Waikiki Staycation

Olive + Oliver

These past few weeks have been a bit hectic in the office and at home so I asked my fiancé if he’d be opposed to getting some sun and alone time in busy Waikiki all weekend. Surprisingly, he was so excited, he booked a room at The Surfjack the next day!

We usually like to stay at The Laylow because of the nearby restaurants and luxe and trendy ambience, but he knew I was curious about the vintage vibe at The Surfjack. They have a nice restaurant called Mahina and Suns and live music every weekend. I dig it very much.

One of my fave things about The Surfjack is their coffee shop / boutique, Olive + Oliver. Coffee is below $5 and you get to choose a cup by a famous illustrator. The one pictured above is by Kim Sielbeck, a Honolulu-based artist.

View of the pool from our room on the second floor.

The Surfjack isn’t too far from most eateries, but you’ll have to either walk or borrow a bike. We decided to have breakfast at Bills Hawaii, an Australian restaurant best known for their ricotta pancakes.

The Full Aussie from Bills

Before we get into the ricotta pancakes, I wanted to mention the Full Aussie, which is a nice heap of protein and the best miso mushrooms I’ve had. Bills has a teensy bit of local flair, serving kimchee sausage as part of their signature Aussie breakfast.

Ricotta pancakes from Bills

Cue melty buttah action! The ricotta pancakes were served with this honey butter, which resembled sporty banana slices. I was confused at first, seeing banana at the bottom, I mistook the honey butter slice for banana and accidentally put it in my mouth! Kinda gross, but not?! I spit it out and spread the rest of the (untouched) butter across the cakes and we devoured every bite. Oh, if you show your local ID, kamaaina discount is 20%! Yassss…

Tsukemen from Bario

I wish I took photos at the beach, but I was too busy relaxing and frolicking with the fiancé to stop and take photos. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, Waikiki beach was nice, but full of tourists (shocker). For lunch, we wanted to go someplace with a kamaaina discount…so we walked over to Yokocho, my fave spot for Japanese food. If you’re local, you get 15% off your order. We got the ramen and original tsukemen from Bario, because comfort food is a must after every beach day.

Book recommendation: In the Seat of a Stranger’s Car – bought this gem at Olive + Oliver.

This is how we ended our little staycation: with a book and a matcha latte with Olive + Oliver’s homemade honey syrup. Photos of myself sleeping with my mouth open on the pool lounge chair may surface later this week, but I don’t have any regrets about taking a little break from work and family obligations! I’d do it all over again.



I’m kind of picky when it comes to graphic shirts. The design really has to be cool and complicated a the same time yet work with the basics of what I have in my closet. This morning, I received a promotional email from Threadless for their $10-12 shirts and tanks. I quickly browsed through the meaningless geometric prints, cutesy talking burgers and fries, even the I’m-trying-too-hard-to-be-different statement shirts. I found nothing for the first 18 pages of print-ready designs. Then I stumbled upon shirt with a round mermaid (named Fever) with orange hair, manifested by a graphic genius named Heliana, a 28-year-old Romanian artist who goes by pink.aitch. I fell in love with the extreme contrast and the fact that this chubby mermaid had fancy lace around her waist.

pink1Unfortunately a lot of the coolest designs that pink.aitch uploaded to print were no longer available. Bummer. So I kept browsing through pink.aitch’s products hoping to find something of hers that I could buy. I loved this poster of cute illustrations of hefty and round women dressed as fruit and vegetables. I swear it may be the roundness of her characters that I gravitate towards, or it may be the choice of vibrant colors she uses to bring out their personalities. Was it available? Nope. I’m kind of upset at this point.

pink2I searched for her other works and found this last illustration. The detail and exaggeration of the redhead’s dress are adorable. Still no luck buying a small print or a shirt. I guess I’ll just stalk Threadless or Society 6 for some of her new stuff.

You can view her artwork on her website here. I also found pink.aitch’s personal blog where she posts photos of her latest illustrations and projects.

How high can you go?


The other day, I made a small, unnecessary purchase at R&D (Interisland Terminal) in Kaka’ako. I browsed many interesting books and for some reason, I kept coming back to this illustrated book Sky High by Germano Zullo and Albertine. “Stop being a kid,” I told myself. Why would I want that? It’s a picture book. Probably for kids. So I walked away and looked over the thick version of 100 Moments that changed photography.

After a few minutes of flipping through the pages of awesome National Geographic photos and making small talk with the shopkeeper Sean, I decided I might as well buy the damn book. The cover and pages seemed so interesting and detailed. Why not buy a book for the art? Is that so bad? The illustrations told a story about a neighborly competition between two men who vertically extend their mansions and fill them with lavish furniture and art. It’s a cute take on “keeping up with the Joneses.” The book was originally written in French and published in France and Switzerland. Now they have the English edition, which I bought for $29.99.

Notice the little chick post-its? I decided to throw those in too…just because they were adorable and fit Thursday’s yellow theme.

Calamari Studio

I stumbled upon Michelle Tavares’ Etsy shop Calamari Studio today. I’m in completely in love with her dreamlike circular prints. Tavares is a freelance illustrator based in Augusta, GA and features DIY projects and her inspirations on her blog. I love her idea of transforming heavily filtered photos into motivational (and inspirational) prints; they’re pretty creative yet simple with textured backgrounds. I’m thinking of creating something similar, but maybe with island-centric photos. We’ll see if I can find some time between work and sleep.


Silent Muse

London-based illustrator Ruben Ireland fancies creating images that carry a certain emotional weight and relate to daily life. His images have a somber, emotional character to it. You can’t help but feel the wonder, sadness and perhaps loneliness that he portrays in his female muses. I’m no art analyst or critic, but his choice of color really dictates the type of emotion that each print conveys. I love his work. It’s dreamy, yet dark, like a sad nightmare.

Ireland’s women are like Audrey Kawasaki‘s girls, who took a wrong turn down a dark forest and became these hauntingly mysterious female warriors. (Well, Ireland is also not as erotic as Kawasaki.) I love his use of nature and indian references – it makes it relevant to today’s Native American trend.

Trippin over illustrator Kris Tate

Kris Tate, illustrator. Manchester, UK.

Medical advertisements in Spanish

A few years ago, before Pinterest and the Tumblr boom, I used to collect interesting graphics that I’ve found online. I found these ads from Barcelona in a small folder titled “Inspirational Designs” on my hard drive and I have no idea where they came from. They’re definitely interesting to look at and I find a couple of them kind of funny. I’m quite fond of the colors, the concepts and illustration the artists have used. If you happen to know where they  came from, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Mahalo!


My latest obsession is the whimsical and vintage works of French designer and illustrator Mathilde Aubier. Among her clients are Wired, Cottage Life magazine and Commerce Magazine. She also founded design studio Ma + Chr with designer Christine Delaquaize where they handle creative projects ranging from graphic design to interior design.

To captivate with a ballpoint pen

It’s not often you come across art that speaks to you. I love artists that use simple, ordinary mediums to create little mind-bending masterpieces. Take those of Calcutta born artist Nina Chakrabarti. She uses ballpoint pens, felt tips, and pencils to transform regular photos of models into exotic and almost haunting prints of “voodoo queens.” For the last two images, Chakrabarti goes for the whimsical effect, using paint and pens to create pretty and colorful details.

Chakrabarti currently lives in London and collaborates with various publications to produce unique alternatives to fashion editorials.

Some days you just want something pretty…

I love things that are pink, colorful and complicated. These prints I’ve found by Portland illustrator and painter Yellena James caught my eye recently. James describes her style as colorful, organic and tangled with a splash of sci-fi. She says each print carries its own emotion.

James not only sets up shop at Etsy, but has been all around the world showcasing her work in art galleries, does illustration work for big name companies such as Anthropologie, Nike and K2 Snowboards. Her work has also appeared in many art and design publications such as Vogue Austrailia and Design Sponge. More info at her official website.