editor-200x300I’m not sure if this is a good thing, but I’m extremely food driven. It’s my own personal time machine. As I write this, gingerbread lattes aren’t even on the menu at Starbucks yet, but over the weekend, I did come across my new Christmas in a Bite—white chocolate peppermint kettle corn. “Delightfully Different,” the bag says. What the bag didn’t tell me was that handful of the sweet, salty, minty goodness would whisk me straight past Black Friday and smack dab into Christmas dinner with Nat King Cole classics playing in the background. Ah, I just love the holidays.

Aside from my own festive food associations, the sprit of giving and the spirit of food resonate with many of us here in the islands. Being the melting pot that Hawai’i is, there’s more than just fruitcake (thankfully) being passed around during this time. From mochi to Yule Logs, we discuss some of the more popular edible presents often shared during the holidays in “Good to Give” (p. 156).

Chef Sheldon Simeon is sharing a bit of his own culture through his food creations as well. His Kihei restaurant, Migrant, is being lauded for its Filipino-slanted offerings, with the former “Top Chef ” contestant himself fast acquiring an impressive amount of culinary nominations and awards. Writer Eliza Escaño-Vasquez gives us the lowdown in “Hashtag ‘Ono” on p. 166.

Speaking of Maui, there’s a new player making a grand re-entrance in the boutique hotel market. While Hotel Wailea has been quietly undergoing extensive renovations, it’s also been garnering rave reviews by visitors as of late. Now that the 15-acre resort is officially welcoming guests to experience the new and improved hotel, you may want to book a few nights in the near future. Flip to p. 148 to find out what’s changed in “Southern Maui Comfort.”

Also in this issue, we take our cue from Hollywood’s original glamazon, Marilyn Monroe, for our latest fashion feature. Our version of the blonde bombshell definitely amps up the fab factor, decked out in the season’s most festive frocks. Check it out on p. 122.

Meanwhile, we give you another kind of fashion glimpse in our latest HILuxury. We got the chance to tag along with New York Fashion Week veteran Lynne Hanzawa O’Neill for a behind-the-scenes look at the one of the industry’s most important events. See the shows through her eyes on p. 114 in “The Real Project Runway.”

And if glitz is something you intend to give this year, make sure and go through our annual gift guide. Our biggest one yet, it’s filled with a wide range of goodies for everyone—even four-legged friends—on your list.

You know I’ll be busy eating, drinking and, of course, being merry in the coming weeks. I hope you follow my lead. Enjoy the holidays!