Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Girls Weekend!!

I was lucky enough for my friends from my study abroad in Italy to suggest coming to Hawaii for a mini reunion. I didn't have this blog then, but in the fall of 2008 I spent 3 months living in Italy (not 2007 like it incorrectly states at the end of one of the videos below...). I loved every second of it. And I have a million facebook albums to prove it ;) My three good friends came to visit for an extended weekend. I, of course, brought the GoPro and made a few videos of our adventures (make sure you watch in HD):

This one just makes you feel good. I had so much fun at this beach!

Here are some iPhone pics from this day:
Not many things better than an empty beach on a gorgeous day with great friends!
 Aaron took out his real camera and glidecam to help put together this video:

Erika really loved frollicing in the field ;)

And here's a recap of our snorkeling adventure at Hanauma Bay:

iPhone pics from that day:
And last, but not least, our hike to the top of Diamond Head (volcano crater). And a little bit of the blow hole we stopped at on the same day. And if you can't tell, my blonde friend in the hat is pregnant, that's why she's making faces and patting her belly in the video ;)

 iPhone pics from that day:
My pale friends did very well with their sunscreen. I'd say it was a success all around. I hope I can convince them to come next year ;)

Here's one last shot (in actual clothes) before we said our goodbyes. So glad we could do this. Miss you all!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Franco Family Vacation, Part 2

We took a bunch of video during the week my family was together in Hawaii. Aaron and I first put together the video we took on the Waikiki Ocean Club. Since then, Aaron's been teaching me how to do it on my own. There are three more! Two of which I made this past week.

All of us hiked the Makapu'u Trail to the lighthouse. At the top you can see the most beautiful blue ocean ever! I wish I could have taken a panoramic picture that day... there's always next time. The day we did this hike was also Aaron and my 2nd wedding anniversary. It's kinda cool that 2 years ago we were all together too.

(P.S. To watch YouTube videos in HD you have to manually change the quality)

Another really fun day we had was at Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu. We were lucky enough to see some turtles in super clear water, in addition to jumping off the rock and swimming through the cave. The sun was shining and the air/water temperatures were perfect.

The next video I put together was us with just Melissa, Liz, and Steve. The rest of my family went to the Big Island of Hawaii to check out Volcano National Park, where Larry got a really funny burn on the tops of his knees from sitting in the back seat of a convertible all day, hehe ;) You'll see us checking out the East side of Oahu at the beginning of the video. We then went to Teddy's Bigger Burgers, our favorite burger place. Next up is Ala Moana. It's the perfect place to practice jumping off of each other's shoulders since it's as calm as a lake! Lastly, we headed to Waiola for some shave ice, and yes, it's much better than the famed Matsumotos.

Still have some more footage to go through, so there will be at least one more post about this. I'm just glad that we are able to put these things together to relive our fond memories together as a family :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

House of the Sun

I've been wanting to go watch the sunrise at the top of Haleakala on Maui since we moved to Oahu. And once Aaron got his new wide angle lens for his camera, we just couldn't wait any longer. Above is a compilation of the three main stages of the sunrise that we saw yesterday (courtesy of my phone).
Here's a stitch Aaron put together of the whole area. Haleakala means house of the sun in Hawaiian, and you can see why.
This shot is from Aaron's new lens. Epic, don't you think?
I love how the sun looks in this one.
Ta-da! This is a frame-worthy one :)
Another from Aaron's new lens... look at all the detail!
Luckily I had my winter coat! It's probably the only freezing place in Hawaii I'll ever need it.
Hi-ya! These jumping ones actually helped me warm up a little bit :)
I totally look like a rag-doll in this one, haha.
It got warmer as the day went on.
Standing on the clouds.
Signature jump.
It was very awe-inspiring and I'm very grateful that we were able to go. We even got the annual pass to the three national parks in Hawaii. Next up, back to Volcano national park to hike to the lava flow :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Birthday in the City of Angels

Hello everyone! I wrote this post awhile ago and forgot to make it live, so here it is... almost 4 months later :)
My birthday is May 28th, which always falls around Memorial Day weekend. This year my birthday and Memorial day coincided, so you know what that means - I got a paid day off without using any vacation!

Since it was a three day weekend I was trying to decide what we should do. I could take another day off and we could try going back to Japan, or do a quick trip to Australia, or we could just take the three days and go to another Hawaiian Island or just hang out around the beach here. I then found out that Aaron's ska/rock/reggae band of 10 years, Upstanding Youth, would be playing their last show on the Friday night (lead singer is moving to DC), and there'd be a band BBQ on Saturday. So that took out the international possibilities. My mom and sister went to NYC a little while ago and I was telling them to make sure they hit up Magnolia's bakery and the Shake Shack. It reminded me of how much I was missing/craving Magnolia's lemon cupcake. I went to their website and saw they had a location in LA. The wheels started turning... how fun would it be to have those cupcakes for my birthday. After factoring in the possibility of going shopping at H&M it was decided. Los Angeles it was.

So... this is how the weekend went:

Friday night -- UY farewell show. Unfortunately the memory card with the photos Aaron took of the band went corrupt, but I have a couple shots from my phone.

Saturday -- Sunset beach/flight out. We were supposed to have a band BBQ but due to unfortunate family/health circumstances it was postponed. Instead, Aaron and I headed out to Sunset Beach here on Oahu and played with the new underwater dive housing on the GoPro (hopefully we'll have a video to put together soon). We took the 10:20 pm flight out to LAX. We were lucky enough to get first class too :)

Sunday -- cupcakes, Santa Monica, shopping. We arrived around 7 am and went made our way to Magnolia's. They have different flavors every day, and they didn't have lemon on Sunday or Monday (the two days we were there). But we already knew that of course because we were prepared. We found out we could make a custom order of any flavor on any day, but the minimum quantity was one dozen. No big deal, we ordered a dozen lemon cupcakes. The description on the website is: delicately textured lemon cupcake filled with a tart lemon cream and topped with lemon meringue buttercream. It was heaven. Seriously everything I remembered it to be.

 We then drove right on over the the Santa Monica pier. It was still early in the morning, so parking was easy and it was nice and quiet. Aaron and I walked around the pier/beach and enjoyed the scenery. I was surprised to see how many different exercise groups there were all along side the sand, much different from Hawaii :) We also walked to the shopping area, and though I was originally planning on going to H&M on Monday I just couldn't wait when I saw that store front. Even though Aaron ended up falling asleep while sitting on a bench with his sunglasses on outside of the store, I still had a grand old time. I picked up two bathing suits, a skirt, a dress, three shirts, a pair of shoes, a purse, and a necklace. All of the stuff is really cute and really cheap (without losing too much quality).

At this point we were starved for real food. We found out there was a Panera near out hotel and went straight there. Oh how I miss Panera, their bread is so amazing! As are their soups and sandwiches. When we walked out of Panera we saw that we were actually right next to a Trader Joe's. Being from the east coast I haven't ever shopping in one before, but my co-workers who've visited California just love it. We stopped in and we were shocked to see how cheap the organic food was! Wow, such a difference from Hawaii. We ended up just picking up some boxed cookies, which were cheap and amazing. We stayed at the Reniassance hotel and by the time we got to our room (maybe 5 pm) we were dead tired. Thanks to black out curtains we were able to get some shut eye. What was meant to be a nap ended up becoming our night's sleep.

Monday -- more Panera, pool, and more cupcakes! We were up early and headed back to Panera for breakfast (so glad they were open already). We loved everything we got. We went back to the hotel and I got some pool time in, and played a little bit more with the underwater dive housing on the GoPro. I've got to say, this hotel had the best, most comfortable lounge chairs I've ever laid on (which was a nice unexpected treat on my actual birthday). We then went back to Panera for a late lunch/early dinner and I got my absolute favorite, baked potato soup in a bread bowl :) followed by another amazing cupcake. Turns out we couldn't eat a dozen in less than two days, so we ended up bringing some back with us. We took the 6 pm flight to HNL and got here around 9 pm (it's 3 hrs earlier in Hawaii).

It was a quick and fun trip. I have to thank Aaron again for allowing me to completely indulge myself. But come on, if you could fly for free and get a cheap car rental/hotel with name your own price on priceline just to get your favorite cupcakes and go shopping at one of your favorite stores for your birthday... wouldn't you??

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Vacation You'll Always Remember

I absolutely LOVED having my family out here to visit last month. One of the highlights for everyone (except Dad who wasn't feeling well) was going to the Waikiki Ocean Club. I found out about them through work, and thought it'd be a fun activity for everyone. Basically they have a two story boat anchored 300 yards from the sand, with an amazing view of Diamond Head (famous volcano crater). On the bottom level they have a covered bar/grill area that leads to a staircase into the water. They have snorkel gear, floaties, an ocean trampoline, kayaks, paddle boards, etc. On the upper level they have a sun deck, a slide, and platforms to jump off into the water. They also have music playing (as you'll be able to figure out after watching the video). We went on a Wednesday so it wasn't too crowded, which made it even better! We just got to stay out in the sun and have fun all day. What's not to love? We even saw WILD DOLPHINS! And Liz was in the water with them!!

We took our GoPro with us, and I'm sure glad we did! It's one of my favorite videos because of the people in it, and the memories it brings back. It's the first video that Aaron and I really tag-team edited. It was fun working together on it. Enjoy :)

                      Franco Family Hawaii Vacation 2012 | Waikiki Ocean Club from Aaron Eskaran on Vimeo.


Some people dream of becoming famous their whole lives, being a star. I'm not one of those people. But I do just kind of laugh when I see things of myself "out there." One of our friends works for Bula Beverage. It's a relaxation drink, a direct opposite to energy drinks. Aaron, being the artist he is, did some work for Bula. We ended up taking some cans with us while we were cruising the beach. We actually only shot video, and the banner below is a screen shot from it. They put together a promo video you can find on the homepage HERE. It wasn't really planned before hand, and it's funny to watch (at least for me). But it's a fun little thing to share. Bula is having free shipping for the rest of the month... so check it out!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Island Hopping

My parents found a killer deal to stay in Molokai, HI for a week. It's one of the smallest islands of Hawaii that most people don't get to. There are NO stoplights (only stop signs) and the entire population is 8,000 people. Aaron and I joined them for the day to check it out. It was everyone's first time there. We had 3 main activities planned for the day:

1) Check out the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove
 It was so much fun to see so many tall palm trees all in one place. Though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit scared that a coconut would randomly fall on one of our heads ;)

2) Go to Kalaupapa National Historic Park
The view here is just gorgeous. I learned that Molokai is home to the tallest sea cliffs in the world, that's right in the whole world!! We could see them from the lookout, which was pretty cool. Most people know Kalaupapa as the location for an old leper colony.

3) Visit Papohaku Beach
If you know me, you know I'm a beach bum. And I can stay at the beach all day long. And boy, was this place easy to love. It's the largest beach in all of Hawaii! 3 miles of natural white sand, 100 yards deep, with beautiful blue ocean. They actually used sand from here to create Waikiki beach. The craziest thing about it was that there was no one there! And they had a nice parking lot and showers and everything. We were at one of the most gorgeous beaches in Hawaii (on a Saturday afternoon) all by ourselves. It was a blast.
We also brought our GoPro camera and made a little video to document our trip. I just love it. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We're on TV!

Aaron and I went to the Jason Mraz concert in Waikiki a few weeks ago. We were in the 8th row, which was really close! We saw a bunch of cameras around and thought that they might be recording the concert to make a DVD. I thought it'd be really cool to buy the concert on DVD that we actually went to. Turns out they weren't recording the concert, but they were recording for a TV show. It's a new reality series about people who are selected by famous artists to be their opening act. Aaron and I are seated in the back of the first section by the stage on the left side of the middle section (when facing the stage). I'm wearing a SUPER bright orange shirt and Aaron is wearing a green shirt. You can see us in the clips below.

Opening Act for Jason Mraz Video Clip

Screen shot of us in the first clip:

We first saw Jason Mraz live in Vegas a few years ago with some of our good friends. We didn't really know too many of his songs other than his hit singles. We were so amazed by his live performance and we totally fell in love with him. There are no tricks, he is an amazing singer. We saw him again in Idaho and this was our third time seeing him. I hope there are many more to come!

Here's a clip I shot at the concert of one of our favorite songs. Can you hear Aaron harmonizing? :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My First Attempt

I mentioned in one of my last posts that Aaron and I went to the Big Island for a day to visit some of our friends who were in town. Aaron took a bunch of video with the GoPro and his 7D DSLR camera, and I had been bugging him to put together the footage in a video. He told me that I could do it and sat down with me for a few minutes to show me the basics of how to use adobe premiere. A few hours later I produced this:

Putting together the video wasn't exactly "fun" but the end result lasts so much longer than the work you have to put into it. Needless to say, I think I'll be putting together more videos in the future!

My favorite part is definitely the beginning... can never get enough of the beach! And I just love Jason Mraz's song in there :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Na Pali Coast, Kauai Hawaii

 Hello! Aaron and I had been planning on hiking the first part of the Na Pali ever since we went to Kauai on our honeymoon without hiking shoes. At the time we didn't know when we would ever be back; we never thought it would be so soon. This past weekend the weather and our schedules aligned. We already knew that the parking situation is kind of crazy over there, so we took the first flight to Kauai at 5:30 a.m. We stopped by Foodland (grocery store) and picked up some water, musubi (spam and rice wrapped in seaweed), and ahi poke (raw fish w/seasoning). We told the worker that we were going to hike the first 2 miles of the Na Pali to the little secluded beach. He told us that we have to go see the waterfall just a couple miles from there. We thought... well maybe. We got to the beginning of the trail around 8 am, I put on my camel pack and sunglasses and was good to go. We were just in awe of the island during the first two miles of the hike. It was right along the coast and it was gorgeous. We heard some other people on the trail talking about how they were going to the waterfall. We got to the beach and figured, hey, we got out this far... might as well just go and see it. This decision doubled the length of our hike from 4 miles to 8 miles round trip. The trail to the waterfall was rocky and muddy. Sometimes the trail was very narrow along a cliff, and other times we had to cross the river/running water. I found out that I'm definitely not in shape on this hike! Haha. We didn't take any video during the hard parts of the trail... obviously we were too busy trying to make sure we were stepping safely. The anticipation of what the waterfall would look like was almost overbearing - we hadn't even seen a picture of it prior to doing the hike. I was just thinking, I hope this is worth it! When we got there I have to say that is definitely was. The height of the waterfall was just crazy! When you're right at the bottom trying to see the top you get dizzy because it's so tall. It reminded me of looking at the top of buildings in New York City. The water at the waterfall was absolutely FREEZING. But my sweaty, swollen, and tired body was actually okay with it. I was a little scared about getting leptospirosis from the fresh water... so I made sure I closed my eyes and mouth real tight under the water ;) I'm glad we brought the GoPro on the hike, it's lightweight (unlike Aaron's 7D) and we got this really cool video out of it (thanks to Aaron's editing).

The 4 miles back to the car were noticeably more difficult than the first 4 miles in. Since we weren't really planning on doing that long of a hike we ended up running out of water before the last mile, but we made it back! We ended our hike at 2 pm... 6 hours later. We took off our boots and bought some cold and refreshing vitamin water to hydrate. I don't think I've ever drunken so much so quickly. We then went to a little secluded beach we had been to on our honeymoon and rested for a bit.

Kauai is a beautiful green island that just screams vacation, and I'm so happy that we were able to go on this hike!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Catch Up Time

It's been awhile! I find that most of my free time on the internet is spent on my ipad, and not the computer... hence the lack of blog posts. Tonight Aaron is at band practice so I have the computer all to myself :)

A few months ago my high school friend told me that her fiance's parents were looking for stories to include in their second edition of a book that helps people figure out how they can use social networking to find jobs. I just got a copy of the book now available for purchase. I scanned in my page below... I hope you can read it...