Waikiki Staycation

Olive + Oliver

These past few weeks have been a bit hectic in the office and at home so I asked my fiancé if he’d be opposed to getting some sun and alone time in busy Waikiki all weekend. Surprisingly, he was so excited, he booked a room at The Surfjack the next day!

We usually like to stay at The Laylow because of the nearby restaurants and luxe and trendy ambience, but he knew I was curious about the vintage vibe at The Surfjack. They have a nice restaurant called Mahina and Suns and live music every weekend. I dig it very much.

One of my fave things about The Surfjack is their coffee shop / boutique, Olive + Oliver. Coffee is below $5 and you get to choose a cup by a famous illustrator. The one pictured above is by Kim Sielbeck, a Honolulu-based artist.

View of the pool from our room on the second floor.

The Surfjack isn’t too far from most eateries, but you’ll have to either walk or borrow a bike. We decided to have breakfast at Bills Hawaii, an Australian restaurant best known for their ricotta pancakes.

The Full Aussie from Bills

Before we get into the ricotta pancakes, I wanted to mention the Full Aussie, which is a nice heap of protein and the best miso mushrooms I’ve had. Bills has a teensy bit of local flair, serving kimchee sausage as part of their signature Aussie breakfast.

Ricotta pancakes from Bills

Cue melty buttah action! The ricotta pancakes were served with this honey butter, which resembled sporty banana slices. I was confused at first, seeing banana at the bottom, I mistook the honey butter slice for banana and accidentally put it in my mouth! Kinda gross, but not?! I spit it out and spread the rest of the (untouched) butter across the cakes and we devoured every bite. Oh, if you show your local ID, kamaaina discount is 20%! Yassss…

Tsukemen from Bario

I wish I took photos at the beach, but I was too busy relaxing and frolicking with the fiancé to stop and take photos. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, Waikiki beach was nice, but full of tourists (shocker). For lunch, we wanted to go someplace with a kamaaina discount…so we walked over to Yokocho, my fave spot for Japanese food. If you’re local, you get 15% off your order. We got the ramen and original tsukemen from Bario, because comfort food is a must after every beach day.

Book recommendation: In the Seat of a Stranger’s Car – bought this gem at Olive + Oliver.

This is how we ended our little staycation: with a book and a matcha latte with Olive + Oliver’s homemade honey syrup. Photos of myself sleeping with my mouth open on the pool lounge chair may surface later this week, but I don’t have any regrets about taking a little break from work and family obligations! I’d do it all over again.

Breakfast Bowls

IBbreakfastbowlsWhile I’m no stranger to fancy açaí or blended fruit bowls, I never used to put any effort into the bowls I make at home until recently. Honolulu’s açaí bowls are pretty, but expensive, clocking in at $10 and up and if you’re lucky, your granola will still be super crunchy.

I’ve been trying to replicate what I see on Pinterest and it’s quite fun. The ingredients I’ve used for this bowl are spirulina powder, plain greek yogurt, raw chia, grain-free granola, frozen bananas and strawberries (I’ve frozen them myself), a bit of blueberries, macnut milk (I buy the Milkadamia brand, unsweetened plain) and a bit of cara cara orange. I think it’s best to use whatever is in season so you don’t get tired of them.

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Because these bowls contain a ton of sugar, I try not to eat these as much. However, when I do get to enjoy them, I’ll savor every bite. Once in a while, I’ll sneak in a dollop of almond butter to make it a bit creamier.

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When I do feel like buying an acai bowl or a blended fruit bowl, there are three places I’ll go to on Oahu:

Well + Proper

Not the most accessible, but if you follow her on Instagram @well_n_proper, she’ll let her customers know when she’s in. I set a notification for her posts. Her macnut butter is amazing and her acai isn’t so sweet. I love it. She also sells fresh squeezed juices and elixirs.

Jewel or Juice

If I want really good, fresh and crunchy granola, this is the place to go! They make their own granola and sell it on the side if you want to take some home. Their bowls are consistent and very good.

Banán

This place has been around for a while. I used to go to their small truck in Diamond Head to order their soft serve in a papaya with granola and macnut butter. Now they have a convenient location in the walkways of Kahala Mall. Their kiosk is well stocked and they usually have a line and a long wait. Still great, nonetheless.

 

Late afternoons in Mānoa

december-afternoons

It has been oh so chilly here in Honolulu and seeing the clouds hang low, covering the mountain tops behind my office remind me to take a moment to breathe through the holiday rush. Can we all just sleep in for once and enjoy this cool weather?

Spalding House

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Floppy hat, House of Aria, top (sale rack), Eden in Love.

Formerly known as The Contemporary Museum, The Honolulu Museum of Art’s Spalding House, is hidden under shady trees in Makiki. Kevin and I drove up to see the new exhibits and unfortunately, the main exhibit section was under construction. We opted to grab a snack at the café downstairs. I had a cup of the tasty vegan tomato soup and he had the flourless chocolate cake.

Once we cleaned our cup and plate, we walked through the garden and took a peek at the soon-to-be completed outdoor surfer exhibit. The artist replaced the tennis court with his version of the ocean and all things surfers encounter in the water.

Admission is free on Saturdays. I highly suggest calling to see if the exhibits are completed before you go…unless you’re only up for a bite to eat.

Reid and Kamakana Watanabe

3My colleague and very good friend Kamakana and her husband, Reid, were married a year ago. They asked me to take some photos for their anniversary. We went to a Diamond Head lookout, where there was a little, neatly landscaped garden nearby.

Here are some of their favorite shots:

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The sweetest part of this shoot was that Kama and Reid each wore something new and blue for their anniversary day. Kama is a maxi dress fanatic and she found this flattering print just days before the shoot. Reid was treated to some new Cole Haan shoes just a few hours before we all met up.

New and blue…perfect little details to commemorate their first year of marriage.

Happy Anniversary to you both! Now make me a neice or nephew.

Congratulations Momo!

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Last week, my cousin Momo asked if I could take her graduation photos. You may recognize her from the very first portraits I did two years ago, when she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree. Well, she’s getting her Master’s Degree in Public Health this time! Whoo hoo! Momo is one of those individuals that excels in everything she puts her mind to. She’s a smart, innovative and bubbly type of woman and I’m so happy for her latest accomplishment.

MOMO3 copyOur shoot started out with some scenic shots. This was around 5:30 p.m. The city looked so beige so it was a nice contrast to the graphics on her dress.

MOMO2 copyI love this one.

MOMO6We did a jumping shot last time, so it felt right to do another this time around. That hill was pretty steep!

MOMO13Momo wasn’t too crazy about this shot, but I loved how it captured the light in her hair, the dimension in the bark and it was one of those cheesy, but not-too-cheesy shots.

MOMO15We found a swing and decided to go with it. Totally random, but it was a pretty spot.

MOMO9This one is probably my favorite because she was just about to tip over. If you know Momo’s personality, you understand how she makes silly look cute.

Thanks Momo, for asking me to photograph you. It was so fun!

MOMO7Congratulations on getting your Master’s Degree!

An insta-summary of the past four months

collage

I know I haven’t been blogging in the past few months. A lot has happened. If you read my post about my job at Easter Seals Hawaii, here’s why blogging on Island Bohemian hasn’t been my priority. I’ve been blogging for ESH since I started, in addition to public relations, marketing, events and designing. All blog posts (unless a contributor is noted) are by yours truly. I’ve fallen completely in love with what we do at ESH. We help people with disabilities or special needs through therapy, coaching with social/financial skills, making sure these individuals (who are just like us) meet their goals. They need every bit of help they can get.

As a result, I’ve neglected myself. Island Bohemian is truly my creative outlet. Although I may not be a true bohemian, but I am in a sense where art sometimes consumes me. I can spend hours designing for a project without sense of time, figuring out ways to improve and market it. My Aquarian tendencies prevent me from creating some sort of personal balance, when I give something my full attention, I end up giving it my everything and start to neglect my own needs (like my never ending battle to lose weight, live an active life and saving for my dream trips to Spain, Colombia and Brasil). I’m an impulsive being and sometimes a lazy one. Seriously, I come home every day mentally drained – I haven’t even the slightest clue about what TV shows, fashion trends, music artists are popular anymore. Miley Cyrus twerking…what the hell just happened?! Pop culture is a blur to me. Politics and the news are a bit more clear. I guess that’s a good thing. Although I’ve still kept up with my art feed on Flipboard and insightful Facebook posts on culture and indigenous rights via Sue Haglund and Craig Santos Perez. I need to keep my sanity somehow.

I’ve made a simple collage (above) to kindly fill you in on what has been going on in my head lately, which are skincare (I’m approaching the 28th year of my life), remembering some of my happiest moments this year, scarves for fall, friends/co-workers and most importantly my family. This year has been rough, in my small circle of friends, four out of the five of us have lost a grandparent…this year…2013…all in one year. It’s pretty unreal. I lost my 87-year-old grandmother in Saipan in July. I was heartbroken for a bit, but our family coming together to say goodbye to her meant so much to me. I truly feel she is in peace.

On a positive note, I’m looking forward to blogging more often. It is like therapy for me. Plus, I have a reason to photograph more people and post more work from artists that have inspired me. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram: @islandbohemian

Aloha,

❤ Di