Back in 1975, when Kevin Mulkern wasn't surfing, he was tending to plants with his fledgling landscaping business. He gradually became more land-bound over the years, and what began with a pickup truck, a few hand tools, and a mower expanded to include a 1.5-acre nursery offering extensive services. Today, Kevin and his wife, Susan, continue to draw upon that expertise to run Mulkern Landscaping and Nursery, spearheading Hawaiian landscaping associations and guilds and racking up a slew of accolades in the process.
The nursery offers a variety of tropical plants, including colorful lotus flowers, fragrant water lilies, and more than 20 varieties of bamboo. Landscaping experts can use these blooms and more to plot and install points of interest ranging from general gardens to ponds and waterfalls, granting yards character without the hassle of gluing googly eyes to each flower.
Skaters of all ages zoom around the synthetic ice of The Kaka’ako Christmas Wonderland’s eco-friendly rink before reveling in a plethora of holiday activities. Spanning 30’x60’, Hawaii’s first synthetic rink beckons patrons to strap on skates and show off their skills by gliding hand in hand with a partner, making double-axel spins, or surreptitiously carving love notes to low-flying extraterrestrials. An all-day pass gives skaters the chance to come and go as they please, giving ankles a break as guests go visit Santa or indulge in seasonal crafts set to Christmas music. Meanwhile, little ones can bounce in the collection of inflatable playscapes that grant kids a safe space to hop and jump, unlike ill-considered ball pits on the edge of a skyscraper.
Hui Ku Maoli Ola traces its lineage back to 1999, when friends Rick Barboza and Matt Schirman established the nursery with a mission to preserve and celebrate the distinct flora of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, the company beautifies federal lands, private homes, and retail businesses with more than 100 species of native Hawaiian plants, the descendants of specimens brought from distant shores by ancient Polynesian settlers and very strong wind. The helpful crew tends to rows of waving ferns, shady trees, and flowering bushes as they restore native habitats with professional landscaping or educate students with lectures and field trips.
Island Treasures works to bedeck bare walls, shelves, and laser-guarded pedestals around the area with original artwork from about 125 local artisans. Add an air of culture to a home by hanging a few 4”x6” paintings ($20) from a ceiling fan, or add some prismatic pizazz to the den, bedroom, or teleportation chamber with a matted print from one of dozens of artists ($10–$25). Store explorers will also find toys, books, one-of-a-kind knick-knacks, and fashionable accessories. Beaded bracelets and necklaces ($8–$20) from the Island Treasures jewelry chest improve wardrobes, and scented sachets ($8 each) freshen any area with the smell of flowers. Guests can use aloha-print napkins to sop up spilled sauce at a luau ($16) or decorate a coffee table with a 48-inch Hawaiian-print table runner ($24). Like a mad scientist building a hot-rod Frankenstein’s monster, the store adds new items on a weekly basis.
Artists at Pacific Soul Tattoo draw from 30 years of collective experience to ink custom art onto skin. Specialists in Asian- and Polynesian-styled tattoos, the needle-drawers regularly pay homage to clients’ heritage with buzzed-about traditional tribal designs or vivid sketches of Grandma’s pot roast. During a 30-minute consultation, clients chat with artists to describe their ideal body art, from black-and-white patterns to full-color portraits. Artists sketch original designs before transforming blank skin into a vibrant canvas. As some designs may take more than one hour, Groupon holders should confer with artists to determine the total duration and potential additional cost of large tattoos, complex designs, or decorating their every freckle with a visor. In addition to rigorously upholding sanitary standards such as sterilizing all equipment and discarding all disposable items after a single use, the shop’s tattoo artists are certified in blood-borne pathogens and can identify a germ from 10 paces.