Monday, July 25, 2016

So, Where Are You Moving?

I feel like this post has been in the making forever. So many of you have reached out asking what the latest is, where we are going and what we are doing. Thankfully, I'm here today to lay it all out!

Some of you may or may not know this, but as of this month, Dane is officially transitioned into civilian life. It was something he had been planning for a really long time, but leaving active duty is a big deal and takes a good bit of planning.

So, what is next for the Hanson family?
Cait Schlabach Photography

Because my career is flexible, I was open to anywhere, so Dane just applied to any job he thought he would be interested in. When he started getting offers, we began weighing the pros/cons of the job and city it was in. I'll be perfectly honest -- none of the places were bad! We just kept going back to one thing....that none of them were in Hawaii. 

There is just something so magical about this place that completely captures your soul. I know that sounds trite, but that's the only way I can describe it to you. If you've ever been here -- you get it. To be clear, we didn't always feel this way, but it's now a place we love calling home.

Thankfully, the job Gods feel the same way, because Dane was offered an incredible position on Oahu that he could not say no to. In fact, when he got the call, we both just said "this is it!". No weighing pros and cons or vacillating.

He officially starts this fall and we are so eager to move into our new house (more on that later) and continue to explore the island that we has become so much a part of who we are. 

Cait Schlabach Photography
Thank you to everyone who has called, texted and e-mailed -- we definitely feel the love!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Our Royal Hawaiian Staycation

Let me just say right off the bat that if you aren't a fan of colors, particularly pink, then this post may not be for you. But -- I really hope you'll stick around, because travel posts are my favorite and this particular post might just be my best of all time.

royal hawaiian hawaii

Now, let's get this [pink] party started! Dane is always really good about planning fun surprises, so when he told me we were staying at The Royal Hawaiian for a night, I was PUMPED! The Royal Hawaiian is an iconic pink hotel along Waikiki Beach that is not only beautiful, it's packed with great history. Fun fact: After the bombings at Pearl Harbor during World War II, The Royal vacated its guests and rented out the entire place to the Navy for $17,000 a month for soldiers to recover from war efforts. How amazing, right?
royal hawaiian hawaii

royal hawaiian hawaii
Today, it is a favorite for tourists, locals, celebs and notable figures who want to wake up to the sounds of ocean waves and the cool sea breezes. My only question is: who wouldn't want that?
royal hawaiian hawaii

royal hawaiian hawaii
Dane booked the top floor of the Mailani Tower, which was a special treat for me, because I lust over aerial beach photos all day long on Instagram, so I was able to snap until my happy heart was full. If you think I included a lot of these shots in this post, you should see my memory card.
royal hawaiian hawaii
Upon check-in, we were both lei'd and given a bag of homemade banana bread muffins -- so delish!
royal hawaii check in
Pink champs? Don't mind if I do!
royal hawaiian hawaii pink robe

Everywhere you turn in the hotel you'll see pink -- robes, napkins, flowers, curtains, chairs, floor panels -- there's no escaping it. While the thought may seem visually unsettling to some, in person it really does look fantastic.
royal hawaiian mai tai bar
After we unloaded our suitcases in our room, we went straight for the poolside Mai Tai Bar for lunch and refreshments. Lobster Rolls washed down with a couple of Tropical Itch beverages were exactly what we needed. In fact, if I could just have that menu on speed dial for future reference, that would be great, too.
hawaii lobster roll

royal hawaiian pink palace
After lunch, we spent a good bit of time walking around the grounds and looking at all the details of the hotel. It may seem boring to some, but we love history and admiring the details that make the design come together, especially when everywhere you turn looks so majestic.
royal hawaiian hawaii
You can see Dane carrying around his Tropical Itch drink souvenir -- a back scratcher!
royal hawaiian hawaii

royal hawaiian hawaii

royal hawaiian gift shop
The gift shop sports every pink accessory you could ever dream of! We picked up some golf balls for both of us and a spirit jersey for me.
royal hawaiian golf balls

royal hawaiian hawaii

royal hawaiian hawaii

royal hawaiian hawaii
We spent the rest of the day hanging around the pool and enjoying the beach before hitting up the complimentary pau hana (happy hour) for Mailani Tower guests. Endless champagne and snacks for 2.5 hours? Sign me the hell up!
royal hawaiian pink robe
After our pau hana, we ventured into Waikiki for dinner before heading back to our suite and hitting the hay.
royal hawaiian mailani tower view
We set our alarms for early the next morning so that we could get up and watch the sunrise from our bed. Umm...holy amazing! Sidenote: In my next life, I want a house where I can watch the sunrise or sunset from bed. See? I'm not picky.
royal hawaiian sunrise
It was seriously so beautiful! We got to see surfers paddling out for their first sets of the day and even saw a cruise ship coming in to dock. We took advantage of waking up early and hit the gym downstairs before anyone else woke up.
royal hawaiian mailani tower view

We also received complimentary breakfast for our stay in the Mailani Tower (hello awesome), so on our way back from the gym we loaded up on fresh fruit, yogurt and homemade granola. Oh...and lots of coffee ;)
royal hawaiian pool
With caffeine in hand, we headed out to the beach where we parked ourselves in prime real estate for the day. Getting a good spot on Waikiki Beach is a feat, so I was pretty impressed!
waikiki beach canoe

diamondhead waikiki beach

royal hawaiian waikiki beach

royal hawaiian waikiki beach

royal hawaiian waikiki beach

royal hawaiian waikiki beach
All too soon it was time to check out and head back to our normal lives, which if I'm being totally honest IS NOT BAD,'s no Royal Hawaiian! We will definitely be back to this magical place.
royal hawaiian chocolate
Have you ever stayed here? Are you as obsessed with it as I am?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Favorite Social Media Hacks

There are so many different pins out there like "How To Grow Your Blog in 30 Days" or "Learn How I Doubled My Instagram Following". I know this, because I click on them every damn time!

Today, I've compiled a list of all my favorite hacks hoping to help out anyone looking for some tips (that work) and to see if there's any tried and true hacks that YOU love.

Okay, let's get this party started!

Pinterest Tips
1. People are always like, how can you tell what has been pinned from your site onto Pinterest? Easy! Type "". For example, mine is ""

It will pull up a whole page of pins that have been pinned from your site, who pinned them and how many times they've been re-pinned.

2. Join & utilize group boards. Some of my favorite pins are found using group boards and that is what helps to promote your pins to a larger audience. My favorites can be found here, here & here.  

3. Set up rich pins. What are rich pins? They are pins that include details right on the pin itself -- where it came from, a preview of the web page, etc. 

4. Freshen up your Pinterest page. Depending on the time of the year, I will re-order my Pinterest boards based on season, holiday or event. Springtime? Weddings. Summer? Cocktails. Fall? Thanksgiving/Christmas. You see where this is going! At first I thought it was kind of an annoying task, but I noticed an uptick in board analytics as soon as I began taking the time to do this.

Twitter Tips
1. Pre-tweets. Using a scheduling program (I like Hootsuite), set up your promotional tweets for the week for your blog posts. This saves me a ton of time during the day without having to reach for my phone, grab the blog link, head to Twitter, think of some text and promote myself. I typically plan and write my posts on the weekends, head to Hootsuite to write my promotional tweets and bada-boom -- DONE!

2. Share personal photos. As much as it's great to self promote, sometimes people want a deeper insight into your life. Share photos of your outfit, what you're eating, a new place you're visiting -- whatever! I like to switch things up and post certain photos to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. so that each audience feels like they're getting something unique. Hint: this also means that people will want to follow you on all platforms to feel like they're getting it all!

3. Search hashtags. When I have time, I will search relevant-to-me hashtags and engage in conversation. It's a great way to expose yourself to a new audience.

4. Follow community leaders. This seems pretty self-explanatory, but I'm mentioning it for good reason. Some people are so afraid to GIVE when it comes to social media. But the reality is that you GET what you GIVE. If you never follow people or follow them back, they are less inclined to follow you.

Instagram Tips
1. Develop a theme. This one seems obvious, too, but if you're all over the place -- it might be hard to get and retain followers/build a community. When I decide to follow someone, my first impression is their top row of 3 photos. Do I see a consistent theme? Everyone looks for something different, but I like to see crisp photos, lots of color and a good caption. 

2. Identify your audience is. The above mentioned theme is useless if you are a food blogger with an audience of fashion bloggers. That's probably a terrible example, but you know what I mean. What does your audience want and when do they want it? There are some great tools out there to use for this, but I like Iconosquare.

3. Hashtags. USE THEM. Instagram's latest update puts you in a tough spot time wise, so have the relevant hashtags you like to use at the ready when you post your photo. Yes, hashtags put your photo in front of a larger audience, but they only do so based on the time that the photo was posted. So, if you post a photo at 1PM and wait until 2PM to add/utilize hashtags -- your window of opportunity has pretty much closed.

4. Engage. Comment on photos, answer questions, respond to commenters. This all seems pretty obvious, but how guilty are you of just breezing through your feed and throwing everyone a heart? I'm raising my hand, because I do this, too! I notice that when I take the time to comment and interact, my numbers reap the benefits.

Facebook Tips 
1. Ads. I love using Facebook ads and promoted posts. When I think I've written a post more than just my usual audience will enjoy, I promote it. When I have a giveaway going on or something fun to share, I will promote my page. I've seen some substantial growth using these methods. Just be sure to ask yourself -- is this post/giveaway worth X dollars?

2. What is trending? Have you seen an article you love on a topic that is currently breaking/being talked about? Re-post it! Is there an article relevant to your brand? Share it! I have found that sharing at least one relevant article per day garners likes, shares and even great commentary!

3. Don't over-do it! For awhile, I was posting all the time on my blog page and then I realized -- I'm one of THOSE PEOPLE. Like take a chill pill, Kait, no one cares to see 450 updates from you per day. I try to post no more than 3 times spread out throughout the day -- one inspirational/funny meme, a promo for my current blog post and a shared article. Sometimes I'll link my latest Instagram post to my page if I think it would be enjoyed!

What are your favorite social media hacks?

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