44,965 People Each Year

I originally contemplated whether I wanted to write about the death of Kate Spade — Not because her death doesn’t matter (every death matters) but because I wasn’t sure, due to the amount of coverage her death has already received, if my words would have the depth it needs to shed light on what is occurring, or in this case, the suicide of a very successful woman. And then I determined that I want to write about this because I believe there is a common misconception that success equates to happiness, and successful people don’t kill themselves and can’t be sad or have problems — How wrong that is.

Spade was a talented and driven designer — The first time I became aware of her, it was actually because of her quotes; words that sparked a little inspiration on days when the rest of the world seemed far too preoccupied with trying to be anything but themselves. Her quotes made my day brighter; simple, fun, playful — always witty and optimistic. And then I discovered her handbags; beautiful, sophisticated, and bold. I instantly wanted a Kate.

Looking at her life from the outside, it appears it’s perfect; she built an empire, which according to sources is worth $2.4 billion; she lived in one of the largest and most expensive cities in America; she was married; she had a daughter. And that’s the problem — looking from the outside portrays one story — looking past the surface portrays another story.

Various reports suggest that Spade suffered from anxiety and depression, yet she was a successful businesswoman. She wasn’t poor, she didn’t live on the side of the road in a makeshift style house held together with tape and rope — And yet she committed suicide. She was smart, educated, ran successful businesses, and still managed to be a wife and a mother — And yet she committed suicide. Past the surface, maybe she had problems the world didn’t know about, until one event after another led her to take her own life. The fact is that suicide doesn’t discriminate; the wealthy, the average jane and joe, and the poor can all be victims. As I stated, success does not equate to happiness. Anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental disorders affect people from all social classes; with the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain highlighting this once again.

Due to my line of work, I have seen the distress, anger, and emotional turmoil that people experience daily; some handle it better than others and are able to reach out for help, while others have a more difficult time getting the support that they need. On average, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 44,965 Americans die by suicide each year; that’s at least 123 suicides per day — these are people that, regardless of any social/personal characteristics, needed help — and today, in this moment, or tomorrow, or a year from now, people need help.

Taking the time to reach out, or to simply listen, it can save a life; one of the worst things in the world is the inaction to help others.

If you or anyone you know needs support: If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to find information about receiving the appropriate support. You can seek professional help — Talk to your doctor, a counselor, a psychologist, or someone that you trust — You can fight this and get the help that you need.

 

 

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Life Today | June

Hello June! Wow, I haven’t done a “life today” post since September. Much has changed and yet much has remained the same —

1. I have begun applying to graduate school for the fall semester. In fact, I started the process in February and it has taken nearly four months to complete. I am not going to list any of the schools that I have applied to (yet), however I will divulge that the academic field that I have chosen is intelligence studies. I am nervous, excited, hopeful — Applying to graduate school is a little nerve-racking.

2. Monsoor is healing wonderfully; he is remarkable. I briefly discussed him in a previous post and on my Instagram, however updates on my blog have been non-existent — I have done a stellar job at writing daily updates about Monsoor, however when it comes to posting those updates on here, well, I have been terrible at it! I want to change that because I want the world to know who Monsoor the cat is; a lovable, beautiful, fighter. We have had him now for almost 10 months; he is 1 year 10 months old. He is no longer 3 lbs — I need to weigh him on a scale, however if I had to estimate his weight, he is probably 10 lbs. He is blind; when we found him on the side of the road, at that point in time, he had an infection that took his eyes and nearly his face. Here we are almost a year later and his face is 98% healed and he has adjusted to living blind. He has his own bed/living area, stuffed animals (his favorite is the hippopotamus, maybe because it’s the softest), and he loves playing with the dogs who, in turn, take care of him; Max is his best friend. Monsoor truly lives up to his name.

3. I have had Ray now for 10 months; I adopted Ray from the Humane Society a week before rescuing Monsoor. Ray is a month or so away from celebrating his fifth birthday! He is slightly bigger than your average Red Heeler; I need him to get used to exercise and a diet. I want him to enjoy hiking like Max, however we will need to start with smaller trails and work from there. With the ongoing eruptions, we have poor air quality (it is improving); we need to find a new hiking trail suitable for Ray and Max. Ray enjoys sleeping on the tiled floor and his air mattress; he loves his dog treats (I know, I know. What dog does not?). He enjoys lounging on the front porch and back porch. He is Max’s best friend and wants to be Sophie’s friend but she is not having any of that, and, well, all I can say is cats man…except Monsoor; Monsoor loves humans, cats, dogs, etc. Anyway, Ray is such a sweet boy.

4. Max is as rambunctious as ever, while Sophie has moved back into my bedroom after living in my office…after living in my bedroom. #Dogs #Cats

5. Blogging — I have been getting into a better habit of blogging regularly, however I have thousands of photos (literally) of beautiful places here on the Big Island that I want to post; I need to find the time to organize my photos and write the stories. At the end of the day, I just want to appreciate the good times I have had. At the same time, social media (not necessarily blogging) has been on my mind lately with a HUGE question mark. I love writing. I love photography. I love being able to share a little of my life with those who are interested. However, I am not sure what role, or if there is a role, social media plays in my life or in my profession. Is it good for my profession? Is it pointless? I have no clue.

6. Post-grad life brings new meaning to the phrase “take the bull by the horns.”

7. Nick has been in college now for nine months, while Riley is graduating from high school on the 20th. Time flies!

8. Dad is now the security manager overseeing the security at the hospital in Kailua-Kona; he drives roughly 212 miles a day because work is on the other side of this massive island.

9. I spend a lot of my time with mom, which I love; I spent seven years working with dad in the field and it is now nice to spend quality time with her.

10. Lava — I want to delve deeper into this at a later date, however I am sure many people are aware by now of the lava in Puna. I actually heard over the radio, prior to the fissures opening up in Leilani Estates, that Puna needed to be on alert due to the threat of lava. A couple hours later, the eruptions started in Leilani Estates on May 3, and here we are now with many areas in lower Puna completely destroyed. I live 10.4 miles from the fissures, however the only issues we have experienced in our neighborhood is an influx in traffic and sulfur dioxide from the Kīlauea eruptions. Over 600 homes have been destroyed due to the lava and many people/pets are displaced — It is very concerning and I can only imagine what these people are going through. I am incredibly saddened by these homes burning to the ground, places that I have grown to love being lost, and people that are in trouble. A big THANK YOU to the U.S. Marine Corps, Hawaii Army National Guard, Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Fire Department, County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volunteers, and anyone else that I have missed.

 

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A Season Like Fresh Linens

Here it is. Spring. Spring is finally here and, even though it’s not as if my whole world has changed simply by it being the first second day of a new season, this time of year sure does bring a joyous feeling to my heart! Of course, nothing beats autumn, but spring is up there on my favorite season list. Maybe it’s the flowers blooming all around me or maybe it’s simply feeling like it’s a wonderful new beginning. I don’t know. It’s kind of like that feeling you get when you put fresh linens on your bed and your skin immediately breathes a sigh of contentment; you know washed linens with the scent of your favorite detergent. Well, spring kind of reminds me of that.

Anyway, I hope everyone finds joy in the new season and if anyone ever needs a fresh start, remember that you always have now.

P.s. this is completely unrelated to spring but I’d just like to inform everyone that I am watching Mystic Pizza for the very first time (Why did I never watch it before?!), and it’s perfect. Oh yes, it really is perfect.


And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper // PSALM 1:3

Happy spring!

 

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St. Patrick’s Day, The Boy and His Four-Leaf Clovers

I hope your day is filled with celebration, mass/church services, and some good ol’ corned beef (my mom is making Reuben sandwiches for dinner!).

I’d also like to remind you all of a time when my baby brother Paul, who was maybe 10 at the time, once found three four-leaf clovers (yes, 3!!!) at different locations without even intending to. I suppose the luck of the Irish is with him. I’ve never in my life found a four-leaf clover. I suppose the luck of the Irish is not with me. Don’t worry though, I’m not at all bitter about it.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

 


 

Some photos that I took this evening:

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And the sun goes down leaving a sky like this in its almost absence; full of shadowy trees and fading colors. It really was serene.

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I see you Ray with your I’m-only-smiling-because-you-won’t-leave-me-the-heck-alone smile. That’s ok because I love all of his smiles.

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Thank you for the close up, Ray!

Honestly, he really does get excited about having his photo taken. He sure is cute. Then again I’m a little biased considering I’m his mama… Hmm. Nope, he really is that cute.

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Monsoor is such a strong little guy. If you remember my last post about him, you would know what a miracle he is. His face is still healing (his ears have finally healed) but he’s come such a long way. And yes, he does have a little home now on our dining room table.

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This Reuben sandwich was delectable in every way.

 

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personal | 3.7.2018

Sitting here at my desk, eating a homemade grilled chicken sandwich (on sourdough), drinking an icy cherry coke.

Simply happy.

Nothing too profound to say.

Except that I’m sitting here at my desk, eating a homemade grilled chicken sandwich, drinking an icy cherry coke, and I’m happy.

 

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Your Funny Valentine | Valentine’s Day | Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

Filet mignon sprinkled with salt and pepper; balsamic glaze for the filet. Skin-on mashed potatoes. Ice water with lemon. Good company (my parents). I couldn’t have asked for a better Valentine’s Day spent with the ones that I love and those that love me in return.

I think that there’s this common misconception, especially among those who are my age or a little younger, that in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day you have to be in a relationship. I remember when I was an adolescent and Valentine’s Day would be just around the corner and I would literally dread it! I would think to myself great, another holiday turned into a commercialized overrated lovefest. It also didn’t help that when I was around 16-Years-Old, my boyfriend and I broke up near Valentine’s Day, and I found myself in the book aisle searching for Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. To say I was a little negative about the day was an understatement. No longer was Valentine’s Day about receiving candy hearts at school or drawing littler pink and red hearts in a notebook; instead it turned into a day where you had to have a significant other and if you didn’t then Valentine’s Day just wasn’t a day for you to celebrate. At least that’s how it appeared.

After getting over my negativity, a pivotal moment happened: I realized that I can be my own Valentine. Since then I’ve loved Valentine’s Day and I look forward to it each year. I have a lot to be thankful for: I love my family. I love my friends. I love my home. I love my life. And I have a God who loves me back.

There’s a quote that I love; I’m not sure who it’s by but it pretty much sums up my feelings – My goal is to be filthy rich. Rich in knowledge. Rich in adventure. Rich in laughter. Rich in health. Rich in family. Rich in love.

Love always,

Your Funny Valentine

 

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Valentine Strawberries by Amber N.K. Antony (AM NIKKI KAY)

*Makes 16 chocolate covered strawberries (I ate a few before I could put it on the tray)*

Time: 10-15 min, 2 hours in refrigerator to let chocolate harden a bit before eating

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack of 16oz strawberries (I used Driscoll’s Strawberries)
  • White chocolate chips (I used Nestle Premier White)
  • 100% real semi-sweet chocolate chips (I also used Nestle / mini chips)
  • Cold water/tap water or milk/cream
  • A large bowl
  • A spoon or whisk
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking pan/tray
  • A microwave or stove
  • Refrigerator
  • The will power to refrain from eating the whole tray 😉

 

Steps

  1. Wash strawberries under cold tap water and then lightly dry them off with a towel/napkin; leave the strawberries in container until you’re ready to dip them in chocolate
  2. Prepare baking pan with parchment paper; I used a 9″ x 13″ baking pan/tray
  3. Grab roughly a handful (or 2) of white chocolate chips and place the chips in a large bowl that is able to be microwaved; add 1/4 cup of cold water/tap water or milk/cream (I only had water to use)
  4. Put the bowl in the microwave for 1 min and 30 sec, take out and stir, and place back in the microwave for another 30 seconds; it should be done and able to be stirred until it is smooth. If you don’t want to use a microwave, you can use the stove.
  5. Take the bowl over to the strawberries and individually dip 8 strawberries into the white chocolate sauce (i.e., dip one strawberry, completely cover it, and place it on to the tray); once all 8 are covered, drizzle a little more sauce over the strawberries, and sprinkle the chocolate mini chips on top.
  6. Once you’re done with the white chocolate covered strawberries, now you can begin working on the semi-sweet chocolate sauce using the same bowl and the rest of the white chocolate sauce still in the bowl. Add 2 handfuls of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and mix it into the white chocolate sauce; if the sauce is still hot you probably don’t need to heat it up again, but if the mini chips don’t melt then you’ll need to microwave it for an additional 30 sec until melted. Once melted, mix until smooth.
  7. Dip the remaining 8 strawberries into the chocolate sauce; follow the same procedure as step 5, except you don’t need to sprinkle any mini chips on to the strawberries (unless you want to).
  8. Place the chocolate covered strawberries into the refrigerator for 2 hours (or more depending on the texture you want – you could even freeze the strawberries)
  9. Time to eat! I also had a little sauce left over that I dipped the strawberries into when it was time to eat; I made the mistake of putting this into the refrigerator and it got a little hard, therefore it’s probably best to leave it out to dip into later.

 

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Life Today | September

Happy September! —

1. I have a dog! His name is Ray and he is a Red Heeler. He is around 54 lbs and is 4 years 2 months. He is my best bud already.

2. My dad and I rescued a kitty a couple of weeks ago from the side of the road. He was dying and by the grace of God we were able to save his life. Two weeks later and he is doing much better. His eyesight is impaired and he has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but he is a fighter. I named him Monsoor and he is the biggest sweetheart.

3. Somewhere along the way I have become a fur-mama. Not even joking. Yes, I clean up pee on the floors at least once a day.

4. Nick (my brother) just celebrated his 19th birthday, which to me is freaking crazy because I remember the day he was born.

5. Nick + dad are both leaving for Washington. Nick is going to college and dad is taking him.

6. I’ve been meeting with the missionaries again. It’s perfect. I’ve missed it. It’s nice to be able to talk about the Lord + feel the gospel more in my life.

That’s all for now. And it’s also everything. It’s my little life that I love so dearly.

 

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