In Remembrance of a Legend

Robin Williams, once a shining star on earth, is now shining brightly from above.

No trip to the Big Island is complete without a visit to St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church, otherwise known as “The Painted Church.”

The Painted Church

Minutes from the Bali Tree Cottage near Kealakekua Bay, we decided to attend mass in remembrance of a special family member who had recently passed.

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

Upon entering, we were overwhelmed by not only the warmth and hospitality of the priest and parishioners, but with the intricate and masterfully painted artwork depicting biblical scenes and lives of the saints.

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

Since 1842, the Catholic church was an important part of South Kona.  This wasn’t always its present location or its original name for that matter. The first church was actually located near the beaches of the City of Refuge and called St. Francis Regis chapel.  Seeking a cooler climate with more fertile soil in the 1880s, the locals started moving to higher ground.  Father John Velghe, a Sacred Hearts Father from Belgium, decided to follow his many parishioners, and with their help, the church was dismantled and moved up the hill to its current location.



In August 1902, the church was consecrated and renamed in honor of St. Benedict.

This small Catholic church became “The Painted Church” after Father Velge, a self-taught artist, skillfully painted its interior between 1899-1904 to communicate Bible stories to non-English-speaking Hawaiians.

Today Saint Benedict’s Church is listed in the Hawaii State Register of Historic places and the National Register of Historic Places.

The Painted Church


St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church is located at:

84-5140 Painted Church Road
Captain Cook, Hawaii (HI) 96704
Phone: 808-328-2227



This bit of travel inspiration is brought to you by the talented J.R.R. Tolkien and the historic landmark, Mission San Juan Capistrano!



I look forward to making you an awesome Media Kit!  Please check your email for further instructions.

media kit giveaway2

Thank you to all who entered the Media Kit Giveaway!

You all have awesome blogs, and I wanted to make Media Kits for all of you.

If you’re still interested in getting a 1 page Media Kit designed for your blog, I’m offering them at an introductory rate of $25.00 EACH this weekend only.

Not a bad deal if you ask me!

This offer ends on Sunday, July 27th at midnight (PST).  Just send me an email expressing interest via my Graphic Design website at

Thanks again to all of you for entering the giveaway!  I hope to design something amazing for you in the future!


Bella Burano


If you want to step into a colorful dream of a postcard, may I introduce the cheery island of Burano!  Located in the Venetian lagoon in Italy, you can’t help but feel a smile spread across your face as you experience this little wonder of an island! From the beautiful flowers perched on windowsills to the picturesque canals lining brightly colored homes, it really is a photographer’s paradise! Stroll down narrow roads and wander into shops filled with souvenirs, tasty treats and what the island is known for, lace!




If you ever go to Italy, take a day to experience this special little island.

Burano is one of those places that will remain in your heart forever!


MEDIA KITS…do you have yours?

With various blog conventions coming up, I’ve been noticing a need for media kits in the blogging community.  As a Freelance Graphic Designer at Creative Jen Designs + Travel Blogger, I’m super excited to announce that starting next week, I’m adding a new service to my repertoire: Media Kits for Bloggers!

I’ve only recently created mine, and I had a blast doing it!

Some of you might think, “Um…what’s so exciting about a media kit?  It just shows boring blog statistical data.”


The great thing about media kits is that you can be as creative as you want to visually showcase your stats/pertinent information to sponsors & advertisers by letting your unique blogging personality shine through…and stand out from the rest!

So to kick off my new service, I’m having a…

media kit giveaway2
What better way to stand out from the rest than to have a Custom Media Kit designed specifically for YOU!


Leave a comment telling me a little bit about your blog.

That’s it?

YEP!  Sooooo easy  :)

All entries must be submitted by noon this Friday, July 25th.

One lucky winner will be chosen at random and announced later that day.

The winner will receive a PDF file perfect for emailing or printing out.

The winner must be willing to let me post your media kit on my Creative Jen Designs portfolio.

The winner will also need to supply me with content they want to showcase on their media kit.  Examples of this include:  Headshot, blog logo, blog bio, demographics, blog stats, popular posts, contact info, services offered, photos from your blog, colors you want to use, etc…  Having all of this info in a nicely designed package will make the sponsor’s job that much easier!

The media kit can be up to 3 pages.

Good luck to all of you!

Okay, let’s get this GIVEAWAY STARTED!!!

CONGRATULATIONS to THE LEMON DAISY!  You are the WINNER of the Media Kit Giveaway!


Last Friday, I happily said “Au revoir” to 40.

But this time, I was excited to grow another year older because…(and feel free to sing along it if you know the words)…

“26 miles across the sea, a Birthday Island was awaitin’ for me!”

You see, my hubby and I wanted to do something fun (but without the hefty price tag), so we decided to take advantage of Catalina Island’s “Birthday Island” promotion consisting of discounts and freebies for the birthday girl or boy to enjoy!  BRING ON 41!

Birthday Island

When you check in with Catalina Express in Long Beach, they will give you a stylish “Happy Birthday” ribbon to wear throughout the day to score your birthday freebies/discounts and to enjoy VIP treatment…

oh…and to hear “Happy Birthday” from complete strangers!

Birthday Island

The biggest perk for celebrating a birthday was getting a FREE round trip ride from Long Beach to Catalina on the Catalina Express!  That’s a savings of $74.50!  SCORE!  To earn this freebie, you must leave from Long Beach ON your birthday.  We chose an 8:30am departure to make the most of the day.

Catalina Express

View of Long Beach

Leaving Long Beach

After our arrival around 9:30am,  we strolled down Crescent Avenue until we reached the Metropole Market Place where we discovered our first stop – Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co.  As soon as I entered the store, the associates greeted me with “Happy Birthday!” and automatically handed me one FREE 12oz. cup to fill with their wide selections of gourmet coffee!

Catalina Coffee & Co.

Free Coffee!

Around 10:30, it was time to head over to Parasail Catalina to partake of my FREE parasailing flight!  We registered online a few days earlier, so once we arrived, we were ready to go!


This offer DOES require that you fly tandem, so either find someone on the boat who is solo but wants a partner, or bring a friend or date who doesn’t mind paying the $65.00 (600′ flight) or $75.00 (800′ flight).  Or if you’re feeling generous, split the cost so you can both enjoy the savings!  I let my “date” pay his way ;)



Parasailing800′ here we come!

ParasailingJen approved.

ParasailingHubby loved it too!

After enjoying our amazing flight over the bay, it was time to satisfy our hunger with a picnic lunch.

A few days before my birthday, a free $10 birthday voucher from World Market appeared in my email inbox.  It pays to be a part of their rewards program!  We took advantage of this gift and stocked up on picnic supplies for Catalina – from salami, gouda cheese, crackers & grape leaves, it was the perfect meal to enjoy while overlooking the ocean view by the Avalon Theater…and it was FREE!


Part of the fun of Catalina is to just walk around and explore the island!  We came equipped with our cameras and practiced our photography to our heart’s content!






Descanso BeachDescanso Beach



After enjoying the island, it was time to cool off with a FREE ice cream cone at Lloyd’s of Avalon!


After scanning the flavors, the choice was clear…

Lloyd's of AvalonDouble Fudge Brownie!  Oh sweetness!!!

It was heavenly and the ideal treat for this warm day.  On your way out, they will stamp your ribbon because yes, there are people who have taken advantage of the freebie, and some have even come in multiple times on their birthday pretending that they didn’t know it was a ONE time offer!  Tisk, tisk…

If you’d like to take in a museum, enjoy a FREE 30 minute walking tour of the historic Avalon Casino.  I didn’t get a chance to do this due to time constraints, but next time for sure!

My hubby showed interest in doing the Under Sea Garden Glass Bottom Boat Tour, so for $15.00 a person (no freebie here), we enjoyed watching the ocean’s wildlife play and swim under the boat.  It was an interesting and fun journey out to Lovers Cove.



IMG_3453The fish became quite animated when food was tossed their way.


Before we knew it, dinner was upon us consisting of yet another FREEBIE, this time at Buffalo Nickel Restaurant.


Near Pebbly Beach, this low key, out-of-the-way restaurant served a nice selection of Mexican and American food.  There was a birthday menu to choose from, and I decided on the tasty and satisfying Tostada Salad.



A shuttle van transports you to and from the restaurant since it’s too dangerous for pedestrians to walk there.  Not bad for a birthday meal!

We closed the evening with enjoying ocean breezes, taking in gorgeous views of Avalon Harbor and chasing the sunset as the Catalina Express took us home.

Catalina Express

If you’d like to do something completely different and fun (without the hefty price tag) for your birthday, then “Birthday Island” is the place for you!  Check out this complete list of all the freebies/discounts you too can enjoy as you welcome in another wonderful year!

And for those of you who’d like to learn about the history of Catalina Island, please check out my friend Rob Rhein’s new book “Catalina A to Z: A Glossary Guide to California’s Island Jewel.”

What’s been your favorite birthday getaway?



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