Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm in love but it doesn't make me pro-V day!

I have nothing against Valentine's day but I have nothing FOR Valentine's day neither but since heart shaped decors and boxed chocolates are now pushed to storefronts, it's a subject I cannot avoid and I will write something about Vday! Food and clothes related bien sûre!

So, these jujube candies are the perfect sweet treats for my tummy and also for my single friends that may or may not be serenaded this coming Valentine's Day.

Sugarfina's anti-Valentine's giftset

Sugarfina anti V day giftset $16

And.... I always heart anything with a heart on it!

Chinti and Parker cashmere sweater (So expensive!)
Chinti and Parker Love heart intarsia cashmere sweater

Madewell's heart sleeve sweater (sold out!)

Madewell heart sleeve sweater

Follow me...
Instagram: @nykeiko
and yes, Pinterest too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Project NYC feature #3: WeWOOD "You buy a watch, We plant a tree"

WeWOOD "One Watch ,One Tree, One Planet" 


Here's another company I got to meet at Project NYC which is WeWOOD. The concept is simple and that for every WeWOOD watch you buy, a tree is planted! Makes you feel good about buying a watch right? Same concept as Toms' 'One for One when you buy a shoe, a child in need receives a pair of shoes' but planting a tree is in my opinion, more a watch and a darn tree is planted and it will grow forever and benefit all of humanity...and not just one kid-do (which I'm sure deserves those shoes). Also, it helps that the watches are not that expensive for something so unique looking and truly limited editions. Watches range around $120-$140 US and they are made entirely from reclaimed wood so there is no waste and total upcycling.

Ryan Alexander (PR, Lever Your Business) who oversees the marketing operations of WeWOOD helped answer a couple of questions I had about WeWOOD.

1. If every single person buys a WeWOOD watch and you're able to plant a tree per watch, then we would have more trees than humans on Earth. Ideally, how many trees do you guys want to plant by the end of 2013? What about in 20 years?

By the end of 2013 WeWOOD would like to plant an additional 100,000 trees. To date, we have planted over 120,000 with American Forests and Trees for the Future. Our goal is to plant one million trees by 2020 and hopefully even another million in the next 20 years.

2. Hypothetically, someone has a tree from their childhood that they have grown attached to for whatever reason (first tree house, first kiss under that tree, etc) but now, it was destroyed from a hurricane and they want to remove it. Can WeWOOD make a watch out of the wood so someone can keep their tree dear and near? (In other words, how custom can these watches be if someone is willing to spend the money?)

At this time, unfortunately we are not able to make custom watches from specific cuts of wood. Hopefully we can incorporate this into our business one day. Right now we use mostly reclaimed or recycled woods to make sure we are being as green as possible. 

3. I can't make up my mind, which are your most popular girls or mens watch styles?

Our classic Date watch is a favorite between both men and women. Right now our new Voyage men's watch is also getting a lot of attention as well as the women's Odyssey watch that has a narrower wrist band and smaller watch face. 

4. I saw some celebs rockin', tweetin' and  instagramin' WeWood which spreads the message pretty quickly and effectively but which celebrity do you think really cares about the planet and if not already, you want to see proudly wearing a WeWood watch? 

There are many eco-friendly celebrities that love WeWOOD watches. We recently spotted Daryl Hannah at Sundance festival sporting WeWOOD. Daryl is known mainly for her acting career but is also very committed to the environment and sustainable solutions, just like WeWOOD. We were glad to see her wearing WeWOOD and supporting our cause. 

5. What are the future endeavors of the company? After you plant all the trees you can, what's the next world problem you'd like to conquer if any? 

Right now our primary focus is to continue planting trees. We hope to have the opportunity in the future to continue to provide beautiful, all natural, eco-friendly products committed to giving back to the environment. 

Thanks Ryan!

Current WeWood colelction
Every watch is almost never identical because of the wood used. 

Men's Jupiter - a best seller - WeWood.

Thanks for reading!This post is sponsor-free.

Also see my Project NYC features with Scott Morrison from 3x1 and Rajaa Nemani for Bucketfeet!

Follow me...
Instagram: @nykeiko
and yes, Pinterest too!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The weekend à la Keiko snapshots [Bushwick, Kiki de Montparnasse, Alexander Wang, Chanel]

Some of these pictures already popped up on instagram and some not...

This week, Dave and I watched the entire first season of Girls plus the last two episodes of Season 2. Watching the show with banana pudding is super indulgence. I thought I was forcing Dave to watch a show about girls but I know he's into it when he asks me: "Can we watch Girls yet? not because I like it" (in an unconvincing tone of voice).

Friday + Magnolia's Banana pudding + Girls
After we finished the last episode of Girls which is mostly filmed in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, we were motivated to conquer the cold and explore deeper into East Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon in -12 degree celsius temperature. We ventured into Bushwick (Girls is filmed mostly in Greenpoint though) in search of new shops or cafes that may have sprouted since we last explored the area more than a year ago. There seems to be lots of new bars and cafes but still a quiet neighborhood which is very different than Bedford Ave. We only walked from Jeffersen subway stop toward Morgan station since it was too cold to explore too much. We stumbled into 'Shops at the Loom' on Flushing ave and there, we snacked on a delicious (or we were just hungry) buttery croissant sandwich with prosciutto snack at Kave Espresso Bar. The decor was quite cool and a guy playing the piano definitely was not expected but since this place is also used as an event space, it's not a surprise. We visited one of L Train Vintage train thrift shop called Urban Jungle Vintage , Mary Meyer clothing shop (jewelry and vintage!), bought a NY state Riesling at a local wine shop and then we drank a cup of hot chocolate at 'Fine and Raw' chocolate's factory to warm ourselves up. I always see Fine & Raw chocolates being sold at Brooklyn flea or fairs but never knew their store front was in Bushwick. I don't really like their chocolates though. Too raw and bitter for me! When we passed by Roberta's and there was no line up, I was tempted to get a slice of pizza but didn't because we had supper ready at home! I was also craving some sushi but somehow, we didn't find Momo Sushi shack. Maybe we were too preoccupied looking down stearing away from the icey sidewalks or it just wasn't open yet. 

Shops at the Loom.

Fine and Raw cafe in Bushwick

Fine and Raw hot chocolate. Not too sweet, not too bitter. Just right.
Place your hand here. Have a stranger place hand here. Love it. Now find a stranger.
On Sunday, I had some errands to run in Soho. First, I had to return a Christmas gift at Old Navy, get some waxing action at Soho Nail (still my go-to place for quick and cheap waxing) and then check out three sales I have wanted to do during the week day but did not have the time. First the Scoop Warehouse sale, Kiki de Montparnasse "sample" sale, and Ava Maria's closing sale. I bought something at all three sales which made Dave really wary about my shopping habits but I know 100% of girls out there will understand why I made these purchases and men will just never, ever really comprehend what "scoring" really means...except for the other definition of "scoring" in their brains. BUT I SEE HIS POINT AND I WILL TRY MY BEST NOT TO "SCORE" ANYMORE FOR 2013! (He's reading this right now :)

Scoop Warehouse sale -Soho
T by Alexander Wang with sheer slit. Scoop warehouse sale. $84 (orig. $295)
Ava Maria closing sale
Ava Maria sale. Chanel strappy two-tone satin heels. $150. (orig. $590)

Jimmy Choo vs Manalo Blahnik. Both $150.
Leather-free Stella McCartney $100 but they pinched me. 

Ava Maria closing sale. $150 Repettos.

Ava Maria closing sale. Price marked as is.
Kiki de Montparnasse sample sale was a bust but I picked up this again as gifts.
Kiki de Montparnasse sample sale. These were 80% off $75.

Follow me...
Instagram: @nykeiko
and yes, Pinterest too!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Project NYC feature #2: Raaja Nemani. Bucketfeet. Artist designed shoes.

Bucketfeet: Current and new styles
PROJECT NYC feature #2. Meet Bucketfeet. High up on the cool factor scale because they collaborate with talented artists from all over the world they think deserve more attention and share their art with you in the form of a comfy footwear! These shoes are made in the same factories where Vans and Converse are born but with better design for added comfort. It's true! Raaja removed the soles for me to feel them and I pinched and squished the shoes all around and I agree. Each shoebox comes with more detailed information about the artists so you can get to know them a little bit better and learn the story behind your shoes! That could be a cool icebreaker at a about your shoes! Each design has a story which is not something you can do with other shoes out there am I right??

3 Q for Raaja Nemani, co-founder and CEO of Bucketfeet. Becketfeet is all about the artists and the shoes and I wanted to know more about them through Raaja.

Photo: Raaja Nemani @Raajanemani

You have met so many artists from all over the planet whom you mentioned are mostly unknown but super talented individuals. Which artist would you personally love to see grow? 

I'd love to see Inkheart grow!  He's an artist from London, who's story is actually very similar to my co-Founder Aaron's. He customizes all sorts of products with his art and we came across his work early on in this business. Working with him embodies what we are trying to do ... which is taking projects people have on a smaller scale, and giving them the platform to do the same thing on a much larger scale and touch more people around the world.

2. If you had to pick ONE pair of shoes to live with forever, which design would you pick? Basically, which one is your favorite pair/artist.

It seems like my favorite pairs is always changing because every artist has their own unique style.  Depending on my mood for the day, I like to wear different things. Right now, my favorite pair is the Fisticuffs by Christian Andersen, a really young but crazy talented artist from Denmark. I'm actually wearing them right now while visiting NYC.

3. Every shoe has a story (the artist), which one has touched you the most?

Benny Diar's story is one of the most powerful. Benny is the artist behind the Boxcars. Benny was a rising graffiti artist known for his train cars in the bay area. He painted train cars because that way his art could be seen all over the US. Benny was unfortunately in a bad car accident and is now paralyzed from the neck down. He tells us the reason he was excited to work with us was because by painting on shoes, his art could actually travel the world. The craziest thing, Benny did the Boxcar print using a paintbrush with his mouth!

Bonus 4.These shoes are like art pieces. What's the best way to keep these shoes as good as new for as long as possible? What's the best way to care for them?

Every pair definitely is like a piece of art, and that's why we spent a lot of time on nice packaging and giving everyone a canvas bag with their shoes to protect them. That said, art doesn't travel to new places unless you wear the shoes, so we encourage people to get out there as much as possible.  Not to mention BucketFeet are super comfortable, so they're meant for travel and adventure.  We recommend hand cleaning with a wet towel, but you can absolutely throw them in the washing machine (remove the insole first).  Always air dry!

Thanks Raaja! Follow Raaja on Twitter @rajaanemani and his partner @Aaronfuegostein together @bucketfeet

Shoes in the middle by Karo Akpokiere (Nigeria).On the right: Dj Lu (Bogota)

I like these ones!

Two in focus:  Left: Christian Andersen (Odense). Right: Pez (Barcelona) - Bucketfeet

Thanks for reading!This post is sponsor-free.

Follow me...
Instagram: @nykeiko
and yes, Pinterest too!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Project NYC feature #1: Scott Morrison. 3x1 Made Here. 3 questions.

My PROJECT NYC feature #1. 3x1 Made Here. 

Some of you denim connoisseurs might already be familiar with the 3x1 brand since they are worn by celebrities and sold at major department stores.

Project NYC: 3x1

Scott Morrison, the man behind 3x1Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn was on location at PROJECT NYC explaining the whole process of 3x1 denims to interested buyers or curious passer-bys like myself. As I approached the booth, Scott politely asked if I would like to hear about the product and since the name 3x1 sounded familiar I thought why not! (It was actually featured in my February InStyle magazine...).  I didn't know who Scott was at first and thought he was just a very passionate sales rep who loves and knows the product really well. Well, being proud of what your company represents will do that to ya. He jauntily introduced a couple of styles and told us about some future directions of 3x1.

At their Soho store on Mercer Street, they sell three types of products. There's the Ready to Wear collection where customers can pop in and pick up a pair of jeans and go. There is also custom-made jeans where you can pick a fit, style, denim (over 135 denims from Japan, Italy, Turkey and more!), pockets and buttons etc. and finally, Bespoke is a complete custom fit to the individual clients personal needs and it will be digitized so that the customer can order the same fit in the future without having to retake measurements! How cool is that? It does come with a hefty price tag but sometimes, finding the right pair of jeans that fits and shows off your best ASSets is worth every penny!

I love the concept of locally made products but having the possibility to see your jeans made in front of your eyes from start to finish? That's something else!  I was sold and wanted to check out the store myself this weekend!

Project NYC: 3x1

3X1 distressed denim jeans
Japanese denim

3 Qs for Scott Morrison...

Photo: Scott Morrison @imadethisblue

1. If you could own only ONE pair of jeans and had to make it custom at 3x1, how would you make it? ie. style, fit, cloth, pockets, buttons etc! 

Right now, I'd probably make a pair of M3's with my own back pocket design: SM-1, and using Kurabo's XX60 denim (a 13oz. Greencaste 100% cotton selvedge which has long been my favorite), as well as Egyptian Topaz/Honey Threads, a couple of hidden coin pockets, skinny 2 row belt loops and White hand-painted enamel buttons.

2. What's the longest time you have gone without washing your denim? 

LOL  I've got lots of pairs that have never been washed, but usually I like to wear a pair from RAW and wash them after 6-7 months of pretty repetitious wearing.  I hand wash, in a bathtub (using our 3x1 Denim Solution) and then rinse with cold water, finally rolling between two towels to remove most of the excess water.  Once I'm finished I'll hang them up let them dry, and usually wear them again that next morning to make sure they haven't forgotten me.

3. I think the concept of the store is great and many companies should do the same. What other type of clothing would you see this happen for in the future? Custom shoes, skirt, ties, bags?  

Thanks so much.  I love the idea of companies making things locally, showcasing manufacturing, process, quality and doing it all with some integrity.  I am also aware that it's incredibly expensive, and at times difficult to manage as there's so much detail involved in making a custom or bespoke product.  That being said, I think Nike is doing a pretty inspiring job on the footwear side, (check out Nike 21 on Mercer), but more than anything - the concept of making things slowly, with extra effort, all  within the context of individualization, is not a new one.  It is however one that seems to be dying as everything in recent years has been focused on quick to market, inexpensive, trendy products that speak less about their quality and more about their disposability.  Call me old fashioned, but I love the idea that things worth buying, are things worth keeping. 

Scott Morrison : 3x1 Made Here :
3x1 -15 Mercer Street, NY 10013

Thanks for reading! This post is sponsor-free.

Follow me...
Instagram: @nykeiko
and yes, Pinterest too!

Project NYC: Men's, Unisex Clothing galore!

I had the opportunity to check out this year's Project NYC trade show in Hell's kitchen featuring mostly men, unisex clothing and stuff for girls to ask their boyfriends "Can I borrow thissss?" styles. Vendors came from all around the globe including ones we have met from France, England, Japan, Canada, Amsterdam and many American cities. I went on the first day which happened to be on MLK day. A friend of mine came all the way from Montreal to check out the offerings and invited me as her guest. She is excited about opening up a small boutique in Montreal's Mile-End selling vintage as well as new garments handpicked by her. It is a labor of love and it will do great and for those who do not live in Montreal, you will be able to purchase from 'Hendrix & Cash' when it goes online. Meanwhile, you can keep yourself updated over here.

Here are some pictures from booths where I actually stopped and chatted with the vendors. So many great stuff out there for men but really, would look good on us gals too! It was fun meeting vendors, sales reps, artists, founders and CEO of the clothing companies at Project. I enjoyed hearing the stories behind the clothes and the makers!

More special features to come! (See 3x1, Bucketfeet and WeWOOD)

Project NY - A zombie walks... haha


Aren't these lovely? -French brand Espartine 

Plaid is always "in"
Row upon row of men's shirts
WeWood- 100% natural wood watches
I just lost two metrocards in January alone..this would be so useful.

3X1 denim jeans

Our Montreal friends Dom Rebel were also hustling their gear

our fave piece at Bickley and Mitchell

Bickley + Mitchell

Insubordinate labs - "Born in England, Made in USA"

Follow me...
Instagram: nykeiko

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

nykeiko eats: Williamsburg eats- Pâtes et traditions ~ Southern France cuisine [eat NYC]

Sultan Savory crepe - Pâtes et Traditions

If you want to find a place to brunch or dine in Williamsburg and don't want to spend a fortune or simply craving French crepe, I recommend Pâtes et Traditions! This small cozy eatary is always bustling with hungry eaters and a long wait is inevitable so we never got a chance to try it on Sunday when the wait was miraculously only 10 minutes.  They serve traditional South of France dishes which I'm not really sure what exactly that is. I was most interested NOT in their crepes, but their pâtés platter and delicious looking mixed green salad (I love salads). However, they did not serve the pâté platter for brunch but the waiter was nice enough to ask the kitchen staff if they can prepare it for me which totally made my day. I used to eat pâtés all the time back in Montreal so to me, it's like comfort food which is makes me smile. On top of the pâté plate, I got a large Niçoise salad with hard boiled egg, tuna and anchovies as proteins and Dave got the Sultan savory crepe which had chicken, bacon, cumin, cream, swiss, onions, garlic and mint! It was yummy! I actually didn't enjoy my salad because they used canned tuna but I manage to finish it all. I really should have tried their crepes since it is their speciality and all their savory crepes which comes with salad were $9 during brunch time! My pâté platter was $14 and salad was $12. I don't think I made the cheapest choices!
They also serve sweet crepes which I'd like to try some day to appease my sweet tooth.

Pâtes et Traditions brunch menu

Pates et traditions - pâté plate $14
Porc pâté  

Chicken pâté

Porc rillette and mustard

Sultan crepe 

Niçoise salad $12

Follow me...
Instagram: @nykeiko
and yes, Pinterest too!