12 Things You Wish Were Still Around In Hawaii.


Well, it’s Throwback Thursday but instead of naming a song from back in the day, a photo or even a type of fashion, why not take it even deeper and take a trip down memory lane to the “good ol’ days”.  What are some of those places or icons that you wish were still around in Hawaii today?  Here are 12 that may strike a chord with you.  Feel free to chime in and let me know what you wish were still around.  Most of my memories are from Oahu and my Neighbor Island memories are lacking so please enlighten me!

1.  Drive Inn Theaters.

At one time, Drive Inn Theaters scattered the state and became a popular regular weekend destination for island residents.  Their demise began around the 80’s with a combination of commercial real estate for the valuable land that they were situated and the multiplex movie theaters.  Waialae Drive Inn (pictured) was infamous for the legend of the faceless lady spirit that occupied the ladies bathroom.  (Photo VIA).

2.  Liberty House.

Who can forget Liberty House.  Before the popularity of online shopping, locals and visitors alike flocked to their locations for everything from clothes, kitchenware and even perishables like cookies and candies.  In 2001 they were bought out by Federated Department Stores aka Macy’s.  (Photo VIA).

3.  Castle Park.

With their arcade, water rides and miniature golf course…Castle Park was a tween/teen’s haven for fun, mischief and hanging out.  They opened in 1979 and stayed open for about 8 years before shutting down after a fatal water park accident.  (Photo VIA).

4.  Yum Yum Tree.

Every person now in their 30’s-50’s will remember this place as a popular date destination after catching a movie.   Let’s not forget their sister company Jolly Roger’s either.  (Photo VIA).

5.  Arakawa’s.

This place was crammed with everything from sporting goods to local food items.  Although it was located in Waipahu, even townies found themselves taking a weekend drive out to central Oahu to check out the offerings from Arakawa’s. (Photo VIA).

6.  Woolworth.

Fried chicken. Icee.  Rubber slippers.  ‘Nuff said.  (Photo VIA).

7.  Ranch House.

Every kid will remember this place at the entrance of Aina Haina valley not for the food, but for the treasure chest you can get your toy from to occupy yourself for the rest of the evening.  (Photo VIA).

8.  Kam Bowl.

You didn’t go here to bowl.  You went to get a helping of their famous Oxtail Soup.  (Photo VIA).

9.  Fisherman’s Wharf.

Like the Ranch House, kids would immediately head to the pirate’s treasure chest to claim their toy before eating.  The clam chowder wasn’t too shabby either.  (Photo VIA).

10.  Dole Cannery Pineapple.

Flying in to Oahu, tourist and locals will remember seeing this odd shaped tower below as they came in for a landing at Honolulu International Airport.  For those driving in to town or away from it….you could always see this historic icon from afar on the freeway.  (Photo VIA).

11.  The Wave Waikiki.

The Wave Waikiki Nightclub. Now the site of the current Allure Condominiums, this popular venue attracted both locals and tourist for the array and variety of  performers, DJ’s and of course the nightclub.  Many people will remember the colorful mural on the wall as you entered the Ewa side of Waikiki. (Photo VIA).

12.  Toyo’s Superette.

Most Manoa residents remember this icon all too well as it was around since 1918.  Whether it was a stop over after a swim at the Manoa pool for Icee or a fly by for last minute grocery items, many of us, including non-Manoa residents will miss the days of passing by as we drove in to Manoa Valley.  Toyo’s fell victim to the times closing its doors in 1998.  (Photo VIA).

Honorable Mentions:
Guava Lane.
JC Penny.
Coco’s Drive Inn.
Chico’s Pizza.
KC Drive Inn.
Ocean’s Night Club.



5 Things You Can Do When Looking For a Job in Hawaii.


Whether you’re a Hawaii resident or looking to move to Hawaii, here are 5 simple steps that can help you open the door to a new job opportunity.

1. Tap in to your relationships. Hawaii is a small place and a lot of times it’s really all about who you know. Don’t be embarrassed to ask or let people know that you’re exploring the job market. It happens so often…your aunt’s co-worker has a son working at a company looking to hire…your wife’s yoga instructor just so happens to be married to an HR recruiter…these scenarios are not uncommon here in Hawaii so it would only benefit you to tap in to these opportunities that your relationship with others can bring.

2. Link up to LinkedIn. Your personal network may only take you so far. Signing up for an account on LinkedIn and expanding your professional contacts can bring you much value when entering the job market. First, you’re tapping into an immense database of professionals that you won’t get from Twitter or Facebook. Second, if you work for a specific industry, LinkedIn can help you communicate and network with that specific audience. As an added bonus, you can even go so far as creating conversations with those in a particular geographic location. Lastly, LinkedIn is also a great way to be found by employers looking for potential job candidates. So be sure to adopt a LION (Linked In Open Networker) strategy and open your doors to networking with those whom you may have never met before.

3. Connect with a recruitment & staffing firm. The larger ones like ALTRES represent hundreds of local businesses and often times these businesses will have jobs only available through the staffing firm. Agencies like this give you access to Hawaii’s “hidden job market.” They also specialize in an area that you’re not so be sure to listen and learn from these experts. It would also benefit you to sign up for any type of mailing list they may offer so that you get job updates and opportunities that match your criteria.

4. Go Direct. If you’re interested in a specific company or trade it doesn’t hurt to go directly to them to see if they’re hiring. Want to work for First Hawaiian Bank? Check out their website. Thinking about being a Fireman? Look into taking the Firemen’s test. If you have certain companies in mind that you’d like to work for, you should always check to see if they have any openings.

5. Job sites. The common thing for many jobs seekers is to check out the classified ads in the newspaper or a job aggregate website. A job site may be easily accessible but be wary about the credibility of those that you put your trust into. I’ve seen many suspicious “jobs” on sites like Craigslist where anyone has access to post material. Hit up credible sites like Real Jobs Hawaii which has affiliations with reputable partners like KITV. You’ll know the jobs coming through are legitimate and have been screened before being posted.


5 Ways to Combat Negative Reviews on Yelp.


Love it or hate it, Yelp and its reviews will be around for a while. As a business, for every positive review you can pat yourself on the back for, you’ll agonize ten times as much for each negative post. Negative reviews affect your business’ overall Yelp rating and this is the first thing users see associated to your company’s Yelp listing. As an avid Yelp user, I know firsthand that how customers perceive you, can influence a purchasing decision among new customers and even existing ones.


Picture this, you’re with a bunch of friends looking for a place to eat after the movies. You whip out your phone and pull up your Yelp app to take a look for nearby restaurants. You find a couple suggestions that you run by them and the first thing they ask…well how many stars did those places get? In other words, they are already programmed to screen out those listings with weaker ratings and reviews. It happens all too often to the frustration of many businesses since it’s not something they can easily control. But unless something drastic happens, Yelp is here for the long haul and it’s up to businesses to embrace it and make the most of it. Here are 5 ways to combat negative reviews on Yelp:

1. Take ownership. It’s important to“claim this business.” By doing so, you’ll be able to respond to those who have given you a weak review in a public forum so that future users can see you’re working to fix the problem.


2. Fix it. After addressing the reviewer, the obvious thing to do when someone posts a negative comment is to fix the problem. For example….a steak dish that doesn’t pair well with brussel sprouts? Perhaps you should think about using onions. The varnish you use for your particular wood products too light? Maybe you should look into a heavier coat. However, it doesn’t make any business sense to throw out all of your wood products because one reviewer thought the varnish coat was too light. But you should at least make the effort to resolve any problems or areas of concern within reason.

3. Flag it. Flag any false reviews. False reviews are not permitted by Yelp and can be flagged for removal. A false review can be a post that is hearsay or even one that is misleading such as telling users that the bikes at a certain shop are of poor quality when the shop actually serves Korean food. See where I’m going with this?


4. Get the most out of Yelp. As a business you can subscribe to an array of tools that can help bring more customers through the door. With each customer or in this case “Yelper,” there creates an opportunity to boost your overall rating. If you don’t want to wait that long to build that audience, you can even partner with Yelp to participate in Yelp events where majority of those attending are active Yelpers. Put on your best showing at these events and watch your overall ratings grow through the volume of patrons.

5. Create a following. Build your reputation through other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If your business can build its community and establish itself within local social groups, active Yelp reviewers are more than likely to go a little easier on their reviews than a non-social establishment.  To put it simply, you don’t want to be talking trash about everyone’s friend.


12 Kick Ass Gift Ideas for Father’s Day.


Sunday June 16 (2013) marks Father’s Day and if you didn’t already know that, you better get a move on so you can get your dad some kick ass toy for his special day.

1.  NEMO Helio Pressure Shower.

helioLiving in Hawaii, your dad more than likely either   a.) loves to surf    b.) dive or   c.) hang out anywhere there’s sand and water.  Some of the best beaches for surfing and diving have no shower access.  This is where the Helio Pressure Shower comes in handy.  You can buy it at REI online.  (Photo VIA.)

2.  Solar Phone Charger.

solar chargerYour dad may not be on the phone as often as you but he’s still Facebooking and Instagraming despite what he’s telling you.  Buy it here.  (Photo VIA.)

3.  The backyard hammock.

hammockThere are days when your dad just needs some alone time at home and what better way to give him a place to laze at home in the shade with the dog…. away from the madness that goes on inside the house.  Lucky for you, The Hammock Company has a Father’s Day sale.  (Photo VIA.)

4.  A bad ass T-shirt.

unicornSure when he’s working he has to wear his nice slacks and button downs but he still has a sense of wanting his freedom and sense of humor.  If you’re dad is #boss like mine, he’ll appreciate a good shirt like the one you see above.  Check more out at 80stees.com, Red Bubble or PalmerCash.  (Photo VIA.)

5.  Bacon Brownies.

Bacon brownieYes you heard me right. It’s the best of both worlds.  Bacon.  Brownie. It can’t get any simpler and more awesome than that.  Make your own or grab some from The Baconery Store.  (Photo VIA.)

6.  Detachable iPhone lenses.

iphone lensBy now your dad has probably upgraded to a smartphone.  It’s more than likely an iPhone.  You’ve already witnessed his amateur attempt at photography.  It started with pictures of you….then he started getting all “hipster” with food shots.  Now he’s taking photos of pretty much everything that deserves to be photoed.  Try picking him up an iPhone lens so he can spend even more time taking photos of you.  Mashable features 10 Detachable iPhone Lenses for Mobile Photographers. (Photo VIA.)

7.  Fire Sense Stainless Steel Notebook Charcoal Grill.

notebook grillGive pops a break.  When the family BBQ’s somewhere other then home, you know he’s the one lugging around the grill.  Why not make it easy on him and pick up the Notebook Grill from Amazon.com?  Cooks like a beast but compact and easy to carry like a notebook.  (Photo VIA.)

8.  GoPro HERO3.

GoProNeed I say more? If you haven’t heard of GoPro you seriously must live under a rock.  But for those of you who have been living under a rock, just check out some of the footage this little gem pulls in.  Buy yours at GoPro.  (Photo VIA.)

9.  Hibiki 21.

If your dad is a drinking man, he’ll appreciate the taste and quality of a good drink.  Get him a bottle of Hibiki 21.  Unfortunately, you cannot buy this anywhere over-the-counter  in Hawaii at the moment.  That’s how exclusive this is.  You can buy it in Japan, possibly the mainland or if you’re lucky, you might be able to check out the Duty Free in Waikiki.  Hibiki 21 was awarded the 2013 “World’s Best Blended Whiskey” at the World’s Whiskey Awards in London.  This is the 3rd time in 4 years that the drink has been honored.  (Photo VIA.)

10.  BBQ Branding Iron.

Every Dad loves a good steak but why not take it one step further and allow him to give bragging rights with the Norpro BBQ Branding Iron.  Silly right?  …or is it…. (Photo VIA.)

11.  TaylorMade R1 Black Driver.

Your dad golf?  Good, because just in time for Father’s Day the TaylorMade R1 Driver was made available at select retail outlets last Monday (June 10th).  It doesn’t matter how well it plays, cause it just looks so damn cool.  This puppy will only set you back $299.99 which isn’t too shabby at all considering the price of golf driver’s these days. (Photo VIA).

12.  Rip Curl Pipeline World Tide Watch.

Rip curlAllow the one that brought y0u to life (with the help of mom of course) to sport something that’s not only pretty to the eye, but amazingly functional.  This all-purpose watch is perfect for the outdoor man who also wants to look contemporary and modern in today’s business world.  The watch features an all-world tide and moon chart along with many other features.  You can buy it directly off the Rip Curl site or other e-Commerce sites like Amazon.  (Photo VIA.)


9 Reasons to Love the Summer in Hawaii.


It’s summertime, and what’s not to like about spending a summer in Hawaii?  Beautiful beaches, gorgeous scenery and those every lasting romantic sunsets.  Here’s 9 reasons that make spending a summer in Hawaii more enjoyable.  What would you add?

1.  Summer break.

gradFor those of us who do not have the responsibility of working a full-time job….aka full-time student, you’re free from the ball-and-chain that is school for a solid 3-4 months (unless you’re on year-round…..sorry…..).  Sure you could be on summer break anywhere in the world but being in the tropics makes it that much more special.  You’re free to enjoy the season filled with BBQ’s, beach days, playing in traffic, island hopping, whatever.

2.  Less traffic for work day commute.

truckNow that all the kiddies are out of school it means less traffic on the road during commute hours.  An hour drive from the west side of Oahu into downtown now takes 25 minutes!

3.  Longer days means more time to play.

SurfThe earth is tilted as it moves around the sun.  As the earth reaches a particular point in its orbit around the sun, the hemisphere that tilts toward the sun, be it northern or southern, will receive more direct sunlight creating longer days.  This means more time to surf the south shore summer swells for townies.


4.  Street fairs.

spam jamWith the summer months comes street fair galore.  Street fairs in Hawaii are all very cool as they allow for great food, entertainment, people watching and other activities.  Some of the favorites include Spam Jam and the Pan Pacific Festival Hoolaulea.


5.  Mangoes!

snl101Err, obviously not the Chris Kattan SNL character Mango but the fruit version….err, well you know what i mean.  The ones you see hanging off a tree everywhere you go in Kalihi Valley.  (Photo VIA.)


6.  Obon Dances and Festivals.

Bon DanceThe summer months brings the Obon season which means for lively events throughout the state that include, good music, a celebratory dance to honor our ancestors and of course the food.  I’m sensing a pattern here…. (Photo VIA.)


7.  Anna Miller’s Strawberry Cream Pie!

Anna Miller‘Nuff said.  (Photo VIA.)


8.  Music Concerts.

ShellGreat summer weather encourages more local artist and artist out-of-state to take a stopover in Hawaii….especially when it’s still cold in certain parts of the world….or like in Kauai….. (Photo VIA.)


9.  More job opportunities.

WaikikiWith the influx of tourism during the summer months, there is an abundance of job opportunities, some seasonal and some permanent if the company or companies foresee a good economic outlook with the summer season as the launching pad.  (Photo VIA.)



A Chinese love story.


As seen on Teal Leaf Nation by Shelley Jiang

One of the world’s most amazing love stories, happened on a mountain in China.


In a country where a man’s marriageability hinges on whether he owns an apartment, and mistresses act as a status symbol for the rich and powerful, it is not surprising that Chinese have become enchanted by a story of love at its purest and most humble. How many people in contemporary China—or anywhere else—would give up everything they have to be with the one they love? More than 50 year ago, Xu Chaoqing (徐朝清) and Liu Guojiang (刘国江) chose exactly that.

Were Xu and Liu to meet today, they would face far fewer obstacles. But in 1956, Xu was a widow with four children, while Liu was ten years younger than she. Criticism and gossip drove the couple to escape their village and start a new, arduous life high up in the mountains, in what is now southwestern Chongqing.

Not until 2001 did they come to the world’s attention again. A research team on expedition discovered a series of more than 6,000 steps carved into the steep mountainside. The stairs led the researchers to the couple, wrinkled by time but still very much in love.

These 6,000 steps were Liu’s great work of love: He carved them painstakingly by hand, in an effort spanning decades, so that his wife could safely ascend and descend the mountain. The Ladder of Love (爱情天梯) has since become well-known throughout China, inspiring television and movie adaptations, even as Xu and Liu maintained their simple mountain life. He called her his “old lady”; he was still her “young man” after all these years.

Liu continued caring for his Ladder of Love until his death in 2007, at the age of 72. Xu passed away on October 30, 2012, bringing to a close a love story that began one day in June of 1942.


First and last love
Liu Guojiang was just six years old then, outside catching crickets when a wedding procession entered his village, a place called Gaotan. Local custom held that it was good luck for children who lost their baby teeth to have a bride touch the inside of their mouth, so gap-toothed Liu approached the palanquin. He was nervous, and bit the bride’s finger. The curtain lifted to reveal a beautiful, sixteen-year old girl staring at him with a trace of anger.

“Little rascal, when you grow up, you should find a pretty girl like this!” joked a nearby woman.

Later, when people asked him what kind of wife he wanted, he told them earnestly that he wanted someone like that girl.

That girl was Xu Chaoqing, who had just married into the richest family in Liu’s village. But 10 years later, her husband was dead of meningitis, and she found herself penniless with four children, the youngest just one year old. Indigent, Xu and her children survived on wild mushrooms gathered from the woods. They could not even afford salt to season them. She wove grass sandals to sell, one pair for five pennies.

Liu to the rescue

One evening, Xu went to fetch water from the village river, carrying her youngest child on her back. In the dwindling light, Xu slipped, and they plunged into the river. Liu, who lived nearby, jumped in to save them both.

Liu had been aware of the family’s poverty, but as a stranger, he had been in no place to intervene. Now, he had his chance. After rescuing Xu, Liu helped them with all the heavy chores: Fetching water, chopping firewood, planting crops.

Three years passed, and Liu’s close relationship with Xu became the target of malicious tongues. Girls came by to scold Liu, telling him not to waste time with a widow. Xu’s in-laws were not pleased either. One day in 1956, the pressure grew too intense and Xu told Liu to stop his visits. That night, he snuck into her house to propose. The next morning, Liu, Xu, and her children disappeared from Gaotan Village forever.

Mountain life

Xu and Liu started their life in the mountains in an abandoned straw hut. They caught fish, gathered wild vegetables, walnuts, and dates, and ground leaves into flour. Behind their hut, they planted sweet potatoes and corn, though hungry monkeys were always eager for a share of the harvest.

To fend off storms and wild beasts—even tigers—the couple built a sturdier shelter. It took them more than a year to retrieve enough mud and clay from a mountain pass, and another year to fire their own tiles from a homemade kiln.

Xu gave birth to four of Liu’s children high in those mountains with no medical assistance. Her youngest child from her first marriage died, but her remaining seven children—four by Liu, three by Xu’s first husband—grew up and went to school in the world below. The couple occasionally traveled to a village market to sell honey and buy goods. But they remained adamant about continuing their mountain life, even as their children settled down in the outside world.

A tiny, steep trail provided the only link between their hideout and the world below. Though the couple’s trips out into the world were rare, Liu worried about his wife’s safety and began to hand-carve a stairway in the mountain. Over 57 years, he broke 36 steel chisels as he built 6,000 steps. “I was worried for him, but he said, when the stairs are built, it will be easy for me to climb down. But in my life I’ve hardly gone down the mountain at all,” Xu said in a 2006 interview.


New Tiger Woods Nike ad


Gotta give it up to Nike’s ad agency Wieden + Kennedy. They always find a way to suck you into their Nike spots without really hard selling any product. Sure they slap the Nike tagline and logo at the back-end of the spot but how often have you ever seen them do a hard sell?  I think Nike tries to own the category that’s why you always hear the term Nike Golf, Nike Basketball, Nike Soccer, etc. Good for them, they’re doing it right.

This next spot features up-and-coming, #1 in the world ranking golfer Rory Mcilroy and long time Nike Golf veteran Tiger Woods.

Look familiar?  Think back.  Way back to the late 80’s and you’ll probably remember this McDonald’s Basketball commercial featuring Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.  Concept is similar but the execution is different. I still enjoy the humor of it all.

Speaking of basketball, I just had to throw this classic Nike spot in for kicks.  Good stuff.


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