Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

 E Komo Mai! (Welcome)


Red and Yellow Spotted Flower~ Photo taken at Dole Plantation, Hawaii
Copyright Kelly Vial (2007)

So you have decided to take your yearly vacation and live it up in Hawaii! What a great choice you have made! There are so many things to do and a variety of places to see. Whether you are just wanting some beach time, want to have a destination wedding, want to learn how to surf, relax or just be by yourself, there are many different venues that may attract you. Maybe you are on a strict budget, like a lot of others. What will you be able to do in Hawaii that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?

Getting Married?

Your most frugal option if you are planning to get married here in Hawaii, is to get married on the beach. I was married here on the beautiful beaches of Oahu in 2007, and yes, I was on a strict budget myself! After paying the outrageous prices for airline tickets, I had to save money elsewhere. My husband’s family were born and raised here, so I had to purchase invitations, and really do some web searching for a reception hall that would hold several hundred people, find a good caterer, pick out a wedding cake, and purchase a wedding gown! Preparing for a destination wedding was not easy, and I won’t tell you that it is. You want the picture perfect wedding and Oahu has some of the most beautiful, picturesque beaches in the world to help you achieve this. I was married at 8 a.m. in the morning, and the photos came out beautifully. I wanted to find a somewhat private beach to get married at, so I chose one that was centrally located to family and friends, so they wouldn’t have to travel so far to get there. I researched photographers and found one that was also licensed to perform the ceremony! I was extremely lucky in that respect. But if you are looking for something very private, I would have to recommend “Captain Howie” as he is called. The web link is posted below if you are interested in his services. You can create an ala carte package of your own or choose the pre made packages that they have listed on the site. You can view some of the couple’s wedding photos here too. It really is a great value versus obtaining a professional studio to do what you need. Just an idea!

Budget Friendly Ideas for Fun in the Sun

First off, do your research on things to do in Hawaii that are both fun and something you couldn’t do anywhere else. For instance, if you like hiking like I do, try hiking Diamond Head on Oahu, but make sure you bring plenty of water to drink as there aren’t any places to stop by for a drink. Take your time hiking and don’t overdo it, as it can be very hot once you get going. I hope you are in shape for this, because before you reach the top, you have a series of steps to climb! The hike is only a little over 1 and a half miles round trip.The first set of steps, if I am remembering correctly, are 74 steps that lead you to a 3 story spiral staircase and then to reach the top, you have to climb another daunting stairway of 99 steps! Diamond Head is an extinct volcanic crater that provides you with great exercise and a 360 degree view of the islands. Allow yourself at least 2 hours for a leisurely hike. As always check with your doctor before doing anything strenuous; the air gets thinner when you are approaching the top, so it may feel like you can’t catch your breath. Hiking Diamond Head is very cheap, only $5 per carload, or $1 if you just walk in to the park itself, and once you reach the top, there is a man selling t-shirts that say, “I Hiked Diamond Head”. Great souvenir! Tip** Go early in the morning as it’s cooler and the park opens at 6:00 a.m. You will be glad you did, the view from the top is phenomenal! You’ll overlook all of Waikiki and can see as far as the Wainae Mountain range in the West. Happy Hiking!!

  • Check out the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe. It is a very beautiful replica Buddhist temple of the original one located in Japan. There is a little tourist shop there that has a few items that may interest you. Feed the ducks and the Koi fish, but watch out as there is some stiff competition with the other birds also wanting to eat, as you toss the pellets! The pellets can be purchased in the shop.
  • Aloha Tower Marketplace- plenty of shops to look around, places to eat such as Don Ho’s restaurant, but truthfully, you can get the same items at Aloha Stadium’s swap meet on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at a much cheaper price! But it is nice to relax and just listen to some of the entertainer’s and watch the ships pass by in the harbor.
  • Aloha Stadium Swap Meet- You really must visit here at least once! The deals are great and with some vendors, you may even be able to talk them down in price just a little! Drink coconut water out of a coconut, snack on some of the foods offered, but there is one place I just cannot pass by- the lady that sells Li Hing Mui sprinkled pineapple! It is a local favorite and personally, one of my own! This is the place to come if you want to send souvenir’s back home to family. Kukui nut leis, shell jewelry, Hawaiian jewelry- especially the Hawaiian bracelets are super expensive as the price for a 10 mm bangle type bracelet goes for almost $2000! But it’s an heirloom of sorts and all the locals wear them, or should I say MOST of them.
  • Take ukulele or hula lessons at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center- good fun!
  • Fly a kite or take a plate lunch to Kapiolani Park in Waikiki; the beach is right across the street! Beaches are my favorite place to be.
  • Watch a polo match at Waimanalo Polo Grounds, pick a team and have fun!
  • Enjoy the many different festivals and events throughout the year including AT&T’s Hawaii Dragon Boat Festival, celebrate the Chinese New Year and see the lion dances and over 100 other events
  • Learn about the history of Waikiki by taking the Waikiki Historic Trail walking tour.
  • Honolulu Zoo
  • Walk through Chinatown for a fascinating look at noodle factories, markets and gift shops
  • If you are visiting Waikiki, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue, at sunset, you can witness the culture of Hawaii by viewing the torch lighting and hula dancers, or just listen to the drums playing.
  • Take a scenic drive to Pali Highway and go to the Nuuanu Pali lookout for a beautiful view. Wear a light jacket as it gets really windy at the top- keep hold of your camera because the wind can blow it right out of your hands and keep an even closer eye on your children- granted there is railing, but people have been known to be blown off the side of the mountain. Be very cautious!
  • Visit Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona, I visited the USS Missouri and spent the entire day there, learning and taking pictures! A great educational experience.
  • Go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and check out the beautiful array of colorful fish.
  • Visit the beaches of Lanikai and Kailua for a more serene experience, plan a cookout at the beach and just enjoy the day with your children and family.

These are just some of the things you can do, there are plenty more things to see and explore!

“Hawaiian Jasmine”
Photo Credit: Kelly Vial via
Photo Taken: July 2012, in Honolulu, Hawaii

It seems that I am always on my laptop researching my ancestry, sending emails, and connecting with family members trying to obtain a little bit of history on my ancestral roots. If I’m not on my laptop, I always have my handy dandy iPhone with me everywhere I go. Sharing memories in the form of photographs on social networking sites helps me stay connected to my family being that I live so far away from them all. I live approximately 4000 miles away on an island in the middle of the Pacific, so staying connected is very important to me. Thank God for all this technology!

I recently found an app for my iPhone that I have been trying out and I really like it! The app is called “Saving Memories Forever”. And it’s FREE!! Even better right? You can create your “family memories” through audio recordings! HA! Love it 🙂 Having many stories to share with family and future generations, this app lets you record your stories and share them. Whether you have stories and memories of your grandparents, aunts and uncles, or just want to talk about the vacation you just took or the day you were married, this app allows you to do this. You can record as many stories as you would like to and share them with whomever you wish. The recordings you make are uploaded to the Saving Memories Forever web site and can always be accessed through the app or web site. If you get their premium service, then your stories can be “tagged” which makes the stories easier to find. All your stories are safely stored on this web site and you can even add your family’s favorite recipes and add photos to boot! Yay!

I think my favorite feature of this app is that you can share with your family and add them as storytellers! What better way to share your stories and those of your family? How convenient! What a great idea for an audio scrapbook; you will have your story in your own words and you can have access to your extended family’s memories too. To hear them talk about their own memories and be able to one day share them with your own children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren, is phenomenal!

This app is perfect for me! Always on the go, some memory may just pop in my head, but I don’t have time to write it down to remember later. If I remember everything, that is 🙂 I can then record the memory! Easy peasy right? I just wish I had known about this app sooner, like 10 years ago! I wish it had existed then. I would have loved to have recorded my deceased fathers stories and memories of his childhood, or hear him talk about the day he met my mother, how he felt on the days when my sister, Amy and I were born and so on. Now these memories are lost and died with him.

The only downfall with the free version of this app is:

  • Only 6 storytellers can be used within the app
  • There is a limit on the number of listeners (only 10!)
  • You can only listen to 5 stories per day
  • No use of tags
  • No photographs can be uploaded
  • You can’t attach Word Documents to your stories

The premium version is only $3.99 a month- definitely worth all the extra features I think. Especially at that price 🙂

If you go to the website, check out the tab, “How It Works” where you can view the PDF document of the users manual.

Let me know what you think about this app; I absolutely think this is a great genealogy tool in which to use. The link to the web page is below, if you would like to check it out 🙂




Billy Edward Cornett
(March 15,1944 – April 28, 2001)
Image Credit: (Daniel Cole) taken on: July 23, 2012
Grave Location: Bel Air Memorial Gardens (Sunrise Section 26D-3)
Harford County, Maryland

The grave marker image above was photographed by a volunteer of My father’s grave marker above looks rather lonely and forgotten. No flowers or vase on display that shows he is forever thought of. The grass is starting to overcrowd his grave around the edges and there are no flowers to say, “You may be gone, but never forgotten.” That is the sorrow of being buried in a cemetery I guess. Even though his spirit is in Heaven, it would bring me more peace if I knew that he wasn’t left here all alone in a cemetery grave yard, where the dry, crispy leaves sweep across his grave site.  It makes me not want to be buried at all, knowing that one day, I will eventually be forgotten and left behind as others just walk past me with no kind words or thoughts of my life. I would be just a memory. Remembered only at the time of my funeral and maybe a few short months that may pass by, isn’t enough for me.

His grave marker is rather simple, with just his name, birth,and death years engraved on it. One day, I hope to visit his grave myself, in person and just be close to him. If only, just to talk to him and let him know that he is not forgotten by me or my sister, Amy. We think of him every day and will never forget his memory as long as we live.

Rest In Peace Daddy 🙂


Remember those times you spent with your grandmother or even your great grandmother? What do you remember most about her? Was it her grandmotherly smile? Maybe it was a stern look. Her baby soft skin? Maybe she smelled of roses or baby powder or maybe even the strong odor of Ben-Gay! Whatever it was, have you ever been reminded of those long forgotten memories or memories you thought you had forgotten? Does something trigger your memory so that you think of her? 
For me, it was a simple photograph! A photograph that reminded me of what I thought was her birthday party, but was in actuality a Cornett Family Reunion that took place in Havre De Grace, Maryland at Aunt Pearl’s house. I remember bits and pieces of that day, not every little detail as that was over thirty years ago. But I do remember being there. 

I remember her “Little House on the Prairie” style dress. Baggy, long sleeves and the skirt that fell nearly to her ankles, the too large, pointy collar that was popular back in the 1970’s, the lavender color of her dress which reminded me of her birthday cake. All white with lavender colored roses on the top and a lavender zigzag pattern on the sides of the cake with little lavender pearls. I think the cake had three tiers as I remember it being the tallest cake I had ever seen. 

Meet My Great Grandmother, Gincy.
I am the little girl in the photo.
My Gincy ~ A Social Butterfly 🙂
My dad, Bill is in the background in the cream colored shirt with Uncle Don standing next to him.

Another memory I have of Gincy is when I was about the same age I use to sit in her lap and she would rock me in her rocking chair on the front porch. I believe she even had a white rocking chair at her birthday celebration. I used to have a picture of the two of us, but I don’t know what happened to it. I can picture it in my mind what it looks like, but that is about all. I would love to have another copy of it.

The memories I have of Gincy are few, so here I am typing my last memory of her and smiling because I know what this memory means to me. I used to have this old brown two tone colored teddy bear. I took him with me almost everywhere I went and he would be the first toy I would grab to play with. I never picked a baby doll, but picked up old teddy instead. On my grandmothers front porch I would sit down and dress teddy and pretend he was my baby. I had cloth diapers for him and those diaper pins with the hard plastic covers on them so I wouldn’t poke him and end up making him cry! Gincy never liked for me to undress “teddy” for fear that he might catch a cold. She would always make me put his diaper back on! It’s kind of cute now that I look back on this memory and see her point of view. I think this was her way of playing with me, because she wasn’t able to get down from the rocking chair she was rocking in and play on the porch with me. At that time in my life, I thought she was just scolding me for taking his diaper cloth off! 

Grandma Gincy was born on July 1, 1886 and died on September 24, 1978 when I was only six years old. Not understanding death at the ripe old age of 6, I always thought she would live forever and just be my Grandma Gincy. I miss brushing your hair and I am just so very glad to have these memories of you. I love you my Gincy!

Today was a beautiful day here in the islands of Hawaii. The photos below were taken with just an Iphone camera! Not bad for a cell phone camera. I would swear I was a beach bum or a mermaid in another life; as much as I love the ocean, I can never get enough of it! The water was just cold enough to be shocking to my sun kissed skin. 

The beach was full of both tourists and local people, you would think it was the weekend or summer break. I thoroughly enjoyed the cerulean blue water, the silky fine sand in between my toes, the balmy ocean breeze, and the smell of the salty air. When I go to places like this, I love to just watch people just to see what they do. Even though I live here, it’s fun to watch the keiki’s (young children) play in the water, carry their boogie boards- which looks much larger than the children. But they are having the time of their lives, trying to catch the colorful fish in their little sand buckets, building sand castles and just having fun like little kids do. They are so carefree and enjoyable to watch. This one little boy came up to me and my friend today with the biggest smile on his face, carrying a boogie board. How can you not smile back and say hello? 

Many people become so preoccupied with their own personal lives and the stress they may carry on their shoulders that they seem to forget to stop and take a look around them and consider the blessings that God has already given them. So when I feel all out of sorts and stressed, where do you think I go? I go to the beach of course! I go to my “happy place” and just sit down and watch the waves come in and go back out into the vast ocean. For me, it’s very calming and it’s almost like the waves pull all my stress and problems of the day and take it to the ocean. I hope that makes sense to whoever is reading this blog. But seriously, for me, the ocean has this peaceful way of making me feel like a brand new person. I end up being stress free and makes me feel like I can take on the world! 

These are my Monday Memories… 

Memories that last a lifetime, photos of family are the treasures of the past. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but for a family historian seeking photos of family members, long gone is really a dream come true.

Have you ever been into an antique store and seen framed photos and wonder who they may have belonged to? There have to be memories linked to such things. Maybe you have seen old photo albums, silver framed photos that are now probably tarnished and could use some extra loving care. Vintage clothing? An old wedding dress or a child’s antique toy? I love going into antique stores even if it’s just to look at all the things that may have been cherished by a person in a bygone era. Going into these shoppes, have you ever wondered if you were passing up a good find? What if one of those photo albums that was displayed, was a part of your family history and you just never thought to really look at it? I’m not talking about merely glancing through the images, but really looking at the pictures, looking for names and dates and so on. Are you willing to walk away and just forget about these artifacts of the past? I don’t think I could!

As a family historian myself, it would be a dream come true to find such a priceless, prized possession! Even if the album or photo didn’t have my particular family history attached to to it, I would want to seek out the person that it may have rightfully belonged to. How did it not get passed down through the families generations? How did it end up in an antique store to begin with? 

Personally, I would love to have one of my grandmothers older photo albums, an old journal, love letters, her wedding dress, or any other type of memorabilia from her past. It’s all about staying connected to her in a much more personal way even though she has already passed. Today, people take such things for granted and consider something like this as just old junk that should be tossed away or donated. 

Try visiting an antique store in your area, take a look around and see all the lost items of our ancestors past.

I found a website that caters to finding these gems of the past and would like to share it with you!
Check this site out and let me know if you found something 🙂

Abby’s Buy And Sell Genealogy

Image Source:
ImageZoo.Shopping At An Antique Store. (Online Image) Available at
 Image # 77377764

When you think of the word “heirloom”, do you think of the old doilies your grandmother hand crocheted so long ago, but now look yellow and dingy? I do. When I think of heirlooms, I think of useless objects that have seen better days. Old sienna photos in antique silver frames, handkerchiefs with flower embroidery that my grandmother used to carry around with her, family albums, quilts, baby blankets, family Bibles, and my own wedding dress, which I hope to one day hand down to a granddaughter or great granddaughter of my own. One day! Not anytime soon mind you. What heirloom object would you treasure if it were given to you, to pass on to your children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren? How would you preserve it? 

You may already have a cedar chest full of potential heirlooms, or maybe even in the attic in boxes.  I remember playing with my grandmother’s old clothes when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. She had vintage hats made of black velour with feathers and trim which covered the top half of my face. I remember they were in a box that my cousin and I used to go through to play dress up. 

Isn’t it funny how certain memories resurface when you see an image, read, or even for me as I  happen to be writing in my blog about something as simple as family heirlooms? The memory of my grandmothers old hats just popped into my head for some reason. I wish I had all of her old hats! That would be such a treasure! I don’t know whatever happened to them after she passed away, but it would be an heirloom I would treasure!  

Family Heirloom Ideas

Family heirlooms should evoke special memories of a bygone era. You can even create your own if you wish. Here are a few ideas that have crossed my mind a time or two. It doesn’t have to be expensive to make it an heirloom of quality. For most, it is just tradition past on from generation to generation. 

  • Wedding dresses or christening gowns
  • Create a family cookbook of family favorite recipes- include some that are handwritten   and  dated.
  • Jewelry~ If you wish, you can have a custom made ring, broach, or even a charm bracelet made.
  • Artwork or drawings that were created by an ancestor- have it professionally framed and matted for other generations to see.
  • Medals of Honor- maybe one of your ancestors fought in the Civil War or the American Revolution- creating a shadow box of these medals would be an idea!
  • Another popular idea is creating a scrapbook for each of your children, inside include items of times past i.e., a piece of lace fabric, pressed flowers, photos, or something else that may bring back fond memories.
  • You could even gather memorabilia from older generations, like maybe a childhood diary that may have been kept over the years, a favorite book that an ancestor may treasure. For example, it could be a signed baseball that was part of a collection in your grandfathers belongings, an old trophy, the list can get longer, believe me.
Use your imagination when it comes to collecting family heirlooms, the possibilities are endless. 

Share your ideas! Comment below…

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Photo Credit: Doris Rudd Designs, Photography