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5 Things We Love

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A recent potluck for my son’s baseball team featured four delicious varieties of chicken, some savory teri meatballs and … no rice. This local cardinal sin led to better organization the next time, but it took an email from his judo club for me to find out about the best way to organize a potluck: The website spares party organizers use of burdensome email attachments and "reply all" messages and allows you to track who has signed up and what menu items are missing. You can also enter the location, which sets up a link to a Google Map. — Sjarif Goldstein

Ginger syrup cools scholars

Back in Honolulu on summer break, my son picked up some Pacifikool Hawaiian Ginger syrup and wowed visiting college mates with exotic tropical drinks. Finding the leftovers in my refrigerator, I discovered my own uses for the yummy stuff. Made locally from Hawaii-grown ginger sweetened with cane or agave, it’s good for teriyaki and other sauces and marinades. It’s great for a refreshing ginger tea or in ginger coolers with lemon, basil or mint. Buy it at Tamura’s, R. Field at Foodland and Whole Foods in several sizes, starting at $7 for 6.5 ounces. — Ardis Shaw-Kim, Honolulu

Kids’ spaghetti entree fills the opu

It seems like you can’t buy a takeout lunch anywhere without shelling out $7 or $8, but Mama’s Spaghetti House at Ala Moana Center’s Makai Market has a deal that’s tough to beat. Its children’s meals sell for a mere $3.59 and include a hefty portion of spaghetti in a garlicky tomato sauce, with a meatball, meat sauce or Italian sausage. Paired with a free garlic roll, it’s a hearty lunch big enough for two kids or one thrifty adult. — Donica Kaneshiro

Dog shampoo has kelp

If your dog has been rolling around in the mud, or worse, try Lanikai Poi Dog Island Mango shampoo from Lanikai Bath & Body. This all-natural shampoo includes an herbal infusion of organic sea kelp, white tea, lavender, chamomile and extracts of papaya, awapuhi (ginger) and pineapple, not to mention a variety of oils — sounds good enough to use yourself. It’s rumored that first dog Bo Obama used this shampoo while visiting the isles. Its fruity scent is not overpowering and leaves your pet’s fur soft and fluffy. An 8.5-ounce bottle costs $10.50; — Nina Wu

Getting crafty by creating rings

I love wandering through craft stores. Ultimately, l leave somewhat depressed because I’m just not crafty. Thanks to Valeen Hirata of Creations By You, I’ve found at least one craft suited to my limited leisure time and patience, with results well worth flashing around.

Wherever I go, from grocery stores to luxury boutiques, people have been asking about my rings and are shocked when I reveal I made them. They’re even more shocked when I tell them how easy they were to make, simply by wadding up some epoxy clay and sticking colorful Swarovski crystals in it. I learned by landing in Hirata’s "Create Your Style with Swarovski Elements" workshop for the designers of "Project Runway" when they were in town. Although the designers started with color and pattern ideas that they executed with ease, my placement was completely random, yet the results were no less pleasing to the eye. You just can’t go wrong with bright, shiny things! The cost of making a ring is approximately $12, and an all-day workshop is coming up June 24. Creations by You is at 1801 Liliha St.; call 536-5255. — Nadine Kam

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