Feeding the Stoke

Wooden Wave Creativity

Husband and wife team Wooden Wave keep creativity coming.

Text by Christa Hester | Images by Jonas Maon

Matt and Roxy Ortiz, the husband and wife duo behind Wooden Wave, are a lean, mean, creative team. They were one of the first to move into a workspace at Lana Lane Studios, and are regular participants in Pow Wow Hawai‘i. Previously known as Vers, the two changed their team name to Wooden Wave in 2014 to mark a shift from printmaking to painting murals. “We draw inspiration from skating and surfing, mountains and ocean,” Roxy says. “So Wooden Wave, which is another name for a half pipe, is kind of perfect for us.”

Under their new moniker, they are most known for creating murals of elaborate, sustainable treehouses. They spend most mornings at their studio, tending to the latest orphaned bird they’ve found and working on projects for clients who love their playful yet environmentally conscious art. One of the latest murals the couple has begun is for SALT, a restaurant, retail, and mixed-use space located between Coral and Keawe streets.

“For this project we want to acknowledge Kaka‘ako’s past lives and its place between mountains and ocean,” Matt says. “We’re doing a mural that’s more abstract than what we normally do, with nods to the salt farms, agriculture, and ironworks that have been here, as well as this idea that it’s a gathering place. We’re also doing an awning that’ll be draped in a hallway running mauka to makai in watercolors that shift from blue to green.”

Wooden Wave Creativity


After nine years of marriage and artistic collaboration, the couple has learned a thing or two about finding inspiration and sustaining it. Here are their tips:

Go adventuring. “Different environments reinvigorate your art,” Roxy says.

Record all your ideas. “If you get an idea and don’t document it, it’s as good as gone,” Matt says. “Keep your ideas in one sketchbook, then you can go back and have a ton of content ready to develop during a lull.”

Practice every day. “There’s this mythology of the artist who waits for inspiration to come, then works feverishly,” Roxy says. “Really, you have to get through those days of crappy sketches to get to a great idea.”

Eliminate distractions. “Mentally transition from home to work. For me, that means coffee and going to the studio,” Matt says. “If you work at home, try going to a certain room to work. And stock up on food so you don’t have to break concentration.”

Make and keep connections. “Relationships with clients and other artists support, inspire, and motivate us,” Roxy says. “Go to shows, talk to artists, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”

For more information, visit


Urban Growth

MetroGrow Hawaii

A hidden farm in Our Kaka‘ako presents viable solutions to traditional agricultural obstacles.

Text by Brad Dell | Images by John Hook

Kaka‘ako was home to wetland agriculture and salt ponds long before it was enveloped by cityscape. As I sit in a warehouse in the neighborhood and bite into just-picked lettuce still covered with saltwater droplets that shine like crystals, it’s easy to imagine what fresh harvests of the land once tasted like. Except that this lettuce, an ice plant (aka glacier lettuce), didn’t exist in the islands until Kerry Kakazu, owner of MetroGrow Hawaii, began growing it in his indoor vertical farm.

MetroGrow Hawaii, which Kakazu founded in 2013, uses aeroponics, a growing method in which plant roots are exposed to air and periodically misted with a nutrient solution. LED bulbs replace sunlight, fans and tarps keep varying air temperatures cool, and advanced delivery systems minimize water and fertilizer usage. These practices allow Kakazu to grow cool-weather crops year-round, such as mache, smooth-leaf spinach, and miner’s lettuce. Kakazu says his is the first legal farm of its sort in the state. “Before, it was just the marijuana growers doing this,” he says with a laugh.

Rows of lettuce and shoots line the racks of Kakazu’s indoor farm, which is located in the same structure as Kaka‘ako Agora. It looks more like a laboratory than a greenhouse, with purple and pink microgreens sprouting from plastic pods, and Kakazu controlling the conditions— from the intensity of the lighting to the frequency of nutrient misting—with quick swipes on a smartphone. The innovative farmer has a doctorate in plant physiology, but admits that technology has gifted him with an artificial green thumb. “People used to always ask for advice on how to grow plants,” he says. “But I was always grinding them up, killing them, and analyzing them. I would always say, ‘Don’t ask me!’”

Before launching MetroGrow Hawaii, Kakazu worked at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center for 13 years, where he researched cell division and managed facilities. In 2013, he noticed the growing demand for local foods and took the opportunity to open his first-ever farm. What began as a hobby for Kakazu became a full-time profession within a year. After a period of trial and error, he became confident in manipulating the environment of crops to change sizes, colors, and tastes— an ability that has made his business popular with eateries that desire unique food aesthetics, such as sushi restaurants.

This revolutionary farming method also supports sustainability and healthy eating. The plants don’t require pesticides and consume less fertilizer, water, and land than traditional farming. Kakazu says these factors are increasingly important in the face of land and freshwater shortages, as well as increasingly humid, stormy days in Hawai‘i, which create an unstable outdoor growing environment. Kakazu sits behind his desk, looks at his plants, and says, “This could very well be the future.”

MetroGrow Hawaii


Microgreens are plants that are grown to the point where the first set of true leaves (the second set of leaves that grow from the sprout) have emerged. They are usually even more flavorful than the full-grown plant, and are best eaten fresh as garnishes or added to salads. Plants in the cabbage family, like radish, kale, and arugula, make for hardy microgreens, which are ready within 10 to 14 days. For shoots, pea, sunflower, and soybean are good options, and are ready in about 10 days.

Step 1: Soak the seeds overnight in water. (Smaller seeds and mucilaginous seeds like chia don’t need to be soaked.)
Step 2: Spread seeds generously on potting mix in a shallow tray, such as nursery trays available at garden shops.
Step 3: Cover with a thin layer of potting mix.
Step 4: Cover with plastic or another inverted tray until seeds sprout.
Step 5: Uncover and keep well watered.
Step 6: When ready, cut shoots and microgreens with clean scissors.


It starts with the soil. For a DIY mix, many people recommend a mix of coconut coir or peat moss (moisture holding), compost or vermicompost (organic matter), and perlite (drainage). A little bit of fertilizer can be added to the mix, but since most leafy greens grow quickly, you don’t need to add much.

Then, the container. Because you are growing in a container, plants can easily be overwatered. (Potting mix should be moist, not soaking wet.) Containers should have ample drainage. The plants can also get hot if outdoors, so for Hawai‘i, use lighter- colored containers if available.

What about growing indoors? You need either a sunny window or electric lights. LED or fluorescent lights work fine.

Additional recommended resources: University of Hawai‘i O‘ahu Urban Garden Center, local nursery and hydroponic stores, Koolau Farmers, Ohana Greenhouse & Garden Supply, and Hawaiian Hydroponics & Garden.

For more information, visit


Heartfelt Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness Kakaako

The Orangetheory Fitness team shares tips for staying healthy and sane during the holiday season.

Text by Carrie Shuler | Image by Jonas Maon

Holidays and food go together like chocolate and cake, like vegetarians and hummus, like sushi and saké. In fact, holidays are really just an excuse to talk about, dream about, and eat food with the people you love. Luckily, a fitness revolution is set to debut in Our Kaka‘ako by the end of 2015 to keep us fit during this seasonal high.

Orangetheory Fitness has an exercise approach focused on keeping participants in the “Orange Zone” (82 to 92 percent of their maximum heart rates), which spikes metabolism and increases energy for up to 36 hours after each workout. Lasting 60 minutes, sessions are divided into intervals of cardio exercise and strength- training using treadmills, rowing machines, suspension training, and free weights. Orangetheory members burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories per workout (plenty of penance to account for that extra helping of holiday pie). Plus, the focus on heart rate, measured by wearable monitors, means that achievement levels have no bounds—a 90-year-old grandma and 25-year-old professional athlete can take part in the same session and benefit equally.

The visionary bringing Orangetheory to Hawai‘i is 24-year-old entrepreneur Pavel Stuchlik, a regional manager for Orangetheory who owns franchises in Oregon and Georgia, and also founded Atmasphere Yoga (which will be opening a location alongside the Kaka‘ako Orangetheory). A Czech Republic native, Stuchlik became a professional traveling cyclist at age 17, competing against the likes of Lance Armstrong. To supplement his income, he created a company that bought, sold, and distributed wholesale bike parts, and eventually left the bicycling scene to pursue this business full-time. Stuchlik later sold the company, then delved into international real estate and franchises before embarking on his current path—to make a positive change in the world through his fitness endeavors.


We turned to Stuchlik for tips and an exercise regimen for staying healthy during the holiday season and beyond:

Tip#1: Don’teatcarbsorsugarforbreakfast. This just makes you feel sleepy.

Tip #2: Meditate first thing in the morning for at least five minutes, which creates positive energy.

Tip #3: Exercise, but don’t overdo it.

Try this DIY 30-minute workout in Orangetheory style (and remember to avoid burnout by adjusting these steps to suit your level of fitness):

Step 1: Jog or walk briskly on a slight incline to warm up. (4–6 min)

Step 2: Run in the sand or uphill at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum capacity. (4 min)

Step 3: Continue to run at 80 to 90 percent. Eliminateresistancebyrunningonaneven surface. (4 min)

Step 4: Slow to a light jog or brisk walk— the goal is to lower the heart rate. (1 min)

Step 5: Run as fast as possible on an even surface. (1 min)

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5.

Step 7: Jog at a medium pace on a flat or slightly inclined surface. (4-10 min)

For more information, call 808-888-9714 or visit


Happy Holidays, Paiko Style

Paiko Kokedama

The ladies at Our Kaka‘ako’s beloved floral studio share a DIY gift perfect for plant-loving loved ones.

Text by Kelli Gratz |Images by Jonas Maon

When it comes to floral designs, this refreshing retail shop that opened in Our Kaka‘ako in 2012 is doing a lot of things right. For example, Paiko boasts a handful of fresh, locally sourced flowers and exotic plants, like twinkle orchids, Big Island protea, wave ferns, night-blooming cereus, and Waimānalo rosette succulents. It also offers hands-on workshops, a flower bar stocked with beautiful cut blooms, and a DIY bar for assembling succulent gardens and terrariums, complete with coverings such as stones, tumbled glass, and shells.

The brainchild of Tamara Rigney, a Hawai‘i native with years of experience working as a landscape designer, and business-minded Courtney Monahan, Paiko is also host to an array of plant vessels made by the Hawaii Potters’ Guild, apothecary goods by Indigo Elixirs, custom stationary, and books. Plus, Brue Bar has set up shop inside the establishment, serving perfect espresso drinks whipped up with a copper-clad Slayer machine. Basically, you can come here and decorate your home with handcrafted goods while recharging your body and mind with caffeine and plant life.

Rigney also launched a new boutique studio, ‘Okika, which creates custom floral designs featuring local, seasonal plants—so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can enlist her couture services to create living designs for you or for an upcoming event.

Paiko Kokedama


To get into the holiday spirit, the gals at Paiko put together a perfect DIY gift. Here is how to make a kokedama (Japanese moss ball):

1. In a bowl or bucket, mix two-thirds peat moss with one-third bonsai soil, then add water. This will create the soil composition needed to hold your kokedama together around the plant roots.

2. Lay out a blanket of sheet moss, then completely envelope the ball in it, gathering it at the stem. You can also use sphagnum moss: Wet the moss, and then pat it onto the soil ball until completely covered.

3. Prepare your plant of choice, preferably a shade-loving type. Remove it from its grower pot, shaking off original soil until the majority of the roots are exposed. Do this over a trashcan, or better yet, over a container, saving any leftover soil for your garden.

4. Add an inch-thick layer of the wet soil mixture around the roots, creating a ball. Next, squeeze it to release excess moisture. (Channel your musubi-making skills!)

5. Wrap twine, jute, or holiday ribbon around the moss until it feels secure. Then tie a knot. Create a loop of cord of the desired length for hanging the plant. Add a holiday ribbon at the stem.

Bonsai soil, peat, sphagnum moss, 2-inch and 4-inch shade plants, 2-inch orchids, 4-inch succulents, and natural and colored jute are all available for purchase at Paiko. Sheet moss may be found at local craft stores.

For more information, visit or


Color Play

Eucalyptus Dye Hawaiian Blue

Donna Miyashiro of Hawaiian Blue shares how to make eucalyptus dye.

Text by Anna Harmon | Image by Jonas Maon | Illustration by Kiana Mosley

In the Hawaiian Blue dye room at the front of Lana Lane Studios, a vat of indigo rests quietly in the corner. Tokunari Fujibayashi and Donna Miyashiro stop in to check on it periodically, feeding it saké and honey to promote fermentation. “It’s like a child,” Miyashiro says with affection. Miyashiro grows the indigo plants for the dye in the courtyard of her ‘Aiea home, where she watches over them like a mother.

Miyashiro and Fujibayashi have also made dyes with other locally harvested materials, such as turmeric, hibiscus, and mulberry, which they use to create base colors for fabrics they then dye with indigo to create new hues. A few months back, Miyashiro was reading a weaving magazine (she and Fujibayashi, Hawaiian Blue’s founder, actually met in a weaving workshop) when she came across an article about dyeing with eucalyptus leaves in Australia. As it happens, the trees grow in Hawai‘i as well: Captain Cook championed the spread of eucalyptus from Australia throughout his travels, and numerous species were widely planted in the islands for decoration and erosion control through the mid-1900s before some were determined to be invasive (non- native and environmentally threatening). However, the only eucalyptus that Miyashiro was familiar with was that of the silver dollar species, used in floral bouquets, which has a menthol smell that she doesn’t care for. By way of the article, Miyashiro realized that a tree she already enjoyed for its slender, citrus-scented leaves was also eucalyptus.

To create her own dye, Miyashiro gathered fallen branches from beneath one such eucalyptus tree growing on a farm in Waimānalo. The end result was fabric with a beautiful golden hue. “The scent makes dyeing with eucalyptus very pleasing,” Miyashiro says. “The shade of the dye is also very calming.” And how well does it play with Hawaiian Blue’s mainstay, indigo? Together, they create a beautiful teal.

Eucalyptus Dye


Step 1: Gather dry, fallen eucalyptus leaves (any species should work). If you pick fresh leaves, let them dry. Note: Branches or bark can be used to achieve a similar color.

Step 2: Fill a five-gallon bucket or large jar three-quarters full with leaves. Then, add rainwater* until it reaches a few inches from top of container. Let soak for two days (leaving it in the sun may help quicken this process). The water will turn dark brown.

Step 3: Pour contents into a stainless steel stockpot and simmer on the stove for about two hours.

Step 4: Remove pot from stove and strain out leaves.

Step 5: To dye, place pre-washed fabric in dye liquid and let soak overnight. If fabric is linen or wool, the resulting color will be a golden tan; if cotton, a buttery yellow. (Natural fibers take much better to dye.)

Alternative: Use soaked leaves to leaf- print fabric. Place a single layer of leaves between two pieces of fabric, adding weight on top. Wait a few days, then uncover. The leaves will have dyed an imprint into the fabric.

*Rainwater is optional, but eliminates any chemicals found in tap water that may alter final results.

Hawaiian Blue products are available at Fishcake, located at 307 Kamani St. Follow Hawaiian Blue on Instagram


Present Notions: A Gift Guide

Keep it local, keep it Kaka‘ako. These six spots offer perfect gifts for friends, family, foodies, keiki, co-workers, co-habitators, and creatives this holiday season.

FITTED waiwai hat

1) Waiwai Holiday Collection hat $59.99

Paiko Kakaako Holiday

2)  General Store flower sack towel $12
3)  Indigo Elixirs Tantalus body and room mist  $18
4)  Palo Santo incense $5

Honolulu Beerworks

5)  64 oz. twist-top growler $12 empty, $28 with beer
6)  64 oz. flip-top growler $34 empty, $50 with beer
(Refills for both are $16)

BikeFactory Kakaako

7)  Hydroskins protective case  $12
8)  Hydro Flask $25.99
9)  Hemp Gold organic protein bar, cocoa or vanilla $3

Illest Kakaako

10) Men’s aloha t-shirt $30
11) G-Shock Illest 15th anniversary collaboration watch $225
12) Keiki aloha safari t-shirt $22

Highway Inn Kakaako

13) Chocolate haupia pie with shortbread crust  $3.50
14) Bread pudding with haupia drizzle $3.50
15) Haupia sweet potato pie with shortbread crust $3.50
If you would like one dozen or more to go, order three days in advance. Kulolo from Kaua‘i is also available Thursdays.

Still don’t see what you’re looking for? A Pinch of Salt for the Holidays is a festive pop-up event featuring local designers and boutiques. Skip the mall madness and get all your gifts in one place.


New Neighbors

Future Our Kaka‘ako residents share hopes and neighborly advice.

Text by James Charisma | Images by John Hook

Although some of the biggest developments seen so far in Kaka‘ako have been commercial, new residential towers and apartment complexes are on the way. These buildings represent an opportunity to enjoy the area not just as a visitor, shopper, and diner, but also as a neighbor. Living within them will offer not only convenience, but also a collaborative community. Here, two local property buyers share why they are making the move to Our Kaka‘ako, their excitement about what’s to come, and a bit of neighborly advice.

Kakaako New Neighbors Jason Jeremiah

400 Keawe
“My wife and I currently live in Kapahulu, and we were looking for a place to buy because we’ve got a growing family,” says Jason Jeremiah, senior manager of cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division. “We both wanted to live in town, where everything could be so central.”

Although Jeremiah and his wife, Jeannin, wanted to move to Kaka‘ako, they assumed that any affordable units would quickly sell out. So when their realtor mentioned that properties at 400 Keawe were still available, they promptly moved to secure a space. This mixed-use project at the corner of Keawe and Auahi streets will have nearly 100 two- and three-bedroom condo units, which are priced in the low $500,000s, and will be ready for move-in December 2015.

“We especially like the intimacy of 400 Keawe,” says Jeremiah. “At six stories high, it’s more of a human scale than some of the larger towers going up.” Jeremiah knows quite a bit about where 400 Keawe will stand. In fact, he managed the team that surveyed the site.

“A lot of my work is about finding out what’s underneath, the history,” Jeremiah says. “Under [400 Keawe], there were a lot of old bottles and the foundation for the old Honolulu Ironworks foundry. It was a time when the neighborhood shifted from residential to industrial. In many ways, we’re coming full-circle.”

Jeremiah’s neighborly advice: “My wife is Italian and grew up in Sicily, so when it comes to sauces for pasta or otherwise, she definitely prefers to make her own. Nothing in jars from the store; she goes to farmers markets and picks up tomatoes, basil, garlic, and other ingredients.”


New Neighbors James Ka

Keauhou Place
For Edward Jones financial advisor James Ka, a move to Our Kaka‘ako is a matter of being close to what’s important. When he first arrived in the islands from Orange County, California, Ka worked out of a building near Don Quixote. In January 2014, he relocated to an office in Kaka‘ako. “Whether you own a restaurant or a store or another kind of business, there are lots of opportunities here,” he says.

Ka recently purchased property at Keauhou Place, located at South and Pohukaina streets, an upcoming 43-floor high-rise apartment with 388 units ranging from one to three bedrooms that start in the $400,000s. It is slated for completion in summer 2017. Amenities will include a gym, a swimming pool, a children’s play area, a “secret” garden, and barbecue spaces. A half-dozen restaurant and retail tenants will open for business on the ground floor alongside a pedestrian walkway and park, and the entire property will be next to a HART rail station site.

“As a business owner, I’m thankful to be able to live nearby where I’ve opened my office,” Ka says. “I’m hoping that as more residents and visitors continue to arrive, there’ll be more businesses, more things to do in the neighborhood, and this community will really develop. It’s great to be here and have an opportunity to see that growth.”

Ka’s neighborly advice: “I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream when cooking, which is great for Mexican food or baking. Also, if you add a lemon wedge to the water when you boil eggs, the shells are easier to peel off.”