food this week

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My wonderful in-laws were visiting last weekend so I made a retro dish, Steak Diane. I remember reading an article a long time ago from I think either James Beard or Craig Claiborne, who talked about going to the theater in New York to see a play and making a quick supper of Steak Diane beforehand. It sounded so chic, so New York, and how can anything with steak, butter, cream, and cognac be anything but delicious.

Easy curries have been on my regular rotation in the last few months. I like their versatility. Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Curry and Zucchini & Shrimp Coconut Curry are my current favorites to riff on.

The eggplants in my garden are going bananas this year. I’ve made Pasta alla Norma and Eggplant Caponata which is a delicious Italian dish great as an appetizer on a slice of baguette or spread in a sandwich. My mom also gave me some corn on the cob and my favorite thing to eat this week was a free form salad with corn and blueberries. Put a few cobs of corn in a hot dry saute pan and turn every minute or so until the corn is grilled on all sides. Cut off the kernels and in a bowl mix the corn with fresh blueberries, diced red onion, & chopped basil. Toss with a little rice vinegar, olive oil, and s & p. Let macerate for about an hour before serving.

Have you tried the new plant based burgers called the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger? They are both delicious, look just like beef, and if no one told me it was plant based, I would not have known. Beyond Burger is sold in stores and the Impossible Burger you can find in restaurants but I’ve heard that they will be in stores soon.

I use these guides to what produce is in season in Hawaii and Southern California. They’re very helpful as I look at recipes and put together my meals. You probably have something similar for your area.

These Green Falafel Balls from 101 Cookbooks are great to freeze and and pan fry a few for lunch. Last but not least, take a look at this incredibly beautiful Rainbow Cake from Molly Yeh. I could never make this in a thousand years but I love it so much. Happy eating.

Photo from NY Times Cooking.

balance

Balance. It means many different things to those with PD. I try to exercise most days with either yoga, weight lifting, kickboxing, stretching, or gardening. It helps me both physically and mentally and I’m always on a quest to find the right balance of pushing myself a little to keep my symptoms in check while not over doing it so that I’m overly tired.

Balancing our daily activities. Some days you’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends and other times you need down time. Your meds are not working properly or one of your symptoms is particularly challenging and you need time to yourself. Both are important. I know for some it’s difficult to get out and do activities but it can lead to feeling isolated, so sometimes you have to just do it, even though you don’t feel like it, and once you start you end up enjoying it much more than you thought. Other times don’t push and relax with a good book or take a nap.

Balancing our mind. There are so many things I’m grateful for and live a blessed life, but having PD can be at times mentally exhausting. Your always being reminded of it throughout the day, dealing with pain and other symptoms. Meditation, a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness and being present, all help me keep a positive attitude when things are challenging.

Balancing our medications. Boy is this a fun one. Trying to take enough of, and the right combination of medications to feel our best, without having too many side or adverse effects. Also trying to coordinate our meals with our meds, makes Parkies the world record holders in the number of times we look at our clocks each day.

And then of course there is our physical balance. Tai Chi, yoga, and many other exercises can help with our balance. Doing little exercises during the day like standing on one foot when you’re at your kitchen counter or waiting in line while running errands can be helpful. I’ve been doing this one for a while now so it’s automatic. Whenever I wait for an elevator or stand in line at the store, I do it without thinking about it. I call it my mini flamingo pose.

summer of brazil

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We just returned from a fantastic trip to Brazil. My son Bronson lives in Rio so we started there and enjoyed many breathtaking sights, fabulous food, and experiences. It’s the perfect time to visit as it’s winter there and the low tourist season, so it felt like we had many places to ourselves.

In Rio we stayed in Ipanema a block from the gorgeous beach. Some of the favorite foods we ate were the Pao de Queijo which are chewy bread rolls with cheese in the middle, the Portuguese custard pastries called Pasteis de nata, and a fresh farmers cheese and guava paste they call Romeu e Julieta. And of course the Caiparinha’s were flowing.

From Rio, our next stop was Paraty, a charming small colonial seaside town where we took a small boat to along the coastline which was incredible. Then to the big city of Sao Paulo and the falls of Iguassu. The people throughout Brazil were very friendly and welcoming, the scenery is spectacular, and the food delicious.

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When I travel, my PD symptoms seem to lessen. It’s probably the adrenaline of being on the trip, coupled with wanting to keep up with everyone that keeps my focus on other things. I did rest when I needed to and did my best to eat well which did help quite a bit. It was a memorable trip!

aloha friday

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I hope your week went well. This weekend there is a PD support group meeting and I’ll be getting ready for our trip to Brazil. My current dose of carbidopa/levodopa is starting to wear off before my next scheduled dose, so I’m thinking of adding Entacapone to help extend it. If you have tried it, I would so appreciate it if you would email me with your experience. Thanks and enjoy your weekend.

~ Great, more good books to add to my TBR list. 14 Books You Wish You Could Read for the First Time Again.

~ This summer cocktail looks strange and interesting at the same time.

~ Watched The Accountant of Auschwitz on Netflix. Very interesting doc about one of the last living members of the SS who went on trial for war crimes. Also really enjoying Big Little Lies on HBO.

~ Books I’m currently reading - The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, Heirs and Graces (The Royal Spyness Mysteries #7) by Rhys Bowen, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams.

~ The photo above Sweet Potato and Black Bean Freezer Burritos if from Molly Yeh. What a great idea for an easy lunch or dinner. I’m making a batch this weekend.

~ Melissa Clark has a new food podcast called Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark. Listen to the intro episode and try her tomato salad recipe. It is out of this world.

~ Interesting article The Biggest Wastes of Time We Regret When We Get Older.

~ “It is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy.”

popsicles

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Popsicle’s are not just for kids. They are easy to make, involve no cooking, and are super refreshing. I like them whenever I want something a little sweet, but also trying to nudge towards the healthy. The basic formula for 6 popsicles is 2 c. fruit, 2-4 T honey, 1/2 c. either yogurt, juice, milk, or water, and any flavoring ingredients. Have fun using whatever fruit you have available. For all of them you basically whiz the ingredients into a blender, pour into the molds, and freeze for a few hours. Enjoy.

Mango Yogurt Popsicles

2 cups diced mango

2-4 Tablespoons honey (or sweetener of your choice)

juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 cup yogurt (I used full fat yogurt but use whatever you’d like)

Also try:

1 c. strawberries, 1 banana, 1/2 c. fruit juice, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 T. honey

2 c. watermelon, 1/2 c. cranberry juice, juice of 1 lime, 3 T. honey

fudgesicles- 1 c. room temperature coffee, 1/2 c. half & half, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 tsp. cacao powder, 3 T. honey, 1 tsp. vanilla

practicing happiness

Being happy can sometimes be challenging when you have a chronic illness. First there is the lack of dopamine and all the other physiological reasons. Then there are the daily challenges that can rack up, and zap our ability to be happy or positive. On those days, we may need to nudge ourselves in a more positive direction. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I’d rather have a short pity party, but then it’s time to get back on track.  

 Here are a few things that can zap happiness:

- Don’t “should” yourself all the time. I should do this, I should do that. It comes from a negative place. Say instead “I’d like to do this” or “I will do this”. And while we are at it, try not to “should” others in our lives.

- Comparing yourself to others. As FDR said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. It really doesn’t matter what others have done. Do what’s right for you. When you have a chronic illness, it can sometimes feel that everyone is whizzing past you in life. But it’s not a race. You do you.

- When you’re having a tough day, don’t pile on. It’s easy to start adding on other negative feelings or thoughts. Try to keep it to just that situation. You’ll get through it.

Practicing these things can create more happiness:

- Do little positive things each day. It’s not the grand gestures that make you happier, but the little daily habits that build on themselves.

- Exercise. It’s shown in studies that it not only helps us physically but can help reduce anxiety and depression.

- Spend time outdoors. Exercise, read, people watch, anything. Do it now while the weather is good.

- Socialize with others. Not only with friends and family, but casual relationships are also beneficial. So, chat with your postman each day or the cashier in your grocery store each time you see them.

- Write down two things each day that you’re grateful for. They can be the smallest things but write them down.

- If you want to keep it, give it away. Helping someone else can make you feel happier.

xoxo-kai

an unexpected gift

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When you have a degenerative disease, one of the most challenging things to deal with is the uncertainty. The uncertainty of tomorrow, next month, and next year. At the same time you’re feeling uncertain about the future, you’re also mourning you’re previous normal. You may have just gotten used to the latest symptoms and medication balance, and then they change.

That’s why I think PWP have become so good at living in the moment. Now while it’s true for everyone that we don’t know the future, I think those with a degenerative disease, along with their caregivers and loved ones, feel it in the forefront of their daily thoughts.

Before I had PD, I took for granted that if I couldn’t do something today, I would able to do it in the future. Now I am much more present, aware, appreciative of things in the moment because I understand all too well that it may change in the near future. Having PD is certainly no gift, but living and appreciating little things in the moment has been an unexpected gift. A gift we can practice giving ourselves each day.

aloha friday

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I started a new kickboxing class this week. It was posted on our local PD association email, so I thought it was a class for PWP. I showed up and I was the only one there who had PD. At first it was a little nerve wracking because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up with everyone, but I ended up having a terrific time. If you live in Honolulu and would like to find out more, email me directly and I’d be happy to share more details.

Aside from trying to stay cool, here are few things that I’ve been interested in this week. Have a wonderful weekend.

What I’m watching - I want to hang out with Monty Don in his garden. His soothing voice and obvious passion for gardening makes me love every show he is in. I’m currently watching Gardeners World. All the Queen’s Horses is a an interesting documentary about a comptroller in a small town in Illinois and how she embezzled $53 million in public funds. TCM is highlighting movies made in 1939 called “Hollywood’s Golden Year” for movies. There are some great classics that I’ll be watching including Love Affair and Wuthering Heights.

What I’m reading - A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny. This is the 7th in the Armand Gamache mysteries and I’m just loving this series. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. Super interesting the way he interspurses his real life into the novel. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow. A highly researched and written book about the family banking dynasty. Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson is a beautiful book with great tips.

What I’m listening to - Joao Gilberto the pioneer musician of Bossa Nova just passed. I’ll be making a weekend cocktail and listening to this classic album Getz/Gilberto. Gretchen Rubin’s latest book is Outer Order Inner Calm. I enjoy all her books and this one is about decluttering and organizing your home.

Last thought - Chronic illness can take, but one of the things it has given me is the awareness to marvel in the ordinary.

xoxo~ kai

summer fruit

My mother is Korean, and if you know anything about Korean mothers, you’ll know their obsession with feeding their children fruit. When I visit my mom, I’m usually leaving with a bag of fruit in hand. So it’s no wonder that the bounty of summer fruit factors heavily into my summer eating. You can’t beat just eating them fresh at their ripest, but once you’ve gorged through mountains of cherries, peaches, plums, berries, & melons, you have to start looking for other ways to enjoy them.

I started off making this strawberry summer cake from Smitten Kitchen. It’s become my go to easy cake this year and it’s also delicious with mango. The next two on my to make list are Ina Garten’s mixed berry pavlova and summer fruit galette from David Lebovitz.

I make this big batch of brandied cherries each year and freeze them. These little ruby red gems are fantastic in a Manhattan or an Aviation cocktail, spooned over ice cream or sponge cake, or even drizzled over yogurt. This peach tart from Food52 looks totally doable and I love that it gives a zillion variations. When you’re grilling on the bbq, these grilled peaches with creme fraiche from White on Rice are an easy and elegant dessert.

 
 

For a few healthier options, fruit salads are always a good way to go. After cutting up the fruit, toss with a little lemon or lime juice, honey, and chopped mint leaves. If you have leftovers add them to your smoothie or freeze it for a future smoothie. If you haven’t tried the watermelon salad from Love and Lemons, the salty cheese combined with the melon is a great combination, and these tropical coconut popsicles from Pick Up Limes are a cool snack.

 
 

summer lovin

Summer is here, so let us Parkies find more ways to enjoy it.

Exercise outdoors- If you have a hard time finding the motivation to exercise or the weather in your area can be a deterrent to get outside in the winter, let this be the season for you. Choose your favorites. Walking, hiking, gardening, biking, swimming, an outdoor Tai Chi or yoga in the park class. Mix it up. Walk a different park or neighborhood each week. Don’t have a garden? Check with your local garden extension or public gardens and volunteer. Make it a date. Find someone to do it with and when you’re done, have a cup of coffee at a new cafe.

Enjoy the summer bounty - This is the perfect season to increase your fruit and veg. Pick a couple of your favorites and look for a few new ways to enjoy them all summer long. Right now there are beautiful local mangoes, so I’m trying them in all sorts of ways. I made this summer cake and replaced the berries with mango, coconut tapioca pudding, and mango salsa that I’ll top fish and tacos. Visit your local farmers market and get inspired.

Eat outdoors - It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Enjoy coffee or a cocktail. Have a picnic. No cooking necessary. Take a crusty loaf of bread, slices of salami & cheese, olives, fruit, and few store bought cookies and enjoy the sunset. It really doesn’t matter because everything you eat outdoors tastes better!

Try a new activity - Summer time may bring lots of extra activities to your city. Look for festivals, museums with special exhibits or free days, watch a movie or play in the park. Instead of reading on your couch, find a big tree to sit under and enjoy your summer read. In our neighborhood there is an old cemetery. A local theater group put on a play in the cemetery portraying interesting people buried there and how they contributed to the community. It was fascinating.

Stay cool - Dress in natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. Looser cuts and dresses or skirts feel cooler than thick jeans. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Infuse a big pitcher of water with a few slices of lemon or lime, mint, or cucumber to make it more interesting. Wear sunscreen every day. Cerave and Elta MD are two of my favorites for my face and Sun Bum for my body. Wear hats. Solumbra and Coolibar are fantastic. I wear this wide brim hat for gardening and this one for walking. I can throw them both in the washer and they travel well.

Happy summer!

aloha friday

Today is the summer solstice for those in the northern hemisphere and winter solstice for the southern hemisphere. It’s officially summer and this summer I’m looking forward to swimming and hiking more & having a few easy picnics. Lofty goals I know but being outside really helps me feel better so I’m always looking for more ways to do that.

~ Speaking of summer, Gretchen Rubin talks about designing your summer in this episode of Happier with Gretchen Rubin. It talks about not just letting your summer pass without planning some enjoyable things to mark the time.

~ I’ve been watching the comedy Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. It stars the very funny Eugene Levy & Catherine O’Hara and if you liked Arrested Development, you’ll like this also. It takes a few episodes before it really starts to kick in but they are only 20+ minute episodes.

~ Two excellent memoirs I just finished are Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl. Ruth talks about her time working at Gourmet Magazine and it’s abrupt shutdown that came as a complete surprise. Ruth is a wonderful food writer and a few of my other favorites that she’s written are Garlic & Sapphires and Tender at the Bone. The other book is Becoming by Michelle Obama. No matter your political point of view, you can see what a strong & caring family she came from and the challenges and joys being first lady has provided her. Both memoirs are fantastic in audio form.

~ I regularly make red wine vinegar but I’m trying my first attempt at apple cider vinegar. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime I’m loving this simple fresh salsa with chips, on quesadillas, and taco tuesdays. If you’re losing your smell and taste, give it a try. The acid, spicy, salty hits my taste buds! I’m also going to give this strawberry summer cake a go this weekend. It looks simple and delicious.

Wishing you a beautiful summer. xoxo Kai

(photo above from House & Garden)

summer PD book read

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If you’re looking for a summer read, how about a book about Parkinson’s. We share many similarities from the disease itself but all have different paths and journeys, and it’s so touching to read others experiences. I laughed, cried, was inspired and learned a lot of helpful information, and I hope you will too.

Lucky Man: A Memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future - Michael J. Fox - We all know MJF and all the incredible work he has done for the PD community. All three of these books are great to listen to as audiobooks as he narrates them with his familiar sincerity and humor and how he still sees his as a charmed life.

Perseverance: The Seven Skills You Need to Survive, Thrive, and Accomplish More Than You Ever Imagined - Tim Hague - Tim shares the story of his life, from his challenging childhood, to life with PD and how his time being on the first season of the show The Amazing Race Canada with his son, has dramatically changed his life.

Parkinson’s Diva - Maria De Leon, MD - Maria has been a caregiver, a Neurologist, and also has PD, so she has a very unique perspective. Her book is a terrific mix of medical information wrapped up in fun and personal stories. Maria is also writing a new book and I can’t wait for it to come out and if you missed it, here is a link to the interview I did with her.

Every Victory Counts - Davis Phinney Foundation - This is an excellent manual with lots of good information for both PWP and caregivers. You can download the ebook for free, or your can also receive a printed copy until they run out.

Here are the books on my to be read list. Have you read any of these or do you have any good books about Parkinson’s that you can share?

smiling & laughing

I don’t where I picked up the habit but for years, whenever I went to the restroom, I would look in the mirror when I washed my hands and give a quick smile to myself. Sounds odd I know, but it physically made me feel better. As I progressed with my Parkinson’s I noticed I did it less and less and that I also smiled and laughed overall much less than I did in the past. It’s a common symptom of PD called facial masking or hypomimia.

So I took to the Google and read a few articles that said smiling and laughing do have a physical effect on us. They can release dopamine (our long lost friend) which contributes to happiness and serotonin which contributes to the feeling of calm. Even forcing or faking a smile can trick our brains into feeling better.

So I put my forced smiling and laughing plan to work. When I wake up in the morning and before I get out of bed, I smile and think “good morning”. When I’m drinking my morning coffee I look at a couple of reddit feeds like contagious laughter or made me smile, that show funny video clips and watch it until I laugh which doesn’t take long and I swear it makes my day start in a happier mood. I’m also practicing my smile in the restroom again and take the opportunity to smile at someone during the day if I’m out and about.

I really do notice a difference. Think about it. Do you smile and laugh every day?

aloha friday

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Tomorrow we’ll celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday. She has been and continues to be such an inspiration to me. Happy Birthday Mom! Today it’s gardening, exercising, and reading. Have a wonderful weekend.

~ Yay, the Downton Abbey movie will be released in September. Here is a trailer and guess who’s coming to visit?

~ Here is a shocking way to see how much added sugar you’re consuming.

~ Bill Gates does his yearly summer book read recommendations and this year looks like some really interesting picks.

~ Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs - I enjoyed this memoir from the oldest daughter of Steve Jobs. The surprising humble life she lived growing up and the difficult relationship with her world famous father is so interesting to read.

~ This One-Pan Bruschetta Spaghetti from the NYT Cooking site looks intriguing. I’ve always wanted to try a one pan pasta and with summer tomatoes soon at their best, this is the perfect season.

~ Actress Minnie Driver has a lovely new line of furnishings from One Kings Lane. I love to soft British prints.

~ The Japanese secret to living a longer life. What is your Ikigai?

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.” ~Wayne Dyer

(photo above from Big Red Sun)

3 easy healthy snacks

 
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These easy to prepare snacks are healthy and super delicious.

Date & Nut Energy Balls - In a food processor add 5 oz. almonds, 7 oz. medjool dates, 1 Tbs. almond butter, 1 Tbs. cacao powder, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, & pinch of salt. Process until everything is chopped fine. Roll into tiny balls and roll in shredded coconut. Keep in fridge to stay firm.

 
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Cacao Chia Seed Pudding - In a jar with tight cover, add 6 Tablespoons of chia seeds, 1.5 cups of plant milk of your choice, 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 Tablespoon cacao powder, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, & a pinch of salt. Cover tightly & shake until well combined. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then shake again to make sure it’s well mixed. Put in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve with berries, shredded coconut, or sliced bananas.

 
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Almond Butter & Banana Toast - Spread almond butter on a slice of hearty toasted bread. I like to mash the banana first in a little bowl with a fork before I add it on top of the almond butter. Add a small sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

~ enjoy! xoxo Kai

house cleaning plan

What is your method of cleaning your home? Do you do it all in a day, or do you break it up into smaller tasks? I’ve had many iterations over the years and a lot of it depended on the stage of my life. Now having PD and the fatigue that can come with it, breaking it up into individual segments seems to work the best for me. I created a checklist to help me keep track and you can download a PDF of it here or an Excel version here so you can make changes according to your needs.

The overall plan is each day I choose one, but can add as many more segments as I like around my time and energy. Basically there are the things I do every day which are make my bed, wash dishes, and do a 5 minute straighten up before bed. Then each day I do one or more of the Weekly List. Then once a month I choose one item on the Monthly List. The final list is the Major Cleanout that aren’t absolutely necessary but if you’re up to it, choose one a month.

I find that this system has enough structure so that things get cleaned regularly but is also flexible, and if you miss a task here or there, it doesn’t matter because you will just pick it up the following week.

Although house cleaning is not my favorite thing in the world to do, it is something that I have to do. So I look at it like a project and put together the best system for me and it becomes enjoyable. Another tip is if you have a two-story or larger home, keep several caddies of cleaning supplies in different areas of your home, so their easy to access. PDF Cleaning List Excel Cleaning List

Do you have any cleaning tips that you can share?

aloha friday

It’s Memorial Day Weekend in the US which honors servicemen & women who have lost their lives during active duty. For many it is also the kickoff to the spring/summer season. I remember once I was at the JFK airport in New York going down to Miami where my son Bronson was living and it was the Friday before Memorial Day. The plane was full of 20 somethings going to party in Miami for the long weekend. One of them had curlers in her hair, her pajamas on, and a full size pillow. The flight was abuzz the whole time with talking, laughing, and anticipation. Ah the energy of youth. It brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

~ The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson - A fascinating book about a theft of rare bird specimens at a British museum, but is so much more than just the crime. I didn’t know what to expect from the book but who knew that the world of Victorian fly fishing lures could be so interesting.

~ The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - This historical non-fiction books reads like a novel and traces the simultaneous paths of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the killer H. H. Holmes. The author does great research into the details and really crafts the story well.

~ Even though I bring reusable bags to the grocery store, I still have a ton of plastic produce bags, so I’m going to give these reusable produce bags a try. I also reuse the plastic bags by giving them a rinse and then drying them by putting a couple of wooden spoons into a tall glass and putting the wet bag over it like a tent to dry.

~ Some days it’s not as easy to type on the computer so any little bit helps. Here is a super helpful article that shows keyboard shorts. It can be difficult to remember so pick the top 10 that you think you will use the most and put them on a post it note on your computer screen.

~ It’s starting to warm up around here and I’ve been looking for a loose, versatile linen top. I’ve narrowed down my two choices to this pale blue one from JCrew or this lavender option from Everlane.

~ Ina Garten’s Tuscan Tomato & Bread Salad is a cross between a Caprese & Panzanella and is on my list for my next bbq, along with Love & Lemons Broccoli Salad.

~ I really enjoy listening to the When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast. Larry Gifford shares his journey since being diagnosed in 2017 and it’s really touching and informational. It’s also great for family members and caregivers to help them understand and navigate our complicated world of PD.



7 things on saturday

This weekend it’s lunch at Mom’s house and a movie with Marc. We’ll be watching The Avengers, not my favorite movie but spending time together makes it enjoyable anyway. Did I mention it’s a three hour movie :)

~ Take a look at the newly opened TWA Hotel at the JFK Airport. Such a cool retro remodel.

~ Renee Zellweger does an amazing portrayal of Judy Garland in the trailer for “Judy”.

~ Bookstores: How to Read More Books in the Age of Golden Content - Fun documentary about reading more and bookstores. It’s free and only about 30 minutes long.

~ Inheritance - Dani Shapiro - This is her latest memoir about her finding out that her father is not her biological father. The book opens with that and goes into how that changed her idea of who she was and answered many of the questions she had growing up feeling different. I’d recommend the audiobook as Dani has a beautiful voice and makes the stories feel so much more personal.

~ It’s been a little over the halfway mark on my month of no shopping for anything other than food and basic toiletries. Everytime I think of something I want to purchase, I put it on my wish list. It’s been going really well. I caught myself putting something in my Amazon shopping cart but then deleted it. I was also at the drugstore and picked up a home hair highlighting kit and headed for the checkout line, but thought about it and put it back. It’s feeling really good and I’ve gone back several times to my wish list and deleted things I thought I wanted but now see that I really don’t need it. Leo Babauta has an interesting article about why we buy things.

~ Pour Heavy Cream on Fruit. Such a simple idea yet so delicious.

~ Easy snack or lunch-Hummus Quesadilla-Smear a whole wheat tortilla with your favorite hummus (mine is red pepper hummus) and fold in half. Brown in a saute pan with a tiny bit of olive oil until brown on both sides. Serve w/ just hot sauce or avocado & cilantro. The hummus turns warm and creamy like melted cheese and is much healthier.

Have a wonderful weekend. ~xo Kai



just begin again

Eight years ago when I was diagnosed, I went to a support group meeting. It was all new to me and I didn’t know much about Parkinson’s. Marc and I drove down on a Saturday morning and sat down with the group. I didn’t say much, just observed, and at the end of the meeting I walked to the car and burst into tears.

It was overwhelming. It was too much too fast. I looked around the room and saw others who had advanced stages of Parkinson’s and I couldn’t process it. Here I was, young and physically fit, and in my mind I fast forwarded myself to think about the worst case scenario and it was frightening. I never went back.

That was eight years ago and today I went back. The people were wonderful and I’ve had enough time to put things into perspective, and am very glad that I went. Sometimes when you try something and it doesn’t work, regroup and just begin again. Have a wonderful weekend.

~xoxo Kai

30 day challenge-no shopping

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Starting today for the month of May, I’m going to try and not purchase anything except necessary things like food and toiletries. Not that this is some incredible feat of restraint, but I noticed that lately I have been purchasing more little things online than I really need. Amazon and other sites have it so easy to buy things that it just sort of crept up on me.

Anything I want to purchase, I’ll put on a wish list. I think it will be a fun exercise at the end of the month to see what’s on the list and hopefully try to be more mindful about little purchases in the future.

I swear I started this first thing this morning and no more than an hour later I was reading a blog post and caught myself looking at candles online! OMG. I’m back on track and I’ll check in next week to give an update.

If you want to do this with me, either post a comment or email me and we can help keep each other motivated.