What’s New Lately – July 2018

I am officially back in Florida!!! After a whirlwind of a month and a half of traveling, I have been able to sleep in my own bed for almost a whole week and it’s glorious! There’s so much to catch you all up on! For the whole month of June, I was in Hawaii and then I went to Georgia for a week on a family vacation in the mountains. Now I’m finally getting into a new routine and figuring out what to do with myself after almost two months full of adventure and new places. If you new here, “Whats New Lately” posts are just a way for me to share a bit more into my personal life and connect with you all! I’m naturally a very open person and these types of posts make me so happy to be able to share with you!

My Month Long Trip to Hawaii

In case your wondering, Hawaii was nothing short of amazing!!! I spent the whole month of June there and flew back July 4th. If your new here, here’s the full post as to why I went for a month. I decided to stay on the island of Oahu and flew there by myself. The first two weeks I met up with a friend and then once she left, I had 3 friends meet me for my last week on the island. I spent about 5 days alone exploring the island and was really never alone for a significant amount of time, which was a huge answered prayer.

My biggest fear was being alone for such an extended period of time for safety reasons. When I booked the trip, it was in faith that it would all work out somehow. I don’t want to say it was on whim, but it kind of was with how fast it all happened. One second I had this dream, the next I was making it become a reality.  I had hope that friends would be able to come visit or that God would provide connections and I’d be able to meet cool people in Oahu to explore with. My other fear was paying a large sum of money for the trip and stepping out in faith that God would provide everything I needed for the trip and also when I returned home.

In the end it all worked out amazing, not perfect but the timing was kind of insane and amazing. Turns out my friends booked their plane tickets about two weeks before the trip, one booked theirs two days before they flew out. They helped make my trip so much fun! Then, I actually flew back to the mainland with a decent amount of money still in my savings account which I was so excited about.

Now before you get really excited about my Hawaii experience, I want to really give you my honest opinion about the trip. Before I left, I had really high expectations. I was truly expecting this glamorized island experience. I’d take the most grand photos, swim in the most amazing beaches and go on hikes 24/7. Turns out Hawaii is beautiful and there are breathtaking views around every corner but there will still equally hard parts about living there.

My first impression of Hawaii was great, flying over that crystal clear blue water, landing on literally the smallest strip of land ever and seeing volcanic made mountains was my dream come true. Once I entered into the what seemed like the non-air conditioned Honolulu airport, I was almost taken back. It reminded me more of Guatemala than the US and was very run down. Instantly I was questioning my decision. Was this my dream? Is this what Hawaii is really like? It was also the moment that I thought to myself, “I wonder if my rental has AC”. It’s like my heart knew what it was getting itself into before I even started. LOL…I’ll go into detail in a minute, just keep reading!

So just in case your wondering, this trip was anything short of glamorous. My biggest shock was that Hawaii was just so much more run down and undeveloped that TV portrayed it to be. Unless you stay in a 5 star resort in Honolulu, it will not look like TV or magazine photos. Yet, the amazing scenery and beaches make up for it! The worst part, they don’t put lais around your neck when you land!

I researched for this trip like crazy. I spent hours making a budget, itinerary and researching the best way to do everything. I am spontaneous and adventurous as can be, but I needed to know what I was getting myself into 5,000 miles away from everyone and everything I was accustomed to.

I stayed in Laie, Hawaii which was a huge mormon community. It was super interesting to be staying in a place where everything shut down on Sunday and you and your friends were probably the only non-mormons. It was 45 minutes from the North Shore and about an hour from the closest Walmart or Target. I lived way out in the country. When my Uber driver was driving my friend and I from the Honolulu airport to Laie, he asked, “Why are you living so far away from everything?” if that gives you any insight into where I was living.

Turns out my rental had no AC, was on a second story so that heat rose like it was it’s job and was almost unlivable during the prime hours of 11 AM – 5 PM. I physically could not stay inside as you felt like you were suffocating. I also developed heat rash because I was wearing a swimsuit 24/7 and nasty sweaty clothes and it didn’t go away until I arrived home in Florida. Turns out, no one in Oahu has AC besides stores, so I was really getting that local experience. But, all was okay because I was in HAWAII! My only questions is, “Why on earth did a single person not mention no AC before I left for my trip?!” HA

To save money, I decided to buy a bus pass and just use that as my island transportation. Taking the bus around the island was by far the hardest part about the trip. If by car it took one hour, by bus it took 3x as long. To give you an exact idea, one day my friend and I went hiking near Honolulu that was an hour and a half by car. Our bus ride ended up being four hours, which turned into 8 hours round trip. That was one of the longest days I will forever remember.

The first two weeks, my friend and I spent like 70% of our time on that bus and 10% stuck at random bus stops praying our phones wouldn’t die so we could get home. Bus systems are no joke! At first I was so frustrated by how long it made our days. We’d travel for 12 hours, get home late and be so beat we couldn’t do anything the next day. Then I just gave up. It was hot everywhere and I just let myself enjoy someone driving me around. I literally read 4 books during those bus rides ha.

Other than no AC, long bus rides and letting go of any and every expectation I ever had about the housing situations, the trip was one I will never forget. After a long and trying year and my relationship ending, I felt like I finally found myself again on this trip. I wanted to live like a local and I got the local experience. I had a blast the entire 30 days I was there. I felt fearless, confident, brave, adventurous and truly like myself. Pretty sure I smiled through my entire trip of happiness and true joy. If you followed along with my trip on Instagram, you know what I mean!

No one dresses up in Hawaii (besides tourists) which was amazing. I could wear my swimsuit all day everyday, jean shorts, no makeup and just let my hair be. So me and made me so happy. People really do go barefoot here and adpot the whole Aloha lifestyle. I did miss getting dressed up but I literally swam in the Pacific ocean every single day and got the best tan of my life.

One thing I didn’t expect was that I am a really fearless and brave person when it comes to adventure and I also love heights. Almost nothing I did as far as hiking or cliff jumping pushed my limits which makes me really curious as to what I can push that limit to. Plus, I’m a great traveler. The 5,000 mile flight was not bad at all. Living out of a backpack for a month straight and roughing it with no AC was not as bad as it sounds. It’s totally opened my eyes to how adventurous and brave I am and now I want to travel to all the remote tropical places and see the world!

Being back on the mainland is so strange. I miss it tons and would travel back in a heartbeat. Oahu is really special and unless you have been to any Hawaiin island, there’s nothing like it. The locals are so kind, love their land and live so simply. You don’t need a ton of material possessions. The volcanic mountains are incredible and so sacred. The water answered all my dreams and it was the most amazing thing ever swimming in crystal blue water as clear as glass. I spent all my days eating shaved ice and at local food trucks, swimming at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach, snorkling, hiking and watching the sunset every night. Basically, I lived my dream day every day.

The beach that was a 5 minute walk from my rental. Yes, it felt surreal. My friend Erin and I at Turtle Beach. Again just a 10 minute walk from my rental called Laie Point which is an untouched gem.

The famous Banzai Pipeline beach.

My fav photo from my trip! This local sold real coconuts at Sunset Beach and would cut them open right then and there! We had a blast talking and joking with all the locals!

Family Trip to Georgia

(I know, I know, totally fashionable in that photo above with my Nike sneaks and J.Crew shorts ha. When I’m on true vacation, I just don’t care).

For some off reason I booked my trip home from Hawaii on July 4th. I arrived home Florida time on July 5th and then left the next morning for a week trip to Georgia with my family. Never in my life have I ever traveled that much for an extended period of time. My longest trip away was nine days to Peru. For this trip I literally just threw clothes from one suitcase into another and hopped in the car for the drive up to GA. Red eyes and all from a sleepless night flight home. We stayed in Savannah for less than 48 hours then spent the rest of the time in Helen. See my Savannah Travel Guide here.

Helen was a very cheesy tourist town. It was odd being in the mountains without a beach and I also had major jet-lag. It took about a week to adjust to the 6 hour time difference. Other than that, I pretty much enjoy everything about traveling and can see myself traveling much more in the years to come. During our trip we went ziplining, tubing, hiked and ate at new places. It felt more like a recovery trip than a vacation ha. I’d never choose to go to Helen or Savannah on my own but it was a fun family trip and a great way to end the summer full of travel.

Saw hydrangeas for the first time in Helen, Georgia and I was legit so excited. After seeing other bloggers post about these flowers in Nantucket all the time, I thought I’d never see them so close to home.

I Resigned From My Teaching Job

This is probably the most shocking news I have to share. Two days before I left for Hawaii, I drove to my old school and signed papers to resign from my teaching job. Kind of crazy right?! Knowing I’d be coming back from Hawaii without a job and no income was a bit nerve wracking. I knew had a paycheck until the end of July and then after that well… no income was going to be coming in. Instead of getting all stressed and worried during my summer travels, I just let it go. There was absolutely nothing I could do. God knew I was already fully committed to my Hawaii trip in two days. I also knew he would 100% provide for me no matter what, especially after all his encouragement to me and also remembering he’s provided money and jobs in the past.

Before I resigned, I had the perfect plan that I thought would work out. I’d take my General Knowledge test, pass it, then teach for two more years until my temporary certificate would run out. Then I’d work full time on my blog. Sounds like a good plan, right?!

When I took this teaching position, I had no idea the challenges it would present but I also never intended on working so hard to build up lesson plans, organize my classroom and become a pro at classroom management to just leave it all after a year. I worked my butt off and had to let it all go.

The main reason I had to resign was that I could not pass a standardized test called the General Knowledge test. The easy story? No pass test, no have job. There were loop holes and different ways I could still teach for a portion of the school year but every single one of them was contingent on weather I passed the test. Every time I retake the test, I have to pay a significant amount of money and it was not worth it to me in the long run. Especially since I scored worse the second time I retook the test. Some think I’m crazy to not keep re-taking the test (some have been known to take it 8+ times until they passed) but I made a decision and am sticking to the choice I felt was right for me.

Now, I am faced with the daunting task of looking for a new job again. I’m in almost the exact same position I was in this time last year which is so frustrating. Finding my teaching job was a long journey and not one I want to take again. I wish I had something cool to say, like “I got my dream job that pays amazing” but realistically I get my last paycheck in a week and then have about 5-6 months of income I can live on until it runs out. Everyone keeps asking what I’m going to do next. All I can answer back is, “Find a new job”. I don’t really have an answer, all I know is that God is leading me into the unknown and I need to buckle up.

I’m not sitting here worrying though. I have confidence my God will provide for me, just like he always has. Is it super frustrating and annoying. Yes, 100x’s yes. I hate limiting myself to a piece of paper and my said accomplishments. Job searching is one of my least favorite things to do which is why I hope God has something else up his sleeve besides endless cover letters and resumes. I’m way to creative to be limited by what one piece of paper says about me. In the meantime, I’ve been making emails, talking with friends, and doing everything I possibly can to find a new job. When he says go in the Bible, he means, just start doing something, anything and that is exactly what I’m doing trusting he’ll lead me to where I am to go for this next adventure.

Back To The Gym I Go

The one thing I missed most besides AC when I was in Hawaii was my gym. Being active in Hawaii was incredibly easy, the beach and mountains are your backyard but there’s nothing like lifting weights that will get your blood pumping. I workout at a gym called Trinity Fitness which is a CrossFit style and I love it. Since being back I have gone back twice and let me tell you, I could barely walk I was so sore. Midway through some back squats at a weight that is normally easy, I had to put my bar down because I could feel my muscles having a spasm. Not good or safe! If I ever travel more, I’ll have to make sure I do more weighted exercises to make sure I am not dead when I get back.

What I Have Been Reading

I mentioned earlier that I had ample time to read on my Oahu bus rides. There was also plenty of time to read on my Georgia road trip and plane rides. Normally I read all my books on my Kindle. That small piece of plastic is my favorite electronic device besides my camera. It’s so perfect because it’s light and fits perfectly into my bags, especially when I was traveling. You’ll notice a theme in all my books, it’s either about business, people taking risks and being brave and wanting to live an intentional life. You can totally tell what’s going on in my brain right now.

Swell: Sailing the Pacific in Search of Surf and Self – Best book I have read so far the entire summer. Liz Clark the author decided to sail across the Pacific solo on a huge portion of her journey. There’s adventure, scary days at sea and even love stories mixed in. What I love is that the story is completely real and Liz is open and vulnerable the entire time, not fearing her insecurities but instead embracing them. Her words are beautiful, the book is actually a long read and it will keep your attention!

Take Risks: One Couples Journey to Quit Their Jobs and Hit the Open Road – This one makes me LOL. Amazon recommended this one to me. It’s about a couple who decides to quit their corporate jobs and travel around the US in an RV. I have learned way more about RV’s than I have ever wanted to know. It’s a funny and quirky dialect between husband and wife and their journey from making the decisions to selling their house and hitting the road. They talk about their dogs a ton and call them their “boys”, so all animal lovers with a passion for adventure, this ones for you!

100 Days to Brave: Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self – Not so much a book but a short read you can do once a day. If your familiar with Jesus Calling or any other devotionals, you read a page a day with verse, then there’s a prayer at the end that sort of summarizes the short passage. Over the past month or so, I had a gut feeling to start praying and to keep praying for courage and bravery. Makes perfect sense with the season I’m in of the complete unknown.

The Business of Honor: Restoring the Heart of BusinessOne of my favorite pastors and speakers Danny Silk joined with business man Bob Hasson to write a book all about business in a Biblical perspective. I have a huge desire to own my own business and to glory God in my fashion blog and future fashion line, so I eat up books like this. It was a bit different than I was expecting but so far they speak more about looking inward than the actual business world. They talk about their personal journey about and encourage their readers to know the truth about who God says they are and leading from a place of honor than fear.  If you want to be a leader in any aspect, this book is great!

Cultivate: Growing an Intentional Life – Lara Casey, a business women of faith, gardener and mom is someone I have followed for a few years. In her book she uses examples of her garden about cultivating an intentional life. She gives you meaningful step by step ways on how to live intentionally and uses really pretty imagery to expand on her thoughts.

The Go Giver: A Story About a Powerful Business IdeaDeff my fav short read and so captivating, I couldn’t put the darn book down! It’s a made up story and based off the old proverb, “give and you shall receive”. The main character Joe is given 5 challenges he must complete by a wealthy and successful business man in order to get his secret for success. Joe needs to a specific number in sales before a specific quarter ends and he’s strapped for time. It takes Joe on a journey where he realizes that giving in all areas of his life is truly what will advance him and not a work harder mentality. It was fun, funny and made you think! LOVED this read so much and there’s actually a bunch of Go Giver books for leaders, influencers and teachers.


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  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 2:47 am

    Thanks for summing up your adventure. Well done

    • Reply
      Sunshine Style
      July 24, 2018 at 3:20 am

      Thanks so much Lauri!!! =) Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
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    Brooke Butler
    July 25, 2018 at 1:51 am

    You pretty much summed up that island feeling perfectly! I felt the same way when I was in Hawaii… a constant smile on my face and filled with an insane amount of joy. Well said!

    xo, brooke

    • Reply
      Sunshine Style
      July 26, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Yes Brooke!!!!! You are exactly right! To bad we didn’t cross path’s in Hawaii! That would have been so much fun!

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