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Mushroom Onion Garlic Glaze RECIPE

“Glaze” is basically a fancy word for sauce. An even fancier related description of this, would be the French term, “demi glace”. Well, actually, not exactly. The classical term “demi glace” refers to a technique that creates a very concentrated brown stock sauce  that is initiated with the roasting of beef bones, then a lot of time is spent carefully reducing that sauce until it forms a deep meaty-flavored “glaze”.

But, to get back to the point. This SAUCE that I serve with meat, specifically GRILLED meat, is something that has transcended throughout my entire life. Memories of my childhood consist of Sunday family meals which most of the time would entail my dad grilling steaks while a sauce pan simmers on the stove, making the entire house smell of savory aromas. That sauce pan was filled with a mushroom-onion-soy sauce glaze that was paired with our steak dinners. I remember always wishing that he would make a larger amount, because two spoonfuls per person just didn’t seem like enough to me, lol.

So, here I am, making my own version of that family steak glaze, and also usually making way too much of it – but hey, too much of a good thing can’t be bad.. or…

Anyways, I make this Mushroom Onion Garlic Glaze using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Reason being, that I have an autoimmune condition that attacks my thyroid and am “hypothyroid”, so consuming soy is not good for me (though that’s a topic for an entirely different article).

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*COCONUT AMINOS INFO:

Coconut aminos is made from coconut sap. This is a nutrient-rich juice that comes from making wounds in coconut blossoms. Coconut sap is a low glycemic (index of 35) sweetener with taste similarities to that of soy sauce. It is also super rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as an abundant source of amino acids.

*GLAZE TIPS:

This recipe of mine makes a great dipping sauce served at the table along with a meal. I also love it as a runnier version of gravy to top mashed potatoes with.

If you want to use it as a true “glaze”, then when your grilled food (steak, eggplant, etc.) has about 5 to 10 minutes left to cook, baste it with the liquid portion of this glaze and turn frequently to create a glossy crust.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS/

DIRECTIONS/

  1. Heat a large pan on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot enough that a drop of water will sizzle when it touches the surface, add 2 tbsp. of grass-fed butter. Let that melt completely and evenly distribute in the pan.
  3. Slice the onion and add to the melted butter in pan.
  4. Peel and chop garlic cloves, then also add to the pan.
  5. Let the onion and garlic sauté for about 7-8 minutes.
  6. Wash/slice mushrooms and then add to the pan. Immediately pour the 2 tbsp. of ghee over top the added mushrooms. Let slowly cook until the mushrooms are no longer raw/white (about 10 minutes).
  7. Add the 1.5 cups of coconut aminos and mix ingredients evenly in pan and let cook for about 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 of a lemon’s juice.
  8. Then sprinkle in the 2 tbsp. of arrowroot powder and mix so that it evenly disperses/dissolves.
  9. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes, then turn the heat off but keep the pan on the same burner.
  10. Cover the pan with a lid and let sit for about 10-15 minutes so that the mixture thickens up a bit.
  11. Serve with grilled meat, vegetables, on top of mashed potatoes, or even top an omelet with it – enjoy!

PRINTABLE (right click to download):

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Enjoy!

x. Heather

 

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Tomato, Basil, & Feta Cheese-Battered Chicken Wings RECIPE

Here we are again, yet another spontaneous recipe that I whipped up on the spot… these bad boys turned out pretty darn tasty despite some doubt while preparing. Also, the kitchen smelled of pizza aromas while they were baking, sooo there’s that too, lol. My intentions were just a tomato-basil flavor, but when my husband took his first bite and exclaimed, “THEY TASTE LIKE PIZZA!” I couldn’t escape it; I guess that they have a sort of chicken wing-pizza hybrid thing going on, but hey – don’t knock it until you try it!

RECIPE:

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INGREDIENTS/

DIRECTIONS/

  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
  2. Place patted-dry thawed chicken wings in to a ziplock bag, add 2 tbsp. of Beekeepers Naturals Raw Honey (use code “ALOHA” to save $ on your order) to the bag, zipper close and massage lightly to mix honey and coat all wings evenly. Set aside.
  3. Remove centers of tomatoes, slice in to quarters, place in a mixing bowl. Use a pestle to separate the seeds/juice – separate/remove the skin and hard flesh part (will not use that in this recipe).
  4. Chop fresh basil and add to the fresh tomato juice in mixing bowl.
  5. Crumble fresh feta cheese in to that same mixing bowl and use pestle to mash and mix all three ingredients together.
  6. Whisk in 3/4 cup of arrowroot powder and then 3/4 cup of cassava flour to the tomato-basil-feta mixture.
  7. Sprinkle in Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to preference/taste. Whisk the batter until evenly mixed/combined and reaches the texture similar to chunky cake batter.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. One-by-one, coat each (honey-coated) chicken wing evenly with the batter and place on top of parchment paper (make sure that there are no super thick spots of batter on chicken so that it cooks evenly, but also don’t miss a spot – lol).
  10. Place in to oven to bake at 385 degrees for about 30 minutes (all ovens will vary, so keep an eye on them).
  11. Once cooked evenly, let cool for a few minutes, garnish with fresh ingredients or enjoy immediately!

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PRINTABLE (right click to download):

balancedlifealoha.com

 

Make sure to tag me & use #balancedlifealoha if you re-make, so that I can see!

 

Enjoy!

x. Heather

 

 

I Had Eight Laser Hair Removal Treatments in One Year, Here is What Happened…

I have been completely open with my audience in regards to my laser hair removal treatments. The body areas in which I have treated are the underarms and bikini/brazilian. The motivation behind my decision for initial treatment was mostly in hopes of potentially not having to suffer from the painful razor bumps that I would sometimes get from shaving my underarms. Also, to be frank, the convenience of not having to shave altogether – I mean, yes please!

Starting last year, in February 2018, I had my very first session. The technology that is used at the medical spa in which I have received all 8 treatments at thus far, is the Alma Laser’s “Soprano Ice” Laser Hair Removal Machine. This system is marketed as “virtually painless”. And after my first treatment, I couldn’t believe just how painless it really was!

You see, years before, when I first became a mother, I had purchased a hand-held at-home laser hair removal wand and although I started to see some results from that, I just could not commit to keep doing it myself, because it was essentially like snapping yourself with rubber bands in very sensitive areas of your body, for 30-40 minutes straight, every month. Yea – that got old real quick!

So, going in to my first professional laser hair removal session at the medical spa, though treatments were marketed as virtually painless, the least that I was expecting to feel was rubber band snaps. However, after the initial treatment, like I mentioned, I was stunned as to how little I actually felt. I honestly had barely felt anything during my underarm treatment, and the bikini/brazilian area was very tolerable – I’d rate it a 2 on a pain scale of 10.

The after-effects that I noticed following my first session, was hair fall-out at about one week, and then a good 2 weeks thereafter of basically not needing to shave at all. Then it was back to normal hair growth. Still though, I thought to myself, “If this is the result after only one session, I can’t wait to see what happens later down the road!”

Skip ahead 6 weeks now, my second treatment came around and this time I had a different laser technician treating me. It was then that I realized that the previous technician who had performed my very first treatment, did so in a very rushed manner in compared to this secondary technician. And THAT, was probably why I didn’t feel very much during my initial session. This time, the technician was pretty much the opposite of the first one, and took her time. I felt lots of pinching and a bit more warmth during the laser beams. But still, the pain was around a 3 or 4 – tolerable for me. The after-effects of my second treatment were pretty similar to the first one.

Now on to treatment 3, where it all changed.

I now had met a third laser technician and realized yet another unique style of laser treatment. Though, she was the most remarkable out of the 3 that I had treatments with at that point. That was because, being someone who always seeks to understand things thoroughly, I really appreciated the time that this third technician took to explain the actual technology, technique, and hair growth patterns to me.

Physiological Info:

Hair has two distinct structures – the follicle itself, which resides within the skin, and then the shaft, which is what is visible above the skin.

There are three phases within each hair follicle growth cycle.

Unlike other mammals, human hair growth cycles are random and not seasonal or cyclical. At any given time, a random number of hairs will be in one of the three stages of growth and shedding: anagen, catagen, or telogen.

Laser treatments are feasible for the hair that is within the first phase, “anagen”.

The first phase is the active growth period. Hair on the arms, legs, eyelashes, and eyebrows have a very short active growth phase that lasts about 30 to 45 days, which explains why they are so much shorter than hair on the scalp. Pubic hair and underarm hair, however, stays in this phase for about 3 to 4 months.

Furthermore, hair growth is very much determined genetically and will overall differ from person to person.  Rates can also vary by age, metabolism and during times of stress.

With all of this being said, the recommended timing for laser treatments is every 6 to 8 weeks. Laser hair removal works by targeting melanin, a substance responsible for pigment in hair, that is only available in abundance during the anagen (active) phase. So this timing (every 6 to 8 weeks) is thought to be effective for catching hairs within the active phase – to then basically deactivate the follicle itself from continuing to grow hair.

At this point in my overall experience, I realized that I should start to specifically request the same technician for all subsequent treatments because consistency seemed to be needed. So I completed sessions 3, 4, and 5 with that very thorough and explanatory technician.

However, this ended up also being the time period in which my results hit a plateau. After speaking to a few peers who have also gone through LHR treatments as well, this “period of results plateau” seems to be a bit of a common theme though.

After treatments 3, 4, and 5, hair fall-out took longer to happen, there was less fall-out all together, and shaving was still needed more frequently than what was needed after treatments 1 and 2. This was a bit frustrating and disheartening to say the least. Regardless though, I religiously continued with my treatments every 6 to 8 weeks.

Treatments 6 and 7 were done by a fourth technician now since the third (enthusiastic one) to my surprise, no longer worked at the medical spa. Now this fourth technician was the most aggressive out of all the technicians. She even stated this about herself in the beginning of my first treatment with her. Also, because I was expressing my let-down feelings in regards to the plateau that I was going through with results, she said that raising the intensity level of the laser could possibly help to “catch back up”?..

Something that I have yet to mention though, is that the “Soprano Ice” laser machine is comprised of a hand piece with a cooling tip that when it touches the surface of your skin, works to cool the temperature before/after the laser beams. Priorly, I had been intermittently feeling that “icing” feeling throughout the sessions. However, for the most part of treatments 6 and 7, I did not feel that at all. I actually had to ask the technician to bring the laser level  back down, because at one point, I was about to jump off the table. All of these aspects, combined with the fact that both of these treatments were a week before the start of my period, the pain level that I felt for treatments 6 and 7 was a solid 7/10!  *Differing hormonal aspects, as well as increased blood flow that occurs around the timing of a menstural cycle has been reported to cause an increase in sensitivity to laser treatments.

The results that I received after these treatments (6 and 7) though, were more satisfying than my deemed “plateau period”. I had a lot more fall-out 10 days post treatment, and I only had to shave once between treatments as the hair that grew back had little to no color pigment, and was the texture of peach fuzz.

Now here we are presently, a few days after treatment number 8, which also completes one full year of laser hair removal sessions. This most recent treatment, I had to work around a specific schedule of mine, so the more agressive technician that I had for sessions 6 and 7, was not available for my appointment. At this point though, I pretty much have given up on trying to keep the same technician.

Interestingly enough, session 8 was actually a few days before the start of my period, though the technician listened to my overall story of treatments and results, and was very considerate of my pain reactions during treatment. Things were overall back to being “tolerable”, at a pain level of 4/10. Also, the physical reaction of my skin afterwards, was different than after all of my other treatments. The skin was remarkably more “puffy” and red afterwards, which I was told should be a great sign in regards to the session’s effectiveness. We shall see!

After-thoughts:

If you have made it through my entire laser hair removal testimony here, then you will understand why it is so difficult to answer when someone asks me straight-out, “is it worth it?” or, “is it working?”. Even after one FULL year, and 8 completed laser hair removal sessions, I don’t have a simple “Yes” or “No” answer to either of those questions.

Though because I have come this far, I am not going to quit now. The most common amount of treatments for results of 70-90% hair growth reduction, is 6 to 8 treatments. However, seeing that every body will respond differently, as well as the fact that each person’s biological make-up and overall health status differs – the number of treatments that it will take to see those sought-after results, can be up to 10 or more. Furthermore, each person’s desired results can vary as well. Some people will be satisfied with 70% hair growth reduction and with what does grow back being peach fuzz. Yet there will be some, like me, who desire a little more “bang for my buck” with at least 90% reduction or more, and little to no growth.

Notes:

There are a few more things that I figured are worth noting to anyone who may be reading this and contemplating treatments themselves…

As of now, the most current technology, is not approved to be used on tattooed skin. For me, because one of my tattoos drops down in to my pelvic region, there is a section of about 1/2 an inch that gets taped up every time I receive treatment.

Also, I was told by a technician, that the current technology is not approved to be used on darker skin color pigments, because of the potential to burn. (However, I recently read an article that there are new systems now on the market that can be used on all skin types.)

Something else that I have thought about, is the fact that I have psoriasis. This is a chronic skin condition caused by an overactive immune system. Basically, the life cycle of my hair growth is much faster than people without psoriasis. Though I form my lifestyle around keeping most of the physical symptoms of my autoimmune conditions in check or remission, I believe that there could be an aspect to this that could affect my results from laser hair removal treatments. Who knows?

To make things even more complex, I recently learned that the human body can actually activate “new” follicles into hair growth at any point in time throughout life. Though, technically, these aren’t new follicles (because like female reproductive eggs, we are born with all of our follicles) but there can be a triggering of hair growth from follicles that were otherwise, naturally dormant. This can happen because of changes in hormone levels, like what happens during pregnancy. Other potentially activating things such as taking “hair growth” supplements as well. Now, nothing is for sure and each person will differ, but this is also why it’s difficult for some to understand that “permanent” laser hair removal, actually just means reduction and removal. (though some may get super lucky?)

Overall, if someone were to ask me for my advice now, on whether or not to invest in laser hair removal treatments; I would direct them not only to my own testimony, but also to do their own research in to the medical spas in their area, go to consult appointments and ask questions prior to making a decision, as well as to think about if they are okay with spending money and committing regular time to something that could potentially not give them the results that they desire. However, a technician also told me once that there are some individuals who indefinitely go to LHR treatment sessions with no end in sight, just to keep their hair growth at a point in which they like.

To conclude, I apologize if you began reading this article with the hopes that it would tell you that LHR was either a great investment, or just simply not worth it. But, this is my story. Stay-tuned, for perhaps my testimony will change in the future, because I do see myself completing at least 3 to 4 more sessions from here.

 

 

Thanks for Reading,

x. Heather

 

Lemon-Ghee Baked Chicken Thighs RECIPE + Cooking Tips that You Will Use for the Rest of Your Life!

Once upon a time, I thought that homemade chicken was impossible to conclude with JUICY pieces of meat.

Well, after many years of experimenting and not giving up (for real. I thought about throwing in the towel MANY times when it came to making chicken at home), but I finally mastered the art of JUICY BAKED CHICKEN!

I’ve actually been following these methods/recipe of mine for about two years now and am a little bit sorry that I haven’t published it sooner ;)

But before I get to a recipe, first, here are the 2 tips that I swear are worthy of lifelong utilization:

  1. Always purchase/use chicken with the bone-in and also with the skin as well. “Boneless + skinless” chicken is simply useless (IMO).
  2. When baking, always bake with the skin DOWN first, my theory is that all of the juices will soak through the meat and land on the skin which acts as a sponge if you will, to seal in and keep the flavor. Then, halfway through, flip the pieces over so that the skin is facing up and it can brown and get crispy during the second half of cooking.

*I use these tips whenever I am baking chicken, regardless of the marinade choice/recipe. For today, I am sharing a lemon-ghee recipe that I recently documented on my Instagram Stories and thereafter had a huge request to share the details:

RECIPE:

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INGREDIENTS/

DIRECTIONS/

  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
  2. Pour 1 cup of ghee in to stainless steel mixing bowl.
  3. Rinse fresh green onions, pat-dry, chop 1 cup worth. Add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Rinse large lemon, cut in half, use citrus press to add 1/2 lemon’s juice to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add salt/pepper to the mixing bowl (I never measure this, rather go by taste/preference).
  6. Add paprika to the mixing bowl (same story as the salt/pepper measurement, but if I had to guess, I would say 1 tbsp.) mix all ingredients well.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Place chicken thighs, skin facing-up, on top of parchment paper. Sprinkle onion powder and garlic powder covering the skin in an even layer. Then flip chicken thighs over so that the skin is facing down on the parchment paper.
  9. Cover the underside (now facing up on parchment paper) of the chicken thighs evenly with a spoonful of the ghee-lemon-green onion-pepper-salt-paprika mixture. (Save the remainder of mixture for later)
  10. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
  11. After 20 minutes, flip the chicken thighs skin-facing-up and spoon the remainder of the ghee mixture on top evenly.
  12. Bake skin-facing-up for 20 more minutes.
  13. Take out of oven, let cool for a few minutes, add some fresh chopped green onion & ENJOY!

 

PRINTABLE (right click to download):

balancedlifealoha.com

 

x. Heather

 

P.S. Make sure to tag me & use #balancedlifealoha so that I can see your creations!

 

Unplugged Weekends in Hawaii: VOLUME 3 – Waimea Falls Park & Botanical Garden

See the previous Volumes of our “Unplugged Weekends” Photo + Video Series below:

This Volume (3) captures our day having visited Waimea Falls Park & Botanical Garden.

Bella has been infatuated with all things flowers since she was a baby; and Niko, well he likes just about anything that includes bugs and/or being outside. So our family outings are often enjoyed in places like botanical gardens and parks.

Watch the video clip from our experience:

 

 

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After our park and waterfall adventure, we headed to Haleiwa for a meal.

We ended up at Farm to Barn Cafe. If you are ever in the area, their shrimp tacos are a must! The local mango kombucha was super refreshing also.
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x. Heather

 

 

 

Unplugged Weekends in Hawaii: VOLUME 2 -North Shore Beach Days

“Unplugged Weekends” was an idea that Santiago & I implemented last year. It came about because of the part of being a blogger that includes sharing your everyday life… well, it can sometimes get overwhelming or just simply distracting from being present during quality family time.

So, our unplugged weekends are still somewhat shared, but there’s no pressure to be posting in real-time, (like on Instagram stories, etc). However, for the sake of documenting our life journey – we still photograph our trips, outings, + adventures for keepsake purposes and to share later on. I’ve also started to shoot some short video clips to slowly start dabbling in the realm of video blogging (bare with me, lots to learn + at this point they are basically just what I would have posted on Instagram Stories, but instead stored on my phone to later upload to our Youtube channel). I hope that you enjoy these snippets from our ohana album!

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x. Heather

 

 

New Year GIFT GUIDE for YOURSELF// Top Item Picks for the SHOPBOP’S SALE ON SALE Event!

I did not participate in publishing any Gift Guides for the 2018 holiday season. However, a handful of my readers sent messages sharing their interest in such posts from me. Because of that interest, I figured that a “New Years Gift Guide” could be a super fun article to put together as a *TREAT YOURSELF THIS NEW YEAR* blog post. In doing so, I am also offering my item picks for the SHOPBOP‘s big “SALE ON SALE” event that is starting today, January 2, 2019, and lasts for the next 3 days! This sale consists of an EXTRA 25% OFF *certain* sale items by using the online code “HELLO2019”. Now although the final pricing amounts will be variable, head on over to the SALE SECTION to find your own deals, or shop the picks that I’ve shared and linked below:

  • CAMO SWEATPANTS – LINKED – HERE

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  • WHITE CREW TEE – LINKED – HERE

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  • STRIPED TEE – LINKED – HERE

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  • HIGHWAISTED LEGGINGS – LINKED – HERE

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  • STAR PRINT PAJAMA SET – LINKED – HERE

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  • BLUSH LACE UP SNEAKERS – LINKED – HERE

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  • OAT BOOTIES – LINKED – HERE

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  • SHERPA LINED SNEAKERS – LINKED – HERE

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  • WESTERN BOOTIES – LINKED – HERE

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  • SHERPA PULLOVER – LINKED – HERE

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  • (TWO PACK) LONG SLEEVE TEES – LINKED – HERE

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x. Heather

 

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Our Stay at The Four Seasons Resort – O’ahu, HAWAII

Together is our favorite place to be. Doing life as a military family, you really are forced in to the reality that “Home” is not a place, but rather wherever you may be together with your family. That’s at least what we have come to find and embrace.

Home is a feeling. 

Weekends together as a family in the house in which you live, yes, that is “being home”. However, family vacations in places that allow you to feel “together” and relaxed at the same time – there is almost no words to describe that level of happiness and fulfillment. It is just magical. And our stay at the Four Seasons Resort on O’ahu – was nothing short from just that, magic.

 

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Four Seasons Resort O’ahu is a beachfront island resort that sits on O’ahu’s west coast.

A 35-minute drive from Honolulu will bring you to Ko Olina Resort community on O’ahu’s sunny western shore. This is a 642-acre master-planned vacation and residential community with over 2 miles of coastal frontage and three natural + four man-made lagoons featuring white sand beaches.

The Four Seasons Resort is edged in the north end of Ko Olina, within the pristine nature preserve of Lanikuhonua (“where heaven meets the earth”). It’s nestled near the award-winning Ko Olina Golf Club and a quick few-minute drive to the Ko Olina Marina; which is Hawaii’s only private deep-draft marina where you can set off for fishing, sailing , and  whale and dolpin-watching expeditions.

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Pulling up to the grand entrance evokes all those “relaxing getaway” vibes, but although the size of the building may be grandiose – the atmosphere has perfected a balancing act between busy and calm. You have to experience it for yourself! ;)

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After we handed the keys to the valet, we were first welcomed by an authentic Hawaiian (fresh flower and kukui nut) Lei Greeting; a symbol of hospitality, love, respect, and the Aloha Spirit.

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Upon check-in, we were welcomed further with freshly made ginger lemonade for the adults and cold tropical juice for the kids – both equally refreshing and delicious. Then we were generously shown to our room and entered to find a stunning wall-to-wall ocean view, koi fish stuffed animal gifts for the kids, and a bamboo scroll filled a snack assortment of dried fruits.

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The first thing that the kids insisted on doing, was exploring the pools, of course! And boy, this resort DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. There are three different pools: the main and largest located in the center of the resort, the extremely serene adults only infinity pool + jacuzzi, and then the super fun kids-friendly/family pool.

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The latter was obviously Bella and Niko’s favorite and the concept of this kiddie pool is cooler than anything we have ever experienced before.

A portion of the shallow end contains a pebble/sand bottom which keeps the kids super intrigued and occupied within this concept of swim-beach-play all wrapped up in to one area.

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The overall grandness is seriously mesmerizing.

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Santi and I told ourselves, that one day in the future we will have to come again on an overnight adults’ only trip. That way we can fully enjoy the 18-and-over pool/jacuzzi too, because Good Lord, it is soooo remarkable!!

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Also, for those who are vacationing in Hawaii and choose to stay at the Four Seasons Resort on the island of O’ahu, aside from all of the amenities within the hotel grounds itself, you also have the option to walk right outback to the beach… So no worries: it has everything you could ever dream of for a perfect Hawaiian getaway. (Paradise Cove, “Hawaii’s Best Luau” is even located right next door!)

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Bella & I had some major mommy & me pampering time – I mean who doesn’t do this when presented with hotel robes?! ;)

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Besides the pool (a given), the kids’ other favorite parts of the resort included:

The “suuuuper comfy beds”, the “fancy hallways”, and of course the koi ponds!

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Overall, I cannot say enough great things about our experience at the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu. I would surely recommend it to anyone I know. Whether it’s for the occasion of a honeymoon, getting married (yes, they host weddings here too!), a baby moon, family vacation, romantic getaway, or just a fun weekend staycation – this resort is an all around hit!

Aloha & Thanks for Reading,

x. Heather

 

balancedlifealoha.com

 

Getting Ready for 2019 – The Year of GOOD ENERGY!

2018 has been the year of ALL AROUND BAD ENERGY.

And it is actually quite surprising to be saying that myself, seeing that I am comparing it to all other years – even the ones that consisted of miscarriage, loss, trauma, major heartbreak, and very scary life-threatening health incidents.

But still, without a doubt, 2018 has been the deadliest. As it’s coming to a close though, I have realized a few things. The reason why this year has been the worst, is because it has consisted of the largest amount of the silent but deadly killer. The subconscious stress that the burden of bad energy and wasted worries – is far worse than any “hard” life event including my miscarriage and other things that definitely were not easy to endure in the past either.

The reason being because of the silent toll that stress takes on the body, health, and mind. 

Though there is no doubt that stressful events are not easy on the those three pillars (body, overall health/wellness, and mind) at any time in life, but there is something extremely dangerous about the constant allowing of toxic energies to deplete our own daily energy allotments.

There is scientific proof (that appears in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology), that provides biological evidence validating the idea that there are positive and negative people in the world. However, even if you are a generally more positive person, being around those who tend to be more negative, can actually destroy you.

And that is because the bad energy created by or rubbed off on us by those all-around negative individuals (and situations in general), takes a toll on the body in the form of conditions like high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, stomachaches, migraines, poor circulation and more. Research has also shown that even just five-minutes of the anger (stress, etc.) you feel from certain situations, environments, or people, is damaging enough to impair your immune system for up to and possibly more than six hours!  Now if we regularly allow these effects of habitual bad energy to penetrate us, that can lead us down the path to more serious problems, like heart attacks, strokes, + more.

Now though science has confirmed that there are brain markers that can distinguish a negative thinker vs. a positive thinker, something that I have learned through personal psychological therapies (highly recommend for everyone regardless of your demeanor), is that nothing is set in stone when it comes to our mental health. I actually am SO committed to highering and protecting my energy now, that I am currently enrolled in BioFeedback Therapy at a Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, SPECIFICALLY to learn ways to re-wire (any and hopefully all) conditioned (throughout life via environment, peers, etc.) habitual thinking that negatively effects my body systems and overall health and wellness.

This Neuroscience approach is opposite of the allopathic approach that merely attempts to deal with symptoms (like anxiety, etc.) with medications, but aren’t actually treating the root causes. Anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, + —are results of physiological changes in the brain!

Surely yes, medication and supplementation of certain chemicals can reduce symptoms, but take those additives away and the processes that create the symptoms still haven’t been cured.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not implementing that all cases of taking medication are bad – definitely not; there are instances where the benefits for SURE outweigh the possible side effects (everyone’s healthcare plan will differ).

For me personally though, this is my journey and plan of action:

1.) Biofeedback therapy in which my brain processing speed, cardiac measures and neuropsychological processes are recorded, studied and then used in implementing neurofeedback by targeting parts of my brain that may not be functioning “properly” or in ways that are NOT creating positive body system effects (like steady blood pressure, cortisol responses, etc.) and instead are creating negative effects (like anxiety and high blood pressure) – essentially I’m training my neurons back to health.

2.) Exactly what I am explaining here in this article: the conscious daily choice of protecting my energy.

As 2018 has been nearing an end though, there have been seemingly daily issues that have been popping up. At one point I was thinking “What is next and when will this stop happening?!?” But what I have come to realize recently is this: These occurrences are popping up here at the end of the year, even more frequently than the obsessive amounts throughout the other parts of 2018; and that is because the storm that has been whipping me around, is finally passing and the tail end is showing that although rough waters were endured, the storm came to clear a path rather than to sink me!

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I honestly keep telling myself this, DAILY. 

And since the mindset started to sink in, I have been blessed with a few things. One being a recent health diagnosis. Though that may seem perplexing to some, the reality is that for someone who deals with chronic issues and symptoms and is fighting for answers, a supplemental diagnosis is actually a blessing. It puts a name to things, but more importantly, it allows healthcare providers who would otherwise shrug off reoccuring symptoms, to actually have some sort of baseline in understanding the patient. Besides all of that, it allows me to hone in on specific research and seeking more specific knowledge to further my health journey and evolve my healing process.

Also. The second blessing was the news that we were granted authority to move (final military move before retirement) and the plan that we wanted to execute, can now be implemented – which allows the best for our family and also enhances the journey of ridding all the BAD ENERGY! *happy dance*

I guess, all in all, my conclusion is that even after the most torrential and damaging rains there comes rainbows – and with extensive hardships comes extensive blessings.

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I have never taken the energy in my life SO SERIOUS. But I am the busiest I have ever been in my life now. And within my duties, I don’t have much extra time for nonsense nor do I have expendable energy for things, people, or situations that are not necessary, do not add to my growth as a human, or wastefully deplete my energy in any way. Before now, I really didn’t take a strong initiative to protect my energy. But after a year like 2018 – IT IS IMPERATIVE.

So in moving forward, before I react or allow myself to become emotional (which leads to negative physiological effects) about a situation (like someone wronging me or just overall bad vibes), I think to myself, “Is this worth the blood pressure elevation and the snowball effect of that stress?!?!” And the answer most always is, “NO. MY HEALTH IS MORE IMPORTANT.” And my health really IS more important; not only for myself and every day living, but for my family. Because they are my everything and they come first. When I allow someone (even a stranger or just not good vibes) to lower my energy, guess who suffers in return? Not just myself, but my family as well.

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So what else does this mean for the new year?

It means that 2019 is about living as an aligned person.

  • It means disconnecting from anyone and anything that does not align with my energy.
  • It means not feeling bad to say “No.” Whether that is declining a work assignment that doesn’t align with career growth, or even saying “No” to social outings that would cost too much energy. Whatever it is, there is no room nor need for guilt within the ALIGNMENT of making decisions that connect the dots of the plan for a successful journey of an all around positive energy-filled life (and WAY better years to come!)
  • It means only following social media accounts or pages that edify me and that my energy DOES NOT suffer from being inundated with whatever content the influencer shares. It means unfollowing any repeat-offenders of killers of good energy. Time is truly precious, I’ve come to really embrace that, so social media needs to only be used as a tool for my personal growth – so positive influence is all that’s permitted. 
  • It means fully understanding that self-care is NOT selfish, but rather a necessity in order to not deteriorate as a human being with lots of responsibilities (including a family and a healing journey).

Now these objectives might sound as easy to do as they are to simply list here. But, in reality, especially for someone who is prone to anxiety (and working on re-wiring anxious thoughts), it most likely won’t always be easy. But honestly, I wholeheartedly believe that it is worth the commitment.

Overall, I hope that in my openness to share this, that it can perhaps inspire someone else to examine the way in which they take care of their energy, and in return create positive strides towards a healthy alignment in 2019.

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Talk more soon.

x. Heather

P.S. I will share more about my new diagnosis and our upcoming move soon! Stay-tuned.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup Recipe – Easy To Follow!

If you have followed me on social media for a while, then you surely are aware that I am a “spontaneous cook”. Meaning that, I don’t ever follow recipes and I rarely ever write down the steps and ingredients of the meals that I create. Basically, I am a real life “Chopped” cooking show, except it is just me and also, the judges are my family members who can never get rid of me – lol.

But, a recent goal that I made, was to start documenting more of my spontaneous meal creations, especially the ones that I share via Instagram stories and that conclude with a great flavor and lots of interest from my readers/viewers. ;)

So, that is what brings me here. Yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t started making a soup like I had planned, and it was already nearing the time where I am usually half way done with making dinner! But I was still able to whip a soup up in time, and it turned out super delicious.

If you’re here because you watched the Instagram story videos of me making this soup, then I am super excited to share the recipe with you! If you happened to stumble upon this recipe post organically, well I am excited that you’re here too! This recipe makes a creamy butternut squash soup boasting of lemon-garlic flavors and made with coconut milk!

INGREDIENTS/

  • 1 large Butternut Squash
  • 1 can of Organic Coconut Milk (full-fat)
  • 1 tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or you can use butter if not vegan)
  • 1 head of Garlic
  • 2 Shallots
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 cups of Organic Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Aminos (because I don’t use soy sauce)
  • Salt/Pepper (per taste/preference)

DIRECTIONS/

Pre-heat oven to 385. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the large butternut squash on top (whole – do not cut). Then use a small kitchen knife to pierce the butternut squash all over evenly about 5-6 times for venting purposes. Once oven is pre-heated, place the baking sheet with butternut squash in to oven and bake (uncovered) for about 25 minutes.

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While the butternut squash is baking, prep the garlic and shallots by peeling skin and chopping in to minced-size cubes. Heat up your soup pot on stove-top. Once heated, add the extra virgin olive oil (or butter of choice). Then add the chopped shallots + garlic and fry between Low and Medium heat. Once browned, add 1 cup of the organic vegetable broth and deglaze pot. Add Salt and Pepper per taste/preference.

Remove the butternut squash from oven and let cool down for a few minutes. Once able to touch, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin and discard, then chop ends off (also discard), slice in half and then quarters. Remove and discard the seeds and stringy inside pulp. Chop remainder of butternut squash in to cubes.

Squeeze the whole lemon’s juice (using a citrus press) over top of the garlic-shallot mixture right before adding the butternut squash cubes to the soup pot.  Once the butternut squash cubes are added, higher the stove to Medium heat, and then pour the coconut aminos over top and mix with a large spoon. Then pour the entire can of organic coconut milk (including the top layer of fat) over top, followed by the other 1 cup of vegetable broth, mix well.

Cook on Medium heat until the butternut squash cubes become evenly soft. Once soft, blend the entire contents (mixed well) of the soup pot in a Vitamix or high-powered blender (being careful since hot – or you could cool down for a few minutes first). Once blended, pour back in to soup pot and decide if you want the soup to be less thick, if so – add more vegetable broth as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve & enjoy!

PRINTABLE (right click to download):

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As always,  make sure to tag me in your creations on social media! (@balancedlifealoha)

 x. Heather

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