Thank you for stopping by!  I hope to feature both real estate and lifestyle information regarding living on this wonderful island, and particularly on the Windward Side.  

The towns of Kailua, Kaneohe and Waimanalo all have their own personalities.  Hopefully, you get a chance immerse yourself in all they have to offer! 

There is so much to do, see and experience!  My hope to to give you a little taste here.  Please read on...

Thank you ~ Jill

Oct. 9, 2019

7th Annual Family Promise 5K Fun Run: A Kailua Community Tradition


Every year, the Windward community comes together to run for a worthy cause - Family Promise, an organization that assists homeless families.


This year’s Fun Run, which will take place on Oct. 26, will be the seventh year for the event.

“It’s a fun way to spend your Saturday morning,” says Laura Thielen, a former Family Promise board member and current executive director of Partners in Care, which oversees all homeless assistance programs on Oahu.

By taking part, community members can do “something that will affect a lot of families’ lives, and at the same time, you can have fun and get together with our community,” she added. “This is such a unique activity - and it’s a really good breakfast!”

Moku and Monkeypod Kitchen restaurants will provide breakfast so participants can replace some of the calories they burn during the run. With the event falling so close to Halloween, participants are encouraged to wear costumes.


The Fun Run was conceived by Thielen and a group of friends who were seeking ways to increase community awareness for Family Promise.  Originally, the goal was to inform the community about Family Promise and its mission. But in short order, it became a significant fundraiser.

Last year’s run raised about $29,000. This year’s event has already surpassed that amount with sponsorships alone. 

Family Promise, which has offices in Honolulu and Wahiawa, provides safe temporary housing for family with children to assist them in in reaching their goals to become self sufficient. It is a national organization and the Oahu affiliate is 11 years old.

Because the organization is powered primarily by volunteers, it has a very low overhead so most of the money raised by the Fun Run goes directly to services for clients.

Family Promise usually serves 4-5 families on the  island at a time. In total, it assists about 100 people a year, most of them children. The organization also has a drop-in center and diversion programs.

Most of the adults served by Family Promise lose housing because they are working 2-3 jobs at a time, but are still unable to provide childcare. The result is that they have to quit one or two of the jobs, and the loss of that income renders them homeless.

Family Promise also provides job training, such as resume writing and financial planing, allowing clients to seek more lucrative jobs in the future.

For more information about Family Promise or to register for this year’s Fun Run:


Photo 1: Participants in the 2018 Family Promise Fun Run approach the finish line.

Photo 2: 2018 Family Promise Fun Run participants pose in flamingo costumes.



Posted in Community Updates
Sept. 30, 2019

My Favorite Moving Tip - Duck Tape!

I came up with a system that helps organize boxes when moving from one location to another! 

I hope it can help you, too!  

Sept. 30, 2019

Windward Aerial Yoga and Pilates: Strengthen, Lengthen, Align and…Fly!

This is the second in a series of two articles about local yoga and pilates offerings.

The Windward side has a diverse selection of venues offering yoga and Pilates classes. And if you’re looking for something new, aerial yoga combines elements of both!

Aerial Yoga

Noe Noe Hawaii

Did you ever wish you could learn to fly? Aerial Arts or Aerial yoga might be the closest you can get (without a plane, of course!).

Aerial yoga allows you to perform the same poses you can do on a yoga mat, but they incorporate a silk hammock that’s suspended from the ceiling as a prop to support you through the various poses. The purpose of the hammock is to help you improve flexibility and strength, while allowing you to do more challenging poses without added pressure on your shoulders, spine or head. Aerial dance provides many of the same benefits.

Chandra Miars opened Noe Noe Hawaii in Kailua in 2018. At this expansive, high-ceilinged venue, Miars teaches classes in aerial yoga, aerial dance, and aerial techniques.

A professional hula and modern dancer who has also studied Pilates, Miars trained in aerial dance in 2005. After falling in love with the art form, she went on to receive a certification in aerial yoga.  

Miars found the perfect location for Noe Noe Hawaii when a family-owned space on Kihapai Street which previously housed a custom engine shop, became available for rent in 2018.

“I was always looking for the perfect space and having grown up in Kailua, and still a resident here, it was a dream to be able to have a space in Kailua to teach and share this love for the aerial arts,” she said.

Miars conceived Noe Noe Hawaii as a health and wellness venue offering performances and event rental for the Windward community. 

“It has fit nicely with a lot of cutting edge ideas for groups to come together and do something totally different and out of the box,” she said.  “Educators, practitioners and instructors, can share workshops with the community or hold classes. It’s great for parties, fundraisers and even business networking gatherings.”

Other teachers also offer workshops at Noe Noe Hawaii and on the last Saturday of every month, Miars hosts an aerial sound bath with music by Lucie Lynch, a singer songwriter musician and sound healing alchemist.

For these events, Miars dims the light and guides visitors on a restorative experience either in the aerial hammocks, which transform into cocoons, or on the mat.

On Instagram: noe_hawaii

Aerial 2


Kailua Pilates and Wellness Center

Kailua Pilates and Wellness Center provides private, semi-private and group classes on a mat or using the Stott Pilates Method. They also offer various massage services such as Deep Tissue, Lomi Lomi, Prenatal, Chinese Cupping, Reiki and sports massage. All can be customized to meet client needs.


Harmony Pilates and Physical Therapy

Harmony Pilates has private and semi-private Pilates mat and equipment classes including Restorative, Prental, Barre and more. This studio also has licensed physical therapists on staff who work with clients, sometimes incorporating Pilates equipment into therapy.


On Balance Pilates

On Balance Pilates owner Lisa Ortego Loya opened the first Pilates studio on Oahu in 1993. Today, On Balance offers private and group mat and equipment classes as well as classes in CoreAlign, Gyrotinic, TRX, Floor-Barre.


Photo 1: An aerial class for children at Noe Noe Hawaii

Photo 2: Participants lie in silk “cocoons” during an aerial sound bath

Sept. 27, 2019

Windward Yoga: Stretch, Renew, Condition, Breathe

If you’re interested in starting or continuing a yoga practice, the Windward side offers a variety of studios featuring diverse class options.

Yoga 1

Yoga instructor Leah Distad opened The Yoga Hut in her bucolic Waimanalo backyard three years ago.

Prior to opening The Yoga Hut, Distad ran her own yoga studio in Kailua from 2008 to 2010 and then taught lessons privately and for other local yoga venues.

Creating The Yoga Hut on her property three years ago seemed the perfect blend that allowed Distad to focus on teaching in the the nature-oriented atmosphere she desired for her students.

The Yoga Hut is a screened in space nestled among lush Waimanalo greenery. Voices of sheep, goats and chickens add to the soundtrack of every class. Distad’s dogs, Peanut Butter and Buddha, greet students with wagging tails and lounge placidly on the studio floor, belly-up, during classes.

“What’s really unique about The Yoga Hut is the setting that it’s in, in a farm/nature/jungle/country kind of setting,” Distad said “So it gives you a better chance to not only have your practice, but to reconnect with the mountains and the trees.”

Distad’s teaching style is organic and she rarely comes to the mat with a plan.

“I totally wing every class because I want to feel the energy in the room, take people’s requests and cater and adapt the class, where I’m not rigidly connected to a plan,” she said.

Distad strives for an atmosphere where people can express any emotion from laughter to tears.

“It is a space where people feel safe to be vulnerable and raw,” Distad said.

In addition to her regular class schedule at The Yoga Hut, Distad can provide classes for special events such as baby showers, bridal showers, or wedding days, on or off her property.

She and her husband, Dodge, recently added catering to their event repertoire and can prepare five course meals for events (with or without yoga instruction) for up to 12 people. All meals are farm to table or locally sourced as much as possible.

The Yoga Hut classes cater to all levels and include Vinyasa, Gentle Yoga, and Yin Yoga .

Yoga 2


CorePower Yoga

CorePower Yoga is a national chain with a studio in Kailua. The venue offers both traditional Vinyasa yoga classes and Yoga Sculpt, which combines free weights with cardio and yoga sequencing to boost metabolism and build lean muscle mass. CorePower also has a teacher training program.


Bella Kai Yoga

Bella Kai Yoga offers Bikram method classes, Barre classes and Yin Yoga classes for all levels.

Bella Kai has a philanthropic focus and has raised more than $10,000 for the Windward-based non-profit Huakailani School for Girls. The studio partners with national non-profit Warriors at Ease, an organization committed to making yoga and meditation relevant, accessible and welcoming for members of the military, veterans and their families. Every Wednesday, the studio offers free yoga classes for active duty, veterans, and their families.


Hot Yoga By The Sea

Hot Yoga By The Sea offers a variety of heated and non-heated classes for all levels including Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, and Mommy and Baby. It also offers workshops and a teacher training program.


Aloha Yoga Kula

Aloha Yoga Kula has two studio locations in Kailua with a variety of classes including Vinyasa Flow, Gentle Yoga, Yoga Basics, Body Sculpting Restorative Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Senior Stretch, various workshops, and a 200-hour teacher training program.


yoga 3


Photo 1: A class at The Yoga Hut in Waimanalo.

Photo 2: Leah Distad poses with some of her students The Yoga Hut in Waimanalo.

Sept. 11, 2019

Want to Stay Out of Hot Water With Your Electricity Bill? Try a Solar Hot Water Heater

Are you considering converting your home’s electric to solar energy? Switching from a conventional hot water heater to a solar hot water heater is a great place to start!

hot water panels

“A solar hot water heater is almost always the first recommended step for someone to go solar,” says Zach Englert, sales director at Sunetric, which is headquartered in Kailua, but operates statewide.

According to Hawaii building codes, every residential home built from 2011 onward is required to have a solar water heater. But if you are not living in a relatively new home, there are some terrific reasons to make the switch and cost savings are at the top of the list.

With a conventional hot water heater, in an average home, hot water heating costs are about 20-40 % of the electricity bill, according to Englert.

Most solar hot water systems cost between $6,000 and $10,000. With the monthly electricity bill savings, a 30% federal tax credit, and a 35% Hawaii state tax credit (capped at $2,250), net costs are only $2,000 to $4,000. Homeowners can expect to pay off their system in three to four years, Englert says.

If you’re thinking about making the switch, there are two types of solar hot water heaters to choose from, according to Englert.

A conventional or active pump system, coupled with a tank, pumps water up to the roof to thermal collector plates. It then passes through copper pipes to further heat it, and then it goes back to the tank and continues those operations to keep the water at that hot temperature.

Hot water heater

The other type of solar water heater is a passive or blazing tubes system, which operates without a pump. With this system, the water stays on the home’s roof in collector tubes. Which system you choose should depend on many factors including the angle and access of sun at your home.

As with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for electricity for your entire home, solar water heaters include many environmental benefits. Conventional water heaters often use natural gas or other fossil fuels to heat water, releasing large amounts of carbon into the environment. Switching to a solar water heater reduces carbon and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Coal also releases mercury emissions into the air. The particles can make their way into the groundwater and then into nearby streams, lakes and oceans, affecting drinking water and the fish that we consume.

So, if you’re about to venture into the realm of solar energy, a solar hot water heater is a great place to start: you can save money and help the planet at the same time!

For more information, see HECO Clean Energy


Photo 1: PV panels tend to lie flat on a roof top, but solar hot water panels often come in a set of two and are raised on a slight angle. 

Photo 2: Solar hot water panels heat the water which goes directly into the tank (Courtesy of Hawaii Energy)

Posted in Remodel
Aug. 29, 2019

Harnessing the Power of the Sun in Hawaii

Due to its consistent sunlight throughout the year and its proximity to the equator, Hawaii is an ideal place to go solar!

The greatest benefit of adding solar panels to your home is the cost savings; but, there are very appealing environmental benefits as well, says Zach Englert, Sales Director at Sunetric, which is headquartered in Kailua, but operates statewide.


PV panels

The Battery System

In 2018, Hawaiian Electric (HECO) began offering a program called Customer Grid Supply Plus. 

Under this program HECO allows you to “bank” kilowatt hours for use at night. Customers can then use those kilowatt hours at a 10 cent per hour discount.

Most of Sunetric’s solar installations now use battery storage, enabling customers to charge the battery during the day and then draw from it overnight, Englert says.

“If I can store my kilowatt hour, I can use my kilowatt hour instead of pulling it back at a discount,” he says.

As technology for solar system batteries continues to improve, they are gaining even more popularity here in Hawaii.

This is no surprise as Hawaii has long focused on conservation of natural resources.

“Hawaii is always leading the way in terms of clean energy,” Englert says.  

Solar batteries

Cost Savings

How much homeowners save per month depends on a variety of factors, such as the financing they choose to pay for the solar system, Englert says.

“When we design solar panels, we design for full-offset of the energy usage in the home,” says Englert.

Therefore, on a $0 down loan, you can realistically expect to save 20-30% per month on your electricity bill. If you pay cash for the panels, you can eliminate the bill, except for the connection fee plus any excess usage fees from the utility company.

But it is the long term investment by which you can realize the biggest savings, according to Englert.

HECO’s rates increase an average of 5.5% per year. If you pay $3600 per year for electricity now, factoring in a modest 2-3% increase per year, in 25 years, you can expect to pay $10,000 a year. Savings on that size of bill are even more significant.


Paying for Your Solar System

There are numerous ways to finance a solar system, including a home equity line of credit or a no-money down loan. Loans can include an 18-month or two-year introductory period in which payments can be deferred until you realize the tax benefits over multiple tax seasons.

Solar systems will yield a 30% federal tax credit and up to 35% from the state. You can expect to realize an estimated $10,000 in state tax credits for a $50,000 solar system, which will cover the costs of the system in six to seven years.

If you’re thinking about going solar, there’s no time better than this year. Federal tax credits will decrease to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021, before zeroing out in 2022.

If you begin the process and pay 5% down by the end of 2019, you can lock in the 30% tax credit.

In addition to tax credits, home values often appreciate with the addition of solar panels, according to Englert.

“Studies show that your home sells for approximately $4.50 more per watt of solar on your roof,” Englert says. “In Hawaii, that would equate to an approximately $40-$50K home value increase.”


Environmental Benefits

The benefits of solar power are well-known. Generating electricity with solar power rather than fossil fuels can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint. Greenhouse gases, which are produced when fossil fuels are burned, contribute to rising global temperatures and climate change.

In Hawaii, there is even more reason to go solar, since oil has to be shipped here, which uses even more energy. 

“In Hawaii, we are still about 75-80% oil dependent, so it’s expensive and bad for the environment,” Englert says. “You are no longer contributing to that with a solar plus energy storage system and you are leaving a legacy of clean power for future generations.”

There are many reasons to invest in PV panels. If you have not already made the investment, now may be a good time.


Photo 1: A solar system (PV panels) installed by Sunetric

Photo 2: An energy storage system installed by Sunetric

Posted in Remodel
Aug. 2, 2019

Small Bedroom? Part 2: Decor Tips

Last time, Blair Morrison, who co-owns Windward Coast Design with Sherry Fahrenwald, provided tips on maximizing space in a small bedroom with strategic furniture placement and creative storage options. This week, she provided some easy décor ideas to create a spacious vibe in your nighttime retreat.

·      Keep the colors light and neutral or white. Light colored walls are a great way to add expansiveness to a small room. White also blurs the lines between the walls and ceilings, encouraging your eyes to travel upward.

If all white feels too stark or severe, try layering different shades of white or light neutrals, Morrison said.

 white bedroom


·      Add texture. To create depth and interest, add texture with decorative pillows or a throw. Consider embroidery or fabrics with a sheen. Avoid bulky fabrics such as velvet and instead use breezy fabrics such as cotton or linen.

·      Add a mirror. Mirrors reflect light and add the illusion of space. If you prop a full-length mirror on the wall, it will draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of height.

“If you can position a mirror so you can get the reflection from a window, you can add natural light to the room,” Morrison said.

·      Add a wallpaper accent wall. Try a bold, large print that proportionately meshes with the bedding.

·      Bring the outdoors in with a small houseplant. If you don’t have a green thumb, create a low maintenance silk flower arrangement in a sleek vase. 

·      Most importantly, less is more! “Try to keep clutter down to essentials,” Morrison said.

A minimalist aesthetic will keep your bedroom from feeling crowded.  Keep accessories and décor to a minimum, don’t allow newspapers and other print materials to accumulate on surfaces and be sure to stow remote controls and other small accessories in drawers or other storage spaces. Choose to display only items that are functional or your most loved.

Light-colored bed linens

Photo 1: Layer whites to make the room look more expansive, and then add a pop of color.

Photo 2: Keep colors light and neutral, and accessories and clutter to a minimum, to create an expansive feel in a small bedroom.

Posted in Remodel
July 7, 2019

Small bedroom? Create a Livable Bedroom with Limited Space

Oahu homes are often smaller than what is typical on the Mainland. Less square footage means reduced room size, especially when it comes to bedrooms! Our sleep sanctuaries are often the first place where builders sacrifice square footage when space is at a premium. 

The good news is that we spend so much time in shared family areas and outdoors, that we don't spend a lot of time in our bedrooms.  Fortunately, when we do, there are still ways to create a comfortable, storage-friendly bedroom, even if you lack space.

Blair Morrison, co-owner of Windward Coast Designs along with partner Sherry Fahrenwald, offered tips for how to maximize your bedroom’s dimensions.

bookshelves near bed

When planning bed placement, don’t assume it must be centered. If the bed is for one person, you can move it against the wall, said Morrison.

On the non-wall side of the bed, one option is to add a small chest with drawers that can serve double duty as a nightstand/dresser. Another nightstand alternative Morrison suggests is floating shelves, which can also serve as book shelves and even a resting place for a small laptop computer. Pendant lights or a chandelier can replace table top lamps and also free up surface space for other uses. 

For more space saving options, consider a bed that accommodates specially designed under-bed storage bins.  Baskets can serve this purpose as well. Or try built-in shelves or a headboard with storage incorporated into its design, Morrison said. If there’s shelves in the headboard, that can serve as your nightstand, too!

In a child’s room, a loft bed configuration can up precious floor space for a homework desk and a cozy sitting area to hang out with friends.

lofted bed

Most importantly, Morrison said, is choose your furniture wisely.

“Don’t use any bulky furniture and get as much double duty usage out of each piece,” she said.


Part 2 Next Week: Decor Tips for a Small Bedroom



Bookshelves next to the bed in place of nightstands offers more storage space.

A lofted bed gives you flexibility to add another mattress below, or you could add a workspace/desk area.

June 20, 2019

Nine Courts, One Community: Kailua Racquet Club is a Place to Play Tennis and Gather with Friends

Tucked away in a residential corridor of Oneawa Street in the heart of Coconut Grove, is “the best tennis club this side of the Mississippi” – the Kailua Racquet Club.

KRC sign

The entrance of the Kailua Racquet Club blends so well with the surrounding the street, it is easy to drive right past its unassuming entrance. But once you drive down the palm-flanked driveway, you’ll find a bustling tennis club with lush flora.

Most days of the week, you can watch tennis players of all ages and abilities hitting balls on the club’s nine courts.

The Kailua Racquet Club was established by eight friends in 1938. Each put up $2,750 to purchase 7.5 acres of land. The founders  created the club as a private hideaway to spend weekends with family and friends.

In 1952 they decided to incorporate the club and opened membership to the community for a $50 initiation fee and $5 monthly dues.  

Today, in addition to the nine courts – five of which are lit for night play – KRC has a salt water pool and a café.

KRC pool

“My kids have enjoyed the pool many times over the years and the food has always been served with a smile and is quite a treat,” says KRC member Jim Zagorski. “It is a beautiful place to play tennis and I feel fortunate that there is such a great tennis venue located right here in Kailua.”

The Bruce Nagel Tennis Academy at KRC has programs for a range of abilities and ages, with children’s classes starting for kids as young as four. Instructors also provide private and semi-private lessons.

Bruce Nagel, general manager and director of tennis, who has been with KRC for 28 years, says the philosophy for classes is, “everyone should get to hit a lot of balls, everyone should get a workout and everyone should have fun.”

Rather than breaking down various strokes in detail, instructors at KRC have found that if they hit a lot of balls in a game-like situation, most people – especially kids – pick up the strokes and game on their own, Nagel says.

One of the features that creates a particularly serene feel to the venue is the open space created by the grassy areas between the courts and the large shady lanais for spectators.KRC green space

Nagel says the club is especially proud of an Outdoor Circle Lani-Kailua Branch award it received for its efforts to preserve its greenery.

The decades-old palms on the grounds will eventually need to be cut down because they will become too tall for anyone to climb and trim due to liability concerns.

KRC has only lost two or three so far, but about 20 years ago, the club proactively planted shadow palms – one next to each of the older, taller palms – so when the oldest trees have to be cut down, the newer trees will be there to replace them.

The shadow palms have already grown quite tall and filled out extensively, Nagel said.

With all of its amenities, most members agree that the greatest benefit to KRC membership goes beyond it’s well-maintained tennis courts.

"It's really very much family oriented," Nagel says. "Most people join the club for a place to play tennis, but in the long run, they end up enjoying it for the community and the friends."  



1.      The entrance of Kailua Racquet Club

2.      KRC’s salt water pool

3.      A view of the green space next to one of the Kailua Racquet Club’s nine courts

Posted in Community Updates
May 13, 2019

Relax, Renew, Refresh: Kaneohe Spas Offer a Variety of Services

spa image

Looking for an hour or even a daylong escape from the bustle of everyday and an antidote to stress? Windward Oahu has a selection of day spas that offer everything from traditional massages and waxing to new and innovative anti-aging treatments.

Experts cite many benefits of massage in addition to relaxation. Among those perks are stress reduction, improved circulation, pain reduction, toxin elimination, improved flexibility, improved sleep, enhanced immunity, fatigue reduction, alleviation of depression and anxiety, reduction of post injury and post-surgery swelling, and even improved posture.

Facials also reduce stress. Additionally, they can minimize the appearance of the effects of aging, promote blood circulation, help detoxify, and exfoliate skin.

Two local day spas in Kailua we featured last week. Here are two more options in Kaneohe to choose from! 


Bella Viva

Located in the Windward Mall (outside of Macy’s) in Kaneohe, Bella Viva Salon and Spa has a diverse menu of beauty and pampering services. You can shop and pamper yourself in one trip!

For haircare, Bella Viva services include cut, color, extensions, Brazilian blowouts and Japanese straightening. All haircare services incorporate Aveda products.

Bella Viva also offers waxing, facials, manicures, pedicures and a full array of massage choices. The “Touch of Bella Viva” package is a four-and-a-half-hour spa experience that includes a Soulful Touch Facial, a Bella Viva Rainforest Massage, and a deluxe manicure and pedicure. During the Rainforest Massage, clients receive an entire body exfoliation with a customized scrub, a high-pressure water massage and cleanse, and a 50-minute Swedish massage. You should feel like jelly after all of those services!

Clients appreciate the friendly service and cite the creative and often sparkly nail designs as one of many reasons to return.

 Massage Envy

Massage Envy

Massage Envy is a national chain with a location in Kaneohe. Their services include a diverse menu of massages and skin care.

“The daily grind of seemingly harmless everyday activities - like sitting at a desk all day, lifting a baby dozens of times a day, or lugging a backpack - can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy body,” said Tom Collins, a spokesperson for Massage Envy’s corporate headquarters. “Through a regular habit of massage and total body care, people can keep their bodies working.”

Massage Envy’s recently-introduced Rapid Tension Relief, combines expertise of a massage therapist with the Hyperice Hypervolt device, a cordless, deep tissue vibrating massage device. All massages also incorporate Massage Envy branded lotions and a choice of one of six CyMe Boosts, a concentrated serum.

Skin services include chemical peels with PCA Skin and microderm infusion. Chemical peels are designed to treat skin problems such as sagging, wrinkles, crows feet, age spots, and acne scars. They do require down time after treatment because they often render the skin raw and sensitive.

Microderm infusion, which exfoliates the skin and infuses the skin with corrective serum, also targets skin problems, but without the downtime of chemical peels.

So, after reading about these wonderful treatment options, are you ready to treat yourself for an hour or more?  I’m thinking you deserve it!


Photos courtesy of the respective businesses.


Posted in Community Updates