Kalani Honua Blog - News & Announcements

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ali Slous

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." ~ Socrates

Where are you on your path?

As human beings, we share a common desire to create the best life possible. And because we are so diversely different from one another - lovingly endowed with unique gifts, talents, and abilities - each individual path looks completely different from the next.

When we envision our personal path's unfolding, we may visualize something outside of ourselves - a winding yellow-brick road leading to the promise of an emerald city. We experience periods of positive momentum, when everything is going well and the things we want are falling neatly and miraculously into place. We seem to be on track.

Then, we experience life's "pitfalls"; moments when it seems like everything has gone awry. At these times, it's easy to feel like we have stagnated, backtracked, or even failed, and that we will never achieve our desired outcome. We begin to believe the negative self-talk that bubbles up into our conscious minds, telling us that we have lost our way.

During these experiences, remember: losing your way is simply not possible. In reality, the path cannot exist outside of yourself, because you are the path. Every challenge has been carefully and meticulously designed by you to elevate you to your full potential.

When you fully open to, experience, and, ultimately, transcend your unique challenges, you are freed from past limitation. In this space of surrender, you can invite in the overflowing source of love and abundance that is already yours.

May Ha‘awina Hawai‘i | He'e nalu - Ride the Waves

He'e nalu is a Hawaiian phrase that means "to ride the waves." A natural seafaring people, the Polynesians were among the first to "surf" ocean waves on olos (surfboards), as depicted in ancient petroglyphs carved into stone and lava rock. Surfing was considered not only a recreational practice, but a spiritual art, requiring courage and trust to glide along powerful ocean peaks.

In ancient Hawaiian culture, all kinds of people - including royals and commoners, men and women - took part in this leisurely, pleasurable activity. Surfing was less regarded as a reward for a hard day's work, but as an everyday activity. This reverence for surfing culminated in an annual beachfront celebration, a festival known as Makahiki.

Ancient Hawaiians perceived surfing - a form of play - as an integral aspect of life in the islands. Enjoying the daily pleasures of the Hawaiian Islands' natural gifts was a privilege afforded to all - and it was not contingent upon hard work, suffering, or sacrifice.

As we consciously ride the ups and downs of our life's unfolding, we can embrace the concept of he'e nalu. A nod from our Ancient Hawaiian ancestors, he'e nalu suggests that relaxation, leisure time, and play are essential to our vitality and well-being. And, if nothing else, he'e nalu reminds us, above all else, to enjoy the ride.

- Haʻwina Hawaiʻi is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stephanie Juris and Ali Slous

Amid a trifecta of auspicious celestial events - Spring Equinox, supermoon and solar eclipse – a group of world-renowned astrologers descended upon Kalani for The River of Stars Conference to contemplate our place in the cosmos. Among this group of spiritual thought-leaders – such as Maurice Fernandez, Linda Tucker, and Rick Levine (who submitted his widely syndicated horoscopes from Kalani’s Communications Office) – was also Kaypacha, a rising star in a new paradigm of educators, who share information freely through YouTube.

Kaypacha, who has utilized astrology as a healing art for over 35 years, publishes a weekly astrological forecast entitled: “The Pele Report.” Kaypacha’s Pele Report began with a webcam as a playful means of sharing insight with friends and colleagues; it has rapidly grown to captivate a niche audience of individuals seeking inspired guidance to navigate the ongoing global shift in consciousness, as well as budding astrologers. As of now, each forecast garners as many as 50,000 views. Even with the exponential growth of Kaypacha’s following, he still edits and uploads each video himself from wherever his travels take him.
Each video, created outside in nature, includes a breakdown of the week’s astrological aspects along with an authentic sharing of what the energy that week will feel like, and how we can adapt to it. Watching Kaypacha’s videos has become a weekly ritual for his viewers, as they offer a sense of comfort and release, steeped in ancient wisdom. He closes each report with a relatable mantra and signature sign off: “Namaste. Aloha. So. Much. Love.”
We held an intention to synch up with Kaypacha during his visit to Kalani. We were thrilled that the stars aligned for an opportunity to sit down with him in between a packed calendar of event presentations – such as “Painting Your Horoscope” and “Rites of Passage” - personal chart readings, and private workshops. We discovered that this celebrated astrologer’s experience on The Big Island mirrors many of our own experiences of transformation and self-discovery.

Kaypacha’s powerful moniker – an Inca word translated as puma – came through Mother Giamvati - a Brazilian shaman - during an ayahuasca ceremony in Brazil. This rebirth came after an abrupt departure from his then home on The Big Island and set off a sequence of life-changing events that catapulted him into a new identity and role.
In the Inca teachings, the Puma was known as the guardian between worlds and the guide between this world and the next. Preferring to be called Kaypacha rather than his given name, Mother Giamvati  told Kaypacha that practicing his new name would activate its meaning and vibration: mastery of the sensory world.

In his own words - on recieving his spiritual name:

Following his unfolding spiritual path, Kaypacha’s adventure led him to Costa Rica, where he found love and invested in land as part of a burgeoning permaculture community. There, Kaypacha lives his message of sharing resources and encouraging collective consciousness. With representation from 26 different countries, 43 lots, shared community kitchen, pool, yoga space, and gardens, Kaypacha is not only talking about the new paradigm, but fully embodying it.
Kaypacha took a moment to reflect on his returning to The Big Island for the first time since 2012:
In his own words - on returning to Hawai‘i:

Beginning another new personal chapter, Kaypacha shared that where he used to feel like an outsider, he can now be recognized going to get a cup of coffee or traveling through airports en route to workshops and appearances around the world. When we asked him how does he keep up with the demand for the content he creates each week, he replied:

"All I can say is that spirit is definitely behind me, through me, helping me. I live a magical life...When I'm on track, I feel so supported, and I am so blessed, and I am so grateful."

In his own words - on spirit:

With regard to being back at Kalani, Kaypacha adds:
“This place is changing now; it has turned more into a community. That’s very exciting…there’s a lot going on here. This is the leading edge.”
Kaypacha’s teachings remind us on a weekly basis that the new paradigm is no longer created by talking about ideas and information. Rather, we welcome the new paradigm by living it, modeling it, embodying it, leading by example, and, most importantly - sharing our knowledge and wisdom with others. 
And, as for integrating self-care into his globetrotting, content-sharing lifestyle, Kaypacha remarks: “You gotta do your yoga. If you’re not doing your yoga in the morning, something’s wrong.”
To learn more about Kaypacha and to watch “The Pele Report,” visit his YouTube channel or explore The New Paradigm Astrology Cooperative.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LJ Bates, Kalani Executive Director

“Synchronicity is ever present for those who have eyes to see.” – Carl Jung

As Executive Director of the extraordinary Kalani Honua, my schedule is rarely the same routine from day to day. While I have my own personal rituals that both prepare me for the day, and then ease me from the day, the happenings in between those practices are never the same. This vast diversity of daily events, and the energies of our varied conversations, combine to become the source behind the richness of the Kalani experience, and the reason that our days seem like weeks and our months feel like minutes. If you have spent any time here at all, I am sure you have felt and experienced this magic.

Kalani founder, Richard, Executive Director, LJ, and General Manager, TikiThere is a remarkable joy, honor and privilege of serving this ‘ohana, this community and this world, from, what I believe to be, the best vantage point on the planet. You see, as ED of Kalani, I have the opportunity to observe human behavior from so many viewpoints within the human experience…laughter and comradery, failure and disappointment, fulfillment and bliss, fear and animosity, joy and love, anger and frustration, freedom and happiness. I am blessed with the daily opportunity to see the full spectrum of humanity as our ‘ohana begins to explore and find their path to healing along with their realization of the blessings before them. For many, it is also the first recognition of those fierce barriers and protective walls, which we all create in order to protect ourselves, yet prevent us from a joy-filled existence. It is simply awesome to see these transformations on a consistent basis.

I am also offered the perspective of witnessing both my own response to the human experience, as well as the varied methods by which my ‘ohana employs their own techniques of maneuvering through our shared existence. It is a remarkable opportunity; this witnessing. It allows me the opportunity to both surround myself with people who compliment my shortcomings, as well as observe the beauty and brilliance of the diversity within our ‘ohana. Because of this opportunity to observe human behavior, I truly believe that I am one of the luckiest people on Earth, managing one of the best roles that I could ever possibly imagine or manifest. I am humbled and grateful for the place I hold within this remarkable place on our planet.

As I bask in the beauty of our diversity, I cannot help but recognize the deep need to enhance equality among our community and the need to come to a collective understanding of the word “enough.” I see the effects of the outside social systems creep its way into our community and I hope, on a daily basis, that we will create something better…a system based upon justice and equality that serves everyone, not just the few. And while some of the external systems and structures are required by the very nature of our present global economy, it is my greatest wish that we at Kalani create new and innovative systems that improve upon our current economy and create new structures that serve every member of our community equally.

The wonderful part of living in a place like Kalani is that you get to see your personal wishes become a source of exploration for others…especially as we research varied techniques to achieve equality, while thriving together. Here at Kalani, we can do better than the external system that has challenged our souls…that system that required our spirits to seek each other out…searching for new ways of living with the Earth and with each other. It is nothing short of inspiring to have found each other…and together, we can do better! Which calls my attention to the daily attempts we make to inspire those who come to us having already been inspired by that “seeker” in all of us…which forces us to change our lives, find a new path, and make the journey to the magical land of Kalani. I often get to hear the stories of how people find themselves here, and when I do, my soul is instantly energized as my heart swells, filling my chest with the realization that we have found yet another beautiful spirit, who has miraculously made their way here, to add to the gorgeous diversity of this magical place.

"Mission Moment" with LJIf you have joined us for the Monday Morning Meeting of our entire ‘ohana, you have witnessed the beauty and soul-nurturing impact of a community truly immersed in gratitude, who comfortably and openly share their appreciation for one another. It is a beautiful thing to witness and even more beautiful to participate.

My method of weekly participation is through my “Mission Moment.” This started out as a method for me to introduce and strengthen our collective knowledge of Kalani’s mission statement and the purpose behind our service efforts. Since then, the Mission Moment has evolved into an opportunity where I am able to tap into the synchronicity of the ‘ohana and highlight a common theme or feeling that has been floating through the community.

The synchronicity at Kalani is something that can only be defined as magic, as these weekly themes show themselves so easily to me during each of my daily meditations throughout the week. If there is a prevalent emotion, theme, or challenge, rippling through our community, it immediately shows itself and we are able to speak to the issue and connect directly to the souls of our ‘ohana. This is but one more benefit to my role; to connect with this gorgeous collection of beautiful souls, each and every Monday morning, and share in our collective synchronicity.

When I first arrived at Kalani, I used to test the synchronicity of Kalani’s ‘ohana by simply asking questions at breakfast. I would ask easy things like: “I wonder what would happen if we painted that…” or more difficult questions like “Has anyone ever thought of changing the way we…?” After delivering those questions, just once in the morning, I would simply wait. But, I learned that I would only have to wait until lunchtime. By that time, I would either hear from a vast number of people who were thinking the same thing, and we would discuss how to move the idea forward, or, on the other end of the spectrum, I would not hear another thought on the subject. I got to know very quickly that the synchronicity of Kalani came from the fact that our community was its own energy source; flowing and pulsing in a unique state of synchronicity which could both energize a thought into beautiful results, or keep a thought from disrupting the collective flow. It is a powerful force and a beautiful entity to acknowledge.

It is my greatest hope that everyone get to experience the synchronicity of Kalani…whether through your participation in volunteerism within our community, through the sharing of your wisdom around our dining lanai tables, or through your delivery of creative ideas to improve our community. It is remarkable how quickly we can tap into the entity which is Kalani’s synchronicity, and either experience that our synergy is in line with the community, or find that our idea has fallen flat. And even though we often move on from those ideas which do not immediately resonate, it should never stop us from collectively attempting to move new thought forward. The introduction of new methods and ideas, especially within a community which experiences such high synchronicity, is the only way we will reach new heights in our operation and in our service to others.

I thank you for your personal contribution to our Kalani ‘Ohana and I love you!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ali Slous

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. Let us begin.”
- Mother Theresa -

How present are you? How often do you focus your energy wholeheartedly into the here and now?

If Earth is an interdisciplinary, multidimensional school, then our assignment is embedded within the present moment. However, when we diffuse our energy reviewing the past or attempting to control the future, we may lose focus of what we are being asked to see, learn, or experience right now.

As creators, we magnetize the people, places, and experiences most needed for our mutual expansion. Each joy, heartache, challenge, and triumph is constructed from the center of our being, and we do not mis-create. The fullest expression of our true self becomes readily available when we release judgment of self-perceived "mistakes" and step into full acceptance of what is.

Present moment awareness, free of egoic judgments, is the foundational first step in consciously creating a life of contentment and bliss. Upon cultivating present moment awareness, we open ourselves to seeing the perfection in each of life's twists and turns - and approaching new challenges with trust.

Today's powerful New Moon Winter Solstice in Capricorn reminds us not only to align with our highest expression of self, but also to align with like-minded, like-spirited others to create mutually-beneficial agreements - working together to identify practical, manageable steps that move us in the direction of our individual and collective goals.

December Ha‘awina Hawai‘i | Laulima - Cooperation

 Loren Frohning, 2014 Hawai‘i Yoga FestivalThe Hawaiian word laulima translated literally means "many hands working together," an essential concept in Hawaiian culture emphasizing cooperation. Laulima underscores the importance of aiming for the highest good of all to ensure the best possible outcome - understanding that unity is imperative to progress.

When we apply the concept of laulima, we may become more finely attuned to the opportunity to collaborate with our peers, noticing that each person with whom we cross paths has something to share. When we shift our awareness to this truth, we become receptive to the gift of cooperation that propels us forward, together.

Photos by: Matt Bulger and Loren Frohning, 2014 Hawai‘i Yoga Festival

- Haʻwina Hawaiʻi is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ali Slous

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”
- Alan Watts -

How have you reinvented yourself lately? When you release parts of yourself that are no longer in alignment, what remains?
Through awareness practices such as yoga and meditation, we become increasingly sensitive to our experience on subtle, energetic levels. Upon further reflection, we begin to understand that our outer reality is simply a reflection of our inner reality. With this understanding, we can reclaim the power to consciously reinvent ourselves.
 Loren Frohning, 2014 Hawai‘i Yoga FestivalReclaiming this power starts from the inside out. If every nook and cranny of our home is filled with clutter, clothes that do not fit, and stacks of papers and mail collecting dust, our energy fields may become stagnant or blocked. We can utilize the energy of November to shed these unneeded layers and open up new pathways for energy to flow.
Whether it's raking away fallen leaves, donating items to our local food pantry or thrift shop, or recycling items we no longer use, we can take daily actions to create space in our external world. When we practice creating space externally, we transmit a clear message to the conscious universe that we are ready for new and better experiences - both within and without.

November Ha‘awina Hawai‘i | Makia - Energy Goes Where Attention Flows

 Loren Frohning, 2014 Hawai‘i Yoga FestivalMakia is one of seven sacred concepts in Huna, a modern shamanic practice inspired by Hawaiian teachings. Makia signifies: energy goes where attention flows, teaching us that what we focus on is what we ultimately create. As powerful creator beings, this concept applies equally whether we focus on what we want to create or what we do not want to create.
When we apply Makia as a tool for conscious, deliberate creation, we may become aware of limiting perceptions, thought patterns, or beliefs that are no longer in alignment with who we are now. As we let go of these beliefs, we free ourselves from the known - while bravely stepping into the unknown.  
As we explore Makia this month, we may practice questioning even our longest held beliefs. When we release old beliefs, ideas, and labels that once contained us, we allow space for surprise and delight in each moment.

Photos by: Loren Frohning, 2014 Hawai‘i Yoga Festival
- Haʻwina Hawaiʻi is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ali Slous

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust -

 Matt Bulger

What project are you ready to (re)initiate? What inspired action can you take to make your vision a reality?

Each season is characterized by a unique energy signature that supports us in distinctive ways. This month, we are asked to renew our focus on projects laid to rest during the celebratory summer months.

To engage the (re)initiatory spirit of October, we must first undergo an energetic reboot. In doing so, it is helpful to take a critical look at how we spend our energy and then use that information to eliminate energetic drains.

We may also use this information to ensure that we are making sufficient time to rest and refill our energetic wells. If our current practices do not support our overall wellbeing, now is the time to (re)initiate constructive resting practices such as: spending time in nature, reflecting silently, and enjoying connection, creativity, and collaboration with our peers.

Once our reboot is complete, we can look at our projects with new eyes and identify clear actions that will allow us to realize them with ease. Rather than push to get every task done ourselves, our work is to hold the vision, take excellent care of ourselves, and trust that all necessary components always come together perfectly in the flow of life.

Photo credit: Matt Bulger

October Haʻawina Hawaiʻi | Pouli - Eclipse; darkness

CC BY-SA Thomas Tunsch

Pouli is the Hawaiian word for eclipse. With both a total lunar and a partial solar eclipse this month, we will experience the obfuscation of our luminaries - a temporary darkening of the bodies that illuminate our day and night.

We each experience the darkness differently. For some it triggers fear and unease, while for others, the dark symbolizes deep rest and regeneration.

As we work to rebalance our energetic systems, we may take refuge in a few moments of darkness - by shutting off the lights, the smart phone, the computer screen, or even allowing time to still our minds. We may find that, in the quiet darkness, we create space for new inspiration to strike. 

Photo credit: CC BY-SA Thomas Tunsch

- Haʻwina Hawaiʻi is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ali Slous

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."
- Pablo Picasso -

When do you feel most powerful? How do you engage with your power? No matter our age, gender, cultural background, or profession, we each have access to unlimited potential when we uncover access to the power source within.

We enter this experience with gifts that may be expressed through our divine essence. However, it is only when we make a conscious effort to discover, explore, and share these gifts that we reach our fully-empowered potential. What gifts are lying dormant in you waiting for expression? How can we each better utilize our gifts to be of service to our communities and to this planet?

Reflecting upon these questions, we may come to realize that no one gift is more vital or better than another. Each individual's combination of unique talents, skills, and abilities is equally valuable - understanding that when we share our gifts, it inspires and enables others to discover and share theirs.

By choosing to live life to its fullest in this way, we are effectively contributing to a more powerful, authentic, and awakened humanity.

September Haʻawina Hawaiʻi | Mana - Power

The Hawaiian word mana translated literally means power, defined as "the power of the elemental forces of nature embodied in an object or person." Mana signifies the highly individualized and unlimited life energy that flows through all things.

As we each work on cultivating our unique abilities, we align with this mystical, invisible force that animates everything in our universe. The more we tap into our individualized mana, the more empowered we become to create.

In many cases, this practice of coming into alignment catapults us into experiences of change and transformation that shake us to our core and challenge old, outworn beliefs and destructive thought patterns. We may also find that certain people, places, and experiences must be let go to step fully into our power.

Although it may seem challenging at times, trusting and letting go are necessary processes to activate the path to expression of our highest, most powerful self.

- Haʻwina Hawaiʻi is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ali Slous

From an idyllic, sun-drenched afternoon at Pohoiki to a breezy, moonlit evening at the Kalapana Night Market; from talk-story in the welcoming environs of Kalani’s EMAX, to the final Kanikapila that filled the streets of Pāhoa with revelers, the 2014 Puna Music Festival had something for everyone.


With a multitude of genres including traditional Hawaiian, Hawaiian soul, hula, pop, rock, reggae, and folk, this year’s jubilant celebration brought locals, visitors, and artists of all ages and backgrounds together to share in the spirit of aloha, ʻohana, and, most of all, community.  

Here are a few high notes from a memorable week in Hawaii's picturesque Puna District -

Pohoiki Open Concert The day began with Ehulani Stephany’s melodic opening chant and hula dancers, followed by a warm welcome by the day’s energetic, wonderful hosts, Kaʻea and DJ Paris Decambra from KAPA FM.

Paula Fuga @ Pohoiki Open Concert - May 4th, 2014

Local keiki (school children) sang and danced, enchanting early arrivers lounging in the grass on what would turn out to be a flawless oceanside day. The always-entertaining Awa Band presented a repertoire of Hawaiian songs, after which Hawane Rios shared both her vocal talents and message of love for the earth. Jaz Kaiwikoʻo performed some recent hits, bringing festival-goers to their feet.

Headliners Paula Fuga, Mike Love, and John Cruz lit up the afternoon stage to what locals called the biggest crowd Pohoiki has ever seen.

Kuana Torres Kahele @ Kalapana Night Market - May 7th, 2014

#PunaMusicFest @ Kalapana Night Market 
Kuana Torres Kahele captivated the lively night market crowd as festival-goers sampled local food, perused jewelry stalls, and chatted with neighbors and friends.

Always a hit on the dance floor, Uncle Robert’s Awa Band played their signature songs as locals danced into the night and explored the moonlit lava field at Coconut Beach.

An Intimate Evening with Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole Volunteers, guests, and community members gathered in Kalani EMAX for an unforgettable night of talk-story and song.

The stage was decorated with stunning Hawaiian flowers and foliage. Dim lighting and cozy ambiance allowed Kaumakaiwa, one of the voices of the new generation in Hawaii, to be especially interactive with the audience living up to the concert’s promise of intimacy.

The Kanakaole ʻohana have longstanding roots with the land in this ahupuaʻa along with the heiau and halau at Kalani. Honoring her mother in celebration of Mother’s Day, Kaumakaiwa spoke about how her mother’s strength and dignity shone through most when she sang. 

An Intimate Evening with Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole @ Kalani - May 9th, 2014

Seeing her mother sharing her gifts encouraged Kaumakaiwa to pursue music as a way to preserve her family’s heritage. Kaumakaiwa enjoyed interacting with the crowd, making it clear that sharing her gift of music is truly her heartfelt passion.

Kanikapila in Pāhoa
Ordinarily quiet and serene, Pāhoa Village metamorphosed into a vibrant, lively scene – teeming with revelers pouring out of every storefront, enjoying music and performances along the way.

Festival-goers were entertained by live singing, playing, and dancing on stages, balconies and inside restaurants. 

UNIFY @ Kanikapila in Pāhoa - May 10th, 2014

People of all ages moved to DJ’s spinning hypnotizing beats in the Akebono Theater, while others dined in Pāhoa’s eclectic selection of restaurants and eateries or meandered around to discover what surprises

Mahalo to everyone who joined us for the 2014 Puna Music Festival, made possible by generous support from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, the County of Hawaii, Suisan, KAPA FM, and Kalani. We are immensely grateful for each individual who turned out, performed, volunteered, and showed love and support for this extraordinary event. Here’s to PMF 2015!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kenny Drotar & Ali Slous

Kalani’s dining lanai and kitchen have long been described as the “heart” of Kalani. As many as two hundred-fifty hungry guests, local residents, staff and volunteers file in line each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mealtime is announced by the sound of three distinct tones on the conch shell that can be heard across the campus. This daily tradition reminds us of the rich cultural heritage we preserve on the mystical Hawaiian land where Kalani now resides.

The hardworking, fun-loving kitchen crew meticulously and conscientiously prepares and serves three fresh, wholesome meals each day, and approximately 150,000 meals each year, all while chatting, chopping, and dancing to music of choice. Each meal is prepared with the freshest, most organic ingredients possible, along with aloha and love for our ‘ohana or extended family.

Day in and day out, Kalani’s kitchen crew members, affectionately nicknamed “hoozies,” handcraft delicious dishes, all while catering to a diverse population of eaters including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and omnivores alike. Because the kitchen crew is composed mostly of volunteers on two and three month stints, Kalani has assembled a dream team of chefs and managers to keep this operation, Kalani’s largest, running smoothly.

Sami Ross, the Excel-erator
Sami Ross can be found pitching in anytime help is needed in the bustling Kalani kitchen, whether on the dishwashing station (AKA Auntie Hobart), front of house, Hale Aloha, or even the campground, searching for errant hoozies. With her tenacity and determination, she has played a key role in adding to Hale Aloha’s baking and overall expansion. Sami also has the well-honed ability to put any and all information into a spreadsheet, making her a wizard of organization and logistics. She manages and leads team meetings with a smile, keeps track of a multitude of schedules and requests, and ensures that her kitchen team is happy and healthy.

Dana Butler, the Organic Oracle
No longer satisfied by a life driven by ambition, material success, and outside expectation, Dana Butler made the unlikely decision to become the kitchen manager at Kalani. She credits this decision as one of the best she’s ever made in her life, asserting that the benefits within this space of community, non-judgment, and self-acceptance are worth more than all the money and prestige in the world. Dana takes pride in shepherding Kalani’s movement toward purchasing more locally grown produce and grass-fed beef and supporting local farmers and products. Dana also feels rewarded when she hears that the environment in the kitchen is nurturing, supportive, and fun.

Kenny Drotar, the Meal Manifestor
Kenny Drotar has been cooking his heart out for over twelve years in cities including Detroit, New Orleans, and New York. In contrast with the traditional kitchens he has experienced in the past, Kenny keeps the Kalani kitchen atmosphere light and fun with his love of pop music, high-energy, and humorous outlook. He is passionate about sourcing local, sustainable ingredients, and contributing to expanding the gardens at Kalani. Kenny keeps it fresh by learning to prepare new cuisines while transforming the most unlikely combination of ingredients into something tasty and surprising.

Charles Woods the Salad Ninja
A volunteer turned Kalani resident for over eighteen years, Charles keeps the kitchen running smoothly, while balancing hundreds of van runs for Kalani. He can be found quietly and carefully preparing daily staple items such as salads, dips, and dressings that compliment the bounty of fresh ingredients and produce. Charles is always willing to try something new and accommodate the team’s changing menus and flavor profiles. His presence in the kitchen has become a steady constant on the ever-changing crew.

Lilly Dietz the Yum Yum Yogi
Hailing from a big Italian family in New York, Lilly Dietz knows what it takes to cook for large groups of people - all with a hearty serving of aloha. Often overheard saying “this is going to be the best day ever!,” Lilly is known for her signature positive outlook, smile, and friendly energy. Having completed her training on-the-job, Lilly has grown to become one of Kalani’s most skilled shift leaders. A globetrotting yogini, Lilly has taken cooking classes in both India and Thailand, blessing all of her food with the sacred sound of “Om.”

Mark Ceranski the Dessert Dominator
Another Kalani jetsetter, Mark Ceranski spent many years as a chef cooking for high-end clients along with volunteer organizations both domestic and abroad. Now, Mark loves being at Kalani as our resident baker and dessert-maker extraordinaire, spoiling Kalani diners with his famous sourdough, rosemary focaccia, lillikoi cheesecake, fresh berry tart, and anything with chocolate ganache (to name a few). Mark is currently working on his first book, Pot Boiler in the Kitchen, a firsthand account of his adventures with royalty, dictators, and despots.

Ryan Turner the Expediter of Aloha
Prior to arriving at Kalani, Ryan Turner was the restaurant front-of-house manager at a Forbes’ top-ten rated fly-fishing lodge. In nearly two years at Kalani, Ryan has formulated many of our addictive cookie recipes, including the popular vegan varieties such as chocolate chip, Mexican chocolate, peanut butter, and Kona coffee, along with other products carried at Hale Aloha. Ryan also contributed a year of service arranging flowers for the property. A man of many talents, Ryan has become a skilled aerialist and ecstatic dancer and boasts a great letter of recommendation from Henry Winkler aka “The Fonz.”

Mitch Boehlinger the Banjo Griddler
Another man of many talents, Mitch Bohlinger is a former glass-blower from Wisconsin. He can not only cook a mean “almond joy” pancake or perfectly sear a filet of the fresh catch, but can also pick up any string instrument and play a song. Passionate about learning anything new, Mitch has an uncanny ability to try something once and remember each, step-by-step detail about how it is done. Mitch is abundantly generous, sharing his special, cinnamon flavored cold-press coffee with any takers. Mitch is passionate about cooking and loves the idea that people he taught to play instruments and cook are out there in the world making music and food.

Mariana Bergtold the Vegan Pirate Queen
Having healed herself from Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through macrobiotics, Mariana Bergtold is a living example of the healing and restorative power of healthy, seasonal, locally sourced food. The former owner of not one, but two successful vegan, kosher, organic, sugar-free restaurants, Mariana treats plant and meat-eaters alike to her rich, I-can’t-believe-it’s-dairy-free dishes like wild mushroom and root vegetable phyllo tartes and creamy, delectable soups. Mariana continuously challenges herself by learning new cuisines and inspiring everyone to elevate the quality of plant-based dishes for our discerning Kalani diners.

Ted Leake the Barbecue Chef Bayou
Ted Leake’s signature Southern accent, friendly demeanor, and soulful, retro music selections permeate the kitchen whenever he cooks. A loving father of three, Ted makes everyone feel welcome and appreciated in the kitchen, often giving a hoozie or two the opportunity to create a dish with their moniker attached. He is known for his rich, French culinary trained palette of soups, sauces, and perfectly cooked meats, layered with tons of flavors that have diners returning for seconds. With limited resources but a lot of talent, Ted traveled to fifty countries and survived twenty-five years as a business owner in the competitive catering industry before coming to Kalani.

Sarah Cole the Earth Mama
If you hear the sweet sounds of reggae music echoing through the dining lanai, it is likely that Sarah Cole is on the chef’s line. Another of our well-traveled leaders, Sarah loves cooking holistic, sustainable, non-GMO, organic ingredients while sending good vibrations to the food and to all who consume it. Kalani regulars rave about her flavorful Indian specialties, including divinely seasoned basmati rice and lentil dal, along with spicy onion relish and yogurt raita. Sarah is devoted to homeopathic healing through diet and spiritual connection to the earth.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Ali Slous

In just under eleven minutes, Hawaiian songstress Paula Fuga’s 2012 TEDxMaui talk makes one thing abundantly clear: Paula Fuga is a believer. And her faith and audacity are making a difference in her life and in the lives of others. 

“My life is a miracle and I am living proof that miracles happen every day.”
This passionate singer, songwriter, and social activist, set to headline the 2014 Puna Music Festival Pohoiki Open Concert, epitomizes an unlikely success story. Homeless on Oahu’s Sand Island beach at age nine, sheltered from the elements by only a tarp and hali’i leaves, Paula steadfastly protected her dream:
“My heart whispered, ‘superstar’.”

Paula kept her dream a secret, defending against naysayers and anyone who might try to tear it down. In her heart, she believed that something big was going to happen, and that she would not repeat the cycles of her parents and past generations. She visualized herself standing on stage with a wireless microphone, performing for thousands of people who had come to hear her sing - a visualization that has now become a reality.
Described as a modern Hawaiian soul vocalist, Paula has had the opportunity to tour and perform with mainstream artists including Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Ziggy Marley. Her buttery, smooth melodies blend effortlessly in harmony, complimenting and enriching the overall sound in duets and trios such as in the following song, “In the Morning,” with Jack Johnson and John Cruz, another Puna Music Festival performer.
Aside from her life as an entertainer, Paula takes time out of her active touring schedule to meet with youth groups and at-risk youths to spread her message of faith and positivity. She encourages them to see what they want for themselves in the future and to greet each day with a sense of hope and possibility.
Through her faith and determination, Paula Fuga reminds Hawaiian locals and visitors alike that if you can dream it, you can make it happen. We are all in for a special treat when she takes the stage on May 4th at Pohoiki.
For the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, please visit www.PunaMusicFestival.com.