My Point of Heu
The Top 5 Spots for Vegan Food on Oahu
By Olena Heu
The vegan food scene in Hawaii has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. While farmers, chefs and health enthusiasts grow more earth conscious, and aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet, eating vegan can be both healthy and amazingly delicious. Here are our picks for the best vegan spots to chow down on.
1. Ai Love Nalo - Created in a region that was once deemed a food dessert, only offering fast food and mainly unhealthy options, Ai Love Nalo sources from the region (including it’s backyard garden of eatin’) and is aimed at opening people’s eyes and minds to incorporate consuming more plants and a healthier lifestyle.
Stand-out dishes include the Kau Kau Luau plate, Medi Bowl, Tofu Poke Bowl and their freshly-made smoothies and fruit slushes. The plates and dishes are so hearty and delicious you won’t even miss the meat. Vibrant beet hummus and tofu that tastes just like fish poke will make your mouth water.
Ai Love Nalo
41-1025 Kalanianaole Hwy
Waimanalo, HI 96795
2. The Beet Box Cafe - Organic and local is the theme of this popular eatery that has locations in both Haleiwa and Kailua. With it’s hip 80’s nostalgic vibe and attention to detail, the fruits and vegetables are delivered four times a week to ensure freshness and the best quality.
Must-try items include an array of crunchy, refreshing and filling acai bowls, the vegan breakfast burrito which is served all day and is full of vegetables, beans, rice, tofu and Soyrizo, the Yogi Bowl and delightful Thai Tacos.
The Beet Box Cafe
66-437 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
46 Ho’olai Street
Kailua, HI 96734
3. Vegan Hills - A gourmet version of vegan dining atop Waialae Avenue, Vegan Hills proudly showcases artisanal vegan-only dishes, expertly prepared, sustainably sourced and they also offer cocktails too. 100% plant-based, the chefs find unique and creative ways to craft menu items that seem to reflect taste and texture that surprises and elates the taste buds.
Hearty and delicious menu standouts include the Da Nang Beach Vietnamese-style noodles with greens and sweet spicy dressing, Coco-Mari king oyster mushrooms battered and fried to perfection, and the organic, cashew cream tomato and eggplant Lasgna de Amalfi.
3585 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
4. Juicy Brew - Known for their piping hot coffee and delicious colorful food, with grab ‘n go options in Kaimuki and along Beretania Street, Juicy Brew is aiming to open the eyes of eaters everywhere to the plant-based options available to them. Launched by a pair of earth-conscious and sustainable sisters, Juicy Brew creates both nourishing and wholesome dishes.
People love their baked treats, fresh juices and comfort foods like casserole, sandwiches and pies. Can’t nail down their menu? That’s because it changes every day and depends on the inventory of ingredients, availability of product and what inspires them. It’s almost like experiencing a holiday you know you’re in for a treat, you just don’t know what to expect.
1401 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
3392 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
5. Downbeat Diner - If you love that nostalgic diner vibe, eats that are reminiscent of classic dishes like fried chicken and waffles, milkshakes and robust meals chock full of flavor… Downbeat doesn’t compromise. While American diner fare is what they serve, surprisingly the additional vegan options don’t leave you hanging.
The vegan citrus spareribs showcases cutlets in a soy citrus glaze, BBQ Vegan Wings, Vegan Waffles, and Vegan Milkshakes make this diner nestled in the heart of Chinatown an appealing option for those who are vegan and aren’t so much. Together guests can enjoy the best of both worlds.
42 N. Hotel Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
The Story Behind the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
By Olena Heu
On the west end of Waikiki you’ll find a famous white sandy stretch of sand called Kahanamoku Beach, Kaiser Bowls surf break, the Ala Wai Boat Harbor and nestled in between it all is a dazzling lagoon. The crystal clear water, small fish and a rainbow of beach-goers enjoying the water, is a picturesque stop for some fun in the sun, sand and sea.
The Duke Paoa Kahanamoku lagoon is a man-made saltwater oasis, named after a man with an extraordinary legacy. Kahanamoku was the beloved father of modern day surfing, a revered Hawaiian Olympian and admired ambassador of Aloha. The legendary waterman was born in the region of Waikiki, which prior to development was mainly fishponds, marsh, streams and swampland.
Back in the 1920’s a popular beach cottage sitting on these several acres along the oceanfront of the pacific, was once named the Niumalu Hotel. In the mid 1950’s developer Fritz Burns and industrialist (Honolulu resident) John Henry Kaiser purchased the property and began an expansion project to form Kaiser’s Hawaiian Village.
With a vision to create a tropical resort complete with multiple towers, an array of swimming pools and an expanded beach, the lagoon was created on 5 acres of land. The man-made-lagoon was built in 1956 fronting the Hawaiian Village and just steps from the ocean’s edge. In 1961, hotelier Conrad Hilton purchased the property, which included 22 beachfront acres, and the lagoon had eventually become owned and managed by both the state and the hotel.
After several decades, the lagoon became un-swimmable, uninviting and was in dire need of repair and restoration. Thus the Hilton Hawaiian Village invested $15 million to replenish and enhance the pond, installing a brand new water circulating system and manicuring the landscaping. To everyone’s delight in 2007 the lagoon was restored and has been a breathtakingly beautiful landmark ever since.
The famous Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon is now a popular spot for visitors, locals, walkers, swimmers, stand-up paddle boarders, picnickers, BBQs and more. It also serves as a central area for families, couples walking along the shore hand-in-hand and provides a beautiful backdrop for some of the most iconic views of Diamond Head, the warm pacific ocean and for sunbathing on the beach.
With about 2 1/2 months in isolation I've been catching up on everything and anything streamable online. Netflix has its most popular shows and fan favorites. I wanted to give you an honest review of the shows that I have enjoyed the most lately. Here's a look at those that were the most entertaining, kept my interest and I would say are binge-worthy.
1. Black Mirror
Season 1 originally began in 2011 and has now reached 5 seasons, this take on a modern-day Twilight Zone features standalone episodes and each has a strange and unusual twist. Some may seem dark and disturbed while others are just plain satire and suspense. Warning these shows are not for the conservative, as they take on controversial topics and uncomfortable situations. But it is oddly addicting with very original and relevant plot-lines.
2. Tiger King
Spoiler alert, all of these people featured on the show are crazy. Unfortunately, I suspected that they would be utilizing the big cats in order to make a profit in the name of breeding and conservation -- and yes they all are. While I think some want to believe these people are in it for the greater good of the species and animal rights, in the end they are seeking fame and mostly fortune - but with that said it is very interesting, produced well and it's almost like watching a circus unravel before your eyes. The only downside is it does seem to glorify misconduct and abuse of animals but in the name of animal rescue.
3. Too Hot To Handle
Probably the greatest thing to come out during quarantine, this show is gloriously funny, absurd, entertaining, visually appealing, keeps you on your toes and full of laugh out loud hilarity. There is nothing educated, inspiring or academic about this- it is purely a dating reality show wherein the people on it think they are going to a resort to hook up and have sex. But once they arrive they find out they can't be intimate or even kiss or risk loosing the pot of prize money at the end. We needed this mindless, comical and vibrant show to laugh, scoff at and make side bets on. (It's so terrible it's good)
Being of Jewish descent I was interested to see what this show was about. It is a little slow in the beginning but is an in-depth look at what it was like for a real-life Hasidic woman to flee an American orthodox community and an arranged marriage with the hopes of finding herself. in Berlin, Germany. Once it gets going it is really good and captivating. The drama is excellent and then when it ends, it ends. That's it. Apparently there won't be a sequel either - if there were I would watch it. It's very good.
5. The Unibomber In His own words
I was so young when the unibomber drama was unfolding and didn't really grasp the length and severity of what was happening. This is an excellent look back and investigation into how long this person terrorized the country. An excellent documentary that shares a great deal of information. I found this to be extremely valuable and brilliantly done.
6. Next In Fashion
Another reality TV fashion show, but this one has immense talent from around the globe and the garments these designers are able to create are jaw dropping. Well thought out challenges and the dynamic between the competitors is extremely entertaining as they are paired together and then separated once in the finals. Really great production and I enjoyed each episode.
7. The Circle
Oddly bizarre a handful of people fly across the world to live in an apartment building where they never get to see each other in person and can only communicate via social networking - they have to vote each other off in a mishmash of Big Brother Meets, Catfish, Survivor. In this social media and digital world it is really interesting to see how people perceive each other and who they think is being real or fake. There are other versions in other countries and the USA second season is casting now. Very interesting to watch as they seemed to be just like us in quarantine unable to leave the apartment.
8. Never have i ever
Cute show about an Indian-American teenage girl who goes through the trials and tribulations of high school, her father's death, boys, popularity, friendships and etc. It's a feel good show that keeps you entertained. In the middle it almost seems like the same episode over and over, but then it develops a bit more and it's very endearing.
9. Extreme Engagement
A female news anchor fiancee and her cameraman soon to be husband, travel the world for a year to some of the most remote regions to experience what it is like to celebrate and prepare for a wedding in rural villages and communities. The twist is they dated, got engaged and then the boyfriend left and worked abroad for some time, so they haven't really seen one another or been together in each other's company for a while. She's a bit high maintenance and he's rugged so there is conflict and it's very entertaining.
10. Iron Fist
Presumed dead after a plane crash a cute caucasian boy is found and raised by kung fu warrior monks, then returns home to America to try and re-claim his life and his family's multi-billion dollar business. It's part super hero meets drama action flick. Not realistic at all but surprisingly entertaining for both genders... this was a fun show to watch as a couple after dinner.
Some of my all-time-favorite shows to watch (in the past) on Netflix are:
Jane The Virgin
Orange Is The New Black
Dead To Me (Season 2 is out now)
American Horror Story
As an only child to a single parent... often times I do/did feel lonely, or as if I don't/didn't have any family. Since my mother's passing from metastatic breast cancer 2 years ago, these feelings have been amplified each year. Honestly on holidays, her birthday and even the anniversary of her death, I am ok. I don't start to feel melancholy or sadness until Mother's Day rolls around. I think because there are constant reminders everywhere and a lot of emphasis is placed on this holiday.
While it is a joyous event and one that we should recognize and celebrate... to be completely honest my mother and I, didn't have the most best relationship. For 7 years we were estranged and it wasn't until she was diagnosed with cancer that she emailed me to let me know of her diagnosis. As her only daughter and only relative for thousands of miles, and as a human to care for another human, we were able to reconcile and share a few extra years together before she passed away. Relationships are never easy and they often take work, no one is perfect and even as I reflect back on those feeling of loss and grief I get a lump in my throat.
I remember the bad times and I also remember the numerous good times. I know it is extremely important to not suppress these feelings and to let them out when it happens. Like a tsunami the wave of sadness rolls in... but then there is a period of relief and solace afterwards. Does it get easier? I think so. Will I ever get over this? I am not sure. Obviously when someone is gone the people left behind are the ones that it impacts the most.
Last year, in December I also lost my grandmother - my mom's mom. Lucky for me I had a strong desire to see her in May, just 7 months before she would be gone. I hadn't seen her for maybe 20 years and it was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect. With the passing of my mother and the passing of my grandmother I have been able to connect with family that I hadn't seen since I was a teenager.
While this year's Mother's Day is a painful one, it is ok to feel sorry and learn to cope with these feelings. I do think eventually the emotions won't run so high... but it will just take time.
As a social and marketing expert with 20 years of experience... this Pandemic has been immensely stressful and a trying time for businesses and our community. My job is to facilitate and assist others with their marketing needs and I've helped to implement some very successful initiatives to help local businesses thrive during this challenging time. Here's a look at the 5 must-do and must-try options to stay afloat amid a crisis.
1. Communication is key
Opening the lines of communication, talking things through, sharing ideas, thoughts, engaging and even venting is the perfect way to convey how things are going, what you are doing, what is working, what isn't. First and foremost you should share your hours, how you are working now and when, what you are offering and craft a statement for your customers that is clear, concise, sympathetic to all and authentic. This lays the groundwork for your plan of action and open communication is the most and foremost important aspect of maintaining your business. I can't stress this enough! If you don't communicate no one will know, including myself how to best help, support and overall awareness. No communication is practically falling into a black hole.
2. Be Proactive
Yes, times are changing and times are hard - but instead of saying things with a negative spin, flip it and be positive - lessening your hours, closing, not being open, not seeing clients? Change it to "we have new and improved hours to serve you" or "we're making it easier and more comfortable for clients to meet with us virtually or by phone" always look at a way to make it positive. If you are a contact-free facility say so and say why and how you are protecting people rather than we don't allow shopping or unannounced guests. Always keep it positive and up-lifting.
There isn't a magic wand to make everything good again... but you have to be flexible, open minded and open to adapting, changing, pivoting. You may have a plan, but daily, plans can change. You may want to stop marketing efforts, but honestly marketing is the #1 most important role right now. Be flexible when it comes to the news, government changes, frustrations, woes and be ready to pivot.
4. Think Outside the box
Doing what you regularly do and not offering anything to incentivise customers likely wont help. You need to be an outside thinker and offer new, innovative and appealing options. Discounts, BOGO, package deals, happy hours, customer appreciation, collaborations, free shipping, free delivery, additional assistance, gift cards, quicker service, more efficient service and online/mobile options can make or break a business. Take what you would normally do but think bigger - like 500Xs bigger and better.
Give to get
Lastly, thinking globally and acting locally will help spread your good karma and show your commitment to the community. If you have excess food donate it. If you don't need something share it. Got spare change or some extra cash spend it. If you want to give back to the community the community will give back to you. It all comes full circle and if your heart is in the right place people will see it. There are so many worthy causes that are giving to our community right now: foodbanks, homelessness, senior citizens, children, needy communities, first responders, etc.
I never could have imagined something like this would happen... Global shutdowns, an economic crisis, global pandemic, etc. But it is comforting to know that as a whole, as a community, as a state, as a nation and as a planet - we are in this together.
Inspirational stories of people going above and beyond, volunteering, giving back, giving all that they have and giving their lives have hit my heart. If there is anything I can say or do - it is to encourage you all to remain positive. It may be challenging as we are all frustrated, struggling, scared and confused, but we are all together on this path with no known ending.
With that I figured I would compile some information that may be useful at this time:
As of April 25, 2020:
RESERVED SPECIALTY SHOPPING HOURS
Times Super Markets: 5am-7am (Kupuna)
Big Save: 5am-7am (Kupuna)
Foodland: (the first hour of business) Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (some stores open at 5am or 6am, locations vary) Kupuna.
Safeway: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday 6am-9am - Kupuna, Pregnant Women or those with preexisting Medical Conditions.
Down To Earth: Senior Hour 7am-8am, Kupuna Kokua program also offers arrangements for free community deliveries for kupuna.
Whole Foods: One hour before the store opens, kupuna.
CVS/Longs Drugs: Oahu Tuesday & Thursday 9am-10am, Big Island & Kauai 9am-10am and Maui Monday & Thursday 8am-9am - includes vulnerable guests and caregivers.
Target: Tuesday and Wednesday 8am-9am vulnerable guests
So this morning, I was scrolling through social media, as we all are everyday... some all day LOL.
Today, when I browsed the account I saw their followers had gone up upwards of 3,000 people since I last managed it a year ago, but the likes and engagements were abysmal. They went from having thousands of organic followers (with me and my management with hundreds of likes) to not being able to even break 50 likes and only living in double digits with no engagements.
So what does this mean? Well you paid for more followers, but that does not mean you are proving successful at marketing, communication or sales. If you have thousands of "fake' followers this also makes you look inauthentic and things don't really match up - so anyone who sees your account and sees your likes will know you bought those followers. Essentially it is a part of the time honored tradition of quality over quantity. You want quality people, like quality friends who are going to support you, follow you on your journey and engage with you and share.
This isn't anything new, but it did remind me that too much emphasis is put on the total number of followers and not enough on authentic engagements and actual reach.
My clients can rest assured that their accounts are enriched with quality over quantity - although some have high quantity and we've grown that over the years. I am also lucky and happy to report that all of my main clients are thriving and I have even taken on a few new ones last week.
I've been home now -- "social distancing" or perhaps people distancing for a month and a half. Honestly, 42 of those days have been just fine, sometimes great, at times exhausting and a tiny bit chaotic. But not going to lie there have been a few where I want to be a log on the couch or find myself troubled with cabin fever.
Here are some of my tips for staying bright, cheery and sane during this trying time.
Helpful COVID Crisis Tips
How to make a cloth facemask for just 2 elastic bands and a piece of cloth (bandana)
With the stay home order in effect until the end of April... April 30th to be exact, and we are still in March, it may be helpful to come-up with some ideas to stay busy, entertained, gratified and equipped during these isolated times. Here's an easy guide to get your creative juices flowing, keep your heart pumping and your mind active.
First things first - make a to-do or honey do list.
Yard work can be one of the most gratifying things around, you feel great from being outside, you get the vitamin D from the sun, you workout a little and you can see your hard work in the end.