Our Favorite Things

One of the best things about the holidays is gathering with family. Here, we catch up with some familiar faces and meet their grandparent, while learning about their favorite things. There’s a saying that grandparents are there for you when everyone else is busy.


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Professional Surfer Ezekiel "Zeke" Lau with his tutu Wilhelmina Lau

It’s true, they often are the ones we call on when we need someone to watch our children, especially on short notice. They also are the ones who spoil our kids, especially when we’re not looking. Through good times and bad, they are always there. Wishing you and your families a merry and blessed Christmas, and a special wish to all grandparents for all that you do!


Professional Surfer Ezekiel “Zeke” Lau with his tutu Wilhelmina Lau

Ezekiel “Zeke” Lau was born and raised in Kalihi and is a 2012 graduate of Kamehameha Schools. He enjoys playing basketball and hanging out with friends, adding that they’ve been playing ping-pong a lot. He’s pictured here in one of his favorite outfits, a red (his favorite color) tank top by Nixon (one of his sponsors), khaki pants from Volcom (another sponsor) and a Nixon watch. He also is sponsored by Arnette, Body Glove, Dakine and Waiola Coconut Water. When he’s not at the beach, you’ll most likely see him wearing shoes. “The only time I wear slippers is if I’m going to the beach or if I know my shoes are going to get dirty,” he says. Zeke, who won the Vans World Cup of Surfing Dec. 1, is preparing for the Volcom Pipe Pro at the end of January, which kicks off the new surf season.

Favorite things about Tutu: “She always makes me smile. We always talk story and laugh.”

Favorite memory with Tutu: “From when we were babies, every time we used to say goodbye to her, she would say I love you forever, and we keep that going still. Also, I remember we used to go to their house and they always used to put chocolate milk in my bottle instead of regular milk and (my parents) used to get mad.”

Favorite places to shop: “Two stores I usually go to all the time are Fitted Hawaii and KICKS HI.”

Favorite item in your closet: “These red-and-white Jordan V shoes. I wore them once. I’m usually scared to wear them because I like them so much.”

What did you ask Santa for this year? “A new truck, one of the new Toyota Tundras.”

Favorite holiday tradition: “We all meet up on Christmas morning, eat breakfast and open gifts. We used to go to my grandma’s house, but now it’s at our house.”

Wilhelmina Lau, who turned 68 Monday (Dec. 23), was born and raised in Punchbowl and lives in Liliha. A 1963 graduate of McKinley High School, she retired as a travel agent and also worked at her family’s lei shop, Sweetheart’s Lei Shop in Chinatown. Wilhelmina has 14 grandchildren and enjoys reading (her favorite book is the Bible). She’s pictured here in one of her favorite outfits, a dress by Good Times from Hawaii from Macy’s. “I’m always in muumuus,” she says.

Favorite thing about Zeke: “He’s handsome and he’s sweet. He’s always so kind. He’s a very good boy – he has strict parents. He was always good-natured since he was born, always happy. I enjoyed baby-sitting him.”

Favorite memory of Zeke: “When he was little, he was such a cute baby. I used to watch him, and he had such a good disposition.”

Favorites store: “Macy’s. I like their quality of things.”

What did you ask Santa for this year? “I really don’t ask for anything, except that my grandkids are happy and well taken care of, and that everybody shows up on Christmas morning.”


Entertainer Lihau Hannahs Paik with her tutu Dorothea Lau Hannahs

Lihau Hannahs Paik and husband Kellen Paik are the music group Kupaoa. They recently moved to Kauai, and spend a lot of time traveling and performing. A 1999 graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Lihau enjoys dancing hula, reading and writing music.

Favorite thing about Tutu: “I admire the passion that my tutu has for her family. She’s an extremely generous person and would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need. A lover of Hawaiian music, she has always been one of our biggest supporters. I love how she always tells us about her family and what it was like to grow up as one of over 15 children!”

Favorite memory with Tutu: “She is an excellent cook and she loves to share her recipes with us!”

Favorite places to shop: “I actually don’t do a lot of shopping, but when I do, I try to support local, small businesses.”

Favorite thing in your closet: “We’re very fortunate to be sponsored by Kealopiko, a local company that creates Hawaii-inspired designs. Their clothes are some of my favorite things to wear. I also treasure some very special accessories that I have been gifted, including my wedding and engagement ring, lei pūpū from Ni’ihau, pāpale lauhala from my late kumu hula, and jade jewelry from my late grandmother. These all have memories and stories attached to them, and I treasure those as dearly as I treasure the actual piece.”

Dorothea Lau Hannahs, 87, was born and raised in Maili and has 13 grandchildren. She is a retired chef, and has worked at Spencecliff Restaurants, and Prince Kuhio Restaurant in Ala Moana. Here, she’s wearing one of her favorite outfits, a dress by Island Wear by Lidan. “I like anything that’s comfortable,” she says. “I dress casual; I’m not a dresser-upper.”

Favorite thing about Lihau: “She’s very caring, always calling me and wondering what I’m doing.”

Favorite memory with Lihau: “They (Lihau and her sister) loved to sit in the bathroom and read and read. They were real good kids.”

Favorite place to shop: NEX Favorite item in your closet: “My jade pendant necklace from my late husband (Joseph Junior Hannahs) – I don’t take it off – and my diamond band.”

What is your Christmas wish? “That all my children are happy and satisfied with what they got.”


Actor/Musician Aidan James with his baba (grandma) Mutsuko Laprete

Aidan James, 12, was born and raised in Hawaii Kai, and enjoys performing, writing music, playing ukulele, singing, making films and directing. He’s pictured here in one of his favorite outfits – a T-shirt from 88Tees (he likes V-neck T-shirts), Levi’s jeans, Converse shoes and Soda Monsters eyeglasses. This month, Aidan James will release his first original song titled One of the Ones, and he’s scheduled to perform at Ihilani Marriott New Year’s Eve.

Favorite places to shop: “88Tees (one of his sponsors), GameStop, Easy Music Center and Zumiez.”

Favorite thing in your closet: “My collection of eyeglasses, starting from when I was 8 years old.”

Favorite thing about Baba: “She’s funny and she cooks really good Japanese food.”

Favorite memory with Baba: “When she carries me on her back, and we wrestle, too.”

Something Baba has told you that you’ll always remember: “Take showers, she always says that. She says I’m really good at music and she’s really supportive.”

What did you ask Santa for this year? “Not really that much because I’ve already got so much stuff that I already need, like awesome parents. But I’ve been wanting to have an RC car, a Lamborghini one.”

Mutsuko Laprete, 83, was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, and moved to Hawaii in 1969. She retired as a lunchtime cashier at the Enlisted Club, and enjoys playing with her two grandchildren – Aidan James and his sister, 7-year-old Aya. She’s pictured here in one of her favorite outfits – a blue dress shirt (blue is her favorite color) by Tory Burch, given to her as a gift by daughter Angie.

Favorite thing about Aidan: “He’s helpful and playful. We always play together.”

Favorite memory of Aidan: “When he was born, he had such big eyes and long eyelashes. Also, he always loved music and dancing from when he was young. He would shake his whole body and dance in circles.”

Favorite places to shop: NEX or Macy’s.

Favorite item in your closet: “My photo albums from when I was a baby, which I keep in my closet.”

What did you ask Santa for this year? “Good health and long life.”

Holiday tradition: “Make ozoni (mochi soup) on New Year’s for my family to eat.”


Punahou quarterback Larry “Tui” Tuileta Jr. with his tutu Beckie Thiim

Larry “Tui” Tuileta Jr., 18, is a senior at Punahou School and has committed to the University of Hawaii, joining the school’s football and volleyball teams next year. He lives in Kaimuki, and in addition to football and volleyball, he likes to play computer games, especially League of Legends. He’s pictured here wearing one of his favorite shirts, a Kahala aloha shirt from Macy’s. “When I go out and to family get-togethers, I like to wear aloha shirts,” he says.

Favorite thing about your tutu: “She instills a lot of family values, and it rubs off on the rest of the family. (The values of) being respectful to everybody and taking care of each other and taking care of the family.”

Favorite memory with Tutu: “When we lived at our old house, I didn’t want to clean, and it was a competition on who could close the door on each other and she beat me, so I had to clean. I was 10 years old.”

Something you’ve learned from Tutu: “To take care of your family members, to be respectful to your family and never forget where you come from.”

Favorite places to shop: “I like going to Kahala Mall because it’s right down the road from my house. And I buy some things at Windward Mall when I’m with my really close friend Micah Maa. He lives in Kaneohe and I go to their house a lot. I get a lot of stuff at Macy’s, and also Ross.”

Favorite thing in your closet: “A long-sleeved Volcom knit sweater. It’s not too formal, but it’s also not too casual. It’s right in between, so I can wear it to go out and to get-togethers. I wear it to the movies. I wear it all the time.”

What did you ask Santa for? “Always new clothes and maybe a phone without a cracked screen.”

Beckie Thiim, 92, was born on Molokai and graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy in 1939. She retired as a secretary at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. She has 20 grandchildren, and used to take care of all of them. These days, she enjoys playing the ukulele and taking walks, and her past hobbies include playing tennis, dancing hula and arts and crafts.

Favorite thing about Tui: “He’s handsome, look at him.” Favorite memory with Tui: Watching him firedance. Favorites store: Liberty House (now Macy’s). She’s pictured wearing a dress by JAMS, which is a brand she has always loved because of its bright colors.

Favorite thing in her closet: Ukulele What did you ask Santa for? “Everything.”


Actress Teilor Grubbs with her grandpa John Puu

Teilor Grubbs, who plays Grace Williams on Hawaii Five-O, is a seventh-grader at Maryknoll School. When she’s not in school, acting or participating in all-star cheerleading, she enjoys shopping. In addition to Hawaii Five-O, she continues to model and act, and can be seen in a new video for Hilton Waikoloa Village. She’s pictured here wearing one of her favorite outfits – a top from Brandy Melville and pants from H & M.

Favorite thing about Grandpa: “He gives me whatever I want.”

Favorite memory with Grandpa: “When I was younger (and now still), we go over to his house every Sunday and he has this drawer downstairs in his room full of candy, and even when my parents used to say no, he let me go downstairs and sneak some candy and eat it.”

What have you learned from Grandpa? “Family first.”

Favorites places to shop: “My top three are Brandy Melville, PacSun and J.Crew.”

Favorite thing in your closet: “My Steve Madden combat boots from my stylist at Hawaii Five-O, Kacy Byxbee. They’re so cute.”

What did you ask Santa for this Christmas: “A MacBook Pro.”

John Puu, 58, was born and raised in Maunalani Heights in Kaimuki and now resides in Hawaii Kai. When he’s not working (at Hickam in aircraft maintenance), he’s working on home projects. He’s pictured here wearing his favorite shirt, a Reyn Spooner Christmas shirt, which he has been collecting since 1997, when he returned home after retiring from the Air Force. “I have a closet full of them,” he says. “They’re just comfortable and they speak so much of Hawaii.”

Favorite thing about Teilor: “Her energy. She reminds me of her mom and her grandma. Whenever there’s something I want to do, I can always count on Teilor doing it with me, such as going to the beach, shopping, going to the UH football game.”

Favorite memory with Teilor: “The first day I held her.”

Favorite places to shop: “Home Depot and Lowe’s.”

Favorite thing in your closet: “My humidor with my collection of cigars.” What did you ask Santa for this year? “A new gas grill. Next to working on the house, barbecuing is my other favorite thing, and watching football.”

Favorite team: UH.

Favorite holiday tradition: “Usually on New Year’s we watch football and eat Hawaiian food. But we changed it up last year for the first time to my Portuguese bean soup (which Teilor says is the best).”