Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

KHON2 Wake Up 2Day's Kelly Simek

September 12th, 2014

Since August, Hawaii viewers have been graced with a new presence in the morning: Kelly Simek, KHON2's morning weather anchor. She's fun, she's bubbly, and her radiant smile is the perfect way for many to start their day.

Wake Up 2Day: Taizo, Di, Jai, Ron, Kelly

Wake Up 2Day: Taizo, Di, Jai, Ron, Kelly

"It's so nice that I can inform people how to prepare for their day. I love outdoor activities and I'm honored that people actually plan their day around my forecast," she told me. She's one of the five person Wake Up 2Day on air team that includes Ron Mizutani, Taizo Braden, Jai Cunningham, and me.

Kelly's debut on air

Kelly's debut on air

If Kelly looks familiar to you already, it's because she's been a key part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's athletics program for the past three years. "I came to UH Manoa as a freshman because I got a scholarship to twirl baton for the band." We're lucky - she probably would have stayed on the mainland if not.

Kelly twirling for UH Manoa

Kelly twirling for UH Manoa.

Photo courtesy: Kelly Simek

Kelly graduated this past spring - in just three years- with a Bachelor's degree of Arts in Interdiciplinary Studies, which combined broadcasting and meteorology. "I initially thought I wanted to be a newscaster, but I really like math and science, so I gravitated towards this after taking a meteorology course early in my college career. I loved it," she explains. Kelly credits her teacher and advisor Dr. Gary Barnes with providing the right mentorship to help her make this choice.

She still, however, will be twirling through the 2014-2015 school year. You can catch her at all UH football games, as well as basketball and volleyball this season. Kelly does this while juggling a new courseload as a UH Manoa graduate student (major currently undeclared.)

"I love twirling. It's a big part of my life. I have the best memories. The band members were my first friends when I moved to Hawaii, and I appreciate that I got to spend four seasons cementing these friendships," Kelly reminisces.

Kelly began twirling baton at age six - and shortly thereafter, at age ten, began competing. "My mother's a twirler, too, and the training was intense. At its peak I would train two to three hours a day. I was even homeschooled during junior high school so that I could dedicate time to training," reveals Kelly.

The work paid off. In her senior year at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California, Kelly was selected to twirl for San Diego State. "I love when I can catch a big trick and hear the crowd go wild," she says. She's so talented, she holds national titles in twirling.

Twirling has taken her across the world. Besides a coveted scholarship to UH, Kelly twirled at the Queen's New Year's Parade in London and represented the US as a Goodwill Ambassador. In her personal time, she has also journeyed around Europe.

Kelly parlayed her looks, intelligence, and talent into beauty pageant success. She garnered a Miss East Oahu title, then ran and placed fourth runner up in Miss Hawaii in 2014. As one would guess, she twirled for her talent.

kelly miss hi

Photo courtesy: Kelly Simek

Will she run again? "I don't rule it out," she hints.

For now, KHON2 is her life. Her 3 a.m. - 11 a.m. schedule is demanding (I know!), and after work, it's "nap, band practice (for twirling) and dinner."

kelly headshot

On weekends, she likes "anything outdoors - hiking, swimming, body boarding." She just got certified in SCUBA over the weekend, so she can add that to the list of weekend fun!

We enjoy the sunny demeanor Kelly brings to our morning show family - and are sure you do, too, as you start your day with Wake Up 2Day!

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Lesson in democracy

August 25th, 2014

On primary election night, I asked my husband to visit me with our daughter at the candidate's headquarters where I was assigned to report for the night: US Senator Brian Schatz (who ran against Colleen Hanabusa.)

Live interview with Senator & Mrs. Schatz after last printout of the night

Live interview with Senator & Mrs. Schatz after last printout of the night

Besides wanting the luxury of seeing them for a little while on a Saturday night, I thought it might make a nice real-life lesson for our seven-year-old to see democracy in action. If you have never been to a candidate's party on election night, it's pretty interesting. Crowds, noise, excitement.

Mic check as we prep for a live shot.

Mic check as we prep for a live shot.

As a secondary lesson, I thought she might like to see Mommy at work as a reporter. Now that I anchor the morning show she has more chances to see me in the studio, but few opportunities to see me in the field.

My election night team: Adam, me, Lance, Terry.

My election night team: Adam, me, Lance, Terry.

She could witness the magic of television! Most people I meet are curious about how the news is put together. She's lucky she has access to this.


Claus & Olivia

Claus & Olivia

Right idea, wrong timing. The kid came, ate my dinner while I was busy conducting a live shot, and then nagged me to play with my iPhone. In subsequent live shots, she was totally absorbed in Fruit Ninja.

I rolled into my bed around 2 a.m. the next morning so when I saw her the next day, I asked, "Was that interesting? Did you learn a little about democracy?"

"I don't even know what that is," she said.

I was pretty zapped (jet-lagged, if you will, since we morning anchors effectively live in a different time zone), so I decided to skip the politics lesson for this day.

"Did you like seeing how things get on television?" I continued.

"Um. So-so," she said nonchalantly.

"What did you like about last night?" I persisted.

"I liked seeing you," she said.

Aww. Good enough for me!

Life in the early mornings

July 30th, 2014

We are all still adjusting to my morning schedule. I get up at 2:30 a.m., I go to sleep at 7:30 p.m.

photo 1


Di, Jai, Ron, Taizo

photo 2


Di & Ron

My lovely husband, always so accommodating, is trying to shift his schedule to match mine a little better. He has started waking up at 4 a.m. and doing his daily workout at the beginning of his day, instead of at the end.

The other shift is our sleeping habits. He is a light sleeper and, while he tolerated my schedule during my previous station's morning show for six months, he has decided that he doesn't like being awoken at the same time as me, so he has decided to sleep in another room. I feel so very old-married-couple.

It actually works out well, because I can make more noise in the morning without feeling guilty. The person who really loves this change is Olivia, who now is invited to sleep with Mommy.

I know the issue of co-sleeping is a controversial topic for Americans, and I'm a support of co-sleeping as long as it doesn't negatively impact the marriage bed. We had previously not let her sleep with us.

However, since I'd be alone anyway, Olivia and I both decided to take advantage of this and have her join me in bed. Her bedtime is the same as mine now! She loves that we fall asleep together!

The other person impacted by the show schedule is my dog. Yes, I called Inca a person.

My house is - shall we call it - a happy mess now, and we're all scrambling to get used to Mommy not having as much time to tend the domestics. For this, we forgot to buy Inca dog food. Oops.

For two days, we fed Inca whatever was around. We are doing our best. It happens. The first day, Claus said he would go to the store to get dog food, but he gets really busy at work and he couldn't.

The second day, we were cooking steak for dinner. "Is it OK to feed Inca this bone?"

"I guess so," I said.

Olivia summed it up best. "She ate cat food and Swiss cheese this morning. I think a steak bone is an upgrade," said my daughter. Some really funny things come out of the mouth of that seven-year-old.

Or maybe as Inca would say, "Meow."

Burning money

July 28th, 2014

I guess I went a little crazy with the spending when I was a housewife. I am not usually a spendy person, but that's because I never had time to shop when I was working full time.

When I was a housewife for half a year, I undertook all these projects that I'd meant to do for years, like redecorating some rooms in the house, paying for things I usually wouldn't have time to do like a yoga retreat, or simply having more time to have lunches out with friends.

In my last month of at-home-momminess, I had so much time to spend money, my credit card bill was five times the normal. I can't even remember what I bought.

Gasp! What did I buy??

Gasp! What did I buy??

I'm quite consistent- if you track my credit spending over the last two decades you'll see it stays within the same range. Always. It might double if we're on a trip and I'm putting the airfare and hotel on the card. It never quintuples.

New role, new habits, I guess! Claus was FLOORED when the bill arrived. I shall say it again. FLOORED.

He doesn't ever yell or scold me, but he does give me low-grade, consistent heat for it in his low-key, humorous Claus way.

The other morning I told him I was going to pray and then offer ancestral money, otherwise known as hell money. We were running late for an appointment, so by way of apologizing to him, I said, "I'll be quick. Burning money doesn't take me long."

"I know that from looking at your last credit card bill," he sniped.

Other little gems from Husband: "I'm so glad I don't have to refinance the mortgage to pay your next Visa bill."

Me: "So you would not be open to me doing another housewife stint?"

Claus: "I think that would be ill-advised."

Nobody is happier than he that I have a full time job again.

Film director Adam Braff on life in Hawaii

July 18th, 2014

The new film Wish I Was Here is a story about midlife anxieties and suburban discontent, starring Zach Braff and Kate Hudson. Former Scrubs star Braff co-wrote the dramedy with his brother Adam, who happens to be an Oahu resident.

Film director Adam Braff

Film director Adam Braff

I met up with Adam Braff right before the movie opened and talked to him about life in Hawaii. How did the New Jersey native, and longtime Los Angeles resident, decide to make a life in the Aloha State?

"My wife grew up here and I met her in college. We lived in L.A. for 25 years. I was a writer and she was a costume designer. We decided to get out of town and she had always wanted to move back. What we didn't know was how I'd feel about it but I ended up loving it, not just for the reasons everyone knows but after living in L.A. for 25 years this feels like a small town. I love seeing people I know on the streets," Braff told me.

Film director Adam Braff and me

Film director Adam Braff and me

"I came here with the intention of doing lots of water sports but I have spent time taking care of my house. It's so nice, I own a home. I always lived in a condo in L.A. I take care of my kids."

Braff says his goal for next year is to log more time in the ocean. For now, though, he hints at the difficulty of launching a Hollywood career from 3,000 miles away. "I spend a lot of time writing. I'm not somebody who's a success yet and I hope I don't have to move back to L.A. to get a job writing on a TV show. I want to stay here. That's always a struggle."

Braff believes Hawaii audiences will respond well to the movie because "it's about family, and people respond to that. It's about family, spirituality, going through dreams at the expense of everything else. I think those are universal themes."

The Focus Features movie is out today in theaters.