One of my favorite movies of all time, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, turns 25 years this year!
I cannot believe it has been that long, as I watch it every year or so just to relive the marvelous story of Danielle de Barbarac (played by my favorite actress Drew Barrymore who by the way, also starred in my other favorite movie of all time, 50 First Dates – more on that later!) as she fights her way through life, despite of her cruel stepmother’s upbringing. The movie was ahead of it’s time as it taught us that we didn’t need to be damsels in distresses waiting for Prince Charming to save us. When we are passionate about what we believe in and stand up for the people we love and care about…everything eventually works out in the end.
One of the most magical moments in the movie is the anticipated grand entrance of Danielle at the ball. The scenery, the costumes, the acting, and the music…just enchanting. I fell in love with that moment greatly that my bridal entrance song of choice during our wedding ceremony was part of the movie soundtrack, we used the score of that very moment of the movie, entitled Danielle’s Wings.
I also love that they also incorporated Leonardo da Vinci as a significant character in the movie, even featuring his painting La Scapigliata, with Danielle as his inspiration.
Just yesterday, Drew reunited with three of her costars – Melanie Lynskey (Jacqueline de Ghent, Danielle’s nice stepsister), Megan Dodds (Marguerite de Ghent, Danielle’s evil stepsister) and the dashing Dougray Scott (Prince Henry of France) to reminisce their time together as they filmed one of the greatest retelling of a fairy tale. It was such an adorable reunion, made me want to watch Ever After again!
I absolutely love fairy tales….and princesses and true love’s kiss and happily ever afters. I’m never going to grow out of it, no matter how old I get. I believe that there is magic everywhere.
Which brings me to talk about the newly released, and oh-so-wonderful, feel-good Disney film Godmothered starring Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher.
Jillian Bell plays Eleanor, a naïve fairy-godmother-in-training from the enchanted world of The Motherland. Eleanor is taught to only know of the three-step-formula that leads to happy endings. Eleanor finds a letter from 10-year-old Mackenzie wishing for a happily ever after, and she travels far, far, away to Boston to grant Mackenzie her wish! In the real world, there’s now the adult Mackenzie Walsh, played by Isla Fisher- a 40-year-old single mother, distant to both of her daughters and with a career spiraling downward. At this point in her life, she doesn’t believe in magic and she is certainly skeptical of the concept of happily ever after.
I won’t spoil the movie for you but there’s quite a few humorous references to fairy tale classics, silly, misunderstanding of modern-day technicalities (from Eleanor’s point of view), the comedic timing and chemistry of the actors will make you laugh out loud and smile from ear to ear. Although in the end it gives us a new perspective of what it means to have a happy ending.
Godmothered teaches us about never giving up, always believing in ourselves, and that not all happily ever afters have to be the same for everyone.
This modern fairy-tale is a must-see this holiday season. Trailer below.
On the fashion side of things, I absolutely loved Eleanor’s pink fairy godmother gown. She never takes it off throughout her time in the real world, but adds to the outfit, making it even more stylish. I mean, not everyone can rock a beanie and winter jacket over a full corset and gown, right?
Oh my goodness , it has been eight months since my last post! 2020 has so far been a strange year filled with never-ending negativity and uncertainty. There is something that I am definitely certain about, though…
Emily in Paris, starring the ravishing Lily Collins, streams on Netflix October 2nd and I CANNOT WAIT.
The show’s creator is Darren Star, the man behind Sex and the City… which means, we’ll see lots of drama, love and fashion, AND SHOES. Patricia Field, who was the forefront of costume design in both Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada is also leading the costume department in Emily In Paris.
I mean, watching the trailer gave me goosebumps because maybe because in another universe and another life I could have been Emily. Who wouldn’t want to be Emily? She’s in Paris, the City of Light- look at the sceneries, the Eiffel tower, her outfits, her shoes, the people, her job, and OMG did I mention her shoes?!
Galentine’s Day is just a few weeks away. (Yes, you read right, and No, it is not a typo.)
For fans of the show Parks and Rec starring Amy Phoeler as Leslie Knope, you are probably no stranger to the non-official holiday, Galentine’s Day. What is it exactly?
“It’s only the best day of the year!”
Galentine’s Day is a celebration of friendship.
A time to spend with the important people in your life that stuck around.. those who are there for you whether or not you’re in a romantic relationship.
There’s so many ways to celebrate! Brunch with waffles, lots of waffles! Dress up and look fab, RSVP at a fancy restaurant or go hiking, have a mani-pedi with your gal friends. Go to the beach, have a picnic, lie around in your jammies reading a book or watch a movie with face masks on… do ANYTHING you want. Exchange gifts, or not… but if you’re planning to, here’s some cute ideas to gift to your favorite gals…
Everyone taking pics will absolutely love these funny sayings. #selfiefirst
Sweet and sassy sentiments perfect for your besties.
So easy, just fill-in-the-blanks, and voilà
Pretty and useful for caffeinating!
Nappy hour comes after, and rhymes with Happy Hour.
Hot Seat Card Game
Find out who your friends are, who they really are! 😛
Every gal’s face has a story, protect it!
Self-Defense Alarm Keychain
More than just a keychain, this will keep your galfriends safe from the creeps!
Or if you’re stuck and can’t think of anything, there’s always the lifesaving AMAZON Gift Card. I’m sure your special someone won’t mind, the possibilities are endless : )
Last but not least, here’s another one of Leslie’s iconic, girl-power quotes…
“You’re a beautiful talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox.”-Leslie Knope
Our next Japan trip is only three months away. As we plan to revisit the magical world of Ghibli, it inspired me to create a quick post to share with you some of my most favorite quotes from Hayao Miyazaki’s creative masterpieces.
Not but not least, wise words from the legendary man himself…
Sharing with you a shot outside of Studio Ghibli Museum on our last visit to Tokyo in 2018. Luckily, we were able to book tickets in advance through JTB USA. Can’t wait to go back!
In just a couple of days, we will be ringing in 2020! What a grand celebration as Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 marks the first day of a new decade, the 20th year of the 21st century and the 20th year of the 3rd millennium! Not to mention that 2020 is also a leap year! For ladies wanting to propose to the love of your life, you can do so this year as do the Irish 😉
Most of us go through thoughts of New Years resolutions. Whether it’s a new diet, fitness program, hobby or personal development, beginning the new year starting fresh always seems like the best time to do so. Sometimes we follow them, most times we break them.
The past few years I have quit on the NY resolutions as I have learned to just be grateful for every single day. The one thing though, that I consistently have to do is to learn something new. Never stop learning. Every day I want to learn something new. It doesn’t matter about what it is, or who it’s about. It may or may not even be relevant to my life at the moment, because for all I know it might be useful for something later. My mind is reminding me every day to “learn something, Honey.” Growth and continuous education keeps me motivated. Learning allows the mind to be knowledgeable but still curious, and always wanting more…
Here’s some inspirational quotes to encourage you this upcoming year to go beyond what you know.
“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
“What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.” – Aristotle
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”– Henry Ford
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”– Dr. Seuss
“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.” – Zig Ziglar
“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold.” – Bob Marley
“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“When you know better you do better.” – Maya Angelou
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein
BTW, fun fact I just learned: for those of us born in the 80’s, did you know we would have already experienced living in four decades (80’s, 90’s, 00’s, 10’s) going into a fifth and we have yet to reach the age of 40?! That is amazingly mind-boggling when you think about it.
Wishing you a wiser and fabulous, Happy New Year!!!
In just a little less than two weeks, Brons and I go back to Japan. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we were there. It was such an amazing experience that we decided to go back again.
If you’re a first-time traveler or need a simplified list of things to bring, read on 😉
BACKPACK – better than a handbag or shoulder bag as it fits more items and doesn’t cramp one side of your shoulder. The more compartments, the better. Find a lightweight, versatile and classic style that will match any outfit, such as the Calais backpack from TUMI’s Voyageur Carson collection.
TRAVEL MAP & GUIDE – I’m a bookworm and I’ve preferred hard-copy books over digital books. Same goes with a physical map. It’s easier to see the big picture, just need unfolding 😉 Also, just in case your phone loses battery, you’ll have a back-up. A survival phrasebook is useful to have, to familiarize yourself with the country’s culture and learn basic conversation phrases. Lonely PlanetJapan Map and Japanese Phrasebook and Dictionary will make you feel like a local when you no one knows how to speak eigo.
COIN PURSE – We’ll get to the “cash is king” memo in a bit, but in Japan, you will rack up lots and lots of coins because the most common form of payment is cash. As you use cash, you’ll end up with coins, so having a coin purse will help you organize, locate and separate your crisp bills from your baby yens. Might as well get a cute one, just like this exquisite handmade buckle coin purse from Jan Dee.
MONEY – Of course without money, how can you have fun, let alone survive your trip? Save up and cash in the yen. To-date $1 = 112Y. Carry more cash than credit card as we recently learned Japan is predominantly cash-culture. A lot of the places we went accepted cash only. Don’t be afraid to carry a lot of cash as Japan is super safe. As far as utilizing credit cards- VISA or Mastercard are the most common. Make sure to inquire with your bank or credit card company for fees associated with international transactions. Personally, I know that Capital One does not charge foreign transaction fees. If you run out of cash, the best place to get it is at an ATM at your nearest 7-Eleven. With 22,000 locations, they’re conveniently everywhere in Japan and they’re open 24 hours.
HAND SANITIZER– Japan’s cleanliness is immaculate. Ironically though, their bathrooms lack soap and even hand towels. Therefore, you must carry with you at all times, hand sanitizer or hand wipes. Most people carry their own handkerchief. Stock up with travel-sized hand sanitizers and single-use wipes from Bath & Body Works or Purell.
COMFY SHOES – For a shoeholic like me, I cannot stress it enough that you should not only find fabulous shoes, but also comfy ones. Trust me, you will do miles and miles of walking. And yes, the mythical combination of looks & comfort exist. Last trip, I learned to value my boots and booties as they are fitting for the season. However, I’ve learned to absolutely love my casual white sneakers as they matched with almost any outfit, whether it’s with leggings, skinny jeans, or even a dress! In Japan no matter what type of skirt or dress – flowy, midi, maxi (even mini), a pair of white fashion sneakers will finish the look!
ELECTRONICS – Your phone, of course! A digital camera to capture memories, a travel adapteras most of Japan’s electrical outlets are two-pronged “Type A”. Don’t forget to rent a pocket WiFi for Google and Google maps, the internet have all the answers when you’re on an adventure.
JR PASS– Hands down, a total money saver. This will save you hundreds of dollars in travel fees especially if you’re going from one major city to another. We used our passes mainly to get from Kyoto to Tokyo and Tokyo to Osaka in the shinkansen (bullet train), and any transportation owned and operated by Japan Railway throughout the rest of our stay. You can buy them in 7-day increments and you have an option to purchase a regular pass or Green (First Class) pass. We opted for the Green pass as it guaranteed seat reservations and more leg room for Brons. Learn more about the JR Pass here.
LUGGAGE – Packing a light, small suitcase can help you navigate Japan a bit easier. Crowded stations and trains leave very little room for large luggage. Even the shinkansen allows minimal space for large luggage, with the overhead compartment being able to accommodate carry-on sizes. Opt for a suitcase with spinner wheels, 4-wheeler even an 8-wheeler if you can – so much easier to maneuver! Especially towards the end of your trip in which it will get heavier as you fill it up with omiyage. This innovative carry-on Luggage Crew 11 from Travelpro might just do the trick. It’s expandable and lightweight, and it has an external USB port to charge to gadgets! Super cool.
Hope this helps your planning. Would love to hear about your trip!
…. but not like those girls in magazines.
She was beautiful for the way she thought.
She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes
when she talked about something she loved.
She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile,
even if she was sad.
No, she wasn’t beautiful for something
as temporary as her looks.
She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
You then go into the makeup room, partnered with one of their professional makeup artists, where all of the magic happens!
Phase one includes skin cleansing, moisturizing and the application of white makeup powder.
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.
In the photo above, pretty Kelsie is getting dressed after choosing a pink and light green ensemble.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉 ….
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:
“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 Adviserwhere 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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