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Monday, December 5, 2011

Heading West...

So many things have been happening in my life, I don't even know where to begin.  Beyond photography, I was working as a receptionist for the Central Maui Animal Clinic where I got to adore animals and their pet lovin' owners all day long, (my kind of gig!).  After four months of an extreme passion for what I do, I got transferred with a promotion as the Customer Service Manager for our new clinic on the West side in Lahaina,  With that honor came an hour commute around a road far worse than the famously dangerous Hana Highway.  A few days of that trip and I realized it was time to make a move... A move that comes at a vital point in my life with all that has been happening... A move that has shown me not to judge a book by it's cover.
I had actually verbally declared numerous times that Lahaina was a place I could NEVER live with it's touristy facade and traffic jams on the Pali.  I only came to Lahaina to bring guests and family to see the art galleries, the banyan tree, and the Maui Brewing Company.  Now, after being here for over a month, I realize that the West side has so much more to offer than what I had seen on the surface.
It actually feels "country" with it's consistency of honks, waves, shakas, hugs, kisses, and the friendliness of the local community.  It's a place where small world stories happen everyday and if you've lived here for even just a short few months, you know someone who knows someone you know, (if you know what I mean). =]
My biggest fear was missing out on my passions and beliefs for farming and sustainability... To find a place with a garden that would take Lono I thought would be near impossible, but now I have my place and beyond that, I see the fisherman, the gardeners, the farmers markets, and even a agricultural learning center in the making and because of all this I know I'll make it here.  My landlord was even excited to let me bring "The Fuster Cluck" and chickens to boot, (but I know they'll be happier on the mountainside).

Here are some pictures of a group of amazing local friends I've had the pleasure of getting to know.  I got a lesson watching them fillet and cook the fish with the Mahi, Opakapaka, and Onaga (sp?) that Captain Dexter and Wyatt caught on Dexter's boat, "Popolo".  These guys were the definition of team work making a completely ONO dinner.
I am excited to see what else the West side has to offer, what doors may open, what farmers, gardeners, and fishermen I'll meet and learn from... and of course, I'm excited to be at our new vet clinic with its amazing staff and to be able to spend my day around the purest, most loving creatures on earth. 

With Love and Aloha,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pardon my French... but it's your fault!

PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned...

Who knew free range, egg layin' chickens could go beyond PG?  That's right... I asked you to vote on the chicken coop name and the votes have been tallied.  So between "The Chick Inn", "The Scratch Pad", "Chillin' With my Peeps", "Fuster Cluck", "Cheeper By the Dozen", "Hen Den", "Coop De Ville", "Sunny Side Up", and "Egg Plant"; the majority vote was more than double for "Fuster Cluck".

So now, I present to you "The Fuster Cluck".... Hens only, No cocks allowed...   

I'm off to work...
Have a Happy Sunday!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Birthday Blog... 26 going on 12!!!

The bag says, "eat more cake"... That could
have been the theme of my birthday. 

Yep, it's that time of year again... I always forget it's coming until the day it arrives and it always seems to come as a huge shock to me.  Then, not only has the month just changed and I have to remember that it's now October and not September anymore; but I also have to remember that I'm now 26 and no longer 25 years of age... Talk about confused!  Twenty-six... Is the birthday maker sure about this?  I'm thinking there's a flaw in this fact because I still can't believe that I'm growing up.  And to quote my own birthday facebook status, "Growing old is inevitable, but growing up is optional." Can I get an amen?! =]

My card from "the boys".
It's pretty darn cute if ya ask me!
I knew the pictures I take of my guys
would come in handy some day! ;)
You can click on any images to enlarge them.
I go about my day like the rest... I get ready and go on my merry way to Central Maui Animal Clinic, where I spend a lot of time loving on animals, (not a bad gig!).  I'm doing what I do and then all of a sudden, there's lattes from Starbucks, (and even some extras to give away to clients!). Then appears a scrumptious apple dessert from Maui's family owned "Stillwell's Bakery" with fresh pineapple chunks on the side.  THEN I'm given a card signed by my amazing and humorous co-workers alongside a Starbucks gift bag; (like I'm not Miss Super Energy already!).  Needless to say, I'm blown away... To the owner, Dr. Martin; and to the manager, Kelly, and all the staff and my friends there, "Mahalo!".  I felt the love.

Wine sipping, bucket listing, and
 lovin' the atmosphere.

So I left work at 12:30, totally baffled by the hugs and love I got just for growing older.  Tommy's off work and when I get home he asks me to get dressed, (out of scrubs), to go out after I get my awesome homemade card cleverly done by the boys and my favorite natural licorice.  "Out" was to Paia, (that amazing two street hippy town that I love OH SO much!), and we eat at one of my favorite places, Cafe Des Amis, (best crepes EVER!).  We sat outside on a bench, all alone in the middle of the afternoon, and sipped on a $19 bottle of red wine from France that was excellent for the price tag.  We agreed that we both felt we were in Europe rather than in Hawaii. 

 Our servers, (yes, everyone that works there serves you), were about our age... All tremendously nice, and even one of them was fresh off the plane from Morgantown, West Virginia, (go figure!).  It wasn't until I stood up to tinkle that I realized I had a good birthday buzz happening and ordered their Mediterranean platter to share.  We reviewed our travel lists and bucket lists that I keep nice and secure in my journal and made plans for the years to come.  Randomly, out of Tommy's pocket comes a set of turquoise earrings and a turquoise, (get this...), transformable necklace to bracelet do-hinky-ma-jigger that would scream to any man, BUY THIS, with its magnets and transformable functionability.  I laughed out loud as he did his demonstration; but I have to agree, it's pretty neat-O!

Woo Hoo for Air Hockey!

I know Tommy REALLY well since we've been close friends since we were ten years old... and I knew what was next on our agenda before he even said a peep.  Without a doubt, I knew that we were going to be going to the one place that I bug him to go once a week but we never ever go to... THE ARCADE!  So for my birthday, that's where he took me.  As I walk through the doors it's always like I'm warped back to my childhood where every Tuesday night Dad would take my brother and I out to The Golden Corral back when they did "Penny a Pound" buffet nights. After dinner we would go to the arcade in the little strip mall directly behind it and split $5 to play whatever games we wanted.  It was the day in the week that I cherished with my Dad and brother, Chris, and all of us, (including Dad), would race on the Daytona cars.  

Stoked on my random goodies! I told
you I'm closer to 12... Maybe
someone accidentally doubled my age? ;)

So as I walk into the buzzing arcade; lights blinking, sounds blaring, I almost find myself sprinting to the coin machine.  $5 each and we were off; taking turns on whatever games we each wanted to play.  So now I know why Tommy doesn't want to go to the arcade... I destroyed him at basketball (twice), air hockey, and even the "honey basket game" designed for tots... Buy hey, I've had more practice over the years!  Granted, I've never beat him at the hunting game, EVER.  And then comes the TICKETS!  We got so much useless cool stuff... A plastic safe, erasers, WWII foam airplanes, (that we played monkey-n-the- middle with Lono when we got home), a parachuter that I dropped down to him from the 2nd story of the mall, (he caught it!), watercolors, etc., etc.  Such a blast! 

So our night concluded with beers and cake and the "Happy Birthday" song with our roomie Kyle at our cottage on the side of the hill.  I didn't get to do my usual solo hiking trip this year for my birthday, (see last years here...), but I DID feel the love.  Thank you to the near 200 friends and family who wished me a happy birthday on Facebook... and for the voicemails and texts and emails, (Dad, H.S., Billy, Ariel, Kristina, Nikki, etc.)... You made me smile the whole day through... and even the next day!  Everyone in my life is so outrageously special... Thank you thank you thank you for being a part of my world and allowing me to be a part of yours!!!  XOXOXO


Got his butt whooped! ;-)

Have an amazing day!


Friday, September 2, 2011

"Say Hello to My Little Hen(s)"...

That's not a reflection... Those are three more chickens
on the other side!  They actually have separated themselves
in to packs of 3, (Unusually segregated by color). 
They peck at the one's from opposite sides
if they try to eat with their group.
Yesterday went like this...

I got off of work at about 12:45pm.  I got home, made a french press of coffee to gain some much needed drive and alertness.  Tommy and I sat down to discuss what we were going to do with our evening... Either he was going hunting and I was going to work on my book/photo projects... Or we'd do something fun together... I mentioned going to the arcade a couple of times. =]  As we sat and thought our day out, our conversations always slip back to our mini farm and the to do list there.  Tommy says, "We need chickens".. something we've discussed frequently over the past year... I said, "They need to be laying now." 

So we went to the computer, hopped on Craigslist, found 6 mature, egg laying, Rhode Island Reds for sale with coupe... And the next thing you know we are driving home with a massive pen of chickens in the back of the truck, (passing our neighbor, Robert De Niro, on the way.... No lie). 

The people we got them from, (Joe and Malia), where an amazing local family of five who were moving.  When I noticed their taro, I exclaimed that bo loong was the absolute best and we talked story on some of the recipes we have all tried... And so when we came back to pick up the feed and bedding; sure enough, there were about 8 taro plants waiting for us.  I will be taking them an egg and fruit basket for sure to thank them once again for their generosity. 

So the ladies have to stay in their pen for just today so they get use to their new location... and then they will be free range, helping to eliminate the nasty centipedes that sting and hurt like the dickens.  Lono is doing well with the new addition and has just been curious, but not aggressive.  From having worked on free range farms before, while cleaning around the house I hear a familiar sound... The loud beautiful song a lady makes when she's boasting about what's she just accomplished... She's layed an egg.  I dropped everything, ran to the pen, opened the nesting hatch... and sure enough... 3 eggs were waiting for me.  I know you may not think eggs are exciting but I was GLEAMING with joy and pride of our girls.  I stroked their backs and gave them a little feed to hold them over until dinner; took a few pictures; and then... as if to mock my happiness; set the eggs inside just to have one roll off onto the floor and break.  I'm wondering if "Break an Egg" is a phrase somewhere in the world; or a superstitious curse like breaking a mirror?  Either way, it's bound to happen a few times I'm sure. 

So to all of you on Maui who love eggs; we'd love to bring bartering back.  Eggs, bananas, lilikoi, lettuce, and lots of herbs are just a few of the things we have to offer.  OH, and thank you to our neighbors, Ronnie and Joseph, who made moving that heavy a$$ pen even possible.... and of course the best roommate ever, KYLE, for all your help and... well... for just being the best roommate ever! =] Eggs coming your way guys!

Now to name them... Any chicken name suggestions?

We have a few rows of coffee and citrus
trees and a then lot of wasted space. That's
where the girls went, and we even gave
them a nice ocean view.

Happy Farming!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Life as a Photographer Has Forever Changed...

Sunday was the final ceremony to conclude the Maui Photo Festival and Workshops.  Since then, I have been a blabbering fool who can't seem to shut up about the whole experience.... (So much so that I went to a coffee shop to get internet just to blabber a little more about it now in my blog).  Most people don't realize that I have had zero schooling in photography, besides a few monotone youtube videos to understand the "functions" of my camera and a couple of questions to those more experienced then me.  Attending this festival was my first "REAL learning experience"; and I walked into that place with very little sleep after four solid 10-12 hour long days of work; yet I was pumped and awakened by a desire and eagerness to learn.  Three solid days of classes and those instructors changed my life forever...

Now just a few things I loved about the festival were this...

1) Each teacher taught completely different, allowing you to choose your own vices and individuality.  They didn't teach you how to be a photographer, but more so guided you to find yourself as a photographer. 
2) I got to watch 6 spectacular ladies hula dance and take pictures for a mere $10. (Ever been to a luau?... It's quite a few pennies more). 
3) I got to play with food. 

And the BIG news that I must brag just a little about, (since compared to most I could easily be considered a beginner by the magnitudes of incredible and seasoned photographers in attendance).... Was that at the final Awards Ceremony I received runner up for the Best Hula shot, (one of the main events of the festival)!  I got a sweet camera bag out of the deal; but even more, I gained a confidence in myself and my photography that was the main thing I hoped to walk away with from this experience.  A giant "MAHALO" to the instructors, the models, the volunteers, the sponsor's, the classmates, and everyone who created and was involved with this event.  Here are some images from my time there... Can you guess which one won? 

***Click on images to enlarge***

Love and Aloha,
   Danielle Hattori

***Please respect that these images are private property and will be copyrighted.  If you would like to use these images for any reason, feel free to email me @  =]

Friday, August 12, 2011

Introducing My "Honor" Fruit Stand...Stop on By!!!

So this all started when I got upset with everyone who just lets their papaya's rot on the trees, their citrus drop hundreds to the ground to go to waste, or their avocado's turn to smooshy inedible grossness... and here I am, paying for IMPORTED groceries at ridiculous prices; $1.50 an orange, $3 avo's and papayas, all which are coming from Costa Rica and even Florida when our island could easily be supporting itself if people would just, well... go back to sharing and trading.  So I first started pondering making a website... and this is what I have built so far for free:

But I'm not so "tech savvy", and I'm at a stand still until my web genius buddy Kevin makes his way back to the islands to give me a boost.  However, Tommy and I did decide to do something about our own abundance... We decided to build an honor system stand!  Honor systems are quite common in Hawaii.  The stand is unattended and people just take what they want and put the money in a box.  I love a concept based on TRUST!  We did have one glitch though; I knew, (like every other project involving power tools), that Tommy would take over the whole thing and I would be left... well... painting.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy painting to a certain extent; but my Dad didn't raise me to stand around looking pretty.  He raised me replacing drywall, insulation, installing electrical outlets, changing oil, head gaskets, tires, USING power tools, and even gave both Tommy and I a great lesson in welding.  So I must say that I've learned that part of being a wife is "letting" your husband do the dirty, greasy, power tooly things... Needless to say, we've fought over who does their own oil changes more than once.

So I do stand back for most things now because, believe it or not, I get the whole pride thing... but I REALLY wanted to do this fruit stand all by myself... Kind of a small regain of independence and even just to see if I still had it in me after keeping my hands nice and tidy over the stove, and in the kitchen sink for what seems like way too long.  So with a little, (A LOT), of begging, Tommy finally agreed to give me this one project.  You can't even understand how much it meant to me and I took it very seriously; spending my days off and even days that I worked 10 hours working on that damn stand.  So, my mission was to make it as "free"as possible with recycled materials.  So I took the floor joyce's we took out of under our house from our "mold removal" project and created it solely from those and a piece of board we had lying around.  Even the paint was all leftovers that I found myself running out of, and changing colors constantly.  All in all I spent $12.00 on just hinges and 3" screws to make this baby.  We've already made that back in just the 3 days we've had it up.  Woo hoo!  So I now present to you... Queen B's Fruit Stand.  What do you think?

Lono sure was a cute helper! :-) Floor joyce's coming together to create
a place for delicious goodness. ;)

Now for the recycled paint!

And now to create the sign for the stand.  I love my painting table for a large
number of reasons. (Location, view, beer... and see company below...)

Atleast they admire my painting! =]

The stand all put together, but not placed by the road yet.


My super sweet, (and also green thumbed neighbors), Danette
and daughter, Jamie Lee, checking out the fruit stand.
Seriously, How cute are they? =]


And when we meet again, I hope to have my photoshoot of my special gift!  I hope you are as stoked as I am... And I will give you one hint... and you can go ahead and guess if you'd like... but right now... I'm FOOT STOMPIN'!!! =]

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Relating to Jenny...

Remember that part in Forest Gump where Jenny's just a little girl and prays, "Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far far away".... 

I sure can relate to that lately with all the predictable non-sense that's been happening in the U.S..  Not knowing what to do with our money we've worked so hard to save to be able to travel someday, not knowing if travel will even be an option before long, not knowing what will become of our government, not knowing if food and oil will still make its way to our shores, not knowing if the 9 hurricanes predicted in a time like this will drop us to our knees... Lots of unknowns make flying off to Ecuador to visit friends, or to Ireland to lay in the grassy meadows with a pint of Guinness, or even to Thailand or India to ride bareback on an elephant and eat exotic curried dishes just to knock it off my bucket list... They are all not seeming like such bad ideas in a time like this... But yet, like the rest of you, I have a never ending list of responsibilities to tend too that it seems I can't just run away.  And after all, I could never just up and leave my hubby, (as he obviously is not able to run off with me), or my favorite mutt in the whole wide world, (who will forever go wherever we go).

So the other day, I got to fly away in my mind by watching these paragliders from our roof top.  I imagine they didn't have a care in the world as the perfect thermals seemed to sweep them miles and miles away over the ocean.  One of the free birds gave me a wave and then spread his arms like a red tail hawk off the Northern Coasts of California and let the winds carry him where they may as he soared in the sky.  I wondered in that moment if he actually knew what it feels like to fly...

Here are some pictures I took while watching the paragliders from our rooftop...

In between the palms...

And on a different note, I have some VERY exciting news about a gift I received in the mail.  I need to photo shoot it first though... so you'll just have to hold your horses. =]

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