What it’s like to be on reality TV in Hawaii, Say What?!

Cue all three kids in college. Check.

Get transferred to Hawaii. Check.

Meet the most amazing real estate agent on Oahu. Check

Find a condo on the marina. (wait, what, for real). Check.

Scott, Rose, and I in front of Kona Brewing Co. Great place to eat with beautiful views!

Here is a little story of how two empty nesters moved, trading in four seasons in Virginia to the year round sunshine in Oahu, Hawaii, and in the meantime, somehow got selected to be on HGTV’s Hawaii Life. Hawaii Life is a show that features home buyers in Hawaii while highlighting the land and sea activities and all the beauty that surrounds it.

When the hubby says, “honey, we’re moving to Hawaii,” it’s like a dream come true. Hawaii has always been my most favorite place on earth. There is something about the aloha spirt and laidback family feel of the islands that I have always loved. When we found out we were being transferred to Hawaii, I knew I needed to find a real estate agent. I wanted someone who would be knowledgeable about the market, truthful with us, and guide us through our home buying process. Through a little online research and prayer, I connected with Rose Kemna, and she was there for our home buying process every step of the way…as well as a virtual closing on our home while being 4700 mile away!

But the fun part came when Rose mentioned to Scot and me how she thought we would be a good fit for the Hawaii Life show. As our real estate agent, she would also be featured on the show, so I wanted to apply for her because she had been so helpful to our home buying experience. Low and behold, after a few interviews, we were selected. Now what?!

It was a neat experience seeing all the behind the scene action and how each scene is produced, especially being a photographer myself. It was a fun and unique experience, and most of all, Scott and I got to make memories of our move to Hawaii. We had to commit to four days of filming. The different scenes consisted of a waterfront interview, water activities, touring multiple properties, discussing our buying options, filming a time-lapse with my camera equipment, and chatting over dinner with Rose. Was it scripted? No. We did not have a script, but along with a film crew of seven people we did have a shooting plan to follow each day. Our days started early and ended around 5pm, and by the end of the day, we were all tired!

I never thought we would get chosen to be on Hawaii Life, but in years from now we will be able to laugh at ourselves and have these fun memories of our tropical move to Hawaii. You can catch our episode on Discovery Plus, HGTV Hawaii Life Season 14, episode 9.

Hope you enjoy watching, and if you decide to move to Hawaii, I can recommend a wonderful realtor!

Here are a few photos during filming. It was quite the experience for me to be in front of the camera, instead of behind it!

Rose hit it out of the ballpark (as stated on the show!) with our sunset views of Diamond Head from our lanai! Our favorite part about our Hawaii living!


Trading tropics for snow in Leavenworth, Washington…and getting snowed in!

Sleeping Lady Resort

“Pack your bags for cold weather,” said my hubby. With no clue were we were heading for a Valentine’s getaway, we left 80 degree weather in Oahu, Hawaii and flew into Seattle, Washington where there was a winter storm warning in effect for the surrounding area. When we arrived, I immediately pulled my winter coat out of my suitcase and layered up. Once we got to the car rental area, I dug out my winter boots, scarf and gloves. I was, indeed, freezing! But snow was on the way, and I was in heaven. It hit 8 degrees at one point. “We’re not in Kansas anymore toto!”

We drove a few hours and as we got further away from Seattle, it began to look more like a snow-globe. Driving through the snow covered mountains was quite the change from tropical island life in Hawaii. When we arrived to the small town of Leavenworth, Washington, I felt like I stepped back into Garmisch Germany. Leavenworth is a quaint little snowy town, with boutiques and restaurants with small gas-lit fire pits perfect for a pint or a little gluhwein. It is beautifully lit up at night as the town prides itself with a massive display of lights from before Christmas through February.

Our first stop was quickly unpacking at the Icicle Village Resort and heading back to the little town for some much needed food fuel. We found the Soup Cellar and were pleasantly pleased! Warm homemade soup and sandwiches were perfect to warm us up!

Originally we had planned a four night getaway, but little did we know another snow storm would hit the day we were to leave to drive a few hours back to the airport. We checked out anyway (I do believe I made a comment to my hubby…. humm, you think we just stay??, anyway…) we packed up and drove out onto the only road that was open to the airport. (Hwy 2, as the interstate was shut down due to an avalanche). About 30 minutes out of Leavenworth, we came to a halt… yep, snow began to fall even harder and faster, and all the trucks (oh, about 40 or so!) were pulled over putting on snow chains. What do we do now? Of course we rolled down the window to ask the police officer’s advice, and we continued on…for about one min. Then we decided that maybe driving in a white-out was not a great idea. God was in control, because he gave us the wisdom to literally do a three-point turn in the middle of the road to head back to, um, where… that was a great question. As we were driving, the snow was piling up and there were no hotels in site. Through a quick internet search (thankfully we had cell service), and awesome customer service (thanks, Amanda!), God led us to a sweet little cabin in the middle of no where that was available to rent. We were good. We were safe, and we were snowed in!

Later that evening when we were checking the road conditions, we noticed that the road we were on earlier in the day became completely shut down. God had our backs. We were blessed indeed.

We made the best of the situation and realized that by the weather forecast predicting more snow, the earliest we would be able to get back to the airport would be in three more days. So we found a little grocery market, stocked up on a few provisions, grabbed a quick hot soup to go at the local hardware store, and made the best of our situation.

Sometimes, we have a plan, but we must be flexible to what God has planned. In the end, this little getaway to seek snow turned into enjoying an entire week in what felt like stepping into a snow globe. It was magnificent. It was refreshing (minus the stressful snowy driving conditions), and it was just what two empty nesters living in Hawaii needed.

I highly recommend adding Leavenworth, Washington to your bucket list. It checks so many boxes…”snow” much to name, but check out the photos below for our snowed-in adventure.

Enjoying the Garmisch, Germany feel of Leavenworth
Perfect conditions for a sleigh ride and thanks to covid, we had the entire sleigh to ourselves!

Oh and a little bit of humor… as we were snowed in, our Hawaii Life episode (that we had filmed over a year ago for HGTV) finally aired. What a great laugh, watching ourselves during our “house hunting trip” in Hawaii, while sitting in a 15 degree snowstorm.

Because there was no way, or place, to get a covid test before returning back to Hawaii—into another 10 day quarantine I went…but it was all worth it.

All links are based off my opinions and experiences.


We’re empty nesters! Now what?

I can’t believe how time flies. I mean I think back to the days when my husband was forever traveling and protecting America, and I was a stay at home mom with three little babies– being the nurse, chef (ok, that’s stretching it), cleaner (maybe, this too), room mom, creative director of all projects, and travel agent.  But you get the point! I pause now, and think, where did time even go??? All three are in college. Poof! just like that. They flew from the nest. It’s really surreal when I stop and think about time. It’s so precious and we can never get it back.

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So now what? No one to really take care of on a daily basis. No piles of laundry (until they come home and dump in front of the washing machine). No more early morning breakfasts to cook and lunches to be packed. No more volcanos to build and tests to help prepare for, and no more back to school nights. (Try attending back to school nights with three kids in the same high school…impossible to meet all those teachers!) And, get this one… no more ball games to sit and watch while either freezing or dying in heat. Let that sink in for a min!

Well, I will tell you what, it’s you and me, hubby. It was us before kids — and it’s now you and me again.  God knows our paths; we choose to follow his will or not. I think it was never random that I had all three of my children by the time I was 29 years old. I also don’t think it was random that they are so close in age. I am embracing this empty nesting as good as I can… even when we are thousands of miles from our children. God had this plan for our family, and I am trusting him with it!

Now let’s go on a hike!

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Hanauma Bay, Oahu Hawaii
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Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike, Diamond Head photobombing in the background.
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Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike