emiliano@lacasapark.com  917 406 2854
jaehee@lacasapark.com  917 373 1548
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IMG_5375From a fur jacket to sandwiches to cheap and cheerful Kate and William’s lovely portrait pins, at Portobello market, it’s impossible for one to walk out the market empty handed!

Sorry readers, I have been bit consumed with work for last few weekends in a row, postings have not been so often enough, but I just can’t miss posting the Portobello Market in London! This was my second time and it did not disappoint me as there are mixed thoughts about the market especially ones in fashion world but actually only thought I had was I should have been there earlier like 7:00 am not 11:00 am and I wished I spent the whole day at the market to brows, taste, try on and bargain!  It does get really packed before the noon already but the crowd quite behaved I think. No pushing or mean talks to ones ahead of you, but I did hear about pick pocketing, so watch out with your bags if you are there.

Portobello market has quite loaded history as the Market started in 19th century as a fresh food market and even today, the food section of the market is quite dominant and packed with quality street food to fresh produce. Then 1940′s Antique dealers have arrived to the market and it has continued to now drawing tons of people to every Saturday’s Antique market. The entire market runs from the north terminus at Golborne Road to very south end at more up-scaled Westbourne Grove occupying about 0.58 mile long street of swanky Notting Hill area. I highly recommend you to continue on to very north end of the market Golborne Road as there are very much eclectic mix of very good vintage shops, antique & mid century dealers as well as good amount of Moroccan community well established on that strip of road with food markets, street food car and bars in a bit more down to earth residential setting.

Now come stroll with me much famous Portobello market!

IMG_5377The market entrance. Shops to the left and tents with vendors are lined up along the Portobello road.

IMG_5376Anything works here in the market. But the Fur is maybe the one you may consider to buy. So many good options!



IMG_5380There are quite many vintage clothing vendors at south end. Not so hip but good furs again. It”s also pricier than the north end of the market where you get broader selection of vintage for both men and women.

IMG_5381and Ton of vintage bags!

IMG_5384Here’s my tourist moment!


IMG_5388Now the food market starts!

IMG_5389Yummy pastries!

IMG_5391Sea of Keish!

IMG_5394I have to say people eat about the same wherever you go….


IMG_5396OK These chicken bits smelled Soooooo goooood! No I didn’t stop for any food at the market this time… But next time, I will!

IMG_5397All right, one more look from a different angle. And sure it smelled still good!


IMG_5399A little quiet  moment off the Portobello road. So pretty and bit Brooklyn here.





IMG_5407The food section ends and there will be a short moment of  ” Whatever works” section, a sort of 99 cent store on your block.

IMG_5412OK now, for me the real deal of the market actually starts at the very end of the market. When you pass about half mile long of antique, food and chachkies you will come to a small square under a bridge where there are great small vendors all get together and sell interesting vintages showing off their own individual great styles!  They are all friendly and super hip. Take your time and chat with them. They may tell you maybe the best kept secret to go out and eat in London. Don’t forget to keep walking toward the north end toward the Golborne Road!

IMG_5416See that’s the spirit I like!  One of cool vendors celebrating his birthday with others at the market!

IMG_5418Another gentleman with a cool vintage Pea number!



IMG_5420After the market ends, you will encounter with many little cute bars, restaurants and vintage shops. And they go on for a while.

IMG_5421Yeap this one is a real good one! Ton of vintage boots, jackets and fur coats.

IMG_5422A great textile shop with their own small line of cashmere, wool, silk blankets.  I love this shop!

IMG_5423So now we are at Golborne road. The frist shop we walked in had this amazing original Venini’s glass lamps from 70′s. The owner had about 6-7 of them. All identical.  Each costs about $2400.

IMG_5427You can find really handsome furnitures here at Golborne road… Or is it maybe just being in London…

IMG_5428One next to another, there are good numbers of great antique furniture and interior shops on Golborne.


IMG_5440Awesome building and an iconic London vintage shop, Rellik. There are many design vintage pieces from the 80′s.

IMG_5442The lovely shop owner of a progressive clothing shop, Convenience.

Ahhh I so wish I had more time at the market and really dug into it. But a sweet half day of visit surely gave me a good idea of what I need to do better the next time. I really feel people in London are really friendly. More than the New Yorkers I have to say!  I have had many small mini chats with many peeps at shops, streets and the market, and they all seem so lovely.  So many people admired my tan from vacation in Puglia, Italy. You know how notorious London’s gloomy weather but we only had one short shower the last day at London so we were very lucky as I remember it rained quite a bit the last time. I forgot how incredible London is and it totally reminded me of Alexander McQueen Exhibition at Met in NY.  He absolutely loved and was always so proud of where he came from. Great London!

LOvE London!


























































































Jaehee’s  Hit List for Milan. London. Paris

Giorgio Armani


Boscolco Milan

Armani Hotel

Cavalli E Nastri

WOK Store

U barba restaurant

Museo Del Novecento

Teatro Alla Scala

Shoreditch, London

Hotel Boundary

Boat House stay

Tate Museum


Portobello market


Lahore Kebab House

Brockley Market

Regent Canal

Ace Hotel Shoreditch


Air BnB Paris

Les Enfants Rouges

Bon Marche

Les Arts Decoratifs

Hidden Hotel

Hotel du Nord

IMG_7766Day 1 at Rose Bowl Flea, Pasadena, LA

Auwheee!  It has been So long that I have been at Rose Bowl Flea!!  Maybe almost good 8 years have passed by since the very first glorious visit to the market. Ahhh it was a hot beautiful day then with blazing sun on my back complaining at myself not thinking of bringing a tube of sun block with me. But this time around, it was quite chilly and cloudy only reaching up to 45 degrees. Only after 5 hours of sleep, Emi, Gael and myself hit the road to Pasadena munching on complimentary continental breakfast in the car to go (Chocolate Croissants and some coffee from Viceroy, Santa Monica). By the way, Viceroy Santa Monica was bit of disappointment after all for that whooping nightly rate they charged on us. ( Pls send me an email if you were planning to stay there and have any questions).  The market opens at 5:00 am with VIP admissions then regular admissions from 7:00 am till 4:30 pm for the last minute bargains. The market is HUGE with 6 colored areas. The white area across 2 small canals is where most of hard core vintage clothing lovers will be at and that is where you get to do most of people watching. And be ready to say ” Kawai and Ohaio”  to those well vintagely dressed Japanese friends popping everywhere!

IMG_7765We arrived right before 7:00 am and our admission costs $15.00  From 8:00 am and on, admission reduces down to $10.00.  12 years old and younger gets in for free.

IMG_7768The Rose Bowl Stadium itself. We pay a quick visit.

IMG_7791Welcome to Rose Bowl where Real Vintage Hippies exist.

IMG_7816Epitome of Men’s Vintage and Cool Gals: ARMY AND NAVY.  You go crazy here. Experiences like this truly sharpens your eyes to spot what is Really good Vintage or not.

IMG_7779Plus Turn of the Century ones. They are too good!


IMG_7811Motorcycle is Huge here.

IMG_7808Dress comfy and casual to dig at Rose Bowl.



IMG_7795Two things here. One, you need to have at least 1 breakfast Burrito when you are in Rose Bowl Flea. Two, all those tough denim and leather Rose Bowl girls.

IMG_7796Then real highlight of Rose Bowl this time was these Heavy weight Vintage Insiders and Dealers visiting Rose Bowl only a day after now the 4th annual event:  Japanese Vintage God Father Rin Tanaka’s Kulture Recycling Show, INSPIRATION LA in Long Beach, LA. Lots of Hand shaking, huddled groups deep in conversations, exclusive U haul trucks with highly collectible vintage items being dealt inside…  Then beautiful Japanese buyers completely decked out in Kapital denim pieces with all those Army jackets and Native American accessories.  How about sharp and stylish Italian buyers dealing all those sexy leather jackets… It truly felt like we were in a week of Grammy of Vintage in LA as we kept bumping into those insiders feeling lots of energy in town!

mf8coverweb1Here is the 8th edition I purchased of Rin Tanaka’s MyFReedamn! Book series. A great book that shows Tanaka’s wealth of Knowledge and love for Vintage Clothing, Motorcycles and Accessories. It’s a Great source for everything I do.  It’s inspiring and I really respect how far Tanaka had taken his love for the Vintage and it’s history. Rin Tanaka was born in 1970 in Japan.

IMG_7785Then here’s the owner and a crew of Irons and Duck.: An awesome Wear house full of Vintage and Vintage Inspired Industrial Design furniture and clothing.  They Fuel many of important design showrooms, retail places and residential homes in west coast.  Great guys with all the positive energy.  And I LOVE their about to shred to a string small yet well edited vintage clothing.


IMG_7772Awesome collection of Vintage Iron Rail road nails. The number indicates what year the nail has been produced and used to repair or build the rail roads. They are beautiful.


IMG_7803Serious buyers will come prepared with big bags. I had brought luggages on wheels!

IMG_7782We also browsed Home stuff and mid century modern. By the way, we saw very little of Mid century modern furniture at Rose Bowl.

IMG_7780Ever so getting popular NA and European Farm Crop Sacks ( for any end use).  The stripe indicates which farm the crops belong to.

IMG_7787Crop Sacks come to a Life in one way.

IMG_7831Day 2, we are hitting Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach Area. All the business opens at 11:00 am so we came to the Venice beach to stroll a bit and check out also the Canal area. ( it got little warmer! yay!)



IMG_7853Ahhh We love Canals of Venice beach!  It’s so quiet and It’s Lovely! Sun is finally out and homes are cute. I am totally envious of beautiful palms, cactus and flowers… I want to have a home here!


IMG_7875A lady on a surf board in canal. It feels so surreal to see such thing as I am from NY. This is Very LA.











IMG_7906Ahhh I So want this tree!


IMG_7929Gosh, they are Gorgeous.  I am in LOvE!!



IMG_7900Keep Walking.


IMG_7993After day 2 at Abbot Kinney and my favorite store in LA, Opening Ceremony in West Hollywood, here we are on Day 3 at Silver Lake. We are here for some breakfast and a few store visits.

IMG_7969Inside at Inteligentsia Coffee in Sunset Junction. I love cool Blue mosaic tiles against the rustic warm lighting.


IMG_7979Here we are sitting at Cafe Stella the next door to Itelligentsia for some warm breakfast. LA has been chilly the whole time…!


IMG_7971It’s a French place in Brooklyn sort of way in Spanish style architecture. It feels like home here.


IMG_7983Warm pita on Soft eggs and Merguez.  SOOo delicious!

IMG_7988Entering a Cheese Shop the next door. A cutest little places here. Got some locally made Sea Salt Caramel bags for my design team back home here and they are delicious!



IMG_8000Shop Lake. We had such little time before taking off to Airport and Shops open late in this area. But managed to hit a few good ones.

IMG_8005Lovely Wall paper.

IMG_8007The Last place we visited in LA. High Mart in Los Feliz.  A great airy space that offers Tranquility and quality.  Japanese owned and this place will take you right to Tokyo ( in Zen way).

Here’s my LA list:

Sunset Marquis

Lemonade Venice

Rose Bowl

Opening Ceremony


Abbot Kinney

Cafe Stella

Eams House

Mohawk General Store


Unlike.net LA




















For more, just be there!


IMG_6151Beautiful Sunday morning at Orient State Park, North Fork, New York

After many of quite dreadful humid and wet September days for New York to prep crisp real Autumn, this was maybe the first truly gorgeous weekend weathers we had!  It was dry and warm yet accompanied by cool clean air to compliment spotless amazing perfect blue sky! The Autumn has officially kicked off!  Still in a half sleep  in the bed Saturday morning, we could see gorgeous sun coming through our bedroom window’s grainy blinders… The sliver of warm sun light was just enough to make us jump out of the bed and just take off to be out of the city!  And where we are heading to? North Fork in Long Island, NY!

Just one briskly packed small bag for all of us, we are excite to explore North Fork! It’s our very first time and all I knew was there are many mini vineyards lined up. Yes, some wine tasting, good food and pick up couple of fresh corns… Hopefully we can stumble into a cozy B&B tucked in somewhere. It all sounds good to my soul and my belly! It’s going to be a heck of good weekend!

IMG_6067About little over 2 hours, we are getting into the beginning of North Fork. What can we say…. It got Surf and Turf kind of thing going on here in North Fork. I know we are near the ocean and I see ton of handsome pumpkin farms, small yet swanky vineyards already starting from the very beginning. We know we are really going to like here. Above is a back yard at ” Material Object“, a home furnishing and wine related object store in Jamesport. This 1870′s farm house converted into wine tasting and home decor shop sure shows envious eclectic taste of the shop owner. The natural light filled space is to die for!

IMG_6059The Main house of Material Object, The picture can’t justify the actual space. Here only showing a fraction of entire house. Everything you see here is for sale.

IMG_6065The Barn house/ Cottage like second home which is set back. This felt like a newly built with much charm. But Not the original structure.

IMG_6079Arriving at Greenport. Almost the end of North Fork. It’s a real cute town with many good restaurants, antique and vintage shops as well as oyster and lobster shacks by the water! Here we are chasing early fall but boy I have to say we just can’t complain about warm sun on your back and perfect breeze! It feels sort of early summer and early fall at the same time!





IMG_6093Claudio’s restaurant was opened back in 1870′s! There’s the main one on the main street and also 2 clam bars right by the water. Bit touristy but all good here.

IMG_6076Yeap! It sounds perfect! Lobster roll anyone? It’s already Lunch time!

IMG_6096Hmmm choices choices…

IMG_6098OK waiting for our number to be called.  We are at # 2 Clam bar of Claudio’s. This place is run by self service and there’s no live band playing ( sort of wedding band, Haha!) Which we consider as a good thing.

IMG_6102Both are $29.95 plates. Not so cheap. Skip the fake butter, Who needs it? Cole slaw, I always love! Lemon works for anything.

IMG_6100Gael’s too busy eating his creamy clam chowder!

IMG_6078After lunch town strolling begins.


IMG_6070The Greenport town has a good mix of old and new including a tiny Greenport jail ( not pictured..)!  It’s charming and not touched by big chain stores yet. There’s a Calypso boutique as far as a known brand shop. No Starbucks or Ben & Jerry’s. Instead there’s ” Sand pipe Ice cream shop” where I had the best ice cream in entire US for only 4 bucks! Maple syrup Walnut and Vanilla black cherries. Yum!

IMG_6108This is The best vintage and antique shop in Greenport! Beall & Bell, 430 Main Street. Right items at right prices. We saw some of the best pieces here!

IMG_6110This old School gym acrobat pads were sold!  I was happy that quite many pieces in the shop are marked as sold!  Which means we are in the right place! How good are these? Emi had a great idea! One of these would easily doll up your bed as a head board. Especially for guys, that’s awesome I think!

IMG_2480 One next to the Beall & Bell. This one also sells home furnishing materials such as textiles and things.

IMG_2518After we checked in at our motel ( yes everything was booked and we were lucky to find quite lovely and affordable motel right outside of downtown Greenport), we came to restaurant, Noah’s for dinner. It’s not the high season since it is already October, but you want to make reservations ahead for better and really good restaurants in Greenport. They get booked up fast.  Literally any restaurants in the town will have a some sort of raw bar going on and also good seafood dishes.  We wanted to check out Frisky Oyster, but it was too late by the time we called for the reservation. Bit old school and bit groovy here with hefty price tags. We quite enjoyed our meal at Noah’s as they offer many great small dishes are not actually that small. You could call it generously portioned tapas of seafood, great salad and meat bites. We ended up having 5 small dishes and 2 bottles of local 2010 Chardonnay, ” Bedell” from one of the North Fork’s wineries, Bedell . It reminded me of Sauvignon Blanc, Oyster bay from New Zealand.

IMG_6123Now Sunday morning, We are at Orient Beach State Park in North Fork, a short car ride from Greenport!  Water’s quite amazing here!


IMG_6127You will see lagoons and ocean everywhere in North Fork. It’s really beautiful!





IMG_6130Running me, Emi and Gael.


IMG_6191Nice run, shower and pack and we go. Here we are at one of farm stand on the road.





IMG_6200Gael loves to shop produces. He loves to touch and smell them. We were peeking inside to see they are full and healthy. And these corns are so sweet and juicy!  We also like them raw!

IMG_6234These are called MUMs and they are cheap. 3 mums for $12!






IMG_6205And we didn’t skip one thing!  Now checking out a few antique store by the road. We scored a real cute picnic basket filled with 4 of wine glasses, silver wear, plates, cheese knife and wooden cutting board and wool matching blanket to the plaid liner of the basket, probably never used before. All these for $30!  Now, that’s a good deal!

IMG_6209I always like these!

IMG_6210Honestly, we were bit tip toeing around the wine tasting as we realized there are hundreds of wineries in North Fork area! Then after the last antique shop we stopped in, we saw the sign if ” Bedell” winery. We love the Chardonnay from them last night! So here we are we are stopping in.

IMG_6214It looks sort of Nespresso shop.

IMG_6216It’s about noon. There are lot of people tasting wine. We realized most of wineries here has small Raw bar. Mostly Clams and Oysters.

IMG_6220Live Jazz is not so bad!

IMG_6218It feels like we are in Napa!


IMG_6223You can also bring your own food and just hang out here with some wine from the winery. It”s a perfect day to do it! I mean look at that sky!

IMG_6227You will find these many little lovely trails that connects to vineyards or the beach in North Fork. So charming!


It was the perfect 2 day getaway to truly enjoy beautiful sun, last minute lingering lovely summer but surely it was beginning of Autumn for us. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and if you like to get out of city a little, try North Fork!  It is a real little gem that has little of everything you can taste what water and the land can offer!

LOvE North Fork!

IMG_4805The Harbor of Stockholm, the capital and the largest city of Sweden full of over 2M of beautiful people reside!

This is my second time here in Stockholm since the last visit about 3 years ago. My little doubt about how much I would remember the city has quickly gone after my good 7 mile run along the water soon after I have checked into Berns Hotel  early morning. A strong and perfectly sweetened cup of cappuccino right outside of the hotel gauging out to the park did a quick fix for my 4:00 am NY time Jet lag!

I am here with Gap office to do Fall research and luckily the weather was quite great for our 2 days in this gorgeous city.  Filled with beautiful girls and guys, (Really!) the city is just chilled and beautiful. You can walk to everywhere as it is small enough to do so and I definitely believe it is the best way to experience the city. You can do rent a bike but there are also lots of hilly streets, so it can get very tiring especially when you get to the old area of the city, Gamla Stan and Artsy and hip Sodermalm area. You can easily get taxis but again the most areas where you don’t want to miss can pretty much be covered by your two feet!

Here now, come stroll with me to taste the streets of Stockholm!

IMG_4808We are staying at Berns Hotel in City Center area.  We were debating between Berns and Lydmar. If I get to come back to Stockholm, I would love to stay at Lydmar. Berns Hotel is super convenient for the location wise with great complimentary breakfast but I think rooms could be better at it’s price range.

IMG_4745The dinning room at Berns Hotel. Their dinning room is the center of the hotel I believe. Somehow Breakfast and Lunch is more popular than the dinner time.

IMG_4749A cute sun-room at Berns hotel. You have a nice view to the park outside. I love this room!

IMG_4810My cute and delicious breakfast at the hotel sun room. Lots of flax seeds over fresh black berry yogurt and muesli. A cup of cappuccino and delicious lox on a piece of multi grain and pumpkin seed bread. Yum! By the way Lox in Stockholm is to die for. Sooo Amazing!

IMG_4741All striped out and I am ready to hit the road!

IMG_4688A clean city, beautiful city and…

IMG_4939It is filled with beautiful him, beautiful her and beautiful couples!

IMG_4687Simple up-dos and ponytails are definitely dominant with little black everything and little denim jackets.



IMG_4752This lady at COS store so chick in her simple yet elevated neutral colors and great accessories.




IMG_4889Saw lots of long braided hair too.

IMG_4670All lean and lanky as majority of other youngsters in the city, this friendly shop girl at Acne pulls off tiny black leather skirt super cool!





IMG_4951Second day going in we are at Sodermalm area. It’s one big mix of Williamsburg, Lolita, bit of Soho and Fort Greene. There are more than enough of good vintage shops in this area. This is a vintage and thrift shop, Emmaus.

IMG_4899You all love Cheap Monday from Sweden. This is the shop in Sodermalm area. Each platform is in letters.

IMG_4900Cheap Monday is the second chain shop where I saw a sewing machine right in the middle of the floor after ” Monki”. I guess they possibly do alterations for the customers right at the sight.

IMG_4901A cool Tee shirt fixture.

IMG_4907On the underground level at Cheap Monday, there is a Screen Print studio with a big glass wall. It’s very cool to see how they make the screen tees.


IMG_4837Now here we are at the Old part of the city, Gamla Stan. This little island is located in between Norrmalm and Sodermalm. Gamla Stan takes you back to the old time of Stockholm with pretty Mediaeval streets and buildings. Royal palace is also located in Gamla Stan.



IMG_4845There are many cute little shops in Galma Stan including super touristy ones. This shop carried many cute posters and stuff. Not bad.

IMG_4838There were quite a few shops of linens and stuff.. Soft, cotton bit antique like and boho-ish..



IMG_4791Lastly, quite amazing dinner on the first night at restaurant Mathias Dahlgren at Grand Hotel, Stockholm.

IMG_4770Every seating at the table is pre- set with this quite Zen like a sheet of brown paper menu, a cracker bag, silver wears and a wooden butter knife and glasses.

IMG_4773Common and widely loved multi grain crackers.


IMG_4777Menu is set up by region and kind of ingredients and all the portion is in between appetizer and main course.


IMG_4785Reina, Cynthia and I ordered 3 dishes and shared them all. The first, Salmon and Deer Sashimi. The Salmon in general here is like gold to me. I know salmon is body does good kind fish but I am not usually so crazy about it unless it’s a top quality sashimi.  This was the top quality sashimi and it was amazingly delicious!

IMG_4783They love dill here and actually it has grown on me. Mixed Mushroom with steamed coal fish. Amazing.

IMG_4784Pumpkin and broccoli with Truffle and Parmesan.


IMG_4787Baked chocolate and 2 more… It was so good!

As we are moving on to Paris and London for the rest of the week, we only had really a day and a half in Stockholm but surely fell in love with the city! It’s a great place to people watch, eat, feed your eyes with great modern design and get inspired. Full 3 days will give you plenty time to do the museums and all.

LOvE Stockholm!

mercatocentrale-pgnCentral Market of Livorno over the main canal of the city, Italy.

The market is open everyday except Sunday and 5 entrances of the market lead you into the main food hall where there are richest greens, meat, dairies, coffee, bread & pastries, pasta an fish that surely inspire you to think about to whip up some delicious dishes! We love going to Mercato Centrale di Livorno right after our usual Italian breakfast ( cappuccino and typical Italian pastries! ) for a fun stroll and a few ideas for our nice and long lunches and dinners for everyday. The market happens inside of the main building that was built back in late 19th century in splendid example of public Art Nouveau style, and also the outside of the building where there are ton of fruit and vegetable vendors in this square called, Piazza Cavalloti.

You can find pretty much everything and anything that Italians do eat daily in the markets! The freshest produce from such simple yet perfectly ripped tomatoes, lush and impressive zucchini flowers to lightly fry up to the perfection, and especially the “Fish and Seafood” is the true highlight of the Livorno market as Livorno is considered as one of the most important top 3 ports in Italy.

Here I like to share mainly the  2 parts of the market as these are our usual biggest interest: Vegetable market in Piazza Cavalloti and the Fish and Seafood section of the indoor market.


IMG_1638Fiori di Zucca! ( The Zucchini flowers) The simple delicacy of Italy. Everyone prepares it differently. But as Livia, my mother in law always taught me, you do not overdo Zucchinis. They carry this delicate subtle flavor. Our favorite way will be dip it in the simple dry flower then dunk it in the egg wash, fry it up for like 30 seconds and when they are out just sprinkle some salt to taste. That ‘s the best way!  Aren’t those flowers so gorgeous?  There a few different kinds. Take a look at couple pics below.


IMG_1655White Zucchini flowers. Those long Zucchini as your arm! from Sicily. Yes size of your arms!

IMG_1649Sweet and delicate wild berries from the bush. These berries are small as your baby finger nail.


IMG_1641Fabulously fat porcinis! Just slice them up and grill them on the low flame with touch of olive oil and salt. Che Buoni!


IMG_1651This is a kind of green beans. Better than the French beans! Sweeter and more tender.







IMG_1680Our favorite kind. Vongole Veraci. Yes that Vongole for your linguini with white white and garlic sauce. Yum!

IMG_1689Baccala, Cod.

IMG_1672All the local fish from the mare di Livorno. The kinds like to hang out near the rocky area. Which mean more those thin fish bone but also has more flavor.

IMG_1673Skinned head on whole Gattucci. If you know how to eat fish, you want the head on while you cook it. The simple rule here. More parts of the fish=more flavor.

IMG_1661Here the real Scampi! Peeps, bigger size shrimp is Not scampi. They are two different thing. Scampi is absolutely more angular with spiky and harder shell. The meat is sweeter and juicier than shrimp. And they are more expensive and tastier. Best way to eat? Go CRUDO. Shell it carefully, drizzle of  extra olive oil and squeeze of fresh lemon. No salt is needed as they are well seasoned already from the salt of the ocean itself.

IMG_1674Baby cuttle fish.  You can deep fry, stir fry or pasta sauce it!  Expensive! See it’s 25 Euro for 1 Kg!


IMG_1663Array of salad, sotto olio ( things sitting in oil), cured with lemon and garlic. Take them home by the weight as usual.


IMG_1692It’s like sort of salami of octopus.


IMG_1683An old style coffee bar inside the market. But notice that modern stool!


IMG_1658More individual fish vendors on trucks parked right outside of the market.





IMG_1713OK. We are back home now and making a quick lunch for the day!!  Rinse the scampi and drain the water.

IMG_1881First dish. Scampi Crudo with Oilve oil and Lemon.

IMG_1716Gather all the heads of Scampi and quick fire on the sauce pan with tomato, garlic, olive oil, shot of white wine and fresh sage. You can simply suck on the heads or this makes the best pasta sauce. Penne or Spaghetti. The hair on this hand is Emi’s. Ha-ha!

IMG_1717You can cover it on low heat and simmer it like 15 minutes. It’s a killer!

IMG_1715Zigge. Maybe the smallest shellfish on Earth. Size of your thumb nail. Gael’s favorite! Wash them, hot oil with garlic, Italian parsley and fresh black pepper. No salt needed.

IMG_1730When the shell is all open and the color of all comes turns bit more intense , they are ready to it. They are like potato chips of Shellfish. DELICIOUS!! Pop them in!

IMG_1742Gael fooling with Granpa’s mafia glasses while we are cooking!

Buon Apetito!!!

ipanemaIpanema  Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ahhh, I so wished it was warmer, no actually really hotter!  See Brazil right now is in winter even though it’s around 65-70 degrees, it just does not do the justice of hot hot sun slowly baking you to the sexy glowing golden goddess in bright fun bikinis!  But we were lucky on Sunday to have descent temperature and lovely sun caressing the city, it was the best day to hit the actual Ipanema beach and markets for a day!

The word “Ipanema” comes from “Tupi Language” which means “Bad water” and what it really means in this case is bad water for fishing since the surf dies too close to the sand that it pushes the fish away.  The surf can reach up to high as 9ft in winter time, Ipanema beach is filled with surfers as well as many volley ball & soccer players and also was packed with many Cariocas strolling, running and roller blading along the beautiful and famous mosaic tiled board walk enjoying beautiful Sunday afternoon. Ipanema belongs to the safest area called ” Zona Sul” in Rio and  I totally felt it was quite safe and neighborhood like with smaller streets and colorful homes with couple markets like Fiera Hippie on Sundays and everyday vegetables and fish market called Fiera Ipanema where there are many  small boutiques and typical Carioca style easy restaurants are.   Cynthia and I had walked everywhere to hunt down good images, colors and some good artisanal props and anything that could be great inspiration for our work for Summer 12!



IMG_1307Through out the city, You sill see much of these Mosaic tile work for pedestrian side walks to walls to these major beach like Ipanema and Copacabana. Copacabana’s tile work carries more of big wave like pattern which actually I personally prefer. Quite cool, Ha?

IMG_1328We did NOT see Gisele Bundchen. Or some sort of Rio beauties At ALL this time!! Is it because the weather is not hot as their summer which is more from December to March, the temperature reaches around to 86-87 degrees.  Actually I am convinced that those hot Brazilian babes are not form Rio. Maybe from Sao Paolo vacationing in Rio? Or are they all hiding…?





IMG_0986Typical drink and snack shacks along the board walk.

IMG_0766Now walking into the farmer’s market, Fiera Ipanema on Rua Maria Quiteria. It’s a friendly and vibrant awesome market!

IMG_0767 I fell in love with Simple and bold bright striped tents!


IMG_0769Samplers are everywhere!!! Sweet as honey, gorgeous strawberries, juicy water melons, Amazonian fruits and so much more. By the time you are done with one isle, you will be already full from shower or free samples offered by the friendly vendors!









IMG_0787Love sardine!!





IMG_0796An awesome Veggie station. You know I’ll eat every leaf hanging off the stand!



IMG_0964OK we are starving and stopping for some typical Carioca food at one of these restaurants by the board walk. I did order this fizzy drink ( non alcoholic drink made by Brazilian Coca Cola company and heard there are many versions including ones you make at home to bars…).  I did hear about ‘ Guarana’, this sort of thing that gives you energy. Guarana is a small bright red fruit that contains lots of Caffeine. (about double of coffee beans).  The taste?  This particular drink right here, Kuat! just tasted like sweet syrupy water with very light fizz in it. I did not care for it much. It didn’t feel like it made me all energetic either. but it sure gave me stomach upset!!!  It got me all nauseous!

IMG_0965My order. Rice with mixed sea food in tomato coconut milk sauce. Delicious!  But I have to tell you, one called ” Moqueca soup” at long time NY restaurant on Union square, ” The Coffee shop” makes the best one so far I have to say. Is that why we live in NYC?  Cynthia, you still don’t believe me about this, but they serve the best kind!  I have to say I loved the addition of this hard boiled egg in this dish. You know it’s just so comforting with nice sauce over it with rice… YUM!

IMG_0966Cynthia’s dish. Broiled Cod with fresh fried chips with garlic oil and crumbled hard boiled egg! Com on, You have to love this!  Sooo good! Don;t you love her red nail against bright neon strip eon back drop anyway?

IMG_0803One of residential building in Ipanema and the typical yellow cab of Rio.

IMG_1264Now we are at the Hippie market in Ipanema, Only a couple blocks into the town from the Gay beach area of Ipanema beach. Every Sunday. We totally learnt that Rio is an expensive city.  This hand made artisanal pieces are quite expensive and also everything else. Taxi, drink, food, clothing… Everything id quite expensive especially if you are brining the US $$. ( the exchange rate is terrible now)






IMG_1288There were couple food stands that run by these lovely Bahian ladies. Bahia is located on north east side of Brazil which is definitely above the Rio. All those good Samba and Bossa Nova was also born in Bahia.  Ahh we didn’t really taste any food here as we just ate!  But it must be really good and authentic as the stands were really crowded. Next time!






IMG_1364Hand drums for samba!


Now listen to this!  The very man, Vinicius de Moraes who wrote the song on his cigarette and a glass of cachaca, “Garota de Ipanema”


Can’t  imagine what would be like being in Ipanema surrounded by millions of people under the hot sun and sugar mountain enjoying the beach, the sun and the magical energy  of Rio!




Rio_de_Janeiro_MapAn easy map of Rio de Janeiro for you. Today, we were at Santa Teresa, our home base and at Saara market in Downtown.

The most used One word in Rio today?  “Obrigado!” Then my poor tongue would keep spitting out ”Gracias!” or “ Grazie!” and what else.. Oh I even said, “Arigato!” Actually If didn’t say “Arigato!” that loud stupidly, I could have been almost heard as if I was saying ”Obrigado…!”
But gentile Cariocas were still friendly to us as we pulled out every possible language card we had out of our back pockets, and we did survive the very first day at this warm, raw, lush and quite interesting city, Rio de Janeiro!  ( yeah… Italian did help but not much really…)

From a little quick research I did before booking the trip, I knew we wanted to stay at Santa Teresa where is located between the heart of Samba scene area called “Lapa” and an another area where the old Rio meets the new Rio, a downtown typically named as “Centro”. See, Santa Teresa is sort of Montmarte of Rio to me.  Run down yet absolutely gorgeous colonial style villas with those pretty metal gates are lined up all along the sleepy cobble stoned hill tops and this quiet bohemian, and artists filled neighborhood houses small bodegas and charming little bars where you can taste authentic Brazilian or more like Amazonian food seasoned with exotic Brazilian nuts and herbs along the superb Caipirinha that is just perfectly prepared!

Then you will also find more than enough of quite amazing graffitied walls and maybe the last true Tram in the entire South America, the Bonde ( it pronounces “bonje”).  This bright yellow old school Tram is a little moving gem that provides you maybe the best transportation to access to Lapa and Centro with only 0.60 Real ( about $0.45) per ride or even for free if you dare to hang on to the bar outside the tram windows!  Me an Cynthia will try this tomorrow morning when we get down to Downtown to get to Ipanema Beach and Leblon to hunt down good inspirations and ideas for the next summer’s Gap women’s collection.

Today we had gone down to check out The “ Saara Market” in Centro, the traditional downtown shopping bazaar with bustling streets and hundreds of shops where you can buy stuff like Carnival costumes to batteries. It’s down and true to all that chachiki needs for everyday life of Cariocas ( Local of Rio). The streets of Saara consist of historical architecture, randomly located many churches and bustling people crossing the street regardless the color of the traffic lights ( I mean way more intense than NYC) and you can surely feel like you are in the heart of where the locals really hang out.

And…let me share some pics!

IMG_0486I tried to find the best option in our budget to really experience what Rio truly is about. We passed many swanky high rise hotels in the beaches and chose a small guest house in Santa Teresa. A sun room at Casa Amarelo.











IMG_0537Typical Colonial villas at Santa Teresa.


IMG_0585Saara market, Downtown Rio.

IMG_0587A man selling Sandal wood fiber balls. It smelled so good passing by!

IMG_0566Empanada and orange juice shop. Sort of Papaya’s Hot dog shop at NYC.







IMG_0592Fabric shopping with Cynthia!


IMG_0601Passion fruits.




IMG_0607Then we also checked out the Library of Portuguese Literature. AMAZING.







IMG_0552And hold your breath now. Here we were at one of the oldest church in Rio, Sao Fransisco da Penirencia. Baroque style. It was so intense , it was not easy to look at. Really.




IMG_0559I prayed.

OK, Now we are home stretching here. Santa Teresa by night.









Nite nite people!

IMG_0034Regardless you are Japanese or not, many NYC peeps were there to support to raise every dime to help Japan’s Tsunami relief. Union Square, NYC.

Last weekend, Emi was busy working with Beppe shooting Alegri’s Spring Campaign. So it meant a day date with Gael for me!

We were at the Union Square movie theater to see Johnny Depp’s Rango ( quite surreal for the 7 year old boy! ) then strolled through Union Square farmer’s market ( spring branches, tulips and all) and not to forget to donate for Japan’s Tsumani relief, then quick yummy Korean lunch at Manna! It was bit windy but beautiful as sun was shinning and quite lovely to have a small walk down to Soho. We also checked out great Prada store on Broadway as I wanted Gael to know ” What a great shop means” pointing out at amazing murals in the store, the fab transparent cylinder shaped elevator, fabulous Spring 11 line of acid Bananas and Monkeys that takes you back to the 70′s swanky sea side Castiglioncello or Porto Fino in Italy ( just imagine Sofia Lauren and Marcelo Mastroianni sipping on chilled campari preferably listening to her own song ” Soldi Soldi Soldi from Boccaccio 70″ despite their kicking Super modern Spring Campaign… And the fab custom jeweleries in bright colored resins of everything you can or cant imagine!! KidRobot is always a must stop as Gael just absolutely loves the place and he gets to pick a small something. Then stop at the corner of Prince street to watch a street band singing Motown songs as munching on pretzels then the last stop at Pearl river! When was the last time I was at the Pear River?!!  As much as I love nick nacks and all that chachkis, Pearl river can absolutely satisfy you on a dime!  Hopefully Pearl river will never close down as my beloved Canal Jean has long gone from Soho since when…? Ahhh I ssssso miss my Canal Jean filled with the best everything from vintage army pants to $10.00 wool coats! Hip. Cheap. And understated Massive Hit!  I just found out that Canal Jean had re opened up on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, so I must check it out and I hope it will not disappoint me…  Anyway, it’s always a big fun to walk around and do “me and Gael thing two of us together” in the city. Go shopping, movies on a shared kids’ package, street food, fancy shops, spoil him a little with sepecial purchase then stop and watch oh so amazing break dancers on the street of NYC. And what else… oh and just chatting and catching up hand in hand and it just feels so right to spend some descent time with my little cool son on the weekend… Love you Gael and love you NYC!!!

And… the pics!


IMG_0047Proud Gael after a small donation for Japan.

IMG_0042Beautiful colors of bundles of hanging wool yarns.

IMG_0049Is spring here yet…????





IMG_0062Gael inside the Prada store, Soho.

Screen shot 2010-11-21 at AM 09.37.19Prada Spring 11 !


prada-ad-campaign-2011 2

Watch this!

IMG_0074The absolute reason why you love NYC! Prince street.


IMG_0084At the shop, KidRobot, Soho.


IMG_0080And the NYC babes.

IMG_0075A street band, Soho.

IMG_0094MAC meets Wonder Woman, Spring street.



And… Mommy and Gael… Cheeeeese!


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