Photo Friday: Hawaiian Sunset

By Alexis

Palm trees at sunset on the Big Island, Hawaii

The first night I met David, I remember thinking he was sooo cool for being from Hawaii. Now I’m married to him and can honestly say that, even after years of being together, I still gush over the fact that he grew up somewhere so magical (I particularly love when he speaks a little pidgin, haha). Makes me feel like I somehow snagged an exotic prince!

The summer after I graduated college, I moved out to Hawaii’s Big Island to be with David while he finished his last semester. If you haven’t been before, I can vouch for the fact that the Big Island has a little something for everybody: hiking through lush jungles, white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, decent surfing spots, stunning mountain views, and sometimes even snow to play in!

The photo above was taken at one of the beautiful sandy beaches on the dry, Kona side of the island. Since we lived in Hilo (on the wet side of the island known for it’s black sand beaches) we’d often make the hour long trip over to the Kona side and spend the day lounging on the soft sand, waiting for sunset views like this.

I really can’t imagine a place more heavenly.


Roses on the Road Origins: Our First Apartment

Alexis wrote about her whopping 23 homes here. As part of Urban Compass’ Starter Stories, this post will zero in on one of them: The very first home Roses on the Road shared together.

February 22, 2010. That was the day I met Alexis.

March 4, 2010. Our first date. The result of a loser-buys-dinner bet I conveniently lost.

August 19, 2010. Less than six months later, we’re moving into our first apartment together. Sounds crazy, right?! Those two will never last, you say?

Ha! Well, the joke’s on you ’cause now we’re married!

Not only did Alexis and I move in together less than six months after meeting one another, she flew across an ocean to do it.

We met at the University of Utah where I was a visiting student for one semester. Alexis used the same student exchange program (UH Hilo NSE shout out!) to come back to the University of Hawaii-Hilo with me the following semester.

Yes, I’m a pretty lucky guy.

I thought I would be coming back to Hawaii and moving back into my filthy college dude house with my buddies (read what Alexis wrote about that house here), but instead found myself looking for cute one-bedroom apartments that were just slightly cleaner and more respectable.

waiakea lagoon view apartments hilo hawaii

We made our first home at 50 Maile Street, Hilo, HI 96720. Quick aside: Years later, we would discuss naming our first daughter Maile in memory of our first home. But… Miley Cyrus.

Still, the Waiakea Lagoon View Apartments were perfect. We were young, we were in love, we were building a life together.

I remember being so excited that our names were together on the same mailbox for the first time.

And we shared a mailbox! Holy crap, that was that cool to see.

It was completely furnished and move-in-ready so there wasn’t much in the way of fixer-up or DIY projects except for one very odd thing we did: Continue reading

Photo Friday: Mauna Kea Sunset

By Alexis

Man takes a photo at sunset on Mauna Kea in Hawaii

On Hawaii’s Big Island, there is a volcanic mountain right in the middle called Mauna Kea. Technically the tallest mountain the world if you measure it from seafloor to summit, Mauna Kea is a focal point from pretty much anywhere on the island. On clear days without vog (i.e. volcanic smog) and if clouds haven’t gotten stuck at the summit, you can see right to the top.

Best part is, anyone with 4 wheel drive can make their way to the summit for amazing sunsets and night sky views! In fact, the night sky is so clear from the top of Mauna Kea that there are some pretty awesome observatories there where you can take tours and look through telescopes to get a closer glimpse at stars and planets.

Fun fact: The astronomy work going on at Mauna Kea is so important that in Hilo (the city where David and I lived for a little while in college), most of the street lights are actually tinted yellow to avoid causing light pollution.

The evening that I shot this photo, David and I went up to the summit with David’s brother (cameo in the pic above!) and his wife. And it was soooo cold. I think I had like three layers of pants on and was still freezing. No one expects to be that cold in Hawaii! Did you know it snows there sometimes? Cause I sure didn’t.

If you’re ever on the Big Island, I’d definitely recommend checking out Mauna Kea for amazing views above the clouds and the chance to get up close and personal with the night sky. Plus, if you’re lucky you’ll get to say you played in snow and went to the beach all in the same day!

A Local’s Guide to O’ahu, Hawaii

I love my home, as most people do. Home, no matter where that is, has a certain power over people. It brings comfort, it brings joy, it brings peace. I’m fortunate enough to call home a place many people only dream about: Hawaii.

Having lived in Hawaii for most of my life, I naturally know a lot about the place, and seeing as how it’s a big destination for many people, I thought I could share some advice and tips. Starting with my home island of O’ahu, this post will be the first of three about Hawaii and will cover places to go, things to do, and where to stay — all from a local’s perspective.


O’ahu is by far the most populous island in Hawaii. It where the state capital and biggest city, Honolulu, is. About 1 million of Hawaii’s 1.4 million residents live on O’ahu. If you’re looking for less crowds, stay away from O’ahu. If you don’t mind crowds and are looking for some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever imagine, keep reading.

Oahu: The third largest Hawaiian island by size and the by far the largest by population.

O’ahu: The third largest Hawaiian island by size and the by far the largest by population.

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How Hawaii Ruined Me

Let me warn you right now: this post is going to come across as whiny, complacent, and downright obnoxious. Perhaps even a bit elitist and pretentious.

If I’m being honest though, I have a confession: being raised in Hawaii has completely ruined my appreciation for beautiful scenery. It has set unrealistically high standards that very few places can live up to. My mind has been poisoned by my paradise home.

I know, I know. Poor David, he can’t appreciate beauty because he was exposed to insane amounts of it his entire life. His life must be soooo hard not being able to appreciate a place for what it is because he had to grow up in Hawaii. IMG_0860

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