K’s family arrives tomorrow for a two week visit.  Wow 😀 So we’ve been preparing for a few days now: cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, planning meals, and buying grocieries for an army.  We wanted to get special leis for their arrival.  Until now we’ve swung by the little stands at the airport whenever we’ve had visitors.  Today we went to Wantanabe Floral because I’d read that they have the biggest selection.  One of the leis we got was like the pretty one I wrote about recently.

Incidentally when we were doing our Meals on wheels route the other day I saw a lady walking a dog that was wearing a lei custom fit to his collar.




K got his haircut by Joe Randazzo at J Salon today.  He trimmed my bangs for me since I recently had a haricut.  I like Joe.  He lived in NY for a period of time and there’s a shared sensibility that I really appreciate.  He asked me how I wanted my bangs to look.  I told him and in five minutes, voila.  Done and done.  Bangs make a gigantic difference to my face.  I feel more like myself.

This is Alan


This is Alan’s salon


Back home I go to the most perfect hair stylist/friend that anyone could ask for. My hair and who cuts it has been an issue for me since the age of 14 (when I discovered leave-in conditioner).  In 16 years I’ve only gone to four stylists to whom  I’ve been devoted to at each turn: Rodney Cutler, Hyunsoo Kim, and Hiro Haraguchi. All three of them are amazing and I’d go to them again in a heartbeat but they don’t compare to my dear friend and hair guru Kaz.  I’m deeply attached to him and he’s one of the elements I miss most about life in New York.

With that said,  Alan Vuong is great.  His salon (which he owns with two friends) is stylish, well-designed, and comfortable.  The staff is friendly and sharp.  Alex, who shampooed my hair gave me a fantastic massage.  I normally am indifferent to the shampoo massage, but what Alex did felt so good–she’s very intuitive about how much pressure to use.

Alan is like the glamorous Hawaiian Edward Scissorhands.  He really tried to draw out of me through conversation my likes and dislikes in regards to hair.  He gave me tips on using a straight iron and blow drying.  He’s a very sweet individual and very excited about his work.  My hair looks and feels really healthy and has great shape and movement.   I’ll definitley go back to him for a cut before my big reading on the 24th.

Is he the one?

I asked Scott Cambell (www.scottcampbelltattoo.com) who did two of my tattoos if he could recommend someone in Hawaii.  He did.  And he is amazing.

What yelp user ‘Love S.’ said in part about Mike Ledger:

Call Mike’s secretary to schedule a consult if……….

you like his artistry
you play nicely with others
you’re patient
you got cash
you seriously want the best tattoo on your body for the rest of your life

HIFF starts

Today was a pretty unique day in my newborn Kailua life.  The LVHIFF officially started today and it was the first day that I spent a chunk of time with the staff.  This morning I woke up late and made both Chuck and Sean late for the press conference.  I was mortified when I woke up at 8:17.  Chuck was picking me up at 8:30.  Egad.

Eventually everyone arrived where they were supposed to and the press conference was really lovely.  I’m glad I didn’t miss it.  I saw Sarah there and had a great chance to chat with her and Anderson.  Sean had told me earlier that Cliff Curtis was going to be at the press conference and I didn’t really make much of the fact that I didn’t know who he was talking about.  As Sarah and I were chatting by the entrance he came in and I realized that I’m a total fan of his work.  So that was really nice.

I ended up spending much of the day with Sarah.  I had such great time, particularly because I’ve been missing my girlfriends back home.  She took me to lunch at Nicos (my second time) and rather than ordering the special of the day I ordered what Sarah orderd: the Furikake ahi.  It was deeelicious.

I’ve written about this before but Sarah is the Art Director for a really unique magazine out here called Smart.  She described it as a Hawaiin Lucky but I find it to be much more than that.  As a newcomer to Hawaii it’s so refreshing to find a publication that goes deeper than the rest—an inside perspective to local talent as well as fashion insider favorites.  I picked up a copy at the hospitality suite and will definitely send away for a subscription.

The festival staff is so nice.  I don’t really know how else to put it.  I suppose it’s what everyone refers to as Aloha spirit.  Even under stressful circumstances they’re friendly and unfazed by last minute obstacles or tight spots.  I really respect what they’ve built.

Not much else is new.  we had to burn the bunnies when Rebecca came over for dinner. She was an ideal first guest. I can’t think of better circumstances in which to sacrifice the heartbreaking cuteness of wax lagomorpha.

Errand Day

it's fo real

it’s fo real.

Today was errand day. Here are my notes:


K and I learned from the lady posted in front of Foodland that Hawaii needs blood!  So we signed up to donate blood.  It seems that they have a monthly blood drive at the Bloodmobile at Don Quijote Kailua.  You can call 808-845-9966 to make an appointment.

Here are other people parked out in front of Foodland:


When I got my hair cut at The Fix there were fliers for a yoga place in the same complex.  I’m trying to find a good yoga school and as far as I’ve assessed Koa Yoga is as good as any of them.  What it seems to have above the other schools is Sunrise Yoga with breakfast on Lanikai Beach.


Under the Hula Moon at Kailua Shopping Center in Kailua Rd. is a great place to find odd little gifts like hula mouse pads, turtle drawer pulls, handmade Kailua cards, and starfish.

Today we also bought a birthday present for my mom at Lanikai Bath and Body.  I haven’t personally tried their products or even heard about them but they seem to be all natural products made in Hawaii.  I particularly liked the Pikake lotion we got for my mom which is a combination of kukui, noni, and macadamia.  As we were leaving a curious shopper came in to check the place out.  I asked her to pose for a picture:

Finally we went to Lanikai Juice in the same strip of stores.   Matthew Fox took Oprah and Gayle there as one of his favorite places in town which naturally gave the place a higher profile.  It was fine.  I’m not crazy about complicated juices.  I like plain pineapple and kalamansi juice or sweet soy bean milk.  I got the Ginger Snap which was perfectly fine.  Maybe I’ll try the popular Monkey next time.  K got Coco Champ and he said it was good enough for him to finish the whole thing.

At Lanikai Juice we ran into some Aloha overload:

Afterwards we went to Kailua Public Library.  It was quite nice. Though I don’t know many libraries that aren’t.

The Fix, Boots and Kimo’s

it's not a myth! Hawaiians loooooove Spam. This was the lady on line behind us at Foodland

Today was a Kailua-rich day. I finally got my haircut–thank goodness. The head of the hair dept where K works recommended this woman Dana at a Kailua hair salon called The Fix. I spent hours online trying to do my normal sleuthing separating the best from the rest to no avail. There’s very little editorial coverage of Hawaii services and talent that isn’t tourism based. It’s like looking for a good piece of Wagyu in a town that only advertises Outback Steakhouse. The ‘Wagyu’ exists but it’s not being written about online. As opposed to New York you’ve got people in Idaho writing blogs about a clothing store on a remote corner of Billyburg Brooklyn.

What I’ve come to understand is that this is a word of mouth town. You have to talk to people to navigate your way past the layer of generated for tourist services. I had had an appointment at Salon Blanc in Honolulu on the recommendation of Sarah from HIFF. She didn’t have personal experience with them but she had heard good things. Unfortunately she didn’t have a stylists name to recommend so I had an appointment with ‘Sam’. I felt wary of that so I asked Ken to ask his colleague and that’s how I found Dana. The Fix is a tiny salon in Kailua Square. It’s spacious, quiet and pretty busy for a small town salon. Caddy corner to it is the Kailua Paul Brown Salon, arguably the most distinguished hairstylist in Hawaii, though pretty franchised.

Dana was great. She’s technically skilled and a good listener. She took my comments seriously, made an assessment and basically delivered what I pictured. My hair looks 75% better and based on one visit I would go back to Dana again. But if I get another haircut in Hawaii I’ll try someone new for comparison. Dana’s very likeable and definitely skilled, but her style is a little 1st generation Asian for me- less curl more straight with a bit of flip, assymetrical bangs. I like hair stylists that are technically on point but more loose and poetic with their approach: shaggier, messier, imperfect. With all of that said my hair does look dorothy hamill-ish just as I wished for yesterday.

After the hair cut we FINALLY went for breakfast at Boots and Kimo’s. The macadamia nut pancakes are about the most pospular thing in Kailua second only to the beach. If you look it up it’s catgorically popular–people even claiming to drive from the leeward side of the island just for the pancakes. Well, they’re freakin’ right. Those pancakes are GOOD. K took a bite and said ‘is that ice cream?’ 😀 Sweet but not too sweet. rich buttery macadamia nut sauce over thick fluffy pancakes. We also had a portuguese sausage omelette which was delicious.

I like the word Calabash

This morning I found a dead baby gecko under the table I work on. It was so tiny! On the opposite end yesterday while I was working on HIFF fliers I heard a lawnmower buzzing from far away. Then I realized that’s not a lawn mower! I walked to the back door and there it was a GIGANTIC bee that was as big as a gob stopper. I tried to take it’s picture and totally missed it.

I’m getting my haircut tomorrow. I’m nervous as hair is such an issue for me. Sarah at HIFF recommended 2 places beyond the two that I’d found from user reviews etc.

Hair Salons in Honolulu & Kailua

  • Paul Brown
  • J Salon
  • W Salon
  • Salon Blanc
  • Chop
  • The Fix

I’m going with Salon Blanc and we’ll see how it goes. I was talking to Sean at HIFF and he said that he’s getting his haircut on Saturday and he goes to the same person that Barack Obama’s sister goes to. Sean has great hair. It’s like Sean Cassidy circa Hardy Boys (sort of shorter). Which is coincidental because my hair is in an awkward growing out stage I was going to tell the person I’m going to that a Dorothy Hammil-ish style might work for me.

Two great recipes:

Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi

Basic Hamburger (delish)

Hawaiian Word of the Day, from answers.com:

In Hawaii a calabash is a large serving bowl. It is usually made from a hardwood, rather than from the Calabash Gourd as in Maroon cultures. It is used on a buffet table or in the middle of the dining table. The use of the calabash in Hawaii has led to terms like “Calabash Family” or “Calabash Cousins”. It indicates that an extended family has grown up around shared meals and close friendships. Food is very important in modern Hawaiian culture. “Komo E Kaukau”, meaning “come and eat”, it is the most expected greeting in a Hawaiian home.