Just off shore of Lanikai, Na Mokulua or more commonly known as “The Mokes” has become a precious gem on the East side of Oahu. Hundreds of birds make these Twin Islands their home and they share this beautiful site with the seafarers who visit daily.
On a northwest swell with Kona winds, surfers, kayakers and paddlers take advantage of the reef break. Like many other surfers, twins Mike and Peter Miller grew up near this spot and they enjoyed the unique experience away from the crowds and concrete buildings often encountered in Town.
Sadly Peter passed away in 2006 after a tragic plane crash. His twin brother Mike (born 27 minutes after him) created a company in Peter’s honor. He started Twin Islands Clothing and the company has been successful. Mike's goal has been to represent this Lanikai landmark while paying tribute to waveriders through his original designs and quality clothing.
Customers keep coming to this Honolulu store where its hats color the walls and its “Aloha Served Daily” mantra adds to the ambivalent ambiance it hopes to portray.
Fitted Hawaii specializes in exclusive hats, t-shirts and other accessories that highlight particular aspects of Hawaii’s multicultural society. Owner ,Keola Rapozo, wants to encourage locals and visitors to think beyond the Islands’ stereotypical image of hula dancers, surfers and luau festivities and to include other ingredients that make Hawaii the cultural mixing pot that it is.
Keola does this through his designs and themes that are cultural and historical: the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy to a crown logo on the back of most t-shirts, he says, “symbolizes our rich heritage (and) that we were from royalty".
His company has even reached out to other cultures by creating a cap in tribute of Puerto Rican baseball legend Roberto Clemente. The cap sold for $225 and was the most expensive sale to date.
“(It’s) more important to have product that’s pono … because there’s not a lot of Hawaiians out there,” says Keola, who began his business in 2004 after graduating from fashion school and applying for a "Malama Loan". This loan is offered by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to eligible Native Hawaiian consumers, can be used for home improvement, educational purposes, and business.
“My viewpoint towards business…has changed drastically,” he said. “My passion lies within the process of it, not the end or beginning.”
Every Summer a multicultural array of music sung in French, Japanese, Hawaiian, and German tickle the low-hanging leaves of the banyan trees at Kapiolani Park while the sounds reignite Diamond head as if it were aglow. And like those who believed the ancient crater once housed real diamonds, attendees wow over the dazzle that the late afternoon showers across the vast lawn. A string of diamonds joined together with every gentle strum of the ukulele.
The annual Ukulele Festival of Hawaii started 40 years ago as a dream for ukulele master Roy Sakuma. As a parks keeper, he used to clean those very same leaves that softly fall from the surrounding banyans. He could feel the music whispering to him in the wind.
Today more than 850 performers from around the world share their passion for the uke on stage at the Kapiolani Bandstand and keiki get involved as well with about a dozen schools participating in the event.
Sakuma has been teaching ukulele lessons since the age of 19. He then opened an ukulele studio which has expanded to four locations islandwide.
The free festival, Sakuma claims, is the granddaddy of all ukulele festivals throughout the world.
“We are so thankful that from this day, 40 years ago, it has grown throughout the world, and now countries throughout the entire world have ukulele festivals,” he said.
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When you take the time to look closely at quilting patterns it is mind boggling. The art of quilting is alive and well in Hawaii and thanks to the Honolulu Academy of Arts - Linekona show this past spring, an array of beautiful craftsmanship was evident in the diversity of styles and materials used to create these works of art. Some whimsical, others just stunning. My great grandmother left us quilts that have since been passed down to ensuring generations of newborns. In other families a quilt is so cherished that it is no longer used nor displayed, but treasured as an heirloom recognized as objet d'art, a work of art. It is wonderful to see that there are people devoted to continuing this tradition.
I am reminded of a story that was shared by Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott, the first Native Hawaiian woman to receive a PhD in science, former Stanford professor for 30 years, author of 8 books and over 150 scientific publications. Dr. Abbott was born in Hana, Maui and she credits her mother's knowledge of Hawaiian plants and reef life with inspiring her to become the world's foremost expert on limu (seaweed). In her home there hangs a large Hawaiian quilt. It is the Hawaiian flag pattern sewn by her mother and friends. Dr. Abbott points to the stitching and when you look closely every stitch is a cross, she says, "sewn in protest" of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Imagine the women who sewed Hawaiian flag motifs on their quilts during that time. They must have sat together, month after month, in quiet conversation or perhaps no conversation at all, sewing cross stitches that were their muted cries of protest.
Go ahead. Pamper yourself. Indulge in a deep-tissue massage or a full "mani - pedi set". Whether you're male or female. You deserve it. Heck, even go for the microdermabrasia treatment while you’re at it.
For centuries professional spas and salons have catered to every hair follicle, every nail and every pore on people hoping to nourish their minds, bodies and spirits. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians considered social bathing an important cultural process for healing pains and diseases, according to Taking the Waters by Alev Lytle Croutier.
Today, at places like Makana Esthetics Wellness Academy, the idea of self-treatment turns yet another page in the spa history books. The Honolulu spa not only offers beautifying and healing services but also a chance for those interested in pursuing a career in the field of aesthetics some hands-on experience with a student-operated spa.
Owner Malia Sanchez is the spa guru and mastermind behind this academy-spa which is also the only aesthetics school in the state that specializes in skin care. They offer two types of courses for students. The Progressive Course is offered to licensed individuals, while the Core Aesthetics Course is offered to those new to the industry.
“I realized that we were the front line for the…visitors here in Hawaii,” said Malia, who’s been in the industry for more than 18 years. “I thought that it was really important that our spa professionals be more educated on our culture and what we offer here in Hawaii.”
She opened Makana three years ago and has since seen dozens of her students take flight into the highly competitive world of the contemporary spa industry. Because her focus has always been to integrate the Hawaiian culture into her practice, Malia also accepts students who attend on grants via Alu Like, a program for Native Hawaiians.
“I’m grateful for our students (and) anybody that comes in, but the whole philosophy behind Makana was to help grow our people here,” she said. Malia brought this idea to life after getting a Malama Loan from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
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