30 June 2008

surveillence, West Village.

returning to a favorite.

Having not hooked up in nearly a year, we met at Smorgas for a Swedish Brunch. We brought little Pilgrim along-

Despite the the ninety-degree temperatures, we partook at an outdoor table. I ordered my usual mussels with frites, Vadim the Eggs Benny w/ salmon, Melissa and Spencer chose the Annie's Omelet (vegetarian). At one point, Melissa hopped up to cross the street to meet an older black pug. Pilgrim crawled under the bench to sprawl out, flirting a bit with the hostess.

283 West 12th Street.
West Village, NYC

brunch, bar tano

Bar Tano- you're either the sibling of Bar Toto...or we have a copy cat. Menu is strikingly similar, as is the interior. It was the sea foam chairs and tables that caught my eye as I ventured into the Gowanus...the crowd easy, almost on par with coastal Oregon folks. A bit crunchy, beer appreciating, earthy features.

I ordered a bloody mary (admittedly better than Bar Toto) and the Eggs di Parma. Over-cooked, a bit greasy & the flat bread too dense- the potatoes were the best thing on the plate. Vadim ordered a similar dish with pesto replacing the prosciutto- He seemed pleased, but he's a Russian bread fiend...not exactly an accountable opinion. The best part: the breezy, awkward location and the sea foam chairs.

Photo credit: Gowanus Lounge.

pause, Song 7.2

In between social engagements, I stepped into Korean Tapas venue: Song 7.2

Easily over looked, the decor is simple. The space inside, airy. A handful of servers popped/floated in matching black logo tees. I ordered the chilled house sake. As I sipped, steamed clams were offered to me. Precisely stacked in a chrome bowl--> admittedly: they smelled like my childhood of sailing with my father.

The servers were very friendly, familiar- they even asked to take their photo with me- justifying that I was the prettiest customer. Flattery will take you...somewhere? (The good word was that they were putting photos of patrons on their walls). He had cut holes in his tee. His converse with dirty white w/ black laces. He refilled my cup as it emptied, a few times. I stepped out to finish up the evening at Decibel- they asked me to come back with my friends...

Outlook: good.

117 Second Ave, LES- NYC.

Photo credit: eater.com

slow dinner, Avra Estiatorio

Last Friday, Vadim and I arranged for a pug sitter while we joined his folks and sister for dinner. The evening was warm, Avra Estiatoria opened walls to 48th street with cool air blowing down upon the tables. We started with glasses of imported Grecian wine while we nibbled on olives, bread, hummus & pickled radishes. A beautiful trade for the usual bread and butter that restaurants offer.

The volume rose as tables filled, but the accoustics seemed to accomodate this. Conversations were contained- and the service flawless. Alex ordered two bottles- a greek white and a Rioja/Tempranillo blend. The Maryland style lump crabcake (
KAVOURI) was large, divine & the best that I've had since in Baltimore. It was served on lentils with grape tomatoes and endive stuffed with dijon butter. The calamari ( KALAMARAKIA) was decent, but a bit rubbery, considering the menu focuses on seafood. As for your main course, I would recommend the Tonos (Seared Tuna w/ Braised Greens) or the combination Scallops/Mussels/Clams/Jumbo Prawns which are pan seared and served over Orzo.

If you make it to dessert (good luck) the coffee drinks are rich & frothy. Ask for light/no sweetener to cleanse your palate and opt for the cantalope sorbet. It's divine. The molten cake was a bit of a let down and not appropriate for such a rich, filling series of dishes.

141 East 48th Street. Rockefeller.

Photo Credit: Avra's website.

27 June 2008

It happened at th Millenium Hotel.

SAMPLE SALE! As mentioned in NY Mag's Best Bets...and Top Button:

Betsey Johnson has been holding a sample sale for the past handful of days. I resisted until this afternoon when a man handed me a collection of fliers. Four different sample sales spread across the Fashion District and Times Square.

My tummy rumbled...I was quite hungry...but this was too tempting. I could go to the closest one on 38th Street- make my rounds from there- or I could go straight for the fillet. I decided on the latter. I squeezed through clusters of tourists snapping photos and vendors selling Coco Chanel counterfeit for $5.00, and slipped into the dark hallway of the Millennium Hotel.

Up to the seventh floor- a virile man extended his arm out, "That way, hoards just like you- good luck."

You'd think they'd be vicious, fighting over dresses priced down to $60-85 from $345-415...but certain things, like inhibitions, are nixed in these situations. I selected a few dresses and stepped into a corner with a dozen other girls, stripped bare: to wiggle, zip and pull at the fabric draped over curves.

1Sexy blouse, 1:gorgeous jacket & a vibrant satiny dress later, I dashed back to the office.

Seamless web for lunch?

Photo credit: UK Telegraph.

26 June 2008

for the transition into Summer.

Tory Burch, 298
kenna kai, 200.

COACH, 258.

Clutches in ocean blues!

If you're on a budget in the face of this crashing economy, (read: even Marie Claire magazine featured articles on how to survive in the face of layoff) try Nordstrom's BP section. They follow trends and offer statement pieces for younger, fashion conscious ladies.

25 June 2008

something stunning.

Photo from: Instyle.com 'Look of the Day.'

Demi Moore in Zac Posen. She only drew 8% of the vote, but I think the dress looks stunning on her. It's also a nod to trends on watch at the moment: ruffles & jewel tones.

24 June 2008

global considerations

The July Marie Claire highlighted a few fascinating phenomenons in China & the Philippines that caught me off guard.

...Apparently housing shortages in the Philippines have forced impoverished families to live in cemeteries. They are sleeping on the tombs as if they were beds-

On Beijing- there is a new wave of Chinese concubines. A looking glass has shown an increase, or rather an establishment of older Chinese men taking wives half their age (some as young at 16/17) as second wives. Polygamy is an ancient practice in the Chinese culture that is estimated to have been taken ownership on by millions today. It is viewed as a status symbol to be able to support multiple wives, with many luxuries.

gathering a feast.

When not fleeing the city on weekends, I've made a habit of spending my Saturday afternoons gathering a feast. A large tote is a necessary tool in this project. I'd also suggest supporting the local lemonade stands where small children will pour you juice in paper cups while you select homemade cookies as their parents guide them through the process. A surge of sugar and local color to energize you-

First step: select a loaf of bread. The man with the short-shorts has produced the best loaves that I've tasted-at the Grand Army Plaza market, (adjacent to Prospect Park). Next- grab a few tomatoes that were grown on a New Jersey Farm. After you enjoy a few free samples of pickles and turkey sausage--> head down to Blue Apron foods. A Euro-style market with charcuterie, wonderful cheeses, divine cup cakes, mustards & chocolates. I selected a goat cheese wedge laced with truffles and a spicy imported salami.

The next step: fruit. At Garfield & 7th Ave you will find an incredibly sweet man with his roadside produce stand. Better quality and a broader range of choices than those in Midtown Manhattan. He's a pug enthusiast and loved little Pilgrim- as well he snapped a few photos with his camera phone. I selected a large, fragrant pear.

I pulled a white Bordeaux that I had been chilling in the fridge at home- divine.

a handful of favorites

Weekends in Connecticut are a Summer staple for me. I revel in the chance to read on the train, with minimal distractions (aside from pug on lap).

While waiting for your train, I would suggest picking up a half-bottle for sharing, at Grande Harvest Wines (in Grand Central). They will cork it, and give you a few plastic cups. They have a decent selection, the folks know what they're talking about- and genuinely enjoy what they do. Kudos to GHW- they even carry Seghesio, Sonoma Zinfandel.

To snack on, I enjoy Kasugai snacks- Japanese roasted nuts- (which you can buy from the vendor adjacent GHW). Thinking ahead- toss a bag of Kasugai gummy's in your tote. Muscat and Lychee are my favorites- but they are all super-juicy-delicious.

A few good tips.

Referenced in another film, I made a point to watch Working Girl. This proved to be a more difficult feat than expected. Blockbuster: Checked out. Come back in a few days. Various vendors: We don't carry that, it's too old. Back to rentals: It's checked in. It's not there. Well then we don't know.

Virgin in Union Square finally delivered. Getting past the completely amazing hair, ill-fitting clothes(was anything in the 80's figure flattering?) the film expertly crafted NYC corporate America. Down to coffee as a focal point in the office- all coupled with the over-the-top exchanges: you just can't make these scenarios up.A Deus ex machina, for myself...

Admittedly, I harbor a slight obsession for Alec Baldwin, (30 Rock!). Even in his earlier career stage, he delivers. The subculture of Staten Island is expertly portrayed in Working Girl.

On that note, a few words to the wise:

"It needs some bows or something."
(W.G. on fashion)

"If you wanna be taken seriously, you need serious hair."
(W.G. on getting ahead in your career)


Walking up 11th Street in Park Slope, I had a Baccio Martini from Bar Toto on my mind. I glance over to a collection of discarded items on a three-foot high concrete block. At first glance, I thought it to simply be a collection of used books- as it is commonplace to leave items out on your stoop (that you no longer desire to keep). One man's junk...they ring.

But this is something more. There is no stoop here. This is the carcass of a moderately consumed roast chicken. Three beer bottles in brown bags. Zagat's Best of NYC, a book on Golden Movies- another on why a son needs a mother. What happened here?

you be the decider.

9th Street, approaching the bridge over the Gowanus Canal. Young couple. MM?

you ought to

Ninth Street, approaching Smith. Brooklyn.


Third Ave & 9th Street. Brooklyn.

while on the subject

Another free way to get to Red Hook, that doesn't involve using your chevrolegs: the Ikea shuttle bus. Be prepared,

"We're here! we're here! It's as big as the one in Orlando!" - (Man seated in front of me, donning a Jesus tee).

I was a bit suspicious as I stepped onto the charter bus w/ Jersey plates and a hand written sign that read, "IKEA BUS." Vadim assured me, "there are enough able bodied men on board, like that guy!"

The crowd-control authority and Russian families were in full force. Ikea Red Hook does not disappoint. You can even see Lady Liberty through the arches and enthusiastic Ikea flags.

21 June 2008

microcosm, park slope

Captured at the median of 4th Ave & 9th Street.

As I waited for the light to change, town cars & cabs swished past me. A young girl in a hajib stood adjacent to me (she later called to the women pictured). She was wearing jeans and white tennis shoes under her black.

I found the woman in the polka dots with black pashmina to be a saturating compare/contrast image.

You should also note the Ikea shuttle bus in the background. Ikea, Red Hook opened on June 18th.

As to be expected, there is a running debate. It seems that most believe that Ikea belongs in Jersey, not the Brooksauce.

midtown manhattan

40th & Broadway.

lunch hour, times square.

outside my office, Times Square.

The man's sign is an excellent indicator of inflation. In 2000, you could tell him off for a mere twenty-five cents. (Although this increase is a bit more aggressive). A few weeks ago, you could tell him off for $4.00, it seems that our tragically crashing economy has discounted his rate by fifty percent.

19 June 2008

it is that good, WALL STREET

The 1980's.

Neon colors. The Zack Morris phone. Rubik's cubes. Do I really need to get more in depth? The film, 'Wall Street,' will close the deal. I rented this past weekend. Hot Venom. Amazon.com to be sure. Although- let's be honest- Daryl Hannah=not hot. I'm not following suit on this one.

new, silver jews.

The Silver Jews have a new album. It makes you want to buy an LP: and do it justice.

suggestion, harper's bazaar

It's time to give up the cell phone to determine the time. As suggested in the June Harper's Bazaar- this oversized gold swatch with crystal detail on the face is a lovely statement for the season. I picked one up this afternoon on my lunch hour. Swatch, Times Square is a convenient two-minute dash from my office. I love it.

While waiting for the technician to size it to me, I bonded with another young woman in line- who had also picked it out. The sales woman assured me, "this is THE watch."

images, palms.

Shadows, California.

a band, fresno.

Brothers. The parents were sitting on the grass with a mini grill- putting together a humble BBQ meal. The mother was warm and filling. She nearly melted when I asked if I could take her children's photo. She spoke little English, I made a motion to my camera. She clasped the place on her chest and nodded softly.

squirrels, central california

Snapping photos at the Chaffee Zoo in Central California, I glanced over in time to see this fleet of squirrels running in a herd.

There are no words.

young mother, brooklyn.

A gorgeous child. I spoke with his mother. She offered, "This is government housing. You know what we need in this neighborhood? A good Caribbean restaurant. Have you been to Fatoosh? That place is real good."

I haven't. I've been meaning to. I will soon. Perhaps tomorrow.

images, philadelphia.

I took a few trains to Philadelphia to meet my Mum, who was there on a medical conference. I hadn't seen her in months. The city was empty, it seemed. A weekend and living in NYC would create that feeling for just about any body. I took advantage of this solstice and took photos, perused window fronts. Ate some good meals. My mother loves to feed me to my limit. Beyond the history, listening to a little Asian brain-child ask witty questions at the Liberty Bell, it was the bricks that drew my curiosity in.

images, coney island.

I captured these photos during the off season. The voices drifted in Russian hymns. Well defined social groups- each shop that I entered- I was immediately assumed to be a native Russian, as well. Although Slavic, I am Serb-Croat.

Beyond the well-defined linguistic culture and cheap groceries, what drew me in was the shapes, color palate and graphic layers of the neighborhood.

There is something completely juvenile about that make-up of Coney Island, yet it's a perennial adult playground. Beyond the Summer rides and beach access, I consider it more of an icon. A place to go on the weekend to take photos and eat Pel Meni and borstche.

On that note- what ever happened to Tim's Cascade Coney Island (hot dog w/ mustard) flavored chips? The Pacific Northwest should bring those back, pronto.

18 June 2008

Jewel Tones, Layers

Featured in New York Magazine's Fall 2008 preview lookbook. The Diane von Furstenburg dress follows suit with W's claim on jewel tones and pea cocks coming into the fashion-focus.

Her lips are also a point of focus to me. I recently ordered new cosmetics to match the changing tone of my skin in the Summer sun. My consultant threw in a free lip stick in "apple berry." She insisted that it was my color for the season--I have to admit, I am having a torrid love affair with these cosmetics. Simple and natural, "mineral colors." I've received several compliments!

The incorporation of down-played make-up with vibrant jewel tone pieces, in satin fabric, is a divine balance. Perfect for the transition of seasons.

16 June 2008

security: south slope.

war zone: park slope block party

a Sunday afternoon

Photo credit: Vadim Grinberg. I tinted blue- after waiting for a Coney Island bound F-Train (and watching several G-Trains pass) we decided to peruse the 7th Ave Street fair, then take in the unfamiliar parts of the Slope. Beautiful and gritty: in its own right.

the many uses of the L.L.Bean Canvas Tote.

The Medium Tote. Monogrammed. Fits: wallet, camera, keys, pashmina & 12 week old pug. I love you, L.L. Bean.


Park Slope. In the upper teens between 7th & 6th Avenues. This part of the slope is heavily Latin.


Congregation on their stoop. Park Slope, NYC. The smaller baby is seven months old, born premature- 3lbs.

15 June 2008

a lovely cover

A lovely cover. I typically prefer Bazaar's subscriber covers over the newsstand. I can't quite put my finger on it, perhaps: more concise? The June cover, featuring Paltrow in the tiniest dress.

The feature article is brazen and honest. I truly fell in love with her personality- She spoke of shaping up after pregnancy, a shift in priorities. A raw pleasure.

pour le bureau.

Slouchy layers, ruffles. Diane von Furstenberg. Need I say more? It makes me want to place a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils on my desk. Fall 2008.

14 June 2008

yummy: trench meets jewel tones.

Cries for trenches were only to be expected as the rain and wellies came out of our New York City closets...

Trench, in a jewel tone, by Celine. Superb. The June 2008 W Magazine featured jewel tones & peacock patterns coming into the scene from brooches to chandeliers.

Parfait- our apartment is a vision.

things to improve yourself with.

The July Harper's Bazaar features a transition into gray, black & white- from Paris. Above, Chris Benz Fall collection- touches on this, and below his signature: touch of color. The relaxed vintage-preppy appropriately grasps concepts of fashion: past & present. A tempting transition.

Personally, I'm having a torrid love affair with the booties- as well the palate, which I recognize as quite signature of the Chris Benz label.