2/27 – 3/6: mochi, sushi, girls’ day, and calligraphy

The past nine days have been busy! I worked seven out of the nine days and only had last Sunday and today off. However, “off” means only off from work, as Sundays are football game days, which means I’m at the field for about five hours, leaving me just a few waking hours to have fun (aka time to myself) between or after having to be a responsible adult/Mom. I try to practice my lettering at the field, but the position of my hand and the size of my book on my lap makes it quite frustrating to get quality practice in.

So here’s some pics from this past week, starting with the best mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo. My husband had to go to Hilo for the day last Saturday to deal with some tenant issues so he brought back the yummiest of treats for us… mochi stuffed with grapes, mandarin oranges, strawberries, and pears!


On Monday night, I took the managers out for a dual birthday celebration (two of the managers had February birthdays). We went to Doraku in Kaka’ako, which is one of my favorite restaurants to go to! Here’s a sample of some of the food and drink we enjoyed:


From the upper left corner going clockwise: Rising Sun cocktail (sake, plum wine, juices and rimmed with li hing mui powder) and a shot of Ozeki nigori sake, Spicy Crunchy Trio with only spicy tuna (my new FAVORITE!!!!!), Honey Toast, Ozeki nigori sake, Brownie Tempura, Tofu Poke, Bread Pudding (we got two of these huge bread pudding desserts for free since we were celebrating two birthdays), and East Meets West rolls. Along with all this yumminess, we also ordered Chicken Karaage, Tuna Tataki, Beef Tataki, Edamame, Garlic Steak, and various sushi rolls. Oh, and I really liked what was written on the hashi (chopsticks) wrapper: “Doraku in Japanese means ‘the road to happiness.’ DO means road or path and RAKU means happiness or pleasure. We are committed to live up to our name and hope you find happiness here as well!”

On Wednesday, I received a package of goodies from a calligrapher I met on Periscope. I sent him a predetermined payment and trusted him to put together an arsenal of calligraphy “toys” good for a beginner. Boy did he please! I received a couple of oblique pens, a handful of straight pens (including one that I believe I’m supposed to fill with ink… kind of like a fountain pen?), tons of various style nibs – broad point, French, modern, etc., and a package of walnut crystals to make walnut ink with. What I love the most is the hand written letter he calligraphed for me live on Periscope (although I’m so bummed I missed it) and included with the package. I will do a post on this later when I have a chance.

Thursday was Girls’ Day, or Hinamatsuri, and I had a blast (insert sarcastic emoji) going to SIX stores trying to buy traditional pink and white mochi for the residents at the Assisted Living Facility that I work at. I easily could’ve pre-ordered the mochi from this one place (Nisshodo) in town, but I did not want to drive all.the.way. to town from the Westside just to have to drive back to Central Oahu for work. But after my adventurous morning, I decided that next year, it actually may be easier and less time consuming to drive all.the.way. to town and back.

Nisshodo Candy Store - Honolulu, HI, United States. Chi Chi Dango (aka pink & white "milk dumplings, $4.75/lb): Sweet, soft & chewy!

Photo courtesy of Yelp

We bought our girls some pineapple coconut balls and colored sweet rice treats for Girls’ Day and they received packages from both sets of Grandparents full of treats from Maui (strawberry mochi, pink arare, puffed colored rice, etc.) and the cutest shirts and pins ever from Hilo!

IMG_0093 (1)

The Life is Wabi-Sabi pins came with an explanation about Wabi-Sabi: “Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese view of life that finds beauty in things that are imperfect, humble and simple, ordinary and unrefined. It is a way of living that peacefully accepts the natural cycle of life. Everything ages, nothing lasts forever, and sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Embrace the Wabi-Sabi concept and discover that life is “Purr-fectly Imperfect.”

That night, I had a chance sacrificed sleep to play with my new calligraphy goodies. I tried out the wooden oblique holder and two nibs: John Heaths Telephone Pen 0278F nib and a French Baignol and Farjon No. 803 nib. Here’s a pic of my drill attempts (note: it was VERY late at night and I was practically falling asleep while writing, but I just HAD to try out my new goodies):


After a long day of work on Friday and a barbecue with some friends for dinner, I retreated up to my room to write a little. That night, I didn’t feel like doing drills, so I just let my hand go and do what it wanted. I had to wake up early the next morning to go to work, so I had to cut it short, but here’s what my pen did when I just wrote without thinking too much:


Notice how I couldn’t even come up with what to write, so I just wrote the obvious… name, “I just wanna write!”, alphabet, date, and the materials I was using at that moment in time. Talk about lack of creativity! Oh, and I thought I’d take a shot of my working area as I thought it looked kind of like a beautiful mess.

I usually don’t work Saturdays, so after work yesterday, I was just too tired to do anything other than absorb inspiration from Periscope and Instagram.

So there you have it. The last nine days of my life in short. After writing this, I’m thinking that maybe it is easier to post more frequently than to try and compose one long post like this??? Well, we’ll see…



a to z: r is for requested recipes (coconut oil popcorn and spam musubi)

I’ve received requests for my coconut oil popcorn recipe and my spam loving friend over at Willow’s Corner requested my spam musubi recipe.

20140421popcornI forgot I already posted the coconut oil popcorn recipe here. Enjoy!

As for the spam musubi recipe… I didn’t get around to making  it this past weekend (we had three Easter parties and didn’t volunteer to take spam musubi to any of them).

Like my coconut oil popcorn recipe, I still haven’t figured out how to insert those pretty recipe cards (if anyone is willing to teach me, please teach away! Also couldn’t figure out how to remove the number “12” and continue numbering below the pictures – tips welcome!)

Spam Musubi (makes 12 rectangle 1-serving musubis – 24 square half-serving ones if you cut them in half)


  • 1 can Spam (regular if you want full fat with full flavor, lite if you want less fat with decent flavor)
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 6 full squareish sheets nori (cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1/3 cup shoyu
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • furikake (optional)
  • spam musubi mold (see Momofukufor2‘s pictures below for utilizing the spam can as a musubi mold – ingenious!)


  1. Cup spam into 12 equal pieces.
  2. Fry on medium-high in a non-stick pan until browned and crisp on both sides.
  3. While frying, mix up shoyu and brown sugar (this is your homemade teriyaki sauce).
  4. When spam is brown and crisp on both sides, add in shoyu-sugar mixture and turn down to low.
  5. Simmer on low until shoyu-sugar mixture is thick and sticky, making sure each piece of spam is evenly saturated in the sticky goodness.
  6. Assembly time (see Momofukufor2‘s pictures below) – Lay the nori shiny side down and place mold in the middle of the nori.
  7. Scoop out some rice and add to bottom of mold – just enough to create a thin layer on the nori (can be adjusted depending on how you prefer your rice:spam ratio).
  8. Push down rice (lightly sprinkle furikake on rice, if preferred).
  9. Place 1 piece of your sticky sweet Spam on top of rice (lightly sprinkle more furikake, if preferred).
  10. Add more rice (equal to first layer) and push down again.
  11. Holding top layer of rice down, slide mold up, releasing the musubi from the mold.

  13. Tightly wrap remaining nori around the musubi, slightly wetting end of nori before closing it up (to help it stick).
  14. Cut in half, if preferred (perfect size for snacking or for little kiddos).
  15. Serve right away or wrap individually in plastic wrap to take to the beach, hiking, or work. Enjoy!


A to Z Challenge: R


a to z: o is for ono junk food

via Pinterest


Oh this is easy

Junk food junkie in me

I’m Queen of the junk food

Feeding my mood

Lover of ono kine grindz, you see?


Be it salty or sweet

Or jerkied meat

Chocolate is tops

Add salt and time stops

If it’s chewy I admit defeat.


Coke, Skittles, Haribo gummy bears

Chips, arare, junk food from fairs

Brownie corners, Jelly Bellys

Scotchmallows from See’s

Pickle mango, li hing mui, nothing left to share!


  • A to Z Challenge: O
  • Daily Prompt: Junk Food Junkie – What’s your biggest junk food weakness? Tell us all about it in its sugary, salty glory.
  • Weekly Writing Challenge: Time for Poetry – This week we invite you to write a post – in verse or in prose – inspired by poetry.

a to z: j is for (mellow) jelly belly



Jelly Belly jelly beans

Gotta be Jelly Belly

Texture no other can beat

Flavors no other can beat

Bubble Gum, Tutti-Fruitti, Watermelon, Top Banana, Cotton Candy, 7UP

Oh how I miss you Caramel Apple

Get outta my box, Buttered Popcorn and Toasted Marshmallow

Bite um in half


Be mellow

  • A to Z Challenge: J
  • Daily Prompt: Have You Never Been Mellow? – After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?
  • Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty – No rules. Just stick to the word count — no more, no less than fifty words.

a to z: c is for coconut oil

Over the past two months, I have become addicted to coconut oil. I admit it… I’m a coconut oil-aholic. I turn to coconut oil for pulling, as a facial/body moisturizer and hair conditioner, to make popcorn, in my morning tea, and to cook/bake/flavor foods.

If you haven’t heard of coconut oil and all it’s wonderful benefits, Google it. I attempted to find a reputable site to link to but am running out of time and don’t want to link to any ol’ random site without making sure it’s reputable first. So I apologize for not having a link at this time.

However, I can tell you what I do, how I do it, and my experiences with it. And did I mention how much I love it?!?

Oil pulling
  • What: Ayruvedic medicine technique of swooshing oil in one’s mouth for health benefits
  • When: daily first thing in the morning
  • Why: to detox body, increase metabolism, whiten teeth, clean harmful bacteria from mouth, increase energy, etc.
  • How: put one tablespoon of oil in mouth, swoosh (pull between teeth, under tongue, in cheeks) for 20 minutes, don’t swallow as oil is full of toxins, spit out (I spit in toilet or shower drain, some people recommend spiting in trash can as to not clog drains/pipes), rinse mouth with warm water, thoroughly brush teeth and scrape tongue after
Facial/body moisturizer and hair conditioner
  • Up until this week, I’ve been using coconut oil on my face and eliminated the use of store-bought moisturizer for the past two months. However, because of the amount of time I’ve been spending in the sun recently, I’ve added a light moisturizer with SPF into the coconut oil to protect my face. Warning: I experienced this and upon researching, others have too… breakouts when first starting to use coconut oil as a moisturizer. Theory is that it’s drawing toxins out of your skin and if you can tolerate the breakouts and get past them, breakouts will become practically non-existent. In my experience, I still have mild breakouts but about 90% of them is because of the way my lazy hypotonic body leans on my hand when I’m reading or surfing the internet since most of my recurrent breakouts are on my chin and left cheek, the places I realize I touch when leaning.
  • On my body, I’ve been using it on my “twin skin” (I had 15 lbs 4 oz of babies in me with my twins, not including the placenta and all the fluids… they took quite a toll on my small-framed 5′ 3″ body). According to my husband, he thinks the coconut oil is helping to tighten up the skin, but maybe he’s just being nice. My girls are 5-1/2 years old so I’m not sure if skin can still heal to the point that I’d like it to.
  • As a hair conditioner, I rub a very small amount between my palms and apply to dry hair then brush through to evenly distribute. Tames fly-aways and makes hair shiny.
To make popcorn
  • Warning: you won’t be able to go back to whatever popcorn you used to love prior to trying this! It’s that good!
  • Directions (when I have a chance, I’ll try to figure out how to make/insert one of those recipe cards here):
    • Ingredients: 3 T coconut oil, 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, about 1/4 tsp fine salt = enough popcorn for a huge bowl for my husband and a medium-sized bowl for me)
    1. Heat about 3 T coconut oil in a large pot on the stove.
    2. Sprinkle some (maybe about 1/4 tsp) fine salt (like popcorn salt) into the oil so it has time to dissolve.
    3. Place 2-3 popcorn kernels in the pot and cover. These are your test kernels so when they pop, you’ll know when the oil is hot enough to add the rest.
    4. When the test kernels pop, add 1/2 cup popcorn kernels and cover.
    5. Shake pot to evenly coat. You will be shaking every 10 seconds or so until done to prevent burning.
    6. When popping sound slows to once every couple of seconds, remove from heat and continue shaking (covered) for 10-20 more seconds. Warning: some kernels continue popping during this time and if you uncover the pot too quickly, you may get burnt… not to mention your popcorn will go flying all over the place).
    7. Add in arare and enjoy!
In tea
  • I’ve tried it in the many different types of tea that I drink (Chai, green tea, genmaicha, Tazo’s Passion tea, Aveda’s comforting tea) and love the coconut oil in all of them.
  • Lazy woman’s way: brew tea, add in a teaspoon of coconut oil into your hot tea and stir (i.e. try to stir – it won’t mix), enjoy tea even with oil sitting on top of the surface.
  • Less lazy woman’s way: brew tea, take some out into a separate cup/bowl, slowly add in a teaspoon of coconut oil while constantly mixing (mixture will look kinda milky/creamy), add oil mixture back into main tea, enjoy tea with oil evenly mixed in.
  • Oh, and for an extra kick (and metabolism boost), I add in a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Yummy!!!
Cooking/baking/flavoring foods
  • Disclaimer: I’m not the cook in our family. I’m not the cook in any family. I’m not a cook. Period. So I can’t give you recipes, but I can give you ideas.
  • Preface: Although I’m not a cook (see “Disclaimer” above), I LOVE to eat. And appreciate good food.
  • Ways we’ve cooked with (and eaten) coconut oil:
    • stir fry: veggies, ham, chicken
    • curries: add to Japanese curry and Thai curry
    • as a jelly/syrup substitute: spread on toast, pancakes, waffles, etc.
    • in baked goods (I’ve replaced 1:1 any other oil in recipes with coconut oil) – especially good in brownies!

Do you use coconut oil? I’d love to hear about your experiences with it!

my top 10 recent pinterest pins

meraki geek’s pinterest boards

I’m a self-proclaimed Pinterest fanatic.  Who isn’t?!?  If you wanna get to know me, check out my Pinterest boards.  They say a lot more about me than my personal Facebook page (plastered with pictures of my kids and adventures) or LinkedIn profile (with details about my education and jobs over the past decade).  And they’re out there for the whole entire world to see (except for my private board, of which I only have one).  During this everlasting never-ending feels-like-forever journey to find myself, Pinterest helps me to not only identify and qualify what excites me, motivates me, and inspires me, but also categorizes and organizes these finds (two things I do very much love doing) and keeps them visually accessible for future reference (another thing I love doing… I have binders and folders full of pulled-out magazine pages, school handouts, etc.)  Oh, and call me anal but I am a stickler about finding the source of each pin before repinning as I’m not fond of dead ends, broken links, or sites that redirect you to the original source.  So, if any of the above applies to a pin, I’ll fix it before I pin it.  Happy unbroken source links + happy repinners/followers = happy me!

Here are my top 10 recent Pinterest pins that speak to me and about me (in no particular order).  I’m a highly visual person (I’m the type that usually only orders menu items with pictures) so in this quest to learn blogging and WordPress, I’ll attempt to insert picture links to my Pinterest pins:

me minus the pearl earrings (princess diamond earrings instead)

5 expert balance exercises

caramel apple cookie brittle

make your own crazy glasses – download, print, and decorate!

other ways to say… (synonyms)

crochet covered hangers – free pattern

10 ways to help kids get along

make a chalkboard effect in photoshop

quinoa with broccoli avocado pesto

peppermint sugar lip scrub (diy tutorial)

inspired + modified: cranberry brie bites

Inspiration: Two Twenty One’s Cranberry Brie Bites (her bites are much much much prettier than mine)

My modifications:

  • cut each puff pastry sheet into 16 pieces instead of 9 (I wanted more pieces…but that left me with some leftover puff pastry)
  • REALLY stuffed each one full (Two Twenty One says: “Load these suckers up.  Don’t feel like you’re over stuffing them, because you’re not.  Trust me.”  TRUST ME, you CAN overstuff them (see overstuffed pic))
  • brushed puff pastry tops with egg wash to give them that brown glow



  • due to noted point above (re: overstuffing), getting these little suckers out of the pan proved difficult (thank goodness for mini tongs!)
  • puff pastry doesn’t stay flaky for long… especially in humid Hawaii weather
cranberry brie bites

cranberry brie bites

Conclusion: Everyone at the party I took these to loved them.  I agree with Two Twenty One that these are better cool (vs warm out of the oven).  This will definitely be a recipe I’ll go back to again.  Enjoy!