Dinner at Cafe Lani Hawaii

The other night my husband and I decided to try out the fairly new Cafe Lani at the Ala Moana shopping center. We've heard mixed reviews on it and it only received 3 stars on Yelp so we were a bit skeptical. To our surprise it was great and can't wait to go back again to try new dishes. For now, here's my thoughts on our experience:

Restaurant itself:
Came here on a Friday night around 7:00 and the wait was 30-40 min. Very limited seating in the waiting area hence that's why you see people standing outside the restaurant almost all the time. Inside the feel is very chic and a cute spot featuring patterned wallpaper and bright white leafless tree structures. Because the restaurant is also a bakery the smell is great! Super cute feel to it.

Our server was friendly and was very helpful with her suggestions. However, during the meal it was difficult to find her and when we did, she wasn't very available to us.

My husband got the Fedelini Porcini Cream Sauce set which included: Porcini cream pasta, green salad, clam chowder (or french onion soup), and a small Lani pizza. The porcini cream pasta was by far my most favorite dish. It wasn't too much cream for those who are lactose intollerant and the flavors blended together nicely. The green salad was your typical salad with an Asian style vinaigrette dressing. We opted for clam chowder which was just average and the pizza was nothing out of the ordinary. For $25.00 I feel the price was well worth it.

I opted for the Porcini Gratin with Italian sausage and roasted potato set which included: Porcini mushroom, potato, Italian sausage, roasted tomato, mini salad, mini strawberry parfait (chocolate is also an option), and all you can eat bread. This is featured in their Fall Seasonal menu. The main dish had penne pasta and was baked. The cream sauce was on the thicker side so if you're lactose intollerant you may want to approach this dish with caution. The salad was the same as my husband's, and the mini strawberry parfait was a nice topper. Now remember how my set came with all you can eat bread? Well, before we got our meal our server initially came out in the beginning with three different types of bread (see picture), but as the meal went on no one offered us any more bread. The table next to us kept getting asked if they wanted bread but for some reason everyone kept skipping over us. I had to flag down the bread servers a few times to try the different types they were offering. However, the bread was nice and warm and they were all very tasty. For $22.50 I feel my set was worth the price.

Mama Bear Input:
Bright lighting so it may be a little difficult for your little one to get some zzz's. It's a little noisey but what restaurant isn't. Stoller parking is up front next to the hostess stand. Kids menu available!

My overall impression of this place exceeded my expectation. Don't you just love when that happens? I would rate this place a 4 out of 5. The wait time wasn't too bad considering it was prime dinner time on a Friday night and the food was up to par. However, the service could have been a little better. For a complete list of their menu and oferrings, visit their website at http://www.cafelanihawaii.com/#

Cute wall decor

Fedelini Porcini Cream Set

Porcini Gratin main dish

First round of free bread with dipping sauces in the background

Mini strawberry parfait


Quiet time reflection

Before giving birth I thought I would be bored staying home with the baby while on maternity. leave I thought I would have a tone of time to do things and I would be asking to go back to work early. Boy was I wrong! Nowadays, my life consists of feedings, pumping, changing diapers, rocking a screaming baby, looking for his favorite pacifier, rinse and repeat. Daily checklists and errands to run have consumed me, and in all honesty I haven't been able to spend some quiet time with God. These past three months have flown by and although I love being Jet's mommy, sometimes I just wish I had more time.

This afternoon, I was able to sneak away to the other room while Jet had his afternoon nap and opened my bible for the first time in months. What started out as an "I'll just read one chapter since that's better than nothing" turned into "oh that was good I need to keep reading". I came across a verse that really made me feel less guilty about not having enough time and reminded me that God sees our needs (Nehemiah 1). This new season in my life will be such a learning experience and my hope is to share this journey with all of you. My prayer is that I am able to get more of these quiet times with God and through Him learn to be an exceptional wife and mom.


Four days that would change my life forever

July 28, 2016
I started feeling heavier and more frequent Braxton hicks contractions all week so I decided to stay home from work today. Since I had done all I could do to prepare my projects I would leave behind while on maternity leave I didn’t feel so bad taking a sick day. Nothing exciting happened today so it was more of a free day for me to get the last few things in order at the house before the baby came.

July 29, 2016
Again, felt Braxton hicks contractions so I called out of work and stayed home. My cousin came in from LA and I met up with him for lunch. He wasn’t feeling too good so we planned on meeting up for dinner when Titan got off of work to eat pho. My best friend, Sheena, told me to eat pho because in the Vietnamese culture that would induce labor. As I started to get ready for dinner I felt a little slow leak dripping down my legs. I heard that not everyone’s water breaks the same and sometimes it could be a slow leak like a faucet and not like what you’d imagine. Titan came home to find me hunched over the bathroom sick with a towel under me because the leak just wouldn’t stop. I was sure my water had broken because I had just gotten out of the shower and there was no way it was pee. So, quickly and calmly he began to pack his bag while I called labor and delivery to let them know I was on my way. On the way to the hospital I didn’t really feel any contractions and this was nothing like I thought it would be. They checked me in and luckily my normal mid-wife was on shift that night so it was re-assuring to see a familiar face. Since it didn’t appear like I was in any sort of pain nor was I having contractions it took a while for her to actually check me. After a few hours she came back with the results. Verdict was that my water had not broken and it was just some sort of discharge. She said it’s better to be safe than sorry and 9 out of 10 times people in my situation are back at the hospital within 24-48 hours.

July 30, 2016
I had planned to meet my friend Winnie for lunch and being how rollie pollie I felt I dragged her along to Costco to stock up my fridge. Later that afternoon I was online Googling “How to naturally induce labor”. I often saw dancing was a great way so on to YouTube I went to find some dancing music. Since I’m not a free style dancer, I learned the entire Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” thanks to some tutorials. After about an hour of that and some hula songs I was beat. Titan got home and we decided to give this pho theory a shot. We got home from dinner and still no sign of baby. Little did I know this would be the last night of sleep for a while.

July 31, 2016 (My due date)
Around 4:30 am I felt cramping in my stomach and I went to use the bathroom. The feeling never really went away so I woke Titan up and told him I think I was having real contractions this time. For some reason I didn’t know how I could tell this was the real deal but your instincts just tell you. I downloaded an app to help me track my contractions and for the next few hours I walked back and forth around my living room to try and move the contractions along. All the while, Titan was snoozing and he claims he was “resting up”. Soon enough the sun came up and my contractions were still about 10 minutes apart. At around 11:30/12:00ish I told Titan it was time to head to the hospital. So, off we went and since this was the second alarm I remembered to bring things I forgotten the first time like my pillow I can’t sleep without.  My contractions started getting closer together and more painful. I remember Titan dropping me off in the loading zone and a security officer coming by to ask me if I needed assistance. I guess the hunching over holding my stomach and grabbing the pillar in the lobby gave it away. Being the superwoman I am (lol) I said I was fine and up to labor and delivery we went.

After getting checked in the mid-wife on duty made the call to admit me. My contractions were still tolerable at this point so I got dressed in those lovely hospital gowns and the staff encouraged me to eat some lunch. After lunch I decided I wanted this baby out so we took a walk around the labor and delivery floor. It started out fine and then the contractions started getting more and more painful. We stopped about every two minutes because I just couldn’t handle the pain. What helped was facing Titan and leaning on him for support. He would squeeze my hips during the contraction and he said this happened about 10 times. According to Titan, it took an hour just to do one lap. As we approached our room I told Titan I needed the epidural. The pain was so intense that if I had to describe it, it was like lightning occurring in my abdomen. Since there was only one epidural guy on the floor and he was already helping someone else, my nurse gave me some type of medication because we didn’t know how long it would take for him to get to me. Luckily, it was only about a 10 minute wait and I found myself hunching over forming an “S” with my back. This was a lot harder than I thought and it took a while for him to insert the needle. Titan hates needles so he excused himself and got some lunch at the cafeteria. When he got back I was feeling g-o-o-d. The nurse encouraged me to get some rest because I’d need it when it came time to push. I was in and out of it and there was a pocket on my lower left side that didn’t get the epidural. It sucked! With every contraction I could feel the thunder and lightning in that one area and no matter what I did it wouldn’t go away.

At around 7:30 pm my nurse told me her shift was over and introduced me to the nurse that would take over for the rest of the night. Since getting the epidural it slowed my contractions down significantly I think they mentioned something about the baby’s heart rate dropping. It wasn’t something they were too concerned about but they needed to help me move things along. At around 9 pm they broke my water and gave me some Pitocin to help my contractions. This whole time I still felt that little pocket of pressure and by then I wasn’t able to get much rest.

At around 11 pm they said I could start pushing. God bless my nurse and husband because they stayed by my side the entire time. I pushed with every contraction (ok I cheated a little and rested through a few) and it felt like I wasn’t making any progress. A few hours in the doctor came and mentioned the option of having the baby vacuumed out or assisted out with tongs. I guess they were a little more worried about the baby at this point and Titan texted this information to my sister who works in labor and delivery on Maui. At about 2:00 am I looked at Titan in a way he would describe as desperation. I was exhausted and I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt like I wasn’t making any progress and I remember starring into his eyes and without saying a word I told him I was done. With some encouragement from the nurse and Titan, on to pushing I went with every contraction. At around 2:30 with my first contraction push, the doctor rubbed down there to what I think was help open thing up for him to come out. On the second push, Jet literally shot out and all I remember the doctor saying was “don’t push, don’t push”! I felt an enormous amount of pressure and it was hard not to push. Although Jet’s bed and monitoring device was already set up in the room, my bed wasn’t ready for all the other stuff that came out in addition to baby.

They laid Jet on my chest and I didn’t know what to feel or think. Was this real? Was this kid actually mine? After a few minutes of being in shock and listening to him cry, I began to cry. My baby boy was finally here and yes, he was all mine.

Jet Thomas Burns was born on August 1, 2016, at 2:39 am weighing 7 lbs 8.6 oz and 19 inches long.


1st trimester

I’m one of the youngest of my cousins on my dad side so I’ve had my fair share of experiencing babies being born and watching them grow up. Besides that, as a side job I used to nanny and help take care of kids so having one of my own one day was something I knew I’ve always wanted. Before getting pregnant (you can read how I found out in the post just before this) I heard some broad generalities about being pregnant. I knew that most people had it rough the first trimester and knowing how hard my mom had it she sort of told me what I could expect. What I didn’t know was exactly how I would feel or what my body was about to go through. This post is very honest and may be a little TMI or gross for some. However, here are a few truths about those first weeks of pregnancy at least in my case.

1.  You think you won’t get sick then BAM it hits you
I thought I would be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get sick or would only get mild nausea but nope, not even close. At around 7 weeks the nausea kicked in. It wasn’t so bad this early on and even tolerable for the most part. Right when I hit 11 weeks it was the day before my 30th birthday. Titan had the day off so we went about our usual Sunday: church, lunch, errands, nap time, dinner. All day I had this pounding headache and I thought surely with an afternoon nap it would go away but nope! We met up with friends for an early dinner and I could barely hold myself up at the table. I knew something was up and after a few bites of some chicken and a total of three tater tots I was done. We headed home and before even making it on to the freeway I told Titan to pull over. I’ve never thrown up so much in my life and I feel really bad for the person that cleans up the Safeway parking lot because I left it a mess! When we got home I went straight to the toilet and threw up whatever was left in me. Next, I went straight to bed and about 30 min later I called my sister on the phone and started balling my eyes out because of how terrible I felt. Again, I had the urge to go but this time nothing was coming out. I just remember my stomach contracting and gagging but there was nothing left in me (not even water) to vomit. I sat down on the bathroom floor feeling weak, dehydrated, and defeated. Next thing I know we’re at the Emergency Room getting an IV and some miracle medicine to help ease the nausea. Happy Birthday to me!

2.  There goes your appetite
This was one of the first signs that my body was changing. Prior to getting pregnant Titan and I would eat out almost every night. Whether it was a quick meal at the food court or at a nice restaurant, this is when we made time for “us” and got to catch up on what’s going on in life in general. We went to Maui for his birthday and to visit some family and by then I was already 7 weeks. We went to a nice fancy restaurant and I ordered my usual go to meal (braised short ribs). A few bites in I was full. No, I hadn’t eaten a huge lunch or even snacked prior to dinner I just wasn’t hungry. We took my leftovers to go and when we got back to the hotel I was hungry again. I’m finally starting to get my appetite back but instead of eating big meals I just eat smaller portions but more frequently.

3.  Sleepy does not even describe it
I work at an office with white walls, no windows, and horrible lighting so it’s natural for me to feel sleepy after staring at the computer all day. But, by the time I start walking to my car I get a burst of energy and I go about my afternoon whether it’s taking the dogs out for a walk, exercising, or household chores. With this pregnancy I haven’t been able to do any of that! As soon as I get home I usually start to feel nauseous and the only thing that relieves it is sleeping it off. Sometimes I’ll sleep through the night and other times I’ll wake up a few hours later, take a shower, then head right back into bed. Lately, I don’t feel as sleepy and have actually been able to stay awake until 10:30 pm! However, on the weekends I do tend to take two hour naps in the middle of the day J

4.  You feel horrible and you can’t tell anyone why
So, remember my birthday story, it was my big 3-0 birthday and usually I’m a big birthday celebration person. I think people expected me to throw something at least a get-together but this year I didn’t even want to celebrate it myself. Of course, Titan and my immediate family knew why but it was still early on that no one else really knew. I don’t know how many dinner invitations I turned down or happy hours after work but now you know why I was so MIA and a couldn’t go out past 7pm.

5.  No belly yet but you have boobs for days
One of my early signs of pregnancy were tender breasts. Sleeping became hard because with even a little brush up against them it was like someone was stabbing me with a knife. I wore a sports bra for some added protection but sooner or later I grew out of what I had and had to hit up Motherhood Maternity for some sleeping bras. I’ve always been blessed at the chest so bigger boobs were no biggie for me but man, if they’re as big as they are now, I don’t even want to know what it’ll be like a few months from now!

6.  Loosing weight not gaining it
When you hear of someone being pregnant it’s expected that they’ll gain all this weight. From my first Dr.’s appointment to my most one at 19 weeks, I lost a total of 11 pounds. Now I know I’ll gain it back and then some soon enough but who would have thought that being pregnant can actually make you loose weight.

7.  Hemroids, yup I went there
No one ever told me you get them during pregnancy. In fact, they’re quite common. However, when I googled hemroids during pregnancy most people get them in their third trimester or after giving birth. In my case, that little sucker showed up at 8 weeks and still pops its head out every so often. Besides it being super annoying at least there’s over the counter medicine that you can take and it’s totally safe for you and your baby. I found that Preparation H cream and Tucks moist towelletes work best for me. Thank God for my AWESOME husband who helps apply the cream for me since I can’t see that far back and down!

8.  You can smell stuff from a mile away
I’m already really sensitive when it comes to smell but I can be in another room and smell something funny. I usually have dog feeding duty every night since Titan gets home later than I do but their dog food made me sick every time that container was open. I tried using a face mask, wrapping a towel around my face, and even holding my breath but nothing worked. There were nights where Titan wouldn’t get home until 10:00 pm and my poor doggies still hadn’t eaten dinner because I couldn’t stand the smell of their food to feed them. Sorry Ewok and Emma!

9.  Pregnancy hormones are no joke
I’ve noticed that I’ve been super emotional and cry a lot! Because I was so sick I often felt like my body couldn’t handle all the changes and would just ball my eyes out questioning if all of this was even worth it. I would get down on myself for even thinking that and would cry even more for being such a bad mommy. I remember snapping at Titan a few times because he wouldn’t show me the “understanding and sympathy” I needed. I would often tell him “I wish you could experience how I’m feeling” and “I don’t know how anyone could have more than one kid after feeling this way”. I still feel that way sometimes but because the nausea has eased off a little I no longer think those thoughts (except for the more kids part).

10.  You make sacrifices and do whatever it takes to feel better
If you know me, you know how much I love French fries. Any style, prepared any way, I could eat them every day! At 12 weeks I began to notice that anything fried made me even more sick. Right at 13 weeks after throwing up my breakfast (jumbo jack and curly fries; yes don’t judge me that was what I wanted for breakfast) Titan cut me off completely from anything fried. That of course meant French fries. But, knowing how sick it made me I didn’t care. There was one time we ordered a meal and it came with French fries. I told the waitress don’t even bother putting the fries on there and I would still pay for the cost of the meal without the fries. I wasn’t even tempted to try not even one single fry because I didn’t want to have to pay for it another way later. Now, I’m able to sneak one or two fries in with my meal but definitely still not having just fries for my meal.

I hope this post shed some light on the things people “forget” about their first trimester and if it didn’t at least you got a little laugh out of it. I’m well into my second trimester now and things have gotten SO MUCH better. Titan and I were even able to go on a little babymoon in San Francisco and I was able to eat almost whatever I wanted and keep it down (except once). More on that experience in a later post.


Our Announcement

It was the day after Thanksgiving. I came home from work and was supposed to get my period two days prior but nothing had come yet. My period has always been consistent and never really veered off its cycle so I knew something was up. For the past four months, my husband and I were doing everything in our power to try to get pregnant. From buying ovulation sticks, to downloading two apps on my phone that tracked the optimal time to get pregnant, nothing seemed to be working. We had just gotten back from a little vacation at the end of October and had somewhat given up on “trying”. Our nephew was born in August and we knew that if we happened to get pregnant in November there’s a slight chance that they’d have the same birthday (which we didn’t want). So, we went about our daily grind and seriously only did it once (maybe twice) this month. Ok, back to my story…

I came home from work that Friday afternoon and something inside of me told me to take a home pregnancy test. We had a few of them lying around since we’ve been trying for a while and a few minutes later the empty white box turned into a plus sign. I didn’t believe my eyes at first so I waited a bit but it only got bolder and easier to read. I was so excited that I wanted to share the news with everyone but I held back and didn’t get my hopes up. I packed the test in a little cute box and presented it to Titan when he got home a few hours later. He opened the box thinking it was a Christmas present I had gotten for someone that he wanted me to look at. To his surprise he unwrapped the wrapping paper and yelled “Yobo is this for real? Your preggo?” I told him I had taken the test a few hours ago and that I think I am. We both shared a hug and kiss and I told him to not get his hopes up and I would re-test in the morning.

The next day I woke up and went straight to the cabinet anticipating my morning pee. I used a different pregnancy test brand this time just in case there was a glitch or perhaps something wrong with the other brand. A few minutes later, two lines appeared and I yelled out “Yobo it’s positive!” We again shared that intimate moment as if a weight was lifted off our shoulders. All those months of being discouraged God had finally answered our prayers. I still had reservations about the whole thing and didn’t want to get my hopes up just yet. At this point I was probably only four or five weeks pregnant so anything could happen. We’re excited about this new chapter in our lives and look forward to the entirely new book that’s about to be written.


In my dressing room

If you've ever traveled with me to the mainland the one store I must stop at is H&M. Living in Honolulu we have a lot of the stores you'll find on the West Coast and our tax is usually a lot cheaper so I prefer to shop at places we don't have here. Case in point... H&M. There have been rumors that H&M will be coming to Oahu soon and I've been considering picking up a part-time job just so I could get the fabulous discount! Although, H&M is still available in an online version to us Hawaii shoppers who have yet to have an actual store. I also verified, they ship to Hawaii and it's not oobber expensive like most online shops :) 

The top, I love how it's slouchy enough to hide all the right places yet the waistband allows me to show off that I do have a waist. The royal blue tasteless add a pop of color that I like. 

The ripped jeans. I personally don't own a pair so I would want to try it on. I also gives the look an edgier and relaxed look.

The purse. I love how it's two toned. Big enough to fit everything I need and fashionable at the same time. 

The shoes. Gladiator sandals are always in style when you live in Hawaii. This just pulls the whole outfit together. 

H&M is currently holding a contest 50 STATES OF FASHION. How it works:

1. Upload a picture of yourself on Instagram with the hashtag corresponding to your state.

2.  Share your image with friends to get more votes. The top voted images from each state will be sent to judges for final judging. 

3. H&M will pick the Grand prize winner who will receive a $1,000.00 H&M gift card and trip for two to New York to attend an H&M event. 

Good luck and happy voting!


STYLE - Back to school back packs

One thing I've always loved about a new school year was a new back pack. Nowadays, back packs come in all sorts of styles and colors it makes me want to go back to school just to go shopping for one all over again. 

Jansport. This was the most reliable back pack I've found over the years. Hugely popular among students, this back pack is very reliable and pretty affordable. I would totally rock this color by Tillys

Over the years, Jansport evolved to offer the same durability but came out with differnent styles and colors. I love this denim with flowers print from Tillys

As I got older, Roxy was the brand to have. Although always cute in style, these were not very durable and more on the pricier side. In my sophomore year of high school I went through two Roxy back packs in one semester and by the end of the year it was my Jansport bag from the year before that held out the best. I love this cute Roxy bag from Roxy 

As I transitioned into college, my back pack style started to stray way from the bright and bold colors and prints and went more in a simple and basic direction. Something like this Roxy bag from Zumiez was more college appropriate.

Now out of college I rarely use back packs. The only time I really use them is for travel. These are more of my current style. What do you like in a good back pack? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.