Archive for the ‘Tropical Petals’ Category

FTR: The Best Colleges?

September 14, 2011

Since when is a statement such as this something to be proud of:  “UH ranked A+ for B students”?  Or to drive the nail down even further:  “UH is where non-superstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving”?

I don’t take offense to the last part–everyone, no matter where you are, should be accepted and thrive.  However, to basically say that UH is a place for non-superstars is quite offensive.  It is a statement that implies, among other things, that only non-superstars go to UH.  So I guess I’m a non-superstar.  And so are all of the people I know who went to UH.  We’re all non-superstars then.

So what exactly is a superstar anyway?  Someone who goes to an Ivy League school? Someone who graduates high school with a 4.0+ GPA, perfect SAT scores, does community service, is an accomplished musician, can speak 3 languages, and a star athlete?  Someone who will then attend this Ivy League school that costs $50k+ a year in order to get a piece of paper proving your knowledge in some useless subject that you wrote some convoluted thesis on in order to impress people with all that you know just so that you can, upon graduation, join the millions of unemployed, except you will be paying back the equivalent of a mortgage payment in student loans but instead of owning a house, you have a piece paper.

So that’s a superstar?  Someone without the smarts to realize that in this day and age, college is what you make of it, and you don’t need to go to an Ivy League college, or any expensive, private, &/or out-of-state college for that matter, in order to succeed in life? In fact, some people (think Steve Jobs) don’t even need to go to college in order to succeed in life.

College is what you make of it, no matter where you go.  But before you go to college, be smart, and calculate the costs of it.  It doesn’t make sense to go to an expensive college and incur $100k+ of debt just so you can become a teacher.  Incurring that kind of debt only pays off if you’re going into a high-paying field, such as becoming a  medical doctor.

In sum, go check out my earlier post regarding the “C” student.  It’s not good to be the “A” student.  So perhaps a statement such as UH being ranked an A+ school for the B student is actually a compliment.  Our country doesn’t need anymore A students.

KCC Farmer’s Market Tropicals

May 13, 2011

Get in touch with your creative side and create your very own flower arrangements with fresh cut tropicals from the KCC Farmer's Market and striking baskets from East Asian Basket Company. This arrangement took about 10 minutes to put together, and cost about $25 to make. If you bought this same arrangement in a flower shop, it would cost about $60. Whether you make it yourself, or buy a tropical arrangement, though, it is a much better use of your money than buying a rose or spring flower arrangement. This is Hawai'i--those types of flowers die fast. Tropicals, on the other hand, can last over 2 weeks with minimal care. The tropicals that you see in this arrangement are one week old, but barely show their age.

If you need fresh cut tropicals, then KCC’s Farmer’s Market is the place for you!  All of the above flowers came from this market except for the pink & green leaves which I grow in my yard.  I got the yellow & orange claw heliconia and the orange purpurea from Ska Tropicals, the pink anthuriums from Nita’s Flowers, and the sexy pink hanging heliconia from another vendor that I didn’t get the name of (but is somewhat across of the pizza vendor).  The flowers for this arrangement cost less than $20.  The basket, which I got from East Asian Basket Company on Queen Street–simply the best place to go for your basket needs–was approximately $5.  Add in the Oasis and the plastic tray for under the Oasis, and in total, this arrangement costs approximately $25 to make.  Furthermore, it’s really not hard to put together–start with the center, which is the tallest piece.  Then, on either side of it, place two shorter pieces.  Then fill according with shorter flowers, and hide the Oasis with greens.  And remember–less is more!  Simple arrangements are a lot more pleasing to the eye than cluttered ones that have no center in which to draw the eye.

Tropical Petals 101: Rainbow Obake

May 22, 2010

Anthuriums on the Big Island are cheap, like crazy cheap.  After all, all the anthurium farms are on the Big Island.  When I went to the Hilo Farmer’s Market last year, one vendor tried to sell me a bucket of anthuriums (containing perhaps 2-3 dozen anthuriums) for only $5!  On the other hand, when I went to the KCC Farmer’s market on Oahu today, I walked away with a half dozen Rainbow Obake anthuriums from Green Point Nurseries for $5.

Rainbow Obake Anthurium: There are other anthuriums out there that combine green and pink, but this variety is, in my opinion, a perfect balance of green, pink, and white. Furthermore, notice how the veins on these anthuriums are well-defined in pink.

Don’t get me wrong, though, because this price for these anthuriums is dirt cheap on Oahu (which has to import anthuriums in from the Big Island). In fact, Green Point Nurseries is from the Big Island.  When I worked at the flower shop, I loved when our anthuriums arrived from the Big Island because every shipment of anthuriums was always different.  The colors always changed depending on what was growing, and whenever we got in pink & green anthuriums, I always wanted to make arrangements that utilized two of my favorite colors.  However, today was the first time I ever saw the Rainbow Obake variety and I just had to buy it!  Luckily, I had been at the market early enough to find them since Green Point Nurseries sells out extremely fast and thus, it is imperative that one go early for the best selection.  I bought these anthuriums because I wanted to see how it would mesh with my arrangement of Sexy Pink hanging heliconia that I had bought earlier in the week.

Rainbow Obake Anthuriums & Sexy Pink Hanging Heliconia: Notice that the Sexy Pink hanging heliconia I bought on Tuesday is still going strong. And I didn't even change the water yet (but I really need to)!

It’s weird to think that anthuriums and heliconia are actually not native species to Hawai’i.  Anthuriums were first introduced to Hawai’i in 1889 and heliconias (depending on the specie) were not introduced until the 1950s.  On the other hand, the Obake Anthurium hybrids originate from here.  Nevertheless, these tropical flowers have become synonymous with Hawai’i, and grow extremely well here in our hot, humid climate. Anthuriums, after all, can last more than 2 weeks, but careful care is crucial.  In order to ensure a long life for anthuriums, stems should be cut and water replaced every two days.  Furthermore, one should mist anthuriums daily with a spray water bottle.

A fun juxtaposition of tall & bold and short & sweet--this will make the perfect centerpieces for my wedding!

Tropical Petals 101: Sexy Pink

May 18, 2010

Ten years ago, if you told me that I would end up working almost 3 years at a flower shop I would have laughed at you.  After all, a job like that was inconceivable.  Then again, ten years ago, if you told me that I would now be working as a teacher, I would have laughed even harder.  But that’s another story for a different time.  Working at the flower shop was a real love-hate relationship.  I loved the creativity and color that came with working with flowers.  I loved learning how to arrange flowers from my aunt.  I loved being able to see my brother and his family (they owned the shop) all the time.  On the other hand, I hated illogical customers that demanded replacement flowers because they didn’t seem to get it that “Hello–we live in Hawai’i where most flowers (think imported flowers like roses, tulips, lilies, and all those other dainty, fickle flowers) don’t survive 1 day in a hot house with no central a/c!”

Lesson #1:  Don’t buy flowers that can’t stand the heat unless you’re prepared for a fast death.

Pink + Green: Called "Sexy Pink," this hanging heliconia sells extremely fast in flower shops. Expect this cut flower to last at least 5 days in a hot house (but be sure to change the water frequently and cut the stems every time the water is changed).

Lesson #2:  Embrace the vibrant colors, bold shapes, and clean lines of tropical flowers.  Not only are these flowers extremely fun and modern, but they are relatively cheap compared to imported flowers.  Furthermore, they thrive in Hawai’i’s hot, humid climate and hence, don’t die fast!

Fresh Food Smart: Okinawan Spinach

April 24, 2010

Two years ago, a co-worker introduced me to a vibrant-colored, cholesterol-lowering plant called Okinawan Spinach (Gynura Crepioides) that she grows:

Purple & Green: The vibrant colors of the Okinawan Spinach plant that is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties.

As she raved about the medicinal properties of this plant, I started thinking about the value of eating fresh from the garden.  If I could start eating like I was stranded on the island of Lost, perhaps I could escape all of the health problems that run in my bloodline.  However, it’s taken me two years to finally commit to that theory.  A recent visit to the KCC Farmer’s Market inspired me to finally committing to this theory.  As I picked up baby romaine lettuce from the Nalo Farms stand, my eyes fell to the bright purple leaf of Okinawan Spinach and I immediately grabbed a package of it.  I also picked up a couple Okinawan Spinach plants from a nursery selling at the market in the hopes that one day, I can just go into my back yard and pick my spinach.  Okinawan Spinach, though, does not taste like the regular spinach one buys in the grocery store as it has a somewhat bitter, rough taste.  I do not like Okinawan Spinach raw.  However, it makes for an awesome linguine:

15-Minute Meal: Okinawan Spinach Garlic Linguine

I think this is probably one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, things I have ever cooked.  I quickly saute the Okinawan Spinach in 1 tbsp olive oil, along with garlic, basil (also fresh from Nalo Farms), mushrooms (I forgot to pickup Hamakua Mushrooms at the Farmer’s Market so I had to settle for imported ones from the store), salt, and pepper.  Then I toss in 1 serving size of cooked linguine and serve.  This is easily prepared in under 15-minutes (while the linguine cooks for 10 minutes, I wash the spinach and pick the leaves off the stems, chop the basil, garlic, and mushrooms; after the I drain the linguine and set it aside, I use the same pot and throw in the rest of the ingredients which only takes about 1-3 minutes to cook). If you stick to eating only a serving size of linguine, then this meal has approximately 350 calories, and is chock full of healthiness.

The Miraculous Basil Plant: Basil is being studied for its antioxidant properties, ability to boost the immune-system, anti-inflammatory effects, enhancement of circulation, stabilization of blood sugar, and ability to improve respiration.