• GriffonDorable

Life Isn't Sunshine and Rainbows...Or Maybe It is! Living in Hawaii

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Ashley. We grew up together in Alabama and, thanks to social media, have kept up with each other. Much to the delight of all of her friends on social media, she and her family now live on the picturesque island of Oahu. Enjoy a little inside peek into their world!

"We love going home to visit family and friends but I know that we’re in the right place when we step off the plane in Hawaii and feel like we’re home."

Aloha! Hawaii was one of my first tropical vacations as a kid so it holds a special place in my heart. How did you end up in this magical place?

We were living in Atlanta and visited Hawaii for a mission trip. We absolutely loved the facility where we stayed and just mentioned to the coordinator, “If you ever leave, we would love to be considered.”

Wow! Just like that?

Well, there was a job change that I was going though and my husband was open to it so, when we got the call a year and a half later, we sold our house and moved.

What do you do for work now?

We both work at Pu’u Kahea Conference Center, which sits on 14 acres and has eight buildings where we host groups like schools, churches, and other nonprofit groups.

I was previously a meeting planner and my husband, Jimmy, is a former police officer. We work as the Directors of the conference center so our background and skill sets work perfectly. We also live on-site and absolutely love it!

Where exactly do you live (so I can come for a visit, ha ha)?

We live on the west side of Oahu about an hour from Honolulu. It’s kind of like living out in the country, like where you and I grew up in Alabama. It is rustic and rural and stunning.

Do you find that you have a LOT more friends now, ha!

Our families visit us and occasionally a friend, but it is a long flight so most people enjoy keeping up with us on social media. We get back home to the mainland once for a month once a year so we can see everyone.

You often post pictures that look like they came out of a travel magazine. Do you still feel like you live in paradise or has the allure lessened?

Sometimes we do things like hold meetings on the beach so, those types of routines can make it easy to forget. When we moved here though, we decided to not take it for granted so we always come back to that.

And how have your kids adjusted?

Our youngest was eight months old when we moved here so this is all he knows. And our oldest paddles on a canoe team and we say to them, “Do you know how lucky you are to live here?” Our kids are growing up in Hawaii though so they think paradise is normal! Seeing it through their eyes is incredible. It still takes my breath away.

If someone is coming to Oahu for one day, what are the must-do’s?

We like to play tourist for a day and grab a burger at Kua Aina in Haleiwa and shaved ice at Dave’s. The orange with condensed milk is delish! There’s some great shopping on the North Shore too!

Coastal Living recently published The Ultimate North Shore of Oahu Road Trip and I love Turtle Bay's Ultimate Guide to Sea Turtles in Hawaii!

How has living on a tropical island affected your wardrobe?

We’re in shorts and tees all the time. What’s interesting is that, in Hawaii, clothes have no attachment to who you are. It’s a very body-positive environment and people embrace each other no matter their size or shape.

Living in a tropical paradise means daily sunscreen. I'm obsessed with Elta MD sunscreen! What’s your go-to?

Oh yes, 30+ sunscreen is a must. I also love a rash guard

What’s been the biggest adjustment?

Of of the biggest things about living in Hawaii is that we’re a minority not being from the island. One thing we’ve learned is that just because you’re from a big city, doesn’t mean you have all the answers. We try to soak it all in to get a better feel of the local flavor.

Do you think you’re in Hawaii for good?

We love going home to visit family and friends but I know that we’re in the right place when we step off the plane in Hawaii and feel like we’re home.

Now that you guys have been there for a while, is there a charity that tugs at your heart?

Puʻuhonua O Waiʻanae is the oldest and largest houseless village on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. A nonprofit called Tyrell’s Angels supplies basic needs and activities for the children that live there. Twinkle, the mayor, keeps us apprised of in-kind needs and we try to help when we can.

I have a photo hanging in my bathroom that’s shows a HUGE wave (above) from the Triple Crown Surfing Competition on the NorthShore. There’s something really special about Hawaii in the way that it draws you in and centers you and I’ll never forget that moment. I hope Hawaii continues to bring you a multitude of incredible moments.

Mahalo, Ashley, and thanks for sharing!!

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