Category Archive for Hawaii

Writing for Huffington Post Weird News! Maui fashion video on HuffPost Travel: Nina Kuna’s Hawaiian tropical jewelry.

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It’s been a good week… I’ve begun writing for Huffington Post Weird News, and my Hawaii video is published on Huff Post Travel!

My film team and I jumped at the chance to interview Maui’s chefs and designers. But what awaited us? I had daunting visions of eating a roast pig while wearing a coconut bra.

The island, it turns out, has open-air restaurants influenced by Asian plantation culture, and a surprisingly forward fashion scene. Watch my travel video on Huffington Post to see what I uncovered.

I hope the “dressing room montage” made you smile! I’ve always wanted to film one.

If you’re enjoying my work, please support with a Like below. Thanks for sharing the article on your social networks.

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So, what did I learn in Maui? This “shaka” hand sign. Shake it to say “hang loose.”

I also found out that Maui designers are a talented bunch, warm and influenced by their beach-and-wave surroundings.

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My crew and I filmed with Nina Kuna, young jewelry designer. She visited Maui, fell in love and made it home. Her design’s colors and materials reflect her love for the island.

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Nina turns natural found materials, such as shells washed up on Maui shores, into jewelry castings.

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Her braided wrap bracelet, strung with a gold-cast cowrie shell, is one of her most popular items. She generously gave my filmmaker and me a bracelet each! Nina also sells rings, earrings, necklaces, and bangles via her site.

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La Carmina’s outfit…
Floral printed soirée silk skirt: gifted by Nanette Lepore — get it here
Black and white sunhat: from Hong Kong (similar to this hat by Emma Fielden). I decorated it with a fresh yellow protea flower.
White layered top: vintage
Lace jacket: handmade
Skull leather bracelet: gifted by Good Art

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Nina’s work space, strung with bangles and beads.

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On the wall, a mood board plots her next collection. Nina’s also a professional photographer, whose food images often appear in magazines.

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Whenever I wear her bracelet, I’ll think of Maui.

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We also filmed the Maggie Coloumbe boutique in Whaler’s Village, Lahaina. Corsets — yes!

Many of Maggie’s silk designs are inspired by her Korean heritage, such as the deep sleeves and gold prints. She first became interested in fashion as a child, playing in her grandmother’s suits.

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On this Maui press trip, I wore leather rock star accessories by Good Art Hollywood. Basil Farrow appreciates the bubble wrap they sent us.

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Mahalo also to Nanette Lepore, who dressed me in florals.

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In addition to the Travel section, I’m now also writing for HuffPost Weird News. Here’s my first article, deflating the rumors about Japanese bagel head inflation.

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I also posted a video clip: the complete National Geograhic “Taboo” segment about bagelheads! This is the only place where you can watch it in full, so take a look. (Behind-the-scenes photos by Chiara Mischke.)

PS: you can keep up with all my Huffington Post articles by following La Carmina’s author page.

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I leave you with the incomparable Hawaiian sunset under palm trees. Ahh…

Are you surprised by Maui’s local fashion scene? Did you drool over the sushi and bentos in my Hawaii video?

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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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Letarte Swimwear Shop in Paia, Maui: Hawaiian designer swimsuits! Skull & leopard print bikinis & beach clothes.


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While in Maui, I had the opportunity to interview the designer of Letarte Swimwear. Read on for skull and animal-print bikinis!

My “tropical explorer” outfit…
Floral printed soirée silk skirt gifted by Nanette Lepore. The same design is sold here
Black and white sunhat: from Hong Kong (similar to this hat by Emma Fielden). I decorated it with a fresh yellow protea flower.
White layered top: vintage
Lace jacket: handmade

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The Maui tourism board generously gave a rental car for the week. My film crew and I drove to Paia, a hippie-ish town filled with coffeeshops and boutiques. Letarte’s interior decor pays tribute to Paia’s title: “World Capital of Windsurfing.”

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I interviewed designer Lisa Letarte Cabrinha, who founded the label with her sister. In addition to swimsuits, Letarte makes cashmere zip-ups, kid’s items, and beach accessories. Can you tell that she loves animal prints?

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I always have a hard time finding swimwear that fits my personality, so I was pleased to see edgy elements like this skull print. It matches my leather wristband from Good Art.

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The swim shop also carries local jewelry and Lisa’s custom-made moisturizers.

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On the walls: artwork by her husband Pete Cabrinha, founder of Cabrinha Kites. This is their daughter, Tahiti.

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Lisa styled me in her clothes, which are remarkably flattering and comfortable. This cotton tunic with neon embroidery matches my hair color. (Pick up this beach coverup here.)

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If you’re an alternative fashionista, you might also like Letarte’s leopard print bikini and black one-piece swimsuit with a dipped neckline. Many of her designs are influenced by Maui’s natural environment, such as shell ornamentation.

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Wait til you see our travel video — there’s a fun “dressing room” montage!

What type of swimsuit do you wear, and which swim brands do you prefer? What do you think of Letarte’s designs?

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BEST MAUI LUXURY VACATION GETAWAY: WAILEA BEACH VILLAS, DESTINATION RESORTS. NANETTE LEPORE DRESS & HAIR FLOWERS.


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The places I go inspire the clothes I wear. While in Maui, my personal style took on a Hawaiian flavor. Like MacGyver, I made hair pieces out of fresh local flowers!

I’m wearing a Malibu silk dress gifted by Nanette Lepore (there’s also a strapless version.) The design is too cute, with floral print and bows at the back.

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I adapted my usual Japanese kawaii makeup for the tropics. The leather skull bracelet is gifted by Good Art — they have a rockin’ collection of USA-made accessories. As for the shell one… you’ll learn about it in an upcoming post!

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For the first part of the press trip, my film crew and I stayed at Wailea Beach Villas (Destination Resorts). These were by far the most luxurious accommodations I’ve ever experienced. Our 3-bedroom villa had its own tropical garden and private pool.

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My room had a mega walk-in closet and bathroom. As I say in the upcoming video, “The bathtub is large enough to hold a Japanese family, grandparents and all!”

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I turned the dining room’s centerpiece into a crown. Don’t the flowers remind you of bunny ears?

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The kitchen was fit for a professional.

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Chef Joss came and cooked for everyone on the press trip. After goat cheese appetizers, we ate mahi mahi with asparagus, followed by fruit with jalapeno-flavored Greek yogurt.

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The resort’s grounds were lush and flowing with waterfalls.

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I filmed a segment at the adult-only pool, designed like an oasis. My sandals are by Kenneth Cole (available here.)

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Excited to show you the Hawaii travel videos — professionally shot and edited by my talented team.

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My only regret is that I didn’t spend more time at the private beach! Thanks to the Wailea Beach Villas team for the warm hospitality. You’ve created a very special place in Maui.

What’s the nicest hotel or resort you’ve ever stayed in? Are you a fan of tropical or beach vacations?

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