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Some Favorites

There are a lot of favorite little places and things I love about Hawaii. Here are some of them and I'd love to hear some of yours too!

I love a few favorite things in this photo.  First of all, my new find is this little glass jar with a hand-made colorful glass top and decoration in front.  There are many colors to chose from, I happened to really love these shades of purple and blue.  This comes from a shop at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, but you can buy online or on other island shops too. 
These unique jars are by an artist named Sandje Glass & they are called Island Keepers.  
Her words from the jar are the following:
Specifically handcrafted pieces made to hold and keep your island treasures ~ dried lei flowers, shells, sand, any memorable keepsake you treasure from the islands ~ Sandje Glass.  
Check out all her work, it's beautiful, unique and locally Hawaiian.


Island Girl nail polish has some really pretty and different colors you won't find anywhere else. They have fun names too.  This one is called OAHU MAGIC.
I get mine at the ABC store.  You can find these ABC stores everywhere and on most of the islands & in many hotels.

These Aloha bears are so reasonably priced at only $15 and shipping is reasonable too.
They come in so many fabric and color choices it's difficult to pick just one.  But, the best thing about this company in Oahu is they will make "memory" aloha bears too.  Just send in fabric, shirts, a blanket, baby clothes or even your children's athletic shirts & they will make a bear out of it.  I still have many of my Dad's hawaiian shirts that I'd love to be made into an aloha bear.  I also will be ordering some from my saved children's baby clothes, especially Nathan's preemie outfits.  I'm so happy I found this site.  Let me know if you order and what which bear you're choosing.


One of my favorite stores is called The Whaler Ltd. in Lahaina, Maui.  It's located on Front Street, you can't miss it, it's right across the street from the water.
It's owned by Bill who is helpful and friendly offering a lot of different things such as jewelry, artwork, hand-made wooden boxes, like mine below.  I love all he has to offer.  You'll find something really special in his shop.

Okay, so who couldn't love and be curious about a local Hawaiian restaurant called,  
Da Kitchen?  I sat next to a lady who grew up in Hawaii, so I asked her what the best place is to eat that has true, great Hawaiian food with Aloha spirit.  She said, Da Kitchen.  I tried it with my friend while in Honolulu and we both loved it.  I saw on the menu that there are 3 of these restaurants in Maui also, but Da Kitchen Express doesn't have a full menu as the others do.
You've got to try it out, and don't leave without trying my new favorite pie, Chocolate Haupia (coconut) pie.  So delicious!  

Haupia pie photo by Recipe Zaar.  But next time I go, I'll take a picture of my own.

Going to the North Shore of Oahu is fun, especially in the winter when there are 25-30 foot swells and rain, but the surfers love it. Waimea Bay gets some of the biggest waves and people like to surf, paddle surf, and cliff dive/jump here. 

 Waimea Bay, North Shore, Oahu, Feb 2011

This photo is from

The Swap Meet!!!!  Yesss, that is the place.  You will find everything from shirts, jewelry, kids things, purses and bags of all sorts, gifts, candles, food, and some unusual things too.
It's located at the Aloha Stadium on Oahu.
They even have a webpage- www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net
Anytime you are on any of the islands, ask at your hotel or one of the locals where the International Market is. It also has many unique island gifts and is lots of fun.

Honoulu has a nice Zoo located in the downtown Waikiki area.

A favorite upscale, more expensive (but worth it) restaurant is House Without A Key at the Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu.
There were 336 reviews as of Feb 2011 and it ranks at 4-5/5 stars.  Amazing tropical drinks, food, service, but the best is the Hawaiian music and hula dancers in the evenings.  You hear the waves crashing in front of you and can watch the sunset.
My hubby's professor from Georgia now teaches college in Honolulu. He and his wife introduced us to this magical place.

Another good and reasonable place to eat in Honolulu is the Shore Bird in the Outrigger Hotel.
It has a great lunch buffet and is as close to the water as you can get.

I love Tropics restaurant at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  It's also close to the water, but not as close as the Shore Bird.  It has an awesome breakfast with really strong coffee (is there anything else?).  The food is on the more natural, wholesome and healthy side.  Everything is fresh & the service is really friendly.  Did you happen to catch the Hawaii Five-O scene that took place at Tropics?  Tropics has a fun bar too and they play sports on their TV's except for when Hawaii Five-O comes on. 

Hapa is my Favorite Hawaiian Group.  I can't describe them or their music any better than these quotes.

"If Maui were music, it would sound like these guys"  Wallace Baine

When you open my Blog, it's the very first song that starts from my playlist (located at the very bottom)

Lei's ~~
Lei is a Hawaiian word for a garland or wreath.
Kukui Nut Lei's have a long history in the polynesian islands.  I have a nice collection of them and each one is unique, colorful and fun.  According to Discover-Oahu.com, the history of the Kukui nut lei dates back to the arrival of the early Polynesians to the Hawaiian Islands. They brought the kukui trees and nuts with them from south east Asia and cultivated them of the Hawaiian islands. The nut from these trees had a spiritual significance because of their many uses. The kukui tree is one of the most common trees seen in Hawaii’s forests. This beautiful tree has rightly become the state tree of Hawaii. The kukui nut lei was only worn by royalty in ancient times. The reigning chiefs and kings treasured the kukui nut lei and wore them proudly. Today Hollywood’s royalty has brought back the popularity of the kukui lei by wearing them as part of their chunky jewelry collections.  You can find all brown, black, white & red nut lei's.  You will also find lei's with flowers, leaves, nuts, shells, beads and other treasures. These nuts lei's from my collection cost between $3-10, and flower lei's can cost from $6-hundreds of dollars.

The leis of Old Hawaii were made of both semi-permanent materials - hair, bone, ivory, seeds, teeth, feathers, and shells; and the traditional flower and leaf leis -  twined vines, seaweed and leaf stems, woven and twisted leaves, strung and bound flowers of every description. 
Leis were symbols of love, of a spiritual meaning or connection, of healing, and of respect.  There are many references to leis, or as the circle of a lei, being symbolic of the circle of a family, embracing, or love itself:
"Like a living, first-born child is love,
A lei constantly desired and worn."

(Na Mele Welo, Songs of Our Heritage, (translated by Mary Kawena Pukui), (Honolulu, Bishop Museum Press, Special Publication 88, 1995): Pg 45
 Above from the Maui Wedding Lei Company

Sue - Ella Signatures is a company owned by Sue and Pamella that has gorgeous and unique jewelry.  Not just any jewelry, but memorial pieces of lockets, butterflies, babyloss, fingerprint pieces, something in memory of your pet.  There are just so much it's hard to even begin, so check out their site.  These pieces are truly my favorites!

Banana Wind
a polynesian trader

Polynesian Home Accents,
Exclusive Hawaiian Gifts,
South Pacific Shells
and more...

Lahaina Cannery Mall
Maui, Hawaii

I love this place!  Too much to describe here, but it's a fun experience.  If you are on Maui, you have to make this little trip to Lahaina & visit the store.