1. Nice kitty!
Cat lovers and manga fans have purred over "Chi’s Sweet Home" ever since Vertical started releasing this series in the U.S., and for good reason: Artist Konami Kanata’s full-color tale of a stray kitten taken in by the Yamada family, told from the kitty’s perspective, is incredibly cute and will appeal to readers of all ages.
Chi’s adventures in the first volume include litter box training and discovering the joys of playing with a paper bag. Find it for $13.99 at any major bookstore around town, or order it online if you’d rather stay at home and keep your cat company. — Jason S. Yadao
2. A star is born
Christopher Nolan’s mind-freak of a film "Inception" has lots to recommend, but I’ve been dreaming of Brit actor Tom Hardy, who portrays the "forger" Eames. Although on screen only a fraction of the time afforded megastar Leonardo DiCaprio, Hardy holds his own and then some, with charisma to spare.
No doubt "Inception" will provide the "kick" American audiences need to wake up to Hardy’s magnetic talent. The 32-year-old’s next dream job? The title role in a "Mad Max" remake. — Christie Wilson
3. Squish the pain
Sometimes you have to hate something in order to find something to love. I hate jellyfish stings. Therefore, I love Jellyfish Squish, a liquid compound that alleviates the pain and welting caused by stings.
John Enomoto, owner of Go Bananas Watersports, one of many outlets that sells the product, said the lidocaine-based substance works best if applied while the stingers are still on the skin. The manufacturer claims it works better than home remedies such as vinegar, meat tenderizer, rubbing alcohol or ammonia.
I discovered Jellyfish Squish’s effectiveness after a windsurfing mishap in Kailua that kept me in the water for about an hour. I applied it two hours later after driving to Enomoto’s Kapahulu store to buy some, and it definitely helped relieve the pain. It sells at Go Bananas for $9.95 for a 4-ounce bottle and $7.95 for a quarter-ounce container. — Steven Mark
4. Sweet relief for those with food allergies
It is not a happy thing to watch others partake of dessert when one has a gluten allergy that requires wheat avoidance. No cake or pastries or cookies. A bummer at best; torturous at worst.
But gluten-free folks can rejoice after a visit to Honolulu Coffee Co.’s Ala Moana, Bishop Street or Moana Hotel locations, where alongside the taboo tiramisu, fruit tarts and strawberry shortcake is an array of French-style macarons. The delectable meringue-based cookie starts with three simple ingredients: egg white, powdered sugar and almond flour. From there, pastry chef Ron Viloria adds a buttercream filling flavored with the likes of Kona coffee, caramel and salt, lilikoi, haupia, strawberry, chocolate and pistachio. It’s a recipe for success: Honolulu Coffee Co. sells some 1,760 a week.
The light-as-air macarons command a rather hefty $1.75 apiece, but who can put a price on happiness? — Joleen Oshiro
5. Fanny packs for fashionistas
I’m philosophically against the fanny pack, which over time becomes a shapeless pouch sitting atop a wearer’s paunch, front or back. Utilitarian for the wearer, to the rest of the world it’s an eyesore.
Then I spotted Sassy Lassy’s Ipo Bunnell selling her version of the fanny pack and had to get at least one, if not three, in various hues of Naugahyde glitter vinyls typically associated with retro upholstery.
The bows can be worn forward or backward to suit your ensemble, and each end of the bow is a zippered pocket big enough for change, cash, credit cards, compact and lipstick — just what you need for hands-free floating about town. Best part is the price, at $15 each.
You can generally find the Sassy Lassy every First Friday during the 6 to 9 p.m. Shop & Bop outdoor bazaar in Chaplain Lane, or, if you happen to be on the North Shore, stop in at Bonzer Front at Cafe Haleiwa, which stocks some of her clothing and accessories. — Nadine Kam