Eating Pretty

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There’s something attractive about a colorful sort of clutter, especially when it comes to food. I grew up in a predominantly Asian household in Honolulu. We mainly ate Chinese and Korean food for lunch and dinner, so there were always lots of little dishes around your main entrees. Dishes such as pickled radish, umeboshi, choy sum in oyster sauce, fermented soy and chili pastes…you name it, they were on the table.

No meal was complete without a sauce to dip your protein in, a crunchy vegetable element, or some fruit to clean your palate.

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Lately, I’ve been posting some of my own cluttered meals on Instagram. They’re really simple things like a breakfast bowl with granola and an egg on the side. I dress things up a bit with fresh fruit from the market or from our backyard.

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This summer, our mango tree is producing fruit like no one’s business. We have mangos falling off the trees because we can’t keep up with the picking. To switch things up in the morning, I incorporate other fruits that make their way onto our kitchen counter (thanks to my uncle) and some savory breakfast items such as rice with furikake and tsukemono.

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I also have a ton of scarves and fabric laying around the house. I used to have a scarf fetish (yes, I live in Hawaii) back in the day. I’d use them to dress up small tables, hold my hair in place, or function as a pareo at the beach. They definitely brighten up an early breakfast.

Wander | Lust

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I’m experiencing a restless period of the adventure-free doldrums.

I often find myself Googling, Pinning, and Insta-searching via hashtags the many things I could be doing other than my mundane routine of sorting through the same work outfits I’ve worn the week before, shopping for healthy lunch alternatives, and rushing my way through the static Honolulu traffic to make it to my crossfit class after work. I know what you’re thinking…

Yes, Di, that’s life.

I’m not bored. It’s not that I don’t have enough to do. I have too much, if anything. But the repetition of the same routine makes me restless and long for something different. My heart pines away for adventure often. Usually, I know when it’s coming, but this time, I promised myself to work hard and save money for another long adventure. That takes time. Lots of people go through some sort of post-travel depression, or more like feeling bummed they’re not on a train to the next country or stumbling upon a local fish market that will cook whatever shellfish or creature you purchase.

I’m really not writing this to complain. But rather to show that I’m not one of those people that hop on a plane every month. I have a job at a place that rebuilds lives. I have to save money to afford my keep and explore the world.

It’s life. You earn, you splurge.

I’m a firm believer in balancing work and recreation to live a healthy life.

I recreated hard, so I must work hard.

Such is life.

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Hawaii Summer Essentials

The weather has been extremely hot and humid lately. I can’t wait until I have some free time to head to the beach and FLOAT for a few hours. Haha! My summer essentials are simple: sunblock from The Face Shop, sunnies, iced tea, roasted hazelnuts and fresh fruit. We have some seriously lovely summer fruit here in the islands (lychee, mango, papaya, etc.) and I can’t get enough of it!

Thirty

THIRTYREASONS3Today is the day I make my 30th circle around the sun.

Welcome to IslandBohemian.com v.2! I’m going to be posting A LOT MORE on what I wear, create, and obsess over. I’m taking more time to write, design, photograph, and share whatever makes me smile.

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  I love anything lacy, boho, big jewels or stones, and colorful.

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Lace, lace, and more lace!

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Black midi skirt, Costco, lace tank + camisole, Ross, lace kimono and necklace, Forever21, purple ring, Nordstrom Rack, gold chain bracelet, my own.

Today’s going to be a great day!

I asked God for a great 2015 and he delivered.

 2015 has been really good to me. It was truly one of the best years of my life! I’ll admit I prayed. I asked God for 2015 to bring me happiness, adventure and love. He definitely delivered! Me! Non-practicing-Catholic-sarcastic-but-I-still-love-my-grandma-ME! I prayed and it happened. I truly feel it was the year I discovered a new layer of awesomeness about myself and those around me, made peace with what I’ve experienced in the past and found new goals to crush in the future.

I am so grateful for what I have right in this moment. Can I just list what made my year?

  • Surprising Abbey, the bestie, with a trip to Hilo for her 30th birthday and visiting Mauna Kea
  • Having a job that allows me to have creative freedom
  • Visiting Washington, D.C. for the first time
  • Having a boss that pushes me to grow professionally
  • Jumping off the rock at Waimea Bay
  • Going to Seattle and Portland to visit my cousins
  • Losing some weight, gaining a little back, now planning to lose it all and then some again
  • My cousin Tricia is finally pregnant…with TWINS! I cried when I found out.
  • Kevin ❤
  • New Zealand – I can’t even tell you how I knocked this off my bucket list (meat pies, learning about Maori culture, etc.)
  • Surprisingly being closer to God even though I still don’t attend mass
  • Finding an adult day care that my granny loves and enjoys
  • Putting myself out in the online dating world
  • Abu Dhabi – dune bashing, visiting the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrarri World, riding camels, ATV-ing
  • Crossfit Zeus and my Zeus ‘ohana – faced my fear of crosssfit and super athletes
  • Finally feeling in control of my life – balancing friendship, family, work, travel and love

Okay, there’s just too much to list. Sure, there have been many disappointments, failures, and hardships this year, but you know when your blessings outweigh the negative. I’m truly happy. Happy. That word makes me nervous! I’ve always kinda been a Negative Nancy, pointing out that happiness doesn’t truly last forever, someone is always there to wait for you to fail and steal your thunder, but who cares? We owe it to ourselves to thank God for this moment and appreciate all that we have. As you can tell, 2015 has changed the way I perceive situations, relationships and the world around me.

One of the catalysts in this transformation is…well…I work with some of the most faithful, humble and selfless people. I have to admit that even their faith and grace towards others and myself may have rubbed off. It can’t be helped. They’re a blessing and I learn from them every single day.

Among my many blessings, this year was THE YEAR TO TRAVEL. It started with surprising Abbey for her 30th, a couple work trips to Long Beach, CA and D.C. Then I took a first-time trip to Seattle to visit my cuzzies during the summer and visited Powell’s Books in Portland (checked that off my bucket list).

Lastly, I embarked on a long awaited journey to New Zealand: land of the kiwis, epic meat pie producers of the world, Hobbit habitation land, the place to live pre-zombie apocalypse and the country I have dreamed of for years. Thanks to my friend Lani and Warren for traveling alongside me and taking me on a truly unforgettable trip. The last and final trip of 2015 was to Abu Dhabi for Brentt’s first amateur golf tournament. The only expectation I had was that it was going to be hot. Although I nearly fainted from the heat on the golf course, I was blown away by the kindness of the locals, the intricate and unconventional architecture and the food! Oh the food. Mmm…if there was a reason for you to pay me to get fat in Abu Dhabi…even New Zealand…I’d be so good, you best be quadrupling that salary!

The final touch on 2015 was my mom, dad, and brother visiting me during the holidays. Mom came down during Thanksgiving, dad a couple weeks later and Brentt for Christmas. They all came down and filled my tummy and heart with happiness. I can’t ask for more.

Exactly one year ago, I wrote down my resolutions for 2015. They were to face fears, drink more, enjoy life and be happy. I didn’t drink more, but I’ve accepted that I’m officially allergic to alcohol and it’s best if I just drink on occasion. My goal in 2016 is to love on those that need it (no matter how annoying they are), face fears (yes, again), lose weight (sadly same resolution, different year – but with a little progress), be grateful, pray more, read more, edit myself a little less when it comes to writing and be present. Like right now, I’m present mentally, physically, and spiritually in my element of typing at Starbucks and inhaling burnt coffee grinds listening to bad hipster music…all right before I head into work this morning.

Happy 2016 y’all!

Seattle, Washington

My godsister, Maria, had graduated from the University of Washington and I made a little trip up there to help her celebrate and visit the rest of my cousins in Seattle. Small kine family reunion turned into a fun trip around the city! Here are some snapshots from my trip.

Seattle Art Museum

I arrived a day before the graduation festivities started so that I can fit in some culture and sight-seeing. I went to SAM alone to get familiar with the local culture and history. My fave exhibit was the Pacific Northwestern American tribal art.

 

Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream

I can’t even figure out how to describe how excited I get when it comes to ice cream shops that make their own unique flavors. Don’t even try to come here and order a vanilla cone because there’s no point in living if you don’t try their earl grey or sasquatch flavors. Mis primas definitely know their desserts.

Let’s EAT

My family is all about eating. Like…we eat when we’re happy, sad, angry and bored. There’s no way around it. That’s how islanders live and enjoy life. I busted out the GoPro for a groupie shot for this one.

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Another shot with my not-so-little cousins. ❤

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Chihuly Garden and Glass

I’m pretty sure that glass artist Dale Chihuly had an exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art a few years ago. I swear I’ve seen his work before. In searching for attractions in Seattle, I came across the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition, which is located right next to the Space Needle. Each room features a theme of various glass art. My favorite part of the exhibit is the garden and greenhouse. The garden features glass art that looks like real plants along with some interesting plants and flowers. If you were to visit Chihuly and the Space Needle, best deal is if you buy your tickets online.

I spent my last days enjoying pauhana happy hour sessions with my cousins and catching up with them.

Aside from the traffic, Seattle is a wonderful place where I could see myself living for a few years. The city is beautiful, ethnically diverse and it seems a lot more laid back than how I perceived it to be.

Flashback: Summer with the besties.

Reunions are hard to come by, especially after college.We made it work this summer.

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Two of our best friends, Annabelle and Janel flew in from Saipan to spend time with us for a few weeks. We all used to live in Honolulu, went to college together, and got our first real jobs together. It was fun to catch up, do everything we used to do when we were younger (beach days, North Shore drives, dinners in town, girls nights in, shopping, and all the fun stuff island girls do).

Sandy Beach

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Sun Yoga on the Beach

I’ve been attending Sun Yoga Hawaii for a month so far. It has been really challenging since I injured my foot a few months ago. Afraid to further damage the muscle in my foot, my doctor recommended that I stick to yoga and avoid high-impact workouts. So I tip-toed into Sun Yoga Hawaii one day and asked if they had a promotion for new members. I signed up for a full month for $44, after my first month, the membership costs $160/month. The cost is a bit much for my budget, but the facilities are much closer to my house than my old yoga studio and I like the feeling I get once we’re done with the hard poses. Sun Yoga Hawaii’s teaching style is very similar to Core Power Yoga but heat-based, which makes for a great workout and post-workout high for those who aren’t heat sensitive. There are some poses that I miss doing that made me feel taller, but I do enjoy how happy my body feels after. I usually go to Michele’s class in the mornings before work. In her instruction, she includes facts about what each pose does to your body (squeezing your thyroid, strengthening your core, twisting your reproductive system, etc.), things that will motivate you to go hard on that posture.

This past weekend, Sun Yoga Hawaii held their monthly free class called “Sun Yoga on the Beach” at Sandy Beach. It was even more challenging to do those poses in the sand! But it was nice because they have a healthy potluck after.

(I got to play with my new GoPro Hero4.)

Mauna Kea and all things that should remain sacred

mauna keaMauna Kea with my best friends. (Circa January 31st)

In January, I surprised my best friend with a trip to beautiful Hilo, where we indulged in the best strawberry and grape mochi at Two Ladies Kitchen, walked through a colorful farmer’s market and hiked along a dead volcano. One of the highlights was going on a private tour of Mauna Kea, commercially known as the tallest mountain on earth, culturally known as a sacred place where the Hawaiian deity Poli’ahu dwells. It is a place where Ali’i would trek its harsh, freezing temperatures to worship and pay tribute to their gods. It was an unreal experience to have with my friends and it was just a perfect moment in my life.

I could explain to you the controversy that surrounds Mauna Kea at this moment, but instead, I will share some of the things that I believe should be kept sacred, just like this mysterious and beautiful mountain that made it into my “epic memories” folder.

1. Indigenous places of worship and untouched lands. 

It is 2015. We should all be educated and culturally aware of indigenous rights, history and effects of colonization. If you live in the islands, somehow your field of study/work will involve some kind of decision or consideration due to preservation of culture or history. There are so many articles, books and other reading materials out there that even the laziest reader will be able to get the gist of the importance of cultural or historical preservation. Even when it comes to untouched lands, like Pagan, ugh I don’t want to start a rant, but does everything have to be used for bomb practice? Look at Kahoolawe, Vieques and the Marshall Islands. #savepagan

2. Our bodies.

We need to eat vegetables, wear sunblock and do yoga. I may not look like it, but I eat my recommended daily amount of veggies (sometimes more), wear at least SPF 35 on my face and forearms and do yoga a few times every week. Doing this makes me feel great and happy.

3. Your relationship with your God. 

This is a touchy one. I’d describe myself as a sporadic non-practicing Catholic who floats between Catholic and Christian churches. Going to a Catholic church makes me feel comforted and grounded. I feel like I return to who I am and who I imagine myself to be when I get older. But damn, have you heard the kind of music they play at Christian churches nowadays? I mean, they make worship feel and sound fun. I go for the live jam sesh, devos and free food, but when it comes to openly sharing my own struggles with the entire congregation and praying out loud…like with my voice…I start to get uncomfortable. Other than that…I pray every day. I ask my God to give me patience to tolerate the obnoxious, love for those who can’t help themselves, determination to extend my leg in half moon pose and gratitude for everything I have. Whoever your God is, rely on him or her to give you that spiritual boost to continue life in a positive way. It’s better than bitching all day. Bitching makes you look ugly. Don’t do it often. Be tight with your God and moisturize daily.

4. Paperbacks

Being a nerd, I am always on top of the latest technology. Although I love iPads and my boyfriend, the iPhone 6 Plus, I still read paperbacks…maybe a hardcover or two if they’re on sale. I own a Nook, but lost the charger. So it’s pretty fair to say that paperbacks (and hardcovers) should remain sacred because they won’t need to be recharged, updated or bought for more than $15. My Nook is now a coaster on the nightstand.

5. Passion

Passion drives you to do your best in everything you do. Working in the non-profit sector doesn’t make me rich, but it keeps me fulfilled in life. I see lives changed and problems solved. My body and mind may be weary but my soul and heart are so full. My best work was inspired by what I’ve seen and experienced by giving to others.

Also, being in a creative field, if I am not passionate about something, it takes me longer to create it, which makes the client or your director impatient. That’s when you have to delve further into the purpose of what you create or produce. For example, I had to create a graphics package for National Donut Day. I did not have the slightest interest in donuts (first of all, they’re not my fave, second, I didn’t get why it was declared National Donut Day). My director recommended that I read a book to draw some inspiration. After that, I got it. I knew exactly what to do for the graphics package and it became a hit. Passion gets you places. It also shows you how to succeed.

There are probably more things that I could add to this list, but there’s no time. Sometimes it is best to keep a short list of things you consider sacred. It helps to remind yourself about where you come from and who you are.

From Cairns to Sydney

 Processed with MoldivMost of our travel adventures happened before and after the tournament in Sydney. Here we are in Cairns visiting art galleries, the Esplanade pool and walking along Grafton and Abbott.

Brentt and I only had a few days to explore Cairns and Sydney before and after the tournament. Cairns was our first stop from Guam. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (now called Double Tree) and it was in the perfect location. We could walk to the main Cairns Esplanade strip in less than five minutes and to the shopping mall in 15 minutes. The good eateries, ranging from Italian to Japanese, were scattered along Abbott and Grafton streets. Along the Esplanade, you’ll run into tourist traps and shops with crappy souvenirs – something we’re already used to in the islands, so we just kept to Abbott and Grafton, where there were more of the Cairns locals walking around.

Processed with MoldivWe stayed in Kurri Kurri, in the outskirts of Sydney. There were wild kangaroos right outside our rooms and witnessed beautiful sunsets. I even got to sample the local wine.

The “beach” at Cairns isn’t that great. It’s brown. You’d have to ride a boat to the Great Barrier Reef to log in some great snorkeling…or you can just settle for the public pee-pool at the Esplanade. Your best bet to get some sun (other than going to the GBR)? Spend the day at the beach down Captain Cook Highway past the airport. The beaches are still brown, but at least it’s shallow, you can walk on sandbars and bbq like the locals.

After Cairns, we headed to Sydney via Virgin Australia. Most of our time was spent on the golf course (see previous post) and the only food available was fried EVERYTHING. French fries, chicken schnitzel, fish and chips, etc. Not the most comforting way to go with two hungry island kids craving anything with some Asian spice and rice or noodles. On our last day, we had a couple hours to visit the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Our hosts from Hawaii were irritated by the traffic and ready for their flight back to Hawaii so we didn’t have a chance to fully explore the city. But we made the most of it and took lots of photos during our last day in Sydney.

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Our official last day in “Straya” was spent at Hartley’s Crocodile Farm.

We then arrived in Cairns (again), returning from Sydney, we were weary travelers, enduring a rough flight on Virgin Australia and starved after refusing yet another fried meal. After checking into Rydges Esplanade, we took a 20 minute walk to grab some dinner and stumbled upon what looked like a bar from the outside, Rattle & Hum. It happened to have the best pizza in Australia that we had access to at the time.

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This is something we’ll always remember about Australia. Its wildlife, sights, kind people and wonderful weather amazed us everyday.

We also decided to visit Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, which was 45 minutes away from the hotel. We bought a package for two that included the passes to the farm and transportation to and from our hotel for $111 AUD. It was fun! We covered the entire park in about two hours and relaxed with lunch at the restaurant. It was their 80th Anniversary so they had face painting, a free photo booth and complimentary croc sausages. It was the perfect way to see everything we wanted to see in Australia: crocodiles, koalas, cassowaries, wombats, wallabies and kookaburras.

It was a great trip for Brentt and I. We’ve traveled to other places before, but this was our first brother-sister trip to another country. We enjoyed every bit of it. Oh dear Australia, it’s been unreal. It might be a couple years until we return, but until then, we’ll cherish the memories.