MZWallace Says Aloha

25 Nov

I’ve had my eye on MZ Wallace and their line of fashionable, function-able bags for a few years now. In fact, back when I lived in New York, my office was only a few blocks from theirs! MZ Wallace is one of those brands where you could own a full collection of styles from A-Z under one designer. Now, not many labels can offer that. I’m talking mini sequin backpack, glossy maroon work purse, to lightweight nylon totes perfect for traveling. It makes sense that Designer and Co-Owner Monica shares on their site, “We began the company 15 years ago with the goal of designing lightweight, fashionable bags. Constructed with custom developed nylons and Italian leathers, the collection is designed with the idea that function and style can, and should coexist.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes there’s that ultra-cute purse, but the straps are too short, or too thin and dig into your shoulder, or that backpack with leather straps that are not too chic when mixed with summer and armpits (hey, I’m just being honest)!
Recently, Lucy, Designer and Co-owner, flew all the way to our tiny island in the Pacific to launch their first store-within-a-store at our new Bloomingdale’s at the Ala Moana Center. The MZ Wallace space within the store has a prime location, displaying their most popular and newest styles, and basically almost sold out of styles opening weekend!

I was lucky enough to attend a little brunch at Scratch Kitchen & Bakeshop with Lucy, and Sarah, from MZ Wallace, as well as a few local creatives. Laura, from Sequins at Breakfast, another Hawaii transplant, hosted our brunch and was as sweet as I hoped she would be from her blog! We noshed on chilaquiles, brussels sprouts, talked Hawaii and New York and learned a lot about the history of MZ Wallace. I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday with fashion and food!

I picked out the Large Metro Tote in Black for a classic everyday bag that I swear to you, has not left my shoulder all week. The ultra-light material doesn’t weigh my shoulder down like most oversized bags. It also has compartments inside to organize my wallet, phone, keys so I don’t have to go fishing for them in the large bag. Inside, there are three detachable mini bags, perfect for traveling, but also Lucy showed me that the entire bag itself can fit in the largest mini bag for ultimate portability. I’m such a fan of the nylon material, especially with the wet weather we’ve been having here on island. And, the leather trim gives it a luxe look. Can you tell by my gushing it’s my dream bag?
Photo credit: Cait Schlabach Photography
Well, after seeing a few of MZ Wallace’s other bags: um, hello FRINGE BACKPACK? Le swoon. I know I’ll be back at the new Bloomingdale’s shopping again soon, or hey, Christmas is coming, right?

Heating up for L*SPACE

16 Nov

Wellllll, blogging world, it’s been awhile, and I’ve missed you. So here, I’m back! I’ve been recently having some new experiences (like launching a clothing line, Hibiskiss Clothing!), and tried some new out of control products I’ve been dying to share, and visited a few must-see places. So it was time to get back over here and share a little…

So in case you’re not following me on Instagram, I’m still based in Honolulu, but I recently was in New York City for a long trip to visit family. As if perfect timing, I was invited to the Spring preview for bikini brand, L*SPACE while I was in town. I’ve been an ultra-fan of the brand for a few years now, from their boho crochet bikini backs, the paisley patterned rompers, to the ultra-chic cutouts in their fashionable but functional suits.

So I only had my iPhone on me at the preview, but here are a few sneak peeks of the line launching in February…


Criss cross tops, bow top bikinis, tasseled pareos lined the windowsill with tropical themes. It had me feeling like I was back in Hawaii already! I fell in love with this one piece, a way to show a little skin while still having a bit of coverage for paddleboarding days, or maybe after a few too many Holiday meals.


The Chloe wrap top, and crochet bottoms are two classics that never go out of style. Next season L*SPACE is also launching sun hats and handmade sandals in partnership with Cocobelle. Adorable snake sandals, wrapping up the leg, and beaded made in Italy and Bali.


Ok, how cute is this neon and white criss-cross one piece? H-O-T.


These reversible ‘kinis are the perfect bang for your buck. And can you even with this denim fabric? Too cute.


This ultra-chic romper is the ultimate beach to street happy hour look. Especially for our winter months in Hawaii, the long sleeves are clutch for the chilly breeze.


At the preview, we were treated to a Kérastase braid bar, and this insane knotted look was out of control cool. I literally was stopped on the street post-event TWICE. If only I could recreate it….


If you’re in the market for a bikini this Spring, make sure you check out L*SPACE’s website and other sites their brand is sold. You won’t regret it!

A Couple in Love, and on a Budget

24 Apr

My boyfriend, T, and I have been friends for five years now, and dating for the last two and half plus. In New York, we were both working a lot and had the means to have date night often. Over in Manhattan and Brooklyn, you can find the most delicious food for an affordable price all around the city, date night didn’t mean breaking the bank. For us now in Hawaii, there are two type of dates: the casual plate lunch, taco spot, acai/pitaya bowl brunch, and then date night. Date night means wearing makeup, heels (if my balance is good that day), and for him, no board shorts! We put in the effort for each other to make the night special. I read somewhere recently, “just because you’re married, doesn’t mean to need to stop dating.” And no, we’re obviously not married, but yes, it is easy to fall into the routine of a top knot and cutoffs and picking up our favorite pho each week and having that be date night. If you don’t make it special, you’re bound to fall into a routine and routines get boring…


Our last photo in Brooklyn before moving home to Hawaii


Here are some tips for dating on a budget:

1. Each week we plan one date night at home. We make Wednesday our bookmarked night, if plans come up that we can’t change, we move date night around but generally we try to keep Wednesdays for us.

2. Weeknight date night is cooking at home. We tried something new this week and each came up with an idea for dinner and we were going to pick our favorite of the two. Turns out, we both picked grilled steak, so “choosing” was easy. We save money by eating at home, but we still try to make it special, a bottle of wine, eating at the table not the couch, and helping each other cook and clean. I’ll be honest, I am a good cook, but T is a great cook, so this night is extra special for me.

3. Twice a month we go out to eat for date night. Unlike New York, if we want a special night out that isn’t just our go-to thai restaurant, or taco spot, it’ll be pricey. Most restaurants that are safe for me to eat at (as a Celiac), have a higher price per meal. We’ve built this night into our budget so we’re prepared for spending, and not worrying about being forced to pick the cheapest dish on the menu.

4. One of our favorite nights out are local markets around town. We have a monthly Honolulu Night Market with retail vendors, food, and music. It’s a way to go out without spending a lot, if anything at all. Sometimes we just walk around and listen to music and maybe pick up our favorite Wow Wow Lemonade. Farmer’s markets are a great “day date” spot too. We like to scour the freshest ingredients, and plan a meal with it for later that night or the week!

5. We really like to be active together. Some weekends we like to wake up early, get in a hike, and then relax on the beach for the rest of the day. In New York, we would wake up, make coffee, and go for a long walk from lower Mahattan around the water up to Tribeca. Even if you don’t have a mountain, or a beach nearby, just going for a long walk is a nice way to catch up after a busy week!

6. We try to treat each other in special ways. In New York, T would surprise me every Friday with flowers. A bouquet of peonies, or ranunculuses were under $10 at a bodega or trader joes. In Hawaii, peonies are $6 a stem! Eek. He does treat me to them on special occasions, like after my most recent surgery, but at that price Flower Friday had to be nixed. Instead, we find little ways that don’t cost a lot to treat each other: a Lanikai Juice smoothie, a bar of chocolate, a cool new home item (most recently a metallic coffee drip filter & cup, under $20). Or even cheaper, just small gestures: I love it when I come out of the shower and he’s made me my nightly cup of tea, or since I know he hates dishes, he loves when I wash the dishes post-meals he’s cooked.

I love that T is a romantic at heart, but also, treating little things as big things is what makes a relationship stay special. Making a meal together, brewing their cup of coffee while they stay in bed, I try to relish those even more than a gift or present, because that is what you’ll have for the rest of your life. We dream about trips around the world, and a house near the beach, and sharing those dreams has us looking forward to the future, but right now, in the present, there is nothing better to me than a man who will offer to run back to the grocery for Talenti double chocolate chip gelato at 9 pm because you have a craving for it. That’s love.

On Maui: Letarte

17 Apr

Our last stop of the day when we were in Paia, Maui was Letarte. Oh man, oh man was it a temptation of my credit card. I’ve been a fan of the Letarte brand for awhile now but actually seeing and feeling the pieces in person, wow, I’ve fallen more in love. These luxe looks are perfect for the elevated beachy girl. Letarte is the epitome of cool girl chic, with boho prints, bright colors in sleek designs, with the neon tassel necklace and fringe bag to match. It’s a one stop shop for an entire wardrobe overhaul, and believe me, if there was one store to do it, this would be mine. LETARTE SWIMWEAR

Sisters Lisa and Michele Letarte debuted their line in Maui but it has since grown to have stores in Manhattan, Greenwich, CT, Southern California, plus speciality retail stores. The ladies at the Maui boutique were so knowledgeable about the brand itself that I was given an insider view to the creative process, and especially loved hearing about how Lisa designs her prints, such as the skull & butterfly combo below.


Walking into the store I felt like I stepped into a super chic surf house. A home-y vibe, with bright colors, flowy fabrics, and yes, a few surfboards. Attached on the side of the store was also an art gallery with her husband’s work. What a talented duo! What I loved most about the store was the organization by color. I know what colors work best with my skin tone and prefer to shop by shade, so it was a cinch to go directly for the pieces I was interested in.



The unique print designed by Lisa. LETARTE SHARK CLUTCH

I’ve been stalking this bag for months. LETARTE TASSELSLETARTE BAG

If you couldn’t tell, this store is literally my heaven. And the best news is, they’re opening a shop on Oahu at the Royal Hawaiian Center soon. Oh, so dangerous, but I’m so excited! Check out their website if there’s a shop near you, or of course, you can always shop online…. get those credit cards ready, you’ll need it.

On Maui: Sophie Grace Maui

15 Apr

It was rainy the day we were in Paia so instead of a beach day, we were very productive shopping around town. I’ve followed Sophie Grace Maui’s instagram for over a year now and couldn’t wait to pop in when I was finally in town. Jamie, the owner, is also a “sister,” we both were members of the sorority Alpha Gamma Delta in college. Different schools, but it was such a fun connection we made online. Her photos on instagram are absolutely gorgeous and I was excited to see the store in person!


Epitomized in her hours sign, this is a true beachy brand, 10 am-ish to 6-ish. Luckily we caught them during their open hours and were able to marvel at all the color, druzy, sparkles, and the DIY bars. I love making my own jewelry and I wish I had more time to take part in her Bangle Bar. Most of the pieces are elevated chic with a laid back twist. Druzy shells with beaded chains, gold cowrie with colorful rope, and lots of shark tooth and shell pieces. I would absolutely wear those cowrie bracelets 24/7, and for the rest of the jewelry, layer over a swimsuit during the day, and pair with a kimono and heels at night, the perfect transitional piece.

SOPHIE GRACE MAUI jewelryKimono Jewelry Jewelry Bar Jewelry and Cards Druzy Dainty Branches Bangle bAr

If you’re in Paia, or in Wailea make sure you stop in and check out all their handmade pieces. If you are eager to shop, check out her website or Instagram @SophieGraceMaui. I’m obsessed with the white and gold druzy pieces that she most recently posted online. I can’t wait to return and snag some of her gorgeous jewelry!