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CBcon Hawaii 2015

Coldwell Banker Agents of Hawaii live ALOHA!

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Offices From All OVER Hawaii Gathered from all over Hawaii for a Great Day of education, networking and motivation at the Hawaii Prince Hotel in Waikiki. I met some great agents not only from our 4 CBPacific offices on Oahu, but lot’s of fabulous contacts with outer islands! ALOHA!Much Aloha,Biz

 

Mortgage Calulators are no replacement for a Good Lender

 

But here are some to give you an idea!

Part of finding a home is figuring out what you can afford.These tools on this page are by no means a substitute for you speaking with a good lender and are only to be used as rough guidelines.A good lender will not only discuss mortgage payments but remind you of other costs of home ownership not included in your monthly mortgage payment.

These could be Association Dues, Homeowners Insurance, special assessments and others all depending on your home and where you live.


Finance Glossary

MortgageLoan.com

And sometimes, depending on your individual situation, it’s better to rent than buy.

Rent vs Buy Calculator

MortgageLoan.com

I know. A lot of agents won’t tell you that. Because they just want to make a sale. But I want people to be comfortable and do what is best for them.

 

Aloha,

Biz

Behind the Scenes: Zootabulous!

A Special Tour of the Honolulu Zoo!

A while back I had the treat of a behind the scenes tour of the Honolulu Zoo with the  Bytemarks  gang. Bytemarks is a group of local nerds led by Bert Lum who meet for lunch once a month and take on adventures that most normal peeps don’t get to see. And we are definitely not “normal” 😉  …Bytemarks members range from IT people,  engineers, a librarian, me the token Realtor, photographers and mad scientists. The common ground is that we all share a love of technology.

Welcome to the Honolulu Zoo!

Welcome to the Honolulu Zoo!

Our Zoo tour was led by Tommy Higashino, a  37-year veteran zoo assistant director.  We started off with a yummy lunch hosted by the Zoo at the “Snack Bar”, which surprisingly had really great food.  We then moved on to the Tiger Zone where we learned about the care and feeding of the Big Kitties and that some cubs had successfully made it to Zoos in Japan. The cubs were scheduled to go earlier, but then the Tsunami hit.
Hot fence helps prevent jail breaks...

Hot fence helps prevent jail breaks...

 

Now we head to the new Elephant Enclosure, and got the chance to get in the area before the new tenants were moved in.
A much nicer home than the old digs, the new hacienda features several swimming pools as well as expanded grounds.
Can you spot the elephant?

Can you spot the elephant?

The new Elephant home features state of the art technology to control the big kids if they get into an Elephant Hissy Fit and become potentially dangerous. Essentially it is like the trash compactor from Star Wars that has panels to enclose and hold the elephant securely. The elephant is then turned over onto it’s side which calms it down enough so that attendants can administer whatever needs to be done to control the situation!

Dr. Ben has Mr. Fox in Quarantine before he can meet his new girlfriend... The Fox's girlfriend, not Docs ;-

Dr. Ben has Mr. Fox in Quarantine before he can meet his new girlfriend... The Fox's girlfriend, not Docs ;-)

From there we moseyed over to the veterinarian clinic to meet up with Dr. Ben Okimoto.  The new 7,000-square-foot clinic was dedicated in 2005 and is an up-to-date facility, complete with rooms for exams, X-rays, surgery and recovery. It allows medical staff to keep sick animals away from those in for routine examinations. It also serves as a morgue for autopsies as well as a quarantine area for new animals joining the Zoo from outside Hawaii.

In the Zoo Kitchen, everybody gets special food every day!

In the Zoo Kitchen, everybody gets special food every day!

We finished up our tour at the Kitchen. Not the Snack Bar Kitchen, this one is dedicated to preparing meals for all the animals every day. Special diets for everybody can include “Fuzzies”, which are depicted here with their own special walk in cooler. A tasty meal of Adult Mice,  anyone?

Fuzzies are Fuzzalicious!

Fuzzies are Fuzzalicious!

 

 

We all had a really great time and learned a lot of information from Tommy and Doctor Ben. We appreciate the Zootabulous Tour!

Aloha from Hawaii,
Biz

Halloween Hawaiian Style!

Spooktacular stuff to do on Oahu!

Yikes! It’s the end of October already. I have been experiencing serious writer’s block and remiss in keeping up on posting here… Or maybe I’ve just been lazy?

But since it’s nearing Halloween in Honolulu, I’m going to fill you in on some scary treats that are happening around the Island this time of year. Back in the ‘90’s I went on a “Honolulu Ghost Walk” hosted by Glen Grant, a local master of the Hawaiian myths and legends surrounding Oahu’s spookiest places. My personal experience was very creepy; Chinatown under a full moon is scary enough without hearing tales of murder and mayhem as you stroll through the streets.

Vampire Bagel is watching you...

Glen passed away in 2003 and a new group, Oahu Ghost Tours, has continued the tradition. I have not personally been on any of their tours, but have heard some positive comments from friends that have. And they go all over Oahu in a van to haunted hangouts, not just tour in town. They do state that some of the content is not appropriate for younger children, so parents should contact them before booking a tour.

Pumpkin Pics Courtesy of Aloun Farms

 

 


More keiki friendly is the Aloun Farms Pumpkin Patch in Kapolei  where kids of all ages can tour the pumpkin patch and pick out their own Great Pumpkin to take home and carve into a jack ‘o lantern!

BLEH! I don't want to leave the farm!

If you want to take the kids trick or treating, all the major malls on Oahu are hosting events on Halloween. Check out Kahala Mall,  Ala Moana Center,  Pearlridge,  and  Windward Mall for spooktacular trick or treating! 

Raising the Scary O’ Meter up a notch requires visiting the Dole Plantation Haunted Maze which helps raise money for some of the local schools, as well as raising goosebumps…

Redlining the Scary O’ Meter in my book is the Haunted Lagoon at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Hop on a frightening canoe ride and see the Laie Lady. The first time I did it was scarier than me looking in the mirror first thing in the morning… and that is truly terrifying!

And speaking of looking terrifying the morning after the night before, there are plenty of adult parties going on around town as well. Pretty much every bar in Waikiki has some sort of costume contest, and the people watching is as much fun as it gets! Check it out here for more info. 

 

Aloha,

Biz

 

Something’s happening at the Zoo, I do believe it, I do believe it’s true!

No Snoozin’! We’re Zoo Cruzin’ !

My friends April and Noel Williams (@AprilMWilliams and @NoelFWilliams on Twitter)  were in Honolulu recently to escape the weather in Chi Town and we decided to do some Zoo Crusin’! In 1876, King David Kalākaua made royal lands near the slopes of Diamond Head available for the establishment of a public park for the people. The King kept his collection of exotic birds and horses here and in 1877 the marshes, ponds and lagoons in the area were beautified by the subscriber based Kapiʻolani Park Association who opened up the area as Queen Kapiʻolani Park.

 

I haven’t been to the Honolulu Zoo since 1996, and a lot has changed. Gone are most of the old style cages and in place are newer free-range enclosures for the animals and birds. A new entrance has been added as well as an expanded gift shop. Comfort stations and snack bars are located strategically around the 42 acres so it is a more enjoyable experience with rest stops than it was formerly.

 

Here's looking at you, Kid!

I have to admit I favor the celebrity animals like the tigers and lions and cute little monkeys over the reptiles and the chimpanzees, who seemed to need anger management classes. I wondered why there were so many tigers and was told they had a litter of tiger kittens last year and they were supposed to go to zoos in Japan this year. Unfortunately, the recent Japan Earthquake and Tsunami has put those plans on hold, so Honolulu has lots of big kitties for you to visit!

We have our Picnic, do you?

We have our Picnic, do you?

One of the nice things about the Honolulu Zoo is it also functions as a park area, so you can bring in outside food and drink to have a picnic on the grounds. Most other Zoo’s I’ve been to don’t allow that. The grounds are beautifully maintained and there is plenty of open space away from the animal exhibits to enjoy.

We had a perfect day, overcast with some showers so it wasn’t too hot. Lots of places to duck out of the rain and wait for it to pass. Still, it is Hawaii so dress for the heat, wear sunscreen and carry a bottle of water with you. And bring a camera! I took a lot of fun zoo pics here!

 

Typically in the heat of midday many of the residents will be out of sight and napping. They are probably saying to themselves “What are those silly humans doing standing around in this weather?”  But I swear while looking at the tops of the Lion ears peeking over their little hill in the enclosure I heard them singing this song…

 

 

Aloha,

Biz

 

 

Kakaw (cacao) was discovered by the gods, but…

Hawai`i Chocolate Festival not so sweet

I was excited to hear about the Dole Cannery event on February 26th, so marked my calendar for the countdown. Wow, Chocolate is one of my favorite food groups, along with Bacon

I forgot to order my ticket at $20 online, so gladly paid the $25 at the door. The entry fee gave you ten “sample tastings” at the vendors’ booths. Entering the exhibit hall I saw a few booths up front, then notice a huge line at Choco le’a tucked into the corner. Hmm… long line of people waiting = good stuff!

Choco l'ea Chocoliciousness!

Choco l'ea Chocoliciousness!

These folks had a terrific display and were so friendly! Owner Colins Kawai started making chocolates as a hobby and everybody loved them so much that he went into full production. I had to try several, so gave up three of my ten “tastes’ for three luscious truffles.

Tiki's Shooters!

 

Wandering around I spied several booths with sliver size samples… no Scrooge Samples for me, I want to actually get a taste! So I strolled among the vendors until I spied Tiki’s Grill and Bar ! Hmm…I’ve eaten dinner there, held special events there, but…Chocolate?

Lo and behold, shot glasses of delectable Mocha Mousse appeared before me. I should have had two!

 

 

 

A new kid coming to town is Ricard Chocolat, of New York. Chocolatier to such trendy types as Versachi and the Ritz, his truffles are little works of art. Had to buy a box for a treat for later. I think they will be at the Hyatt in Waikiki soon. Want more chocorazzii pics?
 

Richard's Bon Bons

Richard's Bon Bons

The Expo was to run from 12-5PM, but by 2:30 many vendors were out of samples. Rather disappointing as I had arrived around 1:30. I tried a few vendors that were indifferent if not downright rude to the people waiting in line; not going to spend my tastes there! I had three tastes left, so I went back to Choco le’a. These folks are that good and nice, I spent six out of my ten tastes at their truffle table!

All in all the experience was ok, but not as professionally done as other similar events I’ve attended. Most of the samples were chintzy… and you should never run out of samples that early into the show. And there were several empty booths, the vendors never even showed up. Also, there were very few places to sit down which was not fun with my two artificial hips. Or for Mom’s with kids. Or anybody that wanted to sit down, actually.

Would I go to another event if they put one on? Maybe. It was really overpriced for what it was. But I have selective amnesia when it comes to Chocolate experiences. And Bacon.

Do not taunt the Chocolate Fairies!

Aloha,

Biz