Alaskan Cruise w/ KSSK

In July, HiTel FCU joined KSSK on a fabulous Alaskan cruise!

We made the spectacular voyage on the Star Princess ship of Princess Cruises.  The ship has a fitness center, a grand casino, lotus spa, terrace pool, nightclub, wine bar, hot tub, theatre and so much more!

The Star Princess serves the finest cuisine organized by Matire D, Jacques Ghennai, and the ship’s talented chefs.  Cruisers could enjoy a night of fine dining Italian at Sabatiti’s, Steak and Seafood at the Crown Grill, or go casual at the International Cafe.

If you could pull yourself away from the luxurious amenities of the ship, the wild world of Alaska was waiting on the popular excursion legs of the cruise.

Excursions included adventures in multiple towns of Alaska.  In historic Ketchikan, cruisers could admire totem art and enjoy lumberjack competitions.  In scenic Skagway, cruisers took a train ride through Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon Route Railway to relive the Gold Rush! In classy Victoria, cruisers could get a taste of England without having to travel 4,000 miles. Victoria offers heritage architecture, colorful gardens, delightful afternoon tea, and mild weather perfect for an outdoor adventure.

KSSK Alaska Cruise 2012 from Juliette Machado on Vimeo.

Captain Edward Perrin, KSSK’s Perry and Price, and Princess Cruises made this week one to remember!


Kapiolani Radiothon

This week we participated in the Kapiolani Radiothon for Kids with KSSK!  The radiothon raised money to benefit the Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children.

The miracle network, composed of 170 hospitals nationwide, seeks to help as many children as possible by keeping funds in the community to help local children.  100% of the money raised in Hawaii stays in Hawaii to help children regardless of their ability to pay.

Because of this great cause, 11 volunteers from our staff met up at 7:00 A.M., boarded a shuttle bus, and made our way to the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.  We arrived at the complex and headed to the radiothon headquarters in the  hospital’s cafeteria.  After a quick overview of how the radiothon works we went out to man the “phone bank”.  We answered calls and dialed-out to raise as much money as we could!  During power-hour, Panda Restaurants pledged to match the funds we collected within that hour, and the calls came more frequently.  Feeling like we were making a difference was so satisfying, everyone left with a giant smile on their faces.

The radiothon raised over $168,000 in two days.  We’d like to thank everyone who called in and donated to this awesome cause.

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Eat Well, Sleep Well

We stumbled upon this great article, Cooking Up A Sleep-Friendly Diet, by Dr. Michael J. Breus on the Huffington Post Healthy Living section.  These suggestions just might help you get a better night’s sleep!

Foods full of vitamins and minerals are the basic components of a healthy diet, promoting healthy cell function, helping regulate weight, and providing the energy we need to get through our busy days. Many of the foods that are most healthful to our bodies and our waistlines are also the foods that can help us sleep better. Here are some suggestions for creating a sleep-friendly diet.

Reach for These Healthy, Mineral-Rich Foods:

Magnesium is a mineral that functions to relax nerves and muscles and also promotes healthy circulation. Deficiencies of magnesium have been associated with several sleep disorders, including insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Foods high in magnesium are some of the most sleep-friendly foods around.

Bananas are a great source of magnesium. So are many other nutrient-rich, waist-friendly foods, including:

  • Fruits: in addition to bananas, avocados, berries and melons
  • Leafy greens: spinach and Swiss chard
  • Nuts and seeds: including cashews, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and nut or seed butters
  • Beans: black beans, tofu, soybeans
  • Whole grains: brown rice, millet, wheat and oat bran

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Organizing Important Documents

GET ORGANIZED.  It’s on our new year’s resolution list every year, but we’ll be honest and say getting organized is easier said than done, especially when it comes to those important documents you only use once or twice in a year.  We try to put things in that “extra safe place”, but when the occasion comes around and we need that important paper, we can’t ever seem to find it!

We’ve turned to the pros like Julie Morgenstern of, TLC Home, and Good Housekeeping to find out how we can keep our important documents organized.

Fireproof box.   Fill a fireproof box with difficult-to-replace documents.  In this fireproof box, include your document map (details below) and a list of all accounts (great account master list from you have such as:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Passports
  • Social Security Cards
  • Wills
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • Insurance accounts
  • Inventory of household valuables

Find a great selection of fireproof boxes here or here.

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The Ripple Effect


The Corn Belt is experiencing its worst drought in decades with temperatures reaching its hottest in American history, creating a rippling effect that will impact consumers around the world.

Why the fuss over this drought?  It’s because low corn yields mean an increase in corn prices, which will subsequently increase the cost of items made from corn. Household items like peanut butter, toothpaste, ketchup, cola, shaving cream  and more, are all made from corn by-products.  Even the cost of fuel will likely increase because of a chemical called ethanol that is incorporated into our nation’s fuel, which is made from the golden grain.

The most upfront impact on prices will be on beef and other proteins because corn is the main ingredient in most cattle feed.  According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Agriculture via CNN Money, “the price of ground beef could rise to about $2.88 per pound this year, a 4% jump from last year, when the average price per pound was $2.77, and the price of steak is rising to $6.47.”  If Americans consume about 53lbs of beef a year per person, this could cost consumers over $300 annually!

The soybean, another crop grown widely in the Midwest is experiencing the same fate as corn.  Soybean by-products are used to make vegetable oil, biofuel, animal feed, skin care products, detergents and even foam insulation.

According to the United Nations’ monthly FAO Food Price Index (FFPI), the FFPI “averaged 213 points in July 2012, as much as 12 points (6 percent) up from June, but still well below the peak of 238 points reached in February 2011….The sharp rebound was mostly driven by a jump in grain and sugar prices, and more modest increases in oils/fats.”

The catch to knowing about this ripple effect is that we can’t do much about it.  Mother Nature has the upper hand, and the farmers have already lost hope for their corn fields. While we sweat it out and hope for rain, Obama is pushing for a new farm bill and approved a meat purchase to aid the farmers through the drought.

WATCH: Why Iowa’s drought is a global problem– CNN Money
WATCH: U.S. drought may drive up food prices– BBC News