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The Aloha Collection by Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson’s enchanting art glows with brilliant color, graceful shapes, and beaming optimism all set in a world of lush tropical splendor.

During his many happy and successful years in animation, Swanson continued to develop the art he had started as a young man. Nine years ago he moved to Hawaii and has dedicated himself to the work he loves best, drawing and painting the joyful imagery of a hopeful happy world.

Now you can take home The Aloha Collection  which has four of Mark’s most popular island inspired prints together for the first time at a great price.
The collection of 4 for only $140.

swanson art
From left to right they are:

Fruit of the gods
Hawaiian Shindig
Kailua Sunrise
Okole Maluna

The Aloha Collection is open edition. Each print measures 11.75 X 15.75″ and is hand signed by Mark.

The colors are rich and vibrant and are printed on a heavy weight, high gloss paper.

If you have been wanting to own a signed piece of Mark’s work this is the perfect opportunity. 

Find out more HERE

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Spring is in the Islands!

Spring is in the islands!  It’s a great time to play in the ocean…the water is full of energy but the giant waves have subsided to the South shores, leaving the North Shore beaches playful and relaxing.  While enjoying the outdoors, you can rest assured that our Hawaiian Bath & Body skincare products made at the North Shore Soap Factory are safe for our oceans and soothe your skin after an adventurous day.

Hawaiian Bath & Body is Ocean-friendly. We never use petroleum-based ingredients, no parabens or SLS that harm our reefs.  We make Hawaiian Bath & Body gentle on your skin, safe for your baby and safe for our planet.

 The North Shore Soap Factory is just west of Haleiwa in the Historic Waialua Sugar Mill.  We are a working soap factory, inside the big cone shaped building, the Bagasse Bin.  Come inside and see our handcrafted soaps being mixed, swirled, poured and cut. 

The North Shore Soap Factory is home to our natural skincare line, Hawaiian Bath & Body.  Enjoy our handcrafted artisan soaps, lomi lomi massage oils, aromatherapy facial mists, mineral soaking salts, skin therapy lotions, Maui sugar scrubs all made with natural, organic and locally grown ingredients.  

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A Day on Windward Oahu, Sample Itinerary

Taking a drive over to the Windward Side begins very dramatically when you head over the mountains on the Pali Highway, stopping for a fantastic view from the Pali Lookout! Take binoculars, if you have them, and your camera of course! After stopping at the lookout point, head down into Kailua town.
In Kailua, go straight to Twogood Kayaks and rent Kayaks for yourself and those with you. They offer different adventures, guided tours and turtle safaris. Head over to lovely Lanikai beach for a beautiful and leisurely place to kayak the waters of Windward Oahu. Travel a little farther down, to Kailua Bay, for more Kayak time and to enjoy the spectacle of wind and kite surfers who flock to this beach! After you return the kayaks, enjoy a little shopping at the cute boutiques of Kailua, such as nearby Maya Bella, where you will find great beachwear, accessories and one of a kind treasures. From Kailua take a drive towards Kaneohe to see the gorgeous Kaneohe Bay and then continue up the coast for a spectacularly beautiful and relaxing drive with lots of spots for more beach time, stopping for a bite of lunch along the way. Allow time for the return drive and head back to Kailua, stopping to take in the gorgeous sunset over the mountains, and then enjoy a delicious dinner at The Grove offering globally inspired island cuisine from award-winning Chef Fred DeAngelo. This will surely top off your day on Windward Oahu!

For information on activities, shopping, restaurants and more on Windward Oahu, CLICK HERE

*See itineraries in other regions for more ideas!

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A Day on the North Shore of Oahu, Sample Itinerary

You can be to the North Shore from Honolulu in about 45 minutes, less if on the Windward or Leeward sides of Oahu. When coming from Honolulu, head towards Waialua first, which takes you out Farrington Highway for a gorgeous scenic view of the North Shore as you are coming in! Waialua itself was once a sugar plantation and is now a sleepy little town. The old sugar mill is still there but has been converted into the North Shore Soap Factory. It’s a fun place to stop to see soaps being made and pick up some great smelling, good for your body, authentic made-in-Hawaii soaps and lotions! After a little shopping here, drive a little further to Mokuleia for big, open beaches that are great for swimming and surf, while also providing an overhead “air show” of sky divers and glider planes from the nearby airfield! Then head into historic Haleiwa Town for some great burgers, sandwiches, salads and more at Kua‘aina. Enjoy a little shopping or art gallery browsing, and maybe a refreshing shave ice, before heading up the coast towards Sunset Beach, to see the renowned big wave beaches of North Shore legend. You will want to stop to enjoy the awesome views and gorgeous beach of Waimea, site of big wave surf meets in winter months and favorite beach for hanging out during the calm water days of summer! Take some time also to drive up to Waimea Valley, just above, and take a walk through tropical gardens, past historic ruins of ancient Hawaii, to a waterfall you can take a dip under! Continue up the coast through Kahuku and on to Laie for more beautiful scenery and great beaches. In Laie you will find the ever popular, fun, and educational Polynesian Cultural Center, where there are “villages” set up depicting life and the influence of all the Polynesian cultures. You could spend a whole day and not see all there is, but any time spent here will be enjoyable! Before the sun goes down, be sure to head back down and perch yourself at none other than famous Sunset Beach for that classic, not-to-be-missed, Hawaiian sunset photo. End your day with a great meal at one of the many restaurants of Haleiwa before heading back to your own vacation accommodations.

For more about the North Shore and all there is to see and do CLICK HERE


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Shopping for a Christmas Tree on Oahu?

If you are spending Christmas in Hawaii, then you are likely going to want a Christmas tree. When shopping for a Christmas tree in the islands, you may find your choices are a little different and somewhat limited, so we thought a little information might help you with your choice.  Fresh trees are already arriving from the mainland, and these trees are carefully inspected for unwanted pests before being sold in stores. If you desire a “traditional” tree with the smell of spruce or fir, then you will want to shop early as the number of these trees available can be limited and often goes fast!

However, there are other options. Believe it or not, there are actually Christmas tree farms on Oahu! You can go and choose a live tree to have freshly cut for you. These trees are guaranteed to last through the holidays and there are generally two types to choose from. One is a beautiful pine that grows well in the islands and still has that “Christmasy” feel and smell. The other is a very popular choice here in Hawaii, the Norfolk Island Pine. It is an elegant tree with an open lacy look. It often graces the homes of families here and many weave flower leis through its branches or decorate with shells and other ornaments to give it that special island touch.

Whichever tree you choose, whether traditional or with an island flair, we hope you enjoy the holidays here on Oahu, and the Aloha spirit that is a part of Hawaii at any season! We wish you a very Mele Kalikimaka!

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Two Fun North Shore Events Happening on November 9th!


There are plenty of great restaurants, shops, and interesting things to see and do on the North Shore of Oahu. Two events, both coming up on November 9th, are examples of the variety and fun to be had!

Serving a Fusion, Pacific-Rim inspired menu with some of the freshest fish available on Oahu, Banzai Sushi Bar offers a hip and trendy spot on the North Shore for great food, great drinks, and great fun. Now they invite you out for some great music too, as they celebrate their 10 year anniversary with a Dance Party on November 9th from 6pm to 2am! Hosted by six KTUH  DJ’s, with special guests, and free sushi at midnight, it’s their way of saying Thank You to the community and the visitors for all their support! Come on out, let loose, and be a part of the celebration!

Also happening on the North Shore on November 9th, from 6-8pm, is a fun fashion event at Mermaids Haleiwa! This fashion workshop will focus on helping you to choose the best colors, designs, and accessories to enhance your image. Discover your “inner mermaid” as fashion designer Maria Paz directs you on a guided shopping evening and offers you her fashion tips. You will need to make reservations for this fascinating event, but it promises to be fun and informative!

The North Shore of Oahu is not only beautiful but has lots going on, and is always an exciting place to go! To find out more about the restaurants, activities, etc…click here.

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Maps of Oahu…Where to Go and What to See

There are so many different things to do and sights to see on our beautiful island of Oahu! From the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to a hike in Diamond Head, from a frolic with dolphins on the Leeward coast to a drive across the Koolau Mountains with a majestic view of the Windward Coast, from the famous surfing beaches of the North Shore to ,well, you get the picture. Not only is there the challenge of deciding where to go and what to see first, but then there is figuring out the best route! Yes, a GPS  is definitely something we all rely on now, but Seek Spot by Be Our Guest Directory wants to help make things easier for you too. Our colorful maps have the main routes, geographical points of interest and noted sights for each region of Oahu, along with an easy to read map key and brief descriptions, which will all help simplify your planning. In addition, the directory has a calendar of events and regional listings of shops, restaurants, and activities, giving you an indispensable tool to help with your every decision! Make your visit the best it can be, and make it easy on yourself too, by using the Seek Spot by Be Our Guest Directory!

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Hawaii's favorite flavors and awesome aromas…take them home!

When you are visiting on Oahu, you are surrounded by all the wonderful, tropical scents and flavors of the islands. Hawaii has so many flowers and fruits, each so unique, and everyone usually has their favorites. For some it is the perfumes of plumerias, tuberose, or pikake that waft from the leis, for others the flavors of fresh pineapple, coconut, lilikoi, or unique island taste treats like the tangy li hing mui. These flavors and sweet aromas mingle with memories you are making, and often you want to take home some reminder of that memory! It might be a soap, a lotion, or a candle with that favorite scent, or perhaps a delicious tastebud treat such as coconut candy or li hing mui mango, to savor at home! Sometimes, when shopping on Oahu, finding that quality item that you desire is not as easy as one might expect. What’s more, you want to be sure what you choose will reward you and not disappoint, once you get it home! We can help you find local shops that offer the highest quality, for assured satisfaction. The Seek Spot by Be Our Guest Directory offers many boutiques and specialty shops for you to choose from, with information on their products and location. What’s more, we also offer coupons for discounts at many of these shops! Find that “just right” gift that will bring home for you the favorite flavors and awesome aromas of Hawaii.

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Surf Shops…Swimsuits, wetsuits, and more on the North Shore of Oahu

When visiting Hawaii, most of us shop for swimwear of one kind or another. Sometimes
it is for that perfect bikini to show off the great island tan you are getting!
Sometimes it is simply wanting better surf wear, or rashguards for the kids.
Maybe you want to try something new while visiting Oahu, like scuba diving, in
which case you might need a wetsuit! The North Shore of Oahu is a place where
many come to enjoy the beach, the surf, and all the ocean related activities,
so of course they are going to have some great surf shops! Seek Spot by Be Our Guest
Directory offers you a listing of quality shops to help you find just the one
to suit your needs. Not only will you find beachwear, but all the accessories
you need also. Whether you are looking for casual wear, beach cover-ups, slippers,
sunglasses, hats, dive wear, swimsuits, sunscreen, or a soothing aloe gel for
that tender skin that got a little too much sun, you can get it at these North
Shore surf shops. Make sure you have all you need, to enjoy every moment of
your time spent on the beautiful beaches and in the warm tropical ocean of Oahu!
Make a stop by one of the fine surf shops of the North Shore of Oahu.

 North Shore Surf Shops

Beach Boutiques

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Art in Hawaii

Hawaiian Crafts at Bishop MuseumThere is a rich history of artists and artisans here in Hawaii. The ancient Hawaiians were skilled in weaving lauhala mats and baskets, making tapa cloth, creating intricate feather lei and capes for their royalty, and in carving and shaping wood for statues, weapons, and boats. Their work was both functional and beautiful. Those skills have not been lost over time and you can still find many who continue age old honored traditions of wood carving, lei making, and lauhala weaving.
Over the years, as Hawaii has grown and changed, it has become a sort of magnet to artists from near and far who are drawn to and inspired by the beauty of the islands. Today, you will find a wide range of local and world-renowned artists, whose works are displayed in galleries and museums. Using many different styles and forms of media to express their creativity, there is everything from indigenous art to surf art, oil paintings to the art of photography. Many galleries display art inspired by the ocean or ocean sports such as surfing, while others showcase the island’s many beautiful plants, fruit, lush green landscapes, birds, and other exotic flora and fauna.
If you are looking to purchase a piece of artwork, Seek Spot by Be Our Guest Directory has information on local galleries. Maybe you are especially interested in memorabilia from Hawaii’s early tourism days, and its surfing history, in which case you might want to check out a special gallery/museum on Oahu’s Leeward side. If you would just enjoy visiting some of the museums where vintage Hawaiiana, as well as present day artworks, are displayed for viewing, then Seek Spot by Be Our Guest Directory has a Calender of Events which can help you find special showings currently going on. When out and about on Oahu, we encourage you to explore the galleries and museums and enjoy the beauty and diversity of art in Hawaii!

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