Oh with Christmas hot on our heels, it is time to dress up your pretty feet and this latest collaboration between Jason Wu and Melissa Jelly Shoes has just the thing. I’ve raved about my Free Fish Japan shoes because of their style, comfort and functionality (especially in wet weather. See post here.) but of course, Melissa has got to get ahead of the curve and with its numerous collaborations with top fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexandre Herchcovitch and the Campana Brothers, this is an achievable goal.
It’s latest collaboration with Jason Wu just blew me away. It’s a simple modification of the Ultragirl shoe but it is so chic. I mean, cute little owl motifs? And bows? Yes. I think you got me good. I’m pretty sure this is something Blair Waldorf will approve. I especially love the shoe in burgundy. It’s festive and appropriate for the season.
“It’s a pleasure to work with plastic in an innovative way, exploring different possibilities with a company that has the most expertise in the subject.” – Jason Wu
“Since I moved to Paris at the beginning of this year, romaticism took over me and my thoughts … so I decided to create a line both feminine and modern … beautiful shoes covered with crystals that will illuminate the steps of Melissa’s customers” – J Maskrey.
You can see the full Melissa collection here!
Yikes with all these pretty shoes in the market, this cannot be good for the wallet. Need. To. Avoid. Going. To. Town. I hope this is just a shoe infatuation and that it will pass over soon. AHHHH….
And so the suspense is lifted today as turtles weren’t the only thing that we saw at North Shore but coincidentally and through the work of Fate, we were there on the second day of the Vans Surfing World Cup. So not only did we see huge waves, but we also saw surfers who rode them spectacularly!
North Shore is the mecca for surfers all over the world because in winter, Oahu’s North Shore serves up one of the largest and most imposing ocean waves in the world! The reason for this? Giant, storm-generated swells make their long trek across the northern Pacific to batter reef breaks and the area’s shoreline generating 40-foot waves.
This could explain why surfers like Eddie Aikau and Andy Irons who were born and bred in Hawaii became surf legends because clearly, surfing in North Shore is a definite challenge. And even today, the most prestigious surf competitions are held here. For example, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing which includes the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Ali’i Beach Park in Hale’iwa; the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach; and the Billabong Pipeline Masters at Ehukai Beach are like the Grand Slams in Tennis terms. Only the best of the best compete here which explains my bubbling excitement.
I think all my dreams came true today. I even bought the Vans event T-shirt to commemorate the day. That and a Billabong for Andy Irons t-shirt for Mark. I have to say though that the turnout was fantastic. There was even a traffic jam leading up to the competition venue which really shows you how passionate the Hawaiians are about surfing. A chat with the bus driver also shed light on how valued a sport it is; school children can actually take surfing as part of their curriculum for Physical Education. That was just mindblowing news to me. Way to keep the spirit and the essence of Hawaii alive.
And speaking of essence, we next proceeded to the Polynesian Cultural Centre to get to know some of the ethnic cultures native to the island.
The Polynesian Cultural Centre feels to me like a themepark where different areas are segmented for different ethnic groups namely, Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Marquesas and Hawaii. In each area you can learn about the different practices of each tribe eg. learn basic hula dance moves in Hawaii, toss a tolo spear in Tonga and try some coconut bread in Tahiti.
There are also shows and demonstrations to watch. We only had time to see the Samoan one which was really enjoyable. The demonstrator had a wonderful sense of humour and we were laughing the whole way even as he made a fire, made coconut milk and climbed a tree with his bare hands and feet. The most wonderful thing I’ve learnt about the Samoan culture? Well, women are treasured and so all the chores and household duties are all done by the men. Hear hear!
And at night, there’s a show that combines all the various ethnicities together in a spectacular show. The plot is pretty much like Lion King just with more dancing and stunts that involve fire. Admittedly tourist-y and some might find it contrived and inauthentic, but it is good fun nonetheless. What I also like about the concept is that it is a non-profit initiative. All ticket proceeds go towards funding an education for 250 Brigham Young University students who work at the Polynesian Cultural Centre even as they study. You can read more about this here.
So they are essentially promoting and keeping the culture alive while also helping disadvantaged students at the same time. A win-win situation without profit motivation. An intriguing concept but one that seems to work well for them which gets me thinking about how we could similarly implement this in Singapore…
Well, I’m almost done with my Hawaii Adventures recap! I’m only left with Ko’olina Lagoon and Diamond Head!
Our last night in Hilo was spent rather slowly and languorously mostly because it is a small little town and there aren’t our usual amenities available. Just a few little coffee joints, some little shops selling handicrafts and knick knacks and farmer’s markets that showcase a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
We made a stop at the Pacific Tsunami Museum as well, looking around at the exhibits and reading the stories of brave rescues. I particularly loved the story of how David Cook rescued Yoshikazu Murakami who was then just a small boy. And both rescued and rescuer were reunited 57 years later at the Pacific Tsunami Museum. You can read the full story here. It was just absolutely incredible.
After that, we made our way to Mauna Kea to see the stars. Mauna Kea is regarded as the best site in the world to view the stars because of its high altitude, dry environment and seemingly stable airflow. And because it is also the highest peak in the state of Hawaii, you can just imagine how cold it is. Hence you see me here all bundled up in a parka. I guess that’s what makes Hawaii so special. Despite the stereotypical sunny and beach-y image that Hawaii has, in actuality, Hawaii is home to 11 out of 13 climatic zones in the world! That’s why the flora and fauna are so rich here and that’s also why the weather is so changeable all the time depending on which part of the island you are at.
Stargazing calls for extreme patience. I mean, I don’t know how these astronomy enthusiasts do it. You sit and watch and wait, hoping to see some stars align in the sky but it is never actually guaranteed whether or not you will actually see anything at all. And that’s really the case for us. The skies were too cloudy that night and we couldn’t see any stars at all. All we saw was the moon…
It was very pretty still, it’s like a scene right out of a Vampire movie. But I was no doubt disappointed. Well, I guess this gives me a reason to return and REALLY tick this off the bucket list. Till next time Mauna Kea!
Well, as they say, when a door closes, a window opens. And the next day when we flew back to Honolulu and travelled along North Shore, we spotted…
Yes, we missed them when we were at Hanauma Bay but here they are at Waimea Bay! I’ve never actually been this close to a turtle before so this was really cool. (The weather was absolutely fabulous. It was so sunny and breezy and all the photos have no filter! There was absolutely no need to tweak them at all!)
But turtles weren’t the only thing that we spotted along North Shore… to find out more, stay tuned!
Day 3 marks our first day out in Hilo and if you think things can’t get any more chill, then you are so wrong. Hilo is even more laid back than Honolulu and I found myself doing the shaka sign more than usual. The shaka sign means ‘hang loose’ and people in Hawaii use it as a form of greeting as you cross the street or bump into people. There are apparently many variations to the shaka and you can read more about it on the urban dictionary here.
Our first stop in Hilo is actually the Volcano National Park. There we were introduced to Mt. Kilauea. Kilauea is an active shield volcano that’s at least 300,000 years old and it continues to spew lava today. As of January 2011, it has produced 3.5 cubic kilometres of lava and created 123.2 square miles of land! Volcanoes in Hawaiian mythology are extremely sacred and they associate it with the goddess Pele. It is only when Thomas Jagger installed the Volcano Observatory in 1912 that volcanoes were studied in a scientific fashion. Today, the Volcanoes National Park is recognized as a World Heritage Site and approximately 2.6 million people visit it yearly.
So being abit of a geography geek, I was pretty stoked about coming so close to a volcano and being able to trek across the crater that it created but nothing, and I do mean NOTHING comes close to my next experience of being able to roast (well, steam is more like it) a marshmallow over the hot steaming vent-like geysers formed from the cracked earth! At first I was apprehensive about even walking across volcanic ash because I was so afraid of it caving in under me but apparently this section that I’m at has been solidified and hardened for over 75 years already. What’s more, the layers have been piling up over the years so it’s actually a THICK layer that is a few feet deep so it is absolutely safe to walk over it. The fumes however… I’m not too sure how toxic the sulphur dioxide was that day but according to the measurements taken, it was of safe amounts.
So yes, a steamed marshmallow was super tasty and the steam was HOT. My glasses and camera lens fogged up pretty bad. But the true beauty of the volcano is best seen at night when the warm glow of the lava is set against the dark night sky. It was entirely surreal watching this happen before my very eyes.
Our lodging that night was at this quaint little bed and breakfast place called the Volcano Guest House and Bonnie, our host was so sweet and so hospitable. It was a beautiful home away from home with a personal touch. I found it very hard to go back to staying in a cold, clinical hotel afterwards.
The amazing thing about this lodge is that it is eco-friendly. Solar panels are used to power the heaters, there’s a water filtration and purification system that utilises UV rays and organic waste is channelled back to fertilise the crops. It is incredibly ingenious and I truly admire the attempt made to make as little an impact on the environment. I guess that’s something that I became mindful of and something I want to do back in Singapore too.
We spent the morning of the next day shadowing Bonnie as she goes about her daily chores and tells us her stories. It’s amazing how a city planner can quit her job, leave the city and start a farm and a B&B because she’s always wanted to. Really shows you how it is so important to follow your dreams and to believe that it will one day be realised.
For more Hawaiian Adventures, stay tuned! I will be spamming photos this week!
Day 2 in Honolulu was actually a pretty power packed day because helped out with a stream restoration project. So we basically became Tarzan and tore off and hacked away at non-native plants that were leaching and polluting the stream. We worked up quite a sweat and it was a welcome relief to plunge into the waters of Hanauma Bay to snorkel right after. As you can see from the photos, it is just unbelievable just how blue the waters are. You can just peer in and see the coral and all the fish and aquatic life that lie beneath. It’s really quite an awesome sight.
Before you venture into the water, you are made to watch a video about the bay and how it is a nature reserve so visitors are instructed to see but not touch the coral and the fish because it can harm them. Also, prior to entering the water, you are given a chart that shows you the different kinds of fish that you are able to see so you can spot them underwater. It is quite amazing how fearless the fish are. They swim up close and they don’t shun you whatsoever. We didn’t get to see the turtles though. They were in hiding that day. As you can see, the bay is pretty popular and many people come here to suntan and to laze around at the beach. There are various demarcation zones in the water to dissect the zone of activities to prevent mishaps. So it is a family friendly place to be in cos snorkelers will not find themselves in danger of jet-skiers or vice versa.
After snorkeling, we all dressed up in green to go to support Hawaii at the football game! It was Hawaii vs. University of Las Vegas and of course because it was a home game, the entire stadium turned up in full force to cheer Hawaii on.
The game was everything I expected it to be. The hotdog stands, the enthusiastic crowd, the half time show that features the band and cheerleaders with 10 different routines, the patriotic singing of ‘God Bless America’, the kiss cam… everything was this huge mega spectacle that thoroughly entertained and engaged the audience. There was never a dull moment. My favourite part aside from the touchdowns was actually the half time show. It was Thanksgiving weekend and they were honoring the military so I felt so overwhelmed and awed being in a stadium where everyone voluntarily stood up to sing patriotically. You could see the deep love and loyalty that the Hawaiians have for their country (I always thought that their affinity to Hawaii would come first because they are so far away and different from the mainland) and that was something beautiful to see.
The match turned out to be rather lopsided with Hawaii winning with a very respectable score of 48-10! And this victory was made even sweeter because they lost like, 5-6 matches consecutively before this! Seems like we brought the luck with us to Hawaii! Game highlights video below…
So indeed, the day ended on a high and first thing in the morning, we took a flight out to Hilo!
For more Hawaii Adventures, stay tuned! I will be spamming photos over the next week!
Aloha! Sorry QuirkyChic has been out of action for some time but Ruth and I have been away. As you can tell from her previous post, she is happily Euro-tripping while I just came back from a work trip from beautiful Hawaii. After 10 glorious days there, I now finally understand why people call it paradise on earth. I’m quite the nature lover and the sun, sand and sea absolutely agrees with me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such clear waters and white sandy beaches in my life. I have to say that this is definitely a place that has left a deep impression on me and it has changed my perspective somewhat. The land, the people, the culture are so welcoming and warm and I’m certain that I will visit again (yes, I will brave the crazy 18hour flight all over again in a heartbeat. That’s how much I love Hawaii.)
I visited two islands on this trip. Oahu (Honolulu to be exact) and Hilo on Big Island. My next trip, I would most definitely want to visit Kauai and Maui though I’ve heard that Maui is very tourist-y. I flew into Honolulu and spent my first two days sightseeing.
As you can see, I went to rather popular touristy places like Pali Lookout that has a panoramic view then we proceeded to see King Kamehameha’s statue, the supreme court and other famous landmarks. I don’t particularly like sightseeing in this fashion. It’s more like having random photo stops without any commentary to value add to my learning. So I was quite happy and relieved to head to Pearl Harbour despite my extreme fatigue and jetlag.
There’s a solemn air that surrounds this sacred monument. Before actually taking a boat ride to see it, we actually browsed the galleries and watched a video to understand the significance of the memorial. I was really pleasantly surprised to see how both the American and Japanese view were presented. It wasn’t lop-sided or biased at all. It was a mere presentation of facts as it is. An unfortunate accident that is regrettable and I think everyone collectively felt the loss. It’s melancholic, rather sad, but a beautiful place for quiet contemplation.
The day didn’t end on such a subdued note though. We were there during Thanksgiving weekend so we headed down to Waikiki to watch the annual Waikiki Holiday Parade and it didn’t disappoint.
It was filled with fanfare. A huge crowd turned out for the event and there were marching bands, cheerleaders and baton twirlers. War veterans were also honored and respected in the parade… and the main highlight? The fireworks at the end. It was glorious and festive, a wonderful way to start the trip and to get a feel of the holiday spirit. I always knew Thanksgiving was a big thing in the States but I didn’t know much beyond the turkey. So this was really quite the eyeopener. I guess it’s the beauty of being in the right place at the right time.
For more Hawaii Adventures, stay tuned! I will be spamming photos the rest of this week!
This might sound funny to you but despite living in tropical Singapore, Fall is my favourite time of year. I love traveling to a much cooler climate and being able to layer up and feel that bit of frosty chill that tingles my spine. The cooler weather also means that I can be more creative with dressing up and playing around with coats, gloves, boots and hats. Something that I can’t really do much in a tropical climate. And so today I’ve decided to indulge in coat envy. These are the timeless classics that I wish I could wear more often…
Before my Hawaii trip, I decided to read Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel to prep myself and to get myself psyched about traveling. I previously read his book of essays, Essays in Love and found it incredibly insightful as it approached love through various disciplines (philosophy mostly). I knew that he could achieve the same feat again with this novel and I wasn’t disappointed.
I love how the book is split into various sections that deal with a different issue each. The first chapter was aptly named ‘Departure’ and it discussed the notion of interstitial spaces like airports and it also discussed the experience of taking a plane ride or one’s first encounter with the hotel room. It’s all incredibly surreal, sometimes it almost feels like you are having an out of body experience and encountering these descriptive events from the perspective of a third party. But I guess this narrative mode has a purpose. It’s meant to get you to think deeply about certain issues that we take for granted.
I loved especially how he would attempt to break down certain complex ideas through his little analogies. I remember clearly the instance where he is fighting with his lover and how that causes the entire vacation to be unpleasant, thereby proving that it is of paramount importance who accompanies you on the trip for it colours your particular experience. He also talks about the discomfort of traveling, having to live without everyday conveniences and to put up in a hotel or to endure a long haul flight with limited leg room all for the sake of escaping reality and life’s unreasonable demands.
“Sublime places repeat in grand terms a lesson that ordinary life typically teaches viciously: that the universe is mightier than we are, that we are frail and temporary and have no alternative but to accept limitations on our will; that we must bow to necessities greater than ourselves.” – Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
It is a highly intellectually engaging read, thoughtful to say the least. I wouldn’t exactly say it is bedtime reading though. I find myself too stimulated to actually fall asleep after because my mind is constantly trying to grapple with the ideas that he quotes off Proust or Baudrillard. None of which present easy ideas. None of which make suitable bedtime reads. But in terms of being the right trigger for an upcoming trip, it definitely worked like a charm. I am ready to see the world with new eyes and to find myself in the process.
Caroline will be away from 23rd Nov to 2nd Dec.
Be sure to keep yourself entertained browsing through our past posts. Last I checked, it just crossed the 1000 mark!
If you are a secret lurker around Lookbook.nu, well then it is time to step out into the limelight and Romwe is going to give you a helping hand. This online retail store markets itself as a street fashion retailer that turns to real people as their inspiration. So fashion bloggers, Instagram models and Youtube become the driving force behind its advertising of products. For example, Galaxy prints are in vogue and Romwe is riding on this wave by offering an entire Galaxy Collection. It’s a really smart strategy because they are aware of what’s going on at the ground and using the power of the masses to sell their products. I think this is especially useful since social networks and photoblogging is becoming more and more popular.
Picture Credits: hanna-moura.blogspot.com
What sets Romwe apart from retailers we are used to is probably their eclectic fashion pieces. Like I’ve said before, Modcloth has a distinctively vintage vibe while Young Republic is indie (considering their selling point is that of marketing new fashion designers). I think Romwe being a street fashion retailer, they have more outrageous and quirky pieces because really, the point of street fashion is to be noticed.
So I’m sure we all are familiar with the animal prints trend. I’m not talking about leopard and zebra prints but rather, prints and motifs of actual animals like birds, horses and cats (you can see my previous post here and Ruth’s post about Tibi and the lobster obsession here.) But Romwe basically takes things to another level.
In my previous post, I looked at timeless and classic designs for coats because I firmly believe that it only makes sense to invest in a design that lasts for years to come. However, while I strongly advocate that for coats (because it is a rather expensive item in your winter wardrobe especially if you want to get a good quality one i.e. wool or down feather), I think that it is quite fun to experiment and try different trends when it comes to other articles of your outfit. Small items like gloves or scarves which don’t typically cost a bomb are a great way to jazz up the look without adding bulk to your luggage or a hole in your wallet. Sweaters too are a versatile piece of clothing that can be worn even in warmer climates with air conditioning as long as you pick the right fabric and design.
Let’s start off with the Snood, which as its name suggests is a cross between a scarf and a hood. Otherwise known as the Infinity Scarf because it has no start or end, it is easily worn by draping it over your head. There will be no more pesky loose ends to keep propping up on your shoulder, no more dropping your scarf on the floor or having it accidentally touch your food. The Snood is made to wrap around your neck snugly (depending on how many rounds you decide to wrap around your neck) and to keep it toasty and warm. Alternatively, you could let it drape loosely and use the excess fabric as a hood as seen in the picture. This is great if your head is cold or if there is snow/rain. I also like how this gives an illusion of a cowl neck or a turtleneck. A great way to show your versatility in clothing without actually having to purchase a new top! Modcloth and ASOS have some pretty nice ones!
This next item is actually quite cool. I found this in Muji and it’s basically gloves that keep your fingers warm while giving you the convenience to fiddle with your smartphone at the same time! The tips of the fingers are made of a different material that mimics your finger’s sensitivity so you can still snap a picture, post it on Instagram and Whatsapp/iMessage/BB Messenger! All without having to remove your gloves. Ingenious.
I’ve alluded to how much I love versatility in clothing because really, you want to save space in your luggage for shopping so if an item of clothing can be worn 25860784 ways, why not right? Well, the shawl cardigan definitely falls in this category. It’s so effortless. Just throw it on and tie the sash and you are pretty much done! Else, don a belt to cinch the waist or you could always just drape it over your shoulder. Really, it is the Mighty Morphing Power Ranger of clothing. I know Victoria’s Secret has one at a hefty price USD 89+ in assorted colours and perhaps a more affordable version could be found at Uniqlo. Just purchased a shawl cardigan at S$29.90 because it was on offer! I swear Uniqlo is the haven for winter wear. It’s affordable, functional and fashionable. Definitely stocking up on heat tech and leggings!