Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December 2019 - Liz Lisa, Olivia Burton, EATME, Ted Baker + Tokyo trip w/o wifi & Christmas

I can't believe 2019 is finally over! The holiday season always passes so quickly, but I had quite a few things going on this month. And I ended up making more purchases back at home for myself than I really did on my trip lol.

Liz Lisa heart scallop ribbon blouse in pink (195-1005-0), flower pumps in pink (181-9608-0) and double ribbon clear heel sandals in yellow (183-9612-0)
The heart scallop ribbon blouse in pink finally restocked and, lucky me, on sale! I kept checking back for it because I missed my chance when it was initially released since I only wanted this color. Even though I find blouses with a color accent a bit limiting (compared to all white), I know I have several options for pairings for this and I can't wait to wear it next year. The shoes I threw in my cart because I wanted to take advantage of the free shipping promotion. I already have the pumps in white and the sandals in white/pink so this is just me doubling/tripling up on my favorites.

Olivia Burton Enchanted Garden Demi Dial Watch
I've been looking at getting a silver tone watch for almost half a year now. The EATME items I've been buying all have silver metal accents (whereas Liz Lisa always does gold), so I really wanted to get a watch that didn't clash. A lot of my earrings and rings are also more of a silver/white gold color, so it just made sense to get a watch that matched. After getting the Pretty Blossom watch this summer and adoring it, I was determined to get another watch from Olivia Burton. Although I had a lot to choose from, I knew I wanted something on the lower price end (for the brand) but was still uniquely Olivia Burton which meant getting a floral face. The band is supposedly blue but in a lot of fluorescent lighting actually appears slate grey which I really like. I also opted for free debossing on the band which is my new last name. I see it every time I look at my wrist and I love that small detail that is obvious to me but not super obnoxious.

EATME lace up neck rib top in pink, dot tulle off shoulder blouse in black, side lace up skirt in mix
EATME items finally started going on a decent sale again. The blouse that I desperately want is still out of stock (I just can't commit to paying $99 at full price) but I thought these would be a good supplement in the mean time. I already have the pink version of the skirt but the mix color was a very near second choice at the time, so this seemed like a good opportunity, and the tops were just a good price to round out my order! Unfortunately I had to upgrade to EMS when shipping with Tenso after the package was too large for small package so that was the main bummer (plus it also took forever??)

Ted Baker NANINA - Neapolitan buckle detail dress in light gray
I received a really nice Christmas gift from Ted Baker from my MIL, but I was curious so I went to take a look in the store and they were finally having a sale on this dress! I had seen it a couple months ago but definitely couldn't pay full price for it and this was the last one in my size. Knowing that my MIL wouldn't mind me exchanging her gift for something I really wanted for a while, I made the exchange and got the dress. I already have a few occasions in mind for when to wear it! 

Homde faux leather jewelry box/organizer (from Amazon)
I recently realized that I actually have a fair selection of rings and earrings now. I've pretty much just been keeping them on a little dish in my bathroom which isn't great storage and really wanted to find a better solution. I ended up scouring Amazon for "jewelry organizer" and picking this one. There were SO many choices and so many different reviews, but I really just ended up picking what I thought suited my specific jewelry the best. Etsy was another place I looked but I actually liked the Amazon selection more. I really like the necklace hooks (the main thing I wanted to reorganize) and then the top section which I'm using for accessories I'd likely wear almost every day. The drawers have been for more specialty pieces. In the 10 or so days since I got it, I've found myself accessorizing a lot more now that I can see all my choices in one place!

I fell off the wagon even more with work outfits this month. I was out of the office a lot due to my trip and other personal leave due to end of year, but even when I did go in, I didn't feel like taking photos most of those days. Either because my outfit didn't feel special enough or sometimes I'm just not in the mood to be patient enough to stage everything in the morning to get the shot. I may take a different approach to this next year because I really don't want it to feel like a chore.
Forever21 bow tie blouse, Ank Rouge key embroidery cardigan, EATME faux leather zipper skirt, DreamV cross strap pumps, Michael Kors manhattan purse

Liz Lisa bow tie blouse, Liz Lisa sweet latte cardigan, Liz Lisa bear book skirt, Liz Lisa 3-strap pumps, Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse 

Liz Lisa color scheme blouse, Liz Lisa frill ribbon cardigan, Liz Lisa bear book skirt, Liz Lisa 3 strap pumps, Samantha Vega purse 

Delyle Noir shirring cami tunic, Forever 21 cardigan, Material Girl pants, Jessica Simpson Dany sandals, Michael Kors Manhattan purse

Liz Lisa off shoulder blouse, Liz Lisa houndstooth fitted skirt, Liz Lisa ribbon beret, DreamV cross strap pumps, Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Delyle Noir flare sleeve blouse, Ank Rouge key embroidery cardigan, Liz Lisa flower fade skirt, DreamV cross strap pumps, Samantha Vega bijou ribbon purse

Japan trip Winter 2019
My husband and I went on a short trip to Tokyo from December 3 and returned on December 10. This was prompted by my friend J's work trip to Japan and we met up with her for the weekend while we were there. I decided on a slightly different blogging format which was event based rather than chronological and organized by day. This was a little more manageable for me although some of the posts were a little shorter than I would have liked, and some of the details don't fall into any particular category. However, I do still want to remember/write about them, so I want to include some of those details here + maybe just post some photos I liked lol.

Our flights
We left Honolulu for Haneda on the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec 3 and was fortunate to get an upgrade due to our gold status with Hawaiian. Last month of eligibility this year, so I'm glad it was useful! I'm especially grateful for the extra comfort section on the flight over since it's pretty long and we still have to do a lot upon arrival in Tokyo once we deplane and I'm all groggy and grouchy sometimes.

Our return flight from Haneda to Honolulu was the one departing close to midnight (23:55). They do have one that leaves a couple hours earlier, but I figured we might need those hours for something and already knew the shuttle schedule to arrive for this flight. The junk part about it is that I'm usually just so sleepy by the time we board and I try to knock out right away since the flight home is so much shorter than the flight over. Apparently I didn't even take any photos on the plane and I just slept lol. We did get another upgrade on this flight though so that was a win!

The first thing that I like to book after I know the dates when I travel is the accommodations. We decided to check first with Airbnb because that's usually the best price-wise. After looking at many different options in different locations, we settled on this apartment.
Interior - The main downstairs area included a small kitchen with refrigerator and freezer, microwave and other typical appliances. There was a small table with bar height chairs and then a coffee table and fold out couch. Upstairs, in a lofted space, was the bedroom which also had plenty of space for luggage etc. Photos showed a bathroom with a separate toilet and shower area which was a feature we liked.

Location - Listing described the apartment as a 15 minute walk from Shibuya station or a 30 second walk from Shinsen station. Since it's not summer, I anticipated that we'd be okay for the walk and could otherwise just transfer if we were too tired. It truly was pretty close to Shinsen station, but probably closer to 1 minute rather than 30 seconds. And from the JR Shibuya Yamanote line tracks, it's probably closer to a 20-25 minute walk depending on how many lights you catch and which way you walk. We probably walked 50% of the time and took the Keio Inokashira line to Shinsen 50% of the time.

Pocket wifi - The listing included a portable wifi device with the unit, and I had also messaged the host to confirm its inclusion with the reservation prior to our arrival as it was something that was important to me to have (otherwise I'd order a separate one myself). Host confirmed it but when we arrived at nearly midnight on Dec 4 after our long flight, the wifi device was nowhere to be seen and there was some really strict check in instructions with an iPad that was passcode locked but no indication on how to use it. LUCKILY, my husband's phone plan includes an international data plan so we were able to use his phone to message the host but he didn't respond. Long story short, we messaged the Airbnb host multiple times a day, almost every day of the trip and did not ever receive the wifi unit - just messages saying "please check the apartment again" after every 3rd message to him. Believe me, if it was there, I would have found the damn thing. The unit itself does not have a regular installed modem or router so the portable unit was the only source of wifi. We had to rely on my husband's very limited phone connectivity for the entirety of the trip, including to just argue with the host + I would occasionally have to stop in Family Mart if I wanted a stronger signal. Any meet ups with people I had planned were almost impossible to coordinate by myself and I just hate not being able to navigate on my own or look up information ahead of time. This was a huge burden for me and I ended up reaching out to Airbnb Customer Support, especially after the host wouldn't respond to my messages for over 48 hours. Customer Support was reasonably responsive and did issue us a partial refund, but overall, I'm still extremely displeased with how the whole thing turned out. I would definitely rather have paid the regular price and had the wifi/connectivity! Definitely never staying with this host again, but I really dont know what I would have done differently because he confirmed that the wifi unit would be there before we left and the reviews when we booked were all really good!

Trip outfits
I always meticulously plan out my Japan trip outfits, but don't always intend to share my process. Since my work outfit section this month is so dismal and since I blogged the trip based on event, I thought it might be nice to include a small section here for my coordinates. I took the flatlays as part of my planning methodology but they're not picture perfect lol. Every outfit includes my Liz Lisa My Melody 2016 fukubukuro pom pom coat and Samantha Thavasa purse. And since it was pretty cold, for the most part I only have photos with my coat on so the outfits look a little samey :|
Plane outfit:
Liz Lisa sweet confiture jumperskirt, Liz Lisa cardigan, Liz Lisa music note charm long boots

Day 1 (DisneySea and Disneyland)
Liz Lisa color scheme sample blouse, Liz Lisa cardigan, Liz Lisa bear book skirt, Liz Lisa music note charm long boots + Shellie May pouch

Day 2 (Pokemon Cafe and airKitchen cooking class)
Liz Lisa fur collar cardigan, Liz Lisa sweet patisserie sukapan, Liz Lisa smokey color pom pom beret, Liz Lisa 3 ribbon pumps

Day 3 (Kimono rental and eBike tour)
Liz Lisa mermaid sweets parlor OP, Liz Lisa cardigan, Liz Lisa 3 ribbon pumps --> rented kimono

Day 4 (Harajuku Zoo Land and Ramen Museum)
Liz Lisa message ribbon sailor collar blouse, Liz Lisa charlotte print skirt, Liz Lisa music note charm long boots

Day 5 (Shopping day)
Liz Lisa merry go round jumperskirt, Liz Lisa message ribbon sailor blouse (traded it for a cardigan!), Liz Lisa ribbon beret, Liz Lisa 3 ribbon pumps (changed to boots at night for added warmth)
Day 6 (Sweet Escape photos at Shinjuku Gyoen and Go Cafe)
Liz Lisa sleepy bunny OP, Liz Lisa 3 ribbon pumps
(I ended up using my new Samantha Vega purse purchased on Day 5 instead!)

Overall thoughts
A pretty short trip, but honestly we were glad to be coming home by the end of the fourth day lol. Without intending to, we really packed a bunch of activities in there. I had really meant for us to just take our time and not have to rush around, and for the most part we did. But really, just being out all day doing stuff is not the norm for us unless we're working lol. Definitely the lack of connectivity ended up weighing on me too because I was particularly frustrated with the non-response we were getting from the host who didn't even remotely try to remedy the issue. Taking that out of the equation, I'm really happy with many of the new activities that we tried, and I know there's some things we'll definitely want to explore further on future trips like the eBike tour and cooking class!

Links to the rest of the activities on our trip if you haven't seen them yet!

Miscellaneous life updates
Gel nails from Salon Glitter
I usually go to Salon Cherie in Waikiki for my nails, but I really wanted to get them done before my Japan trip and they didn't have any convenient openings so I opted for Salon Glitter since they're open on Sundays. I've been to this salon once before and it's right next to one of my favorite restaurants (Menchanko Tei), but haven't visited in years. I asked for glitter gradient/fade gel on my natural nails and maybe some rhinestones if time allowed depending on how I liked the gradient. The appointment ended up taking almost 2.5 hours lol. The nailist was very kind and patient and I liked the result but the gel started lifting on the tips of my pointer fingers after just 8-9 days and on the rest of my fingers no more than 10 days after that. Gel from Salon Cherie usually lasts me 8-9 weeks lol. I should know better than to switch salons!

Arancino at The Kahala 
Husband's family does an annual Christmas dinner with long time family friends and this year it was at Arancino. They ended up order the course menu, so I took a bunch of photos I thought might be fun to share real quick.
Unfortunately, I only really ate the Pappardelle alla Bolognese and the table bread, so I can't really review anything but doesn't it look nice?

Christmas/the holidays
Christmas fell right in the middle of the week on a Wednesday this year. I had a bit of use-or-lose type leave left even after my trip in early December, but decided to spread it out a bit before Christmas instead of using it all at once. This resulted in a really weird work schedule where I would sometimes be in 2 days in the week and I actually somehow ended up with a whole 7 day period where I didn't end up going in (with the weekend in the middle). I did work between Christmas and New Years but I don't mind that because traffic is light and no one else is in the office. I took advantage of some undisturbed time to focus on some training I needed to do as well as really clean/rearrange my desk which I had needed to do for months lol.
For the actual holiday, on Christmas eve, we did dinner (the meal part) at my husband's mom's side and then went for presents and games at my mom's side after. On Christmas day, we went to church, then to my in-laws house for brunch and presents. We had a break for a few hours and then my parents and brother came to our house for super quick present opening before heading to my dad's cousin's house for dinner with my dad's mom's side of the family. It was a lot for two days and I was surprised I didn't forget anything wherever we needed to go (presents, food, etc). Next, we conquer New Years!

Even though I blogged monthly in 2019, I still plan to do a wrap up for the year similar to what I've done since 2015 or so, so hopefully I can get that finished and published soon. Happy 2020!


  1. I really like the Olivia Burton watch! The colour is really pretty - it almost reminds me a little of Cinderella with it's silver/blue colouring. <3

    1. Me too! It actually does appear pretty grey sometimes in real life, but that makes me love it more lol. I like that it's kinda versatile that way.