Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today Is A Gift

There is a Family Circus cartoon that I've always loved with the caption:  "Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."

Everyone likes to receive presents.
So how can we practice treating today as a gift?
Bonus if we get cake or ice cream, since it goes so well with presents.

There's a real struggle.    So much of what we do each day: working, planning, saving, spending, praying and even exercising, is for the future.   We lose track of today because we're so focused on what's next.    

On the flip side, our culture, especially in social media, focuses on capturing and sharing the minutiae of today....things that in years past (and I'm talking a few years, not 90 years) we wouldn't have shared, other than in passing conversation, as in "Did you see those shoes?" or "Wasn't that pie delicious?" or  "Did you see my child / dog / best friend do that cute / crazy / ridiculous thing?"
Now if you do that crazy thing someone is bound to get it on video.  Just one more reason to be glad that I was in college before smart phones.

{side note:  When I was a youth sponsor at church, one of the high school kids asked me how we planned events in college without Facebook.    Thank goodness we had dry erase boards.   See also: answering machines.}

Today is one of the building blocks of our life story.  When you sit down with friends for coffee, or your family at the holidays, you jump straight to the memories and stories that come from each miraculous day of living.   Today is one of those miraculous days...even if it doesn't feel like it.

This year, I'm focusing on capturing the gift of today.   I've got a bowl on my bookshelf that I pass multiple times per day (my ohana apartment is cozy....I pass by everything I own in about 30 seconds).    I write down one joy per day.   Big or small.  It's my present.    By the end of January, I will have hit the 30 days necessary to form a that bowl should be full come December.

On Tuesday I was celebrating the gift of carbs,
especially kimchee fried rice

What will it be like next January going through this bowl and looking at all the presents?  
I won't know until I get there, but I imagine there will be a lot of laughing.  

How do keep yourself present in today?  

Like doing something new by starting the bowl of joy, I'm trying to extend and stretch myself this year.  I was inspired to write this by the #onewordcoffee series on Faith Barista.

OneWordCoffee Linkup

Monday, January 25, 2016

Food Tour: Bangkok Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk

Travel and eating go hand in hand.  You go to a new place and you want to try something you haven't had before.   The challenge of said new place is that you may not know where to go.  In a city as big as Bangkok, it can be daunting to know where to go, what to order or how to get there if you don't have friends, family or co-workers to show you around.   I've added food tours to my short list of organized activities I seek out, along with ghost tours, cooking schools and buses where you get to wear crazy hats.  I like small groups of people who are there to have a good time and don't take themselves, or me, too seriously.    

Technology makes things so easy...I  booked this tour with Bangkok Food Tours on my phone while sipping coffee at breakfast.  We met our guide and small group at the sky train station,  learned the plan for eating all the things, hopped into our Tuk Tuks and off we went for a fun evening rolling through the streets of Bangkok.

In fact since I can't remember the names of all the delicious things (like salad #1 below) - it's a good thing I take lots of pictures. 

Let's eat!

Midnight Food Tour in Pictures

Alright - we have a plan.   And a SECRET place!

Salad at stop 1

Khao Mun Gai

Mango Sticky Rice

This is how we roll

Guay Tiew Kua Gai with a runny egg

Bangkok Flower Market

Tiny, sweet pineapples

Wat Pho by night

View from the secret place

Is this the best pad thai in Bangkok?
You be the judge
Thip Samai Pad Thai

Have you gone on a food tour?   Did you love it?  What did you eat? 

Share in the comments or on Facebook.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Aloha Sunday Update

Shave Ice Friday...we're going to make it a thing's going to February soon.   How did that happen?

If you are in the path of all the snowstorms on the east coast, stay safe.   Yesterday I was trading pictures with a friend,  I sent her a picture of a palm tree and she sent back her snowy backyard.   We're not any more mature than we were in college, that's for sure.

You might be snuggled up with spiked coffee and a movie and I don't want to interrupt you, so here's a short list if your attention wanes:

This love letter to SPAM is everything.    I can't remember eating SPAM when I lived in the mainland, and one of my best memories with my co-workers shortly after arriving in Maui was me trying to make them eat SPAM flavored macadamia nuts.   They were NOT having it and then brought my my first SPAM musubi the next day.   Let's say that in the past two years, I've eaten more musubis than SPAM mac nuts.

How can we become Nutella Ambassadors?   This seems like the greatest gig ever.  Mark your calendar for World Nutella day on February 5th.

Have you ever not taken all the vacation time you were entitled to?   Why or why not?   This article about Americans not taking any vacation time in 2015 amazes me.   I can't imagine not taking time off when it's offered.

Not that the airlines feed you hardly anymore, but this article about the science of why food tastes different up in the air is pretty interesting.   It's why you want all the salty snacks.    The picture makes me laugh because NEVER have I had an airline meal that looks like that.   But I'm willing to try.

Whether you're snowed in and watching football, or playing outside in the sun, I hope you have a great Sunday!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Aloha Sunday Update

Happy Sunday!

It's time for another week to start and we can no longer say we're in early January.    We've passed the midway point.   We're on the downhill slide to February.   Truth.

I'm not a big sports fan, but I keep an eye on the Broncos long distance and am happy that they are moving one step closer to the Super Bowl.    I don't even have to watch the game...I get the play by play through Facebook posts.

Earlier this week, we had our annual awards party, which had a James Bond, Casino Royale theme.   Good times were had by all.   And then I needed mass quantities of coffee to make it through the rest of the week.

Bond hanging out in our office

I can only hope that you had a fun week as well!

Here are just some of the interesting things that you can read, cook, watch or sing along with this week:

How have these first 17 days of 2016 gone for you?   Are you working on any goals, resolutions or words?   I haven't committed to a word yet, but it's narrowed into family that includes stretch and extend.   I was intrigued by this twist on reviewing your year.    It includes writing down all the highlights in 3 minutes or less and then identifying what brings you joy, what moved you, and where you want to focus.   You don't have to wait for a new year - you could do it monthly or seasonally.  

If you're looking for a new song for the new year, try Absolutely.   Absolutely everything.

Turns out eating chocolate can help you live longer....but it needs to be balanced out with other things, like walking.   Four Things the Swiss Can Teach Us About How to Live Longer

There are endless articles about how you can afford to travel.   Bottom line, like with anything, if you want it, you have to make it a priority and work for it.   Two takes on it this week, one from Huff Post and the other from Alex in Wanderland.

Geraldine, from The Everywhereist, slays me with each posts she writes.   This week it's about taking a yoga sculpt class.

With Alan Rickman's passing this week, this montage of scenes from Severus Snape's life in the Harry Potter movies makes me want to reread all the books and then have a movie marathon.  

And a couple recipes that look ono-licious:  Lilikoi Bars, Baked Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls, and Slow Cooker Korean Tacos.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Aloha Sunday Update

Happy Sunday to you!

I see a lot of snow on Facebook, so I'm feeling the winter, long distance.    I even made this Chicken and Wild Rice soup in solidarity.    

Here are just some of the interesting things that you can read, cook, ponder or sing along with this week:

I don't know about you, but the Tatum vs Tatum Lip Sync Battle was, by far, the BEST thing I saw this week.    Watch it once.   Then watch it again for good measure.   If you want some more jams, might I suggest the 2015 Pop Danthology part 1 and part 2?

In 2006 I started volunteering for the Colorado Bike MS.   In 2008 I started riding my bike 150 miles each summer while raising money.   In 2011 MS became personal in our family.  Watch  this video about creating a bike that has some of the physical symptoms of MS.

'Tis the season for goals and resolutions.   Instead of wishful thinking or slaving at the gym every day for a month, focus on building habits that can last a lifetime.   Habits:  getting regular exercise, incorporating fruits/veggies into each meal, saving/investing x% of your income, calling your family, reading a book, getting a good nights sleep.     Here you go:  "Your Goals Are Overrated."

Speaking of habits....use your vacation time.   My favorite sentence of this article:  Zero.  The number of people who said "I took too many holidays this year."

Well....these two recipes have fruits and vegetables, so it can be part  of your 2016 eating habits, right?   That's my plan anyway.    Let's have some peanut and coconut noodles and raspberry cream cheese coffee cake, shall we?

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Travel Plans for 2016

Airplanes and I have spent a lot of time together over the past month.    The first half of December was all Myanmar and Thailand.    I came home, put in a solid 8 days of work, and then hopped on another flight to Denver for Christmas.   I came home, after a flight delay that resulted in a non-stop flight instead of a 2-stop connection {win!}, put in another solid 2 days of work, then went to Oahu to celebrate the start of this new year.

Last year I didn't have a new year's resolution, per se, rather a slogan that I put up in my kitchen.
I couldn't miss it.

Do It When I See It.  

Often I will think of something:  running a 5k, going to a festival, calling a friend, buying concert tickets - then I will get sidetracked with the general business of life, and I don't always get it done.   With my Do It When I See It mentality, I got more fun out of my year.   Hello Hong Kong?   That started with an idle thought in December of 2014 as well as a few messages to friends who might be interested and then in March 2015 it materialized into a real trip.

For 2016, I'm thinking about a word for the year.    One article I read listed three questions to consider:

1.  What do I need?
2.  What's in my way?
3.  What needs to go?

I'm working my way through those questions honestly and in depth.   I've made my way to a short list of words that may define my focus this year.  

No matter what word I select, it will tie into travel because that is one of my priorities every year.

2016 Confirmed Travel Plans

Every time I read a disturbing article about how American's don't use all their vacation time, I struggle.   That's never been my problem.    In fact, I could always use more.   Can I have yours?

I started January 1st off by going to Oahu.  This was made easier by being a short 35 minute flight from Maui from which we could see whales from the plane.  Whales!

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, Oahu
In May, I'll be going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with some friends for birthday shenanigans.   The birthday is not mine.   The shenanigans?  Well, they probably will be.

In September, I'm planning to visit a friend who is living in Teglas, Hungary and then follow it up by joining my mom on a river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest.   I've never been on a European river cruise.  Bring on the wine, culture and scenery.

Sometime this spring, I will visit Big Island.    The volcano is there and I must see.   Also, macadamia nuts and coffee.

America's Dairyland never disappoints and a trip to visit family in Wisconsin is on deck.   Usually it's summer, but maybe this year, I'll branch out to a different season.

Colorado will play host to our 4th annual sister's weekend to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Music Experience.    In fact the Do It When I See It mantra stems from the fact that each December the tickets go on sale as Blind Faith passes.   You don't know who is performing.   And each year, even though we know we're going, we miss this reduced price ticket window.   Not this year!  We already have our tickets.

2016 Wish List Travel Plans

With all the time in the world on my 7 hour flight last week, I pulled the world map out of the airline magazine.    On the US map, I started circling all the places I'd been.    And noticed some holes on the map.

My phone GPS tried to send me a message to visit New Jersey...and my college roommate confirmed the message.   When I landed in Maui, instead of showing Kahului weather, it showed Newark.    I've technically been in NJ since traveled by bus from Newark to New York City - my criteria is that I've left the airport.   However, the rest of the state is a mystery to me.  

Sadly, I haven't given the Southeast much time and attention either.   Looking at the map, I want to explore Savannah and Charleston.  I've also got friends in North Carolina who could use a good visiting.

My international wishlist is never-ending and with two international trips on the books for this year, I think I'm good.   If a bonus international trip pops up, I'll be sure to share.

No doubt a few more locations will hit my wish list this year.   If I don't get there in 2016, maybe they can roll to the 2017 confirmed trip list!

Where are you going in 2016?    What locations are on your wish list? 


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