Don’t Forget the PI in AAPI Month

It’s May! May means graduations and summer break! But it’s also Asian American and Pacific Islander month in the United States.

It’s great to see so many people being honored and recognized during this month … but, many organizations and companies forget about the PI part!

Pacific Islanders are a minority demographic within a minority demographic. When people forget to talk about the Pacific Islanders that have greatly contributed to our rich history, it adds to the erasure of this demographic. I’m really not sure why Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have to share a month because both groups of people really deserve their own. Both groups are filled with many different cultures, so why are we cramming all of them into one month?

Celebrate your child’s Native Hawaiian teacher, the Pohnpeian family next door, your Tongan program manager, the Samoan pastor that waves hi to you every day at school, the Kosraean boy at the library, the Maori woman at the grocery store, your Tahitian classmate, the Papuan food truck chef, and the Fijian lifeguard at the neighborhood pool.

So when you celebrate this month with your job, your company, your agency, your classrooms, your book clubs, your family, your social media accounts, don’t forget to include Pacific Islanders!

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Riding the Struggle Bus

I have been struggling in every aspect of my life for the last several months – anxiety, body image, graduate school, relationships, finances, mental health, and everything else under the sun. This post is by no means a cry for help, I am fine, I promise you. I just feel like I’m going through the motions but its been extremely tougher than usual. And, well, the motions keep coming, in circles, over and over again for months.

And in all of this commotion, I am trying so hard to give myself some grace through baby steps and serious self-care. Not self-soothing – self-care. It requires extra thought and care in working on some of the deeper-seated issues I have in those aspects of my life. There are lots of tears and lots of arguing (with myself and others). But there is also lots of clarity. And even though its sad and its frustrating to take two steps forward and continue to fall back … I am reminded that healing is cyclical. Now, its not an excuse to be a total a-hole, but rather that its okay to fall back a little bit while you progress.

As most of you already know, my husband is currently a Marine recruiter. We’ve finished one year of recruiting duty so far. This has been by far the roughest time we have ever endured as a couple. It is the wildest roller coaster ride and is, without a doubt, one of the biggest factors in this struggle. And through all of my many waves of emotions, he has been as understanding as he possibly can. I can’t forget that although I am going through something, the people around me are also going through their own motions. Something I am actively practicing is looking inward instead of outward. Reflecting instead of pointing fingers. And it is so hard.

But I’m trying, and that’s all I can do. There have been wins and losses during the last several months. I hope throughout the next few years, I am able to process and balance all of these aspects.

I hope that by sharing a little bit about what I’m dealing with reminds you of the process of grieving the parts of you that are gone, healing the parts of you that are hurt, strengthening the parts of you that are weak, and reflecting on the parts of you that make you unique.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Recipe for 2022


  • 1 c of adaptation
  • 2.5 c of intentions
  • 6 c of sifted relationships
  • 1/2 tsp of curiosity
  • 1 block of unsalted self-care
  • 4 rolls of boundaries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

First combine adaptation, intentions, curiosity, and sifted relationships together, be careful not to over mix. 

Melt block of self-care and pour into mixture, blend. 

Unpack and unroll boundaries laying them in a 12×9 pan – pour mixture in and bake for 30 minutes. 

Serve immediately with a shot of espresso!

Chef’s notes:

I know I havenʻt been present for many months and its already a new year. 2020 and 2021 were whirlwind years – we hope 2022 goes much better. Although every new year we tend to make these changes, but as I have grown through these few years my priority is fully protecting my space, peace, and my boundaries. When I take care of myself, I can take care of the people that I love. When I am present with myself, I can be present with the people that I love. I challenge you to choose yourself and choose wisely.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

Loving your Body

Last week I was posting on my Instagram page about how I needed to stop comparing myself to other women that I see online. I need to apologize to myself for consistently doing this. I end up feeling really badly about my weight gain and acne breakouts and it really puts me down.

I know that a lot of people have this same problem. We always see ourselves as lesser than because we see this perfect person on social media. It is so destructive to our own identities.

Iʻve been working on this, but here are the two things Iʻve been actively doing to remove negative perceptions of myself:

  1. Unfollow any social media accounts (or hide their stories) that I continue to look at and compare myself to. This is to protect my peace.
  2. Talk to myself! I know it sounds weird, but looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that I am beautiful is in an important affirmation. My body has survived this far. My body has been loved. My body is perfect. This is to protect my body from being distorted in my own mind.

Make no mistake, I slip up on this frequently. Itʻs hard for sure, but I encourage you to just try. If you need to remove yourself from some people who focus only on negative things and aid in your bad perception of self, then do it. If you have to end a relationship with a partner because they do no uplift you, then do it. If you need to exercise or eat better, then do it.

You are amazing and so is your body! We defy all odds every day.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Tales of a Curly Island Girl

Drawing the Line: Toxic Positivity

Letʻs talk about something I only learned about this week. Yes, only this week I learned the name for a feeling Iʻve been questioning very recently: Toxic positivity.

Toxic Positivity can be defined as being/trying to stay constantly happy in bad situations.

The reason this has been weighing on my conscience is because Iʻve been becoming increasingly interested in the self-help books and social media accounts. In the back of my head, I will read or watch something and say things to myself like “okay, but what if it really is bad? We canʻt just will happiness into existence in certain situations. Thatʻs terrible for people, especially those in abusive situations.”

To be constantly happy, to tell yourself to just stay happy, is to negate your true emotions. I have no background in psychology, and Iʻve only worked as admin in a behavioral/mental health organization, but I know that that can’t be good. Itʻs brainwashing.

I guess, for me, balancing this looks like sharing the bad and the good. Life isnʻt perfect, and itʻs okay to share that youʻre not doing good. No one person can truly be always happy. To not share how you truly feel, often times makes you feel even worse. Pent up emotions turn into outbursts that can be mentally and physically damaging to yourself and your loved ones.

There is a fine line between gratitude and happiness and not recognizing awful and unacceptable situations. I am learning this right now. I learned this in my previous job. I was extremely grateful for having a job during a pandemic but the feelings I had while working messed with my mental health so badly. When I finally quit, it was my decision to be done with the situation. I had tolerated enough, and was absolutely grateful through it all, but after a point that did nothing for my mental health and wellbeing. Itʻs important to address the problem and not “oh, itʻs fine” it all the way into a deep depression. It is tiresome to relentlessly focus on the positive and it can also be naive.

I had to do a little research to understand exactly where this term came from and did not find much other than it was coined by psychologists (no surprise there). I am not too sure who, but itʻs accepted that it was created in the U.S. because of the incessant outlook of always being positive in mainstream culture.

To sum it up, itʻs important to try and create that balance. Positive outlook can be a really good thing, but itʻs also OK to feel terrible or not be happy (especially during this time). And again, everything you see on social media or the internet isnʻt always believable. I am really not saying that to be positive is stupid, because it is not. I still read books, blogs, posts that encourage us to have a better outlook on life and I agree. But, again, there is a line you need to draw in order to preserve and protect your peace by recognizing how far is too far for yourself.

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl


When will we see you again? 
Tomorrow makes another month.
Does it? 
I didn't notice.
Do you ever think about us?
Not really. 
Are you?
What? Sorry?-

Are you sorry you do not deserve a loyal partner?
Are you sorry you cannot fill that void in your heart?
Are you sorry you lost the only person who cared?

Yeah, I guess youʻre not sorry. 
Thatʻs okay. 
Iʻm not sorry either. 

Not sorry your daughter has your eyes.
Not sorry your son has your hair.
Not sorry your children donʻt have a parent
because I fill that role.

Someone else will take your place.
And when you finally think of them
well, I wonʻt be here.
Ok. I will try to stop by this week.
Do they remember me?
Not really.

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

Energy Levels

I hope your week has started on a good note. Today my energy level is at a medium. I feel okay, I slept in and when I woke up I stayed in bed watching tv and just being comfortable. I don’t feel either low or high leveled energy today.

I wanted to talk about what it feels like for myself to be on the ends of the energy spectrum. This might be interesting to read for some people, but for me its more of an exercise to recognize when I am feeling it.

What does it feel like for me to be at low energy level?

Well, my sisters and I describe it as a “sad Sunday” feeling. Iʻm not entirely sure where that phrase came from, but itʻs this really sad feeling that we get (usually on Sundays) when the sun is going down and weʻve been laying around and lounging all day – itʻs the dread of having to go back to school or to work the next day. Yesterday I felt this feeling and itʻs really hard to do the things I need to do like washing the dishes, doing laundry, making my bed, clearing the table etc, when I feel this way.

Usually I cannot identify the reason as to why it happens, but most times it’s like a switch is flipped. I can be fine all day and then that “sad Sunday” feeling hits. I end up with low energy level for the rest of the day. Iʻm usually not better until the next day comes around. (How I feel today as compared to last night Is a good example of this).

On high energy level days – I move at an insane speed. My mind races and I get all the things done. Laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, checking all boxes off on my task list etc. It works out great to some extent, but its almost bothersome to me! I do all the things and then sit down to tend to other things (like blog writing for example) and my mind goes to “did I make sure to check that there isn’t a piece of dirty laundry that was hidden behind my laundry basket?” or “I swear I saw a piece of a dead leaf by the plants in front of the tv, let me make sure I picked it up.” Sometimes my high energy days means I am distracted a little more than usual, which then becomes counter productive.

However, this happens maybe once or twice a week, and on an average basis Iʻm at mid energy level (like today) which I would consider to be my in between and “normal” functioning.

Do you have frequent changes of energy levels? How do you feel when you are at the opposite ends of the spectrum? What is your ideal level of energy?

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

What’s in my purse?

How fun is this post going to be?! Nah, maybe no one actually cares, haha. Thatʻs okay if you skim over this one. I knew it would be fun and lighthearted and thatʻs exactly what I needed after yesterdayʻs post.

I just carefully laid out everything from my purse (backpack) on my bed and snapped a photo. I usually use a rather large leather tote from the same designer/small business as my backpack, but with not working right now, I donʻt need such a big purse.

Lets talk about the contents:

  1. The black backpack with the teal ʻawapuhi (ginger) flowers are from Cay and Col. It holds quite a bit of things, as you can see, and I really love how medium sized it is. Itʻs perfect for me right now. I also want to say that this is a small, woman, and Black owned business! She is amazing at what she does.
  2. The olive green ʻawapuhi pouch also comes from Cay and Col. I really love this print! Within this pouch are the contents:
    • Pacifica underarm wipes – these are aluminum free and for the occasional times where I need a re-up of deodorant
    • My Saalt menstrual cup – in case I get my period while I am out and about! (kinda like carrying around extra tampons/pads)
    • Tylenol and Advil – evidently, I am asked pretty often if I am carrying any sort of pain reliever, I rarely ever take them myself lol
    • Victoriaʻs Secret Bombshell perfume roller ball – my favorite all day scent
    • Extra liners and intimate wipes – for the days I’m out for hours and feel like I need to refresh
  3. The bright green pouch (on the left) is a Clinique pouch from a friend who had a beauty subscription. The contents within this pouch are:
    • Eclipse gum – no one likes stinky breath, also it curbs the appetite, haha
    • Alcohol wipes from Daiso – in case I need to wipe something or my devices
    • Pens – this is the single most “adult” thing to have in your purse! I canʻt tell you how many times you need a pen and never have one. I now carry a few in case I ever need to sign something.
    • Bath and Body Works lotion – my legs and arms are actually quite dry as compared to my oily face
    • Oil blotting sheets – for my oily face, which is often needed
    • Victoriaʻs Secret Tease perfume roller ball – my second favorite VS scent
    • A jumpdrive – you know, Iʻm not entirely sure why I have this in my purse, but it could possibly come in handy
    • Līlīkoʻi tea – this tea does not need any sugar, and is super delicious cold or hot
    • Reusable straw – need I say more?
  4. The black and floral velvet smaller pouch was from Target! The contents in this pouch are:
    • Anker portable charger – I swear by this brand! Itʻs really good and this one specifically has 20,100 mAH and two USB ports (for multiple device charging). It charges my phone from less than 20% battery life to full about 5-6 times before dying. For my Hawaiʻi peeps, Amazon will not ship it to us and I am not too sure what stores may carry it, but here is the link in case youʻre interested in the specs
    • Mini USB and iPhone lightning cords as well as a couple of power bases – for the portable charger and in case I am in an area with an outlet
  5. Bath and Body Works A Thousand Wishes spray hand sanitizer. Letʻs all be responsible and stay clean when there is no available sink.
  6. Lastly, my Kumumea wallet (no, I will not show you what is inside lol). This is a Hawaiian and small business brand. The owner is the sweetest woman and is a cancer survivor. This is her Hiapo waterproof leather wallet.

I know this blog post might not be what you were looking to see today, but if you stayed this long, thank you! Again, this was a fun and lighthearted post. What do you carry around with you?

Thank you for the continued support so far this year!

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

A Summation of Undergrad

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about school. I miss it. I’m actually thinking about grad school now (even if I have no idea what school, what program, what degree I want to go for). I think this is swimming it’s way up to the surface because I am itching to learn. I miss school.

Undergrad for me was fantastic. Let’s start from my senior year of high school. I applied and was accepted to three schools in Oregon: University of Oregon, Oregon State, and Portland State University. I wanted so badly to attend a college on the continental U.S. It became too expensive and my plan had not been thought completely through, which meant I needed to attend Hawai’i Community College. It was too late in the year to apply to University of Hawai’i at Hilo, so HawCC was my last and only choice.

Boy, was that the best decision ever. Staying home meant saving money (I had scholarships and grants to cover my entire 2 and a half years at HawCC). It also meant I had time to figure out my major. HawCC taught me a lot about life in higher education. I learned a lot about my community and a lot about Hawai’i, which only peaked my interest even more. My 2.5 years in community college led me into English.

I loved to read and write (more reading than anything), so how could I not just choose English? It was time to transfer to UH Hilo, but I still had no idea what I was doing, so English seemed like the most logical choice. I transferred in the middle of the year (spring semester) and took a couple of required courses for UH Hilo and my first English course. Intensive Writing Multicultural Literature. It was amazing and I knew from that first day, that English was gonna be my major.

I made so many amazing friends. Our department was small, small enough where all English majors (and minors) knew each other. It was easy to grow close, easy to study with each other, and easy to learn together. As long as we helped each other, it was doable and we all passed each class (yay us!). It took me 2 and a half more years to graduate with my B.A. in English. Along the way, I became interested in anthropology (specifically Pacific Island studies, I didn’t know there was a certificate for this! I would have took more classes to obtain that) and decided that it would be my minor to fulfill the 120 credits needed to graduate. In my senior year of undergrad, I also picked up another minor, Gender & Women’s Studies (GWS), because most the of courses I took for English and Anthropology could be counted towards GWS.

My most memorable year was senior year. I worked as a General Editor for Hohonu, UH Hilo’s student-run academic journal (my paper was also published in this). I learned so much during this year and I grew even fonder of my English major classmates. I also wrote and was published in our literary magazine as well, called Kanilehua, several times. I attended launch parties, dinners, Relay for Life, and made new friends within our Campus community. It was, by far, the most exciting year for me. I even went to Rome for the International Journal of Arts and Science (IJAS) to share and present a paper that my dear friends and I wrote. This paper was published internationally as well.

I found lifelong friends in college. I truly believe and have summed up that the friends you meet in college are the ones that will last forever. Not only do we all share a love for something we have in common (mostly literature), but as young adults, we had grown and matured together. I believe that people change, but I also believe that after a certain time, especially as adults, people cannot change completely. The friends I made in college have such hearts of gold and genuinely care for the community, our people, our future, and each other that I think we will be friends for the rest of our lives.

I am so grateful for all the memories and opportunities I was given to have went through my undergraduate career with such wonderful friends, teachers, and support along the way. I look forward to figuring out what my next step for higher education is. College is not for everyone, but it is definitely for me.


Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl