The Bitch is Back

My simplistic understanding is that estrogen stimulates the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is what makes us feel and act nurturing or “maternal.” During menopause, our estrogen drops, we produce less oxytocin, and we start feeling less maternal. As this article in an old Atlantic called “The Bitch is Back” (amazing title, which the author must have borrowed from the Elton John song) says “Are menopausal women mad, bad, and dangerous? Yes—but they’re really just returning to normal.” And by “normal,” she means a “selfish, non-nurturing, non-bonding type of person everyone else is.” Another article I read says “And if a woman’s testosterone levels stay high as her oxytocin levels fall, then she will suddenly get a real sense of purpose, drive and focus.”

I just had my blood work done, and here’s what the doctor said “Your testosterone level is low and your "free" testosterone or what is available in the blood stream for use is not even detectable. No wonder you feel off.”

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No wonder! I want a real sense of purpose, drive and focus, so I’m considering taking testosterone. The potential benefits include more energy and increased muscle mass. The risks include facial hair, male-pattern balding, and deepened voice. This could get interesting. 😂

In addition to low T, my blood work revealed that I also have high C (high cholesterol). Not high enough to require medication, but high enough to require a lifestyle change. No more butter, steak, triple cream cheese, bacon, or any of my other favorite foods. Sob!

Apparently cholesterol can usually be lowered through diet, but not always. I won’t know for 6 months whether the dietary changes are helping or not.

When I got my results, I definitely felt sorry for myself for a few minutes, but then I realized I’ve eaten absolutely everything that I wanted for almost 50 years. So, if I have to eat quinoa for the next 50 years, that’s okay. I’ve had a good run of eating like a queen. Now it’s time to eat like a peasant.

Do you have high cholesterol? If so, have you had any luck lowering it? How did you do it?

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Nanny

Me in a field of lavender in England

Me in a field of lavender in England

When my kids were little, we had a nanny. Our whole family and all of our friends called her “Nanny” or “Nan.” This all sounds very posh and sort of British, but believe me, the poshness ended there. Our nanny is still a dear friend. She is 6 feet tall and looks like Wonder Woman with lots of tattoos. She is a hipster and a baby whisperer.

Part of her job was to take my kids to all of their lessons, which included tai kwando, tennis, swimming, piano, and cello. #tigermom 🐯. Plus, she was supposed to help them learn Italian using an expensive Rosetta Stone program that I bought.

Much later, I found out that they were regularly skipping all of this enrichment and going joy riding around town instead. Our nanny taught my kids how to cry on command when pulled over by the cops in order to get out of speeding tickets, how to cruise by the cute lifeguard at the pool to get his attention, where the best secret picnic spots are located, and which stores have the best shoe sales.

They also learned to swear like sailors. I should have known something was up when my adorable little one called me a “tit” one day when I got home from work.

I could be mad, or I could admit that they probably had more fun by the time they were in 3rd grade than I had in all of my 20s.

So, thank you Nanny. We appreciate you. Thanks to you, my kids don’t speak a word of Italian, but they are cool.

Did you have help raising your kids? As they say, it takes a village.

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Merrie Olde England

Merrie Olde England

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!






Snow on Mt. Fuji

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The most common idiom for graying hair is “salt and pepper.”

A friend of mine has a much better one. When white hairs start to show, she says that the snow is falling on Mount Fuji. I love this euphemism. Descriptive and poetic. She is only about 4’10 and I’m only 5’0” tall, so everyone can see when the snow starts to fall on Mount Fuji. There is no hiding that winter is coming.

The “granny” fashion of a few years ago was pretty fun. This article in the Atlantic titled “All the Silver Ladies” describes the trend of young women dying their hair gray. It looks great on them, but personally, I think I’ll wait until the snow falls on Mount Fuji naturally. No need to rush nature.

50 Shades of Gray. Snow on the roof. Silver fox. Got anymore? I love idioms, but I’m terrible at them.

The question is whether to color your hair or to let it go gray naturally. And if you decide to go natural, how long can you hang in there? Til you die/dye? I have a couple of friends who really rock white hair. I will not be joining them, at least not anytime soon, but they look great. How about you?

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Ruby Woo

I adore makeup. My favorite brand for brushes and face makeup is Marc Jacobs Beauty. His coconut line is really nice, and his foundations are very good. Plus his brushes are excellent.

Me wearing Ruby Woo 👄  & Coconut looking amazing as always

Me wearing Ruby Woo 👄 & Coconut looking amazing as always

My favorite brand for lipstick is M.A.C. Obviously, Ruby Woo is everyone’s favorite, including mine. I buy Ruby Woo in the Retro Matte Lipstick (a “very matte vivid blue-red”). Their new Powder Kiss lipstick is nice too. If you like reds, the Powder Kiss in Shocking Revelation (a “clean blue red”) is a good color and the Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Fashion Legacy is a nice red (an “intense fire truck red”) that lasts a long time but is a bit drying. But, Ruby Woo is the classic.

I love makeup because I am obsessed with the beautiful little bottles full of promise and tubes of every imaginable color.

Peking opera singer 👄

Peking opera singer 👄

However, as I get older, I have to agree with everyone else that less is more. If you aren’t careful, you can end up looking like the Peking Opera singers. Gorgeous, but maybe not the best look for running errands.

On second thought, who cares what anyone else thinks. Go for it! Wear a full face of make-up if you want to. I’m sure you look fantastic. We should all be so lucky to look like a Peking Opera singer.

Do you have a favorite brand of makeup? What is their best product? I’ve just started buying some stuff from Clarins and I like it a lot. The blue orchid face treatment oil smells amazing. Their self-tanner is terrific and so is their lip stain and lip oil. In red, of course.

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Jungle Rules

Me with a handful of bulldogs 🐶🐶

Me with a handful of bulldogs 🐶🐶

When my kids were little, we lived in a neighborhood with several other families that all had kids around the same age. In a way, it was very 1950s. We had block parties where the dads drank too much. The moms started a book club, which eventually evolved into a tennis club. We went trick-or-treating together on Halloween, and we celebrated all of the kids’ birthdays together.

The kids all went to the same neighborhood school, so we decided that each family would pick up all twelve kids one day a week. That way, we could all keep our day jobs and the kids wouldn’t have to go to after school care. The kids were already incredibly comfortable in each other’s homes so this was an easy decision. Plus, they got a play date five days a week, which was grand for them.

The family who did pick up was responsible for providing the after school snack and activities. Helicopter parenting was all the rage at the time. If you are curious about your own parenting style, check out this article in Redbook, which does a good job of summarizing the different styles. All of the moms were helicopters parents, except me. I am a tiger mom. Helicopter parents want to oversee or control their child's every move, especially to save them from dangers or hurt feelings. Hence, the incredible popularity of the participation award, which I find ridiculous (not surprisingly, since I’m a tiger mom).

I’m a lawyer so I spend my days dealing with conflict. The last thing I want to do when I’m home is deal with conflict. So, when the neighborhood kids were at my house, it was the law of the jungle. In my opinion, the law of the jungle gets a bad rap. According to the online Cambridge English dictionary, the law of the jungle is the idea that people who care only about themselves will be most likely to succeed in a society or organization:  We hope for a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations.

Agreed, but not when it comes to babysitting twelve kids at a time, at least not in my house. The kids would constantly tattle on each other and ask me to settle their petty disputes, until they finally understood that unless someone was bleeding or had a broken bone, they needed to work it out themselves.

My kids are grown and flown and I think Jungle Rules equipped them to deal with conflict on their own. Now, I’m faced with my two little bulldogs who are still trying to figure out how to get along. Jungle Rules worked for my kids, so I’m using the same approach with the dogs. I’m sure some people would be appalled that I let them fight, but I have confidence that they’ll work it out. I’ll let you know how it goes!

What’s your parenting style? Are you a tiger mom like me?

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!



Kūkū for Coco

Coco 🐾 in her tutu and me

Coco 🐾 in her tutu and me

My great grandparents were from China. Their first child was born in China. They left her there when they moved to Hawai’i to work. My great grandmother never saw her daughter again. They had eleven more children in Hawai’i. My grandmother was the youngest girl. Her given name was Kin Moy.

When my grandmother went to school, the teachers made her pick an English name, like all of the other Chinese children of that generation. After that, she had one name that her family used, and another that her classmates and teachers called her.

Then she married my grandfather, who was Native Hawaiian, and she took his last name. For some reason, no one in the family could agree on how to properly spell their last name. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it was because the Hawaiian language was an oral language until it was assigned Latin characters by the missionaries in the the early 1800s. In any case, eventually she decided on a spelling that she liked and filed paperwork formalizing her last name at the local courthouse.

Coco in her tutu ♥️

Coco in her tutu ♥️

Then, she had three children and they called her mama. Next, she had grandchildren and we called her Tutu. All of our friends called her Tutu, which means grandma in Hawaiian. None of them knew any of her other names.

I used to feel a little sad because my Tutu had so many names. But now, I realize that we all do. Given names, married names, nicknames, personal titles like mom or dad, and professional titles.

When I had kids, I asked my mom and my mother-in-law what they wanted my kids to call them. My mother-in-law went with Grandma. My mother considered having them call her Tutu, but eventually decided that name was too closely associated with her own mother, so she asked my kids to call her by her first name. Or G’Ma. After the Asian Rap song, “It G Ma”. JK!

I am NOT ready to be a grandmother anytime soon (I’m happy with Stella, Coconut, and Duke for now) but I’ve got my name picked out if I have grandkids someday. In Hawai’i, tutu means grandma. The formal Hawaiian term for grandmother is kūkū wahine. So obviously, I hope to be called kūkū. So cute and I think it suits me.

Coconut 🥰

Coconut 🥰

If you are already a grandparent, what do your grandkids call you? Do you like it? If you hope to become a grandparent someday, what do you think they’ll call you? For now, I’m kūkū for Coco (and Duke and Stella too, of course).

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!





Screen Time

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Is screen time really bad for you? Yes, probably so. Earlier this year, the United Nations' public health agency released its first guidelines around screen time for kids. It recommends that children under the age of 2 have no "sedentary screen time," including video games or TV exposure, and those aged 2 to 4 have no more than one hour each day.

When my kids were little, lots of my friends imposed strict screen time limits on their kids. Not me!

I worked a lot when my kids were little. And, we lived in a city, so we spent a lot of time in the car, driving to and from school, play dates, and activities. Hands down, the best parenting purchase we ever made was a car with a built-in TV and headsets for the kids. I turned on the TV every time we got in the car, even to drive one mile to the grocery store. No fighting, no crying, just peace and quiet. I am sure that I was a much safer driver as a result of that TV.

Lots of my friends were appalled by this, but both of my kids turned out to be creative, thoughtful, athletic young women. Neither of them are slugs, so I don’t think all the screen time hurt them too much.

Now that my kids are grown and flown, and I’ve had a bit of time to think about this, and I’ve concluded that the concept of “screen time limits” was a luxury that I simply couldn’t afford back then because I needed the quiet time for myself.

Growing up, I didn’t even have a TV, except that my family borrowed one for awhile at the end of the Nixon administration. At school when the teacher went around the circle and asked each kid what their favorite TV show was, I think everyone said Sesame Street except me. I loudly and proudly announced that I loved Watergate. What a little weirdo I was (and still am! 😂). Once Nixon resigned, the TV went away and I was bored again. The benefit of no TV was that I don’t really mind being bored now, because I’m used to it. The downside is that whenever friends are reminiscing about their childhood (Three’s Company! The Dukes of Hazzard!) humming theme songs and laughing, I just zone out. This is when being okay with being bored comes in handy!

Despite my own screen-free childhood, the popularity among modern parents to carefully monitor screen time, and the new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, I still maintain that kids are resilient and letting them watch TV to save your own sanity is a reasonable trade off.

So, to those of you like me, who let your kids watch way too much TV, don’t worry about it. My kids are amazing and so are yours. Just do the best you can in the moment, and don’t beat yourself up. They’ll be fine!

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Game of Bones

The mother of bulldogs 🐉

The mother of bulldogs 🐉

My favorite television show, Game Of Thrones, just ended this spring, but in our house, the Game of Bones goes on! Queen Coconut has chewed through mountains of rawhides, bully sticks, and nylabones. If you have a dog who loves to chew, don’t waste your time and money on chew toys. I would go straight for the elk antlers. Coconut loves them (I suspect because she’s trying to get at the nutritious and delicious bone marrow) and they last a very long time. However, check out this American Kennel Club article before committing, because there is some controversy about safety of antlers in the dog community. Personally, I’ve been buying antlers for Coconut in bulk from Chewy.com because winter is coming.

But back to Game of Thrones. If, like me, you’ve already read all the books and watched the entire series once or twice, and still need a fix, try the best podcast ever, Binge Mode: Game of Thrones. They are smart and funny, and they carefully dissect every episode, so you’ll have a lot to listen to.

Queen Coconut 👑

Queen Coconut 👑

It is always fun to figure out which character you most closely resemble or identify with on a favorite show. For example, on Friends, were you a Rachel, a Phoebe, or a Monica? On Sex in the City, were you a Carrie, a Miranda, a Samantha, or a Charlotte? It’s trickier on Game of Thrones, because you probably want to be Daenerys, but she goes so so wrong in the end. Cersei is cunning and beautiful, but evil. Sansa starts out weak, but becomes strong, so she’s an option. Arya has terrible hair, but is the most amazing fighter. She is independent and brave, so she’s definitely an option. Brianne is awesome. But she’s so tall and blond, I can’t be her. I’m thinking I’d most like to be Tyrion. He makes mistakes, but he’s very clever and he always tries to do the right thing. Plus, he’s got a great sense of humor, style, and his hair is terrific. That’s settled. I’m going with Tyrion. How about you?

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Coco the Cute 🐶

Coco the Cute 🐶

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!




Middle Age

Me wearing my favorite Lululemon vinyasa scarf, which looks very sporty on my daughters and very middle aged and “author-y” on me.

Me wearing my favorite Lululemon vinyasa scarf, which looks very sporty on my daughters and very middle aged and “author-y” on me.

This blog post contains adult content. Read at your own risk.

I figured out why it’s called middle age. The rest of your body basically stay the same but your core (your middle) ages and it’s not great. If you were athletic and active most of your life, your arms and legs stay reasonably strong into middle age, but if you are not careful, your center gets a bit soft. The dreaded jelly belly.

I read an article that says according to Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, most women will gain about five pounds during the menopause transition. Women who do not gain weight may notice that fat is being repositioned around their midsections.

Well that’s just terrific. I can’t wait.

I have a friend whose husband had an affair. Know how she found out? He started doing planks. Yup. Dead giveaway. Planks.

I’m doing planks now too, not because I’m planning on having an affair, but because I’m trying to avoid my trunk getting so soft that it collapses. I’m already so short that I can’t afford to lose my torso. I’ll only be 4 feet tall if that happens.

If you have any good core exercises, please let me know. I really hate planks.

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

The Big Kahuna

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I am Kānaka Maoli, or Native Hawaiian, and generally speaking, I consider the phrase “big kahuna” objectionable when appropriated to mean “something awesome”. Traditionally, kahuna is a title that indicates that a person has expertise or mastery of a subject (healing, navigation, etc.). It is not the proper way to describe a big wave, an amazing beer, or a great hamburger.

Despite my dislike of the phrase “big kahuna,” the best summary I’ve ever seen of my own parenting beliefs comes from the late 90’s movie, The Big Kahuna. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this essay called “Wear Sunscreen” (I got it off of a friend’s Facebook page) but I agree with every word, and I hope that my kids, and yours, will take this to heart:

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing every day that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.

I read that “Wear Sunscreen” was a hypothetical commencement speech, which explains why I like it so much. I love a good commencement speech. If you know of any good ones let me know!

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Can I get you a drink?

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Two of my favorite things are red wine and coffee.

When I was in college, I studied in France, and I was fortunate enough to live at the home of the owners of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, often abbreviated to DRC, which is an estate in Burgundy, France that produces white and red wine. It is widely considered among the world's greatest wine producers, and DRC bottles are among the world's most expensive. It takes its name from the domaine's most famous vineyard, Romanée-Conti. They let me live in their home but I was NOT allowed to pick grapes at Romanée-Conti. Instead I participated in the vendange at one of their less famous vineyards. Turns out grape picking is very hard work. Despite this early exposure to fine wine, I am not a wine snob. In fact, I usually just order the house red when I go out to dinner. However, two of my dear friends recently turned me on to Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel, and it is delicious. It’s a bit spendy, but if you are going to drink wine and you can’t afford DRC (me!), this is the one! Divine.

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Also, for our anniversary, my husband bought us an espresso machine. We already had a french press, a regular coffee maker, and a Keurig. The french press makes the best tasting coffee, but is a pain to clean up. Lazy, I know. We use the regular coffee maker for parties. We were guiltily using the Keurig on a daily basis but the pods are so unenvironmental, even though I was buying the compostable ones. Our new espresso machine is a Nespresso. According to their website they use sustainably sourced coffee. It comes in pods, but they are aluminum and recyclable. You put the used pods in a bag and mail them back to Nespresso and they recycle them for you. Not sure about the total carbon footprint on this one, what with the shipping, but my goodness the coffee is amazing. Especially if you use whole milk in the frother that comes with it. And sprinkle it with a little cane sugar. Wow. I am not even kidding, this thing is a delight.

If you are considering a Nespresso, note that they seem to follow the “razor and blades” business model, which is where one item (the handle) is sold at a low price in order to increase sales of a complementary good (the blades). With the Nespresso, you can get the espresso machine for an okay price, but the pods are spendy. Especially if you drink a million cups a day like me. But even if you don’t get a Nespresso, you should definitely try the wine. And, if you have a favorite wine, do tell!

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

The Warriors

Okay Lord of the Rings nerds, you know the scene in The Two Towers where the Ents marched on Isengard? As a refresher, the Ents are the tree people. The Ents are known for being patient and deliberate. As the elder Ent named Treebeard says, we Ents do not like being roused; and we never are roused unless it is clear to us that our trees and our lives are in danger. 

I haven’t been to Hawai’i since January, so I decided to post this more recent photo instead, because I’m sitting in front of a mountain, even though it’s not Mauna Kea!

I haven’t been to Hawai’i since January, so I decided to post this more recent photo instead, because I’m sitting in front of a mountain, even though it’s not Mauna Kea!

This scene always reminds me of the Native Hawaiian side of my family. Like the Ents, Native Hawaiians are an ancient indigenous people, thought of by many as being large and harmless. Part of the scenery. Beautiful but non-threatening. Until our environment is threatened. And even then, we don’t move quickly.

Now, finally, Hawaiians all over the country, including two of my favorite celebs, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Momoa, have been demonstrating to stop the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Mauna Kea.

Like the Ents, it is our elders who are leading this fight to protect our culture and our future. This article describes how our kūpuna are our bravest warriors. They have insisted on remaining on the front line and being the first arrested, asking the younger protectors to stand down while they are taken into custody. My mom just arrived yesterday. Go mom! My youngest daughter is going over in a few weeks. Maybe they’ll be cell mates if they both get put in jail!

Our problem is not with the TMT, but with the location. Mauna Kea is a sacred place. No one would dare put a telescope on the Vatican, even if it were in an excellent location. They would simply find another spot. Same for us. Find another spot to put the telescope. This New York Times article does a good job of summarizing the issue.

This article talks about my youngest daughter’s Kumu (teacher) leading protests in Palo Alto. She is a warrior. Our local Kumu is leading our protest today. He is a warrior. Our small group of Native Hawaiians and allies plan to gather, dance, chant, and raise awareness about the TMT later this morning. Join us if you can! Time and place can be found on our group’s facebook page.

I doubt our efforts will be successful, but like Treebeard said, of course, it is likely enough, my friends, likely enough that we are going to our doom: the last march of the Ents. But if we stayed home and did nothing, doom would find us anyway, sooner or later. That thought has long been growing in our hearts; and that is why we are marching now. It was not a hasty resolve. Now at least the last march of the Ents may be worth a song.

Like the TMT scientists, we too are interested in peering into the universe and learning what is out there. But not from the vantage point of Mauna Kea. We wouldn’t put a bunch of huge telescopes on your church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, so please show some respect and don’t put another one on ours.

Mahalo,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Who is your celebrity look-alike?

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Shannon & Luke

Who is your celebrity look-alike? Mine is David Sedaris.

Me in high school

Me in high school

When I was in high school, my friends flattered me into thinking that I sort of looked like Shannon Dougherty. Shannon who? Yes, yes, there was a popular TV show back when people still watched TV and when dinosaurs roamed the earth called 90210. Still never heard of her? I think maybe she was a one hit wonder. Anyway, here is a photo of her snuggled up with Luke Perry.

I did kind of look like her when I smiled, but in this picture, my brother and I look less like Shannon and Luke and more like a couple of grumpy Chinese skiers posing for “American Gothic”. My sweet brother and Luke Perry both died way too young, so I don’t really like this comparison anyway.

Later, I was compared to Elaine from Seinfeld (by my brother, mainly because he said I danced like Elaine). So true! I can really boogie when I want to. The dancing episode (Little Kicks) is hilarious and if you haven’t seen it recently, it is worth a re-watch.

My brother & me

My brother & me

American Gothic

American Gothic

Now, I like to think that David Sedaris is my long lost twin. We have so much in common. He is very short and so am I. We both love weird, impractical fashion. We both are obsessed with small animals. We both adore our families. And, we both love to clean. Hmmm. A short person who wears funny clothes, loves animals and family, and loves to clean. Now that I think about it I sound more like a tidy toddler than David Sedaris. I’m in England now, and I know he lives here, so I’m dreaming that I’ll bump into him. Just to say hi! And so I can tell him how much I admire his work. Several years ago, I ran into George R.R. Martin (author of Game of Thrones) in the parking lot of our local pizza parlor and I chatted with him for a minute, so I think it’s possible that I might really see Davis Sedaris. If you haven’t read David Sedaris’s stuff, you definitely should. He will crack you up. He is the master of being really funny without ever being mean.

Do you have a celebrity look-alike? Or perhaps a celebrity soul mate? Who is it?

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!


I’m a Little Tea Pot 🎵

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When I was a kid, my nickname was cookie jar. Why? Because I ate so many cookies that my body began to look a bit like a cookie jar.

Cookies are still my favorite food. I love cream filled sandwich cookies the most. On the low end, I love Oreos. The new Oreo Megas are obscenely good. On the high end, I like macarons. Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, which are good too, but not as good as the French macarons. I’ve tried many many times to make macarons. They taste great, but they never look right. Mine look like lumpy toadstools. If you know how to make them, please send me your recipe.

I’m in Dublin now, and we found a Ladurée (the iconic Parisian tea room). For me though, tea is just an excuse to eat cookies.

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Obviously, most people come to Ireland to drink beer, not to eat cookies. Guinness is king here, and yes, we’ve already had a few pints. Also, I’ve seen a lot of freckles. I read in Cosmo that Scotland boasts the highest percentage of natural redheads, with 13%, while Ireland comes in second with 10%. So, first impressions of Dublin are beer and freckles. And, lots of amazing restaurants. Who knew it was such a foodie town? The other funny thing is that I’ve seen a Swatch, a French Connection, and a Benetton on the same block as our hotel. Unexpected. All of my favorite brands from the 80s.

Also, we went to Riverdance, which was very fun. It’s a little mystical and slightly dorky, but the dancing and music are impressive. If you get the chance, you should definitely go.

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!