Category Archive for Art + Design

Whitby Gothic Weekend UK: Goth rock concerts & style! Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Last Dance, Bella Morte.

victorian fashion market

I’m pleased you enjoyed my first report from Whitby Goth Weekend 2015! It was my first time at this massive British alt music and culture festival, and the entire town was filled with dark inspiration.

Let’s continue this WGW series with style snaps of attendees, a browse through the fashion bazaars

(Find Goth corsets, boots and more below)

sigue sigue sputnik singer

… and a review of the Goth and Glam musical performances. 

whitby uk ocean scenic

Whitby is a seaside town in Yorkshire (northern England). At first, this seems to be a bizarre location for a Goth music and culture festival.

However, when you witness the dramatic skies, crashing waves and Dracula abbey on the horizon, it all makes sense.

english countryside farm cat

Photographer Joey Wong spotted this appropriately black cat, giving us the evil eye.

haunted house ghost girl

To get in the mood, I dressed as a Victorian “woman in black” and haunted our Sykes Cottages rental.

We were glad to have a quaint, comfortable place to relax between the various Goth concerts and activities.

japanese ghost woman

Staying with Sykes Cottages meant we got to experience “country living,” yet stay within walking distance to the center of Whitby. And we weren’t at all “roughing it” — the cottage rental had several bathrooms and a fully stocked modern kitchen.

I recommending finding accommodations through their site, if you’re coming to Whitby Goth Weekend. If only my ghost could linger here longer!

whitby england water shore

We spent most of our time at the Spa Pavilion, where the live music takes place. The Spa also has a cafeteria and multiple halls filled with vendors.

As I noted before, you’ll have to climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the Spa, so wear appropriate footwear…

steampunk metal suit

The Spa is also the best place to people-watch. We were stunned by this gentleman’s DIY steampunk suit. Those clockwork gears and details!

He even rigged the outfit so that at the press of a button, steam emanated from the top of his headpiece. 

whitby fashion goths

We saw an enormous variety of fashion at WGW — carnival, cyber, Goth, deathrock, Victorian, pin-up.

Many attendees wore elaborate clothing that they made themselves, out of materials like feathers.

whitby gothic weekend tickets, passes

We recommend getting passes in advance via the Whitby Goth Weekend website, since early birds get discounts. The next event is in October, so you can plan ahead.

The organizers graciously gave us press passes. All of the staff was knowledgeable and well-prepared, and happy to answer questions.

steampunk shop, england

Bring British pounds with you, as there are at least three different locations for vendor markets. These independent sellers set up booth, and sell one-of-a-kind alternative accessories, sweets, clothing, you name it.

whitby goth bazaar market

This is what the scene looked like, in just one of the halls… As you can imagine, it gets overwhelming! I suggest briskly looking through everything first, and then coming back to narrow down what you want to purchase.

steampunk pocketwatch, watch

Steampunk is one of the most popular aesthetics at Whitby Goth Weekend. You can complete your outfit with a top hat or brass pocket-watch.

goth decorated skull cake

I’m loving this Goth wedding cake, which looks like a weathered book.

skull chocolates, skeleton cake

It was Whitby Goth Weekend’s 21st anniversary, so they prepared a chocolate skull cake! There were also bat lollies and absinthe chocolates for sale.

cameo gothic jewelry

The bazaar had lots of spooky-cute designs, like these coffin earrings and Victorian cameo necklaces.

(Below are some Steampunk items for sale.)

stuffed toy bat, goth toys

I gave the giant stuffed bat a squeeze. There are gifts for all ages, from kawaii-Goth pillows to toddler t-shirts.

cyber goth gasmask

Now, let’s take a closer look at people’s personal style at the festival. There was no set dress code — you’ll come across all ages, all aesthetics.

The only overall link was “dark creativity,” as exemplified in this apocalyptic gasmask and steampunk explorer.

deathrock shaved hair, goth hairstyle

My friend Nyx wears Dracula Clothing — love her vampiric collar and collection of silver rings.

baby goth, gothic kids

We saw a fair number of baby-Goths and children at the event. This one loved posing for photos, and rocked her pink cyber locks.

Very cool to see how Goths from the 80s and 90s now have families, who all take part in the lifestyle.

used gothic clothing market

The Spa also holds the “Bring and Buy,” where you can sell and purchase used clothing at discount prices.

Be sure to arrive early, since all the vending bazaars close around 5pm. After, only wristband-wearers (who bought passes) are allowed into the venue to watch the concerts.

the last dance singer

Joey and I got to see the bands from the photography area, just inches from the performers. We began the evening with The Last Dance, a Goth rock band that has been releasing consistently strong albums since they formed in California in 1990.

whitby goth weekend bands, concert

Vocalist Jeff Diehm sang a few songs with female guest Velvet Shadow. The band’s category-defying dark synth sound, coupled with a joyous stage presence, made for one of the most enjoyable performances of WGW.

goth band, vocalist last dance

The Last Dance ended with a raucous cover of “Dead Man’s Banter.” You couldn’t help but smile when Jeff and guest Ed Banshee linked arms and swayed together on stage.

whitby goth concert, spa stage

Whitby Goth Weekend’s concert hall has impressive acoustics. The space has an intimate feeling, perhaps since everyone in the audience traveled a long way to come to this festival.

For every band, there were fans leaning over the railing, singing along to every song. 

sigue sigue sputnik performing

Next, it was glitter-punk decadence with Sigue Sigue Sputnik! Mohawks, sequined tops, horse tails, and codpieces took over the stage, and we knew we were in for a wild ride.

glam rock band, female bassist

The band tore through glam rock numbers from the 1980s to the recent “Electronic” incarnation. The outfits and shenanigans took center stage, but each members had the musical chops to back up this visual candy.

sigue sigue sputnik singer

Martin Degville looked like a dystopian punk, with his fishnet mask and salacious gestures. Near the end of the set, he launched into a cover of David Bowie’s “Jean Genie,” to the delight of the crowd.

bella morte singer Andy Deane

Last but not least, we have Bella Morte. Joey’s image captures the pure, visceral energy from frontman Andy Deane. He leapt all over the stage — sometimes veering dangerously close to the equipment and ledge — and kept everyone in rapt attention.

bella morte gothic band

The group’s name means “beautiful death,” and it fits their music: sometimes hard and dark, but always beautiful. Bella Morte’s latest album, “Exorcisms,” encapsulates the feeling of watching them raw and live on stage.

goth dance party, whitby england

After the last set, the Spa turned into the ultimate Goth party! The DJs’ playlist veered towards old school Gothic, New Wave and post-punk tracks, which I personally love to hear.

The dancefloor looked like a coven of witches, swaying in their long black gowns.

See these bands and dancers in action, in the video above and on VideofyMe.

dracula abbey ruins, whitby uk

I leave you with the ominous Whitby Abbey… Later, I’ll show you an editorial magazine cover photoshoot that we did right against the church ruins.

Isn’t it wonderful to see dark, alternative bands and fashion thriving, at Whitby Goth Weekend? Perhaps you’ll make the trip out for the next WGW during Halloween 2015!

There’s a La Carmina room at Hotel sáv! Hong Kong boutique hotels, Floor of Love art theme rooms.

la carmina themed hotel room

Remember when my team and I went to Hong Kong twice, to participate in the opening of Hotel sáv? At last, I can unveil the colorful fruits of our labor:

1) We decorated a La Carmina themed room at the hotel, featuring original paintings by First Mate Naomi Rubin!

2) And our video about Hong Kong’s most colorful travel attractions — from the Big Buddha statue to Miffy stores — is out. Watch it above, and published on Business Insider.

I’m constantly amazed at the opportunities that come up from travel blogging. Decorating my own room at a boutique hotel is a new milestone, and I was honored when Hotel sáv asked me to take part in their “Floor of Love” project.

hong kong interior designer, bedroom

In a nutshell, artists from around the world are selected to create a themed room on the 22nd floor. We visited last year before the hotel opened, and our room (#2219) was a blank canvas

The team at sáv gave us free reign to decorate the room however we wanted — as long as it fit with their message of love, community and charity. 

hong kong empty apartment, kowloon

Hong Kong is a compact city, and hotel rooms are inevitably on the small side. However, sáv’s modern materials and large windows gave the space an airy feeling. Artist Naomi says, “It was from those initial views that the ideas for these paintings began.”

black white gothic shoes

Our room had a vibrant view of the Hung Hom, Kowloon surroundings. I balanced on the ledge in my black-and-white Steelground Shoes – aren’t the metal heels and buckles marvelous?

blogger designing decorating room

The theme of “love” could take on many different meanings — where to start? I knew I wanted the room to represent the universe seen on this blog — the love for travel, Japan, alternative culture, and wild creativity.

I brought in my First Mate Naomi Rubin, who I run La Carmina & The Pirates with, to put this vision onto canvas.

hong kong hotel construction

In September 2014, the hotel was still under construction — only the bare skeleton was in place. My filmmakers captured the tremendous “before and after” transformation, in our new video.

nails on big wood cross

Leave it to me to find something Gothic, even on a construction site.

(Photos and videos by Borderless Media.)

floor of love, hotel sav

When we returned in February 2015, what a change! The building had blossomed into a stylish, contemporary boutique hotel.

The special 22nd floor looked like a gallery, with beautiful theme rooms and hallways lined with paintings.

tactile art for blind people

Some of the pieces were by artists with disabilities. This one had tactile elements, for a blind person to enjoy.

la carmina bedroom door

So exciting… the placard on 2219 marks our “Love the Dream” room. (Yes, you can request to stay here when you visit!)

la carmina decorated hotel room

And here is what the La Carmina x Naomi Rubin decoration looks like! (Can’t believe this started out as a bare room, as seen at the top of the post.)

The hotel’s website says: “In this room, Naomi and La Carmina jointly created a different perspective that we have never seen through imagination, sub-consciousness and dreams. To spice up the décor, they created 5 paintings based on what they explored during their stay in Hong Kong.”

hong kong art design hotel

I’ll show you more photos from our room later in this post, but first, let’s see some of the other artists’ designs. 

Hotel sáv brought in creative talents working in a variety of genres, from all over the world. It was inspiring to see how they all did their own unique riffs on the “love” theme.

sav floor of love rooms

In this room, Sarah Tse displays her pencil drawings and papermaking, inspired by her childhood memories and dreams. She included shelves of nostalgic found objects throughout the room.

chocolate rain, chinese artist room

Room 2201 – Love the Memory

Remember when we visited the cute character studio, Chocolate Rain in PMQ? Creator Prudence Mak filled her room with her handcrafted, smiling pieces. Her works range from postcards to bedspreads to a giant statue, all evoking the wonderland feeling of childhood.

e herder artist china

Room 2202 – Love the Planet

I spread my wings in this room designed by E Herder, a contemporary artist living in Beijing. His “circles” are reflections on life and connectedness, drawing influences from Zen Buddhism. Meditate on these circles, and you’ll notice unexpected materials like artificial fur pressed into patterns.

janine claase south africa painter

Room 2203 – Love the Community

Hailing from South Africa, Janine Claase hung up works that reflect on our interactions in social media and “real” life. She explores human connections and how modern media can either help or hinder our ability to create communities. 

hong kong hotel room

How did we go about, decorating our own room?

Naomi prepared two circular acrylic paintings, which she cleverly framed with the skeleton of a clock. She brought these works to Hong Kong — and with the help of Eric’s arm, we figured out the best locations to hang them on the walls.

hanging painting on wall

Now that’s what I call “using man-power!”

sav hotel hong kong rooms

Once we had finalized the location of the artworks, Hotel sáv called in a maintenance team to nail them in place.

How many people does it take to hang a painting? 

naomi rubin artist naomiyaki

In this case, a minimum of six!

travel blogger hotel room

“La Carmina Room” #2219 – Love the Dream

And here you have it: our finished room! Of course, we chose purple pillows and lights as our color scheme. (Each room at Hotel sáv comes with a remote, which lets you change the color of the lights in your room.)

hong kong artist exhibit

Artist Naomi Rubin writes: “Floor of Love can be interpreted in many ways, but because the Pirates live on travel, I wanted guests to feel like they could venture out, even while back in their own hotel room. Both pieces explore things we pirates love about travel from different views: one is up in the clouds and the other is grounded, with an aesthetically detailed view of a community.”

naomi rubin painting

She adds, “The framing of the two paintings was chosen to make the pieces feel like additional windows in the room: portholes that would add to the view of the Hong Kong skyline.”

The circular paintings are acrylic on paper, and the Honk Kong drawings are ink wash with pen.

hong kong people sketches

It was Naomi’s first time in Hong Kong. She says, “Above the bed are 5 pieces that I did while in Hong Kong during the hotel Sáv opening. These show a more personal record of how I absorb some of those same elements of travel shown in the window paintings: people, family, fashion, and the balance of nature with human architecture.”

goth steampunk shoes art
“While both porthole paintings feature imagery based on the things that La Carmina & the Pirates focus on when traveling, the Window Community piece goes a bit deeper, drawing from Japanese and neo-victorian fashion and buildings. There is even a reference to one of the Pirate’s favorite Tokyo late-night eateries in the background.”

(See more of Naomi’s art on her Naomiyaki website.)

cool unique hong kong hotels

If you’re coming to Hong Kong, wouldn’t you like to stay in the La Carmina room? Well, you can! Just book Room 2219 via the Hotel sáv website.

Best of all, you’ll be making a contribution to charity. When you stay on the Floor of Love, 15% of your fee will be donated to “Make-A-Wish Foundation” and “Arts with the Disabled Association” in Hong Kong. After a year, all of these art pieces will be auctioned to raise funds for charitable organizations.

miffy cake 東海堂

If you need more reason to stay at Hotel sáv, then watch our travel video about the many cool attractions nearby.

These include Arome Bakery, who make the infamous Miffy cake!

stuffed plush miffy toys dolls

Walk down the street from the hotel, and you’ll find Wonderland. This store that sells every character good imaginable, even pirate Miffy.

blue colorful flowers

This nearby flower shop sums up the “color journey” of the hotel. Sav’s philosophy is that colors can inspire and elevate a guest’s stay, and encourage positive action in the community.

Their name sums it up: S is for style, A for attitude, and V for vision.

hotel sav staff team

Thank you to the staff for inviting us to take part in this artistic love-in! Find out more — and book a stay in the La Carmina room! — through the Hotel sáv website.

cute lion dancers, chinese new year

And please take a moment to watch our travel video here. Wouldn’t you like to visit Hong Kong for yourself? (Above is a joyous memory from the hotel’s Lion Dance, one of the Chinese New Year celebrations that we experienced.)

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Off to Asia for a Travel Channel TV shoot! Cute Seoul Kpop shopping: Art Box, Etude House, Luxury Su Noraebang.

dancing stormtroopers tokyo japan

Over the past weeks, I’ve been giving you hints about my next Asian destinations. The photo above is probably the biggest clue of all!

(That’s the Prince of Norway, Ari Behn, dressed as a Star Wars villain while I cower by his cod-piece. We were shooting a travel TV show, which aired in Norway. Which leads to my announcement…)

I’ll be in Tokyo this month, filming with Travel Channel for a new TV series! Plus Singapore and Bali!

travel channel tokyo tv show, stormtroopers

I’m thrilled to be part of a new Travel Channel TV show, which is being filmed worldwide. I can’t tell you much about it yet, due to contractual agreements — but I can hint that it involves Japan, a family, and all sorts of weird cultural activities. Don’t worry: I’ll fill you in before it airs, so you can tune in.

(Above are some funny moments from my Norway television shoot, a little while back. Host / photographer Per Heimly had to be taped into his dancing stormtroopers suit! On the right: no matter the circumstance, Asians know how to pose.)

bali hindu temples, ubud spiritual tour

After, I’ll be spending time in beautiful Bali, Indonesia. I can’t wait to explore the Hindu temples, rice paddies of Ubud, beaches… If you have Bali travel tips, please let me know as this will be my first time in this spiritual place.

singapore marina bay sands view, skyline

I’ll also be feasting it up in Singapore — looking forward to tastings at the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, and exploring the youth districts. Once again, if you have advice for me, let me know in the comments. (Previous two photos via Wikipedia Commons.)

korean street style, seoul outfit snap

Until then, let’s take a look back at my Seoul travels last summer. Hongdae is hands down my favorite neighborhood in the city. It’s got an artsy, indie feeling that reminds me a bit of Harajuku.

In a previous post, I checked out Hongdae’s graffiti, cafes and bars. In this one, let’s explore makeup stores, cute-faced popsicles, and the latest Kpop fashion.

hongdae shopping, korean fashion

I’m wearing a mint leopard print dress by Algonquins, found at Closet Child Tokyo. My Miffy bunny bag is from the Hong Kong Miffy shop.

Hongdae’s streets are filled with smartly-dressed students from nearby Hongdik University. It’s a great area for observing the latest in Korean “Ulzzang” makeup and clothing trends. (Browse Kpop style fashion by clicking below..)

hongdae kpop clothing boutiques

Remember Eat Your Kimchi Martina’s Hongdae map? She points out a street filled with parked cars. Some of the trendiest Kpop fashion is found here. Martina says that Kpop idols wear designs straight from these racks.

cats living cat cafe seoul

I peeked inside Cat’s Living, a cat cafe located next to the Hello Kitty cafe. Locals come here to play with cats. There’s a Scottish Fold who lives there, of course!

mustoy decorate toys

Mustoy (무스토이) is a must-visit, especially if you’re on a date or looking for somewhere to go on a rainy day. It’s a combination of an art studio and cafe, where you can customize one of these adorable figurines.

Mustoy address: 1F Caliope, 344-6, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul-si

girl making mustoy, seoul

For 15,000 won ($15 US), you can choose from one of several blank white ceramic toys, vaguely shaped like a person (or perhaps a cat). Now, it’s time to get creative. Using the colorful markers and other materials provided, you can transform the Mustoy into any creature of your liking.

seoul diy draw on blank toys

On the example shelves, I saw robots, Doraemons, bearded hippies, abstract figures — the only limit is your imagination. Once you’re finished, you can choose to take your new buddy home, or leave it in the store for others to admire or even buy.

hongdae prague restaurant, Astronomical Clock

Wait, did I get teleported back to the Czech Republic? Nope, this is “Praha Castle,” a theme restaurant that re-creates Orloj, the astronomical clock in Prague’s main square. What a strange thing to see, in Seoul.

milky bee frozen yogurt

My photographers and I stopped at one of the many dessert shops for a snack. This is Milky Bee’s frozen yogurt with honeycomb on top.

nitrogen ice cream vapor seoul

Koreans love sweets, and put trendy spins on them. In my Myeongdong post, I showed you the long two-headed ice cream cones. Hongdae’s youths are currently crazy about liquid nitrogen ice cream, which releases a cloud of vapor when you put it in your mouth.

cute face decorated popsicles

Another shop sold popsicles decorated with smiling faces. I wanted the chocolate Pirate one with an eyepatch, but it was sold out.

etude house korean makeup shop

Etude House is the popular cosmetics brand, known for its girly packaging and products that let you achieve that desirable Kpop look. Etude House is big in Korea and now opening up in other markets. (I’m posing like the model in the poster.)

art box cute characters seoul

Art Box (아트박스) is the cutest gift store around. Stock up here on adorable Korean stationery and home goods — you won’t find these characters elsewhere.

artbox stationery store korea

Your friends will be forever grateful if you bring them souvenirs from Art Box, like eyeball backpacks and moustache notebooks.

luxury su noraebang, hongdae

In Seoul, karaoke is “noraebang,” and it’s a better bang for your buck than in Tokyo. Prices can be as low as $8 US a person for all night singing in a private room.

For a truly unique experience, go to Luxury Su Noraebang, located on one of the main shopping streets in Hongdae. It’s impossible to miss this big glass exterior — you can see people jumping around, singing and dancing inside!

korean karaoke parlors, noraebang

Ask for one of the “luxury” rooms with windows that overlook the street. We paid just $20 US total for an hour in this massive two-level loft.

Can you tell what it is, from the karaoke song captions? It’s of course Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen — one of the ultimate group sing-a-longs.

luxury noraebang, loft

The karaoke song system is in Korean, and if you don’t know the language, it may take a while to figure out. Try to find the button that changes the flag from Korean to British, and then you can search for songs in English by title, artist, or first words.

glass windows karaoke, hongdae seoul

Grab a tambourine and rock out to Journey, while dancing in the window and waving at curious observers below. Extra points if you can make them dance with you.

korea coolest karaoke

Did we get Rick-Rolled? Can’t believe we had a two-floor loft to ourselves, with a ladder connecting the two!

sing karaoke overlooking street

I’m sure a lot of people were amused by our antics, which they could see from outside. Photography by Jacqueline Kwok of noircorner, and Ken Yuen.

hongdae barbeque bbq restaurant

Singing works up an appetite. Where to eat, in Hongdae? There are restaurants everywhere, serving all types of international food. But when in Seoul, I say you might as eat Korean food.

Try a barbecue restaurant, since this is a local specialty. Walk around and go with your gut when you select a place. I always look for restaurants with an authentic feel, and tables full of locals.

korean hot noodle soup

If you can handle spices, you’ll enjoy Korean hot noodle soups, and soon tofu bowls.

kpop boy street style clothing

Ran into this fellow on a bicycle, dressed in Korean street style.

hongdae streets, shops

We met so many kind people in Hongdae, who went out of their way to help us find directions. Young Koreans generally speak English.

seoul cool architecture

This is the remarkable Sangsangmadang(상상마당), a building that has a cinema, performance hall, art gallery, and design shop at the ground floor.

mix match combination earrings

Lots of clever design products in here, including some that are both beautiful and functional. This, for example, lets you mix and match earring faces and borders, forming dozens of variations. If you’re having a bad day, you can have the frowny surrounded by bones!

Sangsangmadang art design

At the front, I saw display cases full of original figures. Are these peanut allergy monsters or something?

cute in korea,  robot statue

I wish I could have taken my BobbyBox friend home with me. Now you can see why Hongdae is my favorite part of Seoul: it has so many cute shops and offbeat attractions.

Check out my Eat Your Kimchi tour of Hongdae for more suggested places to visit, including cupcake shops and handmade ice cream. Shop for Kpop fashion below:

And please let me know your suggestions for Singapore, Bali and Tokyo! You’ll be able to see sneak peeks of the Travel Channel TV shoot and more, on my Instagram @lacarmina.

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H0les prism sunglasses in Hong Kong! Italian restaurant Nom, Linguini Fini, Check-In Taipei.

hong kong fashion blogger, blog

I’ll never get tired of writing about Hong Kong — I discover something new, every time I visit. The above image sums up the eccentric energy of the city, especially in the Central district. I was trying to take an outfit photo, but this dapper old Chinese man stole the show!

Read on for my favorite memories from HK: including food, fashion, lucky cats, and Miffy galore. 

cyber rave sunglasses, makeup

First, my outfit of the day. I’m looking out from the balcony of my suite at Hotel Sav in Kowloon. (Remember how I celebrated Chinese New Year with this new hotel?)

I adore my Black Milk leggings, which have an Art Nouveau print by my favorite artist: Alphonse Mucha. (You can also galaxy printed leggings from BlackMilk here.)

I’m also wearing wood sunglasses by Moat House Eyewear, and a blue coat by Alice’s Pig.

h0les prism crystal round sunglasses

And what are these prismatic marvels on my forehead! Round, trippy, kaleidoscope glasses from H0les Eyewear Lady Gaga and others are fans of these light-refracting sunglasses. I wore them as forehead goggles, since I can’t actually see clearly through them (everything shatters into a prism).

black milk leggings, street fashion

My cyber-kitty look fit with the colors and chaos of Hong Kong. In the Central district, be prepared to walk uphill and on uneven steps.

purple pink hair color

My Pirate crew and I had lunch at NOM, which stands for “Not Only Meatballs” (Address: 1-5 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, HK)

John Skeleton gives it five stars: “NOM lived up to its name by serving up one surprising twist on rustic Italian comfort food after another. ”

nom restaurant not only meatballs

Chef Fabrizio Napolitano told us that he wanted NOM to be the kind of place you go with family and close friends to enjoy an intimate atmosphere. With each dish, the chef personally came to our table to tell us about the story and inspiration behind each dish, including some of his own grandmother’s recipes.

red cocktail with herbs

“We tasted an array of cocktails, my personal favorite being a red beet whiskey concoction with hint of thyme.”

burrata cheese salad

I could have eaten five plates of NOM’s burrata (cheese) and tomato salad. What appears to be simple ingredients are chosen with the utmost care.

meatballs, central hong kong restaurant

The classic meatballs lived up to their name: nom, nom, nom! Chef Napolitano only purchases beef from family businesses in New Zealand and Australia, which take an ethical approach to raising livestock.

mini burger sliders

The sliders were also a hit, and a perfect example of how the chef brings modern interpretations to heritage flavors.

shredded coconut paleo dessert

We lapped up every bite of the caramelized banana/ginger/sesame seed dessert topped wdith goat milk gelato. I also adored the lemon tart, and ordered a second scoop of the cardamom gelato. (You can order this for yourself, at NOM in Central.)

homeless furniture store hong kong

We walked down the street to visit an interior design store, Homeless. Look who is peering from the window… Miffehhh!

miffy toys, homeless central

This lifestyle store sells a wide array of modern furniture, lights, home decor and gifts… Such as these fat-faced Miffy bunny toys.

cat ears hairstyle, holes sunglasses lady gaga

Their ears look a bit like my horns hairstyle, which is the work of Stephanie Hoy at Stratosphere Hair in Vancouver. (Can’t get enough of these prismatic H0les Sunglasses.)

miffy lamp, interior design store

John Skeleton ponders the Mr. Maria Miffy XL lamp. (Remember I have one in my room?)

hong kong modern furniture

The Netherlands lighting designer also has a smiling child and bear lamp, both carried in the HK Homeless store.

year of goat statue pmq

We continued our walk to PMQ, a constantly changing hub of artist studios and shops. (I wrote about PMQ in this post, with tons of photos from inside.)

heavy metal hand pose

Posing in front of the deconstructed, meat-like Year of the Goat statue.

year of sheep decorations

It was inspiring to see how artists created modern works that celebrated Chinese New Year. This one strings together gold origami to form a giant sheep.

pmq sheep bicycles

On the cute and weird side… There was a sheep-carousel that let children pedal tricycles in a circle.

elizabeth lau, refinery hong kong

We stopped by to see our designer friend Elizabeth Lau at The Refinery HK. (Remember we filmed at her shop last time?)

video games print dress

The Refinery always has something quirky on the racks, such as this Nelson Blackle dress with a retro video game motif.

check in taipei food

Time to eat again (that’s what locals do, in Hong Kong!) I was intrigued by Check-In Taipei, a new restaurant that takes inspiration from Taiwanese street food. (Address: G/F, 27 Hollywood Road, Central)

My Pirate team and I sampled the Chinese New Year “lucky menu”. We were impressed by the creative dishes, like purple yam mochi balls served on a Ping Pong platter. 

creative hong kong cocktails

John writes: “I have to admit that I wasn’t all that aware of what kinds of dishes defined Taiwanese cuisine, but after checking out of Check-In Taipei, I felt like I had taken a grand tour of the country’s finest. Everything is taken one step beyond to elevate each aspect of the dining experience. The pearls in the bubble tea are not just handmade every day, but they are also only kept for a few hours before being replaced in order to ensure that every single one has the right texture and consistency.”

modern taiwanese fusion restaurant

I enjoyed hearing the folktakes that inspired the “lucky” dishes. Braised Pork Nachos are mixed to symbolize success, pepper pig ears remind you to “listen and learn,” while barbeque prawns encourage you to “laugh out loud.”

John recommends the chicken and waffles, which is “elevated to haute cuisine here. The chicken is marinated in an array of spices, and pineapple chutney joins the waffle to create a satisfying combination of texture and flavor.”

tiramisu dessert cocktail, check-in taipei

Don’t leave without trying the “Tea-Ramisu” cocktail. John says, “The Taiwanese are apparently known for their hospitality, and Check-In Taipei certainly takes that to heart, as I left with a full stomach and a warm feeling that told me it wouldn’t be long before I checked in again.”

central hong kong stairs, graffiti

It’s a good thing that you walk a lot in Hong Kong… because we seem to eat nonstop here! As you probably gleamed by now, the hottest new restaurants are usually in the Central district.

(Photos by Naomiyaki, Eric Bergemann, Melissa Rundle and La Carmina.)

hong kong italian restaurant, linguini fini

We had a cozy meal together at Linguini Fini (49 Elgin Street, Central). John writes: “Home-style Italian cooking is the name of the game here, and judging by the packed seating and lively atmosphere that we experienced, it’s definitely a hit with the locals in Hong Kong.”

“Linguini Fini keeps it simple and casual, the perfect place to relax with a group of friends and share a few slices of mouthwatering brick-oven pizza and a bowl of pasta. The Radiatore alla Vodka was particularly memorable, with the vodka adding an unusual but surprisingly delicious touch to the mix of homemade pasta, ‘Nduja, mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil.”

lucky waving cat gold statue

I’ll leave you with photos of “fortune cats” in Hong Kong. This one was guarding the back of our taxi.

maneki neko lucky cats

Manek nekos aren’t only popular in Japan. You’ll see them everywhere in Hong Kong, waving their paws to bring in luck.

hello kitty christmas lights

Hello Kitty is also huge in Hong Kong. Literally: this light display took up the front of a building.

big cat statue tsim sha tsui

Yet another “maoo maoo”, towering over pedestrians in Tsim Sha Tsui. Love the random-ness of HK.

steampunk clockwork nail art, chinese new year nails

I leave you with my two latest nail art designs, by Glam Nail Studio. Chinese New Year and sakura blossom nails, with my Scottish Fold cat raising his paw. Currently, I have steampunk Gothic nail art… in time for my trip to England and Iceland!

rupaul battle of seasons tour poster

And I just confirmed… I’ll be reporting from the RuPaul’s Battle of the Seasons extravaganza in Reykjavik! These all-star drag queens will be heating it up, in the land of ice. Can’t wait to cheer on my favorites like Sharon Needles and Bianca del Rio (who I saw in San Francisco).

You too can see the ladies in the UK, Iceland and Barcelona during their world tour, happening now. Join me and pick up tickets on the RuPaul BOTS World Tour site.

I’ll be interviewing the performers backstage — got questions for your favorite drag queen? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to keep track of my Iceland adventures on my Instagram @lacarmina.

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