Kauai Travel Guide

While on our honeymoon, Tim and I took inventory of all the trips we loved most in 2017. Mine was Miami (ugh, Miami, how I love you so). His was our trip to Maui in March of 2017. I was kind of surprised, as he doesn’t love snorkeling as much as I do and that was far and away my highlight of that trip. But as it turns out, he found Maui was super relaxing in both pace and ambiance. And I realized I agreed. We’re so busy — and I focus on doing and seeing and eating and drinking everything possible — that a relaxing trip is SO. IMPORTANT. So a few weeks ago, we decided to book a long weekend to a different Hawaiian island: Kauai.

You probably already know that not only do I travel a lot, but I am also fiercely passionate about giving you my recommendations for any city I’ve visited. This is no exception. We stayed in Kapaa and were there during a bit of a storm, so we have a heavy bias on easy-to-access things here.

 

Photo opps

 

Opaekaa Falls: Twin falls that are easy to spot from an accessible parking lot — aka no hiking required. 

 


Spouting Horn: I thought this was going to be lame but it was really really cool. Basically the waves crash into this very hole-filled rock bank and in a couple spots there’s HUGE explosive geyser-like activity from the force of the waves. 

 

National Tropical Botanical Gardens: So, so much gorgeous plant life. (Also saw a lot of spiders, so beware.) This place is huge and long and narrow in shape, so usually you have to take a tram to the other parts of the garden. We didn’t have enough time so we just went to the first zone and it was still awesome. There were vanilla bean pods, mangos, all sorts of flowers, trees, and bananas. It’s like a zoo for plants. They recommend allotting a couple hours here.

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Hanalei Valley Lookout: Get an amazing view of classic Kauai from an easily-accessible parking lot. 

 

Activities

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Kealia Beach: Just north of Kapaa, this is a perfect spot for boogie boarding. We had a great time here. Tip: Drive all the way to the northernmost parking area to be right at the non-rocky, wavy area for activities! The rest of the beach is gorgeous, though shallow. It’s also great for whale watching.

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Kapaa Beach Shop: Super affordable rentals if you’re in Kapaa. Snorkel sets were I think $15 for the week, and boogie boards $20. (Note that the above boogie-boarding photo was censored for modesty. #ladyprobs)

 


Kipu Ranch Adventures: Our original boat activity was canceled due to weather. We ended up finding this fun excursion and LOVED IT. You drive ATVs through the gorgeous landscape of Kauai and stop at movie filming locations (esp. Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones!). It’s great for families, too. The ATVs have 4 seats and only one person drives. Prepare to get muddy if it’s been raining — and bring black clothes, because my white tee and jean shorts got permanently dyed/ruined from the mud. But so worth it!

 


Poipu Beach: On the south coast, this was the rare beach where we were able to snorkel during the storm. I got a TON of fish action when snorkeling, a vast area of living coral reef, and got up close to a giant turtle (like 3+ feet long) for a long time here. Highly recommended for any weather! And lots of space for kids to play — plus a playground. PS: I thought “snorkeling here must not be good; it’s so shallow” and how wrong I was. It’s no Molokini (off Maui) but it’s awesome.

Queens Bath: We didn’t end up going because the trail was super muddy and we were in street clothes, but I wish we could have gone. Bring your snorkels, cameras, and play clothes!

 

Food/drink


Tiki Iniki: I loved this Princeville bar! It had a bunch of really neat, authentic tiki drinks — including the Flaming Zombie, which involved fire. Super cool. It lacks a good view, but otherwise so great.

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The Local Kitchen + Bar: We ended up going here 3 times in our trip. It was the best food and cocktails in Kapaa, we thought. And they use a ton of local ingredients, which is what we always seek out when traveling!

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Ono Family Restaurant: Also in Kapaa, we ate at this place EVERY. MORNING. for breakfast. I always got the Lindsay Special: Two eggs (I got over-easy), fried rice (WHY don’t we have this for brekky in CA?), and bacon (or your choice of sausage). Seriously amazing. Add a few dashes of hot sauce if you’re feeling spicy.


Nalu Kai: Poolside bar/resto at the St. Regis in Princeville. We went here at the suggestion of some people we met. It is overpriced, sure, but the St. Regis has a private beach and gorgeous views, and this bar is RIGHT. THERE. Somehow I don’t have photos from down on the beach, but you get the gist here.

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Uncle’s Shave Ice: They also have “shaved snow,” a creamier option to regular ice. Really close to the Lihue airport. You can squeeze in a quick treat before your flight home!

 

Things we did that we don’t necessarily recommend
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  • Kauai Museum: Not that rich in things that we cared about. And we like museums a lot. But some of it was cool, so if you really want to learn some history, go for it.
  • Hotel Coral Reef: It was so highly rated on TripAdvisor but I hated it. Amazing location though, right on the beach and very walkable. But just shell out a little more per night for a … brighter hotel. The person who cleaned the rooms didn’t seem to have much attention to detail or will to clean up sand. We found a dead cockroach as soon as we walked in, too. Cockroaches happen and I totally get it’s not preventable, but a dead one the day that a new guest checks in is. (Side note: The bed was comfy, which means a lot.)
  • Big Wave Dave’s: A bar in Kapaa. It was a typical dive bar. The reviews made it seem cooler/more interesting than it was.


Bonus hot tip:
I don’t own a GoPro, but I rented one — along with a stabilizing stick — from BorrowLenses and I absolutely loved it. It only cost $80 total for the week. If you live near one of their two offices (San Carlos, CA; Waltham, MA) and can pick it up yourself, you don’t have to pay for shipping!

Have you been to Kauai? What spots do you love?

New Year’s Resolution: Deepen Friendships

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I mentioned previously that I made Tim engage in a “reflection on the past year and intentions for the upcoming year.” The thing that he brought up — that I promptly adopted — was the desire to maintain closer relationships with the people in our lives. He kept describing it as “casual friendships,” which I kept hearing as “a lot of not-that-close friends.” But what he really meant was friendships that we don’t treat as precious events, instead getting to the level of friendship where you can make casual plans the day-of or be just as happy meeting up for a single drink versus a whole big night out. I love the sound of that — don’t you?

It’s my theory that everyone wants a FRIENDS-ship. Obviously, with TV being my #1 hobby/interest, I do mean the NBC hit comedy from 1994-2004. The show follows friends across three different apartments in NYC who could just show up unannounced constantly, make fun of each other, have fights and patch things up, and it somehow it all wasn’t weird. (See also: ‘Seinfeld’; ‘Clarissa Explains It All’; I’m pretty sure ‘The Big Bang Theory’ also has this?) I’ve never had an adult FRIENDS-ship. (I sort of had those uber-close, do-everything-together friendships in elementary/middle school but realistically that’s just not the same.)

In reality I’m too afraid to not constantly have my front door locked so I will never have that type of friendship. So here are some things I’m trying to do to foster greater friendships!

  • Just send the text. If it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to send a quick “hey! been thinking about you” message.  A lot of times, I get in my head like, “It’s been too long. I’ll need to do a proper full hours-long catch-up session and right now I can’t commit to that.” But that just keeps me from catching up even longer. Just send the message now!
  • Organize a group event. If I want to start a friendship with someone and we have mutual friends, I’ll probably invite them all over for cocktails or a dinner party. That way, it’s a lower-stress environment because there are many people that we know well, and there are only one or two people we are getting to know. The biggest fear is usually that you don’t know what to talk about, and by having another party present, you can learn about them more indirectly without the pressure!
  • Invite them to what you’re already doing. This one was a bit of an “aha” moment when I decided on my New Year’s Resolutions. Because I wanted to experience more, why can’t I two-birds-one-stone it by inviting a friend along? I want to visit a couple local wineries. When I do, I’ll invite someone I know who’d enjoy it. There’s a concert coming up I’m dying to attend, or a bar I want to visit, or a workout I want to try. Add a friend and get drinks after! It’s a perfect system.

I think a lot of people struggle with keeping up friendships. In fact, I saw recently that people form an average of 400 friendships in their life but only keep 33. TBH my first thought when I heard they keep 33 was “wow, that many?” I think it’s hard to maintain pretty much all friendships. And I’m an extrovert, so I can only imagine it’s even more difficult for an introvert. Make it easy on yourself, then, and remove the pressure. And don’t forget to lock your doors, even if your friend does live nearby. This world has as many Chandlers as it does Janices.


PS: I’ve been getting a LOT of comments on my bullet journal. I’m obsessed! I got all my gear on Amazon: dot-matrix notebook | fine-point markers | stencils (MUST!) | washi tape

Party cities in the off-season

One of my favorite girlfriends, Mary, is a baller. She plays craps better than the addictive personality I-Bankers. She drank scotch all throughout my wedding and is one of those people you know you should just follow and it’ll be a good time. It was fitting, then, when she sent out a PSA that she has two nights free every month this year at Paris Las Vegas.

Obviously I’m not going to say no to that.

But what do you do in Vegas in January? We were there over the MLK weekend (Sunday through Tuesday) and absolutely no one was performing. Might I remind you — or, if I haven’t been doing my job well enough, inform you for the first time — that we are Celine Dion SUPERFANS. But this weekend, she was performing Saturday night and Tuesday night. (Cue a full-sized violin — not one of those sarcastic “world’s smallest” ones — because this is a very serious and sad problem for us.) There was some show that Scheana from Vanderpump Rules was in, but unless it’s got the drama with the rest of the gang, I am not into it. (And I know they only film Pump Rules in the summer so I would never meet the rest of the gang. 😉

So Mary and I set out to have an amazing time without the regular Vegas stuff. The highs were in the sixties (fahrenheit) and it was pretty much always overcast, so we decided to make it all about the world-class food, drink, and culture in Vegas. And it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. So if you are heading to Vegas in the off-season, or if you have been wondering if there’s a reason to take advantage of the CRAZY CHEAP prices this time of year, listen up.

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The Paris was so cute. I hadn’t been there since college, and I was so pleased with everything. The location was dynamite — totally central to the Strip. The room was updated and clean and gorge (photo evidence above). The room had a mini fridge for our use (aka for our 3am Chinese food leftovers and a view. There’s a bit of a shopping center attached to the Paris, too, and it served our needs (cross-reference the aforementioned 3am Chinese food).

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Then there’s everything else we did.

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Short ribs are never not good, right? We went to The Henry for a quick snack of short rib tot-chos after we landed. It’s in the Cosmo and we’ve been a good handful of times, but this time it was our first stop vs. our last stop. Because they’re a 24-hour joint, I had low expectations. They were shockingly good.
Drinks
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Drinks at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier bar are never not good. Mary got her classic fizzy drink. Apparently I’ve had it before (???). It’s a nice, smooth cocktail with a little fruit that makes your whole drink feel like Pop Rocks. I had an amazingly airy, herbal cocktail (times two) before doing the obvious perennial activity: Gambling.

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That night, we ate at Beauty & Essex. I wish I had photos of the bottle of champagne we got; of the tuna poke tacos and the chicken meatballs (sounds lame but they were UNBELIEVABLE) or even of the espresso we enjoyed, but no. We were so hungry (and honestly it was so dimly lit) that our table was dry in just over an hour before we headed back to the craps tables. All I can say is: Please go.


I’d never had brunch at the Paris, so I made reservations ahead of time at Hexx. I booked it because I’d heard that the waiters will send you on your way with a mimosa to go. (I forgot about this and went home empty-handed, but I bet it would happen if you ask — they were very quick with the refill.) The food was actually fabulous. We had the mimosas (which were too opaque for my taste, but probably a good idea for people in the Vegas mentality) and a hearty omelet with a housemade English muffin. Did you know that English muffins don’t have to be the dry, boring lump that sometimes houses your Egg McMuffin? They can be rich and delicious! Plus, I got a side of (good, thick) bacon and that thing on the right is a cinnamon roll, if you can believe it. We thought it would be WAY too rich but it was unbelievable.


Did you know Vegas has a ton of art installments? We did, but we’d never taken the time to seek them out. This weekend, we hit up two separate James Turrell (!!!) pieces. The one pictured above is in the Shops at Crystals, attached to the Aria. You can see the colored spaces from the mall, but then you can access the actual rooms where the neon lights live, and it’s such an amazing bath of light.

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We also went to Akhob, the James Turrell installment inside the Louis Vuitton store. While the tour is free, I had heard the waitlist fills up weeks in advance, so when we made these plans to go to Vegas one week prior, I got ballsy and just called. Turns out, they had an open reservation time. I took it, and we toured it. All I can say is: Make the time. I felt so otherworldly when looking into the space. (And if you have any sort of psychological or medical condition that may not be compatible, looking back always cured me of anything odd I was experiencing.)

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Also in the Shops at Crystals? An absolute heap of photogenic spots. When Mary and I walked down these stairs, we thought they were pretty and wooden. But when we looked back, they were a glowing mosaic of natural materials. (Psst: that’s Mary on the stairs!) While I had my DSLR in Las Vegas, I hadn’t brought it to these shops. Bring yours if you’ve got one!


We also hit up the beloved Mandarin Bar, atop (of course) the Mandarin Oriental. I love time lapse videos, and while this one doesn’t capture the hustle of Las Vegas very well, it does show all the lights.

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Obviously I got champagne from the Mandarin’s infamous vending machine after we left the bar. (Probably a mistake in hindsight, as we got two drinks at the bar in Bardot before splitting a bottle of wine eating dinner.)

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I got the Midnight in Paris (twice) because it has one of my newest fave ingredients: Giffard Pamplemousse. Check it out if you haven’t yet! This was followed by Steak Tartare and a rare steak (what can I say) which I was too hungry to photograph.

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I’d always held off on going to Eggslut in Vegas (also at the Cosmo — I seriously love it there) because I’d lived in LA for years, which is where Eggslut began. I finally relented after I had hours to kill alone after Mary left for home on Tuesday morning. I forgot how amazing their food really is. Limited menus are the way. to. go. Do a couple things REALLY WELL instead of doing a lot of things (end of sentence). I added bacon to the Fairfax. Unbelievable.

The crazy-cheap travel prices in Las Vegas during the off-season are there to incentivize you to make all these purchases. It did for me (I even paid for my flight in Southwest miles because I thought it’d be fun to say the whole weekend was free — ha) and all I can say is I hope my husband isn’t reading this because we spent p-l-e-n-t-y on the food experience. So worth it. I’d probably never done Vegas without a pool party in there (thanks to Mary’s cousin who is a promoter — did I mention how awesome she is?) but the food and booze was so enough to justify an amazing weekend away from home. And for me, it’s just over an hour flight. Please, take advantage of the cheap flights and better-than-cheap hotels. Go to Vegas — or whatever equivalent party city you’ve got — and experience it in the off-peak. It’ll make next time even sweeter.

New Year’s Resolution: Experience More

New Year’s Eve is such an overrated holiday, right? It’s a lot of expectations for one tiny second switching from one year to the next. (Or in my case, I haven’t made it to midnight in at least three years.)

But I’m a huge sucker for New Year’s Resolutions. There’s something about the perceived “reset button” of a new year that makes me so motivated. So after forcing Tim to do “reflection and intentions” with me, I put together my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018.

Ok, I made a couple little mistakes because I’m new to my sure to be short-lived attempt at bullet journaling. But whatever, all in all it looks pretty cute, no?

So I’m starting with the one that’s most exciting to me: Experience More.

When Tim and I went on our honeymoon to Chile & Argentina, I was so inspired. First of all, I really had no idea what to expect going there. I feel like I knew what I was getting into when I first went to Paris or Rome. But Santiago? It hadn’t been on my radar as a kid the same way that the Colosseum was. And the whole trip was AMAZING. (I am pronouncing that “a-MASE-ing” because that’s how an Argentine would pronounce that word in English, and it’s impossibly charming to me.) We did so much: Interesting restaurants with local foods; in-depth winery tours learning how Mendoza vintners create their wine.

Speaking of Mendoza — best known as a massive wine region in Argentina, the size of the state of Indiana, and capital of Malbec production — something big stuck with me there. (Not just the several pounds I undoubtedly gained from consuming steak, bread, and a cumulative bottle of wine every day.) So many times throughout our trip, people assumed that we went to wineries all the time because we live near Napa & Sonoma. Spoiler alert, we totally don’t. Like twice a year maybe. And that thought totally crushed me. I put such an emphasis on traveling the world — and I don’t want that to change. But instead of throwing away a day by sitting around the house or just going to one of the restaurants down the street that aren’t special to me. It’s so easy to make the effort to go somewhere new.

As soon as we got back from our honeymoon, I made an effort to put fun things together. We went for a hike, and instead of getting Taco Bell on the way home, I put together a little charcuterie picnic and we drove to a local winery only 20 minutes away from where we hiked. It was SO GRATIFYING! We got a full tasting and took home a few bottles and still look back really fondly on that day.

When I lived in LA, I created a spreadsheet of all the places I wanted to check out, organized by neighborhood. Well, I have one for the Bay Area now, and we’ve been ticking off places pretty consistently. That’s why I love New Year’s Resolutions: They motivate action (or in my case, they motivate organization, which motivates action).

What do you want to experience this year?

PS: I’ve been getting a LOT of comments on my bullet journal. I’m obsessed! I got all my gear on Amazon: dot-matrix notebook | fine-point markers | stencils (MUST!) | washi tape

At-home craft cocktails with Shaker & Spoon

Anyone who knows me enough knows I love a good drink. If you’re a friend, you’ve probably been to our place for a cocktail party. Tim and I are major cocktail enthusiasts (and wine, and beer, and spirits served neat or on the rocks or out of the bottle — just kidding) so when we got married, our super talented/interesting/passionate cocktail maestro of a friend, Faith (@barfaith on Instagram!) and her partner Dylan sent us a three month subscription to a craft cocktail kit called Shaker & Spoon.

Each Shaker & Spoon box has three recipes with four servings per recipe. Our box included super interesting ingredients, some of which (like lapsang souchong ginger honey syrup) I’d never heard! They include everything except the alcohol. (Some recipes also called for egg whites, which weren’t included.)

I let Tim choose the first drink we made, and he selected the Mystic Mule. I love ginger but I was totally hesitant about this drink because I think Moscow Mules are incredibly boring (except the mugs, am I right?).

The recipe calls for:

1 1/2 oz rye whiskey (I used my favorite, Rittenhouse 100)

3/4 oz lime juice

3/4 oz lapsang souchong ginger honey syrup

2-3 oz ginger beer

Candied ginger (for garnish)

I enjoy making cocktails so I shook up the first two. The recipe explained how to “whip” the drink in a shaker, which was amazing because I got to learn something AND drink! The cocktail itself shocked me in how delicious it was. I loved having the pretty ginger garnish, too. At home I rarely do any non-necessary garnish. It was warming and just interesting enough without losing the richness of the rye!

The second recipe we made was the East End Sour. Tim was not excited about this one because he doesn’t love coconut, but our box was missing one ingredient so this was the only recipe we could make. (Shaker & Spoon immediately sent us a replacement item once I emailed them!)

The East End Sour was:

1 raw egg white

2 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse 100 again!)

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz spiced coconut syrup

1 dash habañero cocktail spice

1 handcut lemon peel

Candied fennel seeds

I LOOOOVED this cocktail! Even Tim agreed it was deliciously well-balanced, and he drank his two with no problem. I loved how smooth the texture and taste both were. The fennel seeds were intriguing to me, but it turns out they were just garnish that were floated atop the lemon peel. It was cute but I definitely don’t need them if I make it at home.

The final was the most spirit-forward. It was sort of an old fashioned, but much more interesting than the kind that some 25-year-old bro orders because he read it was cool in GQ (and he probably doesn’t have a preference on bourbon). And if you want to hop on the trend of “new twist on an old classic,” this is a great way to dip your toe in without venturing too far from the original. (PS: There are a lot of rum old fashioned recipes circulating — delish, but I think a lot of people have a lingering college-era aversion to rum. Please trust me, rum is worth the re-introduction to your bar cart!)

Sugar and Spice:

2 oz rye (continuing with my Rittenhouse overproof fave!)

1/4 oz fig-raisin syrup

2 dashes Angostura

3 dashes Bittercube Blackstrap bitters

1 spritz orange oil

2-3 spritzes Woodward Extract Co. Allspice extract

Griottines cherry

This one showcased the rye the best. It definitely isn’t for the faint palate, but if you like rye, this is going to be a dynamite one for you.

I can’t wait for our future boxes.

What’s your favorite cocktail recipe? Any new versions of old classics?

Confidence when you aren’t skinny

The last time I went hiking near my Northern California home, I wore my standard workout crops and tee with a thin, moisture-wicking outer layer. There was a lot more canopy coverage from the trees than I had anticipated, and I was freezing.

So when I got dressed for our hike on December 29 (aka winter), I decked out in warm layers: running tights, a soft and thin long sleeve from a past race, and a Patagonia fleece vest, all underneath a neoprene baseball cap. I was feeling pretty smug when we got to a similar sight: a trailhead totally shrouded in branches. I even remember saying to my husband Tim, “I think that once we get moving and I warm up a bit, I’m going to be at the perfect temperature.” (I probably also said something obnoxious like “I really nailed this one,” but I’m too embarrassed to commit to that memory.)

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By now you’ve likely realized that I did not, in fact, nail that outfit. After about half a mile maximum, we found ourselves traversing the sunny side of the top of a mountain with absolutely no hope of shade. I was wearing all black and pouring out wine sweats (having just returned from wine tourism in Argentina) and that damn fleece vest had no sleeves to tie around my waist. The views were dynamite but WHO COULD CARE because I just wanted to hide behind a tree and pay Tim to fan me.

And then I realized: My tights are kind of high-waisted. I’ve got a sports bra on. The only thing I lack is the self-confidence to bare any form of midsection. And since I was basically under a direct solar spotlight with no respite, I took it off. I tied my long-sleeve around my waist (high up, but whatever, there was veritable bare torso on display) and I was able to dangle that formidably-warm fleece vest from my tied up shirt. I was IMMEDIATELY A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER.

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By some miracle, we didn’t pass anyone on the trail for at least 30 minutes. By the time we did, I wasn’t even thinking about my appearance. I think I was in the middle of an intense word game that we play to pass time on hikes. And I survived that hike without reaching Survivor-level dehydration.

I’ll probably never have a body type like the women who I normally see working out in bras and tights. But maybe the bras-n-tights pendulum will swing to just anyone who wants to rock the look. Or, maybe, it’ll just happen to ladies like me who experience weather too strong for a longsleeve and vest and gets the cool rush of subsequent confidence. Whatever the reason, if you want to bare your torso on a hike — or in an exercise class, or just because — DO IT! Except maybe not at your office job because, y’know. We’re not that progressive as a society, and that’s not really high up my list of things to fight for. 😉

What self-acceptance milestones have you experienced?

No, I will not get over it.

Within the last year, I made a point to delete Facebook friends that I would surely never talk to again. This included people that I had met only once or twice, people who were in college classes but I never kept in touch with, or people who had added me because of a mutual friend but that I never actually met. Because manually sifting through a list of over 1000 connections was an impossibly mind-numbing task, I removed connections as they popped up in my Facebook news feed. Eventually, a couple people that I barely knew began posting statements justifying Donald Trump’s behavior. These people were removed.

All the people I deleted from my Facebook connections were people that I didn’t really know, though. Since clearing out the people with whom I’d likely never cross paths again, I made a conscious decision: I would not delete people I knew based on their politics. Instead, these people are canonized in my connections as long as they don’t delete me. Because I want to see your beliefs, and I want you to see mine. I want you to know that women who march for the rights of ALL people are not hippies or raging, violent protesters. I want you to see that I am educated, tolerant, and speak real facts (government-issued lies are called propaganda, Sean Spicer).

I encourage anyone who disagrees with what I or anyone else believes to not delete us as connections. I encourage you to keep us in your news feed, to learn what and why we believe. For this same reason, I will not delete you for your beliefs. I want to know what you’re thinking, posting, feeling. The more well-educated I can be about your side, the better I can share with you mine.

I grew up in Christianity, and I still cling to my faith. One of the most important things I learned as an attendee of Christian school K-12 is to know your scripture and beliefs inside and out, challenge them, and be deeply acquainted with all the arguments against your faith. This makes you a greater witness to others, able to answer the questions that they have and the problems they raise with your beliefs. The same is true of political beliefs and thoughts on civil rights. Educate yourselves. Do not create a virtual echo chamber of your own beliefs.

Today I want to begin by addressing the numerous posts I’ve seen to “get over it,” that “he’s our president now so accept it.” I do accept that he is our president. Because he is. But when during the inauguration did a law pass that I am forced to accept what he believes in? That law does not exist, and I am not going to be quiet about my beliefs.

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Millions of people (women, men, Christian, Muslim, atheist, black, white, bi, gay, trans, agender, Americans, Australian, South American, Asian, European, African, visitors of Antarctica, immigrants of all statuses, disabled) around the world stood together, and with a few abhorrent exceptions, the groups were peaceful and energized and firmly principled in their morals. Walking through the SF Women’s March was likely the most inspiring experience I’ve had in person.

I do not agree with any of the protesters who damaged other people’s property or acted violently in any way or who intimidated pro-Trump protesters of the protests. They do not represent what millions of other human beings stood for yesterday and believe every day. This is just like how you, if you are pro-Trump, probably do not identify with the small pockets of people who have literally grabbed women’s ‘pussies’ and have said, “I can get away with that now!” I’ll bet you also don’t appreciate how a group of white supremacists support Trump, including actual Nazi Richard Spencer.  I bet you know that Obamacare and ACA are the same thing. You probably know “alternative facts” are lies and that inauguration turnout for Trump was very significantly lower than it was for either Obama inauguration and that Washington, DC, didn’t have a shortage of dresses for sale and I’ll bet you think that Meryl Streep is an extremely talented actress.

I vow to not write you off as a racist, as a white supremacist, as a person who doesn’t believe in my rights. I want you to do me the courtesy of knowing that I am not smashing windows of a Starbucks, I am not refusing to listen to your beliefs, and when I say participate in a “women’s march” I am not ignoring the rights of so many other groups.

It is your right to voice that I should “get over it,” but I want you to know that you saying that is not enough. You are not effecting any change by just saying “get over it.” I can promise you I will not get over it until I see factual evidence that I am somehow in the wrong on my beliefs. It is my constitutional right to protest as long as I do it legally. It is my right to free speech. It is my right to want tolerance for people in hijabs or with more melanin than me. It is my right to care — deeply — that I can make decisions for my own body and health. Try telling a woman who suffers from endometriosis that she can’t access the birth control pills that she MEDICALLY needs. (I support the right to BC no matter what, but in this example, you can’t argue moral implications.) Imagine a person who was sexually assaulted hear their attacker say, “There’s no way I assaulted that person, because they are not attractive enough.” Now try to take a guess why I am not going to just “get over it.” I’d guess there are some things you don’t agree with in this (or a past or future) administration, even if you voted for the person who champions those things. I beg of you: don’t ever get over it.

I guess I’m a fainter again

In second grade, my class went on a field trip to a hospital. My dad was chaperoning, and I was excited to get out of the norm for a day. I don’t really remember what we saw, except the x-rays. There were weird objects that people swallowed. And then there was the one with the stubbed toe. That’s the last image I remember before I felt the blood drain from me; before I was suddenly and at once chilled and clammy; before I hit the ground and lost consciousness.

I’m a fainter. From ages 8-12 I had a few unlucky incidents, all medical-ickiness-induced. I grew up, got used to the reality of the body, and it stopped. Until I decided, as a poor college student, to be a good person and give blood. I went to the on-campus Blood & Platelet center and got strapped into a blood bag, then immediately passed out (luckily, again, in front of medically-trained people). I had to be tilted back in the donation seat, surrounded by other people getting their blood sucked into clear bags. They gave me oreos and a lot of water, though, so that was pretty neat.

My father was a fainter in his youth for the same reasons as I am: medical stuff. He encouraged me: “You’ll grow out of it. When I worked in a hospital in my 20s, I even watched surgeries!” My sister is a fainter (by the way, can I post about you? Love you!), but it seems to be sometimes when she’s ill.

Tonight I discovered that I might be the unlucky blend of both. I had spent an hour or two browsing at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in Palo Alto. (Browsing = only buying a few things.) I decided that I could treat myself a little and pick up something to eat. Near my place, I stop into a pizza place. The line is moving glacially, but they’ve already started preparing it. After about 5 minutes of standing (and getting annoyed with the VERY CRANKY mother behind me), I start to feel nauseous. I think I’m going to throw up. I think about running to the bathroom but decide against it because two guys in front of me in line already abandoned their pre-cooked pizzas from the wait, and the employees were none too pleased. The mom behind me gets crankier and blunter. I panic because I don’t know what to do. Suddenly, a familiar feeling returns: the blood is draining from me. I am at once clammy and cold. I am going to faint. I am going to faint.

I turn to a table behind me, with one kid reserving the other 3 seats. The cranky mom asks if I’m leaving, and I manage the words, “I feel I should tell you, I think I am going to faint.” She doesn’t really care. Thankfully she does turn back later and say, “Is there someone I can call for you?” This reminds me to call. The one kid at the table tells me repeatedly that the table is being saved, so I say, “I need to sit for a minute.” I feel embarrassed and dramatic. I am going to faint.

I call my boyfriend. He doesn’t answer. He is at least 45 miles away, anyway, not to mention during a peak traffic time and without a car. Oh no, I have my car. I drove here. I can’t drive like this. I call my mother, who is hundreds of miles away. She answers and makes small talk immediately. She doesn’t know I am sitting at someone else’s table, barely able to watch my purse as I lean forward and take deep breaths to fight for consciousness. Finally I share what I feel, and she talks me through it. I transition to an outside seat (not reserved by a pushy kid). After 10 minutes, I get in my car and make my mother stay on the phone until I’m home. It is under a mile.

At home I vacillate. Even now, as I sit on the couch in the absolute comfiest item I own (oversized t-shirt and slippers) (why does that sound so TMI) I am not sure if I just need sleep or if I am suffering a weird strain of the flu or if I’ve got some hot new strain of disease or if it’s a one-time weird thing. I know it’s not a regular panic attack, because if you have ever read my blog you should know I know what panic attacks are.

This whole incident made me (re-)realize: I’m crazy lucky to have someone here that I call when I feel embarrassed and dramatic about a near-faint. Even if he doesn’t pick up. (He called me back, by the way. Points to him.) I am also crazy lucky to not have many times where I face a situation where I’m panicked to be alone. That’s a nice realization. But I also realize: I still feel unwell. So that’s there too. End of happy reflections.

Cursory Google search results reveal neurocardiogenic or vasovagal syncope. It’s caused by standing too long, seeing blood, etc. I hadn’t been standing long during this time, though, so I don’t know what the deal is. I feel so dramatic. Fainting is so very Victorian. I’m almost glad no one I know was around, because no one I know will have seen me like that. I may not be so lucky next time, though. I may actually faint. And that’s OK. I’ve got someone to call for that.

The biggest pending lawsuit will be Trump v. Womankind

I basically never get political (somehow that makes me sound more legit right? Pls say yes), and I realize I’m sharing a buzzfeed post and not something by a more esteemed outlet. But I happened to see this and I felt compelled. 
I keep trying to convince myself that Trump as POTUS can’t possibly be that bad. That his legislation will get blocked in congress. That my rights, at least as a white Christian person, fall under what Trump would protect the most. I could use my privilege to help fight for the ones who will be most negatively affected by him. Right?
But all this is idealistic and false, because I am a woman, and Donald Trump views me as someone whose worth is attached to my sexuality and appearance. Donald Trump will, over time, penetrate congress with people who support his ideas. Today, there is finally a platform for feminist voices to redefine society’s understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence. If Trump is inaugurated in 2017, I am extremely afraid of how I will be treated. And I fear for the rights of those who are also women, or non-white, or non-Christian, or — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — not very good-looking, because even those who don’t fit his definition of beauty will, at the least, be susceptible to bullying if their paths shall ever cross with a President Donald Trump. 
My hope is that finally the business practices of Donald Trump will catch up to him and that this Trump University thing finally is confirmed as a felony-level fraud and he gets put away in prison before taking ownership of the most visible seat in America’s government. I’d write a joke here about hoping someone “takes care of him,” too, but I’m pretty sure that he’ll start reading all social media posts about himself if given that power, and I don’t want him to sue me.  
PS: I really hope no one writes in the comments trying to debate me or say I wasn’t inclusive enough here. I have no idea how to wax political. Pls cut me some slack. Love you!

Day 11: Friend Time

Here’s a basic usage of my time:

meta-chart

As evidenced by the chart, I spend barely more time with friends than I do standing in front of my closet in the morning. (And way too much time watching TV, but we all already knew that and are pretending to consider it cute/endearing, right?)

I don’t spend enough time with my friends. It’s been an eternal weakness. I’m an extrovert (an ENTJ, to be exact) and love spending time with other people, but I am fiercely protective of doing what I want. For example, right now I am sitting at my kitchen table with a beer (see the yellow pie piece) and listening to the Chicago soundtrack. (Side note: my dream role is Velma Kelly.) I often prefer to do something specific in the moment over whatever I could be doing with friends.

To be clear, I love my friends. I want to be social and have a rollicking good time at my weekly pub trivia or at a great epicurean dining experience or doing something totally basic like bowling. But I don’t do any of that super often, because I love doing my own thing. The most time I’ve ever spent with one non-me human being willingly is with my bae (see the green pie piece) and that barely counts because a lot of that time we are watching TV (orange pie piece).

I’ve noticed recently that I am WAY less likely to spend time with my friends when it gets dark early. Why is this? 70% sure it’s because of the whole seasonal affective disorder thing coupled with the days feeling shorter than a long summer day. When days feel shorter, I feel less satisfied with my overall day because, no matter how productive, leaving work or finally leaving the house after dark is a huge bummer. People need sunshine. (Ha, like Mary Sunshine from Chicago. Did I mention I’m listening to the soundtrack?) It almost seems like the day is over already and it’s too late to be social. Weird.

Today, I was tempted to skip my regular Tuesday night trivia. But then I realized it was GORGEOUS outside, and that earnestly was the breaking point to convince me to be social. I’m not overthinking this by connecting a gorgeous, sunny day to a day fit for drinking beer in a pub. That’s not what this is. But it’s sunny outside, which means in California terms it’s basically summer. And summer is the best season, the season where you get to wear shorts and sit outside and barbecue and just do. what. you. want.

Summer is the season to actually shave your legs, to take walks at 8pm, to make s’mores even if you don’t like them that much. Summer is the best. So are your friends. So get your fill until it gets dark early again.