The road to becoming an Essential Oil Certified Specialist began in the Summer of 2016. I was roaming around the Maui Swap Meet and bought a bottle of Balance, feeling a need for more of that in my life! I was both hopeful and dubious, a doubting Thomas. When you’ve gone through a rough time, where your self-care needs are not being met, when you’ve learned to doubt everything you once knew…..it takes a little while to get back on track, to be open to trusting anything or anyone new. But these oils have a way of working their magic on you. They are like a great big fat book, or an epic series of novels, that seem too large to absorb in the beginning, until they draw you into their world, becoming one of your favorite things.
For me, it’s taken four years to integrate these oils into my life fully and, thus, discovered how they have changed my life. I’m still a work in progress though, as I learn more each day about their uses, chemistry, distillation methods, and sourcing, to name just a few areas of study. While my motto may be, “A Little powder, little paint, makes a lady what she ain’t,” my wellness journey is about the use of these incredibly powerful oils and their ability to make you what you want to be, healthy, strong, resilient, empowered.
They support my wellness journey and my emotional well being. They are my little problem solver, I keep in my purse, on my desk, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in my tub of water to bathe in, in my cleaning bucket, in my medicine cabinet, in my washing machine, by my sink, on my toothbrush, in the air, in and on my body. They’ve sort of become like a best friend, something I can rely on daily, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health….oh, wait, that’s a husband….
Anyhow, what is it to be Sassy, really? Some may think it’s a conceit to claim that I’m a “Sassy Pants”. Believe me, I don’t always feel Sassy. That too, is a work in progress. Sometimes, you have to remember who you are and that makes all the difference in this life. To me feeling Sassy means feeling confident and energetic, having a joie de vivre no matter what your age is, to believe that this life has more good things coming your way, that you are not all washed up, just because you are older. The wrinkles and gray hairs may come. Who cares? I know who I am and I know what I want. Life is not life, without a passion and this is one of mine. As a friend says, raise your vibration by eating high vibration foods, using these high vibration oils that are the life blood, the essence of plants, what makes them strong and beautiful! No matter what is going on around me, when I use these oils, when I’m good to myself, my body, I can feel my vibration rising up and that’s when I’m at my happiest. And, as long as you have a passion, you will always be young at heart. This is mine.
The first doTERRA oil I purchased was BALANCE. It was recommended to me, as I was going through some pretty stressful times. If you are new to essential oils and feeling stressed about our current times, BALANCE is a great place to start. I think of BALANCE as the yin and yang of essential oils. It’s both a woodsy smell at its base, but tops with a airy floral sent. In times of stress, it settles me down, but elevates my mood, giving me a calm alertness. Balance is a great way to start your day and stay focused throughout, so you can get stuff done on your to do list. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the power of blended oils.
2. ON GUARD: THE PROTECTION BLEND
Long before COVID came around, I fell in love with ON GUARD, the “Protective blend.” It is wonderful in a diffuser to freshen the air, or used topically to support the immune system. Mixed with water in a spray bottle (for counter top cleaning), or in a bucket of warm water for your floors, it leaves a super clean surface, unlike store-bought cleaners that often leave a sticky residue of toxic chemicals. I like to add a little lemon and white vinegar for an even greater cleansing boost and fresh scent.
Using On Guard products (handwash/toothpaste/laundry detergent/house cleaner, hand sanitizing spray, beadlets and oils) are a daily part of my staying healthy regimen. If you replace these non-toxic products with the ones you normally buy at the grocery store and enroll with DoTERRA, you can earn free oils every month. For more information, check out my DoTERRA website: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/site/youthoils.
ALSO, because I believe so strongly in this blend, I have a raffle offer for you! All you have to do is please “Like and Subscribe” with your email here to my blog to receive a free DoTERRA OnGuard product and I’ll notify you by email. The drawing will be on Sunday, May 17th. Stay tuned!
3: LEMON: ENLIVENS MY SPIRIT
I start everyday with an icy cold glass of lemon water. The health benefits are many. Here’s a link from Dr. Axe that explains all it can do for you:
Similarly, it’s a great product to use for cleaning your house. I use it to get my make-up brushes squeaky clean. Mix a few drops with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap and warm water. Have a teen with troubled skin? Mix a few drops into her face soap to soothe and heal those skin eruptions fast. When my eczema-prone skin is acting up, I like to mix it with coconut oil to promote healing.
4: PEPPERMINT: THE MANY PURPOSED OIL
There are so many uses for Peppermint, making it one of the most popular oils. I’m a gardener and I use it as a nontoxic way to discourage Aphids, cabbage looper, flea beetles, squash bugs and whiteflies from attacking my veggie plants. Indoors, I use it in a spray bottle mixed with water to chase away kitchen ants, or flys. If you are going through menopause and experiencing hot flashes, keep it in your purse and apply to your neck to cool down fast. It’s a great tonic for motion sickness and even headaches, when used aromatically. If you need a wake-up or mood boost, peppermint will give you just the jolt you need….and it’s caffeine free! 😉
5. DEEP BLUE: The SOOTHING BLEND
I have arthritis in my hands, back and knees. I used to take over the counter and prescription meds daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Deep Blue has replaced these meds and, in my experience, works faster. It’s truly incredible! Many athletes use it before and after work outs. When used with targeted massage, it helps improve circulation and muscle metabolism. This is a therapeutic blend for any chronic pain sufferers like me!
With these oils, I take care of my body, my health, my house and my spirit. They are not the only ones I use daily, but they are certainly the ones I could not do without. When you enter the world of these oils, you may feel a little overwhelmed because there are so many to choose from. But, just start and enjoy exploring the many benefits they hold. Health and wellness is neither gained, nor lost in a day. It takes time and awareness to put yourself back in focus. A big part of this blog is to tell you that you are worth it. Don’t let anyone tell you, you are not. Let’s begin today, to take a step in the right direction, to change your life. Wellness awaits.
If you are like me, you are trying to find ways to stay upbeat, busy and do what you can in the time of Covid to keep your happiness quotient up and pass it on whenever possible. One thing that is very much on my mind is the economy. There are so many great ways to help out. Realizing that Mother’s Day was coming up and not feeling much in the mood for some sort of blowout celebration, I decided to support Indie businesses instead with some unique gifts for moi, to do what I can to help our economy.
After a little researching, I found some great Indie Nail Polish Companies and their products that are worth a look-see:
Black Dahlia Lacquer
Advertised as “Artisan hand-crafted, cruelty free nail polish in Texas,” these lacquers are vegan and 5-free (free of DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor.) And, it is leaping bunny cruelty free product approved.
It has a beautiful application! It goes on like butter, or a smooth, rich milkshake. One application is all you need for opaque coverage. It dries in an instant, like salon-quality lacquer. My only admonition is that it is quite a bit paler than the image on Amazon. Still, so beautiful, I want to paint a wall with it! Oh, P.S. minimal odor on application is such a nice aspect too.
My next Black Dahlia order is:
I had to order this one, having once upon a time lived on 6th street, in the East Village, NYC. This polish would have gone perfect with my leggings, big hair, CBGB t-shirt and black moto jacket! It is described as, “a full coverage multi-dimensional holographic gold and silver glitter polish with accents of aqua and navy glitter.” I can’t wait for this one to arrive!
I’m not sure this is a true Indie company, but they are self-described as a “boutique” nail polish company. That being said, they produce 412 really beautiful different colors. Maybe I’m out of the loop, but I didn’t know about them, because they aren’t in my salons, or any of the drug stores.
Their website is: https://www.ilnp.com, if you want to order directly from them. They are also vegan, cruelty free and 7-free (7-Free means that in addition to not containing the “Toxic Trio” of Toluene, Formaldehyde, or Dibutyl Phthalate, our nail polishes are also free from Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, and Xylene.)
Ya, huh, this Gumdrop Bubblegum is soooooo pretty. Who doesn’t love a good pinky-purple-orchid looking polish? I seem to always gravitate towards them. This one is a good one, with true ease of application. It goes on thin and semi-opaque, with minimal odor. This polish has versatility and the effect from one to three coats gives you three different looks. Drying time is pretty normal. This is a high quality polish, with long-lasting results and sparkles nicely in bright light. It may be be my favorite. Just love it!
The next ILNP color – Internship – is described as more “neutral, with a kiss of sparkle.” It’s very subtle for jobs, or other situations, where you want a more classic look. I see this one being perfect for a grey track suit and a long run on a slightly chilly Paris morning, or any city street, stopping in a cafe for coffee. Put that hood up when the wind blows and enjoy how your nails look next to that big white coffee cup. Yum all around. Plum subtle and sassy all the same.
NAIL HOOT INDIE LACQUERS
“Our mission is to provide a vast array of fun, unique, beautiful, durable, 5-free handmade polishes that are affordable. Plus we include a splash of adorable owls in every order. We also offer handmade nail care products, stamping and nail art supplies, and one-of-a-kind hand painted nail polish jewelry.”
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE both the names of my polish selections and the company name! The color reminds me of what was inside my daughter’s Easter Basket. If this Easter Egg colors are a crime, slap me in handcuffs, cause I love it. And, “Nail Hoot,” — well, that is simply a hoot! This is a true home-based Indie business, near St. Louis, MO. Each bottle is handmade, poured and labeled and 5-Free. The package comes with a lot of personal cuteness. Very fun product and marketing.
Crime of Passion and Hope Renewed are a bit streaky on application, but with 3 careful coats, you can get the proper effect and dry rapidly. Applying a top coat is necessary to bring out the shine, as they are quite matte. Almost no smell here too. Non-toxics like this are really wonderful to use with kids. To me, these are great girl party polishes. Give them as gifts to those fun girlfriends, or teens wanting a pep-up, after all these virtual school days, which are “like sooo boring”, or so they say. If you are still staying home and staying safe, order them and have a manicure party with your kids to welcome Summer Break!
Check out their website – http://www.nailhoot.com! It is awesome and soooooooo creative! If you do nothing else today, you must check out their website. It will make you smile! If you don’t have the time, here’s my link:
DREAM BOLD, LIVE BEAUTIFUL
This is a true Indie Company, woman-owned, born of being out of work unexpectedly and needing to support her family. This is a story of a woman who followed her passion and just went for it and now has the job of her dreams.
“Shade Shifter” is simply one of the most beautiful polishes I’ve ever seen. It’s truly eye-catching! It changes colors/shades in different light, hence the name, sometimes more purple, other times more blue. It’s long-lasting too. A bit thinnish on one app, but just keep coating it on and you’ll get an amazing holo-mirror effect! It had no detectable smell, unless you put it right up to your nose.
These are just a few of the polishes I ordered on Amazon. Guess I went a little overboard! I think I could be developing a little addiction problem. Ah, well, there are worse things.
May your days be long and healthy. May your polish collection be unique and never clump!
Quarantine life in Hawaii has been (mostly) politely followed by its residents and, from all accounts, been a productive time. We have been told we “flattened the curve.” We have done a great job at protecting our keiki and kapuna. Out of our 1,412,687 residents, a total of 629 Covid infections occurred (565 recovered), with a total of 17 deaths. Hawaii has reportedly been one of the most restrictive states, in its attempts to squelch the novel virus. So, while sheltering in place and counting your stash of toilet paper and spam cans was fun, we are now going to begin opening up non-essential businesses. Yeah! Since shopping is a fine art in the Hawaiian Islands, due to the sometime lack of certain chain stores and easily obtained goods, confining our shopping to grocery stores and drive-through fast food has been difficult, especially when the Governor closed the beaches too — ugh! Serious withdrawal symptoms ensued!
Like most people, we aren’t sure how long the loosening of restrictions will last. But, here are some of the things I’m grateful for and learned to appreciate during the shut down.
TIME: It has been a luxury to have time with family. Our lives have become too fast-paced, even in Hawaii. Having time to do things we haven’t had time for, and time to do nothing is a luxury little-valued in this day and age.
TEA: I’m a tried and true coffee addict. But, needing a gentler brew in a scary time, I came to re-appreciate tea, especially when enjoyed with my beautiful daughter and some cookies for dunking. We probably talk more the most people, but sitting and sipping, with no agenda, enjoying the silence and allowing subjects to bubble up organically, has been really good for us and made us closer.
SEWING: I was raised in a time when girls learned how to sew and do other types of needle-work. I never really thought of it before, but growing up and having my Mom show me how to knit, sew, crochet, embroider, needlepoint and even tat (make lace) kept me busy as a kid and taught me patience and the joy of finishing what I started. Our lives have become too screen-focused out of laziness, or the desire to keep up with what everyone is watching. So, I taught my daughter how to sew face masks by hand, while we waited for a sewing foot to arrive from Amazon (my Mom’s 30 year old sewing machine had a busted one.) It was great to sit and sew in silence and see her pride in finishing her masks.
SOUP: Making soup has become a new joy. Originally, I wanted to make one pot of soup a day, as a way of counting the days during the Pandemic. There were two problems with this plan, however. First it was a bit too ambitious and would require too many trips to the grocery store. And, secondly, the pots of soup lasted more than a day. We had great plans to bake a lot, but missed out on this goal…or at least baking from scratch much. We did bake a lot of box mixes and bust out the cans of country style biscuits. It makes you appreciate the hard work of the home cooks of former eras. Scratch baking, home cooking, washing/drying dishes by hand and doing housework was REALLY a full-time job in those days (said she who runs her robot vacuum everyday.)
GARDENING: In Hawaii, worries about food insecurity are a bit of a given, due to Tsunami and Hurricane warnings. We fair pretty well on a day-to-day basis of course. Our stores are full of most anything you’d want to eat. A lot of people fish and hunt, of course, but surprisingly, gardening hasn’t been a big deal here….at least, until the Pandemic. I was TOTALLY shocked at how the garden stores emptied of seeds and soil…and a little bummed when all I could find one day was kohlrabi and okra. It seems like everyone is putting in a Victory Garden. And while I’d appreciate having a few more seeds myself to plant, it warms my heart to see people putting in gardens! Is there anything more healthy and rewarding than working in a garden everyday? We have loved harvesting our own cherry tomatoes and lettuce, and the TASTE! Wow, so different than store bought! My Grandma was known for her green thumb, so when I’m in my little garden, I think of her and her windowsills filled with tomatoes to ripen up and put in her yummy uncomplicated salads with Catalina dressing.
I’m so grateful for those (5) silver linings! They were memory-makers. I don’t know, but hope my daughter won’t forget them. I know I won’t.
Is it wrong to say I have a bit of a Groucho Marx complex, i.e., “I don’t want to be a part of any club that would have me?” Honestly, that’s the way I felt Saturday morning, as I grouchily got ready to go for an all day (ugh!) workshop at the Wailea Healing Center, on Maui where I live. While my motto is ultimately, “A Little Powder, A Little Paint, Makes a Lady What She Ain’t,” the truth is, I do suffer from a few underlying health problems that cause me, frankly, to struggle every day.
I committed to myself at the start of 2019, that this year would be the start of a new, healthier me. I’ve had a congenital cardiac arrhythmia for years that effected nearly every moment of my life. I suffered with this since my daughter was small, when it was discovered during an impromptu ER visit. A cardiac ablation was recommended. But, I just didn’t want to risk it, since my little one needed me. So, I tolerated years with a too rapid heart beat and became too sedentary.
Similarly, very bad bilateral knee arthritis and left shoulder pain (after a severe dislocation, the same one that brought me to the ER, where my arrhythmia was discovered) have plagued me for years. My X-rays show pretty significant bone on bone images. Knee replacement surgery is in the cards, my doc says, but he wants me to avoid it as long as possible. So, I eat turmeric like it’s going out of style, try (and often fail) to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get steroid injections periodically and down anti-inflammatories all too often on a daily basis. While I did get a cardiac ablation finally this Summer and still daily marvel at how my FitBit registers a normal heart rate, my hopes for helping my arthritis in any significant way are, quite honestly, non-existent. It runs in the family you see. I’ve seen this “movie” before. Arthritis is a tricky little bugger. So many things you do can affect it. There is no one miracle cure it seems.
I honestly didn’t expect anything earth shattering to happen at my certification course in Aromatouch. Yes, I am an avid learner. Yes, I do believe strongly in the power of essential oils to promote wellness. But, I guess I just consider myself a bit of a lost cause. (I know, I know, we ought not say such things….power of positive thinking and all that.) The class went a little like this: We watched a slide show, listened to some rather remarkable anecdotal evidence, saw a demo, then started working the treatment on one another.
Even though the hands of my Aromatouch student-therapist were newbie hands, I really enjoyed the experience…though I’m a terrible guinea pig, due to my ticklish nature. It was VERY relaxing. I fell asleep during it and became very calm and peaceful….sort of like I’d fallen asleep in a cloud of marshmallows. I felt buffered on the outside and warm on the inside, a little like a sleepy newborn. While initially pretty hazy, when my mind started to wake up, I became aware that my shoulder and knees felt remarkably better.
It has been about 5 days now. Granted, I have not been without pain, but I have to say that the pain is a WHOLE LOT better. While not a miracle cure, feeling better is such a blessing to anyone who deals with daily discomfort. I’m not sure I fully understand the power of these oils, or the energy meridians. All I know is I will continue using them and seeking out Aromatouch experiences. (The very next day, I bought a massage table, so that I can share this treatment with my family and friends.) While sometimes the rigors of daily life can get us down and cause us to lose our way on the road to homeostasis, Aromatouch definitely gives one a sturdy leg up in the pursuit of healing. In short, I highly recommend trying it. It may just help you get your mojo back!
I look at this photo and can’t believe the change in my hair over the past year. When I was in my 20’s and living in NYC, I remember strangers used to stop me on the street and tell me how beautiful my hair was. It was definitely one of my best assets. When you are young, you don’t really think about getting old, or plan on how to keep your hair healthy. You take it for granted and just think it will always be that way.
Well, moving from my 40’s into my 50’s, I found the texture of my hair from over-processing, aging and life in the hot sun of Hawaii was so brittle and fragile. An absent-minded hair-twirler from way back, I’d find myself stuck in traffic twirling, only to look down and (SHOCK!) see my clothes covered in strands of hair.
Plus, I went through a tough few years caring for my Mom at the end of her life and, frankly, beyond brushing my teeth and throwing my hair in a bun each day, I did very little for myself. I was depressed and running on empty. In truth, this blog and my desire to get my mojo back came as a result of the end of the time period caring for my Mom. One day, I woke up and could hardly recognize myself in the mirror. That is the disease of a lot of women, a lot of Moms. We give too much. While I’m still working on myself, am always interested in health and beauty preservation, I also accept where I’m at. I have my goals, but also believe that loving yourself is the most important one. That’s why, after using Monat for a year, I’m so very pleased. I couldn’t be happier!
Here’s my story….So a little over a year ago, I came upon Monat and decided to give it a try. Now, this is what my hair looked like last April (on the left) and one month later (on the right):
Though I didn’t keep taking monthly pictures in the past year as life got too busy, I think that even after only one month, you can see my hair looking a whole lot better.
Monat is not an overnight miracle. I sort of like that about it. If it takes a while to get your hair unhealthy, it’s gonna take a while to reverse the process. Your hair sort of goes through a detoxification process. If you use only Monat, for the first three months, it really makes a huge difference to the health of the hair follicles. While Monat is not advertised as a hair growth product, anecdotally a lot of men find that new growth seems to happen for them. Here’s my husband’s one month result:
I think you can really see the baby hairs coming in after a just month. I’m not really sure why it works, just know that it does.
But, here’s what Monat has to say about:
The Science of MONAT
“MONAT’s ingredients are naturally-based, safe, pure and sustainable. But with other brands recognizing the power of botanical oils, how is MONAT any different. The answer lies in our rich formulations that make these naturally-based ingredients work in harmony with each other, combining and reacting to pump up their natural properties to take MONAT to the next level. Here’s a little bit about the science behind MONAT. REJUVENIQE™Oil Intensive is MONAT’s invigorating proprietary blend of 13+ unique molecular ingredients, which includes vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, beta-carotene, omega-6 fatty acids, nutrients and amino acids, suitable for all skin and hair types. These ingredients have been proven to mimic the body’s own natural oils to reduce hair thinning, prevent oxidative stress, and add volume and shine. REJUVENIQE’s special properties energize and rehabilitate the scalp to visibly repair hair with instant and long-term Age Prevention benefits. Capixyl™, powered with Red Clover Extract, a gentle emollient that hydrates the scalp to stimulate natural, noticeable hair growth. Benefits: -Outstanding clinical results prove significant decrease in hair loss effect and increase in hair regrowth. -Higher proven results than the other leading hair rejuvenation brands. Procataline™ features Pea Extract, a rich source of secondary metabolites, which deliver healthy nutrients to promote hair growth, plus power antioxidants to combat premature thinning, as well as protect color and shine. Benefits: -Maintains a healthy environment for hair growth. -Preserves the hair follicle. -Aids in prevention of hair loss. -Helps protect against environmental damage. -Protects the natural pigment in the follicle. Crodasorb™ A powerful formula that packs intense protection from the sun’s damaging rays and resultant UVB damage, Crodasorb™ also preserves hair’s natural pigmentation and keeps strands stronger and locks in moisture. Benefits: -Protects natural and synthetic coloring as well as gray hair. -Absorbs high amounts of UVB and UVA light. -Penetrates the hair, allowing it to protect both the cuticle and the cortex. -Helps to smooth the cuticle for less damage and breakage.”
If you want to give yourself a gift this Mother’s Day, please check out my Monat website:
If having better hair sounds like something you’ve been longing for, the first thing you should do is take the hair quiz. Here’s a link to one on my website – https://hairquiz.monatglobal.com/select/country Your results will be emailed to you with a recommendation of which products might work best for you. There are three ways to experience Monat. You can:
The essential difference between VIP and MP is that the VIP PROGRAM has a one-time registration fee of $19.99, while the MP Program is for those folks who want to start a business of their own.
• FREE shipping*
• 15% DISCOUNT on all MONAT products
• Only For You LIMITED EDITION monthly products in qualifying Flexship orders• FLEXIBILITY to choose different products in every order
• Refer-A-Friend Program Eligibility
• Access to Flash Sales, special offers & promotions
• Easy online ordering
• Birthday promotional gift
• Option to upgrade to MONAT Market Partner
Eligible for Independent Market Partner promotions and incentives
Your own replicated website/e-commerce store for easy ordering
30% commission on retail sales, 15% commission on VIP Customer sales
Access to our physical and web-based materials to inform you, your team and your customers
No inventory requirements; MONAT ships directly
Freedom to explore sales territories locally and nationally
Prizes and fabulous incentive trips in recognition of reaching your goals
Access to Product Packs within your first 30 days of enrolling
I joined as a MP not so much because I wanted to start a business, but because I felt it was a better value. Now, a year later, I can say that I would love to have this be more of a business venture. Why? Because I really believe in and love the products. I use them all (the pet care for my dogs, Monat Black for my husband, Monat REVIVE, RENEW AND REVITALIZE for ME, MONAT SMOOTHING SYSTEM FOR MY DAUGHTER, to name just a few). Of course, the Holy Grail product of this line is REJUVENIQUE, their remarkable hair oil. Just a few drops sooth and heal the scalp, split ends, fly aways and any number of hair problems.
This is what I figure. I have to buy shampoo and conditioner anyway. While these products aren’t cheap, they last FOREVER. They are very condensed, not filled with water and nasty chemicals, like most shampoos and conditioners, so it takes many months to use up a single bottle, even with double-shampooing.
IN CELEBRATION OF MOTHER’S DAY:
I would love to share these products with you. For a chance to win a free sample pack, please subscribe to my blog and request a sample for a chance to win. I will notify you if you won. (Please note, your samples will be mailed from Maui, so it may take a few weeks to get to you.)
The fantasy of moving to Maui almost five years ago hooked something deep within me. Northern Virginia life had chewed me up and spit me out. A 10 day vacation on Maui in July 2014 made an impact on these highly stressed East Coasters. Our house in Virginia went on the market and away we went. Normally a careful planner, I surprised myself. I just knew to come.
Why I brought too much:
My things were my parachute. A prior investment, sometimes pricey, that made me believe I had arrived, I’d made something of myself. These things feel more like a noose around my neck now. I had recently read Marie Kondo’s book: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.
The paved road I found myself on gave way to dirt and stone. I looked for the MFOL (Maui Friends of the Library) sign, losing my way heading down dead ends. Turning the corner, just past Puunene School, I saw a little hut. My books and their well-fingered pages and margin notes dating back to my college years and beyond found a home there. This is the place where books have a soul, not pixels on a screen. Such a Miracle! Clearly, I’d found my people.
Graveyard of steel:
Along the way, I fell in love with the rusty machinery lying in stately repose. My camera was calling my name. Like the unearthed bodies and homes buried at Vesuvius, I felt the ghosts of the past greet me. Would these structures be bulldozed? Suddenly, I felt their stories come to life.
There were the Picture Brides, bending in the fields, next to their stranger/husbands. Were they happy or sad? Did their husbands lie to the matchmakers back home, only to leave their new wives shocked at the boat dock? I imagined them stopping at the Meat Market on the way home, belly bulging with pregnancy, a sullied apron covered in dirt and sweat, sore fingers from the cane leaves’ sharp edges. Would they make something good for their husband to eat, passed out at home from exhaustion, or besotted with liquor dreaming of Japan, Portugal, or China? Was their husband benevolent and loving, or cursed and powerless, taking out frustrations on a wife trying her best. These were brave women. They made the best of what they had.
The History of Cane:
As I drove through fields of parched cane and rusty carcasses of metal, I found myself transported even farther back in the early mill days. The Cane industry began with:
“In 1843, Samuel Thomas Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin, sons of pioneer missionaries, met in Lahaina, Maui. They grew up together and became close friends and went on to develop a sugar-growing partnership that spanned generations and left an indelible mark on Hawaii.” (https://alexanderbaldwin.com/about/history/)
A & B was started with an initial investment of $110. Today, A&B is valued at 26 billion dollars. The Sugar Cane business came to end in 2016. Losses and community uproar over the toxic air, that engulfed the island on the pre-harvest burn days lead to the closing. The air on Maui and skyline are definitely much improved. The Local Community, however, felt sad about the Mill closing.
It was the best of times?
Was Mill life good or bad? For many immigrant families, life was good. Segregation in camps by cultures was the norm. There was even one camp was for honeymooners. They must have made fast friends, held dances and other social activities in their free time. These camps helped to ease the transition and provide assistance to the mill workers. Did they dream of home? Was the camp enough of a facsimile of home for workers, or a new enticement? Did unmarried men and women unable to speak each other’s language fall in love in the cane fields? Such heady romances are enough to make me swoon!
Local boy, local girl:
The seamless blending of cultures and influences that make up Hawaii today is what I call local. If you travel to the Sugar Cane Museum, you may meet an elderly rotund white lady, who balked at my desire to take a picture of her. She’s a “tell it like it is” docent, who waxes poetic about growing up in the camp. Her husband, a local boy, worked in the Mill his whole life. She became a nurse, raised their kids and had a good life. Maui Memorial, where she worked, was opened up in 1894 by Queen Kapiolani, a woman of great sorrow and compassion for her people.
The Image of a Beneficent Queen:
“When you showed up for work in those days, you had to know everything and be prepared to do anything.” She described camp life as having a real sense of Ohana, of family. The workers grew small vegetable gardens and bartered goods. She said “People stopped bye to talk story and share bumper crops of food they grew. The longing for a far away home wained, as this island grabbed hearts with ease.
Life and Death:
The cultures intermarried, fused beautifully and babies were born. The men and women walked the fields and openings in stone fences, smiling and laughing after a long day’s work, tanned and sweaty, dreaming of their children’s children, not their own passage in history.
Off the beaten path:
Maui is, without question, a stunning slice of paradise in the grand scheme of things. “Lucky we live Maui.” That’s what we say. The perfect weather, stunning beaches, majestic mountains are just one part of this island life. If you should visit, go off the beaten path and take the time to pay homage to a people.
Tonight, as I write this, history fills me up and settles me down. Suddenly, I’m not thinking about my problems anymore. I’m thinking of braver, less self-absorbed people. Something has been lost and must be found. What little part I play, taking and sharing these photos and these mysterious pasts gives me a sense of satisfaction. I know I’m in the right place, that I was meant to get lost today to discover what is behind those self-propagating cane fields. Each shoot is a remembrance of things past.
As FDR said:
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
We are all immigrants, migrating out of Africa, traversing the globe, building villages and allegiances, dreaming dreams and stoking the fires of hope. Listen to your inner voice and do the thing that scares you most. Trust that it will be the right one.
As for me, slowly, slowly and little by little, I’m letting go my parachute. Quieter times lie ahead. Less busy work, more joy. The Aloha spirit lives here and has something to teach the rest of the world. Hawaii has something very special to give the world.
Ladies, I have been a big fan of Fab Fit Fun for over a year now. While the sex appeal and high end magnificence of the Wanderlust box sometimes has delighted me more, the price of that box doesn’t appeal to the cheapskate in me. In contrast, Fab Fit Fun (a quarterly subscription box for $49.99) rarely disappoints, so much so, that I even ordered two of the Spring boxes this year. Myself and 200,000 subscribers can’t be wrong. My little FFF addiction has contributed to the company’s $40M in Revenue last year, all while pleasing me to no end.
The highlights for me in the Spring box were definitely the Quay Australia “Vivienne” shades in black smoke, which retail for $60. I really, really wanted the “My Girl,” choice in my second Spring box, but they were sold out. Bummer. Oh, well. But, I’m glad I have two pair of the Vivienne’s, since I have the habit of misplacing, scratching and, generally, walking around Maui in thoroughly smudged up lenses.
Nevertheless, the Maui sun is no joke. I can’t drive without a good pair of shades. I’m obsessed with my Maui Jim’s, but the price point for them is something I can’t afford to do often. So, Quay’s have become my second favorite brand of sunglasses. I’ll never get over leaving my first pair at the Chanel counter at the Queen K Mall. So, anytime I can pick up a new pair I do. These particular ones are nicely oversized, have good sun blockage and allow me to see the road with clarity. I love that Quays don’t sit on my cheeks, getting makeup on them. The no-slip wear is the real deal, with the double bridge metal and adjustable nose pads.
Another crazy good product is Dr. Brandt’s No More Baggage Eye De-puffing Gel. I wasn’t familiar with the product and was dubious. But, this skinny tube valued at $42 really works. I probably would have never bought it separately. Too pricey. Yet, I’ve been plagued by dark circles since childhood. Since I will be traveling to the east coast this Summer for a family wedding, I really couldn’t pass up getting a back-up tube, to help handle the jet lag eyes I’m bound to have.
I want to do my happy dance when I see a product like the generous 6.7 oz tube of Tula’s Probiotic Purifying Face Cleanser, which retails for $28 and has been an old favorite of mine. I love the clean smell and the way it both removes makeup, dirt/impurities and leaves my skin toned and clarified. It’s a great product. I’m so glad I have a back-up of it. The two tubes should last me until next year. Plus, the probiotics are supposed to help decrease inflammation in the skin, if that’s an issue for you.
Smidge of a Bummer:
I didn’t like the Deux Lux Demi Backpack. It was a bust for me. It is an extremely simple canvas and black leather(?) trimmed bag that (surprisingly) retails for $75. I don’t get it. It looks super cheap. What would I use this for? I imagine the canvas part would get dirty pretty easily. It might be good as a recyclable grocery bag. I’m thinking I might hang it in the laundry room for mismatched socks. Maybe my teen would like it for Mall jaunts, or beach days. I guess I could send her to the beach with a nice cold bottle of water in the included Sip by S’well ($19.99) We’ll see….
Thirsty Skin and Hair?
Ok, finally what appeals most to the 50+ age group? Exfoliation and moisturizing, exfoliation and moisturizing…. Not having your skin turn over as quickly as when you are young and loss of collagen is a pain in the butt. So, getting a big tub of Manna Kkadar Champagne Body Scrub (retails for $24) and a lovely generous 4.05 oz tube of Lavido Mandarin/Orange/Bergamot Body lotion (retails for $19) are complete win wins for me. The Ouai Haircare Leave In Conditioner (retails for $26) is a bit of a question mark, but I will try it. It’s certainly seems to be the leave in conditioner to the stars, if you believe Instagram.
It sometimes bugs me that Beauty and Hair Care products seem to always need a French sounding name or translation. But Ouai (pronounced “way”) makes me laugh, since it’s supposed to be the slang pronunciation of the affirmative “Oui.” I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I think of it as a little side-eye, directed at the hoyte toyte Frenchification of the Beauty industry. I sure hope so!
So, let’s see….that adds up to $274.99 worth of products for $49.99. That such abundance and worthiness exists in my Spring box totally slays the beauty junky in me.