Category Archives: parties

5 ideas to make your wedding rock

Recently I was asked to help coordinate a friend’s wedding. While very exciting, it’s an obviously overwhelming task for many brides. I’m so glad she asked for my help.

Here are some thoughts on how to keep it simple, and why you’ll be so much happier for it.

  1. Don’t be lured into DIY hell. With Pinterest and DIY craft magazines galore showing you just how “easy” it is to make everything for your day of, is it something you really want to do? You’re probably having friends and family from out of town visit for your big day, and the 24-48 hours before your event do you really want to be stressing out if all your special handwritten quotes are elegantly wrapped around each table setting? The thought is lovely, and I’m sure there will be a handful of people who will be delighted to unwrap their unique setting, but that extra stress isn’t worth it if you’re doing it all yourself. Instead sip cocktails by the pool and enjoy the friends and family you rarely get to be with.
  2. Comfort first, for you and your guests. Will you want to walk all night in those satin heels? Will your guests be warm enough once the sun sets? Are there enough places to sit before dinner is served? Is the setting inviting? Are the toilets easily accessible? Does the layout promote laughter among strangers. Will your guests feel comfortable if they don’t know anyone but you and their plus one? Small steps like providing guests blankets, fans, appropriate seating, and a welcoming ambiance go a long way to make sure everyone remembers what a fun party it was.
  3. Delicious goes a long way. Ok so you’re budget isn’t French chef worthy, that’s ok. Don’t try to do too much within a limited budget. Think about what’s really important to you. Would you rather serve special drinks or yummy champagne instead of a 3 course meal? No problem, select heavy pupus (appetizers) instead. No food budget? Thats ok, how about just cake and champagne? Or maybe having a live band is how you’d rather focus your funds. Whatever you serve, just be true to your intentions. Your guests are bound to have fun and leave with satisfied tastebuds.
  4. Logistics matter. The devil is in the details of the event, not the decor. Where will guests park? Does it make sense for folks to drive between the ceremony & reception if they’re not at the same place, or does a shuttle make more sense? Think through the timeline too. Add an extra 30mins at least to every activity to make sure you don’t rush the event. Welcoming guests, champagne toast, eating, cake cutting, dancing, everything takes longer than you think…unless you’re an experienced planner.
  5.  Take pictures before the ceremony, not after. Save your guests from that awkward 2 hour window where the whole bridal party is MIA from the post ceremony bash. You’ve got everyone together, so enjoy it. Either skip the posed picture setting and just hire a day-of event photographer, or do those posed shots the morning of. Save yourself a preventable headache.

Shop my Style Exchange Saturday Dec. 14th

Back by popular demand, I’m throwing another style exchange this Saturday. Avoid parking at the malls, and find unique one-of-a-kind pieces and looks just for you. Looking for something special? I’ve got loads of vintage and fancy party dresses perfect for this festive season. Got something specific in mind? Let me know and I’ll make sure to have it for you.
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Style. Shop. Exchange.

Thank you to all of you who came out to shop my first Style Exchange at R/D. We had a blast and hope you did too. More importantly, I hope you picked up some helpful styling tricks, and also new favorites for your closet. You missed it? Not to fret, we’re doing it again next weekend!

Our next pop-up shop is Saturday December 14th, 2-5 p.m. at R/D once again. Everything will be 50 bucks or less, and I’ve got my hands on lots of new to you gently worn fabulous fashion finds. Is there something you’re looking for in particular? Let me know and I’ll make sure to bring it along and put it aside for you!

Shop Pualana’s Style Exchange: Saturday December 14th 2-5 p.m. R/D 691 Auahi St in Kaka’ako. Free to attend.

 Personal Stylist Pualana Lemelle brings you a carefully curated selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories for a fun afternoon soiree at R/D.

 Light refreshments. Cash and cards accepted.

What to wear to the feast

Whether you’re hosting, attending a family gathering or going out to dinner this Thanksgiving, it’s imperative you dress properly and comfortably for the occasion.

Under no condition should you bother wearing anything with a restrictive waistband, unless you consider self restraint paramount to all things. I love tunics and fancy leggings but ultimately dresses are the best option for upping the ante on this occasion.

In the tropics or in the snow, you’ll want to make sure you’re elegant dinning from the waist up. Go for a statement either with a dramatic neckline, fantastical earrings, or a bold necklace. This will keep the conversation on your good looks, and away from politics or the fact that you’re nearing 35 with no beau to be seen. I recommend hair back, or up, you wouldn’t want it getting in your pumpkin soup would you? And keep bracelets and drapey sleeves to a minimum, the harder to keep clean and clear of your plate.

For those wanting to hide  your middle…

For something a little more bohemian…

Spills no matter! Wear black or a busy print and no one will notice you aren’t a princess at the table…

These are all suggestions I found on shopbop. Your outfit should enrich your feasting experience, not hinder it. Already know what you’ll be wearing? Do tell!

Shop My Style Exchange

Next Saturday I’m throwing a pop-up shop and style exchange for the first time. I’ll be bringing you my carefully curated clothes, shoes and accessories for a fun afternoon soiree at R/D in Kakaako, Honolulu.

Free to attend, everything under $50 bucks. Lots of gently worn designer and vintage goods ready for a new home. Current trends and styles, all sizes represented, though mostly women’s 2-12.

Have a style question? Want to know what outfits work best for your body type? This is your chance to ask stylist for hire ME your burning style questions.

And just because I feel like it, there will be a raffle for prize giveaways including a free shopping session with me! (no purchase needed)

Light refreshments will be served. Cash and cards accepted.

Questions? ask me directly at

Heaven in a jar: Lilikoi Curd

When you’ve got a little bit of land, and decide to plant a Lilikoi (aka Passionfruit) vine, your first year’s harvest is incredibly productive. Lilkois  are round yellow almost egg like fruits that beneath it’s foam like and waxy exterior are full of clear orange capsules with big black seeds. Their tangy sweet juice is yummy in savory and sweet dishes alike. Extracting the juice from these pods can be tricky, it’s best to macerate the pulp with either the back of wooden spoon onto a fine sieve, or if you’ve got a rubber blade for your Cuisinart machine, separate the pods from their juice that way. I actually used a flour sifter of all things, and besides being a mess to clean out afterward, worked great for freeing the juice with little effort.

I took a typical recipe for lemon curd and adjusted the sugar for the sweeter lilikoi juice. Labor intensive, but worth it for it’s delicious and luscious flavor, this curd is perfect just on toast, or as a topping to yogurt or ice cream. It also makes a nice topping for my lemon currant scones.  I like my curd a little more on the tart and runny side, so just make sure not to over cook the egg mixture on the stove and watch closely for when it just coats the back of the spoon, or 180 degrees on a candy thermometer. Have fun in the kitchen!

Lilikoi Curd Recipe

6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 freshly harvested lilikoi juice

1/4 lb (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon grated lime zest (optional)

1) Strain the egg yolks through a sieve into a medium non reactive bowl over low heat.

2) Stir in the sugar and lilikoi juice, and cook stirring constantly with a flat bottomed wooden or silicone spoon, for about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.

3) Remove from heat and whisk mixture slightly until cooled. Stir in the butter, a piece at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the zest if you are doing so.

4) While still warm, pour the mixture into sterilized, hot jars, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mango bread bursting with flavor

End of Summer and we’ve still got mangos dropping from the trees here in Hawaii. So what to do with all the not so perfect ones? A little bruise won’t hinder the taste when baked. Heat turns wet mango chunks thick and sweet like jam. In a fruit/nut bread the taste is true and delicious. I like my fruit to be chunky and not fully mashed or mixed in so it’s like taking a bite out of the fruit itself. A really important note:  the trick to a tender crumb is to not over-mix the batter once you combine the wet and dry ingredients. Otherwise what you get is a tough dough when the gluten is activated. I’ve not tried cake flour, but that would work too, or pastry flour (as it contains less gluten). This basic recipe works well for other fruit/nut combos too such as banana-walnut bread.

Here’s the basic recipe. Happy Baking!

Chunky Mango-Macnut-Coconut bread.

1 1/2 cups chunky mango fruit, from about 2-3  large ripe mangoes (I used Hayden variety).

1 cup raw unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted then chopped coarse.

1/2 cup unsweetend shredded dried coconut, toasted.

1 1/2 cups flour, all purpose or pastry flour works

1/2 cup almond flour/meal

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 tsp. baking powder

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup plain yogurt (sour cream works too)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional topping)

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2) toast nuts and coconut in oven for about 5-7 minutes. Check frequently as they are prone to burning. Should be a nice shade of caramel brown.

3) If using a loaf pan, grease bottom of pan only with butter, then lightly flour, tapping out excess. If using a non-stick pan grease and flour all sides. This recipe also works for muffins, and I use muffin tin liners, preventing me having to do this step.

4) whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, nuts and coconut flakes).

5) Mix chunky cut mango, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl.

6) Lightly fold mango mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until JUST COMBINED. Should be thick and chunky, and ribbons of flour are ok. It’s important to not over mix, otherwise it’ll be tough by activating too much gluten.

7) Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan or muffin tins. Top with turbinado sugar for a glistening look post bake.

8) Bake until golden brown, and when a toothpick comes out clean from center. Depending on your oven, and size of loaf (55-115 mins) or muffins (25-35 mins). Once done, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then remove from pan and let cool 10-15 minutes on wire rack (this will help keep the bottom crusty and not soggy).

Summer Fruit Standout: Brown Butter Nectarine Cobbler/Cake

Two summers ago Melissa Clark from the New York times published this awesome recipe. It’s still one of my favorite ways to use nectarines that are a little too ripe to eat plain. Its so delicious and easy. I recommend doubling it as it is so delicious everyone wants seconds!

Here’s the original recipeIMG_5867


  • 3 cups fresh nectarines or peaches in 1/2-inch slices, or a combination (about 1 pound)
  • 5 ounces sugar (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar.


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat combine the fruit slices, 1/4 c sugar and lemon juice. Stirring constantly until mixture comes to a simmer. Take off heat.
  3. In another small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, melt the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until it smells very nutty, and turns golden, and flecks of brown appear, 2-3 minutes. Pour into 8 x 8 baking dish.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 c sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with the butter. Scrape to make sure the batter is evenly distributed, but careful not to mix the butter into the batter.
  6. Scatter the nectarines/peaches and juices on top of batter without stirring.
  7. Sprinkle with almonds, nutmeg, and Demerara sugar.
  8. Bake until golden brown, 50-55 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

Bargain find: home decor at T.J. Maxx

Last week I was shopping with a client at T. J. Maxx. I’ll go into later why I love this store, but right now I spotted an unbelievable bargain in their home section.

Home design & decorating are in essence curating a space, your nest. I’m attracted to spaces that are some kind of combination of modern meets vintage meets hollywood glam meets Morrocan. Or something like that.


So imagine my delight when I can across this item for a mere $14.99 at Tjmax! I googled horsehead + sliver + ceramic and I found this. The same design (from what I can tell in a picture) for 190 british pounds! There were only 2, and I took them both. I know it’s a less expensive copy, but it looks fabulous as a centerpiece or flanking the front hall. I haven’t quite figured the perfect spot for them, but I can’t wait to showcase them at my annual holiday party.

T. J. Maxx at Ward Village Shops
1170 Auahi St Ste 200
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: 808-593-1820

A Stylish Wedding with Indian and Moroccan Influence

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Last weekend I had the honor of attending a best friend’s wedding in Pupukea, on the north shore of Oahu. Debbie and Kevin threw an all out glamourous affair that hardly represented so many “traditional” takes on a classic marriage ceremony. It was all at once unexpected, beautiful, enjoyable, and were were encouraged to party until the sun came up (well some of us did, I fell asleep before then). Inspiration was taken from many cultures and traditions the world over. During the ceremony sips of sake and wine were taken by the couple. The Moroccan theme extended itself most visibly with the plush pillows and low tables for lounging. It also made it tremendously kid friendly too.

The bride’s dress was incredible in person, with lots of layers of fabric in hues of warm oranges, yellows and reds. The skin on her hands and feet had been covered in Henna tattoos the day before akin to an Indian tradition. Bridesmaids wore sari’s, ring-bearers wore top hats, and shoes were optional. A tent that seemed to be plucked straight out of Morocco was the centerpiece for the post ceremony dancing. DJ Sole performed magic on the turntables for over seven hours, not even a Tsuanami warning could stop this party (which btw really did happen, and we were lucky to be high on the mountain should it hit, which it didn’t!).

Debbie and Kevin share a love of travel, fire dancing, and a great party. And of course that’s exactly what we got. It was an outrageously good time. Here are a few visual bites from the wedding…