going with the flow

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” -Zen Shin

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” -Zen Shin

I was watching a video recently about a very intensive exercise program done in a swimming pool. The owners are extreme athletes and they have a program that really puts people to the test. During the interview, the trainer says that many times people who are the most fit and strongest are the ones that struggle the most in the beginning.

They struggle because they think pushing themselves the hardest and using their strength and power is the way to get through the exercise. What they learn is that the water forces you to move on its on time and in its own way, so you literally have to go with the flow. You have to almost surrender and work with the water, and when you do, it gets easier.

That’s what happens to people with Parkinson’s, many times a day. You can feel fine one minute and terrible the next. You could have done something easily yesterday and today it seems impossible. It can be frustrating and feel defeating.

So when those moments happen, take a deep breath, and don’t fight it. Go with the flow. Move with the water, not against it and eventually you’ll be back on your path.

aloha friday

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This weekend we are going to a few garage sales. From time to time I love to go to garage sales and see what treasures I can find.I I’m looking for a shelf for my garden to put next to my potting table and a lamp for my guest bedroom. I’m also looking forward to taking a walk or swim outside and then Sunday lunch with my sister and mom.

~ Last night in honor of World Parkinson’s Day, Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan were on The Tonight Show. It’s a cute segment and Tracy also talks about her new cookbook Mostly Plants.

~ For a variety of reasons, some of us may have mobility issues and need to make changes to our home to accommodate them. Here is a beautiful kitchen remodel helping make it more wheelchair accessible.

~ I’m enjoying reading The Secret Mother which is a suspense thriller by Shalini Boland.

~ For cooking this week I will be making this No Bake Chocolate Tart that looks healthy and delicious with a nut and coconut crust. My favorite lunch this week was a sandwich I made. On two slices of your favorite bread, spread a layer of mayo. Then add a quarter teaspoon of miso and spread it over the mayo on one slice of bread. Layer with lettuce, tomato, avocado, a thin slice of feta cheese, and a hard boiled egg sliced in half. The tiny bit of miso brought a wonderful depth to the mayo.

 
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Have a lovely weekend.


aloha friday

 
lovely tatsoi bunches in the garden

lovely tatsoi bunches in the garden

 

Hello my favorite ladies, hope you had a good week. This weekend is the annual Hawaii Parkinson’s Symposium that I’m looking forward to attending. Usually lots of good information and speakers. Last night we enjoyed dinner with friends at Nico’s Upstairs which is on the waterfront at pier 38. The sun was setting over the harbor, the food was delicious, and the time spent with friends the best part.

~ Looking forward to seeing a new documentary called “Shake With Me” by Zack Grant. This doc is about Zack’s mother, artist Debra Magid and how having PD impacts her life and art.

~ If you’re a true crime podcast fan like I am, here is Lifehacker’s “best of” list.

~ Just finished reading the classic book “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. It’s a free e-book on Project Gutenberg along with many other classics. Starting to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

~ I made this delicious, quick, and healthy Gado Gado recipe (swapped in tofu for the protein) this week. Also had Baba Ganoush (forget the salad spinner instruction, it’s a mess) which was fantastic on crusty bread, and made a batch of vinaigrette for the week with 2 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp miso, 1 tsp honey, & 6 tbsp olive oil. Shake it up in a jar and it’s delish.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -Anne Lamott

Enjoy your weekend. xoxo Kai

too much in & not enough out

We are in a time where many of us have an over abundance of creative consumption. That meaning all the social media we consume, websites, blogs, TV, YouTube, magazines, books, and more. It’s a seemingly never ending supply of information coming to us.

For the last couple of weeks, I just didn’t want to think, read or hear about anything that had to do with Parkinson’s. I enjoy reading the different online forums and sites, and it helps me feel better and have more gratitude. But it was just driving me nuts every time I sat down to read something, I didn’t feel energized like I usually do. So I really thought about why, and realized it was not just about PD but about all the topics that I usually follow. I realized I was a little burned out because lately my consumption input was outweighing my creative output.

When we consume more than we create, that imbalance can make us feel like we’re on overwhelm. It’s important to try and keep up on things but it’s also just as important to spend time creating. It’s an output, a release, and when I say creating it can mean so many things. It can be time spent on your hobbies, gardening, painting, writing. It can mean volunteering or time spent investing on a relationship. It can mean your work or career. All of these things can be a creative outlet, create joy, and a sense that we are contributing to ourselves, our family, our community.

Creative consumption can be positive and we can enjoy spending time doing it but we should also check in with ourselves to see if we are creating as much as we are consuming.

~ xoxo Kai

aloha friday

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It’s officially spring! This weekend I’m going to work on planting two grape vines. I have no idea what I’m doing and not even sure they will grow in my area but hey, that’s never stopped me before. I also have a bunch of old movies that I recorded on TCM and look forward to watching an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s book Hungry Hill. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. xo kai

~ I made Lidia Bastianich’s mushroom risotto which was absolutely delicious. With the leftovers I’ll mix in an egg, chopped parsley, and parmesan, form them into patties and pan fry them. That with a salad sounds devine.

~I’ve picked up this pair of cropped pants from JCrew and already wearing them constantly. They are super comfortable and will go into summer nicely.

~ Pasta Grannies: These grannies all over the world show you their pasta recipes and it’s just adorable.

~ Here are a few things under $10 that I’m enjoying. Loreal Voluminous mascara, OXO vegetable brush, Post It tabs- I use them in my notebook and it makes it easy to track projects, ideas, & to do lists. Pine tree gardening gloves, the best gloves and at a great price.

~ I came across a new blog called The Shoe Maven. It’s fashion, fitness, & Parkinson’s advocacy. Lovely photos and wonderful outfits from a fellow Parkie! Check it out.

What are you doing this weekend?

forget about it

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The more my PD progresses, the more symptoms I get, which reminds me of PD more during the day. So over time, I end up thinking about PD most of the day. Not always in a direct way but it’s just there with me and next to me physically and mentally. Where as in the past when I was working, it would creep into my mind in between doing other things.

So now that I’m home more, I find it even more important to have activities that absorb my attention and focus. To forget about it for a while. For me it’s gardening. I can garden for hours and listen to an audio book or podcast and get lost in the task. It’s my meditation, my church, my exercise, my work. It’s a never ending process and it teaches me patience, and to enjoy it for its imperfections and fleeting moments. I can also extend the enjoyment by researching plants and reading garden books. It also extends into my love of food and cooking and all the rabbit holes I go down with that.

As I’ve written in the past, I have a list of activities that I can do at home. I like keeping a physical list that I can look at. Although I enjoy all of the things on the list, I’m yet to find something as engaging as gardening, as an indoor hobby. So I’m on the search. I’ve started taking an online photography class but most of my photos look like I’m taking them in an earthquake! It’s a fun process and I’m keeping an open mind to organically see what I enjoy. I’d love to hear what are your favorite hobbies?

Living w/Style & Parkinson's: Maria De Leon

 
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Dr. Maria De Leon is well versed in Parkinson’s in many ways. She is a doctor, mentor, advocate, teacher, author of Parkinson’s Diva: A Women’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease, and her blog is Parkinson’s Diva. Her story is inspiring!

Tell me a little about yourself.

I am a retired physician, mom, author, cancer survivor, Parkinson’s patient and advocate. I live in east Texas with my daughter, husband, niece and cat extraordinaire. I am a Diva at heart. I like making people laugh and feeling good about themselves. I am thrilled that I am about to publish my third book, Parkinson’s Diva: Hello Possibilities-A Journal for Your Daily Walk with Parkinson’s.

What is your journey with Parkinson’s?

It began nearly three decades ago first as a student, then doctor, then caregiver of my grandmother, and ultimately as a patient myself. It has been a wild ride with ups and downs, fraught with frustrations as well as many joys. I have had to learn to reinvent myself after I had to quit working as a Physician, due to medication side effects & other medical complications. Along the way I rediscovered my talents, gifts and flaws. I love being a mom – this by far has been the best and most challenging job I have ever done. Motherhood has also has been the most rewarding experience of my life (mind you I have assisted in brain surgery for many Parkinson’s patients). Working to see my daughter grow up and blossom into the beautiful young lady she is today has been one of the most crucial aspects in my fight against PD, so that she and others don’t have to go through what I and many others are experiencing each day with PD.

 
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You have a unique perspective because of your experience as both being a doctor to/and a person with PD. What is something that you wish health care professionals had a better understanding of about their patients and vice versa. What is one thing you think patients could have a better understanding of when it comes to their health care professionals?

Being a doctor and patient has been an interesting phenomenon because I have come to realize that most often my thinking and needs as a doctor are directly opposed to my needs as a patient. Doctors have strict rules and methodical steps to arrive at conclusions and treatments which usually take time to develop & learn. While we as patients don’t have the time or energy to wait weeks or months to find the right diagnosis or treatment for our symptoms, because life waits for no one. Figuring out ways to bridge that gap has been a challenge which I have tackled head on to help educate both sides, to shorten the distance to offering better care strategies, increasing understanding of science, as well as social aspects of having an illness while attempting to move science forward in hopes of finding a cure soon.

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What are you enjoying right now? 

I am enjoying being a mom most of all. I am also enjoying the freedom that comes from being a woman who no longer has anything to prove. Having shed most of the fears and insecurities that come from being a young woman, I feel free to be myself in the fight against PD while finding ways to empower other women to do the same using their own unique strengths. I like who I am flaws and all. I am grateful to God for all the people he has put in my life. I like discovering new things about myself & others around the globe. I am learning to trust the journey knowing that while God teaches me a life lesson in one area of my life, he then asks me to use this knowledge in another area to help others. For instance, I am now teaching a class for women to help them become ‘Moms who are Free’. The same principles I stress to mothers to become free and better parents are the same foundations we must rely on when raising kids in the mist of a chronic illness such as PD (mainly giving unconditional love). I feel as if I have reached an age where I am less afraid to try new things & explore new areas to expand my universe outside PD.

What is one of your challenges right now? 

One of my challenges is letting go as a parent to give more freedom and independence to my young adult daughter. Another is living well, being fruitful and content with my life despite the constant physical challenges imposed by PD– to be able to maximize my strength, energy, and time when all I want to do is lay on the couch and veg out! I would love to remain ever present in the lives of my loved ones while pursuing my other passions such as writing, teaching/lecturing, traveling, mentoring and having fun with friends and family. This means adjusting medications on a regular basis to optimize my capabilities to as normal as possible.

 
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Do you have a morning or evening routine that helps you start or end the day well?

Mornings are always hard for me, one because of PD, also because I have always been a night owl. Sleep is a priority. After tending to my daughter and husband, I usually allow myself time to sleep undisturbed (which I have found to be imperative in my overall well being). Not an easy feat I tell you since once the sun rises my circadian rhythm says stay awake. I usually get on average 6 hours, which means no meetings, appointments, phone calls, cool- dark room, face mask and my comfy blanket and I am golden. Family now knows not to disturb me unless necessary until I wake up. Then I take my morning meds, do some stretching exercise, eat a good breakfast and read a daily devotional (alone time with God), and I am ready for my sleep. At night I tend to be most active so before I go to bed (which typically is as everyone is getting up or after everyone leaves the house) while everyone sleeps, I clean, write, cook, prepare lessons and projects, decorate for the seasons, listen to music, read or watch movies. This is when I sing and dance, although my singing sounds more like a croak from an old toad but my cat and I enjoy it. There are many nights where I simply pass out on the couch from pure exhaustion and my husband has to take me to bed physically. But like any good diva I care for my skin by moisturizing my face and body and brushing my hair & teeth when I awake and before bedtime.

Do you have any favorite beauty products?

Can’t live without my lipstick Lancôme reds and pinks – lotion- Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body is my favorite, along with a display of perfumes on my counter- I have a collection for every occasion ranging from new, fun, fruity, and sexy. I am especially drawn to those who have an iconic image or symbolize something for me like Bebe or Carolina Herrera-Good Girl- Love the fragrance and equally enamored of the high hell stiletto.

 
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How would you describe your style in three words?

Flirty, feminine and whimsical classy- I always look for unique things and things that make a statement.

What is something you do for self-care?

Getting bi-monthly massages, pedicures and manicures as often as I can. Sleep is a priority. Spending time being mentally active –Always trying to learn new things.

What makes you laugh?

My family makes me laugh, my new kitty is most adorable and entertains me quite a bit –as he chases his tail or sits at the table like a person. My friends make me laugh. But most often is me laughing at my own antics, faux pas as I attempt to go on with my day to day living with PD.

 
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What or who inspires you right now? 

People who live with disabilities but are not defined by them like Stephen Hawking, artists like Frida Kahlo, other women who are changing the world – my mentor and neurologist Dr. Mya Schiess. (pictured here with me as we travel to a conference for PD together).

 
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What is a product or thing you can’t live without?  

Things I can’t live without are my electronic devices such as my iPad, iPhone, which have allowed me to connect with others on the same journey around the world. Plus, thanks to these devices things like shopping can still be enjoyed. Of course chocolate, & an iced caramel macchiato with extra syrup and caramel. My comfy faux fur and I need to be surrounded by color which inspires me and gives me energy– my best friend Lauri along with my other girlfriends.

 A food you love, a dessert you love, a song you love.

I love chocolates (dark especially if coated with cocoa), lava cakes, French food and pastries, Mexican and Italian food (I guess most rich foods that have lots of butter and sugar) as I have told my daughter butter and sugar are my best friends. I love watching movies, traveling, reading but not so much lately (mystery novels) – music- I love anything that has a nice beat and rhythm that makes me move and sing out loud. Feeling Good is a tune I listen to often when I write.

You can follow Maria on Facebook or Instagram. You can also read her blogs Parkinson’s Diva and Defeat Parkinson’s, & her wonderful book Parkinson’s Diva: A Women’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease.

Thank you Maria!

 

 

aloha friday

Yesterday was a beautiful day so Marc, Justin, & I decided to hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail. You can see from the photos it was a gorgeous day and we even saw whales breaching! We stopped for lunch on the way home at Liko’s in Hawaii Kai and enjoyed our fresh fish sandwiches while overlooking the Hawaii Kai Marina. I slept like a baby last night. I’ve got lots of good books from the library to enjoy this weekend and hopefully see the move The Favourite.

~ Photographer Thomas Jorion captures crumbling Italian villas in these beautiful photographs.

~ This article from The Daily Mail shows how food portions have changed each decade from the 40’s to now. It is mind blowing.

~ It’s citrus season, so why not enjoy a beautiful greyhound cocktail w/fresh grapefruit juice or a salad w/ thinly sliced fennel & orange segments tossed in your favorite vinaigrette and topped w/toasted nuts & shaved parmesan.

~ I love to follow fashion blogger Bibi Horst on Instagram. She is so stylish!

Have a wonderful weekend. xoxo kai


aloha friday

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Hi lovely ladies, I hope your week was a good one. Marc and I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and loved it. Rami Malek channelled Freddie Mercury and of course the songs you can’t help but sing along to. I also enjoyed a wonderful lunch with a friend at Arancino in Kahala. We sat outside and the sky was a spectacular clear blue expanse and the day could not have been lovelier.

~ Sad to hear of the passing of Lee Radziwill. Habitually Chic put together a nice montage of photos of her beautiful homes over the years.

~ If you or someone you is disabled, you may be able to get a free lifetime pass to National Parks.

~ Could the phone call actually be coming back?

~ I know many of you live in a place that is very cold right now, so maybe a summer beach read would be just the right thing to whisk you away. I started The Identicals from Elin Hilderbrand and I can feel the sand in Nantucket already. If you’re a mystery book author Louise Penny fan and can’t wait for her next book to come out, Modern Mrs. Darcy has some great read-alikes.

~ If you’ve thought about trying a weighted blanket, Sharon from Twitchy Woman has tried several of them and has an interesting post about it. I’d like to give them a try.

~ This mask from Paula’s Choice is a favorite of mine for the winter. It’s an overnight mask and in the morning your face feels super hydrated and supple. It’s also on sale right now.

Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo kai

aloha friday

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We have been enjoying the rainy and chilly weather this last month. I know it’s nothing compared to where many of you are, but it’s the one short time of the year where we can actually wear sweaters. Last night we enjoyed dinner with some friends in Kaneohe at Haleiwa Joe’s. The tiki torches blazing with the soft rain in the background was a beautiful setting to enjoy the delicious fresh ahi. No set plans for this weekend but I would like to take a long walk and catch up on some reading. What are you doing this weekend? xoxo kai

~If you take Agomelatine for depression and have PD, you may want to read this article.

~ Would you like to define your style & streamline your closet? Style Bee has an interesting downloadable toolkit that I’m trying. I just started and am about a week into the 30 day shopping fast and it’s interesting how often we are tempted to purchase something.

~ I can’t help it but for some reason I am drawn to recipes for anything chocolate pudding/mousse/molten cakeish. I just save and save these recipes but never make them. Well I’ve decided to make Chocolate Puddle Cakes from Smitten Kitchen and can’t wait!

~ Is it me or is Everlane taking over the fashion blog world? No wonder, with these cute cropped wide leg pants, who can resist?

~ Here are a few of my favorite parkie instagrammers right now. Rock Steady Fighter is super motivational and when I get lazy, she makes me want to get up and get going. Also Yiisha Arroyo, talk about stylish. Wow.

~ Books I’m enjoying right now. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi, and Only In Naples by Katherine Wilson.

~ “Happiness lies not in finding what is missing, but in finding what is present.” - Tara Brach

Living w/Style & Parkinson's: Allison Smith

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If you haven’t seen Allison’s blog “The Perkie Parkie”, you will definitely want to start following it after you read her interview. Having PD can be difficult at times, and Allison lays out all of her challenges in a open and very humorous way. I love her writing style and want a “wolfpack” just like hers!

Hi Allison, tell me a little about yourself.

Most of my family lives in the Phoenix area of Arizona.  I live in Laguna Niguel, which is a city in Orange County, California and yes, I do live 30 minutes away from Disneyland (the happiest place on earth). I work in a Neurology and Pain Clinic as a Psychotherapist.  But currently I am on disability recovering from a medical setback. I am looking forward to coming back to work this Spring.  I enjoy working with people and sharing stories. This lead me to starting my blog “The Perky Parkie”. I realized how many people were looking for support and the internet helped me expand my reach to all parts of the world.  There is a power of sharing your story.    

 What is your journey with Parkinson’s?

I moved from Tucson, Arizona to Irvine, California for graduate school in marriage and family therapy in 2005.  I started noticing symptoms when I was in my master’s program.  I was 29 years old but didn’t get my “official” diagnosis until I was 32.  I got diagnosed in March of 2010 and then had Deep Brain Stimulation the following month.  Some people are shocked to hear that I went through DBS surgery so quickly after my diagnosis.  They view DBS as a last alternative, but I didn’t want to lose muscle mass, mobility, and difficulty with gait, and wait until I was just “bad enough” to get DBS. It didn’t make sense to me at my early age. My Dad says I am the only girl who would go into brain surgery and come out with a job because after I had DBS, I knew I wanted to get involved in the community that I now belonged to.  

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Your blog is incredibly personal and very funny, which is why I think so many people gravitate to it and comment on the posts. I’ve seen 50-100 people comment on recent posts which is amazing. When did you realize that your blog was really connecting with people and did that impact the way you blog?

When I started blogging, (6 years ago) I was just hoping to connect with people in my local community.  I never realized how far my blog traveled until I had a few experiences that changed my whole vision for my blog.  I had a man who contacted me through my blog.  His wife had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and they lived in the Canary Islands.  They had a huge lack of resources available to them and had turned to the internet to find information.  With each blog post, this man would translate my words to his wife.  I work in a Neurology and Pain Clinic which allowed me many resources available, so I created a care package stuffed with pamphlets, books and research studies (and of course a signed copy of my book, “I am not Contagious”).  It was such a great feeling knowing that I had made a difference in a complete stranger’s life.   

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Despite having your fair share of health challenges, you’re also a licensed family & marriage therapist and a wellness coach! How do you find the energy to give so much to others while having PD? 

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 13, Ulcerative Colitis when I was 18, Colon Cancer at age 24, Parkinson’s at age 32, full hysterectomy at age 36… you can say that I have had a few challenges.  Ha!  I knew that I wanted to help people as I was facing my own health challenges.  I get energy and a feeling of happiness when help others… it gives my life meaning. But with that said, if I have a bad day, I still give myself permission to have an off day.    

 What are you enjoying right now?

Ohhhh, difficult question.   I have many things that I am enjoying right now.  Right now the weather is warm in California so my dog Crash and I head to the lake down the road from my home and walk around.  Right now all the geese, ducks, squirrels and bunnies are about to have their spring babies, I just love watching how life just continues.  

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 What is one of your challenges right now?

I have had a challenging medical setback.  I have had 7 medical procedures with general anesthesia and am facing 2 more, one of those happening this week.  It has been difficult to stay positive and hopeful.  But with my strong wolfpack… I have been able to get through it.   

 Do you have a morning or evening routine that helps you start or end the day well?

About an hour before I go to bed, I get into my comfy bed and read a book.  It’s like my wind down time. As long as I don’t read a Dean Koontz book right before I go to bed… I usually can’t put his books down.  

 Do you have any favorite beauty products? 

Must haves are E.O.S lip balm and either a hair tie or hair clip. Because my hair is so long, it’s nice to get it out of my face.. you know, so I can see what’s in front of me. 

How would you describe your style in three words?

Fashion Style: Comfy, simplified, practical.  Writing Style: quirky, honest, respectful.    

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 What is something you enjoy doing for self-care?

Love, Love, Love getting massages.  They not only help with the rigidity, but they allow me to shut my brain off… even if it’s just for an hour.   

 You make us laugh on your blog. What makes you laugh?

Animal videos.  I can get sucked into the vortex of animals doing silly things…  I can on YouTube for hours.  Llamas spitting on people, pygmy goats in pajamas, cats taking baths, you name it.  I can’t help but laugh.  Now imagine if you could get a llama to spit on a pygmy goat in pajamas, while a cat in a bath tub watches.  Epic!

the infamous “Crash”

the infamous “Crash”

 What or who inspires you right now?

My friend, Gina.  She is a single mother, who also has her mother living with her, but she is always there to care for me when I am having an off day.  She is a friend who is so giving and only wants to help.  A true definition of friend. I’m blessed to have her in my life.    

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 Your favorite animal, a dessert you love (other than frozen yogurt!), and a song you love.

Got to say a sloth.  They always look like they’re smiling and I can relate to moving so slow.  Dessert is anything sweet.  I love frozen yogurt… but that is a given. Song I love: Imagine by John Lennon.

Thanks Allison! You can see Allison’s blog at www.theparkieperkie.com and on Facebook at @perkyparkie.

P.S. Don’t miss Crash’s guest post on The Parkie Perkie!

aloha friday

Happy Friday my beautiful parkie friends. This weekend I’ve got a couple of books I’ll be enjoying, including If I Can Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, Why Can't I Brush My Teeth?: Courage, Tenacity & Love Meet Parkinson's Disease by Nan Little. I came across Nan’s site and she has some beautifully written essays. I’m sure I’ll also watch a movie. TCM is having their 31 Days of Oscars showing some great Oscar winning movies every day this month. If you haven’t seen Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with Bette Davis or High Society with Grace Kelly you’re in for a treat.

~ If you or someone you know with PD that has young children, here is a booklet that might be helpful in discussing it with them.

~Two books I just finished and would recommend. What Would Mrs. Astor Do? The Essential Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age by Cecelia Tichi & In Pieces by Sally Field. By the way I recently started tracking the books I read two ways. I list them in a small notebook and I also use Goodreads. How do you track them?

~ More book talk. Did you know that you can download ebooks that are out of copyright for free at the Gutenberg Project? There are so many fantastic books! Great for a parkie with time on our hands.

~ If you’re looking for a new eyelash curler this review can help you choose.

~ Great & Fascinating Beauty Advice from Seniors. Love it.

~ I’m going to give these collard wontons a try this weekend. I’ve got broccoli leaves from the garden that I will use in place of the collard greens.

~ Ina Garten just posted her valentines day love song list on Spotify. I’m listening to it as I write this post. If I had a nickel for every time I said how much I love Ina…………….

Have a wonderful weekend and I’d love to hear what’s going on in your world this weekend! xoxo kai

aloha friday

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well it’s super bowl weekend. i’m not a big football fan but it’s fun just to join in on the festivities and gives me an excuse to eat in the front of the tv. my most ambitious project is making soup and will consider that a win. have a wonderful weekend! xoxo ~kai

~ this baked camembert appetizer from the nyt magazine sounds delicious.

~ if you haven’t read it yet, simon’s blog the science of parkinson’s site is a great site for information about PD research. his yearly look ahead post gives a really good wrap up of all things going on in once place and what to watch for this coming year.

~ all is abuzz for the movie roma. i loved it.

~ do you often look at a book on amazon or goodreads and then open another tab in your browser to see if it’s at your local library? library extension can instantly tell you if the book is available at your library without opening another page. how fabulous is that.

~ interesting article about how to make small talk. the comments are interesting too.

photo source here

5 ways to start your day with intention

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we’ve all had the mornings where we turn off the alarm and off we go. the day becomes a series of whatever pulls us hardest in that direction. and some days that just cannot be helped. but for the most part i find that spending some time in the morning thinking, reading, writing, & planning make a huge difference on how the rest of the day goes. for those of us with a chronic illness, the day can be one extreme or other, either trying to keep up with a busy schedule or not feeling able to do much, so i think it’s particularly beneficial to help set the tone as best we can. here are 5 ways to start off your day with intention.

  1. when you wake up before you get out of bed, take a moment to get your bearings. take 5 slow and deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. say quietly in your mind “i’m grateful for a new day”.

  2. set aside time in the morning just for yourself. no tv, no emails, no social media. if you have kids or a job that may mean getting up a little earlier to carve out the time.

  3. read a few pages of something inspirational or positive. i get my little corner of the sofa set up with my coffee & some gentle music in the background.

  4. think, write and plan. whatever that means to you. you may enjoy journaling, reviewing goals, plans, to do lists, & schedules. even if you’re staying home for the day, choose a few things that you’ll do.

  5. meditate- even just 3-5 minutes is beneficial.

off you go! have a beautiful day. ~kai

project: painting my lanai floor

 
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my lanai downstairs off of the family room was a little blah. it needs a renovation but until then i wanted an inexpensive way to add a little interest. i’d always loved seeing beautiful wood floors painted with all sorts of patterns and the one that i kept gravitating towards and thought was doable was the checkered floor.

i ended up combining instructions from two different sites. i used the method from southern hospitality to measure the squares and the method to tape and paint the squares from this old house.

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you can read the specific instructions on the sites above and see which suits you better. it said the project would take 2 days but it took me 5 days because measuring and taping with shaky hands was an interesting process. but slow and steady it came together. each day i did one task. the brown base coat was the first step. the floor is concrete so i used a floor and porch paint. next was marking the squares with a white pencil. i used painters tape to then mark the outline of each square i was going to paint white, was the most time consuming part of the project. once that was completed i was ready to paint the squares white.

taking the tape off was fun! i let it dry for a day and then put a mat clear coat on top to protect it and voila! i’m very happy with the way it turned out. it was a manageable project and doesn’t take a lot skill. so if you’ve got a porch, old wood or basement floor that needs a quick sprucing up i’d highly recommend giving it a try. trust me if i can do it, you can do it!

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aloha friday

 
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ahh the new year. i’ve so enjoyed reading all the year end wrap ups and different methods of new year planning on the sites that i follow. two of my favorites are the lifestyle files and gretchen rubin. it is endlessly fascinating to me as a habit junkie.

my sister and i enjoyed the play avenue q at the manoa valley theater this week. we had such a fun girls night and enjoyed dinner at paesano first. this weekend i have a couple of new projects i want to start. the first is making a batch of miso paste and ko chu jang paste. the other is painting squares the floor of my downstairs lanai. happy weekend!

~ my cherry tomato plants are going crazy so i made this easy and delicious cherry tomato relish, and we have been slathering it on everything this week from pork chops to scrambled eggs. i halved the amount of vinegar and sugar and added a sprinkle of chili flakes. if you’re looking for a free form recipe, take a large bunch of kale or chard and slice into thin strips. saute a few cloves of sliced garlic in a pan with olive oil and add the greens. pour in half a cup or so of broth, s&p, cover and simmer until greens are tender. add a few tablespoons of cream if you’d like. pour over a mound of brown rice or canned beans and add a fried egg on top and voila, a quick and delicious dinner (and don’t forget to add a dollop of the cherry tomato relish from above).

~ what i wouldn’t do for adorable chanco’s hair!

~ i’ve heard much about the author tana french, so i picked up her first book “in the woods” at the library and am enjoying it immensely.

~ during my morning routine i’ve been listening to this super chill spotify playlist. it’s such a pleasant way to start my day.

~ the new season of finding your roots on pbs started and the stories are so heartwarming.

~ i bought this lipstick on a whim standing in the checkout line in j.crew and it’s such a favorite of mine now. i’m so paranoid because it seems every time i find the perfect beauty product, they discontinue it! it’s a silky slightly matt pinky peach that is a great everyday color.

favorite books of the year

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i not only enjoy reading but love to read or listen to what others are reading. it seems that for every book i read, i add another dozen to my “to be read” list. hey but that’s half the fun. i love listening to the what should i read next podcast and anne bogel finished 200 books this year! wow. but no matter if i read 1 or 200, my only requirement is that i enjoy the book. if i start reading and i’m not able to get into it, i stop. sometimes it just doesn’t fit the time in your life, so don’t stress it. there are too many other books out there to read.

here are the books i’ve read this year. i’ve enjoyed all of them since i completed them but i’ve put a star next to the ones that i enjoyed the most. let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought of them or give me some of your recommendations because of course i need to add more books to my tbr list!

 
 

Non Fiction:

dominick dunne: a life in several acts - robert hofler

the curated closet - anuschka rees

*audrey at home - luca dotti = this is a beautiful love letter from a son to a mother with her family recipes. audrey seemed like such a gracious person.

johnny carson - henry bushkin

*blue zones - dan buettner = describes the lifestyle and health habits of areas in the world where people live the longest.

the purple diaries: mary astor and the most sensational hollywood scandal of the 1930’s - joseph egan

it’s all relative: adventures up and down the worlds family tree - a.j. jacobs

epic tomatoes - craig & sara lehoullier

bunny mellon, the life of an american style legend - meryl gordon

*living in a foreign language - michael tucker = you may remember him in the tv show la law but his love of italy just oozes out in this light hearted and charming book.

the hygge life - gunnar karl gislason

garden home - p. allen smith

soulful simplicity - courtney carver

the total book of houseplants - russell c. mott

secret gardens of hollywood - erica lennard

*why not me? - mindy kaling = listen to this on audio as mindy is so funny and disarming.

how to be well - frank lipman

*me talk pretty one day - david sedaris = anything by david sedaris is good, especially on audio because he has such a distinct voice. they’re usually funny or touching essays about his life.

let’s explore diabetes - david sedaris

the stranger in the woods - michael finkel

the murder room - michael capuzzo

the blue zones of happiness - dan buettner

a fine romance - candice bergen

calypso - david sedaris

i’ll be gone in the dark - michelle mcnamara

the art of southern charm - patricia altschul

is everyone hanging out without me? - mindy kaling

*perseverance - tim hague = had to throw one in for the fellow parkies. tim talks about his journey with pd and how being on the tv show the amazing race changed his life. his story is so positive and inspirational.

*the gifts of imperfection - brene brown = this was my favorite non fiction book this year. the title says it all!

wallis in love - andrew morton

*bad blood - john carreyrou = fascinating real life story about the rise and fall of elizabeth holmes and her billion dollar company theranos. i hear they are making a movie version but read the book first.

paris in the fifties - stanley karnow

american kingpin - nick bilton

*killers of the flower moon - david grann = real life story of the osage indian nation in oklahoma in the 1902’s. their vast wealth made them a target of an intricate plan of murder.

american fire - monica hesse

this is marketing - seth godin

Fiction:

*maude - donna foley mabry

the swans of fifth avenue - melanie benjamin

*charlie & the chocolate factory - roald dahl = i don’t usually read children’s books but i saw this at the library and it was a childhood favorite of mine so i picked it up to see if it holds up. it totally does.

the bette davis club - jane lotter

*still life - louise penny = this is the first of a mystery series and ended up reading three of them this year. these were my favorite fiction books this year.

*a fatal grace - louise penny = these get even better the more i read.

major pettigrew’s last stand - helen simonson

*rebecca - daphne du marier = this is a classic for a reason. after you read the book, watch the movie with laurence olivier and joan fontaine.

her royal spyness - rhys bowen

gone girl - gillian flynn

a royal pain - rhys bowen

the dead wake - erik larson

beneath a scarlet sky - mark sullivan

the no. 1 ladies detective agency - alexander mccall smith

*a tree grows in brooklyn - betty smith = a beautiful novel about the coming of age of a young woman in brooklyn in the 1920’s. voted one of the best 100 books by the great american read and rightly so.

emma - jane austin

royal flush - rhys bowen

*a rule against murder - louise penny = by now you see this is the 3rd louise penny book i read this year. by this book you really start investing in the characters inspector gamache and the others in three pines.

the mysterious affair at styles - agatha christie

*rules of civility - amor towles = i think i just like books set in new york in the early 1900’s.

royal blood - rhys bowen

tears of the giraffe - alexander mccall smith

the cruelest month - louise penny

the secret adversary - agatha christie

~ happy reading!

classic ballet flats

~this is not a sponsored post. i just love these shoes.

some things never go out of style, and one of those things are ballet flats. my favorite right now is felicia by sam edelman. first off they are very light which helps me with my gait. clunky shoes make it easier for me to trip. they have elastic on the rim of the heels so they adjust to your feet which help them fit well, and are very easy to slip on and off. i travel with them and have walked many miles in them and they were super comfortable! and of course they look darling. they come in many colors and fabric styles so you are sure to find one you like. i have a classic black suede, a blue striped fabric, and a leopard print leather.

since they are a classic design, you can stay with a traditional color or you can go a little trendy if you want, with the color or pattern, and they still remain timeless. they’ve held up to several years of heavy wear and still going strong.

i wear a 6.5 and they are true to size. if you’re looking for a classic, comfortable, stylish pair of flats, i’d highly recommend them. have you tried sam edelman shoes or do you have a great ballet flat that you can share with us?

~kai

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!

forever summer fashion

 

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summer is eternal here in hawaii. we have two seasons, sunny and hot or rainy and hot! so while i see all of fashion blogs talk about all the wonderful cooler season wear, we will still have 85 degree weather most days. i’m not complaining because i love living here, but it does get challenging sometimes not being able to swap out seasonal clothing.

i also have much fewer clothing now that i’m retired and fewer opportunities to dress up, and since i spend most of my time at home, it has to be heat friendly (not to mention menopausal, but that’s a different post!).

i don’t have a capsule wardrobe per say but i do now like having fewer clothes to choose from because it makes it much easier to get dressed in the morning. i keep my selection for the season in the front of my closet and put the rest folded and in baskets or hung in the back so i don’t see them until the next season. i eliminate items that i don’t like but kept just in case, things that don’t fit, and most things that are not natural fabrics. now i like everything in my wardrobe and don’t often have that “can’t find something to wear” feeling.

what works best for me is to have a basic wardrobe of items i wear all year long. my favorite jeans, basic tees, and ballet flats. then in each season i add a few pieces to change it up. this keeps things fresh and i don’t get bored because i really do wear the same things over and over again so i have to really like them. the way i break up the seasons are Nov-Jan, Feb-April, May-July, & Aug-Oct. here are a few things i do to fake my seasons!

  1. each season has different color themes - i like neutrals but add in one different color for the season. this summer i added a few pink tops. i even have the breton top above with pink stripes. in fall and winter i add more darker pieces and this fall i’d like to add a new camel colored piece. during the winter, i’ll also add something sparkly for holiday events.

  2. change my shoe style and colors - again i choose the shoes for each season and put them together. they really don’t change in terms of style, except i may use a dressy sandal more in the winter because of the holidays and i’ll make an effort to wear more covered shoes in winter just because.

  3. jewelry - i use more casual delicate pieces in spring & summer months and will wear my more formal pieces even with casual clothes in the fall & winter. pearls are fun to wear during fall and winter with a button down shirt & jeans.

  4. makeup - dark lipstick and makeup does not work in heat and humidity but i do play a bit more with a darker lipstick in the evenings or a little more sparkle on the cheeks or eyes for the holidays.

  5. accessories - again it’s mainly the colors that change more so than style. so scarves and bags can be lighter and brighter in the summer months. i have a burgundy tote that i’ll pull out for fall & winter and put away my lavender purse.

  6. fragrance - changing your fragrance is a wonderful way to change up the seasons. you know, light and fresh in the spring and summer, warmer and spicier in the fall and winter. i’m loving everything roses right now with chloe rose perfume and jo malone velvet rose.

overall i think the key has been to break up my wardrobe and pretend there are seasons so that each time i put the wardrobe together, it feels fresh. it’s funny how quickly you forget something when you don’t see it and “surprise” it’s like shopping again when you pull them out. when i do have several days that i feel like i don’t have the right thing to wear, i’ll look through my stored clothes to make an adjustment and if i don’t find it there, then it’s probably a sign of something missing in my wardrobe and it goes on the shopping list. but through that process it has made me shop much less and gave me pause to see if i really need it.

if you live in a warm climate or have any tips on how to feel seasonal, i would love it if you would share them!