My Point of Heu
Ah things are pretty much back to normal, people are gathering, having parties and potlucks are prevalent again.
Here's a list of don'ts when it comes to putting together, participating in and arriving at your summer potluck occasion... crafted by yours truly. HA!
Don't do this...
So... April is a challenging time for me. I had my preventative mastectomy on April 10, 2019... My mom passed away from breast cancer on April 16, 2018 and then a few weeks later Mother's Day rolls along. Emotions are high and I start to feel down.
But, I am writing this today --- because if you follow me and know me, I really find it cathartic and healing for me to write how I feel and express my true emotions here --- I have been feeling so frustrated lately. And, I feel very badly about having these feelings but the main reason for this is every now and again I encounter someone via in-person, online or even by phone, they tend to ask me "how's your cancer." I feel badly because I do not have cancer. I think people don't understand that my choice to have this mastectomy was to prevent cancer. I understand this is a crazy concept and perhaps they don't really know what the word 'preventative' means. But, it does seem to wear on me when I find that others are somewhat disappointed to be incorrect and have a change of tone when they find out I was perfectly healthy and opted to have a surgery to hopefully prevent cancer. I did not have cancer... =(
For example. I have been interviewed by the media and 50% of the time the person who is interviewing me has been under the impression that I had cancer... then I have to explain what happened and they are so confused about it and say that isn't what they heard or that isn't the message that was conveyed to them. It makes me regret going public a bit with my story because I really don't want misinformation out there and I don't want to take away from the struggle and fight that actual cancer patients and cancer survivors go through. But, it is so challenging to make this clear for other people to understand and I think they will never understand unless they hear it from my mouth to their ears.
I expressed this regret (about sharing my story publicly) with my husband last night and he as always supports me 200% and says I have helped others out there in the world. I know this is true as I have been able to assist, counsel and guide others who were interested in mastectomy or also similar to me. it does warm my heart to see messages and emails from people who appreciate me sharing my story... so perhaps the message and the impact is really what matters most.
I reached out to a woman like me who did the previvor surgery thing and she said she gets it all the time, people assuming she had cancer also. So I just have to stop overthinking this and continue on my journey. I already started posting less about it because I started to tire of the cancer comments, so I suppose I will just keep doing my thing and push forward. in any case, thank you for helping me find my way.
Hi everyone! So sorry, it has been so long since I have touched base. Thankfully, things are very busy here and life is good. I've been thinking about a few things lately:
1. How grateful I am for everything in my life. We really need to take a step back and be appreciative of everything that we have and even the aspects that we don't. Luckily, I am able to work every day and my husband is busy with work too.
Da Best Hawaii is moving right along. This month featured noteworthy places where I narrated all the episodes. It was so easy and so much fun. I am looking at doing this again in the future. For now April shows are all sold out and featuring local businesses again... that is exciting.
My new food blog site is growing, You Hungry Hawaii, you might recall this is where I wanted to place all my food reviews, experiences, previews, recipes and etc. It has been fun working on that.
I have been doing a lot of voice work lately and even started commercial voice work for KITV. That has been a nice change to have something consistent every week.
I have also been writing a lot too. MauiWatch has had some great pieces that I've put together, HILuxury has another awesome feature coming up in the next issue and I started writing for an international health and wellness magazine also.
2. Everyone is getting the COVID vaccine and I am being mindful about those who are eligible and those who are not. It is taking a slow start to get this ball rolling, but at least it is going somewhere. Often when I am at a small gathering of sorts the topic comes up and many of us are all on the same page.
3. I am approaching my second year anniversary from when I got my preventive mastectomy. I feel great and I also feel my body has adjusted completely. I ordered a special mastectomy bra the other day and returned it right afterwards. That thing did not suit my needs at all.
4. Roxy is getting huge and almost too heavy to carry. I suspect she has hip dysplasia as she bunny hops when she runs and she also seems to have some mobility issues when she first wakes up. But she is doing ok and doesn't seem to be in any pain. She is still partially blind too but gets around a-ok.
5. We had some major flooding lately, but we are alright. The main thing that happens out here is we get a lot of debris and mud. So after the floods we have to clean up for days, but it is fine.
6. I haven't traveled anywhere.. but I have been eating out a lot. Daniel has also been cooking often too. We try to have different themes and it has been really delicious, cause everything he makes is amazing.
7. I posted a video of " How to say the Hawaiian Islands correctly" and it got over 100K views on TikTok. LOL - I usually like to post whatever on TikTok to see how it does and that one went viral.
Since I am on a roll, I will just make it 10 things...
8. I canceled a pro bono client only to take on another one. That's ok, I feel you need to give to get in return. I like to help others and this is something I am passionate about - so it'll be fun and not considered work really. But with that all my clients have been wonderful and we are a cohesive team!
9. I still don't feel comfortable hugging some people. I especially don't appreciate those whom I don't really know coming in strong with the hugs. If I don't know you or if I don't even know your last name or phone number then I don't want to be hugged by you. Sorry, that is reserved for close friends and family only.
10. I also feel we need to keep our guard up. Yes there is a vaccine now, but it is not a magic bullet, you can still get sick and we don't know enough about this virus to go back to how we lived before. I am still very cautious and very clean, always washing, don't touch your face, hand sanitizer and etc. I guess the good thing about all this is we all haven't gotten sick for over a year! All this good hygiene and social distancing has kept nearly everyone I know in great health.
Wow, it is officially 2021 and time sure does fly by. It feels like just yesterday we were ringing in the big new 2020 year and had so much hope and optimism for the future. Well, I still do... we spent a lot of time at home and no time traveling at all, but that doesn't mean we can't still dream and set big goals for the future.
I've been thinking about my goals for this year a lot. At first, I didn't know what to focus on and was pretty content with how things have progressed over the past year. I often have ideas and write them down, sometimes I implement them and most of the time I don't. Now is the time to really focus on what I want to achieve this year and set my mind to it.
1. I am going to change the format of Da Best Hawaii in March. Last year I took myself out of the show and was exclusively behind the camera. This year, I have been wanting to create a show that is narrated and has more of a travel showcase approach. So, for the month of March I am going to highlight local popular attractions and share videos with my voice over narrating the background and information about it. No interviews and no guests, just the video to speak for itself kind of. We will see how it goes. I am not sure if this is going to be less work or more work for me, but I have been interested in doing this for about a year and a half and have been wanting to showcase these places in this light.
2. My new platform You Hungry Hawaii will continue to grow. I want it to be a wonderful resource for the latest food adventures, news and recipes. I want it to inspire others to eat, support local and enjoy good food. It is also keeping me busy with my food photography which has been fun also. At first I wanted to write every week, now I feel a great sense of pressure and the slots are all filling up, so I think it will be a balance of just sharing photos and videos on social media with some articles and recipes, as much as I can keep up with anyway. Grow You Hungry Hawaii, grow!
3. My next major goal is to somehow be associated with the Food Network. I know this is a big one and I know I can eventually get there, it may not happen this year, but I am setting my sights on either writing for them, being featured by them or having some sort of association. I have written for the Forbes Travel Guide, been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and wrote for Where Traveler also. I want to make it my goal to say that I have been featured, shared, mentioned, something --- with the Food Network. If it's a video I took or with me in it, I don't care, the same goes for if it is a photo I took or of photo with me in it, I feel like this is an attainable goal. Side note Food Network followed me on Twitter a few years back... I know this is achievable!
So overall, my goals this year are mainly professional... and pertain to my production and media work. I think this is good because this is what i am passionate about and it makes me happy too. Plus, who wouldn't be happy to share the beauty of Hawaii with the world and eat delicious food!
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.