Archive for January, 2013

Beauty spot: This spa's results don't come easy

January 29th, 2013

salt caveNadine Kam photos
By the end of Herbal Spa & Saunas special treatment, I was happy to retreat to the salt cave.

After reviewing Ngon Vietnamese Cuisine this week, I thought, why not multitask? The restaurant is inside the women's building at Herbal Spa & Saunas in Kakaako, so I wandered over to the spa counter to study the menu and the owner explained the three-hour, $100 special (usually $120) she was offering that included Korean-style body scrub, a massage, cucumber and milk and yogurt facial, head massage and hair wash, and unlimited use of hot and cold Jacuzzis, sauna and the spa's Himalayan salt cave sauna. Deal, right?

I was sold and made an appointment right away. If I had thought about it longer, I may have reconsidered. I'd heard from second-generation Korean women how much their mothers love the communal Korean bathhouse tradition and exfoliating scrubs, but they've found it excruciating.

I think most pampered Americans tend to think of the spa experience as being geared toward relaxation, but here, it's geared toward the fix, pain and loss of dignity be damned. Screaming in pain will not deter the non-English-speaking women—stripped down to bra and panty due to the liquid mess and workout this all entails—from their mission to pummel you toward perfection. And, you pay for all of this in advance lest you take up two hours of their time and they find you didn't have the money in the end.

They do have private massages here, but if you go with the package, everything is done in a public area where everyone is naked and the most relaxing moment is sitting in the heated Jacuzzi before "treatments" begin. (more…)

New season brings skin experts to town

January 29th, 2013

hourglassNadine Kam photos
Hourglass Cosmetics founder Carisa Janes, right, and her VP of Sales, Laura Chisholm, were at Sephora Saturday afternoon.

One of the great things about living in Hawaii is that we often have the opportunity to go straight to the source for beauty information. The strong sun and other elements tend to sap skin of its youth and elasticity, making this an important market, as national leaders in consumption of cosmetic fixes.

That's why, in the past few weeks Nordstrom has welcomed RéVive Skincare founder Dr. Gregory Bays Brown (he'll be back again in summer); Neiman Marcus welcomed Dr. Ava Shamban, consultant for Dior Beauty; and Sephora brought in 10 artists from the Hourglass Artistry Team to perform makeovers and introduce the brand.

On Jan. 25, I had a great interview with Dr. Shamban, who shared, among other things, that Viagra is singularly responsible for bringing more men to her Santa Monica and Beverly Hills practices. Apparently, returning to the game has them more concerned about appearances.

Then, on Jan. 26, I headed to Sephora to meet Carisa Janes, founder of Hourglass Cosmetics. It was interesting to hear her story about starting the brand. With so many brands on the market, I often get confused when shopping for cosmetics. I may go in for one specific thing, but looking around I see so many options I can't make a decision and end up leaving. So I wondered, what did she see that was missing?


One of the Hourglass artists' makeup kit.


After spending nearly two decades in the beauty world, working for brands like Urban Decay and the local Body & Soul, she said she noticed a gap for homegrown luxury cosmetics fusing skincare technology with high-quality makeup.

Her products certainly feel rich and luxurious, but she's also kept health concerns at top of mind, formulated without parabens, animal-testing or gluten.

One of biggest sellers here is Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, geared toward those who want a matte finish that stands up to humid weather. It goes on in liquid form, and dries to a silky powder finish that's best for those with a normal-to-oily complexion.

There's a lot to like about the line. I'm most excited about her Ambient Lighting Powders (below) that add a sheer, luminous glow to skin, mimicking the effect of various forms of light, such as pink lightbulb (Mood Light) to moon light (Ethereal Light).

Hourglass ambientHourglass photos

hOpaque Rouge
The Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipsticks have intense, long-lasting color that are perfect for red carpet wear. Because many women in Hawaii prefer a natural look, it was a shock to my system to try on. But I'm getting used to the intense pink of this Ballet color, and I'm liking wearing the strong lip/subdued eye look this spring. It totally fits in with the colors of the season.

Prabal Gurung: On Target

January 18th, 2013

prabal5Target photos
Sleeveless blouse in First Date print $26.99; pleated skirt with lace in Sulfur Spring $29.99; wedge sandal online only $29.99; bangles $16.99 each.

Someone just sent me a restaurant recommendation, ending with, "Maybe keep them private for a while?"

I hear ya. Sometimes I really hate the job of sharing information I'd rather keep to myself, like the arrival of the Prabal Gurung for Target collection on Feb. 10. As if I want to get in line with 60 to 100 fanatics, when it could be just me and a quiet group of maybe 15 other devotees.

The collection was inspired by a love story, offering women’s apparel and accessories suitable for all occasions from the initial crush, to the first kiss, to everlasting love. List prices range from $19.99 to $199.99 for apparel and $12.99 to $39.99 for accessories and shoes, although historically, Hawaii customers have been greeted by a markup, allegedly due to shipping costs. At any rate, the cost of living here is higher all around.

The pieces are so beautiful, feminine and fresh. I would grab the entire collection, but in my experience, I've never been fast or aggressive enough to get what I really want. The killer instinct isn't there because I know I'll be able to find all the pieces on eBay the same day.

Here's a small sampling of some of my favorite looks from the collection—keep in mind prices are likely lower than the Hawaii price will be—as well as the Target video:

prabal videoClick for video:

prabal3Lace-front blouse in White/Sulfur Spring online only $34.99; shorts $26.99; lace-up sandals $39.99.

prabal2Blazer in Floral Crush print $49.99; long-sleeve tee $19.99; shorts $26.99; teardrop pendant necklace $19.99; shoes online only $39.99.

prabal4Sweatshirt in First Date print $29.99; skirt in Dresden Blue/Sulfur Spring $16.99; tote in Nolita print $39.99; wedge sandal online only $29.99.

prabal1Dress $49.99; shoes $39.99.

'Project Runway All-Stars': Auld takes top prize

January 17th, 2013

finalistsLifetime photos
The finalists, from left, Emilio Sosa, Uli Herzner and Anthony Ryan Auld.

"Project Runway All-Stars"
Episode 12 Finale: "Go Big or Go Home" recap

Heading into the final competition, the designers—Emilio Sosa, Uli Herzner and Anthony Ryan Auld—were told they have just four days to create a runway collection. The designers were free to choose their own themes, colors, visuals, music and the number of pieces to show (or manage to finish in the brief time frame).

The designers were afraid when on their first work day, host Carolyn Murphy drops in on them in the workroom. That usually signals a difficult twist. But this time, it was good news when all the season's ousted designers filed in and the finalists were able to choose one to assist them for a couple of days.

designersThe ousted designers returned, looking very relaxed, most ready and willing to assist if needed.

Anthony Ryan picked first because of his win last week and tapped his apparent frenemy Joshua McKinley, who basically said he was too tired to do it. (Refusing never seemed to be an option in "Project Runway's" history." So the designer extended the invitation to Kayne Gillespie to work on his collection, themed "The Thin Line."

Uli chose Casanova for her collection of whites and creams, themed "Mystical Winter." During critiques Joanna Coles asks Uli to save her little fur jacket for her. It's always a good sign when editors want to wear your designs.

Emilio picked Althea Harper to work on his conceptual showcase, "Urban Plantation," an ode to working women from the plantation to Rosie the Riveter, who took over when men went to war during World War ll. The idea was that the pinnacle of fashion is often the domain of celebrities, the wealthy and the celebrated, and he wanted to honor working women who rarely get the recognition they deserve.

His collection turned out to be colorful and gritty, and very true to his spirit. Uli's was the opposite, ethereal and mythic and the most  artistic and designerly. I was hoping she would win, but true to the favoritism shown all season long, the judges chose Anthony Ryan's collection, which was modern, clean and very commercial. Yet, it's so 2010-11 with its linear and mod-ish color blocking and cut-out backs, nothing that hadn't been in the stores all last year, which to me, was representative of everything he showed, one of the reasons the show has been on a downhill trajectory and is applying more gimmicks. The next season of the original "Project Runway" will have the designers working in teams, rather than as individuals.



Two designs from Anthony Ryan Auld's winning collection.



Two looks from Uli's collection.


Designs from Emilio's collection.

Jason Wu's Miss Wu collection debuts at Nordstrom

January 14th, 2013

JasonWudressNordstrom photos
Jason Wu's new contemporary label Miss Wu, has arrived at Nordstrom.

Can't wait to check out Jason Wu’s new contemporary label Miss Wu, launched at Nordstrom.

I only have the photos and press release, but want to check this out firsthand.

The debut Spring/Summer 2013 collection comprises 40 pieces, including dresses, knits and separates priced between $195 and $795. (Prices for his regular line start at about $695.)

The collection is described as bearing a subtle 1960s inspiration, showcasing some of Wu’s signatures, including whimsical prints and bold colors, including a hand-painted stripe print on blouses and skirts. Feminine embellishments include embroidered sequin circles and lace prints on tops and dresses. Other prints for Miss Wu include a “falling feather” print, a blue Pop Art print, and a photo negative floral print in shirts, shift dresses and A-line dresses.

The designer is known for feminine detailing, reflected in the line through bow blouses and grosgrain-collared shirts that can be paired with jackets with leather details for a touch of toughness.



Beauty spot: Sample Lumene at Walgreen's

January 12th, 2013

lumeneLumene's Pure Radiance Day Cream is part of its Excellent Future skincare line. You may be able to try it at a Walgreen's store near you.

Lumene is hosting a Walgreens SaturDate Event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 12, that includes free samples, coupons and a buy-one-get-one offer, at many Walgreens stores carrying Lumene products.

Check the Walgreen's website at for stores near you, and call to find out whether it is offering the promotion.

lumene2Product samples available today.

Product lines differ from store to store, but some of the products offered by the Finnish beauty brand include new Excellent Future formulations utilizing Arctic Cloudberry Stem Cell Technology and Apple Stem Cell Extract, which are said to work together to defend against wrinkles, delay and repair signs of aging

The Excellent Future skincare range includes:

>> Dual Boost Age-Defying and Repairing Day Cream: Formulated with peat extract to improve skin’s elasticity, while panthenol and vitamin E help to keep skin soft, supple and moisturized, maintaining its youthful appearance. Apply to cleansed face and neck every morning. About $29.99.
>> Dual Boost Age-Defying and Repairing Night Cream: Enriched with betaine derived from arctic sugarbeet, it helps to prevent signs of aging while maintaining skin’s natural moisture balance. Apply to cleansed face and neck every evening. About $29.99.
>> Dual Boost Age-Defying and Repairing Serum: This deeply hydrating serum helps skin feel fresh, moisturized and supple. Ideal for use under any Lumene cream. Apply to cleansed face, neck and eye-contour area prior to applying day/night cream. About $29.99.

The company's newest launch is a Vitamin C+ Illuminating Anti-Age BB Cream with SPF 20, which also harnesses the power of arctic cloudberry to deliver six essential benefits: it brightens like a primer, evens skin tone like a foundation, hydrates like a moisturizer, corrects blemishes like a concealer, delays signs of aging and offers sun protection. Arctic cloudberry nectar helps to enhance skin’s luminosity and improve elasticity.

It's available in two shades to complement any skin tone, and can be used alone, after applying day cream, or under foundation.

Win Golden Globes swag via Twitter

January 12th, 2013

It always seems unfair, but once you become rich and famous, people want to give you free stuff in hope that some of the stardust rubs off on them. Awards season means celebs will be showered with swag.

You'll have at least one shot to win a Golden Globe swag bag by following Hollywood Swag Bag on Twitter @SwagGivesBack. The company prepares celebrity gift bags for red carpet and charity events.

Gifts may include purses by Liucia Japan, Alueur candles, gift certificates to Heart & Stone Jewelry, earbuds and iPhone covers by Incipio, Darby's English toffee, Moor Skin Care, FiaFini Skin Care, Bioxidea Miracle 24 face mask, Bootzie Oil from Maui, and many edible treats.

A winner will be picked at random on Jan. 13.


kolohePhotos courtesy Renee Rokero
Kolohe Gurl Jewelry's Plumeria Maile Leaf neck cuff will be on display in the Golden Globes GBK Luxury Gift Lounge.

Also representing Hawaii at the Golden Globes will be Renee Eleu Rokero, designer/owner of Kolohe Gurl Jewelry. She was among an exclusive group of artists selected to partipate in GBK’s Luxury Gift Lounge in Honor of the 2013 Golden Globes nominees and presenters. She handcrafted sterling silver Plumeria Maile Leaf neck cuff showcased at The Artisan Group exhibit, and her Plumeria Necklace with Black Pearls will be nestled inside The Artisan Group’s celebrity swag bags offered Jan. 11 and 12.

I profiled Renee in the Star-Advertiser on Sept. 27, 2012:

kolohe3We may soon be spotting designer Renee Rokero's Plumeria Necklace with Black Pearls on celebs.

'Project Runway All-Stars': To Paris we will go

January 11th, 2013

franceLifetime photos
The designers enjoy dinner on the Seine. From left, Uli Herzner, Emilio Sosa, Joshua McKinley and Anthony Ryan Auld.

"Project Runway All-Stars"

Episode 11: "Couture de France" recap

How lucky are we to have been able to tag along with the designers on their shopping trip to Paris and a voyeuristic peek into the House of Valentino?

Needless to say, the designers were ecstatic to be able to observe the process of creating an haute couture garment, spend $3,000 euros shopping for some of the fabrics of a quality worthy of the luxury houses, and do their sketching on the lawn fronting the Eiffel Tower. A very wish I was there moment!

At Valentino, they met with creative directors Pierpaolo and Maria Grazia, and were presented with tickets to Valentino's amazing haute couture show.

Of course, this being "Project Runway," they had little time to bask in "the dream." It was a 24-hour whirlwind trip, and next thing you know, they were back in the New York workroom, where they had 10 hours to create their garment. Impossiblé!

Needless to say, you don't learn couture techniques in a day, and their handiwork doesn't come close to touching that of the many hands of the women who have been doing such work for decades. But the inspiration definitely showed in their work.

eEmilio's gown.

Emilio really rised up to the challenge, creating a beautiful, restrained and elegant red gown with a fitted bodice and full skirt that was an about face from his street-costume style. The only thing he didn't give up was color.

Emilio and Anthony Ryan ended up on top, though once again, Anthony showed his main talent is as a copyist. The sleek black gown he created was elegant with a touch of menace. Even so, his black gown, with peek-a-boo fabric appeared to mimic designs off the Valentino runway they had all just seen! I guess the judges don't know how close his designs have matched others' in the room through the entire competition because they gave him the win.

Meanwile, the judges couldn't decide whether Uli or Joshua should be sent home. For once, I actually liked the bravado of Joshua's creation. Only he took a risk in pairing fabric that most people wouldn't think to mix together, but it was a little like a pared down Lacroix. Its downfall was that it was ill-fitting in the bodice and proportions were off.

So, the two were given another challenge, another first in the competition's history. They were to face off, given an hour to deconstruct their garment and reinvent it. Uli compared it to the "Hunger Games," in which winning meant killing your friend.

At the end of the challenge, Joshua had pared his dress down to a charming dress that he said would have been the ready-to-wear version of his couture creation. Uli remade her ensemble in entirety, taking the nude lining the judges had made so much, and creating a sexy halter dress, topped with a black lace jacket with gold detailing at the shoulders.

The judges liked both of them, and Georgina Chapman said the challenge was supposed to have made it easy for them to send one designer home, but they made it just as difficult.

In the green room, Anthony Ryan and Emilio wondered why the judging was taking more than an hour.

In the end, Uli's total reinvention led to her staying. Now the three designers move on to creating their collections, but instead of the usual month-plus allotted on "Project Runway," they will have only four days.

Can't wait to see. Still rooting for Uli.

uUli's gown.

jJoshua's creation.

aAnthony Ryan's winning design.

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