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A New Year’s Tradition: Letters to the Universe

When one door closes, another opens. Or something like that, right?

I feel the same way about the changing of the calendar from one year to the next. It’s a perfect time for starting fresh! New Year’s Day has grown to be my favorite holiday of the year.


Growing up, I remember my grandmother starting the water boiling for everyone to take a shot of hot sake once we watched the ball drop in Times Square in NYC. (To this day, I still can’t stand hot sake and will only take mine cold.) In my 20’s, I loved it for the parties the night before – getting all dolled up and celebrating with my friends, maybe even searching for a tall, dark and handsome stranger to kiss at midnight. These days, I tend to celebrate in a quieter way. To be honest, I think I didn’t even make it to midnight the past three years or so. (Sorry, not sorry!)

Part of the reason that I’m usually at home celebrating New Year’s Eve these days is that I truly look forward to getting up early to greet the first sunrise of the year at Sandy Beach with my friends. We’ve created a bit of a tradition and it always helps me to look back at the year that’s passing and to bring a fresh energy to the year that’s ahead. It’s grown to be such a fun and meaningful way to ring in the new year and I always love hearing when other people have joined in and found a way to participate as well, or put their own spin on ours.

In 2008 (video above), my word was EXPLORE and it was especially meaningful getting together with my friends as on January 8th that year, Jess and I set off on our adventure through SE Asia and the Pacific. That year I traveled until I couldn’t any longer, eventually passing through 17 countries!

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Valentine’s Day 2014 in Honolulu

Whether you are coupled up and looking for romance or seeking a night out on the town with friends for Single’s Awareness Day, Honolulu has a variety of tasty options for celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2014.

(I’ll be adding to this list as I hear about others – feel free to send your tips or event details to me at

Wine & Dine

Pig & The Lady – Chef Andrew Le and his family will be hosting a six course menu in their new Chinatown location that you can have with ($115 per person) or without ($75) specialty cocktails created by Bar Manager Kyle Reutner. The menu will be available from 2/13 – 2/15 from 5:30 to 10pm nightly, reservations recommended. Full menu and details here.

Miso & Ale + Cocina Pop-Up – Billed as an anti-valentine “One Night Stand”, the guys at Miso & Ale and Cocina will be teaming up for a pop up collaboration! Seating is first come, first served (no reservations) at Cocina, also BYOB. Details here. (Check out my reviews of Miso & Ale and Cocina for an idea of what you might see that night.)

A Loko Kine Valentine’s Brunch Pop-up – Three top female chefs (JJ Leng, Kelly Teramoto & Alison Yokouchi) team up for a special brunch menu at the UH Med School cafeteria in Kakaako on Sunday 2/16, along with artisan coffee from the Curb. Details here.

Chef Mavro’s Week of Love – Valentine’s day has already sold out, but Chef Mavro will have special menus starting at $85 (4 courses) available all week. Details here.

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Visiting Rain Room at the MoMA

You might say I’m crazy. I just waited over three hours – in the rain – to stand in a room full of artificial rain for all of ten minutes. Oh, the irony. Sweet, sweet irony.

Was it worth it?

I have to say that it was. But not for the reasons I thought. I thought that I would get some amazing photos. I studied the live stream of photos from Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr with current images to see which angles worked best and to get ideas. I tweeted @MuseumModernArt to get advice on how early to wait in line. (They tweeted back, great customer service!) I planned on being first in line to reduce my wait to the minimum of three hours I’d been hearing was the norm.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

I won’t lie, it was pretty miserable. The weather was cold and rainy as remnants of a tropical storm headed for Manhattan. We started the line around 8:30 on the nonmembers side, while lucky MoMA members and their guests lined up for the members only hour which started at 9:30.


Once the nonmember line was allowed to join the members who had been there for the preview there was still another hour or more of waiting ahead of us in front of the exhibit. Glad to be at the front of the line, we chatted with a few others behind us who had attempted to get in before, but given up as wait times approached five hours. Five hours! Yet they came back.


Once you get to the front of the exhibit itself keep in mind there’s still another line inside. It took about 15 minutes to get to the front – only ten people at a time are allowed to walk in the actual rain. Once you walk out of it, you must leave. Signs posted around the front (and the security guards) will remind you to keep your visit to ten minutes or less as a courtesy to those waiting behind you.






Tips for visiting the MoMA’s Rain Room Exhibit

  • The entrance to the exhibit is on 54th between 5th and 6th, but closer to 6th
  • If you know someone who is a member, this is the time to go! Members and their guests get a special hour starting at 9:30 before the exhibit opens to General Admission holders
  • Lines begin forming around 8am or so, and you should try to get in as early as you can even if you’re a member. Only ten are allowed to view the exhibit at a time, so wait times creep up quickly as the line gets longer
  • Rain Room runs til July 28, 2013 at the Museum on Modern Art in New York City. Details here.

    >> For where to eat in NYC, check out my collection of restaurant recommendations here.