Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time for a Hawaiian Summer

Summer is here and thanks to my colleague and friend Mariella Souflis I thought I would share some thoughts and pictures to get you ready for a Hawaiian summer. Although it is warm all year round in Hawaii, it gets particularly hot and humid during the summer months. I moved to Hawaii in August and at the time it felt like a heat wave. So, with that in mind, here are some tips for keeping cool this summer:
Hawaii has lots of trees - perfect for staying out of the sun while keeping warm. But remember, just because there is shade doesn't mean you are completely protected from the sun - be sure to lather on the SPF regularly.

There is no better place than Hawaii in summertime to hit the beach! The water temperature can get close to 80 degrees during August and September - which is still cooler than the outside air!
If you will be in Maui, why not check out some of the local beaches see what the keiki get up to in their own island backyard. This photo was taken in Maui with some of the cutest Hawaiian kids I have ever met.
If you head to Waikiki Beach during the summer, then you must visit Dukes Waikiki. Grab a cocktail and a bite to eat, and check out their twitter feed for the latest updates on local bands and upcoming events.
Your summer adventure would not be complete without enjoying a Hawaiian sunset. Enjoy the summer and experience all that Hawaii has to offer!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hawaiian Surf and Music Expo

Today is the last day of school for many, which means that summer vacation is finally here. This is good for a number of reasons:

1. Traffic congestion will be minimal with moms staying off the road in peak hour
2. We will see the sun more than we will see rain and clouds here in Seattle
3. My trip to Hawaii is about 8 weeks away and....
4. It's time to head out for summer break and experience some cool and fun things, like the Hawaiian Surf and Music Expo!

I found out about the Hawaiian Surf and Music Expo through Twitter. Its being held on July 31-August 2 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center on Ward Ave in Honolulu. The surf producer of this event is Hawaii's Surf Ambassador, Clyde Aikau, who is also well known around the world as a champion big wave surfer and as an ambassador of Aloha. Clyde has had surf success at some of the big wave surf meets such as the Duke Kahanamoku Surfing Championship at Waimea Bay and the Makaha International Championship.

The Hawaiian Surf and Music Expo plans to showcase Hawaii’s and the world’s top musical and ocean related products under one roof. From ocean gear, clothing wear, crafts and souvenirs, musical products, great displays, product demonstrations, the event looks to be a fun experience for all. Although the organizers are selling this as a Trade Show, from what I understand it is open to the public and there will be plenty to see and do for adults and kids alike.

For more information you can send the organizers an email or call (808) 256-2755. Is anyone planning on attending? If so let me know if the event is a success; sadly I can't be there but I look forward to hearing all about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

For Discussion: Hand Luggage or Checked Bags?

Every time I have travelled recently, I have noticed that more and more people are taking excess hand luggage on the plane instead of checking in bags when they travel, due to the charges imposed by the airlines. It got me thinking last night while I was wide awake in bed - what is the etiquette around this and how is it enforced? From what I understand, passengers are allowed to take one personal item (e.g handbag) plus one item (bag, suit bag etc) on the plane, not to exceed 21 inches in size. Have you seen the size of a 21 inch suitcase? It is a pretty decent size bag, I almost want to say its bordering on being too big to carry on board. I am travelling to Hawaii in the next couple of months and I am trying to decide if I should just take a small suitcase on the plane, or if I should respect the space of other passengers, check in my bag and pay the $30 charge.

My gripe with this is that the majority of people who bring carry-on items into the cabin do not comply with the regulations that the airlines put in place. When we were returning from Hawaii last trip, one man had 3 suitcases - two of which he jammed into the overhead compartment and the other one was pushed under his seat and stuck out, leaving him with no leg room for the flight, and the passenger next to him had great difficulty getting in and out of her seat. Why are people allowed to do these things, and why do they do it? To save $30? That seems ridiculous and selfish.

My husband and I now always board the plane first, regardless of whether they call our aisle number to board, as we want to make sure we get the overhead compartment space above our seat. I can't tell you how many times we have got on the plane, only to find the person 5 aisles back has filled all the overhead bins with their hand luggage. Ugh, I am on a rant, but is there anyone else who is tired of this when they travel? Does anyone have any rec commendations on how to fix this problem? Or, should I just do what everyone else does and stash as much as I can above my head, and ultimately annoy the person next to me?

Ahhh the joys of travel!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hawaii Blogger Profile - Pam Mandel

I had the chance to connect with some amazing Hawaii bloggers in the last month, via email and thanks to HARO.com. Today, I have decided to spotlight Pam Mandel, author of Nerd's Eye View, and World Hum -- Hawaii: Holoholo Wale.

Pam currently lives in Seattle and travels to Hawaii about every two years. She started blogging in 2007 and when asked why she chose Hawaii as a subject, in her words: “I'm enchanted. Really, it's like I'm under some kind of spell. When World Hum asked me what topic I wanted to cover, in Hawaii was at the top of my list.” Her main focus is Island culture.

Pam tries to reach readers who are interested in Hawaii beyond just being tourists; she likes to target people who want to know more about Hawaiian culture, politics, and the ecosystem; independent travelers who are interested in seeing places with more than the transitory vacationers set of eyes.

When I asked Pam about how she spreads the word about her blog, she mentions that she can’t shut up about it! I love this – and the fact that she backs it up with social media channels is great too. When you are passionate about something it’s easy to talk about it. And writer’s block? Forget it, she can’t even imagine that day, and when it happens, she may move on.

Pam’s inspiration comes from the warmth and generosity of the Hawaiian people. She cares about the history of the native Hawaiians, ways to protect and share Hawaiian culture and nature, and is continually excited by Hawaii's diversity. She also has a thing for Hawaiian music (just look at her picture for proof!)

Hot topics on her blogs include politics and photos that she shares with her readers are also popular. For those who already have a blog or are planning on starting one, Pam recommends that you make time to read other Hawaii blogs and get to know the people behind them. She emphasizes, “Bring your own aloha; you'll get more than you can imagine back in return.”

Finally, I asked Pam: “If you could share one special idea/thing/thought about Hawaii what would it be?”

Her answer: “The aloha spirit is real. When you find yourself in the middle of the warmth and generosity of the people that live in Hawaii, you are experiencing the best Hawaii has to offer. Sure, the nature and the climate are near perfect, but the true marvel about Hawaii is the aloha spirit.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thanks to Pam for sharing her thoughts on Hawaii and being an awesome Hawaii blogger. More blogger profiles coming soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

O'ahu Population Is On The Rise...Slowly

According to a new study just out, the island of O'ahu will add nearly 33,000 people by 2025, with forecasts based on U.S. Census Bureau population data. I'm hoping that I am included in that number!

The projected growth rate of Honolulu and surrounding suburbs ranks 201 among 250 U.S. metropolitan areas studied by bizjournals.

Honolulu is expected to grow 3.6% from its 2005 population of 899,673 to a 2025 population of 932,587, an increase of 32,914 residents, according to the report.

What's also interesting - The Big Island is expected to grow even faster. The Hilo area ranked 37 out of 250 U.S. metro cities with a projected growth rate of 43% by 2025. The Big Island is expected to grow from 164,462 residents in 2005 to 235,367 in 2025.

To read more about this study and to see where your city ranks in population growth, visit the bizjournals website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ala Moana Center Adds New Stores....Again!

Oh I love shopping. Someone asked me the other day what it was that I loved about shopping, and my answer: the act of exchanging money for goods and services. The feeling I get when I hand over my credit card and I get something special in return is great! This not only applies to clothes and shoes, but even the grocery store is fun for me!!

Ok I am getting off track. I wanted to share the news that Ala Moana Center is opening seven new stores! They are:

  • LEGO - opening July
  • Victoria's Secret - opening in fall
  • Links of London - opening July
  • Ala Bella - opening July
  • Taco Del Mar - opening July
  • American Apparel - just opened
  • Lin's Market - just opened

Ala Moana Center is one of my favorite shopping experiences - you can get almost anything you need (including my favorite, Louis Vuitton!) Happy shopping and see you in August Ala Moana Center.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wyland Waikiki Is No More....

During my last visit to Hawaii we stayed at the Wyland Waikiki. We had such a great time during our stay and would definitely have stayed there next time we went back. However in the news this week it was reported that the Wyland is no longer the Wyland - it's now a Courtyard by Marriott. I am really bummed about this! Not only is this no longer an Outrigger property (it is still managed by Outrigger) - it is much more expensive to stay there! I went to the Marriott website to see how they were promoting/branding the property, and they have rooms listed from US$209 per night, which is much more than we paid when we stayed at the hotel. I also didn't notice any special deals or offers like the Wyland had offered previously (we had a stay 2 nights, get one night free deal), so I am thinking that our last visit to that hotel may have been our last. Too bad, we really liked it and would recommend it.

Looks like I will have to start looking around for another diamond in the rough - any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hawaiian Springs on the Mainland

It was a simple coincidence that I had Hawaiian Springs Water on my Polyvore last Friday (see below) - when today, I read that the water is now available for sale on the mainland!

The natural water company, which draws from the Keaau aquifer on the Big Island, is now selling its bottles at health food retailers throughout California, Arizona and Nevada including Whole Foods and Mother's Market.

Hawaiian Springs has been distributing bottled water mainly in the Hawaiian Islands since 1995, so the news of expansion is great for the company, given the current economic sitation. Recently the company has done some rebranding and the new packaging looks awesome. It reminds me a lot of Fiji Water, also one of my favorites. Great news and I hope to see Hawaiian Springs Water available for sale in Seattle soon!