Aloha From Oahu, Hawaii!

Annie, the beautiful blogger behind Blonde Glambition, currently lives in Italy. But did you know that she is from Hawaii, where she met and fell in love with her soldier? Today, she’s giving us an insider’s perspective on what it’s like living on the island of Oahu, where you can swim with sea turtles, snorkel and enjoy amazing sunsets. Next Monday, Annie will give us a glimpse of what it’s like living in Italy — a country where you’ll find delicious gelato shops and plenty of travel opportunities.

Annie and her husband at the top of an island known as Chinaman’s Hat, which is located off of Oahu.

Q: Tell us about you and your hubby.

A: My name is Annie, and I’m a 20-something Army milspouse living in Vicenza, Italy. My hubby and I met, fell in love, and married just over 10 years ago in the Land of Aloha. It’s crazy how fast the time has flown by! I’ve recently finished my Bachelors degree (social science & gerontology), and I’m gearing up to start my Masters at the end of the summer. How and when I’ll be able to put my degrees to use is still unknown due to our current duty station (in Italy). My true passion, however, has always been my cuppycake business. Gourmet cuppycakes are my specialty, although I started out with cakes, and still enjoy making those as well. I’m also an avid crafter/DIY/baker/chef/Zumba fanatic. If food, home decor, or health & fitness is involved, then I’m in my element. I also love to travel, which makes our assignment in Italy a great fit for my hubby and I. My travel bucket list is at least a mile long, and I can’t wait to see and explore the world one adventure at a time.

Q: What inspired you to launch the blog Blonde Glambition and what topics do you write about?

A: The original inspiration behind my blog was a dear friend from high school. She had been encouraging me to start one when we were stationed in Italy last time to share my adventures. It took me a few months to get my butt in gear and decide on a name, and even longer to decide the topics I wanted to write about. The topics on my blog range from my travels/adventures, love, military life ups and downs (PCSing, deployments, homecomings), cooking/baking, as well as my personal fitness project (OFB) and numerous DIY projects and my 30 by 30 List. You could say it’s a mish mash of my daily life.

Q: You mentioned on your blog that you are from Hawaii. What was it like growing up and living there?

A: AMAZING!! I’m completely in love with Hawaii, and growing up there was an absolute blessing. The culture, food, beaches, and quality of life are more than I could’ve ever asked for. In some ways, it really is like Hawaii is it’s own little world. Life runs at a more relaxed pace, family & community are important, and the spirit of Aloha is present in everyday life.

Q: What part of Hawaii were you living before you moved to Italy?

A: Our last house in Hawaii was on Wheeler Army Airfield in Wahiawa.

Annie hanging out at her favorite beach with the honus (sea turtles).

Q: Did you live on base or off base? What was the housing like?

A: Our last house on post was phenomenal! It was a brand new stand alone…something that is a rarity in the military community. It was roughly 2200 sq.ft. which is also massive by Hawaii standards. The majority of post housing, however, consists of newer duplexes, duplexes and apartments that were built in the 80s & 90s, as well as historical homes that still have bullet holes from the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most of the homes have tile or linoleum floors because of the red dirt in Hawaii. Housing off post is a wide variety of apartments, duplexes, condos, and stand alone houses that are shared by immediate & extended family members due to the high cost of living.

Q: What were your top three favorite things to do or attractions to see on the island?

A: Our absolute favorite thing to do on the island would be spending the day on the North Shore. This would usually consist of a stop at Mackey’s Shrimp Truck or Kua ‘Aina’s in Haleiwa for lunch, laying out at our favorite beach & swimming with the honus (seas turtles), and then watching the sunset with shave ice from Matsumoto’s.

Second thing would be paddle boarding anywhere on the island…love it!! Great workout and it feels so good to be on the water.

It’s so hard to narrow it down to three things…I guess the third thing would be going out on the boat and snorkeling. Hubby loves snorkeling!

Island life can be relaxing — just ask this sea turtle at the North Shore in Oahu.

Q: What do you miss about living in Hawaii?

A: The simple answer: everything. I count down the days until I get to return home. Aside from the obvious things: beaches, weather, sweet smells of tropical flowers, food (plate lunch, malasadas, li hing mui powder), etc. I really, really miss the people/culture. It’s my ideal type of lifestyle, and I love the spirit of Aloha that is shared between friends & family, even strangers. It’s like the magic of the islands just wraps itself around you & hugs you when you are in the Land of Aloha.

Q: Are there helpful Facebook pages, blogs or websites military families can turn to if they are stationed there?

A: On Facebook there are several pages, but here are a few of them: Oahu Military Wives Business Connections, The Wives of Schofield Barracks, Aloha Army Wives, Great Life Hawaii, MWR Hawaii and MCCS Hawaii.

* Do you want to know what it’s like living at a particular duty station? Need tips on how to prepare for a move? Or advice on how to handle a deployment? Tune in each Monday for tips and stories aimed at helping your next move or deployment go more smoothly. If you have questions, tips or stories you would like to share, send a brief email for consideration.