experiences not things


it’s the beginning of the holiday season and it seems that the buying season starts earlier and earlier in the year and many sites are already ramping up the “what to buy” lists, sales, and reviews. let the games begin. i’m not immune. last week i went down a black hole on my laptop trying to convince myself why i needed this pair of jeans that was on sale. almost every fashion or lifestyle site i subscribe to were talking about this sale, it’s the first time they went on sale, they were only on sale for another 24 hours, they were fantastic, entire posts on reviews of them, i was hooked. i went to the site and read through the details and as gorgeous as they were, saw that the rise of the jean was too high for me because i’m 5’2”. i even already own a pair of jeans with a rise that was lower than these and they were still too high for me so i definitely knew they wouldn’t work.

that didn’t deter me. there were were tons of reviews on the site so i patiently read through them looking for reviews from petite woman saying how fabulous they were. i went to other bloggers who i know had reviewed them in the past and read their reviews again. i was literally trying to convince myself that i needed these jeans! half an hour later i finally snapped out of my trance, thankfully before i purchased them.

i do love the holidays and want to enjoy all the wonderful things that go with them but i will try and take a breath and move slowly through the consumption part of it, and try to focus on the people and experiences that are the important part. i’ll try to keep the idea of hygge close and be mindful. i’ll try to create an atmosphere that works for me, at this time of my life, without trying to adhere to the pretend perfection that we see in marketing and sometimes on social media. and if you see me in public with jeans that are too high waisted for me, know that i am still trying…….. :-)


aloha friday


we’ll be shopping along with everyone else this weekend for thanksgiving. always a little gardening and a few things on netflix i want to catch up on. enjoy your weekend.

~exercise, exercise, exercise……………… :)

~these are some powerful women with parkinson’s. go ladies!

~the free eat more plants cookbook -if you’re looking for more ways to incorporate a plant based diet, leo babauta from zen habits has graciously put together this free downloadable cookbook with some terrific simple recipes.

~ rock on michael j. fox and all who raised money for parkinson’s at the #foxgala.

~ rules of civility by amor towles - i’m almost done reading this book and loving it.

~ this butternut pumpkin pie from stella parks looks incredible.

savoring walk


marc-e-marc and i like to pick a new neighborhood and take a walk. it can be a residential, commercial, even industrial area. we park and walk and really try to notice all the different things going on. it’s fascinating what you see, hear, and smell. even areas that we’ve driven through for years take on a completely different look when you walk it and really take notice of all the details. sometimes it’s nice to go into zen mode with your headphones on and walk but this type of walk is stimulating whether it’s in nature or in an urban setting.

so when i was listening to a podcast called the science of happiness, the episode talked about a ‘savoring walk’ which is the habit of taking a walk outside and really noticing the things around you and how impactful it can be in our stress levels. the walk takes on a completely different feel than when you walk and tune out to things around you. so how about a 20 minute savoring walk today?

let me know if savoring walk is something you do and if you find it beneficial.


november garden notes


“Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.” – Unknown

ahhh the garden in october. the veg beds are slowly coming in. i tried zucchini again this year but had to pull them because they were overly infested with aphids. i think i’ll have to give up on zucchini and cucumber, between the powdery mildew and aphids it just doesn’t work in my humid climate. the chard and tomatoes are doing well along with the various herbs.

the rainbow ti plants just ended their gorgeous bloom which attracts tons of nice buzzy bees, so it’s about time they get a trim. the agapanthus and hilo beauty plumeria tree are ready to lie low for the winter. the plumeria flower is a deep dark maroon color and is in front of the house. over the years i’ve had several people who were driving by stop and ask if they can have a cutting because the color is so stunning. i’m also thrilled to see the two strawberry guava plants that i started from seeds a few years ago have a few fruit flowers starting! each fall i put an inch layer of compost throughout the entire garden and over the grass and it slowly absorbs into the earth, so by the time spring arrives the plants are ready to burst into summer. it really helps my heavily clay soil.

papaya 11.2.18.jpg
lilikoi asimpleislandlife 11.2.18.jpg

the papaya tree has a handful of fruit starting and the lilikoi (passion fruit) has made a comeback after it’s near death and has a couple of fruit starting. lastly the little potted lemon verbena keeps on chugging. i snip off the leaves and brew tea with a little added honey which is wonderfully soothing. between the tea and the chirping of the birds, all is well in my little garden.

kale quinoa bites

recipe from  101 cookbooks

recipe from 101 cookbooks

another delicious and healthy recipe from heidi swanson at 101 cookbooks. these dense little nuggets are great for breakfast, lunch, or snack and are highly flexible. they are almost like a frittata but with the quinoa it makes it a whole little portable meal. i made them as the recipe called for but also made them with leftover roasted squash and queso fresco. this is a great way to use the bits and bobs in the fridge. one more thing, i didn’t add the breadcrumbs and it turned out great without it. thanks heidi for another fabulous recipe!

quinoa bite.gif

let’s eat ;)


can illness bring you joy?


having parkinson’s can be difficult. there is not a day that goes by that it doesn’t stay top of mind. you have an invisible chain to your clock because you need to see if it’s time to take your medication. some days it’s difficult to get the energy to do the tasks for the day and to be your own best cheerleader.

but in spite of all the challenges, can illness bring joy to our lives? i say yes. it can bring into focus at laser speed the things and people that are most important in our lives. it can provide gratitude because we understand loss. it can teach us greater empathy to others when they are having a difficult day. it can bring us joy by learning to live and enjoy the present moment.

so when i’m having a down moment, i try to remember not only what parkinson’s has taken away, but what it has given me.

aloha friday

nighthalks  ~ edward hopper

nighthalks ~ edward hopper

this week was a pretty mellow week. i did my usual meals on wheels delivery which i love to do and saw the new version of a star is born with lady gaga and bradley cooper. both are super talented and it has a great soundtrack on spotify that i’ll be listening to all weekend.

~ the art institute of chicago just put over 44,000 works of art online in high resolution for free. they also have information on each piece and artist. i can’t wait to get a cup of coffee and peruse….

~ enjoying the audiobook “bad blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by john carreyrou. it’s a fascinating account of the rise and fall of the firm theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech fraud startup headed by elizabeth holmes.

~ when life gives you parkinson’s is terrific new podcast from larry gifford.

~ i started following islandlivinglisa on instagram. beautiful photos and lots of positive parkinson’s inspiration!

~ goodness these keyboard shortcuts are fantastic.

~ i can never have too many recipes for pumpkin bread and this one with maple butter sounds delicious. happy weekend!

“anything one does everyday is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful” ~gertrude stein

online parkinson's community


i’m very happy with my doctors. hawaii has very few neurologists who are movement disorder specialists, and of those few a couple of them don’t take my insurance or are not taking any new patients, so i feel fortunate to have one. she is wonderful when i visit but i know she is also very busy, so if i need to email or call between visits, the communication is a little on the light side.

it also seems like those of us with parkinson’s are constantly adjusting our medications as our symptoms change, so when i started having some off periods and some anxiety, i thought i’d reach out to an open forum on the parkinson’s foundation website to see what sort of feedback i could get.

wow i had no idea the collective power and wisdom i would find on them. i posted my question and got some very thoughtful and varied responses. i also posted on their ask a pharmacist forum who is moderated by Mark Comes who is a pharmacist who also has pd and received some great feedback also.

of course it doesn’t replace the advice i get from my doctors, but sometimes the best advice comes from others in your same shoes and it’s wonderful to know that our pd community is ready and waiting to help. and by the way, i was also able to help by sharing my experiences with a others posting questions. if you know of other helpful forums please post them in the comments.

october beauty product review

here are the skincare and makeup products i purchased this month and how they worked for me. i haven’t purchased much makeup lately so i needed to stock up on a few things.

paula’s choice vitamin c super booster - i’ve been using this for about a year and it’s become a staple. i’ve read that vitamin c can quickly degrade so i keep mine in the fridge and it’s the first thing i put on in the morning with a clean face. you put a couple of drops on and it instantly absorbs. the other thing i like about the website is you can read up on specific ingredients you hear about and it gives a description and a rating.

urban decay eyeshadow palette in naked2 basics - what i like about this palette is that they are all mat shades which i like better for mature skin.

ulta eyeshadow palette in soul - i was looking for a plum palette to go with fall and winter but didn’t want to spend too much since i usually prefer neutrals, so this was a fantastic price at $12. the dark plum is great to set my eyeliner with.

laura mercier foundation primer - this primer goes on very light and doesn’t have that gloppy feeling or pill up like some others that i’ve tried. i do notice a difference in my makeup lasting longer, so it’s definitely a keeper.

urban decay eyeshadow primer - it has a doe foot applicator and helps my eyeshadow stay put for longer, and helps prevent it from settling into the creases in my lids. i also put a tiny dab on the inner corner of my eye where i also put concealer.

looking forward to playing with the purples and plum colors this fall!

aloha friday

photo courtesy of  justin ornellas

photo courtesy of justin ornellas

i’m looking forward to having game night this weekend as well as a visit to mom’s. I hope I also have time to watch a film noir this weekend on tcm called follow me quietly. the architecture, the clothing, the interiors, and oh yeah the acting.

this week i had a partial loaf of this incredible sour dough bread that i bought from breadshop in kaimuki and so i made a test run of stuffing with it. i don’t know why i make stuffing only once a year at thanksgiving because it’s so gd delicious.

how to seed pomegranates without looking like a murder scene - finally an easy way.

i’m listening to this song playlist of sade. what a beautiful and ethereal voice she has.

if you take daily medication take a peek at an app for your cell phone called pill reminder. it not only reminds you to take your medications but it can also give you a report that you can use for doctor visits. it’s so much easier than my previous system of using my phone reminders or logging it manually.

to kill a mockingbird was named best american novel. i’m one of the few people who never read it but definitely on my tbr.

i’ve been looking for dark grey or black jeans for a while and settled on these from everlane. i’ve never ordered jeans online but i’ve done my research and so fingers crossed they fit. i’ve loved everything that i’ve ordered from everlane so far.

great article on michael j. fox foundation blog about testing of drug for parkinson’s.

enjoy your weekend!

edamame (soybean) hummus

soybean hummus.jpg

this is a riff off of chickpea hummus. it’s a beautiful vibrant green and the flavor is lighter and fresher. it’s a great snack or appetizer, also delicious smeared on toast or in a sandwich. aside from this hummus, soybeans in the pod are also a favorite snack in hawaii with a glass of wine or beer. it’s sort of the local version of boiled peanuts. for the hummus you’ll want to start with the shelled version.

edamame (soybean) hummus

2 cups shelled soybeans, cooked

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1/4 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice


pinch of cayenne pepper

put the soybeans, garlic, warm water, olive oil, tahini, pinch of salt, & cayenne into a food processor and blend for a good 3 or 4 minutes. add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and blend for another minute. you want it to be nice and fluffy. taste and add more salt if needed. serve with raw vegetables, crackers, pita bread, sweet potato chips. enjoy!

boy am i getting a sweet tooth


i wasn’t really a dessert person growing up. yes i enjoyed sweet things occasionally but didn’t seek them out. but man has that slowly started to change over the last couple of years. then i started seeing articles popping up about parkinson’s and whether it increases you’re wanting sweet things. i don’t know if it’s true or not but one of them mentioned that since many of us with parkinson’s lose our sense of smell (which in turn lessens our sense of taste) that we might be seeking things with a sweeter flavor to compensate.

in any event, each night after dinner, i could really use a piece of cake, or pie, or ice cream! but i try to eat pretty healthfully so i had to figure out a strategy to reign in the beast and here is what has been working for me so far.

some people can have a bag of potato chips in the pantry and eat a few with a sandwich and put it back until they feel like it again. in my case, the bag of potato chips calls my name everytime i’m in the kitchen and i will eat potato chips every day until they are gone. but i know that about myself, so i only buy potato chips when i plan on eating them for a particular meal and purchase only enough for that meal. for me, out of sight out of mind so that goes for sweet things as well.

the next thing is i try to have sweet things only if i make them myself. that slows me down because although i want cookies everyday, i’m not going to bake them everyday and if i do bake them, i keep some for myself and give some away immediately. you’ll also be making a friend :)

the next line of defense is i do have dark chocolate in the house all the time. it’s very dark and strong so you really don’t want to each much, but a couple small squares in the evening is in most cases enough to keep the wolves at bay.

lastly if i do have leftover dessert, i wrap them into individually servings, freeze them, and put them in an extra freezer i have in my storage room. silly as it sounds, just having them removed from the kitchen helps me slow down and gives me one more opportunity to pass on them.

those of you that don’t have a sweet tooth are probably laughing but as i’m writing this i’m thinking of when can i make these salted butter & chocolate chip cookies. if you have any good strategies i’d love to hear them. XO Kai

have you participated in a clinical trial

i just read a surprising statistic that 85% of clinical trials for parkinson’s face delays and that 30% never get off the ground because of a lack of volunteers. while we try to live our best life now, we of course want to find new scientific breakthroughs and hopefully a cure. i know for many, just trying to get through the challenges of day are the priority but participating in just one trial can not only multiply the speed to a cure for ourselves, but is a way to pay it forward for the next generation who get parkinson’s.

many people want to participate but don’t how and think it would be too difficult. the michael j. fox foundation makes it simple to find out about what trials are available and can even send you a notice when a trial comes available that fits your parameters. all you need to do is register at fox trial finder. here is a short video from the mjff that’s really interesting. wishing you a happy saturday!

aloha friday


this weekend i’d like to see the movie colette with keira knightly and maybe have a scrabble night. exciting stuff, i know, but it sounds perfect to me. i’m getting a garden bed ready for some kupukipu ferns that i’ll be planting in them soon so i’m sure some gardening will be in order. have a wonderful weekend and live your best life now!

- interesting article about new study on light therapy to help parkinson’s non-motor symptoms.

-won’t you be my neighbor - a charming documentary about mr. rogers.

- an american in paris - i saw this classic movie again this week. no wonder it’s one of the 100 best movies of all time. gene kelly’s dancing is heavenly.


- slow roasted spiced pork - i made this for dinner this week and it was delicious and easy. you can eat it as a roast the first night and shred up leftovers for pulled pork tacos.

- the dream podcast - i love true crime and there are so many good podcasts right now. this is an interesting new one.

- a rule against murder - mystery novel by louise penny. i’m halfway through this and really loving this series about charming inspector gamache in a quaint canadian town.

learning to fall


i was walking up the stairs in my garden very quickly and the front of my foot hit the lip of the step and i fell face forward into the concrete steps. i’m completely fine because i able to catch myself and brace the fall with my hands, but it scared the you know what out of me. my husband also recently sprained his ankle from a fall.

it made me think about falling in general. the reality is we all fall down from time to time whether you have parkinson’s or not and there is so much injury that can come from these falls. so wouldn’t it be important that we all learned to fall correctly? i wish i knew this stuff when i was a kid. so i started to research how to fall and there is a lot of stuff online including techniques for athletes, law enforcement, etc. one of the best is elliot royce who at the age of 95 teaches the elderly how to fall and does it by falling over and over again! he is a falling ninja!

here are two videos that show how to fall forward and backwards. i have an air mattress and going to practice this and i’m even going to see if i can convince my mom to try it. give it a go and let me know how it goes or if you have any tips.

a meditation a day....


keeps all sorts of things away. i’ve been meditating off and on for the last couple of years and i do notice the difference when i meditate more regularly. i feel calmer, more grounded, and i think the most amazing thing it does is to give me just a second or two more of being present in a situation before i react to it. i’m more able to catch myself and think it through, than automatically react. that has been helpful not only in how i respond externally with others but how i react to myself particularly in dealing with my pd.

i meditate for ten minutes a day, most days in the morning, but anytime will work. i do try to time it when my medication is in high gear as during off periods, it can be difficult to focus. on not so good days, even five minutes is helpful.

the good news is there are so many fabulous ways to meditate. here are a few apps and sites to get started.

insight timer - this is my favorite app right now. it has tons of choices and you can choose the time you have, the teacher, and the subject, all for free. it also has a free course on learning to meditate if you’re new to the practice.

headspace - this app is also a good one. the first ten sessions are free and then you pay after that monthly. it has some very good animated clips on helping to learn and stay on track and all the meditations are narrated by the same person which headspace fans like.

here are two videos on learning to meditate. the first is from pick up limes and the other from dan harris. give it a go and let me know what you think.

aloha friday


it’s a beautiful morning in hawaii. our family room looks out over pauoa valley and our neighbors huge avocado & mango trees. the trees in the morning are filled with a variety of birds and they make an extraordinary symphony of chirping that i love to hear. it’s such a joyful way to wake up.

this weekend we are having friends over for dinner. the menu is a chicken curry and rice pilaf dish from nigella lawson that i’ve been cooking for years. it’s great for entertaining because you can make everything in advance and i serve it with lots of different condiments including mango chutney, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, & bacon bits so everyone can customize to their tastes.

pumpkin skillet coffee cake - stella parks is an incredible baker and these look like a delicious way to kick off the fall season.

my parkinson’s team - this a social network for those living with parkinson’s. i just signed up and look forward to meeting new people.

losing touch, finding intimacy - a powerful and touching piece.

can’t get comfortable in your chair? - really interesting article about how most of our chairs make us sit incorrectly.

blinc mascara - loving this mascara. never runs and super easy to remove.

book i’m enjoying - nonviolent communication by marshall b. rosenberg

simplify - my favorite podcast right now.

have a terrific weekend and live your best life now!

trading in my to do list

photo courtesy of  justin ornellas

photo courtesy of justin ornellas

most mornings as part of my morning routine, i make a to do list for the day. i have a been a big list maker for years and they run the gamut on how they were organized. it’s so fun for me to cross off those items after they are completed.

but i’d like to add a new list called my “joy & meaning” list. it comes from a book i’ve really enjoyed called the gifts of imperfection by brene brown. in it she describes how her lists in the past many times included things that were linked to mostly professional accomplishment, acquisition of more things, monetary goals, and so forth. i have had those same lists and they can be important things to focus on, but most of them required making and spending more money.

the joy & meaning list are the ingredients of how we would like our lives to look like when it’s at its best. it will of course change over time and incorporating all of them is a lesson in progress and perfection but it’s a wonderful exercise and once you start thinking about it, you cant take it in all sorts of creative directions if you’d like. here is my list:

-sleeping well

-cooking delicious & healthy meals

-doing exercise that i enjoy


-spending time with family & friends

-being present with the people in my life

-volunteering or doing something for others

-finding time to play, ponder, and putter

-having control over our finances

-doing meaningful work that doesn’t overly consume me

tell me what’s on your joy & meaning list. enjoy your week!

favorite cookbooks


i heard ina garten on milk street radio this morning and happy to hear she has a new cookbook coming out this month called cook like a pro. ina has been an enduring favorite of mine. her relaxed style and serene home, make you wish she’d invite you to her gorgeous east hamptons abode and sit at her counter while she cooks for you and her husband jeffrey. her recipes are pretty simple but stylish and her cookbook covers are also super comforting to see. i just love to see their bright colors and stripes sitting on the bookshelf.

ina owned a very popular specialty food store in east hampton called the barefoot contessa in the late 70’s and 80’s. she went on to do catering and from there started writing cookbooks and her tv show which is the oldest running show on the food network. she has 11 cookbooks in all but here a few of my favorites and links to a couple of recipes that i’ve made over and over again.

Barefoot Contessa at Home - whiskey sours her drink recipes are great for parties

green herb dip - simple but delicious dip with veggies

chicken salad sandwiches & chicken salad veronique- chicken and tuna salad need to make a comeback! classic

lamb kebabs with couscous - the only recipe i could find online doubles the recipe in the book, so just half each ingredient if you don’t need to feed a large crowd.

Barefoot Back to Basics - tuscan lemon chicken - great for fall barbecue

company pot roast - another classic

Barefoot Contessa Family Style - parmesan chicken -i’ve made this a ton and it’s great with company because you make it ahead of time, keep it in the lowest oven setting and just plate with a salad when you’re ready.

Ina Garten Make it Ahead - crunchy iceberg salad with creamy blue cheese

Cook Like a Pro - this is her new cookbook coming out this month and this is a sneak peak recipe from it that i can’t wait to try. cauliflower toasts

september garden notes

it’s still in the high 80’s here in hawaii and this year has been a hot wet one. the veg garden has been minimal this summer because of all the traveling we did this year. so i have some seedlings that i’ve started and waiting to get a little bigger before i transplant them into the raised beds. chard, kale, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, & lavender. there are always a few herbs around. right now its basil, green onions, garlic chives, parsley & thyme.

the year round heat and humidity can make it tricky to grow things here, but what you can grow, many times can be grown all year long. the humidity makes for tons of bugs and viruses, and i don’t use any chemicals in my garden, so i use the planting method called “half for me & half for the bugs,” and try not to stress about it.

the ginger and tumeric are doing well. the leaves are just starting to turn yellow which is a sign that they should be ready to dig up soon. i keep a little of both each year to replant and are just the best in my morning smoothie. the figs i’m still trying to figure out. they are in pots because i don’t have the yard space to let them grown into trees. they were struggling at first but seem to be coming in a little better and there are even a dozen or so fruits starting. i need to do a little research on how to net the plants so the birds don’t get the fruits before we do.

i see four papayas coming in and the lime and myer lemons are also doing well. the lime seems to do much better and i’ve getting them year round which is great for my friday cocktail hour! all is well in my little garden. for me gardening is meditation, exercise, and a lesson that it’s never perfect and complete, but always worth enjoying in the moment.