chocolate

Things I’m Loving – March 2017

As I mentioned in my last post, the past few weeks have just flown by. I can hardly believe our daughter is over a month old already! Having a newborn is definitely not the easiest thing in the world…I have never been more sleep-deprived in my life…but I wouldn’t want to miss a single coo or smile! We’ve had a lot of family visit over the past few weeks to visit the new addition and also give us a hand so we have managed to get out of the house a bit and I managed to make sure not every item on this month’s list is baby-related. 😉  (more…)

Things I’m Loving – February 2017

I realized as I began to make my list for March that I never posted my list for February. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy…I think I say this all the time but it’s been busy in an entirely different way than usual: baby time! Our little bundle of joy arrived and while it’s been just as exhausting as I was warned, it’s also been more incredible than I could have ever imagined! ❤ We’re all doing well and I can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by. So, let’s get to the list before it gets any later! (more…)

Things I’m Loving – January 2017

It’s already the end of January which means it’s time to take a quick look back at the first month of the year AND we are that much closer to our little one’s arrival! It’s been a super busy month with preparing to be a first-time mom and trying to finish up all the tasks still on my plate at work before I start my maternity leave. Wish me luck…I’m going to need it! And as always, I like to think about some of those little things that I’ve been enjoying throughout the month. So here are things I’ve been loving in January! (more…)

Things I’m Loving – June 2015

I have been relaxing so much this summer that it’s just slipping by me so quickly! I’ve really been in that mode where I forget what day of the week it is and when I actually go to schedule a meeting with someone, I realize it’s already half way through July and wasn’t it just June?? Yeah…time to post that list of things I was especially enjoying in June! (more…)

Things I’m Loving – May 2015

It’s so hard to believe May is gone already! In truth, the first half of the month was a bit of a blur with final papers and exams to complete for my classes and a few papers to finish editing at my job. Once those were finished, I spent the following week just sleeping and recuperating. Since then I’ve been settling into a routine of work and play. Here are some of the things I’ve been loving in May!

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Things I’m Loving – March 2015

It’s just now the beginning of April but the temperatures have risen here in Honolulu and it’s already making me think of summer. Even though it was just a year ago that I was in Japan and enjoying the beginning of sakura (cherry blossom) season, it feels like that was years ago and a world away. My days are still filled mostly with school-related activities, whether that be class, studying, or working on any of the several projects I’m involved with at the university. But I think when it’s so busy, that’s probably one of the most important times to take a few minutes and reflect so here are some of the things I was loving in March! (more…)

Things I’m Loving – January 2015

When I went to prepare my February Things I’m Loving post, I discovered I never published this January edition! >_< I knew I’d worked on it but I forgot that I still needed to add photos before I could publish and with so much on my plate this semester, it slipped my mind entirely. So here is that January post…only a month behind. Better late than never I hope!

January felt a bit like December in reverse. It started out with lots of relaxation but once I got back to Hawaii, I jumped back into work and then the Spring semester began. I actually have more commitments than last semester and I feel like I’ve been scrambling to keep up with it all. As hectic as the last few weeks have been, there are always things to enjoy and here are some of the things I’m loving this month. (more…)

Things I’m Loving – October 2014

October was such a busy month for me and I’ve been taking the last couple days just to relax and recuperate as I prepare for November. It’s been fun to jump back into grad school and that atmosphere of constantly learning new things but it’s also been a little difficult to make the adjustment from having tons of free time to schedule activities as I like to having to hunt for time in my schedule just to study. Through September I was adding things into my schedule slowly so it wasn’t too shocking to my system. During October though, I just jumped into anything that came my way and unfortunately that meant that there was a two week period where I was spending every moment in class, getting into my new job (which definitely didn’t allow me to ease into the position but went more the “trial by fire” approach), helping plan an event, writing papers, or studying for midterms. Thus the need for absolute relaxation and laziness the past couple days. 😉 But as busy and sometimes stressful as the past month was, there were still lots of things I loved.

1. Rilakkuma Nara charm

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This little guy was a constant reminder to just relax. In case you don’t recognize him, this is Rilakkuma, a character popular in Japan. His name says everything you need to know about him: “Rilakusu” is the Japanese pronunciation of “relax,” while “kuma” is the Japanese word for “bear.” He loves to just sit around eating snacks and relaxing. This particular phone charm was one I got while touring around Nara. You can see Rilakkuma is wearing little horns like the deer who live there and eating the senbei snacks those deer love so much. So cute! And so relaxed! Sometimes while studying, I’d look over and see this charm and remember to just breathe and relax. It’s good to have that kind of reminder around.

2. Dragonfly paperclips

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These little dragonfly-shaped paperclips were another strategy I used to improve my study environment. At one point I had stacks of papers I was using to help prepare for a biostatistics midterm sitting all over the counter. Disorganization can actually stress me out, especially when I have something else stressing me (like midterms!) so I just wanted to organize everything. These cute little paperclips didn’t just help me organize but always made me smile, even hours into studying.

3. Rainy weekends

This may seem like a strange thing to add but when you’re stuck inside studying and it’s a beautiful, sunny day outside…well, that can just seem cruel sometimes. 😉 The weekend when I had the most studying and paper writing to do also just happened to be the weekend a hurricane passed south of Hawaii and drenched the islands. We didn’t get much wind but we had steady rain the entire weekend and it made for the perfect study weather. Maybe there is a silver lining in every cloud!

4. One-man Kabuki Storyteller

We had the opportunity to see a rather unique event hosted by the Japan Foundation this past month. This event was a shamisen demonstration and a kabuki play reorganized to be sung and played completely by one man, Kunitoshi Kineya. If you’ve ever seen a kabuki play before, it is heavily stylized form of Japanese theater known for elaborate costumes and very dramatic movement. For this version, Kunitoshi played the shamisen and played all the vocal roles…singing narration and changing his pitch and tone for each of the different characters. Instead of dressing in elaborate costumes and moving around the stage, he sat in the middle of the stage with his shamisen for the entire performance. It was very different from any kabuki play I’ve ever seen and it gave me a new perspective on kabuki. While most kabuki plays I’ve seen have captured my attention with the dramatic movement and costumes, that was stripped from this performance and allowed me to focus on the auditory piece that I don’t usually focus on. It really gave me a new appreciation for the work the actors and musicians put into the musical aspect of the play. And during the shamisen demonstration, he even sang and played an arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner on his shimasen! He was quite a talented performer and we had a great time.

5. Cold Stone Creamery’s Midnight Delight ice cream cake

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My husband’s birthday was this past month and since ice cream is his favorite dessert, I got him an ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream with fudge, chocolate shavings, and chocolate ganache…what’s not to like?! He was very happy with it and I have to say it was delicious. The portions they sliced were way too much for a single person though. And you know how much I like chocolate so if I’m saying it, it must be true. 😉

Now that it’s November and I’ve survived the midterm crunch, I’m really hoping to settle into my new schedule a bit more so I don’t feel quite so tired at the end of the next month. I’m setting myself a goal for November: integrate self-care time into my schedule so I make sure to relax, whether that time is used to meditate, watch some TV, hit the gym…whatever will allow me to take a few moments to relax and keep things in perspective. Okay November, here I come!

Things I’m Loving – September 2014

It’s that time again! It’s time to look back and reflect on September. I’d say it was definitely a month of settling into my new role as a student. If it’s been a while since you’ve been a full-time student (and it had been for me!), then it takes some time to really get back into that mindset. But after a month of classes, spending lots of time at the library studying, and completing two midterms already, I’m definitely feeling like a legitimate student. ^_~ Here are a few of the things this student has been loving in September!

1. The Hamilton Library

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The Hamilton Library at the University of Hawaii has become like a second home for me. Just about every day I find a study carrel in a quiet corner and spend a few hours studying there. And really, what better place to spend your time studying than surrounded by books, right? I was spending so much time in the library that I even applied for and received a graduate student locker! That is quite useful since it means I don’t have to lug every book back and forth between campus and home every day. Now if I can just remember to take a warm jacket to store there since they keep it so cold!

2. The Warrior Recreation Center

The brand new fitness center on campus is fantastic! The machines are all shiny and new and so much more high-tech than machines I’ve used in other fitness centers. And since it’s conveniently located right in the middle of campus, I can get a quick workout every day before heading home. If I’m not taking one of the free fitness classes they offer, I usually hop on one of the high-tech treadmills. Each has it’s own touch screen so you can watch TV or select a coaching program to guide you through your workout. It’s so nice that it just keeps me coming back!

3. Bento lunch breaks

Since my husband and I both spend a lot of time on campus, we try to meet each day between classes and studying to grab lunch together. As grad students, packing lunch is definitely the economical option and I’ve had a lot of fun making bentos this past month for us to enjoy (like a salmon and rice bento and a chicken and veggie bento). It gives us a nice break to relax during our busy days and enjoy each other’s company. ^_^

4. Sunny Beadz bracelet

This bracelet has carved wooden beads interspersed with beads that change color when they encounter ultraviolet light. You can see that inside the beads are all white (between the brown wooden beads), but then as soon as you step into the sun they start changing color to alert you that UV rays are reaching you. I’ve noticed that under a shade tree, you can barely see a little color but out in direct sunlight, they can get very bright.

5. Dark chocolate covered pomegranate candies

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I know you were waiting for the dessert portion of this list and I won’t let you down! ^_~ I’d seen these dark chocolate covered pomegranate candies in the grocery store but they were really expensive for just a small bag. So when I saw a huge bag in Sam’s Club for the same price as a small bag in the grocery store, I had to buy them. It was a bit of a gamble since I wasn’t sure I’d like them, but I love them so it paid off! I’ve been keeping the bag in the fridge since it’s been so hot here and I love how it makes the fruit center chewy. Add dark chocolate and you have a winner! They’re so flavorful that just a few satisfy my dessert craving so I feel like it’s a low-guilt treat (especially since I’m hitting the gym regularly!) and that is always a plus.

That sums up a few of my favorite items from September. What will October bring? I can’t wait to find out! ^_^