Travel: Pepeekeo, Honokaa, and Waimea

Travel: Pepeekeo, Honokaa, and Waimea

There’s a certain charm to driving around town, really exploring, with no particular destination in mind — In fact, if I’m being completely honest, it’s my favorite activity to do.

A few weeks ago my mom and I drove throughout East Hawaii; we drove from Hilo to Pepeekeo, Honokaa, and Waimea. It was a beautiful and sunny day with a light breeze; not too hot, not too cold. We grabbed pasta from Pizza Hut (one of our favorite things to eat) and set out to find beautiful places to explore — I’d like to emphasize that here in Hawaii, even if you’ve been to a location a million times, if you let it, it will always take your breath away.


Tuscani chicken alfredo with breadsticks (or in this case just bread) from Pizza Hut. Pepsi for me. Root beer for mom. You can’t go wrong with Pizza Hut.






This area is on the left side of the highway past Pepeekeo. We drove up a few winding roads leading us further into tropical farmlands. We saw horses, goats, cows, various types of flowers, and pretty homes — There’s also a killer view of the great blue sea.





Isn’t red ginger gorgeous?





We drove from Pepeekeo/Papaikou to Honokaa; from Honokaa we drove through Ahualoa to Waimea. Ahualoa winds, is lined with towering trees, and it’ll make you feel as though you’re in a different place…in a good way. It’s my favorite route. It’s also home to a very pretty vacation rental (Um, Pinterest perfect).




To end the day, we went into Waimea to buy some steaks for dinner. It was a great day.


Location(s) – Pepeekeo, Honokaa, and Waimea / Big Island of Hawaii (we did drive through various areas within the Hamakua Coast) – When – Saturday, June 16, 2018 – Time – Afternoon & into the evening / With – Mom / What we did – We took a drive through Hamakua Coast / We explored different areas; drove through small towns and even had time to look at Onomea Bay.

Camera used – Nikon Coolpix L840 / Editing – Fotor photo editor / I edited the photos by adjusting the curves and saturation.


AM NIKKI KAY Signature

Life Today | June

Life Today | June

Hello June! Wow, I haven’t done a “life today” post since September. Much has changed and yet much has remained the same —

1. I have begun applying to graduate school for the fall semester. In fact, I started the process in February and it has taken nearly four months to complete. I am not going to list any of the schools that I have applied to (yet), however I will divulge that the academic field that I have chosen is intelligence studies. I am nervous, excited, hopeful — Applying to graduate school is a little nerve-racking.

2. Monsoor is healing wonderfully; he is remarkable. I briefly discussed him in a previous post and on my Instagram, however updates on my blog have been non-existent — I have done a stellar job at writing daily updates about Monsoor, however when it comes to posting those updates on here, well, I have been terrible at it! I want to change that because I want the world to know who Monsoor the cat is; a lovable, beautiful, fighter. We have had him now for almost 10 months; he is 1 year 10 months old. He is no longer 3 lbs — I need to weigh him on a scale, however if I had to estimate his weight, he is probably 10 lbs. He is blind; when we found him on the side of the road, at that point in time, he had an infection that took his eyes and nearly his face. Here we are almost a year later and his face is 98% healed and he has adjusted to living blind. He has his own bed/living area, stuffed animals (his favorite is the hippopotamus, maybe because it’s the softest), and he loves playing with the dogs who, in turn, take care of him; Max is his best friend. Monsoor truly lives up to his name.

3. I have had Ray now for 10 months; I adopted Ray from the Humane Society a week before rescuing Monsoor. Ray is a month or so away from celebrating his fifth birthday! He is slightly bigger than your average Red Heeler; I need him to get used to exercise and a diet. I want him to enjoy hiking like Max, however we will need to start with smaller trails and work from there. With the ongoing eruptions, we have poor air quality (it is improving); we need to find a new hiking trail suitable for Ray and Max. Ray enjoys sleeping on the tiled floor and his air mattress; he loves his dog treats (I know, I know. What dog does not?). He enjoys lounging on the front porch and back porch. He is Max’s best friend and wants to be Sophie’s friend but she is not having any of that, and, well, all I can say is cats man…except Monsoor; Monsoor loves humans, cats, dogs, etc. Anyway, Ray is such a sweet boy.

4. Max is as rambunctious as ever, while Sophie has moved back into my bedroom after living in my office…after living in my bedroom. #Dogs #Cats

5. Blogging — I have been getting into a better habit of blogging regularly, however I have thousands of photos (literally) of beautiful places here on the Big Island that I want to post; I need to find the time to organize my photos and write the stories. At the end of the day, I just want to appreciate the good times I have had. At the same time, social media (not necessarily blogging) has been on my mind lately with a HUGE question mark. I love writing. I love photography. I love being able to share a little of my life with those who are interested. However, I am not sure what role, or if there is a role, social media plays in my life or in my profession. Is it good for my profession? Is it pointless? I have no clue.

6. Post-grad life brings new meaning to the phrase “take the bull by the horns.”

7. Nick has been in college now for nine months, while Riley is graduating from high school on the 20th. Time flies!

8. Dad is now the security manager overseeing the security at the hospital in Kailua-Kona; he drives roughly 212 miles a day because work is on the other side of this massive island.

9. I spend a lot of my time with mom, which I love; I spent seven years working with dad in the field and it is now nice to spend quality time with her.

10. Lava — I want to delve deeper into this at a later date, however I am sure many people are aware by now of the lava in Puna. I actually heard over the radio, prior to the fissures opening up in Leilani Estates, that Puna needed to be on alert due to the threat of lava. A couple hours later, the eruptions started in Leilani Estates on May 3, and here we are now with many areas in lower Puna completely destroyed. I live 10.4 miles from the fissures, however the only issues we have experienced in our neighborhood is an influx in traffic and sulfur dioxide from the Kīlauea eruptions. Over 600 homes have been destroyed due to the lava and many people/pets are displaced — It is very concerning and I can only imagine what these people are going through. I am incredibly saddened by these homes burning to the ground, places that I have grown to love being lost, and people that are in trouble. A big THANK YOU to the U.S. Marine Corps, Hawaii Army National Guard, Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Fire Department, County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volunteers, and anyone else that I have missed.


AM NIKKI KAY Signature

The Easter Chapters: Ka Lae (South Point), Hawaiian Ocean View, & Naalehu, Part II

The Easter Chapters: Ka Lae (South Point), Hawaiian Ocean View, & Naalehu, Part II







These last two photos mark the end of our trip to South Point; I’m pretty sure this was the last time we took a trip out there, however I could be wrong. South Point is such a breathtaking place to visit; massive sea cliffs, the endless ocean with its varying shades of blue (btw, the water is a mixture of cyan, azure, and a very light shade of blue), and the different terrain that somehow fits itself into 710 acres. Seriously. You have the ocean and the sea cliffs, which looks like New Zealand. You have another side of South Point that is strictly wild grass, flowers, and dirt; it makes you feel like you’ve just entered into a Safari that happens to only have cows and horses. It also takes 12-miles to actually reach South Point, which includes driving through the “country” and passing coffee farms, plantation homes, and a lot of farmland; it’s peaceful.

Here are some interesting facts about South Point: 

  1. It’s the southernmost point in all of the United States.
  2.  It’s home to Papakōlea Beach, also known as “Green Sand Beach.” It really does have green sand; it’s one of only four green sand beaches in the whole world. FUN FACT: I’ve never been to Green Sand Beach, even though it’s literally right there to the east of South Point.
  3. It’s said that a Hawaiian Chief was swept away to his death.







Here is Ocean View. It’s a strange yet fascinating town in the middle of nowhere; a place with an abundance of succulents, drifters, and never-ending roads. It does have the occasional crime, what strange town doesn’t? I once worked a case out here with my dad and since then I’ve loved driving through Ocean View; maybe I like it so much because it is in the middle of nowhere or because it was a great case that we worked or because it was a great case AND it was great working it with my dad. It takes more than 4-miles to drive to the “grocery” store, which btw there’s only two stores to choose from; this is where I became very accustomed to eating jalapeno chips, which I ate for a week or so when working.













It really is this foggy. It makes me happy. I don’t know why.


Nick, Me, and Paul


Driving around Ocean View was definitely fun. It was great being able to see the look on my brother’s faces when they realized how endless Ocean View felt/is. Paul insisted that he’d seen this old warehouse before, while Nick was very skeptical to this information much to Paul’s annoyance. I don’t think Paul’s ever been through Ocean View before, except maybe when he was a young child. Also, Paul was exuberant because he saw an abandoned toilet on the side of the road (gross!!!) and some empty box that he just had to go and look into (man, he’s one of those kids). It also doesn’t help that dad loves to encourage his behavior, however it is funny to watch at times. Max also loved driving around Ocean View; this semi-blind dog ran up to the car and wanted so badly to be friends with Max, well Max wasn’t having any of that, and then Max wanted to be friends with two very aggressive dogs in the grocery parking lot, and they weren’t having any of that. Dogs, ya know?











I actually took this photo at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach


We drove to Whittington Beach Park, which is where the old (and broken) pier can be found. You know what else can be found there? Cats! Beautiful, wild (and yet fed) cats. Oh, I love those cats!


Location(s) – Ka Lae (South Point), Hawaiian Ocean View, Whittington Beach Park, & Punalu’u Black Sand Beach / Big Island of Hawaii (we did drive through various towns to reach South Point) – When – Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Time – Afternoon & into the evening / With – Mom, Dad, Nick, Paul, and Max / What we did – We took a great Easter Sunday drive to South Point, Ocean View, and a couple beaches / I took many photos! It was fun hanging out with my family; we mostly drove around.

Camera used – Nikon Coolpix L840 / Editing – Fotor photo editor / I edited the photos by adjusting the curves.


AM NIKKI KAY Signature

The Easter Chapters: Ka Lae (South Point), Part I

The Easter Chapters: Ka Lae (South Point), Part I

Right now it’s 11:18 pm, the 24th of April, and nearly four weeks since Easter has passed. I’m also eating some very tasty vanilla pudding, however that’s beside the point. I’m finally posting photos from Easter…from last year. I know, I know. I’m shaking my head too.

































DSCN5092_Fotor 2

























Location(s) – Ka Lae (South Point) / Big Island of Hawaii (we did drive through various towns to reach South Point) – When – Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Time – Afternoon & into the evening / With – Mom, Dad, Nick, Paul, and Max / What we did – We took a great Easter Sunday drive to a beautiful place called “South Point” / We walked around near the cliffs, ate our prime rib sandwiches that mom made at home, and simply enjoyed being with each other.

Camera used – Nikon Coolpix L840 / Editing – Fotor photo editor / I edited the photos by adjusting the curves.


AM NIKKI KAY Signature

A Chapter: Digital Love Letters and All

A Chapter: Digital Love Letters and All
The Courage to Write

You know throughout the course – and I do mean course, over a decade – of having a place on the internet (i.e., blog) to share a glimpse into my life, I’ve always tried to categorize what I wanted to share, and I’ve always failed miserably at it. Not because I’m not an organized person or because I can’t stick to one subject at a time, but because I never know what I want to categorize my blog or my writing as; sometimes I think I write more for the masses than for myself. Am I lifestyle blog? Not really. Am I a photography blog? Not strictly. Am I a travel blog? Not even close. Is my writing more on the personal side? Well, of course; It’s all personal here. What does it make this then? A blog of various subjects that are each personal to me in some way or another, even down to the post about my beloved seasonal scarf.

Here I am, writing this in the evening, having to move from various places in my bedroom because my foot fell asleep while I was cross-legged on the floor writing, and there’s too much dog hair on my bedroom chair to want to sit down…which leads me to writing this while cross-legged on my bed. I’ll welcome a finished office as soon as I finish it. I want to go forward with a new approach to writing, one that is less guarded and whatever it is I want it to be in that very moment. I could write about the time I was in first grade and my best friends and I would play football together and then pretend we were detectives trying to solve “crime” in the grassy field next to the old construction site. I could write about the last real summer I had back in 2016, where my family and I filled our days with adventures in the form of spontaneous road trips across the island and swimming in lagoons that would even make a mermaid’s heart leap from her chest in sheer excitement.

Maybe it’s a small goal of mine to be able to write freely, and with nostalgia and thankfulness for the things that have happened and the hope or excitement for the things that are or will happen. It’s a small goal that is both terrifying and freeing. Some days I can’t stand writing about anything unless it’s completely necessary of me and other days I long to write about something other than case reports and essays; not that I don’t love writing those, because I do, but because I also love writing even it serves no purpose other than to tell a story.

With that being said: I’d like to introduce you to my blog that will have the same and yet newer direction – stories and musings and details that I’m willing to share, mostly for myself but also because it’s a love letter to my family and to the world.


AM NIKKI KAY Signature

St. Patrick’s Day, The Boy and His Four-Leaf Clovers

St. Patrick’s Day, The Boy and His Four-Leaf Clovers

I hope your day is filled with celebration, mass/church services, and some good ol’ corned beef (my mom is making Reuben sandwiches for dinner!).

I’d also like to remind you all of a time when my baby brother Paul, who was maybe 10 at the time, once found three four-leaf clovers (yes, 3!!!) at different locations without even intending to. I suppose the luck of the Irish is with him. I’ve never in my life found a four-leaf clover. I suppose the luck of the Irish is not with me. Don’t worry though, I’m not at all bitter about it.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!



Some photos that I took this evening:




And the sun goes down leaving a sky like this in its almost absence; full of shadowy trees and fading colors. It really was serene.



I see you Ray with your I’m-only-smiling-because-you-won’t-leave-me-the-heck-alone smile. That’s ok because I love all of his smiles.




Thank you for the close up, Ray!

Honestly, he really does get excited about having his photo taken. He sure is cute. Then again I’m a little biased considering I’m his mama… Hmm. Nope, he really is that cute.





Monsoor is such a strong little guy. If you remember my last post about him, you would know what a miracle he is. His face is still healing (his ears have finally healed) but he’s come such a long way. And yes, he does have a little home now on our dining room table.



This Reuben sandwich was delectable in every way.


AM NIKKI KAY Signature