Friday, April 30, 2010

Tropical Hello Kitty at Build-a-Bear Workshop!

Ooohhh great news for Hello Kitty fans (that includes me)! Tropical Hello Kitty has just arrived at Build-A-Bear Workshop, fresh from a tropical holiday with a sweet sun-kissed glow!  Has she been in Hawaii?  Most likely!

For a limited time, you will also receive a free Hello Kitty Diary when you buy the new Tropical Hello Kitty! This limited special offer starts today and is available in Build-A-Bear stores only. Thanks to for the image!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shopper's Delight at Ala Moana Center - Seven New Stores!

Some more great news for shopaholics in Hawaii.  Ala Moana Center has just confirmed seven new retail stores, two new eateries and a travel agency to Hawaii's largest shopping complex. Woo hoo!

There are some retailers who are new to the Hawaii market! Tory Burch, offering woman's sportswear and accessories is opening in the fall; Australian-based Gilly Hicks lingerie store, owned and operated by Abercrombie is opening in July; Pandora Jewelry, known for its charm bracelets is opening in August and Q-pot, a Japanese accessory and art emporium is opening in July.  All will be open by the time I next visit the Islands!

In addition, the center has added JTB USA travel agency, which handles nearly 300,000 travelers from Japan each year, and Regis Salon, which opens in May. 

But wait! There's more! Other businesses that have recently opened at Ala Moana Center include Crocs, Island Vintage Coffee, Saigon Garden, Local Motion and Central Pacific Bank. 

News of these new stores is most pleasing for businesses and consumers alike.  Does this mean that the economy is finally starting to shift?  I hope so; I'm tired of sticking to a budget!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 Census - Hawaii - Did You Forget to Mail Your Forms In?

Unless you were living under a rock, you would have heard about the 2010 US Census form that was compulsory to complete this year (and every year its conducted for that matter).  The Census is really important to complete because the results determine the amount of funding that your state receives from the federal government for infrastructure and services such as hospitals, schools and emergency services. 
Hawaii still has one of the lowest response rates for the 2010 U.S. Census, and if you haven't completed your form, expect a friendly visit from a Census Bureau representative over the next few weeks. 

As of Friday April 23, the Hawaii had a 65% response rate, tying with Oklahoma, and ranking down the bottom at no. 46 among the states.  Washington, D.C. West Virginia, Louisiana, New Mexico and Alaska posted the lowest response rates.  Kinda funny that DC had one of the lowest as well!
In Hawaii, Kalama Valley in East Oahu was the most responsive area in Hawaii with an 89% response rate, while Kahauiki was the least responsive with a 14% response rate.

For every home that Census workers have to visit, it is estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers $60 to $70, according the Census Bureau. Each person who isn’t counted also costs the state about $1,200 in lost federal funds, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. 

If you haven't submitted your Census form, get it done NOW.  There's only about 10 questions = 5 mins of your day.  Its really important that Hawaii gets counted and receives the much needed federal funding it deserves to help improve the quality of life for residents and for visiting tourists.  Find out more info at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hawaii Facebook Pages

To stay on top of the many activities going on in Hawaii, I like to use Facebook fan pages as a way to get a quick update on the latest news.  I have a fan page Natalani Hawaii- are you a fan?

I wanted to share a list of my favorite fan pages with my readers - if you love visiting Hawaii or perhaps you are trying to find out more while planning your next vacation, take a look at these pages and become a fan (I think you now click 'like' to receive updates - I can't keep up with all the Facebook changes!)

HAWAII Magazine - This is a must for anyone interested in Hawaii.  The fan page of the popular magazine, HAWAII Magazine and its Web site are for anyone who loves the Islands—whether you live here, visit us regularly or are still dreaming of doing both. The Facebook page provides links to their stories and great photos for you to enjoy as you plan your next Hawaii vacation.

Go Visit Hawaii - A fan page founded by Sheila who has made the page a community-based site. Go Visit Hawaii readers can share tips, photos, and discuss their Hawaii vacation.

MVP Hawaii - Provides readers with the latest news from the Islands.  The page regularly has discounts offers from hotels and restaurants and also shares fun facts - who knew that there was free parking at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center for 3 hours with restaurant validation!

Oahu Concierge Magazine - The Oahu Concierge Magazine is an industry publication for hospitality employees.  They provide up-to-date information on what's happening around Oahu each month, covering special events, arts, Hawaiiana, dining, and entertainment through monthly articles, an updated calendar, and more.  This is great for locals and for tourists - you want your concierge to know what's happening during your visit!

Edible Hawaiian Islands - I have recently discovered this page and find it to be a wonderful resource for all things food related in Hawaii.  Edible Hawaiian Islands is dedicated to celebrating the harvest of the Aloha State, season by season.  You can pick up their newsletter at various locations in Hawaii, or subscribe to their newsletter online.

If you have any suggestions on some great Hawaii fan pages, please share them with me!  Add your favorite page to the comments section.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Travelers Like the iPad?

I read an interesting article this morning on MediaPost about the iPad and why it might be the next 'must-have' for travelers. Writer Kevin McKenzie talks about the importance of the iPad to travelers, who up until recently have used their laptop and smartphone to stay connected. But now, consumers are looking for a greater mobile experience; they want faster downloads, quick browsing, a range of mobile applications and more entertainment options. The iPad allows travelers to check their email and stay connected to their work, but also provides users with plenty of things to play with. Read the complete article here - do you agree?

Will travelers be the first to adapt to the iPad and what does that mean for companies who are trying to reach consumers? I'm a traveler and unless the price of the iPad comes down, I'm unlikely to be joining the bandwagon any time soon. With my laptop and smartphone I can do just about anything. Combine that with some juicy gossip magazines and a Wi-Fi enabled plane ride and I don't think I would have time for the iPad! I look forward to seeing how the technology evolves and the change in consumer habits and tastes as a result.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Get Shopping at Ward Centers – Honolulu

I love to shop and have always found Honolulu to be a great shopping destination. In addition to Waikiki and the well-known Ala Moana Center, Ward Center is also a great local shopping destination, which continues to expand (great news for the economy!). To get there from Waikiki you can catch the number 8, 19 or 20 bus – or just walk from Ala Moana Center.

It is most pleasing to confirm that a number of new retailers are opening at Ward Centers this spring, adding to the more than 135 shops and restaurants at the open-air complex.

Stores to be opened are:

Abracadabra at Ward Entertainment Center: Offering embroidered baseball caps, vintage hats, handmade hats, and children’s hats, as well as jewelry, key chains and handbags.

Downtown Gifthings at Ward Warehouse: Offering personalized jewelry, eco-friendly products, stationery, and travel bags and accessories.

Jewel Flair at Ward Center: Offering jewelry from local, national and international designers.

Discount Mobile & Computer Repair at Ward Center: Offering cellular phone equipment and accessories and offering computer technical assistance and repairs done at an off-site location.

For more information and a full store directory visit the Ward Center website. Happy Friday and Happy Shopping!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How About Hawaii For Your Summer Vacation?

Summer is right around the corner for those of us in the northern hemisphere.  Are you taking time off for a well-deserved vacation?  If so, perhaps you have thought about travelling to Hawaii?

In my team here at the office, we have a number of people who love Hawaii and in fact, Erin B is taking a trip to Oahu next week, and Mariella is thinking about a trip in July.  Shelby will likely go later this year (although she is a Maui Babe) and I am also heading back in early November.  While we only have a small team (about 25 people) - we sure do love Hawaii.  Not only is it close to Seattle, but it truly is a piece of paradise. 

Is anyone else planning a trip to Hawaii this year?  I'd love to know what Island you are planning to visit!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've Been Cheating on Hawaii - But I'm Back!

Yes its true - I took a vacation in another tropical destination! I just returned from Cancun, Mexico, and had a great time. The weather was lovely, and so was the hospitality. When I returned home from my vacation, there was a lovely Hawaiian cook book waiting on my doorstep from my friend Dawn at Watermark Publishing

With the help of Amazon Associates I can now share the product and link to purchase with you. 'Kau Kau' at first look is simply stunning and provides readers with a complete history of food in the Hawaiian Islands.  I plan to read it cover to cover and will have a review up shortly.  Right now the Amazon Associates image looks kinda sucky but I'm working on correcting that - in fact I plan to have a new blog template up shortly!