Wednesday, November 30, 2011

exposed! {and developed...}

Almost a full year ago, I won a Diana F+ lomography camera on Anna Wu's blog. Last week I finally got my first roll developed! Even though it took me a full year to take and develop that roll of film, I love this little camera. She sits on my studio dresser, next to some of my favorite art and design books and my pile of bright embroidery thread. 

There's something about taking film photos, waiting to get them developed and that gamble of not knowing whether they'll even turn out like you'd envisioned (my photos got a bit over- and double exposed but I love the "character" they have!)  I'm a girl who loves surprises so you know I am falling back in love with film. Now I've gotta start my next roll -- I have a feeling it'll go a lot quicker this time.

I'm thinking about buying the Instax Mini 7s for my next camera. Do you have that one? Do you love it?

Later this afternoon, I'm excited to host a really fun giveaway for you guys! My newest sponsor, is giving away a super suh-weet camera for you guys! It's so awesome, I am actually really jealous of you! Make sure to come back to check out the giveaway and enter to win! 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

that time i knocked my front tooth out... and other stories about me.

I'm writing a frequently asked question page for the blog and it had me thinking about the things you guys may or may not know about me. I thought of some pretty random things and thought I'd share. Cuz you know, you guys all have time to sit and read about me all day. Pfft.

Well, I'm writing them anyway. For, you know, posterity.

 In college, I tried out for the accapela group on campus. I got called back and lost the gig after auditioning with others to the song "Hallelujah"... it still makes me think of that experience (and I shake my fist in bitterness) every time I hear that song.

At age 7, I knocked my front adult tooth out in a nasty fall down the stairs (I was trying to "rock climb" on the banister".) I still have issues with that tooth and have to go get it checked out soon. 

I was a spelling bee extraordinaire in elementary school. I made it to the regional level and still play a mean game of Scrabble thanks to those scores. 

i've read water for elephants three times and have yet to see the movie. Chris and I plan on having a dinner of popcorn and corndogs (ie. circus food) when it finally comes to redbox this week. 

i speak (or used to speak) fluent spanish.When I lived in Mexico, I used to speak it 95% of the time. It scares me everytime I tell someone that because I'm afraid they'll ask me to speak with them and I'll look like an idiot.

When I was 11, a bug stung my eyelid and it puffed up. My cruel oldest sister and my mom called me Quasimodo for days.

I'm like that little girl in the movie, Signs. I leave partly empty (partly full?) glasses of water all around the house.

My favorite letter to write is a lowercase "L". My least favorite is a "y" or a "g".

I once had really long hair. See it here. Chris misses it.

Okay, this was kind of an egocentric post... enough about me, already. I know you have some eccentricities and embarrassing stories-- care to share? Tell me something random about yourself.

Oh, and while you're on that comment form, got any questions for me that you think should be included in my faq page?


Monday, November 28, 2011

{what i've learned}:: staying motivated & being productive

I keep telling you guys that I'm no expert at these things when I share {what i've learned} about blogging, starting a handmade shop, etc. Well, I really mean it this time.

 I learned a long time ago that I am not an intrinsically motivated person. I need treats, rewards, threats, er, goals I mean, to really get myself to focus and be productive. There are some people that are great self-motivators and they just get it done.

 Not me.

There are days when I had all the intentions in the world of finishing x paintings and getting orders shipped out, but I end up dilly-dallying the whole day and basically got nothing done. That being said, here's what I've learned about what personally motivates me and helps keep me productive. Hopefully these tips will resonate with you, whether you are a small business owner, blogger, stay-at-home wife/mom, or whatever.

shut it down.

I'm such a social person and while I love working from home, I miss talking to people. So, I end up chatting all day on Twitter and Facebook to get that people time I need. That's okay in small doses, but it often gets to the point where it's distracting me from my work.

If this sounds familiar to you, you need to simply shut it down. Turn off your laptop, throw your phone under your bedroom pillow and ignore them. I've heard people say to give yourself five minute increments to play online, but I end up getting sucked in if I sit down for "just 5 minutes", so I need to just shut myself off from social media for the afternoon. I don't actually shut down social media every day. But on the days I do, I notice that I get a lot more work done.

The only thing that I don't shut down while I work is my music. I usually always have Pandora playing to keep my energy up. My favorite stations are The Civil Wars, The Beach Boys, and Priscilla Ahn, depending on my mood.

treat yourself.

My love language is gifts ( hint, hint), so maybe this motivator has something to do with that. I love using rewards for myself. Sometimes those rewards are a day off if I get x number of paintings done in a week, or maybe even purchasing something I've been eyeing on Etsy after finishing a particularly challenging piece. A day off reward usually consists of shutting myself out of my studio and doing things like working on my tan, reading a library book and catching up on my shows-- "frivolous" things that seem like a waste on a work day. So, that's a pretty good motivator for me!

Sometimes I even use food as a reward. I'll give myself a few minutes for a yummy snack once I hit a certain daily goal. I know that might not be the healthiest reward system for some people, but it works for me. If I know I'll get to chow down on some Oreos when I'm finished with the Cuties I'm painting, I'm more likely to keep my nose to the grindstone than to let myself get distracted.

write down your goals.

I'm externally motivated, a "gifts" kind of girl, and I'm also a visual person. So it really helps me to write down my goals. I've neglected to do this lately, I'm realizing that I need to get better at it. I'm working on a little project to help me be better at writing down my goals-- I'll be sure to share with you guys when I'm finished! Writing down my goals for the day, week and month gives me a visual for what I want to accomplish and that feeling of crossing it off the list is sooo rewarding!

Another thing that helps is making my goals public. Sometimes I'll tweet a few daily goals in the morning. Usually one or two of my handmade buddies will pick up on the tweet and hold me accountable.

{what they've learned}

Here are a few tips and thoughts from my twitter buddies and facebook fans for staying motivated!

Kim says:: CREATING something that's 100% a reflection of YOUR creativity, style, and passion. I think a lot of times people see something and think "I can make this or that, so I'll start an etsy shop selling the same things," when in reality, that will not motivate you for long. Actually putting the time, energy, and effort into coming up with new things (I am a firm believer that there IS something new under the sun) and designs, you will enjoy every bit of the process - from sketching to packaging it to send to a loyal customer.

Karen says:: staying motivated = a pot of coffee :) It's liquid motivation...all joking aside... to do lists getting 'scratched' off, help motivate me to keep on going!

Kassi and Kayli say:: Loving what you are doing to start with!!! There's NO way you're going to stay motivated if it was something you just kinda liked... ;)

Laura says:: Knowing that there's no job I'd rather be doing! As crazy as it gets, it's my dream job!

Let's continue the discussion in the comments below! What have you learned about staying motivated and being productive while working at home (or at the office!)? Do you use any of the tips above?


aloha style:: how I use shoes to trick myself.

plumeria in my hair:: {c/o the tree across the street}
sheer top:: {nordstrom rack}
under tank:: {f21}
belt:: {f21}
shorts:: {target}
bracelets:: {aloha swap meet, gifts}
shoes:: {c/o blowfish shoes}

Girls, I'm gonna be honest with you. I never really got the shoe obsession thing. Just, ya know, didn't get it. Until now. I am in love with my Hortons. They're so comfy, I even wear them in the Hawaii heat (and around the house sometimes too!) , which is saying a lot for this girl who usually walks around without shoes most of the year. (Plus, they have the same name as Dr. Seuss's Horton the Elephant, who might just be my very favorite cartoon character.)

You know another thing I love. Hawaii rain. Or any rain, really. It's been a bit rainy and windy and chilly this week and I'm loving it! (Except on Saturday when we were expecting a hot beach day and we got a chilly, wet one. Oh well.) I'm a seasons girl, so any change in the weather makes me really happy. To wear jeans in the evenings without them sticking to your legs-- heavenly. To snuggle up on the lanai in the middle of the afternoon with a blanket and a book-- so delightful. Taking inspirational walks in a light drizzle-- mmm. 

Which I guess is another reason I love those booties so much. They make me feel like I can hold on to a small semblance of seasonal wardrobe change. I can sort of trick myself into pretending it's winter-time. Kinda? Maybe? Maybe not in shorts... Hey, sometimes you just have to take what you can get. 

And let's not even talk about the difficulties of getting into the Christmas spirit when it's 80 degrees out. That's a tough one. But I'm working on it. ;) 

Oh hey! Don't forget-- today is the last chance to take advantage of one of my biggest sales ever! Use the code HOLIDAY25 for 25% off everything in the shop (even gift certificates) and get a free 6x6 when you spend more than $100! 

Psstt.. if you're in the market for some new shoes, Blowfish is having a 25% off sale today for Cyber Monday! Now's your chance to snag some super cute kicks! 


Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friends! This is one of my favorite holidays-- no hype, no commercialization, just friends, family, gratitude and tons of food.

Chris and I took a few minutes to think about the things (big and small) that we are thankful for.

grace. hawaiian sunsets. bike rides. amazing family. smart phones. the jubilant look on Chris' face after he gets in from surfing. being a part of the handmade community. bacon pizza. the color yellow. use of all my senses. my blog readers. a Jesus-loving church. warm, clean laundry. geckos (they eat the bugs). our hawaii ohana. catching the perfect wave. my hunky husband who makes me laugh and loves me so well. having my own studio space to create in. coral nail polish.

Lindsay. the sunlight at dawn. my bicycle. warm ocean water in November and through the winter. my sailboat and all my family who pulled it up off the bottom of the river when it sank this fall. my new running shoes. waves. my herb garden (Chris insists on calling it his farm...). full moons to go surfing at midnight. friends who can put up with me. my Jeep passing the safety inspection. airplanes and that they allow us to go home to see family. experimental cooking with Lindsay. our awesome pots and pans. ocean breezes. my new job. coffee to wake me up. 

Enjoy your day with family and friends! Take some time away from the computer and unplug. See you on Monday! 


Aisle to Aloha Studio-- Holiday Sales!

Ok, guys, one last "holiday shopping" post before we get to the best part of the week-- the friends, family and gratitude part (ahem, and the food). I just wanted to let you know about the sale I'm having this week for Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday and Cyber Monday (sheesh, who comes up with all these "holidays" anyway? Oh well, it's a good excuse to get some great deals!) 

Use the code HOLIDAY25 for a whopping 25% off Friday- Monday AND get a free 6x6 Cutie painting when you spend over $100! Um, hello-- did someone say FREE paintings?? Woot. 

** ugh. Chris said this looks red and black to him. It's supposed to be navy and pink, guys. Tilt your laptop screen back... now do you see it?? navy and pink.**

I've added some new paintings to the shop this week! 

Also, gift certificates are back! They're available in $30, $50, and $100, but please don't hesitate to ask for a different dollar amount if you need one. They're really perfect for holiday giving -- let your friends and family choose some colorful, happy art for their home and I'm pretty sure you'll be on the "nice" list  for at least the next three years. 

Finally, December sponsorships are open! After you're done stuffing yourself with cranberry sauce and turkey this weekend, check out my sponsor page and consider sponsoring Aisle to Aloha for the holidays! 

I'll be popping in tomorrow to share my gratitude list for the year. It's pretty extensive, how about yours?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

mele gift guide:: for her

Ok, can I be honest with you? This next gift guide is kind of just my wishlist. All these sponsors make such gorgeous, girly things-- from rosette necklaces, comfy scarves, even the most adorable mustard yellow flats ever. So, don't be ashamed-- feel free to leave this page up on your browser for your man to see. Or if you're feeling really kind-- I bet your sister, mom, bestie would love you to death if she found any of these gifts under the tree! 

Hope you've enjoyed my Mele Gift Guide this week! I've loved bringing you some of my favorite products from my beautiful, inspirational sponsors! Have fun shopping! 

Discount:: BLACKFRIDAY for 30% off


HOLIDAY for 20% off (valid 11/25 only)


HOLIDAY40 for 40% off (valid 11/25-11/28)


THANKS18 for 18% off + free shipping

PS. Congrats to Andi of Prov3130 Girl on winning the Dandelion Dream giveaway! Email's coming your way, Andi! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

mele gift guide:: for the men

Men. We sure love them, but boy, are they tough to shop for sometimes! I've got 9 awesome ideas for the men on your list today! Just be careful, because these sponsors also make really fabulous things for the girls. You might just end up shopping for yourself! ;) 

I'm excited to welcome as a new sponsor here at Aisle to Aloha! 


Click here to sign up for and get $10 off your purchase! 


Buy a $100 gift certificate for $75
Buy a $75 gift certificate for $60
Buy a $50 certificate for $40
Buy a $30 gift certificate for $25

Free U.S. shipping all day with the code FREESHIP

(valid on Cyber Monday 11/28 only)


GRATITUDE10 for 10% off (valid through 11/24)

ALOHA25 for 25% (valid on 11/25 only)

Monday, November 21, 2011

mele gift guide:: brighten up the home

Ready for the second edition of the Mele Gift Guide?? This edition is all about adding a punch of color and beauty to your home! Maybe you have a sister who needs some help with her decor, a best friend with a nursery to decorate or a brother who is obsessed with travel artwork! Why go with overpriced department store decor when you can support small businesses and save a buck at the same time?! 

Check out the shops below for some beautiful decor items and make sure to take advantage of their suh-weet discounts! 


BLACKFRIDAY for 30% off (valid 11/21-12/5)


AISLETOALOHA for 10% off


KALIKIMAKA11 for 11% (valid through 11/27)