Brunch Perfection: Brother’s Cafe – Namba, Osaka

I love breakfast.

I absolutely do and in addition to coffee, I have to have it every morning or I have no energy for the rest of the day.  Sometimes I might also get a little grouchy.  But I don’t like to have it too early in the morning.  The best breakfast is eaten after 10am but before noon.   Oh yes, so sorry…. that actually makes it brunch.  So I retract my statement.

I love brunch.  I do.  🙂

Another highlight during our trip to Japan was the food.  So much food!!!! Of course Japan has the most exquisite selection of food and they are served to perfection.   From the sushi to the takoyaki to the noodles to the broiled salmon to the supermarket bentos, everything was just… perfect.

And for brunch lovers like me who are searching for the PERFECT breakfast/lunch cafe, let me introduce to you Brother’s Café.

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Brother’s Café is a quaint little pancake house in Namba, Osaka- their second location is in Umeda.  Brother’s Cafe serves a variety of pancakes, toasts and sandwiches.  They also serve coffee, which smells decadent as you enter the shop, and matcha.  It was here that I was introduced to spoon pancake-  a pancake soooo fluffy you can eat it with a spoon.  Spoon pancake is limited to their Namba location and takes 20 minutes to bake.  It tasted heavenly and worth the wait.

Here are photos, I’ll let you swoon (and maybe even drool a little ;P)

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Coffee & Matcha Love
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One of their specialized toasts, with grilled vegetables and chili sauce
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Cornflake french toast
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Another version of their sweet & savory french toast
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The undeniably delicious and one-of-a-kind spoon pancake

Still drooling?  Here’s a quick little video of our dine-in…

Brother’s Café is a cozy restaurant that can satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth…..including me!

Aloha,
Honey

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Memoirs of a “Geisha” – A Maiko Makeover Experience in Kyoto

Just over a week ago we returned home to Hawaii after a 10-day vacation in Japan.  From Osaka to Kyoto to Tokyo then back to Osaka again.   Even with the threatening typhoon Lan and stormy days during the trip, it was still oh-so-amazing!

To me, the most memorable experience was the opportunity to be a Maiko for a day.

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A maiko  is a geisha-in-training.  The term “Geisha” means “art person”.  This means one must be highly skilled in their arts to be considered a geisha.   Geishas are experts in traditional dance, classical music, tea ceremony, and much more.   They are well versed in social situations and are expert conversationalist. The role of a geisha is constantly misunderstood (mostly by westerners) as they are thought of as escorts, sometimes prostitutes.  They are not.  They are exclusively hired to entertain during sophisticated dinners and events.  They portray beauty, elegance, and their talents that they perfect.  They go through rigorous years of training, and they are an important cultural asset to Japan, sadly there are very few of them left.

Having a maiko makeover wasn’t just the chance to put on white makeup and dress in a kimono.  It was the experience of being professionally made up, to wear a warishinobu wig adorned with colorful hair pins and be beautifully dressed in a traditional kimono.  Not to mention being able to tour (in tabi socks and platform clogs) a few of the most historic and preserved streets of the Edo Period in Gion, Kyoto….. specifically Ninenzeka, one of the oldest streets in the history of Kyoto.

For a few hours you get to feel like a real maiko or geisha, and it was an unforgettable experience!  Although it was a bit tiring because of the stairs, slopes and uphills, and the nonstop photo ops/selfie requests by tourists and locals alike…..but well worth it….

AYA KYOTO –

This Maiko Makeover Experience would not have been possible without AYA KYOTO. They have been very accommodating since the beginning.  They were responsive through email even while I was still on-island (Akiko and Wakana were my contacts through email). We rescheduled because of the storm and they even allowed my bff Kelsie to participate.  Another geisha makeover company in Gion, who will remain unnamed, wouldn’t allow any woman expecting, no matter what stage of pregnancy, to participate in the makeover.  AYA accomodated Kels, and we had the time of our lives!  Here are some photos from our maiko makeover, to help you get a feel of how the process works.

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The AYA studio was a traditional teahouse during the Taisho Period in the early 1900s so it has an authentic, traditional feel as you enter.  You are welcomed into their common room where you fill out paperwork and choose what poses you would like during your photo shoot.  You will then have to remove any makeup you are currently wearing in the washroom, where there are lockers to place your belongings.  They will give you a simple white under-robe  and white tabi socks, the robe which you will be wearing beneath your regular kimono.

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You then go into the makeup room, partnered with one of their professional makeup artists, where all of the magic happens!  

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Phase one includes skin cleansing, moisturizing and the application of white makeup powder.

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Phase two – four includes eyebrows, eyes, then lips!  Pictured above with my makeup artist Yukiko.  She was such a joy to work with, such a sweetheart!  After the makeup was applied, my hair was styled and sprayed to accommodate the maiko wig to make it look as natural as possible.

Here’s a quick video clip of how much fun and laughter actually happens during hair and makeup!  Look at those adorable little maikos behind me! 🙂

After makeup you go into the dressing room where you pick from over a hundred choices of kimono and obi combinations.  I picked a black and red color palette.  Pictured below are the racks of exotic and colorful kimono designs and obi sashes you could select from.  

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In the photo above, pretty Kelsie is getting dressed after choosing a pink and light green ensemble. 

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After dressing, we are taken into a different room where the indoor photo shoot takes place.  Below is a candid while doing a sitting pose, with photographer Mark guiding  proper body angles and where to look.  

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After the indoor photo shoots, we were given one hour outdoors to walk/tour the streets Maiko style 🙂   We could not do it without our platform clogs, or slippahs as we call it here in Hawaii.

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During the walking tour, our husbands Marlon and Bronson along with little Kellon became our personal photographers.  They took candid photos as we strolled the fascinating streets of Gion.  It was like taking a step back in time as you meet tourists dressed in casual kimonos and yukatas.  There were some locals who may have believed we were also real maikos on the way to an appointment.  It was sooo fun to see how curious and starstruck they were. 

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Photo above were students from Sakurajima Elementary School who wanted a photo, they were soooo adorbs!

And just a few more photos featuring Honey-san and Kelsie-san as Maikos, promise 😉 ….

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Doesn’t it look fabulous?!?!

If you are thinking of doing something as amazing as this during your travel to Japan, contact AYA KYOTO below:

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“Maiko or Geisha in Kyoto. Try on a Maiko Costume at AYA and experience the exotic worlds of traditional Kyoto culture. to be a Maiko makeover yourself. “

They recently received a 2017 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Adviser where they hold an average of 5-star reviews!!!

If you are still not convinced, watch their official YouTube video below

Thank you so very much AYA KYOTO, we had the time of our lives, we will never ever forget our memories in Gion.  Much love and Aloha from Hawaii!!!

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Honey

 

Gifts for Mom

Happy May, everyone!

One of my favorite celebrations this month is Mother’s Day, which is less than a couple of weeks away.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th.  Of course we have to spoil her because she is supermom and every amazing thing about you, you most definitely got it from your mama! 😉  If you are not sure what to get her yet, don’t worry too much as Miss Honey have some wonderful gift ideas that will sure to wow mother dearest.

Here are some of my faves:

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Pandora Vintage Allure Gift Set –  An exclusive, dazzling set with silver drop earrings and matching necklace will sparkle mom’s heart and any room she’ll walk into while wearing this striking jewelry set from Pandora.

Fraas Lightweight Solid Scarf – A wardrobe staple that can be worn for all seasons.  The pastel color is perfect for spring and summer and can take any of mom’s outfit up a notch!  For fashionista moms, let her know this one’s made in Italy 🙂

Desserts LaBelle: Soulful Sweets to Sing About– Ms. LaBelle, the original Lady Marmalade songstress, superstar singer and bestselling cookbook author recently came out with her desserts/baking book!  This will definitely have mom singing and you wishing for more, more, more pies please.

LipSense Lipstick– Say goodbye to smudged lipsticks, lipstick on cups, clothes or even on your loved ones! As a loyal user of LipSense, I can definitely say it what all the wonderful things everyone say it is!  Mom needs lipstick that will stay all-day and LipSense will give her that.  She can pick from a whole range of color and gloss styles, from glassy to matte.  For my fellow island girls, please contact my dear friend Lila Uyeno, or order online through LipSense Distributor #277486.

Kate Spade Flower Metro Watch– For no-nonsense moms that don’t want anything too fancy, but they deserve it, this rose gold watch etched with a single blossom will surely catch her attention. Simple but special enough to wear every day and/or on special occasions.

S’ip by S’well Insulated Water Bottle in Pineapple Bliss – This stainless steel water bottle use ThermaSwell to keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.  It will keep mom well-hydrated for all of the multitasking that she have to do.

Godiva Sweet Dreams Deluxe Chocolate Gift Box – The perfect indulgence for a chocoholic queen who is as sweet as what she eats.   Pamper her with this gift set that includes two boxes of chocolate, cosmetic bag and a satin pillowcase.

Nest Fragrances White Camellia Reed Diffuser A breathtaking scent of fresh camellia, wisteria and Indonesian jasmine with notes of white tea and amber will fill mom’s home with luxurious and memorable fragrance.

Minnie Rose Cashmere Slippers – For the low-maintenance mom who wants comfort around the house.  These cashmere slippers speak for themselves with a “Cool Mom” embroidery.

Tory Burch Block-T Brogue Tote– This sleek leather tote is ideal for any tasks that must be done whether it is for quick errands or a weekend away.  It features a distinct perforated trim and can easily hold a full-day’s essentials.  It also includes a removable zip pouch for smaller items.

Hope I inspired you a little.  As most of us can agree on, mother knows best, and she deserves the best.  To our angel mother in Heaven, you know if you were here I would get you anything you ever wanted.  To everyone else, have fun shopping for mom! The price shouldn’t matter, the most important thing is the thought and effort you put in it 🙂

**For more ideas, SHOP Mother’s Day Gifts here.**

Love,
Honey

Pretty-In-Pastels

Hope everyone had a blessed and beautiful Easter Sunday!  Today’s fashion post takes inspiration from the soft and sweet candy hues of our most recent holiday – pastels!  We are already seeing pastels as one of the biggest trends this year, and with spring and summer (almost) here, it doesn’t look like it’s going to fade out anytime soon.

Pastels can be incorporated with almost any color.  The light, delicious hues range from blush pink, pale yellow, sweet sorbets, lavender to mint and seafoam green, to baby blue. They are indeed, very ladylike, however pastels can be worn by anyone, even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “girly-girl”.

Here are some wardrobe ensembles you can put together, whether you’re just beginning to add a touch of soft colors in your wardrobe or you’re a fashion diva experimenting with color blocking.

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Anson Asymmetric Stretch-Ponte Mini Dress, TIBI
Alexia Suede and Leather Shoulder Bag, M2Malletier
Jurassic Rose Fan Station Necklace, Lele Sadoughi
Keenan Block-Heel Sandals, Charles by Charles David

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Cutout Hammered-Crepe Top, Michael Michael Kors
Scalloped Crepe Shorts, Madewell
Crystal & Gemstone Daydreamer Earring, Isabella Tropea
Harper Crossbody Bag, Tory Burch
Lafayette Loafers, Diane von Furstenberg

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Wool-Blend Cardigan, Vince
Pointed Toe Pump, V Italia
Crepe Blouse, Atos Lombardini
Pleated Tulle Skirt, H&M
Rayne Pendant Necklace, Kendra Scott
Gancini Crossbody Bag, Salvatore Ferragamo

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Le Skinny De Jeanne Jackwood Stagger Hem Jeans, FRAME
Bomber Jacket, H&M
Chuck Taylor All Stars Dainty Sneaker, Converse
Cotton Drawstring Backpack, Baggu
Women’s Aloha Forever Hat, Billabong
Marled linen-jersey Tank, MAJESTIC

Hope these ideas inspired you to mix and match your candy colored wardrobe pieces!

 

Love,

Honey

Introducing First Lady Melania Trump

This morning, Friday January 20th, 2017, American businessman Donald Trump was sworn in as the United States of America’s 45th President. His wife, Slovenia-born former model Melania Trump was also formally introduced as our nation’s First Lady.

Speculations grew in the fashion world of who would (and wouldn’t) dress Melania Trump amidst the scandal of her husband winning the highest seat in office. Today, she stuns in an elegant ensemble from a classic American brand, Ralph Lauren.

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Original Photo Source Harper Bazaar

Her outfit consists of a cashmere cropped jacket and mock turtleneck knee-length dress, pointed stilettos, and suede gloves and clutch, all in powder blue.  She wore her hair in an updo, departing away from her usual simple hair down style.  Makeup is smokey eyes and soft pink lips.

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Original Photo Source Harper’s Bazaar

Her outfit has earned comparisons to Jackie Kennedy’s pale blue suit she wore to her husband John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

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Original Photo Source: Kiro7

#FlashbackFriday indeed!

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Original Photo Source:  WFAA8 ABC

This is not the first time Melania chose Ralph Lauren design as she also wore a Ralph Lauren Collection jumpsuit to Trump’s final presidential debate against Hillary Clinton.  A wise move by the First Lady as Ralph Lauren brand has already secured its place in fashion history, representing patriotism and America in all positive ways.

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Original Photo Source: New York Times

Here some fun facts: Melania Trump is the second foreign-born First Lady, and the first First Lady to have immigrated to the U.S.  She also speaks five languages: her native Slovenian, Serbian, English, French, and German.

Looking forward to what our beautiful First Lady will wear in historic events during the next four years….

Honey

Hello 2017

 

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Another year, another set of new year’s resolution for most people.  But then again, it’s perfectly okay to not have a specific list for a change.  After all you don’t want to go through feeling like a failure after missing spinning class, or taking a bite out of that delicious-looking brownie midway through Day 3!

How about just some words of wisdom from great minds and big hearts?

Below are some of my fave quotes on celebrating and appreciating another new year…

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR, DARLINGS!
LET’S MAKE 2017 ANOTHER FABULOUS ONE!

Secret Tips to Combat Aging After 30

Well here I am.

After talking about it for years, months, weeks, days…. I’m finally here.  And yes, for those who have heard my daily rant counting down to this momentous event, this may be the last time I publicly acknowledge it.  I however am not making any promises, haha! 😉

Anywho, in a haze of fabulous shoes, career changes, bridesmaids dresses, blessed godchildren, familial bonding and getting hitched…I managed to somehow get here.  As of yesterday, Dec. 27th, 2016 I reached the point of true adulthood.

A crowned thirty-year-old.

That’s three decades.  360 months. 1565 weeks. 10,957 days.

Oh, and thank you to my wonderful friends and family who greeted and celebrated with me on this fabulous day! Hugs & Kisses!

Amazing how time goes by faster than you know it.  The goal is to age gracefully, yes? Soon enough I’ll be in my sixties, older, wiser, grumpier, wrinklier.  Although at that point of my life, I would love to still feel (and look) like I’m in my thirties, (it doesn’t feel that bad at this moment, kind of glamorous almost) hence this blog post.

To look and feel healthy and young for as long as the hands of time allows can indeed, be possible.

Let’s unveil some secrets to fight off the not-so-glamorous signs of aging.

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WATER
Water is essential to all living things, making up 2/3 of the human body.  It’s not only important to life itself but also for the quality of life so make it your best friend.  Water is needed in our bodies to transport nutrients to our organs and oxygen to our cells. Water lubricate  joints and eyes and keeps skin healthy by eliminating toxins.  Did you know that when you are dehydrated your body pulls liquid from  your tissues and skin to maintain the balance in your blood?  When that happens, your eyes look sunken and your skin feels dryer, there is no elasticity, hence you look older. Make a conscious effort to drink water to keep hydrated. There is no denying water is the elixir of youth.

MEDITATION
Meditation is important to keep a stress-free life.  Without stress, life is happier!  Stress affects our bodies in more ways than you can imagine.  Our immune system, quality of sleep, our hearts and mind…. our relationship with others can be affected by stress.  Meditation can help relieve stress by focusing on being in the moment and appreciating the present. Studies show that there is an increase of melatonin in our bodies after meditating.  Melatonin energizes the immune system and slows the aging process as it has the ability to repair damaged cells.

ANTI-AGING SERUM
Serums are more lightweight than creams so they are able to penetrate deeper into the skin delivering active ingredients.  Industry fave Estée Lauder “Advanced Night Repair” serum is a must-have. The serum contains the exclusive ChronoluxCB™ Technology improving dryness and dehydration, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles and restoring radiance.

EYE CREAM
Keep an eye on your peepers! One biggest sign of age is that thin-skinned area under and around your eyes. Crows feet dig in during this decade so commit to purchasing a high quality eye cream such as La Mer “The Illuminating Eye” Gel. Great eye creams protect against the aging effects of the environment, fatigue and stress while making eyes look youthful, energized, and awakened.

SLEEP
There is a reason why we call it beauty sleep. Our cells grow and repair while we sleep and our immune system is strengthened by sleep. The more sleep we get, the less time aging catches up to us. Be sure to get about about 8-9 hours of sleep to keep your mind and body healthy.  If you are a light sleeper grab a cute sleep mask to help you sleep faster and stay asleep.  Besides that, sleeping is absolutely free.  

TEETH CARE
Your smile is one of the first things people notice. Protect it. And keep them guessing about your age by showing those pearly whites!  Brush and floss at least twice a day or after every meal.  Basic habits can go along way.  In advanced technology, now available at your Dentist’ office is a toothbrush designed to build better oral care routines, the  Phillips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected toothbrush.  You can download its coordinating app that offers in-depth tracking of your brushing habits. The toothbrush includes location, pressure, and scrubbing sensors, which allow the app to map out the areas in your mouth that need some work.  What a way to throw off a youthful look with missing, black or rotten teeth!

EXERCISE
Exercising regularly can fight aging by protecting cells and lowering the body’s level of inflammation.  Yoga, due to the extent of stretches and core exercises involved, is believed to help reverse signs of aging such as sagging skin and loss of muscle strength. Endurance activities such as running may also be able to slow down aging.  Benefits of running include a stronger heart, more efficient blood flow and a powerful immune system.  Exercise fights aging by protecting your cells from the ticking clock but make sure that you also protect your body by investing in proper attire and gear.  On a personal note, this is the best time for me to include running as part of my physical activity and to do so properly, I will need to purchase running shoes, like the  NIKE Air Max 2017.  I am in love!
They are the perfect running shoes, but can also be street casual.

HEALTHY EATING
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that combat free radicals, oxygen fragments that attack cell membranes. Nutrients in fruits and vegetables can also help do everything from preventing wrinkles to killing off cancerous cells. Luckily I have had a pescatarian diet for half my life now (since age 15) so I just have to continue the greenery and fish intake.

SUNSCREEN
SPF not only prevent skin cancer, but it also prevent wrinkles.  A study conducted has proven this to be a fact.  So be motivated to SPF your skin every day. AVEENO Sunscreen with SPF 50 For Face contains sun protection while hydrating skin to keep it soft, smooth and feeling healthier than before you went in the sun.

GREEN TEA
Green tea contain powerful anti-aging and antioxidants that help slow down the skin aging process such as sagging skin, sun damage, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. The polyphenols in green tea help neutralize harmful free radicals, which can cause significant damage to the skin.  Antioxidant properties of tea help fight off cell damage, can help revive dying skin cells, and even prevents high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Besides green tea, white tea has been shown to slow down the breakdown of elastin and collagen, which is essential in keeping skin look young and supple.

Purposefully, not mentioned in this list is HAIR CARE, which is as important as  those above. If you have time, read a couple of my favorite health and beauty posts “Locks of Youth- Secrets to Luscious Hair” and “Superfoods for Superhair”, both which goes into detail about how to keep your hair healthy and lustrous as it indicates well-being and youth.

The other unsaid secret of youth is laughter.  Lots and lots of it.  I’ll elaborate but I’ll save it for another day 😉

Love,
Honey