Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Honolulu Cookie Company to Open a New Store in Pearlridge

When I was in Hawaii in February, I noticed that there were a few more Honolulu Cookie Company stores around Waikiki - it seemed like there was one on almost every street corner! Well that is good news - the cookie business is booming and the Honolulu Cookie Company is opening another store on Thursday at Pearlridge Center, the store being a free-standing 100-square foot kiosk located near the main entrance of the shopping center.

Honolulu Cookie Company started in 1998 and now has 11 stores on O'ahu and Maui. My favorite cookies: The Chocolate-Dipped Macadamia Cookies. For Valentine's Day, they also had the Lilikoi (passionfruit) Mango cookies, shaped in hearts - so cute!

Monday, March 30, 2009

As If You Needed A Reason To Go To Hawaii....

The recession is proving to be fabulous for travellers. I was looking at online travel deals over the weekend and found some unbeatable deals for Las Vegas. and Hawaii. Last week Pacific Business News (Honolulu) reported that hotel occupancy rates in Hawaii had dropped to 68% - the lowest they have been in quite some time. This means it is a buyers market, so if you were needing a reason to head to the Islands, now you have it. Two of the best specials I have seen advertised recently include:

  • Roundtrip ticket from Seattle to Honolulu from $298 - for travel between April 20-June 11 at with Hawaiian Airlines - they also have specials for a number of other mainland cities

  • Book a minimum 3-night stay at the Wyland Waikiki and receive a complimentary 3rd night stay, free upgrade upon check-in and complimentary breakfast each day, valid through December 21, 2009. Prices start from about $150 per night - so for 3 nights it would only cost you $300 as the third night is free!

With deals like this, how can you afford NOT to go! I think its time for another vacation.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Heart of Being Hawaiian - Take 2

I recently purchased the book, The Heart of Being Hawaiian and had committed to writing a review about the book about 2 weeks ago. Well, sadly I have still not read the book and am having trouble finding time to do so. I am bummed as I think this book will really provide me with some interesting insight into the Hawaiian culture and what it truly means to be Hawaiian, whether you are born in the Islands or not. I will get to it, but have set a new goal to have finished the book - end of April. I look forward to posting the review for you to read!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Store to Open at Waikele - True Religion

I am a bit of a shopaholic, and this became more apparent when I moved to Hawaii. Compared to Australia, the US is so much more affordable for shopping, specifically clothes, shoes and accessories. Outlet malls are very popular in the United States, which is great for those looking for some good bargains. The Waikele Premium Outlet Mall in west O'ahu has a great selection of stores, and in May True Religion will be joining the list, located between the Ever Blue Factory Outlet and AX Armani Exchange. True Religion already has a store at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, and this will be their first outlet store on the Island. True religion was established in 2002, and is is known for its line of premium denim and casual sportswear for women and men.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hawaii Do’s and Don’ts

I watched an interesting show on the Travel Channel over the weekend called “Hawaii Do’s and Don’ts”. The show was filmed in 2007, so although it was a little out of date, many of the points they offered to people planning to visit the Islands were still relevant. If you are planning a trip to Hawaii anytime soon, be sure to keep these do’s and don’ts on your radar:

When in Hawaii:

· Slow down to Hawaiian speed
· Say ‘aloha’ – this can be used to say hello and goodbye
· Book inter-island flights early to get the best deals and cheapest fares
· Plan for rainy days in Hawaii – it does happen from time to time
· Check if your hotel has a beach nearby – The Big Island has many hotels that are not walking distance to the beach, so if that’s important to you, ask before you book

· Bring your bad driving habits with you to the Islands – always let people in/out of traffic and don’t your horn in anger – this is considered to be very rude
· Believe that Hawaii is merely grass shacks and hula girls – the Islands are very rich in culture
· Believe that all the Islands are the same – they are very diverse and all have something unique to offer
· Go surfing on the North Shore of O’ahu during winter if you are a first time surfer – waves at this time of the year are huge and you could be in for a pounding
· Forget your golf clubs – there are nearly 100 courses over 6 Islands

Thursday, March 19, 2009

If You Love Shopping - Head To Ala Moana Center!

March 23-29 marks Shop a Le`a - 7 blissful days of shopping euphoria at Ala Moana Center. The week brings seven days of in-store events, special discounts, product demos and a big one-year celebration for the new Nordstrom wing. I am sad that I will miss this as I love Ala Moana Center - their selection of stores is amazing and it just keeps getting bigger and better. Happy shopping for those of you in the Islands. Check out the full calendar of events here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Isle Concierge Hawaii

The internet is a great place to discover new products, new ideas, great companies and more. When I can across Isle Concierge in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was so excited and intrigued. Having been a personal assistant in a past life, this company caught my eye, with the services it offers, and the fact that they are located in Honolulu.

Isle Concierge was established to provide support and assistance to busy professionals when trying to manage personal and work-related tasks. They will also work with personal assistants to provide an extension of their services in both a personal and professional capacity. If I was still working as a PA I know that this service would definitely come in handy if your to-do list for your boss is longer than you care to acknowledge! This service is also great for people who perhaps need a hand here and there with managing their daily life tasks, allowing more time for the important things, like family and friends.

Fees for standard services range from $35 to $75 per hour with a 1-hour minimum, with rates determined by the type of service provided. Some of the services offered include house sitting, shopping and fashion advice, scheduling doctor appointments and more. And, if what you need is not on the list of services, you can just ask and it will be done – mind you the list of services is so comprehensive that I think they have it all covered!

For more information on Isle Concierge, visit their website or call (808) 988 7828. You can also send them an email AND they are on twitter: @isleconcierge.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is Hawaii Really That Expensive? You Decide...

Whenever I talk about moving back to Hawaii, one of the first things people bring up is the cost of living. "How can you live there, everything is so expensive!" Well, personally, I disagree. I have picked a list of everyday things that I would buy in Hawaii - compare the price and let me know if you think its expensive. All items are in $US.

Grande Latte at Starbucks: $3.80
Gallon of Milk: $6.99 (ok, that is a little expensive)
Compact Rental Car for 1 day: $32.99
Dinner for 2 at Alan Wong's: $250
Breakfast for 2 at Eggs 'n' Things: $10.00
Entry to Hanauma Bay: $5
Bus Ticket: $2
1 Corona at the Barefoot Bar: $5.95
Gallon of Gas: $2.60
Pineapple: 79c per pound
750ml bottle of Tanqueray Gin: $17.99

I think the confusion around the cost of living in Hawaii is not about the price of items, rather that salaries in general are a lot lower than the average mainland wage, making things appear more expensive. But, if you are travelling to Hawaii for vacation, it may not be as expensive as you think. A tip for keeping costs down include buying snacks and drinks at the grocery store, vs. at the hotel convenience stores. ABC Stores have a big selection of items at reasonable prices too, you can get everything there from sunscreen to macadamia nuts, so try them first before heading to the store where you are staying. There is an ABC store on almost every street corner in Waikiki, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding what you need!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hawaiian Books and More at Amazon.com

Happy Friday everyone! Yet another week of crazy happenings, but at the end of it all I am still standing so I guess it wasn't that bad after all. I thought as you got older that life became easier but I am learning the hard way that this is not the case. But, today there is no time to complain because the weekend is here and I want to share a great blog post from Amazon.com's Omnivoracious Blog. This blog is written by the book editors at Amazon.com, and they regularly write blog postings about: "The Books of the States". This week, Hawaii was featured on the blog and they have some great recommendations if you are looking for books about Hawaii, fiction, non-fiction, or both.

As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday it is often hard to decide on what books to read as there are so many to choose from. Some of the books that are mentioned include, Hawaii, by James Michener, and Hawaii's Story by Queen Liliuokalani. Hopefully this selection of titles from Amazon will help you get started if you are thinking about starting a new book, or you just want to keep adding to your collection. Read the entire blog post from Amazon here, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Heart of Being Hawaiian

There are a lot of books about Hawaii that have been written, from travel guides, to fiction, to cook books. I often have trouble deciding on a book to read because of the abundance of choice. When it comes to books about Hawaii, I also want to read something original and authentic. So, when I first read about "The Heart of Being Hawaiian", by Sally-Jo Bowman in Hawaii Magazine, I thought that it was worth purchasing and would make for a fascinating read. I just received my copy in the mail and I look forward to reading it this weekend. Sally's book focuses on a journey of discovery as she tries to define what it truly means to be Hawaiian, and how her life experiences and teachings help her find the answers to that question.

You can purchase Sally's book through Watermark Publishing. I look forward to writing a review for this book in the next couple of weeks. If anyone else has read the book I would be interested to know your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Want to be Happy - Go Live in Hawaii

Great article out today listing the top US States in a poll that rated such variables as mental, physical and economic health. Hawaii came in at number 2 on the list, with West Virginia claiming the 50th spot. Read the full article here. What can I say, except that I think Hawaii should really be in the top spot! With a landscape and lifestyle like this, what's not to like?

Another Bump In The Road

Just when I thought things were getting better, things took at my work took another crazy turn yesterday. It makes it really hard to focus and just get things done, and with that being my dominant personality trait, it poses many challenges for me. But, the good news is with the changes at my work brings new opportunities for me, including more personal time for me to focus on my blog and the quality of my work. So the saying goes, "When one door closes, another door opens". I guess its true, I just wasn't expecting it to be today. Continue to read as I try to brace the challenges ahead!

Monday, March 9, 2009


It seems that I have been a little isolated and hidden away lately, but while in hiding today I have discovered another amazing program that has been around for a long time, but has just captured my attention: Google's Picasa. This program is so awesome! In less than 10 minutes I grabbed some pics from my latest trip to Hawaii, made a collage (seen below), made a movie which I will post to YouTube shortly, and archived all my photos in one place! If you have the time and the patience to look for cool technology, you will be amazed how many things you can find and what you can do with it! I am going to work on a cool movie that captures our recent vacation and post it to my blog later this week. I am feeling giddy like a child right now as this is something so easy with awesome results!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Love Affair with RSS Feeds

I have known about RSS feeds for some time now, but I really haven't been using them as much as I should. RSS, or real simple syndication, is a web feed that automatically generates updated content and sends it to you as it happens. This is great when you don't have time to go to all your favorite websites and sift through everything, which is what I had been doing for too long. I am starting to add my favorite and most relevant websites to my list of RSS feeds at work now (I also have a separate list for personal sites), so that I can keep in touch with what's going on in Hawaii. Most recently I added the feed for Pacific Business News (Honolulu), so I am getting all the latest business headlines delivered straight to my inbox. A lot has happened in Hawaii this week so here are my top 5 news stories for for the week, from the Pacific Business News RSS Feed:

1. Hotel room rates in Hawaii plunged 12.5 percent to average $180 a night for the week ending Feb. 28.

2. The NFL Pro Bowl will return to Honolulu in 2011 and 2012.

3. Target’s first two Hawaii stores opened Wednesday.

4. The recently formed Hawaii Tourism Association has changed its acronym to reduce confusion with another HTA, the Hawaii Tourism Authority.