• An Ode to Oʻahu Coffee Shops

    For many of us, a good day doesn’t begin without a proper cup of coffee. Getting dressed, navigating through traffic, answering emails, it’s all made twice as challenging without the glory of coffee to kick-start our brains and get our bodies moving. Whether you enjoy the biting, bitter taste of straight black coffee or opt for flavored espresso beverages, coffee lovers understand the simple pleasure of sipping that first cup.Photo courtesy of Morning Brew Hawaii For those of you who are visiting or living on Oʻahu and subsist daily off of numerous cups of coffee, this post is for you. I’m ...

  • In My Town—Gems Around Makiki

    Makiki and I go way back. Before it housed my current library, used furniture and rambunctious rescue dog, Makiki was first and foremost the town in which I grew up. In the cramped, two-bedroom apartment I shared with my parents and younger sister, we fought for our claim over the bathroom and designated spot on the two-seater sofa. When we moved into a more spacious house with my grandparents in 2011, I never would've anticipated returning to the very same apartment complex four years later, yet that's exactly what I did!Despite the heavy traffic and overcrowded housing situation, Makiki has ...

  • HIFF37 Breathes Life into Hawaiʻi's Film Scene

    When the lights dim, we settle into silence. We turn off the ringers on our phones, tuck our bags under our seats, and lean back into the cushion as we await the flashing screen and booming melodies that signal the start of a long-anticipated movie. There's nothing quite like a community gathering together to enjoy a film screening, and this year's 37th Annual Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani is guaranteed to be the premier cultural event of the state. Go For Broke: An Origin Story details the life of University of Hawaiʻi ROTC students following the attack on ...

  • Relearning Gratitude

    From my apartment, I watch the rich amber clouds of dawn paint across walk-ups and low-rise condos that hug each other along the cramped streets of Makiki. I’m half-asleep, yawning, and pulled in haphazard circles by my rescue pup Sterling, yet always I try to take a moment, put down my phone, and glance up at the spectacular sights that surround me.As someone born and raised in Hawaii, I’ve fostered both a genuine appreciation for the place I live, as well as a deep understanding of the many things here I’ve taken for granted. The beautiful rainbows shrouded by clouds, ...

  • Support Your Local Beach - Kailua Beach Cleanup

    On a sleepy, Sunday morning I joined members of the Young Progressives Demanding Action (YPDA) group for a sweep of Kailua Beach. The YPDA focuses largely on promoting action and activism in support of a greener, safer Hawaii. 
    I met with the Secretary on the Executive Board, Will Caron of the YPDA, along with other members and scoped the beach for plastics, rubbish and other waste materials. The cleanup was tedious but beach goers made it all the worthwhile. Supportive sunbathers applauded our efforts and offered words of encouragement and gratitude. Some even joined in temporarily, which in turn, ...

  • Take Flight

    We drove over the bridge onto Ford Island.  Our car was packed. I don’t know about my friends but I was super eager to see the planes.  When I was just a kid, I used to dream of being behind the wheel of a large aircraft. Somehow that level of excitement, risk and responsibility always appealed to me. This carried on to my late teens and early adult years, taking the ASVAB for the Navy and considering going active duty.

    The guard checked our IDs and let us in. I was nearly jumping out of my seat. When we arrived ...

  • Hōkūle‘a Returns Home

    Nearly 50,000 people greeted the double-hulled Hōkūle‘a with much aloha as it entered the channel next to Magic Island.
    The return of the deep-sea voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a to Hawai‘i on June 17 holds deep meaning for Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian people, and speaks to the strong leadership of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the many volunteers who have helped along the way. Beyond the epic accomplishment of covering 60,000 nautical miles and visiting more than 150 ports, 23 countries and eight UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites during a three-year voyage, the roots of Hōkūle‘a and her mission are embedded in the ...

  • Dolphin Spotting!

    The Dolphin Star was lovely enough to invite me to explore the Pacific and take a gander at some wonderful dolphins!  At first I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hadn’t been on a dolphin tour boat in over five years since my journey to Long Beach, CA. I didn’t know if I would get seasick, but I braved it because I love the ocean - and marine life really speaks to my soul.
    Waianae coastine off of the Dolphin Star. Image by Editor, Fatima Abed
    It was a beautiful, hot day, as it usually is in ...

  • Keep Exploring

    After a long, long cross country journey, full of adventures, I landed in a world of culture I did not understand. I was eager, yet hesitant that I wouldn’t belong, that it wasn’t living up to my expectations and that no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t make this home…a home. I was judged and misunderstood by some of the people around me. I looked different. I wasn’t haole and I wasn’t a local. I come from a mixed background, have colorful hair, piercings and tattoos. As you can imagine, I received the most inconspicuous and blatant looks. It ...

  • Yes, I Live in Paradise

    No, I’m not trying to rub it in. It’s just something that friends, visitors or people I’ve spoken to here or on trips have mentioned to me time and again, many after seeing my coveted rainbow-adorned drivers license. 
    I don’t deny it. I think it’s more that: 1) I don’t spend enough time in the places where I could enjoy it more, and 2) having lived here all my life, I’m more blown away by mountain ranges, gurgling streams and redwoods. I guess you could say it’s something I’ve somewhat taken for granted.

    As with most of the 9-to-5 ...

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