Still on Island Time




Aloha friends & family 🌺🌺🌺

It’s been a while since I’ve written ~ and I’m excited to update you on our amazing trip to The Big Island (Hawaii) and the big question about my immigration paperwork.

Firstly, so thankful that the trip to Hawaii could happen and that Luke’s (my husband’s) parents have bought into a condo over there (Mahalo Gina & Rod💓). It was a blessing to escape the smoke in Oregon as a result of all the forest fires here. The smoke is still slightly lingering in the valley but it’s 100 times better than when we left. Hoping that everything will grow stronger and better after all of these fires – like a Phoenix rising from the ashes🔥🔥🔥

We stayed about 6 miles from the beach in Hawaii, so I was on Cloud 9 from the moment we stepped off the plane and the sweat started to trickle ~ gotta love that tropical humidity. The temperature of the sea water was amazing ~ I could have stayed in it all day and some days we didn’t leave the beach for hours. From cliff-jumping to paddle-boarding and getting up close and personal with Honu (sea-turtles) everything we did was so much fun! Tiring but a lot of fun. One of my favorite memories from the trip had to be watching the sun set whilst floating in the salty sea down at A-Bay. The sunsets we’re glorious especially from the 13,000ft high Mauna Kea Observatory on a full moon night. We watched the sun set perched above the clouds sitting on our awesome red Jeep that we hired for the first week. Shout out to Teddy @ Budget car rentals ~ if he ever reads this, you’re an absolute legend mate. 🚘

We were able to take beautiful photographs with Luke’s new gear and he’s editing a little video of our time there as I write this. I’m excited to share it with you. I’ll be linking a few other videos below ~ hope you enjoy them.🎥

As for the question I keep being asked about; we’re still waiting to hear from our immigration lawyer on the status of my application. Before leaving for Hawaii, just after the solar-eclipse that we witnessed in its entirety in Corvallis, I had a fingerprints (biometrics) appointment in the Portland immigration office. It was so cool to see; close-up, how intricately unique fingerprints are. No two people have the same fingerprint! Doesn’t that blow your mind?! Reminds me of the film: I, Origins ~ how each person on the planet that ever lived and will live has unique eyes….!👁👁👁

So the next step in the process (from what I understood after my last conversation with the paralegal) will be our interview process ~ to prove the authenticity of our marital union. Interesting, huh? Hopefully before then I should be able to get a travel & work permit…we will see. Whatever will be, will be…that’s what I can thank Hawaii for ~ resetting my clock to Island time. Rushing doesn’t get you anywhere unscathed. It may get you there fast, but it’ll come at a cost. Better to go with the flow & be present. Wherever you’re rushing to, it will always be there. That classic saying of enjoying the journey, rather than striving to get to the destination. ✌🏼

For those of you heading into the colder months shortly check out the Macpac winter video I worked on earlier this year.🍂🍁🌧❄️

A look into a Summer camping trip we went on recently ~ stay tuned for our Hawaii video coming your way soon 🤙🏽

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Sick Chick

Maybe I missed my calling? I’ve been enjoying this bittersweet journey of seeing this teenage chicken get better, now worse and now not so good but initially such a remarkable turn around. At first it was so fun to rescue her from over 40 degrees Celsius heat and nurse her back to health. Now she seems to have a bigger issue. After my initial rescue she had a speedy recovery after we brought her inside and then I released her back into the coop. With a little plastic tag on her ankle to better identify her (I need to get a day job or a baby – can you tell?😂) But since then she’s back with us in the infirmary. I’ve concluded from my lengthy research on chicken health forums all over the internet that it must be a hernia😔. It’s starting get quite ridiculous; the lengths I’m going to help this little chicken but it’s so nice to love on something and see it improve…. Just hoping that if she does pass on it’s not too painful and doesn’t happen whilst I’m holding her. The latest development: she is very sporadically pooping, quite fond of vanilla yoghurt & likes drinking from the garden fountain. 🐣🐥🐔

One of the older hens we nursed back to after she was mauled by dogs. Yes you can call me the chicken whisperer..

In other news we have a ‘biometrics’ (sounds scary) immigration appointment up in Portland next week right after the solar eclipse which is really exciting. Encouraging to know the paperwork is working it’s way through government hands and getting somewhere…hopefully! 🤞 Then the next meeting after that will be our interview. Where I imagine it’ll be very similar to the film The Proposal (with Sandra Bullock – love her!); where we will be asked very personal questions about the authenticity of our relationship & marriage! Wahooo!! I wish I could somehow bring a hidden camera into the room and that Betty White could miraculously appear 😜

In other celestial matters; a few nights ago I enjoyed star gazing during a meteor shower. Saw some beautiful shooting stars. Reminisced about all the places I’ve been and struck with an immense sense of gratitude for everything that I’ve been able to do in my life, the people I know and the future laid out for me…that I have no idea what it looks like yet but if it’s anything like what I’ve already experienced, then bring it on baby!! 🙌 The time is now!🔮🔭🌟Also just how much I want to give back, help, inspire….Don’t know what that looks like either but I’ll keep 🙏🏻 – have so enjoyed wearing this beautiful watch ⌚️

With so many people so widely connected by social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram I have come to realize and appreciate how much joy it gives me to see people connected in their craft and profession, whether it be in the Arts or Academia or anything really. I would be so honoured to help people find connections and build their careers or work opportunities. I’ve been warming to the idea of creating my own agency…network…hub!? I don’t know what it would be called yet or how informal it would be and where I would manage this enterprise from but it’s been on my heart for a while. So we will see. I like the idea of calling it Beautiful Souls….will keep you updated. 🌟

Latest show we’ve started is Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberlatch and Martin Freeman. Terrific writing and editing style and we are really enjoying it. I’m also reading The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn and The Woman Who Rides The Beast by Dave Hunt. Both very interesting books. 🎥📚🔍

Take a sneak peak at our wedding highlight video and give it a thumbs up if you liked it 😍 👍

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Sunrise, sunset 

Hallelujah! Happy days are upon us. It’s Summer for starters and we have sent off all of our immigration paperwork!!!! 💃💃💃 So hopefully if it all goes smoothly I’ll be able to work/travel within the next 90 days. The process is quite complicated so instead of trying to understand it all, explain it and bore you with the details we are leaving it all in God’s hands. It’s such a burden off our shoulders. Now we can look forward to whatever adventures are in store for us once the ease of travel and living here opens up. Luke and I still want to travel – potentially live abroad and keep adventuring. But we are both very content just taking each day as it comes 👫

This past weekend was pure bliss. Getting outside and camping on a lakeside with sweet friends and falling asleep under the twinkling stars; even the mosquitoes couldn’t stop us from having fun! Man they were persistent though, shucks!! Brought back memories of camping in the South Island of NZ! I discovered that Tea Tree oil really worked at deterring the nasty buggers from our faces. So there’s a little camping tip for ya 😉 Citronella oil & candles of course is the best! Waking up early to catch the sunrise and savor the gorgeous sunsets just makes me so excited to go on more adventures like last weekend (which also happened to be our 2 month wedding anniversary!) I love that about Luke and the people I’ve met here. They’re always down for an adventure. 🌌🏕🚣🏽‍♀️

Here are some photos for you to enjoy ✌🏼

​​ We camped at Diamond Lake, which is inland from Medford – an easy drive with beautiful scenery all the way. We went swimming, canoeing, hiked to Lemolo Falls & met a gorgeous New York couple who had driven cross-country to visit Crater Lake. Their accents made us so happy. Especially when they repeatedly said ‘coffee’ & ‘dog’…imagine Christopher Walken meets The Nanny. 😂 We listened to their stories of travelling around the world with their chihuahua and how Sicilian wine is some of the best in the world (makes me gush over my new home turf ☺️) and that they got to witness Mt Etna erupting whilst camping at Giardini Naxos (Luke & I swam there on a stormy day after a trip up to Taormina!) Such a small world. I think the moral of the weekend was to be open to whoever walks onto your path – you never know the delight it may bring you and them. 🇺🇸

A good friend of mine recently told me to make sure you laugh eveyday; I love that piece of advice and she truly lives by it. I’m thankful to know her and have such inspiring friends. Choosing joy is so much more rewarding even in the midst of dealing with legal paperwork or whatever challenges you’re going through. A joyful attitude can take practice, it ain’t easy but so worth it! Having Luke to make me laugh off my silly hang-ups, over-dramatizing situations & getting uber-emotional is one of the reasons I love him so much. 💖
One piece of feedback I received on my last post was to express a more about my feelings. It’s hard not to sound too whiny or over-the-top but I do definitely experience roller-coasters of emotions but I don’t think that I’m any different to anyone else more veering on the emotional side of personalities…😏 But I am a bit of a drama queen at times & I’m trying to work on it especially when I’ve had too little sleep and not enough food. 😅 

Praying is almost always my first plan of attack and then usually it’s Luke making me laugh or smile and getting me out of my funk. There are times of frustration for sure. I think it’s only human. Then I get some perspective and realize how blessed I am and that when anything starts to get overwhelming it’s because I’m not relying on the Holy Spirit to help me! 🙏🏻

“Be patient. There is nothing you can’t do. Don’t think about it too much. It will come to you when you are not thinking intently about it.” Yoko Ono 

I love hearing from people. Let me know what’s going on in your life. Adventures you’re about to embark on or have just gone on. I think that’s the key to a lot of my joy – staying adventurous. This life is such a remarkable journey. So keep doing your thing whatever it is & I hope that it brings you joy. Peace out 🕊 

⛷For those in NZ & Dowunder have some cool Winter promotions going on. If you get any of their gear make sure to share your adventures with #donthidefromwinter & #whateveryouradventure

🕶U.S. residents the great people @soloeyewear are running a great contest to #giveback at the moment. Check it out 😎

 💆🏽 Stay well friends. Get a massage when you can or if you don’t want to spend too much money just ask a friend to give you a hand massage or a back rub. And don’t throw away your rice water! 🍚 Kind of non-sequitur…but the nutrients that come from the rice when you rinse it are great for your skin and hair. Keep it refrigerated in a container and use to rinse your face or use to wash your hair and give it a healthy/shiny look & feel. 

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Immigration Vibrations

So as one would suspect being married to an American means I have a better chance of being able to stay here long-term and who knows maybe start up acting again?! 🙂 I am now able to apply for a green card and Luke and I are well into the process. It would be dream come true to act again but until that day comes I aim to enjoy every step of the way. ✨

Thankfully I had a comical but comfortable experience at the doctor’s clinic where I was required to do a ‘physical’ for the immigration process…and see if I needed any vaccines updated. Fortunately; only one vaccination – less fortunately; I had to draw blood several times to prove I don’t have TB or any other funky diseases. All in all, this should hopefully show the U.S. government that I won’t be a burden to their public health system…and in light of the fact that this is the month of Reuben in the Jewish calendar I am making a conscious effort to speak words of life and trying to be positive when it could be far easier to be negative…🙌

Anne, in the new Netflix series “Anne with an ‘E’ says, “it’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy something if you make your mind up firmly that you will.” Love her! Love her zest for life and the scope of her imagination. Love how fervently she prays too. Luke has been like a life coach to me when it comes to attitude. No matter what the situation, it’s all about one’s attitude. We’ve been blessed to speak to people who have gone through the same process. I’m excited to be able to work & travel but until then –  with all of this immigration stuff, all of the paperwork, all of the legalities and all the time it’s going to take I will promise to try and be more like Anne.

That’s enough with the immigration vibrations. Now for some summer vibrations.


@Andrew Rasmussen Photography 🤙🏼

We have been boating on the lake a few times now and it’s been so much fun. So thankful to be able to enjoy the heat with great company on the water. I love Summer and I want to take advantage of the down time over the next couple of months to get creative. I don’t know what that necessarily looks like but I’m excited to create fun videos & take great pictures with Luke & friends, go to Hawaii, swim, laugh and be thankful! I’m super thankful to have been sent these items & enjoy sharing these brands with friends and family. Check them out…

My MALAWI frames 😎

Love what this company stands for …





With Dani in San Francisco before she flew back to Europe!

My MVMT watch ⌚️

Never had so much fun wearing a watch!



Playing with flowers & talking to strangers in Ashland



Jacksonville meanderings 

Good vibes ✌🏼💓✌🏼

P.S check out Anne

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Springing into married life!

I can’t believe it. We are married! Both 25 & married!!?? It’s surreal and at the same time so natural that our wedding felt blissfully calm and wonderful. Of course in an ideal world we would have had EVERYONE we know there. But c’est la vie….and this gives us a chance to celebrate more than once with our friends and family around the world.

To have my sister with me on that day was so magical. Bringing me to tears of joy with her speech and just stunned by her maturity and support throughout the time she was with us – on a vacation and put straight to work as my ‘maid of honor’. Excited for this new chapter of her travels – working in Italy teaching kids English at Summer camps…precisely how Luke and I met one another.

So much love and gratitude for the people who saw it come together and contributed, prayed & supported in such a short time frame. Blessed —> not stressed that’s how it made me feel. With Luke by my side, forever positive, ready for the adventure and uplifting me all the way.

The beginning of this journey has felt like both a dream and like when you experience a growth spurt into a new phase of your life. It’s so amazing and intriguing that we are now ‘one’ but without eclipsing one another’s uniqueness and instead encouraging and sharpening our strengths and facing our weaknesses as a couple, as a team 🙂 it’s not something that happens overnight, I think most newlyweds would agree. But what a rewarding adventure it is.

With everything that’s happened I’m grateful that I understand and make use of the power of rest. Rest is vital, mentally, spiritually & physically. It helps me to refill my love tank and give & serve rather than selfishly take when I’m over tired, worried or stressed. Everyday is such a learning curve. I’m determined I’ll keep improving; being joyful all the way. 🙏🏻

I’ll close this short passage with my Movie Monday Tip (that sounds like a thing..?)

WONDER WOMAN! Go. See It. WOW. I’ve always felt like I descended from the Amazonians 😏 That movie just made me feel so ‘girl power’ inspired! It was so much fun and so simple in its message of – LOVE! It helps that Gal Gadot is such a humble, beautiful (on the inside & out) and perfect Wonder Woman for our modern times. Us women; are all wonderful. Power to you girls! ❤



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Thursday thoughts & tips

Quick update on my sister visiting us in Oregon. It’s  been so fun. Mini-road trips and so many giggles. Love having a close relationship with her and seeing her forge a relationship with Luke’s family. Luke and Dani got to know each other back in New Zealand two years ago.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my name and the meaning of it. That Americans find pronouncing ‘Manu’ to be very hard but not ‘Emanuelle’. It’s an ice-breaker in itself. Not only my Christian name (excuse the pun) is special but the sweet irony that Luke’s family name is a French name and combining both mine and his will make it sound like I’m a French actress or musician or someone very distinguished. “Emanuelle Renard”.

Thanks to my Dad for inspiring me to write, I keep finding the enthusiasm to do this mostly due to him. If you’re reading this and have an interest in philosophy please find the link to my fathers book below.

I’d like to add travel tips to these blogs and various cooking recipes if that interests you at all please feel free to leave a comment below. In the meantime enjoy some pictures and take care of yourself.


Instagram –  @manushkabains

FB – Manu Bains


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We are engaged!!!

A lot has happened since I last wrote here. I do love keeping a physical journal as well but even that has seasons of rest and then I dive back into a daily routine of writing my thoughts & observations. Happy news alert! I am engaged!!!! To my love and best-friend, Luke Renard. I was caught perfectly by surprise when he proposed on a picturesque morning walk in Ashland. It’s so exciting and wonderful to know and so lovely to share the news with my friends both in the flesh and on social media. It’s actually been overwhelming in the best possible way to see and hear from all the amazing people through Facebook and Instagram. Even in spite of the years and distance between many of the people I’m virtually connected with, so; thank you!


Knowing I’m going to be Luke’s wife is more than I could have ever dreamt of! It’s a feeling that’s hard to express in words but there’s a definite shift in my inner-being. It’s a beautiful thing. That’s the best way to describe how I feel. I’m both excited and very (optimistically) anxious to see how the next few months come together. From planning to getting married to seeing where we establish ourselves for this new and exciting chapter of our lives together.

I’m listening to a great new online radio station app I have found – Jango. It’s so amazing how a song, a sound and the love of music can make me feel at home. Wherever I am. I definitely associate Leonard Cohen to my childhood in Australia and growing up as a teenager in New Zealand. Most nights falling asleep to the honey, smooth and crackling voice that is so uniquely Cohen’s. The jazz favorites of my father’s and my mother’s disco classics and her gorgeous voice accompanying all of her favorite songs.


I just enjoyed a little seminar by Benjamín Scheuer that I’ve been meaning to watch for awhile. Inspiring me to want to write and accept the challenges that come with being a disciplined writer and artist. Especially as there’s an upcoming female in film documentary workshop in northern Oregon next month. So here’s hoping 2017 sees me writing more seriously but with a more playful approach and more regularly. You can watch Scheuer’s video below if you’re interested. If you get the opportunity to see him play it’s definitely one of those experiences of live performance that you’ll never forget.

I have decided even though my blog is not a blog for the masses; it’s a fun way to explore my inner-monologue on a public platform and if anything it’s a way to stay poetically connected with my father. Who is a writer and one of my avid readers. Far more accomplished than I will ever be.

I love my family so much! When you’re away from loved ones for extended periods of time it’s like their characters become so vivid in your mind. The way they would react to certain situations, or how I perceive they would react…their facial expressions. Their laughter and the way you feel at peace with people of your ‘own tribe’. I’m so excited that one character I love dearly is arriving in San Francisco next week. I’m so excited to see my beautiful, talented and funny sister, Dani! She’s coming to visit me and meet Luke’s family, spend time here in Oregon and be my support and therapy that I don’t have to pay for because we’re related by blood 🙂 Above all, she’ll be here when Luke and I officially tie-the-knot.

In other news I’ve been enjoying turmeric lattes more than usual recently. I think it’s helping me stay on top of my health and get over the jet lag from returning to the U.S. after a short stint in New Zealand (1wk!) I had the pleasure of modeling for the outdoor brand ‘Macpac’. It was so fun and such a great crew to work with. A whirlwind of a trip but so wonderfully meant to be. Awesome & quality reunions with friends and blissful flights with Air New Zealand. I loved exploring parts of the west coast of New Zealand that I hadn’t seen before. More than anything it was so exciting to come home to Luke. I was so excited to be back with him.

Take care and give apple cider vinegar a go. It’s been an interesting new natural product for me to explore both for inner-health benefits and the health of my hair. You can find the instructions below – for those interested. Xxx


Thanks Fran for sending me the video. And thanks to Chloe for the recipe below.


To wash hair:

1. (Shampoo)

1 heaped tbsp of baking soda. Mix with about 1/3 cup hot water, dissolve into a paste, pour over scalp, lifting hair to get to the roots. Refill with water to get all of the baking soda into your hair.

Massage in thoroughly, rinse out (rubbing down the length of your hair to wash it as the soda runs off)

2. (Conditioner)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Dilute in 1 cup of water. Either pour over the lengths of your hair (not scalp) or stick the length in the cup to soak. Leave for 2 mins +. Thoroughly rinse out to ensure no vinegar smell.



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