help! what should we do in oahu?

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Sometimes life hands you a break. A pretty nice one. In the form of a free (penthouse!) condo on Waikiki Beach. Oh, and ridiculously cheap airfare. So, next week, the husband and I are packin’ our SPF 50 and leaving the cold & dark of Seattle behind for Oahu! The trouble is, we’re not too in to the touristy stuff, but we really want to have an authentic Hawaiian experience. We’ve scoped out a few cool things to do, like visiting the Farmers Market at Kapiolani Community College to stock our little condo kitchen, heading out to Kaneohe to see an old friend and up to the North Shore for garlic shrimp and big wave surf watching, but other than that, we don’t have much planned. This is why I’m asking you, knowledgeable readers, to help me plan my trip — what’s cool and funky and “authentically Hawaiian”? I’m talking delicious, can’t-miss eateries, great vintage shops, jungle hikes, etc… I’m counting on you guys for some great stuff — don’t let me down! –Megan B.

vintage postcard image courtesy of Jane’s Oceania

steal these ideas from the palihouse hotel

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I had the pleasure of staying in a new hotel in West Hollywood during a business trip the other week. The only problem with it: the cozy chic decor was constantly distracting! I kept looking around at perfectly placed found objects, creatively framed art and casually tossed pillows thinking, what can I learn from this place? A few things immediately came to mind: First off, forget mid century — go turn-of-the-century! Apothecary bottles, farming tools, industrial stools where sprinkled everywhere with surprising allure. Each room featured a large framed collection of Polaroids. ( I am guessing they are by a well-known artist but I can’t tell you who.) Another touch I loved was in the bathroom. The mirror had an ornamental flourish added to just one corner. Perhaps by a designer (anyone know?) but easy enough to replicate with the right flea market find, don’t you think? I am not the first blogger to become dazzled by the Palihouse’s interior: Check out this post at Elements of Style for more photos. Click here to see the Palihouse’s site, and next time you’re in Los Angeles, definitely swing by for a cocktail in their open courtyard. — Angela M.

where do you get your travel deals?

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Leave it to me to start thinking about vacation now that fall is here again, but I do have to think about the holidays and whether we’ll spend them here at home or make the trek to a relative’s house. Because we live so far from family, I’m on the mailing list for a couple sites like Travelzoo, but I honestly have yet to put any of their deal alerts to use. Maybe it’s just because I get too many emails already, so it’s easier to simply ignore them. Generally, we tend to use Expedia to book our flights, rental cars, and hotel, though it’s mainly for convenience. Am I missing out on sites with super travel deals? — Mary T.

Photo: The suitcase sofa!

dale chihuly’s boathouse tour: part one — the hot shop

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Last week, I was fortunate enough to score an exclusive (albeit whirlwind) tour of famed Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly‘s Boathouse on Lake Union. Say what you may about his work, but I was blown away by the space — the colors, the glass, and the collections (oh, the collections), as well as the design aesthetic. I’ve got so much to show from such a quick run-through I’ve decided this *has* to be broken up into appropriate parts. We’ll start our journey the way I did: through the hot shop, the studio portion of Chihuly’s live/work space.

Seen above: samples of Chihuly’s forms and his custom molds. Click for more photos of Chihuly’s Hot Shop! (more…)

road trip ready: the npr map

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Know someone with a thing for public radio and travel? I do. That someone is my dad. While he wouldn’t leave home without his trusty new GPS, he’s a map man at heart and in a few weeks, he’ll be embarking on a road trip with his brother to do some hiking in Washington. Father’s Day turned up some jazzy new hiking boots, and this NPR Map would be the perfect complement on the man-trip. You know, the koozie to his brew. The Bengay to his fit fifties. For just $7 at Uncommon Goods, he’ll be privy to the locations of more than 600 local public radio stations, and I’ll rest easy with the knowledge that he’ll never miss “A Prairie Home Companion” no matter where he roams. – Sarah C.

image via radio-map.com