Thank you for stopping by!  I hope to feature both real estate and lifestyle information regarding living on this wonderful island, and particularly on the Windward Side.  

The towns of Kailua, Kaneohe and Waimanalo all have their own personalities.  Hopefully, you get a chance immerse yourself in all they have to offer! 

There is so much to do, see and experience!  My hope to to give you a little taste here.  Please read on...

Thank you ~ Jill

March 13, 2019

Adventure Awaits: Choose a Path that Leads to Breathtaking Views

Ideas for Hikes and Walks on the East Side

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt,” said John Muir, father of the National Park System and founder of the Sierra Club.

Fortunately, the east side of Oahu is home to many picturesque hikes and walks, so you can take Muir’s advice.

Choose from greenery and waterfalls, sweeping views of the coast, or a leisurely stroll. Please read on for a few favorites along with some information about their historical significance. 


Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Lookout Trail –Waimanalo

Makapu’u is a 2.5-mile roundtrip paved hike. A recently revamped parking area provides access to the trailhead.

The best time to hike the Lighthouse Lookout Trail is very early in the morning. The lack of shade on the trail means daylight hours can yield a sweaty, sweltering hike. But, begin in the before-dawn hours and you’ll enjoy a cool, breezy walk. Bring a flashlight and maybe even a jacket or sweatshirt as it can get very windy as you reach higher elevations.  (Official parking lot hours begin at 7am.)

A view of the sunrise from the top of the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Lookout Trail is bound to be one of the most memorable sights of your life. Time your walk so that you reach the top before the sun peaks over the horizon and you’ll be rewarded with a tiny orange glow that resembles a candle flame before it expands into the sun’s full, fiery glow.

When you reach the top, you will find the Makapu’u Point Light Station. It was established in 1909 as a light for vessels bound from the United States. The tower is built on concrete with an iron lantern with glass storm panes to protect the lens and illuminating apparatus. 

I was fortunate enough to get a tour inside the lighthouse about 10 years ago. The giant window panes are gorgeous and the light bulb room was something from a movie set.

On the way down, the daylight hours provide sweeping views of Oahu’s southeastern coastline and views of the Windward coast. Additionally, if you’re on the trail between December and May, you might be fortunate enough to spot some whales frolicking in the water.

Makapuu Lighthouse

Kaiwa Ridge (Lanikai Pillbox trail) – Kailua

The Kaiwa Ridge Trail or Lanikai Pillbox Trail is a 1.8-mile roundtrip, steep, rocky hike. The trailhead is located on a paved private driveway along Kaelepulu Drive. The driveway is opposite the Mid Pacific Country Club & Golf Course.

There is very little shade on this hike, so to avoid the heat (and crowds) visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Wear shoes with grip, as the scrubby plants and loose rocks can make this hike challenging in some spots. Though this hike is short, it gains 500 feet in elevation.

In recent years, the trail’s popularity caused the first of the two “pillboxes” along the hike to fall into disrepair and become structurally unsound. The Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the trail and its structures for two months starting in March of last year to replace concrete and remove and replace rusted steel roof supports.

According to military historians, the two famed “pillboxes” are not actually pillboxes. In military terms, a pillbox is a concrete or dug-in guard post equipped with holes through which to fire weapons. The Kaiwa Ridge Trail structures were constructed in 1943 and included high-powered telescopes to determine position of enemy ships.

This is where I insert my opinion on two issues.  First, many dogs have become dehydrated and very ill on this trail.  I’d advise against bringing your four-legged best friend, but if you do, go early and bring plenty of water.  Second, be considerate of the neighbors when you park, and do not park illegally.  Your safest and best bet is to park at Kailua Beach Park and walk over.   

Nevertheless, this is a gorgeous scenic hike with views of the Mokulua Islands, Kailua and Lanikai beaches, Waimanalo and the entire Windward coast.

 Lanikai Pillboxes

Byodo-in Temple  - Kaneohe

The Byodo-in Temple is an easy .5 mile stroll in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park at the foot of the Koolau Mountain Range. There is a modest admission fee of $3 per person and the operating hours are 9 am to 5 pm.

Stroll on the Temple’s abundantly landscaped grounds to view wild peacocks, koi, turtles, frogs and black swans. Charming foot bridges cross the small streams. There is also a reflecting pond, small waterfalls and even use a wooden log to strike the Sacred Bell. The meditation pavilion provides visitors with a spot for quiet contemplation.

The Temple itself is a non-practicing Buddhist temple which welcomes all religions. It is a smaller-scale replica of the over 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site in Uji, Japan. Established in 1968, the Byodo-in Temple was built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.


Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens – Kaneohe  

Hours are 9 am to 4pm and admission is free.

Hoomaluhia means “peaceful refuge” and this rainforest garden undoubtedly lives up to its name. There are numerous trails to choose for your stroll in this 200-acre wonderland of tropical plants. The greenery and flora is grouped by geographic region; Philippines, Malaysia, Tropical America, India and Sri Lanka, Melanesia, Hawaii, Polynesia, and Africa.

The grounds are also home to a visitor center with a lecture room, an exhibition hall, a workshop and a botanical library.

Flanked by the towering Koolau mountain range, the garden was designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood protection for Kaneohe. It was open to the public in 1982.


Maunawili Falls Trail – Kailua

This is a 2.4-mile roundtrip hike. Once again, you may opt to park on the residential streets in the Maunawili Estates subdivision. (Please be courteous of the people who live there.)

As you walk through a canopy of trees to the Maunawili Falls Trail, you are instantly transported to a tropical rain forest with abundant vegetation.

This hike can be quite challenging, as it features many exposed roots that can be trip hazards and several points at which you will be hopping rocks to cross the stream. Depending on how much it has rained recently, you could be wading through calf-high water.  If you’re bothered by hiking with soggy socks and wet feet, include water shoes in your backpack! 

In the winter or after heavy rains, expect LOTS of mud which can make the hike very slippery. Be sure your shoes have enough traction to keep you safe. And don’t forget insect repellent as the wet, humid weather here attracts mosquitoes.

The Maunawili Falls trail will provide you with sweeping views of the Windward side of Oahu, including Olomana, the Koolau range and the Koolaupoko watershed. But the real treasure is the hike’s finale – a spectacular waterfall with a swimming hole below. You’ll know you’ve almost reached the end when you arrive at the small set of stairs. Once at the water, there are signs that advise against jumping in the stream, but many people choose to throw caution to the wind and take the plunge.

The Maunawili Trail’s accessible stream and gradation once made this an ideal place for crop cultivation. Researchers have determined the Hawaiians grew taro in the area as early as 1100 A.D. In the 1800s, farmers began cattle ranching and cultivated coffee, nuts, fruits, rice, and sugar. Some of the coffee plants are still visible along the trail. 


So, grab your hiking shoes, get outside and enjoy the many breathtaking Windward sights.  And, always remember to be considerate of the neighbors and leave the land better than you found it. 


Photo credits:

Photo 1: Sunrise from the top of the Lighthouse Trail

Photo 2: Lanikai Pillbox Trail by Gregory Zammell

Photo 3: Byodo-In Temple

Photo 4:  Ho'omaluhia by Wild & Away via Upstream

Photo 5: Waterfall at the end of the Maunawili Falls Trail 

March 6, 2019

Sunny Side Up on the Windward Side: Breakfast Eggspresions in Kailua & Kaneohe

Over EasyOn the Windward side, we don’t have a shortage of sparkling, turquoise water, warm breezes and...breakfast restaurants - there are LOTS of breakfast restaurants! And the choices run the gamut from traditional bacon and eggs, to Hawaiian specialties such as Kalua pork, or healthier options such as fresh squeezed juice and acai bowls. You will also note that pancakes a theme: mac nut sauce, lilikoi sauce or red velvet pancakes.  Read on for some great breakfast ideas here on the Windward side.

*Please note that the restaurants are featured in no particular order and it is no reflection on those who did not receive a full write up…just a function of time!


Boots & Kimo’s, 151 Hekili Street, Kailua   

Boots & Kimo’s menu includes an array of omelets such as the Huelo Paniolo Omelette with corned beef, kula onion, tomatoes, and melted Haleakala swiss cheese. The Homestyle Onolicious is two eggs, a choice of toast, hash browns or steamed rice and a meat of your choice. My boys devour the spam and Portuguese sausage.  They are likely best known for their Banana pancakes with Mac Nut Sauce.  (Oh, and if you’re here around lunchtime, try the kalbi!)


Moke’s Bread & Breakfast, 27 Hoolai Street, Kailua

If you try one thing at Moke’s Bread & Breakfast, be sure to order the Liliko’i Pancakes, Moke’s fluffy handmade pancakes with passion fruit sauce. In addition to the traditional eggs and bacons, Moke’s specializes in its signature baked goods made fresh every day. Try a honey butter biscuit, the coffee cake or the muffin of the day. These delectable pastries are also available to take home. (My personal fave is the Moke Nui omlette.)


Over Easy, 418 Kuulei Road #103, Kailua

One of Kailua’s newer offerings, the diminutive 1,000 square foot restaurant which opened in July 2016, serves breakfast with a twist. The dishes are creatively, reimagined morning fare such as the Brunch Bowl, with avocado, soft-boiled egg, chilled house-made yogurt, spinach, tomato jam, candied bacon, sourdough toast, and De La Mesa Farms micro greens. 

To satisfy a sweets craving, try the Custard French Toast crusted with crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and stuffed with orange creme fraiche.


Cinnamon’s Restaurant, 315 Uluniu Street, Kailua  

Cinnamon’s Restaurant, which has been a Kailua institution since 1985, has a wide-ranging menu of your usual breakfast favorites such as eggs and bacons, and more distinctive fare such as a large selection of Eggs Benedict variations including versions with kalua pork or smoked salmon.

A favorite among the children in my home are the homemade cinnamon rolls and the decadent Signature Red Velvet Pancakes.


Crepes No Ka ‘Oi, 143 Hekili Street in Kailua

Opened in 2008, Crepes No Ka ‘Oi serves “the best” crepes in Kailua. On the sweet list, the Sinfully Ono includes a choice of dark, milk or white chocolate, crushed graham crackers and marshmallows and topped with powdered chocolate or the lighter Berry Heavenly with melted butter, raw cane sugar, and fresh lemon juice topped with fresh blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and powdered sugar.

Being a savory girl, there are breakfast options in addition to those with or without meat. The Haole Boy includes melted colby jack cheese, black forest ham and chunks of fresh Maui Gold sweet pineapple.


Lanikai Juice, 600 Kailua Road in Kailua  

As its name suggests, Lanikai Juice’s specialty is fresh-squeezed and cold-pressed juices as well as fresh smoothies, and fruit bowls. There are 10 varieties of Acai bowls. Among the more unexpected offerings are the Monkey Bowl with banana, peanut butter, organic almond milk, vegan or whey protein (chocolate or vanilla) and topped with granola, banana, and chocolate chips.

I love the green juice, but will run in for an acai juice when I feel a cold coming on.


Egghead Espresso Bar, 25 Maluniu Avenue in Kailua

Another recently opened restaurant, the Egghead Espresso Bar, has every variety of hot, iced and blended coffee drink as well as a few innovative breakfast entrees and four varieties of Mochi waffles. Did someone say mochi??? For an Asian-inspired choice, try the Green Tea Mochi Waffle with ice cream and azuki beans and served with condensed milk.

You’ll find them on the parking lot side of Kailua Square.


Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku Gardens, 46-336 Haiku Road in Kaneohe   

In need of Sunday brunch with a killer view? The view of the tropical gardens and Koolau Mountains is the real standout at Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku Gardens in Kaneohe. This local institution serves an extravagant brunch on Sundays from 9 to 2. Offerings include Eggs Benedict, Kalua pork, prime rib, coconut shrimp, Belgian waffles, and an assortment of deserts. Try one of the restaurant’s specialty cocktails such as sparkling mango sangria or a lychee martini.

Haleiwa Joes

Other breakfast choices on the Windward side:

Times Coffee Shop has two locations: 47-388 Hui Iwa Street, Kaneohe and 153 Hamakua Drive, Suite A, Kailua

Kaneohe Pancake House, 46-126 Kahuhipa Street, Kaneohe

Morning Brew, 600 Kailua Road, Kailua

Chad Lou’s Coffeehouse, 45 Kihapai Street, Kailua

Big City Diner, 108 Hekili #101, Kailua

Nalu Health Bar and Café, 131 Hekili #109 in Kailua

And, of course, there’s always Zippy’s!!

Feb. 27, 2019

Bright ideas: What’s New and Now in Interior Lighting


Changing lighting fixtures has the power to transform a room. If you’re thinking of making a change but still feel like you’re in the dark, read up on the latest interior lighting trends and some advice from Tom Ogawa, owner of Lighting Concepts and Design in Honolulu.

  • Natural textures and materials are still very much on-trend for 2019. Try to think beyond the more common natural fibers such as wicker, rattan and woven grass to less commonly seen materials such as wood, cork and clay.
  • Marble bases in darker colors rather than the usual grey and white are very of the moment. For example, consider a black or dark green marble or marble-like finish.
  • Industrial minimalism in lighting will continue its popularity surge into 2019 but with a more refined look. Instead to the warehouse lighting styles that have been popular in recent years, expect to see more refined looks with coated metals and brass. The resurgence of Edison bulbs will continue.
  • For ceiling fixtures, rather than dropping down into a space, a more modern option is for the lighting to stay closer to the ceiling and spread across the width of a space.
  • Instead of track lighting or a series of small pendant lights over an island, consider a centerpiece-like large pendant light.

Ogawa said he is seeing many of the looks mentioned above, but a diverse clientele means he tends to outfit homes in a broad array of styles. Many of Ogawa’s clients prefer practical, timeless designs, and/or choose designs that fit their lifestyles and personal aesthetic rather than those dictated by trends, he said.

For example, residents of newer, modern condominiums will choose contemporary designs and clean lines.  On the other end of the spectrum, clients who have relocated from the mainland or who live on the mainland and have a second home here on Oahu favor more organic, warmer designs that have an island feel.

“Hawaii is such a unique market due to our melting pot of cultures, it’s difficult to pinpoint any one design trend,” he said. “We are blessed with so many different clients from all parts of the world.”

As LED performance improves as they become more affordable, most of Ogawa’s clients request those rather than incandescent lights, he said.

 “Fixtures are either offered with a built-in LED, or it has regular sockets which can be changed from an incandescent lamp to an LED.”

Some clients, however, are wary of fixtures with built-in LED because they don’t like the fact that they won’t be able to change the bulb. But LEDs are designed to last over 20 years, so by the time it stops working it will be well overdue to replace it anyway, Ogawa noted.

The one instance where Ogawa would recommend incandescent over LED is when you want the option to dim a light source to a very low light.

“With an incandescent, you can dim it down to the point where it's barely on and LED still has a way to go in that category,” he said.

For those who would like to make a dramatic change on a limited budget, Ogawa recommends switching from incandescent to LED. He cautions, however, that all LEDs are not the same and you will want to note the lumen output (brightness) and the kelvin temperature (higher kelvin temps = cooler colored lights and lower kelvin temps = warmer colored lights).

“Both will play a big part in the ambiance of the room,” Ogawa noted. “There is no rule of thumb that can be applied here, because everyone is different. A quick online search of cool white vs. warm white would be a good start to see what you prefer.”

Some Local Interior Lighting Sources:

  • Lighting Concepts and Design
  • City Mill
  • Lowe's Home Improvement
  • Home Depot

* Photo Courtesy of Lighting Concepts and Design



Feb. 20, 2019

Lighting Up the Night: Choosing the Best Exterior Lighting

Illuminate grilling area

Choosing the right exterior lighting is an integral part of making the most of year-round al fresco living after dark. Rick Benedict, owner of Beachside Lighting in Kailua, discussed how to choose the best lighting for aesthetics, safety, energy-savings, and our ocean side climate.



According to Benedict, the most important rule in regard to outdoor lighting aesthetics is ensuring the fixtures are as unobtrusive as possible. Beachside Lighting achieves that look by using smaller size luminaires and minimizing glare.

Benedict describes Beachside Lighting’s technique as the “opposite of putting a powerful floodlight on the corner of your garage and then blasting your yard.”

“Focusing on small scale fixtures allows the landscape architect or contractor to highlight certain areas of the landscape for functionality, safety and aesthetics,” Benedict said. “We want them to blend into the landscape so that they don’t stick out like a sore thumb during the day but still do their job at night.”

This includes strategic placement, so one is able to navigate on a path or steps but is not in danger of tripping.

In regard to style, some clients prefer a flat light with a more modern appearance, and some prefer a more rounded style that does protrude slightly from the ground, creating a more tropical look, according to Alika Peterson of A & K Landscaping in Kailua and Hawaii Kai. Path lights are usually above the ground on 16-inch stems so that they clear the ground cover, he said.

Tree light

Energy Savings

Beachside Lighting exclusively uses LED lighting, Benedict said. There are many advantages to LED lights. LED lights are brighter and don’t get hot enough to burn plants as halogen lights can, Peterson said. Most importantly, LED lights use much less energy.

“It is very valuable to use LED in a place like Hawaii where we have very high electricity rates,” Benedict said. “On the mainland in a place like the Midwest, energy might be 10 cents a kilowatt hour but here it is 30 cents a kilowatt hour, so the energy efficiency made available by LEDs makes a bigger impact.”

Switching from incandescent sources to LEDs is enabling clients to pay one fifth to one sixth as much money as they did previously, he said.

“Pretty soon, no one is going to be talking about the old days and halogen,” Benedict added.


Rust Resistance

Here in Hawaii, landscape lighting must be made of heavy-duty materials that can withstand our region’s salt air.

Beachside Lighting uses fixtures made of unfinished brass with stainless steel fasteners. Brass develops a patina over time, but does not rust.

“The copper within the brass alloy will change color and age it as it reacts with the elements,” Benedict said. Here, it starts off with a more reddish color and then takes on a greenish hue.

The look of a natural, aged brass is particularly suitable in a tropical garden.

Clients that prefer a more contemporary look sometimes choose a silver or power-coated black finish, but those are subject to fading in the sun, Peterson said.


Limited Budget, Big impact

If you were to choose one impactful lighting element to add some drama to your garden, Benedict suggests adding a fixture to a tree that shines down to the ground, so you are creating illumination without seeing its origin.

Contractors can or strap this type of fixture to a tree, depending on the type of tree.

“By having it in a tree instead of along a path, you basically eliminate the likelihood that it’s going to get kicked around or damaged,” Benedict said.

Three techniques allow proper glare reduction with downlighting. The first is placing the light perpendicular - rather than parallel - to the ground to reduce glare. The second is to add a glare shield or snoot to the fixture to help shield light from the side. The third technique is use of a hexcell louver (also nicknamed “honeycomb” louver underneath the fixture’s glass), which creates several vertical sections, typically 1/8” thick, which the light has to exit through.

“With glare reduction or elimination, you have to guess where the light source is located, and that is a good thing!” Benedict said.

So, once you get your tropical landscaping projects completed (Tropical Gardening Blog Post), be sure to add beautiful exterior lighting.


Photos courtesy of Beachside Lighting 

Photo 1:  A switch controls a tree-mounted downlight to illuminate the BBQ when cooking, while well lights provide continuous backlighting of the foliage.

Photo 2: A tree mounted downlight. 

Feb. 13, 2019

Beautify your Property with Lush Tropical Gardening

Guzmania plantPlanning and Adorning Your Tropical Garden with Lush Greens and Brightly-Colored Flowers

One of the greatest joys of living in Hawaii is the ability to have a lush, tropical landscape in your own backyard. Planning and tending to a tropical garden in our warm, humid climate is not difficult. Here are some easy guidelines for your tropical, Hawaiian garden.

To create that jungle-like environment of a true tropical garden, you’ll want to use a rich mix of textures; dense, large-leafed plants; and, vibrantly-colored flowers. Be sure to plant in soil that is rich in organic matter to help hold moisture in the soil. Add additional organic materials, such as fertilizer, if necessary.

In order to create an abundant appearance, think vertical layers; a canopy of trees, a layer of shrubs and perennials and a final tier of low plants and ground cover.    

The best way to nurture your tropical garden can depend on which microclimate you live in, according to Paul Okuhara of Koolau Farmers Plant Nursery in Kailua. For example, here on or Windward side, in the Keolu Hills area where soil has large amounts of clay in it, it is best to add chicken manure or another soil conditioner. Okuhara recommends Menehune Magic Soil Conditioning.

In wetter areas, such as Maunawili or Kaneohe, it is beneficial to add cinders for drainage so that roots don’t rot. If you live closer to the beach, you’ll need to remove sand and add soil and manure, Okuhara said.

There are many flowering plants that work well in tropical gardens, according to Okuhara. For sunny spots, he recommends gardenias; mountain orchids, which are available in a variety of rich colors; vincas; New Guinea impatiens; and marigolds. For shadier areas, he suggests mondo grass, which is not flowering; guzmania, a type of bromeliad; and palms.


The University of Hawai’i at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service is a great resource for the best native plants (both edible and non-edible) to start or add to your garden.

Favorites for landscaping include:

Koai’a (a smaller version of the familiar Koa tree)

Kou (a medium-sized tree)

‘A’ali’I (small tree)

Nanu (fragrant flowering plant with white flowers)

Ma’o Hao Hele (ground cover with yellow flowers with a dark purple center)

Ohi ‘A Lehua (dark red-flowered tree)

Naio (fast-growing shrub or small tree  - ok in wet area)

Pritchardia Martii (small palm)

Hawaiian Soapberry (tree)

Beach Naupaka (hedge, filler, groundcover)

For more info on vegetables to grow in Hawaii, go to

For herb gardens, Okuhara recommends creating a raised bed. There are endless possibilities of herb choice, such as basil, Chinese parsley, rosemary, spearmint, thyme, lemongrass, and cat grass (to aid your feline friend’s digestion).


For accessories, browse through Geobunga, which has stores in Waimanalo and Honolulu. The store’s web site ( includes an inspirational gallery and a blog with ideas. Geobunga sells an array of choices such as decorative rocks and gravel, beautiful pots, stone Buddha statues and delicate water features to add ambiance and style.

Now, it’s time to get planting!


All photos taken at Koolau Farmers Plant Nursery with permission: 

A guzmania plant, which grows best in shaded areas

2. Flower varieties that thrive in sunshine

3. Rows of herbs

Feb. 6, 2019

Aloha, Spot! Moving Your Pet to Hawaii

Aloha Spot

Moving house is stressful for anyone - moving with a beloved four-legged family member has its own added worries. And, moving with a pet to Hawaii is even more complicated! If you take some time to prepare your pet, and plan ahead, your move to Hawaii will be as seamless as possible.

Preparing your pet

Some cats and dogs become anxious when their home is being packed up. To minimize a cat’s distress, keep them in one room until the end of the packing process. For dogs, ask an understanding friend to take your dog to their home for a visit while the packing process takes place.

If your pet has not spent much time in a crate (ever OR recently), be sure they spend some quality time in a crate for weeks ahead of your trip to get acclimated or re-acclimated. Begin by putting their food in the crate with the door open and then eventually close the door while they eat.  You can also try carrying your pet around in the crate in the house, taking short car trips with them in the crate, or incorporating it into playtime, by throwing a ball into an open-doored crate during a game of fetch.

Hawaii Regulations

There is a very good reason that the state of Hawaii adheres to such strict requirements regarding moving a pet to the island chain: Hawaii is the only rabies-free state in the United States! So the state enforces these rigorous laws in order to keep its residents, visitors and pets from being exposed to this dangerous disease.

The state released updated requirements on Aug. 31, 2018, which allows a shorter waiting period than previously required to travel with your pet after completing a FAVN rabies antibody blood test.

A very detailed list of the instructions for the direct release and five day or less program can be found here: Checklist. Be sure to read them in entirety.

*** Any pet which qualifies for the five day or less program also qualifies for direct airport release.

** Please note, these guidelines are specific to the island of Oahu - if you are flying with your pet to Kona, Kahului, or Lihue airports, you’ll need a neighbor island inspection permit, which will be an additional cost.

Here are the basics to give you an understanding of the process:

Step 1 Planning

·         Meet all requirements on checklist INCLUDING ensuring all required documents are received by the Animal Quarantine Station (AQS) 10 days or more before the intends date of arrival for Direct Airport Release (DAR) in Honolulu.

Step 2 Microchip

·        Your dog or cat must have an electronic microchip implanted BEFORE the FAVN test is performed. Ask your vet to scan your pet’s microchip to ensure it is working.

Step 3 Rabies Vaccination

·        Your dog or cat must have had at least two rabies vaccinations in its lifetime. There are specific requirements as to the interval between the vaccinations and the documentation you must provide regarding the vaccines administration.

Step 4 FAVN Rabies Antibody Test

·         Have your pet tested for FAVN rabies antibodies and have the test sent to an approved lab.(approved lab list on Checklist)

*** after ample time has elapsed, you can go to this web site to search on your pet’s microchip number to be sure your pet’s FAVN test results have been received:

Step 5 Waiting Period

And this is why you MUST plan ahead!

·        To qualify for direct airport release or the 5 day or less program, you must wait at least 30 days following a successful FAVN test result before arriving with your pet in Hawaii. If you arrive before the 30 days have elapsed, your pet will be subject to quarantine on the island.

Step 6 Completed Dog and Cat Import Form  

·         The AQS-279 import form can be found on

·         Original certificates for two rabies vaccinations

·        An original health certificate drafted within 14 days of arriving in Hawaii including information regarding tick treatment which was administered within 14 days of arrival. You will be able to carry the health certificate with you and submit it upon arrival

** specific information that MUST be included on these forms can be found on

Step 7 Submitting Documents by mail beforehand

·        Send documents (with return receipt to verify delivery) so they are received more than 10 days before arrival in Honolulu. 

·        These are the documents you will need to submit beforehand:  Dog and Cat Import Form, a cashier’s check or money order for $244 for 5 day or less program or for $185 for direct airport release that includes your pet’s microchip number.

·        Retain copies as backup. 

When you arrive at the Airport

Dogs and cats arriving in Honolulu are taken by airline personnel to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. At this facility, the staff takes pets out of their carriers and places them in indoor kennels with fresh water.

The airport holding facility has specific hours for pickup so be sure to schedule a flight that lands when the facility is open.  To avoid an overnight stay for your pet, be sure to check with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture regarding pickup times.

Which Airline?

Despite some issues in recent years, United PetSafe is still one of the easiest ways to fly your dog to Hawaii. Last year, the airline released new, more stringent guidelines for the type of dogs and cats it will transport. Out of concern for adverse health effects, it will no longer transport any snub-nosed or strong jawed dogs or cats. Check the web site for detailed guidelines and restrictions.

There are also private companies, such as Island Pet Movers, which will conduct all arrangements and physically fly your pet. Island Pet Movers, which is veteran-owned and operated, can send your pet before or after you leave or arrive. They will bring your pet to your chosen boarding facility and deliver him/her right to your door.

Military members who are on PCS orders can bring their pets on military space-A flights. There are only a few spots available per mission so you must request a pet reservation as soon as you have PCS orders.


United petsafe

Jan. 30, 2019

Natural Wood Furnishings and Accessories for Your Home

Wood Table

The outdoor lifestyle on the Windward side of O’ahu lends itself beautifully to natural elements in decor, especially natural wood furniture and accessories. Locally, there are many places to purchase custom, natural wood furniture, accessories and distinctive imported wood pieces.

Waimanalo resident, Kini Ziegner, has been creating natural wood furniture for more than 40 years and started his business, Woodworking Hawaii, in 2008.

Building is second nature to Ziegner, who grew up watching both his father and grandfather build furniture, swimming pools and even homes.

To create his one-of-a-kind pieces, Ziegner uses a variety of local woods, including mango, mahogany and koa. Monkeypod is his favorite for its termite-resistance, affordability, stability and its wide variety of hues.

All of the wood that Ziegner uses comes from construction sites cleared for homes, commercial businesses or roads, much of which would have previously been used to make mulch.

“What I like is the conceptualization, acquiring the raw materials and using what I have at hand - what’s local and affordable – and making a product out of it that is aesthetically and structurally pleasing and is going to last for generations,” Ziegner said.

Rather than using electricity and drying the wood with a kiln, Ziegner uses a process called “stickering” in which he places a broomstick between slabs of wood so that air flows between them and allows for natural air-drying. Drying the wood slowly through this process means it is less apt to crack. This preparation process takes six months to one year depending on the thickness of the wood.

Once the wood is ready for building, the time it takes to create one piece varies, starting at about two weeks for a simple table, but Ziegner and his staff of ten are able to produce many pieces at one time.

Ziegner can build just about any type of furniture for your home, canoe paddles, and even smaller accessories such as jewelry boxes.

One of Ziegner’s favorite customization techniques and a trademark of his work is to add sea shells and colored glass so the table resembles the shoreline. This particular style has proved especially popular with military aviator clients who want to replicate the coastline as they see it from the air. It’s also a way to involve the younger family members in the creation of custom furniture, as they can choose their favorite shells for inclusion in the piece, Ziegner said.


Woodworking Hawaii – Custom Hawaiian Hardwood Furniture

41-625 Kaulukanu Street, Waimanalo, HI 96795

More Great Local Resources for Natural Wood Furniture and Accessories: 

Island Treasures - Island art and natural wood accessories made by local artists

629 Kailua Road #102

Kailua, HI 96734

Wood paddle

Red Bamboo - Handpicked painted and natural wood furniture imported from Bali, clothing and home accessories

602 Kailua Rd # 101

Kailua, HI 96734

Wood bowl 

Rust and Root – Custom, Hawaiian Hardwood Furniture

 41-829 Kakaina Street,

Waimanalo, HI, 96795


Bali Boo Furniture – Handpicked, imported Indonesian furniture and décor

The Koa Room - Handcarved Koa furniture made by craftsmen located here on- island and from Indonesia

201 Kapaa Quarry Pl Ste 401

Kailua, Hi 96734




Photo 1: Monkeypod table with resin inlay by Kini Ziegner of Woodworking Hawaii (courtesy of Woodworking Hawaii)
Photo 2: Cutting Board from Island Treasures
Photo 3: Bowl from Red Bamboo 

Jan. 23, 2019

“Tuxedo” Decor, Moody Colors and Concrete

Lotus bedroom

2019 Design Trends and How to Make them Work

Home design trends come and go as quickly as Windward rain showers.  As a homeowner, how can you incorporate the latest styles while remaining true to your own aesthetic? And what are some ways to integrate these up-to-the minute looks into our unique coastal environment?

Misty Kuo from Kailua-based Lotus Home Staging and Redesign weighed in on the latest trends and how to make them work in your home.

New and Now

On the color scene, black and white or “tuxedo” décor as well as darker, moodier shades like navy or forest green, are up and coming, according to Kuo, who co-owns Lotus Home Staging and Redesign with Kris Grimsley.

Surprisingly, there are some ways to successfully include those colors in our sunny environment!

Kuo suggests framed black and white photos and a black and white striped rug to complete the look.

“Palm trees always look good in black and white,” she added. “And darker, moodier colors are great here because we always have the sunshine. You can also mix in the darker colors with a wall paper with bright accents.”

Wallpaper is continuing its resurgence. Large florals - which are especially popular - lend themselves to the tropics.

 “Just remember to not overwhelm a space,” Kuo said. “Use wallpaper on an accent wall, bathroom or kitchen instead of all over. Balance is always the key in good design.”

In bathrooms, freestanding tubs are still seeing a resurgence, and in the kitchen, backsplashes that go all the way from the counter to the ceiling are of the moment.

“We love this because it creates a seamless flow,” Kuo said. “It tricks the eye into making the surface area look greater.”

Concrete furniture is also all the rage for 2019.

“You don’t have to go all out,” Kuo said. “But a few items, such as an end table or a bowl as a centerpiece, can add a bit of concrete without overwhelming the space.”

While “beach chic” is always fashionable, Kuo said, you don’t have to be too literal.

Lotus Home Staging and Redesign favors adding a “twist” such as a classic accent or antiques.

Think of a tertiary color to add with blues and grays, such as corals, pinks or even yellows to brighten things up,” Kuo said.

Lotus living area

Bringing the outside in

Aloha ‘Aina or “love of the land” is a part of life here in the islands. So it’s no surprise that bringing the outside in is one of the best ways to add that tropical vibe. Think greenery, natural wood, or even cement.

For a simple way to add a natural element, Kuo suggests filling a glass vase with water and then adding a clipping of monstera leaves, (which can last for months) or palm fronds.

If you think you have a green thumb, try live plants in a great pot. Luscious green plants are another way to integrate those darker colors, Kuo said, but be sure to speak to your local nursery to find out which plants work best indoors.

For wood accents, try a wooden bowl or a wooden pendant light over a kitchen table or an island.

Rust and other foes

Our humid climate and salty air can ravage many belongings, but even metals and leathers can work here and Lotus Home Staging and Redesign does use them.

Some homeowners prefer slipcovers that can be removed and washed, but some prefer leather which can be wiped clean, Kuo said.

Metals do rust, but some - such as galvanized steel - will corrode much more slowly.

And brass and copper weather, but won’t rust, Kuo said.

Stay true to your aesthetic

No matter what is trending now, your personal style should always come first.

 “You may hear that gray is out or white is out, but we love those colors because they are cool feeling colors that work well with our warm environment,” Kuo said. “We always tell our clients that the decor that makes them happy is always on trend!


Photos: Courtesy of Lotus Home Staging and Redesign

1. Lotus Home Staging and Redesign chose sage greens for a twist, which gave the room a soothing spa feel.

2. In this home, they worked with the homeowner to bring in cool tones to offset the dark wood.  Modern lights highlight a piece of antique artwork, and leather dining seating in grey is an elegant way to add in a touch of modern. 

Jan. 16, 2019

How to keep your appliances Shiny and Rust-Free, Plus When to Repair or Replace

Stainless appliances

Durable, reliable appliances don’t just make a homeowner’s life easier. They also increase the resale value of your home.

So how do you know if you should repair or bite the bullet and replace? And how do you counter the extra wear and tear that can negatively impact appliance longevity in our tropical climate?


Average life of appliances

Here are average lifespans for many of your home’s major appliances, according to

         Washing machine: 5 to 15 years

         Dryer: 13 years

         Refrigerator: 9 to 13 years

         Range: 10 to 18 years

         Dishwasher: 9 years

         Microwave: 9 years


Repair or Replace?

If one of your major appliances breaks, how do you know when it is cost effective to repair and when is it smarter to replace?

It is important to keep in mind that average life span is just an average - some appliances will last longer and some will fail sooner. According to Lowe’s, if the appliance won’t turn on at all, or if you’re continuously having the same part fixed, it may be time for a replacement.

Here are some guidelines for when to repair and when to replace, according to Consumer Reports based on the age of the appliance:

*     Washing machine: repair at 5-7, replace at 8

*     Dryer: repair at 5-7 years, replace at 8 years

*     Refrigerator (built-in or side by side): repair at 6-8, replace after 8 years

*     Refrigerator (top freezer): repair at 5-7, replace at 8

*     Range (Gas): repair at 4-5, replace at 6-8

*     Range (Electric): report at 3-4, replace at 5-8

*     Dishwasher: repair at 4-5 years, replace at 6-8 years

*     Microwave: repair at 3-4 years, replace at 5-8 years


That sea air….

Our beautiful coastal climate affords us windward breezes and year-round beach weather. But being near the ocean also means there is more water and salt in the air. Salt itself does not cause rusting but it does accelerate the rusting process.

Here are some ways to reduce rusting on your appliances:

*     Use the heated dry setting of your dishwasher to speed up drying time.

*     Take damp clothes out of the washing machine immediately after washing to reduce rusting to protect the metal in the washing machine drum.

*     Replace appliance water filters regularly as they help remove naturally occurring water minerals that can corrode components.

*     Wipe the surfaces of your appliances with a soft, nonabrasive cloth. Make sure the cloth is clean so that residue doesn’t scratch the surface.

*     Use an appliance polish and follow all package directions.

*     On stainless steel appliances, don’t use cleaners that contain chlorides. Cleaners containing alcohol, ammonia or mineral spirits can also damage the protective layer. Instead, to maintain the appliance’s luster, use a mild soap/dish detergent and warm water solution to clean fingers prints, dust, etc. Make sure to dry it completely!


Removing the rust

To remove rust from stainless steel appliances, GE recommends using a cloth or soft bristle brush with baking soda and water solution. Rub the stain in the direction of the grain until the stain is removed and then rinse with clean water and a soft cloth. Then apply a stainless steel cleaner.

You can also use a product such as Bar Keeper’s Friend (liquid cleaner ONLY, which is free of grit) and rub in the direction of the metal grain with a damp soft sponge.

If using Bar Keeper's Friend, use only the liquid cleanser (free of grit) and be sure rub in the direction of the metal grain lines with a damp soft sponge



Photo courtesy GE appliances:



Jan. 9, 2019

Don't Want Your For-Sale Property to Sit on the Market? Consider a Professional Stager

Entry way

If you’re ready to trade-up (or downsize), hiring a professional home stager is one easy way to help your home sell faster. Read on for some "staging 411" from Blair Morrison of Kailua-based Windward Coast Design.

Why Should you Stage Your Home?

According Morrison, who co-owns Windward Coast Design with partner Sherry Fahrenwald, there are some distinct advantages to staging your home. 

Staged homes spend less time on the market and usually sell at a higher price. The longer a house stays on the market, the lower price it will attract, so selling faster is always better!

Staging your home provides a good return on investment. According to the National Association of Realtors, a 1-3 percent investment in staging yields an 8 percent return.

Lastly, your online photos will look great! Why is this important? Because 90 percent of buyers decide which homes to see in person based on what they see online.

Partial vs. Complete Staging

A vacant house requires complete staging, which includes full furnishings and accessories.Partial staging, however, can mean two things, according to Morrison.

In some cases, the homeowner has vacated the property and left behind furniture, so the stagers need only add accessories.

In other cases, the homeowner is still living in the home while it is being shown. This is the most challenging type of staging, Morrison said.

“In that case, you need to take into account the size of the family, the ages of the kids in the home and you want them to be able to live in the space and not be too put out with the staging materials so that it disrupts their daily lives as little as possible,” she added.


Help Buyers Feel “At Home”

Staging techniques, including removing personal artifacts such as family photos, help homebuyers imagine a potential property as their home.

“You want the potential buyer to visualize their own photos in the room, not another family’s,” Morrison said. 

Although Windward Coast Designs creates an individualized plan for each property, there are some specific guidelines that Morrison and Fahrenwald use when staging.

“Each space needs its own proportions and scale of furnishings to complement the room, so you need to make sure everything is balanced, clean and uncluttered,” Morrison said. “Then we add texture and pops of something unexpected, such as a bright color or a metallic, to make it special.”

For a welcoming first impression, Fahrenwald and Morrison will often add a detail to the entrance of a home like a small table, armchair, a pot of flowers, or a hanging pot with tropical greenery.

Staging for Oahu

Staging on a tropical island like Oahu presents some specific challenges and calls for a coastal style aesthetic, according to Morrison.

“For example, chrome bath accessories won’t wear as long as other materials in our tropical climate, because they will rust,” Morrison said. Glass wears longer, but it is heavier and more fragile, so these pros and cons must be balanced.

Shipping issues related to living on an island and lower stock in some local retail stores can make replacing inventory difficult.

To mesh with our tropical environment, Windward Coast Design favors cool colors, lightweight furniture, clean lines and natural accents.

“Here in Hawaii, I would not use a lot of heavy furniture or dark colors,” Morrison said. “If you were in a mountain region that might work, but not here.”