Taking a Break: Itʻs Time to Unplug

Happy Monday!

I wanted to say first and foremost, I am so sorry for missing last Thursday. Last week was a little rough for me (an emotional roller coaster) and my motivation was low and sitting in front of my laptop to write was not coming naturally to me.

Todayʻs post is about taking a break.

When you feel like youʻre drowning in negativity, work, terrible perceptions of self, personal relationships etc, itʻs a good idea to take a break. The first thing is to define what taking a break means for you. It could be taking time off of work, unfollowing or hiding feed posts from people that make you feel bad, starting (or re-starting) a hobby that can bring you joy and take your mind off of other things, and distancing yourself from negativity.

I am taking a break from social media, specifically my personal Instagram account. I have also started reading again. Iʻm sure you have noticed the struggle with negative perceptions of myself (especially in the last post), so I have decided to take a break from my Instagram account and drastically reduce the time I spend on Facebook for the month of March.

There are a lot of things and events going on for me in the month of March, so I think taking the break from social media will also be less distracting. I want to come back from the break, refreshed and positive, lol.

With that being said, I wanted to say thank you so much for keeping up with my posts, but I will also be taking a break from writing for the time being as well. If I absolutely feel like I need to write or share something, I will keep it in my drafts and share it later. I hope to be back in April!

I hope you continue to give yourself a break. Whatever that means to you, do it. Donʻt let the negativity of others get to you and prevent you from living your fullest and happiest life.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Adjusting to Change

Change is inevitable. Don’t we hear that so much? Itʻs true though. In this lifestyle that I live with my husband, big changes are made every 3-4 years. Now I know most of you are already aware of my anxiety and mental health journey, so it can be extra tough on me during this process.

Although I am so excited to start anew, I will miss things about this home that weʻve had for 2.5 years. I am so thankful for a place that was beautiful and not falling apart. Weʻve made memories in this home, we had family visit us throughout our time, we hosted a few small dinners etc. I am also comfortable in this home (not so much outside of it) and Iʻve grown stronger relationships with family and friends that are here (and formed so many new ones). I am extremely thankful for the time I have had.

Through all the excitement, my anxiety is heightened as well. There are many steps that need to be taken and in a short amount of time. Although this is something that has to occur more frequently for a military family, it does not make it any easier to plan for. In this time, I rely on my husband, my sister, and my family and friends to help me cope. Right now, my husband is my backbone even if he is not physically here with me right now. He reminds me to take it day by day and in manageable “chunks”. I donʻt know what I did to deserve this man in my life, but I am truly truly so grateful to have someone who loves and supports me in every way he possibly can.

Change is coming for us very quickly. I have a million things running in my mind right now, I almost didnʻt get to post. Today I slept in and watched tv all day. I really hope tomorrow I can re-situate myself and listen to the advice my husband has given me, to “take it day by day”. I have other obligations to complete as well as start the process of the big change.

Ultimately, I know that I will be okay, I know that I can get through anything, but it doesnʻt always mean itʻs gonna be easy. If you pray, please pray for me. If you don’t pray, please send me all the good vibrations my way! I appreciate it all.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Language

Aloha kākou! (Hello everyone)

Today is February 1st, which means it is also Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language Month).

I wanted to talk a little about the importance of language. Understanding and speaking another language gives you the understanding and the framework of a culture. Sentences and phrases translated to English are not always accurate because there might not be a way to express exactly what it says. Furthermore, to understand a language other than English, is to also understand how it fits into your actions and your every day life.

In Hawaiʻi, speaking Hawaiian was banned after the illegal overthrow (1893) and schools no longer taught the language (1896). The culture began to fade as less generations began to speak, to learn, and understand. There was a revitalization in the 1970s by Larry Kimura. He advocated for Hawaiian immersion schools to start teaching the language again. This was an important movement for Hawaiians. A large population of native people did not know their own language! How could they? It was banned from being taught, and English quickly replaced it. We do not have many Manaleo (native speakers) left, a lot of the Hawaiian you hear being spoken today is an institutionalized version (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi).

Today, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is an official language (alongside English), but there are still a huge percentage of people that live here, were born here, and grew up here that cannot speak or understand fluently. I started teaching myself, very slowly, about year ago. I became distracted and never laid out a plan to stick to. Now that I have more time on my hands, I really wish to move steadily forward. I am almost ashamed of myself because I feel like I should know more. I still cannot formulate sentences on my own, and that is pretty disappointing –

This month is inspiring me to push myself harder. I have joined Facebook groups, followed many Hawaiian speaking social media accounts, and have purchased a few books but I always seem to get distracted.

If you have any suggestions for me, I would so appreciate it! Even from the perspective of someone learning any other language. Itʻs a process and learning without a set curriculum is actually really hard.

Momoe aku i mua (Move forward with determination)

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

My Morning Routine

Today’s post is a look into my personal life, just a snippet! My morning routine has changed so much from the start of this year, now that I have flexibility. And I love my mornings – I am most definitely a morning person. So here it goes:

  1. My alarm goes off at 6AM every week day – As compared to my 4AM alarm last year. I am not afraid to hit the snooze button though, haha.
  2. Use a heat pad on my eyes for 15 minutes – I’ve started slacking on this one and am just now getting back into it. I do these for my dry eyes. In the last couple of years, I’ve been diagnosed with chronic dry eyes which is largely due to being a contact lenses wearer. My dry eyes are caused by clogged oil ducts in my eyelids (they are very small), which means no oils are being mixed into the tears that naturally lubricate the eye. Heat pads on the eyes ensure that the oil is melting and lubricating the eye. Clogged oil ducts in the eyes can lead to worse things.
  3. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and moisturize. I know some people actually wash up after eating something (breakfast), but I was raised to do so right after waking up and before coming out of my room, so that habit has definitely stuck.
  4. I prepare my sister’s lunch bag. When my husband is back, I will also prepare his as well. This would include making the coffee too! Our coffee maker has a timer on it, so the coffee will start on its own as long as I remembered to prep it the night before, lol.
  5. I make my bed! Making my bed allows me to feel like something is complete, organized, and clean.
  6. I work out for 30 minutes. I roll out my yoga mat in the tiny walking space left in my living room – I make it work.
  7. I shower and get ready – sometimes its a dress, sometimes its leggings and a sports bra. It makes me feel more alive and in tune with a schedule of some sort. Sometimes I do my brows and sometimes I don’t, lol. But I almost always put some earrings on.
  8. Then I eat a little something – and sit down at the desk and start to work

It’s nothing crazy, but I felt it was something shareable and something personable.

How is your morning routine? Do you schedule in the time to do something for you and only you in the mornings? Maybe you’re not a morning person at all, and that’s okay too!

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Tales of a Curly Island Girl

Whatʻs the Tea?

Did I get your attention? Haha, the only tea youʻll get from me today is this post about my top three favorite teas. I am most definitely a black tea drinker, and absolutely a loose leaf one at that. I distinctly remember wanting to drink tea with no sugar because it’s easier to drink, but then having to teach myself to deal with the strong and sometimes bitter tastes.

Tea, oh what can I say about tea that you don’t already know? It has many benefits and flavors – depending on which tea you’re drinking. So let’s just talk about my top three:

  • Earl Grey
    • My favorite black tea ever. I feel it can be an acquired taste for some because of its strong aroma and flavor. It’s black tea leaves either mixed in with dried bergamot or sprayed with bergamot oil. Bergamot is a citrus fruit and grown in Italy for production of its oil. I like to drink this one hot and with no sugar. I don’t add milk either, but if you have ever heard of a London Fog, that is an Earl Grey with milk and vanilla. When I visit my hometown, Hilo, I get the Earl Grey and London Fog milk tea from Teapresso Bar (and I only like Hilo’s Teapresso, LOL sorry not sorry).
    • I have two canisters of Earl Grey from when my husband was in Singapore for TAD. This was in 2019 and they still smell perfect! I wanted to try different types of Earl Grey, so in these pictures you see both Golden Earl and French Earl from TWG Tea. The French Earl has an addition of French blue cornflowers and the Golden Earl has black tea that is oxidized using the sun and are referred to as “gold tips”. LOL, the more you know!
  • Māmaki
    • This tea is special to me and native to Hawai’i. I first tasted it in the Fall of 2015. I had taken a Plants of Hawai’i botany course/lab. I had my first sip of Māmaki then. It was so good, but a very different kind of taste. It belongs to the Nettle family, but has no stingers. It has a lot of healing properties and most definitely helps with seasonal allergies and the effects of vog (volcanic fog). In Spring of 2016, I had it again in a Geography of Hawai’i (Hawai’i in the Pacific) course. The instructor grew his own Māmaki and the tea was pink! I prefer to drink this tea iced and with no sugar. I had left a bag of it in Hilo when I moved away and when I returned it was no longer good. Recently, I acquired some from a local Patreon subscription. Kehau of Kehaunō’eau received some from a friend in Maui and shared with her subscribers. I still have some left that I wanted to share with my sister, so I’m trying really hard not to steep it for myself, haha.
The only Māmaki leaves I have left
  • Oolong
    • I had a really hard time picking what my third favorite tea was, but here it is – Oolong! A Chinese tea that is neither green or black. It can usually be identified as tea leaves in a rolled-up ball, with a little “tail” at the end. I don’t have any Oolong on hand right now, so I have no personal picture for you to see – but I found one here. I like to drink this one hot too (with no sugar), but Mr. Tea in Ala Moana makes a really good Oolong milk tea.

If you like tea and have not been to a tea shop, you should go in and try some new ones. You could also go and visit your local tea rooms and have a little tasting of different flavors. I have by no means gotten to taste every imaginable tea. Different cultures have their own kinds of teas too, that you would never try unless given some leaves or by visiting the area. I also don’t necessarily brew them the right way: each type of tea usually has a specific amount of minutes that you spend brewing or temperature of the water – I’m not like that at all. I’m picky only about whether or not it is loose-leafed or if its not “plain”.

What’s your favorite kind of tea? Or do you hate tea and would rather have coffee? Does your culture have specific tea as well?

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Whatʻs on my Desk?

Itʻs Friday Eve (Thursday!). I decided to take a break today from my normal routine, meaning I didnʻt do anything related to my current project (which I like to call work right now). I actually had this as a topic sitting in my drafts for months. As some of you may know, right now I am on an “extended vacation”, haha. However, I do have projects that require me to use my laptop and I have commandeered my husbandʻs work/game desk for the time being.

So, for the sake of todayʻs post, this is my current desk and these are a list of the things that sit on this desk:

  1. A desktop monitor connected to my MacBook – I never really had a need for two screens, but since working at an agency where I had the luxury of having them, I seem to be struggling with only my 13inch laptop. Hence, commandeering my husbandʻs workspace (and some of his stuff too). I use my 13in MacBook Pro which is connected to an LG wide monitor. Super convenient.
  2. A charging stand for my phone – Donʻt we all need that? This one is my husbandʻs
  3. A keyboard – Ugh, working on a keyboard as opposed to the laptopʻs keyboard is so much easier. The new MacBook Proʻs keyboards are not my favorite, it feels harder to type on. But, I digress. This one is my husbandʻs too.
  4. A mouse – I have a bluetooth mouse, which works better for the new MacBookʻs because they lack USB ports (there are only two USB-C ports now). Again, much better than using the laptop trackpad.
  5. Sticky Notes – Always good for writing down quick tasks and sticking them to the monitor, lol. The colorful ones are my favorite! I also like different sizes of sticky notes.
  6. Pens and Hi-Liters – You have to have every color. There are no exceptions.
  7. Remote control for the fan – Itʻs hot in Oʻahu. Like really hot, so I do have a fan sitting about 6.5 feet away from me.
  8. My vitamins – I take probiotics and multivitamins every day and if I donʻt see them, I wonʻt remember to take them.
  9. Blue light glasses – I stole these from my sister, thank you! When using contact lenses, I use these. But, when I have my Rx glasses on, I don’t need them because they already have blue light lenses! I believe there is no actual merit that blue light glasses work, but I feel they do, so I continue to wear them.
  10. Eye drops – I have chronic dry eyes and well, that requires me to use eye drops during the day, especially when staring at a monitor this large.
  11. A foldable small table – This is sort of the extension to this small desk. Right now it is sitting to the left of me, but my husband usually has it sitting to the right of him. On this little table I have:
    1. My iPad! – This can actually double as another screen if I needed it to, but right now itʻs just there for watching tv or accessing notes in the cloud
    2. My two planners – I have one for my personal life (Law of Attraction Planner) and one for my “work” (ShaleiMei 2021 Planner). With everything going on in my head, I tend to forget the details of a day. I guess itʻs not a requirement to write everything down in your day, but when I need to reflect on my month or revisit for any reason, I know itʻs there.
  12. The last thing I have on my desk that is most important right now are my notepads and composition tablets – I write so many notes down in a day that I need to keep track of everything.

The things I choose to have on my (haha, my husband will read this and say no) desk help to keep me focused on the tasks at hand, whether it is writing my blog posts, researching, or working on my project (itʻs a website for a local business).

What sorts of things do you have on your desk?

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Tales of a Curly Island Girl

Mental Health – How I’m Coping

I was asked months ago to discuss how I have been coping with my mental health issues, and then recently on my Instagram account, so here it is! Mental health will always be a recurring topic and I think itʻs super important to talk about it.

I have never been diagnosed but I do struggle with anxiety. Every person has some anxious thoughts, but the kind of anxiety I have keeps me in the house and makes me nervous to be alone in public settings. It really heightened in 2018 when I moved away from home. I had a huge realization that I probably had always been anxious but because I know my hometown like the back of my hand, I was able to get around and not be nervous. Now that I no longer live on the Big Island, I have become pretty introverted.

My coping skills from the summer of 2018 through early 2020 have been to just put errands off until someone can go with me, or to have things shipped to me instead of picking it up, or to just cancel it altogether. When the pandemic started in March of 2020, I was working from home for 3 months and during that time my anxiety was at an all time low (which is good), but some other issues popped up in its place.

2020 had been my worst year for my mental health. It was a roller coaster of mostly depression. My job began eating away at me (along with the state of the world, my communities, and other outside factors) and I was constantly complaining and crying at night. I was so unhappy and my husband and sister didnʻt know what to do and how to help me. Fortunately, my job had given me the opportunity to work in a behavioral/mental health field; I had met coworkers who specialized in mental health (licensed clinical social workers). I was able to discuss my problems and concerns with them. You know who you are! I am so grateful to know you.

I was given a tool to use! I mentioned it in my last life update post in October of 2020. The book I began reading in August 2020 with encouragement from my LCSW friend was Mind Over Mood. This book was the resource I needed to utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to identify the reason why I was reacting/feeling a certain way (in specific situations). Any time I felt upset for what I thought was no reason, really opened my eyes to why. Knowing ʻthe whyʻ allowed me to properly express my feelings and do something about it, whether it was telling someone the reason why I got upset, or realizing that the only thing that could go wrong was terribly unlikely. It also showed me techniques to soothe my anxious thoughts.

I so encourage you all to read through this book or look into CBT. In fact, to be honest, I need to read some chapters again because my anxiety has resurfaced and is stopping me from doing simple things like grocery shopping and dropping off packages to the post office.

If the book and reading is not for you thatʻs okay too. Finding someone you can share your thoughts with can help. Perhaps someone else experiencing the same or similar situations would be a good idea. I did rely heavily on a handful of my friends, my husband, and my sisters. I cried to them and spoke honestly and as freely as I could about my own issues. I asked them to listen and give me advice when solicited. For my loved ones who didnʻt understand or have not felt the way I felt, I explained my feelings as best I could.

I sat alone and prayed (if youʻre not religious, meditation might work as well) and tried to work it out on my own too. I let myself feel what I needed to feel, I tried not to hold it in as much as possible. My saving grace was letting my husband and sister know (I live with them) that my mood was not good today and I needed to be alone.

This is me being honest about my own mental health issues. We are not all the same and we may not all be able to self-teach but I encourage you to talk about it with someone (professional or not, depending on severity). Although this post may sound like I made myself the center of attention (I really hope that’s not what it is conveyed as), I was a good listener too. Sometimes the situations I felt so strong about was because of my own actions. With that being said, your pain is always valid and just because you may handle some situations better than someone else with mental health problems does not mean your problems are insignificant. We all deserve to be healthy (body, spirit, and mind).

Disclaimer: This is my own personal journey. I am in no means saying this will help everyone, and if you suffer from severe depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, please seek out help from a professional.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Reset, Revamp, Renew, Rebirth

There is so much going on in the world – COVID-19 pandemic, economic crashes, elections, political activism (BLM!), mental health awareness … the list goes on and on.

For a lot of my friends and family, 2020 is on record as the worst year ever.  

And guess who decided to jump back into blogging (on a hopefully more regularly basis) and re-vamped her site? ME. If you haven't noticed yet, she got her own domain, too! yay

With all that's going wrong in the world right now, what is going right for you right now?

Let's celebrate the wins in 2020, even if it is minimal:
  • Tales of a Curly Island Girl got a new and improved outfit, I got her own domain set up, and her logo is new and improved (thanks to my hubby!)
  • My mental health is so much better now than it ever has been, this year had been a learning curve with my own demons. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a working progress, but now possess some tools to help manage that. Thanks to my licensed social worker friend, you da bomb.com. If you want to check out a book for some self-help, go ahead and click here.
  • I have the most wonderful group of friends that I am in contact with pretty regularly. You know who you are! We need another FaceTime date ASAP.
  • I applied to a Masterʻs program, and this month I will apply to a second one. Man, oh man, did I forget how grueling the process is with just applying. Oh, let’s not forget the cost to just apply too. Send me all the good vibes and prayers that I get accepted!
  • None of my friends and family got sick or passed away from COVID-19 and I am truly grateful for that. We are all healthy and take necessary precautions to stop the spread of this disease.
  • I had maintained a job throughout the year, and I am grateful for this. But I was finally able to get out of that sticky situation. I am already happier for it.
  • I created new relationships that I feel will last a lifetime. I am so grateful for the the people who held me during the year.
  • Although we were not at home in Hilo, we had a wonderful Christmas and New Yearʻs Eve. Being with each other will always be enough.
  • By leaving my job, I now have the time and energy to pour into things and people that I truly love.

I truly wish you nothing but the best in 2021. May you continue to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Your Curly Island Girl

Life Update – (Once Again)

Bellows AFB

It’s been months. Once again.

How have you been doing? The last time I updated you, I was working from home. I went back into the office in June. So much has happened since then. Just to quickly sum it up before I go off on a tangent:

  1. I had screened and interviewed multiple times for a job (yes, one specific job) from March through September and was ultimately denied the position several weeks ago. I know, I know … what. lol
  2. I went through a really rough time recently and was projecting a lot of my emotions onto my husband and sister. I have since been working with a close friend on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to help me with cope with anxiety and depression (but mostly anxiety). It’s working very well.
  3. I started my search to apply for an online graduate program. I really hope to go back to school in the Fall of 2021.
  4. My husband and I found out we will be leaving Hawai’i in early 2021. I am slightly terrified.
  5. I found eco friendly and “zero” waste YouTube channels and became obsessed (mostly with watching). I switched over to a few things like, Blueland‘s multipurpose cleaning solution and re-usable cotton rounds.
  6. I have moved away from the CG Method. Not completely, but it was not serving me in the way that I needed it to. My scalp is so much better now.
  7. I make it a point do night caps (with tea). Every night, I wash the dishes, set the coffee for my husband for the next day, and steep some herbal tea. My favorites right now are Head Relief and Stress Relief and Immune Support with Echinacea.
  8. We got an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. I am not quite utilizing it to its full potential, but today I did start writing notes in the Notes app and shared it to the cloud so I can access it from my phone at anytime. I want to try and draw something, but I feel I am better with words the with art!! By the way, the justification for this purchase was for the size of the screen, it becoming a second screen to my MacBook, and my potential enrollment into a graduate program.
  9. I have been spending a lot of money on local businesses. I have fallen in love with everything local. Especially with the economic downfall right now, it’s so important to support your local businesses.

I may have forgotten some small things that happened between March and now, but I understand that I have not written much in a while. In fact, I have been doing “life updates” for as long as I can remember. I may just archive all of my current blog posts and sort of re-vamp what I write about. I am unsure if I need a theme, or if I need to just stick to one topic (lifestyle or whatever). I may just put a poll on my personal instagram page to get opinions or ideas on what to write about. Writer’s Block is not fun. I feel hindered. I want to be better at this!

Anyways, I hope to be back soon. And with fresher ideas and maybe a new “outfit” for the site.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Your Curly Island Girl

How to Work from Home (from a newb) – AKA COVID-19 Isolation

Hiiiiii…

I am so sorry that I haven’t written in so long. I look back at all my posts from 2019 and it makes me feel a little ashamed. I’m not going to go into what’s currently going on in the world, because at this point you should already know – COVID-19.

I do want to say my heart is incredibly sore for the people who are losing their jobs and having to close down their businesses because of this pandemic. I am incredibly fortunate to still have my job and my health and to be able to work from home to curb the spread of germs and this virus.

This is my first time working remotely and so far, I am only on Day 2, but I have noticed that these things work the best for a newb like me (in the realm of working from home). Granted, I don’t have children, so of course things are different for me than it would be for a parent, especially during this time.

If you have any tips or tricks, please, I am all ears. I am not sure how much longer I will be working from home but for the time being this is how I am approaching this.

  1. The time I wake up each morning to physically go into the office is the same time I am choosing to wake up. I don’t want to change my routine and risk sleeping in too long.
  2. Dress each morning like you’re going to work. I read earlier this week that someone who has been working from home for years always dresses up for work. This helps with the routine and doesn’t make you too comfortable sitting in the comfort of your own home which then you risk becoming too lazy to answer your emails and do your daily tasks.
  3. Feed your physical body. Eat something and get your favorite drink to start the day. In my case it is a dose of caffeine.
  4. Create your own space. Hopefully, the people in your home are okay with you commandeering living space! I turned my rather small dining table into my work desk. It will remain that way until I am back at my office desk, haha. Sorry, hubby!
  5. Take breaks. It’s honestly really easy to sit for hours and not realize how fast the time has gone without taking a break. Get up, stretch, walk around and eat something.
  6. When it’s time to clock out – clock out. Don’t look at anymore emails because it starts to meld into home life and I feel like that is a danger for those who do work at home on a normal basis. You don’t keep good boundaries (I have already done this in the past even with having an office job) if you don’t remove yourself.
  7. Now that I have more time (no more 35-40 minute traffic one way to sit in), I can keep my house more tidy, I can read, I can write, and generally, I am more happier. Enjoy the time you get to be in your own space. ‘

 

I am sure that some days I will want to just wear pajama pants and put on zero makeup at the beginning of the day, but right now, this is how I am working with the self distancing during this outbreak. I hope that I do more with my free time and be more productive before this period is up. ***I really needed this for my own mental health and sanity.

Please stay safe and remember that self-distancing is helpful for all even if you’re not sick or high risk. We are all safer when we all be smart.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl