Category Archive for Cute Yummy Time

Hawaiian Paradise! Beautiful Maui, Hawaii hotel: Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. Chef Pang of Ko restaurant, plantation cuisine.


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La Carmina in Hula-Land! I love how my Nanette Lepore dress flows; she’s an incredible designer.

Red Malibu silk dress: gifted by Nanette Lepore. Get the same one here, or try the strapless version.
Wedge sandals: Kenneth Cole (available here.)
Black cat on my purse: by BlaBlaHospital, stolen from Seby

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For the last two days of the Maui press trip, I stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. I had a large one-bedroom suite to myself, with a balcony overlooking the pools and gardens.

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My filmmaker Melissa and I felt like we’d tripped into Kubla Khan’s Xanadu.

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The Fairmont Kea Lani has several swimming pools (including adult-only), private beach access, and a koi fish pond that my cat would love.

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I turned the flowers around me into a hair fascinator. My skull-tastic bracelet, gifted by Good Art, matches my nail art.

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We filmed at the new open-air restaurant Ko.

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I adored Chef Tylun Pang. His menu is lovingly inspired by plantation cuisine (a harmony of influences from the workers’ home countries of Japan, China, Philippines and Korea). As he put it, “The folks in my kitchen are cooking their grandparents’ recipes.”

Ingredients are sourced locally, from relationships of trust. We said “cheers” on camera and tried his ahi tuna on a stick, grilled on hot stone. Phenomenal.

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Everything we tried was clean, simple, fresh. I ended up drinking three pomegranate cucumber mojitos (right).

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Examples of his Asia-Hawaii dishes: shrimp and soba, poke (raw fish salad), calamari.

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The macrobiotic bento box was perfectly balanced. Ko’s menu has entire categories for raw, vegan, gluten-free, and heart-healthy.

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Eating sushi with Chef Pang, overlooking the pool… one of the most heartfelt dining experiences in my life. I interviewed him for my travel video, so you’ll see more of our interactions soon.

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What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had recently, and why? What would you most like to eat from Ko’s menu?

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CUTE JAPANESE STATIONERY, PENS, KAWAII HOME ACCESSORIES. SWIMMER & OUTLET: SOUVENIR SHOPS, STUDIO ALTA SHINJUKU.


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Caution. These photos from the Swimmer store (in Studio Alta Shinjuku), contain cute-faced cakes and stationery. Readers may suffer from kawaii overload!

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Can you believe the bunnies and bears are edible cookies? Nothing beats dessert design in Japan.

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If you want to learn how to make adorably decorated food, please consider my book Cute Yummy Time (which has more than 70 healthy recipes).

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Pretty much everything in the Swimmer store has a cute face on it.

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At $20-30, the aprons and bags aren’t out of reach.

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Imagine filling your entire home with Swimmer stationery and home goods.

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Happy hangers, kitty lunch boxes.

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Would you use these iPhone covers? They’re too saccharine for my taste.

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I posted more photos of Swimmer here, and took photos of the Laforet store.

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Also found in this department store: Outlet. It’s filled with cute goods at low prices.

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I bought my cat the bottom left mat. He doesn’t like the texture — but will sit on it when it’s turned upside down!

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Outlet is excellent for Japan-cute souvenirs, like character socks.

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Or a Hello Kitty alarm clock. For about $13, why not.

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What do you think of these Tokyo stores? Cuteness heaven or hell?

Coming up: more photos from Shinjuku Studio Alta, including the Liz Lisa store.

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PS: Thanks to Maqaroon for illustrating me and Basil Farrow! Joanna says, “I drew him fatter and fluffier than all the other kigurumis.” She’s launched a new kawaii brand that sells postcards, stickers and prints — very sweet.

Song of the Day: Nyan Cat (seems appropriate for this post)

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CUTE DECORATED HALLOWEEN CANDY: STICKY, DESIGNER CUSTOM CANDY STORE IN HONG KONG. SMILEY FACE HANDMADE CANDIES.


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Halloween is days away! Have you got sweets for trick-or-treaters yet? I’ve got something cute up my sleeve.

Flash back to Hong Kong, when Seba and I visited Sticky, a specialty candy shop.

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Remember my cousin, who runs a cute cooking school where we made panda bread? She collaborates with Sticky, confectioner of handmade, rock-style lollies.

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The colorful, cute designs are irresistible. A frog, an elephant!

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How on Earth do you make these intricate bon-bons by hand?

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If you visit the Tsum Tsa Shui store, you can see the skilled process in action. Seba even suited up and joined them behind the counter!

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First, the candymakers spread a hot colored sugar-water mixture, and make abstract shapes. Once it firms up, the slab is sectioned by color.

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Seba learned that candy can weigh a lot. He stretched out the orange portion with a hook, to change the color and texture.

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The various colored sections are assembled and rolled together, to form a giant happy face.

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Then, the boys stretched it to a thin and fragile point.

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Seba chopped the strand into dime-size pieces. Behold: each one has a cross-eyed happy face on it! We personalized our bag with a custom label: “By La Carmina + Seba.”

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We had so much fun at Sticky, and the owner is a sweetheart. I hope you’ll swing by for a free sample! (Shop B201, B2F, K11 Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong)

Sticky also has locations in Singapore, Malaysia and Sydney.

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Later on, we went out for a Hong Kong nightcrawl with my friend Heidi, who has visited me in Tokyo. I’m wearing a cat-eared top by Spider (lots of HK Gothic clothes are available in my Garage Sale!)

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There’s not much of an alternative/Gothic party scene here. However, we found our types of people at Le Boudoir, a French burlesque/cocktail bar in Soho. (BF, 65 Wyndham St, Central, HK.)

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Inside, there were chaises under chandeliers. We tried a Versailles cocktail, but preferred the spicy honey one.

All of my Hong Kong and Macau posts are in this category — including info on Gothic Lolita Kawaii shopping. Give it a gander.

Do you have a sweet tooth? What are your favorite candies?

Song of the Day: Zola Jesus – Night (Have you heard of this Gothic-artsy musician yet?)

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PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS.


PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Cute cooking runs in La Carmina’s family — and here’s the proof! My cousin Amanda Yuen runs a Hong Kong cooking school, Princess Cake House, specializing in cute food and fun, decorated desserts. Sebastiano and I joined a class, where we learned how to make adorable panda bread, while chomping on Rilakkuma’s chocolate ear.

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Seba’s yellow cat shirt: Hyoma, from the I.T. store.
La Carmina’s Goth-cute tank top: Black Peace Now, from Closet Child Tokyo
Pink and silver flower necklace: gifted from Soho Hearts

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

The workshop, located in Fo Tan, was bustling with about 40 students. My Rilakkuma bear apron matches Amanda’s chocolate bread creation.

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Every weekend, the instructors teach students how to make adorable sweets, like panda bear bread.

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Who came for the lesson? Seriously, everyone: kids, female friends, couples, a headhunter from the UK. Amanda won a cake decorating award in Japan, so she’s well qualified to teach.

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Hazel demonstrates the steps while the students watch. Pop quiz: can you find Seba in this photo?

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

The layering of the black, white and green (matcha-flavored) dough…

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

… results in panda faces on every slice of bread. Kawaii!

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

As you may know, I wrote a cookbook, Cute Yummy Time (published by Penguin Books). It’s about how to make healthy food fun — by decorating it to look like cute characters! You can find more info here.

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

What a fun cooking school, with smiling objects everywhere. Using this wooden rolling pin, can you guess what I did to Seba?

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Seba’s munching turned the cute bear’s face into a ghost. Using the torch, he made a creme brulee crust.

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Amanda also baked dainty cakes and pastel macaroons. She let us eat whatever we wanted — and we did!

PANDA BREAD RECIPE: LESSONS AT A CUTE COOKING SCHOOL IN HONG KONG. RILAKKUMA BEAR, CAKE DECORATION LESSONS, hong kong cooking lessons, hk cooking school, chinese cooking, cute bento decoration techniques, princess cake house, food workshop, best desserts hong kong, how to make panda bread, panda bear bread, cute bear loaf, sanrio, hello kitty, baking

Whenever I travel to a new place, I enjoy taking cooking lessons; it’s a rewarding way to learn about the culture and pick up new foodie skills. And why not add some cuteness to the mix?

If you visit Hong Kong, I hope you’ll pay a visit to Princess Cake House. Cooking classes are held in Cantonese, but you can email them and ask for my cousin Amanda. She’ll make sure you don’t get lost in translation.

Have you ever taken a cooking lesson? Or tried cooking cute? My bento-decoration-inspired book is available to buy here.

PS: Seba and I have SO many photos to share… Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence with Luisa Via Roma. Plus two fashion design collaborations to be released this month. Patience please!

Song of the Day: Yelle – Safari Disco Club (French electro; you can stream the entire album.)

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