Poke, Pareos and Poi; Maui Nō Ka ʻOi

… jk about poi tho.

I sometimes forget this was intended to be a travel/adventure blog since it turned into a bit of a cancer journal. Well, I finally have a trip to report on and have been putting it off, mostly because I’ve felt like crap lately. Let’s dive in…   

As soon as I got vaccinated and received doctor’s approval to travel, I hopped on a plane to Maui. I had the whole row to myself which felt a bit like winning the lottery. After hugging my sis and nephews, I immediately went to Tamura’s for a poke bowl and then hopped in the ocean. Priorities. 

I stayed at the Royal Lahaina since my parent’s house is being rented, which was sweet because it felt more like a relaxing vacation. I read a lot of books, laid in the sun, swam in the ocean, and adventured as much as my body allowed. I hopped over to Oahu for a few days to see one of my college roommates and eat Hula Pie.

Two of my girlfriends flew in for a couple days and I got to show them some of my favorite secret spots on the island. We watched an epic sunset from a catamaran, walked through a magical forest, spent the day in my favorite waterfall, ate more poke and watched lots of Friends

One of the main reasons we flew out to Maui was to celebrate my nephew’s 10th birthday. First his big brother surprised him, then I flew in a few days later and then my parents flew in a couple days after that. After the year we all just had, it was so lovely to just be together as a family. We ate pizza, swam, and spoiled the birthday boy with alllll the Legos. 

The island seems like it’s not ready for tourists quite yet, or at least it wasn’t when I was there. Restaurant reservations are all booked up, rental cars were going for as much as $900/day and people were renting U-Hauls, places ran out of food, and they’re not able to let guests in full capacity until more locals get vaccinated. So just do your research before you book a trip and don’t expect as much aloha as you may have experienced pre-pandemic. 

I actually felt like crap the first bit of my trip because I was on my monthly steroids but I truly believe the Hawaiian waters are healing. 

There were several situations where I was like I’m not sure I’ll be able to do something but I’m still going to try, and I surprised myself with what I was able to do.  I had to take a tiny plane to and from Oahu and wasn’t sure I’d be able to get up the sketchy ladder stairs by myself, but I just went for it and was totally fine. 

I was also worried about getting in and out of my favorite waterfall but that sure didn’t keep me from trying. I wouldn’t have been able to on my own so thank God for good friends. If that isn’t a metaphor for life, then idk what is. 

Hawaii is pure magic. 

This was a perfect first trip post pandemic/cancer diagnosis. I could adventure a little and relax a lot. I can’t wait until I’m able to travel like I used to but for now Hawaii will do.

Also, my freckles are back. 🙂

alooooha

A Day in the Life – on Chemo Steroids

Wanna know what being on chemo steroids is like?

It’s 3am. You’re wired from insomnia, in excruciating back pain, full-on sweating.

Then you…

Read an entire novel.

Take Pepcid so you don’t die of heartburn the second you eat something.

Grind through a work project that would typically take 4 hours in approx. 55min.

Create an itinerary for your friend’s upcoming bachelorette party.

Eat 500 white chocolate cookies from Subway.

Send some emails.

Immediately regret emails.

Eat a pickle.

Edit the grammar of old Tweets.

Eat a banana.

Apply heat pack to back.

Scarf down a huge breakfast.

Write a review of the book you read earlier.

Get lost in a Pinterest rabbit hole of delicious-looking food recipes.

Eat carrot cake.

Work on 35 more work tasks simultaneously.

Reapply heat pack to back.

Glance at clock and realize it’s only 8am.

Online shop.

Overthink every single word spoken and typed all day.

Plan outings for the weekend then talk yourself out of them.

Google pain symptoms for the millionth time, as if anything has changed.

Text everyone in contact list to say “hi”.

Eat chips and guac.

Daydream about having a hot-tub to sooth back pain.

Text cousin with hot-tub.

Apply heat pack to back.

Brainstorm gift ideas for someone’s who’s birthday isn’t for another 6 months.

Scroll TikTok.

Eyeroll for 5 minutes at the video you found that says going to the LACMA lanterns is “cheugy”.

Eat Cheetos dipped in Del Taco hot sauce.

Open phone to do something and immediately forget what you were in the middle of doing.

Update bucket list.

Yell at your oh so sweet and extremely helpful mum for no reason.

Change Spotify playlist for the 100th time.

Start planning a random dinner party.

Meticulously read through a work email to ensure you understand exactly what it says.

Worry you possibly read emails wrong in the past.

Eat mashed potatoes.

Deep dive Yelp for future restaurant reservation ideas.

Map out closest thrift shops.

Massage swollen face.

Clean out inbox.

Scour internet for specific tube top.

Try to start a series on HBO but don’t follow through because you are having a hard time focusing.

Start a new book. But stop because of same focusing issue.

Attempt to quiet your mind from reliving horrible moments from the last year.

Browse Goodreads to update book list.

Google ways to reduce swelling from salt consumption.

Design a graphic for a friend’s new business.

Knead sore calves.

Remove all clothes because fabric hurts to touch.

Research online classes to learn new skills.

Reapply heat pack to back.

Google anxiety coping mechanisms.

Decorate dream home in your mind.

Cry in discomfort and extreme hot flashes.

Make notes in phone to remember how and when these damn steroids affect you.

Stress about weight gain from all the crap you ate today.

Giggle at cancer satire insta account that perfectly sums up your situation.

Reapply heat pack.

Eat chips.

Force yourself to realize this is all temporary, will pass in a day or two, you’ve been through so much worse & YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS.

All while laying flat on your back in bed because ow.

*slightly exaggerated for emphasis…but not really.

I write notes on the tops of pill bottles to easily grab them. My steroid is Dexamethasone.

Books I Read on Vacay

I just went on vacation to Hawaii and I brought 3 books with me. I was reading a book before my trip that I couldn’t get in to so I ditched it and bought fun summer books that are easy to read.

First I read Beach Read by Emily Henry. It was super easy to get in to and so sweet. It made me want to fall in love again and also made me want to write a book someday. Maybe I’ll comprise some of my blog posts later, who knows. I highly recommend, especially if you’re going on vacation and need a good book to lay by the pool with.

Next up I read a Reese’s Book Club rec, Northern Spy by Flynn Berry. I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. It has similar vibes to Conviction (also from Reese’s Book Club) which I read recently and loved too.

Lastly I read People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, the author of the fist book I mentioned. I couldn’t help but think about one of my best friends while I read this book EXCEPT NOT in a romantic way. Just that we’ve been friends for so long (since we were 4) and how we’ve traveled the world together (his mother is a flight attendant) and he would join me on vacations often. It was sweet to reminisce but hard to focus (I had to reread several pages).

I finished this book at home and I probably would have read through it faster if I had a beautiful beach or pool to read it by.. I thought it was ok but wasn’t as invested in the story as much as I was with Beach Read. Still a good vacation book though.

Honorary Mention: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, another Reese’s rec. I actually read this one a while back BUT I got to be a guest at a book club for a day to discuss this book. I met one of my college friend’s on Oahu for the weekend who was traveling with some of her friends from San Francisco. They are all in a book club together and luckily I had read the book they were discussing. I actually just gave this book to my BFF to read because I knew she would like it. She texted me one morning saying she woke up in the middle of the night to finish the book. It reads like a Rolling Stone interview and is roughtly based on Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. They’re making it into a show and I can’t wait to watch.

Wish every book club looked like this

BFF had about a week before she popped out another baby so I Amazoned (lol is that a word?) her Malibu Rising, by the same author of Daisy Jones since she loved it so much and I wanted her to be able to relax and put her feet up before bb came. She loved it and read it in days. Now it’s my turn to read.

She also ordered the first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid called The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I can’t wait to read because I’ve seen several TikToks about how it’s their favorite book.

I actually have SO many books in the line up right now waiting to be read but I always love to hear recs so send them my way!

“Who We Are” – Tyrone Wells

I’ve mentioned before that Tyrone Wells is my favorite singer/songwriter. I’ve been to tons of his live shows, his music always touches my heart and played a small part in helping me get out of a toxic relationship (read more here.) Today he released a new single called Who We Are and you should run, not walk to go listen to it.

I was alone in the hospital, just days after I was diagnosed last year, and Tyrone hosted a live performance on his instagram which was so perfectly timed with what was going on in my life. So I reached out to him on insta and thanked him. From there he would occasionally check in and see how I was doing and started following my cancer journey. (Side note: I know some people have a problem with the word “journey” when talking about their cancer experience but I think it’s pretty accurate and don’t hate it at all). Anywhooo back to my story- earlier this year Tyrone asked for my email to send an unreleased song and holy moly what a thoughtful gift. I immediately burst into tears because every bit of that song spoke to my soul. He said if I liked the song, it could be a sort of an anthem and he was 100% correct. I thanked him for thinking of me and said how it completely resonates with my life but it’ll touch so many people as well. He said I was the first person outside his work crew and family to hear it. Wow how special. This whole cancer thing really sucks but there have been some really beautiful moments to come out of it and this was one of them.

I told all my closest friends to listen to the song today and they all wrote me back saying they got chills.

The bridge goes “I will turn the pain into tears of gold, I’m not caving in, I’m not letting go. When I hear them say, that it can’t be done, I’m not laying down, I will overcome.”

You have to hear it because the whole song is powerful.

Last week, I was flying from Oahu to Maui which is a 40 min flight in a 12 passenger plane and I kid you not, I listened to this song on repeat the whole ride. It was really hard to keep the tears from falling down my face in that tiny airplane. I was also on Decadron which makes me super emo… I was so moved that he shared it with me and thought about me and my journey. I also thought about all I have been through this past year. The months in the hospital alone, the night in the ICU where I almost died, the pain, the nausea, the anxiety, the sleepless nights, learning how to walk again, the isolation, and everything in between. I still have bruises on my stomach from shots I got over six months ago. I see them every day and it’s a reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. I was also flying from a weekend with one of my college roomates on Oahu (which is such a special place to me- where I went to college and had the time of my life) to Maui for my nephews 10th birthday party with the rest of my family. I am beyond grateful I survived this past year and get to celebrate these unfortettable moments.

view from the puddle jumper

I didn’t share much of the absolute worst days with ya’ll because 1. I was so stinking sick and 2. I didn’t want to scare you with horrible details. But know that it sucked. You can’t control what happens to you but you can control how you react and I chose and am choosing to smile through the pain and always seek the good in every situation. Plus, this whole experience has made me stronger and I can only image who I will be after I’m done with all of this. Speaking of, even though it’s more than a year away, I am planning an epic end of treatment bash where maybe I can convince Tyrone Wells to perform this song… lol dream big, right?

K now go listen.

“I believe, yes I believe it. I can see, yes I can see it. Though I’m not there yet, I lift up my head. I believe, yes I believe it. I can see, yes I can see it. Every bruise and every scar makes us who we are.

Palm Trees with My Main Squeeze

Not too long ago I had to teach myself how to walk again after spending a month in a hospital bed. It’s been a long road to recovery and I still am unable to walk properly but I get stronger every day. So when I “hiked” down and up this small canyon I was elated.

Caroline (one of my bffs from childhood) and I rocked up to the Palm Canyon in cute outfits and the ranger in the parking lot asked if we had water and how far we were planning on hiking and I said just to the bottom of the hill for photos in the palm trees (duh) and he said “yea I figured” and glanced over at Caroline’s dress. We obviously were not dressed in hiking gear but we did not need your sass, sir.

Ranger cheekiness aside, this place was EPIC. We went first thing in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds. It was $9 a person to enter Indian Canyons but there are different canyons with several hiking/horseback riding trails and waterfalls. Palm Canyon is at the base of one of the trails so people who walk like wobbly toddlers (me) don’t have to hike much to get amazeballs pics like this:

A Picture-Perfect Pinch Me Picnic

As of Tuesday, I have been fighting cancer for ONE WHOLE YEAR.

I wanted to do something special as a thank you for the girls that have been my San Diego fam through this insane year.  They’re the ones that made signs and waved at me from a bridge outside my hospital room when they weren’t allowed in due to Covid, organized video messages when I was feeling down, brought me dinners, constantly checked in, and did more for my morale than they even know possible. I am forever grateful. So as a small token of my appreciation I hosted a sunset picnic at one of our local neighborhood viewpoints overlooking the ocean.

First of all, I love hosting and planning events, and this gave me something to dive my energy into besides work lately. There are tiny details, if you look closely, that I tried to put a lot of love into. I arranged the flowers myself (and then all my girls brought me bouquets of flowers themselves as a gift – they know me so well), stuck to a color scheme (pink is my current color obsession), designed “thank you” cards along with handwritten geode name tags for everyone’s table setting, bought an insane assortment of snacks for grazing boards (+ pizza duh), curated a playlist that included songs that reminded me of each of my guests from a specific memory with them, and had a cheeky “F Cancer” sign to remind us what we’ve been through. To top it all off Amelia made the most gorgeous candy platter of my dreams.

We laughed, cried, hugged (for the first time in a YEAR), ate way too much, watched the sunset, and had the sweetest evening with the best friends a girl could hope for.  

*I wish I had taken more photos but honestly, we were enjoying each other’s company that we forgot to.

*Shout out to my BFF Amelia. She’s v preggo and I’m still pretty wobbly/fatigued, and we set up this whole thing just the two of us.  

How lucky am I that I get to call these girls my friends? Pinch me.

You bet your butt I’ll be throwing a blowout party when my treatment officially ends that EVERYONE will be invited to… but we still have over a year before that happens so stay tuned. 

alohaaa

Fresh Flower Field Frolics

I LOVE springtime. I also love that I’m feeling better these days. I had a couple days in bed feeling awful from my monthly steroids, but I talked to my doctor about it and we came up with a game plan to hopefully alleviate some of the horrible (and I mean horrible) side effects next month. Wish me luck. But besides that, I’m feeling great. 

I can finally leave my bubble (hallelujah) because my counts are coming up so my immune system is stronger and I got my second covid vaccine a couple weeks ago.

oh. heck. yes.

I’m making up for lost time and am adventuring as much as possible. I love springtime because I love flowers. I love the wildflowers on the side of the highway. I love the poppies that pop up along the sidewalks. I especially love flower fields. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough rain this year for the poppy fields to bloom. Major bummer. But I found some other goodies this spring instead.

My bestie (and mini bestie) and I went to the Carlsbad Strawberry Fields because we found out they also have an epic sunflower maze. Alana also enjoyed the U-Pick strawberries. I sat this one out because I’m not as mobile as I’d like to be and had to rest for a bit. But Alana told me all about it with a red mouth from snacking on her self-picked produce. 

I had Post Malone’s Sunflower stuck in my head all day

The next weekend my parents and I visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields. It was so crowded it felt like Disneyland, but it was gorgeous. I hadn’t been in a couple years. You can’t walk through the rows anymore; they’re blocked off and there are designated photo taking areas. We brought lunch to have a picnic. We enjoyed the live band and the tractor ride tour.  

Me & Momma ❤

The weekend after that Amelia, Alana and I found a tiny flower field where you could walk through the rows of ranunculus in Bonsall. It was literally on the side of the road and you pay $5 for 10 stems you pick yourself. It was so cute! But v hot. And towards the end of the season so the flowers were pretty bleak, but we still enjoyed it. 

I’m buying a new sunhat asap
my 3 besties

Let me know if you have any other epic flower spots in Southern California.

My favorite artist, Claude Monet, said, “I must have flowers, always and always“.

Ditto.

Go Planet, it’s Your Earth Day

I’m a big fan of Mother Earth. I love to explore her and stand in awe of her beauty. But dang, we are so mean to her.

I saw an instagram post today about how Earth Day when we were kids was about turning the water off when we brushed our teeth and cutting the soda rings so it wouldn’t hurt turtles. Luckily I grew up in the PNW where they preached the importance of recycling, going green and sustainability it wasn’t an effort it was just part of our daily lives. But we still have to do more than occasional beach clean ups and switching to reusable straws.

Here are some ways we can help that may seem small but make a big difference:

  • Recycle – not just using the recycle bin but also reusable bags, reusable water bottles, cloth napkins instead of paper towels…
  • Encourage more energy efficiency in the workplace – I’m so proud of the company that I work for in their efforts to be more eco conscious. I see so many brands doing so as well. It gives me hope that this isn’t just importat to individuals and consumers, but on a larger level too. We have to hold major corporations accountable.
  • Carpool or bike which also good for working on your fitness – two birds one stone
  • Eco friendly cleaning materials – oh hay Chrissy Tiegan’s new line with the mother of dragons
  • Mindful shopping – Less Shein, more Poshmark
  • Plant something

What are some other ways we can be more green? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing to save the earth.

We need to restore the heart of Te Fiti. 😝

Be kind to our planet, damn it.

Fore more info and resources, visit EarthDay.org.

*None of the photos in the mood board collage are mine. I found all of them on Pinterest.

BLUES MOOD

Preface: I’m being dramatic.

Not entirely sure I enjoy things still. I’m cranky cuz I haven’t been sleeping well so I’d take what I say with a grain of salt. Mmm salt. Now I want potato chips. Ok I take it back. I enjoy chips.

I also enjoy making these mood boards. I’ve become a bit obsessed. I actually created this along with the Winter Solstice and New Years boards in the same weekend. I get that way. Once I like something I repeat it over and over. I always order the same thing at restaurants. I guess I just know what I like and stick to it.

Feeling down in the dumps is totally normal. We all have gloomy days. Sometimes I just want to curl in my blankets and hide. It’s okay to not be okay.

There were times in the past year where I was so ill I didn’t recognize how low I was. Now that I’m feeling better it’s easier to pinpoint. I have to take steroids 5 days a month on my maintenance protocol which totally sucks. I HATE the way it makes me feel. I get irritable, gnarly heartburn, insomnia, extreme hunger, body aches, sore legs, insane hot flashes, indigestion, jitters, anxiety, a swollen face and just over all discomfort and feeling unwell. Yesterday was day 5 of my monthly steriods but it still takes a few days to leave my body so I’m not feeling too hot today. Plus, the weather has been super gray this week which always takes a toll on my mood.

A unique side effect from my cancer treatment has been anxiety. What a crazy unwelcomed beast. More on that later, maybe.

I’ve never been good at meditation or yoga but I hear those are good practices for days like this. I jotted down a list of things that might help when you’re feeling blue:

  • Read a book
  • Listen to a podcast – (a friend requested the podcast “Your Own Backyard” that I binged a while back and they finally made an arrest THIS WEEK relating to the murder the podcast is about. Highly reccommend if you enjoy true crime)
  • Journal
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Reach out to a friend
  • Exercise
  • Go outside
  • Do something creative (like this mood board)
  • Create a playlist
  • Pet a pup
  • Do something nice for someone else
  • Shop online – (lol retail therapy helps me every time)
  • Get a “happy” lamp if you live in a place that has little sunlight in the winter. I’m well aware of SAD, seasonal affective disorder, after living in Seattle for 18 years and we all need as much “sunlight” as we can get.

What are ways you cope with feeling a little blue?

Hope ya’ll are having a better week than I am.

k bye

*None of the photos in the mood board collage are mine. I found all of them on Pinterest.

Young Adult Cancer Awareness

This week is AYA (Adolescent & Young Adult) Cancer Awareness Week. Yes, I qualify as a young adult (I googled it).

I was just one of 89,500 AYAs (in the US) diagnosed with cancer last year.

AYAs are the most underserved cancer population by age. I sit in a chemo chair surrounded by patients 20-30 years older than me. And I’ve been involved with childhood cancer orgs/programs for my whole life – where there are tons of resources.

The goal of this week is to raise awareness about how hard it can be for young adults under 40 to deal with cancer while trying to keep up with their lives. The hope is to educate on the unique challenges AYAs face and show what their community can do to support them.

One of the cancer accounts I follow, Stupid Cancer, posted on their instagram a series of challenges AYAs deal with and each slide resonated with my experience.


Luckily in my case I was diagnosed in my thirties so I’ve finished school and started a career but I do not have a significant other. Dating during cancer treatment is hard enough but throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix and ya girl has never felt more single.

I don’t feel like myself, with all my ailments, but also I don’t look like myself. So it’s hard to imagine getting to know someone else when I feel so off. I know I’m still me but I want to be the best version of me when I’m possibly meeting my person. But also, I just want to have fun with my girls when this pandemic ends… so who cares anyway? lol


I’ve always been super independent. I haven’t lived with my parents since I was in high school so having them move to California to help take care of me was an adjustment.

I don’t really know how I would have survived this last year with out them upstairs to help. There were so many things that I normally would easily do for myself but all of the sudden couldn’t handle. I couldn’t do my own laundry, cook meals, grocery shop, drive to appointments, clean, walk up stairs, clip my finger nails, open bottles, pick up items, reach for things… the list goes on.

I mean not so long ago I was so weak that I couldn’t even button my jeans.


I was diagnosed at the beginning of the pandemic last year. Not being able to have visitors in the hospital with me for the months I was there alone was bad enough. But I also have to go to the clinic and all doctor’s appointments by myself and haven’t been able to go to friends houses or have visitors in my home. I’ve never spent so much time alone in my life.

Thank goodness for technology but I crave social interactions. I miss my friends.

I constantly talk with my friends about how it’s a silver lining that I did the rough part of my treatment during the pandemic so I didn’t miss out on too much. But I still have FOMO from the few little adventures that I am unable to do. Just a couple more weeks until I’m fully vaccinated!


Holy moly the scanxiety is real. I imagine this won’t ever get easier. I’ll live with this the rest of my life.

When I can’t sleep I google statistics about relapses and then my mind races and I just have to remind myself that I can’t even go there. I just have to manifest that I’ll only have to fight cancer this one time.

Sometimes I think about my brother who died from ALL but then I also think of my friend Natalie who had the same diagnosis when she was a kiddo and is doing great.

Deep breaths and happy thoughts…


This is one of the first things I thought of when I was diagnosed becuase many of my cancer survivor friends have had a difficult time with fertility along with the fact that I’m over 30 and do not have a husband or kids but do have a ticking biological clock.

I am currently in chemical menopause, in an attempt to save some of my eggs. Heyooo hot flashes. But I’m still in treatment until I’m 33 and there’s no guarantee I’m going to meet someone anytime soon. I’ll most likely freeze my eggs, if there are any left. TMI? I just know that I would very much like to be a mother.

I know it’ll all work out one way or another but this is a topic that’s often in the back of my mind.


Thank goodness I have great health insurance but I still have so many medical expenses that aren’t covered. I would much rather be spending that money on anything else. There are still a bunch of pending charges on my account that are like your insurance paid 90% of this bill but you owe $10,000 and I just have to wait and see if I’m actually charged that.

One day I was looking up on my account how much my first month in the hospital cost and it was $600,000.00. Let me say it again – six hundred thousand dollars. For one month! What do people who don’t have insurance do? That is not ok.


I read a comment on the instagram post that was from a young man saying he was diagnosed with ALL (which is my diagnosis) at 35 and was out of work for 3 years and I just thought how lucky am I that the longest I was out of work was for 6 weeks. I’m so grateful that I can work from home and feel well enough (most days) to do so. It’s actually given me something to do that makes me feel productive and helps pass the time. I can’t wait to actually get back to the office to be able to work in person. Again, I miss that human interaction. I’m sure a lot of people do.


I am not a part of any support group and haven’t participated in any cancer events, mostly due to the pandemic but also I’m just not aware of many for my age group/diagnosis. My clinic/cancer/hospital experience isn’t like a movie where I meet my soulmate or bff in the clinic… my empath soul just gets pretty sad waiting amongst the older patients, I wear my headphones so I don’t have to hear the old men snoring and try to make friends with the nurses because they’re the only ones around my age.

After the pandemic, my friend Lizzy and I plan to volunteer with a cancer organization. Everything’s on hold at the moment so we’ll have to do some research to find the right one when we’re able to. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.

For more info and/or resources on AYA Cancer Awareness visit the Stupid Cancer website.

Th-th-that’s all, folks.