Archive for December, 2012

Sonya Monique at the Spa at Trump

December 12th, 2012

smeadowsNadine Kam photos
Jewelry designer Sonya Monique, left, with Pam Lundquist and comedian/actor Tim Meadows. You might recognize him from "Saturday Night Live" and "Mean Girls."

The Spa at Trump hosted its annual Holiday Open House Dec. 11, offering guests a sampling of its spa menu through such mini services as a chair massage, makeup touch-ups, and more.

While waiting for appointment times made in advance, guests enjoyed cocktails and pupu including sushi, mini loco mocos and spring rolls from the Trump Waikiki Hotel's Wai'olu Ocean View Lounge, and browse jewelry designer Sonya Monique's unique line of earthy "Art to Adorn the Body."

She's inspired by organic materials, using objects ranging from feathers to wood, metal, gemstones and ocean discoveries to create look-at-me earrings and necklaces that she admits are sometimes "over-the-top," which makes each piece individually suited to the person who chooses it.

I'm showing some of the bolder tribal-style necklaces here, for women who enjoy making a head-turning entrance no matter where they go. But she was also featuring more subdued necklaces of dark shells trimmed down to urchin spine length and width, and polished smooth for chic city dressing. I thought the pieces were carved from horn, reminiscent of some of the jewelry by Marni.

You can find designs by Sonya Monique online at, or at Fighting Eel or the I AM. boutique at 1221 Kapiolani Boulevard.

snecklaceSonya Monique's "Coral Nemesis" necklace of rose coral and African brass, $425.

sagate"Agate Queen" necklace of African copper and black-and-white agates, $525.

scupcakeOn display at the Spa at Trump were baskets of spa products packaged for holiday gift-giving, and playful stocking stuffers such as a line of Feeling Smitten Cupcake Bath Bombs and Bath Pops. They look so scrumptious that they come with a "do not eat" warning. This large "Birthday Cake" Cupcake Bath Bomb is $13.50.

seggAmong the edibles offered up by the Trump Hotel Waikiki's Wai'olu Ocean View Lounge were mini loco mocos comprising wok-fried beef croquettes, capped by a perfect, jaunty quail egg, sunny side up.

Lip nirvana at Tom Ford Beauty

December 12th, 2012

tfNadine Kam photos
Alberto Mayoral shows the new Tom Ford Beauty Counter at Neiman Marcus.

I found my soul mate years ago, but even harder to find than a good man is a perfect lip color match.

Though I have way more than two dozen colors in several brands in my beauty arsenal, the search is continuous, though my favorites to date have been Armani Beauty's lip wax in Sienna, and Paul & Joe's pink-y lipstick #202.

I can add Tom Ford's Casablanca to that list of one now that the full Tom Ford Beauty counter is open at Neiman Marcus.

As with Armani Beauty, I like the idea that the hard work has been done. The colors have been preselected for sophistication and enhancement, so you can't make a garish choice.

The price for the lipstick is steep, at $48, but I splurged anyway for the one-step fixer-upper. It does so much to transform your face, that all you have to do is add eyeliner and mascara, and you're good for an evening out.


tfdisplayMandy McGarry shows some of Tom Ford Beauty's best sellers during an evening event Dec. 5 at Neiman Marcus.

The Tom Ford Beauty counter opened last month while I was out of town, but I got a chance to catch up with TF Beauty expert Alberto Mayoral, who was at the counter Dec. 5, to help introduce shoppers at NM to the gorgeous new line.

Prior to the introduction of the beauty collection, the store had done so well with Tom Ford fragrances, that it was selected to house one of only 10 full TF Beauty Counters across the nation, offering skincare, color and fragrance.

There's nothing superfluous about the line. Alberto said Ford "is a perfectionist in everything he does," and that the designer was to the point in creating the collection, his main concern being what works, so you'll find just a handful of skincare items, with such textural choices as cleansing gel or cream, or emulsion or cream moisturizer, depending on personal preference.

He also gives beauty lovers a choice in foundations, with 15 SPF fluid or stick formulations in a range of 12 shades. The stick is great for on-the-go touch-ups and to use as a concealer as well.

As the designer known for having revitalizing the Gucci brand, Ford was known for his strong, sexy 1920s-meets-glam-1970s aesthetic.

"He was very influenced by the'20s and'30s, and expressing how strong women were, and how they believed in the sensuality and power they had. They were called dames for a reason."

That attitude is also at play in the cosmetics line, one of the few to also address contouring to bring out a person's best features.

Central to the line are two makeup shade and illuminator palette, with a light and dark shade to sculpt the face. At first glance, the dark shade looks scary brown, and those who know me know I'm very pale. So I was surprised by how well it blends, doing its job seamlessly.

tfRich pigments and moisturizing soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter and chamomile flower oil give TF lipsticks dual benefits. This is Casablanca, a plummy reddish mauve with creamy finish.

tfnailsTom Ford Beauty gel nail colors.

tfjasminTF Beauty's fragrances are intended to be unisex, including Jasmin Rouge that Alberto was wearing, a blend of floral and spice, with an air of mystery.

tfshadowOne of TF Beauty's no-brainer eye palettes, with every shade intended to enhance.

Beauty Spot: Nailing fall's color trend

December 11th, 2012

Fall dressing is usually about celebrating the beauty and richness of the holiday season, but far from looking festive, the top nail trends include dark, almost sickly twists on French manicures, reverse French tips, nude and pale colors, black reds, metallics and textured designs. Here's a look at some of the hottest color collections:

OPI's fall "Germany" collection include:

berlin"Berlin There Done That," a creamy taupe.

nein"Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine," a slate gray comprising olive and charcoal.

Beauty Spot: Karl for Shu

December 9th, 2012

shuPhotos courtesy Shu Uemura

I was sad when Shu Uemura pulled out of the American cosmetics market, but now the brand is back online in a big way, with a 2012 holiday makeup collaboration with designer Karl Lagerfeld.

The Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura collection includes palettes, lipsticks, eyeliner, nail color, eyelashes and applicators.

Items are graced with the image of Shu Uemura's iconic Mon Shu girl, who has been sketched and brought to life with Shu eyeshadows created by the Chanel designer.

shucolorI particularly love the Prestigious Bordeaux eye and cheek palette, above, with Lagerfeld’s selection of velvety, glamorous colors in pale and deep purples, soft browns, brick gold for eyes, some with a subtle or bold touch of glitter, and deep coral rose for cheeks. You don’t even have to work hard to create drama.

Even a plain Jane like me had to say, “Wow!” looking in the mirror after I was done. The palette is $65 at

Other products are:

Shu smoky velvetThe cover illustration of the Smoky Velvet eye and cheek palette, $65, is your guide to how to wear the colors.

Shu colors
shulipKarl for Shu Rouge Unlimited in Mon Shu Red, $30.

shuKarl for Shu Painting Liner in Blackish Satin Purple, $25.

shueyeKarl for Shu eyelash curler, $24.

Riches marks 26th year with series of trunk shows

December 7th, 2012

richesloNadine Kam photos
Riches Kahala owner Lo Kaimuloa, left, is celebrating her Kahala Mall kiosk's 26th anniversary. She's with Lesli Tod, center, and Kelli Coffin.

Riches Kahala has been celebrating its 26th anniversary and the holiday season with a series of trunk shows featuring local jewelry designers.

On Dec. 2, Riches owner Lo Kaimuloa welcomed a half dozen designers—Kimberly Le, Two Hands, LK Atelier, Beachcomber Designs, Paradisus and Hands in the Sand—for a night of shopping, and will host a Misa trunk show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 8, with a 10 percent discount on jewelry designs by Los Angeles-based Misa Hama­moto, who draws inspiration for her handcrafted jewelry from her Hawaii and Micronesia roots and an affinity for nature.

The holiday event will feature metal jewelry with a mix of precious and semiprecious gemstones gleaned from Hama­moto's world travels.

For more information, call Riches at 737-3303.

MisaJewelryMisa photo
Misa designs to be showcased tomorrow at Riches, Kahala Mall.

rkJewelry designer Kimberly Le wore one of her new necklaces during a designer trunk show Dec. 2 at Riches Kahala. The Kahala Mall kiosk offers dozens of local designer jewelry creations throughout the year.

rparadisusIsland ocean- and flora-inspired designs from Paradisus.

rtwoDesigner Fay Scherr, left, and Moe Myers, show Scherr's Two Hands line of precious and semi-precious stone jewelry.

rlkNew to Riches is LK Atelier, a partnership between designer Leela Goldstein, left, and businesswoman Kari Greenwell. Born in Thailand and raised in Hawaii, Goldstein creates a range of designs for day to evening, and beach to city wear. With a yin-yang dynamic, Greenwell says her personal style is more "city," and Goldstein's is "beach." It all works out.

richesbeachcomberCori Rilliet and Samantha Tom show off Beachcomber Designs line of pearl and semi-precious stone jewelry.

richesSabrina Awana, left, and Dana Miller show shell and pearl bangles, among other pieces by Hands in the Sand designer Lydia Ho.

'Project Runway All-Stars': Red carpet redux

December 6th, 2012

ivyLifetime photos
Casanova helps Ivy fit her model before the fashion show.

"Project Runway All-Stars"
Episode 6: "Green Dress For the Red Carpet" recap

Just as Hawaii tourism scores points for every TV series or feature film set in the islands, New York is also a star of "Project Runway All-Stars," and this week's episode took viewers to the elevated tracks of the High Line.

There, the show's host Carolyn Murphy told the designers that they would be going green by using AirDye fabric made with virtually no water or power, to create a design that she would be wearing on her next red carpet appearance. They would also have access to some of their old notions and trims, recycled from past competitions.

Hawaii's Ivy Higa chose a gold satin looking fabric, which is rather unforgiving to work with, but her sketch was beautiful, with a cinched waist and multiple pieces angling outward like rays of the sun.

She recalled being eliminated in Season 8 during another red carpet challenge in which she was unable to finish her gown, and she said she didn't want history to repeat itself. But to be in that situation again can lead to overthinking and overcompensating, and it certainly looked like she set herself up for trouble in going for such an ambitious design, given the nine-hour time frame.

While others were draping and sewing, she was still working on her dozen or so pattern pieces, and realized she was in trouble when the models came in for their fittings, and all she had was pieces of fabric. She told the cameraman, "I spent too much time working on the pattern. I feel so screwed.

When they left the studio for the day, she had nothing, and would have two hours the next day before the runway show. I thought she was a goner, but in my interview with her earlier in the season, she said she had made it further in the competition than she thought she would, so I felt it would have been too easy if she left at this point.

During her model fitting on Day 2, she told her, "I'm so glad you're not naked."

But her dress was rough. She had gone from wanting to show a gown to cutting it down, and the fabric and seams looked bunchy and puckered, which is unusual for her. Even so, you could see a thought process in it, which ultimately helped her win over Althea Harper when they ended up in the bottom two.

ivydressIvy's design nearly got her sent home.

Althea's dress was well made, but it was a mess with a boring print that looked as exciting as calico, and too much going on with insets, cascading fabric and a little cape/ruffle in the back. The judges were calling it "Marie Antoinette," but I'd call it "Little House on the Prarie."

Laura Kathleen is so bitchy I didn't want to see her win, but it was really obvious that guest judge Diane von Furstenburg really loved her chiffon jumpsuit design, which had her rhapsodizing about her 20s, when she had met and married her prince and traipsed around Europe in sexy, romantic pajama palazzos.

Laura Kathleen set out wanting to impress the designer she admires so much, so naturally gravitated to a print that looks a lot like what DVF might use.

prlauraLaura Kathleen's winning palazzo jumpsuit design.

casanovaI was surprised that Casanova didn't make the top three. His gown looked beautiful coming down the runway, and the flash of red lining was like a play on Christian Louboutin.

pranthonyAnthony Ryan had high marks, but there was too much fabric in his design. No one wants to look wide on the red carpet.

uliUli Herzner was one of the few designers who made use of the embellishment, which she recycled from the last competition. As Anthony Ryan said at the start of the competition, most red carpet looks are clean and sophisticated, without a lot of frills. Uli said her fabric looked like a rainy day, so she had to lift it somehow. Judge Isaac Mizrahi said he liked it more than he should, prompting DVF to refer to it as "forbidden fruit." I would wear it.

sassI'm certainly not averse to frills. I just picked up this Sass & Bide mongolian lamb capelet/epaulet.

CHAI Studio marks grand reopening at Ward

December 6th, 2012

chai bedNadine Kam photos
Handmade bedding from India are among the treasures available at CHAI Studio.

CHAI Studio celebrated its move from Auahi Street to Ward Warehouse with a grand reopening party Dec. 5.

Fans and newcomers had the opportunity to shop Amerjit Ghag's colorful and sustainable selection of handcrafted furniture, accessories, textiles and gift items from India, Turkey and Morocco, including decor items made from architectural salvage, handmade bedding, pillows crafted from kantha saris, throws, bangles, glassware, chandelier earrings, breezy tunics, and custom rugs.

Ghag, who worked in fashion design and home staging before deciding to open up her original shop two years ago, said her biggest sellers has turned out to be textiles, so she's moved forward in developing her own brand of bedding incorporating hand-stamped pillows, bedding and curtains.

She supports fair trade and women’s entrepreneurship wherever possible, and works with several families of artisans, including one whose expertise over 10 generations has been creating hand-stamped indigo print fabric.

She said one of the best sellers has been her custom dohars, or summer blankets that are just as perfect for Hawaii's weather. The blankets comprise three layers of fine cotton, with a printed layer sandwiched between two layers of thin, soft muslin. She has them in single and queen sizes, although she said the tradition in India is that everyone has his/her own blanket, so there's no tugging and fighting for coverage in the middle of the night among couples.

If you're shopping for Christmas, there are plenty of jewelry, fabric purses and home decor items to consider.

The shop is on the Diamond Head end of Ward Warehouse. For more information, call 536-4543 or email

rnatalieNatalie Aczon, left, showed up with a housewarming gift for CHAI Studio owner Amerjit Ghag.

chai glassesMoroccan tea glasses can be used as drinking glasses or as decor for kitchen, bath or vanity.

chai beltA dress cinched by a handcrafted belt in the window at CHAI Studio.

chai necklaceAbove and below, examples of necklaces available at the shop.

chai neck

chai textilesA variety of hand-stitched silk sari textiles.

chai lyndaDesigners and textile enthusiasts Lynda Sakraida, left, and Terry Logan. The funny thing is Lynda designs purses and Terry, who designs clothing and accessories, could certainly make one herself, but they both ended up buying small silk clutches here because of their appreciation for the Indian silks and prints.

rdialtaAlso stopping by to congratulate Amerjit were Princess Dialta Alliata di Montereale and Prince Vittorio.

chaiamerAnd artist friends including Linny Morris and Timothy Ojile also stopped by.

chai dalCecily Sargent cooked up b'stilla, the Moroccan chicken pot pie topped with powdered sugar, as well as dal over pita for the occasion. Both were fabulous. I should have had a second helping of the b'stilla. It's not easy to find here.

chai couscousShe also made a richer version of couscous that included diced pumpkin and feta. I'm gonna try that at home.

T.J. Maxx great starting point for holiday shopping

December 6th, 2012

maxx1Nadine Kam photos
Stylist Alison Deyette shows a pair of Dolce & Gabbana sandals that are among the holiday shopping finds at T.J. Maxx. I'm afraid these may have been snapped up this morning.

If you're at a loss as to where to begin your Christmas shopping, you might take a look inside T.J. Maxx to get warmed up. They carry a little bit of everything, and as a reminder, hosted a media event Dec. 6 at the 1170 Auahi St. store to reintroduce shoppers to their various departments and offerings.

T.J.Maxx is known for offering the same in-season merchandise as department and specialty stores, at 20 to 60 percent less. It's a treasure hunt for the brands you love, however, because items are carried in limited quantities and great items go quickly.

TV host, stylist and lifestyle expert Alison Deyette flew in for the occasion, picking out some of her favorite things, including holiday apparel, clutches, accessories, and housewares such as martini glasses and shakers, Christmas ornaments and luggage for holiday travels.

You'll also find high-end fragrances, handbags, electronic gear, and costume, designer brand and 14K and sterling silver jewelry.

With items for men, women and children, you might be able to take care of all the aunties, uncles, nieces and nephews in one place!

In addition to the Ward store, you can also shop T.J. Maxx Aiea (98-1005 Moanalua Road) and Pearl City Gateway (1120 Kuala St.).

maxx holidayAlison showed a trio of holiday looks pulled from the racks at T.J. Maxx.

maxx chocoWho doesn't like chocolate? Chocolates available include an iPhone bar, a desk set that includes chocolate caluculator and USB drive, and more pictorial selections for those with a passion for racing or pirates.

maxx housewaresFor the home: Kitchen ware and small furnishings are toward the back of the store.

maxx bbFor the bath and vanity: A vast selection of shower gels, moisturizers, at-home spa kits and fragrances are available.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments