Goodwill Kaimuki revamp

(from 4/1/16 – Amanda Stevens)

Through their job training programs, Goodwill is known for providing people with employment barriers a hand-up, not a hand-out. Thanks to a hand-up from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the creative input from the 50|50 Agency, the Goodwill store in Kaimuki received an epic makeover to coincide with their rebranding campaign.


With “live mannequins” modeling in the windows, the store’s bright space accented with fresh hues of blue and modern industrial touches was revealed at Thursday’s private reopening for VIPs that included super shoppers, board members and media.



The new design formula will eventually be rolled out to all of Goodwill Hawaii’s program locations, donation centers, and stores on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii island and Kauai.



Goodwill president, Laura Smith and board members welcome attendees.


Goodwill program adults with disabilities provided entertainment.

My fashion-partner-in-crime Rene and I styled the models (he did their hair and makeup) –we’ve both been volunteering our visual merchandising expertise for the past four years.



This look, a neoprene skirt and fishnet stockings reworked as a top, and an Oscar de la Renta tie.

Goodwill Hawaii will commemorate the redesigned store with a grand re-opening this Friday through Sunday with special offers and prize giveaways for shoppers.

Goodwill Kaimuki
3638 Waialae Ave.

M33Ms exhibit at Hound and Quail Outpost

(from 3/28/16 – Amanda Stevens)


The coolest aspects of architecture, engineering and art inspire jewelry designer M33Ms, aka Emiko Miyazawa. Her Mess Before M33Ms exhibit is a fascinating look at pieces with adjustable chain lengths, puzzle-like pendants and swivel rings that can pair with T-shirt and jeans or an evening ensemble. The exhibit is open today, March 28 and Wednesday, March 30 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Outpost, downstairs from Chinatown’s Hound and Quail.



Parts of timepieces inspire her jewelry creations.


Miyazawa’s first piece, a swivel ring, alongside the original sketch.


The exhibit is a third-anniversary celebration for M33Ms third anniversary. Installations feature the inner workings of Miyazawa’s thought process, design inspirations and the intent of her jewelry brand. From wearable art to her early sketches, it’s an inspiring, super personal reflection of her internal map. Try not to miss the Mess.

Mess Before M33Ms
Hound and Quail Outpost
March 28 and 30th 1-6 p.m.
920 Maunakea St.

Something new: Magnolia White couture bridal salon

(from 3/28/16 – Amanda Stevens & Melissa Chang)


Illusion backs, cascading silk tulle skirts, Italian ivory lace and body-con silhouettes: designer Galia Lahav’s haute couture bridal and evening gowns starred at a preview of Magnolia White, a Tokyo bridal salon opening April 1 at Hokua Tower. If the look is familiar, you may have seen some of Lahav’s creations on the red carpet at the 2016 Academy Awards.


Michelle Rodriguez wearing Galia Lahav – photo courtesy of

The staircase at 53 by the Sea was the runway. It was a great location for a Friday night fashion show. A posh seated dinner followed, and when Waikiki’s weekly fireworks started, lights were dimmed so the capacity crowd could enjoy the view. The restaurant also has two chapels, a groom’s room, a bride’s room and a fab ocean backdrop for on-site weddings.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

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Photos by Melissa Chang and Amanda Stevens

Magnolia White will showcase haute couture and ready-to-wear gowns from international designers exclusive to the Hawaii store including Lahav, Delphine Manive, Rue de Seine, David Fielden, Emmy London and Paris by Debra. The new Hawaii spot is only its second after its flagship in Minami-aoyama, Tokyo.


Photo courtesy of Magnolia White Hawaii.


Photo courtesy of Magnolia White Hawaii.

Magnolia White Hawaii
Hokua Tower
1288 Ala Moana Blvd.
Weekdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturdays by appointment

Did this: Pink Tie Ball weekend

(from 3/21/16 – Amanda Stevens & Eric Baranda)


Angela Pratt, M.D. – Susan G. Komen Hawaii’s 2016 Pink Tie Ball honoree.

A sold-out ball with an important message, and fashion show by four “Project Runway” stars: It was a glam finale to a mega week for Susan G. Komen Hawaii, a non-profit that supports local breast cancer education, screening, treatment, survivor services and research for a cure.

As the executive director, I thought the most telling moment came during Friday night’s Pink Tie Ball at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. When honoree Angela Pratt asked people to stand if they or a family member or friend had been affected by breast cancer, more than three-quarters of the 420-plus attendees stood up.


The entertainment highlight was a fashion show by designers Sean Kelly, Alexander Knox, Ari South and Kini Zamora, all alums of the Lifetime TV hit series “Project Runway.” Kelly and Knox are based in New York City, while South and Zamora have brought their talents home to Hawaii. All spent months creating collections for the ball’s Decades fashion show presented by Hawaiian Airlines. Each designer also donated one look for the gala’s live auction.

Moanikeala Nabarro and Billie V. were among other big names who donated their time and talent including; Jeff Rasmussen, Taimane, Greenwood and Kristian Lei.


Pamela Young, breast cancer survivor and former Pink Tie Ball honoree talks about her journey.

The kickoff press conference on Thursday brought together the designers, an update on breast health services from Dr. Pratt and TV personality Pamela Young, who shared her survivor story.

Here’s a look at highlights from the sold-out Pink Tie Ball. Photos are by Eric Baranda.

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But that wasn’t the end of it: Fans got to meet the “Project Runway” stars at Ala Moana’s Microsoft store, where the four sketched creations in real time.


Finally, a personal note.


After Laura, a dear friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, the two of us and our BFF Cheryl produced a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Hawaii with a fashion show and survivor testimonials. That was in 2010. Three months later, Laura passed away.

That life-altering experience eventually led to my current position as Susan G. Komen Hawaii’s executive director, where I can be in the front line to help raise awareness about the disease. Thank you for all your support.

Honolulu Night + Market: Back to the Future

(from 3/20/16 – Amanda Stevens & Tracy Chan)

b2f_1March’s “Back to the Future” themed Honolulu Night + Market was just that, with a move in location back to the block of Kakaako where it all began, and a look at the district’s future retail vendors and atmosphere with the new SALT at Our Kakaako merchants.

A steady crowd and perfect weather made it a great night to enjoy new food and fashion pop-ups, along with the tried and true favorites. Highlights included performances by Overcrowded Avenue Band, a lightsaber dueling demo by the Hawaii Saber Academy and sets by DJs Mr. Nick and Matt Kee from SMOKE.




Take a look at some of our favorite Honolulu Night + Market moments:

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The House of Aria fashion show was a full-length presentation of a variety of spring looks with romantic flair. From the bohemian-style swimsuits and Americana rompers to the flowing high-side slit maxis, the collection was well-styled and cohesive. Here’s a look at some of our favorite styles from the show:

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The new Nordstrom’s gala preview

(from 3/9/16 – Amanda Stevens)

The Ewa wing at Ala Moana Center welcomes another luxe retail giant. Nordstrom’s new location opens to the public this Friday, but its gala on Tuesday night brought in 1,200 guests for a VIP preview, with proceeds going to Aloha United Way, Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii and Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii.nordstrom_1

The new 186,000-square-foot store is 25,000 square feet smaller, but thanks to a fresh design looks larger and more spacious. There are two new departments, a trend accessories section and a local section, with more lines and items from local designers throughout the store.

nordstrom_2The E-Bar coffee stand and gelato bar have moved inside as well, and on the second floor is the new Habitat Lounge and Bar, a hip, airy hangout with handcrafted cocktails. Ruscello, the chain’s signature restaurant, will replace the Nordstrom Market Cafe, offering table service instead of a cafeteria-style setup. Heading the kitchen will be Shane “Ala” Sutton, who promises a new menu that keeps favorites like the tomato bisque. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on the offerings.

There was lots to drink and eat with specialty cocktails, gourmet bites and desserts prepared by Chris Kajioka of Senia Restaurant, Andrew Le of The Pig & the Lady and Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka of MW Restaurant. Take a look at some of the highlights.

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Photos by Melissa Chang and Amanda Stevens

Something new: Valerie Joseph’s POSHd boutique

(from 3/2/16 – Amanda Stevens – photos by Lyle Amine)

When Valerie Joseph (Valerie Ragaza-Miao) closed her Ala Moana Center boutique, she didn’t have much to say publicly about it — until now. Come to find out, Joseph’s been prepping for a major rebrand, replacing her old bright and trendy boutique with a whole new inventory and design concept called POSHd. The new boutique at Ward Center celebrates its grand opening this weekend, March 5 and 6 from 12 noon – 4 p.m. – sweets and bubbly will be served.


Frolic got exclusive invites to the private blessing and a sneak peek of the space. I thought about Joseph’s resilience, competing against big-box and luxury brands over the past 10 years, first in McCully, then Chinatown, then Ala Moana, and trusting her instincts on when to pivot and change.

At 665 square feet, POSHd has a black-and-white design theme with a sophisticated feminine vibe, vastly different from the bright pink-and-black palette of the Ala Moana store. The Ward Center boutique is next to Bed Bath & Beyond, next to Dolce.



Accessories and specialty items are still fun, full of upbeat messages like “life is beautiful” and “follow your bliss.”



The clothes are more sophisticated, with a good selection that can transition from career to nightlife. Dresses average $79, and separates are under $60.



I was really drawn to this striped cape-jacket ($59).


These ‘dammitt dolls” make a fun gift ($18) – a stress doll of sorts.



Coco Java Coffee Scrubs are exclusive to the boutique: face polish ($29), cellulite scrub ($33) and body scrub ($39). There are also locally made things like Joseph’s Coco Java Pancake Mix and Hawaiian Coffee.


POSHd by Valerie Joseph
Ward Center
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.