Thursday, February 28, 2013

march photo a day challenge

March 2013 Photo A Day Challenge list
see original post here
did anyone play along in february?  it was a fun, short month to join.  march is a bit longer of a month but looks just as fun.  hope you can play along and/or follow me on instagram (alohaneener) or facebook.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

7. swim with manta rays

stock photo
after i earned my scuba certification, one of my goals was to take advantage of some unique diving opportunities based out of places that i was living and traveling.  hawaii has some very beautiful diving areas
and one of the most popular/unique dives i saw was a chance to feed manta rays so i quickly added that to my list.

manta rays are sometimes known as butterflies of the sea.  they are graceful and gentle giants that swoop under the water with wingspans up to 20+ feet!  unlike other rays, mantas don't have stingers and are perfectly harmless to humans.  they don't even have teeth, eating plankton that swims into their funnel-like mouths.

in 2005 i had the opportunity to scuba dive off the kona coast of hawaii with these magnificent creatures.  justin and i participated in a nighttime dive.  why at night?  because the plankton they like to eat are attracted to the beams of light from the high-powered flashlights we held while "sitting" on the bottom of the ocean.  in addition to the divers below, there were snorkelers near the surface of the water pointing their beams of light down toward us.  the result was an extremely up close and personal encounter with these angelic aliens.  we weren't supposed to touch them but they were not following the same rules as us and had no problem brushing against you with their soft and slightly slimy bodies.  it wasn't the least bit frightening or gross though.  truly, it was a breathtaking experience that i've always been so excited to have been able to do and always recommend to others.

Friday, February 22, 2013

fashion friday - gowns galore

the Oscars are this weekend and one of my favorite parts is seeing   all of the gorgeous dresses on the red carpet... what's your style?
gowns galore

Monique Lhuillier lace evening gown / Giambattista Valli chiffon gown / Matthew Williamson silk gown, $1,180 / Catherine Deane bodice dress, $1,525 / Eileen Kirby , $635 / Maxi dress, $185

Monday, February 18, 2013

drum roll please...

in case you missed it on my FB or instagram feeds, IT'S A BOY!!

we had the gender reveal party yesterday afternoon and it was a great time.  we were very blessed to have so many friends there to celebrate the discovery with us and we really missed the family and friends that couldn't be there.

i was so busy playing hostess that i didn't get a chance to take nearly as many pictures as i'd hoped to but i managed to capture the cake and some special treats.  first, the cake... my friend Nancy made this incredible owl cake.  the owl was lemon with lemon curd filling.  the smaller cake that the owl sat on was french vanilla with raspberry filling (it was colored blue for the discovery).  and the base of the cake was a decadent chocolate with chocolate ganache.  she also made these adorable fondant mushrooms and extra lemon cupcakes.  it was delicious!

and the cookies were a special treat i ordered from my friend Natalie's bakery, Sunny Side Sweet Shop.  Natalie and i went to high school together.  i always admired photos of her custom cookies and thought it would be fun to have some for the party.  Natalie loved the idea of making half the cookies pink and the other half blue. she was so easy to work with, taking my custom design and providing not only a sample of it but some other options as well.  she took great care in individually wrapping each cookie and shipped them fast.  everyone loved how adorable they looked and how delicious they tasted.  even though the bakery's located in central Florida, she's happy to ship with a little extra notice so if you're looking for a special treat for your event or as a gift, i highly recommend Sunny Side Sweet Shop!

loved these options!

but stuck with our original design

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


those of you that follow me on instagram (@alohaneener) get to see a lot of random things that i capture on a daily basis more so than you do here on the blog or even on my facebook.  i don't proclaim to be an artist but i do love taking photos and every now and then i am pretty pleased with what i capture.  i've shared before some of the many ways to take an instagram photo and turn it into something more than a thumbnail on a phone screen.

one way to showcase your photos is to post them to a gallery on instacanvas.  you choose which photos to make public (so no one will be blowing up your personal family pictures) and when people pick your photo to print, you get a percentage of the profit.  and they've expanded the products to include not only canvases but also framed prints, prisms (desktop paperweights), greeting cards and iphone covers.

recently, they've added an option for you to purchase products from your own photos that you choose from your facebook or hard drive (again, not viewable by the public) to make into gifts for yourself or family.  so i did just that.  i took a couple of my favorite shots from our most recent hawaii trip and had them enlarged and framed.  it takes a lot for me not to frame and print so much more but luckily(?) i can't afford to go overboard.  if you're like me though and love to see them in print, here's another (much cheaper) way to display them (thank you pinterest!)

Instagram display  - it's just one picture. DIY instructions, print for only $6 @ Costco
check out how she made this here