Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha again, Wednesday friends! I hope this Wednesday finds you happy and crafty! As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. This week Lindsey issued a challenge to wear something thrifted. I did that, and I also gave myself a challenge: do my hair differently. I realized after participating in WIWW for several weeks that I have something of a uniform that I wear daily: jeans, flip flops, curly hair and a tank top or short-sleeve shirt. Boooring. So my goal for the next few weeks is to switch things up! I also decided to try the collage thing again this week... what do you think?

Sweater: New York & Company, thrifted
Jeans: Rock and Republic, Pearl Harbor NEX
Petal drop necklace: The Pleated Poppy
Earrings: Hickam AFB BX

Gray tank top: American Eagle
White tank top: Target
Jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Nordstrom
Necklace (New! I love it!): Jules Ceramics, Etsy

Oh, Baby: Adorable Little Knitting Projects

For the first time ever, I know several people who are pregnant! I was so thrilled to have an excuse to finally try my hand at some baby booties and hats, and just as I expected they were fun and adorable knits.

Pumpkin hats! Of course babies in Hawaii don't really need knit hats, but I figured these would make perfect photo ops for fall babies. (Ravelry pattern page)

I really like this baby blanket. The pattern was easy to memorize, and I loved that I was able to watch TV or a movie while knitting and not have to worry about getting distracted. (Ravelry pattern page)

I adore these booties, especially the green pair. It turned out to be much harder than I expected to find those teeny little buttons, and four of the same color was even more difficult. So the blue booties ended up with plain ol' white buttons. (Ravelry pattern page)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Inspiration: My Favorite Color

I've really enjoyed participating in the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop these past few weeks. I like how the prompts get me thinking about things I already love, or things I dream about having or doing in the future. I really had fun with this week's prompt: "Your Favorite Color." I have lots of favorite colors for lots of different things; for instance, my favorite color for home decor is red, and my favorite color for clothes is pink. But right now my overall favorite color is anything that falls into the blue-green category, from turquoise to teal.

These are a few of my favorite things in my favorite color. (And by the way, I had already painted my toenails that color before learning of this week's prompt!)

Here's a sampling of the blue-green shirts in my closet.

This picture of my beautiful mom was taken at Bellows on the east side of Oahu when my family visited last October. Check out all that turquoise water behind her.

This is Navarre Beach on the Florida Panhandle. We lived in Navarre for a year right after college when Jarrod was stationed at Hurlburt Field. It's the best beach I've ever been to and it's hard to imagine a better one, which is saying a lot since some of the beaches I've visited are on Dr. Beach's Top 10 List. I'd call it an undiscovered gem; it's uncrowded, offers great seashell-hunting grounds, and has powder-soft white sand and clear turquoise water. Sigh...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: "Moloka'i"

"Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert
Published in 2003
My rating: 5 out of 5

It's always a nice surprise when a book turns out to be a lot better than I figured it would be. "Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert is a novel about the Kalaupapa leper quarantine colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. I didn't really know much about leprosy and I had never heard of Kalaupapa or even Molokai before moving to Hawaii, but if you know about those things then you wouldn't expect "Moloka'i" to be pleasant reading. I found it immensely enjoyable, however, because it's not just a novel of leprosy patients being ripped away from their families and sent to a primitive camp on a desolate part of Molokai. It is all that and more, but through the plot -- which at times is heart-wrenching -- comes the theme of finding joy, fulfillment, friendship, love and community despite all odds.

We follow the heroine of "Moloka'i," Rachel Kalama, from the time she's taken from her family and sent to live out her "death sentence" at Kalaupapa through her childhood and on. We fall in love with Rachel when we meet her, precocious and outgoing at age 7, and shadow her as she journeys through life, love and many losses at Kalaupapa. Rachel's form of leprosy is less severe than most and we're able to see the transformation of Kalaupapa, Hawaii, and the world through her eyes. Her life is both ordinary and extraordinary.

Hidden within the page-turning plot is a history of leprosy (aka Hansen's disease) and readers get to meet Father Damien, Kalaupapa's first and most revered patriarch. We're also with Rachel as she sees the glow of electricity on Kalaupapa for the first time, marvels at her first "talking picture," watches the first "aeroplane" fly over Kalaupapa and witnesses smoke billowing from the neighboring island of Oahu on December 7, 1941. "Moloka'i" also gives readers a history of the development of Oahu from a sleepy agricultrual community to the bustling vacation destination it is today, a glimpse into some fascinating Hawaiian legends, customs and culture, and even a look at the clash, and perhaps melding, of religions as Christianity made its way to the islands (did I mention one of the main characters is a nun?).

"Moloka'i" was a pleasure to read. Rachel's story, though fictitious, is based in fact and I learned a lot while reading Brennert's novel. I had already planned for us to take the mule tour down the pali (cliffs) to Kalaupapa whenever we get around to visiting Molokai and now the trip will have a whole new meaning to me. Instead of simply imagining the town populated by ravaged leprosy patients on death's doorstep, I'll be able to picture all the pure and simple living that went on there and for that I'm grateful.

Jarrod and I visited the Bishop Museum in Honolulu last weekend (it focuses on Hawaiian history) and this picture really helped me imagine the setting of the novel.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha, Wednesday friends! This week I decided to try something a little different to display my pictures. I admit I still have a lot to learn about blogging (like how to make my pictures bigger than the "large" option on Blogger and how to get them to appear less grainy) but I had fun making these little collages and I think they look cute! As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for WIWW. (Speaking of The Pleated Poppy, I finally ordered a petal drop necklace from the shop and I ADORE it.)

Ruffle tank top: JC Penney
White tank top: Target
Jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Nordstrom
Earrings: (Come back tomorrow for a better picture on my Inspiration Workshop post): Kohl's
Bag: Target

Pink tank top: Old Navy
White tank top: Target
Jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Nordstrom
Necklace: The Pleated Poppy

This week Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy posed a challenge to WIWW-ers to mix things up with an item they hadn't worn in a while. I bought this pink tank top in the spring and only wore it once under a sweater. It's a bit tight and I'm not sure I'll be wearing it as an outer layer again. But it was nice to change things up with a wardrobe item that hasn't seen daylight in a while. I've got plenty of those in my overflowing closet, and I'm going to try to incorporate them into my daily outfits more in the next few weeks (and all the ones I can't incorporate go in the donate pile!).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Inquiring Minds

Welcome to another edition of Inquring Minds, in which I tell you the answers to some of the random questions that have popped into my mind recently.

1. What kind of fur is Afghan President Hamid Karzai's signature hat made of?: It's called a qaraqul (a.k.a. karakul) and made from the fur of the qaraqul breed of sheep, which are common in Central Asia. The hats aren't made from just any sheep, though, but rather are fashioned from the supersoft fur of newborn qaraqul lambs or aborted lamb fetuses. (photo source)

2. What does "lazaretto" mean? (A word I encountered in the novel I'm reading right now, "Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert.): According to dictionary.com, a lazaretto is "a hospital for those with contagious dieseases, especially leprosy" or "a building or ship set apart for quarantine purposes."

3. What exactly is happening when you crack your joints (i.e. back, neck, knuckles)?: The web has a variety of (sometimes conflicting) information on this topic. Some of the more reputable websites I looked at suggested that cracking joints is rarely harmful and that the cause of the popping sounds is not completely understood. Some theories are that the noise comes from ligaments, or that it's the sound of nitrogen gas bubbles in the joint's fluid, or that it's two bones clicking back into place after being temporarily separated. All sound gross to me. The only area I ever intentionally crack is my back, after a night of sleeping like a log or a long day of sitting in a chair. And it's almost always a pleasure. Why is this? Most sites suggest that pressure in the joints is relieved upon cracking.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pucker Up With Li Hing Mui

One of the best things about Hawaii is that its population is a mishmash of cultures, and I love how that spills over into the food. There have been a good many things I've tried here that I've never even seen on the menu elsewhere. I love a good margarita, and the best one I've ever had is the li hing mui margarita from a restaurant here called Mexico.

Li hing mui powder is made from dried plums and has a tart, sweet and ever so slightly salty taste. It's often served with something sweet (I particularly like the li hing mui-dusted gummy worms, although I have to admit that I didn't enjoy it sprinkled on pineapple) and it creates a perfect balance of pucker-up and sweetness. But it also tastes good by itself. See all that powder on the rim of my glass? I savored every last morsel. Many tourists stick with tropical drinks like mai tais and blue Hawaiis on their vacations to the fiftieth state. But if you're visiting and come across a place offering a li hing mui margarita, order it and thank me later!

Furry Friday

I haven't put up a picture of Lily in a while, so I thought I'd share this one from yesterday with you. TGIF!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Inspiration: Front Porch

Aloha! I'm participating again this week in the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop, and this week's prompt is "the front porch." I've always dreamt of having a house with a gorgeous wrap-around front porch. It'll have a swing, some rocking chairs, a comfy rug for Conan to lay on and plenty of flowers. It'll play host to jack-o-lanterns in the fall, cups of cocoa drunk under a cozy blanket in the winter, drips of ketchup and mustard when the grill comes out in the spring and plenty of red, white and blue bunting in the summer. I love to be outside, and my porch will be a place to read, relax and share laughter with friends and family. Right now we have no porch to speak of, and the backyard is a haven for mosquitoes and ants. So for the moment, my welcoming wrap-around porch is just a fantasy.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Hello all! My week has been pretty uneventful. I'm working on a few cute craft projects and reading a really good novel, "Moloka'i." I saw the movie "The Help" with a friend last week; I read the book long enough ago that I wasn't spending the entire movie picking out every single difference from the literary version (a lesson learned with "Harry Potter") and I thorougly enjoyed it! As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy this week for What I Wore Wednesday.

Top: Old Navy
Jeans: Silver
Necklace: Bead for Life

Ruffle top: Colour Works, Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange
Jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Nordstrom
Earrings: Kohl's

Beaded tank top: American Rag, Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange (clearance!)
Shorts: American Eagle

Top: Kohl's
Shorts: American Eagle
Bracelet and earrings: Bealls Florida

Top: Kohl's
Jeans: Rock and Republic, Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange
Headband: Made by me!

We've Been Framed

The weekend before last, we did a photo shoot with our friend and neighbor, Li. She's got her own photography company (Total Li Photography) and takes beautiful photos. My skills aren't even near to being in the same league as Li's, but someday I'd love to get there. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite pictures with you. They were all taken on the Air Force base where we live. I bought a Groupon a few months ago for a 16x20 photo canvas, and since I wanted a picture from the shoot to use for the canvas I asked Li to take lots of zoomed-out, artsy pictures of us rather than just portraits. I love the results!

(This tree appears in the movie "Pearl Harbor"!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Weekend: Chinatown to the North Shore

Happy Monday! Jarrod and I had a really fun Hawaiian weekend and I thought I'd share some pictures with you.

Friday night we went over to our neighbor base, Pearl Harbor, to see country singer Chris Cagle perform. We'd seen him once before (a few years ago at the Beulah Sausage Festival when we were living in Florida) but this time was even better.

We went to Honolulu's Chinatown on Saturday for lunch and a stroll. We ate at a place I've been wanting to try forever, Little Village Noodle House. Yum!

Yesterday we spend the day at the North Shore. Our afternoon started with sandwiches from Storto's Deli in Haleiwa (pronounced Hollay-AY-vuh), which I first read about on this blog. We got our sandwiches to go and ate them in the car overlooking the ocean.

Then we went to Waimea Valley, an 1,800-acre park containing Waimea Falls and an expansive botanical garden. We didn't wear our swimsuits so we couldn't get in, but next time we'll dress appropriately and take pictures under the falls.

We ended our North Shore day by driving up to the northern side of Ka'ena Point and hunting for shells and sea glass. What a fantastic day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Inquiring Minds

I'm a very curious person by nature and always find myself turning to either my wise husband or the infinite knowledge of the internet to answer my (admittedly random) queries. So I thought it would be fun to have a recurring feature on the blog in which I tell you some of the things I've looked up lately and the answers I found.

  • What kind of white wine is best for cooking?: (Googled on my handy-dandy new smartphone while staring blankly at the overwhelming wine aisle at the store.) The answers varied widely, but it seemed the most common choice is sauvignon blanc. I can't argue -- it was delicious and much better than the pretend "cooking wine" I used in the past.

  • Why do alcoholic products always get placed in those long, skinny paper bags when you check out at the store?: (Wondered at the checkout when I was buying my sauvignon blanc.) Many people suggested it has to do with the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. No one can see what kind of drink you have hiding behind the brown paper. The police are supposed to have probable cause to search your paper bag, so theoretically you could get away with violating an open container law.

  • What's the definition of "brinksmanship?" (Heard in a President Obama speech, referring to Congress and the debt ceiling debate): "The art or practice of pushing a dangerous situation or confrontation to the limit of safety especially to force a desired outcome," according to Merriam-Webster. Ah. Makes perfect sense.

  • Where is the new fall TV show "Terra Nova" filmed?: (Wondered when we saw a commercial for it and the scenery greatly resembled Hawaii, where we currently reside.) Not Hawaii! Queensland, Australia. I had no idea it was so scenic!

  • What is gout?: Gout is a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid. It most commonly affects the joints in the feet. So of course...

  • What is uric acid?: From MedlinePlus, a website by the National Institutes of Health: "Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are found in some foods and drinks such as liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, beer, and wine. Most uric acid dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys, where it passes out in urine."

  • What is the HTML code for a bulleted list?: Answer found on this blog.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Furry Friday

Lily loves to sit on the top of the couch and look out the window. It's also her favorite place for dozing in the sun.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Inspiration: Gardening

This week's prompt in the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop is gardening. I have always loved gardens. My mom is an amazing gardener and she learned the skill from her mother, who had an absolutely exquisite garden. Unfortuantely, it doesn't appear that I've inherited their green thumbs. For now, my "garden" consists of a pot of pink petunias and a window box of lavender impatiens. Eventually, though, I would love to have a huge, stunning garden. I want a place to sit, a bird bath and a water feature, some shade and some sun, some flowers neatly contained in pots and cute containers and others grown a bit wild. I'll have plenty of snapdragons, peonies and daisies -- my favorite flowers -- and some hydrangeas for my mom. It will be the perfect place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or escape in the pages of a book in the afternoon sun. Sigh... The following pictures are ones from which I would definitely draw inspiration when planning my own garden someday.

This is a tiny piece of my mom's gorgeous garden.

This is my favorite picture of the week.





I love these herb markers from Etsy!


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