Souvenirs from Spain and Italy



I’m finally back home in Hawaii. I’ve been so busy since I returned. Work and family are keeping me busy so I put off unpacking and downloading photos until now. I’m going to start this series of travel-related posts with some of my favorite (non-food) things I took home from Spain and Italy.


The first photo is of a shell dish that I picked up at La Boquería in Barcelona. It was cheap and so touristy but I wanted something from the Mediterranean Sea since it was too cold to dip my toes in it when I was there. Inside of the beautiful shell are clay figurines of things you’d find at the market, or mercato, in Napoli. The busy and grimy city of Napoli was exciting, mostly because of the little things we found on the Via dei Tribunali, a popular street with bakeries, eateries, and tiny shops. Along a side street of Tribunali, we stopped at A. Ferrera, a shop owned by clay artist Ferrara Antonietta. The clay figures were adorable and so cheap. I couldn’t resist buying a few.

The second photo is of a book (and a Barcelona metro ticket tucked in the front) that I bought in Palermo. Pan de Limón con Semillas by Barcelona-born writer Cristina Campos. I wanted something local and from a common bookshop/newstand that locals go to regularly, so I chose this literary gem that is based in Mallorca. I’m going to start reading it after this coming week…after all my projects that I must catch up to.

The little tan journal is something very special that I bought in Florence. After we visited the Duomo, we ventured towards the local market, lined with vendors of all sorts. One of the first vendors, unique as hell, was selling customized real leather journals. He stamped my name inside. I was only able to bring a couple of these back since they were going to weigh my luggage down, but I thought it was the perfect thing to bring back to some special people. The journals were not cheap, but they were worth every penny.


This third photo is just more of the beautiful figurines from Ferrara Antonietta. Artichokes are all over Italy and they’re served fried, baked into pizzas, and steamed. Their artichokes are also different colors, which I thought was beautiful.


Ah. This last photo is of a few things I picked up in Mallorca. Shopping in Europe isn’t really my thing…just yet. It is quite possible that I haven’t hit the real local shops, but Zara and H&M are huge with the Spanish. Aside from the mauve fringe earrings on the right, everything is from Sfera at El Corte Inglés, which is a huge multi-level department store in various cities. It’s like a Macy’s, that’s the only type of department store I can compare it to.

Stay tuned for the real travel shots…I have so much to share!

Boho fringe purses


[Hippie fringe purse by Realmlistic]

I tend to obsess over hippie, bohemian and gypsy themed accessories. It is probably because I like my bags and necklaces with an explosion of color but have a structured, functional shape. Realmlistic on Etsy has great products that have all these pompoms and fringe details.


[Folk fringe purse by Realmlistic]

This one is pretty functional as a cross-body purse, which is perfect for shopping, concerts and the beach.


[Bohemian red clutch by Girlwitharadiomind]

This last one is from Girlwitharadiomind on Etsy. I’m feeling the pompoms and the earthy woven bottom to balance out the loud colors.

Fall-friendly leftover trends

If I were to sum up the major trends I’ve indulged in this past summer, I’d say they would be ombre, hi-low tops/frocks/dresses, Aztec prints and vintage leather. I always go back to past shops on Etsy to see what else these awesome designers have come up with. Take Brooke Fung’s Peeko Apparel, she’s listed some new duds for the fall season. I really like how she took the ombré to a wine shade and gave the hi-low top some shape with extra frills on the side.

As you can see from my previous posts, leather is a good investment. At Pascal Vintage, these rough, classic boots caught my attention and I’ve had them in my favorites list ever since. They’re a bit pricey for me, but that’s what’s expected of vintage clothing and accessories. You get that worn out feel.

Lastly, I saved these in my faves list just because they’re fun and colorful. I’ve been wearing a lot of black and grey lately for work so I figured that these would work well to break up the boring neutrals on Mondays. They’re pretty cute and made from real leather (according to the designer).

You can find more of these leather earrings and other goods by Tovi Sorga on Etsy.




Leather purses

Lately I just bought a good pair of leather kitten heels and boots. The next thing I plan to invest in is a genuine leather satchel or tote that I can use for work. I’ve been browsing through some good ones on Etsy and I really like Art of Leather by Lee Loong Studio.

This black satchel is pretty functional too. I’m a sucker for black leather and gold accents.

Lastly, I like a random find here and there. This is a clutch by Blackbird and the Owl on Etsy.




#INSTALIFE >>> Self-indulgence through the lens of my crappy phone

Core Power Yoga, Kahala, Oahu

I finally splurged on minty Nike Frees & a yoga mat + strap from Lululemon

If only my phone took better photos, these wouldn’t be so grainy.

Loft In Space at Fresh Café, Honolulu

Sweet gardenias at Fresh Café



Jellyfish air plants

Sea urchins and jellyfish are nothing new to me. Living on an island my entire life, I’ve watched friends place the creamy flesh of sea urchins at sushi bars, I’ve collected their skeletons along the beach and had the opportunity to swim with golden and moon jellyfish in Palau. Yeah, I’ve just about seen everything…until these photos of “jellyfish air plants” caught my eye on Etsy. They’re so cute! The concept of transforming a sea urchin into a jellyfish is something I would have never thought of.

Designer and art director Cathy Van Hoang established her shop, Petit Beast, on Etsy and cleverly markets her creative products with pretty, dream-like photography. Her little creations make cute gifts and are affordable, with prices ranging from $6-$70. Check out more of Cathy’s creations on her blog.

Bloom Theory Camera Strap

Now how can you tell me a camera strap like this won’t stand out at a party? Bloom Theory gives serious glam photographers some sparkle that’s a little more practical for an adventurous nightlife. Check out more camera accessories, lens and gadgets on my wishlist.

Rust, browns and kaftans

Lately, turbands like this one have been requirements for the muggy and hot weather here in Hawaii. I’m particularly fond of this one by Triko in rust because it’s just so unexpectedly cute and rugged at the same time. The next one is a suede round-tip collar by FloryFauna. I like to add a bit of prep to my outfits now and then, just to pull it all together with a clean accessory. The last one is a random kaftan I came across during late night “window” shopping. It’s by GoldDustDresses and it’s called the Coachella Charmer. I’m absolutely in love with its bohemian-style-cut-short, which is perfect for summer mornings at the beach…although it is out of my budget. Hopefully I’ll find a similar dress for half the price.

The latest on my Etsy wishlist

Ocean T by Norwegian Wood

I love Norwegian Wood’s eye for functional yet unique pieces. This top definitely attracts with its mesh inserts and that black body-hugging skirt. The whole outfit is wonderful, actually. I want it sooo bad in my size!

Baby hold on by Girl On A Vine

Girl On A Vine is just straight up bohemian style. Every piece is flowy and free. This tribal high-low top would probably look horrendous on me but I still like the design. All you need is a strong red lip, a camisole (if you wanna hide your tummy) and scalloped black shorts to go with it.

Chevron Racerback Tank by Thief and Bandit

I’m always on the lookout for simple tanks or shirts with a funky print. The Chevron tank works well with washed out denim or even a pencil skirt to dress it down.

Neon is not dead

This lemony hue is still one of my favorites. It shocks and accentuates. It looks great on all women – Latina, black, Asian and even Pacific Islander women like myself. Take a hint from one of my fashion inspirations, actress and fashionista Ashley Madekwe. Her fashion blog is full of pieces that she has worn on and off the red carpet. If you’re lucky, she’ll put one up for sale.

I’ve always loved fringe. Here’s another necklace, updated by neon yellow/green that makes it extra special. This is by Etsy seller Norwegian Wood.

The last two are by Voz Clothing and Art (bangle, $22) and Hash and Chez (earrings, $9.50).