New Years Resolution Accomplished!

Even though the marathon didn't pan out - I did accomplish a different New Years Resolution: I got my coffee master certification at Starbucks!  It was really fun learning about all the different coffees and I definitely enjoy a cup 'o joe more than I did before.  Big Island has so many delicious local coffee varietals, so it's cool to know some basic knowledge about how roasting, growing and such works.  I might even attend the Kona Coffee Festival someday.


Kona Marathon 2012

The Kona Marathon...didn't happen!  My running buddy was sidelined with an injury so we entered the 10K instead.  Mr As friend (who lives 5 minutes from the starting line) invited us to come over Saturday night and watch the UFC fight.  It was incredibly fun.  We fished and swam and frolicked with turtles in Kona.

But, like a big dumb dummy, I woke up 30 minutes before the race started and ate a giant bowl of cereal with whole milk (after pigging out on junk food and wine the night before).  Needless to say my stomach was in a gigantic knot the entire time.  The whole hour and change was miserable.  I don't know my time/place, nor do I care.
Scratch.  Wash.  I'm calling a mulligan!

Next race, I'm half marathon-ing it and I'm waking up earlier.

Uncle Mundo and his fabulous "backyard"
could Koa's face be any sweeter?
Kona is so hot and humid, we stayed outside until it got too dark to see
We pulled our dinner from the ocean and threw it on the grill.
This is the biggest Manini I have ever seen.


Minimal Wardrobe: Who Am I Dressing?

One of the basic principles of keeping a minimal "capsule" wardrobe is establishing who you are dressing.  We all have a style - a unique image that makes us feel confident, beautiful and well put together.  In figuring out who this person is, it becomes easier to eliminate items that don't jive.  It also becomes easier to put together chic outfits without really trying, because everything in the closet should cater to your most highly prized and cultivated self-image.

I used to believe that I possessed a strong sense of personal style.  Turns out, I'm a closet schizo.  I am dressing at least 3 totally different people in one wardrobe.

Sure, my clothes need to perform a wide range of functions, but whose don't?  I work, teach, beach, run, and mother - sometimes all in the same day.  But, that doesn't mean that the style of my clothes should span the gamut from Librarian to SoCal Beach Rat.

I am having a difficult time narrowing down a description of my preferred image or style.  The fact is, I like it all.  And I feel limited in choosing just one.

So, I first thought of what I don't like so much.

  • 80s
  • flowing crop tops, colored jeans, etc
  • "sexy" (think Victorias Secret)
  • "outdoorsy" (think Keen shoes) 
  • pleated front pants
  • Victoria Beckham
  • hippie stuff
Then I thought of what I do like
  • 40s/early 50s
  • beachy/nautical
  • athletic - the comfort of warm ups/between games garb
  • structured/tailored things
  • Ivy League
  • academic (think elbow patches)
  • natural fibers
  • knitwear
  • nerd rock (think Weezer)

The most surprising part of this exercise was discovering that my ideal wardrobe isn't necessarily a reflection of all the things I love most in life.  I love Asian aesthetic...in my house.  I love Hawaiian...in my spouse.  I love punk...in my music.  I even love Renaissance...at the fair.  

Clothes should say something about us, but they don't need to say it all.  In order to avoid a closet full of craziness, it needs to be narrowed down to pieces that can interact with each other.  My closet isn't quite there, but if I can look at it through this filter, finding things that adhere to a certain aesthetic and eliminating items that don't, I will be that much closer to a small but functional wardrobe.


Minimal Wardrobe: Outerwear (jackets & coats)


  • Red winter sport coat WITH...
  • Black fleece lining (can be worn as fleece jacket)
  • Navy dry-tech running jacket with hood
  • Black wool peacoat
  • Navy blazer 
  • denim "jean" jacket
  • purple short sleeve Thai silk blazer
  • gold 3/4 sleeve Thai silk blazer
Total of 8 pieces of outerwear, although I'm not counting heavier sweatshirts even though I probably should.

3 blazers?  Arrg.  The navy one is a recent thrift store purchase.  It's styled to fit boys so I figured my sons might eventually use it and since I paid less than a dollar for it, I'm not worried about over-washing or wearing it out.  These Thai silk suits are becoming a nuisance!  I don't wear them very frequently and I could probably justify owning one...but two is starting to feel like a drag. 

Mr A voted that I get rid of the jean jacket.  Granted, I've had it since 1998, but it's a classic that never goes out of style (at least not in my mind) and I like it.  And I wear it.  Case closed.

This Columbia jacket is so multi-functional that I can barely fathom the idea of life without it.  I think it's supposed to be a raincoat, too but I always feel damp when I wear it in anything heavier than a drizzle.  Oh well, I love the functionality of the layers.  The black fleece lining is a perfect casual coat and can also serve the same purpose as a sweatshirt, which has allowed me to let go of all but one of those.

The running jacket is light and keeps the sun off my arms/keeps me warm in higher elevation weather conditions.  I don't love it, but it's only for working out.

I just got this peacoat on Ebay.  What?!  Buying things in the middle of downsizing?!  
The logic was that I didn't have any dressier coats.  I was also attracted to the fact that its 100% wool.  

Surprisingly, I don't think I'm missing any outerwear pieces (assuming the peacoat works out).  I would even like to shave it down but am having a hard time deciding where that would happen.  Blazers seems like an obvious place to start but until I get over my attachment to those suits, I'll just have to deal.


Vintage Gucci Bag: Repair or Replace?

A few year ago I inherited this vintage Gucci carry-on luggage from a family friend.

This bag has seen better days.  There are a few ink spots in the lining which, unfortunately, have stained the outside (luckily its on the bottom where its least noticeable).  The leather trim is also starting to crack and wear, especially around the piping on the sides.  It could use some leather conditioner.

Overall its a very nice bag.  I would like to make it my sole overnight bag - but, the biggest problem is the broken zipper.  Without a functioning zipper, I don't feel comfortable taking it on a plane and I find myself choosing other bags that "work" instead of this one.  So, as a member of my household, it is currently taking up space.

Details of the carnage.  Clearly, the entire zipper would need to be replaced.

I called a luggage repair shop and they quoted me around $60 to replace the zipper.  I'm sure they would do a quality job, but that's a lot of money to invest in a bag that isn't in great condition to begin with.  I don't think my sewing machine can handle leather (although I've never tried).  I could replace the zipper and sew it by hand...but I have no idea how to finish the ends!  Once I sew it in there - how do I tuck the ends of the zipper in so they look nice and neat?

Is this task beyond my prowess?  Should I at least attempt it first and then decide whether or not to take it to a professional?  I want to repair items that can be repaired rather than throwing them away and replacing them with cheap alternatives, but I also want to be frugal to a degree.  Is this bag worth it ("it" being the effort or the money)?


Care Packages - a day in the kitchen

Today is Day 10 = the last day of my fast!

To celebrate (and further indulge my obsession with food), I spent the entire morning in the kitchen, preparing lunch/dinner and making care packages for Mr As daughters.  Here's what I included:

Oregon Box:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola
Oatmeal Coconut Raisin Cookies

Hawaii Box:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola
Oatmeal Coconut Raisin Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Larabars
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins

The Hawaii box gets more stuff because a) faster delivery and b) I have less non-food things for her.

The rest of my morning was spent making

LUNCH: Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Raita
(Ikaika watched Veggie Tales this morning and not only ate the "Larry" raita, he requested a side of "Bob"!)
DINNER: Kale Quinoa Baked Quiche

I also juiced 8 more lemons ;P - just have to get through work tonight and I'm home free!


Picnic Menu Suggestions

For Fathers Day this year we've decided on hiking and a picnic, followed by Movie Under the Stars (at Waikoloa Queens Shops).  I'm super excited!

I'm trying to think of menu ideas for our picnic.  What can I prepare that would be easy to eat outdoors with small kids, but still make the event feel more special than just any afternoon at the beach?  I also want to pack some snacks for the movie.

(Mr A likes chicken or fish but doesn't like cheese)

Suggestions/recommendations happily accepted in either the comments or my inbox!!!


Cleansing! Waffles!

With all the attention I've been giving my closet lately, I failed to mention my fast.

To usher in a new decade of my life, I began The Master Cleanse on Monday.  Two week (in theory) of drinking nothing but yummy lemon-drink and flush, flush, flushing.  Yahoo!  I am currently finishing day 6.

I've done this cleanse twice before.  The first time for 13 days, the second for about 8 days with some "cheating".  So far I've been okay.  The other night I cooked for about 7 hours straight, making 9 freezer meals.  I don't know how good they will turn out because I couldn't check my work along the way, but it helped satisfy my temporary food obsession.

The end of me might be my new waffle iron.  I scored again at the thrift store today and picked up (among other awesome things) a waffle iron for $1.50!  I brought it home, spiffed it up, and set to work making my first batch of flax waffles.  The boys devoured 2 and the rest went to the freezer, waiting to be popped in the toaster on some delightfully busy morning.    

They ate Keiki Waffle Paninis for Dinner.  Did I mention I am in LOVE with the waffle iron?!


slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed

1/2 cup purple (okinawan) sweet potato puree
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 Tbs agave nectar
1 Tbs flax meal mixed with 3 Tbs water (or 1 egg white)
dash of salt

Mix everything except the bread in a food processor until its a nice, creamy paste.  Spread on half the slices of bread and top with remaining slice.  Put it in a waffle iron for 2-3 minutes or until the whole thing sticks together.

This was a huge hit.  Eating purple stuff is always cool.  There is probably enough mix for a whole loaf of bread so just make however many and store the rest in the fridge.  You can also leave the crusts on but its doesn't end up looking very waffle-like.  I made breadcrumbs from the crusts.


Minimal Closet: Sweaters

 Inventory of Sweaters:

  1. Grey Abercrombie pullover fleece
  2. Black UH hoodie
  3. grey Knox hoodie
  4. Old Navy sleeveless, no closure cardigan (light weight)
  5. Colbalt blue V-neck pullover (medium weight)
  6. Saved by the Bell long sleeve, wide neck pullover
  7. GAP fair isle zip up hoodie (heavy weight)
  8.  leopard print DKNY cozy (light weight)
  9. brown cowl neck pull over (medium weight)
  10. Teal cardigan (medium weight)

10 sweaters total and only 3 would be considered "athletic apparel".  Victory!

The UH hoodie was actually a gift for my children that just happened to fit me so I've been wearing it - but it's going to get packed away with the boys stuff at some point.  The fleece is almost threadbare and I wouldn't wear it in public so I've been debating getting rid of it.  If I had to only keep one sweatshirt it would be Knox, hands down.

Sweaters get a little more complicated.  I know that I at least need 1 light, 1 medium and 1 heavy weight sweater.  I know for sure that I need a pullover and a cardigan.  I also know that I prefer natural fibers because they regulate heat and cold better.

The lightweight cardigan needs to go.  I was all excited when I found it at the thrift store, but its just not as functional as I imagined it in my head.  I've always wanted a light little knit bolero or shrug but I probably imagined it in a different color and/or with buttons.
The Saved by the Bell top is our sister gift from last Christmas.  I can't hang onto it forever, but I'll give it until this Christmas (when I will be choosing the matching sister gifts) before donating it.
Mr A thinks I should get rid of the blue sweater but I wear it a lot.  It would need to be replaced by a shirt weight long sleeve sweater - I'm thinking something nautical (boatneck and stripes).
For being such a weird color, the hooded sweater works.  I wear it a lot and its super warm.  I don't know if I would consider it as my "cardigan" choice (it can't be dressed-up), but its not leaving my wardrobe anytime soon.

I just got this DKNY cozy on Ebay (a somewhat impulsive purchase) and I'm still on the fence about it.  I love the concept and the fabric (cashmere and silk!) but the pattern/color is bizarre.  It might have worked better in boring ole black.  I guess you take what you can get for cheap on Ebay.  Maybe I'll try making something similar if I can track down plush enough fabric.

I'm not entirely satisfied with the brown pullover because its acrylic.  But I like the color and the fit so I guess it stays until something better comes along.  This teal cardigan is a little tight (stretchy) in the body.  I would have preferred a looser fit.

Currently I am working on knitting a sweater (which I just now realized doesn't fit into my scheme so it might end up as a gift) and I have seriously debated whether I should buy or knit a cardigan.  I love this pattern for the Shapely Boyfriend Sweater from Knitty and would like to make it with a striped yoke out of merino wool.  

I almost feel like I'm going to have to start over with sweaters...


30 Years

Here it is...last night in my 20s.  It was a good decade.  In the past 10 years I have...

  • lived in 4 different states 
  • lived in 3 different countries
  • earned my bachelors degree
  • given birth to 2 children
  • dated at least 6 different guys (depending on the early 20s definition of dating)
  • married the best one ;)
  • gained new appreciation for my faith
  • lost two close family members
  • gotten off all medications
  • learned three new languages
  • voted in 2 elections
  • worked at least 10 different jobs (!)
  • filled countless pages with words
  • created countless craft projects
  • interacted with countless new people

...and, most importantly, in the past 10 years I have had a blast!  My whole life has changed!  My world view, my priorities, my everything - its so different from what it was.  I feel like I've lived at least 3 lives in such a short time span.  
I am so happy and excited about where I am right at this moment.  I don't know how I could have accomplished more in my 20s and I leave them with no regrets.  What will my 30s bring?  Stability, responsibility, maturity even?  A new kind of thrilling experience.  I wouldn't change a thing about what has delivered me to this point.  

Cheers, 20-somethings.  Its been a ball.

The Awesome Bag

Only a month remains until I board an airplane with my toddler in tow!  We have a big trip planned and I am determined to fit all our stuff into one carry-on.  Its not just that I refuse to pay checked-bag fees, I need to pack light because I'm going to  have my hands full with Koa. 
In addition to saving space, I also need multi-functional items since we will be hitting kid haunts and attending a wedding all in the same trip.  I ran into a snag with my purse.  My everyday purse is great because its handheld and cross-body, but it's also suede/leather and bulky.  Not good for summer travel.  A clutch can't fit all my diaper gear. 

I found this tutorial for The Awesome Bag.  Its reversible and the strap is adjustable.  It can be a messenger type bag for times when I need both hands (chasing down my 2 year old) or a pretty floral handbag for sit down type events.  It can also be a shoulder bag for all those other times.

brown stripe messenger style

I'm most proud of the fact that all these materials were "found".  The brown was a tablecloth at work that I rescued from imminent disposal (freegan-ed?), the ribbon came from my sister's wedding presents (3 years ago), the floral fabric has been in my possession for almost 7 years, the buttons were all recovered from old shirts.

Actually, I don't know if that makes me proud or if that makes me want to take a very discerning look at my craft storage.   Why am I holding onto this stuff in the off chance that 7 years later I will make something out of it?  This is contributing to my frustration of feeling like I have a million ideas and not actually doing any of them.   
Clutter!  ARG!  Grumble, grumble.

floral view

no closure but I don't think that's a problem because the bag is deep enough

If I had to do this over, I would start the button holes about an inch lower on the strap (illustrated below).  Worn across the body, the top of the bag is above my hip bone.  It's still possible to get on and off comfortably, but I would have liked it just a smidge longer.  I also might have made the dimensions about an inch wider/longer.  Right now its perfect for diapers, wallet and a phone - but a water bottle would be a tight squeeze.

a little too much extra at the bottom of the strap...there's always something!


Coloring & Drawing

Recently, Ikaika went from "I don't like coloring" to "give me those crayons - NOW!"  He's filling in the spaces more completely and using a variety of color (which he didn't do before).

He's also drawing faces and representations of people.  I was told these two are Autobots (the second one is Optimus Prime).

I'm so excited that he's more into drawing and coloring now.  Not only does it keep him quietly occupied, it's also getting him ready for writing.  He can write a legible "I", but he struggles with diagonal lines so he can't quite do his whole name, yet.