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May 25, 2022

The Beach Bus

While walking around the Kahuku Sugar Mill for something to eat, my youngest son and I stumbled upon a sign for waffles on a stick from The Beach Bus, so we decided to order food from there. 

They offer several different types of waffles on a stick.  Each of my kids decided on getting OREO Waffle Sticks.

OREO Waffle Sticks
They loved them!

Deep Fried Cheesecake

The Deep Fried Cheesecake on the menu (which, curiously, had no prices at all) caught my eye.  It was quite a sinful treat, drizzled with chocolate.

In addition to the sweets, we ordered: 

Nacho Cheese Fries

Keiki Pizza

Bus Burger Combo

I highly recommend ONLY sticking to the waffles.  The fries, burger, and pizza were all the kinds of foods you can buy at a store and make (heat in the microwave) yourself.  And the fact that there were no prices on the menu was very questionable (all of the above cost me $59 total).

I wanted to support local, but I left feeling disappointed.  


If you decide to visit The Beach Bus, stick with the sweets and skip the savories. 

The Beach Bus
56-565 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731


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May 24, 2022

Jurassic World Dominion Advance Screening Tickets Giveaway

This summer, experience the epic conclusion to the Jurassic era as two generations unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar®-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill in Jurassic World Dominion, a bold, timely and breathtaking new adventure that spans the globe.

From Jurassic World architect and director Colin Trevorrow, Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live—and hunt—alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.

 

Jurassic World Dominion, from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, propels the more than $5 billion franchise into daring, uncharted territory, featuring never-seen dinosaurs, breakneck action and astonishing new visual effects. 

 

The film features new cast members DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It), Emmy nominee Mamoudou Athie (Archive 81), Dichen Lachman (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Scott Haze (Minari) and Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The film’s returning cast includes BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez and Omar Sy as Barry Sembenè. 

 

Jurassic World Dominion is directed by Colin Trevorrow, who steered 2015’s Jurassic World to a record-shattering $1.7 billion global box office. The screenplay is by Emily Carmichael (Battle at Big Rock) & Colin Trevorrow from a story by Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) & Trevorrow, based on characters created by Michael Crichton. Jurassic World Dominion is produced by acclaimed franchise producers Frank Marshall p.g.a. and Patrick Crowley p.g.a. and is executive produced by legendary, Oscar®-winning franchise creator Steven Spielberg, Alexandra Derbyshire and Colin Trevorrow.


Visit https://www.jurassicworld.com/ for more information. 


Five lucky winners will each receive a family 4-pack of tickets to the advance screening of Jurassic World Dominion at Regal Dole Cannery on Tuesday, June 7.  Visit @hawaiimomblog.com on Instagram to enter! 


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May 23, 2022

Li`ili`i Donuts


I first heard about Li`ili`i Donuts when Nat posted about it almost two years ago, and when I spotted them at the Mililani Farmers Market for the first time, I immediately went in line.

These mini donuts are gluten-free and vegan, and are made fresh to order, so you may have to wait a while, but they are worth the wait!

My box contained Chocolate Sprinkle, Sugar N Spice, Nutella, Berry Li Hing, and Ube.  My kids ate up all the donuts except one before I could try any (of course they went for the Chocolate Sprinkle first), and the only one left was the Sugar N Spice (the sugary coating sure was yummy!).   

I love that they are not deep-fried, and they are sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth!  Next time I hope to try more flavors!

Follow them on Instagram @liiliidonuts or check out their website at https://www.liiliidonuts.com/ to find out where they'll be!

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May 20, 2022

Dinner at Halekulani's Redesigned House Without A Key



My in-laws are big fans of House Without A Key so I am always kept up to date on the latest happenings of their favorite restaurant at the Halekulani.  I learned from them that the restaurant had reopened for lunch last month after being completely transformed with a new shaded outdoor bar and viewing kitchen.  The seating in front of the Halekulani's historic Kiawe tree has been updated with comfortable and contemporary furnishings so you can enjoy the nightly live entertainment while taking in the sweeping ocean views and Diamond Head.  

Nightly from 5pm to 8:30pm, you can enjoy dinner and sunset cocktails with live Hawaiian music and the dancing of former Miss Hawaii and Miss Hawaii-USA winners from 5:30pm.  It's an especially great place to share with out-of-town guests as House Without A Key is one of Waikiki's most iconic restaurants.  When you do visit, make sure to order House Without A Key's signature mai tai.

Mai Tai

I had dinner with Halekulani and Halepuna Waikiki's wonderful PR Manager, Bonnie, and she shared with me some of the highlights of the dinner menu by House Without A Key's Chef de Cuisine, Jarrin Otake.  Ingredients used at the restaurant are sourced from across the Hawaiian islands.  We started with two of Halekulani's classic cocktails - the signature Mai Tai and the Hale Passion, a nice concoction of rum, passion fruit, almond, coconut, and light cream. Drinking this feels like vacation.  For appetizers, we had the Kapakahi Fries, Shoyu Ahi Poke, and the Edamame Hummus Dip.  The fries are especially addicting!

Kapakahi Fries

Shoyu Ahi Poke

Edamame Hummus Dip

For our meal, we had to try the House Without A Key Laulau.  The laulau dish is 5 oz. braised pork and 3 oz. misoyaki butterfish served on a bed of coconut stewed luau leaves, topped with a crispy pork rind and pickled onions, and served with lomi tomato and a side of fresh poi from Kako'o Oiwi farm.  We also shared the furikake and bubu arare crusted monchong that was on special.  I really enjoyed the monchong, but the laulau was so interesting and full of complementing flavors.  It's a very colorful dish and a treat for one's palate.  We ended the night with the very yummy Lilikoi Key Lime Cheesecake and I took home a slice of Halekulani's famous Coconut cake for my kids because I'd be in serious trouble if I didn't.

House Without A Key Laulau

Evening Special: Monchong

Lilikoi Key Lime Cheesecake

It was such a nice evening to be outside enjoying good food, drink and company while other guests were also enjoying their meals and the live entertainment.  It's no wonder this restaurant is such a favorite of many locals and visitors alike.  

House Without A Key
Halekulani Hotel
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
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`Alohi HydraFacial at Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre at the Four Seasons Resort O`ahu at Ko Olina

The last time I went to a spa was right before the pandemic started. I loved getting facials and having my skin pampered.  In fact, one of the last experiences I had was at Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre at the Four Seasons Resort O`ahu at Ko Olina.

But with the concerns over the pandemic, I refrained from spa visits, until my recent stay at the Four Seasons Resort O`ahu at Ko Olina.

I was offered a hosted `Aloha HydraFacial, and without hesitation I said yes.  

Although my concerns about the pandemic haven't subsided, I knew from my previous stay at the resort last year that they take customer health and safety very seriously.  And I definitely needed some pampering, as the constant commuting and late nights were taking a visible toll on my skin.

After completing a digital intake form and being offered some kombucha or water, I was escorted into the spa, where I could take advantage of the whirlpool, steam room, or sauna, or simply relax in the waiting areas after changing into a robe and slippers. 






The `Aloha HydraFacial (to shine brightly) is a procedure that helps with fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.  

Throughout the 50-minute session, my face was cleaned, massaged, and pampered.  The HydraFacial tool helped to suction out impurities to help my skin absorb serums (the humming of the machine along with the soothing music makes it easy to doze off!).  

Through cleansing, exfoliating, and the application of serums, as well as LED light therapy (red light therapy was used on my face to help with anti-aging), I was left with noticeably glowing and smooth skin.

On top of that, I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated.  Having 50 minutes to myself was already amazing, but to have someone pamper me was pure bliss!

My therapist, Christine, was excellent.  She had such a soothing touch and voice, and I could feel myself dozing off several times.  Whenever she was about to apply something cool or tingly to my face, she would be sure to let me know so I wouldn't be shocked by the sensation.  Whether it was glycolic acid or hyaluronic acid, a warm towel or the suction tool, Christine made the entire experience so pleasant.   

There were times when my body jerked because the use of the HydraFacial tool made me ticklish on one side, and she even asked if there was anything she could do to help.

The session also included a foot compress, lymphatic drainage, and arm massage.



At the end of the session, Christine made some recommendations for my skin concerns, and I left the spa feeling so relaxed!

I went home and made sure to drink lots of water to help my body release any toxins.  I seriously think the lymphatic massage resulted in the release of a lot of toxins, as I became extremely tired and went to sleep early that night, and the next morning I felt like a brand new person.  

Any concerns I had about going to a spa during a pandemic disappeared as soon as I started my session.  Anyone who knows me knows that I'm somewhat of a germaphobe (I was one of the few guests masked during my visit), so the fact that Christine was double-masked and the spa practiced numerous procedures to help keep guests as safe as possible really made me at ease.  I couldn't believe I waited so long to return to a spa, but I'm so glad I did, and I look forward to returning to Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre soon!

Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
92-1001 Olani St
Kapolei, HI 96707

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May 19, 2022

Noe at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

Disclosure: Our meal was hosted; gratuity was paid on my own.  

One of my favorite restaurants on the island is Noe at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

Michelin-starred Chef Ryo crafts amazing handmade pastas, giving guests a taste of "Capri-by-way-of-Oahu" in a very pretty outdoor setting.

Burrata
Drizzled with olive oil, topped with Ho Farms tomatoes and torn basil, and sitting in a pool of chilled tomato consomme - the Burrata is one of my faves.  The consomme offered a nice, bright acidic flavor to the dish.
Whipped Ricotta

The Whipped Ricotta was so light, and when combined with the truffle honey atop the housemade foccacia, it was heavenly.  The sweet and salty flavors were so delightful!

Seared Squid

The Seared Squid was accompanied by zucchini squash, bread crumbs, lemon confit, pesto, and a drizzle of olive oil.  
Filet Mignon

A balsamic-pepper sauce dressed the Filet Mignon, which my oldest son devoured.   

Veal Milanese

The Veal Milanese was one of several dishes recommended by our server.  My husband loved it!

Chef's Special Daily Pasta

A warm and savory chicken broth was poured into the bowl of the Chef's Special Daily Pasta, which my middle son ordered.   He slurped every last drop!


My go-to is the Noe Signature Tagliatelle.  You just can't go wrong with the ribbons of pasta, truffles, mushroom, and Parmigiano Reggiano.  All the components combined really up the umami!

A keiki menu is available, and my youngest son ordered a Hawaiian Pizza.

Keiki menus come with a dessert - Chocolate Budino or a Cannoli.
Cannoli
For dessert, I was presented this beautiful tray of sweets!
On this dessert board was Matcha Stracciatella, Liliko`i Semifreddo, S'mores Cake, and Lemon Crostata.

There was truly something for everyone, whether you prefer sweet or tart, chocolaty or fruity (my fave was the S'mores Cake, because I just love chocolate!).

Even though I'm not a huge matcha fan, I actually enjoyed the Matcha Stracciatella.  The raspberries and yuzu sable offered very pleasant contrasting flavors.  

Service was good, although I thought at times sparse, but our server was very friendly, and our family had a really nice dinner.

Noe, in my opinion, truly is one of the best Italian restaurants on the island, and the ambience is simply stunning.  

It's worth the trek even if you're not staying at the resort!




Noe
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
92-1001 Olani St
Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 679-0079

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May 18, 2022

Turning Red Review


I received a complimentary code to review the movie.

Available on all major digital platforms 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD is Disney and Pixar's Turning Red. 

Synopsis:

In Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red, confident, dorky 13-year-old Mei must balance being a dutiful daughter with the chaos of adolescence. Her slightly overbearing mom is never far from her daughter. And, as if changes to Mei’s interests, relationships and body aren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda!

Disney and Pixar did it again with such a fun family film that's engaging and insightful, while humorous and adventurous.

I really enjoyed how Disney wasn't afraid to broach the topic of adolescence and puberty, helping to normalize the mood swings, body changes, and peer pressure that tweens and teens have to face, as well as the challenges their parents encounter in dealing with their growing children.  

The movie really hit home in many ways.  From learning when to "let go" of your children and allowing them to live and learn through their mistakes, to worrying about who their friends are, I could really relate to Mei's mom.  I could also relate to Mei and her friends as well when I was their age, as they discovered their attraction to boys and their fondness for boy bands, specifically 4*Town. 

I distinctly remember being in middle school when a popular boy band came in to town, and I eagerly went to see them in concert (twice!).

My youngest son really enjoyed the movie as well, especially when Mei's mom turned into an enormous red panda herself.   

The animation was fantastic (the cooking scene was spectacular), and the lessons of trust, guidance, and respect are ones that all families can relate to in some fashion



.

Bonus Features*

● Audio Commentary – View the film with audio commentary by director Domee Shi, producer Lindsey Collins, and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi.

● Featurettes
○ Life of a Shot – Domee Shi and members of the crew describe the many- layered process and artistry involved in creating the hilarious Red Peony scene – from observing red pandas in a zoo to creating a storyboard to finalizing the animation and background lighting.
○ Build Your Own Boy Band – Step backstage to learn how 4*TOWN came to animated life. From creating each band member’s persona to writing and producing the songs to fine-tuning the details of their stadium performance, the filmmakers reveal how they designed the ultimate boy band.
○ Ani-Mei-Tion – Because Mei’s heightened emotionality is central to the story, it was important that her look and movement reflect that energy. Learn how Domee Shi led the animation team to incorporate hints of expressive anime to create Mei’s lovable, dynamic character.

● Deleted Scenes
○ Deleted Scenes Introduction – Director Domee Shi introduces scenes not included in the final version of Turning Red.
○ Intro Meilin – In this alternate opening, Ming and young Mei have their portrait taken in a studio…but Ming has her own specific vision for the photo.
○ Taming The Panda – Under her mother's guidance, Mei learns techniques to control her ability to magically turn into a red panda...to varying degrees of success.
○ The Debate – Mei runs for class president against frenemy Tyler, and the speeches get a little out of hand.
○ Fei And Christina Hang – Mei (formerly Fei) shares a banana split while having a heart-to-heart with Aunt Christina.
○ 4*TOWN Dilemma – Mei scores tickets to her dream concert, but her strict mother won't let her out of the house. What will she do?
○ Roping In Leo – Pleading with Leo for help with getting out of trouble, Mei learns a couple of his closely guarded secrets.
● Easter Egg - Robutton Deleted Scene – An alternate ending in which Mei, finding herself sitting next to her 4*TOWN dream-idol Robaire on a flight to California, has some feelings.

*bonus features vary by product and retailer

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