cotton candy skies

L A N I K A I by Elsie Barnes

Before my husband and I packed up our belongings in preparation for our new duty station, we were frantically searching for our next home in Oahu. We searched the internet high and low, attempting to find a home that would satisfy our wishlist. A friend referred us to an awesome realtor who had built a Facebook page for military families moving to the island. This page was a lifesaver. The community that participated in this group were a wealth of knowledge, answering even the silliest of questions. Days before we had arrived on the island, Brandy Saulnier of Military Home Source had already a list of homes for us to view.

We arrived on a Friday, exhausted, sleep deprived, and hungry. By Sunday, Brandy was already at our hotel room and on a mission to find our new home. She picked us up, and immediately we were smitten by her. She treated us like family, and showed us the true meaning of Aloha. The car ride was filled with cultural education, myth busting, and so much laughter as we traveled the majority of the island. We truly enjoyed her company, and my daughter adored "Ms. Brandy." As the weeks progressed our friendship grew. I had become in charge of caring for her kiddos, and she had lent us her van so that my husband have transportation for work. Little did we know that Brandy was not only a realtor, and admin for the Facebook group, but also a host of a radio show, and participates in several events around the year helping our veterans and their families. Its a very impressive resume to say the least. To this very day, I am in awe of everything she is able to accomplish while raising a family. She is definitely the definition of #bossbabe. I look back at it now and I am grateful she was our very first friend, and we are truly indebted to her and her family for welcoming us into their hearts and home.

Fast foward a year later, and the dust has officially settled. From game night, to family dinners, and spending holidays together, we always find a way to hang out and spend quality time with her, but had yet to work with each other. You can imagine my surprise when she requested a family's portrait session. This was the perfect opportunity for me to repay her for all of the wonderful things she did for my family when we arrived. 

Lanikai, her favorite beach, would be the setting for her portrait session. Enveloped in cotton candy skies, teal water, and baby powder sand her family and I were ready to capture the dynamic that makes her home so special. The session was flawless, except for the occasional "Don't step on the jellyfish!", which I'll admit was fascinating to see unclose for the first time. We had such an amazing sunset, that it definitely didn't feel like work at all! 

There's a quote that says "Some people are put in your life for a reason or a season." I truly hope that she and her family stay in our lives for a lifetime.