Category Archive for Miami

Miami to Maldives, Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong: Travel blogger’s year in review, pt 1.

shinjuku hanazono shrine torii, red shinto gates

Ready to ring in the New Year?

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know it’s time for my annual Year in Review. This gives me a chance to reflect on the past 12 months, and share some bonus photos with you. So let’s head straight (or gaily forward, as my friends would say) to the first half.

art deco girl, 1930s hair curls

My site’s focus and projects grew significantly in 2013. At this point, I’m traveling at least once a month to a far-off place, usually with my film team or a TV show. It’s my passion to report first-hand on alternative cultures around the world.

Last January, I escaped the cold at Miami Art Deco Weekend. I caught up with friends and did this retro 1920s photoshoot with Mayleen G. Enjoy the Florida posts, including a Bettie Page runway show, in this category.

david bowie theme restaurant cafe

I’ll never tire of going to Tokyo. I continue to be in Japan several times a year for television hosting and arranging jobs. Each time, there’s something new to experience, like the David Bowie cafe, Alphonse Mucha exhibit…

pirate themed restaurant japan

… and King of the Pirates theme restaurant. Best of all, I get to have fun with my friends. (Interested in hiring us? Learn about our TV production and consulting services.)

maldives boat ride

Next, my filmmakers and I were invited to a very special place: the Maldives. We fell in love with eco-luxury resort Gili Lankanfushi, and I got to live out my Treasure Island fantasies. Here’s our Maldives video and all the sunny photos.

abu dhabi head covering mosque

We also landed in the Middle East for the first time. Dubai was a sci-fi wonderland, and I loved walking through the egg-like Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi. Discover the Arabian peninsula’s grandeur in these blog posts.

montreal bagel shops

There’s no need to jet to far-off places to have an adventure. I featured my home country – Canada – in a series about Montreal’s Goth culture and Kinetik Festival. One of the highlights was bagel-tasting with Aesthetic Perfection’s Daniel Graves.

hong kong model, fashion blogger

It appears a lot of people read my site for the Hong Kong travel guides, which makes me happy. This city is full of energy and pop culture oddities, like cute food and giant floating ducks. (Intrigued? Then see my Hong Kong tips.)

japanese prayer cards, shinto ema

I leave you with an image from Shinjuku’s Hanazono Shrine. Shinto worshipers write wishes on these little wood plaques (called ema), and leave them for the kami to hopefully deliver.

On that note, do you have any New Years resolutions? What do you hope to achieve or improve in 2014?

british shorthair coupari fold

I think we can all resolve to take care of ourselves, do meaningful work, and treat our furry companions like the kings they are! I’m shooting everything with DSLR now, so you can expect more images like the one above.

Coming up next: part II of my annual reflections.

Travel video: Art Deco Weekend 2013! The Betsy Hotel review, Miami restaurants & Ocean Drive.

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Do the Charleston, the Charleston! I’m very happy with my latest travel video, about Miami’s Art Deco Weekend, now published on Huffington Post Travel.

This episode recounts my Miami adventures, from the Bettie Page fashion show to the flapper gala. Be sure to watch until the end, or you’ll miss the “jazz hands”!

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I always appreciate your feedback about my work. If you’d like to see more alternative travel coverage, I’d be grateful if you can share my Huff Post article (or Like below):

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Shout-out to my collaborators for sharing my passion. I’m wearing a fringe top by Peace Love World, and a striking scarf with a face by Pitsart.

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My host, The Betsy Hotel, is consistently rated one of the top in Miami, and I quickly found out why. The staff genuinely cares about your comfort; there’s an atmosphere of home here.

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All around the hotel, there were intimate portraits of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The rock and roll lounge lit up a reflective film ceiling.

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The rooftop garden overlooks South Beach (right across the road). The Betsy’s on Ocean Drive, but a few minutes walk from the main strip, so you’re not surrounded by noisy revelers. It was a perfect stay; I’ll be back.

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At night, Ocean Drive’s Art Deco hotels glow with neon.

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Do you recognize The Carlyle? It’s where The Birdcage movie was filmed.

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Miami’s a winter haven for many East Coast dwellers.

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During Art Deco Weekend, there was live music all throughout the district.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible seafood I had in Miami. Lantao Restaurant, located in the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, is inspired by Asian street food. I started with the “28 Days Later” cocktail: several types of rum (arr!) and house-made grenadine. Followed up with well-spiced tom yum soup, grilled paiche (South American tropical fish), and ended with pear cake — marvelous.

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I mostly stayed in South Beach, but ventured to Coconut Grove to eat at Jaguar Ceviche. Six types of marinated raw fish on a spoon… mojitos… sangria… blue tortilla chips… grilled mahi mahi… is your mouth watering yet? Jaguar’s service and flavors were spot on, and the space is great for a big group.

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Wynwood Village is also a must-visit (although be careful at night, and in certain parts). It’s an artsy district with colorful murals like this anime one.

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I think this psychic would predict my imminent return to Miami… hopefully in December, for Art Basel!

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Please take a minute to watch my Art Deco Weekend video. Did you laugh at the dancing scenes?

What are your favorite hang-outs and shops in Miami? Would you be interested in seeing me cover Art Basel?

Leopard print retro dress, flapper makeup & finger waves! 1920s Art Deco party in Miami.

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While I put together my Tokyo coverage, let’s pop back to Florida for an outfit post. I didn’t visit any Miami Goth clubs earlier this year, but glammed up for Art Deco Weekend’s Speakeasy & Gala.

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The invitation read: “Come as a Flapper, or come as you are. Dress like a Gangster, or a Silent Movie Star.” So I wore…

Leopard print retro dress: gifted by Bettie Page Clothing (I wrote about their fashion show)
White flapper-style coat: I.T store in Hong Kong

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The party was held in a secret location. These two coat-tails gave me a secret key, and I stepped through the speakeasy doors…

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… into a world of the Roaring Twenties. (With Amanda of Miami Design Preservation League).

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Above three images by Stephane Chiche.

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It was fun to people-watch; quite a few party-goers got into the swing of the era.

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We sampled wines, caviar and other delicacies.

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There was a silent auction…

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… and live music by the South Florida Jazz Orchestra.

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We goofed around by posing like the paintings. Zack gives a Marlene Dietrich stare-down.

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Can’t wait to show you our video, which involves funny dance scenes.

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Have you ever been to a 1920s themed party? Or dressed like a flapper?

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I leave you with this sunrise view of South Beach. You can see all my Miami posts here.

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And don’t forget to add my social networks (below) for sneak peeks of my Tokyo TV adventures. I ate Totoro sweets, hung with Bagelheads and Stormtroopers, went to a Pirate restaurant and steampunk party, made a drag queen film with Yukiro…

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Bettie Page Clothing: 1920s hairstyles & retro fashion show. Art Deco Weekend Miami.

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Goths in hot weather… what do you think of my look for Day 2 of Art Deco Weekend Miami?

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Since some of you requested it, here are closeups of my fingerwave curls and Deco nail art.

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Across the street from my Betsy hotel: South Beach’s confectionery colors.

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I’m more passionate about Art Deco than ever, after seeing the works in person.

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Art Deco Weekend hosts a number of events, including a classic car display. On Ocean Drive, there was a lineup of automobiles from the early 20th century to the 1980s.

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Red fringe dress top: gifted by Peace Love World (Miami, Florida label)
Scallop shorts: Hello Kitty KiLaRa collaboration, bought in Hong Kong (see shop photos in this post)

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This time, I tied a Pitsart silk scarf around my shoulders. There are endless ways to wear these flowing scarves, with prints inspired by paintings and music.

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My Peace Love World top (or dress, depending on how you style it) matches the red carpet.

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I met up with Mayleen Gonzalez, photographer and owner of Photo Boutique, and Annie Vasquez of top Miami style blog The Fashion Poet. (Remember our fashion blogger photoshoot?)

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Together, we enjoyed the Bettie Page fashion show. The cat-eyed decorated sunglasses and flirty retro swimsuits were highlights. Loved the pincurls and ponytails on the models.

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Elegant 1940s and 50s-inspired dresses from the latest collections.

Here’s a 30-second video of the runway show. I have a full travel video about my Miami adventure to come, stay tuned.

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To learn more about Florida’s Art Deco history, visit the MDPL (Miami design preservation league). This celebration happens each January.

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Have you ever tried a flapper hairstyle like this? Or dressed up retro-style, with scarves?

PS: I’m using the Vine app, username “La Carmina.” Add me for silly Tokyo videos.

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