Give Me More Altitude

Headed to Alt Summit 2014 | Frock Files

Today is the day! Depending on the time of day you read this (and your time zone), I’m either flying to or getting lots of hugs in Salt Lake City. Going to Alt Summit this year is a completely different experience than it was last year. Last year, I was so nervous about not knowing anyone. This year, I’m chomping at the bit to see so many of my friends for real, live hugs and long chats and shared meals. Google Hangout and Skype are great, but nothing beats the real thing.

If you couldn’t make it to Alt this year, don’t fret. I’ll be swamping my Instagram and Twitter feed with photos of everything from the panels to the parties to checkout – so come along! There may even be a little competition happening, say, around 10:00am mountain time on Friday. If I could, I’d carry you around on Facetime for the entire event so you could feel like you’re right there in the action, but sadly, my battery would die and you would probably get a little motion sick.

Want to read more about Alt Summit and my thoughts on blogger conferences?

Getting the news about teaching at Alt
Forget fashion; what really matters at conferences
My nice smelling + tasting business cards
The best part about Alt Summit
Tips for growing your blog from Alt Summit (with two of my favorite ladies, Kristen and Erin)
Photography advice from (king of photographers) Justin Hackworth
Being the truest version of you by Jasmine Star

See you next week, for the scoop on everything that happened at Alt!

Lovely Things in Hawaii

Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013Frock Files in Hawaii 2013 Frock Files in Hawaii 2013

Now that we’ve been home for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down and pulled together some of the photos of our time there. These are a few of my favorite things, including the chapel outside the Wai’oli Tea Room, dessert with the Professors Dawson at JJ’s, flowers in the gardens at the Spalding House, and breakfast with my family at Town. Of course, my niece Jolie ranks at the top of that list!

 

More Oahu Treasures

Frock Files: Oahu Recommendations

We’re back! If you’ve been following along on my Instagram feed, you already know that we had a wonderful trip full of time with my family. Going home always gets our wheels turning about how we could spend part of the year (say, January through April?) in Hawaii, if only we could figure out a way. Does anyone have a couple mil to spare? We’ve got our eye on the cute neighborhood where we rent our vacation cottage.

Quite a few people have asked for Oahu recommendations, and I remembered that I listed a bunch of good places to eat in this City Guide when I got back from my annual pilgrimage last year. I have even more places to add this time around. Hawaii just gets better with age!

Frock Files: Oahu RecommendationsHoliday Palms Cottage: We loved staying in this little cottage on the Windward side of the island. The area is the definition of lush, with unbelievably green mountains and to-die-for views of the ocean as you drive in.

The cottage itself is cozy, clean, and bright, with a comfortable bed and, perhaps most importantly, air conditioning! There is also a great little private outdoor patio with a table and a grill. We loved the neighborhood, which is a five minute walk from the beach and just a couple of blocks from lots of restaurants and shops, including the brand new Whole Foods. Not to worry, lots of independent boutiques and eateries are scattered in with the bigger stores.

Frock Files: Oahu RecommendationsHo’omaluhia Botanical Gardens: I feel like I’m letting you in on a secret here, because the gardens are almost always empty when I visit them but they’re one of the best things on the island. These gardens are my idea of Eden. The land is divided by the geographic areas from which the plants hail. There really aren’t any words to describe how beautiful it is there. Camping is allowed, so if you’re adventurous (I’m not), you could even pitch a tent and skip the cost of accommodations all together!

Sugarcane: You may remember that we bought a mirror from Sugarcane last year. Over the course of the year, owner Jill and I became great fans of each other’s Instagram feeds, and I’ve fallen even more in love with her shop. Let me tell you, if I hadn’t already finished most of my Christmas shopping, I could’ve done it all at Jill’s boutique. Vintage teacups, cute t-shirts, and bright pillows line the shelves here. You can even take home a little beach in a jar for your friends who can’t make the trip themselves. My favorite: seeing an array of Ten Things jewelry in real life. I’m such a big fan of Kerri’s! I bought one of her turquoise bracelets and I’m positive it’s good luck.

Frock Files: Oahu RecommendationsThe Spalding House: Up in hills above Honolulu sits this magical piece of land. The 3.5 acre property (almost unheard of in Hawaii) was once owned by the Cookes of Castle and Cooke. Today, it’s owned by the Honolulu Museum of Art. The home was turned into a gallery which houses rotating exhibits of contemporary artwork. But the real treat is the beautifully manicured garden, the sloping lawn, and the view of Diamond Head that is perfectly framed by two Banyan Trees.

We enjoyed all these places and some of the ones from the City Guide before flying out last Tuesday night. On the way home, we stayed in LA for a day to decompress and break up the trip, and most importantly, to have dinner with my oldest friend and his completely lovely girlfriend. Now we’re home and somewhat surprised to find ourselves preparing for Christmas!

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we’re already preparing for the next visit.

P.S. Want more Oahu recommendations? Check out my City Guide for Honolulu.

Thanksgiving Bon Voyage

Frock Files // Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Like so many of you, we’re heading home today to spend Thanksgiving with family. Mine lives all the way in Hawaii, which is a pretty long trip from New England. But the many hours on a plane are always worth it because my family is amazing and, well, what kind of person complains about having to travel to Hawaii?

Anyone who’s migrated from place to place knows that one of the downfalls is leaving a piece of your heart behind every time you move. Over the years, the missing part has become harder and harder. When I lived in Portland, I desperately missed the seasons in New England. Now that I’m back here, I really miss my friends and a bunch of little spots that I came to love in Portland. And, oh, Hawaii. My whole family lives there and I miss out on weekly family brunches, all of my niece and nephew’s birthdays, and the lovely comfort of growing into adulthood alongside people you’ve known all your life.

Frock Files // Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Occasionally, I get the urge to move back home and my island friends and family laugh at me. “You? Here? You’d get antsy in a month!” Which is true. (They know me so well.) I’ve lived almost my entire adult life off the island.

So these annual trips home are precious to me, especially now that I get to share them with James. We love staying in Kailua and driving right next to — and through — the unbelievably lush mountains. We love going to the KCC open market at sunrise on Saturday with my parents. We love having shave ice with my sister’s family, hanging out on the North Shore, and pretending to be tourists while sipping umbrella cocktails at the Mai Tai Bar.

Frock Files // Thanksgiving in Hawaii

I’m so thankful for the abundance of beauty in my life, both here and in Hawaii, and for the ability to go back every year. Wherever you may be traveling — whether one block or thousands of miles — I hope that you’re also surrounded by love and good eats.

P.S. I’m taking the rest of this week off, but check back next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for gift guide, recipe, and DIY posts! And follow me on Instagram to see what we’re up to in the aloha state!

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AirBnB for Dogs

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

Remember how I rented an apartment through AirBnB last month when I was in New York? Over the weekend, Kona had a similar experience!

On Saturday night we went to see a friend’s band play about an hour and a half away, and I knew that we’d be out until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Kona home alone for that many hours since she’s only 4 months old, so we turned to a new service we’d heard about called Dog Vacay, where dog owners all over the country welcome pups into their home when their owners are out of town, on vacation, or just plain busy.

How It Works

The service allows you to search by your local area. You’re then given a list of dog sitter listings, each with photos, a description of their homes, “host” dogs (the sitters’ pets), and a calendar with availability. You may choose to do a free meet and greet with the sitter, or you can book right away. All of the sitters are insured through Dog Vacay.

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

We chose our sitter, Faith, because she used to be a vet tech and she has a fenced-in back yard, plus she only lives about 20 minutes away. As a bonus, she and her husband own a yellow lab – and we’re under the impression that Kona thinks she’s a lab, herself!

Kona’s Stay

We brought along a container of Kona’s food and her crate, but left behind her toys because sometimes dogs get territorial about those things. Faith went over Kona’s eating and sleeping schedule with me and showed us around the house. She put Kona’s crate in a bedroom, which Kona got to sleep in all by herself (as she does at home). Talk about luxury.

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

Kona was immediately smitten with another dog who was staying at the house, Chloe. She forgot all about us, and when we said good-bye she looked over her shoulder like, “Oh, you’re still here?” and galloped off to continue wrestling with Chloe, who is at least twice her size.

Over the course of Kona’s 24-hour stay, Faith sent us two emails containing pictures of our pup. We weren’t really worried about her because she loves other dogs and we knew she would feel like she was in Disneyland with two other dogs to play there. But we were tickled to get a peek at just how much fun she was having.

This is my favorite one. Look at how they’re gazing at each other and reaching their paws out! If that’s not puppy love, I don’t know what is.

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

We would have paid the same or more to put Kona in a pet hotel or kennel for the night, but having her in a real home with other happy dogs and the comfort of responsible humans nearby was a better deal for all of us. With the holidays coming up, Dog Vacay is a fantastic option for any of you who can’t travel with your pups but hate the idea of kennels. Kona approves!

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This post was NOT sponsored by DogVacay.com. I just think their service rocks and I wanted to share it with you.

Photos by our pet sitter, Faith

 

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