Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou ! Happy New year

2011 - We can't remember when we were sorry to see a year go as much as this one, but we're very  excited for the new year to begin.

Looking back its been a year of joys and laughter and even some tears....


  ~  feeling an urge so strong to create a tangible thank you gift for a television show that has given so
       much to its fans                
  ~  finding motivation we never knew we had to get in shape

  ~  meeting a universe of friends on Twitter with the same love for H50 as we have

  ~  creating a bond with each other stronger than we could ever imagine

  ~  taking a wild risk in the hopes of meeting the sexiest man alive

  ~  experiencing fun in creating so many original ideas as part of a team


  ~  The most unforgettable week of our lives.  Incredible with star encounters but even more
      special because we met so many wonderful friends @ SOTB

 ~  It was around this time we found ourselves hashtagging in all forms of written conversation #truth

  ~  feeling the warmth Thanksgiving week as the Five0s on twitter wrapped us all in a virtual hug

Now, we wish all of the H50hana and their Ohana a 2012 that brings good health, dreams fulfilled, and hopes realized.  Can't wait to see as many of you as we can at SOTB3!

Happy New Year!

Ellen, Stacey, Maddy and Deb

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Memories of Meeting Alex O’Loughlin by H50Fanatic Ellen

The story of meeting Alex started in February 2011.  I was thinking that I wanted to try and meet him. It made sense to me that he might do talk shows after the first season of Hawaii Five-0 wrapped in the spring.

I have a friend who works in the industry.  I started to put together a plan to go to NYC, where I’m from.  I thought if he was there for the Upfronts and did talk shows, I’d have a couple of chances to try and see him and see some old friends at the same time. To plan a trip like this, I needed way more information than I had.  I knew enough to know that I wasn’t connected at all to the inside information.  I started to search the Internet and finally realized that Twitter would be the place to learn what was happening – so I had to “learn twitter”.

I was rewarded almost immediately.  I read a tweet from an artist Kent Williams who wrote; “My friend Alex O’Loughlin has agreed to host my gallery opening in May”.  I started to re-plan my trip to come home from NYC by way of Los Angeles, since the gallery opening was the weekend after the Upfronts.  I still couldn't believe that getting into the gallery could be that easy, so I called for information.  When I spoke to the gallery staff asking if tickets were needed and what the attire usually was for events like this, the woman said “there is a private reception before the opening, would you like me to put your name on the list?”  Incredible!  From that moment on, going to New York began to fall off my radar and I focused on a weekend trip to LA.

I asked a few of my new friends on twitter who also lived in California if they were planning to go. Unfortunately, no one was going.  That made me wonder if I was completely mistaken about this. I’d get to LA and no one would be there.  I worried about this for weeks.  Flying to LA for 24 hours just to try and meet a TV star for a few minutes sounded like a crazy idea to just about everyone I knew. I felt like I just had to try if there was the smallest chance Alex would be there.

The morning I flew out I was so excited. Wearing the clothes that I bought just for the trip (nothing I owned was “LA gallery appropriate” in my mind), a line from the Alex's movie The Back Up Plan was playing in my head... “did you buy that for me?” It made me laugh out loud as I waited for the shuttle. I started texting Deb.  "I'm getting nervous." "This was crazy."  Oh, would my husband laugh if I went all the way to LA and didn’t see Alex?  I’d never live it down.  And what if I DID see Alex and I couldn’t speak?

My friend from LA picked me up at the airport. We had a fun day catching up and trying to keep my mind off the evening to come.  I had gotten up at 4:00 a.m. to get to the airport on time so by mid-afternoon I was starting to lose my adrenaline high.  I went to lie down and Deb sent me a text “how are you doing?”  It was so great to have that support from across the country while I watched the clock and wondered what was going to happen next.  We texted back and forth for a while and I started to calm down. Mostly by telling myself that he probably wouldn’t even be there so what was the point in getting nervous.

We drove to the gallery. My friend wasn’t sure there would be anything there to see.  She said “I’ll just sit in the car and wait for a bit – you go in and see if there is anything happening before I put money in the meter”. I got out of the car and walked to the door and there were security guards there with a list and my name was on it.  I walked inside and the gallery was almost empty.  There were two staff members behind the counter, someone putting out wine and water bottles and a man I guessed was probably Kent Williams, the artist.  I looked over just a few feet away and there was a videographer taking pictures of - - Alex. He was talking about a painting.  He was standing in a room that was almost empty, not ten feet from where I was standing.

That’s when I began to feel like I was watching myself walking in a dream or a movie.  It was very surreal.  I took a quick picture of very poor quality on my phone and tweeted it.  I couldn’t believe it.  We didn’t take pictures with flash while the videographer was working. There were a few other fans there and we just stood there, watched and waited.  As soon as Alex was done, we approached him for pictures and to talk.

After  posing for pictures with us, he said that he had to mingle with the other guests. He didn’t object when we approached him again later to talk.  I brought my dvd case of the Oyster Farmer for him to sign, which he did. He surprised me when he asked me for my name. I guess I assumed he’d just sign his name and give it back to me. Then, and I realize this will sound so fan-girlish, we touched hands when he gave me my sharpie pen back.

After about 45 minutes, my friend decided we should go.  The public event was going to start soon and there would be a crowd.  I couldn't believe I had to leave him. It still didn’t seem real. Did I actually just spend almost an hour with Alex O'Loughlin in a room with less than a dozen people in it? Yes, yes I did.

My friend and I left and drove back to her place to upload her pictures.  It was incredible having her there to take photos. I don’t think that I would have been able to do it.  While we were driving I called @terrysagirl (another Twitter friend) and told her not to post the phone pictures that I had tweeted earlier on her Facebook wall. We had much better photos in the camera that we would send as soon as we got home. When we got back to the house we uploaded the pictures. Terry posted them and I made an album for Facebook. 

Since going to LA, there was one question many people had been asking me. "Are you going to Sunset On the Beach?"  Before I went to the gallery I wasn't sure. Would I want to go all the way to Hawaii after flying to LA?  Would I feel like since I met him in LA, I’d “done it” and not need to go to the premiere in Hawaii?  I thought that maybe if LA was a bust and if I didn’t see Alex, I’d want to try again in Hawaii.  I thought that maybe, if I got an autograph I’d feel like I had succeeded and that would be the end of it.

Well, I don’t remember how long it took, but it wasn’t long before I knew - -  I was going to Hawaii in September for the premiere.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka! (Merry Christmas)

What do you do when your favorite show goes on hiatus for the holidays? You write Christmas cards to your Ohana of course.  We've all been doing just that. We collected most of our Ohana's addresses when we were in Hawaii in September.  For the last week we've been hand writing cards and sending them all across the U.S., Canada, Australia and in France.  As you can see, our Ohana has grown in leaps and bounds.

Every Wednesday night on Twitter we still enjoy each others company chatting away discussing the latest 5-0 episodes, cast and crew. We call the chats "H50tins". (We love you Jools!) Our continued love for the show is very prominent online. So many new blogs, fan pages and even Tumblr accounts are popping up every day. We just can't keep up with all of them.

With the show going on hiatus and repeats from season 1 in store for the next few weeks, we just want everybody to enjoy the holiday season. Our sincere appreciation for reading our blog and taking our journey with us. We're gearing up for more exciting stories in the new year and we've got SOTB3 to plan for of course!

May you all be as blessed as we were this year. Fortunate to have traveled to one of the most beautiful places in the world, meeting the most amazing new friends and bringing home a small piece of the Aloha spirit.

Share you happiness, love, and spirit with everyone you meet. Remember to appreciate your family and friends every day. Life is to be lived, so get out there and live it!

Peace and blessings to all of you this holiday season.

Deb, Ellen, Madaline and Stacey

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quilt Quest Redux 11-27-2011

Just when you thought our quilt quest story was over, it found a voice again. Last week, Mike Gordon from the Star Advertiser in Hawaii, contacted some of us to get an update on what happened. He couldn't keep his readers in limbo knowing if Alex received our gift or not. We told him the quest was complete and that Alex received the quilt. Read his article from today's Star Advertiser below.

Big Mahalo to Mike Gordon for a wonderful article and to our friends at for posting it for Alex's fans.

 In case you forgot what Alex's quilt looked like, here are pix of the front and back. Enjoy!

O'Loughlin fans' quilt quest wraps up with a warm note

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 27, 2011
Courtesy photo

Ellen Swedberg previously met Alex O'Loughlin at a gallery opening in Los Angeles in May. Swedberg came to Hawaii for the Sunset on the Beach premiere of "Hawaii Five-0" in September and hoped to get a quilt she made to the actor.

For nearly a week, the four women worried about what would happen if their quest failed. More than likely there would be tears, frustration and quiet flights back to their mainland homes.
They had come to Hawaii for the Sunset on the Beach premiere of "Hawaii Five-0" in September — a dream come true — but they all agreed they could not leave the islands without having given show star Alex O'Loughlin a handmade quilt.
He was busy, though. The demands of making a TV show kept him on set all day with barely a break. It reduced Ellen Swedberg to tears. She had worked on the quilt for seven months.
"I was a mess," said Swedberg, a 51-year-old government worker from Santa Rosa, Calif.
Swedberg and friends Stacey Jonson of Seattle, Madaline O'Connor of New Jersey and Deb Young of Illinois first met six months earlier on Twitter when they plugged into the show's social-media universe. They talked about everything in their lives, but whenever they talked about "Five-0" the discussion turned to O'Loughlin, the Australian hunk who plays Steve McGarrett.
The 5-by-5-foot quilt that Swedberg created had separate themes on each side. The front was a traditional Hawaiian design while the back contained squares of cloth that illustrated O'Loughlin's acting career.
The work was intense.
CBS representatives said they would accept the quilt on the actor's behalf, but the women resisted that idea. They wanted to see the look on O'Loughlin's face, in part because they had already shown it to him while he walked the red carpet at Sunset on the Beach.
"You made me a quilt?" the actor commented. "That's amazing."
And the women felt a sense of purpose that came from strangers who had heard of their story and stopped them on the street or approached them at restaurants.
"People were commenting the whole trip, which then made it even more important for us to have some closure to the story," said the 45-year-old Jonson.
The day before the end of their trip, the four friends had resigned themselves to failure. They were going sightseeing.
Then they learned that "Five-0" was shooting at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar on Kapiolani Boulevard. They arrived at Shokudo with nothing to lose.
"Ellen goes right up to the security guard and asks to speak to Alex's personal assistant about giving him a gift," O'Connor said. "He came over and said, ‘You are the girls with the quilt.'"
Better still, they were told the actor knew their story. But the actor's assistant said they would still have to leave it with someone else at the show's production offices — a leap of faith.
"There was something about him that was so genuine that I believed him immediately," Swedberg said. "He said, ‘If you trust me, I will make sure he gets it.'"
It was the end of an emotional week — a wild adventure, Jonson said.
"It kind of was the deep breath at the end of the story," she said.
But it wasn't the end of the story.
A month later, as Jonson watched TV on a Sunday afternoon, her phone buzzed: incoming email. In inboxes across the country, her three friends received the same message.
Jonson stared at the phone and screamed. She jumped off the couch. Her fingers shook but she still managed to dial her friends.
It was a personal email from O'Loughlin.
"Would like to sincerely thank you for the gift."
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at Reach him at 529-4803 or email


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

During this time of the year, we take for granted the abundances we have. Always remember there are those who are struggling to support their loved ones, jobless, homeless, or just without families. Reach out into your communities to help those who are less fortunate. You can serve at a soup kitchen, donate clothing or household goods, donate to toys for tots, select a gift request off of your church gift tree and buy it, or just visit someone in a nursing home or shelter.  

With the all that you cherish and are thankful for on this day, remember our Armed Forces men and woman who have served or are serving around the world and far away from their families and loved ones. They are the reason we have our Freedom.

Blessings to all of our families, friends, blog followers and our new Ohana that we met this year in Hawaii. We are thankful for all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ellen, Stacey, Deb and Madaline

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Quilt Quest....He got it !!!

Several weeks have gone by. Besides wanting to be back in Hawaii, there was a nagging question running through our minds about the quilt.... Did Alex really get the quilt for sure???  We didn't want to ask Daniel Dae Kim or Peter Lenkov to ask Alex about it and reply to us. We were just hoping to hear some kind of response from Alex's assistants or anyone on the Hawaii Five-0 staff. When we initially left the quilt at the production offices, we were smart enough to put a copy of our fabulous article (thanks again to @Crankydad) and our contact information in the bag hoping to get a response... any response. Of course we'd be lying if we didn't say we hoped (toes and fingers crossed) we'd get a response from Alex himself. 

We were talking with each other online as usual on the morning of HIFF (Hawaiian Int'l Film Festival), Sunday, October 16, 2011. One of the ladies was checking her email and suddenly squeeeeeeeed and told us to check our emails immediately. Of course there was nothing in our regular email, so we went right to our spam folders.  There it email from Alex!

It was a simple line of thanks for the quilt to the four of us, which read:
Would like to sincerely thank you for the gift. Your dedication, time, and work put in "making" the quilt is beyond words appreciated.


(Did you notice Alex hashtagged his name?!?!)
How cool was that! We finally got the news we wanted to hear....Alex got the quilt! 
Looking back and remembering what friends said to us; "You're making a gift and BRINGING it to Hawaii?" It did seem pretty impossible. The closer the trip came, the more and more possible it seemed! When thinking back on the "quilt experience" it was so much more than the obvious gift it was intended to be. The enjoyment that we had in deciding what fabric to use, and whether we thought Alex would understand our choices, helped to make the hiatus time go by so much faster.  

The designing of it was something tangible to make the whole #H50/#AOL experience that was happening on twitter , more real. Something you could actually touch and see.  It was "incredible" (which doesn't feel like a strong enough word) that people all over the world could "talk" daily about their thoughts on Alex and the show.  

Something that's handmade is one thing - something that's designed so that every part of it shows the recipient that they're appreciated for what they bring to others - well - that's something more.  It brings us immense joy to know that our message of appreciation made it to Alex.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Aloha! 9-15-2011

Such a heavy phrase “The Last Day”, but it felt like a heavy day. We had stayed up very late the night before trading pictures. Yes, we know what you are thinking – the four of us must have had a lot of SOTB pictures to share. Indeed we did, but we were also sharing our #AOL collections as well – so this took TIME!!!

When morning arrived, we got up and went to the balcony of our hotel to say “good morning Diamond Head”, which had become our morning ritual this past week. We went downstairs for our Starbucks and breakfast. With us were the lei that Maddy had given us at the premiere.  Starbucks in hand, we walked across the street to the beach. As per tradition, we were told to either throw our lei into the ocean to ensure a safe return one day or leave them on one of the statues. We chose to leave them on a statue at “our” beach. Anna Sinclair, one of our twitter pals, was standing right near the statue. We wanted a picture taken since this was going to be the last time the four of us were together in Hawaii. We asked Anna to take the picture for us and she obliged. Queens Beach held a special place in our hearts, so the spot we chose was perfect.

Stacey and Ellen had the first flights out, so Maddy and Deb took the rental car back. They “got lost” (really they did) and somehow ended up driving past the H50 production offices.  They did confirm that the bag with Alex’s quilt inside was not in the guard shack anymore. They got back just in time to see Ellen and Stacey off, and let them know the quilt was no longer in the guard shack and hopefully in Alex’s hands.
Many tears were shed and hugs were abundant. Nobody wanted to go home. Some fellow twitter friends made their way down to the lobby to see them off. They were on their way out to see the sights of Oahu for the day. Stacey and Ellen gathered their luggage and boarded their shuttle back to the airport. During the ride back, they watched as familiar sights went by. It didn’t seem possible that so much had happened in only one week.  It started to drizzle the first real rain they’d seen all week. (Except for the quick shower that came through during the H50 premiere) It felt like Hawaii was crying with them because they were leaving.
They arrived at the airport. After saying more tearful good-byes to each other, they went their separate ways to their gates. While waiting in line at security, Ellen texted Stacey: “I had NO idea I would feel this way, it’s SO sad to leave”.  No truer words had never been spoken or in this case, texted. You know how typically the return trip seems to go faster? They were the longest flights both Stacey and Ellen had ever had. What each had left behind will never be duplicated. Sure, future SOTBs will hold special meaning, but that first one will always be “the one.”

Since Deb and Maddy didn’t leave until later that day, they decided to take a walk down Queens Beach for the last time after hanging out with their twitter pals.  It was lunch time, so they just had to stop at the Queens Surf Cafe & Lanai one more time. Kait greeted them and took their orders. After receiving their food, they sat and shared stories of the week and talked about going back home to reality. Kait also gave them a free goodbye treat…smoothies. They were delicious. Mahalo to Kait and the staff at the Queens Surf Cafe and Lanai for making our luau, brunch and culinary experiences so wonderful. The food we shared that whole week was simply divine!

Walking back towards the hotel in the rain showers, Deb and Maddy would stop occasionally to take a picture or two. They sat on the pier across from their hotel and just spent some more time talking. Eventually, they made their way across the street to Lulu’s restaurant for one final drink before Maddy had to leave.  They toasted to friendship and a once in a lifetime trip. They were so glad they got to share it with everybody they had met that week. They left Lulu’s and went back down to the lobby of the Park Shore to wait for Maddy’s shuttle. They met up with their new Aussie friend, Jen McLeod and talked a while longer. 

Soon enough, it was time for Maddy to leave. Her airport shuttle had arrived.  More tearful good-byes were said and Maddy was on her way. Even though the shuttle was full, Maddy said it was a tearful, lonely ride back. Once at the airport she found a quiet spot to sit and plug in her laptop for some twitter and Facebook time. Finally it was time to board her long flight home. Aloha Hawaii, hello New Jersey...or so she thought. After finally boarding the plane her flight began pulling away from the terminal. The plane stopped taxing. Her pilot came over the PA and told them they were going back to the gate. There was a malfunction in the air conditioning on the plane. Everybody left the plane. They sat in the waiting area in Honolulu airport for what seemed like an eternity. It was only an hour. Happily, she started texting her friends to let them know she may be staying for another day if they couldn't get the problem fixed. Unfortunately that was not to be. A customer service rep came on the PA to advise the AC was fixed and the flight was ready to go. Damn! Foiled again!  Maddy boarded the plane again, texted.
Being the last one to leave, Deb found herself on her own. A few friends let her know they’d be around if she needed anything before her flight. Since her flight didn’t leave until late that evening, she decided to hike up Diamond Head. Unfortunately, the trails were closed for maintenance. She decided to head down to Queens’s Beach one last time to soak up some sun. After that she headed to the Diamond Head Health Club for another delicious acai bowl. (Damn, and no Alex sighting)

Before going to meet her shuttle, she stopped to take one last sunset picture featuring the fountain we laid our lei upon earlier that day. She made her way across Kalakaua Avenue for the last time, got her luggage and made her way onto her airport shuttle. Tearfully, she headed for the airport like the three of us before her. With sand still in her hair she boarded her plane home. She didn’t remember even taking off. Once she got to her seat, she fell fast asleep until she hit her connecting flight in Phoenix, all the time dreaming of her amazing vacation.

We all felt a sense of depression when we got home. So many new friends met and memories made that week. One week in paradise and so much damn fun together. How could that week be topped? Back to our realities and our family life. We can all say this about our whole adventure....Hawaii has captured a piece of our hearts. If that's what Aloha spirit is all about, then we want some more. Mahalo to the Ohana who shared this adventure with us. We can't wait to see you all next year for SOTB 3. 
Aloha...for now

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mahalo Nui Loa! An open letter of thanks from the H50Fanatics

We've all heard about the whole "Aloha spirit" thing from our friends who have vacationed there and those who live there. Until we actually went to Hawaii and experienced it for ourselves, we never really understood what that meant. Aloha spirit is a culmination of cultures, people, smells, foods, and the beating of one giant heart. From the moment you set foot off of your flight, until the moment you go home, you're surrounded by it. The only way to describe it is this. You're wrapped in a cocoon of warmth, love and peace all at the same time. All the cares in the world are erased by a simple smile and greeting of "Aloha, welcome to Hawaii."

The people alone are so kind, gentle and do not judge you. Even though your only a visitor, (Haole) you're treated like one of the family. (Ohana) We've accumulated so many new friends from this adventure, we felt the need to say Mahalo (thanks) for making this the best vacation for us ever.

From Madaline:

To all of my Twitter friends that accepted me as a follower, let me into you lives, and enjoyed countless hours of talking about our favorite show, Hawaii Five-0, it's amazing cast, crew and producers...Mahalo! We're all now and forever bound together as Five-Ohana!

To Bruce Fisher and his wife Yaling, what can I say. If it weren't for you and Hawaii-Aloha travel I would have never been able to afford this trip. You found me on twitter struggling to make my plans for the Hawaii Five-0's premiere along with so many others. Your advice about the pay as you go plan, and help with booking my accommodations and flights, made this trip a reality. The many hours you've spent planning the four days of events have not gone without notice. I will never forget the hospitality or kindness you shared with me and the group the entire week we were there. Mahalo nui loa for making me feel so welcome.   \m/ ^_^ \m/

To Mike Gordon (a.k.a. @CrankyDad), thank you for taking an unknown woman from New Jersey and giving her the15 minutes of fame she thought she'd never have. Your article about my adventure with my twitter friends was truly amazing.  Mahalo

To Wendie Burbridge, H50undercover, (a.k.a. JBob) LisaLisa98 & Keith Sato, mahalo nui loa for making this haole part of your Ohana. You were all so kind to hang out with me and my new friends. I loved spending our H50 tour with all of you and learning all about your beautiful home state. Because of you, I've taken a piece of Hawaii home in my heart. I look forward to coming back to Hawaii and sharing new experiences with all of you over and over again. Please keep in touch!

To Amy Bakari for making SOTB a real adventure. I still can't believe the cajones on you girl! Got a palm tree moved! WOOT! You are truly an amazing and determined individual. I thank you for helping us with our "quest".

To Peter Lenkov for bringing back Hawaii Five-0. By utilizing social media to reach your fans, a group of people were brought together by talking about your show on Twitter and Facebook. Without this show, I would have never met my new Ohana. The cast camaraderie shows the true meaning of friendship, family and the aloha spirit each week through your great story telling. You and your writing staff continue to amaze me every week with the twist and turns thrown at us. Continued success with the show and with all of your new endeavors.  Mahalo!

To my new Ohana..Stacey, Deb and Ellen. Without you, I would have never made it to Hawaii. You all encouraged me to stay positive when I thought this trip was an impossibility. I'm so glad I listened to my heart and ignored the naysayers who thought I was crazy to jump on a plane, fly to Hawaii and meet perfect strangers. I love you all for making this the best vacation of my life. *MUAH*

From Ellen:

Overall, a lot has been said about the aloha spirit but I NEVER really understood or felt what that meant until we got to Hawaii.  The Aloha spirit is pervasive – like the smells and the feel of the islands – it’s in the strangers we met everywhere during our week in paradise.  But we felt it immediately with all the five0s that we “met” for the first time after chatting for months and those that we truly met for the first time who joined us on this adventure.

But of course a few stand out~

Bruce took this from the beginning to create something incredibly unique and done by fans for fans – which came to mean much more to me once we were there.  The feeling of Ohana was with the group from the minute we arrived and continues today.   Yaling welcomed all of us into her home with such grace, I’m so glad to have met her and look forward to staying in touch.

Wendie – you made Hawaii so real for us, not only on the tour but just by being who you are – a natural ambassador.

JBob – you were not what I expected, I’m glad you spent so much time with us, and wish you would have spent more (next year for sure!). *hugs*

Lisa-  you were so wonderful to us, I want your life – to be in Hawaii and welcome visitors who share in your love of all things five-0.  Keep it up girl !!! (and see you soon).

Keith - who can hold his own with this wild group - a special man for sure

Amy- You CRAZY Woman!  So glad we got to know each other, who knew you could get so close staking out a piece of sand on a beach!  Mahalo for everything - and I mean everything! Can't wait for next year.
Mike – who was a stranger to us and from the moment we “met” online we were all instantly put at ease.  Mahalo for helping to make this the week of a lifetime.

From Deb:

I struggled with the decision to go to SOTB2. The money, how would my husband, family, friends react to me wanting to do something really out of character for me. The more time I spent talking w/ Ellen, Maddy & Stacey and all the twitter/facebook Ohana, the more I wanted to go. I just knew this was something I had to be a part of. So I worked up my courage, broached the subject w/ my husband and the rest is history! This vacation is definitely one of the top 10 weeks of my life!
Meeting the other 3 H50fanatics and feeling like I've known them forever was amazing. I miss them every day, even tho we tweet, FB and text. The local Hawaii folks were so fun and welcoming. Thanks to Wendie (and Chief), Lisa, Keith, J-Bob,and Monica. Then there's Bruce and Yaling who got this whole thing off the ground! You all made it extra special. Oh almost forgot! Also Mike Gordon for our "15 minutes of fame" Really weird to get recognized on the street in a place you are visiting. Just a tiny, tiny sliver of what our favorite celebs have in their lives. One more, Kait, at Queen's Surf Cafe & Lanai....your food was delicious and well-priced!
Meeting and putting faces to all the other twitter/FB people equally incredible! I have a whole new circle of friends brought together by our common love (obsession??) for Hawaii Five-0. Not gonna name names for fear I'll miss someone. I look forward to staying in touch and seeing all of you again next year. I am already saving for it!
No more or I will start crying. SO looking forward to seeing all of you again next year or sooner. Planning a #H50 tweetup in Indianapolis some time in the next month to see Candy, Cindy and a couple other Midwesterners that weren't able to attend SOTB2. Tweet/FB if you want in!
In closing, I would say YES Alex, Twitter and Facebook can be used for good. Without them I wouldn't have had this fantastic experience (I understand why you don't want to though!) xoxoxoxo Special thanks to Maddy for all her hard work on telling "our" story!

From Stacey:

Where to begin?

When I set out on this journey back in September, I had no idea what to expect. I was getting on an airplane and flying thousands of miles to a place I’d never been, to meet three women I had never met in person (Maddy, Ellen, and Deb), room with one of them for 8 days, sit on a beach with 10,000 screaming fans to watch a premiere of my favorite television show, hoping to give a gift to my favorite actor, and if that wasn’t enough, have our adventure told in the local Hawaiian press. Wow, what an adventure I had planned for myself. If this was a test, I passed with flying colors!!

My adventure of a lifetime wouldn’t have been possible without the help and new friendships of several people. So I say MAHALO NUI LOA to…

Bruce and Yaling Fisher – for all you did to organize our trip and group activities. You spent tireless hours for a group of people you didn’t know, and yet pulled off a fantastic event!

My new Hawaiian Ohana (Wendie, J-Bob, Lisa, Keith, and Monica) – the tweetups, the tours (the Bayer Estate will always hold a special place in my heart and scrapbook!), and all of the time you spent entertaining us, YOU ROCK!

Mike Gordon – how you sold your editor on our story, I’ll never know. You took 4 women from completely different parts of the country and made them famous for a few days. The amount of people who recognized us and asked us about our quest in getting the quilt to Alex was amazing!

Amy Bakari – what can I say about you woman, you have GOT to be the most determined woman I have ever met. You helped us keep our eye on the ball and reminded us of what was important.

Kait from Queen’s Surf Café & Lanai – Our luau and brunch were amazing! But most of all, that homemade chili of yours was a scary doppelganger for my mom’s and made me feel at home. And seeing the expression on your face when I guessed the secret ingredient was priceless. By the way, the secret ingredient is… go ask Kait!

Peter Lenkov – To find new ways of entertaining critics and the general public is a tough task, one that you, your team of writers and production staff, not to mention the great talents of your cast, have mastered flawlessly. Thank you for giving us back our Mondays! Oh, and the cocopuffs at 6AM on the beach weren’t bad either.  And please... more shirtless McG!

Alex – Mahalo for giving me a reason (several reasons) to go on this journey. I’m glad you got the quilt. Enjoy it and enjoy all of the many successes coming your way. You deserve it!

And last but not least… I raise a glass (ok, it’s a Corona) and say cheers to my new lifelong friends: Maddy (roomie!), Ellen, and Deb. What can I say? I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I love you ladies! And… WE DID IT!

A Little Bird told us..... 9-14-11

This was our last full day in Paradise. We had already decided that we wanted to see Pearl Harbor, the Arizona and the Mighty Mo.  We were well aware that we needed to get up and get moving to make sure we got a spot in line.  We had also gift wrapped the quilt, and had started taking it with us everywhere; knowing our opportunities to drop it off with someone connected with Hawaii Five-0 were getting slimmer by the hour.

A little bird had sent Madaline a Facebook chat message about the opportunity to see Hawaii Five-0 filming locally. Of course we dropped what we were doing, got dressed and headed out. There wasn’t any need to have a discussion. Pearl Harbor would be there the next time we came to Hawaii.  We hopped in our rental car and found the location where they were filming. They were at a restaurant called Shokudo, right down the street from the production offices. We saw extras walking in front of the restaurant being filmed in an outdoor scene several times. 

While we watched, Ellen spoke to a security guard and asked if there was anyone we could speak to about dropping off our quilt.  We were very thrilled and surprised when one of Alex’s “people” came over to speak to her. He remembered her from either the news article or the red carpet and immediately knew what she wanted. He and Ellen came over to the rest of us so he could speak to all of us at the same time. He suggested that we bring the quilt to the production offices. He stated he’d call ahead so that the quilt would be held for him and assured us that HE would make sure that Alex received the gift.  He was incredibly nice and Ellen trusted him completely. After we spoke to him, we were keeping an eye on the doors of the restaurant because we were told there were actors inside waiting to do their outside scene.
The extras milling around, were providing the realistic backdrop behind the restaurant windows, but we couldn’t see anyone inside the restaurant.  Soon enough, we were rewarded. The extras took a break and Alex (looking so hot in his blue t-shirt) walked out of the restaurant with Lauren German.  We watched as their make-up people got them prepped for the scene. They ran the scene several times from different angles. We were glued to the spot watching their every move. Although we were told not to take pictures, we did sneak one or two. How could you not sneak one of Alex in blue?  *SIGH* 

As filming began to wrap at that location, the actors were quickly led to vans awaiting them on the side street. They sped away quickly and it was obvious that the crew was breaking down the equipment for the day. We walked back to our car, and drove to the production office to drop off the quilt. As promised, they were notified ahead of time and were expecting us. They graciously accepted the quilt and told us that they’d give it to Alex’s people personally. Mission accomplished.

To celebrate the quilt quest being over, we decided to do lunch at the Tropics Bar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It was a combination of our relief in having accomplished our task, and being in a place where so many H50 scenes have been shot that we felt the need to splurge on lunch. Just eating and relishing in the day’s events was so much fun.  After lunch, we decided to walk around the grounds and check out the many shops on the Hilton property and do a little shopping.

All in all, we were very happy to have been able to see our beloved Hawaii Five-0 being filmed, even if it was for a short time.  Being able to see Alex in action before we left was the icing on the cake. Now, when we see episode 2.06 air, we can say…we were there.

Mahalo to the “little bird” that let us know where filming was that day. You know who you are.  

   \m/ ^_^ \m/ 

Road Trip! 9-13-2011

Today was the day we would leave Waikiki, which had served us well so far, but there was so much more we needed to see.   We decided to rent a car and set off towards the East.

Heading down Kalakaua Avenue, we passed by the Waikiki Aquarium, Queens Surf Café and Kapiolani Park. We made our way up Diamond Head Road overlooking Makalei Beach and Diamond Head Beach State Park.  We continued to follow the road which eventually brought us to the H1 highway. This led us to the windward side of the island. Past the Koko Crater, we pulled into the scenic overlook at Koko Head State Park.  Just below us was Hanauma Bay. Of course, pictures were taken. We were even lucky enough to have a very nice couple take a picture of the four of us together for a change.

 A little further down the road we stopped off at the Halona Blow Hole. Deb and Madaline got out hoping to get a picture or two of the water actually coming in through the blow hole. Their patience paid off.  After pictures there, we wound our way around the island past Makapu’u Point, the lighthouse and continued around to the windward side of the island. It was truly spectacular. Driving past Waimanalo Beach was just incredible. That part of the coastline is well worth the trip and we highly recommend making your way there.

We had heard that Hawaii Five-0 was filming today at the Paul Mitchell Estate over in Lanikai.  We knew it was going to be a closed set and we knew there was a snowballs chance in Hawaii that we’d see anything, but we headed that way anyhow. The neighborhood was really lovely. Although we didn’t see any of our H50 stars, we did see a part of Oahu, we all agreed, we’d be more than happy to move to, if we ever won the lottery.
After leaving Lanikai, we worked our way towards Kailua and Kualoa. We stopped at what was perhaps the single most beautiful place we found so far, Kualoa Beach Park.  The water was exquisite shades of turquoise green and blue. Chinaman’s Hat or Mokoli’i Island was sitting right in front of us. The 360 degree view was just spectacular. To one side was Kualoa Beach. When we turned around, we realized we were a stone’s throw from the Kualoa Ranch and the Kualoa Valley. It was here that we decided, was the perfect backdrop to take photographs of the quilt for Alex… which was still in our possession.  Being between the emerald green mountains of Kualoa and the shores of the Pacific was the true meaning of being in paradise. It’s hard to convey the sense of peace we found at this park.

While taking pictures, we glanced over and realized that we were probably looking at the home used as MaryAnn McGarrett’s rental house from the Hawaii Five-0 Ke Kinohi episode. We went back and forth about it for a few minutes and swore to check the season 1 dvd when we got home to verify.  Of course, we were right about the house. They don't call us H50fanatics for nothing.  :) 
Eventually we left that beautiful place and continued driving towards the north shore. We were ravenous at this point in the day and just had to eat. We came upon our first shrimp truck and decided to stop. The place we stopped at was called Mike’s Huli Huli shrimp truck. Just reading the menu made us drool. Each of us tried something different so we could sneak a taste from one another’s plates.  We couldn’t decide what tasted better, the chicken, pork or the shrimp, so we ordered all of them. 

After lunch we continued our drive along the north shore through Laie, Kahuku and around to Turtle Bay.  The scenery lulled Ellen to sleep. Madaline was still taking pictures and admiring the views along with Stacey and Deb. We decided to take the H2 back towards O’ahu. Ellen woke up somewhere around the Dole pineapple fields and plantation. 

The road wound its way back towards Pearl City through Aiea and on into the Waikiki area.  We decided we wanted to see Punchbowl. Once we got our bearings, we made our way through town and finally found it. Slowly, climbing up the hills and into Punchbowl.  It was a very solemn place to be. It amazed us to see so much beauty within a cemetery. There were these trees aligning the driveway, we'd never seen before that caught our attention. If any of you know what kind of trees they are, please leave us a comment. The 180 degree view of Waikiki below us in the valley was breathtaking. Knowing that our favorite show had filmed there several times wasn’t a bad thing either.

After a long day of site seeing, we realized we needed to gas up the car.  We did see Leonard’s Bakery when we wound our way through the local streets, but didn’t stop for malasadas or coco puffs. Our final tour stop was going to be at the Diamond Head Health Bar to taste one of Alex O’Loughlin’s favorite treats, an acai bowl.

After our snack we made our way towards Hawaii Kai. Our new friend, Bruce Fisher and his lovely wife Yaling, invited us over for cocktails. Some of the friends we met during SOTB were there. We all were very happy to see each other again. We’d all been doing our own tours and such around the island the last couple of days, so it was nice to catch up. We arrived there around sunset, so of course pictures were taken. The sunsets in Hawaii are just incredible. Every one of them is different from day to day. This was no exception. 

LisaLisa98 and Keith Sato showed up bearing gifts...malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery!  Not just one box, but 3 boxes of them. They were still hot too. Once they were opened, they were fair game. I think all 3 boxes were devoured in about 2 minutes. Simply delicious!

Bruce asked some of us if we wanted a tour of the area where he lived. It was an island community within the island of Oahu. The Kaupa Pond surrounded him. He took us for a twilight boat ride around and gave us a little history of the area.  It was very cool. Soon after we got back, we decided to head back to the hotel. So we said our goodbyes, cried some tears and left.

When we got back to the hotel, Deb and Ellen went back to their room to settle in for the night. Stacey and Madaline decided to grab a late night snack and a drink before turning in. They found Wendie, her husband, and several others hanging out at Lulu’s bar and decided to join them. Good conversation, good food and friends. What more could we ask for?

All in all, this was a great day. Beautiful scenery and spending the day with friends, (who felt more like family to us) made for some memories we’ll never forget.  

Here'a a link to more pictures of our tour.  Tour pictures