Celebrating Christmas in Honolulu, Hawaii

Celebrating Christmas in Honolulu, Hawaii during the holiday season is one of the best places to be on earth. With a warm spirit in the air, folks busy shopping for gifts to give their friends and family. Getting time off from work is another great thing to look forward to this time of year.

 

Christmas in Honolulu Hawaii

How do Hawaiians get in the Christmas spirit? With a festive parade, a gift fair, a gingerbread creation and a colorful tree.

In December, at least 17 Oahu communities will celebrate with parades, and visitors are welcome to join in.

Saturday will mark the return of the West Oahu Holiday Electric Light Parade to Kapolei, about 25 miles northwest of Waikiki. The procession, which will include 40 units — two marching bands will take part too — begins at 6 p.m. at the Kapolei Fairgrounds and travels to the Kapolei Hale (city hall) for a 7 p.m. tree-lighting ceremony. Live entertainment, fireworks and food vendors round out the activities.

Celebrating Christmas in Honolulu, Hawaii

On Dec. 21, the Manoa Community Christmas Parade kicks off at 5 p.m. Four bands and 800 marchers are expected, along with floats and vehicles. The starting point is the Noelani School, 2655 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, just 15 minutes from Waikiki.

A complete list of holiday parades is available online.

For slightly more stationary activities, employees of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach will show  off their baking skills during a gingerbread display starting Monday and continuing until Dec. 20.  Viewing the culinary masterpieces is free.

Visitors and locals flock to the Honolulu Gift Fair Dec. 20-22 at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Center. It features plenty of last-minute gifts (and souvenirs), many of which are made in Hawaii. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food item to support the Hawaii Food Bank.

Throughout the season, the grounds of Honolulu City Hall are a gathering spot. A colorful, 50-foot-tall tree forms the centerpiece of the Yuletide celebration, which continues through Jan. 2 at 530 S. King St.

Celebrating Christmas in Honolulu, Hawaii or for that matter, in where on one of the lovely islands is truly spending time in paradise…

~~Aloha Nui Loa

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What’s New With Miss Hawaii USA 2013 Brianna Acosta

What’s New With Miss Hawaii USA 2013 Brianna Acosta and read what she’s been doing since being crowned. Here on the islands, we are very happy and proud to have one of our own representing our nation. Brianna is a truly fine young woman working to help all Hawaiians. Miss Hawaii

HONOLULU, September 8, 2013 – One of America’s fastest  rising young leaders is none other than Brianna Acosta, a recent journalism and  political science graduate who represented the Aloha State this year as Miss  Hawaii USA. In an exclusive interview, Acosta shared her unique perspective on pageantry,  life after wearing a crown and the challenges young Americans face in today’s  world.

Danny de Gracia: Brianna, since our last interview in December a lot  has happened in your career and life! You graduated from the University of  Hawaii in May and in June you competed for Miss USA. What’s it been like for you  lately and how do you feel about the whole experience of pageants and  representing Hawaii?

Brianna Acosta: It’s been a little weird for me to be  honest, transitioning into a non-competition mode. You spend months preparing  for and anxiously awaiting Miss USA in addition to your titleholder  responsibilities, so it’s a little strange having that weight lifted and just  focusing on fulfilling the rest of my year as Miss Hawaii USA and life after the  crown.

I absolutely loved my experience at Miss USA. I was especially appreciative  of all the love and support I received as I prepared to compete.  My  directors Eric Chandler and Takeo Kobayashi were so supportive of me throughout  the entire process and are truly like family to me. They set up mock interviews,  helped plan my outfits and designed and made my custom evening gown.

I truly felt like Miss Universe in that gown.  My amazing sponsors, such  as Manuheali’i and my coach, Jenny Lynn, were also behind me 100% and I was so  humbled by their graciousness. I think pageants are a great way for women to feel empowered.  I may not  have been what they were looking for as Miss USA 2013 but I received great  feedback from the national sponsors and staff and made treasured connections and  friendships.

What’s New With Miss Hawaii USA 2013 Brianna Acosta

I was so proud to represent Hawaii, especially being from a small town like  Waialua and above all, it was definitely an empowering experience.

DDG: A lot of young people look up to you and respect  your opinions. What’s your thoughts about the direction the United States and  the world has been going lately? If you had been Miss USA, what would have been  some of the major issues you’d have liked to bring more attention to?

Acosta: The world is a scary and unpredictable place in  today’s day and age and I surely can’t say what’s to come. My belief is that the  way we can make a positive change is to be that change on a smaller scale. At Miss USA I was able to work with amazing charities such as Stop Hunger Now  and Best Buddies, which assist poverty stricken regions with food and  adolescents with disabilities, respectively.

Beautiful and brainy, Acosta says “If I had been  crowned Miss USA, I would have loved to spread my personal mission of STEM and  literacy education through FIRST Robotics.” (Photo by Fadil Berisha)

If I had been crowned Miss USA I would have loved to spread my personal  mission of STEM and literacy education through FIRST Robotics. The children and adolescents of today are those that will lead and save our  world tomorrow. I think if little girls would have seen that Miss USA was a  robotics nerd that they would think being smart and striving to achieve more  through education is pretty cool.

DDG: What do you think are some of the things that young  people in America are most concerned about today? Lately there’s been a lot of  talk about economic crisis, terrorism and wars in various places, what do young  people think about all this?

Acosta: The concern I hear about the most in my personal  life is the economic crisis and that definitely is a major concern for me. The  cost of living, especially in Hawaii, versus minimum wage isn’t such a fair  battle. I have friends with masters and law degrees struggling to find jobs in  their respective fields. I’m certainly not an economist so I don’t have the  answer to the problem but I surely appreciate every paycheck a lot more.

DDG: One of the things that I notice is that whenever  there’s a beauty pageant, there are some elements of the national media which  can just be excessively judgmental and cruel in the way they cover the  contestants, especially in the area of the way some of the young women answer  questions. What’s your feelings on this?

Acosta: I think this issue is more complex than people think  because there are young ladies that are very intelligent but get flustered under  the pressure and then there are those who simply don’t know how to answer the  question. This is not to say that the girl who doesn’t know how to answer the question  is dumb or uneducated; I think it’s more so that she doesn’t really know  herself. The questions aren’t meant to stump, but rather to see how the young  woman composes herself and can form a personal opinion. I think it’s acceptable for the public and media to judge to an extent as the  winner will go on to represent the entire United States at Miss Universe, but I  think they also need to be considerate to the woman when doing this; an answer  to a question pulled randomly out of a fishbowl does in no way determine a  woman’s worth!

DDG: The last time we spoke you mentioned maybe going to  law school, is that still an interest for you?

Acosta: It is still a great possibility. I’ve had some  potential opportunities come up post Miss USA, so for now I will see where those  lead but who knows what the future holds!

DDG: What would you say is the most important thing to  you right now?

Acosta: The most important thing to me right now is doing  some self-discovery after reflecting on my year and experience and deciding  what’s next to achieve.  Also, I can’t express enough gratitude to my  family, directors, support team, sponsors and friends – they will always be so  important to me for all they have done for me!

by Danny de Gracia

What’s New With Miss Hawaii USA 2013 Brianna Acosta, and keep going strong Brianna. All our Love to you girl…

~~Aloha Nui Loa

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Christof Luedi is a Famous Runner from the Alps Enjoying Outrigger Canoeing

Christof Luedi is a Famous Runner from the Alps Enjoying Outrigger Canoeing and now with his new passion he truly is having fun. Christof probably has picked the best place on earth to experience outrigger canoeing. In my opinion, the islands are the best place to go canoeing. There are so many beautiful things to see as you canoe around each island.

Christof Luedi Outrigger Canoeing in Hawaii

Growing up in the Swiss Alps, Christof Luedi’s fitness routine centered around mountain activities such as cross-country skiing, cycling and running. But when a job with the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts took him to Hawaii in 2000, he adapted his workout to his new home.

From Skiing to Canoeing
An employee offered to take Mr. Luedi out in an outrigger canoe and he discovered “it wasn’t just about the workout,” recalls the 53-year-old regional vice president and general manager of the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island. “I learned how culturally significant the whole sport of outrigger canoe paddling is to Hawaii.”

Mr. Luedi—a longtime runner who completed more than 100 triathlons and more than 50 marathons—was instantly hooked. “I loved the idea of exploring the islands in these canoes just like people did years and years ago,” he says.

Unlike rowing or kayaking, outrigger canoes have support floats fastened to one or both sides and the paddle has only one blade. And six paddlers stroke on opposite sides until the person in the third seat orders them to switch sides, about every 15 strokes.

From 2003 to 2008, Mr. Luedi, with various other paddlers in a six-man outrigger canoe, covered 1,650 miles throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. Distances ranged from a 30-mile paddle between Maui and Lana’i islands to a 450-mile paddle between Necker and Laysan islands. “The longest stretch we went for was 83 hours…in the wide open ocean where swells can reach 40 feet,” he says. “We found ourselves closer to Japan at one point.”

Mr. Luedi spends his summer months paddling in races with his club. The season culminates in October with a 41-mile race from Molokai to Oahu across the treacherous Kaiwi Channel. He hopes to complete the race for the 10th time this year. In the winter, he competes in one-man canoe races and stand-up paddleboards.

The Workout
Mr. Luedi says he often works 18-hour days, so to fit in his strength and cardio he wakes at 3 a.m. Workouts vary as on Tuesday and Thursday he does weights and cardio at the hotel fitness center.

The Fairmont corporate headquarters are in Toronto, so the time difference means Mr. Luedi can answer emails and make calls for an hour before he hits the resort’s gym. For 90 minutes, he warms up on the bike and then does a strength routine focused on the muscles used for paddling. “The paddle technique actually has to do more with rotating your upper body so you are using your lats, your lower- and upper-back muscles, and your core,” says Mr. Luedi.

Christof Luedi is a Famous Runner from the Alps Enjoying Outrigger Canoeing

Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings he runs through the resort before work. Two runs are often shorter distances, but at a high intensity, which he monitors with a heart-rate monitor. He might run hard for five minutes and then jog for two minutes, or he might sprint up a short, steep hill and jog down four or five times. Once a week, he goes on a slower-paced endurance run for about two hours.

He trains with his canoe club Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings for two hours.

The Diet
He eats five or six small meals a day. He has two cups of coffee each morning as well as oatmeal, yogurt and fruit. Lunch and dinner are salads with chicken or fish, such as ono, ahi, or mahi-mahi. Snacks might include mango, papaya, pineapple, apple, bananas or a sweet potato. “The Hawaiian Islands provide for a very healthy diet,” he says.

Long races, where he is active for six hours or more, require him to constantly refuel. He’ll take an electrolyte pill every hour while paddling and a homemade energy gel.

The Gear
Mr. Luedi says his first paddle was a used one for $40. Top-of-the-line paddles of carbon fiber can cost around $250. One-man outrigger canoes can run as much as $4,500, but Mr. Luedi says a used one can go for around $1,000. He paid $2,5000 for his stand-up paddleboard. His canoe-club membership costs $130 a year.

He runs in Onitsuka Tiger, a retro-looking Japanese minimalist sneaker that costs $50 a pair. A longtime proponent of the minimalist footwear movement, Mr. Luedi recently started to run in his flip-flops. At first, he would just run his warm-up before a canoe race in them. Eventually he started logging more miles. Flip-flops “are the quintessential footwear in Hawaii,” he says. “I can go 15 miles in them. People find it very amusing.” His Garmin heart-rate monitor cost $150.

The Playlist
On his long runs, he listens to a mix of Hawaiian music, top-40 hits, and songs by Elton John and Guns N’ Roses.

Christof Luedi is a Famous Runner from the Alps Enjoying Outrigger Canoeing and maybe the next time your thinking of visiting our relaxing islands, you too may want to give outrigger canoeing a try…

~~Aloha Nui Loa

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The Aloha Festival – Experience Hawaiian Hospitality

Aloha Festival 2013The Aloha Festival – Experience Hawaiian Hospitality all through the month of September, with events each week. At the Pearlridge Center they will be celebrating “Kids Day” on Sept. 14th. Ending on the last weekend in September you will have the opportunity to enjoy the 67th Annual Floral Parade.

“The Aloha Festivals, a staple of Oahu’s festival calendar since 1946, returns to Honolulu next month in a celebration filled with food, tradition and music.

The Aloha Festivals, one of the islands’ biggest celebrations, kicks off with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Royal Hawaiian Center. This year’s king and queen will be introduced amid plenty of fanfare, including traditional chants and hula.

The celebrations continue at various venues for the next three Saturdays.

Sept. 14 is kid’s (keiki in Hawaiian) day with a variety of activities at the Pearlridge Center. Children’s musical groups and hula troupes will provide entertainment from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

Young Entertainer

The Aloha Festival – Experience Hawaiian Hospitality

“Sept. 21 will herald the return of Waikiki Hoolaulea, Hawaii’s largest block party, along Kalakaua Avenue between Lewers Street and Kapahulu Avenue. Thousands of people will take to the streets as top island entertainers take to the stage. Food trucks will dish up local favorites, and crafts vendors will be selling their wares, including fresh floral leis.

The festivities climax on Sept. 28, when the 67th annual floral parade begins at 9 a.m. Traditional Hawaiian cowboys, hula dancers, marching bands and colorful floats cascading with Hawaiian flowers will proceed along Kalakaua Avenue from Ala Moana Park to Kapiolani Park.

The parade will highlight the theme of this year’s festival:  “Moana Nui Akea – Celebrate Ocean Voyaging.”

By Jay Jones”

Info: (808) 483-0730

The Aloha Festival – Experience Hawaiian Hospitality and there will be plenty to keep everyone busy celebrating all month long…

~~Aloha Nui Loa

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Could this be Mars or is it really Hawaii?

Could this be Mars or is it really Hawaii? If you didn’t see the man sitting in the picture, you would think that you were viewing a photo from Mars. Training has actually started right on The Big Island of Hawaii and not too far from Mauna Loa. You probably never thought you would see the day when Hawaii would be used for a training exercise, with a comparable landscape to the planet Mars.

NASA Training in Hawaii

NASA’s Mars training is taking place in Hawaii.

The space agency recently spent $1 million on a “Martian” mission that required the slopes of a Hawaiian volcano.

NASA used the Mauna Loa volcano to stage a four month geodesic-dome “habitat.” Astronauts were forced to live inside their space suits as they walked outside of their domes.

 Could this be Mars or is it really Hawaii?

The $1 million Hawaii observation is part of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission funded by NASA’s Human Research Program, the University of Hawaii, and Cornell University.

The purpose of the mission is to determine how astronauts will cook food when on Mars. Speaking to Astrobiology Magazine HI-SEAS, Commander Angelo Vermeulen revealed: “Some successful meals were Russian borscht, Moroccan tagine, ‘enchilasagna’ [and] seafood chowder.”

Vermeulen added:

“The freeze-dried meat is only really enjoyable when used in meals. In itself it’s too bland and hardly has any aroma.”

The crew’s favorite food was a “slimy” dish called “Kung Fu Chicken.”

The biggest success arrived in the form of dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables. Because of the need for fruits and veggies, astronauts used those food stuffs in almost every meal they prepared.

Researchers also studied how robotic arms could be used to grow hydroponic food on terrestrial planets.

NASA astronauts also learned what it would be like to walk on Mars soil minus a change in gravity.

With a Mars flight still two decades away, many more “Mars missions” will be planned and executed on terrestrial type terrains.

 Could this be Mars or is it really Hawaii? As the song goes… “Is there life on Mars?” Well, there is in Hawaii…

 ~~Aloha Nui Loa

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