Friday, May 29, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Hawaiian Things.....

I whipped this up using Polyvore - Happy Friday!

Hawaiian Things

Authentic Hawaiian Souvenirs

The first time I visited Hawaii, I bought so many souvenirs that I could barely close my suitcase. When I returned home and examined all these souvenirs, I was shocked to find that most of them (ok all of them) were not made in Hawaii. How did this happen? Well, there are so many places to buy souvenirs and they are all competing for your business, so they entice you with their cheap prices. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that many items I had purchased were "designed in Hawaii" but made in China.

When I visit any destination I want to buy gifts for my friends and family that are from the actual place that I travelled to. If you are going to Hawaii, you need to look carefully before making any purchases if you want to buy something of quality that is made in the Islands. One place to get authentic Hawaiian gifts is at Shop Pacifica at the Bishop Museum. If you head downtown there are also a number of locally-run stores that have Hawaiian food products available for sale. Instead of taking a bunch of plastic flower leis home,why not buy a fresh lei and keep it in your hotel room so you can enjoy the beautiful scent of the flowers for the same price?

When buying souvenirs, be sure to ask if the product is made in Hawaii before purchasing (and check the label too). Granted, the items will cost more but they are more authentic and you will be supporting the local Hawaiian community.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hawaii - Researching, Writing, Reading

I have been on a "staycation" for the last week and have spent some time thinking about how to spice up my blog. I have been able to get in contact with some great Hawaii bloggers recently and I am working on a few different posts about these bloggers and what Hawaii means to them. I have also been watching the conversations on Twitter as they relate to Hawaii - there is a LOT of talk going on, mostly positive. It's hard to be constantly involved in these conversations while being in Seattle (although these conversations are online). That's something that I need to work on. I think it's important to be involved in the conversations, but you also need to listen to what others are saying - communication is a two-way street!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Travel Channel This Weekend - Big Island

I don't usually write about the Big Island, not because I don't like it but because I have so much to share about O'ahu that I just haven't been able to get to it! However, I did just hear that the Big Island will be featured as part of Samantha Brown's Great Weekends. The show is airing on Saturday evening at 7pm, and as part of her trip she explores rivers of molten lava, blesses a newly built outrigger canoe and feasts her senses at the only authentic luau on a black-sand beach. She will also be checking out the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival so this show is well worth the watch.

This show should be great for those looking to learn more about what the Big Island has to offer, both locals and tourists alike. For more information on Samantha Brown and her adventures visit their website.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Really Thought I Was In Hawaii

This past weekend in Seattle was amazing, weather wise. We wait a long time for the sun to come out and when it finally appears, it doesn't disappoint. Saturday was superb, so I headed outside as soon as I could to get as much vitamin D as my skin could absorb. With me I took:

Lemon Drop Cocktail (and it wasn't just one)
Novel: "Here Today, Gone to Maui", by Carol Snow

So, I sat in my backyard and soaked up the sun, and as I got into the book, I really thought I was in Hawaii (or maybe it was the Lemon Drops)! It was great to feel the sun on my skin, to smell the sunscreen, and to be so hot that I had to go inside and cool down - it's been a while since that has happened.

I am taking a few days off over the Memorial Day weekend, so I hope that mother nature is as kind to me as she was this weekend - all I need now is a new book!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Am Going To.....Hawaii!

Great news - I have booked another trip to Hawaii (O'ahu) in August - thanks to my mother, who is planning on travelling via Hawaii on her way to Seattle. It will be a brief trip (only 3 nights), but that's enough time for me to.....

Get a tan at Waikiki Beach

Buy some Nine West Shoes

Dine at Alan Wongs

Shop at the ABC Stores

Have a drink (or two or three) at the Barefoot Bar at the Hale Koa Hotel

Watch the sunrise and sunset

Catch up with my friends at CommPac

and many more things....that I will let you know about as I start to countdown to the trip (only 94 sleeps to go)!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Bento Box

The Honolulu Advertiser has this really cute comic in the paper and online every Saturday called Bento Box. It is written by Deb Aoki and I just love it. I have put the May 9 edition of the comic on my blog to give you an example, and this one is very relevant to me as it relates to Ala Moana Center and the constant changes that take place there! Thanks to the Advertiser for the comic. Its a little hard to see on the screen so click on the picture to enlarge if you can't read the full text.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Things Are Looking Up for Oahu Hotels

Although the travel and tourism industry could be doing better, there is some encouraging news out of O'ahu today. Oahu hotel room occupancy grew 2.2% to 75.1% for the week ending May 2. But, compared with the same week last year, statewide occupancy fell 2.9% to 64.8%.

Good news for travelers (like me) though - room rates on O'ahu and statewide fell as well, each down about 11 percent to average $156 and $172 a night, respectively. Perfect if you are still trying to decide where to head for your summer vacation.

Other occupancy and average room rates for the other Hawaiian Islands are as follows:

Maui occupancy dropped 8.9% to 56.6%, while room rates slid 13% to $212;

Kauai occupancy plummeted 12.7% to 49.6%, while room rates were down nearly 12% to $172; and

Big Island occupancy decreased 4.4% to 52.3%, while room rates were off about 1% to $174.

This Hawaii hotel industry snapshot is thanks to Smith Travel Research and Hospitality Advisors.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

REPOST: Hawaiian Word For Love

This is a repost from January that I wrote about Love in Hawaiian. It has been one of my most popular posts to-date so I thought I would share it again so that you can learn some Hawaiian words, and share them with someone special today.

I am NOT feeling the love today - from anyone! With the economy in disarray, and everyone always panicked and on their toes its no wonder that all the love is disappearing. What always brings me back to love is Hawaii. I met my husband there and was married there, I love the Hawaiian people, I love the Hawaiian lifestyle, the list of Hawaiian love goes on. So as I continue on my culture path on this blog, I thought I would share the Hawaiian word for love, and some other romantic words and phrases. This will give you enough time to practice for Valentine's Day so you can surprise your special someone!

Aloha - Love
Nani - Beautiful/Beauty
Lani - Heaven
Honi - Kiss
Hauʻoli — Happiness
Ipo — Sweetheart or Lover
Aloha Au Ia 'Oe - I Love You
E Hoomau Maua Kealoha - May Our Love Last Forever
E Ku'u Aloha - My Love
Aloha Nui Loa - Very Much Love

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Aloha Hawaiian Grill

I am always looking for tasty Hawaiian-style food in Seattle. On our way to the Mariner's baseball game a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at Aloha Hawaiian Grill in Kent for dinner. I had driven past many times before and never been in, and I am glad we finally decided to check it out. One of my pet hates is a lack of authenticity when referring to Hawaiian food, culture, etc. So I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in to hear soft Hawaiian music playing in the background, and the kid at the counter proudly displaying a tattoo of the Hawaiian Islands, nice!

Hawaiian food has its share of weird and interesting concoctions. So, I decided to get the garlic shrimp with rice and mac salad. The shrimp were so delicious - they actually gave Giovanni's Shrimp Truck a run for their money! And mac salad, well its hard to get that wrong - it was just as I remembered it. John had katsu chicken - and there was so much chicken that he was unable to finish it all, which is most unusual!

The food was great, at an affordable price. If you like Hawaiian food, why not visit Aloha Hawaiian Grill in Kent or Puyallup. Check out their menu on the website so you can pick your favorite item before you get there. They also do catering too. Thanks to for the photo of the storefront in Kent!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hawaiian Names For Babies

Babies seem to be all around me at the moment – a former colleague had a baby girl on Thursday (congrats Liz!), a current colleague is pregnant (yay Stephanie!) and I feel like I am the only one without a baby right now, no matter where I look. My husband and I have only talked about baby names in a joking fashion, but I started thinking over the weekend that if I ever have a baby, I may like to use a Hawaiian name. Nothing too weird, my last name is already weird enough, but something that is easy to say, easy to spell, and has a nice meaning. I took a look at the popular baby names in Hawaii in 2007 on the Social Security Website and there are not many Hawaiian names on the list at all! As it turns out, many people in Hawaii use Hawaiian names as a middle name instead.

Here is some info on Hawaiian names for you to consider:
Hawaiian names can be used for both boys and girls, unless they are versions of boy and girl names taken from other languages or if a name's meaning just wouldn't suit one particular gender.

The pronunciation of a name is very important; get it wrong and the name can mean something completely different.

For Hawaiians, the giving of a name is an incredibly important task. The parents or grandparents may invent a name specifically for the child to be born, and the name could be inspired by a dream or an event that happened around the time of the child's birth.

Let's take a look at some Hawaiian baby names that have appeared in recent popular baby name lists for the State of Hawaii:

Boys’ Names

Girls’ Names

My favorites are: Boy: Kalani (The Heavens), Girl: Leilani (Heavenly Flower). Now you know why my blog is called Natalani – I have a thing with the term ‘lani’ – because I associate Hawaii with heaven!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1 is Lei Day

Happy Lei Day! In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day, and is set aside as a day to celebrate island culture in general and native Hawaiian culture in particular. May Day was invented by a poet and a local newspaper columnist in the 1920s, but since then it has been adopted by state and local government as well as by the residents, who now affectionately call it Lei Day.

The first Lei Day was celebrated in 1927 in Honolulu, and Leonard "Red" and Ruth Hawk composed "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii," the traditional holiday song. I tried to find a nice version of "May Day is Lei Day" on YouTube without much success, but see if you can get a copy of the song to enjoy today.

As I look outside my window here in Seattle, its a beautiful day - what a perfect excuse to get outside and celebrate Lei Day - or May Day - no matter where you are today. For those of you in the Islands, be sure to stock up on beautiful leis today, and get one for me!