EMILIANO & JAEHEE
emiliano@lacasapark.com  917 406 2854
jaehee@lacasapark.com  917 373 1548
Take the C train to Clinton Washington | Map

IMG_2374 Happy Aunt and Gael at Heyri, Aunt’s Studio. It’s almost surreal for me to see Aunt and Gael together!

After another hearty breakfast at Mom’s, We are headed to Aunt’s and Uncle’s in Heyri for the first time for Emi and Gael! Aunt and Uncle have not met Gael yet, So we are very excite!

The door opens up, Uncle and Aunt come out in bare feet much welcoming. I see aunt’s eyes get teary with happiness and emotion to see Emi and Gael. Ahhh it’s so good to be here. I get all teary too. Uncle’s the same way. I have never seen him so happy and having a good time. Emi and Uncle hit it off right away on mutual interests. Love for Wine and good food.

IMG_2376It’s always good to see Tang and Brandy.

IMG_2377Emi and Uncle. The first time meet. Deep in conversation on Italian Wine and Mushrooms. Ha-Ha!  Uncle had studied to be a Sommelier as a hobby recently.

IMG_2381All of us enjoying Aunt’s Fermented Ume, Apricot and fresh Peppermint drink.  Sweet and refreshing with nice squeeze of Lemon. So Delicious!!!  Ume is much used in our family daily in cooking meals in place of honey and vinegar as after it goes through fermentation, it gets sweet and sour. Think sort of maple syrup like consistency. It’s delicious and it does body good for you. Talking about rich in vitamin C and good for digestion.

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IMG_2435Beautiful and modern Heyri. Click Here for More Pics.  Now we are about to explore!

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IMG_2396The Best Coffee in Heyri Aunt says: Coffee Coffee.  Heyri’s biggest charm is living a Modern and Artistic life in organic and sort of nostalgic way. There are lots of old school details that are re born in most current setting.

IMG_2384In front of the coffee shop, there’s a true nostalgic ‘ TTong PPang’ machine baking Sweet Red bean cake. The real common name is ” gold fish cake” as the old time cake mold was in gold fish shape but here today’s new version is in ” poop” shape. Now you know what ” TTong” means. PPang means ‘ Bread’.  You eat it while it’s hot. Delis!!!

IMG_2387Gael having fun!

IMG_4246Inside of the Coffee shop. The Coffee Bar. Loving the stools made out of part of barrel I believe?  Just following coffee shops in Seoul can be one good way to see Seoul today especially for innovative interior designs.

IMG_2402The family.

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IMG_2407Now we are exploring Artists’ space in the building where the Cafe is. Light fixtures.

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IMG_2409Creative Open Space.

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IMG_2420Now here we are where Aunt regularly works on her Ceramics.  Gael’s abut to experience Ceramic making!

IMG_4277Gael getting ready!

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IMG_2425After 20 minutes, Gael had made his Noodle bowl and a Tea cup!

IMG_2428Gael putting his Artist’s signature on.  Clay is just too wet for Gael to put his name on. So we are making a tag that can be attached to the bottom and to be baked in a right timing.

IMG_2429Thank you So much Master Choi and Thank you Aunt!  We will be back again!!

IMG_2433Now moving on to a Traditional market next door. It says “From the farmers”.

IMG_4295Mini legume samples and sacks contain them for sale.

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IMG_2439Back home at Aunt’s Studio for power rest. Then we are off for dinner! Some of Aunt’s small work.

IMG_2440Emi on a nap… Zzzzzzz

IMG_2454OK now it’s time for Dinner! This is one of my favorite place to dine!  The place is called  “Old Country Table”.  They serves up typical Korean table that comes with many little side tasting dishes. You get to choose the main dish such as grilled Beef, pork or Pollack. Today we are going for spicy grilled Pollack.

IMG_2453A few different kinds of kim chi, Mountain veggies that are picked, dried, socked and steamed with great seasonings, simple ssam with lettuce and crunch green chili, soy sauce soaked blue crabs, individually prepared amazing miso soups…. It goes on!

IMG_2458Made to order rice is just prepared and served right at the table on  rice cart.

IMG_2459YUUUummmmmm!  Ginko, chestnuts, red beans and rice.  Delicious! So nutty!

IMG_2462Spicy and Sweet Chilli paste Grilled Pollack! Yum Yum Yum

IMG_2455Uncle, Thank You!!! for the great time and all the generous treats!  ( two little legs behind Uncle are Gael’s. He fell on a sleep…)

IMG_2380Aunt and Me. We look alike.

Aunt in Korean is “Imo”.  Which really means “A different Mother” in Korean.  My aunt is a younger sister of my Mom and She is my another mother. Uncle in this case is called ” Imobu”, which means ” A different father”.  I also had lived with Aunt, Uncle and my cousin which actually really is a sister, Yoon hee when I was studying in NY for like a year. So it is very special feeling and love that I have for all of them.

Imo and Imobu, Thank you so much for all your warm hearts and love. We had a wonderful wonderful time!  I can’t speak enough how happy I am that we all got to finally meet and had time together.

For many more years, Cheers to us!

IMG_0822Ruins of St. Paul’s, in Portuguese: Ruinas de Sao Paulo, Macau

Another trip to Asia working on Spring 13 for Gap right now and for the first time in all these traveling years to HK, I am having real full 2 day weekend without work.  Saturday was relaxing spending much time to work out and sweating out all the toxin out of my system in the steam room then had good laughs over lovely dinner in Central HK catching up with Daniel, Kim and Joey. It’s always good to see friends especially when I am away from Emi and Gael.

Then how about Sunday?  A long ago, I have watched a documentary on Macau, a formal Portuguese colony back in the 16th century and lies between China and Hong Kong bordering Guangdong province. The Portuguese influence still runs through their food and also architecture that makes the city so exotic from anything I knew about China and it always stayed in my head. I thought I would visit Macau one day, and that One day finally came to me in just right timing!

Here come check out my day in Macau.

IMG_0717The day started with bit of rain. It’s super humid for the moment in HK and Macau is just the same. There are 2 main stations where you can catch a ferry depends on which side of HK you are. I am on Kowloon side, so I took the ferry at China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is also walking distance from Inter Continental and Sheraton Hotel in Kowloon side of HK.

IMG_0711The ferry gets quite full but clean and comfortable with good leg room and cushy chairs!  You get your seat assigned. And a good Air Conditioning. Ahhh you so need it with weather like here but you may want to bring a light cardigan as it gets bit chilly.  About 1 1/2 hour ride one way fair from Kowloon to Macau is about HKD 160. By the way, Macau’s own currency is SAR but literally Everyone takes HKD as norm in Macau.

IMG_0706Bring your Passport!! And check if your nationality needs a Visa. Koreans are waived from getting a Visa for up to 30 days. HK$166.00 ( about US $24.00) for one way ride.

IMG_0744My first stop at A-MA temple. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS TEMPLE! This temple was built back in 1488 dedicated to Matsu the Goddess of seafarers and fishermen.

IMG_0746So shrine and peaceful with lots of soft warm colors at the temple. These cone shaped shades are hanging at many little spots at temple holding visitors’ wishes and prays…

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IMG_0752Always love the smell of incense… I feel blessed when it covers me over… especially at temples.

IMG_0754More prays.

IMG_0762A-MA temple is located on the south east tip of Macau peninsula cascading down from a small but good 50 feet high hill right off a main road along the water.  Quite curved up and pointed tips of roof are cute and fun. I love the washed down mints against the brick red together.

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IMG_0764Pressing down my own urge to kneel and pray… I am still looking for a right spot for me. There are plenty of little pockets where you can unleash and get blessed at the temple.

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IMG_0769I am in love with these circular opening gates sort of. Do you think the circle means eternity…?

IMG_0777HK$30 can get me that little connection to my superior God in Macau. It’s about to be my turn. I found the right spot. It’s at the very top of the hill.

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IMG_0787I pray and think of all those faces including you. Emi, Gael, mom, brother, dad, Yoon, Hun, aunt, uncles, grannies, all of my in-laws, Suzy, Livia, Luciano, especially their health, family at work all around the world, their little worries, issues, happiness and health, all of friends here and fiends there. Ben and Ben’s Mom. Angela’s and Beppe’s. Tania and Tamara far away in England. And good business after all of our hard work. Love among the family and friends…

IMG_0790But most of all I ask for Strength. Not some powerful magic for things being solved by itself or God. I’ll do that. But I can’t ask enough for solid strength, agility and resilience. Just like my running and just like being a mother.

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IMG_0793You can also burn a candle. They come in different sizes but all in Lotus flower shape. By the way there will be Lotus Flower festival in Macau from June 16 for a week.

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IMG_0803Larger than life size incenses!

IMG_0810The main room.  Most colorful and ornately decorated.

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IMG_0733Right outside of temple, Portuguese music and dance is going on, The mosaic tiled flooring reminds me of Rio in Brazil.

IMG_0820 A typical Macau Bakery. Macau got some good thing going on when it gets to food. Delicious Portuguese warm egg tarts and Almond cookies!! Yum! and Crispy pork sandwich on the street!!!

IMG_0815Egg tart! I am getting one. About US$1.00 Cheap and Cheerful!

egg tartThe first bite is warm and flaky. Ssooo good!  Then it gets creamy getting into the custard. Not too eggy. It tastes sort of Cream Brulee in a pastry cup as the surface of custard has that slight crunch and caramelized texture to it. Not too sweet but just right. I really had to stop myself for buying the second. I may search to see if I can find this back in NYC!

IMG_0823In and out of sun, it’s getting really really hot in Macau. You can see the humidity in pictures!  Walking up to the facade of Ruins of St. Paul right near the main square in Old City.

IMG_0825Built back in from 1582-1602, this facade is what is left from the complex of St.Paul’s college and Cathedral of St. Paul. As many other sites in Macau, Ruins of St.Paul is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage site.

IMG_0824Right in front of the site, there were these handsome young men playing Macau’s traditional music.

IMG_0827OK, Check out their awesome instrument in such geometry. I love it. And i like to pay huge respect that they are wearing these heavy boots and all. I am talking about 90 degrees at 90% humidity! Here I am watching them sipping on chilled PocariSweat which is Asian Gatorade. Or I would have fainted already in this heat.  Their song does not have any lyrics. It’s more of this instrumental like low and high sound that they make through the air inside of their head and throat. It’s quite fascinating.

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IMG_0834OK. There is only One street that connects from the main square of Old City to Ruins of St. Paul. You know what that means, that little street gets quite crowded but maybe it was the very best kind of touristy spot I had so far! About 50 feet long walk will give you the best taste of what Macau can offer as far as their savory Jerkies, Fried Pork chop sandwiches and delicious Macau cookies. It’s overwhelming and so much fun!

IMG_0831These are all sort of different meat that is dried and seasoned. They are gooey tender sweet savory and sticky! There are plenty of little shops lined up on this street giving away little samplers. They cut and pack to each order while you wait.

IMG_0832There is High Competition selling these delicious crunch Almond Cookies on this alley. They seemed to be steamed on a steam tray, but amazingly crunch it feels like they are baked. The cookies also called ” Chess Cookie” as they are in a shape of Chinese Chess.  This guy is a sample/sales man.

IMG_0839Before they get on to the steamer. They have this system they can steam, a few trays at a time by stacking them tall.

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IMG_0833This guy got them all!  Jerkies and various cookies. Another sample man.

IMG_0836Sesame cookies.

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IMG_0844There are 33 churches, 44 temples and 100 banks in Macau ( think gambling). This is a small temple off the market.

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IMG_0847I am thinking it’s in lychee family.

IMG_0871I assume this is a kind of plum. It’s me that I don’t speak the language… They told me what it is but I didn’t understand.

IMG_0854This Oh-so-smell-good fried pork in a bun is Everywhere!

IMG_0856One more look at Egg Tarts!

IMG_0853This sign sort of sums up a vibe of Macau to me. It feels like an outskirt of what old HK could have been. It feels old school and quite sweet despite all these crazy Casino business they got going on. There are plenty of little streets and churches and temples and little signs. Lush trees in between old buildings. I like it.

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IMG_0859Getting into the heart of Old city. Apparently all these building are 500-700 years old!  There are plenty of weekend visitors from HK and China.

IMG_0860The main square where the church ST. Joseph is. Check out the tiling! Just like Rio.

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IMG_0863Quite humble interior of Church. Here I was going for the second round of stop and pray.

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IMG_0869One of the most popular ways to get around in Macau.

IMG_0868Bean, Tofu and dessert place.

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IMG_0875Cute Macau moment.

IMG_0876Main downtown with lots and lots of banks.

IMG_0879Heading back to Ferry station. The white and cream building with wild windows are one of many high rise Casino/Hotel buildings.

Two things that I didn’t do this time visit to Macau were 1. Gambling and 2. Proper meal as I am not interested in gambling at all and I actually hate it and I was quite exhausted from the heat so I kept drinking water rather feeling for any food. So I have one good reason to visit Macau one day again. Food!!

But click Here to see where you can eat in Macau and watch Anthony Bourdain’s 2 day visit to Macau!

IMG_0435Cutting edge clothing store ALCHEMIST at 11 11 Lincoln Road, Miami, Florida.

It has been like 12 years the last time I went down to Miami. Since then, a few things have definitely changed. If you still like to talk about Ocean Drive in Miami, Please, Talk to the hands. Because that is So over. Ocean drive and the crowd is there. So what?  Let People have fun. But that is Not my first interest when I Now talk about Miami. Why?  Because I saw and I was there for real interesting things. Not in the past. I was having a ” Design Moment” in Miami.

Miami is moving forward.

IMG_0301A Court Yard at MOCA, 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami

A small scaled Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami is located way out of the way from Miami Beach. When I was researching what I need to see in Miami, I assumed MOCA was in Design district but this is even little more out of the way from Design District. Sort of middle of nowhere but I love how handsome the building is. I was envy of space imagining us 3 living a modern life. A beautiful Court Yard, plenty of space to hang our favorite arts, parties with friends… It’s that cozy yet chick and modern. As soon as Atsuko has arrived from NY, we headed off to MOCA for little Art moment.

IMG_0303Yes. It’s a Paradise.

IMG_0327Outside of MOCA.

IMG_0312Current exhibition : Ragnar Kjartansson’s “Song” May 17-September 2.

A room size of about 400 square foot housing multiple screens showing the artists play different part of One song that is being played in physically different locations. Each screen and location plays each layer of components of the song but they complete each others as a whole in harmony. It’s an interesting concept. And the room is surprisingly relaxing and chilled. We were all sitting there on the floor for a while.  It was quite beautiful.

IMG_0309Atsuko and Gael.

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IMG_0320Here in a different room. The artist’s 3 nieces sing a gentle folk song that is written by Kajartansson in Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hall of Sculpture. Those pretty faces singing in such angelic voice… I was having a ” Virgin Suicide”  and “Tavi” moment here. Bit spooky and quite beautiful.

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IMG_0498Again, 11 11 Lincoln Road on Lincoln, Miami

Here’s the Quote from their site 1111Lincolnroad, “Envisioned by Wennett and Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, 11 11 Lincoln road represents the collaboration of renowned architects, landscape architects, artists and designers to create a unique shopping, dinning, residential and parking experience for Miami’s residents and visitors.”  You should really check out the site. It’s a beautiful thing.

IMG_0437Atsuko walking around bit.  Actually the building also reminds me of  Shanghai’s 1933.

IMG_0436Approaching the shop,  Alchemist on 5 th floor. The only store in the building off the ground floor.

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IMG_0429Beautifully edited collection of Balenciaga, Rick Owen, Proenza Schouler…. And amazing jewelries!

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IMG_0443A view from the second floor of 11 11 Lincoln. The multi colored glassed building is a cinema.

IMG_0484Now we are at JUVIA restaurant for Cocktails! A pent house restaurant right next to the building of 11 11 Lincoln.  The penthouse deck with a grand view to Miami beach. Ahhhh  It’s a real ideal Miami experience here. The breeze, people, design, relaxed vibe, even to the right volume of music like Atsuko says. All in A Style. Swanky and Smart. Just Perfect.

IMG_0465Sitting Bar. The beautiful planted jungle wall,what ever you will call is out of the world. Emi treated us with yummy cocktails!

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IMG_0479How much I love those chairs!

IMG_0477Indoor dinning area.

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IMG_0329Here we are now at Design district.  The Art installation called ” The Living room”. Then it used to be attached to low rise commercial building.

p104750-Miami-Living_Room_BuildingThis is photo taken by Ally at IgoUgo.com back in year 2004. See then it even had a curtain!

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IMG_0339There are many little low rise commercial spaces in Design district. They are all sort of different architectural style from industrial to Art deco to this sort of to super Modern… all mixed in.  But Always with lots of plants and flowers.

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IMG_0341Lots and lots of galleries and design shops.  Check out Miamidesigndistrict and DesignDistrictMag

IMG_0343Here there are couple cute boutiques and One of the Best Restaurant in Miami, Michael’s Genuine. And around the corner from here, there are shops of absolutely beautiful Martin Margiela and Marni.

IMG_0346Inside of Michael’s Genuine.  There’s cute little outdoor space and airy and simple indoor space with this boxed red lighting.  We are having Sunday evening dinner here!

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IMG_0347Slowly caramelized Pork Belly sitting on top of a Kimchi bed!  Miami loves kimchi for the moment!  All ingredients are Organic and they are all well priced.  Super low key vibe with great hearty food. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain for the recommendation!

IMG_0356Savory was savory and good. but WOW! Dessert at Michael’s Genuine is Out of the World!  So delicious. Here 2 donuts with buttered Pop corn Ice cream and lemon zest and and and…!  It sounded bit strange to hear the buttered pop corn ice cream, but the chef had nailed the flavor in such nice way. They were amazing.

IMG_0403Beautiful Monday Morning, Atsuko and I are hitting Miami by foot leaving boys by the beach. Palms, Sun and Breeze. It’s really nice!

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IMG_0402Checking out Hotel Delano for a cool shop we heard about.

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IMG_0412Such an elegant bar at Delano. I love it.

IMG_0413A Wall by the shop, Base at Delano.

IMG_0418A must Check out Concept Store, Webster.

IMG_0417And here’s a good old Miami moment with an Art Deco building…

IMG_0388Our last night at W Miami. There are many great arts in W Miami. Damien Hirst, a few of Basquiat… Usually I associate W with “Trendy” and “Lively” but  W Miami one felt more chick and relaxed. Grown up.

IMG_0391Bar Restaurant, Dutch at W.

IMG_0389I like the shot of soft grey stripe running down the middle of the pillars. Without it, it would have been more of NYC.

IMG_0376Our swanky deck to the ocean.

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It was more of an eye opening trip to me personally to learn about where Miami is heading to and was a really pleasant experience of Start of Modern Design in Miami. Something that just will stay in my skin for a long time. Not just pretty clothes. Not just another store.  Me sitting there at pent house of Juvia having one cocktail completely settled in me. The vibe and situation really inspired me heading into Summer research. A life style. But I really hope Miami will carry on and preserve their Art Deco heritage and turn it into the best form they can. I mean where in the world, can you find such a setting? All these deco buildings by the beach!

Hope you enjoyed Miami in My way and hope this gives you a different perspective about Miami.

(By the way $10 meal at Puerto Sagua was Puerto Sagua. It brought all back to me!)

LOvE  Design!

IMG_7632Lady Gaga at Barney’s Uptown

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IMG_7637Saturdays Surf NYC, Soho

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IMG_7639Ginger Bread people and the home at Mulberry, NYC

IMG_7640Fresh off the mail from Philadelphia. Home baked cookies just arrived from Emi’s client Fina. So Fab. Thank You Fina!

IMG_7642A pre Christmas surprise for me from Emi and Gael. A little yet Sexy and Mega Mighty  IPod Nano. And Extra Love.

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IMG_7652And the favorite, Beanfield for my run and plus 1000 artists. Emi, You ROCK!

IMG_7657December 17 SNL hosted by Jimmy Fallon and a musical guest, Michael Buble

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IMG_7658Gael Holiday shopping in a matching hat and a warm sweater.

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IMG_7662Best Holiday Cheap and Cheerful eat at Christina’s Restaurant, Green Point, Brooklyn

IMG_7673Feeling cosy watching Emi and Gael…  And those sweaters…!

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IMG_7694At home!

Be Merry, Bright and Happy!

LOvE NYC!

IMG_7310A Beautiful grand view of Boom Boom Room, Standard Hotel, NYC

It’s a day before Thanksgiving weekend, Emi and I had met up in the city late afternoon to kick off our official Mental Holiday clock in our spirit! Let’s have a drink! So where is the perfect place to do it? Absolutely the Boom Boom Room at Standard Hotel!

It was then the Empire state building to steal the best view of Manhattan, then Brooklyn prominent looking over the East river admiring soaring Twin Towers then the little door open to the balcony outside next to the DJ Booth on the second floor of Tin Cup in Williamsburg for the Drop Dead Gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge in your face with undeniably amazing entire Manhattan’s skyscraper….  Then now, I would not hesitate for a second to call out loud the Boom Boom Room is definitely the Sexiest and Most elegant place to enjoy 360 degree of gorgeous Cityscape of  Manhattan…!!

You just have to be there.

IMG_7316Hot Hostesses greeting us at Boom Boom Room. Tall, beautiful, lanky and friendly..!

IMG_7315Entering.

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IMG_7282If I write up a recipe of Boom Boom Room itself it would be something like this: 1 part of James Bond, 1 part of Tom Ford, 1 part of Rainbow room, and a splash of lemon and 1 big solid Square Ice cube. Do not Shake. Just Stir!  Very Elegant. Nothing trendy here.

IMG_7284Here’s my drink. ” Lady Lavender” with St. Germain. Nothing sweet or sour either. Just perfect and just an elegant smile of quiet lavender…

IMG_7285And  a just right amount of nibbles to accompany my Lady Lavender and Emi’s manly Negroni.

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IMG_7298There are 2 fire places: 1 on the northeast corner and the other one on the north west corner. So swanky..!

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IMG_7318Leaving!

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IMG_7320Going down in an awesome elevator. A moving images of Heaven and Hell, I would call.

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IMG_7323Lobby.

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IMG_7329A mini ice rink outside of Standard Hotel. Genius!

IMG_7331The Standard Hotel, Meat Packing District, NYC

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Now buying Stakes and Salad at Chelsea market in full of warm and bit tipsy Holiday Sprit after a couple delicious cocktails and much chat with my Best friend, Emiliano!

Emi, I love you so much and Happy Begin of our Holidays together!!

LOvE, NYC!

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For more, just be there!

LOvE SEOUL!!!

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One: Xin Tian Di

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Typical alley of Xin Tian Di district, Shanghai

Shikumen, the Stone gate houses on narrow alleys combining Western and Chinese element that occupied up to 60% of Shanghai housing that first appeared in 1860 now has drastically down sized to this small area called “Xin Tian Di” which means ” New heaven and Earth”.  The old residential Shikumen building are now turned into beautifully designed restaurants, cafes and book stores earning a title: the very first ” Life style” center of China.  As a matter fact, it’s rather romantic, quite  and charming vibe rather loud and super touristy despite good amount international tourists enjoying the area eating and shopping!

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IMG_6762Peeking into a restaurant, T8

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IMG_6766Many of these Shikumen houses future lovely lovely window details. Never ending windows!

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IMG_6751Then there’s this lovely open square area that houses many of outdoor and indoor seating restaurants, bars and cafes… It’s very cute and clean!

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IMG_6767…and Lovely lush trees… I Love!

It’s bit touristy but also lovely and charming. It’s quite chilled and somehow reminds me of the film, In the mood for Love. If you are ever in Shanghai, stop by for a coffee and little shopping!

In the mood for love…

Two: Dongtai Lu Antique Market

IMG_6798Entrance of Dongtai Lu Antique market, Shanghai

Most of Shanghai’s old markets are gone, or converted to modern wares: clothing, watches, handbags and gadgets. But this long-running street bazaar specializing in reproduction of old antiques, crafts and traditional trinkets still abounds with atmosphere.  And I have to say the real deal of this market is not actually the goods in the market, it’s the street and houses that is hosting the market around. Locals live right behind the market completely unveiling everyday life in Shanghai. Men arguing over games of cards, women gossiping amidst the constant clatter of mahjong tiles, down dusty lanes strewn with cages of singing birds and laundry drying on bamboo poles.  It’s totally down to local and simply dirty but definitely interesting,

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Three:  Taikang Lu

IMG_6872Another preservation of Shikumen Architecture in Shanghai, Taikang Lu

Maybe this would be the one single best place to visit if you only had a few hours to explore Shanghai. This old Shikumen district turned to relatively low budget shopping and dinning area is filled with good mix of traditional Chinese knickknacks, local designers’ shops and plenty of small lively restaurants and cafes where you can taste Shanghainese and other international food such as Thai ( plenty of them), Japanese , French and much more. Little alley like streets are neatly packed with hole in the wall like shops to more design conscious boutiques where you can get beautiful teas and handmade scarves and such.  Bright Red paper Chinese lantern definitely tells you where you are at the moment and adds bit of festivity to your good half day stroll to cover the whole district.

IMG_6874A cute Japanese yakiniku ( Table grill place).

IMG_6875Cobble stone and this herringbone stone tile are the 2 major materials covering the area.

IMG_6876There are many little witty touches in Taikang Lu. Maybe this is one place I felt I could read sort of what Today’s Shanghai’s Young generation is like.

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IMG_6882Lane 248 was supposed to be bit more progressive than other alley, but honestly I didn’t find any differences here.

IMG_6889Somehow we were at sort of ” Food” area at this point. Cafes, restaurants, restaurants and more restaurants. This building has 2 open decks serving food semi al fresco on upper levels.

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Rapidly growing Shanghai definitely shows a huge potential to become a metropolitan city yet I have surely experienced this undeniable gap between fast and fanciful materialistic growth and true culture to digest and own that material growth to a personal level. The culture that lives beneath your skin that is natural and that is real you. Right now, I see this massive bigger shell that is waiting for inner flash to grow and fill in and connect to become one, Shanghai as a true metropolitan city!

Till then, There will be needing of plenty of learning, researching and trying to live what that is ahead of Shanghai.  It was a real eye opening experience for me and also I am excite for Shanghai to face endless possibilities to reborn and to reach as a next big star.

IMG_6415Entrance at Dekalb Market, Downtown Brooklyn

Salvaged and stacked up colorful shipping containers make walls, shops and a small semi open urban market in downtown Brooklyn.  It’s a great and beautiful concept to promote small entrepreneurs in a small cultural community setting using 20 foot shipping containers with electricity, water, stove tops and even AC installation.

It was our first time visiting and it was late afternoon on Saturday. It felt bit empty but I see a great potential. But then, would this really work? It’s located by Flatbush Avenue near the Dekalb avenue where now all these luxury high-rise condos are getting built. There are good amount of commercial and office spaces around the market, so Lunch time, it may get bit crowded but not sure how much foot traffic this market gets in general. Despite it’s charming vibe, the market is not so substantial enough to go for either food or shopping. I see coffee, donuts, sandwiches, tacos.  All those usual suspects. Then there are these small shops. The containers are great looking. Thy are itsy bitsy super cute but are they too small? Most of food vendors occupy the full spaced containers then there are many other containers divided in half, and that’s when it gets bit too small for me. Once there 2 people in, there’s no more room for any other. It’s a great concept but I see much room to be improved.

The market needs better P.R and more vendors in general for customers to feel it’s worth the trip. There should be a lot more food vendors to bring greater foot traffic daily then need bigger space occupying non food vendors like vintage, books, magazine stands, Arts, maybe even flower shops, graphic tees and so on to sustain as a daily market.  It totally got this cool vibe going but it feels like the whole thing is a bit of temporary set up. Kind of one night stand like. There were concerts, DJ gig and even a night Bazar. They all sound great and heard it was successful but it is missing this Core strength to sustain this market to be not just a cool gig but as a real community’s daily market. Hope for a good boost for Christmas shopping time and wish for better improvement with stronger vendors and entrepreneurs bringing more fresh creative product to the market.

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IMG_5221It’s this thing that running along the Iconic spot of area gives me sort of satisfaction that I am kind of conquering the city or that specific area I am running. Or more like “Shit” I just rant to “Eiffel tower” along the Seine in Paris!  Not bad at all. I have been running every single day during this Stockholm, Paris and London trip. I believe now I have way better sense about the city in every way after I ran.

IMG_5194Finally after like million times of visits to Paris, I feel like I just started getting a hang of Paris. I don’t know why it took so long… It’s maybe the city is quite big? I am quite savvy at figuring out any new places but not Paris… It has been a long time I just couldn’t put my finger on it… It must be the language.  Sometimes I get slightly upset with myself that I do have issue pronouncing French. Why is it damn hard for me? Whenever not so nice French talks down to me or our group, I sssso want to snap out of it by speaking beautiful proper French back to them. But the reality is “Naaaaa”. I am seriously considering to take a crash course some point, so I can read those menus little better at least.

IMG_5117The hotel ” Lumen” where we stayed at recommend us this place called ” Aux Lyonnais“, a super classic old bistro where you can get all that classic dishes consists of ” Butter, Butter and Butter”.  The highlight of September in Paris is apparently Cray fish. But then they cook it with just the same as any other dishes like escargot, or stake….  Butter, garlic and herbs. It’s great but Call me ignorant, but sometimes, I do not understand why people go crazy with French cuisine. Yes I married to a Italian man, and I much prefer great Italian cousin which embraces the core of the main ingredients rather butter in literally every dish. I find Butter quite over powering in most of times. By the way regardless the food, I really loved this old classic decor.

IMG_5118Always love Men serving. Not only in Paris but in general. I don”t know why. When they are older and look firm on what they are doing, it;s even better for me. I find  it quite beautiful.

IMG_5122Mine and Cynthia’s Tarte au quemeau, jeunes salades et truffes d’été. It’s like a new born baby mini pizza with super thin crust with shaved black truffles on top.  I liked it.  But Here’s my thought on Truffle. Unless you can actually get white truffle, I think Truffle oil is a much better option  ( Way more fragrant) than Fresh Black truffle. Black truffle comes in Summer and I don’t think actually it deserves to be called ” Truffle”. It’s quite blend. I rather have Porcini. The real deal is White truffle. Or just get a small bottle of Truffle oil!!!

IMG_5125Reina’s starter, 2 almost raw eggs with mixed mushroom. This1 Oh I loved it! It was very different!

IMG_5123Lexi’s super cute a bowl full of ravioli!

IMG_5127Paris’ Opera house by night. It’s so amazing what people can do. All those years ago, we were way more capable and incredible in so many different ways. I mean, How can we build such things these days.. Right? And how can that gold can be such bright yellow!??

IMG_5214What an awesome building is this?!! Not too far from the Eiffel tower. Another benefit that  my running brought to me. Get to see more things in person!  Hope they had done good water proof system.. For second I worried about the longevity of the structure.

IMG_5238The thing impressive about Paris is that the beauty so consistent in that big of scale. Left bank, right bank, streets, buildings, the way they trim the trees, girls, boys, elders, Seine, cobble stones, shops, museums, galleries, parks, gardens, churches, wine……! And the Flair! The one and only French Flair!

IMG_5244Merci this time didn’t really blow my mind…  This time it was all about Japan design including Muji.  More of little gadgets and stuff. It did not feel strong at all to me. My biggest reason to go to Merci is always the color. The directional approach of using one color that makes everything magical. But this time, I did not see that. Bit disappointing. Or Maybe No color is New color..?!!  Maybe it’s me figuring it out all this late?

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IMG_5277They are bath soaps.

IMG_5241Tomato, green apple, Blueberry off the caramel.

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IMG_5245There are ton of colors in fashion at least, so maybe the next thing is soft neutral.

IMG_5253Cool lamps.

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IMG_5283Me and my cup of tea, Merci.

IMG_5288Window at Donshia. Love it!

tumblr_loquc2ygVV1qbyyu0o1_1280Hussein Chalayan Exhibition at Les Arts Decorstifs   Les Arts Decoratifs ALWAYS has quite progressive shows on Fashion and Textile.  If you are in Paris, you should be checking out what they are doing!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.

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

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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_4782Langoustine.

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!

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