Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yelp Uncaged!

I have been a member for several years but I pretty much never use it.  For those who may not know yelp is a social networking site where people rate and review restaurants, shopping, nightlife, entertainment, etc.  You can search the site for any kind of business you might want nearby, and use the reviews to help decide where to go.  Anyway, Jas has also been on yelp for a while, but unlike me, she actually uses it.  So when we moved she changed over her location to Honolulu, and she got an awesome invite to an event title Uncaged at the Waikiki Zoo.  You had to RSVP and be was so popular apparently some people had to be put on a waiting list.  I was Jas's +1...yea!  So they asked for people to dress up in their best animal costumes, or in animal print clothing.  So of course, Jas and I set off to find some animal print.  When the day came, and I was all dressed, I felt like everyone would be staring on the bus!  Some boring people of course went in normal clothes, but there were some there in completely awesome costumes.  The zoo was lit up beautiful, and there were a ton of local vendors there with free samples.  We had some great food, treats and drinks.  Of course they had a best costume contest that was quite interesting also.  It was a pretty awesome event.  And I now actually use my yelp account, and look forward to future yelp events!!

you can see some of the awesome lighting
And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF)

My first film festival!  I was so excited!  I had seen the info for it and thought I'd love to go...but it wasn't till the day before it started that I decided, if I want to go, I'm going!  There were so many movies I would have loved to see.  But seeing as though it wasn't free, I figured seeing 2 or 3 would be good.  I handed a list off to Jas of a bunch of them that I was interested in.   She decided she wasn't really in the mood for reading subtitles so we settled on three movies that were already in English.  I literally loved all three.  Everyday they just got better.

Day 1- Liberal Arts
Written, directed, and starring Josh Radnor of the hit sitcom "How I Met Your Mother".  The film is about a 35 year old guy, Jesse,  completely unmotivated by his job, who returns to his alma mater to speak at his favorite professor's retirement dinner, and ends up falling for  a sophomore "mature for her age" type.  The sophomore is played by Elizabeth Olsen.  I can only imagine how it feels to grow up the younger sister of the Olsen twins, but given enough time I think she'll definitely outdo the careers of her older sisters.  She is also in the the second movie we saw, and I believe I am officially a fan.  Also in the film was Zac Efron, in the weirdest and yet most awesome role I have yet to see him in.  He played the role of Nat, a nature loving, hippy kind of guy that speaks in lots of metaphors, and ends up helping Jesse much more than he ever thought he would.

Day 2- Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
This film center around a family where the father/husband has just asked the mother/wife, Diane, for a divorce. Devastated, she decides to pick up and leave with her son and daughter (played by Elizabeth Olsen) to Woodstock to visit her mother who she hasn't seen or talked to for twenty years.  Jane Fonda plays the mother/grandmother, Grace, and let's be honest, how can you not love Jane Fonda!  If you looked up "free spirit" in the dictionary, Grace's picture would be next to it.  She lives in a house, with chickens running amok, and weed plants growing in her basement.  She entertains countless men, and sometimes paints them while they pose nude.  Diane is her straight-laced lawyer of a daughter, who eventually comes to truly find herself, and not the person she had become in her marriage.  It's a story of family, and the things that bring us together, and the things that tear us apart.  But don't misunderstand, it's not a boring, oh I've seen that before kind of film...there is a ton of "what the hell" moments, and some great acting to boot.

Day 3- Your Sister's Sister
I'm a fan of Emily Blunt, and so her being in this film made it a must see!  The film has a little of every emotion...grief, anger, depression, love, romance, warmth, and sibling rivalry.  It centers around best friends Jack and Iris (Blunt).  Iris happens to be Jack's dead brothers ex-girlfriend.  His brother, Tom, died a year ago and Jack is still very much struggling over it.  After he makes a scene at a get together honoring is brother, on the anniversary of his death, Iris tells him she is sending him away.  Her plan is to send him to her family cabin so that he can be alone, and find comfort and peace in the solitude of it.  He begs her to come too.  When Jack arrives he find Hannah, Iris's older sister, is already at the cabin, seeking to find her own peace after a difficult break-up with a girlfriend of 7 years.  After a night of drinking, and sharing, Jack and Hannah end up in bed together.  The next morning Iris arrives at the cabin as a surprise, to be there for her best friend...who she secretly is in love with.  The rest of the film is chock-full of "holy shit" moments.  You begin to simultaneously hate, and love Hannah.  And in the end, you are left with one of the oddest scenes imaginable.  

I greatly enjoyed my first film festival.  Every time I thought the next movie couldn't be any better, it was.  And, Jas and I happily learned that the food at the movie theater here, is so much better than home.  They have Pina Colada icees!  We were in heaven.  I will definitely be there for the fall festival!

I leave you with a pic of one of the movies I'm looking forward to seeing soon.  I think I mentioned before that I'm a HUGE Johnny Depp fan!

And the adventure continues...
Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 21st

April 21st is not the easiest of days for me...but this year, as I expected, it was even more difficult.  I'm not used to being this far on these kinds of days, or at least not being this far without knowing that I'll be home within a day or two.  As always, it was helpful to be able to see my parents by the grace of technology.  I spent the day (and the night before) extremely heavy hearted, for the same reason I have been heavy hearted on this day for the past 9 years.  April 21, 2003 my family lost one of the most important women in my life, the woman who, aside from my mother, has influenced me the most.  I considered her my second mother, but by blood she was my aunt, by choice, she was my madrina (godmother).  She died after an incredible battle with that disease we all hate...cancer.  She was one of the strongest people I have ever known.  Growing up, if I wasn't being told I looked or acted like my mother was telling me that I inherited my aunts attitude.  I like to think that's true, because she was a firecracker...and it will never cease to give me comfort that I have even the smallest amount of her in me.  We had an incredible bond.  And I hold so many memories of her close to my heart.  The most memorable probably being when I was young and had to get a spinal tap.  It was the most intense pain I had ever felt, and probably have ever felt to this point.  My parents found it too difficult to be in the room with me...but my madrina, she told them she could handle it, and she held it together for me.  I remember screaming in pain, and trying to communicate to her how I could barely breathe because of all the nurses around holding me down, and seeing the tears streaming from her eyes, her realizing what I was saying, and screaming at everyone to let me makes me chuckle now.  I remember going to Puerto Rico with her, my godsister/cousin, and my godson...all the incredibly beautiful moments we had there.  I remember when I was little and had to get blood drawn, which was pretty much all the time, and her telling me that if I didn't cry she would give me a dollar...I always got my dollar!  And, I remember when she was so bad that she was bed ridden, and I was getting ready for my senior prom.  I remember standing on a chair so she could see my dress and her smiling ever so slightly.  She died just a few months before my high school graduation, and I can't put into words how heartbreaking it was for me not to see her face there.  There's no pictures from my graduation, and thinking back I can't think of any reason for that besides the fact that it was so hard to take pictures at such an important event in my life, when one of the most important people weren't there.

They say time heals all wounds but I don't think that's exactly true...time just makes the hurt a little easier to deal with.  There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss her.  But my life was better, and is better, because she was in it.  And although there's so much that happens in my life that I wish she was here for, to give me that smile of hers, or to tell me she loves me, or that she's proud of me...I know that she is, and that brings a bit of comfort to my heart.  She lived her life not caring what others thought of her, and I'd like to think that she's looking down on me, smiling as I do the same.  

Madrina, Mommy & me

Over two years ago I was having an incredibly down day...I missed her so incredibly, that I tried to put pen to paper as I remembered the day she passed.  It may not be perfect, but it is real...

Some days are still harder than others

I can almost not remember it like it was yesterday
the phone woke me
I didn't understand who could be calling at that hour
but I answered
on the other line was an uncalm calm
::she's gone::
:who's gone:
I didn't understand
or I didn't believe
but either way I had to ask
had to be sure
but she was gone
and the little girl in the grown woman I was supposed to be
came tumbling out of me
I didn't know how to carry that heavy load..
the weight was unbearable
and I didn't think I could climb out of bed under it
let alone walk down the hall without collapsing
so I stumbled as far as my small body would allow
to the door next to mine
and the savior that slept quietly on the other side
he would take the weight for me
I knew this as sure as I knew that she was gone
I opened the door
trying to formulate some semblance of words he could understand
I'm not sure what came out
but I know that in his understanding the weight shifted from me to him
he told me it would be ok
and I watched as he wavered under the weight of it
I could see the little boy inside of the man he was supposed to be,
but the mad fought back
he walked down the hall
to the room neither of us wanted to enter
to try and gently place that huge weight
on the shoulders of our mother
her cries pierced my heart like a million  knives
and it bled out
desperately trying to make its way to her
to fill the holes in her own heart
caused by the weight of the world that had just come crumbling down.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I am my parents child

Growing up I couldn't count how often I was told that I looked just like my mother.  I relished this fact, because for me she has been and always will be the most beautiful woman in my world.  There were times, rare as they were, that I was told I looked like my dad too.  I didn't mind this fact, he's a handsome devil, but I never saw it.  Looking in the mirror I saw my mother.  I remember seeing a picture of her when she was younger and asking if it was me, that's how much I looked like her.  This, along with so much of how I thought and acted that I was told was like my mom helped create a picture in my mind that I was so my mother's daughter.  Years later, coming into my own as a woman, in college and the following years, I came to realize how very much like my father I am.  I also realized later into my teens and my twenties, the parts of me that physically resemble my my face shape and my nose.  Make no mistake about it, I am my mother's twin, but I started to think about how wrong I was, how in truth I was so my father's daughter.

With this move I've realized, with no doubt, I am both my mother, and my father's daughter.  They somehow passed on the best (and sometimes the worst) of them to me .  And I am blessed to realize and appreciate that while they're still around.  I find it amazing that so much of what I do here are things I subconsciously learned from my parents.  I was never a cook, and I can't say I ever worried about cleaning as much as I should...but here, in my own place, I find myself acting just as I have seen my mother act for years.  From never leaving a dirty kitchen, to setting the oven timer every time I cook, to using bleach for everything, so much of her is in me.  And my dad...I see him when I jump up on the counter to screw in a lose nail, or when I obsessively check to make sure the doors are locked, or when I can't do anything without music playing.  Sure, there's always the other side, like the fact that I nearly always set off the smoke detectors like my mom, or how I am far from the friendliest morning person like my dad...but I appreciate it all.  I'm so thankful that even when I didn't realize it, they taught me so much just by being beautiful examples, not only of parents, but of human beings.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Month

Waikiki Aquarium

line drying
Today marks one month of officially being month and two weeks since leaving home.  I find it so hard to believe it's been that long, and yet I don't believe it's only been that long.  I can't say we're completely set up here yet, as we're still looking for jobs, and haven't made "friends" if you will, but like we like to joke, that's the easy part!  I have complete faith those things will come.  It's a catch 22 because we're here in paradise with no jobs, so it's like, we should enjoy it right?!  But then there's the flip side of the coin, and since we don't have an income yet, we're money conscious, because while we flew caution to the wind, quit our jobs, and left everything we knew, we're still very responsible and are not about to run through our savings in a month!

park day
I will mention I've had several very rough days, I expected them...but it makes them no easier.  Those days you really just miss your family.  I know I've done this for the right reasons, and I know I'll never regret having done it, though I would have if I didn't...but knowing all of that does not help the longing I feel for my loved ones.  But I've lived with my parents for 27 years with the exception of college, if I didn't have down days I would be shocked.  And yes, I still talk to them everyday, most days I see them through the grace of technology, and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

Things have definitely been coming along.  Our apartment is so awesome, and homie.  The neighborhood is so great, there's so much so close!  We have a local bank account, and new fancy checks.  My car is registered, and has Hawaii tags might I add...if that's not a sign of "holy shit I live here" I don't know what is!  We have monthly bus passes!  We walk or take the bus almost everywhere!  We've gotten several job call backs, and have had interviews, or have upcoming interviews!  Life is definitely happening.
watermelon snow ice

And of course we have made time to enjoy the fact that we live on this beautiful island.  We finally made it to a place I read about in the Hawaiian Air magazine on the plane called Frost City.  It was so important that I did not forget about this place that I ripped the page out of the magazine!  They serve something called snow ice there, they explain it by saying it's ice cream + shaved ice...and may I say it's like a little slice of heaven!  I have no doubt we will be frequenting that place.  We also made a trip to the notorious north shore to enjoy the beach...which will be followed by many more I'm sure.  We went to a small local bar just around the corner from our apartment  named 8 Fat Fat 8 where they sing karaoke and everyone was crazy friendly, including the bartender and servers.  I beat Jas at pool for like the fourth time...but who's counting! We went to a pretty awesome gay bar in Waikiki (did I mention my roommie's gay, not that that matters, but gay bars will definitely be in our social scene so get used to it!) where we met Nick and Keith the bartenders, and I had a completely random conversation with a completely random tall fella named Blake whom I loved, if only because his name was Blake and I love me some Blake Shelton!  I also was pretty much the only one dancing in the bar and got a shout out by our new buddy Nick!  This was also where Jas hit a bull-eye playing darts and got extremely hype.  I should mention that that was on a Monday, and was followed by my first Hawaii hangover Tuesday morning. We went to a local park and enjoyed a beautiful day while reading a magazine sitting on the grass.  We also went to a free day at the Waikiki Aquarium, my second visit and Jas's first.  And we went to our first film festival, which I will be posting about separately because it deserves its own post.  And may I say I'm still cooking, and better all the time!

North Shore

North Shore


lettuce & carrot salad; parmesan & bacon penne pasta

roasted potatoes, pork chop & lettuce and carrot salad

french toast bacon & potatoes

french fries and chicken strips

after run smoothie
And finally, I am back to hitting the pavement!  Running almost everyday for two weeks now.  Getting adjusted to running in the heat and the sun.  And, Jas is jogging too!  I've been eating better, and she's jogging...whudda thunk it!

Life is not perfect, but it sure is beautiful.

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Greener me...going no "poo" etc.

For whatever reason, coming here has sparked a desire in me to become part treehugger if you will, or rather go a little greener.  I'm not sure what it is exactly, perhaps because this place is so incredibly beautiful that it makes you want to try a little harder to keep it that way.  Maybe a little bit of treehugger was always in me and didn't know how to make it's way out.  Either way, here I am are some ways I've gone greener:

1. People hang clothes to dry here a lot.  Our apartment came with a washer, but no dryer, but we do have clothes we are hanging!  We did this a little at home too so it's not completely different for me.

2. I have this handy dandy water bottle that has it's own filter, so I just use that.  We don't have any plastic water bottles at our apartment.

3. We use reusable bags.  We have 4 at the moment, I'm sure we'll end up buying more.  But, we take these to go food shopping, to go to Walmart, Target, wherever.  Every now and then we've forgotten but we're trying to get into the habit of grabbing them before we leave if we're walking or taking the bus.  And I keep two in my car just in case we're driving somewhere and forget to grab them.

4.  I drive less!  Yay!  We walk a lot, and have monthly bus passes, so the only time we drive is if we're going to the other side of the island, or we're going shopping for something pretty big and heavy, or if we're crunched for time and have to be somewhere fast.

5.  We never turn lights on during the day.  We wait until we absolutely have to when it's dark.  And then, we only turn them on if we're in that specific room, and we turn them off when we leave a room.  We also do the same with fans, unless it's crazy hot we don't turn them on, we just keep the windows open.  And if we have to turn on fans, it's only during the day.

6.  We unplug everything.  No leaving computers plugged in overnight, etc.  And we do have surge protectors also.

Additionally, I have been so interested in make at home things.  I did a ton of research on this no "poo" method of shampooing.  And I finally decided to take the plunge.  It's been almost a week now.  Basically instead of shampoo and conditioner I make my own, with baking soda and water for shampoo and apple cider vinegar and water for conditioner.  It's crazy cheap, and I've read so many success stories that I just decided, why not!  Also, Jas and I plan to make our own hot oil hair treatments, along with some other things.  Of course I'll be posting about how these things go!  Cross your fingers for us.

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Master Eater...turned Master Chef

So, I've always been relatively small, but that says nothing about how I eat.  Those who know me know my slender, athletic build has pretty much nothing to do with my eating habits, and a whole lot to do with my genes (thanks to my folks!).  But, with the move I hoped I would be able to both learn how to eat better, which will be helped along by Jas, who eats about 100 times better than me (I should mention the desire to eat better has zero to do with the way I look, and everything to do with health- I gotta try and be healthier now so I have less issues later), and how to cook!  In other words, become a Master Chef!  Or something like that.  I never really cooked much...well besides breakfast which is my favorite meal of the day, which I've been able to do for quite some time!  But the rest I knew would be a challenge.  I wanted to learn how to cook like my mommy...and my madrina (godmother), and my abuela (grandmother)...because those are the three women who influenced me the most when it comes to food.  So, I've been working at it.  I must say I don't think I've been doing too bad.  I'll be all ready to cook when my parents come to visit!

Before I show you the proof though, I must mention, our first couple food shopping outings left me slightly disappointed.  Everywhere we looked, unfortunately I saw no Goya products!!  Which meant no Adobo amongst other things.  To a Puerto Rican no Adobo is like chopping off a hand!!  Ok, maybe not that serious, but still, I was so sad about it.  The first night I seasoned meat it wasn't that same smell I loved...something was definitely missing.  Then on our first trip to Foodland (local supermarket) I found a few Goya products!!  I about jumped for joy...among them was Adobo.  It was a small bottle and it was not cheap, but still, there it was!  Then our way home the universe showered me with even more kindness!  A gem of a little spot called Mercado de la Raza just a few blocks away from our apartment.  It's a small store, but everywhere I looked there was Goya!  And, rice pots!  And maltas!  And nearly everything!  It was like a little slice of heaven.  We walked out sipping our pineapple sodas as I called my mom as giddy as a schoolgirl!

Here are some pics to prove I have been putting in work in the kitchen...first up, pancakes and bacon.  The first pic is fluffier pancakes, the way Jas likes them...the second is flat and crunchy, like I like em!

Next up, chicken breast, homemade fries and corn:

A quick breakfast for me:

Tacos!  with chicken, corn, black beans and cheese!

French toast, probably my fave, it's sad that I can almost eat a whole loaf by myself...when I used to make this for my brother and I we just about did that.  With it I made potatoes and bacon: 

And, baked potatoes with cheese and bacon (can you tell we love bacon?!), pork chops and corn.  I must say I enjoyed this one.  I'm learning that I'm a bit of a texture eater.  The bacon made this for me, that little hint of crunchy topped everything off.

Of course everything doesn't always go smoothly for me in the kitchen, but I'm definitely learning.  And I'm also learning to eat a little better...Jas has made me eat spinach, which did not go over so well I think because it was cooked,  And broccoli...ok, so I cheated and had a little cheese on the steps!

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...