Year: 2016

Life Companion

December 19, 2015, would have marked my parents 43rd wedding anniversary, but a week prior, my mom passed away.  Though it was a very sad occasion, I have come to terms that she is in a better place where she no longer experiences the constant pain in her body and is resting.  For the past five years she had been battling a few ailments (heart failure and cancer) which all involved multiple surgeries.  Through it all, my father, her husband and life companion for the past 50 years was by her side. Though my dad does not enjoy the doctor’s office nor the hospital, he would hold it all together just to be with her.  He would go anywhere my mom would take him, even if it meant not being in a place he was comfortable.  My mom would drag my dad to her weekly health classes to learn how to eat better, care for her body, and basically socialize with others who were also going through the same things as her.  My dad listened …

Weekly Small Pleasures #13

It’s time, once again, to take stock and be grateful for those moments, big and small, that made this week amazing. Early Mornings – It was week #3 and I’m proud to report that I’m now getting up enthusiastically at 5:00 am. As a result of this newfound appreciation of dawn, I now enjoy the brilliant sunrises instead of lamenting how early it is or how tired I am. Tuesdays with Mom – I flew to Honolulu on Tuesday to meet my mom and dad for her doctors’ appointments. No matter how depressing it can get, it’s always nice to spend the day with my parents. Flying – This past Tuesday, I was reminded that I love flying. Unfortunately, the only long-distance traveling I’ll be doing in the next month is to Honolulu for a bunch of meetings and mom’s medical appointments. No matter. I enjoy the 45-minute commute. Macarons – Need I say more? Oishii desu ne! Cooking – Now that I’m working out regularly, I’m spending a bit more time in the kitchen, but because my schedule is getting tight, it’s forcing me to do a lot of food prep …

Weekly Small Pleasures #12

It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but I had a few amazing moments this week that are too good not to document. Lava Viewing Trek – That little excursion out to Kalapana is still fresh in my mind. Return to Fitness – This past week was week #2 of being back at spin, hula, and yoga and I’m finally feeling great. As you all know, when you get back into working out, it’s kind of a bummer. Your body’s in shock, you’re still trying to convince yourself that miserable sweating is worth it, and you’re exhausted all the time, but after going 2 weeks straight, I’m hitting my stride and it’s amazing. I’m eating and sleeping better, I’ve got a lot more energy, I’m happier, and I even managed to rock the front row last Friday. Hurray fitness! Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Morning Spin Vinyasa Spin Vinyasa Spin Yoga/Cardio Evening Vinyasa Hula Yoga Hula Pretty Nails – I’ve mentioned this before. Painting my nails is my way to feel more …

Wailoa Reflections

In response to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, Mirror, I’m sharing this photograph taken at Wailoa State Park. It was one of the first photos I took shortly after moving to Hilo and when I decided I would start pursuing photography with some level of seriousness and commitment. Mind you, I never really dabbled in photography before moving to Hilo, but I thought, “Why not?”. It was a creative way to orient myself to my new home and to engage in something I’d always wanted to try. This photo was captured moments before sunset and I thought the scene looked almost haunting. The fuzzy reflections are my favorite part of the photo.

Lava Viewing at Kalapana

Our friend Adrel called me on Saturday to see if I wanted to go with him to take pictures of the lava flow in Kalapana. You may have seen Adrel’s amazing photographs on our Holoholo Girls’ Instagram and being that we’re both recreational photographers, I jumped at the chance. After discussing trekking at night or early morning, we decided on today, Labor Day. We packed up and headed out of Hilo at 4:30 am. Once in Kalapana, we were surprised to see that other people had the same idea, no doubt wanting to see the beautiful glow of the lava in the dark. Getting to the actual viewing site was not that difficult. It’s a 3.5 mile walk/hike on a mostly flat gravel road. Adrel heard that people head out on bikes, so he managed to secure two bikes and we rode toward the site with headlamps. Walking wouldn’t have been bad, but biking was better. People were already situated on the cliffs, cameras out and taking photos of the amazing view. While Adrel moved closer to snap some pics, …

Fish on Top

This weekʻs Weekly Photo Challenge, Cherry On Top, came at a great time. Poke is sold at most local grocery stores in Hawaiʻi, with lots of different varieties to choose from. I usually buy a tiny bit, whether it’s ahi (tuna) or salmon, made spicy or with some delicious condiment like shoyu (soy sauce) or inamona. Some grocery stores here actually sell poke bowls, which are fresh raw fish, topping a bowl of rice for lunch or dinner. I prefer just buying the fish and making my own poke bowl, or making my own poke, like when I make mushroom poke. After eating a few pieces of my poke, I’m usually left with a few chunks that have passed the raw “expiration” date, so I flash fry it in a non-stick pan to give it new culinary purpose. Once it’s done, I transfer it into a small bowl and onto some rice and voila! We have a modified poke bowl. This week’s poke leftovers was also tossed with onions and fresh, local limu (seaweed). Absolutely delicious!


On my recent trip to Maui, I stopped off at Ali’i Kula Lavender farm for a tour. After learning about the process of growing and harvesting lavender as well as the many varieties of lavender that are grown on the grounds, I also learned about different plants on the farm. If you go, you’ll see fruit and olive trees, flowers of all kinds, even a few spaces for corn and kale. What a special place! Waiting for the tour, I noticed these little succulents that were growing in a cluster on the side of a little hill. I’ve always loved succulents for their pretty patterns. Living in Hawaiʻi my entire life, I have never seen a protea that was still growing. Most of the time, I see these flowers in arrangements or being sold at farmers’ markets. Seeing one in “real life” made me appreciate every detail of the protea’s beauty. Nature is truly, an amazing artist. Details

Looking Up Roots

For two days, Maui has been my playground. Lingering clouds, majestic mountains, tall trees swaying in the breeze, one can’t help but look up, especially in a place that is unfamiliar. I’ve been to Maui before, but only for day trips and minutes from the airport. This time, I decided to do a last minute getaway, hoping to cure myself of jetlag from my recent trip to Japan, but also to reconnect with my genealogy. Using frequent flyer miles and taking advantage of last minute deals for lodging and ground transportation, I was on a plane yesterday morning, excited to develop a different relationship with Maui. My Native Hawaiian great-grandmother hails from Makawao. More specifically, she was born and raised in Ulupalakua. Each time I’ve spent time in Maui, I never left the Kahului city limits, so this time, I strayed off the beaten path to spend most of my time here in Makawao and to find ways to reconnect to her. You see, I know very little about my great-grandmother. She passed away the year my dad was born …


Growing up as an only child, I’ve never known what it’s like to be a sibling. My two cats are from the same litter and watching them grow up, yet remaining in sync with each other has been amazing.   Partners

Pilihonua Notecards

Movement has always been my creative outlet, but now that I’m back to dancing and we’re doing a lot of it, it was time to turn my attention toward reconnecting with my visual art-sy side. I’m in no way a designer, but I do dabble with this website, photography, and graphics. To thank our hosts in Yurihama, we normally bring makana (gifts), which have historically ranged from chocolate covered macadamia nuts to anything related to Hawaiʻi. This time, instead of heading down to buy calendars, I decided to make one-of-kind cards. No small feat, considering I’ve been incredibly busy. Here’s the end product: I used the following native plants in this batch : Hala (Pandanus) – Most commonly used for weaving and plaiting, the word hala, is also defined as “passing”. Hala lei are still seen at occasions that mark rites of passage like graduation and funerals. Ulu (Breadfruit) – Although other parts of the ulu can be used for its wood, sap, and leaves, the fruit is most known as a food. It was often used as a primary staple in some areas and even …

Glow in the Dark

Our first visit to the Maui Ocean Center was very memorable and interesting, especially when we came across the moon jellyfish exhibit.  I was tired after chasing my toddler through the Center that when we got to this dark room with the glowing jellyfish I suddenly felt a calmness and tranquility settle upon me.  I sat and was transfixed on the jellyfish swimming in this large aquarium vessel in the middle of the room.  There were seats all around the perimeter of the room allowing visitors to also admire these beautiful sea creatures.  I think they knew that after a long day of perusing through the exhibits once you reached this one you needed to kick back and enjoy the glow. For Paula’s Thursday Special Find us on social media outlets and get to know the Holoholo Girls better! Facebook  Instagram @holohologirls Twitter

Weekly Small Pleasures (#11)

It was a full week, but there were a few things that made it extra special. 1) Family – Even though I spent Tuesday in Honolulu with my parents going to medical appointments, it was also spent with aunties and uncles. One couple lives in Mililani and it’s been nice getting to know them throughout my mom’s medical hardships, since they lived on the continent when I was growing up. The other couple, who I consider my third pair of parents, lives in Arizona. It’s been along time since I last saw them, but I was reminded that thanks to them, I have a need for creative expression. 2) Twinsters – If you haven’t watched this heartwarming documentary, I suggest you do. I’ve already watched it twice on Netflix. Pop! 3) Nail Polish – After 40 years and hundreds of horrible do-it-yourself manicures, I’ve finally learned how to paint my nails. I always feel a lot more girly and feminine with some new nail polish, so I’ve decided to paint my nails every week. Yay! 4) Terrace House – I’m …