Is it LOVE?

Is it LOVE?

Noah, age 2 with his dad

Is it LOVE? When Noah was 2 years old he had great ideas about life in general. This photograph was taken on Valentine’s Day in 1999. Joel was headed off island to work and I was home with Noah (and 5 months pregnant with Lily).

To treat myself and Noah, I decided to go stay at a hotel in Ka’anapali. This is something I once enjoyed doing. You know room service, swimming in the pool and laying in the sun.

I explained to Noah we we going on an adventure for Valentine’s Day. I explained that it was a day that you shared your love to someone by making a special dinner, buying flowers and maybe a special gift and telling someone that you loved them. I remember explaining in great detail about LOVE.

He looked at me and said that “everyday should be Valentine’s Day’ in his small 2 year old voice. And it hit me!  I had been buying in to the commercial side of the holiday and he was right. I no longer wanted to shape his mind, especially a young man that this is a once a year event or that only one day a year should you express yourself.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you…no matter what day it is

Haiku Poems

Haiku at Kupu Maui - January 2013

Haiku at Kupu Maui – January 2013

January 19, 2013 5:15 pm Malama Farm in Haiku, Maui HI

Kupu Maui is a locally sourced popup event that takes place usually on the 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Have you been?

This photograph was taken by Erik Blair and shows about 50 guests seated eating a late lunch on Malama Farm, a 100% Berkshire hog farm. The perspective is facing east and in the foreground is a red clothesline of Haiku poems written by our guests.

Asking our guests to be creative and write their own Haiku poem was interesting. I never asked anyone to sign their name but simply wanted people to be creative in a way that they normally would not be. How many of us sit and hand write poems? I was thrilled with the results. And overjoyed.

I’m in the process of putting several of our favorites in a book along with some photographs from the event into a book. I suppose the “take away” was watching people and their reaction to having to actually write, be creative then show their work. Nervous at first, then thinking caps came on and out of 52 guests can you guess how many Haiku poems were written? You might be surprised. I was…

Do you LOVE Hawaii?

"Waihe'e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge"

Do you LOVE Hawaii?

Maui, Hawaii.

I LOVE Hawaii. I took this photograph on my iPhone one morning in September 2012, while walking the land at Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge. I was talking story with my friends Sara Smith and her brood along with James and Janell Simpliciano. This place holds a very special place in my heart.

Our home is close by and our children pretty much grew up on this beach. We most likely saw our first tale slap by a humpback whale here…on second thought, we probably heard and saw our first tale slap here. Our children built dams and learned about ebb and flow of fresh water flowing into the ocean. This was one place in the whole world that we didn’t have to tell our kids no. They were free to roam, play, swim in the ocean, and feel the sun on their faces. Our hearts are tied to this part of Maui.

I share this story because like most of us that live on Maui, community is important – it’s like our extended family. So when Sara Smith of Hawaii Islands Land Trust (HILT) called on me for my help, it’s was like my sister asking for help. She asked me to get involved with supporting an event called Buy Back The Beach, an annual fundraiser for HILT.

Tree at Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge

Tree at Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge

We can make a difference. If you LOVE Hawaii and appreciate open lands like this beach you can help and we are asking you like you are family. Every little bit helps. From giving your time, which is valuable, to joining the 12th annual fundraising dinner to simply sharing this information with your family & community. I’m like your mom…calling you to help.

Israeli Food

Israeli Food.

I know we all love eating, taking pictures of our food, sharing a meal together and talking about food. But do you ever ask yourself why? I think there are as many different answers to that question as there are food choices.

I feel for me it’s a way to bring my family together, to connect and to make sure I do my job as a parent to give my family an opportunity to have a foundation they can carry with them throughout the day and into their future.

Israeli food for the most part is usually made up of a main salad of chopped cucumber, onion, and tomato. Hummus smeared on a plate with olive oil and zatar. Then up to 20 small plates of hot peppers, picked vegetables, cabbage, falafel, eggplant, onions, cheese, and fresh warmed pitta bread. This is served even before you order a meal.

I love visiting the shuk (shoe-k) which is the local market in old part of northern Tel Aviv. I met a woman who gave me a tour of the shuk one morning. I walked to meet Miriam from my apartment to a coffee house where she gave me insights and a private tour. The market is about 3,000 years old. And of course has evolved from it’s original set up. Today you can literally buy anything there from socks to Belgium chocolate to diamonds and every food you can be hungry for. What you won’t see are any big box retail stores or processed foods. Everything is mom and pop as it has been for thousands of years. I like that, a lot.

I’m thinking of having a small party and cooking Israeli food. Who’s hungry? Who wants to come?


Israel 2013

My family has just returned from a trip to Israel. Before we departed on our trip I had several friends that were concerned for our safety.  At no time did I feel that my safety or my family were in any danger.  In fact quite the opposite.

We rented an apartment in the heart of the city about a few hundred yards from the sea. Many nights I would walk to the store, a female alone and never felt afraid. Instead I felt like I was part of a community. Tel Aviv is a night city. Restaurants, pubs, grocery stores are all open late. I actually felt safer in Tel Aviv at night than walking in downtown Wailuku at night.

There are many differences between my Maui life and staying in Tel Aviv, Israel. We travel to visit family. One aspect I love is that you will not find big box stores. Instead you’ll find neighborhood bakeries, butcher shops, florists, wine shops and grocery stores. To shop for dinner you stop and shop at each of these stores all privately owned. You walk also and just buy what you need. Even in a big city like Tel Aviv – I love this aspect of city life.

I LOVED driving in Israel. It’s highly defensive driving. Traffic lights turn yellow BEFORE the light turns green. And when the light is green it flashes three times before it turns red. No one runs a red light. Everyone quickly honks to call attention to you to move or to let you know their passing and leaving only a inch or two between you and them. Each move is taken carefully, quickly and with a calculated move. No time or space is wasted. No one drives with anger or with a selfish thought. And everyone stops for people crossing the street.

Shabbat is the most important Jewish holiday that comes each week, sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. The entire city shuts down. Buses, all stores and and no business is conducted. Parks are filled with families and friends. Everyone takes a break from their regular routine. Flower vendors popup everywhere on Friday morning. It’s such a nice break.

Time spent with family is the reason for our trip. It’s so good to stop and spend time together. Coming to Israel has a special meaning. Thanks for reading.





A Real Life Dream

Just by chance, I was invited to dinner with some friends in Honolulu in June 2011. I was working in Honolulu and really didn’t have time to go to dinner. You know when you travel for work it’s hard to take time to stop and have a good meal. But my friend Melissa Chang and new friend Catherine Toth inspired me to change my mind. I compromised in my mind that I would work late after dinner and get up early and finish my work.

The event was a popup dinner called Plancha. A popup is a business that literally popups inside another business for a short amount of time. This dinner happened to popup in a coffee house that was closed in the evening. Plancha was driven by social media, cash only, a set menu and BYOB. Only 25 seats available at each seating and I was lucky enough to get the last seat.

The dinner experience was amazing. The food was all locally sourced and there was a compelling story behind each dish. Then I was introduced to the chef/owner Robert McGee. I had a million questions for Robert and he graciously answered them all.

That’s when I realized my dream could be real. The wheels started turning. Everyday I was thinking about starting a popup on Maui. No one was really doing a popup restaurant on Maui that I was aware of or even thinking of doing this…so like usual, I just kept dreaming. No action required when you dream.

Then I attended TEDxMaui in January 2012. I participated in active listening like everyone else in the audience. But something exploded in my mind and in my heart. In a few short hours my dream became a reality. At the end of TEDxMaui was an after party that was not to be missed. It was the social orgasm of the entire day. I stood up from my theater seat and walked right by the after party (I could hear people calling to me and asking where I was going), I got in my car, drove straight to the beach, sat on a rock and cried for what seemed like an hour.

TEDxMaui stirred something inside of me to act. And I did. TEDxMaui was in January 2012 and in April 2012 we held our first Kupu Maui, a locally sourced popup restaurant. Year to date we have fed over 600 guests and donated over $5,000.00 to local charities on Maui.

So, thank you TEDxMaui for simply doing what you do. Which is a lot to organize and bring people together to share and inspire. I appreciate each effort and thought it takes to organize an event like TEDxMaui. I bought my ticket and look forward to attending this year, 2012. For now I’ll keep my dream to myself.


Cookbooks from my Kitchen

May of you know that I work for a food magazine. I’m a magazine junkie. I subscribe to numerous magazines and most of them are about food, cooking or gardening. I’m also a cookbook junkie. I read cookbooks like most people would read a novel.

My mother gave me The Joy of Cooking when I was a teenager. It’s now my favorite cookbook, again. It’s been burnt, splashed on, dogeared and read cover to cover. It once was my mother’s cookbook and I hope to pass it on to our daughter one day.

Cookbooks come and go, in and out of fashion and style. Currently I’m reading PIE by Ken Haedrich and all of it’s 640 pages of delicious photos and recipes.

What cookbooks do you love? Do you ever share them? Do you stick to the recipe or improvise? I wanna know and I wanna talk cookbooks with you.


The Pleasure of Ohana…

The pleasure of Ohana. Simply stated. Summer is coming to a close. Kids have been registered for school and everyone is home again and I have my family back around the dinner table.

For almost 5 weeks I barely cooked. An act of love that I share with my family freely without thought. I even love to do the dishes and clean up.

Kid1 worked his first summer job. He arrived to work first before the doors opened ready to show his maturity and his work ethic. He mentioned to me several times that he enjoyed the feeling of being responsible. He ate breakfast and lunch at work and often met friends for dinner.

Kid 2 just returned from almost a month log journey to California for summer camp (yes, she had a great time). While she was gone we were not allowed to communicate unless it was an emergency. Is missing her an emergency? No, sorry.

The husband plays music and works most evenings. A shift in our lifestyle and I had the pleasure of seeing friends socially in the evening and going out to do as I please.

Even though I enjoyed the summer, loved my freedom – I missed my family, especially around the dinner table. Our kitchen is the center of our home. So as I sit here watching the sun rise I’m planning the days meals and thinking about the pleasure of Ohana around the dinner table again. What are you making for dinner and who are you cooking for?

Don’t Forget…

A few months back I was told by someone who I admire and looked up to that my style of writing was not “good” and that no one would want to read what I had to say.

And I listened to them. I actually was going to take my blog down. Granted I have not been as active as I would like here on my blog but something clicked and I had an idea.

1. Simply, just begin.

2. Write about things I love.

3. Share the experience and describe it the best I can.

Well, don’t forget me.

I want to thank a few women I know because they are always supportive.

Liza Pierce

Roxanne Darling

Sara Tekula

Sarah Burns

Jill Mayo

Aimee Singer

Tara D. Coomans

…and especially to the person who said my writing was not good. Thank you.