October 2016 Yoga Schedule Update


This month I will be leaving the island of Oahu for a few days, again. My best friend Zan is flying here to visit me! I’m meeting her at the airport tomorrow and we’re headed to Kauai. So, my 9 AM class Sunday, October 2; 10:30 am class Thursday, October 6; and both classes Friday, October 7, are subbed out. I will be subbing at Yogaloha at 10:30 am on Saturday, October 15. 

September Yoga Schedule Update

formation beyonce

This month I will be leaving the island of Oahu for a few days. I’m headed to Los Angeles TO SEE BEYONCÉ LIVE IN HER FORMATION WORLD TOUR! My friend Danelle and I have been obsessing over Lemonade for the past few months, and finally decided we needed to go see it performed live.


I will have subs teaching my regular classes Thursday, September 15 through Sunday, September 18.


I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of pictures during my trip so be sure to follow along via Instagram @ValerieBrett (and @eyechow if you’re a foodie). While I’m gone, enjoy these latest yoga playlists!

International Marketplace Opens in Waikiki

The old International Marketplace; it was updated another time, before this round, as well.

The original International Marketplace

The brand-new International Market Place in tourist-hub Waikiki (on Oahu) opened yesterday, with world-class restaurants, upscale retailers, and the first Saks Fifth Avenue in Hawai’i. It closed for renovations in 2014, which Hawaii Business Magazine covered:

For more than 50 years, tourists flocked there, drawn to the warren of cheap jewelry stores, kiosks selling kitschy bric-a-brac and the romance of the original Don the Beachcomber restaurant, which opened there in 1956. Owned by The Queen Emma Land Co., the market place was a memorial to – if not Old Hawaii – the tiki image most visitors have of Old Hawaii, replete with ersatz thatched roofs and a Swiss Family Robinson tree house in the grand old banyan that dominates the mall, a tree reputedly planted by Queen Emma herself.

Those days are done.

international marketplace rendition 2016

Oahu’s newest shopping, dining and entertainment destination, this project was developed by Taubman and CoastWood Capital Group in conjunction with Queen Emma Land Company. Now that you’ve heard the technical details, here is what what you really want to know: The new lineup includes the following (a single asterisk before the name indicates brands that are unique to the island):



ABC Stores


Abercrombie & Fitch



Banana Republic


Brunello Cucinelli

*Capital Teas


Chapel Hats

*Christian Louboutin


Crazy Shirts


Flip Flop Shops

FootAction USA


*Free People


GNC Live Well

Godiva Belgium 1926

Greenroom Hawaii

*Hanna Andersson

*Herve Leger

Hilton Grand Vacations (kiosk)


Honolulu Cookie Co.


Island Art & Sole

*Jo Malone

*Kona Coffee Purveyors


Lani Beach by Mireille

L’Occitane en Provence

LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics


Maui Divers Jewelry

Michael Kors

*Mitsuwa Marketplace

*Oliver Peoples





*Robin’s Jean

*Saks Fifth Avenue

Sand People

*Seafolly Australia


Shoe Palace

*Stuart Weitzman


Sunglass Hut


Tabora Gallery


*Trina Turk

Vera Bradley





*Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi

*Flour & Barley

Goma Tei Ramen


*Kona Grill




*The STREET, A Michael Mina Social House

Opening celebrations continue this weekend; I know I’ll be going to see the Fabletics store (fitness apparel brand by Kate Hudson) and try a Shaka-stamped cocktail at Chef Michael Mina’s restaurant. Some of the other unique-to-Hawai’i stores are intriguing, and I’m sure they will find no dearth of customers, considering that tourists spend more money in Waikiki on luxury goods than at any other stores in the world. Not to mention, Oahu is home to a population of locals that love mainland brands, strip malls, and shopping. Goma Tei, as I’ve mentioned previously, is my favorite place to eat ramen on the island, and I’m happy to have a good new option for food in Waikiki. Shockingly, despite the over abundance of retail and hotels, there aren’t very many good places to eat in Waikiki (unless you’re willing to drop a ton of money). However, I assume that Goma Tei be a madhouse of tourists, so I probably will not try it out until the next time I’m hungry & stranded in Waikiki (I work in Waikiki, and live nearby).

The shopping center is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (but perating hours for restaurants will vary). For ease of access, the center provides 700 parking spaces and valet parking (which will be a huge draw for locals, who usually hate driving into Waikiki and looking for limited -or expensive- parking).

For more information, visit or on Instagram: @intlmktplace.

Lily Lotus Bamboo Kimono Breeze



I am obsessed with this year’s new item by local (to Hawaii) brand Lily Lotus: the Kimono Breeze, made in the USA with 92% Bamboo 8% Spandex.

Lily Lotus bamboo kimono on bikini

So far, I have two solid-colored kimonos that I love, but I am also lusting after this gorgeous blue version from the Fall 2016 Collection. It would be so perfect as a beach coverup!


Speaking of which: the kimono is the perfect cover up for over your bathing suit. It’s stylish, but so simple and understated. It pairs perfectly with a floppy hat. It lets the bikini shine, but also provides good coverage (either from the sun or wind, or both). It’s light and airy, but just heavy enough to keep you warm if you are chilly (as often happens is the case in Hawaii, or at any beach, especially in the early morning or evening).


It’s ridiculously soft and comfortable. You can buy it in your size, or a size larger (which I did) so it’s more draped and flows.

lily lotus bamboo kimono night outfit

But, here’s the best part about this ridiculously versatile item: it is perfect for nighttime and going out, too!

lily lotus bamboo kimono night outfit

Here I wore it with:

  • skirt from Forever21
  • bra top by Onzie
  • glasses by Warby Parker
  • bracelets by MiuArtworks
  • sandals from Nordstrom Rack
  • purse was a thrift store find
  • Kourt K Lipkit by Kylie Cosmetics

lily lotus bamboo kimono night outfit

I wore this out to dinner and it provided just the right amount of cozy warmth in the air conditioned restaurant. This outfit could have looked inappropriate for the family member’s birthday dinner that I was at, without the kimono; but instead, it was perfect. If I wanted to, I could have gone out afterwards in this outfit, for drinks or dancing (but I am an old lady, and usually am in bed by 10 pm).

lily lotus bamboo kimono

Here’s a very similar outfit I loved, with my lighter-colored kimono.

lily lotus bamboo kimono

This is the same skirt as before, with:

  • Brandy Melville bra top
  • Hailey’s Jewelry from the Sea bracelets
  • Noelani unicorn tear necklace
  • Vince Camuto heels

lily lotus bamboo kimono

The kimono is just so perfect, because it’s not a heavy sweater or long-sleeved, but it can function as one. I can think of at least ten more outfits that I want to try, using the Lily Lotus Kimono Breeze.

lily lotus bamboo kimono for yoga

Lastly, I couldn’t forget to mention that this is the perfect yoga coverup. I wear it over my tank tops, and I can still move around in it, since it’s stretchy. Of course, it looks super cute over any yoga leggings.

lily lotus bamboo kimono

Each kimono can fold/roll up really small, so it’s easy to tuck one into a purse or suitcase.

lily lotus bamboo kimono

The Lily Lotus Kimono Breeze is $78 for a solid color, or $94 for the tie-dye washes. Because I love mine so much, I wanted to see if I could get you all a discount code to buy one for yourself. And because Lily Lotus is awesome, they are offering my readers a limited-time discount!


If you use code ValerieBrett online you can receive 15% off any and all kimonos, and receive free shipping! This offer is valid ONLY today, August 24, through August 31.


What do you think? Have you tried this on or added it to your wardrobe? Which look is your favorite? 


#FollowFriday: @the96815

One of my absolute favorite Hawaii Instagram accounts is @the96815, “celebrating the lifestyle of Hawaii’s most famous zip code.” Waikiki tends to be overcrowded and extremely touristy, but Oahu-based designer Nova manages to capture it all with a dreamy, vintage pastel-hued aesthetic that takes you to the Hawaii of your dreams. This is serious #VacationGoals. If you love Hawaii, live in Hawaii, or dream about Hawaii from afar, follow this account for endless daydream inspiration.

the96815 instagram waikiki the96815 instagram waikiki the96815 instagram waikiki

My Summer 2016 Reading List

Lately I have been stealing moments throughout each day to read. I’ve also recently (finally!) updated my Goodreads profile (friend me here).

reading on a rocking chair

There’s something magical about laying beach or poolside during the summer, immersed in a great book. Or maybe you prefer porch lounging, or laying in a hammock in the yard or while camping. Maybe you are traveling for the summer, and have a beloved book stashed in your backpack. You could read to pass the time on a train or airplane. If you’re just working per usual this summer, unable to get outside during the day, you can still try to escape from the office during your lunch break; when I lived and worked in New York, I used to sneak across the street to a bench in Central Park during the summer, any time that it was possible for me to step out for lunch.


Obviously, summer reading holds a nostalgic place in my heart; and unlike most nostalgia, this activity is still pleasant in the present! So, here are the ten books that I have already read, am currently reading, or plan to read before the end of Summer 2016:


voices in the ocean summer reading

Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

By Susan Casey

The moment I opened the book and read the first paragraph of the prologue, this writer’s prose blew me away. I was not expecting such expert composition from a book that frankly looks a little cheesy from the cover. Also, I am not a particularly huge fan of animals in general or dolphins in particular, but my dad gave me this book for Christmas, insisting it was special. Well, in the past 24 hours I’ve devoured half of it, and am not only a converted dolphin fan, but also a Susan Casey fan. I will definitely be looking for her other two nonfiction books after this (one about waves and the other sharks; both perfect for summer beach reading or daydreaming).

eastern body western mind summer reading

Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self

By Anodea Judith

I am almost done with this book and I am OBSESSED. For any yogi who is in or interested in psychotherapy, this is for you. Using the insights, information and practices in this book, I feel like I have immediately overcome some personal healing hurdles that have been plaguing me for years. Of course healing is a process, but if you’re feeling stuck in any way, or drawn to the chakras but want more information, read this book!

everydata summer reading

Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day

John H. Johnson Ph.D. and Mike Gluck

I haven’t started reading this book yet, but it sounds up the alley of Stephen Dubner and Malcolm Gladwell, both writers whose work I enjoy. This line in the book’s description intrigued me: The average person consumes approximately 30 gigabytes of data every single day, but has no idea how to interpret it correctly… EVERYDATA explains, through the eyes of an expert economist and statistician, how to decipher the small bytes of data we consume.

yin yoga summer reading

Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice

By Paul Grilley

This book is short and to the point, but an extremely clear and useful guide to what Yin Yoga is, why you should practice it, and how. Summer is a particularly good time to balance out excess heat (especially for Pitta doshas) with a cooling practice like Yin. As Yoga Journal pointed out: teacher and author Maya Tiwari writes, “The doshas are not simply the dynamic energy within the body; rather, they are influenced primarily by seasonal variations.” As summer heats up, we become prone to accumulating excess pitta. If we already possess a pitta prakriti (nature), we’re at an even higher risk of becoming out of balance. So if you don’t already have a Yin practice, this is the perfect time to start.


Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.46.45 PM

The Complete Stories

by Flannery O’Connor

Total honesty: I bought this book because I loved the cover. Also, I have never been into short stories, but I am interested in them all of a sudden. I think it’s important to have at least one challenging and/or classic work on a Summer Reading list. I’ve read two of these short stories so far, and one was poignant, beautiful and resonated with me; the other was confusing and I think its meaning went over my head. But I will keep going! If anyone is an O’Connor fan and wants to discuss some of these, please let me know. ritual of the savage book hawaii

Ritual of the Savage

By Jay Strongman

This is a quick, easy summer read that is mystery/thriller and makes you want to throw a tiki party, or at least drink a mai tai. Perfect to take with you if you are actually on vacation in Hawaii or California. Read my full review here.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.46.04 PM

The Alchemist

By Paolo Coelho

We were required to read this book in one of my middle school English classes, and I was way too inexperienced to appreciate it. In fact, I didn’t like it at all when I first read it. Now that I am a little older and wiser, and I consider myself on a spiritual life journey, this book (which is really a fable) was completely endearing to me. I was finally ready for its wisdom. This is the kind of book that gives hope to those of us with some life experience, and I imagine comfort to those of us with a lot. I read this book literally in one afternoon at the beach, and highly recommend it to anyone else who is on a journey, or who believes that things happen for a reason.

the girls summer reading list

The Girls

By Emma Cline

Everyone (on my social media feed and book podcasts I listen to) has been talking about this book, so when I saw a signed copy on sale at Costco last week, I grabbed it. It’s set during the summer in the late 1960’s (perfect for my aforementioned summer reading nostalgia) and sounds gripping: it’s a coming-of-age story involving a cult.



Egg & Spoon

By Gregory Maguire

If you know me, you know I love Children’s Literature and YA, and did even before Divergent and Hunger Games came out (which I’m also a fan of, of course). I think that anyone who grew up loving Harry Potter (and I was part of the cohort who was the same age as Harry when each book was released) will just have a soft spot for YA forever. Does anyone else agree with this? Anyways, I enjoyed Gregory Maguire’s fiction books for adults, Wicked and the rest of that series, so I’m interested to read this YA book of his, which is set in Russia, where my ancestors are from. Doesn’t this review just draw you in? “A beautiful reminder that fairy tales are at their best when they illuminate the precarious balance between lighthearted childhood and the darkness and danger of adulthood.” — School Library Journal. Sadly, I rented this book from the library but didn’t get around to reading it before it was due (which was Fourth of July weekend, so I had to return it rather than renew). I’ll have to go back for it soon!

origin summer reading


By Jessica Khoury

I stumbled upon this book in the public library next to my house. It was a fast, easy read, and definitely a page-turner. While I would only rate this book three out of five stars, due to some inconsistencies in the story, I have to admit that I was thoroughly engrossed in it, and very much enjoyed the book overall. The protagonist is the one and only immortal human, living secretly in the Amazon jungle with only the scientists who created her.  If you want an easy, quick and entertaining sci-fi YA book (and one that isn’t about a dystopian future or vampires) this is a good one. It’s also the first book in a trilogy called Corpus, which I plan to read the rest of, so you can continue on if you’d like (but this book does wrap up nicely if you’re not interested in continuing on and reading all three).

summer reading list 2016 book blog

Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe, Vashon

Vashon healthy restaurant

Just about a year ago now, a few friends and I accompanied Kiyo back to his hometown of Vashon, a small island in Puget Sound, right next to Seattle. We ate lunch one day at Snapdragon, a vegetarian eatery. The “about” page on their website says only, “Snapdragon opened its doors in February of 2012. Adam Cone and Megan Hastings are the creative minds behind this endeavor.”

I ordered the Lentil Fritters. Favored with mild chilis and East Indian flavors (?), it comes with a yogurt garlic sauce; a slaw of red cabbage, carrots, ginger and parsley; apple chutney; and house-made bread. For $12.50, it can also be made gluten-free or vegan (this goes for many, if not most, items on the menu). I was very happy with my meal and ate almost all of it, even though it was a lot!


Someone ordered the soup but I can’t remember what it was (offerings change daily).


Someone else ordered the salad special, and again, I can’t exactly remember what it was. But it looks delicious! I also like how almost everything comes with their hearty, house-made bread.

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The Artful Bean, Bethany Beach

The Artful Bean bethany Beach Delaware

When Mik and I went to Delaware for Memorial Day weekend a few years ago, one of the cutest places we found, with the most personality, was The Artful Bean in Bethany Beach.


We stopped into the café / coffee shop / art gallery for a midday snack, on the way to the beach.


They served lots of coffee concoctions, but we shared a fruit smoothie.

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Slice of Sparkle visits eyechow!

Dear readers,

My good friend Jenna, creator of the blog Slice of Sparkle, came to visit me last month! And since she wrote two awesome posts about her visit, I am being lazy today and just presenting them to you here rather than writing my own post.

Hawaii recap part one here, Hawaii recap part two here.

slice of sparkle

Jenna is awesome, has a super fun blog and was an amazing guest. Hope she comes back soon.


Island Grill, Kingston [Airport]

Island Grill Kingston Airport Jamaica

When Kiyo and I were flying back to New York City from Montego Bay, Jamaica, we had a layover in Kingston. It was a long layover, so we had to get some food. I already wrote about one of the weird things we ate (see that post here). We also split a dish from Island Grill.


For a fast food restaurant, it was pretty good. They served traditional Jamaican food: rice and peas (beans), festival (fried dough) and chicken. It was unexciting and slightly bland, but ok for a cheap airport option. It certainly was more fresh and healthy than McDonald’s or other, larger fast food chains!