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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The Joy of Audrey Hepburn 

A Life Filled with Possibilities

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Film lovers around the world continue to fall in love with Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993).

She was an incredible actress and humanitarian, who served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, traveling to Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Guatemala, Venezuela and Ecuador.

 

Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top three actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Hepburn’s beauty and charm left an indelible mark on countless films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, Wait Until Dark, Sabrina, and Charade.

Working with the top directors and leading men of her day, Hepburn held her own alongside Carey Grant, Gregory Peck, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, Peter O’Toole, Fred Astaire, George Peppard, Sean Connery, and more.

Rising to stardom after her breakout performance in Roman Holiday (1953), Hepburn was the first actress to win three awards for a single performance – the Academy Award, Golden Globe, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are among Hepburn’s legion of fans both for her magical presence on the screen and her indomitable spirit that rose against adversity, while helping others to do the same.

Even though she had a privileged upbringing, Hepburn, who was born in Belgium to the Baroness Ella van Heemstra, lived in Holland during the German occupation of WWII and barely survived the Dutch famine – an experience that made her want to help those in need.

Always maintaining a positive outlook on life, Audrey Hepburn was more than a star; she was a survivor.

Her movies have left indelible memories with all who have seen them and now with the publication of this new book, Always Audrey, featuring never-before-seen photos by six different photographers, there are even more beautiful images to enjoy.

A woman to admire, Audrey Hepburn never stopped doing the impossible.

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Tiki Time Two

New Era for Tiki Bars and Culture

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Tikis, those irrepressible Hawaiian gods with the big eyes and mischievous smiles, are making a comeback now with new tiki bars showing up from coast-to-coast and a renewed interest in tiki lore and culture.

 

 

The Polynesian, one of the newest bars on the scene, is right in the middle of New York City – in the lobby of the trendy Pod Times Square Hotel.

The 200-seat indoor/outdoor bar, decorated with carved-wood and lava stone, is a tropical island escape from NYC’s crowded streets and subways.

In Chicago people are lining up at the popular tiki bar Lost Lake and in New Orleans it’s Latitude 29. And you can bet that Las Vegas is in on the tiki action with its Golden Tiki Bar.

California has tiki bars up and down the coast with a recently-opened Jan & Dean’s Tiki Lounge at the tip of the Huntington Beach Pier.

SurfWriter GIrls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are big fans of all things tiki – from the Island decor, Hawaiian shirts and fun mugs to the food and fancy drinks with parasols.

The tiki artwork of Doug Horne and Josh Agle (AKA “Shag”) always makes us feel like were on a Polynesian adventure.

It’s great to see this culture that originated in the Hawaiian Islands and South Seas is still luring us into another world of fantasy far from the everyday.

And, if you’re looking to really immerse yourself in the tiki culture, check out the annual Tiki Caliente in Palm Springs held in May (Plan ahead because this year’s sold out) and Tiki Oasis (August 7 – 11th) in San Diego.

With all the tiki-inspired sights, sounds, food, drinks, art and entertainment, these events are a tiki-lover’s dream.

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Wabi-Sabi

The Beauty of Imperfection

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi celebrates the beauty of imperfection and of things that are impermanent and incomplete.

It is the beauty of things both humble and modest. It is the beauty of things that are raw, unrefined and unconventional.

Old Levi’s jeans, a comfortable chair, a weathered fence, a tree that’s been in your yard forever, your favorite surfboard, classic cars, watches that wind by hand, the neighborhood diner.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have been learning about Wabi-Sabi, which dates back 5,000 years, and its emphasis on self-acceptance and finding joy in everyday things as they are.

We learned that in Japan cracked vases or bowls are often repaired with gold, highlighting the flaw and turning it into a mark of beauty that represents part of the object’s history.

Originally derived from Buddhist teachings, the word Wabi refers to rustic simplicity, freshness, and understated elegance – both in nature and in man-made works.

It can describe a uniqueness or elegance, too. Sabi represents the beauty and serenity that come from age…with visible flaws and worn patina adding to its charm.

Drawing from nature, Wabi-Sabi reminds us of the simple reality that things don’t stay the same, changing from day-to-day and season-to-season with different shapes and colors unfolding through the passing of time.

Putting aside the quest for air-brushed perfection in our lives, selves and surroundings, Wabi-Sabi is a way to de-stress. To relax and slow down, to embrace each moment, the people we love and the things we have.

Rather than searching for the next new thing to buy or do, we can find something much more valuable – an inner calm and the happiness that comes from being ourselves.

Wabi-Sabi is the perfect gift to give yourself – the gift to be imperfect.

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Best Winter Surfing Spots

Find Your Perfect Destinations

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Now that winter’s here do you have a case of the surfing blues that has you longing for sunny, wave-filled days? If so, here’s the antidote.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel got in touch with our friends at BookSurfCamps.com to find out the best winter surfing spots around the world. And wait till you see what they came up with!

Travel writer and and outdoor adventurer Octavia Drughi, who’s part of the BookSurfCamps team, has been on the go scoping out the perfect winter surfing spots. From Europe to South East Asia, she’s got a lineup of destinations with amazing weather, epic waves and beautiful settings to explore.

Whatever your level of surfing expertise or travel interests, Octavia has the inside track on the perfect destinations for you.

To see her picks, Ten Winter Surfing Spots You Need to Check Out, just click on: Winter

Then get ready to pack your bags and grab your passport!

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Seven Lucky Gods of Japan

Watching Over You in 2019

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the New Year beginning and so many unknowns ahead it’s reassuring to have the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan to guide us.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel recently discovered this little book published over 50 years ago by Japanese author Reiko Chiba that outlines who these seven gods are and the roles they play in influencing our lives.

Dating back more than 1000 years, Japanese lore has it that during the first three days of the new year, the gods take over a magic treasure ship and become sailors traveling from heaven to all the earthly ports bringing magical gifts ranging from invisibility to wisdom, wealth, good fortune and more.

For each of us there is also a special god in the group that watches out for us based on our profession – say an accountant, dancer, gardener, or teacher.

Ebisu, the god of wealth, good fortune and fair dealing, watches over merchants, sailors, fishermen…and the butcher, too.

Daikoku, the patron god of farmers and tradesmen, is also a demon-chaser. People in the countryside pay homage to him during the harvest.

Hotei, the god of fortune and guardian of children, is said to have been a real person who was both a Zen priest and a rogue. He keeps an eye out for everyone from cooks to fortunetellers and politicians

Benton, often called the goddess of love, is also the goddess of muse, influencing and inspiring those in the arts – actors, writers, musicians, dancers, painters and sculptors.

Bishamon is a guardian of Buddhist values and giver of fortune, treasure and happiness. He is a healer, too, and the patron god of doctors, soldiers and priests.

Jurojin, the god of wisdom, guards over teachers, accountants, engineers, journalists, judges, and even gamblers.

Fukurokuju is the god of happiness, riches and long life. A philosopher, who loves to play chess, he looks out for athletes, gardeners, magicians and scientists

So, whether you’re looking for love, luck, longevity – or laid-back surfing days – there’s sure to be a Japanese God watching over you in 2019!

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Surf Artist Dave Reynolds

Stoked on Surfing!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surf artist Dave Reynolds turns blank canvas and pieces of wood into works of art that capture the beauty and force of the ocean world he loves.

A true Renaissance Man of the surfing community, Reynolds’ talents and interests run the gamut from creating bold paintings and sculptures to trophies awarded at major surfing events, including the US Open of Surfing and upcoming Mavericks Big Wave Challenge.

 

He’s also known for his handmade chess sets with surfboard pieces and customized, surf-themed pinball machines.

 

A minimalist style painter, Reynolds turns a few, deft brushstrokes into masterpieces. Whether it’s a champion surfer, fanciful water creature or giant wave, his goal is to “use the least brushstrokes or lines to bring it to life. Somehow, when your mind sees just the basic lines, it fills in the rest,” says Reynolds.

After seeing his works at various SoCal exhibits, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited to finally visit Reynolds’ studio in Huntington Beach. Everywhere we looked there was something creative and colorful from tiny, miniature paintings to giant, wall-size paintings and his collection of surf memorabilia and surfboards.

Adding to his repertory, Reynolds and his friend Tom Gorey recently started a line of WaterClan clothing featuring his aquatic designs.

A believer in giving back to the community, his decorated surfboards have been auctioned at the annual Huntington Beach Surfboards on Parade event to raise money for Operation Surf, a charity that takes military veterans surfing. And this year, HB is honoring Reynolds as a Biennial Arts Awards recipient.

Interested in art since childhood, Reynolds says, “My dad was one of my biggest fans.” Managing the Thrifty Drugstore in Buena Park, CA, Lloyd Reynolds inspired his son’s strong work ethic.

“In the summer I used to help out in the store scooping ice cream cones. They only cost five cents then,” Reynolds told SurfWriter Girls, showing us a photo of his dad at work and a bottle of the Old Spice cologne he wore each day.

 

When Reynolds isn’t catching waves (his nickname is “Tuberider”), he enjoys spending time with his wife Kellie and their surfing dog Bandit – a rescue dog that Kellie found. Reynolds and Kellie met at the Wahini Kai and Longboard Surf Club’s Christmas party eleven years ago. Six weeks later they got married.

 

You might run into Reynolds at a Pearl Jam concert, too. A big fan of the rock band, he became friends with lead vocalist and guitarist Eddie Vedder when he made some trophies for him. Vedder signed and added his own art to this pineapple ukulele that Reynolds customized.

And, in his art studio, you can always count on Dave Reynolds to be turning out something new…helped by his canine buddy and collaborator Bandit!

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SuperShe Island

Idyllic Getaway for Ladies Only

Written by SurfWritere Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Have you ever dreamed of going to Themyscira, the idyllic island where Wonder Woman was raised?

Visit SuperShe Island, the island paradise owned by entrepreneur Kristina Roth, and you’ll think that you’re there.

Roth took her dream of escaping to an exotic island to the next level – buying her own fantasy island. And now she’s opening it up to women worldwide. But men? Sorry guys, you’re not allowed.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel discovered SuperShe Island when Sunny got a personal invitation from Roth to visit and be a guest. Intrigued, we wanted to know more about this mysterious island.

Hidden away in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland, SuperShe Island is 8.4-acres of tree-dotted beauty with the kind of luxurious amenities you’d expect at five-star resorts. Beautifully decorated rooms, Finnish saunas and an array of daily wellness activities that include yoga, meditation, farm-to-table dining, cooking classes, fitness classes, nature activities and more.

Roth, who is from Germany, created her Amazonian island utopia with the profits she made from her business, Matisia Consultants. Bootstrapping the business with next to nothing, it had annual revenues of $65 million by the time she sold it, took the money and ran…to her island get-away.

Tired of the corporate life and working with men who constantly underestimated her, Roth was eager to take matters into her own hands. She also wanted to work with women and help them to achieve their goals, just as she had. She could see that her success story inspired them and, from her networking and professional speaking experience, knew that women wanted to be energized and have more positive feelings about themselves.

As they say in marketing, “Find a need and fill it.” And Roth did, creating a SuperShe Society and a special place where women could go to refresh, relax and renew. In short, a super networking group of super achievers.

Roth says about her SuperShe society and island, they are “meant to create a fun way for women to network — a way that men have been networking for years, whether it’s at the golf course or the cigar club.”

So now, thanks to Roth, women can channel their inner-Wonder Woman at their very own Ladies Only SuperShe Island retreat.

Just pack your Magic Lasso and go!

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