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Baby Cake Boom

love_cupcake

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about Cupcakes that make people crazy happy. They’re such happy looking baked goods that are in the perfect portion for indulging without going overboard. What’s not to love?

Though cupcakes have been found at bakeries all over, there is one company that truly put baby cakes on the map. It began in Beverly Hills when Candace Nelson and her husband set out to make a shop specifically for cupcakes and cupcakes alone. Partner the cuteness of these little cups of joy with the high profile location of Beverly Hills, a slew of celebrities, and Oprah… Boom! goes the dynamite. Cupcake nation was born.

Hokulani Cupcake Film

While Sprinkles took over the cupcake scene in the mainland, a similar husband and wife team was bringing the cupcake craze to Honolulu. Ana & Tushar Dubey opened Hokulani Bakeshop in 2005 and have been cranking out decadent morsels ever since. I’m sure you’ve heard about their infamous red velvet that has brought many island locals to their knees… or you’ve been one of those lucky people that have been taken a back by their amazing cream cheese frosting.

Well cupcake fans that work in Downtown Honolulu, indulgence is coming to your neighborhood. This week opens a new chapter for Hokulani Bakeshop as they open their second location at Pioneer Plaza (in the former San Francisco Salad Company space). I can hear all you downtown workers doing a little dance and getting all giddy. Don’t freak out… that’s natural…. it’s one of those cupcake side effects.

Be sure to see what their Grand Opening week at Pioneer Plaza has in store. I’m sure you’ll walk away with a smile on your face 🙂

Hokulani Bakeshop at Pioneer Plaza
808-537-CAKE
http://www.hokulanibakeshop.com

p.s.- This isn’t the end of cupcake news in the downtown area… another cupcake shop is coming to your neck of the woods, but that post is for another day.

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IT Ideas: Scanner Edition

Buying electronics is always difficult for businesses.  They are expensive and come in so many varieties, it’s hard to determine which one is right from you.  As the designated IT guy(Dude that spends more time at the computer than everyone else), let me share a bit of what I have come to learn about buying electronics for your business.  At Isle Concierge, we are primarily a company powered by Mac computers(I being the lone linux/windows exception).  A while back we had purchased a scanner for our company’s documents.  Most scanners on the market will work with both PC and MACs.  However, there is a big difference depending on what you are going to scan.  Let me try to break it down and help give some ideas on how to decide what works for you.

Document Sheet Loaded Scanner

Document Sheet Loaded Scanner

If you are a business that scans large quantities of documents, many companies make scanners that specifically scan documents.  These tend to be fast while preserving document quality.  However, they are no good for scanning photos or anything with an intricate image.  These tend to be more useful for businesses that are trying to digitize all of their documents and are going for a paperless system.  These types of scanners tend to be on the more expensive side ranging from $200 to over $1,000.  These scanners tend to have software that is operating system specific.  Meaning ones designed for Windows will not work on MAC OSX unless that computer runs some kind of program to emulate windows.

Simple photo scanner

Simple photo scanner

A different option would be to use a photo scanner.  These tend to be much slower in comparison to the heavy duty document scanners.  However, they are also much cheaper, easier to find, and are a lot more flexible.  Because of their targeted audience, these scanners have software that is supported on both Windows and Mac systems.  The software is also easy to use and integrates into applications that are already on the system.  Price ranges on these scanners range from around $100 to maybe $800.  The high end photo scanners are mainly for professionals, and are overkill for documents.

Another thing to keep in mind is what they will be using these scans for.  If it is being stored as just records, most scanners are fine for that.  However, if they are looking to do something fancy like integrating scanned receipts into their book keeping software.  That will be another thing to look for in purchasing a scanner.  For our company, the scanner situation is setup a little different than most.  Because we primarily use macs for all of our staff, we use a Windows Emulator for our scanner.  The scanner we use is meant for a PC and the scanner software is able to link directly into our accounting software.  The software is also able to identify information on receipts and is able to store it logically.  We had already purchased the emulation software for our accounting, so adding the scanner for that purpose was an easy choice.

Generally, using scanners from larger companies like HP or Epson tend to be a better option.  Larger companies tend to have better support and most times have local repair companies or facilities.  Also supplies and accessories for these products are much easier to find.

As with all electronics for the workplace, what you decide to buy must fit what your company needs.  This is often the hardest thing to judge.  Buying something with too many bells and whistles may end up being a waste of money if it’s not fully utilized.  On the other extreme, you can’t expect a low end system to do everything and make coffee.  Much like Goldee Locks, you need to find that scanner that is just right.  Using review sites is highly recommended.  While every company/individual’s experience with a product will differ, it’s a good way to get an idea of some of the pro’s and con’s.  Here’s a couple of sites I like to use.

PC Magazine

PC Review

Mac Review Zone

And of course, google search engine is a great way to get some quick reviews.  I hope this helps any of you that are looking to buy a scanner for either yourself or your company.  Till next time, I’ll be browsing the interwebs making it look like I’m doing work.

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It’s in the works…

We at Isle Concierge are always looking to find new and innovative ways of making life easier for our clients.  We’ve started many different services and hold events trying to figure out what people would really like to see.  But all these events and services have to start somewhere.  Some work pretty well, like our Isle Meals to Go or the Farmers Markets.  However, these events are a culmination of weeks of planning, hours of bickering, and enough caffeine to subsidize a coffee farm in Kona.  Hmmmm…  Our own coffee farm…  Writing that one down.  Anyway, here’s some ideas that we’ve thought of that haven’t cut the mustard.

Isle Puppies to Go

We're looking to patent this puppy temperature regulator

We're looking to patent this puppy temperature regulator

It’s like our meals to go.  But with puppies.  Using state of the art “technology” and this interweb thing, we have puppies.  And…  We deliver them?  I dunno.  It didn’t get past the prototype phase.

Puppy Egg Coloring Seminar

She's quite dexterous with her front paws.

She's quite dexterous with her front paws.

Well this started out as a good idea.  We have puppies.  And they dye eggs.  Hey, it kinda worked.  But we were wondering why there was a sudden increase in multi-colored stuffed animals.  Then Aja started to sit on the eggs and her butt turned blue.

Isle Security Puppy Service

Nothing gets past her watch.  Then she ate it.

Nothing gets past her watch. Then she ate it.

Our ultra-secure state-of-the-art puppy security system.  She always kept a good watch on whatever was put in front of her.  Unfortunately, she ended up eating/chewing/hiding everything.

As you can see, we’re always busy looking for the next step in isle services.  Judging from the stink-eye Aja’s giving me, I think I’ll give her the weekend off.

She looks ready for the weekend.

She looks ready for the weekend.

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My Health Summarized

As I wrap up eating my interesting lunch(Total time taken: 1 min 26 sec), let us reflect on that which we have consumed.  Lunch today was from Hank’s Haute Dogs.  Ohhh Haute Dogs.  The things you do to me. So much selection.  So much exercise must be done later.  So good.

My lunch (Not included in this photo: My arteries)

My lunch (Not included in this photo: my blood pressure)

Let me try to explain as best I can about this Haute dog.  It is a sausage, wrapped in bacon, then deep fried.  And just to make you feel a little better, it’s sprinkled with some lettuce and some tomato slices.  It’s like ordering a negative Taco Salad.  Some people buy Taco Salads to try and make themselves feel like they’re ordering something healthy.  It’s okay for me to eat that, it’s a Taco SALAD.  This is like the opposite of that.  You know this is gonna hurt.  It even says on the menu “This will kill you!”  That only makes me want to eat it more.  But when you really sit down, and think about it.  This Fat Boy Haute Dog is the love child of a BLT sandwich and a Deep Fried Hot Dog.  They even put a little mayonnaise on it, which does add something too it.  That bit of salty with the sweet from the mayonnaise.  Yeah yeah, not everyone likes mayonnaise.  But it fits well.  Alas the Fat Boy.  I ate it fast.  And I feel like one.  So good.  Soo good.

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Morning Miracles

I’m sitting in the office and working on our upcoming Pets @ the Plaza.  I was just about to call some vendors and get more participants and I see one of our tenants heading to the office.

Now, when you’re on my side of the glass all you see is someone walking very quickly towards the door — bull rushing towards the door, actually.  What’s to stop me from freaking out and being all jittery?  Did I do something wrong? Did I forget an order?  I know its not your tenant anniversary or something else, so why are you bull rushing my door?

I prepare my self for the worst.  I put down the phone because apparently I won’t be making any calls to Pets @ the Plaza vendors.

“Good Morning, How can I help you?… Oh you forgot your secretaries birthday?… Lei?… Gift Card?… Yes, we can do that… Yes… By today.  Uh huh.  Okay, I’ll have this to you in a bit.  Thank you!”

Rush order.  I need to somehow order lei and a gift card, pick it up and have it delivered directly to the office asap.

Heres the plan:

1. Call L

2. Make sure that the restaurants are open so L doesn’t have to wait around

  • Halekulani – great gift cards available! You can use them at any of their restaurants, services or lounges.
  • Tangos Contemporary Cafe – not open until 11 am.  Too bad – I need it ASAP so I can’t go with them.  Great food and vibe though;)
  • Shokudo – They have great food, great atmosphere, affordable food and great service – too bad they’re not open until 11:30 am.
  • Sansei – Great sushi & friendly staff;) But not open until 5:30 pm.
  • Longhis – Great staff, great view and a wonderful dinner selection!  AAAAANND you can just walk on in and pick it up at anytime — BINGO!

3. L Picks up the leis and the card

4. Write out the gift card

5. Make a cute birthday card

6. Deliver

In a matter of 48 minutes we delivered the gifts and simplified another tenants day;)

All apart of a days work right?  So next time you’re stuck in a jam, or even if you’ve got weeks to plan — trust in Isle Concierge to assist you in planning, brain storming, delivering or working miracles.

Now its back to planning for Pets @ the Plaza — what a busy day;)

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Belated Birthday – Mamma Mia!

So my moms birthday is on may day and we finally celebrated it last night by going to Mamma Mia! and Shokudo.  One word that defines last nights experience: EPIC.

The night started off with Mamma Mia! an epic story based off of the music of ABBA.  The show started off with a sea blue back drop and a myriad of songs from the show.   The music pulled you into the performance and the curtains were lifted, revealing a Greek Style setting.  From that moment until the end, the show was fast paced and high energy. Each of my family members had a great experience, and is thankful that they were able to go.

My sister, loving plays and musicals was engulfed in the story and sang along with the songs, so much so that I had to give her that “be-quiet-or-else” stare.  She was mainly impressed with the power of the actors voices as well as the fact that they only used two main props for the entire show. All throughout the show, she felt the need to point everything out to me (and everyone else around her) due to her excitement… I had to point out to her that the lady next to her probably saw the huge boat being dragged in from the sides of the stage (big boat: kinda hard to miss right?).

My dad, (not so much a musical type of a guy) enjoyed the entire show (and stayed up for that matter — unlike his experience with “Phantom of the Opera”).  Even he was up on his feet at the end, clapping along to their three end of show songs: “Mamma Mia!”, “Dancing Queen” and “Waterloo”.  He liked the old seventies style dress wear that they had on as well as the quick costume changes that made the story line so much more interesting.

Throughout the entire night, my mom never failed to mention that Mamma Mia! was “fabulous”.  She enjoyed her self by taking loads of pictures and singing along to the songs.  Overall, the birthday girl was (as she likes to put it) thrilled to have been able to go to such a wonderful show.  She is now looking to possibly attend the performance of the Pussycat Dolls.

And then comes me;)

The aspect of Mamma Mia! that I enjoyed the most was not so much the music, costumes, setting or lighting… but rather the company of my family.  Throughout the musical, I enjoyed looking over to my mom and dad, singing along to the songs that they knew, bobbing their heads and grinning and the awesomeness (yes: awesomeness) of the show.  I loved the fact that my mom enjoyed her belated birthday and took millions of pictures (complaining that she would refuse to take another picture with my dad if he didn’t smile — he ended up grinning ear to ear).  I really enjoyed sitting next to my sister – being the big music buff that she is.  I somewhat enjoyed getting the play by plays as well as the constant “oooh! did you see that?” or hearing her signature laugh all throughout the scene with the male performers, dancing in scuba diving gear (flippers and all).  The part that was by far my favorite you ask?  The finale.  I found it amazing how the cast was able to get EVERYONE off of their seat, clapping and waving their hands in the air – was this a musical or a concert?  Besides that fact, it was a great experience, standing amidst my family… just being a family;)

I would recommend anyone to go a head and watch Mamma Mia! (Even more so, please go and watch it with your family!!).   Sadly, last night was Mamma Mia’s! Finale night… so if the opportunity every comes along again: go for it!

Sadly, like all good things… they must come to an end, and for my family – the end was signified by moms fameous: “where are we eating? I’m hungry.”

After delegating (and fighting our way out of the parking garage), we landed on the restaurant: Shokudo.

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Belated Birthday – Shokudo

Now, before I start this section I want to let you readers in on a little something — I love food. Even more so, I put together the restaurant binder at Isle Concierge… so even more so: I love food.

Back to the story: Shokudo.

This Japanese – Style restaurant is located on Kapiolani Boulevard, right next to AlaMoana and right next door to Angelo Pietros (another restaurant that deserves a great review). From the moment that you step into the doors, one becomes amazed with the modern style Japanese decor and smell of mouth watering Japanese cuisine.  We were quickly seated by friendly hosts and were soon tended to by welcoming waitresses.

Because my mom was very hungry, we chose to go with the “ordering everything that sounds good” road, and orderd basically all of the house favorites. These include:

  • Dynamite Roll – A tray of in-side-out California Rolls, topped with Shokudo’s dynamite sauce, and lobster
  • Karaage Chicken
  • Shrimp Tempura
  • Gyoza
  • Udon
  • Fried Flounder – one of the special dishes that night;)
  • Garlic Shrimp with Rice (#37) – Garlic shrimp (no shell!), with rice, served in a sizzling hot stone bowl — mixed right in front of you upon request

Shokudo serves everything family-style, allowing you to take part in all the tastes that they have to offer (well, if your family members let you).

For dessert, we got Shokudo’s honey toast – a signature dessert (that you should highly delegate ordering if you ever get to go there!)

The food was brought out in a timely fashion, our glasses were never empty and we walked (or better yet — rolled) out of Shokudo; as a full and happy family.

If you ever have the opportunity, go and visit this wonderful restaurant — I give it a five star rating (because they even had clean bathrooms haha).

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