My Point of Heu
Originally written in April 2015 for Frolic.
Wheel of Fortune has long been the most-watched game show in Hawaii … and one of the most successful in American history. Even now, as I did growing up, at 6:45 p.m. I can hear the soft ping and spin of the wheel resonating through my neighborhood.
Hawaii residents have grown to love Pat Sajak and Vanna White like family. I had the honor of meeting them and the rest of the Wheel team when they were taping promos for the Hawaii shows last year. They were genuinely nice people, so very humble and funny, and they love coming to Hawaii!
How many of us dream of getting on the show? This became reality for a local couple during the Hilton Waikoloa Village show tapings last year. The episode that aired in February was part of a couples show that was aimed at celebrating a second honeymoon sweepstakes and showcasing local couples who auditioned, then were tested, then cast. Much to my surprise a fellow professor at Hawaii Pacific University made it onto the show with her husband by her side.
Originally written in Dec 2014 for Frolic Hawaii.
Whether you like them fresh or fake, Christmas trees are in full bloom. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, with all the cheer, lights, decorations and gifts. I always look forward to purchasing a real Christmas tree. Like most, I love the smell and the process of picking out a tree, bringing it home, setting it up and decorating it.
Did you know there are only two Christmas tree farms in Hawaii, and one of them is on Oahu? Helemano Farms is nestled in Whitmore Village and known for its bounty of Norfolk Pine (Hawaiian Christmas) trees and the more traditional looking Leyland Cypress trees. What you may not realize is the farm is currently in the midst of experimenting with nine new varieties of trees. “We do have trees with (a mild pine) scent, but not compared to a Douglas,” owner Aaron O’Brien said. “We are looking for another tree that is affordable to grow in Hawaii.”
Visiting the farm is all about the experience. It involves interacting, communicating, touching, searching and finally selecting the perfect tree. I recommend you go and peruse the farm for free; the local workers would be happy to give you a tour. Here’s a look at how to get there, what they are experimenting with, what you can expect, and why I think it’s better to buy a locally grown Christmas tree.
So... over the past few years there have been some buzzwords that marketing executives seem to be obsessed with. It began with blog, moved on to millennial and for some time now everyone and their mother wants to be an influencer. Let's start with the basics, what is an "influencer" what does this even mean. Well, the word influence means (n) the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something or the effect itself; (v) have an influence on. An influencer is defined as a person or thing that influences another; (marketing) a person with the ability to influence potential buyers or a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media. So there you have it. Many celebrities have been known to utilize their popularity and influence to encourage others to make purchases or to broaden awareness of a product, brand or event. Thus influencer marketing was born.
So, why am I writing a blog about this topic and why do I consider myself not to be an influencer? Well let me explain why:
Originally published on Frolic Hawaii in 2015.
#DearThalia is heart-wrenching, eye-opening, awe-inspiring, raw and insightful. If you take four minutes out of your day to watch the trailer of the brand new local documentary by my high school classmate Rex Moribe, you will tear up, as I did.
The back story of how this project came to be goes way back to my home island of Kauai, where Rex and I used to sit next to each other in math class. Rex was a contender for Kapaa High School student body president. He was a funny, outrageous and positive guy who went on to become a pro bodyboarder and an entrepreneur (he’s the creator of Da Secret Sauce Hawaiian chili pepper water). He was always interested in film and once on Oahu, became an avid participant in Throwdown in Chinatown.
So how and why did this Kauai surfer-turned-businessman decide to focus all his attention, time and money on a Kakaako homeless family? I just had to catch up with him and find out.
Why did you decide to do this project?
I only knew of one homeless person (on Kauai) as I grew up. He stayed and slept in front of my favorite surf spot, Wailua Beach.
Fast forward to when I moved to Oahu in 1998. I was 18 with big dreams to become a professional bodyboarder. I’ve seen so many homeless people on the streets and on the beaches, particularly the west side, that had me thinking, “Is this normal?” This haunted me. In fact, I wanted to shoot this movie when I was 20 with mini-DV/VHS style of filming, but I never did – until now.
What have you learned during this time spent on the streets with this family?
There are many, many unsung heroes that help the homeless without being asked, even refusing a thank you. I lost count of the amount of people I met passing out food and clothing and saying “I do this because it’s the right thing to do.”
The homeless of the future could be your next-door neighbor, your aunty, your uncle, your father, your mother, your son, your daughter, even you or me.
What do you hope to achieve with this film and Kickstarter?
To create awareness that homeless people are everyday people. Yeah, we have the “crazies,” but between that and in hiding distance, there are families, regular tax-paying people who work and then end their day in a tent. I am afraid for the children of the future and the elderly of this generation.
This haunts me, because my own mother could easily be homeless in 10 years. She is a widow with three children, a high health insurance premium, and running a day care. What happens if she cannot do the day care any more – homelessness? If I have anything to say about it, NO!
What do you think the future holds for you in your career and endeavors?
The future is a mystery box and that’s what I love about life. Do I hope to make more films? Yes. Do I hope to inspire others to do exactly what they wish to do, as long as it doesn’t hurt themselves or others? Yes. I don’t know what the future holds for my career and I’m OK with that. But what I do know is that without changes now, it won’t matter what career I have – I will never be able to retire in Hawaii.
Moribe just launched a “Dear Thalia” movie 30-day Kickstarter to try to recoup the money he fronted to create this film, get it released and eventually on to DVD. He’s only asking for $5,000 but in actuality his bills have exceeded $10,000 for this project.
Here’s the “Dear Thalia” trailer on the website
Dear Thalia Kickstarter
It’s a story that has already touched many hearts. After my blog post in March about Dear Thalia: What it’s really like to be homeless, local filmmaker Rex Moribe’s documentary about a 3-year-old living in Kakaako, thousands of people shared Thalia’s plight on Facebook. Now I have some updates.
First, there is good news. When Moribe launched his Kickstarter to fund the film, he had $1,500. Twenty-four hours after the post was published he had $7,000. “I gotta thank you, and all the Frolic Hawaii readers, huge for that. From that it exceeded $10,000, which is double the amount we asked for,” Moribe said. “It led to a lot of promotions including a feature on KITV4 news. Also emails — people from different islands, countries, states showing interest. Now everyone is excited about the movie.”
Thalia and Rex have had many adventures since meeting last year. She loves going to the beach.
Moribe finished editing the film earlier in September and submitted it to several film festivals around the world. I was ecstatic to hear the Hawaii International Film Festival has selected the documentary for its Fall 2015 showcase. For Moribe, who is my high school classmate and a self-taught former pro body boarder turned guerrilla-style filmmaker, this is a dream come true. Not just because the film will show on the big screen, but also because he can share Thalia’s story.
“This movie right here will literally put you in ground zero Kakaako and you will see what it is like to be homeless. This has never been done before. You’ve never seen what it’s like inside the tent, at the shower, cooking dinner, after dark and when it rains.”
When Moribe first met the Martins, a series of medical and employment setbacks had forced the family onto the streets. At the time there were 30 to 40 tents in the Kakaako area. Now there are more than 160. “I would never say I am an expert on homelessness, but this is more gnarly than I ever expected it to be,” Moribe says. “There’s a lot of confusion in the community because you don’t always see local families on the streets. That’s because they are hiding. You do see a lot of people from the mainland, fresh out of jail, mentally ill, some who have come to Hawaii for the benefits.”
Four years old now, Thalia is getting ready to start kindergarten next year.
The Martin family remains homeless, but has not yet been affected by the city’s sweeps of Kakaako’s homeless camps. Thalia’s dad Tracy cares for her while her mom, Tabatha, who was juggling two jobs, now works at one job. Moribe notes that Thalia, who just a few months ago didn’t understand that her home was different, is starting to realize what it means to live on the streets.
The Martin family has not yet been impacted by the recent homeless sweeps in the area.
The long-term goal is to get the family into a home they can afford. Moribe used all his savings and maxed out his credit cards to produce and edit “Dear Thalia.” If the film sees a profit, Moribe wants to put the money into using it as an educational and awareness tool at schools, other film festivals, on tour and in churches. Money raised will also likely support local non-profits and homeless outreach organizations.
HIFF tickets for “Dear Thalia” are available to the public on Oct. 19.
“Being in the film and being able to see ourselves express the hardships we endure daily from fellow locals, the visitors and even our own government officials constantly stereotyping the homeless as nuisances, brings an emotional feeling of sadness and disappointment at the lack of aloha our own birthplace of Oahu (known as the Aloha state) has for its kama’aina and especially for its keikis,” Tabatha Martin says. “However, being a part of this film has been truly a blessing, and having people view the real life of a homeless family in Honolulu will hopefully change a lot of negative perceptions of homeless individuals.
“Everyone always thinks about changing the world,” she says, “but no one ever thinks of changing themselves.”
Dear Thalia: The Story of a Hawaii Homeless Family
Oct. 19 HIFF ticket sales go public
Nov. 15 12:30 p.m. First showing and world premier; Martin family will be in attendance
Nov. 17 4 p.m. Second showing featuring a surprise guest
For more information and updates: www.dearthalia.com
Originally written in October 2014. Using My Point of Heu, here are 22 ways to know you’re from Hawaii:
1. You end your sentences with “no?” even when you mean “yes.”
2. Chili pepper water is a regular condiment on the table alongside shoyu, vinegar and salt & pepper.
3. While visiting the mainland you are trying to figure out why they don’t serve fruit punch.
4. It frustrates you when people don’t understand what “pau” means.
5. Jeans are your dress pants.
6. You love Spam so much you have found a way to recycle and reuse the container.
7. Your cousin’s baby luau has more guests than your graduation and wedding combined.
8. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, but it’s raining outside.
9. Traffic is backed up in your neighborhood cause two cars headed in both directions of the road are stopped, and the drivers are chatting with each other.
10. You take dad to a fancy restaurant, and he orders a steak with extra white rice and a bottle of ketchup.
11. Your favorite breakfast is eggs, rice and Portuguese sausage or Spam, but when you run out of meat, you fry up bologna.
12. Chickens or mongoose scurry across the road, and you don’t even notice, and it doesn’t even bother you.
13. You’ve named the gecko who lives in your house. You may have named the chicken outside too.
14. There’s a grand opening of a store, and people from across the island campout overnight to be among the first to see inside… and they have that same store near where they live.
15. You know all the words to “Hawai’i Pono’i,” but not the “The Star Spangled Banner.”
16. You have long arguments with family and friends about the correct pronunciation of Hawaii or Hawai’i.
17. Half of the staff at work called in sick, and there just so happens to be a large surf swell that day – cough, cough.
18. Traffic is backed up for miles because everyone is slowing down to look at the fender bender headed in the opposite direction on the freeway. Rubber neck check!
19. You know the shaka is not a gang sign.
20. You call everyone over 21 “aunty” or “uncle.”
21. You come back to the islands from a trip, and your next stop is Zippy’s!
22. And…you meet someone for the very first time so you have to ask, “What high school you went?”
A lot of people might say the year 2020 was a terrible, no good, very bad year. Yes, it was unprecedented, tragic in many ways, unnerving, vicious, life-altering and devastating for some. But, for those of us who made it through... we did just that, we made it through. I remember during the first lockdown we didn't really know what COVID was capable of and we didn't know what the future held. We were scared, panicked and uncertain what would happen. What would happen to our lives, our jobs, our families. And while some lost their jobs, some also lost their lives and some perhaps lost all hope too... but if you are reading this, you must've gained something.
For me, I feel I great sense of peace with 2020. I choose not to focus on all the terrible, no good, very bad things and instead choose to focus on what I am grateful for. I am truly thankful that in February I managed to go to California with a client and also visit Disneyland, then in February I traveled to Boston for the very first time. After that the world was turned upside down, but I got to stay home, with my husband and I worked tirelessly for my clients and to support friends and family. It was rewarding to see everyone pivot, adapt and change.
Now, the world has settled into this current reality while we continue to live in a post-pandemic society. And yes, post can mean currently not just eluding to afterwards or completed. As we all know COVID isn't done and this pandemic is not over. But, I feel we all have hope and faith and with that there isn't really anything else we can ask for. Some are being vaccinated, some are still isolating and some have resumed normalcy. (Please don't hug me).
We accomplished a lot of what we wanted to do with our house. I've maintained the cleanliness and tidiness of the home. We've tried to avoid excess and clutter, while also doing our part to donate here and there and tip a little more every time we could. We got a puppy just in time for the second lockdown and that was probably the best decision ever made for my sanity and good health. All my clients stayed open and all my clients are still surviving. To be completely honest, I dropped a handful of other clients who were not serving me in the way I needed to be cognitively served, but I wish them the best, as communication and adaptation is key during any time of your business.
My personal goals have continued to evolved and my professional life has been continuously busy. I am grateful for all the opportunities and experiences that have shaped me into the woman I am today. I am keeping active with voice work, on-camera work, producing my own tv show, editing, shooting, and having time to even launch a new platform devoted only to food and beverage (You Hungry Hawaii). Often I am inspired to create and take advantage of those ideas and set new goals. This is the time to do what you love and love what you do and 2020 really reminded me of that.
Relationships were challenged overall. I read articles about how nationally people were frustrated with others and family members. But it taught me that these times really showed who was willing to make the effort, who really cared and who wanted to be there for you. Some people emerged to be true and other just faded away.
So, what now? Well, we will continue to get up everyday. We take a step in a new direction everyday. Let's do our part to be good people. Now 2021 is a chance to really set your sights on everything you learned from 2020 and apply it to the new year and new you. Be thankful, be open and be honest with yourself and others. After all it may have been a terrible, no good, very bad year... but 2021 can bring hope and faith that it will get better and we will survive.
As we approach the end of the year… resolutions are made, reflections are underway and revelations about a sound mind, body and soul are often explored. With the plant-based movement building in popularity, it seems people are more conscious of what they put into their bodies and on their skin. With that said, it seems what you put on your body and face would coincide with the common thought that chemicals are really not all that healthy for you.
I found Oahu Organics skin care line to be very healing, hydrating and left my skin glowing. It was very potent and you only need a little drop to go a long way to help nurture and moisturize your skin and body, plus the fragrance was very mild and not overpowering.
Caring for your skin and body is as easy as farm-to-face. Oahu Organics is a unique all-natural, organic, locally harvested, made in Hawaii and 100% good for your body, skin and soul — Hawaiian skin care line. Completely made from medicinal plants, Oahu Organics products utilizes the healing properties of specialty plants and flowers grown from local organic farms on both Oahu and Kauai, to create powerful vitamin-rich, healthy and nourishing cleansers, serums, masks, moisturizers and body polish/exfoliators. All natural skin care provides essential healing benefits, supports local, includes natural cleansing properties grown right here in Hawaii.
Originally found in local Oahu farmer’s markets, Oahu Organics has gone digital too. Due to social restrictions and COVID-19 limitations, web sales have skyrocketed with over 90% of skin care sales moving online. As supply meets demand the all-natural products are now available nationwide via free first class shipping!
New and available as the perfect gift for yourself or your loved ones, Oahu Organics has just released The Essential Collection which is a handcrafted customizable set of essential oils for your face and skin. The plant-based line offers hydration, healing and can be blended to address any skin type. What a great gift! Natural oils are aimed to promote healthy, rejuvenated, glowing skin and these new serums are also packaged in boxes and glass bottles that are 100% earth-friendly, reusable and recyclable. Visit www.oahuorganicsinc.com to browse the complete line of all natural products and the specialty holiday gift sets. Also be sure to use promo code SELFCARE for free nationwide shipping anywhere in the United States.
It's been a minute since I've had a chance to update everyone. Time goes by so quickly and soon enough we will all say "Wow, where did the year go?" Thankfully, I feel we are all looking forward to a new year, a fresh start and hopefully some reprieve from the stresses and ups and downs of this past year. Quick updates: Roxy is doing great, she's growing everyday and all her issues don't seem to be issues anymore, although she is definitely blind, not 100%, but she can't see - but that doesn't bother her at all. Rico is fantastic. Daniel is still working a ton and as an essential worker it doesn't appear to be slowing anytime soon. As for me, projects, clients, writing and etc have all kept me extremely busy yet very happy. All my clients are stable and making it work. And I am glad I can assist them with their marketing needs.
Now time to segue into my latest idea. As you know, I have been writing since elementary school and professionally for many years now. I have also been practicing marketing and promotions since the year 2000 and came up with a concept that I am excited to officially launch. My love of food, dining, cuisine and everything about eating really empassions me and I wanted to create a platform where you could get a no frills experience into culinary. I am often invited to new restaurant previews, menu tastings and chef events. I wanted to create one place where all the foodie experiences could live and also showcase an editorial perspective while also not being too lengthy or full of nonsense. Just simple, clear, to the point and photos to share!
So, I came up with You Hungry Hawaii - it is a place to share food blogs, recipes, and anything culinary. Think of it as Eater meets Food Network but more so simple, easy to digest, showcasing photos and short reviews - while supporting local businesses, local chefs and local people. Feel free to gives us a like or follow @youhungryhawaii on Instagram and Facebook and be on the lookout for more write-ups to come. You can also share your favorite recipes or request a recipe simply by sending a message on IG or FB as well. I am hoping this will be a great resource for anyone who enjoys food, eating, cooking, culinary gems, new finds, tips and insight into the local foodie world!
Oh and another reason I wanted to create the site, is I have all these fancy DSLR cameras that are sitting in the closet and I wanted to break them out again and create beautiful good quality photos using my lenses. I became so reliant on my phone that I didn't take the time to take professional images... so this inspired me to get it out and take those amazing photos and share them again.
Love you guys! Be safe!
Hi! So if you have been following me since August, you'd know that we got a rescue pup from the Humane Society. She recently celebrated what is believed to be her 5 month birthday and she is a true gem. We knew that she had nystagmus and didn't care, then we noticed she didn't seem to be able to see very well and was possibly nearsighted, the vet said they thought she was blind or partially blind, but that didn't phase us at all. We love her spirit, her sweetness and her kindness.
So since we got her in August she has had this milky white, green and yellow discharge after urination. It wasn't a big deal, or so we thought, until one day she was extremely lethargic and only wanted to lay there and be a bump on a log (for about 3 days). After taking her to the Humane Society vet and her vet they all agreed she had "puppy vaginitis" which occurs when you spay a dog before they have their first heat. No one did any actual tests, no one sampled the discharge and no one did any cultures. They did say that it is best to not have a puppy on antibiotics and that puppy vaginitis would "resolve" on its own.
So we are now at the end of October and she is acting fine, stool is good, appetite is great and her activity level is good. But she still has this discharge, that occasionally becomes very viscous and snot-like dangling from her vulva area. I was concerned, how long is this supposed to last? I asked one of my close friends, who is an emergency veterinarian, what she would recommend - she said she would put her on antibiotics. In turn I told her vet and then was told not to. Again, no one has seen the pup. Long story short I get my hands on the antibiotics, I wait a day to see if anyone calls or if anything starts to clear and it is the same. So I start giving them to her.
Overall her energy is great, appetite is awesome and spirit is fine:
Day 1 she is a-ok
Day 2 her stool is starting to loosen
Day 3 we notice her vulva area shrank down 50% from what it was
We didn't know it was so swollen as we didn't know what it was supposed to look like, but it was somewhat miraculous, her vaginal area was so huge and swollen and there was definitely some sort of infection but we didn't know how bad it was.
Day 4 stool is more loose
Day 5 stool is firmer
Day 6 stool is very loose
She finishes this round on Saturday and I am very optimistic this will help her. My friend said the discharge should go away starting Thursday and I am hopeful that the recovery from the antibiotics is fast, as I know this can "mess up" her system but she is resilient and strong.
Ultimately, I was disappointed in her official vet that we chose for her. I am a doer and I want action and if there is a problem I want something done about it. Were all resources utilized to help solve the problem? No. Did anyone do any actual tests on her? No. We were told to just wait. No how long am I supposed to wait? August, September, October... that seems like a long time for a dog to be sick. Long story short, I am going to take her to another vet, because I don't think the care was sufficient. I appreciate all the niceties and courteousness in person and over the phone, but if you don't act and don't find relevant solutions to my problem or answer my questions I am not pleased with the care. i still never heard from them and there was no follow-up.
I will keep you posted on her health as it progresses and thank you everyone for sharing your love with us and our family.
While this year overall has been a really challenging one, there are some bright spots that have appeared. I recall earlier this year I went to Boston and this was right at the onset of COVID in the U.S.. But at this time they said it was nothing major and just another cold. On my flight back passengers (including myself) were wearing face masks and it was the roughest most turbulent flight I have ever been on. Since then we've all be home with numerous stay at home orders and reduction of gathering efforts in effect. While some are suffering and households are out of work, I do consider myself to be very lucky as I am working everyday and my husband is considered essential too.
Something that you might be surprised to hear is... I've been dropping clients. Yes. I have been terminating contracts with paying clients. Let me tell you why. During these "challenging times" I have learned a lot and the people you are surrounded by, clients included, really make an impact on your life. At the onset, anyone in marketing will tell you we were working overtime. I was often up at 4am and working until past midnight every day. Much of what was happening was trying to figure out what was going on, who was open, services changing, menus adapting and everything else needs to be constantly changed, updated, the word spread and information shared.
With an MA in communication this is what I do, I take information and share it. What I found was... if you don't tell me, then how will I know? Some clients stepped-up and others made my job even more stressful. So, as time went on I decided if you were not part of my life's mission, if you were not conducive to my quality of life and I struggled to communicate with you - then you were getting dropped. A magical thing happened as a result when this new approach to doing work revealed itself to me...I closed these doors and new ones opened.
When you make a conscious decision to better your life and happiness... you open yourself up to more opportunities to do what it is you want to do and what makes you successful. With quality of life being my top priority (along with less stress and overall joy and happiness) eliminating the negative allowed for the positive to flow in. Some might say during a pandemic the last thing you wanna do is lose work and money, but was it really worth it, was I able to offer my 100%, were they giving me what I needed to do my job efficiently? If the answer is no, then find something else to say yes to.
Meanwhile, many inquiries for new very exciting work have come through and I've picked up some amazing projects to work on. I am thrilled by my decision to do what's best for me, my family, my business and my overall happiness. Don't forget it is ok to allow for opening yourself up to new, better and fresh beginnings.