Aloha!

I had been talking about visiting Hawaii for years! But it’s just so much easier to watch YouTube vids of other people’s trips, or drive to a local weekend destination than to plan a trip to Hawaii. As much of a homebody as I am, it took but the mere mention of a wedding and I booked the trip, packed up, and was ready to go.

Food:
If you’re looking for vegan food, stick to the Asian joints. Many traditional American/Hawaiian places also had vegan options due to Asian influences but there were times when I had to settle on a carb turducken (a breakfast of fruit and hash browns on toast). Towards the end of the trip, I was craving sweets (which I rarely do). Not sure how true it is, but I’ve heard that it’s a sign of a protein deficiency.  In the end, I was feeling insatiably hungry and weak so I relented and had egg at one breakfast joint.  And then I chased it down with a vegan snickerdoodle.  Protein and sugar!

This was one of the best meals I had during the trip. It’s kabocha curry.
Pineapples' Kabocha Curry

The fruit is phenomenal. On our second day there, I got myself a cheapo santoku knife so I could cut some Hawaiian pineapples in the hotel room. Their papayas and pomelos were also amazing. Too bad we can’t get them around here easily. Still, I got my fill – three pineapples in a week.

Sights and Activities:

Big Island

  • Hike to Green Sands Beach – Not an easy hike but the beach at the end of it was such a sweet relief.
  • Kona coffee tour – This is like Napa Valley for coffee.  But rather than getting sloshed, you get buzzed.  Holualoa CoffeeCaptain Cook’s is such a beautiful area so I still felt relaxed in a chatty way.
  • Place of Refuge (Pu’uhunoa O Honaunau) National Park – A beautiful and historic park where they share the history of native Hawaiians.  1812 Trail at HonaunauThere’s a wonderful trail here too.
  • Volcanoes National Park – When people say the Earth is alive, this is what they mean.  Kilauea is pouring out lava.  During the day, it looks like smoke and steam.  Kilauea via bicycleAt night, it’s bright orange red and spurting out.
  • MaunaKea summit tour – MaunaKeaEven just on the side of a highway at night, I saw more stars than I ever have.  On MaunaKea I saw the Milky Way galaxy for the first time.  It’s a breathtaking evening.
  • Check out the waterfalls.  There are many and none of them are as impressive as say, Niagara or Iguacu, but we went to a few of them and they were pretty.Hi'ilawe Falls

Kauai

  • Hike the Kalalau Trail on the Na’Pali Coast – If I did nothing else on this island, this was the one thing I wanted to see – the Na’Pali coastline.  It’s breathtaking.  The first section of the hike starts at Ke’e Beach and ends at Hanakapi Beach.  We heard later from friends that this was not a very safe trail.  I guess ignorance is bliss?  To be honest, I was ready to turn around at the 0.25 mile marker.  Then I was ready to turn back at the 0.50 mile marker.  Muddy hike on the Kalalau TrailSomehow, we got to Hanakapi and the way back was easier.  In the earlier part of the day, parts of the trail were wet, muddy, and slippery.  By the afternoon, much of it had dried.
  • Waimea Canyon – This was the most beautiful hike.  Waimea CanyonIt was relatively easy and relaxing under the cool canopy of a forest.  Even though I’d say this was the easiest hike we did, I slipped twice.
  • Allerton Botanical Gardens – With a return flight not until 10 PM, this was a nice little something to do.  They guide you around the gardens and describe the plants and trees.Loulu

Learn from my Fail:

  1. Hawaii and Kauai’s airports are small. Eat beforehand or bring food. There’s nothing good at the airports.  Even the water from the fountains taste funky.
  2. Bring your own knife or better yet, just get pre-cut fruit from the grocery store.  It didn’t occur to me to do that until after I’d purchased the knife.  I now have a crappy santoku knife.
  3. Stay on the Hilo side of the island at least for a night or two.  Driving to see volcanoes from Kona is a bit of a trek.
  4. Restaurants close early (generally 9 PM).  Plan accordingly.  We missed dinner a couple of nights because we stayed out to see volcanoes and the stars at MaunaKea. Both worthwhile and I had pineapples on hand, but still, dinner would have been nice.
  5. Speaking of MaunaKea, the drive up there is all up hill.  There are no gas stations.  Fill up your tank before you ascend.  We cut it a bit too close.  Luckily, on the way down, you barely use any gas.  We cruised on neutral for some portions of it.
  6. Packing: You don’t need fancy clothes in Hawaii.  This isn’t a fancypants posh kind of trip.  Plan to get dirty.

It doesn’t fit!

As a nod to ringing in the Year of the Cock, I am cleaning out my closet. I’m ridding myself of the most obvious – jeans that no longer fit! These are ones that I’m never going to squeeze myself into ever again without doing major organ damage.
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When I first started working, I measured my work hours in the pairs of jeans I could buy. I was making maybe $10/hour and that was about a pair of jeans on sale. For a really fancy pair, I might have splashed out for a $20 pair. Whether it’s because of my slowed metabolism due to aging, or from the all the squats and Warrior threes, or one too many beers, 6 out of these 8 pairs do not fit me anymore.

Happy Groundhog Day! Again!

This blog is 10 years old! TEN! YEARS! A decade!

This winter has been more spring-like than wintery so I’m not even paying attention to the ol’ rodent. My nose knows what’s going and and what’s going on is, we haven’t had much of a winter.

Cock

Happy Lunar New Year! It’s the year of the cock.

Haaa! I’m t0o immature for this.

Ok in all seriousness, this year is the year of the fire cock.

If you have a fire cock, call a doctor.

Aannd… I’m done.

Have a fortuitous new year filled with love and joy.

Bullet Journaling

I had an entire free day today due to the inauguration and how do I spend my time? Well, it started off innocuously enough. The usual. Cereal. Peppa Pig. Then I ventured onto YouTube. And saw a video on bullet journaling. Don’t Google it. I’m here to tell you to stay away from it. I wasted an entire morning and the better part of the afternoon drawing grid lines.
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So yeah, this is supposed to keep one more organized. You basically make your own yearly/monthly/weekly/daily planner with a blank journal. You can track anything from personal finance, to mind/body activities like meditation or gratitude journaling. I’m using it as a way to track some of my expenses and my activities like feeding the shrimp or watering my plants. I feel a little bamboozled by Pinterest/YouTube. This is the kinda’ thing one can easily track on say Excel. Or Google Calendar. Or any myriad of online whatever. And the videos get into not only layout but tools which include markers, crayons, color pencils, stickers, pens, washi tape. It’s scrapbooking and sketching a planner. I highly don’t recommend it. The only reason why I spent all day even after I quickly realized this wasn’t for me was because I drew out a month of grids. So now that January was on there, I had to complete the rest of the year. Illogical.

Makeup Rampage

2 weekends ago, it snowed! with accumulation! So, having hopped up on Peppa Pig and Frangelico and coffee, I went on a makeup shopping rampage. Well, rampage by my standards anyway.

This time, I tried a brand called Mineral Fusion. They carry it at Mom’s and Whole Foods.

  • 3-in-1 Color Stick in Terra Cotta – for the eyes, cheeks, and lips. 1 product that has 3 uses sounds like it’ll be good for all the traveling that I don’t do.  I only use it for the cheeks though. It feels powdery smooth and is very easy to use.  I just swipe some on my face and use my fingers to spread it around until it looks barely there.  Just a hint of life to my zombie-like complexion.
  • Sheer Moisture Lip Tint in Shimmer.  It doesn’t feel like anything on my lips.  I only put a little on and it looks pretty natural.
    Mineral Fusion 3 in 1 and Lip Tint
    Lip products are mostly a miss for me because I have a bad habit of licking it off. Also, I chucked almost all my lip products a few years ago when I learned they had lead and other heavy metals in them (FDA). So now, I only have 2 lipsticks in my retinue (100% Pure (like) and Pacifica Lip Tint (tolerable, would not re-purchase)).

I’ve been using both of these before work. I just apply both products third thing in the morning, then check back right before leaving to make sure I don’t shock myself.  It’s just enough to look like I’m awake and ready to carpe the diem, not the noctis.

I also have a confession. I was looking for foundation and based on Lisa Eldridge’s recommendation, I ordered Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel. After it was too late, it dawned on me to check if it was cruelty-free and I later learn it is not. I will still use it because damage done, but ugh… oops. This is like the time when I needed some watch bands replaced and as I walked out of the store after they’d already done the work, I realized the straps were all leather! I wish exploitation of animals wasn’t so normative and accepted. I hate having to babysit and monitor and be careful! I won’t even bother to tell you if this product is good or bad because we can just assume no matter how this stuff performs, it’s not worth torturing some poor hapless creature for something as trivial as makeup. And it contains fragrance, so thumbs down on that too.

 

Happy 2017!

In the Hindu religion, the god of destruction, Shiva, is also considered the auspicious one. When I first learned what he represented, I thought it was odd to celebrate destruction, but later someone explained to me that it’s a good thing because where there’s destruction, there is also creation.

So, with 2016 essentially blowing up in our faces, I am looking towards 2017 as a rebirth.  I’m rethinking what my life plans are.  Reconsidering my goals and even re-prioritizing what’s important to me.  Many things that were important to me aren’t anymore.  I know I can’t shift old gears instantly, but I’m at least aware of them. I know less about what I want, only that I want for fewer things.

For now, these are a few of the things I want:

  • More meaningful conversations
  • A stronger body
  • Finding and doing more things that I enjoy
  • Closer relationships with my friends and family

Hits and Misses of 2016

Hits:

  • Ikea Tekla Dish Towel – Best snot rags ever. Even on my worst allergy days, I never get the painfully raw red noses anymore. They can handle my worst drippiest snottiest days. They don’t disintegrate in my work bags. I haven’t left a forgotten tissue in the laundry since. Seriously so convenient. I think I bought 15 of them so they last me through the week and I use them daily.  They’re also good to take to the gym as a face towel – clean ones of course.  Even though they’re not terry cloth, they are soft enough to use on my face and absorbent.  I eat with them too (again, a fresh one) to wipe my mouth (and nose when I’m eating spicy foods). So practical, sturdy, and multi-functional.
  • Peanut Butter and Apples – This is a classic, but this year, it was also my go-to snack, dessert, and craving satisfier. IMG_0983
  • Raw Shea Butter – When cream doesn’t cut it against severe dry flaky skin, I got regular shea butter.  It’s thick and oily.  Great for severe dry skin and lips.  By the way, the same company sells African black soap which is great as a shaving soap as well as a face wash.  Also a thumbs up. IMG_0885-001

Misses:

  • Paperblanks Midi Journal – Too dang small.  Pages are too small and there are too few pages.  For me, this size is for shopping lists, but it’s too nice and fancy a binding.
  • Lindt Dark Noir 99% Cocoa chocolate bar – I love dark chocolate but this made my mouth pucker.  I think I found my maximum limit on the percentage of dark chocolate. 90% is still okay, but 99% took the joy out of eating chocolate for me.
    IMG_0745
  • Not That Kind of Girl – This book was a miss for me.  I couldn’t even get past the first chapter or two.  It was too angsty and whiny?  Whatever it was, I didn’t enjoy it and 2016 was the year I decided life was too short to trudge through books I didn’t enjoy.  I wonder if I would have liked it when I was in high school though.  I enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye as a kid, and that featured an angsty adolescent too.

The 7-year Scarf

Or maybe it’s the 8-year scarf – is finally complete!

Scarf

This scarf project has seen me through 2 cats who loved to play with the yarn and needles when I tried to knit and spent many years in the closet. Most of the time, I knitted just 1 or 2 rows then put it down for months, or over a year, at a time.

When I picked it up this month, I started to experiment with different stitches that I learned from YouTube and was not very good at keeping track of them. Did I just knit or purl? So you can see an odd patch. Anyway, it’s finally done and I plan to wear this for the rest of the season!

And… dun Dun DUUUN!!
Yarn

Ebi

After my fish died, with the unfortunate water filter mistake, my shrimp came out of the wood work and multiplied like crazy.  I realized there’s no such thing really as shrimp-friendly fish.  Anything that fits in its mouth is fish food.  So I dedicated my tank as a planted shrimp tank and they have taken off like crazy.  Today, I doubled down, adding 4 blue velvet’s and 2 amanos.

Amano Shrimp

According to aquarium forum’s amano’s are supposedly staples in planted tanks.  They keep algae at bay. The amano is on the right. The little guy on the left is a half-sized cherry shrimp.

Blue Velvet Shrimp
Blue velvet’s are essentially like cherry shrimp. They look exactly alike except one is red and the other is blue. The aquarium staff told me they will interbreed too so I may get some weird hybrid version, which is kind of a bummer. At $10 a pop, I would’ve preferred to keep some pure bluebloods. But hey, love conquers all I guess.

The guy at the fish store also put a piece of hornwort in the bag for the shrimp to hang onto during transit. I don’t have hornwort in my tank so I’m hoping this little piece will grow. It’s supposed to be invasive-species-level very easy to grow. Last time, they gave me some java moss which I already have.