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Traditional cloth dyeing on Kaho`olawe

November 28th, 2014
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I went to Kaho`olawe recently. One of the cultural activities we learned on Kaho`olawe was how Native Hawaiians dyed cloth. In this video, Mike Naho`opi`i, the executive director of the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, explains how it's done.

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Basically, we made mud out of a red dirt crater, put the items in, and let them sit for a day.

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We went back the next day and they were ready. The final result was a lightly colored reddish tan.

To set the color, Mike recommended the items be rinsed in the ocean. He says not to wash other items with these red-dirt dyed clothes because it will always bleed a little.

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Yoga class

November 26th, 2014
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I did the craziest thing recently. I led my first ever yoga class. Well, sort of.

The teacher called in sick at the last minute and there was no replacement. A bunch of us were standing around disappointed at having carved out this time for nothing.

I said, "Let's just teach it ourselves!" Another woman said, "OK!" and started the first five minutes before handing it over to me.

Now, I am nothing if not a talker. I can talk to a wall. However, I need to know the subject matter, which I really don't know that well for yoga.

I'm a passenger on that journey. It's like being driven around without paying attention. You then don't really know how to get there yourself when you have to drive.

Me in crow.

Me in crow.

I've taken enough classes, though, to have a handful of poses memorized. I certainly did not have a good theme going (i.e., working on your core, or working from head to toe), but with helpful suggestions from the other ladies, I kept us going for maybe a half hour more.

Leading a yoga class was never on my list of things to do, but now that I've somewhat done it, I thought it was really fun! It certainly stretched my boundaries a little bit more.

The ladies were grateful and so sweet! "Better than nothing!" we said to each other, as we parted ways.

I have taught before; for one season, I had a job as an alpine skiing instructor. It is not easy, I know, to be a teacher. But this little experience reminded me how hard it is- so I want to give credit to anyone who teaches for a living. They often make their job look easy. Thank you!

My wardrobe

November 24th, 2014
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Olivia is always asking if she can pick out my outfit and jewelry for the next work day. I thought it was because she was girly and likes the bling.

When convenient, I let her, but she's kind of slow, and I just want to get the task done. Also, she likes to wear the colors of the rainbow to school, and I don't want that color scheme for my on-air image.

Di Ron two shot

Then she said something to make me melt. "I watch you on TV in the morning and I like to see you wearing things I picked out for you."

That is the dearest statement. So yes, now I let her select my clothing and jewelry, and I try to wear what it is even if I'm not the craziest about the pairing.

It makes my sweetie happy.

Chef Ed Kenney's new restaurant, Mud Hen Water

November 21st, 2014
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Chef Ed Kenney has a lot on his metaphoric plate. The award-winning, telegenic, seemingly ubiquitous culinary figure recently opened Kaimuki Superette, is still managing Town, and is in the planning stages of his latest restaurant, named after the area of town its located in.

Me with Chef Ed Kenney

Me with Chef Ed Kenney

"This is going to be an evening restaurant. We're calling it Mud Hen Water. It's the English translation of Waialae; wai is water, and alae is the native mud hen. The legend goes that there used to be a spring here that the alae frequented and it was only for royalty. It was literally a watering hole. This is going to be a watering hole," he exclaims with what I'm starting to understand is his trademark charismatic enthusiasm. He pointed to a section of the wall and indicated that he'd like to open up the wall and add an outdoors dining section there.

Site of the future Mud Hen Water

Site of the future Mud Hen Water

Kenney kindly took time out of his schedule to continue showing me around the property at the corner of Waialae and 9th Avenue. He gestures to a small shed attached to the two-story building. "This whole property, we're calling it Food Shed. It's because this shed was here, but it's also based on a watershed - the flow of food from producer to consumer. We look at everything we want to put in this property as kind of food or health and wellness oriented. Upstairs we have acupuncture, Eastern medicine," he continues.

He's excited about the venture, and tireless - and I'm sure Oahu gourmands will be just as excited to see what he comes up with next!

 

Waking Up with Maryanne Ito & The Astatine Collective

November 17th, 2014
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Honolulu band Maryanne Ito & The Astatine Collective lives up to its name as a rare collection... of talent. On the elements chart, astatine is the rarest naturally occurring element, and band member/producer Subzero felt that the moniker fit a group of people whose collective skills produce a rare and unique sound.

Courtesy: Maryanne Ito

Courtesy: Maryanne Ito

I had a chance to meet the musicians recently, and was captivated by 31-year-old Ito's soulful voice and sweet demeanor. Surprisingly, she has no musical training, though she adds, "I come from a family of musical talent. My mom is a pianist, my dad is a guitarist. I grew up singing around the house. Al my training is by ear!"

Courtesy: Maryanne Ito

Courtesy: Maryanne Ito

Ito and her band produce soulful music with hip hop, reggae and R&B touches. Her vocals show the influence of neosoul stars like Erykah Badu and Alicia Keyes. The group released its first album, Waking Up, earlier this year. Without any advertisement, it peaked at number four on the UK Pop Chart. "I rely on the DJs to play my music," she explains.

Courtesy: Maryanne Ito

Courtesy: Maryanne Ito

Waking Up is an album about love, and it was inspired by "life, different experiences, and a little bit of imagination," says Ito. "I am very pleased with it. I'm happy with the hard work we put in on it, and how people received the album."

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She is currently writing more material for an album to be released possibly at the end of 2015, "but I also don't want to be rushed." Ito and her band are also rehearsing because they hope to go on tour soon - probably the West Coast, and ideally, New York City.

As she sits on the cusp of major stardom, she reflects on how it's been a long road here. In the early 2000's, her older brother, who goes by stage name Blessed Child, needed a singer for something he was recording. "It was convenient I could do this for him, and then I realized I wanted to keep doing this."

Ito, who is seven-eighths Samoan and one-eight Japanese, is a former "Army brat" who was born in Kansas and spent the first part of her life in California, before her father's tour of duty took them to Honolulu in 1992. "My mom fell in love with the islands and told my dad she wanted to stay. Poor Dad - he did a few tours of duty alone!"

She attended Aliamanu Intermediate, was graduated from Moanalua High School, and is currently working towards a degree in business marketing from University of Phoenix. "It's just hard to find time with my day job and my singing career." Additionally, she is the mother of two youngsters.

"My oldest is eight-year-old Quincy, which is his father's name too. My daughter, five year old Naima, is named after a John Coltrane song that I listened to constantly when I was pregnant!" she reveals.

Interestingly, Ito's career aspirations are not just aimed at music. "I am a licensed insurance agent now, and would like to be an independent agent in the future. That would give me time to make my own schedule around music gigs." She works at IC International as a broker, and says she likes helping people and the challenge of problem-solving.

Ito and me

Ito and me

What dose she love about music? "I love how it makes me feel. Music says a lot of what I want to convey. I'm a horrible speaker, but I can relay my emotions in song. It's a great way to express myself and a great release. I'm also touched when I listen to great music," says Ito, "and love if I'm able to touch people with my music."

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