There are tons of people from Hawaii living across the globe and even more who are absolutely obsessed with all things Hawaii. While living abroad, I quickly came to realize that this is not an understatement. The isolated archipelago has a special draw. Its picturesque natural beauty and unique culture captivates even those who have never actually visited.
Here are some awesome Hawaii inspired gifts curated by a local.
These one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade in Hawaii and are a popular accessory to the typical Hawaiian bracelets that many locals wear. The bangles come in 14k gold, rose gold, or sterling silver, and start at $55. Each one comes with either Tahitian pearls, puka shells, or my personal favorite, cone shells.
Coffee Table Books
Whether on Instagram or a coffee table book, I love looking at beautiful captures of my home state. The Kingdom of Maui showcases gorgeous full spread panoramas of the Valley Isle’s mountains, coastline, and iconic sites. Art enthusiasts will enjoy Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaii. It’s a wonderful collection of her famous drawings and photographs during her time in the islands.
Kukui (candlenut tree) was an important plant in ancient Hawaii and is still used today. The oil extracted from the kukui nut is a great moisturizer, perfect for hydrating dry skin and hair. Kukui oil is also commonly used for massage and is full of vitamins and antioxidants. Although produced in Tahiti, monoi oil with its beautiful tiare (gardenia) scent is also an island favorite.
Each Christmas, families in Hawaii receive enough snacks to last them for months (or maybe just weeks, they go fast). Some of the most loved are mochi crunch, shredded ika (cuttlefish), li hing mango, iso peanuts, and li hing sour gummy worms, but there are many many others. Most residents have their favorites and one of mine is the li hing drop candy, which has a full seed in the middle.
There are so many amazing stories written about Hawaii that it’s difficult to narrow down to just a few. I’m in the midst of reading Folks You Meet in Longs, a collection of short stories that put a smile on my face because only those who have lived in the islands can fully understand all that goes down there. Even those who have grown up hearing about Duke will likely learn something new from Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku. It’s an outstanding biography that any surfing or swimming enthusiast will love. I also have to mention Alan Brennert’s novels Molokaʻi and Honolulu, which are my go to beach reads.
Remove your slippahs sign
Some call them flip flops, but in Hawaii they’re slippers, and we wear them everywhere (except inside the house). Locals can probably remember a time or two when they got in a lot of trouble for wearing shoes in the house as a kid. This cute sign or doormat remind guests about the common house rule in Hawaii.
The thing I miss most about the islands is the unbeatable food. Luckily Young’s Fish Market and a few other eateries ship all of the Hawaiian delicacies to the mainland! Yup, you heard that right. They send customizable care packages with everything from lau lau, poi, kalua pig, squid luau, dried aku, and pipikaula to kulolo and pickled ogo. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Most Hawaii backyards are a lush oasis of tropical plants and fruit trees. Colorful plumeria, hibiscus, and ginger have gorgeous flowers that brighten up any space. I personally like stephanotis, which is perfect for lei making and has a wonderfully sweet aroma. Ti leaf is also very easy to grow and commonly found lining Hawaii homes.
Stylish Aloha Wear
Manaola is a big name in modern luxury aloha wear and blew up at New York Fashion Week in 2017. The original designs are created using the traditional Hawaiian technique of ‘ohe kāpala (bamboo stamps). Shop the brand at Ala Moana Center, Saks Fifth Avenue Waikīkī, and online.
It’s no question Hawaii loves their spam, especially spam musubi. Jump on the PopSocket bandwagon with this adorably angry phone accessory that goes for $17. There’s even a design for poke lovers too.
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