Monday, May 30, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 11 days

Ala Moana Shopping Center

Ala Moana Center is the world’s largest outdoor shopping center and Hawaii’s premier shopping, entertainment, and dining destination with 290 stores, including nearly 70 dining options.  Ala Moana Center features a diverse collection of stores including locally owned boutiques and national retailers. 

Ala Moana Center  is owned and/or managed by General Growth Properties, Inc. GGP currently has ownership interest in, or management responsibility for more than 200 regional shopping malls in 43 states, as well as ownership in planned community developments and commercial office buildings. The company’s portfolio totals approximately 200 million square feet of retail space and includes over 24,000 retail stores nationwide. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GGP.  For more information, please visit the company web site at

OH…how can you not be excited about that….

A countdown to Hawaii: 12 days

My new summer rituals might consist of some of Hawaii’s summer rituals…

Iolani Palace

‘Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy, is a marvel of opulence, innovation, and political intrigue. Meticulously restored to its former grandeur, this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu tells of a time when their Majesties, King Kalākaua, who built it in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked its celebrated halls.
Today, you can enjoy one of the most spectacular living restorations in all of Polynesia and immerse yourself in Hawaii’s royal heritage. 
Extended summer hours will be in effect Wednesday, June 1, 2011 through Friday, September 30, 2011. During these months, the ticket office will remain open until 5:00 pm, offering Gallery Tours and Audio Tours of ‘Iolani Palace.
Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The Museum was established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms of the Princess, and has expanded to include millions of artifacts, documents and photographs about Hawai‘i and other Pacific island cultures.
Mr. Bishop built the magnificent Polynesian and Hawaiian Halls on the grounds of the original Kamehameha Schools for Boys. The Museum and School shared the Kapālama campus until 1940 when a new larger school complex was opened nearby on Kapālama Heights.
Today, Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state and the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific, recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs. It also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world. Serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians is a primary purpose of the Museum.
The Museum also operates the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden on the island of Hawaii.

As a kid, what did summer vacation mean to you?  List your favorite summer rituals here.  – The Happy Book

A countdown to Hawaii: 13 days

WWII in Hawaii
Don’t just learn about the Battleship Missouri – Discover it!!
The Battleship Missouri has served her nation with honor and distinction through three wars, with the service and devotion of her crews spanning three generations. Today she stands proudly as an international icon of strength for freedom and the site and symbol of the formal ending of World War II.
The Battleship Missouri Memorial's Living History Program is devoted to preservation of the personal experiences of former crewmembers of the USS Missouri and other veterans via oral history recording and transcription.

History of USS Bowfin

The Pearl Harbor Avenger

USS Bowfin (SS-287) is a fleet attack submarine that fought in the Pacific during WWII, and helped to make famous the term, “Silent Service.”  Bowfin was launched on 7 December 1942, exactly one year to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  She was nicknamed the Pearl Harbor Avenger, so it is fitting that she is permanently home ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A countdown to Hawaii: 14 days

African Fruit Slush

You will need:
Five oranges (the juice)
Three lemons (the juice)
4 cups of sugar
5 cups of water
3-4 mashed, ripe bananas
1 can of crushed pineapple

This is how you make it…
Dissolve the sugar in hot water and cool.  Add all other ingredients and freeze.  (You can totally different kinds of fruit, like pears, peaches, strawberries, kiwiw…)  Spoon frozen mixture into glass and add sprite, 7-up, or ginger ale!!  This stuff is SO SO good!!!  It’s oh-no!!  or delicious!!

What’s your absolute favorite recipe?  Copy it here.  – The Happy Book

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 15 days

Hawaiian Photo Scavenger Hunt

So...I plan on doing a little more research about Hawaii, no worries.  BUT, I was thinking about the things the people go to Hawaii to see!  

Now, your all invited to join in on the fun!!!  

Help me come up with a list of at least 10 adjectives or objects you think about when someone says 'Hawaii'.

Once I set foot on solid white sand, I'll start the hunt!!  The hawaiian photo scavenger hunt, that is!

I'm going to post the list and when I return, I'll have a picture of EVERYthing listed! 

Once all the glorious photos are uploaded (mind you, this won't be until after June 20th), you can vote on which picture you like best.

AND...whosever adjective or object previously listed that wins, will get a free ice cream on me!!!  So, there's something in it for everyone!!

Plan your photo scavenger hunt!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 16 days

Typically, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die…but a bucket bucket list is a list of things you need to accomplish, but dread doing.

It’s time I stopped daydreaming for a minute here, and figure out exactly what I need to do before we head to Hawaii.  I only have 16 days left, after all.  

The things I need to accomplish before June 9th…packing necessity items, general items, medical needs, toiletries,  optical equipment, clothes, etc. (whew!)

Packing!!  Obviously anytime you travel, the first thing on your list is to pack your bags!!  This seems like one of the last things you might check off your list, but preparing for a bag you hope will close, takes time.

First, you have to think about what your going to take with you.  On TV you see Hawaiian shirts with big flowers and lots of colors.  Well, don't disregard the familiar theme just yet...I plan on packing my suitcase with such, blouses, skirts, t-shirts, slacks, Bermuda shorts, belts, swimming suits!, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, personals, pajamas...

...and that's just the big suit case.

Don't forget to pack that little one with food, books, iPod, and entertainment...

With normal stuff, you have to think about how long your going to be on your trip, you'll need to know how much to take with you.  You might need your tooth brush and paste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, comb, etc.

Also, if your flying, you need to think about any and ALL security issues.

Do you have your airline tickets?

Do you have your wallet?  Is your driver's license or another form of ID with a picture on it, in it?

It's probably a good idea to have some sort of cash on you, just because you never know what kind of situation you might get into.  Try putting the cash somewhere other than the typical place (for emergencies).

Do you have an itinerary?  That's always a good idea (not that you have to follow it - but having a plan is better than flying by the seat of your pants); especially if your traveling to a place you've never been.  

Do you have your hotel confirmation?

Do you have your rental car information?

Take emergency phone numbers with you!!

You'll want souvenirs, it's in our nature, and that's okay.  But some of the most treasured items are the pictures taken.  If you have a camera of your own, make sure you have all it's equipment.  For example, I needed a battery for my camera...don't forget to take the charger!!  

Don't forget your phone or it's charger!!  Otherwise, you'll be almost unreachable.

Do you have pets??  Do they have somewhere to stay or someone to watch them while your gone??  If they aren't going to be in the comfort of their own'll have to pack for them as well.

I'm looking forward to Hawaii - but I can't wait for this part to be over with...

Just think paradise....paradise...paradise...

Happy packing travelers!!

Create a bucket bucket list.  Once you create the list, cross the things off as you do them.  This will help you see all the things you’ve accomplished. 
– The Happy Book

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 17 days

Pearl Harbor Visitor Center

The thought of volunteering, of doing something kind, reminded me of visiting Hawaii.  One of the most recognized tragedies happened on the beaches of Hawaii; Pearl Harbor.  Within its story, you’ll find hundreds of people that volunteered that day.  Some risked their lives and others gave everything that they could to save fellow neighbors. 

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, although sad, can have a happy outlining.  We remember those that were killed on that fateful day, but what about those who weren’t?  What about those who volunteered their hands, their energy, their efforts?  Are they remembered?  This is something I’ll look for in visiting the center. I can imagine what it must have been like during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  As I researched to find out more about the PHVC, the song We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn played on the background and it brought a sense of respect and familiarity we all feel as Americans during times like those.

   PHVC’s mission is to offer top-notch visitor services.  The center is a new venue which provides a safe and comfortable place for the visiting public to dine and rest as they visit the museums and historical ships on site and honor the memory of those entombed aboard the USS Arizona.
Volunteering is one of the happiest things you can do, whether it’s helping out at a soup kitchen, cleaning cages at an animal shelter, sorting baby clothes at a women’s services organization, or even helping out at a sea turtle sanctuary in Costa Rica.  You’re busy, sure, but spend an hour giving kittens some love and you’ll forget all about the TPS reports.  They’ll be there tomorrow.  For now, there are kittens. [p.s. there are five adorable kittens I spent time with at my home.  If anybody wants one – let me know!!] Track your volunteer projects here. 
– The Happy Book

Monday, May 23, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 18 days

Discover Waimea Bay!!

Located on the legendary North Shore, Waimea Bay was an influential surf spot during the dawn of big wave surfing in the 1950’s.  Adventurous surfers began to challenge the powerful winter waves of Waimea, giving birth to the big wave-riding phenomenon.

Big wave season hits Hawaii from November through February (so we’ll miss a lot of the action) but it attracts the best men and women surfers from around the world.  Waimea Bay, along with other famous spots, hosts world-renowned surf competitions.  The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, known as the Super Bowl of surfing, happens every year.

Beyond the surf, which is where we’ll probably be, Waimea Bay is a beautiful North Shore Beach with wide stretches of sand to sunbathe and picnic.  During the summer, the waves of Waimea actually subside making the waters suitable for swimming.  A rock outcropping in the bay is a popular spot for locals to climb and jump off of, but they say that can be dangerous and it’s not advised.  Also, please heed all postings and lifeguard warnings!  They are there for a reason.  Trust me, I learned about this stuff in Marine Biology.  Leave the dangerous big waves of Waimea to the pros.

Other than that – enjoy the scenery!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 19 days

Matsumoto Shaved Ice

Without a doubt, happiness can be found within your taste buds.  Food is delicious (oh-no!).  One of Hawaii’s famous desserts, Matsumoto Shaved Ice, has to be along those lines as well.  Once I get an opportunity, I’m going to reflect in thy own happiness with this icy treat.

It’s like Italian ice, only Hawaiian/Japanese style.  The difference comes from the homemade syrup…and they give you lots of it!!

To find out more about the heartwarming story, visit,en/.

List as many moments of happiness as you can find from today and today only.  Right here, now.  Fill the page.  Make it work.  – The Happy Book

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 20 days

Discover Hale’iwa!!

Your first stop along the North Shore will be charming Hale’iwa, about a one-hour drive from Waikiki.  More than the laid back surf town it seems.  Hale’iwa is filled with local style and country ambiance as well as cool surf shops and boutiques, understated restaurants and charming art galleries.

Rich with island history, Hale’iwa is now the social and artistic hub of the North Shore.  Here you’ll find surfers fueling up at the restaurants in its plantation era buildings before hitting the famous beaches of Waimea Bay, Ehukai (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach.  You’ll also find locals and visitors (like me!) shopping, eating and winding down after a day in the sun.  Hale’iwa is a far cry from the excitement of Waikiki, and that’s exactly how the people of the North Shore like it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 21 days

Dole Pineapple Plantation

I imagine that when we visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation and I get a taste of the Hawaiian grown fruit, this is the face I’ll make.  Pineapples are one of those fruits that are both sweet and sour!! 

(Hence the ingredient in sweet and sour chicken)

Originally operated as a fruit stand beginning in 1950, Dole Plantation opened to the public as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Experience” in 1989.  Today, Dole Plantation is one of O-AH-WHO’s most popular visitor attractions and welcomes more than one million visitors a year.

Dole Plantation provides enjoyable activities for the entire family, including the Pineapple Express, the Plantation Garden Tour, and the Pineapple Garden Maze.  Also popular are informational displays and presentations, as well as our plantation country store offering a wide variety of Dole Plantation gifts, local favorites, foods and refreshments including the world-famous DoleWhip.  And, before you leave you can purchase fresh pineapple to take home. 

Ask your friends to make goofy faces, take a picture, and paste them here.  – The Happy Book

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 22 days

The Polynesian Cultural Center (with luau and night show)!

It turns out; one of the most expected, touristy, places to visit is the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Typically because a grand luau is held that evening, and that’s something everyone wants to see when they visit Hawaii.

As most things are on vacations, however, it can get pretty expensive.  Especially during something like this (where they can truly get away with it)!
Before I fill you in on the pricey prices, discover the thrill of handing over so many greens…

About the PCC: Hawaiian’s Top Attraction

“One of the top Hawaii attractions includes the Polynesian Cultural Center, which features a 42-acre facility on the North Shore of O-AH-WHO.  Founded in 1963, the nonprofit Center was created so that the students nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii could work their way through college by sharing their island heritage with visitors.  The students come from an area that covers approximately 12 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.

Many South Pacific nations are represented at the PCC, where recreated villages, exhibits, and hands-on activities highlight eight of them.  At the heart of the PCC experience are the island villages, which offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about – participate in! – the customs of each island.  Visitors will enjoy the Luau’s, all-you-can-eat buffets, a canoe pageant, shops, and the world’s largest evening show are all part of this O-AH-WHO attraction’s event filled experience.

With its large lagoon, waterfalls, lush tropical flora, and an “erupting” volcano, the PCC captures all the romance and excitement of the South Pacific islands.  A visit to this famous Hawaii attraction represents a chance to travel through Polynesia in a single day, and participate in the celebration of centuries of Polynesian culture – no passport required.”


The price ranges, of course, depending on the type of package you choose.
Starting at $54.95 and increasing to $228.95, you’re bound to find something in your range of happiness…not necessarily budget.  Never-the-less, it’s bound to be one of the most exciting things you’ll experience on O-AH-WHO.  Plus, it supports a good cause – college students, like me!  If only SC would embrace their heritage in that way!!

Not to mention, they have a buffet that comes with your admission ticket.  Good news – right?!…BUT, they’ve probably got other, less ‘filling’ activities within PCC that cost.  Is your pocket getting lighter a little quicker than you thought it would…see below for some fun activities or souvenirs, under $10.

Visiting the Villages: under $10

Aotearoa (New Zealand) Village, activities

1pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm
The Maori put on a demonstration that explains the symbolic significance of their beautiful meeting house, unique carvings, facial tattoos, the ancient origins and meanings of sticking out their tongues and twirling poi balls, and more.

Stirring haka dance; kids will enjoy learning to play tititorea, a stick game

Hawaiian Village, activities
12:05pm, 1:30pm, 3:05pm, 4:30pm
The Hawaiians present in-depth demonstrations on their ancient culture: Learn not only some basic hula, but also learn of the deeper commitment hula students make to their art and more.

Sample some of the poi, harvested, cooked, staple food (taro)

Observe how women craft leaves and flowers into beautiful Hawaiian lei and other useful items

Try Hawaiian bowling or checkers!

Tahitian Village, activities

12:30pm, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm
Tahitians present in-depth demonstrations on their ancient culture: learn both the women’s and men’s movements in their exciting dances or just try to stop your toes from tapping to the beat of the wooden to’ere drums and more.

Sample coconut bread

Tour the gardens

Try fishing, Hawaiian style

Fijian Village, activities

12:30pm, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 4pm
The Fijians present in-depth demonstrations on their ancient culture: learn the significance of the log drum, how important the coconut is in cooking, and more.

Review the wide array of historical weapons and implements involved in waging war

Make music, using a bamboo percussion instrument, derua

Try a game of cibi

Samoan Village, activities

12:30pm, 1:30pm, 3:05pm, 4pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm
The Samoans present one of the Center’s most popular cultural demonstrations: learn how to make fire by literally rubbing two sticks together, how to easily crack open a coconut, and more.

Watch the young men demonstrate their strength by climbing coconut trees

Tongan Village, activities

12:30pm, 1:30pm, 3:05pm, 4pm, 5:30pm
The Tongans present their very popular drumming presentation that actually starts by learning the simple yet graceful motions of a sitting dance.

Try a Hawaiian shuffleboard game

Try tolospear throwing

Shows: under $10

Rainbows of Paradise

2:30pm-3pm, two locations: on the lagoon between the islands of Samoa and the Hawaii Mission Settlement; and on the wide section of lagoon between the Islands of Fiji, Tahiti, and Hawaii

Rainbows starts with a young Polynesian woman in an outrigger canoe throwing flowers into the lagoon, a tradition reminiscent of days gone by when great steamships transported visitors to these magical islands.  It was said in those days that each blossom became a memory of visits to Hawaii; and if the blossoms returned to the shore, then so would the visitors.  A series of dances and sentiment exchanges occur.

HA Breath of Life

It’s an ancient, yet universal tale.  It’s the visually stunning story of a boy born in a distant paradise.  He’s nurtured by a village, learns the ways of his people, finds love by moonlight, and defends everything with heart-stopping bravery.  It’s “Ha: Breath of Life,” O-AH-WHO’s extraordinary new night show.  Breathe it in.

Shopping: Under $10

Apparel, Island Crafts, Souvenirs (collectibles, island inspired, key chains, magnets, more souvenirs, signature souvenirs)

Hands-on Activities: under $10


Spear Throwing
Fire Walking
Wood & Tiki Carving
Fire Pit Cooking
Tree Climbing
Fire Starting
Fire Knife Dancing
Haka Dance
Maori War Canoe
Coconut Husking

As you can see…the PCC is not very expensive once you get inside.  There are SO many activities to choose from.  I can only imagine it’s like Disney World, in the sense, that it’s SO full of excitement and adventures, one day will not be enough.
Take $10 and buy something completely frivolous that will make you happy.  Paste the receipt here. – The Happy Book