Hawaiian Shirts Brighten Our Days

Chill Out in Style!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now that every day is casual Friday, what better shirt is there to brighten our days and chill out in than a Hawaiian shirt?

Also known as an Aloha shirt, the colorful, short-sleeve shirts originated in Hawaii in the 1920s and became popular on the mainland after WW II when soldiers stationed on the islands brought them home.

Movies like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s blockbuster musical South Pacific (1958)

and Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii (1962) jump-started the island-themed fashion trend even more.

President John F. Kennedy added to the Hawaiian shirt mystique, too, wearing them while sailing or relaxing at his family’s Cape Cod home in Hyannis Port, MA.

So did Tom Selleck in the hit TV show Magnum P.I. and singer Jimmy Buffett while “wasting away” in Margaritaville.

And now, fashion brands from Tommy Bahama to Ralph Lauren and Prada feature the carefree shirts in their lineups.

Originally embellished with traditional Hawaiian quilt and flower designs, the shirts have taken on a wilder life of their own with palm trees, birds, sunsets, cocktail glasses, and more showing up.

If you’re looking for an authentic Hawaiian shirt made by descendants of the original Polynesians, SurfWriter Girls friend Jeffrey Sakamoto, who’s become an expert on island lore, recommends the shirts from Pili Pacific, which utilizes the Tahitian-inspired designs of co-founders Sue Pearson and Herman Pi’ikea Clark.

A must-have for anyone spending time in the islands, whatever you choose, the fun-to-wear Hawaiian shirts bring a taste of the tropics wherever they go…and bring out the party animal in us.

A shirt you can wear tucked in or out – no necktie required! – a Hawaiian shirt takes you anywhere in style…even if it’s just inside your own home.

Mahalo to SurfWriter Greg for taking the photo of us…and all the other photos he always takes! He’s our production crew working behind the scenes.

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The Artist’s Touch

We Need It More Than Ever

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

There’s a lot of news about the economic effect the coronavirus is having on businesses, which have limited their activities or even closed their doors. The virus has affected restaurants, retailers, shopping malls, manufacturers, farmers, and just about every type of business.

One group that’s feeling the pain, but doesn’t get any media attention, is artists. Making a living as an artist is difficult in the best of times. Now, it’s harder than ever with studios and galleries closed and everyone at home.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel know how important art is in enhancing our lives and lifting our spirits. Throughout history artists have used their brushes and pens to create beauty out of chaos and despair.

 

Now, at a time when not only mankind, but the environment, is under assault…

beach and surf artists are capturing the joy of the ocean and the thrill of surfing in memorable images that enable us to transcend the confines of our stay-at-home days.

 

SurfWriter Girls love Robb Havassy’s glorious sunsets and Colleen Gnos’s mermaids.

Ron Croci’s bold paint strokes celebrate the surfer’s strength and Nathan Gibbs’ mystical paintings remind us of the fragility of the ocean ecosystem.

Dave Reynolds’ minimalist surf art has maximum impact and Heather Brown’s whimsical island scenes put a smile on your face,

while Drew Brophy takes you to a fantasy world…

and Kim Hamrock expresses the excitement of surfing as only a champion surfer can.

To get us through the rough times and help us to make sense of the world, more than ever we need the artist’s touch. Brophy’s wife Maria Brophy has started an online writing group to help people find inner peace and tap their creativity.

Bridging the gaps in a new age of social distancing, art gives us a sense of community and reminds us of the wonders around us…if we take the time to look.

Even though the art galleries are closed, the works of all these artists are available on the Internet. Just click on their names. When you’re online shopping for “essentials,” why not add art to your list?

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One Day At A Time

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Faced with empty food shelves in supermarkets or the difficulty in going shopping – especially for seniors – we’re all thinking about food…and toilet paper, too.

SurfWriter Girl Patti woke up this morning thinking about the 1962 book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. How’s that for a strange thought to start the day?

Like many of you, she read the book in high school and remembers the deprivations that Denisovich goes through trying to survive in a Russian gulag (prison work camp) in the freezing Siberian cold with minimal food to eat. He ate every morsel of the meager fish portion he got and then boiled the bones for broth and sucked the marrow out.

Things haven’t gotten that bad yet. And, thankfully, members of our communities are stepping in to help neighbors in need.

Around the country mini food pantries the size of kids’ lemonade stands – like this one SurfWriter Girls friends Cindy and David Kirby in Anaheim, CA, put up – are popping up on lawns and driveways to help get food and necessities to neighbors.

If you need a can of soup or a fresh tomato, just take it. Or even a book to read. And, if you can drop off something for someone else, just leave it. The motto is: “Take what you need. If you have something to spare, please share.”

At SurfWriter Girl Patti and Greg’s house they put this big teddy bear in the window so the kids can see it when they walk by with their parents. Ted puts a smile on everyone’s face…something we all need now.

With good will and charity to others like this, we’ll find a way to get through the coronavirus situation. Just remember Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He survived eight years in a gulag.

We will survive, too…one day at a time.

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Tea Time Treasure

Incredible Journeys by the Cuppa

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel 

With all of us staying at home and having to make do with limited food supplies, SurfWriter Girl Sunny Magdaug made a great discovery in her cupboard – a treasure trove of teas to choose from.

“I didn’t realize I had so many,” she says. “A tea chest, half-filled boxes and tins of teas gathered over several years. From everyday Lipton to upscale Earl Grey, organic to exotic.”

SurfWriter Girl Patti Kishel looked in her cupboard and was pleasantly surprised to find a stash of teas, as well. “Not only are they delicious and soothing,” says Patti, “but, in these home-bound times, they take us on journeys to faraway places that are just a cup away.”

Patti’s sister Eileen Ferris, who lives in Newington, CT, found some interesting teas, too, including a Bigelow green tea with pomegranate.

Some of SurfWriter Girls’ teas were gifts from our friend Lesley Meredith, who lives in Sammamish, Washington. Of Scottish descent, Lesley is always ready to share a “cuppa” with friends.

And, after a visit to the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, with her husband Steve, Lesley sent us a box of tea from the world-renowned hotel.

This past summer Lesley also sent us teas from the exclusive tea purveyor Harney and Sons, including one called Murder on the Orient Express – that really takes us on a journey!

Whether it’s tea, coffee, spices, wine, or some other special find in your pantry, there may be a treasure waiting to cheer your day…

and spirit you away on an adventure – while staying safe at home.

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A Bowl of Comfort

Sunny’s Special Soup

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the stress and strain that all of us are feeling, it’s nice to know that little acts of kindness can make things better.

When SurfWriter Girl Patti talked to her longtime friend Kathleen Mulcahy this week Kathleen told her that she and her neighbors are helping each other and that she made chicken soup for a neighbor in her eighties who is recovering from pneumonia.

It wasn’t easy finding ingredients, but the woman’s smile made it worth it.

Inspired by this, SurfWriter Girls decided to make a pot of Sunny’s Special Soup – her homemade vegetable soup that keeps the chill away – and share the recipe with you.

Given today’s difficult shopping environment, it’s a recipe that encourages you to be creative and use whatever is on hand whether it’s fresh, frozen or canned veggies.

If you have any chicken, you can add it, too. Or maybe some sliced sausage or even hot dogs. Sunny made some changes this time by adding a can of diced tomatoes and a couple of sliced potatoes – “Because I happened to have them.”

The recipe is easy. Start by sauteing chopped fresh or frozen onions. If adding meat, brown it in the pot. Then add 32 oz. of broth (any kind you like) and two cups of water. Season to taste. Sunny uses salt and pepper, assorted spices from the cupboard, and parsley and cilantro (if available).

When the meat is done she adds the veggies and cooks everything for 20 minutes. And, to jazz it up, If you have a lemon or lime, squeeze in a little juice at the end.

Serve with bread, rolls or crackers…and enjoy a warm bowl of comfort – with enough to share.

Kathleen says that if you know someone in need, help them as much as you can. And, if you’re the one in need, let others help you. Even if we’re temporarily distanced from one another we can still build community…

 a spoonful at a time.

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Mugging It Up!

Tiki Style

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Soon after the island-themed Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s restaurants started serving tropical island cocktails in the early 1950s, the tiki mug came on the scene.

Fun to drink out of and to take home as souvenirs, the ceramic mugs with the smiling tiki god faces became a permanent part of our culture.

Exotic and irreverent, the mugs tell of far-away lands and adventure.

They invite us to indulge in a drink and give in to escapist fantasies far from the maddening crowd.

Filled with Polynesian drinks from rum punch and Singapore slings to mai tais and zombies, the tiki mugs take us away to the South Seas.

More than just kitsch, tiki mugs are recognized as an art form now and are even displayed in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Like the American spirit itself, the tiki mug represents a feeling of optimism and a sense of endless possibilities freed from everyday conventions.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel love the playful tiki mugs and the gods themselves, beckoning us to merriment and mischief.

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Waves of Love

Beach Valentine Duet

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Waves break. Hearts ache.

Where is the one for me?

Out there in the sea?

Strolling on the beach, practically in reach?

Looking out from the pier, standing very near?

Surfer girl and surfer guy see each other passing by,

Longing for a beach romance, wanting to take a chance.

Waves break. Hearts ache.

Are you the one for me?

My Valentine you must be!

Whether your Valentine’s Day greeting is serious or funny, whimsical or outlandish, make it your own…and send it to someone you love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunny, Patti & Greg

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Ladders Are The Cat’s Meow

Swiss Kitties On the Prowl

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

From the beaches of Australia to the Alps in Switzerland, people and their cats are sharing each other’s lives. Aussie Robert Dollwett’s cats Didga and Boomer like to surf and skateboard.

In Brasilia, Brazil, when a stray cat kept sneaking into the offices of the Order of Attorneys building, rather than shooing him out, they named him Leon and made him an attorney.

And, in Switzerland this brave kitty rescued a lost hiker.

The Swiss, known for intricate watches and complex banking systems, have developed an ingenious way for their house cats to travel from one point to the other – cat ladders.

Offering kitties the best of both worlds – a warm, cozy home and access to the adventurous outdoors – the ladders are a common sight in Switzerland’s urban cities.

Graphic designer Brigitte Schuster has photographed them for magazines and is working on a book, Swiss Cat Ladders, that showcases the vast array of catwalks from narrow bridges to zigzag configurations and spiral staircases.

SurfWriter Girl Sunny Magdaug, who has lived in Switzerland, says the cat ladders reflect the practicality of the Swiss and their ability to find creative solutions to problems…

even something as simple as letting the cat out.

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New Protection for Pacific Ocean

140,000 Square Mile Coastal Haven

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that new regulations have been finalized to protect the seafloor off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.

These would put an end to deep ocean trawling that damages the habitat of corals and sponges that provide for marine life.

The new protections that go into effect in 2020 cover 140,000 square miles of critical ocean ecosystems.

The nonprofit environmental group Oceana helped to bring about the regulations through its years of advocacy for the region and the scientific research data it gathered showing the damage being done by commercial fishing gear to the ocean floor.

Oceana’s Pacific campaign manager and senior research scientist, Ben Enticknap, said, the regulations are “a win-win for ocean conservation and fishermen.”

“Healthy oceans rely on a healthy seafloor and these new conservation areas will ensure that commercially important fish and other ocean animals, like deep-sea corals, octopus, crab and sea stars, can thrive into the future.”

Environmentalists have long opposed bottom trawl fishing methods because of the destruction caused by the weighted nets that are dragged over the ocean floor to catch the fish in their path.

The protections will enable fish populations to flourish and benefit both the ocean environment and fisheries.

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Kit Kat Candy Wrapper Art

Origami Artworks for the Environment

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Japanese chocolate maker Kit Kat is swapping its plastic candy wrappers for recyclable paper ones that you can use to make origami artworks.

Kit Kat’s parent company Nestle says this should reduce the brand’s plastic waste by 380 tons a year. Nestle wants to have all its product packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

The new candy wrapper includes instructions on how to fold the paper into a crane – a symbol of happiness and eternal youth throughout Asia.

In Japan it’s believed that if you fold a thousand origami cranes your wish will come true.

Kit Kat hopes its origami paper candy wrappers stimulate interest in origami. The Japanese paper-folding art dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867).

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are Kit Kat fans and love origami. With the new candy wrappers, we can indulge in both – and help the environment, too.

That’s definitely the cat’s meow!

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