Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Evolution of Waikiki

Waikiki is always my first stop when I visit Hawaii on vacation. After living there for a short while and visiting more times than I can count on my fingers and toes, I've seen the area transform itself over the last 8 years. It's been good, and bad, and from my most recent visit I noticed a number of changes. Here's three that really stood out for me:

1. Many retail stores are exclusively for Japanese tourists - the number of nail supply/nail salons has hit an all time high. How many acrylic nails with glitter and sparkles does one need?

2. Eggs 'n' Things is taking over the island - just kidding, but they do have 2 restaurants now in Waikiki and one at Ala Moana Center, which are always full with a line out the door.

3. A lack of good places to get a decent cocktail - I'm shocked that places like the Hilton Hawaiian Village are still serving drinks like the Blue Hawaii and PiƱa Colada for $13 and getting away with it. How about some variety, using local spirits and fresh island produce?

What do you think about Waikiki 2013? Is it better or worse than years gone by?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What to do on my final vacation day?

After a lovely walk down to the war memorial, it's time to plan my final day here in Waikiki. it's been surprisingly cold this trip so I haven't spent much time in the ocean; I've been hanging out by the pool catching up on my reading.

Today, I'm going to try Fort de Russy beach; it's less rocky than the beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village and often less busy. Don't get me wrong, I'll still get my reading done but ill try to get at least my toes wet too!

Happy Saturday from Hawaii!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Please Help Solve the Monk Seal Mystery

It's a known fact that I am an animal lover.  When I read this story by the Associated Press today it just sickened me, as I have seen Monk Seals on the beach in all their beauty.  While I don't want to go into details about the cruelty these animals face, I do want you to read the story so you are aware of what's happening. These animals are on their way to extinction, and if people continue to kill them for no reason that day will be here sooner than expected. 

Photo courtesy of AP Images

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Natalani Resolutions for the New Year

We all love to make lists of what we'd like to achieve for the year ahead.  Often the list consists of what we want to stop (drink less alcohol) or things we need to get better at (exercise more!). My list for 2012 has a mix of both, but with deliverables that are more specific, and hopefully more achievable as a result. I also have a few in there that I need to be mindful of every day.  Here's my top 10 for 2012:

1. Make more time every day for me
2. Run the Rock n Roll Half Marathon
3. Go to Hawaii at least once this year
4. Treat others the way I would like to be treated
5. Increase my volunteer hours with the Seattle Humane Society (or another local animal organization)
6. Watching TV - Less is more
7. Make my health and well being a priority
8. Discover a new hobby or project
9. Make some new friends in Seattle
10. Have my most successful work year EVER!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Football Coach for University of Hawaii

If you need a list minute Christmas gift for the football fan in your house - how about this awesome T-Shirt? Former UCLA offensive coordinator and local Hawaiian boy, Norm Chow, has been named as Hawaii's new head football coach. Get this shirt to show your support!

Price: $25 at Butigroove
Photo courtesy of The Cat Dish Blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Tradition in Honolulu - Honolulu City Lights

Every year the Honolulu City Lights display for Christmas is worth checking out in downtown Honolulu. This year’s City Lights theme is “Holoholo Holiday,” which means“just for fun.” In addition to the beautiful Christmas tree, the 21-foot shaka-flashing Santa is next to lei-draped Mrs. Claus, her toes cooling in a fountain pool fronting Honolulu Hale (Oahu’s city hall). Nearby, menehune-style elves and a much larger-than-life snowman and his family are in place and ready for the holiday season.

The lights will be on display through the month of December.  If you are staying in Waikiki, the easiest way to get there is via The Bus. Board any of the buses listed below from Kuhio Avenue, heading away from Diamond Head, and ride to Beretania and Punchbowl streets. Disembark at the first Bus stop immediately after Punchbowl. Walk down Punchbowl Street to King Street and cross Punchbowl Street to Honolulu Hale.

- 2 School Street-Middle Street
- 13 Liliha-Puunui Avenue
- Route B - CityExpress! School Middle
- 42 Ewa Beach

You can also pick up some cute holiday decorations to take home with you too!

For more information please visit the Honolulu City Lights website and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pop Up Hotel!

Now this is cool. We've all heard of pop up retail stores (although if you live in the suburbs like me it's unlikely that you have experienced one). But this story takes the pop-up store to a whole new level.  Design Hotels, which handles reservations globally for independently owned hotels, recently announced an innovation in the lodging industry: a pop-up hotel.

The hotel is in Tulum, Mexico and features 99 cabanas, most with private bathrooms, a spa with treatments based on Mayan healing practices and restaurants run by KaterHolzig, a hot Berlin club, and 42°RAW, a Copenhagen restaurant whose food is cooked at 42 degrees Celsius or below.

Would you stay at a pop up hotel?  What about a pop-up hotel in Hawaii?  I'd be willing to give it a try!

* Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Send Your Lava and Sand Back to Hawaii ASAP!

The first time I visited Hawaii, I wanted to take a piece of it home with me.  Actually I wanted to take a lot of it home, in the form of lava rocks, sand, coral etc. Little did I know, it is a common belief that if you take ANYTHING from the land or ocean in Hawaii, it can result in a lifetime of bad luck. Fortunately I found out before it was too late and returned my keepsakes to where they came from before I went home.

On my way to New York this week, I was reminded about this after reading an article in the Alaska Airlines Magazine.  Thankfully, there is now a company that can help you take care of business.  If you have any lava rocks that you need to return, you can send them via mail to Rainbow Moon in Volcano, HI.  Here's the address:

Rainbow Moon
Attn: Lava Rock Return
P.O. Box 699
Volcano HI 96785

Rainbow encourages you to get a tracking number at USPS so you can be sure your rocks make it to their final destination.  No one likes bad luck, so head to the post office asap and send back your Hawaiian lava rocks immediately!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Should I Start Blogging Again

Despite my schedule becoming more and more congested, I suddenly feel the need to kick this blog back into high gear.  Even in the last 12 months a lot of things have changed in Hawaii and I'd love to be able to share that with my readers as I've been to O'ahu five times in the last 12 months.  What do you think?  Is it a yes?  Opinions welcome!