Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Catching up with singer Charice

July 14th, 2014



She's small in stature - but huge in talent and charisma. Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as "the most talented girl in the world", Charice released her first international studio album, Charice, in 2010.

The Filipina singer was part of the cast of TV series Glee as Sunshine Corazon, and is also a judges of the Philippine version of The X Factor.

Charice and me

Charice and me

Now, the international sensation has a new album out this summer called Chapter 10. I was lucky enough to spend time with her talking about it. She told me it's a nod to her new identity and image; last June she announced publicly she is a lesbian.

"Since I came out it's like a message I want to send to everyone: This is the real Charice. It's something I've been wanting to record and sing. Some of the songs are covers and one is an original that my friends and I wrote. It's very personal," she explained. "The idea of the album is like the theme song of my life."

She stopped in Hawaii over the weekend to play concert dates on her Charice World Tour 2014. It's her third time in the Aloha State, and she says she always enjoys visiting the Islands. "I love Hawaii. The beaches, you can never go wrong. It's just a beautiful place," she reflected. She also feels right at home because "everyone looks Filipino too!"

What does she do on her spare time? "Shopping, ukulele. I just learned last night how to play the uke. I've always wanted to play and I got a gift, and I love it. I love to say I learned it here in Hawaii," she smiled.

Her tour goes from March to August - and she says it's going well so far. "The traveling is tiring but when you get to then place it always makes you feel good. The people who come to the show, they're amazing."

Her fans would certainly say the same about her!

Monk seal rehabilitation on Hawaii Island

July 11th, 2014

A new hospital on Hawaii Island will be opening its doors to its first patients this week. But it's not of the human variety.

Courtesy: NOAA

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA


It's the world's premiere facility dedicated to saving endangered monk seals, which are only found in Hawaii, and one of the most endangered species in the world. The monk seal population has been in decline for several decades, and scientists say this is one of the most proactive active recovery programs of any program in the world.

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA.

This seal is one of the seals being treated. Courtesy: NOAA.

Rachel Sprague, PhD is the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator from NOAA Fisheries Service. She talked to me about the first four patients. "There are two weaned pups from Pearls & Hermes Reef, and two juveniles from Midway Atoll and French Frigate Shoals."

They are all malnourished- victims of a population struggling largely because of human impact- tangled in fishing lines or injured from swallowing plastic. They've been in a prolonged decline over the last year.

This seal is not one of the seals being treated. It's an example of a malnourished seal. Courtesy: NOAA

This seal is not one of the seals being treated. It's an example of a malnourished seal. Courtesy: NOAA

Every summer, NOAA sends  a group of scientists to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands to monitor the population, disentangle seals, and perform a number of other recovery activities.This year they were able to identify a number of younger seals in great need of help.

Sprague explains, "Up until now we've run into a lot of seals, particularly in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, that are starving and that we think are going to die and we've had to turn our backs and walk away from them because we haven't had the facility to care for them."

Now, they will be the first patients at a new hospital in Kailua-Kona called Ke Kai Ola or The Healing Sea. It was built just to help save this species.

This seal is being treated at the hospital. All photos were collected under the following permits:  NMFS Permit No. 16632-00 and No. 932-1905-01/MA-009526-1. Courtesy: NOAA.

This seal is being treated at the hospital. All photos were collected under the following permits: NMFS Permit No. 16632-00 and No. 932-1905-01/MA-009526-1. Courtesy: NOAA.

Sprague continues, "This is a brand new hospital built by the Marine Mammal Center out of California. This is a $3.2 million facility built by one of the premiere marine mammal rehabilitation organizations in the world, and they built it here specifically to help us with monk seal recovery."

She believes it will greatly impact the population recovery, but even so, it will be years before the seals are able to get off the endangered list.

There are 200 monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands and 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The  seals living in the main islands are experiencing a population increase. Those living in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are seeing a population decrease. In order for the seals to make it off the federally designated endangered species list, there needs to be 2,900 seals total.

Doctors and volunters will feed the seals high protein fish shakes because the animals are malnourished and would have died if left alone. In two months the seals will be released back to their home. "What's going to be the most exciting is having them back in the wild where they belong, contributing to their species," notes Sprague.

How can you help? Scientists say if you see the seals at the beach, leave them alone. If you're fishing, properly discard any debris.

Also, NOAA has a 24-hour hotline that you can call to report an injured seal. That's 888-256-9840, or you can e-mail them at

Learn more about monk seals and you can help them at



Gratitude today

June 4th, 2014

Hi everyone!

Today, I'm grateful for:

A husband who wakes me up with a hug and laughter every morning and fixes our family breakfast.

A daughter who still wants to pick me flowers. A weed was never more beautiful than from her hands to my heart.


New friends.


Trini & Audra

Old friends.

Jen & me

Jen & me



Wonderful connections.

What about you?

Kailua clothing shop celebrates 5th anniversary

June 2nd, 2014

Reduce, reuse, refashion - that's the philosophy that Lilian McDonnell uses to guide the direction of her Kailua part-boutique, part consignment store. It's one that apparently works, as the charming corner store on Hekili Street celebrates its fifth anniversary this summer.


As you would expect, the shop offers high-end consignment, such as ladies designer suits, accessories, shoes, and handbags - but the store also buys new items from local designers or from other stores going out of business, and offers them at affordable prices. You'll find locally made earrings, necklaces, art and aloha wear in between fancy Chanel suits.

McDonnell explains in her delightful Spanish accent that her store offers women a solution to shopping in an eco-friendly way. For this anniversary, McDonnell is offering many items at 50 - 75% off.

"In fact," she gestures, "I just bought out the rest of the inventory at a boutique at Aloha Tower that closed. I have shoes, ball gowns, jewelry, lingerie, swim suits, and bags - all new, and all for sale."

Here's a peek:

Terani dress, Reg. $439.99, now $50

Terani dress, reg. $439.99, now $50

Mary Frances bag, reg. $286, now $50

Mary Frances bag, reg. $286, now $50


Swanson bags, reg. starting at $40, now starting at $20.

Swanson bags, reg. starting at $40, now starting at $20


Cosabella swim suit, reg. $140, now $60

Cosabella swim suit, reg. $140, now $60

Juicy Couture bracelet, reg. $158, now $50

Juicy Couture bracelet, reg. $158, now $50


Betsy Johnson ring, reg. $78, now $30

Betsy Johnson ring, reg. $78, now $30

Ballgown brands include Cinderella, Aspeed, Chicas, and Fiesta. Lingere labels include Cosabella, Honeydew, and Paul Frank. The sale lasts through the end of June!

Kailua Verde, 111 Hekili St., Suite 101, (808) 261-6190

XTERRA Freedom Fest 2014

May 30th, 2014

Camp Bennett has partnered with XTERRA and Kualoa Ranch to launch the 6th year of Freedom Fest Races on July 5th and 6th. XTERRA Freedom Fest is two great days of off-road racing in Ka’a’awa Valley, Oahu, Hawaii. Enjoy ocean views, mountain climbs, movie sets, and live music as you raise money for charity.


Seven races, two days, and over 1000 athletes from around the globe will rally at the ranch in an effort to raise money for Wounded Warrior, Access Surf, and a Clean Water Initiative. Get involved as a racer, volunteer, sponsor, or spectator.

Athletes can choose from several events and get the whole family involved! Saturday events include an XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon consisting of a 1K swim, 20K bike, and 10K run, a 1K Open Water Swim Race, a 20K and 40K Mountain Bike Race, and a Kid’s Fun Run. Sunday will offer a 5K XTERRA Trail Run and Adventure Walk, 10K XTERRA Trail Run, and a Kid’s Fun Run. Both days athletes will be entertained by live music donated by local artists.

Age group winners qualify for the XTERRA World Championship Triathlon on Maui. Trail run overall winders receive free entry to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on Oahu in December. Come volunteer, race, or just buy a ticket to the BBQ and enjoy the live music and amazing views of Kualoa Ranch.

Freedom Fest started in 2009 by a small non-profit in Kailua called Camp Bennett. Camp Bennett operates on the core values of fitness, nutrition, and community being the foundation for health and happiness. It says it's passionately committed to bringing the opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to participate in activities that enrich life. The group wanted to create an off-road event in the valley that would raise money for local charities and encourage families to get out and play!

The group partnered with XTERRA in 2011 because of their LIVE MORE philosophy. XTERRA is a Hawaii based company with 100 events produced in the United States and globally. With the partnership 25 people earn slots to race in the XTERRA World Championships in Maui. This is very special because around the world one must typically win a championship race in order to qualify.