The Bella Project 2016: The Fairy Godmothers Are Back

Bella Project

Audrey Hepburn said, “I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls.” The “fairy godmothers” at The Bella Project believe this too. The annual Bella Boutique will be held on Saturday February 27, 2016 at the Central Union Church, Parish Hall from 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The rainbow sea of dresses at the Bella Boutique, that are given free of charge to high school women whose families are struggling financially, are overwhelmingly beautiful. Young ladies also leave with free shoes, accessories, and make up.

Through this event, The Bella Project strives to promote self-confidence, individual beauty, and diversity among teenage women in Hawaii. In addition, they know that they have the support and encouragement to grow, succeed, and contribute to the community. Some may even return to The Bella Project to reconnect with their female role models, and pay it forward to the next generation of young women.

Some of the types of families that benefit from The Bella Project are facing challenges such as terminal illnesses, being laid off from work, or just having to live from paycheck to paycheck. During the 2014-2015 academic year, 500 dresses were given out on Oahu, Maui, and Molokai.

If you are a “Bella” and would like to receive a dress:
It is recommended that you sign up online through Eventbrite. Walk-ins will be taken after those with an appointment. You will need a valid high school ID to check in or voucher from their counselor if they are pursuing a GED. You can only pick up one dress for yourself, so make sure your friends sign up as well.

If you are a “fairy god-person” and would like to donate or volunteer:
Donations can be dropped off at Central Union Church – Parish Hall on the day of the event. On all other days throughout the year, donations maybe dropped off at Verde Kaimuki or at Tea at 1024 in downtown Honolulu. Monetary donations can be given at the event or using PayPal on The Bella Project website or contacting them directly. 100% of the proceeds go towards putting together each event as The Bella Project is run entirely by volunteers.

The Bella Boutiques need volunteers to do everything from set up, registration, personal shoppers, and breaking down. You can review the detailed volunteer page on The Bella Project website. As a volunteer, you’re not just helping girls pick out a dress. You get to know them, see their faces light up and forget that they have challenges at home. Volunteers go home knowing they made it possible for a young woman to participate in an important right of passage.

For more information about The Bella Project go to their website or like their Facebook Page.  You may also view their video on You Tube.


CRYO Therapy Hawaii by Egan Inoue Opening on January 18th


Why would I want to go into a cryotherapy chamber? I don’t like the cold. I can’t even stand to go into the produce refrigerator at Costco, but, there was a part of me that was curious.  What are the health benefits? How does it work? Is it safe? — were just some of the questions I wanted answered. 

On Monday, January 18th, professional athlete and owner of Egan’s Training Center, Egan Inoue and Dr. Craig Haga, will hold the Grand Opening of CRYO Therapy Hawaii. Some of us who train at his gym, were able to get a pre-opening treatment. I decided to make an appointment and see what the big deal is all about. Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are a few professional athletes that opt for the chilly sci-fi cylinder to boost their athletic performance.I chose a whole body and facial spot treatment. Here is what I learned during my time there:

Cryotherapy began in Japan, developed in Europe and migrated to the United States. Treatment is intended to address pain and inflammation for sports injuries, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and skin conditions. Providers of cryotherapy are usually physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and holistic healers.(

How does it work?
“With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures, triggering a systematic anti-inflammatory response. This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades have established WBC as a powerful treatment for inflammatory disorders and injuries. The accelerated production of collagen improves skin elasticity and texture, reversing skin aging and the appearance of cellulite.” (CRYO Therapy Hawaii brochure)

What are the health benefits?
Immune system – Cryotherapy improves the function of the immune system and decreases stress levels.

Skin – Exposure to temperature -160 degrees Celsius (-256 degrees Fahrenheit) triggers the systemic release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and decreases circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. This internal response decreases inflammation in all areas of the body.

Musculoskeletal – The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can drastically improve joint disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Athletes use whole body therapy to recover from injuries and improve their performance.

Endocrine – The exposure to extreme cold causes the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect lasts for up to 42 hours after the procedure, causing the body to burn up to 800 calories following the procedure. After several procedures. The increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer. Another “survival reaction” to the extreme cold temperatures is the release of endorphins (hormones) that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and improve mood disorders. (CRYO Therapy Hawaii brochure)

Is it safe?
Based on my experience, I felt the process to be comfortable and safe. I could see why you would never do it alone. Many express concern because of the recent death of Chelsea Ake-Savacion. Although there are not many details known about her death, we do know she was alone. There is a door that latches shut and a hydraulic that lifts you up so that you end up shoulder deep in the chamber when doing the whole body cryotherapy treatments. The controls are all on the outside. So if you are in a cryotherapy chamber, you cannot access the control panels located outside, which are operated by a staff member who is with you throughout the process.

When in doubt, it is wise to consult a physician before trying the therapy. I asked one client who came for a shoulder injury about her doctor’s opinion. Her doctor had no reservations about her doing the therapy and said she could do it an unlimited amount of times as long she found it helpful.

What to expect from whole body cryotherapy
Women have the option of going in nude. Most women go in their undies, bikini, or sports bra. It’s good to have a lot of skin exposure. Men can go in undies and/or shorts.


When you arrive at CRYO Therapy Hawaii, you will be given a cotton robe, gloves, socks and some slip on shoes to cover your feet. You want to protect your little digits. Thus, no “naked time” for the guys. Egan being Egan (meaning – he’s CRAZY, DO NOT TRY THIS), said he tried “naked time” and simply put, he said, “It hurts.”

When you get into the large cylinder chamber, the door will be closed, and at that time, you will take off your robe. A staff member on the outside will be operating the functions of the chamber. The floor beneath you in the chamber will lift until you are shoulder deep in the chamber and you can see above its rim. The nitrogen will have already started to fill the chamber. They kept me in for about 90 seconds. You can move around, dance, or talk to staff and other clients waiting to make the time go by faster. However, it really didn’t seem long at all. At -250 degrees Fahrenheit, it sounds very uncomfortable, but I didn’t think so. My legs felt it the most, cold and tingly. Other clients said their legs felt “crunchy.” You can go in for another treatment soon after, which Egan recommends, to receive maximum benefits. Before going in for another treatment (which I did) I had to wait for my body temperature to go back to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for this is for skin safety. This time, my legs felt a bit colder.

It took a good 20-30 minutes for my core to cool down. They gave me a cup of tea and I was still shivering while I was drinking it outside in the sun at high noon. I felt really good throughout the rest of my day and slept soundly that night. The benefit of the therapy lasts up to 42 hours after the session, fighting inflammation and burning extra calories.

Spot treatment
Right after the whole body treatment I did the spot treatment for the face head and neck. In the spot treatment room, there is a large white comfy chair that the client lays in on their back. There is the machine, also known as “the elephant,” that blows nitrogen vapors through a hose. Marcia (Egan’s wife and former competitive gymnast) administered my treatment. She started in the scalp area, which felt really good. When she got to my face, it took a little getting used to. I could feel the skin tightening as the super cold vapors were blowing around my face. The benefits were much more apparent with this treatment. My skin felt much tighter and smoother instantly.

My take on cryotherapy
Although I cannot comment on the long term benefits, I did feel it alleviated tightness in my neck and shoulders. The staff at CRYO Therapy Hawaii has a lot of fun and they make the clients feel at home. It’s super quick, so it’s not like a massage experience that is longer and you can relax and maybe even take a nap. If you are looking for an anti-aging, weight loss, or anti-inflammation regiment, this is a great option. I will definitely go again.

CRYO Therapy Hawaii, by Egan Inoue
2600 South King Street, Suite K106
Honolulu, HI 96826

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Secret is Out, I’m a Writer

As early as 15 years of age, I knew what I was.  Finally, at the age of 43, I decided to come out to family and friends.  It wasn’t easy, and I didn’t know how they would react.  They should have seen the signs.  I was so afraid – they’ll probably think it’s a phase or experiment.  This had to end, I couldn’t let it fester in me any longer.  I had to tell them that I was in a relationship (dramatic pause) with writing.

Since I was in high school, anything I wrote would brought me joy!  Book reports, research, short stories, poems … all of it! During my senior year at Mid-Pacific, I was elected by my peers to be editor-in-chief of the school paper.  However, due to a graduation requirement and a schedule conflict, I wasn’t able to take the position.  In my first year in college, I took a journalism class, failed my first project and thought, “I guess I’m not good enough to be a journalist,”  I was a 17 year old failure, so I quit and never turned back.  However, oddly that experience didn’t stop me from writing. As natural as breathing, I continued to write. I wrote a play for the Young Okinawans of Hawaii to present to senior citizens, I wrote about my experience in Okinawa and won a speech contest (I wrote that one in Japanese too), I never turned down requests to write press releases, articles, and collaborate on scripts for emcees.  All that time, it never dawned on me that if people valued what I wrote, then maybe, I should make this my career, until now. I want to step it up several notches and have this be, not the thing I do on the side, but what I do to share knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration with more people – ALL. THE. TIME!    In other words, I’ve always been a writer, but I never gave myself the permission to do what I love.

Around October of last year, things began to get interesting.  Everything was going great. I developed an exercise and meditation practice.  I was studying hard for the CPA exam, working, and taking care of my family.  I was balancing it all and doing a damn good job, I thought.  Around September, I said to myself, “Gee, everything is going so smoothly, I wonder what’s next for me.” Be careful what you wish for! Soon the yang to my yin was delivered to my doorstep.  I had slowly developed issues with my arches, so I had to go to physical therapy.  As soon as that was healed, I hurt my back.  After my back improved, in November, I developed a rash.  Our new neighbors in my office building began renovations to their office space, so I thought I was having a reaction.  I was advised by doctors to try avoiding certain hair products and certain foods. I went out of town on a business trip and still the rash would not go away.  I did notice, however, that overexerting myself was one thing that would cause my skin to flare up.  Upon my return home, my dermatologist, Dr. Shiu, suggested i do a biopsy to get more information about my rash.  Eventually, it earned a label, which I will not share, although you may be able to come to your own conclusion as to what that is.  The reason for my not sharing the name, is because I was wisely advised by a friend that labeling the experience focuses on what’s wrong. Sounds like denial, but it doesn’t really help me focus on healing when people come up saying, “Oh you have ‘booger pox?'” and they start talking about all the stuff they read on the internet about “booger pox” and what happened to their cousin who had “booger pox.” So. not. helpful.
Now, bear with me as I share more medical information. I asked Dr. Shiu many questions.  Being physically active and eating mostly clean, I suspected my condition had something to do with stress.  At first, I ignored the stress factor.  My job as an office manager was stressful, but it has been for the last 10 years.  Also, I loved my job, but not in the way that I thought.  I loved that I was going to carry a legacy built by my dad’s hard work for the last 30 years.  It is a business that put my brother and I through private school and college. Did, I love accounting? Now that I am able to reflect, I know the answer.  No, I do not love accounting, but I love my family.  I thought that saying no to the family firm was the same as saying no to being part of the family.  Soon the firm will be in the thick of tax season.  There were two things I was prescribed to avoid: too much sun and too much stress.  My first thought was how tax season was to affect me – physically and mentally “taxing” (pun intended).  This being my second experience with an autoimmune system imbalance, I knew it was time to look inward and decide where this path would take me if I continued.  I knew the answer, but it was hard to say out loud, especially to my parents who were relying on my brother and I to continue the family business.
If I continue with tax season, which is less than a month away, I risk my health condition which, at this time, is very manageable.  I came to the conclusion that I can be a part of a family without working at the firm, a majority of people I know do it!  I’m not doing anyone any favors by sacrificing my truth, especially my precious children who are looking to me as an example of how to live a joyful life.  My journey is a scenic one.  As a mom, writer, artist who has been a concierge, sales person, cosmetic consultant, and an accountant who has lived overseas, I am rich with experiences.  My purpose, at least for now, is to share my perspective and bring value to people’s lives with writing that is filled with my own brand of magic so that others may find the courage to do the same for themselves and those around them.