Monthly Archives: December 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like… OMG! Christmas is tomorrow!!

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So, here we are… Christmas Eve, or as I like to call it, present shopping day.  As I have mentioned before, I am the world’s biggest procrastinator and I’m sure I am not alone! Here’s a quick list of last minute ideas for the unsuspecting gift receivers in your life:

Bob Chinn’s Alaskan King Crab Legs from Tastes of Chicago

tastesofchicago

Bob Chinn’s World Famous Mai Tais from Binny’s

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Gift Baskets from Bob Chinn’s Crab House

bobchinnsbaskets

Stay warm in this super cold Chicago Christmas Eve! and…

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Tiki Travels: Oahu Edition

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Aloha!  Today, the Tiki Travels series is bringing you to the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Oahu. Personally, this is my favoritest (I am well aware that is not a real word) of the chain and not just because Lost was filmed there (okay, that has a lot to do with it). Oahu is home to the state capital of Honolulu and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In my humble opinion, Hawaii as a whole has the nicest people, greatest views, best weather and most ono food. *Ono is Hawaiian for delicious. See, you learn something new everyday!

Let’s check out a few of my favorite places on Oahu!

To Stay:

Royal Hawaiian- This iconic resort hotel situated on the gorgeous Waikiki Beach was built in 1927 and has played host to celebrities, heads of state and even acted as a recouporation house for those who served in World War 2. Its beauty has been redefined by extensive renovations over the years and has now been restored to its original grandeur.

royal hawaiian

Ihilani Spa and Resort- If you are looking for a little major R&R in paradise, The Ihilani is the place for you! Located on the west side of the island, this sprawling luxury hotel boasts a full spa, breath-taking views and one of the top ranked 18 hole golf courses in Hawaii. You’ll never have to leave the grounds!

Ihilani

To Shop:

Haleiwa Town- This should really be in its own category. Full of shops, restaurants and tons of things to do- Haleiwa is an incredible place to truly experience Hawaii. Catch a traditional luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, snorkel in the crystal clear Pacific Ocean water, learn to ride the waves of the famous Sunset Beach or just kick back and enjoy a delicious shave ice from Matsumoto’s. Be sure to dedicate an entire day – if not more- to this gem!

Haleiwa

Ala Moana Shopping Center – If you are looking for every store under one big beautiful blue sky, try Ala Moana Center.  With over 290 shop and restaurants, including high end fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci and Hermes- Ala Moana is a shoppers dream! Don’t get this confused with your local mall, Ala Moana is an open-air center complete with koi ponds, entertainment stage and hands down the absolute best food court in the history of food courts. (Don’t knock it til ya been there!). I know you’re thinking, why would you spend your vacation at the mall? Just check it out…. and don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ala Moana

To Eat:

Tokkuri Tei- I can’t stress enough how much I love this restaurant. I would never consider myself a foodie by any means, but this local spot is a gastronomic mecca. Authentic Japanese cuisine in a way you have never experienced. Any menu that describes a Squid Pancake as “tastes like pumpkin pie- not quite” and still manages to get me to eat it up with unbridled gusto is a winner in my book!

Tokkuri Tei

Duke’s Waikiki- This is one of my favorite spots to bring first time visitors for breakfast/brunch.  Duke’s is located inside the Outrigger Waikiki hotel and faces out toward the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy fresh fruits, a mixed plate buffet and exotic juices while the sound of gentle waves plays in the background. People watching here can be fun too – check out all the beach goers!

Dukes

To See:

Pearl Harbor-  You can’t go to Oahu without stopping by the extraordinary World War II Memorial at the site of the infamous December 7th, 1941 attacks.  An impressive and moving place of US history, Pearl Harbor is a must!

pearl harbor

Lanikai Beach – Lanikai is the Hawaiian word for “heavenly sea” and this picture should give you more than enough reason to go there. You’re welcome.

Lanikai Beach

To Do:

Hike Diamond Head Crater-  This is kind of a “DUH” attraction.  To me, the Honolulu skyline wouldn’t be complete without Diamond Head.  You can hike inside the crater (wear gym shoes!), climbing to the very top and take in, quite possibly the most picturesque view of the island.  Photo Op!

Diamond Head

My Favorite “tourist” thing to do:

ATV Riding at Kualoa Ranch- When I was living in Honolulu, a friend came out to visit and this was on our list of things to do.  I would have never thought of doing this as a resident, but since I was playing tourist in my own city, I thought what the heck? SO. MUCH. FUN! Having never operated an ATV, I found a whole new world of thrill! For two hours, we were on a guided tour around the Kualoa Ranch property, which is home to many famous movie and television locations, wild animals and lush greenery.  If you aren’t into ATVs, Kualoa Ranch has plenty of other cool tours and activities to offer!

Kualoa Ranch

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

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With the holidays upon us, I have been trolling the pages of Pinterest (not that I don’t do that all year-round) looking for some gift ideas. After hours of daydreaming and repinning about 1000 things onto my own personal “Wish List” board, it occurs to me that I have yet to secure one unique gift for anyone else.  This happens every year, mid-November I vow to start my Christmas shopping early so that I don’t procrastinate and freak out on December 24th. Oddly enough, that plan always fail and there I am roaming the aisles of Walgreens scrambling to make a 75% off Advent calendar seem like a well thought out present.

This year, I have decided to help my fellow last minute shoppers and post a tutorial on how to “make” the gift that keeps on giving! Behold: The Tiki-Tastic Gift Extraordinaire – okay, that’s not its real name, but I thought it was pretty catchy!

Here we have the necessities, 2 small Tiki mugs, 2 Tetra Pak containers of Bob Chinn’s World Famous Mai Tai, a strip of cardboard, a medium size basket, crinkle paper, cellophane shrink-wrap bag. (the last three items were purchased at Dollar Tree ) *not pictured: hair dryer (used to shrink wrap)

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First, fill the medium size basket with the crinkle paper.  Take the strip of cardboard and fashion it into a triangle (tape to secure).

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Position the Bob Chinn’s World Famous Mai Tai Tetra Paks in the basket, each one leaning on opposite sides (this is to distribute the weight so the basket does not tip over).

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Place the cardboard triangle in the back of the basket, sitting on top of the crinkle paper.

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Add the cups to the basket, resting one on the cardboard triangle (you can use a piece of rolled up tape to fasten the cup to the triangle, so it doesn’t move). Step back to look straight on at the basket and make any adjustments  necessary.

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Open the shrink-wrap bag and gently put the basket inside (as the cellophane can rip easily). The bag I bought from the Dollar Tree included a bow, which I used to tie up the gathered cellophane.

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Using a hairdryer set on HOT and HIGH speed, begin to apply heat to the cellophane bag.  Slowly move the hair dryer up and down the length of the basket. Allow the cellophane time to heat and become pliable. True to its name, the bag will begin to shrink and wrap itself tightly around the basket. This process may take a while, as I was constantly finding new spots to zap with the dryer- it kinda of became addicting… don’t judge.

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TA DAH!!!! One beautiful, Mai Tai Tiki Gift Basket! Give it to your holiday party host/hostess, your boss, the #1 Mai Tai fan in your life or be the hit at the white elephant! This one will be sure to knock their socks off!

If you are like me and live by the adage “why do today what you can put off till tomorrow,” these baskets can be purchased – pre-made- at Bob Chinn’s Crab House restaurant, along with a few other gift pack options.

But if you do decide to DIY, we have these awesome FREE printable tiki gift tags that would add the perfect finishing touch.