Hometown Tourist

palm trees

It’s your day off, and you’re desperate to leave your house, but you only have $7 to spend between two people. What’s to be done? Emily and I faced this dilemma one day, and we decided to become hometown tourists. 

We walked into Waikiki with our swimsuits, our towels, our cameras, and our $7. We had a great time pretending to be fancy tourists without actually spending that much money. We even put on cute outfits and lip gloss. You have to look the part.

em and flowers

After a swim in the Pacific, we got lunch, hot dogs and a can of iced tea at the ABC store. Two people, five dollars. Perhaps not the most nutritious or delicious, but we weren’t hungry. Then we set off to explore. 

All the hotels in Waikiki have open lobbies with shops and exhibits, so it’s almost like going to a museum for free. There are even some animal attractions if you know where to look. 


I had a lovely day following my daughter around as she took a hundred photos of every little thing in Waikiki. She was having a blast trying to get the coolest shots of flowers and art work and signage. 

yellow hibiscus

The great thing about being a hometown tourist is that you don’t have to live in a touristy area like Honolulu to do it. Pick up your camera, and see your own hometown in a totally new way. You’ll see things you never noticed before. And you don’t have to spend a dime.

Be Awesome: Follow Your Bliss


When you’re struggling for every dollar, you often have to make tough choices. Sacrifices have to be made so that living can happen. And maybe you end up doing something you don’t really care about because you want to stay in your apartment and cook a decent meal once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what about your soul?

There are also moments in your life where you have to take risks. I’m not saying you should quit your job right now and become a juggler. That’s insane. But you definitely should spend evenings juggling if that’s what you’re into. Whatever that thing is that you don’t get to do because you’re too busy trying to scrape by, you need to do it.

Joseph Campbell says to follow your bliss. Find the thing that makes you feel more alive and do it. As often as you can. If you are one of those people who gets paid to follow your bliss, consider yourself amongst the most fortunate of humans. Most of us are not so fortunate. But trust me when I say, no matter how tired you feel at the end of the day, nothing can bring you back to life quite like following your bliss. I did it yesterday, and it was terrifying and beautiful.

I auditioned for one of my very favorite musicals, Cabaret. I’ve wanted to be in this show since I was 18. You see, dancing is my own true bliss. I’ve been doing it practically since birth. When life abruptly shoved me off my path to the stage, it took a lot of years before I found the confidence to ignore my fears and insecurities and audition for a show again. But once I was cast, I felt like I was home again.

I still spent a lot of time trying to talk myself out of this audition. I mean, I’m getting way too old for this. When it came time to dance, I was easily the oldest person by 10 years. But then I’d hear Joe whispering in my ear, “Follow your bliss,” and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.

I’m not sure if I’ll get cast in this show, particularly because of a conflict which will be a great opportunity for my blog, another passion. I will be sorely disappointed, but at least I’ll never have to wonder. I took the risk. The rest is out of my hands. 

Maybe community theatre isn’t Broadway. I don’t care anymore. I’m doing the thing I love, and the size and scale have become irrelevant. People think it’s crazy when you show up at the office and tell them about dancing with a giant pretzel on your head, or you try to explain why you have to go to work today with finger waves in your hair. But I’m living my own life, not theirs. It makes me wildly happy.


Please, please, please, don’t give up on the thing that makes you wildly happy. Sometimes the path to it can be so shrouded, you hardly know it exists, but you just have to find it.You simply must. As much as we all need money to survive, it might not actually make the world go around. Find a way to squeeze some bliss into your reality. You will smile more, and fall in love with life every time. It can be frightening, but the risk, once taken, is well worth the reward.

Go be awesome. Take back your power. Follow your bliss and love life.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Awesome on 20

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Awesome on 20

This no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie will make you unreasonably happy. It’s seriously good. Seriously.

It’s my baby’s birthday today. She’s 13. Holy crap! 13!!! What?

How did this even happen? How is it that time marched ahead so quickly? How, in one breath, did she go from the kid who would wipe her face on my skirt to the young lady who loves softball, Harry Potter, and starting novels? She is now a person who thinks boys are cute, but kissing is still gross. She’s more into clothes than toys. Lucky for me, though, she still thinks her mom is awesome.

  Em at the beach

I could not have birthed a more amazing and unusual child. I could spend a million words bragging about her. We may get there eventually. The temptation is difficult to resist. Dudes, she is the coolest! 

Sadly, we didn’t get to spend her birthday with her this year. But that didn’t stop us from celebrating with desserts while she was here. Let’s not talk about how her pretend birthday cake became a birthday trifle. Plan B was still pretty amazing. I actually made this peanut butter pie for someone else’s birthday, but I know if my teenage baby was here, she would be asking for a piece every two hours.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Awesome on 20

This recipe comes from the brilliant Jennifer Perillo. If you are a regular food blog reader, you know the heartbreaking and simultaneously inspiring story behind this pie. It is most definitely a recipe filled with love.

A buttery chocolate cookie crust, a layer of pure chocolate, and a fluffy, dreamy, rich, and ridiculous peanut butter mousse all come together in a heavenly little triangle that will make anyone who eats it think that you are a freakin’ genius. And, guess what? If you make this pie, you are. Freakin’ genius! You’d have to be mad not to love this pie. 

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Awesome on 20

Birthday, unbirthday, teenager, or old mom, there’s got to be a reason to make chocolate peanut butter pie. You’re a clever human. You’ll think of something. Do it!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10
This no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie features rich and creamy dreamy peanut butter mousse on a chocolaty crust
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
  1. 8 ounces chocolate cookies or chocolate graham crackers
  2. 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  3. 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  6. 1 cup creamy peanut butter (this is the time to use the kid stuff)
  7. 1 cup powdered sugar
  8. 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Put your cookies or graham crackers into the food processor and blitz them to bits. Or put them in a zip top bag and smash them to smithereens.
  2. Pour the melted butter into the processor and pulse until combined, or stir them together in a bowl.
  3. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and a bit up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I used the empty butter wrapper I had, but wax paper also works well to keep the crumbs from sticking to your hands.
  4. Pop the crust in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Put your feet up and watch an episode of your favorite sitcom.
  5. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds.
  6. Pour the melted chocolate over the crust and spread it around with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Return crust to the fridge while you get on with the mousse.
  7. Whip the heavy cream with your mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a bowl and stash it in the fridge. No need to clean your mixer bowl. Nigella wouldn't bother, and neither should you. If you're using a stand mixer, just switch over from the whisk to the beater.
  8. Combine cream cheese and peanut butter in your mixer, and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes to help lighten the mixture. Turn the speed down and mix in the powdered sugar, followed by the condensed milk and vanilla. Make sure everything is well combined. Scrape down your beater and hand it off to the lucky person in the house that gets to lick it.
  9. With a rubber spatula, add about a third of the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture and fold/stir it in to lighten the base.
  10. Add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold it into the peanut butter mixture until incorporated. You want everything to be as light and smooth as possible.
  11. Pour the mousse into your chilled crust.
  12. If you want to add a chocolate design to the top, simply melt a bit more chocolate, an ounce should be plenty. Scoop the melted chocolate into a small zip top bag and snip off a tiny corner of the bag. Squeeze the melted chocolate into concentric circles or spirals on the top of your pie. Don't worry about making it perfect.
  13. For the web effect, I used a sharp knife and drug it lightly from the center out to the edge, a few inches apart, all the way around. In between those lines, I went back and drew another line in the opposite direction.
  14. Put the whole pie back in the fridge and allow to chill for several hours, preferably overnight.
Adapted from Jennifer Perillo
Adapted from Jennifer Perillo
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