Local’s Guide to Visiting Oahu

Local's Guide to Visiting Oahu

My dear friend Sarah Khandjian of Sarah Hearts will be visiting Oahu for the first time in May, so she asked for a few recommendations. Since we just got back from there (where my entire family still lives), everything was fresh in my mind–and I may have gotten a little carried away! If you’re looking for awesome places to eat, play, and shop that both locals and visitors enjoy, this is the post for you.

Honolulu: By Honolulu, I don’t mean Waikiki. I really don’t like to go to Waikiki because it’s such a weird place full of other people’s ideas of what they think Hawaii is supposed to be like. It’s fun for a couple of days and then it gets old. Here are a few places we love that are just outside of Waikiki, in the parts of Honolulu that locals actually go to

Kaimuki: A warning that this neighborhood isn’t very pretty but is chock full of great little gems. My sister lives around here, so we’ve done our fair share of exploring! Most of the things we love are food related. You can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Town (so delicious!), coffee at Coffee Talk, or dim sum at Happy Days. I adore the Sugarcane boutique. You can also drive up the road to Kahala Mall where there are more boutiques, a Whole Foods (if you want to stock up for your hotel/condo/cottage), and some good restaurants.

Hawaii Kai: Just past Kaimuki and Kahala is Hawaii Kai, home to beautiful beaches. If you like to snorkel, head to Hanauma Bay. You might even see some turtles there!

Local's Guide to Visiting Oahu

Chinatown: Eat lunch or dinner at The Pig and the Lady, visit the authentic lei stands (that locals actually go to!), and if you can, catch a show at the historic Hawaii Theatre.

Local's Guide to Visiting Oahu

The Windward Side: We always stay in Kailua, even though it’s not really near anyone we know, because it’s so beautiful. The drive in and out of the Windward side always makes us feel like we’re heading into Jurassic Park. If you’re in the market for accommodations, there are lots of good ones out here–usually $150 or less, with a kitchenette and free parking. This one has been our favorite. Here are some other things we love in this laid back area:

Ho’omaluhia Botanical GardensI’ll pause here to say that I’m not really a botanical gardens kind of person, but this place is so magical and breathtaking that we make an effort to go every time we’re in Hawaii. It’s tranquil and lush. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere, so it’s a great place to bring a picnic.

Valley of the TemplesWe like to go here because it’s a little like popping into some gorgeous part of Japan for an hour or so. You can ring the gong, enjoy the koi, visit the big Buddha, and take some incredible photos.

Lanikai Beach

Boots & Kimo’s and Cinnamon’s are both Kailua institutions for breakfast or brunch. You’ll need a nap after eating at either!

 

shaveice

North Shore: You can drive from Kailua to the North Shore along Kamehameha Highway, which is very scenic. The route takes you along the perimeter of the island, through some VERY down home country towns. When we did it last week, we saw a bunch of signs that said things like, “Keep the country country!” Which probably sounds really southern, but actually means that they don’t want any strip malls on their beachfront properties.

Waimea Bay: Basically all you could ever hope for in a beach in Hawaii. I like to try to get there on the earlier side or else it can be difficult to find parking.

Hale’iwa Town: This is a little surf town and I just love it! If you only visit one of the places from this email, I think it should be Hale’iwa. It’s just so charming. We like Papoku’s for lunch (a real, Hawaii style plate lunch), Matsumoto’s for shave ice, and all of the little stores that line the streets.

Oh, now I’m homesick all over again!

P.S. Previous Oahu recommendations: Part 1 and Part 2

The Hello Sessions!

The Hello Sessions - Workshops for Creatives in Portland, OR - 10/9/15 TheHelloSessionsBrunch2

You know that big announcement I’ve been hinting at for months? It’s time for the big reveal! This coming October 9th, Melissa and I will be putting on a small workshop-based conference called The Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon!

The Hello Sessions - Workshops for Creatives in Portland, OR - 10/9/15

We have lots and lots of details to share, but first we wanted to let you in on the big news. Our official announcement came a couple of weekends ago at brunch with some of our favorite Pacific Northwest bloggers, which was held at Urban Farmer. Over fizzy drinks (and wine from La Crema), good conversation, and delicious food, we kicked things off in style.

The Hello Sessions - Workshops for Creatives in Portland, OR - 10/9/15

The Hello Sessions - Workshops for Creatives in Portland, OR - 10/9/15

Minted hosted the event, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect partnership. Everything grew out of the gorgeous invitations we chose from their collection, including the most magical, show stopping flower arrangements by the talented Anna Mara. Minted handled all the thoughtful touches, like the framed photos of attendees with their mothers wrapped in Minted’s new line of fabric.

The Hello Sessions - Workshops for Creatives in Portland, OR - 10/9/15

The Hello Sessions - Workshops for Creatives in Portland, OR - 10/9/15

Each piece of the brunch hinted at what’s to come, from the quintessentially Portland vibe of Urban Farmer to the gorgeous decor to the swag bags. Our Minted totes held:

www.linneapaulina.com

 

It was such a fun morning and we’re so excited that we finally get to share our news with you! In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more details about what you can expect from the conference, when you can purchase tickets, and who our awesome workshop leaders are. We’re beyond thrilled with the incredible community that’s already joined us around our event, and we can’t wait to welcome you to The Hello Sessions!

All photos taken by the talented Linnea Paulina!

Burning Out; Burning Bright

Burnt Out; Burning Bright

Contrary to evidence otherwise, I haven’t slipped out the back door of this blog never to appear again. Life just got incredibly full for awhile–the kind of full that results from blizzard after blizzard pushing plans this way and that until they all have to happen in a much more rapid succession than anyone planned. There have been great highs, unexpected lows–but mostly, it’s just been ridiculously busy.

Finally, I’m catching my breath.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a cottage on the east side of Oahu, the island on which I grew up. Trade winds are pushing their way through the Ti leaf plants and then past the curtains. The clouds are threatening rain, which, at this point, is a little like an adorable child trying (unsuccessfully) to be frightening. We love the fat, warm raindrops and the rainbows that come afterward. I love that someone is mowing their grass right now–how many days have passed since the last time I heard that sound?

This is the third year James has come home with me, and for the first time we aren’t skidding across the island, trying to cram in visits with friends and family. After the year of hospital stays, Lyme disease, huge projects, a gigantic office move (for James), and storm after storm, we made the decision to actually do in Hawaii what normal people do: relax.

I have big news to share with you in a few days, but for the time being I’ll be hanging out with my favorite people–my family–eating delicious things, hanging out on the beach, and generally remembering what it’s like to breathe again.

Love, Joy

P.S. Some of my favorite places on Oahu.

Why I Use Self-Hypnosis

Tried and True: Hypnosis to ease anxiety and to promote better sleep

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a big decision–the teeth-grinding, jaw-locking (literally) kind of decision that I wrestled with on so many levels. On the outside, it looked like the perfect opportunity; I fell in love with it the way that you fall in love with a pair of shoes that would be perfect if it weren’t for the fact that they were a size too small.

As I wrestled with the decision, I think my subconscious mind knew exactly what to do. Every once in awhile–standing at the kitchen sink, sitting in the car, in the inky blackness before sleep–I’d burst out saying, “I don’t think this is going to work.” It was loud and clear, but my conscious mind kept trying to shoot it down.

The subconscious carries incredible power, not just to tell you when you’re about to do something you’ll regret later (that “gut reaction”), but also to put you on the right path. During the period I was struggling with this decision I woke up with lockjaw five or six nights in a row. I noticed that I was hungry all the time. I wasn’t sleeping well. When I finally paid attention to my subconscious screaming at me, I remembered that hypnosis had gotten me through similar situations in the past, and I turned back to it for relief.

It worked.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation, similar to that state just before you fall asleep, when you can still hear dogs barking in the distance or people speaking in another room. Unlike depictions in the media, you’re aware of your surroundings and actions while under hypnosis. Hypnosis is useful for changing habits or starting new ones; things like beginning an exercise program, calming anxiety, or becoming more productive. For those who can be hypnotized, it’s also an excellent way to manage pain.

Hypnotherapist Dr. John Ryder does a better job of explaining it:

“Do you remember getting lost in thought? The most common example is when you are in a car, bus, or train, thinking about something until you get surprised, catching yourself reaching your stop or exit and you return to the normal alert state of awareness. That is a typical example of a trance, your mind being in two places at the same time.”

How to Hypnotize Yourself

Self-hypnosis can be as simple as becoming very relaxed and repeating a mantra to yourself, but since I have a busy mind, I turn to a series of apps which use recordings and something called a “Hypnotic Booster” (a white noise that makes me feel like I’m floating in the ocean).

You can use hypnosis at any time of day but I do it at night, and it never fails to help me fall asleep. Here are the steps:

  1. Get very comfortable. Lie down or sit in a recliner.
  2. Put on headphones or ear buds. Turn off your ringer, text alerts, etc. Turn on the recording.
  3. Relax! Listen to the recording, which will take you through some breathing and visualization exercises. It’s not necessary to listen intently; think of it as background noise. You may fall asleep. That’s great! In fact, that’s my favorite part.

I’ve had success with the recordings from Surf City Apps (which has a huge range, including relief from migraines, smoking cessation, and enjoyment of exercise recordings), as well as the Happy App.

The older I get, the more I find that alternatives to traditional medicine generally work best for the treatment of these kinds of small, nagging problems. Have you ever tried hypnosis with any success? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

 

 

The Upside of Mercury Retrograde

The Upside to Mercury Retrograde // Frock Files

We’re smack in the middle of Mercury Retrograde, which is a period when Mercury slows down and appears to begin moving backward (an optical illusion, but that’s where it got the title “retrograde”). Three times a year, for three weeks, Mercury Retrograde pops up and causes all kinds of problems with communication, technology, and transportation. A couple of years ago, James got three flat tires in two days during Mercury Retrograde. This year, I’ve found that I’m running into all kinds of frustrating communication issues. And it seems to be happening to all of my friends and family members too!

So it can be hard to see the good things about Mercury Retrograde, but since it happens to take up a whopping nine weeks every year, I figured there must be an upside. As we’ve been slammed with snow out here on the East Coast, I’ve come to the realization that Mercury Retrograde is a little bit like a blizzard. Yeah, you probably won’t be able to go anywhere. You might even lose power. But it gives you the time to hunker down and really think about where you want to go from here.

Here’s what the experts have to say about how to get the most out of Mercury Retrograde:

The Upside to Mercury Retrograde // Frock Files“You can take those big ideas left simmering on the back burner and bring them forward. Finish something you started a long time ago. Complete items on your nagging long-overdue list.” – Slade Roberson

 

The Upside to Mercury Retrograde // Frock Files“Eventually, when this retrograde is over, the more positive side of Mercury in Aquarius will take over. The ideas and solutions that are proposed are truly innovative and better thought out, and more likely to work. They are likely to be both brilliant and practical solutions.” – Larry Schwimmer for the Huffington Post

“This period is best used for re-organizing and reflecting. We look at the world a little differently–through different filters–and can come up with some very important inner revelations.” – Cafe Astrology

As someone who generally acts quickly on decisions, I’ve begun to appreciate Mercury Retrograde for the time it gives me to pause and consider the long term impact of my choices. I’ve also used it as a period to dig into a few projects that have been pushed to the back burner. It’s an excellent time to get into “head down” mode so that there’s a new foundation for greater momentum once Mercury speeds up again on February 11.

How have you been faring during this round of Mercury Retrograde?

P.S. It looks like our pal Phil saw his shadow this morning, predicting another six weeks of winter. Please excuse me while I go and watch another episode of Hawaii Life.

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