Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Day at Ala Moana Shopping Center

For the third weekend in a row, I've gone shopping.  I tried to deprive myself of shopping and I did well for months, but not this month!  I intentially stayed away from Pearl Ridge, my favorite mall.  Instead, I went to Ala Moana and shopped for hours again.

I love being at the mall, browsing the different stores.  I also can't help but enjoy the smoothies and teas available at Ala Moana too.

I don't know what all the sudden urge has been to shop.  Actually, deep down inside, I do know why...  I'm excited to be a college girl again.  I miss my school days more than you can imagine.  It was the good life and this time, I will make it even more memorable than before.  I feel so happy and free!

On another note though, I know that as a future student, I won't have an opportunity to shop, so that is a reason for my over indulgence this month.  But I will stop - soon. In a few months. For now, I want to enjoy myself, before I begin living off of student loans.

At Ala Moana today, there were quite a few shoppers.  Most likely because there were a ton of sales...

One of my favorite stores is L'Occitane.  I try to stay away from this place, but I ran out of moisturizer, so I decided to browse.  Of course, I ended up buying something ...

Last weekend, when I went to the mall, I got stopped by a young man selling skin care prodcuts.  I dread pushy sales people, but I can't say that I don't admire his selling techniques.  I could definitely use some pointers. I didn't buy anything from him though because I'm too devoted to L'Occitane! 

In the end, I ended up buying skin care products, but I got a deal.  I scored a free gift! A $26.00 toner.  The lady who sold me the products was really sweet and down-to-earth. I love the atmosphere in L'Occitane. 

It reminds me of a lovely French shop.

After leaving L'Occitane, I shopped in a ton of other stores, including Macys.  I'm not a big Macy's shopper, but I sure have been this month (weird).  I bought two dresses.  Afterward, I went to Shirokiya and had a coconut smoothie. It has been a busy Saurday!

Shape Magazine's - Shape Your Butt, Hips, & Thighs

 After attending a torturous fitness class yesterday, my body aches.  I had a blast and worked really hard though, so I'm taking it easy for the next couple of days.  I have bruises on my knees from having to get down on the ground to do pushups and the "superman," but it's been totally worth it.  I know my hardwork will pay off for my upcoming PT test.

Whenever your body is healing though, it's a good idea to work out with less intensity.  One of the latest videos I purchased is Shape  - Your Butt, Hips, and Thighs, inspired by Shape Magazine.  I particularly like the yoga and pilates portion of the video because I know the existing benefits will make a difference in my body.

When I was taking yoga and ballet, my body never felt as tight - ever.   In the video, they focus on ballet, yoga, and pilates to tone the body.  It's a great work out and it's easy to follow the steps too.  The cardio can be confusing, but as long as you are moving, you are working towards a better body.

Here's a clip:

For those of you wanting to be more fit, just go for it!  You'll feel great and it will make you want to take better care of yourself.  It's hard to take the first step, but once you do, you'll reap the benefits.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

I had a great time a Chili's tonight, celebrating a friend's birthday.  But after drinking two cokes and a mojito, I need to rehydrate.  I normally don't drink, but today was the exception.  I never thought a mojito could taste so good...  It reminded me of sprite. 

Earlier in the day, I had a vegetable panini.  By the time we got to chilis though, I ended up indulging in artichoke and spinach dip with chips, cheese fries, and fried jalapeno and onion strips.  It sure is difficult to find meatless entrees on their menu, but at least they exist.

Although I didn't eat any meat today, I did the other day when  I made chicken tortilla soup.  The recipe is from "Today's Creative Crock Pot Cook Book," written by Robin Taylor Swatt.  It's a definite keeper.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
14 oz. can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted, if available)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
6 corn tortillas, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, minced
1 large ripe avocado, diced
6 oz. crumbly fresh cheese, such as feta
2 cups tortilla chips, crumbled, for garnish
2 limes, cut into wedges

Place the chicken, tomatoes, peppers, chopped tortillas, garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and chicken broth in the Crock-Pot slow cooker.  Cover; cook on Low 4 to 6 hours ( or on High 2 to 3 hours).

Carefully remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, shred using two forks.  Place the shredded chicken back into the stoneware and add the cilantro.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with avocado, cheese, and crumbled tortilla chips.  Squeeze the juice of a lime wedge over the top of each serving.

I put all the ingredients needed into my slow cooker.  I blasted it on high for 2 hours.  In the mean-time, I had a good run in the neighborhood up and down hills, passing homes full of scary barking dogs.  I don't know if I should run that route again.  By the time I came home, however, I was happy to have dinner ready and waiting.  I even had left overs for work the next day.   There's nothing like chicken tortilla soup.

The slow cooker version of Chicken Tortilla Soup turned out incredible.  It was simple to toss everything into a slow cooker, but still have a flavorful dish in the end.  I love this recipe much more than the one I tried to make from the Food Network Magazine.  I can't wait to make it again.

I added some corn tortillas, which I broiled for a couple of minutes.  I made it into strips and added it to the soup.  I also used mexican cheese and added a bunch of cilantro for garnish.  You can always adjust a recipe to fit your needs and you should because it will make your soup that much better.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fresh Tomato Salsa

I just came back from an intensive workout.  Now, I'm ready to pass out.  I can barely move my arms, my butt hurts, and I don't know how I will be able to walk tomorrow.  In class, the teacher is wonderfully mean, which is the perfect combination for a fitness class.  I absolutely love it.  I am pushed to my max.  In fact, even if you are in pain, you cannot quit or else you'll be called out.  It really helps you to keep going! 

After an intensive work out though, it's always nice to eat a healthy snack.  Fresh Tomato salsa is such a great side dish for your health.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

4 medium tomatoes, seeded, chopped (2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (1/2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
t tablespoon lime juice
1 large jalapeno chile, seeded, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
Tortilla chips, as desired

1.  In medium nonmetal bowl, mix all ingredients except tortilla chips.  Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors.

2.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Cover and refrigerate any remaining salsa up to 5 days.

The Fresh Tomato Salsa recipe is from Pillsbury's Fast & Fresh Salads magazine.  There will be more to come from this magazine for all of you who want to eat better!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Herbed Quinoa & Kale Bean Soup

It finally hit me that I must eat better and truly take care of my health.  It's a long story.  All I can say is that I don't want to eat ice cream for dinner anymore or indulge in limitless amounts of chocolate just because it tastes good. 

A food that I recently tried is Quinoa.  It is considered one of the most nutritious grains out there!  It's a superfood with a balance of protien and amino acids excellent for one's health.  Yesterday, I made Quinoa Tabouleh. 

It's easy to make!  Quinoa is also one of the fastest cooking grains.  Believe me, it is.  It only took nearly 15 minutes to cook.  Afterward, I chopped some garlic cloves, cilantro, basil, green onions, and sparingly added ground garlic pepper salt for flavor. 

I added enough herbs for it to be nutritious, yet flavorful.  Add the amount you want to make it a salad just right for your taste buds.

Afterward because I was in my obsessive health mode, I made a kale bean soup.  I found the recipe on the Whole Foods Website.  Here it is:


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 (32-ounce) box 365 Organic Everyday Value™ Vegetable Broth
4 cups packed chopped kale
1 (14.5-ounce) can 365 Organic Everyday Value™ Italian-Style Diced Tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can 365 Everyday Value™ Sliced Carrots, drained; or two large carrots, peeled and sliced


In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale and tomatoes (and fresh carrots, if using) and cover. Cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add beans and canned carrots and heat thoroughly. Serve hot.

Per serving (about 20oz/567g-wt.): 230 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1120mg sodium , 32g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 8g protein

I did have to modify my recipe a bit, but I still enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Surf at Waikiki

Wow, as I was driving, I noticed some huge waves at Waikiki today! My friends and I walked alongside the beach and eventually went to the wall to capture photos of surfers.  No wonder I saw so many surfers walking around with their boards this afternoon. 

I had to be careful taking photos on the wall because of the splashing water.  It was incredible to see because normally, the waves are tiny in Waikiki.

Today, I saw people catching waves, including kids!  It's always amazing when little kids can surf.

There were more people than this ... This is just a small snapshot!

A little girl swimming towards the waves

Tourists watching the surfers

Father and son? They were waiting to jump in ... The man on the right, I observed him helping the young boy.  There was also an older couple trying to take photos of the surfers, but the man asked "Would you like a photo of the two of you?"  He offered to take a photo of the older couple who otherwise may not have had a photo together on the wall with diamond head in the background.  It was really sweet.

No diving, jumping, or climbing? yeah right ...

I love being in Waikiki with all the different people from the locals to the international tourists.  Everyday is a new and unique day full of events in Waikiki.

My Top Favorite Waikiki Photos of the Day

I went to Waikiki again today with my friends who are also into photography.  My friend J started a photo club and taught me everything I know (i'm still learning).  Once in a while, we go on photowalks. I love photowalks.  The best part of all is that you can catch the most interesting or the funniest things on camera that you wouldn't notice if you had just been walking by.

I took a ton of photos of unsuspecting people with my telephoto lens, but it is all for fun & for practice.  And for those that I asked to take a photo of, thanks for your cooperation!

I took at least a hundred plus photos (actually, 296), so here are my favorites for the day.

The new generation of footwear (for real).  These shoes that range from about $80-90 I learned, help build the muscles within your legs in order to help naturally support your feet.

As we were walking, a man in a wheel chair needed help.  "My wheel chair broke and I need help.  Could you spare me some extra money for a taxi cab?"  He said he wasn't a bum, but was a regular man with special needs who needed to get home. Truth or Lie?  I'll never know.

Strike a pose. 

I started to notice a lot of men in speedos as I walked alongside the beach.  There were also a bunch of men hanging out with each other too.  I instantly realized, I was at the gay beach when I noticed men holding each other, cuddling on the sand.  Nothing wrong with that... People should have the right to love who they want, but I sure was surprised. 

A bum, walking down Waikiki Beach, holding a boombox up to his ear ...   These guys sure do know how to collect stuff. 

This would be my favorite moment of the day!  As I walked by, I noticed a man covered in unbelievable amounts of soap, really getting into the moment.  I thought he could be on an herbal essence men's commercial. There was a lady behind him, trying to add water into her can.  She saw me take his photo and laughed.  I smiled back.

I instantly noticed this man and his tatoos.  "Excuse me sir, can I please take your photo?" I asked.  I'm happy to say that he agreed.

It's like he's coming at me!  If only his eyes weren't closed.

I love this kids hair!  I wish he could give me some ...

A man stretching behind a banyan tree ...

If you can't find your keys and you were at Kapiolani Park, please look on one of the trees...

Modern Japanese Food at Shokudo Restaurant - Honolulu, Hawaii

Last night, I finally had a chance to watch Alice in Wonderland in 3D!  The movie started at 10:00, so you can imagine my hunger pangs begining to emerge.  I needed a late night snack and had to think of the few restaurants that would be open past midnight. 

Shokudo is a restaurant that stays open until 2:00 a.m.  A popular place to eat especially for young people because of the late night hours, Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar is a place that offers modern Japanese food in a unique setting, perfect for hanging out with friends.

A restaurant ceiling decoration that can be seen from across the street  ... It's huge! 

The menu has a lot of interesting items... Sushi pizza anyone? 

The bar is in the middle of the restaurant and there are two different settings to eat at ... You'll know what I mean when you go there. 

I will try my best to get better photos next time! 

There's alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available ... I ordered the grape calpico float and the plantation iced tea. 

Calpico is a popular drink in Japan. The Japanese had to change the name to Calpico after foreigners were confused by the name "Calpis" and thought it sounded more like "cow piss."  I remember those days ....

I wanted D to try the grape calpico float because it's not something he has ever had.  It's a milky tasting drink, but since it was grape calpico soda it tasted a bit different.  It was still really good and the ice cream in the float was to die for. 

My plantation iced tea tasted tropical.  It was great to try, but I definitely have to have my sweet tea.

Let me tell you ... The Mochi Cheese Gratin is a must!  Since the day I tried it, I have to order this every time I go to Shokudo.  I'm sure it's loaded with fat, but I really don't care because this is one of the few dishes that I have no clue how to replicate and know that I can only have when I go to Shokudo. 

It's warm and gooey; full of flavor.  It tastes like cheesy, buttery mochi with a bit of soy sauce, although I have no clue what the actual ingredients are... I can only imagine.

Since it was 1:00 in the morning, I didn't want to eat anything too heavy.  We decided salads would be the best choice for the night ...

Tuna Sashimi Salad

Calamari Salad

Last time I went to Shokudo, I had the Asari Misoshiro and a bento with salmon.  I also tried the sushi pizza and the dynamite lobster roll.  I loved all of the items!  The more I go to Shokudo, the more I fall in love with the restaurant, especially last night.

The service there is always excellent. It does take a while to get your food though.  But if you are hanging out with friends, it's really not a big deal.  The prices can be a bit steep too, but if you aren't eating there every night, I'm sure things will be fine.

It's a once in a while place for me, but I enjoy it a lot.  I'm glad I finally remembered to bring my camera after the 5 times I've already left it home.

Hope you visit Shokudo sometime and enjoy the modern Japanese food the restaurant has to offer. It's a unique place to go to, but a great late night hang out and place to eat at after a fun night.

The Biggest Mall in Hawaii - Ala Moana Shopping Center

Yesterday, I went back to the mall.  Spring is practically here and it's my favorite time to shop, so I couldn't resist.

Instead of shopping at Pearl Ridge like last weekend, I decided to check out Ala Moana Shopping Center (Hawaii's biggest mall).  Suppossedly, it's one of the biggest outdoor malls in the US too.

Ala Moana Shopping Center is more for tourists in my opinion since most local people I know feel the prices are too steep there.  There's a lot of designer and high fashion clothing stores especially for the Japanese tourists who spend thousands to bring back designer labels that can't be found for the same price at home.    But at the same time, while many may classify Ala Moana as being too high cost, the mall does have more variety than anywhere else and great deals depending on where you shop.

I actually didn't end up buying anything at Ala Moana this time around, except for at Macys because there was a sale and there were things I needed!

I do love the shoe stores at Ala Moana and no one can complain that there's now a Victoria's Secret, which we did not have here in the islands until recently.  I also love Loccitane and can't resist some of the other stores Ala Moana has either.  Not to mention all the places to eat at ... However, I chose to skip these places for good reason.

My hunger hit me all of a sudden, so before I left the mall, I stopped at Sears and ate at Bale.  I just wanted something quick, so I picked up lemon grass chicken.  I've been eating out way too often this week!

Ala Moana is within walking distance of Waikiki and it is my second favorite mall. I shopped there yesterday and will return again in the near future to check out the spring clothes soon.  Afterall, I need clothes for Indonesia ...


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