Best Home Decor Stores

With the start of the new school year, it’s time for a fresh living space. Whether you’re moving into a new dorm or just want to revamp your apartment, you’ll want to make trips to pick up those new furnishings and decorations.


Known for its “expect more, pay less,” phrase, Target is the place to go when decorating on a budget. Find inexpensive nightstands, pillows and chairs, all in a variety of colors and styles, at three locations on O‘ahu: Kapolei, Kailua and Aiea. The stores also hold sales every once in a while, knocking down the prices even further. Target also has sections for groceries and clothes, making it an ideal one-stop shop.


4380 Lawehana St.




Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Sun. 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.


With multiple locations on the island, Walmart is a great place to look for inexpensive furnishings and decorations. Looking for a futon? They can be found at the store starting at $200. You’ll also find cheap tables, stools and curtains that are still high quality. Walmart stores also have sections for clothes, food and healthcare.

Location: 700 Keeaumoku St.

Phone: 955-8441

Hours: Open 24 hours

Bed Bath & Beyond

Filled with items like bedding, home decor and furniture, Bed Bath & Beyond is useful when moving into a new dorm. You’ll find dorm necessities like organizers for your closets, shower caddies and blankets, each offered in numerous colors to choose from. While the store’s items can be pricey at times, depending on what you buy, your items will be sturdy and last for a while. The store also has two locations on the island – one in Honolulu and one in Aiea.

Location: 1200 Ala Moana Bvld., Suite 500

Phone: 593-8161

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Simply Organized

This store is all about being organized. From cubbies to store your books to a rack to keep your shoes, Simply Organized has what you need to keep your items and home neat and tidy. The store also has items you need, such as food storage containers, hampers and trash cans.

Location: 4211 Wai‘alae Ave., Suite 1200

Phone: (808) 739-7007

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.


Best beaches

When you’re living on a tropical island, going to the beach should be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you’re new to Hawai’i. From the crowded shores of Waikīkī to the pounding waves of Sunset Beach on the North Shore, O’ahu has many beaches to offer whether you’re into surfing or relaxing on the sand. Below are some of the best beaches for various activities that you can do at the beach.

Waikīkī Beach: Best beach for relaxing

Always popular with the tourists, Waikīkī Beach is great for swimming, surfing and tanning. The waters are calm and shallow for hundreds of feet out, making it a good place to swim no matter how experienced you are. Many people seem to have the same idea, so watch out when others are swimming or surfing nearby.

Location: Kalakaua Ave.

Amenities: Showers, Bathrooms, Picnic Tables

Kahana Bay Beach: Best beach for relaxing

Nestled outside the Ko’olau mountains, Kahana Bay is one of the prettiest beaches on the island. With views of the blue sea and lush, green mountains in the background and a somewhat secluded location, this beach is perfect for when you want to escape from town and relax. The waters — although murky most of the time — are mainly calm and shallow.  The sand is also fine and soft – perfect for laying a towel down and taking a much-needed nap.

Location: Kamehameha Hwy.

Amenities: Port-a-potty, Picnic Tables, Grills

Kalama Beach: Best beach for tanning

Located in Kailua, a town outside of town, Kalama Beach is where many families go to relax and have fun. With waves that break farther back than the shore, many children can be seen riding them with or without body boards. Although often crowded – but not as crowded as the touristy Waikīkī – Kalama is a great place to catch the rays and get a tan. The sand is soft and plentiful, extending back to houses that surround the large beach.

Location: 248 N. Kalaheo Ave.

Amenities: Showers, Bathrooms

Hanauma Bay: Best beach for snorkeling

Hanauma Bay is the place to go if you want to see fish and lots of them. The bay has a large, shallow reef, making it easy to spot fish swimming by. As one of the most popular snorkeling destinations on the island, it’s also quite crowded. According to its website, the state park sees around 3,000 visitors a day, so you’ll want to go early. The park also charges an entry fee and is open from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day except Tuesday.

Location: 100 Hanauma Bay Rd.

Amenities: Showers, Bathrooms, Picnic Tables

Dream Meets Reality

Published in the June 2015 issue.

Setting up shop in Hawaii is a dream for many Japanese nationals. Some have achieved that goal, but success has never been a stroll in Paradise – and it was harder for them than for most local entrepreneurs because of the added barriers of language, immigration status and cultural differences. The owners of Yanagi Sushi are one successful example. They came from Japan, knew nothing about starting a restaurant in the United States, yet today the family restaurant has a great reputation that draws people from all over the world. As difficult as it was to succeed when they started 37 years ago, if they were to launch today, the challenges would be much greater.

“The situation is really changed because operation costs is too high,” says Yanagi Sushi VP Christine Hirosane. “And another thing is law has been changed, is more strict about the employment and all kind of labor laws and liquor laws.”

She, her sister Angel Nakayama and brother-in-law Haruo Nakayama opened Yanagi Sushi in September 1978 with the help of her parents and other family members. The odds were against them from the beginning. Nani Hanus, Hirosane’s daughter, says her family was advised not to open a restaurant in its current location – on Kapiolani Boulevard, Ewa of Ward Avenue, and far from the tourist mecca of Waikiki. But they went ahead anyway.

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Nutrition in a Dessert

This was published in the July 2015 issue. 


Arnie Koss describes himself and his twin brother, Ron, as entrepreneurs. Before creating Brio, they founded Earth’s Best Baby Foods. The brothers conceived the idea of an ice cream that was both nutritional and delicious from their mother’s craving for the dessert when she was in a health crisis. “Our mom needing something and her boys looked for a way to actually give her what she needed,” says Arnie Koss, who lives on Maui.


Brio is a frozen dairy dessert that has 160 to 170 calories, six grams of protein, two grams of fiber and 24 essential vitamins and minerals per four-ounce serving, not to mention other nutritional elements. The Food and Drug Administration says Brio is not an ice cream because it doesn’t contain 10 percent dairy fat, but Koss says he considers Brio to be a unique one because it unifies “the deliciousness of ice cream with all of the health benefits that Brio contains.”

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Where is your language?: Second Language Studies class aims to educate campus on its linguistic diversity

In an effort to raise awareness for multilingualism, a small class translated common campus signs and posted its own.

“I took my students on a campus tour, and we looked at all the signs on campus and they were all in English,” Second Language Studies (SLS) instructor Angela Haeusler said. “And we thought, ‘Wow, that’s actually not really [reflective of] this place – Hawai‘i. And yeah, the campus maybe should mirror what is out there in the community.’”

Her SLS 480P, Second Language Pedagogy, class is composed of 11 students and five different languages: Pidgin, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and German. Students identified signs that reflected English as the norm — such as the one on Hamilton Library’s outdoor book return station — translated them into these languages and posted their signs.

According to Haeusler, other languages that are important to the campus and Hawai‘i, such as Hawaiian, Marshallese and Ilocano were not represented in the class so they weren’t able to cover them. So what we did was we added a little add-on that said, ‘Where’s your language?’ to raise this critical awareness that none of these are actually there even though we have students, staff, faculty that are not only just from culturally diverse but also from a linguistically diverse background,” she said.

Raising awareness

SLS 480P focuses on globalization in language teaching.

“We try to raise critical awareness about the students – how to be a good English teacher, be ethically responsible in addressing topics and some things that are a little controversial or inconvenient. And I think that comes just with this issue of globalization, as the world becomes more diverse, and sometimes it’s difficult to really address that in a big way.”

The class made about eight signs, all with translations in the languages the students in the class spoke. Locations included Hamilton Library, Paradise Palms, Sinclair Library, Queen Lili‘uokalani Center, the Art Building and Mānoa Gardens, Haeusler said.

The signs were posted July 27, and although some are no longer there, the one on Hamilton Library’s book return station remains.

According to Ann Crawford, associate university librarian for planning, administration and personnel, the library has no plans to take down the class’s sign.

As a library, and because the campus is a research institution, a lot of time is spent dealing with materials that are not in English, she said.

“When we’re going to collect an item, we’re buying whatever language that happens to be written in,” Crawford said. “Our Hawaiian Pacific collection, again, is we’re buying and having it and making use, and helping people make use of it in whatever language it’s written in.”

The library has staff members that are competent in 22 different languages.

“So we have specialists in the library in other languages, whose job is to make sure that although our catalog is in English we’ve done a good job representing what that material is,” she said. “I think we’re working to move forward the conversation of scholarship and research in whatever language it needs to happen in and should be happening in.”

Utilizing a class’ languages

Haeusler hopes her students see it’s possible to take action on something if they go out and do it.

“Also that we together, as a group, can maybe raise awareness for something like this, for multilingualism, which is important for language teachers, right? I think also, making people from diverse language backgrounds feel valued in all those different resources that they bring to campus, not just a limited set, but actually language resources,” she said.

Senior Reynold Kajiwara thought the project was interesting because it utilized every language the class had to translate signs that foreigners can’t understand.

“It’s pretty interesting because English is … the most dominant language in UH Mānoa, or UH in general, and then a lot of other languages aren’t represented in UH as much,” Kajiwara said in a phone interview.

Senior Kalene Peterson said while the students were posting the signs, others noticed the different languages.

“I think, by posting these, people are aware that there’s different languages in Hawai‘i – how multicultural Hawai‘i is,” she said in a phone interview.