Sunday, September 30, 2007

Style, comfort and value in a New York minute

I woke up one morning about a week ago, hurriedly took a shower, got dressed and started off for work. I walked briskly to the corner of my block, frustratingly hailed a taxi (frustrated because I'd forgotten that there would be an excessive amount of traffic that morning due to a general assembly at the United Nations.)

Finally getting a taxi, I got in and braced myself for the crawl through midtown. I preferred to turn around and go back home because in my haste I had been ignoring the pain from a huge, pulsating blister that had formed on my left heel because of the stylish but snug shoes I was wearing. At that moment I decided I couldn't spend the rest of my already trying day, in pain, so at lunch time I ran across the street to a David Z shoe store and looked around for a pair of shoes that were comfortable but not entirely devoid of style and that would still compliment my attire.

I was looking for something with a heel to give me a little height since I'm short and was wearing pencil thin slacks. The thought of having close fitting pants on such short legs with flat shoes on did not appeal to me. I found what I was looking for by Jeffrey Campbell. It was a pair of round ed toe, covered wedge shoes in a grey/green leather (looks more like heather grey) that has a thin, adjustable ankle strap. Since the wedge part was covered with leather it appeared to look more like a pair of ballet flats with an ankle strap. The inside of the shoe was lilac colored and made it look more feminine and appealing. They were cute enough to wear with slacks or a dress. When I tried them on, to my surprise, they were comfortable too. The leather was soft, so it was pliable enough to bend with each flex of my foot. It had a lightly cushioned inner sole so it could absorb shock. The price was reasonable at $80.00 and I knew I would get alot of wear out of them.

I made my purchase and strode happily across the street to the deli to pick up a quick lunch and then back to work. I walked home that day forgetting about the UN and the aweful traffic.

Check them out here:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Modern Housewares

Earlier this year I took a short trip to a couple of my favorite kitchen, housewares stores, Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma. I found a few things that I didn't already have but decided I really needed to update my modern, well equipped kitchen and as it turns out I can't live without them!

The Collapsible Silicone Pop Colander™ is a gadget you shouldn't be without. So run out and get one, NOW!

The legs fold under and the silicone strainer expands and collapses so it's not only great for space saving but most importantly it fits neatly into the dishwasher along with all your dishes and packs away flat and neat. Heat resistant to 500°F. Silicone and nylon. Dishwasher safe. 10 in. diameter, 2.4 qt.

Since Paul and I both have discerning palettes I try not to fry or saute food too much. I'll bake, broil, boil or steam rather than frying. In which case my new colandar really comes in handy. I've used it not only for pastas but also when I make beer boiled shrimp (which sounds strange but is scrumptious), boiled crabs with white pepper, lemon and red potatoes or any other shellfish, boiled fingerling potatoes and jerusalem artichoke which I then drizzle with a little olive oil and oregano. I've used it for various boiled vegetables and believe it or not, even chinese boiled chicken (to which I add cooked ginger, garlic, onions, sesame oil and soy sauce) mmmm, delish! If you boil any of your food, you can't go wrong with this item.
Available colors: Blue with white trim or red with white trim. Price is 29.95

I also picked up a set of 3 Wusthof cheese knives ($229.00, Williams-Sonoma) that come with a bamboo storage box. Each knife is tailored for cutting different cheeses. The 5 1/2" soft cheese knife has a holed surface so that soft cheeses like Brie or Camambert don't stick to it. The 5 1/2" hard cheese knife if perfect for cutting through semi-hard cheeses like, my current favorite, Mil Ovejas which is a spanish sheep's milk cheese (by the way, this pairs well with banana chutneyand key flower), the knife is equipped with a pronged tip for picking up slices or small cubes. The 2 3/4" knife is a Parmesan knife with a wide surface so you can get long thin slices of cheese.
Wusthof is a reliable name in cutlery. Unfortunate for American cutlery products though, the german engineered steel far surpasses any american made steel knife. It just lasts longer and stays sharp longer. I'll be sure to use this for my next wine & cheese party. Who am I kidding, we love cheese around here...I'll be using it like, today!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why I love New York...

It was great to be a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Our neighborhood was not too diverse at the time though, alot of italians, some irish and a few hispanic people. The brownstone that we lived in was a nice size for a family of 4. With plenty of space we lived modestly yet comfortably. My family, our next door neighbors and our cousins were the only filipinos- CORRECTION, we were the only asian families around an approximate 10 block radius of our home. My sister and I were 2 of only 3 asians in our grammar school for some time. We had a great childhood. Hanging out with friends on the swings in Carroll Park, playing touch football in the streets on 2nd place, dancing around a friends living room to Duran Duran and Big Country on 1st place and playing 7 seconds at my cousins house on 3rd street. I have memories of walking to our neighboring Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights with friends in the summer time. Eating pizza around Henry Street, sitting on someone's stoop on Clinton St. Walking along the promenade with a view of the East River across from South Street Seaport, passing by Pineapple St and Pierrepont Place, buying audio tapes on Montague Street. Most significantly was that Carroll Gardens was only 10 minutes away from New York City so we would take frequent trips into Manhattan for various reasons.

My dad, Fred worked as a computer programmer for some of the best financial companies of that time including The New York Stock Exchange, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, First Boston, and Shearson Lehman (before they merged with Smith Barney and then broke off again and changed their name a few more times). Alot of our trips involved meeting up with my dad after he got out of work on Saturday afternoons. He worked from Monday to Friday but would occasionally switch off a weekday to take a Saturday shift where he could work from 8am to 2pm. Because he worked within the World Trade Center when I was young, he would take us atop the twin towers to view all of the surrounding city. Though as kids we thought it was fun being up so high, we didn't appreciate it half as much as we do now. As part of his company's perks he got special discount shopping privilages at some of the stores within the towers. One of my memories was shopping for fragrances at the Estee Lauder company store.

I also remember one of the companies he worked for hosting a massive sit-down Christmas dinner at one of the offices in the twin towers. Hundreds of families were there and after dinner all the kids got to line up and tell Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas. Little did we know that inside one of the side rooms were wall to wall toys, everything from matchbox cars, to bikes to dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, model planes and gameboards! Each kid could go in and pick out whichever toy he wanted for free! Since I loved helping my mom in the kitchen when I was young I chose a cooking set that included a stove top, mini pots and pans, a mixer and blender that ran on batteries, dishes and silverware. For my sister and I it was the night of our lives! I still can't believe that companies back then were that generous to flip the bill for humongous family events like that.

During the holiday season we would visit SantaLand at Macy's Herald Square, buy our Christmas outfits on the fifth floor, where the children's and junior clothing was located in those days. My mom would want to see the Christmas trees on the 8th floor and buy beautiful tree decorations. We would then grab a quick lunch at Chock Full O' Nuts also on the 8th floor at the time or stop by a nearby McDonald's. We'd walk along fifth avenue, over to Rockefeller Center to see the tree all lit up. We'd eat roasted nuts from a nut shop in the Rock Center promenade that's no longer there, stand on a long line for what seemed like forever so we could enjoy an hour of ice skating fun and indulge in some family time. When we got tired we'd head home. There were also trips to St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Rockefeller Center Observation Deck, not to mention seeing the Nutcracker and Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall-more perks from working for financial companies.

On non-holidays my dad would take us through wall street to Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty and South Street Seaport. There were trips to the Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum, The MOMA. When he worked at First Boston on 56th and Madison we'd meet him in the Atrium surrounded by live bamboo trees, birds and sculpture. Then we would stroll along Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center and grab a snack of hotdogs or pretzels from the sidewalk vendors. We were like tourists, taking pictures in the sunlight with the giant gold figure of prometheus lurking in the background. Some weekends would be spent at the Central Park Zoo or just laying out on the grass in Sheepshead Meadow eating a small picnic lunch we would pick up at a deli on the way there.

My aunt (dad's sister) was an optometrist who owned and operated an optical store on E. 40th St. between 5th and Madison Avenue for over 20 years. She worked 6 days a week including Saturdays because Saturday was one of the busiest days since many of her clients lived within walking distance from her store. My uncle would drive in from Queens to pick her up after she was done for the day. So it was not uncommon for the group of us (mom, dad, me, sis, aunt and uncle) to get together and spend a Saturday in Manhattan. Sometimes to have dinner at Wo Hop in chinatown or La Nacional on West 14th st.

Having lived in NYC before buying a house out in Queens and being the sophisticated shopper that she was my aunt always took us to the best department stores in New York City that we would otherwise never have gone into. Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, B. Altman. She also took us down to Soho for more shopping excursions. She loved to shop and still does! It was fascinating to watch her. Even to this day she can still spot the next big trend. She and my dad had a silent, yet powerful influence on me. When we'd visit her and my uncle at home my sister and I would entertain ourselves in her shoe/cosmetic closet and in her attic full of designer clothes for hours. She was always a good sport about it. We would lose ourselves in the eyeshadow colors, the irridescents, the frosteds, the mattes. The images of the brand logos burned into my mind-Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Lancome, Givenchy, Nina Ricci, Clinique, Dior, Chanel, Lauder, Arden, Charles Jourdan, Pierre Cardin, Vittorio Ricci, Gucci, Evan Piccone.

Because of these after work visits we had the opportunity as a family to enjoy the city in ways that most native Brooklynites didn't get to do until later in their lives or unless it was a special occasion. It was fun for us. We got to experience all of these wonderful city landmarks long before our grammar schools or high schools organized class trips, long before we'd have social gatherings here with college friends and long before we started working here.

Sadly shortly after I finished college and was back from campus life, my dad past away. He had been sick but his death was still sudden and unexpected to us. He was a man that we thought was immortal. He was strong, brilliant, sophisticated, wise and yet frail. He was the man that helped us discover ourselves. His influences are with me today in all that I do from my career to my relationships. My mom has since sold our home in Brooklyn and bought a condo in Westchester. My sister moved to London where she now lives and works.

I'm grateful that my family was sophisticated enough to expose us to the cultured and exciting "world" that Manhattan is. It's made my working life here all the more meaningful. I am also grateful that they taught us to enjoy the richness around us and be thankful for the things we have. Though so many people would argue that New York is too crowded, too cramped and too fast, I have a memory bank full of great moments in New York City. This is one of the biggest reasons why living and working here is so fulfilling to me, not to mention that it's great to be able to walk home from work.

I was fortunate enough to have met someone who appreciates New York City as much as I do. This city has so much history and we have yet to learn about it. So now my fiance, the head trader at his firm, a history buff and lover of all things New York and I have spent moments seeking out good eats at places like Cafe Des Artiste, Annisa, Blue Point, Blue Water Grill, El Parador, Roberto Passon, Kelly and Ping, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Yama, Taka to name only a few. We'd buy our meats at Faicco's on Bleeker, buy our cheese from Murray's Cheese. We've grabbed a drink or 2 at Frances Tavern or Chumleys or McSorleys. From time to time I'd have an afteroon of tea at Takashimaya with my mom when she comes to visit. We now order our meats and produce online from Fresh Direct. When we're not eating and drinking up New York we're walking the streets reading the various historical plaques on the buildings and park statues. At the end of the month we'll be with friends and family at Fort Tryon Park near the Cloisters enjoying a day of open air festivities.

My dad left a legacy of love for this city. I hope that when I have my own family I can pass along the fun, wonderful things that my dad passed along to me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Our Apartment, An Artful Home

My fiance Paul and I had talked about purchasing original artwork or a collectible item of modest value that we could enjoy in our home and also later pass down to our future children and grandchildren. Our thought was to get something that was decorative but had real worth to it, not just in its pricetag but also in its craftsmanship, aesthetics and the fact that we truly liked it.

We visited Gilmor Glassworks, a fine glass gallery in Dutchess County, New York where Paul's brother lives. It's a gallery and studio located near the Birkshires of Massachusetts where you can view the techniques of creating art glass. It was founded by John and Jan Gilmor in 1977. John is an accomplished molten glassmaker and Jan's background is in the fine and performing arts. The gallery houses stunning and original works of handblown glass. The magnitude of shapes and colors that can be created through handblowing glass is amazing! Gilmor Glassworks carries many interesting items including jewelry, stemware, perfume bottles and vases. It obviously takes great skill and time to compose the various shapes and manipulate the transparencies in each piece. We found that the best way to gain a better grasp of its weight and value was through sight and touch. Once we saw them up close, held them and witnessed the glassmaking process it changed our perception of glassware. The first image here is of the Tortoise Collection from the Gilmor studio. They are currently having their 30th Anniversary sale till the end of September. See more at

We settled on a signed, one of a kind vase of blue, green, mocha and beige because it matched the color scheme of a painting we have on our living room wall and would look great on our mantle. A mantle and fire place in Hells Kitchen, New York is a rare feature but because it's an older building they kept certain architectural details in tact. Fortunately when I moved into this apartment a few years ago it was an inexpensive rental with the option to buy and luckily I had saved some money over the years. I then got a better job, saved up more money and a short time later I bought the apartment. I had furniture from my previous place so the only thing left was to decorate my new place. Within that time frame Paul moved in, so my apartment became our apartment. Now it's not just our apartment, it's our comfy, cozy home which is now furnished with highspeed internet cable, satelite radio, dishwasher, eat in kitchen, backyard view and walk in closet, ok let's just say I got really lucky! It's ours at least till after we're married. Then we'll have to sell, get a bigger place and refurnish, but our beautiful vase will of course come with us and adorn some space in our new home. Now that the vase is ours, it has become a special conversation piece and has helped us to aquire an elevated appreciation for its artform.

To highlight another glass artisan, the second picture above is of vases by Corey Silverman. We don't often view glass as collectibles anymore but the vases pictured here are real keepers. The rich berry color and translucency with swirls of light and dark are stunning. They are handblown and signed by the artist. The art of handblown glass has become somewhat of a lost art with most of the decorative home items nowadays being mass produced overseas. So in its own rite these vases are valuable as well as beautiful. Seeing these stirred something inside of me and reminded me of the beauty of glassware. These vases would be a wise purchase and a wonderful addition to any room in your home.

Small vase: 10"H x 3"D
Large vase: 18"H x 5"D

Large (left) $1725 & s+h: $65

Small (right) $480 & s+h: $20

Set as Shown $2100 & s+h: $85

Berry Smoke Set: Corey Silverman: Art Glass Vases - The Artful Home - art - silverman - artists Stylehive BM 200279 #:200279

Eco-Friendly Fashion

Ok, so there's been alot of concern lately about energy conservation and saving our environment, what with Al Gore's movie "An Inconvernient Truth" scaring most everyone into believing that raw materials like trees and water are not being replenished fast enough to meet our over-consumption. Now LA has banned plastic bags since plastic is not bio-degradable. I personally don't buy into Al Gore's notions of global warming however I still believe that we can do small things on a daily basis or even weekly basis that can alleviate using too much of anything. My office alone goes through copy paper daily like its going out of style. At the end of each week I think to myself, "What a waste!"

I recently purchased a nifty and stylish heavy weight polyester bag by Envirosax at one of my local housewares/gadget stores and I originally bought it because it was attractive and compact. I'm usually drawn to things that are small or that fold up small and fit into my handbag so I can be prepared for almost anything, wherever I am. I carry it around with me in case I have extra things to take home or drop off. Little did I know that it's a re-usable grocery bag, but to me it's more than that because I use it for alot of things- sometimes to carry extra shoes to work, sometimes to carry paperwork, sometimes to carry groceries or other bought items, so upon reading about it on a style network I was delighted to learn that I was being green! I think this product is great because it looks great and it encourages us all to be a little green. Thanks to the Australian based team at Envirosax.

More about it...Lightweight, waterproof, reusable, affordable. This assortment of 5 eco-friendly and super-groovy Envirosax are rolled up in a carrying pouch small enough to stow into a glove box or a handbag. With reinforced seams, each surprisingly large bag holds the equivalent weight of 2 supermarket plastic bags. The "Retro" design is great for guys and everyone can be Green! Size: 19.5" x 16.5"5 reusable bags in travel pouch; Less than $7 a bag! $7.95 flat rate shipping (no matter how much you buy!) And don't forget to snag some reusable product bags too!

Here's a link to purchase it:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Working Woman

Are you a working woman with a need for fashionable and functional accessories? Look no more- here's what you need. It's a beautiful red AANETA leather handbag by Amuleto Cordoban. Paired with a sleek navy blue pencil skirt, a pair of comfortable pumps and a coordinating pair of dark red framed eyeglasses. This bag has just enough shine on the leather to show it's rich quality. Functional and just a little fancy, this sleek work bag has a demure quality. Leather handbag with zipper closure, exterior pockets, interior zipper and cell phone pockets, two 14" handles and a removable 38" strap for when your hands are full with blackberry and paperwork. Dimensions: 14"H x 18"L x 3"D

At $382.00 you really can't go wrong. You'll get a lot of wear from this bag during the week as well as on the weekends when you're dressed down and going out with friends.

shop for it at shebang :: handbags :: amuleto cordoban - women - gold - trendy Stylehive BM 231336 #:231336

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This was too cute not to write about. It's a wool felt applique white cat on a canvas background snap wallet. That's a mouthfull! I think that expression-less innocent looking face says it all. The details...his button nose really is a button- a snap button that is! The wallet is actually machine sewn around the edges so it's secure but the whip stitching gives it that crafted-made at home by loving hands look. There's an inner pocket that holds a few flat items like credit cards, cash and ID. Pictured here is the orange version but it comes in a variety of colors. Sadly the orange version sold out today on Whoa is me! But if you get lucky maybe they'll post more after they're made. Keep you're eyes out for it- seems to be a catchy item. I happen to be someone who loves both dogs and cats- yes call me crazy! That's one of the reasons this item caught my eye. It brings out the inner child in me (not too hard to do.)

School Boy Chic

"You've been a bad, bad boy!", cried the school teacher. The verdict is in....Oxfords rule this fall. Its a bit different from the preppy look we normally associate with the word "oxford" but it definitely gets its influence from it. The look encompasses a little of that rock n' roll look from the 70's with the platfrom and the high heel and a little of the conservative , signature lace up front and patch detail that we've come to know as the oxford look. Bordering on the masculine side but with a femanine silhouette. Here's a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker rockin' this look. To the far left is one by Benetton. In the center is one by Casadei, $655; at Hu's Shoes, 202-342-0202. Consider this a bootie (not quite a shoe, not quite a boot.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boots or Shoes? Both!

MARC B by Jenny O

Shoe update, great look!

Welcome fall with these stylish Marc B booties by Jenny O. It has that victorian inspired lace up front with a modern day muted metallic leather and skinny heel. The laces are leather, front panel is fabric and it has a low back. I think this would go great with opaque burgundy hose or dark brown skinny slacks and knitted bubble sweater. It's an exciting new high heeled pump. Be the first of your friends to wear it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week- Spring 2008

Featured Designer: Karen Walker

So it's that time again. New York Fashion week has sprung upon us with great enthusiasm. Welcomed by Mercedes-Benz. The style buzz is everywhere. It's always fun to see what new-ness our American designers come up with. I liked Karen Walker. Her looks embody an American style with a little twist. Not conservative but wearable. A little flirty, very hip with a touch of edge. Note the hats and headwear, very fadora-like. I'm still seeing the trapeze style dresses and shorts. Nice mixes of solids with patterned fabrics. Casual, stylish, daytime to evening. All good. I'm sold!


Large Wall Art

Have you ever moved into a new apartment or home with so much wall space you couldn't decide what to do with it? YEAH RIGHT! Not likely if you live in a New York city apartment, but let's just pretend for a second, shall we?

A great way to fill up a blank wall is with this powder coated metal open air sculpture. It's basically op art that plays with positive and negative space. It serves as a conversation piece and art. It is a great item for those of you who prefer minimalist style. The white version is great for adding contrast to a dark wall. It also comes in graphite grey. It measures 49" x 27" and costs $179.00. Shop for this and similar items at thisnext or at

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Prepared for anything

I support any item or gadget, be it tech, makeup or wallet that alleviates carrying around a bulky heavy bag. I find myself tired all the time because I have a habit of carrying as much with me as possible (thanks, mom for turning me into an ultra prepared woman!) This Christian Dior silver ID bracelet has a secret compartment that holds 2 Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss lip glosses (pink shimmer and light bronze shimmer.) It's great for those spontaneous office meetings that don't give you a chance to primp. At least your lips will show up well groomed. The ID bracelet also has the signature Dior logo on the front.

Check it out here: Dior Gourmette at Sephora - cosm - bracelet - makeup Stylehive BM 36883 #:36883

New moon, new nails

Keep your eyes or rather your nails open for the manicure of the moment...the reverse french manicure or otherwise known as the half moon. Popularized by screen sirens like Jean Harlow, it was a stylish look in the late 1930's and 40's during the great hollywood film era of that time. Now seen sporting this look are Dita Von Teese, Fergie and Gwen Stefani. It was also caught in action during the Dior Fall 2007 runway show as white half moons and tips.

If you choose to welcome fall in with this nail polish glam then make sure to pair the half moons with the right colors, maybe a deep red or deep burgundy metallic. Try it out!

Little Beau Chic

Beau Soleil Beau Knot Dress

I take a liking to things that are different or a bit unusual so naturally I liked this dress when I saw it. It's a grey asymmetrical dress by Beau Soleil Beau. It features a right side strap with knot where the fabric is gathered to one side. It reaks of style and comfort all at once and it's very playful. Easy color to work with, the fabric moves with you but doesn't cling. Wear it with flats or pumps or even strappy sandals before this summer is gone. You can even cover up a bit with a cropped bolero jacket if its a little chilly in the evening. One thing's for sure, you'll have fun wearing it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Giving Tree


We've seen alot of laser cut, open work pendants and earrings as of late. The update to this is the "stamped" or cut out motifs. This is a great example of that and it's especially pretty because of the leaf patterns and the little diamond accent. I've done a similar stamped style of a peacock which should be coming out soon, stay tuned for details...

Since this is gold Vermeil, you get the look of real without blowing your budget. I think its exquisitely done and very tasteful. Kudos to Jennifer Zeuner!