Hawaiʻi Island

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I flew to Kona this past weekend to meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time. I was about six-years-old the last time I went there. My grams brought me one summer to visit her brother in Hilo and he took us around the island. I remember the drive to Kona was so green and lush, we didn’t see any buildings or manicured residential areas anywhere. Hawai’i Island residents used to be spread out, mom and pop stores were the norm and fresh Hawaiian food was the best you’ve ever tasted. Those were the days!

Back to this weekend…we went hunting for the best açaí bowls on the island. The bf’s niece suggested that we head over to Big Island Juice Co. in Hilo. We took the new Saddle Road and passed chilly Mauna Kea to get there. Upon arriving at our destination, we found it was next to a hookah shop and other local businesses. We walked into Big Island Juice Co. and they suggested their signature Dragonfruit Bowl, which they served in a real pineapple bowl, topped with granola, honey, kiwi, and pineapple. It was glorious and oh so melty. The dragonfruit was a bit tart, but the honey and toppings made it the perfect light meal. It was a humid day in Hilo and we needed the refreshment.

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Look at how big it was! Served on top of their branded cutting board. It was actually so melty that my hands were stained pink the rest of the day.

While in Hilo, we also hit up one of my favorite places…Two Ladies Kitchen! I died. They had so many varieties of mochi. I’m usually very picky about mochi, my preference is either traditional plain mochi or with azuki beans. Two Ladies is so good…they stuff full strawberries, grapes, poha berries, and other seasonal fruits into their mochi and it’s even more delicious. I tried to be good and eat only one of each. My bestie in Honolulu requested some so I planned to eat the rest with her…only to realize I left it back in Kona on our way back. #epicfailure

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Here’s a better picture of the mochi that we bought but left back in Kona. I get sad every time I think of it. The box on the left is the strawberry mochi. The plastic container on the right had a variety of manju, blueberry mochi, ube manju, shiso mochi, chi chi dango, and peanut butter mochi.

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Who goes to Kona and doesn’t order Kona coffee? We drank AND ate it later that day. Kona coffee ice cream was so refreshing in the Kona heat. I can’t forget how yummy it was.

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One of the other things on my list was to visit the farmer’s market in Kona. We picked up a fresh Maui gold pineapple, which is super sweet and less acidic than most, a fan for the humidity and lack of decent air conditioning in our car, and I needed a hat (from Cookies Clothing) to hide the messy hair from the long drive.

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I’d like to go back soon and hike down Waipiʻo Valley. We drove through Waimea and Honokaʻa to get there, only to see that you have to hike to get down to the black sand beach below. Shucks. I should have done more research. Oh well, next time!

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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.