Category Archive for Fims + Videos

The Hippest Places in Portland: new travel video! Food Trucks, art hotels & hipsters.

carmen yuen, la carmina, goth hair

Hip, hip, hooray! My Portland travel video is out on Business Insider, in which I explore the city’s weird and wonderful subcultures. In a lot of ways, it’s my favorite episode so far.

I’m biting my nails to hear what you think… Watch the video above and on BI. Did you laugh at my “fairy dance” and pirate torture scene?

brickbat goth club portland, lovecraft bar

My travel series wouldn’t be possible without these two : Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann, who did all the shooting, editing and production. It’s hard to find people who you can successfully travel, work and Goth-party with!

nightmare before christmas halloween makeup

In our video, we take you inside Portland’s underground subcultures. This includes a live performance of the Nightmare Before Christmas…

goth christmas tree decorations

… complete with a spooky tree, covered with crows and brains.

tim burton halloween display

We also went to the Goth-friendly Lovecraft bar (a tribute to the horror writer) and an underground warehouse party, Steep and Thorny.

1970s vintage white fur coat

I loved Portland’s vintage clothing selection. Been searching for a disco dream-coat like this all my life.

halloween bokeh

Bokeh and ominous reflections, in the window of steampunk boutique Wells & Verne.

sexy steampunk girl art

So many things about Portland are “me” to a T. Such as this steam-girl painting, inspired by Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha.

buddha rainbow mural

Or this rainbow Buddhist mural on the wall of my room, at the Jupiter Hotel.

velvet devil wine

This hipster hotel must have been expecting me. Velvet Devil wine and green apples in the lobby…

art gallery jupiter hotel

… alongside modern art by local painters.

cat chalk drawing

Portland’s culture is all about creativity. My room at the Jupiter Hotel had a chalkboard door, and First Mate Naomi drew a cat on it.

avalon theater sign portland

I’ll leave you with some bonus shots. This is the Avalon Theater, next to our vegan brunch cafe Paradox. I could have walked around PDX all day long, simply shooting photos.

mismatched color tights

Naomi’s mis-matched tights match the autumn foliage.

orange fall leaves

The Pacific Northwest may be grey and rainy, but you get all four seasons and there is nature everywhere.

jolly roger pirate restaurant

Arr! We went to a food truck pit stop, near the Jolly Roger. We sampled Mexican tacos, crepes and pumpkin butter sandwiches.

food truck, jambalaya

My favorite was the jambalaya, cooked fresh from a Creole truck. (New Orleans is on my list of must-visit places…)

anthem brewing, apple cider beer

PDX is proud of its local craft beer breweries. I enjoyed the pear and cherry ciders by Anthem Brewing.

spooky reflection window

Now you know why Portland is now one of my favorite American cities. Intrigued by the quirky indie culture here? Then please take a few minutes to watch our Portland travel video, highlighting the hippest parts of the city. (Keep your ears peeled for the evil laugh!)

How are you liking my travel video series? For more photos and tips, here are all my posts about Portland alt travel.


My Thailand Luxury Travel Video! Bangkok pop culture at boutique hotel, Sofitel So.

bangkok view, boutique hotel

I loved getting to know the glam side of Bangkok, thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. There’s so much more to this city than backpackers, banana pancakes… and dare I mention ladyboys?

travel video host, episodes

See for yourself, in the latest episode of my Business Insider travel video series. Watch it here — isn’t Bangkok’s pop culture fascinating?

Photos and video by me and Seby. Our Thai adventure included disco clubs, skeleton corsets, and an amusing encounter on the way to Siam mall!

lolita fashion lookbook

We also visited two sweet designers, who are making Lolita and Japanese-style clothing (here’s a full post about ChuChu). Wonderful to see how the subculture is thriving in unexpected places.

absinthe drip, glass cups

I couldn’t have stayed in a more beautiful hotel, the Sofitel So. They even served absinthe in the lobby.

fashion club lounge

VIP members get access to the club lounge, which is stocked with food, cocktails and fashion.

christian lacroix couture paintings

Christian Lacroix designed the interior. His colorful couture is unmistakable.

le petit prince chocolates, little prince

The ground floor contained a Bonnet chocolate shop. I spotted Little Prince sweets, and Parisian shoes and handbags.

earth theme room, cool hotel design

Sofitel So BKK is inspired by the five elements. I stayed in this funky Earth-themed suite.

air element theme room, cloud art

The other themes are Water, Wood, Fire, and Air — represented by modern cloud art.

freestanding modern bathtub

The entire hotel had glorious views of Lumpini Park. This is a far cry from the Khao San Road hostels…

deer antlers sculpture

Stark art is everywhere. I saw a child climbing on this white deer statue.

bangkok modern art store

I spy Ted the Bear in the gift shop.

thai writing, carvings

The lobby’s design mixes traditional and modern.

purple haired girl

Also check out the romantic photoshoot I did inside the Sofitel So Bangkok. (My hair is now blue; these are older photos).)

business insider travel videos

Please take a minute to watch my Bangkok travel video, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!

bunny rabbit art

Did this series change your impressions of Thailand? What is the loveliest hotel you’ve ever slept in?

Travel hosting in Zagreb & Belgrade: wine bars, a comedy club & Slovenia scenery.

tvornica kulture, zagreb alternative music concerts

I’m smiling wide… because my travel episode about Belgrade and Zagreb is out! Watch the third and final installment of my Eastern European journey, featured on the front page of Business Insider.

In this video, my journey takes me to floating raft bars, cutting edge fashion stores, and much more. I hope our coverage will encourage you to visit Croatia and Serbia in person.

Video and photography by Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann
Japanese subtitles translation by Jotaro Tojo

hello kitty tshirt, skeleton leggings

Here are the rest of the photos from my coolhunting journey in Zagreb. Our friend Andrea introduced us to divIT, a young tech company that is revolutionizing the way people experience video games.

Do you like my “two buns” hair? I’m wearing a Hello Kitty KiLaRa top, and leggings from Izzue HK.

iron man dance, 3d modeling program

Inspired by Kineckt technology, this “3D Gesture Recognition” program lets you control an avatar (Iron Man, The Hulk) with your body movements.

rollercoaster ride 3d virtual reality mask

divIT is also working on a virtual reality headset that is a giant leap forward from the 1990s versions. Put on the Oculus, and you find yourself in a 360 degree fantasy world (look up and behind you – there are no blank areas). I felt like I was in a rickety roller-coaster, climbing up… and then throttling down. The rush feels real; I was hanging on to my seat!

Studio Smijeha, zagreb comedy club

Speaking of ground-breaking, Andrea took us to Studio Smijeha (Vlaška 92), the first comedy club in the former Yugoslavia. In this region, locals aren’t familiar with the concept of stand-up. As Seinfeld would say, “What’s the deal with that?”

stand up comedy, zagreb croatia

It’s tough, engaging audiences when they’ve never experienced stand-up comedy before. I’m impressed by the Smijeha crew’s ambition and drive; they write hours of new material each week, and set high standards for their performances. Before long, I’m sure they will be making waves.

Wine Bar Basement zagreb

During this trip, I ate some of my best meals in Zagreb. Near the base of the “funicular” (remember what this is?), there lies Wine Bar Basement (Tomićeva ulica 5). This bunker-like space has a huge menu of Croatian wines, which have recently been getting raves from connoisseurs.

basement, zagreb wine bar, croatian wines

We paired our red wines with a plate of sheep and goat cheese, prosciutto, cranberries and other munchies. Let me tell you… these cheeses from local farms have so much more flavor. Nothing from the Whole Foods specialty corner can compare.

Strossmartre zagreb, outdoor concerts

We hung out with Tom, vocals/guitar of the swing and rhythm n’ blues band, Tom & The Twisters. He took us to Strossmartre or “Summer on Stross,” a seasonal festival that transforms Upper Town into celebration of music, dancing, and drinking.

Strossmartre festival, croatia pirates

Arr, we behold Pirates! Locals hung out under the colored lights, listening to the live bands and dancing in a circle. Down the street was another free event: Summer Cinema Gradec, an open-air screening of art films.

missing the train, railway

Thanks to Andrea for being an incredible friend and guide — we wouldn’t have known about these places without her. We hope you’ll get to experience her hospitality too, by renting her Zagreb apartment or Croatian seaside apartment when you visit.

slovenia landscape, eastern european scenery lakes

One of the best parts of traveling by train: the front-row scenic views. My film team and I passed through Slovenia, during our final ride from Zagreb to Vienna. These photos don’t do the country justice; you really have to be there in person, seeing the picture-perfect farms and sun reflecting off the lakes…

europe trains, eurail pass review

None of these experiences would have been possible without our partner Thanks for the comfortable journey, and we hope you’ll check out their passes and bundles — there’s no better way to discover Europe.

Don’t forget to read all my Eastern European posts, and watch my Croatian/Serbian travel video on Business Insider. Were you surprised by what we found in these countries?


Tokyo Christmas Lights display: Shinjuku southern terrace bakery. Vienna & Bratislava Goth travel video.

cute face purse, mercibeaucoup furry bag

‘Tis the season to be jolly! I had a wonderful time in Tokyo, working on a European TV shoot. During my downtime, I took photos of the city’s Christmas light displays and cute holiday gifts, which I’ll share with you in this post.

Another reason to make merry: my Vienna and Bratislava travel episode is published on the front page of Business Insider! Please enjoy my latest video (featuring Austrian Gothlolis) and the “bokeh-ful” photos below.

Christmas lights japan, fashion snaps

This wall of lights was the perfect place to shoot my new :3-faced purse, from the Mercibeaucoup store in Marui Shinjuku Annex. Isn’t it darling? This dog-like creature comes in tan-colored faux fur as well, but I chose the blue one to match my current hair.

sugar skull sweater, sourpuss cardigan

I went for an all-purple coordinate.

Sugar skull purple cardigan: gifted by Sourpuss Clothing. (I also own their cat-face cardigan, which you can buy online.)
Plaid purple skirt: Peace Now, similar to this one available for sale
Faux fur eggplant colored scarf: Holt Renfrew. Almost identical to this scarf.

shinjuku southern terrace christmas tree lights

My business partner Naomi shot these photos of me in Shinjuku Southern Terrace. During the holiday season, this passageway is lit up with little LEDs, which snake around the trees and walls.

christmas lights bokeh, xmas lights

Xmas displays are the perfect opportunity to produce “bokeh”, or these nifty glowing balls of lights.

tokyo japan christmas decorations, trees

In Japan, not very many people identify as Christians. Nevertheless, Christmas decorations and lights are everywhere. This impressive annual display turns the Southern Terrace into a dream-land.

christmas penguins, shinjuku tokyo japan

You’ll rarely see religious iconography. Instead, the stars of the show are cute winter creatures… like these penguins!

cute xmas displays japan

Judging from the holiday goods for sale, the Japanese put “kawaii” above all else.

cute bear christmas tree decoration

This Xmas ornament is a perfect example: it incorporates a teddy bear, stars and bon-bons.

cute japanese reindeer sticker

Or how about this kawaii Rudolph the Reindeer sticker, from a 100 yen store.

tokyo store windows, mylord

Or a Santa Claus pig. People do exchange Christmas gifts and have gatherings with friends, but not many attend church.

Christmas Russian Dolls japan

Nonetheless, there’s a merry feeling in the air. It’s a great time of the year to pick up little presents, like these Russian Doll cookies.

gontran cherrier tokyo, artisan boulanger

The bright Southern Terrace is home to one of the best bakeries in Tokyo: Gontran Cherrier. This window image makes me think of “The Little Matchstick Girl.”

tokyo japan gingerbread cookies

I’m a big fan of gingerbread, and pressed my nose to this display.

christmas cookies tokyo, shinjuku bakery

Gontran Cherrier has many pumpkin baked goods, including pumpkin curry buns. I also found yuzu cheesecake and black squid ink pizza.

tree shaped croissants

Croissants get a Christmas tree twist, and are dusted with powdered sugar snow.

japanese department store display, odakyu

All over Tokyo, you’ll find wonderful department store displays. This child seems to like the steampunk-y window at Odakyu.

laduree christmas box

Ritzy boutiques like Laduree aren’t the only ones that get into the Christmas spirit.

algonquins blue goth boots

Even the Goth Punk store Algonquins “makes the Yuletide gay.”

smiley face animal purse, kawaii bags

I did quite a bit of “me to me” shopping in Tokyo. My funny-faced Mercibeaucoup bag is among my favorite new purchases.

lumine japan, christmas tree

Lots more Japan winter fashion to show you, including a Nightmare Before Christmas collection from Lumine.

shallow depth of field, bokeh xmas lights

My faux fur purse is large enough to hold my Sony DSLR a700 camera, which I’m taking everywhere with me now. (The extra weight is worth it, for photos like these.)

rainbow bokeh lights, shallow focus

To achieve bokeh and shallow focus, I use a prime lens (Sony 50mm f/1.8). A quick way to achieve this effect: get in aperture mode (A on the dial), and stop down to a low f-number.

bokeh effect, photography japan

I shot this string of rainbow lights right outside the Shinjuku station east exit.

shinjuku neon sign

The “Shinjuku” neon sign, with a traditional man and woman, always makes me smile. Isn’t Japan amazing during the winter?

PS: My newest travel episode, about Vienna and Bratislava’s cool culture, is released! Watch me hang out with Austrian Gothic Lolitas, visit a rockabilly stores, and drink absinthe in a Slovakian bar.

bratislava slovakia graffiti art

I leave you with a bonus photo of Slovakia’s spooky street art. Would you do a European train trip like mine? I hope you learned something new from our Business Insider video; let us know your feedback in the comments. Happy holidays!