Trials and Tribulations

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When no one is there.  When you are all alone in the big gigantic world.  When you feel like your world has been crushed and there is nothing there. Jesus is.  He is there.  
No matter what you have done.  No matter how many times you have done it.  No matter who you have done it to.  He is there.  He is loving you.  He wants to keep you.  He wants to protect you.  He wants to deliver you.  He wants to set you free.  He wants to make you complete and whole in Him.  He wants to shine His light on you and cast out all darkness.  He wants to forgive you.  He wants to see you triumph.  He wants to see you be victorious.  He wants to watch you stomp your feet all on the devil.  He wants to see you shine His light.

So if you're going through trying times in life - as I am.  Have faith.  Seek good.  Find hope.  Have courage.  Rely on His strength.  Trust Him.  Come back to Him.  Seek Him first.  Envelop yourself in His glory.

He will make a way where there seems to be no way.  He will make a path for you.  He will bring you into the light of his awesome power, faithfulness and goodness.

Remember that what you sow is what you reap.  Though you may be going through hard times in life, always sow good seeds.  Don't worry about what others do to you, trust that the Lord will take care of it - and focus on you.

xoxo, Aukele


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Whats going on everyone?  I hope you all are having an AMAZING November.  Lately I have been MIA - and I'm so sorry for that.  I just needed to take a break while I handle some personal business.  I will be back though.

Thank you so much for sticking with me.  It means so much to me.


keep up with me at:
bloglovin' | twitter | instagram

Merry Mail Ornament Exchange

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fa la la la la, la la la la! It is about to get very MERRY around here!  Yep, Christmas is right around the corner, and I think doing an ORNAMENT EXCHANGE is the perfect way to celebrate! Though Thanksgiving hasn't come yet, in order to have a successful ornament exchange (ie: receiving the ornament before Christmas, so that you can enjoy it on your tree), we're starting now.  I've teamed up with Kenzie from Chasing Happy, Amber from Say Yes to Joy and Lisa from Love To Go to bring you the Merry Mail Ornament Exchange.
Here's how it works:

Sign up by Friday, November 8, 2013, for this cheery and bright ornament party and we will group you over the weekend with no more than 4 to a group.  On Monday, November 11th we will announce the pairings.  Then you will have time to get to know each other through email, social media and blogs; create your ornaments and send them off.  Not only will you be able to receive 3 new ornaments for your tree, but also make 3 new friends during this joyous season.  How cool is that?

You will need to send off your ornaments by December 2nd so that they can get to their recipients before Christmas.

Are you ready to get your MERRY MAIL on??

2. Follow the Merry Mail Ornament Exchange Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration.
3. Share some social media love with the #merrymail hashtag.

Grab the button below!!
Merry Mail Ornament Exchange

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The Thankful Project: A Person

Friday, November 1, 2013

Today I am participating in the Thankful Project that is being hosted by one of my beautiful sponsors, Kenzie of Chasing Happy.
Immediately when I saw this prompt there were a few people that immediately came to mind.  But I didn't want to take the easy answer and I really wanted to do a little more evaluating.  So today - I've decided to be thankful for my handsome nephews, Josiah and Noah.  They are two precious boy with a sweet soul and I'm so thankful to be a part of their lives and to call them my nephews.

When I get to spend time with them - they always bring me back to my roots and remind me about how I grew up when I was their age.  There is a sweet innocence about them in their growing and 21-question minds, the way that they process things and think things through, the stuff life has throw at them even in their young ages.
So I'm thankful for these little dudes.  For bringing me sweet and innocent joy when I need it the most, full and big hugs whenever I need them and a ton of love.

Who are you thankful for?

PS: Make sure you come back on Monday because I have a super exciting announcement coming up and I can't wait to share it with all of you :)  Happy weekend.

xoxo, Aukele
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Tomorrow is November!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hey Everyone - Don't eat too much candy!  This picture is from last year, my first time ever "somewhat" participating in Halloween.  I used a light brown paint pot to define the triangles then filled it in with bronzer and shimmer to create a nice sticky, shimmery base in all three triangles and eyes, then used a brown gel liner and black liquid liner to do the print.  Also used the black liquid liner for the whiskers, and then a kajal pencil for for the bottom of the nose, middle of the lip and lining the lip.  Finished it off with a red lipstick and some mascara.

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Don't Decide on a Blogging Niche

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If you read articles or e-books on how to have a successful blog, you will hear over and over again that your blog should fulfill a niche.  So you rack your brain on putting a unique twist on a certain subject.  While that my work for some, it doesn’t for most.

Quite frankly, coming up with a niche can be intimidating, especially for novice bloggers.  How can you know what:
  1. Will attract your readers;
  2. You will enjoy writing about;
  3. You will be able to produce consistent content on?
Yes, you may enjoy crafting (or makeup tutorials, recipes, etc.) – but the amount of time and effort it takes to create the craft, write detailed instructions and stage it for “blog worthy” pictures can be very time consuming for your average woman with a day job that sits in rush hour traffic.  Besides, the obvious household duties that needs to be done, when are we supposed to take pictures with the perfect, natural afternoon sunshine? Not that it isn’t doable, but time factors should be considered before deciding on your niche.

Instead of deciding on a niche, why don’t we explore our options to DEFINE IT.  Dibble dabble, if you will, in different types of posts to see what type of content you enjoy creating; what type of content is manageable for you to be consistent in your posting; and what your readers respond to.

While defining, opposed to deciding your niche, you can still keep your blog organized!
Answer these four questions:
  1. What do I love?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. What is my story?
  4. What do I want to do? 

Every one of those answers can be content for your blog for you to explore and define your niche.  After you list all of your items, group them in generalized groups.  
Let’s take a look at my personal blog.  I am a lifestyle blogger, living in Hawaii with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and certification in being a dietary manager and food protection professinoal.  Besides my love for business and entrepreneurship, I enjoy curating random collections like favorite coffee table books; playing with photoshop and posting freebie printables; sharing my awesome recipes; finding new ways to express creativity and humor; and I help take care of my boyfriend’s son who is autistic. 

How do you organize all of that into a blog that flows?  I look at my blog like a magazine.  Certain articles and columns reach different niches in the magazine’s target market.  Those different niches are your different categories. After answering the questions above, I categorize all my answers into the different niches that I enjoy talking about and display them in my sidebar, so that readers can access them easily.  Many of my posts can be in two or more of my general categories and so I can hit different audiences with one post, which may lead to them being interested in another.

Now that you have a few different topics to discuss on your blog (in an organized manner), you can see which posts are received better than others by your readers and also find out which posts you enjoy putting together and the time that goes into them – which leads you to defining and refining your niche as your blog grows!

xoxo, Aukele
keep up with me at:
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The Honolulu Zoo [+ Sponsor Spotlight]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's been a while since I posted a Hawaii post up in here - so I figured I was way overdue, huh!?  A couple of weeks back my cousin, Alika, from the Big Island brought her third son here with her for a work trip/weekend getaway.  He was so excited.  One of the things he wanted to do was check out the zoo.  So myself, my aunty, my nephew, Noah, and CJ tagged along for the trip.
I love that we can bring food into the zoo because it is a huge money saver for those tourist trap food stations.  I packed a punch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and snack packs, while my cousin brought the waters and juice.
I absolutely love the new elephant exhibit.  It opened up about a year or so ago.  Now the elephants are SUPER up close and personal, opposed to hidden in their old exhibit.  Plus they have a ton more room to roam around and be much more free.  It was fun to watch this fella (or bella?) swish up the grass with his trunk and then swoop it up into his mouth.  Took me a few shots to capture him eating!  I shoulda just taped it!

 How stunning are the giraffes?  I love giraffes.  As a kid, it was on the top of my list to visit when my Dad would take me to this very zoo.  Although, for some reason, I remember being able to climb up a viewing deck to get a closer look at the faces of the giraffe.  Not sure if that was just my imagination, or if the zoo had a viewing deck like that - maybe I should ask??  At any rate - I love the exhibits here because they don't have fences or anything like and it kinda feels like you're just right there experiencing the animals in their own habitat.  Super cool

 After we toured the zoo (lions and tigers included - though they were behind very safe glass and fencing) the kids went into the keiki zoo where the could climb through a tunnel in the middle of the koi fish pond, check out some cows up close, visit with the goats and check out a mini horse and some sheep.

There are a ton of animals that I didn't take pictures of that are at the zoo.  Some of them include: flamingos, storks, lions, tigers, foxes, mere cats, alligators, tortoises, snakes, warthogs, monkeys, orangutans, chimpanzees and others.


So, the most adorable girl ever decided to come and hang out on my sidebar. She is a cute and fun loving, girl that is making waves in blogland.  Take it away Laura... 
Hello! I'm Laura, a girl from a small island in the Caribbean who packed her bags and followed her heart, as well as her newlywed husband, to another small island on the other side of the world! Together G and I have made Okinawa, Japan our home. Over at Inspiration.Sparks you'll find: the inside scoop on living in Japan, home decor ideas, DIY's, among other fun things! Hope to see you there.

Favorite Posts from Laura : First Year of Marriage: What I've Learned | The Inside Scoop: Driving in Okinawa  | The Pet Sitting Diaries (series)
Follow Laura here: Facebook | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Pinterest

Well thats all folks!! xoxo, Aukele
keep up with me at:
bloglovin' | twitter | instagram

Monday Morning Coffee

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good Morning my Dashing Readers - 
Before the week officially starts (ie: I walk into my office building), I just wanted to have some Monday Morning Coffee with all of you peeps and catch up a little bit.  So, first things first, how was everyone's weekend?? Mine?  It was full of taking care of one sick boyfriend.  And that's been my life for the past two days.  A ton of movies, vitamin C, soup, gatorade and cold compresses.
And holy cannoli - the response to the Starbucks giveaway was insane!  1111 entries.  Wow.  That was super cool to see soooooo many people participating in it.  Unfortunately the first winner's winning entry was not valid (stopped following the person on a social media site); and so I had to pick another one.  She wanted to remain anonymous so I didn't post her name in the widget - but I just had to publicly acknowledge on here how happy I was to see the giveaway do so well.  Super awesome sauce!
ALSO - if you didn't read last week's post, I passed my CDM, CFPP credentialing exam (certified dietary manager and certified food protection professional)!  Woo hoo! What am I going to do with that?  Well it is necessary for my job - but I'm also thinking of writing a food safety for the home type of ebook to be a resource for families who don't realize that they may be jeopardizing their family's health (and it's preventable!).
Now that the burden of that exam has been LIFTED off my shoulders I can get back to focusing on some personal priorities such as this here blog, Chick Commander and some other things I'm doing to obtain a side income and start to make some decent money online.  So my goal this week is to mind map my visions and goals for my online presence and figure out a plan.  I know I know - quite vague, but it is what it is.  Maybe I'll have something more concrete to share next week on that.
I'm off to drop off CJ at school and head in to work.  I hope you all have a FABULOUS Monday :)
xoxo, Aukele

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Weekend Love

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Wow! What a Saturday today was!  Well first off - I needed some extra sleep.  To the tune of 10:30am.  Yep - that happens every once in a while.  And I'm proud of it, because I probably need it.  Any how - the boyfriend was feeling a lil sub-par so I've been nursing him and catering to him while I got some shizz done around the house.  I spent a good two hours cleaning the bathroom.  It was ... BAD.  I'm just happy I was the first one to use the sparkling clean bathroom before the two boys wreak havoc on it.  Besides that I also kicked laundry's butt today.  The only thing left for me to do tomorrow is the kitchen. 

Which by the way - I'm so happy for friends that make too much food and send us home with extras because I only made one meal today in the kitchen.  Steak and eggs for the boys' breakfast.  Other than that we warmed up some mac n cheese for lunch and spaghetti for dinner, while the lovebug had saimin all day.  Geez you would think we were carbo-loading for a marathon or something. N to the O on that one kids.  Anyway - check out these fun weekend love links.  It's a great mix between business, recipes, inspiration, motivation and encouragement - all of my favorite things!

Happy Sunday!

How a Crowdfunding Site Helps Women Support Women +++
Eight Things Every Happy Woman Should Know +++
Position Yourself as a Linchpin +++
How to Follow Your Dreams +++
Overnight Pumpkin Butter +++
Products Supporting Breast Cancer Research +++
Visit Fukushen Garden in Okinawa +++
Do Work That Matters +++
Skinny Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole +++
Accept Your Phobias +++
Fall Favorites for the Home +++
Seven Deadly Sins +++
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How to Generate UNIQUE Blog Post Ideas

Friday, October 25, 2013

A few weeks back I had listened to a few podcasts that should have pumped me up with excitement, but actually put me in the "dumps" for a little bit.  I decided to do something a little different than I had before to come up with new post ideas.  Later on that night while reading Millionaire Messenger, (yep, that's an affiliate link) that very idea was affirmed. I ended up sharing on Twitter about doing the exercise to find inspiration for blog post ideas and it got quite a few of my followers excited and they asked me to share.  So today – I thought I’d share with everyone a great exercise on how to generate UNIQUE blogpost ideas.

Say what?? Yah, that's right - 91DASH's first ever video post / vlog.  In case you're reading this in a feeder, click here to see the video.But if you don't want to watch it - just  read down below how to do it!
First let’s start with a mind map. Get out a piece of paper and write your name smack dab in the middle.  Now start from your first memory and start to map in chronological order big parts of your life.  I chose to do school, college, jobs, etc.  Then from there I listed things that happened during those times – hobbies I enjoyed, trips I took, significant things that happened, etc.

So now I’d like you to take out another piece of paper.  Go through each of these moments in life, and try to find a lesson learned.  Even though it may be small – even if it may seem insignificant right now, write it down.

Congratulations, you should have a ton of NEW and UNIQUE blog post ideas.  Tell a story with them.  Share your tips on how you overcame a situation or what to do to prevent a situation.  Share with others how to develop one of your strong traits so that they can be better at something.

Well – that is it!  Pretty simple.  It takes a little bit of digging, but it has been worth it for me, and I’m sure it will be worth it for you too!

Please leave me a comment below letting me know what you think, if you watched the video and what you thought!?  I know I need to work on my execution - but I don't want to be the editing type so what you see is what you get!!!

Before you go, check out this post on doing work that matters!

Have an amazing ALOHA FRIDAY ---- HOLLA!!

xoxo, Aukele

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bloglovin' | twitter | instagram

Get Your Salt!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today is a total BLOG FAIL!  I was supposed to be delivering this awesome sauce post for you all - but then YouTube decided to freeze after waiting almost 2 hours for a video to upload, so we'll have to work on that tonight.

Hopefully that post will be up tomorrow - let's cross our fingers, okay?  So I'm all bummed out because now I'm drawing a blank on what to share with you guys... and then DING DING DING DING DING!!!

I have a ton of new followers since I last talked about my salt shop - Hi dashing readers, welcome!  And so I figured I'd take this opportunity to talk about my baby, Uncle Bob's Salts.
It all started with my grandpa, Walter Askew, and his love for cooking. He was the dominant cook in the house, where my dad, “Uncle Bob”, grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. For years my dad and his brother tried to get my grandpa’s salt recipe out of grandpa’s mind and onto paper. However, good ‘ol gramps refused, and as gramps puts it he… “took it to the grave.”

After coming to terms with no salt recipe, my Dad was on a mission to develop his own salt blend.  And Uncle Bob's Salt was born.  Dad never officially named the salt, but whenever friends would ask for a refill for their salt shakers, they would say, "Hey Bob, I need some more of Uncle Bob's salts."

Dad became sick in May 2006 with squamous cell carcinoma, a skin cancer. By January 2008, his oncologist determined, based on dad’s choice to treat with chemo, opposed to a second surgery; that the cancer was terminal. Prior to dad becoming sick, we had toyed with the idea of selling his salts, though nothing ever came of it. After news of dad’s cancer being terminal and emotions calmed down for the time being, we got down to business and dad made sure to walk me through making his seasoning salt until I perfected it.
The process is fairly simple. We layer ten different salts, spices and seasonings and then mix them using an old fashioned crank flour sifter. Then using a funnel and spice bottle, measure out the portions into other recycled bottles to give away to friends and family. Now we don’t use recycled bottles for selling purposes, but I still have family that return bottles to me, hinting kindly to a “refill please!”

Dad loved the salt on pork chops. It bares nicely with pepper jelly, potatoes au gratin and a side of sugar snap peas tossed with slivered almonds that have been toasted then buttered and coated with Uncle Bob’s Salts.
One of our family favorites is to use Uncle Bob’s Salts as a dry rub on baby back ribs. Dad would par boil the ribs, then pack on the salts and put it in the BBQ to cook.

Another option is to rub down the ribs with the salt, par bake them for 10 minutes on each side and then throw them on the BBQ to finish off.

Customers have used the salts to “blacken” seared ahi, add to potato salad, add to macaroni and cheese, season chicken, season steak, sprinkle on a boiled egg, sprinkle on fresh summer tomatoes, add to chili, make a dipping sauce and other ways. A friend even used it as a swap for Old Bay Seasoning when making Cheddar Bay Biscuits and called it Cheddar Bob Biscuits!
He wanted the salt to carry on, which I proudly do, and today it is his legacy. Please enjoy his salts. They are made with love from Uncle Bob, through me and to you! 
PS: I have a special that I do around the holiday season: Buy 5 Original Salts, Get 1 Free  This is really popular because they make great stocking stuffers for guys who like to cook and BBQ and the mom who needs a no-fail seasoning for every day cooking.  You can also buy them individually here.  I also have a new Memphis BBQ Heat Rub that you can use on the grill (or if you live in a cold area in your slow cooker).  Hello delish slow cooked ribs!

Get your salts today!!!  PPS: Are you making your turkey for Thanksgiving??? Uncle Bob's Salts is fool proof when it comes to tasty turkey!!  And if you baste your turkey with beer it'll be even better.  That's the way my dad did it!

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I Passed My Test

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You know a text is well used when it is beat up and has a rip or two!
When I'm not playing blogger and am working my 9-5, I coordinate nutrition services for the health care center of a continuing care retirement community.  Last July, I started an online Dietary Management course through the University of North Dakota.  I completed it this past July and then had about three months to prepare for the national credentialing exam to be a Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP).

I am happy to DECLARE that I passed my exam and am now able to apply to be a CDM, CFPP as well as be a member of the professional organization, ANFP (Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals).

So what does a CDM, CFPP do?  Well - it is a requirement for facilities that are governed by CMS (Medicare) to have a staff member have the credentials.  We are a part of the IDT (interdisciplinary team, also made up of people such as Director of Nursing, Social Services, Activities, Therapy - etc) that plays an integral role in developing care plans for each resident.  I work with residents to mesh their food preferences with their diet orders.  I creatively find ways to help residents obtain optimal nutrition.

As a CDM, you need to know physical signs of malnutrition, dehydration, edema among other things.  Types of fruit and starches you can offer a resident on a renal diet. Proper sanitation procedures.  Cross-contamination prevention.  Different diet textures for residents that have dysphagia or ill-fitting dentures.  This is just off the top of my very tired, and fried head.  There is a lot more where that came from.

Today I just wanted to simply share this awesome feat.  I'm so excited that I passed, cause I was quite worried about it.  I am thinking about offering a "food safety for the family" ebook or guide for sale.  Your thoughts? I'd love to know!

Happy Tuesday!!

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Weekend Love [+ a SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT]

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hey loves!  So this weekend is totally busy.  I am cramming studying for a national credentialing exam on Monday for my job and so I really don't have much to say - since I need to hit the hay so that I can get up at a decent hour tomorrow morning and GET TO WORK!  With that said - here are some MAJORLY overdue weekend love links for you to peruse on a usually carefree Sunday morning - and check out a little sponsor love below! See ya Monday (or maybe Tuesday).

Baked Mostaccioli +++
The Day I Found My Identity +++
8 Things Every Happy Woman Should Have +++
Favorite Birthday Freebies +++
Health-ified Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies +++
My Right Boob +++
Chicken Tortilla Soup +++
DIY Beaded Wrap Bracelet +++ 
A Modern Woman's Guide to Life and Love +++
Who Am I Actually Blogging For? +++
The ISFJ Personality +++
How Singapore Got it's Name +++

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Sarah from A Girl Smitten

Hello everyone! My name is Sarah and I blog over at A Girl Smitten. I am a twenty-something spontaneous homebody residing in a small Texas town with dreams of moving back to the grand city of Austin. That place is the bee knees, you guys. I'm serious. On any given day I'm talking about home-y stuff and style stuff and the crazy pups (and boyfriend) that keep things glorious and all the while trying to decide where I ultimately want to be. It's lots of fun all around, I promise. So stop on by and see what makes my little spot in the world into the big, beautiful place that it is!

Connect with Sarah Here: Twitter | Bloglovin' | Instagram
xoxo, Aukele
keep up with me at:
bloglovin' | twitter | instagram

October Giveaway

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oh HEY HEY HEY it's GIVEAWAY day :)!!  I'm so excited to have my second group sponsor giveaway.  Thank you so much for being a 91 Dash reader.  You truly do not know how much it means to me.  For those that have traveled with me from Instant Mommie - wow you guys rock.  And for those who have gotten to know me here - I'm so happy to have you as a reader and to be apart of the community that I have here at 91 Dash.

Being that Fall is in the air and we are all excited to cozy up in scarfs, boots, snuggies (maybe?? maybe not)... free Starbucks sounds like the perfect thing to giveaway if you ask me!  I have partnered with 3 awesome ladies (Dee, Stacey and Laura) to bless one of you lovely readers with a $35 e-gift card to Starbucks where you can treat yourself to some delish coffee and cafe delights.

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bloglovin' | twitter | instagram

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