I have Mickey Mouse hair! Needless to say, this fun hairstyle got quite the attention in Los Angeles. I was honored to be invited to several Academy Awards parties, including the QVC Oscars pre-party at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills hotel.
It was quite the night of celebrity shenanigans, including Joan Rivers and Miss Piggy getting into a cake-fight…
Let’s start by dressing up. My blue hair is probably my favorite color to date. It’s by Stephanie Hoy at Avant Garde Hair: give her a ring if you’re in Vancouver!
I’ve been doing more natural makeup lately — gotta switch it up. My lipstick is c/o Shien Cosmetics; I adore the matte coverage, designed to flatter Asian skin tones. This neutral shade is Shanghai Rose.
My flowing, lavender gown is by the Japanese brand Comme l’un. Remember I wore it for my Goth Fairy photoshoot in Hong Kong?
This two-buns hairstyle is inspired by the looks seen in gyaru magazines, read by trendy Tokyo gals. It’s also a tribute to Mickey Mouse, since I’m not far from Disneyland. (Spotted this collection of retro-Disney figurines at YVR Vancouver airport.)
In the words of Karen from Mean Girls: “I’m a mouse. Duh!”
Can you believe my hairdo stayed like this for three nights? Stephanie put my hair in two high ponytails, then backcombed and pinned it into circles. A lot of hairspray was involved.
I wore high heels with cut-out hearts from Lumine. Here are more photos from this Shinjuku department store.
Details of the back of my dress. I don’t usually put my hair in an up-do, or wear cocktail/party dresses like this. It’s good to get away from the norm sometimes, and see where it takes you.
Every year in LA, there are a number of invite-only parties that celebrate the Academy Awards. The QVC Oscars Red Carpet is a favorite for celebrities.
Actress Jane Seymour waves to friends. Mario Lopez was smiling nearby.
How fun to mingle with guests like the fabulous Joan Rivers, of Fashion Police.
We drank special cocktails, snacked on hor d’oeuvres, and posed for photos.
QVC was broadcasting a live TV show during the party.
At a special table, I got my iPhone case covered in Swarovski crystals. (More info about my custom phone case here.)
The funniest part of the evening: watching Joan Rivers run out of the party, covered in cake! Apparently, she got in a fight with Miss Piggy and lost.
Other celebs who attended were Nicole Richie, Kaley Cuoco, Kat Dennings, Krysten Ritter. Also present: Sarah Paulson, Kate Mara, Bella Thorne, Nikki Reed and many more. (Above photos via QVC.)
What a fun, glam night. Thanks to QVC for inviting me to LA to attend the red carpet bash. More Oscars event coverage coming right up.
Did you watch the Academy Awards this year?
And do you like my Mickey Mouse hair?
PS: You’re welcome to Pin any of my blog photos onto Pinterest. I have an account on Pinterest; add me (lacarmina).
Thanks for your fabulous feedback of my Israel posts! Glad you are enjoying the expanded food and culture content. But today, let’s dive back into Japan fashion.
I took photos of the latest designs in Studio Alta department store, which I previously wrote about in 2012. (To get here, walk gaily forward from Shinjuku Station east exit, and look for the multicolored logo above you.)
I always stop by Fernopaa because of the cheerful shopgirls, dressed in cute meets punk or hard rock styles. Case in point: this Japanese girl, in a cat eared zip jacket with a surgical stitch print, spiked choker, big cross necklace, and purple lacy dress with a jagged hem.
The styles at Fernopaa are a bit too 80s metal for my taste, but I do enjoy looking at their DIY accessories and shredded garments.
Here’s what the other shop girl wore. Japanese alternative style at its finest: love the layering of necklaces, bracelets and goggles. Her hair has several rainbow tones, and she even drew a cross on her cheek.
This coordinate is a tad “emo” but the devil horns hoodie gets props for creativity. On the right, my Mercibeaucoup bag hovers over a decorated manhole.
Their pieces are over-the-top when combined, but I’d wear them individually. The skull sweater, big cross, pink heart purse and white lace dress could be great in Fairy Kei, Gyaru or Goth outfits.
Studio Alta has several floors, and the boutiques range from romantic girly fashion (Liz Lisa) to craft supply stores. I spotted this spool of hand-dyed gradient silk ribbons.
Also in the fabric shop: lace cat and bear pillows, or pin cushions. I’d feel bad sticking pins in their cute faces!
This butterfly logo signals Algonquins, the Tokyo punk, Goth and Lolita label.
The undead plushies in the middle can be used as purses or general accessories. In the back, you can glimpse a Visual Kei and J-rock music store.
A vegan leather bag, covered in studs and chains, for a hard-edged schoolgirl look.
Another store sold antique styles, like this faded feather and lace Victorian bonnet.
Elsewhere in Shinjuku, I spotted some new stores. The famous Harajuku Avantgarde store, known for its crazy print tights and stockings, has opened up on the ground floor of Lumine.
Avant Garde had a rack of legwear, printed with Disney characters. These tights and leggings tend to be more expensive, but the designs are handmade or limited edition.
Goth and Kawaii are everywhere. In the window, I saw cross tights and a Hello Kitty print.
I leave you with the “worried face” mascot from Ne-net. This clothing boutique has several locations in Shinjuku; Ne-Net is also in Laforet Harajuku and Ikebukuro Sunshine City.
My Scottish Fold kitten sometimes gives me the same look!
For more photos of Tokyo girls and gyaru clothing, check out my previous Studio Alta report.
What do you think of the current youth fashion in Japan?
This post contains a lot of “nom”… it’s about all the delicious restaurants we tried in Israel!
Before we dive into the food, some travel news: I’m off to Los Angeles, to attend Oscars events! Seby and I were invited to several Academy Awards festivities, including a celebrity pre-party and Oscars gifting suite. Can’t wait to bring you inside coverage of the Oscars on my social networks — add me, below, to join the fun.
On our most recent journey, the Israel Tourism Board went all-out, and treated my filmmakers and me to 5-star dinners every evening. Each restaurant offered us a hedonistic “tasting” — we picked any main course, and they served it with a humongous selection of appetizers and desserts, and unlimited wine.
I always say: when you’re traveling, eat to your heart’s content! There are foods you simply can’t find at home, not even in specialty markets (such as local cheeses and wines that don’t export out of the country). Might as well taste as much as you can, when you’re somewhere far away.
And drink up. In Hebrew, “cheers” is “l’chaim,” and we did a lot of that. Israeli vineyards have been making waves recently, overcoming the not-so-cool associations with “Kosher wine.”
I enjoyed tasty varietals with names like “Issac’s Ram” and “Star of David”. My favorite was a tasty and easy-to-drink Teperberg 1870 Cabernet/Merlot.
The first night, we had a rustic meal at Kimel Restaurant Tel Aviv. We thought the meal was over, after filling on incredibly fresh beet and pine nuts salad, goat cheese ravioli, and olive toasted bread. Then, the waiter asked, “Are you ready for the main courses?” He came out with plates loaded with fish filets, beef and lamb… Needless to stay, we left Kimel very satisfied!
Thanks to our new friend, fashion journalist Roza Sinaysky, for joining us. She blogs about Tel Aviv and international high fashion at TelAvivian. (Food photography by me, Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann.)
The next evening, we learned that there’s a Woody Allen theme restaurant. Vicky Cristina is a Spanish eatery, located at the Hatachana compound (a collection of restaurants and shops, converted from the old Jaffa train station built in 1892). One side is more formal (like the movie character Vicky), while the other, where we dined, is loose and care-free like Cristina.
Nonetheless, the Spanish tapas were delightful — Israeli food is always fresh, since many ingredients are grown locally. The seafood paella was so outstanding that we asked for a second order.
We perched on high counters, and people-watched in the lively, open space. The drink menu says it all. Go for the sangria, and end the meal with mint tea.
Day 3 was a treat: fine dining at Herbert Samuel, run by top chef Jonathan Roshfeld. I later found out the restaurant is kosher, but that didn’t at all limit the flavors in dishes such as turbot (above) and the signature veal cannelloni.
As for the desserts, the photo says it all. Chocolate cake, caramel sauce swirl, gold foil and vanilla ice cream. I licked the plate.
I’ve been showing you high-end restaurants, but let’s not forget the street food. I loved trying Jerusalem bagels, (during my day in Jerusalem), which are long and large. And my mouth is watering when I think of the falafel (crispy chickpea balls wrapped in pita) I got from small stands.
If I had to name one favorite restaurant among these winners, it would be Machneyuda in Jerusalem. The space is bursting with energy and personality. Between taking our orders, the waiters danced to upbeat Lana del Ray and Prince covers!
The food also has a personal touch, using ingredients from the next-door market. Some surprises included lamb and hummus, ceviche, and tomato cauliflower salad. I’m still thinking of this trio of desserts: tiramisu at the top, an incredible deconstructed cheesecake with berries in the middle, and “Uri’s mother’s semolina cake” dotted with tahini ice cream at the bottom.
If you think that Jerusalem is a serious, religious place… think again. At night, Machaneyuda has a happening bar scene with acrobatic cocktail mixing.
The open kitchen bursts with friendly calls between the chefs, and flaming dishes.
Outside, we saw locals hanging out in the streets, and going from bar to bar. If you visit only one restaurant while in Israel, I hope it will be this one.
However, we ate so well on every night. We joined Louise Kahn (glam singer of Terry Poison) at Boya, a top-rated restaurant at the Tel Aviv port. This is great place to take a walk, and watch big waves roll in.
By now, you must be getting a sense of what’s loved in Israel: fresh Mediterranean dishes, with a touch of the Middle East. We tried a number of pastas, fresh baked bread from the “tabun” (traditional clay oven), and lots of seafood. We agreed that one of the standouts was a grilled cauliflower appetizer.
One cannot visit Israel without trying the hummus — sometimes called the national dish. We had it multiple times, and even visited a local “hummous restaurant” where Jews and Arabs happily sat down to eat this delicious dish together.
Finally, before a night of clubbing, we chowed down at Social Club on Rothschild Boulevard. It’s an ideal location for meeting up with friends before going out, and we especially enjoyed the grilled calamari with fava beans and tahini.
Coming right up: I’ll take you inside the Israeli LGBT nightlife, including a drag queen performance!
I leave you with a flower-topped napoleon dessert, from Herbert Samuel restaurant. Did you expect Israel’s food scene to be this exciting? Have you tried hummus, falafel, or other dishes mentioned in this post?
PS: don’t forget, I’ll be in LA with Seby for Oscars celebrations — previews will be on my @lacarmina social networks.
I came to Israel to report on Tel Aviv’s modern fashion designers and nightlife. However, I was as excited to see Jerusalem, the centuries-old city of miracles and blood.
I didn’t grow up in any religion, but have always been interested in ancient cultures. Spending a day in Jerusalem turned out to be one of the highlights of this tourism board trip, and reminded me of why in-person travel is so important. Read on for magic moments that you couldn’t get from reading a book.
Our wonderful guide Uri Golani took us for a day tour of Jerusalem, about an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. We stopped to take in this view of the Temple Mount and Old City. For centuries, this tiny piece of land has been sacred to several religious groups including the Romans, Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Many travelers come here as a spiritual pilgrimage. But even if you’re not religious, Jerusalem is an monumental place to visit, especially with a guide like Uri who can explain the city’s complicated history.
(Photography in this post by me and Melissa Rundle. Magic moment #1: how awesome are these Asian tourists?)
Everywhere I looked, I had questions. Who are these men? Why are they swaying their heads? Why do the gravestones look like this? (Uri explained these are Hasidic or ultra-Orthodox Jews, “shuckling” back and forth as they pray in a traditional funeral. Idolatry is a no-no in Judaism, hence the plain markings.)
I can’t begin to describe the layers of human history at Temple Mount. So many different rulers and religions, over the centuries. At the top, you can see the surrounding Walls of Jerusalem, built by Suleiman I during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.
The most famous (or at least shiniest) landmark is the golden Dome of the Rock. After the Persians invaded in the 1st century, they built this Islamic shrine. In the 1990s, the roof was refurbished by King Hussein of Jordan.
(Note: you aren’t allowed to enter most religious sites unless your shoulders and legs are covered. Don’t worry, I brought a scarf!)
All over Israel, we saw people offering camel rides. Many of the animals wore colorful Bedouin garb. Magic moment 2: I tried to pose with a camel, and it grabbed onto my shawl and started chewing!
We stopped by the Church of All Nations — Catholic, but with an open altar for other Christian denominations. It’s next to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus supposedly prayed before he was crucified.
Magic moment 3: My filmmakers and I laughed at a sign that said “Please, No Explanations Inside the Church”. Then we fended off vendors trying to sell us olive branches, which may or may not have come from the garden…
It’s an uncanny feeling, walking in halls where miracles supposedly took place, inspiring everything from paintings to wars. This is the Coenaculum (Uri explained: “Dining room”) on Mount Zion, where Jesus and his disciples had the Last Supper.
Magic moment 4: we ran into a group of Jewish girls on a field trip. They were curious and giddy as kittens, and crowded around filmmaker Melissa when they realized she could speak some Hebrew. Since she’s Canadian, they asked if she liked Justin Bieber. When she answered no in Hebrew, they cheered at her language skills… and then their faces fell because they’re devoted Beliebers!
Magic moment 5: eating Jerusalem bagels, sold from a wooden cart by the Gate of Zion. Did you know that bagels are oblong and chewy here? We tried one with a pinch of za’atar, an aromatic green mix of Middle Eastern herbs.
By now, I’m sure you get my point — travel is filled with unexpected moments that make the experience magical. We stumbled upon this group of boys goofing around. Many people live in the heart of Jerusalem – it’s not just a tourist site — and you get peeks of everyday life like clothes hanging from windows.
And we came across several bar mitzvahs (coming of age ceremonies for 13 year old boys). This ages-old ritual has become a modern affair: the group had colorful balloons, an announcer with a portable microphone, and a film crew to rival mine.
Nothing encapsulates “traditional meets modern” more than an Orthodox Jew talking on his cell phone, overlooking an ancient city. (What’s the story behind the hats? Why and how do they curl their sidelocks? So many questions… thank goodness for our patient tour guide, Uri!)
I couldn’t wait to see the famous Western Wall, aka Wailing Wall. It’s a remnant of the enclosure around the Jewish Temple courtyard.
I’ve seen quite a few photos and videos of this spot, but still, it took me by surprise. I didn’t realize the wall is divided into two gendered sections. The male area was lively: some people were dancing in a circle, others chanting aloud. The women’s section is quieter; many sat in plastic chairs and read the Torah.
Before entering, everyone has to scan their bags and walk through a metal detectors. Guards make sure you cover your shoulders and legs.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable. We spotted a tour group of extremely wealthy Russian ladies. Each wore thousands of dollars worth of designer clothing, and shoes that weren’t exactly made for walking. (Those sunglasses are Prada Baroques.)
Filmmaker Melissa touches the wall and puts a note in one of the gaps. Every year, more than a million people leave written wishes or prayers in the cracks of the wall. These are collected and buried, in accordance with Jewish law.
Yet another fun moment: we learned that these “stirrups” are for people to stand on, so that they can look into the different sections.
Quite a different feeling in the Muslim quarter. Stalls line the cobbled streets. Vendors tried to entice us with fresh pomegranate juice and religious memorabilia.
Uri showed us the Stations of the Cross on Via Dolorosa. This is the path Jesus walked, with the cross on his back, on the way to his crucifixion at Golgotha. We continued the journey inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where pilgrims can light candles.
Ready for a transition? We went from the Mount of Olives (from which Jesus ascended to heaven)… to a Mound of Olives in the Machane Yehuda Market!
This festive Jerusalem marketplace sells food and goods, like colorful kippahs or yarmulkes (caps worn by Jewish men).
We got “Shuk Bites”, or vouchers that let us taste a variety of snacks from the market. These included mint tea, stuffed grape leaves, red kubbeh soup (with dumplings) and imaruly (a pizza-like pastry stuffed with cheese and spinach).
When we stopped by a juice bar, they offered us ghat, or qat! Legal in Israel, people chew this leaf as a stimulant (the Somalian pirates used it to get high before attacking Captain Phillips and his crew).
I found the leaves too bitter and spat them out. You have to chew ghat for at least an hour before it has any effect, so I can’t tell you how it feels…
Visiting Jerusalem left my mind reeling with questions and memories. I hope this post conveys what makes travel so special. I can tell you stories and show you images, but there’s really nothing like being somewhere in the flesh, reacting to the smells, sounds and people around you.
We were lucky to have Uri as our guide — he became our friend during this week-long trip, and we shared many laughs and discussions. I hope you’ll ask him to be your guide in Israel; info is on his Uri Golani Tours site.
I enjoyed writing this post, and hope I got the facts about Jerusalem right. If there’s anything that you’d like to clarify or add, please leave a comment or chat me on my Facebook.
What makes travel important to you? Would you want to visit Jerusalem?