Latest Posts

Unplugged Weekends in Hawaii: VOLUME 1 – Swimming With Sea Turtles

Unplugged Weekends was an idea that Santi & I implemented this year. Part of being a blogger includes sharing your everyday life… but sometimes that can 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, on Instagram stories, etc. However, for the sake of documenting our life journey – we still photograph our trips, outings, + adventures for keepsake and to share later on. I hope that you enjoy these snippets from our ohana album!


Until Next Time – Aloha,


x. Heather




Dining at Celebrity Chef Michael Mina’s HAWAIIAN FISH HOUSE – “Mina’s Fish House” Review

Born in Egypt, graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, and with over two decades of culinary influence, Michael Mina is a much-loved, award-winning celebrity chef across the United States (and beyond). He is also a restaurateur and cookbook author. His company, Mina Group, is a restaurant management company that currently manages more than 30 concepts around the world.

What I admire about Michael Mina as a chef, is not only his aspiration to bring food to life, but also in his seeking for BALANCE. Him and his team believe in the beautiful art of balance in flavors. Their four key ingredients?

Acidity, Sweetness, Spice, and Fat.

The balance of these four is what creates Mina’s bold dishes.

With that being said, I cannot speak highly enough about the flavors that I experienced while dining recently at one of his restaurants. Actually, this beautiful spot is Michael Mina’s first and only Fish House!

If you travel to Hawaii (or live in Hawaii), and want that FRESH line-to-table inspired seafood experience, then Mina’s Fish House is the spot that you need to visit!

The menu features pupus, small plates, a signature Hawaiian seafood tower, whole Hawaiian-style grilled and baked fish dishes, and so much more.

Altogether, service was phenomenal and the warm, handmade flat bread that was brought to our table after being greeted was so tasty it could make your eyes roll back! It was super fresh and also served with complementary spread toppings including a tzatziki sauce, olive tapenade, and homemade hummus – all equally incredible.

Okay, now on to the drinks: Mina’s Fish House features cocktails that are inspired by the Hawaiian beaches and fresh tropical fruits that are grown here on the island.  Many also have a Tiki theme to them while utilizing flavors like papaya, lilikoi, kiwi, and coconut.

The bar is at the heart of the Fish House with an acid-washed zinc and custom glazed ‘fish scale’ tiled bar face. Though we admired the design from a far, the drinks served to our table were both strong, tasty, and unique –  like the “Run Home Jack” in a ceramic pineapple and the “If Can, Can” served in a SPAM container:


Now before I go any further to talk more about the food, let’s pause for a second to appreciate the VIEW!

Mina’s Fish House offers a unique beachside dining experience with a seamless connection of the interior bar area with the outside open-air dining room. The decor is slightly rustic, yet the calming island vibes make you feel like you are on a 5-star resort vacation.

Beyond the main dining area, there are also multiple exterior decks that ultimately end at the beachside “feet in the sand” dining option.

It’s a definite one-of-a-kind restaurant, even in Hawaii.

Now there are classic fish dishes from Chef Mina’s repertoire offered, but also a daily “Market Catch” menu portion.

Seeing that our favorite fresh fish is ahi, we had to try the Ahi Tuna Tartare.  Though this plate is a definite signature of Mina’s, it has been reimagined here at his Fish House as a contemporary poke, and it did. not. disappoint!

In the spirit of balance, we also ordered a salad. The “Marinated Hass Avocado” was a perfected match of creamy fat (avocado) and tangy acid (pickled veggies/mushrooms). I actually want to visit again specifically for this salad and wouldn’t be mad at an extra pound or two of whatever that magical jalapeño dressing that this salad is served on top of…. ohhhh, so dreamy!

I want to thank Mina’s Fish House for having us, as well as for the sweet birthday surprise dessert in honor of my 28th birthday. My husband and I cannot wait until we visit again!

My Sincerest Aloha,

x. Heather

*DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored, our meal was gifted, but all opinions and thoughts shared are mine alone and completely genuine.

28 Random Facts About Me on My 28th Birthday

If you didn’t read my last year’s article “27 Life Lessons Before My 27th Birthday” – the theme behind these birthday posts stem from basically asking myself before each birthday (since becoming a parent) this question: “If I were sitting down with my kids as adults or teenagers, what would I have to share with them about *this* specific age?”

So, now turning 28 years old, a career-related revelation that most prominently sticks out to me is this:

I am not threatened by other women or other women’s success.  I have been in the blogging world for a couple of years now and have found a way to be inspired by other’s success without allowing myself to feel LESS THAN. This is possible because I possess the understanding that there is only one *ME* and only I can offer what I uniquely do. So, when I feel admiration (towards a blogger or even non-blogger), my genuine desire resides in what their gift can teach me within my own journey of becoming the best version of myself. I mean, everyone is a teacher to someone in some way; but once you allow yourself the title of “life-long student” (or I guess – “student of life”), your personal growth possibilities open up in endless ways!

Alright, enough preaching, now on to the 28 Random Facts About Me on My 28th Birthday:

  1. I have moved 20 different times in my 28 years of life.
  2. I am afraid of outer space. That may sound ignorant, but it just freaks me out and I hate thinking about it. (Still to this day I refuse to watch that space movie, you know the one with Sandra Bullock & George Clooney…)
  3. My right eye is smaller than my left eye.
  4. Also, my right foot is smaller than my left foot.
  5. If I could have any one superpower, it would definitely have to be the ability to speak any and all languages fluently!
  6. I had a 5.0/4.0 GPA in high school (yes, that is possible, because I took AP classes which are college-level). Then in college, I was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society in graduating with a 3.94/4.0 GPA.
  7. I am NOT a picky eater at all; and pretty much the only two things that I don’t like, are wasabi and fresh mango. I don’t care for the gritty, peppery-taste of fresh mango. Though funny enough, I love dried mango and “mango-flavored” things.
  8. Growing up, as a kid, I was pretty much a “tomboy”, and most of my friends were boys. I loved climbing trees, baiting live worms on my fishing pole, but hated wearing dresses. I also got in to a lot of trouble, like getting hit by a car while racing my bike down a steep hill when I was 5 years old.
  9. Our childhood babysitter had sons, them and my brother would all gang up and throw snowballs (with rocks and jelly inside of them) at me – so I learned to fend for myself at a young age, lol.
  10. Those same boys also pushed me in to the 10-feet-deep end of the swimming pool when I was 4 years old and still learning to swim. But, I basically just started swimming and that’s how that happened…
  11. On the day that my husband and I were waiting to get legally married (yes, we first got married at a courthouse and later had a wedding) we talked about our future kids and chose the names “Bella” and “Niko” in that conversation… and now here we are today with our precious Bella and Niko! :)
  12. I am obsessed with Colombian food. I could eat 4-5 arepas in one sitting, and I won’t even tell you how many buñuelos. My mother-in-law makes THE BEST!
  13. My astrology sign is a Cancer, and although I don’t know too much about the topic, everything that I have read and have been told about my sign is always SO ACCURATE!
  14. My husband’s personality is “INTJ” – basically the polar opposite of mine, LOL! I am an extrovert and my husband is an introvert – we pretty much BALANCE each other out though… for the most part ;)
  15. My most important “love language” is Words of Affirmation. Yup, I am a TOTAL words person.
  16. It may not be apparent, but I have never been one to shy away from confrontation. Though I fully disclose that I have learned over the years that there are times where confrontation should be avoided solely to avoid physical altercations or for other safety reasons… buuuut with that being said, in my younger years, this extroverted way of being, did earn me a bar fight with a girl in college (not proud of that). But now as a mom, my confrontations are things like this: When stopped at a crosswalk in Waikiki (a very crowded city where most people walk) and there is no room to move, but a stranger is smoking a cigarette in front of the group of tons of people and blowing their cancer smoke in our faces (including my kids) then yes, I choose confrontation. Or this: When I witnessed a group of 7 teenagers at the beach smashing GLASS beer bottles on a tree in the sand, yes, all 5-feet of me marched over there to give them a piece of mind and to order them to clean up the shards!
  17. I have never worn my shoes inside my house. Growing up we were not allowed to and that custom followed me in to living on my own, college even, and now my own home.
  18. A HUGE pet peeve of mine is LITTER!!!! I think one of the most disgusting things that a person can do, is throw trash on the ground or litter anywhere for that matter.
  19. On the topic of pet peeves, another disgusting thing in my opinion, is CIGARETTE SMOKING, yuck. I cannot stand the smell!
  20. At this point in my life, it is next to impossible to answer the question of “What is your favorite food?”….because food is life. However, if I was held at gunpoint and told to chose ONE favorite meal/food, it would be LOBSTER (w/ garlic, lemon, butter – – to be exact, haha).
  21. I didn’t eat sushi until I was in college, but now it’s pretty much a staple in my diet.
  22. I started my blog as a hobby and only recently started taking it more serious business-wise.
  23. My favorite delicacy are quail eggs. SO GOOD.
  24. I’m a night person, NOT a morning person. Though now being a parent, I don’t really get a choice, LOL.
  25. I’m obsessed with Japanese hand-painted ceramic and have a small collection of assorted-sized bowls. I think that they are timeless and so beyond beautiful.
  26. My hair is naturally VERY curly, like Shakira curly.
  27. If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be without a doubt, 1-million percent, ANTHONY BOURDAIN. </3
  28. I always knew that I wanted to be a wife and a mother. :)



Cheers to another trip around the sun!

x. Heather





Patacones (Fried Green Plantain) RECIPE

Plantains are VERY versatile. For starters, you can cook with them ripe AND/OR not ripe. And just like bananas, a green peel means that a plantain it is not ripe. There is not much flavor to an unripe plantain, but that is what makes cooking with them super versatile, plus the texture (once a green plantain is fried) is starchy and makes a perfect element for many different meals. On the other hand, once a plantain peel turns dark, almost a brown-black, they are ripe, have a sweet flavor and oftentimes used in dessert-style recipes.

But today I am sharing a recipe for fried green plantains, also popularily known as “patacones” or “tostones”.

We love to eat patacones like you would eat tortilla chips – with salsa (check out my Colombian “Aji” Salsa Recipe – HERE), and also use them as a “bread” or “bun” with meat and steak recipes as well. The texture is so addictively delicious!


  • 2 Green Plantains (this will make about 15-20 patacones, depending on the size of the plantains that you are using)
  • Avocado Oil for frying
  • Sea Salt to taste


  1. Cut the ends off the whole plantains, then slice long-ways and remove the peel.
  2. Slice each plantain in to about 1-inch pieces.
  3. Add enough avocado oil in to a medium-sized pot to cover half the height of the plantain slices, heat on Medium.
  4. Add the plantain slices to the heated avocado oil (single layer) and cook/fry for about 4-5 minutes per side (time will depend on oil temperature, so I usually gauge by the color); flip once the first side submerged in the oil is golden, and then carefully remove once the entire slice is golden.
  5. Place the once-fried plantains on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess avocado oil.
  6. After a few minutes of cooling, place the slices on parchment paper and use a hard flat surface (like a pot cover or plate) to press the plantain slices down firmly to achieve 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. Using tongs, add the plantains back in to the hot oil in a single layer and cook/fry again for about 3-4 minutes each side.
  8. Once crispy, remove the patacones from pot with a slotted spoon and again place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any extra avocado oil.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  10. Let cool or enjoy warm!

x. Heather


PRINTABLE (right click to download):



BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Kintsugi Wellness. +My Connection to Japanese Culture.

There’s something so fascinating by places and cultures that are SO complex, that even those whose job it is to figure them out, declare them “unknowable”.

Though perplexing, this isn’t a negative aspect… it’s actually wildly beautiful. Anthony Bourdain said this,  “I love Tokyo. If I had to eat only in one city for the rest of my life, Tokyo would be it. Most chefs I know would agree with me. For those with restless, curious minds, fascinated by layer upon layer of things, flavors, tastes and customs which we will never fully be able to understand, Tokyo is deliciously unknowable. I’m sure I could spend the rest of my life there, learn the language, and still die happily ignorant.”

Though specifically regarding the city of Tokyo, I feel that this sentiment spans to the Japanese culture altogether. And it’s, like I said, a beautiful thing.

I’ve been intrigued by Japanese culture for over a decade now. When I first moved to Hawaii, I lived in Waikiki, which is the tourist mecca of O’ahu. I resided smack dab in the center of the beach-city’s hustle and bustle. Amongst that first layer of life that I had, there was the aspect of being submerged in all new strange (read: unfamiliar to me) cultures and people. And if you didn’t know, one of the largest groups of tourists here in Hawai’i, are visitors from Japan. Honestly, I remember that my fascination began specifically with the children. I kid you not, throughout those years that I spent working (in a restaurant) and living daily life amongst Japanese families and strangers alike, I never once, NOT ONCE, witnessed a Japanese child misbehaving in public. And even as a 17, 18, 19-year-old (before becoming a mother was even a blimp on my life radar), that thought would cross my mind constantly! I was so impressed by how Japanese parents didn’t even seem to HAVE TO PARENT, lol! It’s like their children were born with the deepest form of respect for their parents that the reality of “listening” or “behaving” was actually just an instinctive way of being! It’s incredible and as an older, wiser person now (and a mother too) I still am deeply impressed and baffled by it.

Another connection of mine was formed actually in Los Angeles, California. Many are unaware of this, but I spent two semesters of college living in L.A. During that time, I was a full-time legal studies student, but I worked (also full-time) at a retirement community. The full story of my life in California is a long one and to be saved for another article. But during my job working with over 150+ residents all ranging from the ages of 65-95 years old, it was the most unique, toughest, yet rewarding job that I had ever held. In my time there, a lot of the residents took to me as they would their own grandchild. One in particular, still has an imprint on my heart today and will for the rest of my life. She was a Japanese/American who lived through the United States’ Japanese Internment Camps.

The Internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in the western interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific coast. My dear friend “A”, for her 75th birthday, was interviewed by a major publication and bravely told her story of being just a child when her business-owning parents were forced to give up all that they owned and along with their children, leave their home to go “live” in isolated camps – a direct response to Pearl Harbor. I won’t get in to politics here, but the tears that she shed and the way that her lean, yet strong 75-year-old body (she exercised every single day even in her 70’s) trembled while she told her haunting memories of that kind of childhood, are burned in to my memory forever. Remarkably enough, she followed with extrodinary triumph of thereafter creating a wildly successful life proceeding the War and the rest of her life altogether. Her story deeply impacted my soul and the way that I viewed my (just) beginning adult journey.

So beside witnessing the unique Japanese children behavior and forming a bond with a dear elderly friend, I also made Japanese friends who were my same age. That was on campus at Hawai’i Pacific University. Funny story, one of those HPU friends, was the first person to ever introduce all-things Japanese food in to my life. I remember him being wildly/borderline obsessed with SEAWEED, and how perplexing that first was to me (seaweed for breakfast – say what?! lol). I mean, I was raised in the Midwest (of the United States) and never before moving to Hawaii did I think that eating seaweed regularly would ever be on my plate! But being an extrovert, open-hearted and wildly curious to try new things – I WAS ALL ABOUT IT. I remember an old friend from high school that visited me in those first years of my budding worldly-influenced life, she was flabbergasted by my new beloved and regular diet that consisted of RAW FISH,  SUSHI RICE, SEAWEED, and everything else fully enjoyed with chopsticks. :)

To even further the story of my immersion, there was my actual academic studies. In one of my college classes at Hawaii Pacific, I had a Japanese/American Literature Professor who talked a lot about internal peace, the samurai, premodern Japan, and the history of the Edo Period. Now being someone who grew up with a U.S. Army Veteran for a dad, who was also an Airborne Ranger/Paratrooper (light infantry who jumped out of airplanes), any and all types of “Warrior” systems, always sparked interest in me.

Now although I have only briefly stepped foot in Japan (as a stop on my way to India – pictured above), I remember noticing how exceptionally clean and organized even the airport was!



Needless to say, Candice Kumai, the chef and author of “KINTSUGI WELLNESS” – today’s Book Spotlight, is someone whom I deeply respect and that truly inspires me.

In Japanese culture, “Kintsugi” or “Kintsukuroi” (金繕い) is an art form that reconstructs broken pottery, sealing the pieces together with gold to create something that is even more beautiful for all of its cracks and flaws (hence the stunning cover design of this book).

So in Candice’s “KINTSUGI WELLNESS”, she uses the practice of this art form and demonstrates how it can be applied to basically all aspects of our everyday life – to in return, yield radiant health and overall wellbeing!

According to Google Books, “The philosophy of kintsugi is not about perfection – it is about healing, becoming whole, and finding the beauty in our imperfections. Written in Candice’s warm, conversational style and filled with more than seventy-five gorgeous full-color food and lifestyle photos, KINTSUGI WELLNESS offers readers the tools to mend what ails them and to embrace and celebrate what makes them unique.”

Even more astonishing, is the fact that Candice herself, wrote, photographed, directed and produced this book!!! I don’t know about you, but that story alone is enough to intrigue me. I mean, it’s a work of art straight from her heart sharing her unique voice – offered to the world, with only the motive of bettering it!

In regards to the three years that it took her to produce this beautiful book, she shared:

“You see, I was writing in a very crowded wellness space, and as one of the original pioneers in this space, I decided it was time to walk away. I wasn’t going to play small or basic.

My grandmother then, was passing away in Japan, an unfit relationship ended, I wasn’t happy with writing “basic” or “clickbait”.

I needed to heal, to love to grow… I needed to go deep, and seal my past wounds. I needed to shine my brightest light, and stop being so afraid…

I want you to know– most of my career I have been scrutinized + criticized– being a public person is not easy. I never cared to be in the spotlight… rather, I want my work to shine (kaizen) + to help others:) (osettai) and that is all. Writing + creating content with integrity is how I have been able to do this.

I urge us all to let up on ourselves and one another. Yes, you will see imperfections in my work + my friends, that is what I am currently learning to let go of… Wabi sabi. Be gentle with thyself and others.”

So my friends, thank you for reading this article, not only was I able to storytell my own connection to this book, what it is about, and the culture in which it stems from – but it also gave me a chance to share the beautiful soul that is Candice Kumai. If you haven’t “met” her yet, take a peek at her website:, her Instagram, @candicekumai, or even more so, connect with her NEW PODCAST on “HOW TO SELF-LOVE and SELF MAKE IT!” here:


Lots of Love and Light,

x. Heather






Colombian Style SALSA (Ají) Recipe

Salsa is a sauce typically used as a dip (eaten with chips) and most often is tomato-based incorporating ingredients like onions, jalapeños or other peppers, and herbs.

There are endless styles of salsa and even within specific regions, each person’s recipe can differ. The recipes for “ají” or “salsa de ají picante” are no different. The first time I tried this universal condiment (Colombian style) was at a roadside restaurant in the mountains of Medellin – the capital of the Colombian province, Antioquia. It spoke to my tangy-loving palate on a soulful level.  From that moment, I knew that I had to create my own version!

This tasty, fresh Colombian style salsa can be made either mild or picante (spicy). It greatly compliments grilled meats, tostones, empanadas, or even just tortilla chips. In our household we basically put it on everything – even eggs! Some may create their ají as a smooth (by using a food processor) sauce, but we prefer it chunky-style.


  • 2 diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 diced green tomatoes
  • 1 diced/seeded jalapeño
  • 1.5 cups chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion (optional – I only add this sometimes)
  • 1.5 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 small lime’s juice
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder (omit if you add/use the chopped white onion)
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt/powder


  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the roma/green tomatoes, jalapeño, green/white onions and cilantro.
  2. Add the salt, lime juice, and vinegar. Mix and let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Then add the garlic powder, onion powder (only if you don’t use the chopped white onion), black pepper, chili powder, paprika, parsley flakes, celery salt/powder. Mix.
  4. Add the avocado oil and mix again.
  5. Then slowly start pouring in the water and mix until desired consistency (may need more or less).
  6. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving.
  7. Store in air-tight container for up to 7 days in refrigerator.

x. Heather

PRINTABLE (right click to download):


The Mother’s Day Guide to NOT Being a Perfect Parent.

Ever since I first became a mom, I have constantly dealt with (consciously and subconsciously) pressure to be the “perfect” mother.

Today’s society seemingly holds us at unreal standards and the parenting world can be both cutthroat and hostile. I mean, there’s a debate about pretty much EVERYTHING that we do… Fertility Treatments or Natural Conception. Perinatal Testing or No Testing At All. Sonograms or No Sonograms. Gender Reveal or Surprised at Birth. Pregnancy Announcing or Privacy Only. C-Section or Vaginal Birth. Home Birth or Hospital Birth. Pain Meds or All-Natural Delivery. Mid-wife or Conventional Obstetrician. Surrogacy or Carrying Your Own Child. No Children if Unable to Carry or Adoption. Circumcision or Uncut. Breastfed or Formula-fed. Single Parenting or Couple Parenting. Gay Parents or Straight Parents. Stay-at-home Mom or Working Mom. Co-sleeping or Alone in Crib. Spanking or No Spanking. Sleep Training or Cry-it-Out Method. Pre-school or Home-schooling. Organic Food or Not Organic Food. Vaccines or No Vaccines.  Fast-food or No Fast-Food. Sleep Overs or No Sleep Overs. Public School or Private School. Candy or No Candy. And the lists continues…

Then, additionally nipping at our heels, can be the misunderstanding from family or friends who don’t practice the ideal that is “EVERY PARENTING STYLE AND CHILD DIFFERS”. Furthermore, you add on the 50 lb. backpack of pure judgement from other parents or even audacious non-parents, coupled with the ridicule that some cold-hearted pediatricians spew from their mouths. All of it can collectively create a very heavy strain on any mother’s wellness.

HOWEVER, one day in the shower (this is where most of my epiphanies occur), I mentally came to a turning point in my motherhood journey – which was the harsh reality of that idealized “perfect mother” conception — it doesn’t actually make me a better mother, but rather only takes away from the overall joy that comes along with being a mother!

And what’s even more sad about this, is that I think most of us (already outstanding) mothers feel that pressure on a daily basis. It sneaks its’ way in to and through the everyday trials and triumphs of watching our children grow and learn, and even in to the growing journey of ourselves within it all!

I mean, we can read all of the self-help parenting tool books that exist, but the truth is that there is no PERFECT mother!


There is the mother who SHOWS UP, who offers unconditional support, and shows unconditional love. Who instinctively knows and DOES exactly what their children need of them. I’m talking about the things that you can’t read in a self-help book, find throughout an online mom forum, or even be “instructed” by a pediatrician! The stuff that God instills within you, the  magic that was given to you when He decided to bless you with the miracle that is children altogether. You were chosen to be a mother.

So I think its time for us (I know it definitely is for me), to release the chains that the “perfection pressure” has had on us and our mental/overall wellbeing. Instead of trying to be a perfect mother or better-than mother, or having all the right answers, or overcoming the shocking actions of our children sometimes – lets just focus on being the parents that our kids NEED US TO BE.

Every child’s needs will differ, but that’s part of the journey and fun of the wild ride, am I right?! Who’s in this with me?! Let’s banish the pursuit of perfection  and just be free to be fully present and loving! For that is what creates happy children.

*side-note: please don’t be judgmental, I’m not saying that just being present and loving is all that it takes to raise good kids, I’m not telling you how to be your child’s mother.. I’m simply raising the awareness that you DON’T need to feel the pressure of being “perfect”. My offering is the idea of listening and observing what our children’s behaviors tell of behind the scenes.. because THAT is a fruitful pursuit. 

Aside from my freeing ideology here, I also want to, in celebration of Mother’s Day,  give a shout-out to the most hardworking mothers that I’ve ever met. Those two being my own mom, and my mother-in-law; I Love You both so much, and want to thank you for allowing me to be the mother that I was uniquely destined to be.




Sending love to all you mamas out there!

x. Heather


P.S. I get frequently asked about my favorite motherhood and/or child-related products. FINALLY, you can CLICK HERE to find my essentials!





F.A.Q. May 2018

Q: When/Why did you move to Hawaii?

A: I moved to Hawaii in 2008, when I was 17 years old. The same day that I walked with my high school graduating class, I also boarded a plane to move to here! I didn’t want to wait through the summer like most high school grads do, so I enrolled in the very first summer semester that my University offered and I started classes a week after I landed on island. So, basically put, the reason as to why I moved to Hawaii is because it’s where I wanted to live and go to college.

Q: What college degree do you have?

A: My first degree and time in college, I majored in Political Science/Pre-Law (Legal Studies).  I then started my career in the law field a week after I graduated, as a Civil Litigations Paralegal. That was all before I got married. Then after I got married, had my first baby, and decided to leave the legal world behind me, I went back to college and earned a second degree – a Bachelors in Health & Wellness.

Q: How old are you?

A: 27.

Q: What is your ethnicity?

A: I actually had a DNA test done last year (bc my dad was adopted) and it broke down the intricacies of my complex ethnic origins, which include: Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Ireland, Israel, Russia, France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Armenia, Iran, Turkey (a few others but just extremely small percentages). My kids are 50% Colombian – and then 50% allll of that above, lol.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: The Midwest (US), in Chicago, IL.

Q: How did you meet your husband / When did you get married?

A: I met my husband through a roommate. We became almost instant best friends, and the rest is history ;) – just kidding… the short story is that we got legally married in 2012, just the two of us, at a tiny little Hawaiian courthouse and no one else in the world knew! Sounds crazy, but totally wasn’t, I promise it was beyond romantic being just us. We then had our formal wedding ceremony with both of our extended families and friends over a year later in Miami, Florida.

Q: How did you become interested in the world of Health and Wellness?

A: Once I was officially diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, my life perspectives shifted. Make sure to read the letter that I wrote and is posted on my ABOUT PAGE, as it goes deeper in to my health story there.


Now as for all of the questions that I receive in regards to favorite items or just general product recommendations as well as meal plans or ideas and recipes that I cook for myself and my family, +all the other Hawaii-related questions, please stay-tuned, as I will be publishing articles frequently sharing the most up-to-date information pertaining to the answers to all of those questions!

x. Heather





Cubed Avocado Balsamic Salad

I know that most people probably skip over any text leading up to the actual recipe in a.. RECIPE post, but I’m a blogger. And I do what bloggers do, share stories. Soooo, just a short one though! – – this is a chopped or cubed if you will, salad that I was introduced to by a co-worker back in 2011 and it’s been a staple in my meal roundups ever since. I recommend that it be enjoyed fresh, as the balsamic vinegar can break down the avocado if you let it sit for more than an hour or so.



  1. Cut avocados in to cubes, use a large spoon to gently remove pulp cubes from skin and place in to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Chop red onion and place in same mixing bowl.
  3. Cut (rinsed) cherry tomatoes in to halves and also add to bowl.
  4. Sprinkle black pepper over top the mix.
  5. Crush garlic flake salt over top the mix.
  6. Pour balsamic vinegar evenly over top the mix.
  7. Gently mix all ingredients (careful to not smash or mush avocados).
  8. Enjoy!


x. Heather

PRINTABLE (right click to download):




Balance your Gut, Change your Life! BIOHM Probiotics Review

If you’re new here, Hi. Also, let me start by saying that I am not a licensed medical practitioner. My thoughts and information shared are always based off of either personal experience, the research that I do, and/or scholarly readings.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about all things GUT!

So your intestinal tract (gut) is made up of a community of microorganisms, both good and bad. They are a natural part of the ecosystem known as the human microbiome. Ideally, the residents of the microbiome keep each other in check, and in return, the gut is “in balance.”

However, a gut that is imbalanced can not only lead to digestive issues, but also spark chronic health ailments, and other woes. This balance can easily be disturbed by a variety of factors, most in which we encounter on a daily basis. This includes things like poor diet, high stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, pesticides and environmental pollutants, over the counter medicines, and the list just goes on and on.  Also worth noting: individuals who eat mostly processed foods have a varied gut composition compared to those who eat mostly whole foods including fresh fruits and vegetables.

Furthermore, it’s been found that genetic makeup and our time in-utero can also have an impact on gut health. However, though we inherit the main essential building-blocks (that is DNA) from our parents, the complete story of our microbiome is even more complicated and influenced.

From birth (and some studies even show before birth!), gut microbes are responsible for essential duties related to digestion, nutrient metabolism, developing then activating the immune system, as well as the production of neurotransmitters impacting behavior and cognitive functions. To further the story, let me share these published findings…

Gut microorganisms serve as a barrier against pathogenic organisms. Second, they play an important role in: digestion and metabolism of colostrum, breast milk, formula, and weaning foods in infants, and a wide variety of food in adults; the breakdown of toxins and drugs; vitamin synthesis; and ion absorption. Trophic functions include the growth and differentiation of the epithelial cells lining the intestine, and the maintenance of the immune system including tolerance to food antigens (Guarner & Malagelada, 2003). With complete colonization of the gut, which occurs within approximately three years of life (Koenig et al., 2011; Weng & Walker, 2013), immune homeostasis is achieved.

So up until about three years old, the human body’s immune system is not fully developed due partly to the microorganisms in the gut not being completely colonized until that age. Thereon after, everything that we are surrounded by, consuming, being exposed to – takes control over directing those microorganisms and the body’s level of gut balance correlating to (also) the strength of the immune system. (balanced gut = overall wellness)

*NOTE: for a phemonimal book about the brain-gut link – click here

I’m sure that you now may be thinking, okay so what can we do to improve our current situation (whatever that may be). Well, like I said, I cannot give you medical advice, but what I can offer is my experience thus far from my own journey in seeking a balanced, healthy gut. It’s been tough as it’s been long; and with an endless amount of research, scholarly papers, and differing claims out there in regards to products and probiotic supplements, I once thought that I’d never find *the right one* for my body.

I was in a trial-and-error stage of searching for the right probiotics for quite some time. I purchased many myself, as well as have been gifted various brands too. But sadly, after years, I still was never fully confident in recommending or completely sharing any of those tried with my readers (& I’ve been asked many times for my recommendation).

But with a perhaps change in luck within the past couple of months, combined with continued perseverance, I NOW HAVE PROBIOTICS THAT I AM CONFIDENT IN AND THAT HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE WITH! It makes me beyond joyful to finally be able to offer this review too, now that I can feel fully confident in doing so.

So let’s get on with it shall we?!


Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D., an NIH-funded researcher since 1993, and gut expert. He is  the leading fungal scientist in the world, with 400+ scientific papers on his research and has been cited over 1,800 times. Ghannoum is the same scientist who named the “microbiome” – and yes, HE is ALSO the one who founded this company (BIOHM) that I am sharing with you!!! Impressive, huh? Well that’s just the beginning…now let’s talk about the products:

Your gut contains both bacteria and fungi. However, ordinary probiotics only address bacteria, ignoring fungi’s role in digestive balance. By combining good bacteria + good fungi + digestive enzymes, BIOHM helps maintain the balance of bacteria AND fungi in your gut, all while breaking down digestive plaque.

What is Digestive Plaque?

DID YOU KNOW/ Just like plaque building up on your teeth, plaque can also build up in your gut! It’s called digestive plaque. And within this plaque hides bad bacteria and fungi, making it difficult for ordinary probiotics to reach, control, or eradicate them.  This makes maintaining general digestive balance a difficult feat to overcome.

Okay, but wait just a second. Before I go any further in to the probiotic ability to balance the gut, let me just share a quick list of ADDITIONAL BENEFITS that such quality and effective probiotics can offer. I won’t go in too much detail below, but I can offer links to more books that discuss these other areas and also prepare to publish additional gut-related posts incorporating the other benefits, in the near future for you guys!

Other Benefits/

  • Less Stomach Bloating.
  • Clearer Skin.
  • Decreased Brain Fog.
  • Decreased Food Sensitivities.
  • Prevent/Treat Diarrhea.
  • Prevent yeast infections and overgrowth issues stemming from antibiotic use.
  • Better absorption of vitamins and minerals which leads to other great benefits like overall well-being, but also brain health and protection of the brain from ailments such as dementia/Alzheimers, etc.
  • Improve the mucosal immune system, which can decrease inflammation, which in return can also alleviate pain-related issues that inflammation can cause, like arthritis.
  • Because serotonin is made in the gut, if your gut is not functioning properly, then chances are your serotonin-production is also affected. This can lead to low serotonin which is a cause for things like depression and mood disorders. THEREFORE, probiotics have the ability to also fight against mental health ailments as well!
  • Bad bacteria thrives on sugar, and in return the body is tricked in to craving sugar. Therefore, balanced bacteria = balanced cravings, and less ailments related to high sugar intake.
  • Improved metabolism/weight control because the good bacteria is able to convert/create an ideal amount of short-chain fatty acids, which are responsible for burning fat.
  • + more.

Alright, now that I feel like I got that off my shoulders, let’s get back to the products that I am LOVING! I have many BIOHM products, but for the sake of this post not becoming the length of a short novel, I am going to share my two absolute favorites at the moment, and in the future I will publish a follow-up review and further awesome products.


One capsule per day, with or without food. I prefer to take it with food especially when first starting a new probiotic, as it lessens any side affects that can occur while your body becomes acquainted with the good bacteria, good fungi, and enzymes. However, I have to let you know that with other brands, no matter if I would take them with food or not, I could NEVER get passed being nauseous or feeling sick from them. So these BIOHM HEALTH probiotics have been THE ONLY to surpass this feat with me – hooray!!

Additional perks of these probiotics are that they do not contain synthetic fillers, and are allergen-free too. Here is the real homerun though… no refrigeration is required and still, the probiotics MAINTAIN THE ABILITY TO SURVIVE STOMACH ACID and do the essential job of addressing total gut balance! WOO-HOO!!!


Okay, my honest experience with the colon cleanser: the very first time that I took one of these capsules, was at nighttime. My husband had taken one too and lets just say that we were up past 1 a.m. binge-watching a Netflix series. Alright, you may think that’s totally normal, but hey – we are parents with two young kids, so there is really no staying up that late unless you want to be literal zombie parents the next day! HA! So, what I’m saying is, we didn’t realize that a component of the colon cleanser is licorice root. Licorice root (containing glycyrrhetinic acid) blocks the body’s breakdown of cortisol (this IS a good thing, because it can enable a restoration of normal levels of the hormone for those who need it).

However, its not uncommon for many people to have the highest levels of cortisol at nighttime. So, taking a supplement with something like licorice root, that blocks the breakdown of cortisol, can in return leave you feeling more “energetic”. This CAN be beneficial, but just not right before you need to go to sleep – lol. This can affect the ability to fall asleep, or create that feeling of a “second wind” in the evening.

PLUS! I am someone who deals with adrenal fatigue (common in those who have autoimmune conditions), and my personal diagnostic tests have shown that I still struggle with high levels of cortisol in my body at most times unfortunately. THEREFORE,  I strongly suggest that this COLON CLEANSER be taken with breakfast and/or lunch, but not in the evening.

Okay, now let’s move on to discuss other utilizations of this product…

SO, first of all, it is a proprietary formula that combines a digestive herbal blend and probiotics. It’s meant to be utilized as a “7-Day Cleanse” and one package comes with 14 capsules (2 pills/day). Therefore, it’s not something that you would take everyday.

*there’s actually dangers in taking a cleanser everyday, because of “laxative dependence” which can permanently damage your digestive tract and make you dependent on laxatives for bowel movements

However, if you are someone who is dealing with bloating that maybe other remedies are not treating properly, or if you have consumed an unhealthy diet for a long period of time and need an aid in flushing out all of the garbage/toxins/digestive waste rotting in your gut – then this product may be a great tool for you! I don’t use primarily digestive cleansing supplements all too often, but this is by far the most efficient that I have tried, and also offered no negative side effects! (just don’t take before bed like I said, lol)

I would describe the experience like cleansing your insides with a digestive tract vacuum cleaner! :O

Oh, also like the probiotic supplement, the colon cleanser does not need to be refrigerated, has no artificial ingredients or sweeteners, and is allergen-free too!


Because of my all-positive results with BIOHM HEALTH, I applied to be an affiliate member of their team, and so… you are looking at (well not physically, but figuratively) the newest BIOHM HEALTH AFFILIATE!!! This means that I feel so confident in my experience and these products, that I am basically a spokesperson with the ability to offer you guys a unique discount code! :) This also means that I will be afforded the ability to access more tools which can further my knowledge in regards to all things digestive health, and in return – share with you!


And to be transparent with you, yes, I make a small commission off of sales, but that just correlates to me being able to continue to share (and share even more in the future) experiences, products, and information like this article provided, with you all!! So thank you for reading, and thank you for your continued support – always!


As promised, here are links to a few of my favorite books that go in to further correlations of gut health and overall wellness:





Cheers to The Pursuit of Happy, Balanced Guts!


x. Heather


BIOHM Health Gut Guide
The Infant Microbiome: Implications for Infant Health and 
Neuro-cognitive Development.
Irene Yang, PhD, RN, Postdoctoral Fellow, Elizabeth J. Corwin, PhD, 
RN, FAAN, Associate Dean and Professor, Patricia A. Brennan, PhD, 
Professor, Sheila Jordan, RN, MPH, Graduate Student, Jordan R. Murphy, BS, Nursing Student, and Anne Dunlop, MD, MPH, Associate Professor