Small Talk

Birthday weekend in Waikiki!

August 29th, 2016

I usually don't make a fuss about my birthday. It's not because I'm unhappy about getting older or anything. I just don't. No real reason.


This year, for some reason, I celebrated it quite a bit. It was coincidence that I had time and circumstance.

My family took me to dinner the day before, at Alan Wong's Honolulu. It's one of my favorites. And I like Chef Alan a lot, too.


Impeccable service, exquisite food, convenient location. What's not to like?


Olivia was mighty impressed with this, her first luxury dining experience. She's had high class dinners but this is the highest and classiest.

Beet salad. So artful!

Beet salad. So artful!

I even "cut loose" and had a glass of wine. I rarely drink alcohol because it makes me tired. A mom can't afford to be tired.

I stopped drinking wine when I got pregnant and I never really picked it up again. I will go to nine out of ten social functions and decline wine, even if it's free.

Sisto Domingo and me

Sisto Domingo and me

Over the weekend, we checked in at Halekulani - a gift from my generous friend Sisto. It's always lovely to see my former coworkers again. It's such a gracious hotel with perfect service.

Our view! Look at green Diamond Head is!

Our view! Look how green Diamond Head is!

The suite was incredible. A few of my hotel work friends sent some treats to the room, which was so thoughtful and much appreciated.




They even thought of Olivia!

They even thought of Olivia!

You guys! Thank you so much!!!

You guys! Thank you so much!!!

We spent most of our time in the pool or beach, though the second greatest use of time was walking around Waikiki! We saw the newly opened International Market Place and I was a bit sad to see how different the flavor is from the kitschy old mall.

The century-old banyan tree at International Market Place

The century-old banyan tree at International Market Place

I completely understand it's the best use of valuable property, and it's well done. It just feels like every other luxury shopping center in Hawaii and in America.

It's probably just because I'm a local and I know what it was, that I miss it. I'm being rigid and resistant to change.

We also walked into Harry Winston and tried on some jewelry. Mind you, I'd never have the audacity to walk into a store in which I could afford nothing, and waste their time asking to try on pieces.

Reef and me. I'm such a goober.

Reef and me. I'm such a goober.

However, as Olivia and I were drooling at a window display, the security guard started waving - it was my high school classmate! OK, if they can hire Reef, they must be pretty cool, I thought.

This was my first time ever doing this (of so many unusual things I've done- go figure!) and they take you into a special room to try on the jewelry. I asked to try on the pink, six carat diamond because it's $20 million and I wanted to know what it feels like to be that close to that much money.

$20 million ring

$20 million ring

Oooh, that diamond. Wow, it sure looked good on my finger. I'm fairly sure the diamond and I were soul mates in a previous life and we're supposed to find each other in this life.

We made such a fuss, even Claus tried it on.

We made such a fuss, even Claus tried it on.

See: now the connection has been made, but the diamond is still not quite ready to be with me so we're still in a separation period. I have faith that when it's right, that diamond and I will be reunited for good.

The $800,000 yellow diamond

The $800,000 yellow diamond

Then we tried on a 13 carat yellow diamond that retails for a mere $800,000. The super cute sales ladies thought my daughter and I were funny so they also brought out a pair of 18 carat, $180,000 diamond earrings.


Halekulani, Alan Wong's, and Harry Winston. I've spoiled Olivia. I saw a pretty flower as we were walking around Waikiki, and I pointed it out to my girl.


"Look! What a pretty pink!" I exclaimed.

"Meh. It's not a pink diamond," Olivia joked back. Man, I'm sorry, Future Boyfriend of Olivia. That's a pretty hard act to follow.


Though for right now, I'm happy. It was a great birthday - and I'm ready for what the next trip around the sun brings!

10 Responses to “Birthday weekend in Waikiki!”

  1. AJ:

    WOW. What an amazing weekend. Always wanted to go into HW, never brave enough. Been to the other places tho. Very, very nice.

    Happy birthday Diane!

  2. AJ:

    I think I shall add "go INTO a Harry Winston store" to my bucket list. Gotta work up 20 more years of bravery first.

  3. Diane Ako:

    AJ- Yes, I always think the sales staff will be snotty/dismissive (I've had that experience at the Louis Vuitton Waikiki store x Royal Hawaiian, and I was already in the process of BUYING something), or I'll feel stupid when backing out the door empty handed. But now that I've done it I think, what the heck, you only live once. Just do it.

  4. M:

    Happy Birthday and many more!

  5. Jon G:

    Hey happity hap down the happy bunny trail. How beautiful them rox! Alohas to Sisto... good going guy, and any other Nuz8ers who happen on by. Nice column to! Will be there in October. Thinking should just stay away from the redone Marketplace, right?

  6. Diane Ako:

    Hi JG! Staying with me in October? Just LMK! You should go look at the marketplace just to see it for yourself. Looking forward to hanging out with you!

  7. SS:

    Happy Birthday Diane.
    Was that a T-Rex tattoo on your arm?

    Nice bling.

  8. Diane Ako:

    SS, too observant! Yes!

  9. Tita Girl:

    Simply Amazing. Thanks for sharing and HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!

  10. Diane Ako:

    Thanks, Tita Girl!

Leave a Reply

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email

Recent Posts

Recent Comments