One Cup of Tea

Anything you might want to talk about over a cup of tea (or two)

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Review: Nature Republic Blackhead Brake clear volcanic ash nose pack

On my first visit to Nature Republic, I got a single strip of the Blackhead Brake clear volcanic ash nose pack for less than $1. I wanted to try it before buying a box because I wasn’t sure if the product would work well. It’s great that the store sells them in singles.


The strip can be used pretty much anywhere on your face with the exception of near your eyes (at least that’s my recommendation). I used it on my nose, which I presume most people do because that’s where people tend to have a lot of clogged pores and blackheads. The only problem with buying only one strip is that the instructions on the package aren’t very good. But you can more or less figure out how to use them, especially if you’ve used similar products.

Here’s how I recommend using them:

  1. Wash your face.
  2. Your nose should be wet when you apply the strip.
  3. Positioning it is always the most challenging part for me, but that’s just something that I believe I’ll get better with over time. There are slits in the strip that helps it to fit better on your nose.
  4. You want to make sure that you rub the strip to make sure it’s going to pick up the unwanted, nasty stuff from your skin.
  5. Leave the strip on for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Even though it hurts more, I recommend peeling it off slowly and carefully, so that it doesn’t rip.
  7. Wipe off remaining any remaining parts of the strip.

Once I took the strip off, I was pretty shocked to see how much “junk” it extracted from my nose. Yuck! But instead of focusing on how gross it was, I tried to think that at least that stuff isn’t on my skin anymore.

I was so impressed with how well the product worked that I ended up getting a box ($4.90), which contains seven strips. In the past, I used Biore Deep Cleaning Pore Strips and The Face Shop New Zealand Volcanic Clay Black Head Heating Gel Mask, but neither of them worked as well as the strips from Nature Republic.

Nature Republic
2424 Kalakaua Ave. Ste. 117
Honolulu, HI 96815

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Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge

Last year I made a goal to read 50 books through the Goodreads reading challenge. Unfortunately, I fell short by about seven books. Darn!

I’m keeping my goal at 50 for this year’s challenge. I decided that each book should take me no more than one week to finish. I just finished reading my first book of the year (“The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell) and am now on my second book (“Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine).

Good luck to all on your reading goals this year! Happy page-turning!

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Life lessons from “Forrest Gump”

"Forrest Gump" has been one of my favorite movies for many years. It’s a relatively simple story about one man and his journeys, but it’s made very meaningful by the little life lessons that are weaved into it. Some of the most special and memorable things that this movie has taught me are:

Keep your promises. One of the most touching things Forrest does is honor is commitment to his best friend, Bubba, regarding the shrimping business. Even though Bubba tragically died in the Vietnam War, Forrest later bought a shrimping boat and learned the craft that Bubba would’ve taught him. Similarly Lt. Dan told Forrest that he would be his first mate and honored his promise.

Remember your friends. Forrest never forgot his friends. He remembered and honored Bubba, he stayed close to Lt. Dan and, of course, never stopped thinking about Jenny.

Love unconditionally. Forrest was in love with Jenny for years and years. While she went through many difficult times, he never judged her, never criticized her, and most importantly, never stopped loving her. Most people would’ve thrown in the towel, but not him. He knew that love is unconditional and provided that love to her.

Give credit where credit is due. One of my favorite parts in the movie is when Forrest sends money to Bubba’s family after their shrimping business becomes a success. He never forgot that it was Bubba’s original idea and that it was him who was supposed to be the captain of their shrimping boat. Most people would’ve taken the money and never bothered with Bubba’s family. His short, but incredibly strong and powerful relationship with Bubba, meant enough to him that he kept his promise and never forgot his “best, good friend.”

Take care of those you love. There was a very special bond between Forrest and his mother. She took extremely good care of him and I think he tried to do the same for her when he came back from his military service and before she passed away. He was also there for Jenny during her many times of need and was always looking after her. Forrest also ended up being a wonderful father to his son and I have no doubt in my mind that he learned many of those traits from his mother.

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Honolulu is rapidly changing

Happy New Year!

With 2014, Honolulu will see some major changes. First, the Barnes & Noble store in Kahala Mall closed its doors on Dec. 31. There have been some suggestions that the space will be taken over by Ross. Bleh. It’s hard to believe that the bookstore was a fixture at the mall for 18 years. It’s quite sad that bookstores are becoming a thing of the past. I tend to read both books and ebooks, but I get everything from the library. (You can’t beat free). So admittedly, I’m partially to blame for Barnes & Noble closing. At least we still have the one at Ala Moana Center. I’m not sure if the closure is due to the fact that Barnes & Noble is closing stores across the country or if the lease expired.


International Marketplace in Waikiki will also be transformed this year. Businesses sold their last items on Dec. 31 and the space will become a shopping area anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s sad to see the marketplace go as it’s been an iconic part of Waikiki since the late 1950s.

It’ll be interesting to see how much more Honolulu (and Hawaii overall) change this year.

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Review: Nature Republic Hand & Nature moisture hand mask

Having tried the foot mask from Nature Republic, I decided to try the Hand & Nature moisture hand mask ($3.90) this time. It’s basically the same product, except instead of a sock-type of mask, it’s a glove.

Again, the smell is probably the best thing about the masks. This one contains vanilla, shea butter, honey, milk and almond leaves. I also liked how the gloves were made small, so the fit was snug, which probably allows your hands to absorb more of the ingredients. Both hand and foot mask leave the moisturizing lotion-like contents on your skin after you take the product off and the directions don’t say to wash it off. With the hand mask, I rubbed the contents on my arms, so my hands were a little less wet and the rest I let air dry. Not only did my hands smell great afterward, but they also felt very soft and smooth.

I must admit that the foot mask is more convenient because you can still do as you please as long as you’re careful when walking. Having the gloves on made it difficult to use my hands, but it’s also a good reason to just sit and relax.

I also got another item from Nature Republic that I’m looking forward to trying and will post a review about it soon.

Nature Republic
2424 Kalakaua Ave. Ste. 117
Honolulu, HI 96815

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If you were in a bath tub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little psychotic?
Jane Velez-Mitchell

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"Blackfish" is a must-see documentary

Blackfish" was playing at a local theatre a few months ago, but I tend to avoid going to the movies because it costs an arm and a leg. Since it’s a CNN film, I managed to catch parts of it on TV, and I was thrilled when I saw it was available on Netflix.

I spent a little over an hour watching this documentary about killer whales in captivity. Throughout that hour, I felt a range of emotions from sadness to anger and even heartbreak. There’s quite a bit of focus on one orca in particular — Tilikum. He’s responsible for the death of two SeaWorld trainers and one SeaWorld guest. Having never known the history of how orcas like him ended up performing for large crowds and bringing in loads of money, I can now say that I’m tremendously ashamed that human beings did and continue to do such horrible things to these amazing creatures.

I was brought to tears, as any person would be, when I watched the mothers and others in the pods cry out for calves that were taken away. The sound that one mother made was nothing short of heart wrenching. It turns out the vocals that this particular whale was making were long-range calls as she desperately searched for her calf that was born in captivity, but then taken to another park.

After seeing the trauma that the orcas experienced, I’m surprised that more of them don’t attack their trainers out of anger and frustration. These beings are supposed to have endless amounts of ocean to swim in and socialize with their pod, but instead, they’re kept at bay in tanks that are too small and are forced to entertain people. The mark of killer whales in captivity is uncanny with their dropped dorsal fins, something that happens to only one percent of killer whales in the wild.

Admittedly, I’ve been to SeaWorld once as a child. I was young and naive. But now that I’m a bit older and more educated thanks to “Blackfish,” I can safely say that I’m never going back to SeaWorld again. Frankly, no one should.

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Feeling proud

As I was on my way to dinner yesterday, my right contact lens popped out. It had been giving me trouble earlier in the day and I guess it finally wanted out (literally). Of course, it popped out when I was the passenger in a car driving on a bumpy, windy road. Go figure.

But I didn’t panic. Instead I put it back in without a mirror and while the car was in motion. Damn, I’m good.

So as you can imagine, I felt quite proud of myself for not many people can say they’ve had a contact lens pop out and been able to put in back in while in a moving vehicle.

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Do traditional, at-home cold remedies work?

I’ve been a bit under the weather lately and that’s prompted me to ask whether non-medicinal cold remedies are effective. Here’s my take:

  • Chicken noodle soup - I enjoy drinking soup when I’m sick because it’s usually on the saltier side, meaning I can taste it despite being congested. The hot liquid and steam also helps with congestion.
  • Orange juice/Vitamin C - I usually take Emergen-C at the first onset of symptoms. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. I think the key is taking it right away and continuing to take it until you feel better.
  • Tea - This works similarly to chicken noodle soup. It probably depends on what kind of tea you drink too. I used to drink a lot of green tea, which is probably good for colds as it’s high in antioxidants. The downside is that the caffeine might dehydrate you. Herbal teas might be a better option because there are certain ones that are good for colds.
  • Honey lemon - A mixture of honey and lemon by itself or in tea is great for sore throats.

Take care of yourselves, especially during this flu season!