The year started nice and easy...and continuing to write on my cookbook project (two and half years and seemed to not be getting anywhere)
I don't make New Year's resolutions any longer...hate to break them but invariably, I do...instead I made up my mind to slow down the pace..., I gave up a few self imposed duties and cut back on actively organizing cooking contests and participating as a judge in cooking event... Not all of them in one swell foop, but it was a start...
* One can only see clearly
When one is going slowly
Quick motion creates a life-blur.
In February we mostly worked in the garden and attended a 'get-your-hands-in the-dirt' class on planting veggies in Tabletop Salad Garden Boxes...
Click on the highlighted link to read about this project and links to the complete list of my 'Home Farming Project' articles.
Meantime I continued to write on the cookbook, cleaning, editing and having friends read and re-read to help me clean it up and make it better...and then March brought more gardening and FINALLY time to choose a cover for my cookbook!
The publisher held a little contest where he showed several photos representing recipes in the cookbook... It was so much fun to see people voting for their preferences...and finally, front and back covers were chosen...
To my complete surprise, the news of my to be published new cookbook seemed to spark a little flurry of orders for my original "Tropical Taste" cookbook, and that was fun!
Launching Day for From Soup to Nuts!
Finally the day of publishing was here and we had lots and lots of pre-orders to fulfill... a cookbook signing marathon!
The cookbook was reviewed by several people on Amazon, a very nice review by Linda Cicero in the Miami Herald and one in the Ke Ola Magazine - there was also one in an issue of Patricia Rain's (The Vanilla Queen) The Vanilla Company's newsletter in October, but the link to the article and recipes she reviewed is broken...the book was also mentioned in an article in the West Hawai'i Today, but to date I haven't been able to locate a copy.
Then came the in-store cookbook signings...that has been so much fun!
Also during June, my sister Sandra came to visit and childhood friends of ours came with her... We celebrated my birthday with a fun lu'au at Lele'iwi Beach Park with my sister and our friends, Ana & Jimmy Perez from Miami
Anthony, Sandra, Ana, Jimmy & I also did a tour around the island during their visit...Sandra stayed for about 3 weeks and we had time to show her a few more hidden places around the island and picnic a couple of times...
With the help of my sister - and the kick in the pants she gave me - we got "the office" organized and in the "pursuit of organization" was able to finally tackle the piles of magazines and newspapers containing my columns and articles, plus stuff I wanted to save in a 'scrapbook' and managed to sort, clip, and reduce several piles and boxes full into a few three-ring binders!
Through the year I also started going through closets and drawers, bookcases and boxes and gave away several boxes filled with a lot of stuff through Freecycle and also sold a few items through a page I set up for my (fabulous) yard sale on Facebook...This worked out to be a lot of fun and even people from the mainland were bidding for items!
During all this time I also received visits from a childhood friend from Cuba I hadn't seen in about 60 years and from Georgia cousins I hadn't seen in a while...
The two Sonias on left - cousins Anna and Janet from Georgia on right
All during the year and with partners, I also got involved in starting a new business...The name of it Orchid Isle Traders and we're "Purveyors of Hawai'i island Grown Spices, Comestibles & Imports"... we're working on a website, but meantime we can be found in Facebook under Orchid Isle Traders
The plans for it started early in 2015 but we finally did a soft launching in October, testing the waters at the 3rd Annual Liliko'i Festival, with my son Anthony and my business partner Kevan handling the booth as I was again involved in organizing and directing the cooking contest for the event. Later we participated in the Christmas in the Country event at the Hilo Coffee Mill, the Full Moon Boutique Event in Leilani Estates, the Christmas Craft & Holiday Fair in Waimea and the Christmas Day Parade Craft Fair in Kee'au.
We feature Hawai'i Island grown spices such as allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, pink peppercorns, and turmeric; we make our own "Premium" Vanilla extract using Madagascar vanilla beans and sell gorgeous vanilla beans from Tahiti.
Other products we sell are local dried fruit and mixes, beautiful Maui sugar infused with vanilla beans, kitchen / gardening handcrafted soaps as well as a luscious complexion soap; our offerings at the moment include 3 cookbook titles: my own "Tropical Taste" and "From Soup to Nuts" as well as the beautiful "A Cook's Journey to Japan" - 100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens. We're looking for more island-grown products and our list of products is growing fast!
Our inventory is expanding to also provide mini porcelain mortar & pestles, appropriate for grinding your own spices as well as nutmeg graters and other useful kitchen type tools. Eventually we hope to expand to tableware and linens.
With everything else happening, Thanksgiving and Christmas got here before I had time to realize it... Our Thanksgiving day was very quiet this year as well as our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... but we did get to gather with friends, and friends of friends to celebrate our "2nd Annual Christmas Party & Potluck" at Kolekole Beach Park earlier in the month....and in between all of this, I did manage to get together with friends for a fun day of harvesting natural materials for making our Christmas Wreath
Our last event of the year was a lovely afternoon picnic with our friends Brenda, Kevan & Galyn, at the little park nestled between Hilo Bay, Lihiwai Street and the Liliuokalani Park in Hilo...we also got to see our friends Liz & Mike, who dropped by for a few minutes.
Today ends a very eventful and fun year... and tomorrow starts what I hope will be a very happy and prosperous one!
Happy New Year!
Feliz Año Nuevo!
Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!