Digging Deep in the Garden of Poetry

Dog digging in woods picture

T.S. Eliot once wrote in the opening line of his great poem, The Waste Land, that “April is the cruelest month.” How keenly and acutely we felt that cruelty this spring after such a long, hard winter.

On this last day of April, however, we prefer to enter Merry May on a warm, gentle note, “digging into” an assortment of poetry in celebration and recognition of April as the official “National Month of Poetry.” Read more

A Family Meal For a Full House

Waldorf Salad With Mango by Hanalei Gourmet Cafe, Kauai, HawaiiIn celebration of the return of Full House in a 13-episode spinoff, Fuller House, scheduled to premiere next year, ATG is sharing some recipes for a delicious, family meal to enjoy together “Around the Table”, along with some fun “Just For Kids” recipes. See also our reflection on children’s poetry.

As a young mother in the beginning stages of learning how to cook, I often turned to The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1896), which became a trusted source of some of the best, most basic and easy-to-follow recipes I have ever used.

Many of the recipes, including these delicious buttermilk pancakes (and two more below), have become some of our “family favorites”, made time and again at the request of both family and friends alike. Read more

There’s No Place Like a Full(er) House

Fuller House premieres Friday, February 26th, 2016 on Netflix! 
In celebration of the Full House “family” reunion, we’re featuring a delicious family meal to enjoy together “Around the Table”, along with some fun recipes “Just for Kids.” See also our reflection on children’s poetry

Full House Fuller House ReunionWhen word came out last week that some of the characters from Full House may not be participating in its 13-episode spinoff scheduled for next year, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought: “How rude!”

Having not watched the show in nearly 10 years, the ability to so readily recall one of the many catchphrases made popular by the show’s dynamic set of characters is a testimony to the impact and influence it had on me and countless others, of both older and younger generations. Read more

Boston: We Run Together

Beacon Street BostonATG contributor Laura O’Neil reflects on the Boston Marathon and spirit of resiliency in light of the second anniversary of the bombings, below. 

“There’s still something so unifying about sport in its purest form, when athletes rise above themselves and touch greatness, and in doing so, remind us all that we also have greatness inside of us.”

April 19th, 2015: the day of the 119th Boston Marathon* – the second since the bombings – found Boston in the midst of the defendant’s trial. The morning was cold, dreary, and grey with rain threatening otherwise manageable running weather.

As I set out on my customary morning run down Beacon Street**, I was greeted by a heavy police force and military vehicles that looked out of place. I couldn’t help but wonder about the day: Which history will repeat itself? Will today be like 117 of the last 118 Marathon Mondays? Will it be a triumphant day full of sweat, tears of joy, and accomplishment? Or a darker day with the world’s attention focused on Boston for all the wrong reasons? Read more

The Simple, Soothing Sounds of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Hawaiian Music

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

We’re wrapping up “All Things Hawaiian”! Check out our reflection on our travels in O’ahu, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, why Kona coffee is so popular, what makes the Plumeria flower so special and a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii.”

They say that keeping things simple is sometimes best. That simplicity not only yields greater productivity, but can elicit a greater, more powerful impact.

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, the legendary Hawaiian singer whose last name (which contains 8 of the 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet) translates to “the fearless eye, the bold face”, is a perfect example. Read more

A Dispatch from ATG: Discovering Mark Twain’s Hawaii

Mark Twain's Letters From HawaiiWe’re wrapping up “All Things Hawaiian”! Check out our reflection on our travels in O’ahu, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, why Kona coffee is so popular, what makes the Plumeria flower so special and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – St. Augustine (354-430)

St. Augustine might have reconsidered these words if he could have read some of the world’s most beautiful, informative and humorous travel writings that exist today, by authors ranging from Patrick Leigh Fermor, Bruce Chatwin, Alain De Botton, Bill Bryson and Bruce Feiler to M.F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, Frances Mayes, Elizabeth Gilbert and many others.

While nothing can quite replace the sensory experience of travel, “good”, substantive travel writing can easily transport one into another realm, allowing one to experience and become familiar with another land – as was the case for many Americans who read Mark Twain’s “Letters from Hawaii”, written during his travels for the Sacramento Union newspaper in 1866. Read more

Sweet Smells of Plumeria Paradise

Hawaiian Plumeria SoapWe’re featuring “All Things Hawaiian”! Also check out our reflection on our travels in O’ahu, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, why Kona coffee is so popular, a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

There’s a reason they say that smell is one of the strongest senses, evoking memories and emotions from a past time or experience.

Having been surrounded by tropical blue waters, beautiful handmade leis and the gentle, soothing sounds of Hawaiian music during a visit to O’ahu, we longed to take a little bit of the island home with us to remind us of our adventures in the land of “The Aloha Spirit.” After all, it is often the trinkets and treasures we find during our travels that serve as the most powerful reminder of the beauty, sights, smells and flavors of a foreign land. Read more

Wake Up and Smell the Kona

Kona Coffee HistoryWhen you think of Hawai’i, what do you think of? Surfing? Pineapples? Coconuts? Luaus and leis? Us, too. Except, having recently visited O’ahu, we’d add just one more thing to our list: coffee. Specifically, Kona coffee.

Described as a “deliciously rich, medium-bodied and slightly acidic coffee with a heady aroma and complex, winey, spicy taste”, it turns out that Kona coffee is extremely popular among coffee aficionados worldwide and is considered one of the most valued and premium coffees in the world.

With a history that is just as rich and plentiful as its taste, it’s not difficult to understand why. Read more

A Glimpse Into The 50th State In The Nation

Kalakaua Avenue Waikiki Beach HawaiiWe’re featuring “All Things Hawaiian”! Also check out our post on what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, a reflection on our travels in O’ahu, why Kona coffee is the most valued coffee in the world, what makes the Plumeria flower so special, a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Our travels in Hawai’i brought us to…

  • the popular destination of Waikiki Beach (picture 1 below)
  • the volcanic crater of Diamond Head (2)
  • the historic landmark of Pearl Harbor (3)
  • the Polynesian Cultural Center (4); and
  • the beautiful waters of Kaaawa (5)

We witnessed at least 20 Japanese weddings, experienced an Easter church service with beautiful Hawaiian music (6), dined at the two oldest hotels in Waikiki (the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider) (7), ate Malasadas (Portugese doughnuts) at Hawai’i’s original malasada bakery (8), sailed on a catamaran with Captain Riki and his son Kapono (which means “the righteous way”) (9) and saw some of the funniest, yet deeply powerful t-shirt sayings throughout our stay (10). Read more

Exploring, Dreaming & Discovering in O’ahu, Hawai’i

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” –Miriam Beard

It’s an age-old adage: traveling broadens our perspective, transforming our sense of self in relation to the world at large, challenging us to see with new eyes and deepening our sense of gratitude and appreciation as we gain insight into the culture, customs and traditions of an unfamiliar place.

I was recently reminded of this after a visit to O’ahu, Hawai’i where I was bewildered each time I remembered that I wasn’t in a foreign land, but was, instead, still in the United States – albeit in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, nearly 2,500 miles away from the mainland.

Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of blue and turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, volcanic craters, green mountainous terrain and tourists from all over the world, it was hard to grasp that Hawai’i isn’t a nation of its own. Indeed, never before have I visited another U.S. state feeling utterly transported into a different “realm”, as if I was a foreigner navigating an unknown territory. Read more