Friday, August 31, 2012

How a Tattoo Helped Me Get Over My 10-inch Scar

Peggy at work from my point of view.
Over a decade ago I got a 10.5 inch scar smack on the middle on my abdomen, running from the right in the center of my chest to below my belly button. This was traumatic for someone who was a 22-year-old, and we won't get into the surgery that caused it. But needless to say, I'm all right now. But this post isn't about health - it's about how scars are hard for anybody, and for years I thought about reconstructive surgery. Time does heal, but a recently a tattoo helped made an empowering difference in my attitude towards my body. And this coming from someone who wasn't that into ink for a long time.

When you're that young, and back then it was the 90s (think fashion with belly-bearing shirts, navel rings, low-cut jeans), it was crushing to me that I had such a striking mark. It was bright red for almost a year. I bought geriatric tank-inis to cover up what I thought was an eye-sore, and carried my scar around like a ginormous wart. Suffice it to say, it took me years to own that I had it -- looking at it in disbelief.. Eventually I got used to it. And now I have a drawer-ful of Brazilians bikinis, which you may have caught on Instagram. But a girl's relationship to a big scar is complicated. Scars scar you. They're hard.

Now my scar is a story, a battle wound in a sense. It's faded over time and  a part of me. But I can't say I'm not still self-conscious. I'm subject to vanity, just not wanting it to be there, like any other human being - and then there's being a beauty and style expert, which doesn't help matters. My daughter asks about it all the time, and I explain, "Mama had surgery because she was sick," and she responds, "Did it hurt?" So sweet but a poignant reminder nonetheless.

Well, as I've come to be more at peace with my scar, I decided it was time to symbolize it. Reconstructive surgery can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so I thought why not a more reasonable decorative tattoo? A way to personally beautify my scar and to reclaim what had happened. I could maybe look down and see something I'd created, instead of just seeing a healed wound. I started with a tattoo at just the bottom area, where the scar was the darkest and most prominent, leaving room for future consideration for the rest of the scar, as one should never rush into any permanent body art.

The result? Rather than feeling like I had a marked abdomen, I felt like I had a pretty, and young one, for that matter.

Reclaiming Your Scarred Skin with a Tattoo:

I printed out the Maile leaf pattern and cut it  to a desired size, taped it on and photographed it to get a sense of how it would look.
1) Find a pattern, symbol, etc. you like and print it out. Try putting it on your body to get a sense of how it will look. This helps give you and idea of how it'll cover your scar. I chose a Maile leaf, a Hawaiian symbol of love, honor and respect. 

Here, I am ready to be inked. With an artist you trust, it's sometimes good to get their opinion on your design, placement and color.
2) I took my inspiration pics and gave it to my Tattooer (find one you trust, it's good to get a personal recommendation) Peggy Jordan of Electric Paradise Tattoo in Waikiki, HI, and asked her to add some filigree. She then added a standard preview stencil for test placement.

Day 1 of healing, my Maile leaf inked by Peggy Jordan.
3) Finished: Now it's a different type of healing! Not a surgery wound, but a fun 'wound' from a piece of art created with the help of an artist. Beauty is what you make of it!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laid Back and Chic: Meet My Hawaii Tastemakers!

My August StyleUnited Tastemakers Peggy Jordan, Tattoo Artist of Electric Paradise Tattoo, left,
Amber Chesebro, right, Jeweler,
Salty Girl Jewelry - both spotted stylin' in Honolulu, HI.
Living year-round in a tropical wonderland means keeping up a casual but style-conscious look. My latest lovely StyleUnited Tastemakers are both East Coast natives who've learned to incorporate their more dressed-up hometown looks to something that works well in a land of surf and sea. It's budget-friendly and breezy. For anyone who loves embracing a bit of West Coast style in their wardrobe, here's a great pathway and insight into beach-y and lightweight style:

Amber Chesebro

Peggy Jordan


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Want a ConAir Anti-Frizz Blow Dryer? Post a Vlog Idea!

Frustrated with the Frizz? Just post an awesome video idea you'd like me to do, and an award-winning, new ConAir Blow Dryer is all yours!

Humidity got your hair and you in a bad mood? Need a new blow dryer but don't know what to get? Last year I had a contest where I asked my viewers to let me know what they wanted my next video to be about, and the winning idea ended up being one of my most popular how-to DIY segments on YouTube (How to Make a Sensitive Skin Rice Milk Disposable Facial Mask)!

I was thrilled because my audience, YOU!, are smart and know what you want!

Well, I'd love to hear the next fantastic video idea. And this award-winning ConAir Infiniti Pro Salon-Perform Blow Dryer is all yours (voted by Shape and Seventeen magazines as one of the best anti-frizz fighting tools). And was also tested by yours truly for another big glossy (hint!/stay tuned!). It's a good one!
Voted by Shape and Seventeen magazines as one of the best anti-frizz fighting tools, tested professionally by me: ConAir's Infiniti Pro Salon-Perform Blow Dryer w/ travel bag and twist-folding handle.

Post your video idea for me to film for NuyBeauty by next Monday, Sept. 10, and I truly look forward to seeing what you have in store this year! Beauty. Style. What do you want to see me vlog about next? Xoxo.

****Bonus Treats from Hawaii, where I've been off-site for a month, included for detailed ideas!


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Best Frozen Hawaiian Drink: A Liliko'i Chi Chi, My Recipe

For NuyBeauty: A Bi-Island Beauty & Style Influencer's Life doesn't seem so bad, right?
The thoughts bounce off the stunning aquamarine harbor for me at Pier 9, Honolulu, HI. 
Photo by my 4-year old daughter.
Happy Monday! I've recently been thinking about becoming a bi-island beauty & style influencer -- figuring why not embrace both the islands I love so much and are my homes. I grew up in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, and then made my home and career in fashion and beauty for years on Manhattan island. But as I miss paradise so much, and have spent some extended time here this summer, I am of the feeling that I'll spend just a few months here and there in Hawaii bringing and broadcasting to you what's so special about this cultural melting pot of international love and clever forged styles and beauty. What do you think? ;-) Plus: Do you know? I've actually now lived longer in NYC than in Oahu - GASP!

A little treat for today as I enjoy my last few days here before I fly back to my home in the Big City for Fashion Week, and to get my daughter to school : I've been experimenting with a little mixology! Fun, fun, fun. My friend Ning was here last week for a visit, and we fell in love with the historic Pagoda Restaurant's Chi Chi, what they call a Piña Colada in Hawaii.

I've been trying to recreate it, but came up with a slightly altered version that blends a bit more of the tropics than the usual pineapple and coconut. See what you think!

A Chi Chi, or better known as a Piña Colada, is uber satisfying on a hot summer day.
Or any day for that matter!

NuyBeauty's Liliko'i Chi Chi Recipe:

Ingredients For One Drink

3 oz. Sweetened Pineapple Juice (Dole Brand is best)
2 oz. Hawaiian Sun Liliko'i Passion Juice or, you can just use 5 oz. of the pineapple juice and then add 1-2 tbsp. or your desired amt. to taste of Aunty Liliko'i's Passion Fruit Syrup (which is multi-use for pancakes and glazed meats!)
1.5 oz. Coconut Cream
2 oz. Vodka of your choice
*Option to add 1/2-1 scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream for an extra creamy delish treat!
1 cup Crushed Ice

Tools Needed: A Blender

Directions: Add all ingredients to the blender, adding the crushed ice last. Blend well until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy.

TIP: *Fashion/beauty treatment for your glass: You can add a fancy twisted straw, a colored parasol and/or a sliced pineapple wedge as a garnish.

TIP: *Or, something I did to sweeten it just a tad w/out using ice cream or the syrup was to stick a natural fruit popsicle right into it. It added a splash of contrasting color and looks great.



Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Friday, August 10, 2012

Best Tropical Styles & Accessories in Hawaii w/

A few weeks ago I did a segment with the vivacious and gorgeous blogger Catherine Toth of on beauty, fashion and food culture in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. The first part covered skin-healthy food and sun protection for your hair. Here's part two where Cat shares her favorite local accessory, swim and clothing designers. Tropical styles are truly beautiful here in this paradise.

Take a look at some of the fashion finds here, and see what you think. I recommend mixing and matching them into your look, whatever your style. Celebrate the last few weeks of summer! xoxo

Best Tropical Styles Honolulu 2012 Shopping Guide:

1) Fighting Eel Boutique: Awesome Day and Night Wear, an elegant choice in the tropics.
Perfect for those who like a relaxed and comfortable, but effortlessly modern look. Fighting Eel Boutique.

2) Tiare Hawaii: Amazing, comfortable and flowing beach dresses and sarongs.
Gorgeous. Absolutely stand out on the shore with Tiare Hawaii.

3) Candy Diaz: Musician and Jeweler. Collects tiny Ni'ihau Coral to design one-of-a-kind ocean inspired pieces.

Delicate and sweet, and a perfect price! Work by Candy Diaz.


Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scotch Tape DIY Couture Nails w/ Marisa Carmichael

Marisa Carmichael's Scotch Tape Design Nails: Red & Orange, Blue & Black w/ differing patterns
I see design nails everyday glinting and making a statement. But when I met editorial manicurist Marisa Carmichael at a magazine shoot we were doing, I was blown away by the chevrons she had done on herself. They were simple but eye-catching - bold but elegant. I immediately asked her to do a video with me. Something DIY that you could all do at home. She said she had just the thing. Check out her creative manicure and try it out at home. It's got a zillion possibilities. I even did it tonight with a 4-year old girl in five minutes! Hope you enjoy!

Marisa and me!
Favorite Products you should get for your DIY Scotch Tape Nails:

1) Zoya Nail Polishes (Marisa and I are both big fans!) -- the color varieties are always tremendous and the quality is wonderful. The polish remover used in the video is by Zoya ($10), and has a great salon style top dispensing system. Use it with the below brush for best results!

 2) Shu Uemura flat, synthetic, small eye brush for cleaning up your nail polish ($19). Shu Uemura brushes are a long-time favorite of mine for make-up, by far!

Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Top 5 Travel Essential for Summer Jetsetting

Ouidad Sun Shield Sun & Sport Spray, Nuun Vitamin Tabs, Nars Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30+, Kai Perfume Oil in Travel Size Vial, Dove Clear Tone Deodorant.
When I travel to a hot place, I can't live without the following. And I highly recommend them for you!
As they are tried and true!

1) Light Sun Hair Protection: Ouidad Sun Shield Sun & Sport Spray
2) Optimum, Lo-cal Hydration that's Green: Nuun Active Hydration Tablets
3) Light Skin Coverage w/ SPF: Nars Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30
4) Heavenly Paradise Portable Fragrance: Kai Perfume Oil in Travel Size Vial
5) Awesome sweat protection that doesn't rub off on clothes and helps restore skin to its natural skin tone: Dove Clear Tone Deodorant

Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on