Make it Fun!

The Art of Living Joyfully

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Remember when you were little and your parents said at dinner, “Don’t play with your food”? Children have a natural sense of fun whatever they’re doing. Good manners are important, but so is having fun and celebrating life’s moments.

Life is serious stuff. But finding the funny side can make us happier, especially when dealing with difficult situations.

Award-winning science journalist Catherine Price, author of the recent book The Power of Fun, says we need to “prioritize having fun.” Fun not only makes us feel better, but “brings people together. You’re embracing your shared humanity.”

She hopes that people will stage “funterventions” where we look for opportunities to have fun. Even work, family responsibilities, health matters, and other concerns can be made less stressful.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti agree that adding fun into our daily activities energizes us and keeps us in a good mood. Singing along to our favorite songs, doing yoga, taking selfies, cooking new recipes, wearing fun T-shirts, watching rom-com movies, turning a cup of tea into a tea party!

Recently we came across Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book The Happiness Diary: Practice Living Joyfully, a bestseller that explains that happiness doesn’t come from obtaining stuff or being perfect. It comes from “savoring and ingraining the good things you experience.”

The book provides exercises, reflections and journal prompts that help you to grow an emotional garden of flowers to pick when you have challenges to get through.

To increase your level of happiness, Kipfer says spend time in nature, do something positive, feed your mind through reading, learning and being creative, try something new, travel.

Even lounging – doing nothing (without feeling guilty) – is a skill we all need to learn. Just look at cats lying contentedly in the sun.

Yes, life can be demanding, and these past years have been difficult times, but adding in a measure of fun and learning to live joyfully can help to make things better.

Let’s keep the Ho, Ho, Hos happening in the New Year. Happy New Year to all.

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Washoku Seasonal Cooking

Japanese Honor Nature and Harmony

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With hearth and home so important during the holidays, this is a good time to explore the Japanese cooking style of “washoku.” This creative, healthy way of cooking can add beautiful and festive new dishes to your table.

This traditional method of Japanese cooking gets its name from the Japanese kanji character 和食 (wa), which means Japan and harmony, and 食 (shoku), the word for food.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were drawn to washoku because of its harmonious approach to cooking that satisfies all the senses. The food is beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, in tune with the seasons.

Included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List, washoku is a study in contrasts with food that is both simple and sophisticated.

A key aspect of washoku is its respect for nature and the four seasons. Food is prepared during its peak season (its “shun”) and cooked in a way that best showcases its flavors.

Spring is the time for asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, snow peas, shitake mushrooms and sanshou (prickly, green berries). Bonito tuna, cuttlefish and rock fish are plentiful then.

Summertime is the shun for edamame soybean pods, kyuri cucumber, and Japanese ginger. Fruits include cherries, peaches and watermelon (often blended into Kakigori, a shaved ice concoction). Eel, flounder, sea urchin and sea bass are in season.

In autumn, during harvest season, some of the fruits and vegetables in their shun include the Asian pear, Matsutake mushroom, persimmon, sweet potato, Japanese pumpkin, sudachi citrus fruit, and kuri chestnut.

The first rice of the harvest, shinmai (or “new rice”), is a softer and sweeter rice that’s greatly anticipated and only available from September to December.

In winter, yuzu, a citrus fruit like an orange, and strawberries come into their own, along with daikon, a winter radish. This is also the season for fugu, the Japanese blowfish that’s both highly desirable and potentially deadly, if improperly prepared.

Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets often served with green tea, utilize seasonal ingredients, too, especially sweet bean paste.

Whatever the season or the dish, washoku always strives to embody the concept of “omotenashi” – hospitality – making friends and family feel warm and welcome. Things that mean so much now.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Agatha Christie Combined Surfing and Suspense

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surfing in 1922. Whodunit? Agatha Christie dunit!

A 100-years-ago, at a time when most people, let alone women, had never surfed, mystery writer Agatha Christie – the best-selling novelist of all time – took to the waves in South Africa, Australia and Hawaii.

On an around-the-world book tour with her husband Archie, Christie discovered surfing for the first time at Muisenberg Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.

Eager to ride the waves herself, Christie soon realized that there was more to it than meets the eye. “Surfing looks perfectly easy,” she wrote in her memoir. “It isn’t. I say no more.”

As a woman, one of her challenges was finding swimwear that could stand up to the waves.

In Hawaii a particularly strong wave caused a “catastrophe,” as Christie put it. “My handsome silk bathing dress, covering me from shoulder to ankle, was more, or less, torn from me by the force of the waves. Almost nude, I made for my beach wrap.”

After that, Christie searched out something more practical, finding just the thing in a hotel shop – “a wonderful, skimpy, emerald green wool bathing dress, which was the joy of my life, and in which I thought I looked remarkably well. Archie thought I did too.”

From that point on, there was no stopping her. Christie put the same determination into learning how to surf as she put into devising the intricate crime thrillers that were her trademark. Murder on the Orient ExpressEvil Under the SunAnd Then There Were NoneThe Witness for the Prosecution, and countless others.

“All our days were spent on the beach and surfing,” said Christie, “and little by little we learned to become expert, or at any rate expert from the European point of view. We cut our feet to ribbons on the coral until we bought ourselves soft leather boots to lace round our ankles.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Madaug and Patti Kishel are in awe of Christie’s persistence in conquering the waves. Definitely hooked on this sport of Hawaiian kings, she described surfing as “one of the most perfect physical pleasures that I have known.”

Like others – from Captain James Cook, the first European to reach Hawaii, to the Father of Surfing, Duke Kahanamoku – Christie was captivated by surfing. There’s “nothing like that rushing through the water at what seems to you a speed of about two hundred miles an hour; all the way in from the far distant raft, until you arrived, gently slowing down, on the beach, and foundered among the soft flowing waves.”

Far from being an armchair novelist, Agatha Christie proved herself to be a true adventurer – as bold and mysterious as the characters in her books.

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Jamaican Resort Fit for a Spy

Channel Your Inner Bond at GoldenEye

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Looking for the chance to say, “Bond, James Bond” or to order your martini “Shaken, not stirred”? Then get ready to check in at the Jamaican resort GoldenEye, the former home of author Ian Fleming.

Fleming wrote fourteen James Bond novels here.

Named after a WWII mission Fleming devised during his years in British intelligence, GoldenEye is a lush, coastal property that Fleming’s villains would have favored

Spread out over 52-acres, the luxury, get-away features dazzling beaches and private coves, tropical forests, and a saltwater lagoon – with a variety of beach huts, cottages, and villas where you can stay.

 

In 1952 Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, at GoldenEye. Using the Caribbean island setting as a common locale in his adventure stories, the movies Dr. No and Live and Let Die were both filmed nearby.

Located on the North coast of Jamaica on Oracabessa Bay, the resort is built around Fleming’s original villa. When SurfWriter Girl Patti worked for Delta Airlines she visited Ocho Rios just a few minutes away and saw firsthand how beautiful and secluded the area is.

Along with relaxing on the beach and enjoying gourmet meals, it’s definitely a place to inspire a sense of adventure whether you go exploring, snorkeling or paddleboarding. Or pick up a pen and try writing your own spy thriller.

And don’t be surprised who you run into while you’re here. Fleming hosted many notables at GoldenEye, including Princess Margaret and Breakfast at Tiffany’s author Truman Capote. Celebrities Sting, Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Grace Jones, and Richard Branson have all vacationed at the island retreat.

Truly a resort fit for a spy, the amenities at GoldenEye include a license to thrill.

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Surfing Animals Get Onboard!

Pets are Hotdog Surfers

surf dog on board

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Let’s go surfin’ now
Everybody’s learning how
Come on and safari with me

People aren’t the only ones watching the pro surfers at this summer’s surfing events and following The Beach Boys song to go on a Surfin’ Safari. Dogs of all sizes and shapes, cats, pigs, goats, and more are heading out on surfboards to enjoy the beach action.

white dog on blue boardsurfing pig

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goat surfing

squirrel surfing

Every year surf dogs from around the world come to California’s Huntington Beach and Imperial Beach for Petco’s Unleashed Surf Dog Competition.

Unleashed-By-Petco-Surf-Dog-Competitioncool surf dogs

With paws on the nose and tails wagging, the canine competitors go all out to see who’s Top Dog.

dog closeup on yellow board

Didga, the Aussie skateboarding cat phenomenon, shows that she’s got some surf moves, too, and isn’t afraid to get wet. Go, Didga! Go!

Didga on surfboard

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel love seeing all the animals out in the water having fun. Our friend Huntington Beach surf artist Dave Reynolds is a sight to see when he goes surfing with his best buds Nacho and Lance, a Chihuahua and a Labrador mix. Nacho may be little, but he holds his own against the big dogs.

Surfing Nachosurfing animals alphabet book

When you’re on dry land, to keep the fun going for groms (and adults, too!), take a look at this book we discovered: The Surfing Animals Alphabet by Jonas Claesson, a Swedish artist and designer who lives in Australia.

SurfingAnimals open page

 

This illustrated alphabet book with animals in the ABCs lineup, is just the thing to get young surfers on board about reading.

service-surf-dog and child

As for the animals, now that the dog days of summer are here they want to have fun!

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Hawaiian Shirts Bring Happy Summer Smiles

Chill Out in Style!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

What better way is there to put a smile on your face than wearing a bright, colorful Hawaiian shirt? It’s the perfect way to chill out in style on warm summer days.

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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Flip Flops Movin’ and Groovin’

Summertime Fun for Feet! 

flip flops all together on beach

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

“Blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top.

Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.”

– Jimmy Buffett, Wasting Away in Margaritaville

Flip flops are an essential part of summer…from the 99-cent bargain specials grabbed on the run at convenience stores to high-end fashion statements and eco-sport Tevas that can hold their own on any terrain.

Summer beach flip flopsTevas all in a row

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Dating back to 1500 BC and the ancient Egyptians, flip flops got a toehold in the U.S. after WWII when returning GIs brought Japanese-style zori sandals home with them.

Egyptian flip-flops

bas relief Egyptian image

Japanese zori sandals

Flip flops, thongs, shower clogs, go-aheads – by any name these rubber-soled sandals take us wherever we want to go.

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Blue_flip_flops_on_a_beach

 

Flip flops moving us

on a carefree day of sun

and balmy breezes.

friend

– SurfWriter Girls, Huntington Beach Haiku

 Colorful, flexible and fun… no sox or laces needed.

flip flop no sox

stacked

Just wiggle your toes in and you’re ready to cross hot, sandy beaches, wade into the surf, climb over slick rocks or dance the night away.

dance and flip flops

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Keeping your feet ventilated and your stride syncopated, flip flops keep on flipping along.

Row of colorful flip flops on beach against sunny sky

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Flamingos Add Color to Life!

Birds are In the Pink

Caribbean_flamingo

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Lightmatter_flamingo

The word “flamingo” comes from Spanish, meaning flame – an apt choice for the brightly-hued birds. Whether wading in the water or in flight, flamingos are a sight to see.

Flamingo_flying

The long-legged animals themselves are native to parts of Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and other temperate-to-tropical locales.

flamingos wading in water

But their plastic namesakes – the garden décor variety – are likely to pop up anywhere, especially in beach communities. In fact, there are probably more of the hot-pink plastic flamingos than the natural ones.

plastic flamingos in yard

Don Featherstone

A garden accessory as popular – and some would say as essential – as the garden gnome and tiki torch, pink flamingos came to take up roost on our lawns and patios because of one person – Massachusetts artist and inventor Donald Featherstone, who developed them in 1957 as a product for his employer Union Products, a plastics manufacturer.

plastic flamingo

What better way to showcase the company’s plastics than to mold them into the eye-catching birds?

Plastic-pink-flamingos garden box

Both praised and put down by art critics and everyday people alike, pink flamingos have stood the test of time and become iconic symbols of a fun-loving lifestyle that isn’t afraid to be flamboyant (another word that means flame).

flamingo-fun-plastic surfing

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have caught sight of the pink birds at the beach and throughout the OC. In fact, Patti even has a pink flamingo in her own back yard.

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Plastic flamingo at beach

Patti’s husband Greg likes the colorful birds, too, even if he finds them puzzling.

Inspired by a wildlife photo in National Geographic magazine, Featherstone’s neon pink flamingo creation is now a bird for the ages, inviting us to look at the lighter side of life and to add a splash of color.

flamingo and palm tree postcard

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Vital Farms Brightens the Holidays

Making a Vital Difference

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the holidays here and everyone thinking about special meals and celebrations it’s nice to see a family farm that is devoted to “improving the lives of people, animals and the planet through food.”

The chickens and cows at Vital Farms couldn’t be happier. At this collective of family farms that was established in 2007 “the girls” are allowed to roam free with year-round outdoor access. The goal is “to bring honest food, ethically produced to your table.”

Vital Farms says that it began as a single-family farm in Austin, Texas. “As we grew, we didn’t want to make our farm bigger. So, we found more like-minded farmers who put the welfare of their feathered friends first. And today we partner with over 225 small family farms who give the girls the outdoor lifestyle they deserve.”

Unlike conventionally raised “factory” chickens that are kept in cages, the pasture-raised chickens at Vital Farms each have at least 108 sq. ft. of pasture and plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

And the cows aren’t confined to barns or fenced-in yards either, but allowed to contentedly graze in open pastures, putting them in a “mooed” to create delicious milk for an array of dairy products.

The company’s website has a video that lets you see the chickens enjoying the outdoors, stretching their legs and foraging for local grasses, succulents and wildflowers.

And it prints the name of the farm where the eggs came from on each box so you can see for yourself.  When SurfWriter Girls looked at the box we had just bought we were surprised to see that the name of the farm – K & K – was the same name as Patti and Greg’s consulting business. Small world.

SurfWriter Girl Sunny discovered the delicious eggs from Vital Farms a few years ago and has been a fan of them ever since. She’s not alone. The farm’s egg and milk products are sold nationwide in over 16,500 stores.

So, they’re sure to find a place at many Thanksgiving tables and holiday meals, making everyone – the chickens, cows and us – all a little happier.

Happy Holidays!

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Japan’s Ichigo Ichie

Living in the Moment

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Summer is always a time to relax and make time for ourselves, something that’s especially important now. While you’re enjoying sunny days, the Japanese philosophy of ichigo ichie (living in the moment) may be just what you need to regenerate.

A phrase that might sound silly the first time you hear it, ichigo ichie is a tenet of Zen Buddhism that dates to 16th century Japanese tea ceremonies.

It calls on us to use all our senses to take in and celebrate the beauty of the moment, here and now. Instead of fixating on the past or worrying about the future, it is a chance to get rid of our negative emotions and feelings of fear, sadness, or anger.

Performing the tea ceremony’s intricate rituals of preparing and drinking the tea causes us to focus intently on each step of the process and the environment itself, being fully engaged in the moment and finding harmony and tranquility.

Ichigo ichie also heightens our awareness of the fleeting nature of time and the need to embrace the things and experiences that are meaningful to us before they are gone – such as the famed Japanese cherry blossoms that only bloom for a short time in the spring.

When Japanese greet each other by saying “ichigo ichie” it tells you that the encounter is unique and special and should not be allowed to slip away. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be savored.

By employing ichigo ichie and savoring the moment we can enhance our awareness and joy of life and create harmonious interactions with others.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.