Thursday, July 30, 2009

Record Breaking Weather in Seattle

You can imagine my delight to be living in Seattle when the hottest day on record EVER is recorded! That's right, Seattle sweltered yesterday, with temps up to 105 degrees in some local suburban areas. While I love the heat, its hard to enjoy it when you are not equipped to handle it. Seattle rarely gets above 90 degrees, and when it does its only for a day here or there. Fortunately, John purchased an air conditioner for our bedroom on the weekend so we are nice and cool, however the air conditioner is so loud it makes it hard to sleep! Oh well, you can't win them all. I rushed home yesterday to get our two cats out of the heat, only to find that they prefer it vs. the chilled bedroom. Squid was born in Hawaii, so maybe that's why!

Speaking of weather, my friend and colleague Linda mentioned yesterday that Hawaii is the only state in the US that has never reached 100 degrees. Go figure! The temperature in Hawaii is fairly consistent, and when I lived there, the high temp often hovered at the 90 degree mark, but never much higher. I wonder whether we may see this change as we experience the ongoing effects of global warming? Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waikiki Starlight Luau - Hilton Hawaiian Village

The latest luau on the scene in Waikiki is thanks to the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Waikiki Starlight Luau® is the only outdoor luau in Waikiki with spectacular entertainment and dining under the stars. You can expect to experience the colorful heritage of the Pacific Islands and join the excitement of the celebration with live music, drums and the drama of traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian and Samoan dance - so get ready to hula!

In addition to the entertainment, you will be able to indulge in a feast of Hawaiian foods, made with traditional island ingredients.

The Waikiki Starlight Luau is on every Sunday – Thursday, 5:30 pm – 8:15 pm (weather permitting) on the rooftop of the Mid-Pacific Conference Center.

Reservations are needed, so if you are interested please call the Hilton Hawaiian Village luau desk at 808-941-LUAU (808-941-5828), or you can book on their website. Prices start at $US95 for adults and $US47.50 for kids.

Unfortunately, I won't have time to fit this in on my next trip (18 sleeps to go but who's counting)! If anyone has had the chance to experience this, please let me know whether it's worth putting on the itinerary for next time. Although this is great that the Hilton is offering a luau, from what I hear, nothing beats a Hawaiian luau hosted by a Hawaiian family!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Beach Reads

Books released over summer seem to be the hot thing here in the US. Everywhere I look there is a new title coming out, making my reading list longer and longer! I have been at home recovering from surgery this week and I was hoping to get cracking on all my new novels, but unfortunately this has not happened - yet. And to top that off, Seattle is experiencing one of the best summer seasons in history so that makes it hard to stay indoors and read (house is too hot) or go outside and read (sun is too hot)!

However I am committed to getting through a few novels this summer season and here is my recommended reading list - all of these books are available from If anyone has read any of these let me know, in case I have a book on the list that doesn't make the cut!

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
Gossip of the Starlings by Nina de Gramont
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham
A Better View of Paradise by Randy Sue Coburn
The Husband Habit by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Made in Hawaii Festival Preparations Begin

The Annual Made in Hawaii Festival is scheduled for August 21-23, and although it’s still four weeks away, this year’s festival has already confirmed nearly 500 booths featuring local products and exhibitors, the largest number of exhibitors since the inception of this event in 1995.

This year, more than 35,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival, which will be held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and Arena in downtown Honolulu.

The Made in Hawaii Festival website has the full list of exhibitors, some of which include:

Aloha Kine
Ahhhloha Bath Salts
Alii Kula Lavender
Hawaiian Chip Company

and many more!

The Made in Hawaii Association estimates that booth vendors, who come from five of the Hawaiian islands, will sell more than 2008’s $1.5 million take, plus an estimated $10 million in residual sales for the following 12 months after the show. That's some serious sales given the current economy. If you can make it, expect to see some of the best local foods, crafts, and products as Hawaii celebrates its 50 years of Statehood.

Entry is just $3 and this looks like one of the best local festivals to be held all year - perfect for those wanting to stock up on local Hawaiian products.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hawaii Forgot to Vote for Obama?

Could it be, that the President of the United States was not supported by all in his home state of Hawaii? As it turns out, Hawaii’s voter turnout of 51.8% was the lowest of all 50 states in 2008!

Only 53.5% of Hawaii’s total population was registered to vote last year - making Hawaii the lowest state with registered voters, despite having Hawaii born and raised (and now President!) Barack Obama representing the Democratic Party.
The top five states for voter turnout were Minnesota (75%), New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Maine (71.2%), and Louisiana (70.3%). The U.S. Census Bureau report was released on Monday, and concluded that about 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, which was an increase of about 5 million from the 2004 election.

What's interesting to note is that the increase in voters was made up of 2 million more black voters, 2 million more Hispanic voters and about 600,000 more Asian voters, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters remained mostly unchanged. If you want to see more results from the report, head to the Census website.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hello Kitty Baby Perfume!

I haven't written a post about Hello Kitty for quite a while now. I recently became obsessed with Tokidoki and love their Hello Kitty collection. However, the items are pretty expensive and I think my husband would not be impressed if I came home with a $98 Oversized Donutella Plush!!

I really need to get my Hawaii Hello Kitty list ready as I prepare for my upcoming trip. And to help me along is my friend Tommy, who just sent me a link to Hello Kitty Baby Perfume, available for sale in Hong Kong! Hello Kitty's brand new fragrance targeted to little girls and babies alike, will be on offer for HK$275 (50ml). I need to find out if its available for sale in the US - and if so - where I can get some! Ok yes, it is for babies, but how can you not smile at the thought of Hello Kitty perfume for babies - just what will marketers think of next?

So far, I have the following HK items on my Hawaii shopping list - does anyone else have any suggestions?

Hello Kitty/Tokidoki Notebook
Hello Kitty Cell Phone Charm: Bunny - Pink
Hello Kitty Ice Pop Molds

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trump Hotel Waikiki - Almost Open for Business!

Its official - the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk has started taking reservations for November. The 464-unit hotel has started accepting bookings starting November 16, just in time for the Thanksgiving break.

Rates start at $US255 per night for a studio hotel room, and go up to $US8,000 per night for a penthouse suite in the 38-story building at the Diamond Head end of Fort DeRussy. The hotel will feature a number of amenities, including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Steak restaurant and The Spa at Trump. Take a look at the location on the map below - its in such a great location and its hard to miss. So even if you can't afford to stay there, make sure you swing by and take a look - its breathtaking!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hawaii State Farm Fair - July 18-19

Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not head to the Hawaii State Farm Fair at Bishop Museum?

Planned activities at the Fair include:

Livestock Exhibit
Farmer's Market
Huge Plant Sale
Cooking Demonstrations and Exhibits
Corn Husking and Watermelon Eating Contest
Kiddie Rides and Live Entertainment

The Hawaii State Farm Fair for Hawaii residents costs $5 for adults, $3 for children, and $15.95 for adults, $12.95 for children if you are a visitor to the Islands. For more info head to the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation website. Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yum! Alan Wong's Next Generation Dinner

On July 29, 2009, Chef de cuisine, Derek Watanabe will be managing the menu for the Next Generation Dinner at Alan Wong's in Honolulu (King St).

As you already know, Alan Wong's is one of my favorite restaurants of all time, and although I am disappointed that I can't be there for the dinner on July 29, I am pleased to confirm that I will be heading there in August with my mom to get my fix!

For the Next Generation Dinner, Chef has created a delicious 4-course menu. I couldn't decide on my favorite item to list here so click here to see the full menu with accompanying wine pairings. Michelle Karr is the Pastry Chef and her final course looks superb.

The Next Generation Dinner is a regular happening at the restaurant featuring a menu from an up-and-coming cook, with guidance from both Chef Alan Wong and Chef de Cuisine Wade Ueoka. The lucky chef has the opportunity to create their own dishes and puts together a menu that showcases their personal taste. An important piece of the menu creation is the ability to use local products and demonstrate ethnic influences found in Hawaii today, which is classic Alan Wong style.

Before working at Alan Wong’s, Chef de Cuisine Derek Watanabe worked in various hotels in Southeast Asia. During his travels throughout Thailand, Indonesia, and China, Derek learned to work with a variety of different Asian ingredients. The menu that he has created for his Next Generation Dinner features the flavors from Southeast Asia using local products on which to create contemporary twists.

The prix fixe dinner is available for $75 per person or $105 with wine pairings. Reservations are a must and you can make them by calling Alan Wong’s Honolulu, at (808) 949-2526.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Millionaires are in Hawaii!

Looking for $$? Hawaii continues to lead the nation in the percent of millionaires per overall population. A 'millionaire household' can be defined as one with $1 million or more in investable or liquid assets, excluding sponsored retirement plans and real estate. Phoenix Marketing International, a firm located in New York recently announced the number of millionaires in the U.S. has declined by 14% over the past two years. But... 6.4% of Hawaii’s households (28,363 households!) in fact are millionaires - that’s down from 7.3% in 2008 but still high enough of a percentage to lead the nation for the second year in a row!!

Rounding out the top five states in millionaires per population are:
Maryland (6.3%)
New Jersey (6.2%)
Connecticut (6.2%)
Virginia (5.5%)

There are three things about these figures about Hawaii that amaze me:

1. Hawaii is so small in population size, so how come there are so many millionaires?
2. People in Hawaii typically get paid less than on the mainland, so how can they have more money?
3. It is more expensive to live in Hawaii than most places on the mainland - so why are people wealthier?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Students: Need an Apartment to Rent in Waikiki?

How's this for a sign of the times? Hawaiian Island Homes announced last week that it will take over management of two low-rise apartment hotels in Waikiki and rent them to students.
The 70-unit Hawaiiana Hotel and 77-unit Whitesands Hotel will be managed by Hawaiian Student Suites, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Island Homes.

The rooms are 300 square feet studios with a kitchen and bathroom and open to registered students with leases available by semester, on an annual bases and during the summer. The leases will start the week before the University of Hawaii' s fall semester starts on Aug. 22. The Beachwalk Dorm at the Hawaiiana Hotel, has priced a bed in a double room at $595 per month and $925 per month for a studio, single occupancy.

Rates at the Whitesands are $925 per month for a studio, single occupancy, $395 to $595 per month based on double occupancy, and $425 to $495 per month based on triple occupancy. As is the usual standard, a security deposit, application fee and criminal background check are required.

What you may not know is that Hawaiian Student Suites currently operate dorms at Kalo Terrace, Waikiki West, Tradewinds Mauka, and Ala Moana Towers, offering more than 700 dorm beds for student rentals. So great news for students with the announcement of these new apartments, soon to be available. I used to live in Waikiki and I LOVED it! If I was a student at UH, I think I would have loved it even more! Visit Hawaiian Island Homes for more information and to sign up for one of these great apartments.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hawaii's Top Hotel? The Halekulani of Course....

It's no surprise that the Halekulani hotel has been named the number one resort in Hawaii by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. The hotel, located in Waikiki, O'ahu also ranks No. 41 on the list of World’s Best Hotels Overall. When you plan your next trip to the Islands, be sure to take a look at this hotel - you may not be able to afford to stay there but you could always have brunch at Orchids Restaurant, or for a little indulgence - dinner at La Mer Restaurant.

Halekulani’s top ranking on the list of Top 25 Resorts in Hawaii, up from fourth place in 2008, will be featured in T&L's August issue.

The annual Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards are based on the opinions of Travel + Leisure readers, who rated hotels, islands, airplanes, spas, rental-car agencies, cities, cruise lines, tour operators and safari outfitters around the world.

Other outstanding Hawaii resorts in Travel + Leisure’s Top 25 list include:

• Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kaupulehu-Kona
• Hotel Hana-Maui & Honua Spa, Maui
• Four Seasons Resort, Maui at Wailea
• Four Seasons Resort, Lanai at Manele Bay
• Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hawaii Football Fans - Colt Brennan Is Coming to Visit!

I just heard the news that Colt Brennan (former UH quarterback, now with the Washington Redskins) will be back in Hawaii for one weekend only and will be signing autographs on the following dates and times:

Saturday, July 11: Pictures Plus - Maui Marketplace (Kahului, Maui), 11am - 1pm.

Sunday, July 12: Barefoot League - Safeway Center (Kapahulu, Oahu), 2pm - 4pm.

Autograph tickets are available ONLY at Pictures Plus.

Presale tickets can be purchased in person at the Kahului and Ward Warehouse Pictures Plus locations, or on the web at

If anyone gets a picture or autograph - please send to me and I will put it on the blog. Have a great Aloha Friday and weekend!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4 Celebrations on O'ahu

Happy July 4 to everyone! While it may seem strange that I am Australian and I am getting into the American holiday spirit - I think its important to embrace the traditions of the place in which you reside. July 4 is celebrated to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Typically, people celebrate by having BBQ's, parties, picnics, going to the baseball, and with fireworks. I am not a big fireworks fan, for a few reasons:

1. The noise
2. The mess
3. The danger
4. The effect they have on animals

However, I anticipate a night of fireworks where I live and if you are in Honolulu, why not head to Ala Moana Center’s annual Fourth of July Celebration, where they have it ALL (ok, I don't think they have baseball)!

Live music at Ala Moana’s Center Stage will start at 12 noon today. At 5 p.m., Hoku Zuttermeister, Natalie Ai Kamauu, B.E.T., Pali and other contemporary and traditional Hawaiian music acts will take over the shopping center's ocean-facing parking deck for a concert leading up to the evening’s fireworks. The fireworks show is one of the 25 largest displays in the U.S.begins at 8:30 p.m., launched from three platforms at Ala Moana Beach Park, which is across the street from the mall (and where John and I got married!).

If you want more information head to the Ala Moana Center website. Have fun and most of all, be safe!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Other Side of Hawaii - The Mountains!

If you haven't been to Hawaii before, you may not know that in addition to the amazing ocean that surrounds the Islands, there are some unbelievable volcanic mountain formations to look at too. All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes erupting from the sea floor from a magma source described in geological theory as a hotspot. The volcanic activity and subsequent erosion created impressive geological features, which can be seen in the following photos. All these photos were taken on the Island of O'ahu, and in person the view is just breathtaking. No matter where you look you are surrounded with natural beauty. Another reason why living in Hawaii rocks!

When I head back for my next trip in August, I plan to take some pictures while driving down the Pali Highway, made famous by Magnum P.I., one of my mom's favorite shows (and actors)! Now that will make for some serious kodak moments.