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I Am not an Orchid

Almost exactly a year ago, our fridge stopped working. It was days before our self-catered wedding and the fridge was already stocked with all the food for our reception, including the layers of our wedding cake in the freezer. Not exactly a good time for a fridge failure! After a small amount of panic, I realized I’d never cleaned the air intakes. I wrestled the fridge out of its nook by myself, got everything cleaned up, and shoved the fridge back where it belonged. The fridge started cooling down again and everything turned out fine. I was pretty proud of myself and emailed my parents to thank them for raising me as a thinking individual capable of dealing with sticky situations.

orchid ww

As I wrote in my last post, I learned of my father’s passing on the last day of my recent trip to Australia. I was completely alone in Sydney, my only available links to home a travel phone that immediately ran out of international minutes and a public wifi network with limited connectivity. After using my iPad to talk to my mom, the boat CO’s wife, the Red Cross, and my mom again, I called my grandmother. One of the first things she asked me was “Are you okay?” I told her “I have to be okay, don’t I?” Even though it felt like my world was ending, I couldn’t sit on the Sydney sidewalk and cry until someone else took care of everything. I had to get myself back to Hawaii and then to the rest of my family because no one else would or could do it for me.

I like to think the way I handled that day was the ultimate tribute to my dad and how I was raised. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I am proud that I got the phone situation sorted out, spoke to the Red Cross (so they could get word to my husband on deployment), dealt with airlines to book my flights from Hawaii to the East Coast, and got myself to the airport on time using public transit. There was lots of crying, and it was frequently noisy, but I did everything I needed to and, eventually, got myself back “home” to South Carolina.

I am still crying randomly, and everything is far too fresh and raw for me to have spent meaningful time in meditation about my dad’s death or anything like that, but I immediately realized that my life will be different forever without him. I also saw how easily I could let myself be consumed by circumstance, and I consciously refused to be an orchid. Orchids are beautiful, but fragile. I am not a fleeting hothouse orchid, but a grape vine. Vignerons prune their vines vigorously, and even withhold water or plant vines in inhospitable ground because the resulting plants are stronger and more resilient, the grapes more flavorful.

I don’t think I think I must be “too strong” to grieve, but I refuse to be consumed by a sense of loss. Okay, so some minutes do slip past me, but I will not loose days or weeks to sorrow. I’m sure some part of me will never “get over” it, and that’s fine. My dad taught me many things during his life, but I hope his unexpected death will help me live my own life more fully and with purpose. It sounds cliche, but we truly never know how much time any of us has. There is not enough time to delay your dreams or ignore your passion. If you’ve stuck it out this far and are still reading my uncharacteristically personal post, I hope this is the message you take with you; Don’t be afraid to live out loud and don’t let yourself be an orchid when difficulties come your way.



“Wordless” Wednesday

I guess this post isn’t really wordless, but that is exactly how I feel – wordless.

I currently don’t have words to describe how I feel after the sudden and unexpected loss of my father. Even that word, father, doesn’t seem like the correct choice. It sounds too cold and formal to me, and those are two words that no one would ever use in describing him. These short sentences have taken me over 20 minutes to write, because that is how at a loss for words I am. I’ll just leave you with this one picture of the Sydney Opera House at night. I was so looking forward to sharing my Australia trip photos with my dad because he was always eager to see and learn something new. I’m sure he would have asked me questions about Sydney and Australia that revealed he somehow knew factoids I didn’t about a place I’d recently visited.

Sydney Opera House

It will be a couple weeks before I’m able to start blogging regularly again. I want to return to writing regularly as soon as I can to help my life feel more normal, but it will be a little while before I’m ready. Thank you so much to my Blogging Business Artisans teammates who have already shown me so much love and support.



A couple weeks ago mentioned losses and damages I’ve experienced because I checked bags at the airport in my post on taking full advantage of your carry on liquids bag. Well, I’m sorry to say, I have also lost things from my carry on/personal item. During my day trip to Kaua’i, I “lost” my Kindle after a hold-up with the person in front of me at security left my bags out of my sight/control for too long. I didn’t realize the loss for a little bit, and it really wasn’t worth pursuing because my Kindle was very old. In its case in the outside pocket of my bag, I think someone thought it was a tablet and snagged it. I like to imagine their annoyance when they realized it was actually a first generation Kindle filled with fantasy novels and and historical seamanship manuals! I needed another Kindle in a hurry because I was about to take a pretty lengthy trip, so I ordered a factory refurbished one on Amazon with express shipping. I did not, however, order a new hard cover with express shipping. I was so spoiled by Amazon Prime shipping speeds on the Mainland, but in Hawaii the two day option costs extra, even with Prime. I didn’t want to set out with a totally unprotected Kindle, though, so I decided to make my own case!

My case does not offer the same level of protection given by one of those hard back, book-like cases, but it does protect the device from scratches while in transport and that’s got to count for something! I think of it as being an envelope-style sleeve more than a true “case.” Honestly, I’m kind of enjoying not having the extra weight of the case to hold while I’m reading. I made this case for my basic Kindle, but this sewing tutorial shows you the steps I used so you can adapt the project to make a case to fit your e-reader or tablet.

How to Sew a Custom Lined Case for Your E-ReaderTablet [click to continue…]


Wordless Wednesday – On my Honor

honor system coconut stand



I hate who airplanes make my skin feel. Not only is the air on planes very dry, but it can also be difficult to drink enough water while traveling. According to Patrick Smith’s Ask the Pilot post the truth about cabin air, on-board humidity is frequently as low as 12%, which is less than many desserts. Eek! No wonder I feel like it takes days for my skin to recover from a flight.

While getting ready for my recent trip (the trip I’ll actually be in the middle of when this post goes live!), I remembered seeing someone on a flight a while ago spritzing herself with a mist. I quickly Googled hydrating facial spritzes and, when one of the first results cost $75, closed out that tab even more quickly! Since I already own glass spritz bottles and a variety of essential oils, I decided to make my own. After some experimenting, I came up with something I really like and decided to share the recipe! I hope you enjoy it, too.

DIY Hydrating Facial Mist [click to continue…]


Wordless Wednesday – Good Neighbors

good neighbors



Creamed honey is so amazing! For years I assumed that creamed honey was somehow whipped until it became creamy and spreadable. I imagined it was a process like turning egg whites into meringue! Earlier this year, I learned that is totally not how you make creamed honey. I also discovered that, with a little bit of patience, it is super easy to make at home! How awesome is that – with a couple minutes of active time and a couple weeks of patience, you can transform your favorite honey into something spreadable to enjoy on toast, bagels, pancakes, and more.

How to Make your Own Creamed Honey [click to continue…]


On some trips, the liquids you need can determine whether you’re able to travel with only hand carry or must check a bag. I avoid checked bags whenever possible because they’re expensive, take more time to deal with, and I assume that anything I check will be lost or damaged. Yes, I have had checked bags arrive on time and mostly undamaged, but I’ve also had bags delayed, an Apple USB Super Drive stolen, a pair of nice polarized sun glasses destroyed, and many other “minor” problems too numerous to list. I am a firm believer in traveling with only carry on bags whenever possible, and I’ve even started paying the extra few dollars for priority boarding to make it less likely I’ll be forced to check my bag at the gate.

Carry on liquid restrictions can be problematic, especially for women and on longer trips. That’s why today I’m going to show you how to pack more in your TSA approved liquid carry on bag. Yep, that’s right: more liquids in your hand carry luggage! I can practically hear you thinking from here: “But wait! The limit the amount of liquids you can carry on, so how I can I possibly fit more in my carry on liquids bag??” The overall size of your liquids bag is limited to one quart (this is true in almost every country today), but how you pack it has an enormous impact on what you’re able to bring in your carry on bag. In this post I’m sharing my very best space-saving carry on liquids tips to help you avoid checked bags.

How to Pack More Carry On Liquids

[click to continue…]


Wordless Wednesday – Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

hanapepe swinging bridge



I have eaten these protein pancakes every single morning for over a month with the exception of one single morning. I really regretted skipping them that one lazy Sunday! Of all the things that could worry me about my upcoming trip, trying to find the ingredients and equipment to make these pancakes is one of my top concerns. I know that sounds a little crazy, but my pancakes really help start my morning! Plus they’re really moist and delicious, unlike some ‘healthy’ pancakes that turn out dense and dry. Or taste like bananas…yeah, no bananas here.

Cottage Cheese & Oatmeal Protein Pancakes [click to continue…]

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