On our last day at the beach in Aruba…

…I asked Skylar if she wanted to get her hair braided and she, of course, said, “YES!”

Enjoy the pictures.  There are tons!


I had fun taking them and watching her enthusiasm!

And playing around with my images in the editing process was fun, too.

But most of all, the sheer joy on Skylar’s face during the whole hair-braiding experience was wonderful to watch.

I may have shed a few tears watching my “baby”, now 4.33 years old, have her waist-length hair braided.

When did she go from bald newborn to having waist-length hair?

Did the last 4 years just fly by?  Yes, they did!

Scott took these before the hair braiding session.

The highlight of her braiding experience was selecting which beads from the Braid Lady’s Bag of Tricks she was going to put on the end of each braid.

Each braid has two little beads on the end.

Digging for just the right beads was a big job.

And she felt so proud when she picked out those beads.

This was the end of our trip.

A very wonderful, amazing, and memory-filled trip.

Thank you for everyone who’s been reading with me the past 18 days that we’ve been here in Aruba.

I am sorry to have bored anyone with my beach pictures ad nauseum.

Or my local island pictures.

Or storiesAhem.

And I even have a highlight reel post coming soon.  Lucky you.  And me. We get to re-live the whole trip, one more time, probably over the weekend when that post goes up.

From my last post, Efficiency and New Technology, thanks for filling me in on what kind of computer you have and what kind you’d like to have.

For those of you who already use and love Windows Live Writer, I know.  I knew it already. When I get back to San Diego, I plan to do my final research and then pony up for a screaming fast new machine.

Thanks to suggestions that I move photos and other data to external drives and try to clean up my existing machine, but after 4+ years, I just need a fresh start.

This definitely isn’t a fresh recipe, but it’s a good one.  And it may be new to some of my new readers.   Thanks for finding me and saying hi!

No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (with a High Protein Option)

And they take about 5 minutes to whip up, no food proc or Vita required.


1. Have you ever had your hair braided?

My mother never let me when I was a kid on vacation.  She always said the braid ladies have dirty combs.  

But Skylar’s Braid Lady’s comb looked just fine to me.

Skylar said it looked like Barbie’s comb.

Edited to add, I submitted this photo for judging

The Braid Lady could braid hair faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.

The entire “event” was over and done with in about 10 minutes.

She could braid from root to tip after the hair was parted and sectioned, in not kidding, about 8 seconds.  Unreal speed.

The only time I ever had my hair braided was in Cancun when I was 19 on Spring Break.  Oh, I wish I had those pictures!

2. Any vacation stories or memories from your childhood, or adulthood, that you want to share?

I’m all ears!

3. If you made it this far, thank you!

You may be wondering why I have so many of these pictures?

Two reasons: first, I never know what pictures are truly going to look like until I hit publish.  So that’s one reason.

The second, is I am very serious about pursuing my career dreams and aspirations and I am going to use some of these in my portfolio.  Yes, my photography portfolio.  More on that another time.

Do you have any favorite pictures from this post?

Why or what spoke to you in the image.  What story was told?  What did you feel?

Those are questions I ask myself when I am making pictures to use a Penny term.

P.S. Thanks for everyone who continues to comment on the Healthifying Desserts & Beans in Dessert post.  I had a feeling it would be somewhat popular when I posted it, but had no idea it would be that popular.  Thanks for your comments, stories, and thoughts.

Stay tuned for Blogging 103 and maybe some airport and airplane blogging…


  1. Love the b&w photos where Skylar is looking down, one above where she’s playing with her hair and then again at the bottom, I love pictures where people aren’t looking at the camera, makes me wonder about what they’re thinking of, sometimes straight on shots get a kind of glazed over expression but when their gaze is just “off” a bit, it seems deeper, not just “i’m smiling for the camera.”

  2. All your pics are so sweet w/such an adorable subject! The pic w/the braid lady’s hand partially in front of your DD’s face strikes me. They are looking at each other & it looks like a sweet exchange, makes me curious as to what they are talking about. Love your blog :)!

  3. I’ve had my hair braided before – I was 8 years old. Loved all the beads :)

    Such cute photos. I love the ones especially when Skylar is smiling, looking up, and has the pink comb in her hair. I also love the ones of YOU with Skylar.

  4. My mum used to braid my hair all of the time when I was younger. I found it quite tight and painful at times, but it was well worth it as I used to love the end results.

  5. I loooove the b+w one – the one after the ones with you and right after the ones when she’s standing. She’s looking down in the pic and it’s just so gorgeous! Hope you come back feeling refreshed!

  6. Aww the braids look super cute! What a big girl : )

  7. Ahhhhh, love it!! I had my hair braided in the Bahamas once in middle school…NOT a good look for me!!!! :-)

    Can’t believe your Aruba trip is almost over!!! I know it’s been a great vacation!

  8. i love all the pictures, no need to apologize for them. They capture every moment. Especially the black and white. GORGEOUS! what a wonderful trip.

  9. wishing you a safe and smooth trip home, averie (sob, sob as you leave the beach behind).
    don’t apologize for all the beach photos…i, for one, loved every one of ’em. “photography portfolio” – – good for you. glad you had a chance for a-ha moments while in aruba.
    i got six braids done in aruba the first year we were down there – loved them! and yes – the ladies are SO FAST at the braiding. an amazing skill. it was NOT so fun taking them out…my mom had to pick pick at them…but it was worth it. so glad you let skylar have this vacation treat!

  10. I also love the one where Skylar is holding up the pink comb. You captured a great expression of her in that one. Also I really like the one above the sentence “A very wonderful, amazing, and memory-filled trip.”, a picture in which she looks like an angel with all that light around her- to me it shows the innocence and just the holiness of children.

  11. I loved the picture of Skylar on the beach staring at her braids with the sand behind her – she is so adorable. I can’t believe you’ve been in Aruba for 18 days!!!

  12. Fun! haha it looks like Skylar had SUCH a blast through the entire experience. What a perfect ending for her. I’ve had my hair braided with extensions. It was SO heavy, oh my goodness. I left them in for a couple of months and when I took them out (because I had them in the summer) my hair was stripped light blonde and brown because of the pieces that were exposed to the sun. It was a nightmare! haha

  13. Skylar has the most expressive and beautiful smile! I love the picture where she is standing and there is an aura of light, the color is faded. It looks like a memory…something from a dream like childhood can be.

    I got my hair braided by my best friend in Isle of Palms when I was in high school. I did hers too. It’s such a good memory. We were watching “Top Gun” all sunburned and tired from a day at the beach. Thank you for reminding me and giving me the opportunity to share. :)

  14. I really like the 8th picture — black and white with Skylar’s big smile. Honestly I just love black and white photographs — I’m just drawn to them I think?

    I will never get sick of seeing beautiful pictures of a beautiful place — so I like picture heavy posts!

    I’ve never had my hair braided, although I remember friends in high school who went to the Dom Rep for a missions trip came back with full heads of braids — it looked cool but it also looked like it hurt!

  15. We used to go to Punta Cana every year and I LOVED getting my hair braided. I’d get my whole head in cornrows, and then burn on my scalp where it was exposed! And I’d leave them in for far too long…like a few weeks. I’d still wash my hair, but thinking about how long it was in those braids is till kinda gross. Skylar must have absolutely loved it though!!

  16. I love these pictures :) Specially the one were Skylar is looking at the comb and the one where she’s looking at her beads (the one where she’s standing, I love the edited one).
    There’s just so much expression in her face, you see that she’s thinking ‘wow, I have braids’ :) it’s really cute.
    I’m really amazed that you were in Aruba for 18 days! Following your blog, it didn’t seem so long !

  17. Your daughter is so adorable with her braids. And your pictures are vibrant and fun to look at, as always. Who would ever want to leave that place? :)

  18. My favorite picture is the last one, of Skylar in b&w.

    And can I just say…bore us? BORE US? You could never in the world bore us with pictures from Aruba! Never in a million years, because beauty isn’t boring.

  19. All of the photos are adorable and beautiful, but I especially like the second photo of Skylar getting her hair braided. She looks trusting and excited and a little unsure at the same time, like she’s looking up for reassurance. I also like the first photo of her standing, looking at her braids. She’s so engrossed in those little beads. Precious photos!!

  20. Hey Avery,
    I have been reading your blog for about 6 months and I love it! I came across it looking for a vegan recipe (I have been vegan for 2 years). I was so excited to see you’re from Mn (I live in rural Mankato)….as you know, living in this area makes for interesting vegan conversations with others. Your blog has been a great friend to me. Keep up the great work. Ps. Skylar is adorable:)

  21. yes – I LOVE braids-27! I think that color scheme/adjustment really works for this series. It really accentuates her youth… Childlike innocence, maybe? It gives a very mellow feel, while still being allowing the viewer to feel her excitement. Love braids-53/54, too. I like the candid nature of it, as she’s not paying attention to you but rather, the comb.
    You are wonderful at being able to convey emotion. Whenever you post your Skylar pictures I always feel like she’s smiling at me through my screen. I feel myself smiling right back before I’m through with the post! A future in photojournalism, perhaps?
    Nope, I have never had my hair braided! The most I’ve done is dye it crazy colors :P

    • “A future in photojournalism, perhaps?”

      wouldnt that be a DREAM come true!

      And thank you “You are wonderful at being able to convey emotion. Whenever you post your Skylar pictures I always feel like she’s smiling at me through my screen. ”


  22. I love some of the editing on the pics – and pics themself, of course!! So definitely include them in your portfolio! I need a vacation, but I’ll settle for looking at your pics right now :) I’m glad you just included the dough balls at the end, because I really want to make dough balls lately. Never have before and for some reason have a longing to now! haha

  23. Wonderful Pictures and Memories… Skylar really looks like you in a lot of these pictures (although I have never seen a picture of Scott to compare?) Especially when she has those gorgeous eyes wide open! My favorite picture is the one of her standing up after you write “This was the end of our trip” She is GORGEOUS and very grown up… I am totally jealous of her hair!

  24. That is definitely a face full of joy :) She looks so happy getting those braids!

    Gorgeous pictures!

  25. No not like that, but I want my hair braided now! The teachers in daycare used to french braid my hair and I loved it when they did! I love black and white photos always the best!

  26. Are you old enough to remember Bo Derek?
    She starred in “10” in 1979 and started the short-lived fad of white-women-with-cornrow-braids. Well, I’m one of those white women who tried it and looked ridiculous! Wearing cornrows requires an exotic/ethnic look that I just couldn’t pull off.

    Good pics. I’d like to see how that sepia-tone works in some other settings.

    • the thing about sepia is that other factors, lights/darks like sand vs water…have to be “right” or sepia doesnt look so hot. with food I have found meh results but i am going to keep playing!

      and yes Bo D and her braids. SHE could pull off the corn rows. I cannot!

  27. Gorgeous photos! I’ve been really enjoying reading about your time there for the past few weeks :) Those braids are too cute. I secretly want to get my hair braided. I’ve always wanted to since I was tiny! They have booths for it at the beach every summer.

  28. Sucha amazing pictures! She is the cutest. I love the one where she is holding the bead up! Make sure you put sunscreen in the part of her hair! I had my whole head braided and got burnt in every single part! When it started to peel it looked like I had horrible dandruff!

  29. She’s too cute! I’ve had my hair braded, and yes, it’s fuuun!

  30. So sad you’re leaving Aruba…reading your blog was like a mini vacation everyday! The pictures were just stunning; keep up with the photography, you are really gifted!

    I never had my hair braided either…was always jealous of the girls who did :P

  31. I got my hair braided like that when I was 8 in the Bahamas i also got one pf those hair wrap thingies. I can remember beig just as excited as Skylar looks! Awesome photography I like the second picture of Skylar best. Good for you for going after your dreams :) I think you definetly have a future in photography or anything you put your mind to. You just gotta believe!

  32. Skylar looks as though she is just beaming during the hair braiding session. She looks great!
    And I love the photos of you & Skylar (pre-braiding) by the rocks. Good photo Scott!

    18 days already?! Wow! I’ve certainly enjoyed all the photos of your trip. No worries about my being bored by beach & scenic photos :)

    Had my hair braided in Barbados when I was 16 (the comb was very clean) Kept them in for about 6 weeks and then had to take them out.

    Favourite photo: black & white (or subdued maybe?) of Skylar with the pink comb.

    Looking forward to more info on the photo portfolio. Your pictures have come a long way. Leaps and bounds.

    • “And I love the photos of you & Skylar (pre-braiding) by the rocks. Good photo Scott!”– thanks. It’s called editing and cropping on my part too….lol. Half the shot was just of rock and skylar and i were in the corner. Cropping is a beautiful thing :)

    • Cropping is a must :)
      And here I thought Scott’s photography skills were improving by your example.

  33. Beautiful photos A. I actually love the very last one – the B & W of Skylar looking down, away from the camera. Also really digging the colorful buses. Such a fun one!

    • Now you can see what you 1. can do with lightroom or photo editing and 2. all of the “regular ones”, i.e. still in color, were all adjusted, too. They went from a flat image with less vibrance and depth to more va-va voom after some editing. And cropping. Must crop!

  34. We’re on vacation now too…not AS tropical, just South Carolina, but I am enjoying getting back to my beach bum roots! I should have our adventures up on my blog soon!

    Brooke Annessa

  35. Aw, all the pictures are beautiful. Not a boring post at all :D I especially like number 57 and 60. I also like the black and white one that’s the same as number 60. Usually I don’t like b+w and sepia and that kind of stuff except on very very select pictures, but I like that one. The ones above those, I think would be better if the person doing the braid wasn’t cut off. Although in the one picture I really like the line that the braid makes between Skylars head and the person braiding.
    I never had my hair braided, but they really are amazing. When I was younger I really wanted to get my hair done when we went to Mexico. They were incredibly fast.

  36. i’m so behind on your blog posts with the craziness of my vacations/graduation lately but can’t wait t catch up on all your aruba pics! skylar is precious

  37. it was fun following along on your trip – don’t be sorry for sharing the awesomeness! what a fun treat for the last beach day – she looks giddy happy! :)

    one more suggestion on the computer thing – if you are transitioning to a whole new “system” anyway, I’d encourage you to look into “cloud” storage (I use dropbox and LOVE it!) instead of more externals – even with my limited knowledge of the tech industry, I see things are heading this direction and soon everything will be “in the clouds” instead of stored locally… at Jason’s work you can log in to your “desktop” at home, log out and get to work and log in to the same desktop… similar to vpn but all cloud :)

    okay, Kris’ Nerd Time over! :D safe travels!

  38. I have never had my hair braided, nor ever been anywhere where that was an option. But it is amazing that they can do it so quickly!

    I have loved reading your posts and seeing the beautiful pictures of the beach. And I’ve noticed how you can truly capture the beauty, I especially love it when you post flower pictures. They are always pops of color!

    I love the sepia-toned pictures, at least the ones that look like sepia, I don’t even know if I’m using the right word!

  39. The last photo of Skylar is beautiful! You’ve got a looker on your hands!!

    I was always jealous of the kds at school who got to have their hair braided. I never have.

  40. oh she will remember this forever! she looks adorable!! you’ve also got a great tan going on! i got cornrows in mexico while on my senior trip in high school. my friend also got hers done.
    xo ~ kristina

  41. This just makes me smile. What awesome memories she’s going to have. So incredibly special. And I think you know I will never tire of beach pictures.

  42. The black-and-white portraits of Skylar at the end, and before the beach photo with the big chain are my favorites.

  43. that lady’s comb looks just like mine; it’s fine… haha I think mama needs some braids!

    (she’ll remember getting her hair done for forever; I still remember mine!)

  44. My friend and I would go get our hair in cornrows when we would go to hip hop concerts. I would get a slight headache because of how tight she did them. I have done my full head and half. I have a little bit of a complexion from being half italian and the ladys friend said I looked Mulatto so I guess I could pull it off, they would not keep in my hair to long, I think its due to my hair being to soft.
    Love the pics of your daughter, good that she can sit still having that done some kids can’t lol!

  45. Gorgeous photos! You have the cutest little girl! :)

    My mom wouldn’t let me get my hair braided – said it was a waste of money. I think she just didn’t want to have to take OUT the braids!

  46. Averie I love your pictures! And your little girl is growing up for sure but she looks so happy and beautiful getting her braids! I remember being a kid and always wanting to do that :)
    I am so glad you had fun on your trip! Jealous that your going to come back nice and tan!!

  47. Love those photos! This is an awesome thing that you’re pursuing–power to you!

    I love that very last one of Skylar, and I love the ones where you can see the braid lady’s face.

    One thing I have to ask: is there a problem with publishing the photos on your blog and then using them later? I ask because I’m very reticent about publishing poems on my blog because if I submit them for publication later, many publishers consider blog-publishing to be ‘already published.’ I don’t know if there’s the same issue with photos but just wanted to throw it out there.
    Safe Journey!

  48. I love the photos! Amazing shots of Skylar. She is so cute :)

  49. my husband and i are going to aruba for the first time in august. by the looks of your pics, i won’t be disappointed.

  50. Pingback: what makes me happy | char on a mission

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