Blueprints for Date Days, Sunflower Fields Hawai’i, Summer Reads, 5 Favorite Things

My monthly recaps are designed to reflect what’s going on in my life as of recently, but also a space for me to share topics that others might find interesting.

We all have a lot going on in our lives. Naturally, I don’t expect the mundane details of mine to be your central focus, and for that reason I make these posts a more whimsical, relatable expression of life; my own reflections that could relate or add value to yours.

You may or may not have noticed it’s been a while since I shared a monthly recap. I did not recap April or May. I had every intention to, mainly because I want to stay consistent and committed to my pledge of 1-year recap posts, but I didn’t have it in me. I would write, and every topic felt disingenuous or forced.

I never want to paint my life in rose-colored glasses, but because I tend to be positive, I don’t want to share things in a public space that are out of character or counter to the blog’s purpose.

The most significant things I’ve said have come after times of reflection. So I let myself process the challenges, and now I’m back with a new month and new perspectives.

The Challenging Things First

I’m not going to wallow here because the truth is I’m not wallowing here. I won’t ramble; I will simply share the less-than-wonderful parts of life.

My papa passed away in April. The death was complex. As a little girl, he was the most important person in my world. As a teenager, he was the most important person in my whole world. As a young adult, our relationship became strained. Because of that, we restructured our relationship over the past five years. It was never how I predicted it to be when I was little, but it existed.

As I pick apart and dissect myself, my childhood experiences; the good, the bad, the indifferent, with newfound clarity, I understand that my papa was the example of love I would base my healthiest relationships on – pure, selfish, and selfless, endless, purposeful, honest, stable, giving, and without criticism. I am eternally grateful for his love, having witnessed and received it.

While attending my papas funeral, I experienced a “friendship breakup.” It sounds dramatic; even the term “friendship breakup” sounds over-exaggerated. However, with details redacted, it’s the best way to describe what happened.

This experience aside, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I worry too much about what people think. I’m a people pleaser to my core, and I do not like confrontation. Which makes for a less than ideal combination.

I’ve spoken about this before; my most recent struggle is a combination of imposter syndrome and self-worth tied up in monetary value. I bring this up because, throughout the friendship breakup situation, I learned first-hand the depth of personal perspective.

At the end of the day, each person has their own perspective. That’s it. You can’t counter it, and you can’t change it. Personal views are based on experiences – past, present, future, continuous, and endless. And sometimes, you have to walk away. Walk away from the pressure, doubt, and battle against things you can’t change.

You can’t control what someone thinks of you; another person’s outlook on your life has nothing to do with you. It’s easier said than done, but we must refrain from creating and fighting the self-manufactured perspectives of others. It’s a war we can’t win. A war that kills your joy, ambition, and willingness to live a life uniquely your own.

Sunflower Fields

This is for all my readers looking for fun things to do on Oahu in the spring. Every year Waimānalo Country Farms is home to hundreds of blooming sunflowers.

During sunflower season, the farms host various events, including picnics and “rustic nights,” which Greg and I attended. Seeing the sunflowers in the evening with the sunset across the koʻolau mountains is stunning.

If you’re not around during the sunflower season, Waimānalo Country Farms hosts other fun events, including a pumpkin patch in the fall. Which is our go-to Hawai’i fall tradition.

Blueprints for Date Days

Date days are the best days.

One key thing I can share from failed experiences is – don’t over-plan and don’t visualize too hard. This coming from the over-planning queen!

I say this because two things will happen if you over plan:

1. False expectations, leading to disappointment.

2. Zero room for spontaneous fun.

The only thing better than date night is a full-on date day. Here’s a blueprint from my husband and I’s most memorable days for you to (not over) plan yours:

  1. Pick the right location: This can go either way. Spend the day exploring a new spot, or choose a special and meaningful location for both of you.
  2. Must have snacks: Food is key for date day. My husband and I typically pick a coffee shop to start the day right. Then bookend the date with a meal and/or dessert spot. But your date day could be a picnic paired with food and drinks you enjoy. The most important thing is that there will be food.
  3. Have one activity in mind: This could be anything from visiting a museum, going on a scenic hike, bowling, or seeing a movie. Leave yourself open for flexibility and spontaneity, but have a grounding point for your day.
  4. Do something that makes you laugh: I am very competitive, but to the point, I can laugh at my ridiculousness. On our most recent date day, we stopped into a boba shop and played Connect Four and Sorry, which led to many laughs. I can’t emphasize the importance of shared laughter and general “fun” in relationships. Studies have shown that sharing moments of bliss enhances communication and creates joyous experiences, which promote a sense of togetherness and strengthen emotional bonds. Couples who laugh together are more likely to stay together and have a stronger bond.
  5. Focus on quality time: Focus on spending quality time together and enjoying each other’s company. I know this isn’t always possible with job expectations (my husband included), but when possible, put away phones and simply enjoy each other’s presence.
  6. End the day on a high note: Do something special, like watching the sunset, stargazing, dancing, or having a dessert-style nightcap at a place you’ve never been.

Remember, the perfect date exists when you drop expectations and focus on spending time with your significant other. Dates are not about how much money you spend or how extravagant the activities are. It’s about creating special and memorable experiences.

Summer Reads

I have a stack of books that I’ve designated my summer reading list. Although it’s at the bottom of the list I’ve started my summer reading with Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur. I can’t wait to share my reviews with you in August’s recap. If you’re looking for more bookish inspo for your own list, well, that’s why I’m here.

1. Shark: Why We Need to Save the Worlds Most Misunderstood Predator by Paul De Gelder | The title is self-explanatory, but a quick overview: Sharks is a non-fiction novel that sheds light on the importance of saving sharks, creatures often related to only negative actions; viewed as dangerous and frightening. Drawing from his experiences as a former Australian Navy diver and shark attack survivor, De Gelder provides a compelling argument for why sharks are crucial to the ocean’s delicate ecosystem and how their decline could have far-reaching consequences for humans.

2. Happy Place by Emily Henry | The classic rom-com novel that I love diving into all times of the year, but especially on summer days outdoors, next to the pool or at the beach. Happy Place by Emily Henry follows Harriet, excited to come back to her happy place where she can put her worries behind and enjoy wine, seafood, and friends. However, things become complicated when Wyn, her ex-boyfriend, shows up at the Maine cottage. Despite their past breakup, they pretend to still be together for the sake of their friends during the week-long vacation.

3. The Twelve Monotasks by Thatcher Wine | I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while and can’t wait to sit down and read it finally. I am the ultimate multitasker; despite the warnings against it, I can’t stop (and perhaps won’t stop), but maybe this book can help me slow down and focus on one thing at a time (at least half the time 😏).

4. Lighter by Yung Pueblo | Another non-fiction I’m excited to read this summer. Yung Pueblo is an author I’ve recently come to enjoy. In his new novel, Lighter Pueblo uses a combination of proverbs, practical advice, and wisdom to encourage readers to let go of the past, develop self-compassion, and become emotionally mature. The center emphasizes the importance of doing inner work to achieve self-healing and personal growth.

5. Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur | This is my current audiobook listen and a Genevieve Padalecki book pick for July. I linked her post with a description – here. I’ve previously mentioned her book recommendations, so if you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to join her following.

6. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed | This book is a reread for “A Movie Lovers Bookclub,” the book club I recently started here on the blog. I love this book and will discuss it more on the book club page. You can find that – here.

You may also enjoy my Summer Must Reads list of 2021

5 Favorite Things

1. Hi Ren | When I say I was/am obsessed with this song, I mean I listened to it once a day (minimum). Amazing.

2. Kombucha Floats | It’s summer, and that means summer treatin’. I’m not sure if there’s a wrong way to make a kombucha float; anyway, you make it as long as it doesn’t taste icky is perfect. The truth is if you can’t go wrong. The essential ingredients are simple: kombucha, sorbet (some people use ice cream, I do not), and fresh fruit (if you want to get fancy with it).

3. The Daily Victorian | Instagram account by Victoria, a yoga poet. Her content is butterflies on your soul.

4. Scream! Podcast | I love this podcast. At this point, I’ve binged every episode. This podcast is for you if you’re into horror movies or general movie discussions.

I recently shared this podcast in my 5 Podcasts for your Next Long Distance Roadtrip post. Here’s what I said there, “Embrace your inner Scream Queen (or King!) with hosts Ash and Alaina (Morbid) and Caleb (Horror Soup). Every episode features a new movie, which the hosts detail and discuss. Their commentary and banter back and forth is hilarious, and the occasional disputable opinions make for a lively listen. Perfect for anyone who loves horror movies and laughs.”

5. AG1 Powder | I saved this one for last because I’m not trying to promote expensive and/or overly hyped products. With that being said however, if you’re in the market for a greens powder I do highly recommend AG1. I was super skeptical that these greens would taste something like kale-sediment bitter green-doo-doo shake. I am happy to admit that my expectations were wrong. For a greens powder AG1 taste pretty damn good. I also do notice a difference in my energy levels after taking it. 10 out of 10 would buy again.

Post’s You May Have Missed

  1. 10 Eco-Passion Page Turners: Books to Read Inspired by Earth Day
  2. 6 Places to Volunteer Oahu Hawai’i | Guide for Visitors & Residents
  3. 5 Podcasts for your Next Long Distance Road Trip
  4. 6 Must-Hikes Oahu, Hawai’i | Hiking Oahu
  5. 11 Non-Fiction Novels to Read When You’re Feeling Down
  6. A Movie Lover’s Book Club: July Book Pick

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