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Sunday, August 31, 2008

All-inclusive Hawaii Vacation

After pondering the popular question 'Is Hawaii a good place to live', Best Hawaii Vacation blog is about to reveal what we think about the claim of 'All-inclusive Hawaii Vacations'. As Americans got so much used to all-inclusive vacation packages in Mexico at bargain price, including air fares, hotel room and free meals three times a day and even alcohol and cigarettes, there is no surprise that the average traveler, who is not that familiar with Hawaii travel, is looking for an all-inclusive vacation in Hawaii!

Relax on your Hawaii vacation
Vacation advertisers are well aware of this ever alluring search term all-inclusive vacation. Unfortunately, there are quite a number of Hawaii travel websites using the all-inclusive Hawaii vacation term for attracting customers or guests, which is to my mind quite misleading. Sorry to have to disappoint you but there is not such a thing for all-inclusive vacation in Hawaii in the sense as in Mexico, including meals and drinks and entertainment 'all-inclusive'. Don't mix up Hawaii with Mexico.

However, there are different vacation packages available, combinations like: Hotel + Air fare, Hotel +Air fare + Car rental, which are mostly offered by the leading Hawaii airlines: Hawaiian Air or Alaskan Airlines (with promo deals for Big Island, Kauai, Mauai + Oahu) and of course, by the big online vacation and travel companies as Expedia Hawaii, TravelocityHawaii Deals and Orbitz Hawaii Specials. By now, we all know that it's worthwhile spending some time to check out those online companies for special Hawaii vacation packages, get quotes and compare rates.

If you made up your mind and want to stay at a hotel in Hawaii instead of renting a fully equipped vacation rental with kitchen and other 'all-inclusive' amenities (free Internet, free beach stuff, welcoming tropical flowers or/and fruit basket), it might pay off to check with the Hawaii hotel website what special amenities packages they offer. Most quality Hawaii hotels offer special hotel room packages, combining room + breakfast, room + spa, room and golf! Those offers also save you some money on your stay when you compare to paying individually for these amenities. You will be very lucky, if/when your hotel offers breakfast with your room rate. And believe me the hotel figured those expenses into the equation.

Hawaiian island tours, like your intended trip to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or snorkeling, scuba diving or sunset cruises will have to be paid for by yourself. The Hawaii hotel concierge will help you to arrange it. It won't be wasted money.

Well, it all depends what Hawaii visitors want to do on their Hawaii vacation and how much they can afford to spend. You can have a wonderful vacation on Waikiki's white sand beach at an affordable rate. You don't need or want to go anywhere, just hang out on the beach, have a great dinner (sometimes offered 2 for1!) at the hotel restaurant but definitely not all-inclusive and have a wonderful time in Hawaii.

You can also have a great Hawaii vacation and save money by booking air fare and car rental through one of the big travel companies and then decide for a Hawaii vacation rental on your favorite island which meets your budget and expectations. Fall Hawaii accommodation rates are the lowest in a long time!

Hope this helps our Hawaii visitors and was not too disappointing. There is no place like Hawaii! It's worth every penny you pay. Have a great vacation on the Hawaiian Islands Maui, Big Island, Kauai or Oahu. Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacation
p.s.
Our today's Hawaii post girl is beautiful and sexy Hawaiian girl Amber from WahineStyle.com

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Easy Bathroom Improvement Ideas – Part One

Most of us don’t have a whole lot of spare time to spend decorating the home. But, there are several simple and cheap things you can do in just one weekend to greatly improve the look of your bathroom.

Getting rid of any extra junk is a good first step. Clear out all of your cabinets, and take everything off of the counters. Look through all of the items and throw away or pack away anything that you don’t use regularly. Only put back things that you need, and be careful to organize those items when you are putting them back.

Replace your towel bars if they are outdated with something fresh that goes along with your style. If you have towel bars that you like already, think about adding a couple more if you have the space. Extra towel bars usually don’t look bad, and it is nice to have the extra towel space, especially if you have several family members. If you don’t have space for another towel bar, you can always add decorative hooks instead.

If you have lots of extra space in your bathroom, consider adding a piece of furniture. A decorative cupboard or a small chair can make a bathroom look more stylish.
If you’re not happy with the bathroom floor you can add a rug that matches your d├ęcor. If your bathroom floor is so bad that you want to cover up the whole thing, you can try peel and stick tiles, which can be installed by almost anyone, and can look like a real tile floor with careful installation.

Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wallpaper is Making a Comeback

Surprisingly enough, wallpaper is making a comeback. Not the wallpaper you seen in outdated homes from the seventies, but really cool designs that often look best used as an accent wall. Many wallpapers are even made to look like faux painting, which would be something to consider before attempting painting yourself if you are unsure of the outcome your attempt will have or just want to save the time. I admit, I haven’t put up wallpaper for a long time, but from what I read, it is much easier to do than it used to be. Instead of having to sand and prime walls before applying wallpaper, now you only have to clean your walls. Also, removal is said to be much easier. The wallpaper adhesive is supposed to be able to withstand humid environments like bathrooms, no now there is no where modern wallpaper can't go!

I like a lot of the wallpapers made my Ferm Living, and if wall paper is too permanent from you, they even sell wall stickers. Wall stickers are more easily removed. Actually, just now I went and reviewed the wall stickers that are on the Ferm Living website, and I must say, I find myself thinking about where I can put these in my house! I especially like these bird stickers. I think they would look really cool on a bright colored wall. Here is one of Ferm Living's wallpaper prints that I especially like: This blog is brought to you by dialysis nursing jobs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Decorating your Dorm Room – Part Two

Closet organizers can help you make the best use of the limited space you will have. Every college student needs a small filing box too with hanging folders.

A mini fridge and a microwave are great to have in a dorm room so if you don’t have time to go to the cafeteria for a meal, you don’t have to miss it.

Wall hangings are important to make the dorm room feel like home. Hang artwork or posters, or even pictures on your walls. A mirror is nice to hang on the wall so you can evaluate your outfits.
Good lighting is another thing that dorm rooms usually lack. Bring a large stand up lamp, you can get them for a decent price and it will make a big difference. You will also probably need a good lamp for your desk. Fun lighting like lava lamps can dress up the room.

Many dorm rooms have the option to put the beds up on tall legs. These kits are normally available, and you just need to find someone to help you set it up. Having your bed up high is awesome, because you can make use of the space underneath. One great item that can go underneath a bed is a recliner along with a little end table. I had these items in my dorm room when I went to college, and I can’t stress enough how much it did to make my room feel like home. Lots of very cheap recliners can be found on craigslist.com, and if you can’t find a decent one, you could always just buy a recliner cover. Bean bag chairs are a popular dorm room item that would fit under a bed too, and they come in lots of colors.
Photo courtesy of www.collegebedlofts.com.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Decorating your Dorm Room – Part One

Leaving home is exciting, but also a little scary. It can help to decorate your dorm room comfortably so it feels like home. This can help a lot if you start to feel home sick.

The first thing you should do before deciding on which items to decorate your room with is to choose a theme or color. Many of the items listed in this blog come in different colors, and it is nice to have a unified theme in a room. Bright colors are popular right now for dorm rooms, but an advantage to choosing more subtle colors is that you might find use for the items you buy later when you move into an apartment or a house. If you don’t want to choose one or two colors to decorate with, you could choose a theme instead to tie it all together. Rugs can add a lot to your dorm room. A colorful rug can set the tone for your room design. You can often find soft rugs that will make your room feel cozy.

A foam or feather mattress topper can help you to be comfortable at night. Dorm mattresses are normally not the most quality, and a fluffy mattress makes a big difference.

A big lounge chair pillow for your bed can be awesome to lean on while you’re studying. Body pillows are great too, and can be found in lots of different colors. Especially if you study with someone else, it is nice to have another comfortable seating option.

Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Tuscan Faux Painting

Before you start faux painting you should have your walls painted with a base coat of the overall color that you desire. Make sure you cover carpet and furniture with a dropcloth. Then, tape off your molding and your light switches.

Keep a dry rag handy through the whole process so you can wipe up any runs on the wall before they dry. At any painting store, Lowes, or Home Depot you can buy faux paint. Ask the employees to help you pick the colors you want. Some faux paint comes in concentrated mixtures. You will need to mix about 1/3 paint with 2/3 water. When you are just getting started it is best to use a more watered down version. You can always mix it with less water later. You can also buy premixed faux paint. It looks best to use a couple of different colors that are similar to your base coat color.

You will need a damp rag and a bucket of water to use throughout the process. As the rag gets dirty and the water gets dirty, it will actually be easier to paint. If your painting takes you longer than one day, you can even leave your rag in the bucket and reuse it for a few days. Your rag is what you will do most of your painting with. Your paintbrush is mostly just to apply the paint to the wall. When you put the paint on your wall with the brush, make sure not to use straight lines. Apply the paint randomly, then smear it around with your rag and let it dry. The goal of this style of painting is to make the walls look like they are old.
When you finish going over all of the areas you want to paint, it is important to step back and take a look from a distance. Any areas that look lighter than you want you can go over more now.

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Is Hawaii a good place to live?

Here is the Hawaii vacation scenario which happens again and again, whether it's for first time visitors to Hawaii or those who are spending frequent vacations in Hawaii: You sit in a jacuzzi at a fancy Hawaii beach resort and the question 'Is Hawaii a good place to live?' appears naturally. If you are lucky, there will be a few Hawaii residents who can answer that question for you and even give you some specific information about the costs of private schools, electric bills for running AC, median housing prices and more. Lucky you! Sometimes this is already the end to your Hawaiian dream of living in Hawaii.

Living in Hawaii
Here is Best Hawaii Vacation's blog answer to 'Is Hawaii a good place to live?'. What a question! Of course, Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places to live on this earth with:

- warm weather all year round
- warm waters of the Pacific Ocean attract surfers, divers, swimmers...
- abundance of tropical flowers, plants and fruits
- white sand beaches and so much more.

We say 'There is no place like Hawaii'!

What you should Do before moving to Hawaii

However, if you want to enjoy all these wonderful things which make people want to move to Hawaii for good, it takes commitment and dedication and the right attitude.
1.
Do your homework with research on all the Hawaiian islands. Best island to start out with is Oahu, as it has public transportation, lots of jobs and yet nice beaches.
2.
Stay in touch with Hawaii through daily reading online publications of Hawaii newspapers. Pay close attention to classifieds in regards to job offers and sharing rooms. Don't forget Craiglist Hawaii in your resources for Living in Hawaii.
3.
Don't rely on other people, even if they are your friends. They might be able to provide you with advice but you got to determine what you want.
4.
Make sure that you have housing and job lined up, before you go to Hawaii.
5.
Good idea before moving to Hawaii, try a longer vacation on the island of your choice and talk to as many locals as possible.

Even if you have done all the necessary preparations, be aware that Hawaii is not for everybody to move and live there for good. Hawaii has the biggest fluctation rate in the states. Young people often get 'island fever' but guess what, if you lived in Hawaii for 2 years and after that you move back to the Mainland, it will be probably the most adventurous years of your life. And you can say 'I lived in Hawaii'!

Yes, Hawaii is a wonderful place to live! With the right preparation, you can do it too. Hope our Hawaii Moving Tips come handy. Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations
p.s.
Do something 'touristy' when Hawaii Vacation...visit a Hawaiian luau.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Tuscan Style Decorating

A home decorated with a Tuscan theme will feel very peaceful to most. This style is simple and natural looking, inspired by the country, stone walls, wrought iron accessories, marble flooring, and sturdy wooden furniture.

Tuscan decorating uses comfortable, worn pieces. This style uses materials that will stand the test of time, so if you choose to decorate this way, you shouldn’t have to redecorate for a long time. Even if some of your elements start to look worn, this only helps the style to look more authentic. This style isn’t overly fancy and this is why many people will feel comfortable with this style.
The outdoor spaces of a home decorated this way are important to complete the theme. Having a patio is important, and if you can build a simple trellis over it for vines to grow on, that really helps to create the right look. Having a marble statue or a water feature looks beautiful. Other outdoor features that will look very Tuscan are paths or driveways set in stone or brick. If grass grows up between the stones or bricks it will look even better.

Colors to use when decorating your interior are earth tones such as terracotta, brick, ochre, greens, and golden yellows. Include touches of blue and green to contrast with the warm colors. Walls can be painted with soft white or grey for a more subtle look. Stenciled grape vines can look very good in Tuscan style kitchens. There are faux painting techniques that can provide a worn stucco look, I will get into those in the next blog.

Check back for the next blog about Tuscan style faux painting.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fall Decorating - Part Two

Buy mini pumpkins and use them to line up across your mantle. Leave a few inches between each pumpkin. You can do this on bookshelves too. Mini pumpkins look great displayed randomly almost anywhere in your house, including your coffee table, end tables, bathroom counters, nightstands, or dining room table. Candles look good displayed with mini pumpkins and the display looked better with a few variations. You can even try setting some of the pumpkins on top of candle holders for a different look.
Cinnamon scented pine cones can be placed in a decorative basket and placed on a table or next to your fireplace. You can sprinkle a few fall leaves into the mix too.

A basket or bowl of green or red apples with a few fall leaves or mini pumpkins thrown in can look cute displayed on a mantle or as a centerpiece on a table.

Autumn colored candles look and smell nice, and as a bonus they don’t look out of place if you decide to use them all year long. You can usually find candlesticks of varying heights at a thrift store.

Fall placemats and plates are an investment that you can reuse every year. Placemats in green, orange, red, tan, and yellow all have a fall look to them.

Clear candy jars can be used to display fall colored candy. Candy corn always looks good for fall decorating, and M&Ms also come in fall colors.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fall Decorating - Part One

Fall is on the way, so I thought I'd put together a list of a few inexpensive fall decorations and crafts you could display in your home.

Although you may not have much time to display the crafts you would make out of them until next year, it can be fun to collect fall leaves and press them in books. After they dry out completely, you can spray them with a clear fixative to help preserve them.

You can glue them randomly onto a piece of construction paper and frame it for a beautiful fall collage. Another option is to use the leaves as a border to a cute saying or list and frame the whole thing.

Another thing you can do with the leaves is make a mobile. To do this, first find two sticks and tying them together in an X by holding the sticks together and then winding fishing line around the intersection at all angles until they feel like they are connected well. Next, Tie different lengths of fishing line to the sticks. Then, use contact paper to laminate each leaf you want to use. Trim off most the excess around the shape of the leaf, but leave a little extra at the end of the stems. Then, punch holes in the stem ends. Finally, Tie the end of each piece of fishing line to the stems of each of your fall leaves. You could also just tie the leaves to a branch that is a couple of feet long, and hang the branch on a wall when you're done.
Check back soon for part two of Fall Decorating!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Feng Shui – The Five Elements

Learning the use of the five elements is important to Feng Shui because the use of the elements is thought to keep the chi in rooms in the correct amounts. The five elements are fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each element has a shape and a few colors tied to it.

Fire is considered to be the yang of the elements. Fire should be used be used in the Northeast, South and Southwest areas of a space. It provides you with energy and helps you to achieve your goals. It is linked to summer and to heat. It can be represented with a candle or the color red, orange, pink, strong yellow, or purple.
Metal can be used to tie the other elements together in creative ways because metal is found in many colors. Metal helps you to be efficient and to have clarity. Metal elements in a room should be rounded and pleasing, not pointed. This element is represented by white, silver, bronze, copper, or gold. Metal is supposed to be used in the North, West, or Northwest of your home.

Water represents life and is a very useful element. Water should be used in the North, Southeast and East areas of your space. Water provides a space with calm, purity, and freshness. A fishbowl or aquarium or a small metal fountain can be used to represent water. The earth element, found in ceramic materials, is said to block the positive effect of the water, so fountains shouldn't be made of these materials. The colors that go with this element are blue or black.

Wood is the beginning of new life and can bring life to a home if it is used when the wood is alive. Health and growth can be brought into your home using this element. Plants are considered to be wood. Plants are good tools for Feng Shui decorating because they recycle air. A staircase leading to a doorway is considered a Feng Shui problem, because the chi can flow right out. Placing a plant on the landing can help retain the chi. Wood is represented by the color green. Wood is represented with the color green or teal. Wood should be used in the East, Southeast, and South of your home.

Earth is represented by stone, pottery, or sculptures. Earth is supposed to be used in the center of your home and also in the Northeast and Southwest sides. Earth is represented by the colors light yellow, beige, or brown. Elements of earth help create stability, and a nourishing environment for relationships.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Best Big Island Luau

When visiting Hawaii on vacation, attending a Hawaiian luau is kind of a must, at least when you are visiting the islands for the first time. From our many years as hosts in the Hawaii vacation rental business, we know that not everybody likes the luau food or even the show. Some visitors consider the luaus extremely 'touristy' plus it takes a lot of money out of your vacation budget. We have been to many luaus and many luau shows in Hawaii, mostly on the Big Island or Kauai where we spend several vacations and must admit we always had a great time.

We wrote about Best Hawaii luau show before, however, when we were asked by Big Island visitors who are planning their Big Island vacation for October this year, what we think is the best luau on the Big Island, we thought it's time to update the Big Island luau information on our website and share with our Best Hawaii vacation blog visitors what we think is the Best Big Island luau.

Best Big Island luau show
Well, when we updated all the prices for Big Island luau shows - we had to call quite a number of the Big Island hotels which offer regular luaus to their guests and tourists in general - we were quite shocked how the prices had climbed within the last few years. So, for those who are on a budget travel to Hawaii, the most expensive luau ticket might not be the best decision. Finding the nice medium seems to be key in our search for the best Big Island luau: decent Hawaiian luau food combined with a quality fun show of Hawaiian or Polynesian character.

Generally, Big Island visitors will find out that luaus on the Kohala Coast are more pricey than in Kona Hotels. In the past, many Kohala Coast tourists would just do the short trip to Kona. Nowadays, you have to figure your gas prices for that 'short' trip into the equation. Maybe you'd better stay where you are and book a luau on the Kohala Coast, at least when you are just a couple. For a family with teenagers, you might be better of to book the Kona luau, where the tickets for adults are generally much lower and children receive quite a discount.

Kona luaus

Let's start with the Kona luaus. On top of the list of Big Island luaus is the King Kamehameha Island Breeze Luau, which is very popular among Big Island visitors with its best Big Island luau price and top beach location:

King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel Luau

The Island Breeze Luau is the most popular Hawaiian lu'au and show on the Big Island. A Hawaiian buffet combined with dramatic Hawaiian and Polynesian entertainment provide guests with an unforgettable evening under the stars by the ocean from 5pm - 8:30pm. At each luau the Hawaiian Royal Court arrives by canoe.
Sun, Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri $65/adult, $29/child under 12.
Tel. (808) 326-4969 or toll free 800-267-2111

Royal Kona Resort Luau

The Royal Kona Resort invites guests and visitors every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the oceanfront Coconut Grove for an evening of traditional Hawaiian celebrations. Royal Kona Resort presents Polynesian Luau by award-winning Tihati Productions dancers, musicians & fire artists. Luau includes shell lei welcoming and photo opportunities, Open Bar with standard cocktails, mai tais, beer, wine, soda & fruit punch, Traditional Imu Presentation and Hawaiian Luau Buffet with traditional island food. Great location right next to the water.
Mon Wed Fri. $75/adult. $25 for children under 11.
Tel. 808-329-3111

Kona Village Resort Luau

Each Wednesday and Friday evening, Kona Village celebrates the culture and heritage of our island home with its longest-running luau, which includes a sumptuous buffet with kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, fresh island fish, tasty chicken and tropical fruits. Experience Hawai‘i's sacred traditions and history, passed down through the generations, as revealed in hula and chant in Kona Village Hawaiian luau show. Located at fish ponds. There are discounts for children younger than 13. This is one of the most expensive luaus on the Big Island but well worth the price!
Wednesday + Fridays: $86/adult and children 13 and older
Tel. 808-325-5555

Kohala Coast Luaus

Kohala Coast luaus have had a great tradition and are very popular among Big Island visitors staying at the fancy Kohala Coast hotels. Let's start with our personal favorite, the Marriott luau. Shell lei greeting welcomes guests. The fast paced Polynesian show soon gets everybody in its aura.

Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort Luau

This Polynesian kind luau at sunset over beautiful Anaeho'omalu Bay offers great Polynesian entertainment including music, traditional dances of the South Pacific and a wide selection of Hawaiian food. Located adjacent to the fishponds at A-Bay beach.
Wednesdays & Sundays: $80/adult.
Tel. 808-886-6789

Hilton Waikoloa Village Luau

Hilton greets its luau guests with exotic Polynesian dances, music of the Pacific Rim, highlighted by a Big Island Luau Buffet: kalua pig, roasted chicken, short ribs, a variety of tropical fruits, salads, fresh island fish and island-style desserts. Hilton luau starts at 5:30 p.m. The imu presentation is at 6 p.m. and is followed by buffet-style dining. The Legends of the Pacific show begins at 7:15 p.m. Discounts for seniors, teenagers and children, kids under 5 are free.
Tuesdays and Fridays: $85/adult.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Luau

The hotel and golf course are currently still closed for renovation. All the return guests to the Big Island's most favorite beach and hotel, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, will have to wait a little longer. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Grand Opening, which was planned for middle of December 2008, was recently announced for Spring 2009. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel luau is more a traditional kind Hawaiian style luau.

If you have been to any of the above Big Island luaus, let us know what you think which one is the Best Big Island luau and why. We'd love to hear from you. Mahalo and aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations
p.s.
For best luau locations, visit our Big Island map.

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Feng Shui Basics

The purpose of Feng Shui is to arrange your surroundings so that they are in balance with nature. The words Feng Shui actually mean "wind and water".

Chi is energy and is believed to be the reason why we feel good or bad in certain locations. The idea of Feng Shui is to keep the chi in a happy balance in your living space by preventing it from stagnating, or from flowing out of your living space too quickly.
There are a couple of easy ways to get started with the basics without knowing a lot about the details.

Clearing out clutter is a good first step. Anything that you do not love should go. Getting rid of the extra junk will feel good and help you see what you really like in your home more clearly.

Make sure the air and light quality in your home are good. The air quality can be improved just by opening your windows often, decorating with plants, or using an air purifier. The light quality can be improved by letting as much natural light into your home as you can, and by using full spectrum lights.

Next, it can help to learn about the five elements of Feng Shui: fire, metal, earth, water and wood. Check back soon because the next blog will be about these elements.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Kitchen Cabinets – Plan Before you Buy - Part Two

This is part two of Kitchen Cabinets - Plan Before you Buy

Quality is a big consideration when buying cabinets. If you are only planning to live in the home in the short term, you might be willing to skimp on quality. But, if you are trying to build a kitchen to enjoy in years to come, you may want to pay the extra to get more quality cabinets. Quality drawers will open and close more easily, and more silently. Quality cabinet frames will be sturdy and last for a long time to come.
There are a few ways that you can save money on cabinets if you are willing to put in some extra work. You can find cabinet makers who sell unfinished cabinets. These are cheaper, and just require you to spray a finish of your choice on the cabinets. The advantage to this is that you can choose any finish you want. You can even get creative and spray on two coats of contrasting colors, and sand the edges lightly to reveal the undercoat around the edges. An even cheaper option is to refinish the cabinet doors that you have using creative methods like this. Another way to save money is to buy just the cabinet doors, and leave the original cabinet boxes in place. The doors are seen more than the rest of the cabinets, so you can often get away with this. If you are going to buy the doors only, and the doors you have chosen are not the same color as your cabinet frames, you can paint the frames a color that will contrast nicely with the new cabinet doors.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kitchen Cabinets – Plan Before you Buy – Part One

Before you buy cabinets, it is best to decide what your goal is. Are you just going to replace the cabinets and call it good? Or, are you planning a full kitchen remodel? If you are planning a remodel, setting your budget before you start is helpful. Cabinets are a vital part of any kitchen, and they often account for 40% or more of the total cost for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Your budget can help you narrow your choices down.

Before you talk to a salesman about buying new cabinets, measure your kitchen and measure the existing cabinets. Decide whether you are going to want additional cabinets, or an island, and if so, where you want them to fit. Draw a sketch of your kitchen layout and include the measurements you have taken. If you bring this sketch and your measurements, you will be able to get a better price estimate when you meet with a sales person.
There are three types of cabinets: stock, semi-custom, or custom. Stock cabinets are the cheapest, because they are limited to standard sizes and are usually only made in a few types of wood and styles. Stock cabinets usually only offer cabinets and drawers. Semi-custom cabinets are just what you would imagine from the name, they are cabinets that come in an expanded variety of wood types and styles. Semi-custom cabinets offer more in the way of storage options, such as lazy susans, pullout bins, and pantry closets. Custom cabinets are the most expensive, offering anything you can imagine that can be built.

Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Moving to Hawaii

Our regular Best Hawaii Vacation blog visitors know that we occasionally answer questions in the Honololu Answers section of Yahoo Travel. Why not share our knowledge with all of you interested in Hawaii and desperate for helpful answers. I noticed though, not everybody who answers, is giving well researched or experienced advice. Keep an open mind and judge with common sense when reading Yahoo's Hawaii answers.

One of the most frequent asked question is about 'moving to Hawaii': which island is best to move to, what does it cost to live in Hawaii, available jobs in Hawaii and housing market are reoccurring questions. If those questions interest you, keep reading, what I think you should know about 'Moving to Hawaii'.

Hawaiian Leis, Tropical Flowers, Orchids, Wedding Leis, Hawaiian Gift Baskets, Kona CoffeeIn all my years of living in Hawaii, I have come across many people playing with the idea of moving to Hawaii 'for good', so they think. Some never made it here, it always stayed the dream. Some did and from those who did, I'd say half of them packed their cases again after approximately 2 years trying. Hawaii has the biggest fluctuation rate of all the states.

That being said does not mean you cannot make it. Anyhow, when you are young and motivated and/or have a job fitting right into our Hawaii tourist industry with lots of hotels and hotel service associated jobs, chances are you will be making it in Hawaii.

Here are a few 'Moving to Hawaii' tips:

1. Easiest way to start Hawaii life is Honolulu on Oahu

-No need to buy a private car as you can rely on affordable public bus transportation system till you got settled in.

-Affordable housing in downtown Honolulu by sharing a condo with room-mates, which you still need to find.

-Plenty of Hawaii hotels offer all kinds of service jobs. Good chances to find a job there.

-No need to drive far to relax after work on Waikiki's beaches!

Homeworks to do for Moving to Hawaii:
1.
Read all the classifieds of 'Honolulu Advertiser' on a regular basis for job offers matching your training and finding affordable housing. I encourage the idea of using Craigslist as well. The more resources you use, the better.
2.
Write your resume and put all your certificates together with it. Make copies of originals. As soon as you are ready, get job applications from hotel where you intend to work and mail application with your resume to hotels. Don't give your originals (certificates) away.
3.
Read everything about Hawaii, island life and of course Honolulu, so you have an idea what to expect in your new life.

If you consider moving to Maui, Big Island or Kauai, be aware of the following:

There is no public transportation system.
Regular housing in the hotel areas is not available or very expensive and beyond your means. For example, most Big Island hotels are on the Kohala Coast, west coast. However employees cannot afford to live there. They live on the East coast, Hilo side. There are buses for them which are free but in order to get to their job in time, they have to get on a bus like 4am in the morning.

Bottom line, I still think the easiest way to start out when moving to the islands is Honolulu. I have seen families moving kids + all their belongings to the Big Island without having a secure job or an affordable house lease. They ended up spending double the money relocating everything from the Big Island to Honolulu.

When doing your homework thoroughly, you may enjoy island life in the end and never look back as many other Hawaii residents! One has to make a living, if not independently wealthy, so why not at the best location in the world!

Last but not least, when you found that place in Hawaii where you would like to move to, plan a Hawaii vacation (September and October are perfect months to do that) there for a longer period. Talk to as many locals as possible and get a feel for the weather, climate, community, housing and job situation in the area. Hawaii is so diversified in all these aspects. Make sure beaches are not too far away. When working hard, you want to relax too and enjoy the Hawaiian island life, which made you move to Hawaii.

Good luck for your moving to Hawaii project. Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations

Resources for Moving to Hawaii

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to be Prepared for Furniture Shopping – Part Two

Continued from How to be Prepared for Furniture Shopping - Part One

Just because a piece of furniture is cheap, that doesn’t make it a good buy. Consider whether you will really like this piece of furniture a year down the road. If not, save your money and buy furniture that will last you longer.

Don’t ask too many people for their opinions. Only the people who actually live in the home should really have a say. Too many options might make you less able to decide what you really like. You and your family are probably the only ones who will be looking at this furniture every day.

If you can possibly manage it, shop for furniture on a weekday. On the weekend sales associates are swamped, and they aren’t able to give you as much time and attention as they would be able to give you on a weekday. If you are able to spend time with a sales associate who isn’t busy, they can often be quite helpful and save you time and money.

To get the best deal on furniture, wait for a sale. If you don’t want to wait, try asking the sales associate to knock a little off the price if you’re buying a set of furniture. Don’t expect a yes, but it can’t hurt to ask. Another option to save some money is to shop for used furniture. Some people are grossed out by this option, but there are consignment stores that have some awesome furniture that is used and looks new. I've also found nice used furniture on Craigslist for great prices.

If you don’t have the money for the furniture, don’t get sucked into financing plans. These are statistically good for the business and bad for the customer, otherwise the businesses wouldn’t offer them! You could easily get stuck paying ridiculous interest charges.

Happy furniture shopping!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to be Prepared for Furniture Shopping – Part One

Measure the room where you want to put the furniture, and if you have further limitations, like a fireplace or doorway, make sure to measure the actual space where you need the piece of furniture to fit. Also, measure the doorway you’ll need to bring the furniture through. You don’t want to buy a couch that fits perfectly in your living room, but won’t squeeze through the living room door! Bring these measurements and a measuring tape with you to the store. Often, because furniture stores are so big, they make furniture look small that might actually be rather large in your home.

Take a few pictures of the room to bring with you to the store. Look through magazines or look online until you get a sense of what you are looking for. It is also best if you bring a carpet sample with you to the store and even paint samples if you can. If you have been considering changing the look of the room, now is the time, since new furniture can often be the most expensive part of a redesign.

Make sure you sit and lay on the couch in the store before you buy it! You might feel silly doing this in the store, but you’ll be glad you did in the long run. If you like to take naps on your couch, lay on the couch for at least ten minutes to get a real feel for what it will be like. If you are thinking of buying furniture online, try to find a store that carries it locally so you can test it out.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Reasons to Consider Slipcovers

Slipcovers come in all shapes and sizes these days. You can use them to cover couches and chairs of all sizes and styles, and even ottomans. The styles and colors are just as varied. I do not like ruffles of any sort, which seem to come to mind when you think slipcovers for some reason, but there are plenty of sleeker styles available. I like this one pictured below, and as an added bonus it is made of microsuede, which I love because it is so soft.

One huge advantage to slipcovers is price of course; it is much cheaper to cover several old pieces of furniture with matching slipcovers than to buy a new set. Or, if you have mismatched furniture to begin with, you can match them all with slipcovers. You can also try a bolder style or color when you’re buying slipcovers, since it isn’t too much of an investment if you decide you hate them.

Slipcovers are great for protecting furniture, if you have nice furniture and have kids who are young or even if you are having a big party or company. If you let your dogs get up on the couch like I do, slipcovers are something to consider, because you can buy a couple of identical sets for the high traffic furniture, and switch them out when one set needs a wash.

If you are hosting an event at your house you can get slipcovers for folding chairs to dress them up and match them to the rest of your furniture.

It is also possible to buy festive slipcovers for holiday events, if you really want to go all out.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hawaii family vacation in October

We are certain that we got with our recent post about 'Cheap Airfares from Seattle to Hawaii' the attention of Hawaii travelers from the Pacific Northwest. That was definitely good news for everybody who plans a family vacation this fall 2008 in Hawaii. Most kids get a fall break in October. So there is a great chance to take the kids on a special family vacation to the Hawaiian Islands: Maui, Kauai, Oahu or the Big Island.

If you consider Kona on the Big Island, be aware that Kona gets busy at the beginning of October with some athletes flying in early for some training of ocean swimming at the original swimming contest place, trying out the bike ride to Hawi in North Kohala and get a feel for running in the not to merciful Kona sun. The busiest week in Kona in October will be from 10/5 - 10/12/08 with the day of the Hawaii Ironman on 10/11/08 hustling and bustling with thousands of visitors and Ironman participants from all over the world. Kona Ironman accommodations will be harder to get every day now!

Apart from the Ironman week on the Big Island October school break is the perfect time for taking a family vacation in Hawaii with the kids. As mentioned several times before: There are no all-inclusive vacation packages in Hawaii, at least not the cheap way you find in Mexico. However, most Hawaiian hotels offer kids specials for meals and complimentary activity programs they can join, like learn to to hula, make a flower lei or Hawaiian umeke (bowl from a gourd) or even make a hula skirt from ti leaves for the older kids.

Family vacation with Kids, Beach in Hawaii
When you visit Hawaii in October, you can expect the same nice weather and warm ocean as at other months. Actually, it's even nicer than during the hot summer months July and August. September and October are low season months in Hawaii, when plenty of affordable vacation rentals on all the Hawaiian islands are available. Most of the hosts, include all the beach equipment, booggie boards, snorkel gear etc. in their rental fee for free. Kids love to snorkel and boogie board. Make sure they will be safe on the beach and pay attention to beach safety updates.

When deciding for a vacation rental, make sure that the beaches are not far away - rule of thumb though, you pay more for ocean view and much more for ocean front - that's why you and the kids come to Hawaii.

You will have to rent a car on all islands apart from Oahu which has a very well developed bus service at decent rates. When you call the car rental companies, let them give you a quote. Write it all down and compare. October is low season, which is perfect for decent airfares and best car rental rates.

If your kids are over 10, you want to share some adventure in Hawaii with them. The Big Island has some pretty good ones with a live volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Mauna Kea summit for stargazing. The Big Island's Kohala Coast (West Coast) has the best Big Island's white sand beaches for the kids and you and the best sunny weather.

Another rule of thumb for all the islands regards the Hawaii weather, east coast has more rain, west coast is drier and sunnier.

Go to the library and get the 'Frommers Hawaii' Guidebook. It's one of the best Hawaii information books about all Hawaiian islands. Hope this will get you going. It's a little big for taking it with your for reference on your Hawaii vacation with your kids. Once you figured out which Hawaii island you want to go visit in October, buy the 'Hawaii Revealed' book for this island. There is a 'Revealed' book for each island with maps, best activities, restaurants, hiking and places to stay. The book is handy and can be taken on your Hawaii road trips when exploring the island of your choice.

Any recommendations for Hawaii family vacation with kids in October are most welcome. Good luck for your Hawaii travel plans this October 2008! Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations
p.s.
Just found out more good news for your October vacation in Hawaii on 'travel specialist' Beat of Hawaii, which prides itself to provide the latest updates on Hawaii travel deals: round trip from Newark to Hawaii for $520 with latest travel 10/27. Seems a fantastic deal to me for travelers from the East Coast to Honolulu Hawaii.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Make Your Bedroom Five Star – Part Three

The window treatments you choose can be important. It is best to choose curtains that draw back past the sides of the window so that you get the maximum light when you have the curtains open. Also, you want to make sure the curtains overlap at the center so that you can get the room as dark as you want in case you want to sleep in or nap during the day.

The bed is probably the most important aspect of your bedroom, since it is of course the sole purpose, so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra in this area. This investment should last you a long time, and considering how much time you spend in bed, it makes sense to be comfortable. You may want to consider a pillow top mattress. Or, you can buy a feather top for your mattress later. Bedding that is 300 threat count or more for your sheets can be worth the money. They should last a long time, and they really make going to sleep comfortable. Add throw pillows to your bed for extra color, and use a throw blanket at the foot of your bed so you can have an accessible blanket for reading in your chair. Finally, make sure you have items on your wall that make you feel good and inspire you.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Make Your Bedroom Five Star – Part Two

Don’t forget the non visible aspects of comfort for your bedroom. Make sure the bed in not placed directly over or under an air vent, this way air can circulate optimally throughout the room. If you are into music, place speakers throughout the room in hidden places. Having a thick carpet pad always increases comfort in a room. If you can add extra insulation between your walls you can make your bedroom feel like more of a haven.

There are several lighting techniques that can make a bedroom feel classier. For instance, put dimmer controls on all of your lights. Closet lights that turn on when the closet door is opened are extremely handy. Lots of lighting in the bathroom, including a lighted make up mirror, wall sconces, lighting in the tub or shower area, and overhead light, is a real plus. Reading lights on each side of the bed that are individually controlled are quite useful as well.
Everyone gets the craving for a midnight snack at least once in a while. It is very luxurious to be able to satisfy that craving with out leaving your bedroom. You could consider having a minifridge in your bedroom with a little pantry above it that might include a coffee maker for the morning.

A desk in the bedroom can be used for work, reading, or, if you put a mirror over it, for applying make up. You can also add an extra chair or an ottoman to this mix. Ottomans are great because they can be used for either sitting or for propping your feet.

Check back soon for part three of this blog!

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Make Your Bedroom Five Star – Part One

There is no reason that your bedroom can’t be just as luxurious as a five star hotel room if you follow some easy design tips.

First, choose a color scheme and theme that will make you feel comfortable and at home. The bedroom is a sanctuary for many people, a place where they can go to be alone and reflect. Choose colors that will make the room feel perfect for you. You can have fun with this process, playing around with different paint colors and pattern options. If you look at the websites of large paint brands you can use their online tools to explore your options. Many allow you to upload a picture of the room you’re decorating and let you change the color on the walls to see how they will really look. Also, there are helpful inspiration sections in most paint websites where you can look at pictures of rooms and designs that can help you choose a color theme or style.
Laying out the space in your bedroom for different activities can help the bedroom evolve from just a place to sleep, into a room to enjoy relaxing, working, or eating. The first step to doing this is to decide which activities, other than sleeping of course, you would like to do in your bedroom. For example, if you like reading, you can make a reading area by making sure there is one or more chair available for reading, possibly with a little table to keep books on or a glass of water. If you would enjoy coffee in your bedroom, set up an area for your coffee maker and a little table at which to enjoy your coffee.

Check back soon for part two of this blog!

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cheap Airfares from Seattle to Hawaii

This blog post is for our Best Hawaii vacation visitors who live in the Pacific Northwest and look for cheap airfares from Seattle to Hawaii. To find cheap airfare deals, with fuel prices rising, had become top priority when currently planning a trip to Hawaii.

Hawaii visitors did not always find air ticket prices they could afford this summer, which was reason for a slowing down our Hawaii summer tourist business and caused private vacation rental owners to offer the lowest summer rental rates ever. Actually, the good rates for Hawaii vacation rentals continue all the way through August 2008.

It's tough to follow all the Hawaii airline offers, deals and specials, while time consuming and appropriate knowledge required. I just came back from a visit to Beat of Hawaii, where I was happy to find Jeff's article from August 1st about 'Pacific Northwest to Hawaii deals' - Fly to Honolulu for under $400 RT (including all taxes, fees, surcharges).

So, maybe the announced rates including Round Trip Seattle to Honolulu for $402 (HA, NW) and Round Trip Portland to Honolulu for $392 (HA, NW) will work for you. Hope these cheap airfare deals - cheap always in comparison to recent high ticket prices - will come in time for our Hawaii visitors from Seattle and Portland.

Jeff starts his good airfare news revealing article: "This morning I see that both Hawaiian and United have joined the airfare sale that we noted yesterday from Northwest Airlines." If you want to take advantage of those airfare deals from Seattle to Honolulu, read the whole article by Beat of Hawaii. Last but not least, I did not double check the instructions Jeff advises how to book these cheap round trip tickets to Honolulu Hawaii but when Arthur Frommers from Frommers Budget Travel mentions Jeff's blog as a resource for Hawaii travel deals, it seems to be worthwhile to check it out.

Let us know what your current experience with airfares to Hawaii is. Detailed travel info: month of travel to Hawaii, airline and rate for round trip and where you booked your airfare special are appreciated information for our visitors. Mahalo and aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations
p.s.
With all the excitement about cheap tickets to Hawaii, we should not forget that Tina is our beautiful Hawaii post girl from WahineStyle. BTW, if you love Hawaiian music, you want to read about the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals coming up on the islands + watch Hawaiian music youtube video.

Save Money on Hawaii Vacation

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar

We, Keoki and I, love Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Who doesn't?! In addition to the warm tropical air, the mellow sounds of Hawaiian slack key guitar music welcomes visitors to Hawaii when arriving in Honolulu Airport. One can't escape its magic. Listening to Hawaiian slack key guitar music is like coming home after a long journey. Whenever we have a chance to listen to one of the masters of this instrument for typical Hawaiian music, we embrace and enjoy it, like we did on our visit to the Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi on the Big Island.

So, when I updated Kohala Coast Events for August with the Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival on the Big Island at the end of August, I remembered the many times we listened in the past to one of Hawaii's best Slack Key Guitar players, John Keawe. John regularly plays at many Big Island locations like Kona Village Resort, Kings Shops and the Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi.

Slack Key Guitar is the music of the islands. No wonder that each of the Hawaiian Islands has its own Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival. The annual Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival on the Big Island is coming up soon: August 31, 2008. This annual festival which features the greats of slack key guitar like John Keawe, will be held at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, from 1-6pm. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

Wear a hat, bring an umbrella for shade and don't forget to apply plenty of sunscreen. This is Kailua-Kona, which can be pretty hot in summer time. When you are on Big Island vacation in the Kona and South Kona, Captain Cook area, make it over to the Slack Key Festival at Keauhou-Kona, a Hawaii experience you won't forget will await you.

Let's get you in the mood for listening to Hawaiian music and Hawaii slack key guitar. Unfortunately, the few John Keawe youtube videos were really poor quality. That's why I decided for 'Hawaiian slack key guitar live with dancers' where George Kuo, Martin Pahinui & Aaron Mahi perform and sing Hawaiian slack key guitar, with an out-of-costume Hawaiian hula troupe.




Chances are that you are vacationing on the other islands. Let's get all our Best Hawaii Vacation blog visitors dates and locations for the Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festivals:

26th Annual Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival Oahu takes place on 8/17/08 at Kapiolani Park In Waikiki.
16th Annual Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival Kauai takes place 11/16/08 at the Hilton Kauai Beach Hotel & Spa, Lihue.
17th Annual Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival Maui already took place 6/22/08 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului.

Looks like our Oahu and Kauai visitors still have a chance to listen to Hawaiian Slack Key guitar when on their Oahu or Kauai vacation. Have fun with the sounds of the islands. Experience Hawaiian music at its best. Don't want to wait so long till your next Hawaii vacation, visit HawaiianRainbow and listen to music from the islands NOW! Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations

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Make a Headboard – Part Two

Sand the edges of the plywood. Then, take a sheet of upholstery foam and use your pattern to cut it just one inch larger than your plywood. Lay the foam over the plywood and staple it in a few places or even glue it on or use stray on adhesive.

Now, cover the layer of upholstery foam with a sheet of upholstery batting that is cut two to four inches larger than the size of the plywood. Wrap the batting around the plywood and staple it around the back. Try to smooth the corners evenly before you staple them.
Next, cut the decorative fabric about four inches larger than the plywood and then iron it. Lay the decorative fabric over your layer of batting and the staple it too around the back of the plywood headboard. This is the trickiest part, because you have to make sure the fabric lays correctly over the batting and foam and doesn’t have any wrinkles or uneven bunches.

You can staple some plain lining fabric to the back of your headboard if you want to cover the messy batting, fabric, and foam edges.

Finally, attach the legs to your headboard if you need to. You can also trim the edges of the headboard with cording, ribbon or bows if you would like.

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