Honolulu Night + Market: Back to the Future

(from FrolicHawaii.com 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 FrolicHawaii.com 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 FrolicHawaii.com 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.

Male grooming just got one more option: Phil’s Barber Shop

(from FrolicHawaii.com 2/18/16 – by Amanda Stevens)

Last year, fascinated with the facial hair trend that was creating a paradigm shift in male grooming, I wrote about manscaping. Now there are several upscale barber shops in Honolulu, including two locations for Mojo Barbershop and Art of Shaving at Ala Moana Center.


The newest is Phil’s Barber Shop, an upscale pop-up inside J Salon in Ward Plaza. Salon owner Joe Randazzo designed and built most of the 300-square-foot barber shop himself. It’s masculine with dark grey walls, wood accents, leather and chrome, almost like a gentlemen’s study or club.

Phils_2“It is personal for me,” Randazzo says. “It’s about tradition, a family lineage.” The barber shop is an homage to Randazzo’s grandfather, Philip Marsala, who opened a barber shop in the front room of the family home in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1931. Randazzo showed me Phil’s original scissors and other vintage pieces that make up the decor.

Vidal Sassoon-trained Randazzo spent a week training at Shorem Haarsnijder & Barbier in Rotterdam, pretty much the mothership of barbering and a ‘no woman allowed’ zone in Holland. That is where he honed his skills in pompadours, flattops, contours, fades and straight-razor shaving techniques. No doubt he’s using some of them working backstage at New York Fashion Week shows.

Phil’s original barber tools in the shadow box on the wall.

Before: Gino Luciano gets a Gentleman’s Shave from Hunter Wilson, barber stylist.

After: A clean straight-razor shave and skin conditioning.

Before: Joe Randazzo gives Keyneth Blando an updated haircut.

After: Keyneth takes a look at his new cut.

You’ll find a lower price point than J Salon, and a man-friendly experience with no shampoo, cappuccinos or button-up gowns. Men get a cape and a sanitary neck strip just like back in the day.

Phil’s Barber Shop in J Salon
210 Ward Ave. #101
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Walk-ins welcome, reservations recommended.

Did this: Neiman Marcus spring trend event

(from FrolicHawaii.com 2/18/16 – By Amanda Stevens and Melissa Chang)

Orange-red, rose hues, black lace, denim and rich blue tones> Not your typical palette for spring, but still, ensembles showcased at Wednesday’s in-store fashion show at Neiman Marcus were on point. The collection mirrored Pantone’s announcement of not one, but two top colors for 2016, Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue.

The looks were modern, youthful and textured, with ensembles curated from brands including Co, The Row and Sig Zane. This season, take it up a notch with more volume and varieties of bold blazers layered over lace. And for men, it’s diagonal stripes and printed blazers.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite ensembles.

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Which Hawaii models are competing in London’s Top Model Worldwide?

(from FrolicHawaii.com 2/15/16 – from Amanda Stevens)

What happened over the weekend? Well, if you were on the Windward side at the Koolau Ballrooms, you know that two Hawaii models were selected to represent the U.S. at London’s Top Model Worldwide contest in April.


Left to right: Tjan Hall (2015 Top Model Hawaii winner), Noa Ah Nee and Kristie Thornburg.

Noa Ah Nee and Kristie Thornburg won over a field of 16 finalists as the top male and top female models. Ah Nee, 19, is a professional model who aspires to a full-time career in the industry. Thornburg, 22, models for Larson Talent Agency and is training to become a pharmaceutical technician.

They each won a $10,000 scholarship to Argosy University, a trip to London for the competition and a tryout for a runway spot in London Fashion Week.

Top Model Worldwide is one of the leading international professional model search competitions. This is the second year in a row Hawaii winners will represent the United States in London.


Ah Nee during the swimwear competition.


Thornburg during the swimwear competition.

Keikilani Ho, executive producer of Top Model Hawaii and U.S. agent for Top Model, plans to expand the contest to the Mainland. She’s also a veteran of the pageant circuit, having competed in the Mrs. International Pageant in Chicago in 2013.

“Top Model Worldwide has catapulted the careers of winners and finalists,” says Ho. “Nirelda Andreka, Top Model Worldwide 2014 winner, went from being an aspiring model to landing a national campaign for a jewelry company, having a two-page spread in Maxim magazine and being on numerous covers on international fashion magazines. Arnaud De Champvigy, first runner-up in the male category, was recently selected to model for Italian fashion house Valentino.”

Here’s a look at the finalists who competed in swimsuit, casual wear and formal wear:

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‘How to Be Single’ keeps it real

(from FrolicHawaii.com 2/12/16 – Amanda Stevens)

Finally, a fresh and fun take on what it’s really like to be single.


“How to Be Single” follows the lives of four women in various stages of singledom. Recent college graduate Alice, played by Dakota Johnson, breaks up with her nice but safe longtime boyfriend so they can spend some time as “unattached adults” before making a lifetime commitment.

She then moves to New York, meets wild child Robin (Rebel Wilson) and gets schooled on how to be single. Lesson one: Never pay for drinks. Lesson two: Wait four hours before returning a guy’s text, and when you do, never use an emoji. You get the picture. Unfortunately, Wilson’s script is overloaded with one-liners that are much too reminiscent of her Fat Amy character in “Pitch Perfect” flicks.


In an effort to dive into her newfound singleness, Alice meets Tom (Anders Holm), the unapologetic man-slut/bartender with a heart, and in between random make-out sessions, they actually have some cathartic conversations about casual dating.

Two other characters emerge as fresh female archetypes. Alice’s overachieving sister Meg (Leslie Mann), an ob-gyn who has been too busy delivering babies to date, realizes that now in her forties she wants a child. Mann nails her character and portrays Meg with heart, raw honesty and vulnerability.


Obsessed with the online dating scene, Lucy (Alison Brie) manifests awkward moments in an honest tone, going beyond the typical lonely heart cliche character. Remember bartender Tom? Watch for the moment in another scene where he comes to her rescue. Classic!


I appreciate how Christian Ditter brought refreshing, likable male characters to life instead of relying on the formulaic jerks usually depicted in today’s rom-coms. Damon Wayans Jr. plays successful single dad David, who meets Alice at a mixer. Although Wayans doesn’t get a ton of screen time, his character has depth and gives the audience a real snapshot of what it’s like to be a single parent raising his daughter alone.


At the end, Robin gets real and puts Alice in her place, making for a redeeming moment for Wilson’s character beyond her typical lewd one-liners.

Truth be told, it’s really about those honest little moments of what it’s like to live alone – not knowing how to reset your cable box, sleeping in the middle of the bed instead of “your side,” and learning how to zip your own dress (no joke, that takes talent).