Dual-use doubly nice
The rising cost of rents over the past two years set off a chain reaction, perhaps barely perceptible at first, but the pinch has become a major "owee" evident in the rising costs of everything from groceries to clothing.
What's a fashion devotee to do?
Take a tip from the restaurant industry. You've heard of the two-for-one special, so be on the lookout for similar deals elsewhere.
The sting of a $200 to $480 price tag for a spring jacket or skirt doesn't hurt as much when the piece comes with a belt you can wear with other ensembles, as I discovered at Neiman Marcus when eyeing a Theory jacket and Elie Tahari matte gold lace skirt.
When shopping for fabric totes, look for styles that are reversible with distinct personalities to suit different outfits.
Look for jewelry that can pull double duty as well. At Oasis Lifestyle at Waikiki Beach Walk, an array of shell pendant necklaces ($45 to $80) are reversible, featuring materials like Capiz shell or mother-of-pearl on one side and abalone on the other, in simple styles that will take you easily from the beach to a five-star dinner.
Oasis also carries Maya Jewelry necklaces ($98) of beads, gold leaves and other charms on leather cord, that doubles as a multilayered wrap bracelet.
Over at Catch USA in the Waikiki Trade Center, you can prepare for the next power failure -- or inability to pay your electricity bill -- with the purchase of a Milena's candle ($55) that will fill your home with the fragrance of lavender, roses, strawberry champagne, black currant, pink jasmine or crème brûlée.
The candles are made with food-grade, kosher natural vegetable soy and presented in a reusable glass.
I confess I didn't quite get it when I was told I could rub the warm wax over my hands after burning the candle, waiting until it cooled, of course.
Kinky, I thought, while muttering, "Oh, like paraffin at the manicurist's."
But no, it's not a peel-off wax. This stuff reduces to something closer to a body oil or lotion that can be convincingly used as a skin softener.
The candles are a hit with Beverly Hills clientele like Alicia Silverstone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Cusack and Nancy O'Dell, and are exclusive in Hawaii to Catch USA in Hawaii, a shop that specializes in exclusive luxuries such as Feiler chenille bags and towels, Vera Bradley totes and specialty teas.
So, keep your eyes open and think twice about buying something that doesn't deliver extra usage.