Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lanikai Sunrise

While much of the northern hemisphere is covered in snow, the weather here in Hawaii is sunny and warm, with just a few passing rain showers. A few weeks ago I took these pictures at Lanikai Beach, and I thought sharing them may bring a little sunshine into those cold days north of here. I hope you are having a wonderful day wherever you may be!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Decorations - Web Finds

Aloha Readers - I realize that I have been neglecting the blog for a while now. Busy season is upon us and there seems to be a hundred things to be done any given moment.  We are about to embark on our annual trek to San Francisco and Napa Valley - always such a wonderful time. I will try to take photos and post them later. 

This past weekend we started decorating for Christmas. Thanksgiving is done (though leftovers can still be found in the fridge) and out came the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations from the garage, to be pondered over, straightened out, and dispersed throughout the house. Of course I am always on the hunt for fun new decorations. My puppy ate my lovely felt owl ornament this morning (this was him :-/), so I hopped on Etsy and bought a new one:


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gator Planting

It has been a really busy few weeks, and I have not had much time to update the blog.  Looking through some photos I took this summer, I found the two below,  taken at the greenhouses of the Biltmore in North Carolina.  Thought I would share them. It is a fun way to shape a plant.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Still Life - Bathroom Shelf

Took this photo a while back at a Kailua house. I really like the simplicity of the composition. Pretty, isn't it?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Listening: 17

As we say it here in Hawaii, it's Aloha Friday. Which Friday is Aloha Friday, you ask? Every Friday. Just like this one. So here is our Friday song.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A "Presidential" Home on Kailua Beach

A few weeks ago I visited this property right on Kailua Beach. It is not your average home. For starters, the price comes in just under a cool $12 million, at $11,888,000. What do you get for that kind of cash? Let's see: almost 12,00 square feet of living space, 13 bedrooms all with baths, plus 2 half baths. If you are looking for something cozy, this is NOT your house. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Herend for Little Prince George

A while back I blogged about the beautiful Herend dining set the Duchess of Cambridge has (here). The lovely duchess Kate has many fans, making that post one of the most popular on the blog. Now it looks like her son, Prince George also got his own Herend gifts. The manufactory has come out with new collection of baby gifts to celebrate the birth of the little prince.  The pattern is the same as Prince William and Duchess Catherine's Royal Garden wedding gift set, this case being a reinterpretation of the Petite Victoria motif.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Great Architecture: The Pannonhalma Benedictine Archabbey

For years I have been looking at it from afar. The town of Pannonhalma in Western Hungary is along the way as I often drive in the summer from Germany to our cottage at Lake Balaton. The abbey sits high atop a hill, clearly visible from the road. When one has just driven (or is about to drive, as in the case of the way back) for eight to ten hours, stopping for a bit of sightseeing is generally out of the question. So this year I took advantage of having flown to Budapest directly, and not having to simply drive by the Pannonhalma Archabbey, I planned a day trip to make it our destination.

The abbey is one of the oldest buildings in Hungary, having been founded in the year 996. Yes, it is over a thousand years old. And it looks mighty well for its age. As expected of a compound structure with such history, the archabbey is a beautiful blend of architectural styles throughout these past thousand years. On the picture above, the building on the left is part of the refectory, built in the 1720s in baroque style.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Small Table Gets a Facelift

While on my recent pumpkin painting adventure, I decided to splash some blue paint on a small table we created a while back. Below are some before and after pictures.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Listening: 16

It's Friday again. Time for our next song. Getting in the Halloween spirit... Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More Painted Pumpkins

When we visited the pumpkin patch a while back, I picked up some larger pumpkins. Having hand-painted my first batch of purchases (which were small) blue, white, silver and gold, I decided to spray-paint these new large ones. Two of them got a shiny silver coat of paint, and one got a glossy white. The largest we left orange, to be carved right before Halloween. If we do the carving too early, the pumpkins tend to rot in the Hawaii heat.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Painted Pumpkins

These days carving pumpkins is so last decade. What to do then? Paint them! I for one did not want the painted pumpkin train to leave the station without me, so I hopped on. Below are some of my creations. 

Coffee table vignette with painted pumpkins

Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch

It is October and with that of course comes Halloween. Last Sunday we went over to the pumpkin patch in Waimanalo to have some harvest fun and pick up a few (more) pumpkins. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Flowers...

... bring November showers? Could be, as the closer we get to the end of the year the closer we are to the rainy season. 

However, it is only the beginning of October, and my garden is in full bloom.
Allamanda, or golden trumpet flower is creeping down around the phoenix 
palm. The blue thing in the top left corner is our trampoline.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Listening: 15

Here comes the weekend again! And with that, our next song:

Hope your weekend is relaxing and fun. Aloha!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Falling into Autumn - Hawaiian Style

The weather outside is frightful  I mean glorious. Oh, the crisp fall air, the falling leaves - who am I kidding. The temperature outside is 84 degrees (that's 29 C for my metric system educated readers) and our pool is a balmy 81 F (27 C). But it is officially October now, and Halloween is looking at the end of the month. Time for a little "autumnification" of our home.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coral Print Pillow

Aloha! Today I thought I'd share with you this fabulous coral print pillow. It would definitely make a great addition to any island theme decor!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Driftwood Planter

Saw this adorable driftwood planter at a house in Kailua. Just another thing to add to the list of things to make out of driftwood...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Listening: 14

Here is a song from way back in 2000. Thirteen years later it is still fun to sing along to!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Breezy Retreat in the Hills of Kaneohe

This kama'aina estate, just half a hour's drive from Honolulu is all old-world charm. Can you just imagine spending a restful week here reading, relaxing and recharging? The home features high ceilings, rich woods and fabulous views of Kaneohe Bay and the Ko'olau Mountains. I would not mind spending a long weekend here!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Can You Do With Old Surfboards - 2

A while back I posted some pictures of a fence made of old surfboards (you can find it here). Recently I visited a home in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where I saw this outdoor shower. It is quite an ingenious way of using an old surfboard. May have to try it some day!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Great Architecture: The Music City Center in Nashville

On our recent travels in the South, we visited the brand new Music City Center in the downtown Nashville. It is a beautiful building, with special touches of music incorporated throughout. It is an enormous structure, taking up three city blocks. Definitely a great example of 21st century design!

total area: 2.1 million square feet

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Chair Project

Yesterday I finally completed a project I have been meaning to do for a while. It was to repaint two old folding chairs we have on our covered deck. They flank the picnic table we use for dining (Hawaii having such lovely weather year-round, we barely ever use our dining room). The picnic table is brown. The chairs were brown. They blended in, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  I, however, wanted to make them pop. 

Here is one of the chairs. First task was to sand off
the remains of the old varnish.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Gardens at the Biltmore

Aloha readers! Today's post is of a place we visited toward the end of our summer travels. Instead of going chronologically I am just going to write about these places randomly. The point is not to recreate our trip, it is to share with you some of the lovely spots, great architecture or natural beauty we got to experience.

Today, I am posting some of the pictures I took at the gardens of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Listening: 13

It's Aloha Friday again, and here is my song for the day. It is another beauty by Lindsey Stirling, called Elements. Hope you like it!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Furniture Facelift Inspiration

My friend Debbie, who is a realtor, got a set of white rattan furniture from a client. We are in the process of figuring out what how to updatethe set for 21 century island living.

Below are some pillows in different colors and patterns to provide inspiration for a new look for the old set.

patterned pillows

The furniture is currently painted white. We will need to reupholster the pieces, and possibly paint over the white. What do you think? Which one is your favorite? 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Listening: 12

Here is the next song in the Friday Listening series. Winter Winds by Mumford & Sons. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Enjoy your weekend! Aloha! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Herend Porcelain Manufactory

Earlier this summer, we visited the town of Herend, in Western Hungary. It is home to the Herend Porcelain Manufactory, where some of the world's finest china is made.

The company dates back to 1826, and the fine porcelain they 
produce is still completely hand-made.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Listening: 11

Hey everyone, it is Friday and time for our next song. This week's pick is Arms by Christina Perri. 

Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Renovating the Budapest Apartment: The Great Reveal

After two months of travel, I am back in Hawaii with lots of happy memories, and many many pictures.  As promised in the spring, the first order of things is to show you how the apartment in Budapest had turned out.

It took over a year of construction and two more years planning beforehand, but it is looking great! Not to ramble on more, here are the photos, let them speak for themselves.

The lamps in the space between the living room and the kitchen 
are converted from pottery.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Listening: 10

Happy Friday everyone! Here is the song for today. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend! Share what you are listening to today, drop me a note. Aloha!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Listening: 9

Aloha readers, I know I have been delinquent on my posts. We were traveling for the past two monhs, but now I am finally home and will be blogging more. To tide you over, bere is this weeks's song, Video Games by Lana Del Rey. Have a great Friday and weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Friday Listening: 8

It is Friday again, and I have to admit I have not been keeping up with the blog as much as I had planned to. We are still in Europe until next week Thursday. The following two weeks we will be touring The South.  I will  be taking photos everywhere we go to share on the blog later. 
Until next time, here is The Scientist by Coldplay. 

Have a wonderful weekend! What are you listening to today?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Berlin Flea Market

Dear Readers, I know I have not been posting as often these days. Traveling always makes it more difficult to keep up with the blog. I have been taking lots of pictures however. Here are a few photos  from the Berlin Flea Market. It is a fun place to visit. Ended up not buying anything, as the pair of antique emerald chandelier earrings I liked were just too pricey. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Visit to Ilcsi Cosmetics

Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs, or as it is known in the United States, Ilike Cosmetics is an organic cosmetics company based in Budapest, Hungary. The company manufactures a wonderful line of skin care products. Last week we visited the laboratory and got a glimpse into what all goes into creating such a successful and outstanding line. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday Listening: 7

Yes, it is Friday again, and here is this week's Friday Listening pick. She is fabulous, her songs, her voice, her performances. Here is Florence + The Machine : Never Let Me Go.

Happy weekend!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Pair of Green Elephants

Right before we left on our trip, there was an estate sale down the street. I picked up this lovely pair of green ceramic elephants.  Right now they hold plants on the new deck. What a great find!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Red Heliconias

Our red heliconias in front of the garage are in full bloom. Beautiful, aren't they?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Listening: 6

Another Friday, another song for the collection. We are in Boston, MA today, so no house cleaning for me! Click below to listen. It is by Mumford and Sons. They are great. More songs will follow in the coming Fridays, because I listen to them all the time.

Enjoy your Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

From Antique Bowl to Coffee Table

We bought this old hand-carved bowl from an Indonesian import company over a year ago. It has always been my plan to convert it to a table. Well I finally found the time and took it down to Min Plastics in Honolulu. They custom made the clear acrylic top with three tabs. It turned out great. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Roof Over Deck- Part 3: The Completed Project

With the roof done, and the deck refinished, it was time to bring back the furniture and plants. Now it is a lovely outdoor living-dining room and even a passing shower does not matter any more!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Listening: 5

It is Aloha Friday, as we say it in Hawaii, and here is the next installment in my new series: Friday Listening. What am I listening to today? Click below:

Lenka: The Show

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roof Over Deck - Part 2: The Construction

Last time I posted pictures of our old trellis roof and its demolition.  The story continues with photos of the new roof being built. 

The structure is almost done.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Listening: 4

Another Friday, another song to share. This time it is from the young violinist Lindsey Stirling. She is just fantastic. I will probably post more songs from her, they are all great!

As usual, have a fabulous weekend! Aloha!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shades of Green

I took this picture at a Lanikai house. Check out all the different shades of green, from the plants to the furniture and pots. Very relaxing, isn't it? 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Raising the Roof - Part 1: The Old "Roof" and the Demolition

This spring we finally got to tackle a project that has been on "the list" for a few years now. You know that unwritten list of things that have to get done, but lack of time and/or funding just keeps pushing it back.

Well, this project is not getting delayed any more. In fact, it is completed! But first, let's look at what it looked like before:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Listening: 3

It is Friday again, and our Friday Listening series continues with King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Tropical Kahala Garden

Visited this lovely garden a few weeks ago. It was designed by the same company who did our pool and back yard, DeBiasi Pacific. The property is made private with the creative use of rock and plantings.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Listening: 2

It is Friday again, or as we call it in Hawaii, Pau Hana Day. Friday is the day I spend getting our house ready for the weekend. While I work, I like to listen to Pandora. Here is what I am listening to today:

Regina Spektor: Better

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Renovating the Budapest Apartment: Winter Progress

As the weather turned colder, work in the apartment slowed. We had to wait for the walls to completely dry out. After the holidays, the wood floors were installed. I picked a light ash wood, to go with the overall bright and airy theme. We also started purchasing light fixtures. The one you see below is an antique found on the internet. It will hang in the dining area.

I was trying to decide between a more Gustavian crystal style chandelier, possibly whitewashed, and a modern wrought iron one, when I happened upon this beauty at an online auction place.  Even though I have not seen it in person yet, I think it will look great in the dining area.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Renovating the Budapest Apartment: More Fall Progress

Continuing the story of our place in the beautiful Buda hills, here are more pictures of the apartment slowly taking shape. The original apartment was very dark and we reoriented the whole place towards the garden, to let the light in. The garden is so lovely and the place is much brighter than it was before. If you look at the pictures of my first post, taken after demolition, you can tell the difference in the amount of natural light. 

The walls are now painted and the terrace outside is built. 
(I thought I had a photo of that too, but right now I can't find it).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Listening: 1

It's Aloha Friday, and I am starting a new series today, and hopefully every Friday from now on. It is called Friday Listening and it will feature a song every Friday that I am currently listening to. Here is the first installment. 

Ingrid Michaelson: Be OK

Hope you enjoy it! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dinner, Dress-up and Murder- Or How To Throw a Murder Mystery Party, Downton Abbey Style

Last Saturday we hosted a party very special to me, a combination of two things I always wanted to do: a fancy sit-down dinner out on the front lawn, and a murder mystery. Preparations started a few weeks before. Pick the theme. Search the web for a suitable script.  Ponder the guest list. In the end, it was fifteen of us, as you can see in the picture below. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lights For The Island Style Home

A couple of weeks ago I got to visit a fabulously decorated home -where else- in Lanikai. I will post some other pictures later, but wanted to dedicate this post to all the great lamps I saw here. The property was decorated by Pacific Home. A few of these lamps are still available on their website.