Sunday, March 31, 2013

"the future of internet is cats" cats cats cats

I think my sister's cats are THE cutest cats ever... just look at them! They should be cat celebrities! Oh yes, and she also has a little dog with big big ears and eyes. 

I think all I did this weekend was take pictures of the cats!

Natural cuteness

Living cotton ball- cotton cat

My sister's pets get plenty of love every day...

Oh yes and, speaking of all these cute furry cats, I received my faux fur throw from Restoration Hardware and it's super soft and warm. I love it and it is bf approved! I realized this means I get to cross off item #9 off my last year's holiday list!

Mink faux fur throw from Restoration Hardware

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 Wedding #1 [in Philadelphia] + duh! grilled cheese and cheesesteaks!

I have a long weekend coming up. I asked for Friday off so I can have a stay-cation during Easter weekend and also my sister will be visiting from Montreal for some shopping! It's my first day off in 2013. Yay!!

Last weekend, we took a short trip to Philadephia to attend a Sunday wedding ceremony held at the Stotesbury Mansion followed by a reception in Chinatown. We left Sunday morning from New York which is only a two hour drive to Philly and after dropping off our bagages, we grabbed some lunch inside the historic Reading market before heading to the ceremony. We ate the cheesiest of grilled cheese sandwiches from Melt Kraft. Dave got the ultimate THE grilled cheese sandwich called the Valley Thunder. It is packed with Valleyfield cheddar cheese, brisket and mac n cheese squeezed into between two buttered toasts!!  I had the regular grilled cheese which had 3 kinds of artisanal cheese plus bacon which was highly recommended even though I didn't really like bacon (I shouldn't have gotten bacon). I was stuffed after the first half of the sandwich! So heavy... cream...bleuh..not good before fitting into a dress if you know what I mean. And yes, when you are in Philly, you gotta have cheesesteaks so after the wedding we passed by Patz to pick up a sandwich except, not for me. Maybe because we overdosed on cheesesteaks our last trip but mostly, I was stuffed from wedding food (cupcakes!). I had a bite though so I did not miss out. 

The next morning, our friends stayed behind while we caught an early 7 a.m. bus back into the city so we could both make it back to work. I headed straight to work while Dave decided he would just take the day off...

We have another wedding to attend this season is in full force!

Reading Market since 1893!

Valleyfield Melt Kraft

Avenue D grilled cheese
Melt Kraft: Valley Thunder with cheddar, brisket and mac n cheese

The Bride and the Groosmen

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fake luxe fur...


For those who were lusting over Restoration Hardware's Luxe Faux Fur throws, it's time...they are on sale but for a limited time only! Not much of a savings but do they ever go on sale? Maybe, I don't know, they haven't been on my radar until last year and I hukk'ed it only a couple of months ago. Well, an Hukkster alert told me they are on sale now. To save myself $14 on shipping fees, I wanted to do a pick up in the Manhattan store but they were completely sold out. Not one throw left. Luckily, they agreed to order one and ship it to me for free.  I was contemplating between coyote and mink but I got the mink one because the sales guy told me over the phone... "absolutely the mink one, omg, mink, it's so nice". Apparently, they imitate the real fur and mink is the softer one. I bet Chinchilla is a good one then! They are quite popular and I'm about to find out why...

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

it is Spring cleaning time...

It was so beautiful outside this past Saturday...Spring is definitely in the air! Did we go out and enjoy it? Nope. While Dave worked all day long (poor thing), I did three batches of laundry and decided it was time for some much needed Spring cleaning. I felt inspired by Goop's 'Golden rules of editing your closet' so, I went through my closet with two rules in mind:

Friday, March 22, 2013

In pictures: Reem Acra sample sale [March 2013 NYC sample sale]

Today's Reem Acra sample was only 3 hours long starting from 12 to 3 p.m. I got there half an hour early and there was already a dozen girls in line. 15 minutes later, the small narrow corridor was stacked with women equipped with their bridesmaids, friends, mother and even boyfriends! They let 5 people in at a time. The showroom is pretty small compared to other bridal sales I have been to (Vera Wang and Marchesa) and finding space in front of a mirror was definitely a problem. The stock of gowns and dresses were, in my opinion, unimpressive.

Anyway, I was looking for evening gowns which sat quietly on two racks while the bridal coutures were being picked over. I was also looking for bridal accessories but there weren't any. No veils neither. Some left the sale early seemed like the good stuff were being tried on and the leftovers, almost all in size 8 and 10 were untouched in their individual dress covers.

I was able to take pictures of a few evening gowns but it was more difficult for the bridal gowns as they were all bagged up. There were some cute dresses as well as elegant ones. This one girl got really lucky with this gorgeous all silk low cut dress in her size- I think she was probably going to keep it. She would be crazy not to!

The sale goes on until tomorrow but I don't think it would be worth a trip unless you're willing to spend on alterations unless you're a size 8+ then you're in luck! If you go now, you might still be able to find something you like!

I didn't ask if they would be restocking, sorry!

Click for more pictures....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Coterie feature #2: OBA from Shanghai [Coterie NYC 2013]

via Sartorialist

I suffer. I suffer from lack of outerwear. Okay, I do not suffer per se because what I really suffer from is lack of closet space. haha! As for outerwear, I have never put any real effort in picking out a stylish coat unless shopping leftover seasonal coats at sample sales count? Every Fall or Winter, I wear one coat per season and one coat only. I own one parka from Canada Goose for those frigid Winters, one lady-like wool coat from Mackage I save for "special" occasions or dates and then my old 10 year old discolored, overused parka from Spiewak I now wear when it is cold but not too cold to wear my Canada Goose. Sure I have other coats or jackets but I really just stick with these three most of the time. I never thought I would need anything more until I saw these coats from Oba at Coterie. It was one of the few times that I looked at a piece of clothing and not think of it simply as something to wear but more... it evoked these emotions and I'm not sure how to describe it...Maybe it is the powerful women the collection was inspired from? It felt and looked more like an art collection to me and when my friend Thao tried some of their coats on, she was so happily in love with them and could not stop smiling. It is rare to see someone embrace outerwear like that and I think it is one of Oba's goals. What you cannot miss on all the pieces is the structure and detailing. The designers were thoughtful in the design process and it is apparent. Also, I once thought that coats looked better when they are fitted but Oba's coat fit unconventionally and give plenty of room to layer while still looking great!

"Our collections pay tribute to unique and signature styles for every mood and season.  Just as each person is unique, so are Oba coats."

I never put much emphasis on outerwear because I always think it's something I would take off anyway and what I am wearing is more important. I think I have changed my mind...

From their current online shop, I'd try the Freedom (monument) or Hidden Plaid (beluga) as they are of an unconventional fit and also Eastern Redemption (sauterine) because of the pop in color which I lack in my wardrobe!

Oba design inspired by Soong sisters

I had the opportune to speak with the director of marketing and business development of Oba, Ms. Vivian Kuo at Coterie. She also took some time from her busy schedule along with founder and designer of Oba, Joanna Lim and co-designer of Oba's 'Prepared & Embraced' collection and founder of dra/wn, Kendra Wan, to answer some of my questions about their brand and newest collection. 

1. Designers often find a muse and a source of inspiration for designing their collections and Oba has made it apparent where her inspirations for Oba’s first collection come from. Why did she pick the ladies featured in the collections? From Anne Frank to Frida... Where did the idea come from?

The idea for our latest collection really began from a conversation between the two designers about the Mayan end of the world date, which evolved into a larger and more general question of life and death. We came up with a list of influential women from the last century. We picked a range of women from all backgrounds such as arts, to politics to philanthropy etc. We wanted to have a range of fields to make sure that the collection would not just be seen as a 'fashion' idea, but an intellectual one that all people can relate to. 

2. I loved all the textures and patterns used in the collection. Where did you find all the materials to put everything together? Did the material inspire you or was it the other way around where you had an idea and needed to search high and low to find the perfect material to make your ideas and sketches come to life?

Most of the fabrics we sourced from throughout China and Korea, with the exception of the Julia style, where the printed fabric is from a French mill. We worked from the list of women first, and then searched for the right fabrics that were appropriate for her character/personality. It was a long process, not easy at all!

3. As demands eventually grow with the popularity of a clothing line such as Oba, how important is it for you to maintain the 'Prepared & Embraced' motto of the brand? Will the clothes ever be mass-produced?

Prepared & Embraced is the name of this particular collection. It is not necessarily the motto of the brand.  With its success, we plan to expand with the next season. It will never be mass-produced, at least not at the moment, as we want to maintain the high level of quality and overall workmanship of each individual piece. All of our outerwear is made in our own sewing and cutting room with our own production team. So everything is in house and closely controlled for quality. 

4. I could picture Oba's outerwear attract many street style photographers out there. Do you have any favorite street style photographers or bloggers that you would love or take inspiration from?

Our favorite is Bill Cunningham. We were floored when our coat was featured in the New York Times Style Section last November. It was such an honor. But another up and coming street style photographer we enjoy is Roy Zhang, based here in Shanghai. You can find him as Roy on the Street on Instagram and Tumblr.

When I spotted Bill Cunningham during FNO -

5. What are the trends for the Summer is Oba designs preparing for?

Oba is an outerwear brand, so the main season for us will always be Autumn/Winter. The Spring and Summer seasons feature more dress like styles, meaning styles that are more casual, less structured and sometimes sleeves using more silks and lines.

Dra/wn for OBA's Fall/Winter 2013 collection 

Anne (Frank) coat 

Inspired: Anne (Frank) in willow and Teresa (Mother Teresa) in purple

Kendra Wan and Vivian Kuo

Co-designer and founder of dra/wn is Kendra Wan in Julia (Child)

Susan Sontag inspired

Each coat comes with its own inspiration booklet

Thanks for reading! This post is sponsor-free!

See also my Coterie feature with Emzeg Steppe.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

In pictures: Karl Lagerfeld, Pierre Balmain, Cavalli, Costume National....[sample sale]

Karl Lagerfeld pants

On Sunday, after having to go to work for a bit, it was time for some shopping therapy so I decided to check out this sample sale featuring goodies from Karl Lagerfeld, Pierre Balmain, Cavalli, Costume National, and Ro bags.

It was a fairly quiet sale and no wait at the cash register. I liked the selections from Pierre Balmain the best but for the 45 minutes I was there, I was contemplating a wool/leather sleeve jacket from Costume National. I have a weakness for wool/leather combo garments. I decided to be good and left it back on the rack since it would be a coat I won't be wearing until Fall. It was the only one left and it was in a Euro size 40 (Small). There seems to be plenty of merchandise with few sizing choices for some items but most were small sizes XS or S, M (European Size 38 and 40, 42) in the pieces I was interested in. Costume National had the least selections. The selection for Just Cavalli were bountiful as it occupied several racks in the back of the room.  Bags were also a plenty and all at 70% off retail, same as the clothes though there was a table full of Costume National bags at $99. Karl Lagerfeld accessories such as leather gloves and jeweled collars were limited and spread across two shelves. The men section seems to be fully stocked with little guys hovering in there so I'm sure there's plenty of merchandise to pick from.

Despite the large selection, nothing was cheap at this sale. The cheapest item I found was a soft Pierre Balmain plain black tank top at $51 + taxes.

For more pictures, click on...

Friday, March 15, 2013



What a week! I haven't posted anything all week and it's buggin' me. I think I have been pretty busy but I am not sure how the time went by so fast and we are already Friday! I have to come in to work on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend and therefore, my weekend will official be sucking!

This week, other than being very busy at work I...
-Looked at wedding bands.
-Attended a self defense class on the Lower East Side.
-Attended the Nanette Lepore sample sale for only ten minutes because it was a mess.
-Made big bubbles in the park by Union Square.
-Brought lunch to work 5 days in a row! First time in 3 years!

Choices choices choices...Wedding band shopping time...

Spread the bubble love screams the guy who accepted donations for letting us use his simple bubble maker

It is Friday night and I am planning to stay home. Inglorious basterds is playing, Mac and cheese is baking and ready to pour myself a glass of Prosecco to unwind. A candle is lit up and Dave just came home with a large chocolate cake for me to enjoy. He sweetly said: "I figured since it's that time of the month...."...Now that's love!

Sharp cheddar Mac and cheese

Okay! Enjoy your weekend everyone...will be active soon!


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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Coterie feature #1: Jon Hetts of Emzeg Steppe Cashmere [TMRW-Coterie2013]

The Big! Made in Mongolia by Emzeg Steppe

Although we're already in March and Spring is just a couple of weeks away, we just got dumped a fresh new pile of snow a couple of days ago (most melted away by now due to a gorgeous weekend that was had!) but it is definitely still chilly outside. When it is cold, I think of my cashmere sweaters and cardigan pieces to keep myself warm but then I also thought about this cashmere wrap from Emzeg Steppe I tried on not long ago at the Coterie international trade showThis really is the biggest, warmest cashmere scarf I have ever seen or have wrapped around myself! Although perfect for Winter, this piece is definitely something to have around Spring and Fall when you still need to stay warm. I can think of other ways to use the scarf. It could make a soft throw for the couch or help you achieve a cool celebrity-like airport style while traveling and use as a blanket to keep warm on the flight! I hate those static-inducing fleece things...

Emzeg Steppe which means 'delicate plains' in Mongolian, was recently featured at the Coterie's TMRW section which featured this generation's most progressive designers, brands and retailers from around the globe! Emzeg Steppe is definitely a stand out in bringing quality cashmere all the way from Outer Mongolia for the rest of the planet to enjoy.

Mongolian plains. Photo by Jon Hetts.

I had the opportunity to meet owner of Emzeg Steppe, Jon Hetts who answered a couple of questions I had about the brand and cashmere. I learned so much from his answers and hope you will too! I now think I know how to differentiate a good quality cashmere from a bad one and boy, I think I own a lot of low-end cashmere :)
Do you own many cashmere pieces? What are your thoughts about cashmere? 

Jon Hetts wearing The Big! -Emzeg Steppe

1. Which are your favorite pieces of all time or from your current collection?

I have just recently started my company, so this season is actually my first. That makes the question about my favorite pieces of all time easier to answer! I would have to say, though, that my favorite piece is the oversized cashmere wrap that's about 10 feet long with a inch hand quartered and attached fringe, about 2 feet wide, and THICK. It comes in at over 2lbs. 

Generally, the main ideas behind my brand are top quality cashmere pieces that are really made to last in classic styles usually not  found in cashmere. The oversized wrap is cool for me because it really forces people to make a decision about it, and takes a stand more than the other pieces. People usually either love or hate it! It's either a blanket and shouldn't be worn, or it's incredibly cool, luxurious, and beautiful. I like the idea of having a classic line with broader appeal, but also having one or two pieces a season that are different and a bit moreforward.

Though in the end, I'm just lucky to be working with cashmere. Even if people don't particularly like a style, they still love it because it's made in cashmere, and that's hard to hate.

She is decked out in Emzeg Steppe cashmere. via Emzeg Steppe

2-I see on your website there is a section with Cashmere FAQs answering top questions the public may have about your product or cashmere. What is the biggest misconception of a quality cashmere most consumers should be made aware of? My $50 Uniqlo super soft cashmere sweater says it is 100%, should I believe it?

Cashmere is a really interesting fiber and it has a lot of idiosyncrasies and misconceptions. I think if I had to pick one that's most common, it would be cashmere softness and what that means. While quality cashmere will always have a luxurious soft hand to it, softer doesn't really mean a better quality fiber, and especially not a better quality finished item. A lot of lower quality cashmere items can feel extremely soft because they are already starting to unravel and get a soft, fluffy feel to it. At first this feels great, but it also means that the piece will most likely pill quickly and also not hold its shape. Looser knits are also going to feel softer than tighter knits.

I learned a lot more about cashmere when I was living in Mongolia, and especially when I started to talk with my business partner there. At first, I wanted the finished pieces to be made as soft as possible, which is done by washing/agitating the clothes more to get the knits to open up a bit. At that time I still related the softest cashmere to highest quality cashmere. 

It was then that she not only refused to do that, but also explained that in Mongolia, people will actually not buy cashmere pieces that are extremely soft because it actually implies poor quality to them. The best cashmere is going to be soft, but tight, dense knits without fuzz. After some wearing, it will break in and only get softer over time. But in the end, if anybody wants their cashmere items to be softer, you can always lightly wash high quality items or throw them in a dryer for a bit to soften them up more. 

Without actually seeing your sweater or knowing the company and their process, I really couldn't make a judgment about its purity or quality. When I'm asked about purity, I do always tell this story:

This last season I was having a cashmere headband reproduced in Mongolian cashmere for a customer. The headband was very soft and luxurious. I was told it was purchased for 200$ retail and it was also labeled as 100% cashmere. After showing it to my business partner, I asked her about the quality of the piece, and she told me that at most it was 70-80% cashmere, with the rest being a filler.

There is currently a movement in Mongolia to limit the export or raw cashmere to China because it is common practice for companies there to mix pure cashmere, which is expensive, with cheaper synthetic fillers that are also extremely soft but low quality. Although it is illegal and deceptive, items and/or yarn are still labeled as 100% pure. It's detrimental to not only the businesses but the cashmere name as well. The only way to be sure what your getting is to work with a trusted brand and know as much about their manufacturing process as possible!


3- Your custom design section is a really unique approach to let your clients be more involved in the creative process of the garments they wear and own. I see a couple of suggestions (gloves, arm warmers and leg warmers) already, any new ideas you or your partner are churning up soon?

The custom design section is really less about me having ideas for items, but more giving designers ideas about what is capable with cashmere. Through the custom design section, I'd really like to develop relationships with designers that have some radical ideas that I could help bring to fruition on an exclusive basis. That way, I could do really forward projects but still keep a cohesive line and brand image. 

With the quality of work from my partner in Mongolia and her willingness to do custom design, I really think there is an opportunity to do some cool projects and change the face of cashmere in fashion. With my language and understanding of the culture, I think I could work to connect really interesting people and produce some truly unique, fresh, one of a kind items in cashmere. 

TMRW at Coterie 2013

Emzeg Steppe at TMRW -

Emzeg Steppe cashmere scarves

Thanks for reading!

Most photos are taken by me unless otherwise stated! Photos courtesy of Emzeg Steppe. 

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

nykeiko shops: The gowns at J.Mendel sample sale...[March 2013 NYC sample sale]

J. Mendel sample sale

I stopped by the J. Mendel sample sale this morning to look at the gowns hoping to find something I could wear to change out of my wedding dress. Well, there was tons of gorgeous dresses and the ones I liked were over my budget even when the pieces were all at 75% off. The samples started at $50 including pants, shorts, skirts, dress but nothing to see in that section.

There was a short line in the morning which was open to the public but there were many women that were able to skip the line since they were able to make appointments. I saw many nice dresses but all in bigger sizes. So, when you see nothing you like on the racks, the best bet is to go into the changing room and see if there are any dresses left behind. I was able to find a couple of dresses in size 2 and 4 ...the price point discouraged me to try them on though. That and being too lazy to strip down since I didn't have my sample sale "outfit" (leggings, tank top etc.) since it was a last minute decision to attend the sale which was at Union Square where I switch trains to go uptown.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the gowns at the sale...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mini Guide (ok, big) for our 6 days in TORRES DEL PAINE - CHILE - Wtrail

Finally! Here's the little feature Dave and I have been working on (and putting aside) for quite some time now, to share with my readers on how our trip to Torres Del Paine in Chile all went down. We took our trip to Chile and Argentina back in November 2012 but better late than never right? I will hopefully also cover other cities and attractions we have visited during our trip but one thing at a time. It was difficult to find details about pricing, transportation and accommodation for our trip and hope that these mini guides will be helpful references to travelers/backpackers out there looking to travel to the same destinations! 

Dave did most of the writing about the itinerary, costs and details since I did not have the patience to write in details about all that stuff he considers fun. He did most of the research for our trip anyway while I just wanted to see and talk about pretty things.

For those who do not care so much about the guide, at least look at the pictures and be in awe!

(Please comment below if you have returned from your trip and prices or anything else has changed. We saw a lot of price hikes from old blogs etc.)

Fitz Roy from the air. A destination we did not visit..except by air :)