1. Hawaiians have good manners that go beyond not beeping your car horn in traffic, or letting other cars in, even if it slows down traffic as a whole. (If you do this, expect to get a Shaka, as a thank you.) Good traffic manners matter here. It is not uncommon to see bumper stickers that say, “Slow down, this ain’t the mainland.” Yes, let’s not rush our way through life, in exchange for rudeness. How we treat one another truly matters.
2. Grocery store politeness matters too. First off, Hawaiians don’t rush around the store with their hair on fire, nearly running over everyone. It’s not unusual to see someone with a small grocery load, let someone with a large grocery load go ahead of them. I know, weird, right? But, I’ve seen this any number of times, if the person who is behind looks stressed, or in a hurry, it happens. In Hawaii, this kind of patience marks you as a local for sure.
3. Respect for hard work. In many ways, this is non-elitist culture. All work, no matter how dirty, or menial is respected. Due to the high cost of living, people have to work hard to make ends meet.. There is a sincerity here about work and a kindness while you are doing it.
4. People share what they have here, whether it’s a bumper crop of fruit, or a bicycle left in the front yard. I remember when we were putting in our pool, on one particularly hot day, one of the guys borrowed a pair of slippers (flip flops) left outside. They were bright pink, by the way, which made me laugh. Nothing was said about this and the slippers were left where they were found at the day’s end.
5. The little gesture is definitely an art form here. Whether it is taking an item to the dry cleaner and having them sew a button on for free, or the discounts that kamaaina receive, the art of the little gesture pervade Hawaiian life. In a world where all too often the little kindnesses of past times have disappeared, it is comforting to live in a place with so much Aloha.
Mrs. Sassy Pants
- Finding your path to truly restorative Sleep: Generally speaking, as we age, people sleep less and less like a baby. For women, this is often due to a decline in progesterone. Supplemental progesterone (after appropriate lab work) can really quickly correct this problem. This, and 200-400 mg. of magnesium at bedtime will lead to a beautifully restful sleep, without a “hangover” that can sometimes come from melatonin supplementation. Though, for insomnia, a small dose of melatonin is helpful.
- Inflammation Extinguisher: One of the truly annoying aspects of aging are the aches and pains that mature folks seem to have to tolerate on a daily basis. If you find yourself popping motrin like its going out of style, you may want to pick up some Liposomal Turmeric Elixir by Synchro Gold. It tastes awful. However, after about two weeks on this stuff, I was running up the stairs, instead of making those noises my Mom used to make, you know the “Ooh, ooh, oh God, my hip hurts, etc…) The company claims that the product “Fights Inflammation, Dramatically Improves Joint Health, Improves Brain Health and Stimulates the Body’s Natural Healing.” If I chase it with Barlean’s Berry Flavored Flax Seed Oil, the taste isn’t too bad. Flax Seed oil helps with Estrogen metabolism too, including breaking it down, when you have too much.
- Bio-identical Hormones are NOT as Scary as you’ve been told you: What really bugs me is that insurance companies are happy to dole out viagra and testosterone to men like candy, yet they are totally sexist when it comes to women. More than a few divorces have probably come about because of this. Women are supposed to just deal with all the lousy symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause. We are supposed to be strong and not complain, be good little (the old grey mare just ain’t what she used to be) girls! Bio-identical Hormones come from compounding pharmacies, not big Pharma. Any guess at why most mainstream docs discourage their use? For me, it was so key to find a good Naturopath/Functional Medicine Doctor and have a thorough panel of labs to see where I stood first. It told me not only my numbers, but more importantly their ratios to each other. For you, this could be the cause of your weight gain, lack of sleep, palpitations, low libido, fatigue…just to name a few of the downsides of aging “gracefully”. And, heh, the four hormones that have the most profound effect on beauty are estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormones, and cortisol. So, getting in balance will help with the dry, sagging skin, and inflammatory skin, such as Eczema and acne. Also, if you’ve got a really bad case of hormonal imbalance, try to avoid endocrine disrupting products. This can be complicated to do, unless you have a degree in biochemistry. Fortunately, there’s a handy little website to do it all for you: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/site/about.php#.WvvnRS-ZOt8
- Food Intolerances, Intermittent Fasting and Mindful Eating: For years, I have followed this trend and that, looking for the secret to good health. This approach was too scattered. It wasn’t scientific enough. It was only after I started really winnowing down the list of foods I was eating, that I started to notice I was feeling a whole lot better. I drastically cut back on carbs. It started with eliminating gluten from my diet. I felt a lot better. A lot of my digestive problems cleared up. My thinking was clearer. Than, more recently, I started reading about the powerful effects of a ketogenic (high healthy fat) diet, for individuals with insulin resistance. It has allowed me to eliminate snacking between meals and to go longer between meals, lose weight and sometimes even do some intermittent fasting (i.e., not having my first meal until after 12 pm, or so, finishing up eating arrow 6 or 7pm. I feel so much better eating this way, have so much more energy and less brain fog. There also seems to lead naturally, for me anyway, to eat more mindfully. There is something about carbs that just leads you to eat too much and too fast. There is an addictive quality to most carbs. I still love them, but I love more how I feel when I keep my carbs around 30 gms/day, or less. So, the carbs I eat are primarily veggies grown above ground and only berries, for my fruit intake. These foods have a low glycemic index. They don’t spike your blood sugar too much. The more higher glycemic the food is, the more insulin is released, the fat storage increases. A ketogenic diet aids your body in using its own fat for energy. Who can argue with that?
- Finally, there is that Big Jerk Stress: One of the benefits of getting older is you just naturally care less about people who drag you down, the manna suckers, as we say in Hawaii. Maybe with growing out of girlhood and into real womanhood, what comes with age is you know that pleasing people, over and over again, in place of doing what is best for you rarely works out. As the expression says, no good deed goes unpunished. Being a doormat and giving too much sets off a change reaction of stress, higher cortisol levels, increased inflammation and, often, ultimately disease. Sometimes, however, getting sick is the best thing that happens. It’s your body’s wake-up call, saying pay attention to me! (Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola, ashwagandha, astragalus, and ginseng are fabulous ways to quiet the adrenals. So, until your work out what you are going to do about the gratuitous stress (find a yoga class, learn to meditate, etc…), it’s a good idea to take some adaptogens and improve your sleep, as noted above.) These are a just a few quick ideas to get your started on your pathway to true homeostasis and vitality. Mahalo for listening! XOXO, Mrs. Sassy Pants.
Aloha and Happy Mother’s Day, my Sassy Wahines!
While waiting around outside my daughter’s middle school dance last night (yes, I’m one of those parents who feel a need to be in close proximity, just in case a boy says something hurtful that makes her wanna leave, or someone makes fun of the way she dances), I found myself thinking about college and about a teacher I once had, wondering if she was still alive. As you get older, especially in the age of the internet, you google people you once knew to see if they are still above ground. A weird habit, I know. It’s the modern version of how old folks used to go from reading the front page first, to heading to the obituaries instead, just to see who died. I don’t know…maybe it’s a way of marking time, a little wake-up call to oneself, to not waste time, to get going, devour life, while you still can. I couldn’t find out where she was now, or if she had died. I did see she last published in 2015, that she taught a course at Harvard in the Spring of 2017. Not bad for a woman who must be in her 80s now.
So, in my search for Helen Vendler, I began to feel I was searching for myself, the person I used to be and pondering, was that girl still inside me somewhere? I remembered a poem by Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, which I first read in one of Vendler’s courses. It was one I really liked: “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, and a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, and live alone in the Bee-loud glade.” I liked the rhythm of it. Calm and resonant, the repetitive da dum of a heart beat. I’d once heard a comical recording of Yeats reciting it. He performed it in a thunderous manner, that seemed antithetical to me then. Now, as a mature woman, I think maybe he read it that way like an alarm bell to his reader and himself.
It is a poem about pastoral daydreaming while being a city-dweller, the mind flowing back, back, into memories of childhood and peace on the beautiful Isle of Innisfree. This daydream ends in the final couplet….born perhaps of the intrusion of city sites and sounds, he wrote, “While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.” The “it” is the past, a simpler time, a former self, that yet remains deep inside the edifices of aging, the mundane details of daily life, the distraction of all that is around one, including the expectations of others that intrude on one’s peace and creativity. The passage of time collapses and what remains most vivid are these memories, a time of great beauty and peace.
Unable to find Vendler, I began to remember vignettes of my time as her student. She was a chunky looking woman, yet very refined, as well. She could have been anyone’s Aunt, baking pies in the kitchen, with flour on her face. A woman who had the tendency to be a little forgetful, maybe, yet absorbed totally in anything that was important to her. She told us a story once. She was reading or writing at home, naked. She had put in for a service call for something or other, and being so absorbed in her work, when the doorbell rang, she answered the door like that. We all laughed at the foibles of our distracted, yet literature-obsessed professor. Now, most likely being the same age she was, when she told that story, I asked myself, would I ever want to be so passionate about something that I forget I’m naked? Yes, please. I’ll have what she’s having!
The three hours passed quickly, as I became more and more absorbed with my thoughts. It had grown dark outside. My daughter opening the door startled me, as I came out of my own daydreaming. Coming back to the reality of being her Mom, we discussed the success of the dance. She reported that the 7th grade girls didn’t dance, despite her beckoning them onto the dance floor and her warning that, “If you don’t dance, you are going to regret it later”. She and a circle of her guy friends were the ones to get out there on the dance floor and risk being foolish, or made fun of. I am so proud of the way she doesn’t think of boys as, “the other”, or even a potential romantic interest, as a soon to be 13 year-old girl. They are “just” friends. She sees them as people, as she does her friends who are girls. They know she sees them. I see it in their smiles as they talk together in the distance and I’ve watched them stand taller and more confident, as the year has transpired. Her recounting of the dance reminded me of Wayne Dyer’s admonition: “Don’t die with your music still inside you” and I felt proud to be her Mother.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die with my music still inside of me. We all deserve to have this kind of confidence and passion. Today, on this special day, take the time to be you, feel you, do you. Don’t let the past be the only vivid moments of your life. (This doesn’t mean you aren’t Mom, or S.O.) It just means that somewhere, deep inside you, you are still you, the girl from the past who dreamed. Allow yourself to be a day dreamer, absorbed in thought, to be taken away, and have time pass without notice. Whether you let it eek out in drips and drabs, or spill freely from you, let the “music” out that is inside your “deep heart’s core.”
Peace and Aloha Mamas!
Mrs. Sassy Pants
If there is a product that is sold, promising to renew your skin to its once youthful glow, I’m sure I have tried it at least once. My best friend Maura and I would comb the make up counters in NYC in our twenties, half-listening to the hard sell sales lady raps about the miracle cures these beautifully packaged items offered, while giggling to ourselves, knowing that most of what they said was pure malarkey. We fell for it nevertheless, coming home with our pretty packages, to set up a girl’s night of face masks and tall boy Buds, talking about guys we liked. We’d meet after work, to get our nails done, or go get facials, all while smoking cigarettes, eating too much junk food and hanging out in the Irish bars that populated 52nd Street until they closed. We travelled to Mexico together, two Irish American girls, and fell asleep in the sun, after drinking too many tequila shooters, baked ourselves into painful lobsters, only to spray on fake tans before boarding the plane for home. Sitting next to each other on the plane, with our tubes of over the counter Retin-A ,we bought at a Mexican pharmacy, we couldn’t help laughing at how bad we looked with our orange skin, debating on how long it would take to wear off, since we couldn’t scrub our skins, due to our severe sunburns. Our forees into the pursuit of beauty were entertaining foibles of two lost girls, with too many problems, trying to act like grown ups. Little did we know that our natural skin and hair would never look that good again and we didn’t need any help. We had youth on our side. Years later, now in my 50’s, with my friend who passed away at 45, I’m stuck with aging all alone, while she will remain beautiful forever.
Clearly, like most mature women, we know that drinking our water and eating right, applying sun protection (at least to our face, hands and decollete) are so important, unless we want a TSA-approved giddy-up into the gargoyle lookalike line. No, let me stay in the slow line, for as long as possible, thank you very much! And smoking, ohhhhhh, nooooooo. Never! It’s a bad day, when you look in the mirror and, suddenly realize, wow, I’m looking old. Mature skin lacks luminosity, it’s dull and dry, pore size grows, makeup settles in the cracks, lack of collagen leads to pitting in the chin and more apparent dark circles. The eyelids droop down. The eyebrows disappear. Ugly hairs pop up in places they shouldn’t. We never leave our house with out our tweezers, because in certain light that shines into the car….oh, God….tweezers are the one beauty tool I would take to a desert island. To my best friends: If I’m ever in a coma, please tweeze me, thank you, and I will do the same for you. My Mom passed in 2016 at almost 96. She remained vain to the end about those stray hairs. She loved to be plucked!
So, now that I’ve gotten serious about my skin in my 50’s, I’m a big believer in getting Botox or Dysport, if you can afford them. The prevention they offer by relaxing those muscles in the forehead is very therapeutic, both emotionally and physically. I wish I had started using this earlier in life, but couldn’t afford it then. Groupon is a great place to find deals in your area, as well as deals on various laser procedures, microdermabrasion and peels. I’ve found that Dysport lasts longer than Botox, for me. I get 50 Units in my forehead once a year, or so. For those who know, this is a very conservative amount, especially for a gal in her 50’s. Mostly, it’s because I’m so busy, a bit cheap and, frankly, it is hard for me to remember to book it. I’ve done Juvederm and Restyline one time too each, but found them a little disappointing, as they disappear too quickly. If you have the bucks to get them repeatedly throughout the year, I’m told that getting them before they totally wear off, helps their staying power.
What I’ve found that works well for me is my NuFace Mini Facial Toner, when I remember to use it. It’s easy and can be done at night, while watching t.v. When I do use it regularly, their is a definite lift to my skin, improved tone and disappearance of wrinkles. My understanding is the microcurrents (which feel like little rubber band snaps), help to improve skin turnover and increased collagen production. I’ve also take collagen pills and drunk bone broth, etc…, but didn’t see any real improvement with those. While NuFace isn’t as dramatic as invasive procedures at a MedSpas, I really like it and see definite improvement in my skin. For a great explanation of NUFACE, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ge7W58Mu2A, a video by Angie at her Channel, “Hot and Flashy.” She is a veritable fount of knowledge.
Now, there are two serums that are under $100, that I can’t say enough about. The first I got at my dermatologist’s office, for $87. It’s called: HQRA+, by brand MD skin care. It reports to “decrease the overproduction of melanin and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.” While I had been using a blend from the mail order service Curology at night on my skin, this worked dramatically better. I saw significant improvements very quickly. I did see improvements with Curology, just not so dramatic. For those of you who don’t know Urology, it is a mail order service, where you send photos of yourself to a Nurse Practitioner, who sends you a prescription blend made just for you, at a cost of about about $40/month.) My blend had Tretinoin (0.035%), Vitamin C (5%) and Niacinamide (4%). The HQRA+ has Tretinoin 0.1% and Hydroquinone 7%. While the Curology service is a neat, easy way to get skincare, without going to a dermatologist, reasonable priced, HQRA+ to me was a game changer. HQRA+ is only available through a medical provider, however, you can buy other products in this line at http://www.brandmdskincare.com. I look forward to ordering some of these products, once I get finished with my storehouse of scrubs/washes/toners I use regularly.
The second serum I recently discovered was at the Clinique counter. I went there to take advantage of their “Gift with Purchase,” a while back. I had remembered how much I use to love the “7 Day Scrub,” when I was in my 20’s and wanted to see if it still worked well for me (it does!), when I fell upon their anti-aging skin care line. I was impressed to see how much the Clinique brand had advanced. (I remember back in the day buying those big bars of complexion soap and toner kits, when oily skin was a problem. Oh to have that problem again!) Anyway, they sell a product called: “Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum.” See: https://www.sephora.com/product/clinique-smart-custom-repair-serum. (The smaller 1 oz bottle sells for $59.50, the 1.7 oz for $89.00 and the 3.4 oz for $154.00.) I bought the small bottle to see if it works. I will definitely buy the bigger size next time!
Finally, living in Hawaii, and being a busy Mom, means that I’m always on the run in the sun, and don’t always have the time to carefully put my makeup on in the morning, But, I never forget my sun protection, which I literally keep all over the house, car, purse, etc…, so there is no excuse! I got into a discussion with one of the ladies at the Shisheido counter at Macy’s (Queen Kaahumanu Mall). She told me about a product that all the outrigger canoe paddlers use. Well that was reason enough for me to buy. It is definitely my favorite new product! I keep it in my purse and I can put it on in traffic without a mirror and just my fingers. It seamlessly integrates into my skin, doesn’t smell bad, isn’t greasy or drying and stays on all day and comes in four shades. If you haven’t tried this yet, it is a must for skin protection and a “quickie red light makeup routine” that won’t get you ticketed. It would not be an exaggeration to say I am in love with this product!
Aloha from the Sassy Pants Diary, where I share the joys of getting older, “mojo maintenance”, staying Sassy forever & this beautiful Hawaii life I live!
The move to Maui can be taken lightly, or with annoying amounts of obsessing. I chose the latter method. If you are a youngin‘ just out of high school, or college, go ahead and grab your backpack and one checked bag, and go crazy exploring the island life. Be prepared to turn vegan involuntarily due to the cost of food, and be open to sharing your pad with other like-minded would-be surfers and free spirits. If you are over sixty and looking for more of a retirement experience, make sure your backpack is full of money, cause you are gonna need it! Also, make sure you don’t have any major health problems, as some of the health care options can be pretty sparse on some islands. That being said, Hawaii is one of the healthiest places on the earth, where people tend to stay active well into their 90’s or beyond, and happily “above-ground”, much longer than anywhere else in the U.S.
If you are retired military, Oahu may be the better choice for the 60+ crowd, as you can take advantage of the PX and Commissaries on island too, as well as better and more health care options. If you retired with full benefits, you will have easy access to free healthcare, of course. While all this is a strong pull towards Oahu, you will have to tolerate some of the worst traffic in the country. Metro rail is currently under construction there. We are hopeful that it should ease some of the traffic congestion. If you are older and in love with the less populated islands, realize that people commute via air to Oahu for health care procedures, all the time, and often in less time than some folks do on the mainland in cars. We have Kaiser Insurance and have had to do this a couple of times for procedures not available on Maui. They pay for the flight, for yourself and one companion usually, which is a nice benefit.
I’m a Washingtonian by birth. We are blessed with amazing health care there and awful, awful traffic problems. One bonus is that the Washington metro area is full of educated folks. We talk a lot and take everything a bit too seriously. Politics, history, government surround you there, like an invading horde. It’s difficult to shut all that out, to be honest. The bubble you’ve heard about is real! It’s definitely a lovely part of the country though, with four real seasons, blemished usually only by the month of August, when the humidity destroys the life as you once knew it, though with global climate change, the nasty season is lengthening I hear. For me, I found the heat and humidity of Maui much easier to deal with than Washington, D.C. The trade winds make all the difference here. But, if you like to be in the thick of things, where it all happens, Hawaii is not for you. It’s as close to living in another country, while still being in the U.S. as you can get. Just watch our local news, when you visit and you will see what I mean. In truth, it’s more about the local experience, rather than national headline news and, frankly, we like it that way.
So, to me, the first real consideration when moving to Hawaii should be the weather. Are you going to miss the vast variations from hot to cold? Do you already live in a hot area and feel adjusting to Hawaii should be pretty easy? Of course, the Hawaiian Islands consist of eight main islands in the State of Hawaii (Hawai’i, Maui, Lana’i, Moloka’i, Kaho’olawe, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau), though there are a total of 137 islands and atolls altogether, mostly uninhabitable. Some areas are prone to flooding. Some struggle with the effects of VOG, the gases that come your way off the volcanoes, if you live on the Big Island, and some parts of Maui, mainly. You gotta listen to the weather reports to know which way the wind is blowing, though if you keep your windows open at night, figuring out if it’s a Claritin day or not, should be pretty easy.
Weather has a big presence in Hawaii, with first of the month Tsunami warning horns (and incoming missile alert, recently added, though I can’t remember which is which…really should look into that one of these days.) The need to always be prepared with medicine, food, water, etc…in case of a weather emergency. The fabulous thing, however, is that people help each other here like nowhere else I’ve seen. If rains and winds take down trees that block the roads, locals usually get out their chain saws and get busy, long before government types show up. Any power outages that happen are usually dealt with quicker than I’ve experienced on the mainland. The local government is responsive to the people, because we are neighbors and friends. You will find that the weather is a frequent topic of conversation here, which may seem silly to some, since compared to the mainland, it may seem very much the same each day. But, getting the surf report from our weather man Guy Hagi, is really one of life’s joys that shouldn’t be missed! It’s the little things here. A little rain. A little change in the winds that bring a break from the heat, or better surfing conditions.
So, when picking your island, just realize that there are really quite a lot of weather variations here…maybe not compared to the mainland, but variations nevertheless. Granted, we do have some of the most beautiful weather in the world. But, a careful planner life myself needs to do research. Visit the areas that interest you and go there at different times of year. Hawaii has 9 to 10 of the world’s 14 climates in the world. (See: https://www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/hawaii-has-10-worlds-14-climate-zones-explorers-guide-each-them) So, if a particular island, or a particular town is calling your name, consider the zone it is in and make sure it’s what you are looking for. All one has to do is watch the news and see the effects of recent volcanic eruptions on the Big Island and flooding in Oahu and Kauai, to realize that weather, while usually beautiful here, has potential to shift abruptly and remind you that you are not in Kansas anymore. Volcanic eruptions happen. Flooding and Tsunamis can devastate communities. If you have a choice, buy up the mountain a ways, check your local flood zone and volcanic eruptions maps.
You will want to factor in whether you care for, or need (due to health reasons), a drier zone. A wetter zone, like Hilo, may have a tendency to flood, or have mold issues. The physical beauty of the greener/wetter zones can be quite astounding. You can raise your chickens and organic gardens there, with little effort. In the desert areas, like South Maui, you may want to pull out your grass, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on watering everyday and lay down lava rock (which can be quite beautiful too), and plant drought-tolerant plants. The sunnier/drier areas tend to attract more tourists of course, so if that’s a consideration, you may want to avoid those areas, or look for a happy medium, between wet and dry, which all islands have. That being said, if you are going to start your Hawaiian Island journey as a renter, be spontaneous and go where the vibe draws you in.
If you fall into the 30-something to 50-something crowd, with kids, make your decision with more caution and consideration. In many cases, you will need to put your child in a private school, especially if they are gifted and talented, or the college-bound sort. We initially started by putting our daughter in a public charter for the first three years. The first two years were acceptable. The transition to middle school was pretty bad, in terms of control of the classroom and general disorganization. There also seemed to be more personal problems in the kids’ lives that found their way into the already dramatic nature of middle school life. We switched to a Catholic school for 7th and couldn’t be happier. Of course, it comes at a cost of about $10,000/annually. We defray the costs as we own a Ohana (cottage) on our property, that we rent out.
About a quarter of all home owners in Hawaii have an Ohana. It is an excellent way to subsidize your living. Some folks rent out their Ohana through Airbnb and other companies, which is both lucrative and controversial, as it does eat into the local housing market. (There is an ever-growing population of homelessness in the islands. Efforts are being made to build more affordable housing, but it will be sometime before supply catches up to need. Don’t become one of them. Know that moving to the islands will require an acceptance of the high cost of living.) You will likely need more money than you think to move here. If you can find a property with a decent Ohana to buy, jump on it. You can’t imagine the security it will give you!
So, education is a main consideration, for sure. If you are a home-schooler, then the sky’s the limit. Live where your heart tells you to live! To find out more about this option, check out: http://hawaiipublicschools.org/. Beyond public schools, know that there are many wonderful private schools in the islands. (Though in the wealthier residential areas, to be honest, your child can often attend the public schools and sit next to the sons and daughters of the movers and shakers on island, and get a quality education. There is the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree factor. These children often have parents with high expectations of them, which raises the level of the classroom.
But what do you do if living in a wealthy area is not an option for you, but you still can’t get Hawaii out of your head? If you are a talented fixer upper sort, you could buy a distressed property in one of those rich neighborhoods, do the work, live in it for a while, then sell for a nice profit. Again, buying a home with an Ohana can really open up options for you. What many, even wealthy folks do is put their kids in public schools, or less expensive private schools until high school, then apply and transfer them to one of the college prep schools. These are often very competitive institutions, with demanding entry requirements, as well as limited openings. This is what President Barack Obama did after all, as he is a graduate of the one of Hawaii’s best private institutions – Punahou School (https://www.punahou.edu). Just know that your child will need great grades, test scores and extra-curriculars, and interview well. Fortunately, most private schools have very generous, often full-tuition scholarships for the students in need, who they want in their school. So, while schooling can be a challenge in Hawaii, if you are a dedicated parent, who loves to do your research and get the scoop on the real deal, you will probably do just fine here. I know we did.
We found it was best to talk to local people for recommendations too. They know what’s what. While it may be hard to tear yourself away from the beach on vacation, I would schedule some interviews with the schools you are considering in the areas you are drawn to. While most private schools here schedule open houses twice a year (and if your vacation syncs up with them great, take a few hours and go), many schools will meet with you individually and, even, schedule interviews and testing for your child. I highly recommend subscribing to Honolulu Magazine, as this publication is both beautiful, fun and informative, but has an annual private school review of all the islands. It is really an awesome issue!
Finally, weather, high cost of living and schooling aside, are you passionate about these islands, because that’s really the only thing that matters. Do you want to become a part of them, true kamaaina, or be a perpetual outsider living here a few years, then going home? I believe if you are a truly sensitive and intuitive person, if you have the Aloha spirit inside you, if you are a person who leads with your heart, not your mind, Hawaii may be right for you. This is a place of community, of “Ohana”, or family, where people do what is pono, or right, where they have a sense of kuleana, or responsibility, towards the land, the ocean and each other. It may seem “airy fairy,” but if this is you, doors will open, messages will come to you, leads will be left that take you on a path that is your own and one day, you will find yourself here and happy, unbelievably happy, to be so blessed to call the Hawaiian Islands your home. Mahalo for listening!
Stay Beautiful and Sassy!
Mrs. Sassy Pants
Mother’s Day is coming and, I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna make certain that I celebrate myself. Not to say that I don’t appreciate the usual roses, the breakfast in bed and some homemade gift or another. But, let’s face it, usually we know better than anyone, what mojo-inducing niceties put a little pep in our step.
Since I live in Hawaii, everyday is a feast for the eyes of all my favorite colors, greens, blues, creams, sandy whites….I’m always drawn to any gifts in that color scheme, with some lady pink thrown in, cause pink is a total upper, taking me back to my Barbie days. Who doesn’t love pink?
So, the hunt for self-gifting drew me to those much loved colors, as I walked around the mall yesterday. I had only an hour, after watching the Hoike at my daughter’s school before pick-up. Hoike is a sort of end of year talent show, featuring traditional Hawaiian songs, dance, poetry and respect for the teachings of the Kapuna (elders), passed on through the generations. Appreciation like this pervades the culture of Hawaii. It makes it a whole lot easier to appreciate yourself, give to yourself, as a little reward for what you have given during the school year.
This time of year, I want to smell flowers, feel the warm sun on my skin, feel that release of pressure from the school year. The truth is even though the kids are the ones in school, sometimes it feels like we are! I don’t know about you, but I’m soooooooo ready to NOT worry about forgotten lunches and homework, missed school days due to one more nasty cold, late night projects with a totally panic-stricken child. My quickie mall haul lead me to Blue Ginger, a local women’s clothing store (http://www.blueginger.com), Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works. The colors of the stores and smells pulled me in. So, here are the pretty goodies that I couldn’t resist.
First off, the Mom candle — ah, yum! It’s from Bath & Body Works, in the scent of “Fresh Cut Lilacs.” It smells awesome and is just one of a bunch of different scented candles in honor of Mom! While there, I also picked up this cute pink “Let’s make an escape plan” zipper bag, which adds a wonderful pop of color to my new favorite bag from Blue Ginger, which is the perfect size for shopping because it is not too heavy! Let’s face it, this zipper bag is too small to be practical, but it was too cute to pass up. It can hold a few credit cards, I guess, a little cash, or a small stash of lipsticks, powder, etc… but, most importantly, it’s super easy to spot quickly, when you commit the sin of overstuffing your purse. The two lovely matte lipsticks, “Fantasy,” and “Hush,” are super inexpensive at V.S. and fun and youthful, on any face, you just gotta commit to it. “Little powder, little paint, makes a lady what she ain’t”. I’m in love with this Flamingo Eye Glass Case, too. I actually found it at Ross for only $3.99. (I’ve had a run on breaking my reading glasses and this one is both rigid and slim, a perfect happy addition to my beachy purse. And, finally, I was delighted by the Flowery car visor clip from Bath & Bodyworks. (It comes in loads of different designs.) Most of their scent inserts are a bit too strong for me. But, there is likely a scent for every taste. I picked “Vanilla Bean,” and “Tiki Beach.” Since I have a fantasy about one day having a kid/pet free car that is clean as a whistle and rides like a dream, my little flower clip brightens up my day. And heh, since sometimes we are messy, make-up free, with coffee stained yoga pants on, with unbrushed scrunchy hair, we gotta sometimes settle for smelling good too. But, that’s another blog. 😉
Here’s hoping that your Summer Vacay brings you some serious Mom pampering and that the next few weeks of school go well! In the meantime, don’t let this Mother’s Day pass you by, because YOU deserve it!!!!!
Happy Shopping! Stay Sassy and beautiful!
Mrs. Sassy Pants