wrote a book under the alias “Jennifer Dukes” because, who else could be this spot on about me? Only Josh. I read it and smiled and realized IN THAT MOMENT:: okay, this is is why I can’t ever just “sit down and read a book on a Sunday afternoon.” THIS explains so much about me: I can’t sit still. I like to go and do and see and explore. Books and podcasts don’t really excite me that much–unless I’m walking my dog at the park, or sweating on the stair master at the gym, because: #MultiTasking–And it’s okay–because it’s my happiness style and it’s what makes my crazy little self: happy.

happiness found…


You guys… it was like a fireworks and wads of glitter went blasting off. Reading about different happiness styles makes so much sense. My husband is a Giver, and I legit found myself in tears last week on the treadmill while reading the chapter on Givers. I was trying to pretend that it was sweat so the girl next to me wouldn’t be scared of the lady crying on the machine next to her. This chapter on Givers: It shed a whole new light on how he ticks and what really bring him happiness: caring about others, being thoughtful, being generous and always putting everyone else first. I felt like I learned a new side of him that was already there, but I just didn’t know all of the beautiful layers.

He knows how much I love photos…


Okay, so, this post wasn’t going to just be on the book… but the book has definitely made me look at things differently and so, I wanted to share it with you. Things I’ve learned: to stop wishing I was more of a book worm or more of methodical thinker and embrace the bubbly, adventurous spirit that bursts out of me.

To smile at the fact that I’m easily distracted and prone to escapism when stress shows it’s face. Yes. It’s okay to be me. The me that God made me to be. Self improvement is always good–and I will pursue a lifelong goal of being a little better each day. But knowing what brings smiles and restores my busy mama soul: Yes. More. All of it. Please and thank you.

my niece Ella jean.. oh i miss this face.

I am *almost* done with the book… it only took me like 3 weeks. I know, I know. I can’t even count how many hikes I’ve been on in three weeks… but I am carving a little time out everyday to stop, read and marinate on it. I love adventuring. I love documenting my adventures. I love scrolling back through my iPhone at memorable moments, smiling and letting gratitude flow. This is also a trait of my happiness style. Page 196. I laughed out loud at the gym when I read that one. How did the author know?!?

Happiness comes in lots of shapes, flavors, forms and styles my friends. I don’t sit and read a lot of books because, time outdoors always wins. So when I find one that I really like, and I find true joy in reading and I learn and take notes and get all emotional: I must share it. “Happiness isn’t about what we can hold in our hands. It’s about what we hold in our hearts.” ~Jennifer Dukes Lee

Happy Happying!

Let me know what you think of the book-have you read it? Would you read it? And! What happiness style are you? Take the quiz and share!


What’s the big deal about Snapchat?

Honestly? Laughter. But there’s much more so hold on to your shoes Dorothy…

My son added the Snapchat app to my iPhone last year without my permission.  He even set up my account and added a few of my friends. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t mad either. I just didn’t care. In fact, I was going to delete it because it seemed really stupid to use storage space on a dumb app, and not on photos. If you know me, you’re nodding your head right now. #takeAllThePhotos

So I came home from a business meeting one day and Jordan says “Mom! Did you update your snapchat app!?” I rolled my eyes and shook my head and made a mental note to delete the app later.  “I’ve gotta show you something cool!” He asked for my phone and updated the app, pulled it up on the phone and told me about these filters that are now on Snapchat. He told me to turn the camera around to “selfie mode,” press my finger on my face until an object appeared, then click on the icons that pop up at the bottom. And then…. This popped up:

And. Just like that, my unicorn sensors were tingling. What was this cool app that offered so many hilarious filters!? It’s safe to say, the fun had just begun. I found myself laughing daily at people’s Snapchats. A little glimpse into their daily life … A struggle turned into a hilarious 10 second video with a weird filter that turns their face into a dog with a large slobbery tongue… Or a sad cartoon face that welled up with crocodile tears. This slowly started turning into –dare I say– one of my favorite apps? No. Yes!

No filter needed. Trade wind fun!

More friends were joining the bandwagon. I sort of felt like a pioneer because when newbies would join, because they’d be asking me questions on how things work. Say what!? I felt like a hipster, but only for like 3 seconds, because we were too busy playing hard…

So, what is Snapchat? It’s an app that allows the user to send and receive pictures and videos to other users that they’ve friended. The videos can’t be saved and are only available for a one time viewing. Photos can only be saved if they are “screenshotted” on the phone. In this instance, the person who sent the picture would get a notification that “person XYZ” took a screen shot of the snap that was sent. The only exception to this is, if the user adds the video and/or photo to their “story,” in which case, it’s available to watch as many times as you want, for 24 hours, and then gone forever. The videos that the user takes can be saved to their phone. Sometimes moments just need to be relived …

It’s free entertainment folks

Why Snapchat? Okay friends, here’s the real deal: It makes me laugh.. a lot. I also learn.. a lot.I follow some inspiring fitness folks, some hilarious moms (living that real life “mom life,”) and other friends who take me along on their daily adventures. I get to see my sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews. Lifelong friends with their families. It has its own form of social media. Since I choose who I follow, when I take a quick “Snapchat break” during the day, I hop on to see what my homies are up to. Mostly: working, on their way to work, food, clothing mishaps, cute kids, sunsets, inspiration and humor.

Snapping my niece at 9 days old. Meow
My daughter and I can act like animals sometimes…
I call this the “Jesus filter” …

On a more serious note, today I got a brief look into the “Celebration of life” for the fallen Dallas officers, from my snapchat friend who was at the service. It’s not always funny, sometimes it’s just about someone sharing a quick moment of what they are doing at that very second. I mean, there’s a reason why they decided to put it on snapchat, right?

I had mine set to only close friends for awhile. Then there was a post on a social media users group to see who else was on Snapchat and to share handles. Just like Instagram, I’m now “friends” with people that I’ve never even met in real life. I guess that’s the way of the world now, huh? So I’m @jbparker4 … Should you choose to follow, get ready for a lot of random things, singing selfies, delicious or not-so-delicious food, oceans, sunsets, rainbows and ordinary life.

Auntie time. We have fun doing this …

My main goal is to be light-hearted, have fun and live with aloha. Oh, and not to take life too seriously. Snapchat, thanks for the help.

I think this filter makes me look like I’m an underwater realtor… selling sandcastles by the seashore. 

Ok. I’ll stop. But remember, laughing keeps you young. 😍


A daycation at the Montage Kapalua

There are some days in life where the memories are just so bright & colorful, they get their own corner lot on memory lane.

Venus Yi of the Montage Kapalua contacted me to talk about a Yelp elite dinner event at her venue. We discussed the details and expectations, picked a date and got excited. Well… *I* got excited-I’m sure she didn’t hang up the phone and do a little dance in her office, like some other people I know. (raises hand!) It’s the MONTAGE, people!! … excitement was swirling everywhere!

Okay, moving on.

I rallied up a few of my Yelp elites + some social media savvy peeps and we counted down the days to our dinner. A few days before the event, Venus contacted me to get a head count and mentioned that since most of us were coming from the other side of the island, that we should take advantage of the pool area + the outdoor spa facilities.

“Um, what? Is it Montage Monday yet?!” is all I could think for the upcoming days.

The morning of, I had to drop my husband off  early at the Lahaina ferry so I did some work at a local coffee shop while I waited for the clock to strike 12 and the party to start! True to Lahaina style, the weather was scorching hot and a day at the pool sounded just heavenly.

Beautiful Kapalua

I really forgot how far north Kapalua is. It’s like “up north” for us Minnesotans. Truly–even the trees and the temperature are like a whole ‘nother world. It’s so so beautiful.

Upon arrival at the Spa Montage, it was just purely serene. A few of us were there right away. We checked in, the staff showed us around and we made our way to the women’s changing room to slip into suits and hit the pool. White fuzzy robes and “Jesus” sandals were waiting for us to put on as well. I wasn’t even in the water and I already felt pampered.

We scooted outside and found some lounge chairs in the sun. I threw my towel down, whipped off my robe and got my toes wet. I decided that for “selfies sake” I probably shouldn’t get completely soaked just yet. We snapped a few pictures, soaked in the glory and then ordered a few tropical smoothies for lunch.

I just…. This view. So stunning.

We swam like mermaids and then once the majority of the crew showed up, we decided to go check out the rest of the spa stuff.


Eucalyptus steam room.

Cool jacuzzi.

Refreshing rain shower.

All this surrounded by: beautiful Hawaiian plants, bright blue sky and super chill vibes. We were in heaven.

One of my favorite moments was: “I’m sitting in the steamer and realizing that I haven’t been in a sauna since I was a little kid. And now, I’m sitting in here with some of my really good friends. (Insert a grateful smile.)

A dream, right? It’s like not even fair at all. We enjoyed every last second by soaking it all in. The clock told us that it was time to get ready for our resort tour + dinner.

The changing areas cater to just about every thing you could ever need. Q-tips, shavers, superior shampoo + conditioner, lots of mirrors and, kind of most importantly, quality lighting. We’ve all had to get ready in places where it feels more like a dungeon. Not here. We got out of our mermaid outfits and slipped into our princess dresses. Again, what is this life?

We put our things away and walked over to The Montage to take a tour of this fabulous place. Venus was our guide and did she ever know her stuff. I was impressed not only how she didn’t get lost throughout the grounds of this massive beautiful place, but also, that she really knew the history and the roots of this establishment. The rooms, the pools, the walkways, the view … they are all summed up in this one sentence: Can I please live here and where do I sign?

When Venus told us that we were going to check out Cliff House, I’ll admit, I got a little (LOT) giddy. I was trying to be professional though so I kept it in check. Deep down though, this is what I was thinking: Cliff House!? CLIFF HOUSE!! Like, is she for real? This is only going to be one of the most awesome things ever. Does she know this is on my bucket list? Keep calm and cliff house on!” I literally felt VIP status.

The little building that sits on the cliff, across from where everyone jumps at in Kapalua … that little place that I had looked at so many times and thought, “Man! I would love to go check that place out.” That’s where we went. Insert happy dance.

The inside was kept neatly and prepared for the next upcoming dinner gathering. The windows that surrounded this table offered spectacular views. The sun was setting and the whole moment was just … lovely. We took lots of pictures and scooted back up to the property to get ready for dinner.

We walked back to Cane & Canoe and were seated at a beautiful table–fit for queens. I don’t think any of us were ready to experience the rest of the night. The day had already been such an incredible experience. But the night wasn’t over yet.

Let me start off by saying, the staff, the view, the vibe and the air, it was all so full of thick aloha. We ordered drinks (I got the Kapalua Butterfly: rum, orange, pineapple, coconut. Yum!) and appetizers while we looked at dinner choices. Drinks were delivered and the first round of #instaFood unleashed. Cameras and backgrounds and angles, oh my! It was quite comical to get some “behind the scenes” pictures. Watching people get creative is something that I’ve always enjoyed.

We ordered our meals and suddenly, the Maui sunset decided to put on a glorious show for us. The sky was filled with every tropical color imaginable. We stepped outside to pause… what a dream. One of my besties and I decided to get a closer view–we ran down by the pool to get a shot off the water. We laughed and took in the moment.. one I’ll never forget.

We hustled back to our group and the pupu’s were being delivered to our table. We passed around each selection so we could try them all. They were all delicious, but my favorites were: Crispy Suckling Pig and the Surfing Goat Cheese Tempura. So delish!

We ordered our meals and carried on with conversations. Venus told us some more history on Cane & Canoe, then Chef Vivano and his team came out to check on us. Dinner plates arrived and we all got up, walked around the round table while taking photos of everyone’s food. It’s kind of funny … I guess it’s how we roll.

Some drool worthy shots:

Everyone got to taste everything … The way it always should be.

When we felt as if we were going to pop, someone said the word “dessert” and we decided on a few sweet treats to end the night.

A day we will never forget. Spa, sunset, sips, smiles, sunshine and sweet treats.

I can’t wait to come back over to the montage for another dayCation.  If you haven’t been, go check them out! You can thank me later.


iPhone love. 

Guess how many pictures I have on my iPhone at this very moment??

I’ll give you a hint.. It’s a lot. (Laughing..)

Drum roll please…..
8,026 photos. Eight thousand.
Let me tell you some other things that might make this even more hilarious: I got this iPhone in June 2015 with zero photos on it. That’s approximately 26 photos taken per day for the last 310 days that I’ve had this phone. Oh, and I just deleted 1000 photos off of it.
I think it’s safe to say: I like taking pictures. I could surely think of many other worse problems to have, right!? Right. I need to spend some time deleting and get this number manageable. Often I find 15-20 of the same palm tree/sunset/rainbow. How can I pick just one!? The struggle is real folks. I’ll get it under control … Someday … Maybe.
Here’s my top 5 “you should just delete these” iPhone photo collection (in no particular order) and why I can’t delete them:

My son isn’t really a beach fan (I know, like, what!? Is he crazy!? Look where you live kid!) anyways, he doesn’t embrace his beachy side like his mother does. But once in a while, he joins me for a beach sesh and really enjoys himself. Here is one such occasion when he was letting inner beach boy out with the dog. The photo is not straight, it’s a weird angle and the shadows are weird. I still can’t delete it.

That one time we were out watching the sunset, hanging out on a beach in Kihei on a Friday night. He looks over at me and said these words: “hey, come over here so we can take a selfie..” And then proceeded to take multiples so I could “pick the one I liked the best” … Speaking my love language there fella. Months later, I have deleted them down to 5 different but very similar choices. I still can’t delete this.

She’s 15 and maturing every single day. She wants to be “all grown up” … Yet sometimes, being a kid is pretty okay. She was playing with a friend-stacking rocks & digging in the sand. I had to be sneaky so she wouldn’t catch me snapping photos … I have about 20 different pictures of her this day. Capturing childhood. It warms my heart.

If we’re snapchat friends, you’ve seen these two play together. If not, let me paint you a picture … This dog loves this dude. He is her human. When they go for a visit to the beach, she is so excited. I joke that she wants to rip his face off and then hug him. She wouldn’t ever hurt him, she just gets that excited. So I try to capture it and I never can. I have about 1625 of these two playing together. Paia bay is a favorite. These two people are my favorite. So. The picture stays.

So I went to this Yelp elite event at the Montage Kapalua resort with some social media gurus. I played the part: hair, nails, make-up, dress, jewelry and a big smile. It was a really fun experience that I will ever forget. When I got home and went to get ready for bed, I looked in the mirror and felt so pleased with what I saw. Looking past the wrinkles and imperfections and focusing on the happiness and what God gave me. And remembering: the happiest girls are the prettiest. I won’t look this way forever. Better keep it to show the grandkids someday.

So, I love taking pictures. I hope that I always enjoy it. You never hear of someone getting to the end of their life and saying: “man! I wish I hadn’t captured so many of my life’s memories…”

So. The photos keep coming and I need to learn to be more organized and diligent about deleting more photos.

Stay classy and always be ready for a selfie. Life is too short to say no those.

Say cheese,


Sunday Funday. Waihou Springs Hike

I’ll be honest… Sometimes even in spring, the water is just a little too cold. I know, I know. Sounds crazy right? But the water temperature drops like 3-4 degrees over winter and truthfully, Brr. Just brr. So my husband and I take a little break from the beach to hike more often. I mean, it makes sense right? Summer brings heat and then a lot of hikes are really hot. We’ve got it figured out. (wink wink)

My daughter and I did the Waihou Springs hike last summer and it was pretty cool. How we stumbled across it was: I picked up my day hikes on Maui book, flipped through and just picked one.  We jumped in the truck and headed to Olinda.  My husband didn’t get to go so he asked if we could head there for our Sunday activity. Sounded perfect.

The weather was perfect as we cruised up through Makawao. Party cloudy with an air temp of around 70*. The higher we got, the colder it got. We parked at the trailhead at Waihou Spring, got out, felt the temperature, got back in, put on pants. It’s funny how we were once “Minnesota tough” … 
 The temp filter on my snapchat said 62*! Sixty two degrees. That’s eqivillent to 8 below. Anything under 70* is freezing. It’s true. Ask anyone. So we laughed at what big babies we were and started walking fast to stay warm. It was so quiet in this forest. It didn’t feel like we were on Maui anymore.

When you do the hike there’s an optional added part that zig-zags down a semi steep hill. And down there is where the cool stuff is. 

There is a sign at the top of the trail that says “Waihou Springs” and the start of a path. I urge you to be careful on this one. It’s not difficult, it can just get slick from tree droppings + leaves.

 So this trail winds back and forth … and back and forth all the way down. There are drop-offs at the turns so be careful. It’s probably the “mother in me” that keeps repeating this. I just don’t ever want to see anyone get hurt.


I feel like Menehune lived here back in the day. Once you get all the way to the bottom, you’ll know why. It’s eerily quiet and against the large wall, you’ll notice little cave like spaces–it’s really cool and a little weird. Often water is trickling down from the top and the large rocks are scattered about. Moss covers lots of rocks & trees.


We followed a trail up one side and met a couple who warned us that the property owner at the end of the trial isn’t fond of anyone he sees to just be aware to stay off of his land once we get to the end. We take private property very seriously and followed their instructions. Once we got to the end, we took a few pictures of the beautiful upcountry view, turned around and went back.


Waihou Springs. You’ll find peace and tranquility. Quiet and solitude. And just about every shade of green you can imagine. You’ll also find that there is no cell phone signal or wifi so you can take part in truly unplugging. This is one of those hidden gems that truly gets you in touch with your inner-Mother Nature.