Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Hawaiian Shopping Secret is....Nine West

I don't really want to share my shopping secret with the world so if you are a size 7 1/2 shoe, please close this page now! I have always been a big shopper and I love the thrill of scoring a good bargain. Here in the US there are so many stores that are always on sale, that it makes it very hard for me to say no. In Hawaii, there is some amazing shopping, particularly in Waikiki, and at Ala Moana Center. As one of my favorite colleagues at work, Jordana has a thing for a pair of my shoes, so I had to tell her that I got them from Nine West in Waikiki. It got me thinking about just how many pairs of shoes I have actually bought from this particular Nine West Store....when I lived in Waikiki I would buy at least one pair of shoes there every month, and every time I have gone back for vacation I have picked up at least two pairs....leading me to a very big collection of Nine West shoes. The reason I visit so often - their prices are amazing. Every time I go there, they are having the sale of all sales and I can often pick up two pairs of shoes for under $40. I think the reason that they are always on sale is because people don't usually visit Waikiki Beach to go shoe shopping (the store is right across the street) - but I do! Here's a pic of all the shoes I have purchased from this Nine West store in the last 2 years - yes I am addicted to their shoes, but I am very addicted to the price!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Natalani - Out of Action

If you had been wondering why my blog posts were becoming few and far between - the reason is - a dog bite. That's right, I was bitten on the hand by a very large yet surprisingly cute dog last Wednesday, putting me out of action for almost a week. Good news is I am well on the way to recovery and I am back to blogging as of tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honolulu City Council Bans Cell Phones While Driving

The Honolulu City Council has just passed a bill to ban the use of electronic devices, including cell phones, while driving. I am a habitual cell phone while driving user, however I do support this initiative, if anything, for the safety concerns surrounding driving and cell phones.

The bill is on its way to Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who has said he supports the measure, which bans the use of text messaging and paging devices, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and digital photographic devices. The only exceptions to the rule are for on-the-job taxi drivers and commercial-vehicle drivers, as well as for police, fire-fighting and emergency-response personnel.

The good new is that the bill does not prohibit hands-free cell-phone use, such as with earphones or speakerphones, or devices such as Bluetooth headsets - so if you don't have a headset, its time to head to Ala Moana Center and purchase one! For those of you who are travelling to Hawaii, keep this in mind while driving, as the last thing you need is a ticket to spoil your vacation.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hawaii Hotels Make the "Stay List"

Five Hawaii hotels have been included in this year's “Stay List”, as published by National Geographic Traveler. The list which is in the April issue of National Geographic Traveler, includes 129 hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean.

So, the winners, are:

Kona Village Resort - Kailua-Kona, Big Island (pictured here)

Hale Ohia Cottages - Volcano, Big Island

Four Seasons Resort Lana'i - Manele Bay, Lana’i and The Lodge - Koele, Lana'i

The list was compiled by asking for nominations from local travel experts to seasoned travelers. Congratulations to these properties!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Are You Using All Your Vacation Days?

A recent survey conducted by found that 34 percent of employed Americans will not use all of their vacation days for the year, citing . work-related pressure as one of the main reasons.

In a recent news release, Tim MacDonald, general manager of said, "The stress associated with the current economy makes the need for time away from work even more important than ever, and it's unfortunate that one-third of Americans won't use all of their vacation days this year."

The survey also discovered that people are taking fewer extended vacations, with the number of adults who plan to take a two-week vacation falling to 10 percent in 2009 from 14 percent in 2008. Some of the other findings from the survey show that on average, Americans reported receiving 13 vacation days in 2009, one day less than the previous three years, and women are more likely than men to feel guilty about taking time off from work (40 percent of women vs. 29 percent of men).

I a strong believer of time away from work to rejuvenate and refresh. A rule in our house is that we always have a vacation planned so that we have something to look forward to. We spend so much of our lives working, that we deserve to take vacation time so spend with family, and to unwind from a constantly busy schedule. Employers give you paid time off as part of your compensation package, so use it! Taking a vacation doesn't mean that you are not loyal to your employer, so don't feel guilty about taking time off that you deserve.

With flights, accommodation and activities at the lowest prices we have seen in years, now is a great time to think about your next vacation and how you can make the most of your well-deserved break from the office. Even if you decide on a staycation (a stay at home vacation) there are plenty of things at home to keep you entertained at an affordable price, such as museum and zoo visits, trips to the local park and attending local festivals. Thanks to Time Inc. for the staycation pic!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Waikiki Improvement Association - Sunday Brunch on the Beach

When I lived in Hawaii I heard about the Waikiki Improvement Association through my former boss and dear colleague, Christina Kemmer, who used to work for the Association prior to working at Communications Pacific. The Waikiki Improvement Association is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to making Waikiki a great place to work and play, and they have been working with public officials for over thirty years. Members of the Waikiki Improvement Association represent the major stakeholders in Waikiki including businesses, property owners and professionals.

I started reading an article about “Sunday Brunch on the Beach”, an event that was held on Kalakaua Ave on the 3rd Sunday of each month, so I went to the Waikiki Improvement Association’s website to find out more. It turns out that this event is no longer taking place, as they need private sponsorship funds to continue holding this popular event. I would imagine that this is due to the current economic state – what a bummer. So, if you are reading this and you would be able to help the WIA by donating funds to ensure that this fun Sunday brunch will continue to take place, you can reach them at: for more details.

There is good news: Even though Sunday Brunch on the Beach is on hold, the WIA are still organizing a number of other great events, including a clean-up of Waikiki Beach for Earth Day (April 22), on April 25. Click on this link for more information.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Favorite Hawaii Blogs

The more I blog the more Hawaii bloggers I discover. This is such great news as it is nice to know that there are many of us out there with the same passion. Its aloha Friday so I thought I would end the week by spreading aloha, and sharing my favorite Hawaii blogs that I have read this week:

A Maui Blog - awesome pictures from Maui, not to mention the cute pictures of Liza's Italian Greyhound.

Hamakua Springs - Primarily a blog about food (most recently a story about Alan Wong caught my eye), but this week focuses on the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), a plan to preserve Mauna Kea for future generations.

East Coast Wahine - a fun and popular blog written by a Hawaiian girl living on the east coast of the USA.

Beat of Hawaii - Hawaiian travel site that this week shared some amazing travel deals, including a roundtrip ticket from Sydney to Honolulu with Jetstar for only US$378. Although its a major bargain, Jetstar will never get my cash ever again!

My Island Plate - A foodie blog at the Honolulu Advertiser by Wanda Adams who has been writing about food for over 30 years.

These are some of the many great Hawaii blogs out there. Reading these blogs is a great way for me to keep up with current stories and trends, and to work out who is influential in the digital space. Happy Friday and have a great weekend - Aloha.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Some Good News for Hawaiian Airlines

With the travel industry facing some tough times as it competes for people's discretionary dollars, Hawaiian Airlines announced yesterday that the number of passengers carried by in March increased by 18% over the previous month. Unfortunately, but almost expected, Hawaiian’s load factor for March had declined by 3.1% to 84.6% as compared to March 2008.

Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s largest and longest-serving airline, and the second-largest provider of passenger air service between the U.S. Mainland and Hawaii. They also offer flights to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti. I first discovered Hawaiian Air after getting a great air and hotel package for my first vacation to Honolulu from Sydney, Australia. Their great service and affordable prices have made me a customer for life and I travel with Hawaiian Air whenever possible. As if their complimentary meal service of breakfast burritos, sandwiches or pasta wasn't enough, Hawaiian now offers all passengers the choice to upgrade their meal for just $10. The $10 meals are chicken Caesar salads, Greek salads and sushi plates, depending on the route. I love it!

I had mentioned this on my blog a week or so ago, and I will say it again - if you have some vacation time up your sleeve and you want to get away, now is a great time to book fantastic travel packages, particularly to Hawaii. With occupancy rates continuing to fall, there are a number of hotels all competing for your business. Be sure to look around online for the best deals and if your dates are flexible you will be more likely to save even more. If I hadn't just been to Hawaii in February I would be booking another trip! If only I could convince my husband that we need a weekend away.....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Have Always Loved the Ocean

I was pouring through a stack of old photos the other day when I found this cute picture of me - I would say about age 2. In the background is the ocean, I would have to double check with my mom but I am fairly certain its the Great Barrier Reef. I have always loved the ocean, the water, the waves. I also love the sun. A little too much I think.

As I look at holiday snaps over the years there has been a consistent pattern of beaches, swimming pools, sunscreen, sand and cocktails (after age 18 of course). With this in mind, it appears quite logical to me that I would want to live in a place like Hawaii that offers this type of lifestyle every day of the year.

It is supposed to be in the 60's and sunny today in Seattle - better than rain I suppose, but nothing like my many memorable vacations at the beach, and my brief stint of living in Hawaii. Lets hope that Hawaii is back on the horizon soon, 60 degrees just doesn't cut it!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Have the Twitter Bug

Twitter is everywhere these days. In fact, I think its almost safe to call it mainstream. For those who use it, I am sure you will agree with me that it is hard to stay up to date with the tweets of all the people that you follow. Twitter now has a number of programs that can help you keep your tweets and followers organized, my favorite being Tweetdeck. With this program I can keep lists of the people I am following by category, with Hawaii and PR being the two lists I read the most. Over the weekend I started following a bunch of new tweeps, mainly from Hawaii, so I want to call a few of them out - as I am looking forward to reading their tweets and connecting online about a topic that is close to my heart - The Islands:

A Maui Blog (@AMauiBlog)
Nathan Kam (@nathankam)
Aloha Blog (@alohablog)
Aloha New Media (@alohanewmedia)
e-hawaii (@ehawaii)
Amy Hennesey (@hiloprgal)
DavidHTA (@DavidHTA)

If you are on Twitter and not following these peeps, you should be - they are some of the great people who have a lot to share on Twitter, especially about Hawaii. Happy tweeting.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Airport Shirt

On one of my first trips to Hawaii as a tourist, I bought this shirt from American Eagle. It was on sale and it had my two favorite colors together, green and pink. For some reason I started wearing this shirt when I traveled on airplanes, especially to and from Hawaii. Because I would wear it every time I left Hawaii before John and I were married and finally living together in Hawaii, it always made him really sad. He would always say, "why do you always have to wear the airport shirt? I want to throw up when I see that shirt!" So, since moving to Hawaii permanently, I have never worn this shirt on an airplane ever again. It does hang in my closet and I am tempted to wear it every day because I love it so much. But, when I see how sad it makes John each time I talk about it....I leave it on the hanger.

Now that we live together and have been married for over 3 years, maybe its time to give up the shirt. The only reason I guess I keep it now is it reminds me of Hawaii. Perhaps when we finally move back, I will wear it for one last hoorah on the one way flight to Honolulu - then it can go to a better place - goodwill!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Think I Have Some Blog Inspiration

I saw this book advertised at and I thought it looked interesting, so I decided to get it from the local library and give it a glance. Little did I know that it would get me thinking more creatively about story angles for my blog. The title: No One Cares What You Had for Lunch – 100 Ideas For Your Blog, by Margaret Mason. One of the goals I have in my career development plan this year is to start thinking more creatively. Well, why not start with the blog? I have many stories to share, especially about Hawaii but I am a very logical, factual person. I like to share the facts, and wrap it up with a brief conclusion. Who knew that creative stories were more interesting? Well, quite frankly, not me. So I am going to give it a shot and try to put a creative spin on my life in Hawaii. Same facts and information, just shared differently. Lets see what happens….

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why Do I Love Hawaii?

I was lying in bed last night wide awake, thinking about many things, but one thing in particular: what is it about Hawaii that makes me want to live it, breathe it, share it? The top things that came to my mind were:

The warm sun that you see and feel almost every day of the year

The smell of the ocean

The fresh local produce, especially the seafood

The feeling of peace and harmony, that is always with you

Being content with the way of life in the Islands

The people that you meet every day - I have met very few unhappy people in Hawaii

Isolation from the rest of the world

And its for those reasons that I would jump on a plane and move back to Hawaii - in a heartbeat.