For the past three years, the Obamas have eschewed Chicago snow and opted for Hawaiian breezes. And really, who can blame them? As much as we all may dream of a white Christmas, isn't white sand a better alternative to white snow? In 2008, 2009, and now in 2010, the Obamas have spent their Christmas holiday at the upscale Paradise Point Estates on Kailua Bay. The five bedroom, five and a half bath home features high level security (of course) for its exclusive clients. A center courtyard includes a secluded lagoon-style pool pavilion with tropical waterfalls and an island spa. Nature lovers will enjoy the ocean lanai and garden lanai, which showcase ornate landscaping and stunning views. The home itself is a standout thanks to the etched windows, stained glass, natural stone tiling, and African mahogany carvings. Other amenities include a zoned alarm system, championship golf courses, a health club and spa, and concierge services. Take a complete tour when you read more
I spent the last week keeping tabs on the beach in Maui, and I've returned not only sunburned, but also probably five pounds heavier. I couldn't stop eating the local food! I'd been told that island cuisine is often imitated but never duplicated, yet I was still ridiculously impressed by how outrageous everything tastes in Hawaii. From takeout spots to high-end dining destinations, I enjoyed it all. Here are the few favorites that I managed to capture before everything got wolfed down.
Hawaii is still the land of poke and poi, but come 2011, don't expect to find shark fin. On Friday, governor Linda Lingle passed a bill prohibiting the possession, sale, or distribution of shark fins come July 1, 2011, making Hawaii the first U.S. state to ban the commodity. Shark fin is considered a delicacy in certain Asian countries, particularly in Chinese cuisine, where it's been served in opulent dishes since the Ming Dynasty.The practice of shark finning has long been the subject of animal rights activists, who cite that sharks are being killed for their fins at a shocking rate of 89 million per year, disrupting the ocean habitat. I'm torn on this issue. On the one hand, I understand the delicacy's environmental repercussions; on the other, I believe such laws are unlikely to reform Asian palates. Where do you stand? Do you see other states following suit?
Source: Flickr User avlxyz
Growing up in Hawaii, I was sort of spoiled. In my backyard we had papaya, avocado, coconut, and passion fruit trees. The best part? They were there when we moved in! And in a tropical climate like Hawaii, these trees need little in the way of cultivation — they just kind of hang out and take care of themselves.
Even though I've moved away from Hawaii, my favorite fruit is still passion fruit, except now it's more of a delicacy than a mainstay. If you've never experienced this sweet, fleshy fruit, now is the time to try it. It grows in abundance this time of year and can easily be found at most grocery stores. (I was able to pick one up from Safeway just the other day.) The purple fruit is antioxidant-rich and full of vitamin A, iron, and vitamin C.
Look for ones that are about the size of a lemon with slight indentations in the skin — this means they're ready to eat. I usually just slice one open and eat the pulp — seeds and all — with a spoon. The fruit has a really sweet, floral scent and a sweet-tart flavor. What will probably be unusual to most people is the texture. On top of being really juicy, the pulp has an almost jelly-like texture and consistency.
If you're not into the texture, passion fruit is great for juicing or as an ingredient in a cocktail, dessert, salad dressing, or a sauce. I also love making jam out of it too. Have any of you tried passion fruit?
Source: Flickr User geishaboy500
Singer-songwriter, actor, director and record producer Cher, as it turns out, also boasts interior design as one of her skills — and you can see it for yourself. On January 18, the entertainer will auction off her 8,821-square-foot, 6-bedroom, 6-and-2-half bath home on the Kona-Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. The property, which she personally designed in traditional Balinese style, is part of the elite Four Seasons Hualalai community, and is estimated to sell for $8 to $12 million. In addition to a main residence, the residence includes five free-standing guest bungalows, four with bedroom suites and one with a media room and bar — sounds perfect for entertaining. Oh, and did I mention the pool, hot tub, terrace, and ocean and golf course views? Take the full tour.
While I have been enjoying staycations, it was nice to recently have a real vacation in Oahu! Sure the beaches are outstanding, but the food is even better. The Hawaiian islands have experienced a bit of a food revolution: Gone are the days when everything was shipped from the mainland. Now the islands make use of their own resources from both the land and sea. The results are wildly delicious. Here, you'll find a taste of my favorites.
The state that created the concept of hanging loose is unsurprisingly the least stressed-out state in the union. According to a CDC phone survey, involving 2.4 million Americans, fewer Hawaiians experience "frequent mental distress" than anywhere else in the US.
Participants were asked the total days, out of the previous 30, they would describe their mental health as being "not good." The term mental health includes stress, depression, and emotional problems. If they answered 14 days, participants were classified as having "frequent mental distress." According to the survey, only 6.6 percent of the folks living in the island state were considered frequently stressed, followed closely by South Dakotans — where only 6.7 percent of respondents reported experiencing two weeks of not-so-good mental health days.
Learn how stressed your state is when you read more
Barack Obama took his daughters and some friends out to the mall in Hawaii this past weekend, and according to Reuters, "caused a commotion" with lookers-on and photographers. The president-elect, his trusty BlackBerry, his daughters, Malia, 10, and, Sasha, 7, and friends sat and snacked at a table while a crowd and Secret Service agents assembled around them. It's a scene that comes as no surprise to the 71 percent of CitizenSugar readers who say so long as people want to see the pictures, there will be paparazzi and buzz wherever the Obamas go. Here's more:
The agents struggled to hold back people trying to get closer to snap pictures of Obama eating a tuna and melted cheese sandwich and the girls enjoying shave ices, a local treat made from finely shaved ice and fruit syrup.
In recent interviews, such as his 60 Minutes special, Obama said he is dedicated to maintaining some normalcy for his daughters. At this point we expect to stay dialed in to what the Obamas are up to, but do you think the intense fascination will stay as fervent post the Inauguration?