Friday Five: Sunny Summer Day Edition

My sunny summer saturday must haves.
My sunny summer saturday must haves.

I am a summer baby. I was born on a sweltering hot day in early August, and my earliest memories involve running through oscillating sprinklers in my grandma’s front yard, and sneaking off to the side of her house where a thicket of blackberry bushes swelled with dark purple jewels of fruit. I live for summer and heat and sun and the feeling of sun warmed asphalt on bare feet long after the sun has set. Fall is fine, winter is terrible, spring is Zyrtec. Summer is heaven. And because my carefree summer vacation days are long behind me, I take my weekend summer days very, very seriously. Here are my must haves.

1. Salt Water Sandals

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet and my generation’s very specific and intense nostalgia, I am now able to wear my favorite childhood shoe as an adult.

2. Acacia Sunscreen

I have come to grips with the freckles on my face, but I don’t really want any more, so when I went to Hawaii in April, I decided to invest in some heavy duty sunscreen. The Acacia Sunscreen I purchased at The Royal Hawaiian’s Rebecca Beach store is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but it did provide weightless, total, and lasting coverage. And it’s odorless.

3. Rainier Cherries

My 2nd favorite summer fruit, after blackberries? Rainier Cherries. Best if purchased local (meaning, here, in Washington) and organic, these taste like summer.

4. Summer Read: Oh! You Pretty Things

Classed as a summer read, this rapier sharp book is worthy of your attention both on and off the beach. It details the life of a twentysomething Hollywood personal assistant and all the trials and tribulations that entails, with exploration of the pitfalls of female friendships, and even a little romance.

5. Kate Spade Le Pavilion Wireless Headphones

These were a Christmas gift and I love them to pieces–the battery life could be better, but they are light, provide excellent sound, and perhaps most importantly, they have polka dots. What more can you ask for in a headphone?

What are your summer must haves?

Friday Five: Honolulu Favorites

Friday Five is back! And this time, I bring you my favorite five things from my recent trip to Hawaii.

The Bernice Puahi Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii
Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii

(http://www.bishopmuseum.org/)
Hawaii’s history is vastly different than that of almost all the other states–and yet I can’t remember a single history lesson about Hawaii other than Pearl Harbor and when it became the 50th state. The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum makes all those missed history lessons accessible in one easily digestible and beautiful museum (special thanks to Auntie Suzi for allowing me to take a million and five pictures everywhere we went!). The museum itself is spread between several buildings–one devoted to a planetarium, one to the history of Hawaii and the people indigenous to the South Pacific, one that explores Hawaii’s flora and fauna (including a creepy/cool faux volcano), and one that digs into the many immigrants who have shaped the face of Hawaii. The museum is also off the tourist track, which is a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki.

 

#6 from Ono Seafood in Honolulu, Hawaii
#6 from Ono Seafood in Honolulu, Hawaii

Ono Seafood (http://www.yelp.com/biz/ono-seafood-honolulu) So, first off, this restaurant is in the bottom of an apartment building, and is the very definition of a hole in a wall eatery. I paid close attention to warnings on Yelp that said not to pass it by, but when I walked in, was overwhelmed by the prospect of made to order poke and totally embarrassed myself while ordering (a direct quote from yours truly “I just want poke.” The woman taking orders looked at me unmoved while an elderly woman preparing the poke looked at me sweetly, the way you might look at someone you thought was simple), the minor embarrassment lasted only until the first forkful of poke passed my lips. This is, without a doubt, the best poke I have ever had in my life. Protip (aside from learning to read a menu)–I arrived around 11:15 a.m. on a Saturday and by the time I left (close to noon), the line was out the door. There are a couple long picnic tables, but not enough to be shy about asking to sit next to locals or fellow tourists.

Pali Lookout
Pali Lookout

Pali Lookout (http://www.gohawaii.com/en/oahu/regions-neighborhoods/windward-oahu/nuuanu-pali-lookout/) While my Auntie Suzi patiently guided me on a tour around Oahu, she mentioned the Battle of Nu’aunu–in 1795, Kamehameha drove more than 400 warriors led by Kalanikupule off the edge of the Pali Lookout where they fell to their deaths on the valley floor 1,000 feet below. Because of the mass death, the area around the Pali Lookout is said to possess a great deal of spirit activity. And, because I’m a strange person, Auntie Suzi’s story made me want to visit. The vista is breathtaking, in part because it’s impossibly windy, but also because it combines steep, rocky outcrops you’d expect in Scotland, combined with the lush, greenery of a tropical rainforest. And in the distance, the Pacific Ocean dazzles with its various shades of blue. There are also roving bands of wild chickens.

SHAVE ICE! From Waiola Shave Ice
SHAVE ICE! From Waiola Shave Ice

Waiola Shave Ice (http://www.waiolashaveice.com/) On my first trip to Oahu, I ventured up to the North Shore to Haleiwa (which is the most magical little town on Earth, to me), and had my first authentic Hawaiian shave ice. For the unacquainted, Hawaiian shave ice is nothing like our mainland shave ice (for one, it’s not shaved). Instead of the coarse ice crystals, shave ice has an almost ice cream like consistency. And to add to the amazing texture, you can get ice cream added to the bottom of your shave ice. I didn’t know you could get shave ice anywhere outside of the North Shore, but Auntie Suzi, the sage local, took me to Waiola (not far from Ono!) and ordered me a pineapple/lilikoi concoction that I will dream about for years to come.

Waikiki Beach before the crowds arrive
Waikiki Beach before the crowds arrive

Early Morning Swims When I was a kid, my mother forced me into swimming lessons. At first, I really hated them because there’s nothing so painful as being 7 and and lacking the speedy motor skills to peel away a one piece bathing suit when you need to heed nature’s call. But as I grew older, I came to understand that yes, knowing how to swim was important safety-wise, but the quiet tranquility offered when floating along in a pool or, you know, the Pacific Ocean, cannot be beat. So each morning while I was in Hawaii, I’d wake up early and head out to the beach to stake a claim on the cool sand before the crowds appeared. And as soon as the sun slipped above the highest of the Waikiki skyscrapers and began warming the waters off Waikiki Beach, I’d wade out with my GoPro and go for a swim.

Friday Five: My Favo(u)rite London Things

The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament

I have a well-documented love affair with Paris. It is a city that long ago captured my heart and imagination, and there isn’t anywhere else in the world that fills me with the kind of inexplicable joy I feel as I walk down Paris’ frequently crotte-covered cobblestoned streets.

That was until I made my most recent visit to London. I have visited London more than half a dozen times, and each time, the city has meant something different to me. On my first visit, I was a college senior who inexplicably chose a cold city for my final spring break. Subsequent trips saw me alternately as a lovestruck would-be graduate student, a confused young professional, an actual graduate student, and now as a not-so-young, nor as confused professional. And my view of the city changed and shifted each time I viewed it through a different lens.

London never struck me with its beauty and charm the way Paris did. London requires you

The famous warnings on the Tube to "Mind the gap between the train and the platform."
The famous warnings on the Tube to “mind the gap between the train and the platform.”

to earn your charmingly English experiences. It’s not as obviously beautiful as Paris, and Londoners aren’t particularly friendly. Every corner in Paris reveals a scene that could’ve been plucked from Amelie, but London is not this way–I have never had a moment where I felt like I was living in a Richard Curtis film (and maybe that’s a good thing). But the biggest difference between my respect for London and affection for Paris? I can never quite see myself living in Paris–my American sensibilities are still too strong for me to live in a city where striking is an art form–I could absolutely see myself living in London. It could be because I have friends in London, or that the language is my native tongue. It could be that the quiet, somewhat taciturn people jive a little bit more with my own introverted nature. All I know is that London finally grabbed my heart this time ’round. And here are my five favorite things from my most recent trip.

Read More »