China Dolls by Lisa See


In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco’s exclusive “Oriental” nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco’s Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another in order to fulfill their individual dreams. Then, everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the government is sending innocent Japanese to internment camps under suspicion, and Ruby is one of them. But which of her friends betrayed her?

My Thoughts

What a great book! I’ve read Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I loved, so I knew that I’d move on to some of her other novels eventually. I’m so glad I read this book. It kind of reminded me of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, their writings are similar and both stories take you through years of friendship between women who are dealing the issues that most women of their time were forced to overcome being Asian. I highly recommend this book, I was hooked from the beginning til end.


Things to do on the Windward Side of Oahu- Part 2 Kaneohe

Hi guys!  It’s a beautiful Friday morning and in just about 4 hours It’ll be the weekend for me!!!!  I hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of these posts, I love where I live and am so excited to tell you of some of the beautiful places in my hometown of Kaneohe.  I truly believe that I live in the most beautiful town on this island.  We have the Ko’olau Mountain range on one side and then Kaneohe bay on the other.  I’m grateful (no matter how hard it is financially to live here), that I get to wake up every morning to the sun kissing the mountains. To really see the whole beauty of our little town head on up to the Pali Lookout.

***Pali Lookout***

Going up to the Pali Lookout will give you the best view of Kaneohe, and even further actually.  The gates open at 8am, and I recommend going at this time because the morning sun along with the low clouds will give you such a calming feeling.

***Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden***

We have a botanical garden, which is really a beautiful place if you have kids.  There are huge grassy areas to picnic and for the kids to run around, a pond where you’re able to fish and feed the ducks and some times you’ll even come across peacocks and pigs.  Another place that provides relaxation.

^^ My daughter and niece fishing^^

***The Stairway to Heaven***

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never been to the top.  In high school and right out of high school I’ve tried to get up pretty far but never did.  I know tons of people that have done it and say that it’s the best feeling and that it is one of the most beautiful views they’ve ever seen.

Here’s the view from the bottom.  It goes allllll the way up!

***Kaneohe Sandbar***

The sandbar is a popular destination for locals.  It can get pretty crowded on holidays but even on a typical weekend you’ll find locals with their boats, hibachis and jetski’s out there having a great time. If you’re visiting you’ll have to find a way out there and when you do you’ll be in heaven.

Image source

***Valley of the Temples***

I love visiting this place.  A few loved ones are buried here so it’s nice to visit and leave flowers and then visit the temple.  Definitely another serene place that I recommend.

Image source for the above 5 photos

It’s been great sharing some of the beautiful places from my home town with you all.  I’m glad I did because sometime it’s easy to take for granted all of the beauty in the world.  You get so distracted by the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take a look around and breath and relax.  I’m very fortunate to have these places to run to if ever I need a nice break from all the chaos.

In part 3 I’ll be finishing up with the remaining cities on the windward side of Oahu.

Things to do on the Windward side of Oahu- Part 1

Hi everyone!  Hope everyone is having a great week.  It’s almost the weekend and I’m so excited!  Besides the scheduled baseball games that we need to attend, we really don’t have any plans.  One thing I know I don’t want to do after going to a game on the other side of the mountain, is to go home and take another long drive.  Maybe we’ll check out the mall or even catch a movie.  Living on the Windward side we’re pretty limited on things to do when it comes to theme parks, big malls and big events.  I thought this would be a great place to share just some of the things there are to do if you ever find yourself on the Windward Side of Oahu. So…. Here are just a few things to take into consideration.

If I could give one “must-do” in my opinion, it would be to start your day off by ordering out from Cinnamon’s Restaurant in Kailua (order out or you’re looking at, at least an hour wait) and having breakfast at Lanikai Beach.  It’s so pretty in the morning and not crowded (on the weekdays).  Here are some of my favorites from Cinnamon’s.

^^ The Crabcakes Eggs Benedict is my absolute fave!^^

^^ These guava chiffon pancakes are the perfect breakfast dessert^^

Now on to some other suggestions…

Hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

This really is a beautiful hike.  I DON’T HIKE, but this hike is an easy one.  I’d say that if you plan 2 1/2 hours around this you’ll be able to hike both ways and have lots of time to take in the view and get some great pics.

Image Source

Sea Life Park

You can do this right after the hike. You get in your car and literally drive 5 minutes to the entrance of the park. I have to be honest though, unless you’re planning to actually swim with the dolphins or do other activities besides the free shows, this may not be worth it.  We went a few months ago and were a little bored because the show schedules are catered to those who pay for these extra perks.  So there is a lot of downtime between shows and really nothing much to do with that time. But still a beautiful place to visit.

Kalama Beach

I’ve already mentions having breakfast at Kailua or Lanikai beach but the shoreline in Kailua is long and beautiful.  In addition to these pretty beaches you’ll also run into Kalama Beach.  This beach is good for beginner surfers, they often have youth surf competitions here. but also just a great beach to lay out at.  The parking is limited and you may have to find road side parking but once you get to the sand you’ll see that the trouble was well worth it.

^^ This is my favorite beach in Kailua. That’s the Marine Base there in the distance.^^

Maunawili Falls

The Ko’olau mountains offer us some beautiful waterfalls but if you want to see one up close you can drive just 5 minutes from Kalama Beach to the Maunawili Falls. I used to go here all the time in High School.  You’ll have to be careful on this hike and avoid it if it’s rainy weather which is pretty common on the windward side.

Island Snow

 And don’t forget to grab some Shave Ice from Island Snow.  You may have heard of this place because Barack Obama would stop by while vacationing in Kailua. My recommendation is to get the snow cap on any flavor you decide on!

As you can see the Windward side has a lot of natural beauty to offer.  You won’t find too many tourist attractions or a lot to do indoors but if you love beaches, waterfalls and nature we have some of the best.  In part 2 we’ll be heading over to my home town of Kaneohe as well as the rest of the windward side cities.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that I’ve provided some exciting adventures for anyone visiting soon.

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb


In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

My Thoughts:

What a cute book! Teenage friends going on a road trip across America! This was a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately. A quick read for sure but enjoyable til the end. This book touches on love, loss, crushes, change and acceptance. I love that it focuses on women and how they choose to deal with situations, and how important it is that young women have strong women as roll models. If you want a quick feel-good read, this is a fun one!

Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews


Grace Stanton’s life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool. Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style. Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal. So is attending court-mandated weekly “divorce recovery” therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality. When their “divorce coach” starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday “Ladies’ Night” sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined. Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there?

My Thoughts

Cheating spouses, a dirty judge, divorcees being forced into group therapy with a flaky divorce coach, a stolen blog, the process of rebuilding and a few psychopaths and we’ve got ourselves Ladies’ Night. This was a pretty long read and there was a lot that I felt dragged but for the most part it was an enjoyable book. I love books about groups of women getting together and spilling tea and we got a lot of that here. And of course I love when the victim comes out on top and karma bites the assholes right in the ass. We got a lot of that too. And then… we get our happy ending. This is a great beach read.

Top 25 favorite movies from when I was a kid

On Monday night I wanted to watch a fun movie before I went to bed but found myself scrolling through all of the Netflix new releases and couldn’t find anything that looked interesting.  Don’t you hate that?  Whenever we want to watch a movie we spend about an hour trying to decide which one to choose.  I’m the type of person who has no problem watching old movies that I’ve seen over and over.  Kahele is a different story, he’d rather not waste time on something that he’s already seen.  So, when I’m alone and can’t find anything, I automatically go back to a childhood favorite. On Monday I chose to watch Shag!  I love watching something that takes me back to the good old days where there was no worry in my life.  My mom would have movie days during the summer where we’d wake up and have breakfast, lunch and dinner all while taking turns choosing movies to watch.  I used to love these lazy days.  Sometimes I try to have them with my kids but they are so invested in what’s on youtube that it’s hard to do.

I’d love to hear what your favorite childhood movies are so feel free to share.


On Sunday we celebrated 2 of our nephews (Kanaloa and Kahaku) birthdays at Kailua beach followed by a BBQ at Kahele’s parents house.  I was able to capture just a few pics at the beach. It was so hot and crowded that while everyone was swimming I stayed in my nice breezy spot under a huge tree where I was able to read my book.

We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley


Catherine West has spent her entire life surrounded by beautiful things. She owns an immaculate Manhattan apartment, she collects fine art, she buys exquisite handbags and clothing, and she constantly redecorates her home. And yet, despite all this, she still feels empty. She sees her personal trainer, she gets weekly massages, and occasionally she visits her mother and sister on the Upper East Side, but after two broken engagements and boyfriends who wanted only her money, she is haunted by the fear that she’ll never have a family of her own. One night, at an art opening, Catherine meets William Stockton, a handsome man who shares her impeccable taste and love of beauty. He is educated, elegant, and even has a personal connection—his parents and Catherine’s parents were friends years ago. But as he and Catherine grow closer, she begins to encounter strange signs, and her mother, Elizabeth (now suffering from Alzheimer’s), seems to have only bad memories of William as a boy. In Elizabeth’s old diary she finds an unnerving letter from a former nanny that cryptically reads: “We cannot trust anyone…” Is William lying about his past? And if so, is Catherine willing to sacrifice their beautiful life in order to find the truth?

My Thoughts:

I give this book 3 stars because it was a good story and well written. However, the characters, especially Catherine, were so annoying! It reminded me a little of the 50 shades characters- I read that book and the entire time telling myself “I wanna smack the characters upside the head” because they’re either idiots or they think that they’re so superior to everyone around them.

It wasn’t really a fast read either. What I thought would take me around 6-7 hours to finish took me 2 days because I’d get bored and didn’t mind putting the book down and getting back to it in no hurry. The twist in the book was a pretty juicy one, I must say- worth finishing for sure. I may just be really bored with this type of genre also, I think the next book I choose will have to be a chick-lit or even romance.