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

IMG_2427My Beautiful Family on our New Summer Jeep, Munga in Livorno, Italy

It has been almost 4 weeks, I haven’t seen Emiliano and Gael. Me in NY and Asia traveling working for new a company and finally back in Italy for precious 10 day vacation ( I have left Gap and joined Armani Exchange), and Emi and Gael in Italy busy among renovating our little home up on the hill, Ocean and Family… I find we have created our Life very civilized and so beautifully independent and respectful to each others. We are so Complete and Whole wherever we are, either that is all together physically or not. We learnt how to let the others ” Be” and “Free”. This takes trust and absolute love for each others.

There are more to talk about when we finally get together, and the longing-ness finally bursts into extra hugs and full attention to listen to and converse. Happiness is one big result of all of us of way of being such.

Emi has been busy renovating our country home in Livorno. Fixing roof and entire ceiling from inside. New coat of fresh white paint… He had added new window up on the bedroom. Found an amazing vintage wood fire oven and gas range from 50′s. It is an absolute beauty! I always get so impressed and inspired by Emi’s passion and his actions to live it..!!

One of biggest surprise to me was Emi tracking down to an old school Jeep and he ended up getting our new big fun and all Summer Car in Livorno, Munga: “Audi’s Multi Purpose Universal Cross Country Car with All Wheel Drive, 1957″  We still need to finish up getting it all come to a life, but we can’t get enough of driving it around in town, to breakfast, to the beach and wherever that is! My in laws together on the car, We all felt like little kids and I am not going to lie, we had well enjoyed all the attention and shout outs to us on the street.

Here, I like to share a few pics from first night ride in our Audi, Munga!

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IMG_2426We bumped into our beautiful niece and nephew and her friend Rino form Bologna.

IMG_2429Glenda, now 26 years old, our niece. I have met Glenda and Denny, when they were 6 years old! Look how beautiful they are now!

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IMG_2435Wooo I love these simple details!

IMG_2434Beautiful Gael. Mommy Missed you So much!

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IMG_2478My favorite pic here. Emi holding mother Livia next to him on the Jeep in striped  Livia top I made for Emi’s last birthday. Mother and Son. I love this moment so much!

So many more rides to come for all these years of summer in Livorno. Nothing like sharing rides with family and friends to beaches and aperitivi with sunset with fresh sea breeze hitting your sun kissed face…!

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!

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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!

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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….

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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!

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Jaehee’s  Hit List for Milan. London. Paris

Giorgio Armani

10Corsocomo

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

Liberty

Portobello market

LL-NC

Lahore Kebab House

Brockley Market

Regent Canal

Ace Hotel Shoreditch

Merci

Air BnB Paris

Les Enfants Rouges

Bon Marche

Les Arts Decoratifs

Hidden Hotel

Hotel du Nord


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We were All dressed for the birthday girl, Luella in our Halloween Spirit!

The Barn.

The DJ and DJs ( you know who you are!)

The sheriff and the thief, Werewolves, Zombies and Indian Tribes.

Dancing, singing, chatting, drinking, laughing, grilling and Trampolining!

Thank you, Diego and April for one kicking fun night and friendship.

We are already thinking of the next year’s outfit!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUELLA!!!

Be the one who you want to be and be the one who makes differences in this world!

October, 2013, Casarosas

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!

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IMG_7811Motorcycle is Huge here.

IMG_7808Dress comfy and casual to dig at Rose Bowl.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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!

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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.

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IMG_7906Ahhh I So want this tree!

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

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IMG_7900Keep Walking.

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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

Katsuya

Abbot Kinney

Cafe Stella

Eams House

Mohawk General Store


And For the BEST COMPLETE GUIDE:

Unlike.net LA


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!

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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.

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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!

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

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IMG_6130Running me, Emi and Gael.

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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_0098A new handsome home for “Artists & Fleas” in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. North 7 between Whythe and Kent.

So I’ll say the real golden time for the Flea markets in NYC was then about 10-15 years ago when Manhattan was still managing some low rises and a few empty lots including outdoor parking lots near Chelsea.  Remember the big parking lot with $1.00 admission?  It was real chilled and cool same time with ton of vendors bragging awesome mint condition vintage clothing’s picked out from some old ladies’ closets from the upstate NY or kicking mid century Danish numbers or Art deco pieces under the beautiful summer sky of sexy Manhattan Island. We always spotted  John Galiano in his acid wash disco jean or Anna Sui in her blacker than black bangs and her whimsical yet dark outfits.  I learned how petite the designer Alaia was then while I was trying on this big 70′s Miami floral floor length caftan over my shorts and a tank top. Every Saturday was me,  Jaehee day spending pretty much an entire day browsing, trying on and bargaining on pair of little heels or cutest sun dresses. Ahhhh I loved it sooo Much!!!  Also then vintages were that much younger so they were in better condition.  My impressive collection of vintage clothing had really started then. I just loved it all.

When Millennium arrived, things started changing. NYC went crazy riding on so called ” Luxury Condo” business buying up all the empty lots including my beloved weekend flea lots. Ahhh… So disappointing and heart breaking.  Ugliness of Home Depot tasted not so luxury buildings were coming in pushing away charming and fun filled such NY things away.  There’s still one left inside of parking place called ” The Garage” on 25th street on Sundays in Chelsea area still keeping the tradition in authentic styles and vibe. Then Hell’s Kitchen and all others started but they are just not the same at all. But today is bit different. Manhattan being over developped in general forces to find alaternatives outside of the city. The answer? It’s Brooklyn.  Housing, Restaurants, Art, Music and Flea Markets.  Young, talented and broke handsome people of city started flowing into down town Brooklyn like Fort Greene and  Williamsberg from lower east side and east village. Bettern rent and less compettition brought in new kind of mainds and brains for new food culture in Brooklyn. There are so much more undergournd scenes in Brookly now especialy for fashion and music which goes side by side. Things are ineterstin ghere in Brooklyn.  And that includes also Flea markets and vinatage shops!

IMG_0099Artists & Fleas houses many independent designers and numerous excellent vintage vendors. This one above I love! It’s very Janis Joplin from the 70′s. Hippie, Rock and Roll and bit of Voo-doo all mixed in. This booth is located  right by the entrace to your right hand side.

IMG_0093Then there is a New home for Sunday portion of  famous and beloved ” Brooklyn FLea” also in Williamsberg right by the “Artist & Fleas”. North 6 between Kent and East river. Below, one of over 300 vendors at the Brooklyn Flea. You will also find him on Saturday Brooklyn Flea at Fort Greene, Layfayette between Flermont and Venderbuilt.

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IMG_1519Yummmm! The Porchetta Sandwich guys at Saturday Brooklyn Flea. And here check out the vendor list.

IMG_0151Then there are Vintage shops in Brooklyn. Many. There are many especially in Park Slope now! Check out ” Guvnor’s” on 5th avenue between Lincoln and Berkeley, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

IMG_0120Love the shop. It’s small L.A in Brooklyn!  Two vintage motos welcome you at the entrance.

IMG_0112Here at Govnor’s, you will find equal amount of boys and girls vintages complete down to accessories.

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IMG_0150Just about a block away from the Govnor’s, there is ” Odd Twins” more of feminine version with bit flea market vibe. Check it out!

IMG_0149Hey there will be a party at Odd Twin on April 15th celebrating their 2 year anniversary. Free beer and a live band!

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IMG_0134By the way, nice floor at the Odd Twin.

IMG_0142While Emi picking out a few vintage records, I picked up a set 5 very cute grid printed glasses. I think they are awesome! $4.00 each any vinyl and $35.00 for the glass set.

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IMG_0139There they are where I spotted. The shop has small objects everywhere up for sale.

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IMG_0154And here’s my own shop and showroom, Lacasapark!  542 Washington Ave between Fulton and Atlantic.

IMG_0003I carry ton of awesome jeweleries, high end designer vintages to rare find collectibles!

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And here are a few of my favorite vintage places in Brooklyn!

Beacon’s Closet

Bufalo exchange

Film Biz Prop Shop

Repop

Malin


IMG_0201Entrance to down and cool complex fun Hong Ik University town (Hong Dae),  Seoul

Get on the subway line 2 and literally get off at  “Hong Ik University” station in Shin Chon area. It’s very easy to get around in Seoul by Subways. Just like NY. It’s just more pleasant with fancy double sliding glass doors and velvet covered heated seats. Oh and great phone reception on entire subway line! Clean and Fast. Maybe the best way to get around the town for sure. I took Andrew and Jessica with me to stroll Hong Dae ( Dae  means “University”  in Korean) and hope to find a perfect little bar restaurant to sip some good sake and munching on little dishes!

If you were ever been in Tokyo, you would notice it right away. Hong Dae town greatly reminds you of Shibuya and Shimo Kitajawa in Tokyo yet less commercial. Bit grunge, bit bohemian, tiny tiny shops and groups of stream of cute and young people. Especially on the weekend nights, it gets much lively. Little cafes and restaurants and bars are everywhere with cute signs and charming attitude. They look interesting. A huge underground music scenes and weekend artist market called ” Free Market (not Flea Market) is also supposed to be quite cool and hip. There supposed to be many young artists from Hong Ik university and outside selling their art and artsy objects while they are creating them in the market. A few indie bands also joins the weekend art fair. It all sounds quite interesting. Hong Dae town is sort of a small meting pot of Young culture of Seoul.

Below, one of many small shops. It says ” Avenue, Hong Dae”

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IMG_0216_2To top off great reputation to have the best Fine Art  major in Korea at Hong Dae University, the vibe at this university town is Artsy and Carefree.  It’s still commercial yet got lots of character and attitude. You will also find good amount of vintage shops selling accessories and vintage clothing that are  from 70′s and on.

IMG_0213_2One of vintage shops in the town, Cat’s. Their website.  www.lunabagel.com 

IMG_0210_2Andrew trying on a vintage fur vest with leather trim! You know fur is super “In” in Korea and the rest of world. You know!

IMG_0205_2The ultimate Street food, Thukbokki house. Spicy chili sauce rice cake with fish cake, garlic, sugar and more. This is The national street food of Korea.

IMG_0203Ttuckbokki man stirring Ttuckbokki and next to it,  Oden (Japanese fish cake ) on sticks simmering inside Dashi (dried fish based clean broth). Dashi is well known to be the base broth for Udon noodle soup.

IMG_0214_2It’s typical to see many commercial places located on the second floor in Korea. Or let’s say in Asia in general. Especially in Korea though. A small country and crowded city makes the real estate market impressively expensive. I am not kidding the Seoul real estate market is way way more expensive than Manhattan!

IMG_0236_2Karaoke building, ZillerOzone.  Karaoke, Norebang in Korean, gets quite fancy here in Seoul. Individual rooms with drinks and food you can order in. Private service for private parties and free recording of your entire singing session during the stay. You can walk away with a CD with your own recording.

IMG_0218After a few days of hearty delicious Korean food, We are up for some yummy sake and Japanese bites!  We find this small yet wonderful place, ” To-Ra”, a Japanese sake Bar with many tasty dishes!  Traditional looking wooden facade and Japanese sign attracted us right away!

IMG_0217The first floor of the sake bar. A tiny place. We almost walked out thinking not enough space for 3 of us but friendly owner stopped us to try the second floor. Actually the third floor. Their entrance is on the semi second floor. The restaurant is located on a smooth hill. You can actually see well lined up sake bottles from the outside. The entrance floor may be able to serve only 10 people in total. 

IMG_0221The third floor and To-Ra’s actual second floor. Many more tables and bigger space up here. Low ceiling, mixed and matched chairs and tables are cozily covered by dim and warm orange lighting.  It’s perfect for us to tuck ourselves in and do what we wanted to do for this freezing cold night. Order some sake and delicious food and chat the night away…

IMG_0220_2Little nibbles to start. Bean sprouts. It’s on the house. Delicious!

IMG_0224_2Hot Oden pot on the table cooker. Various shapes and kinds of Oden. Mushrooms, scallions and Dashi broth. Let it all boil and just dig in!

IMG_0228_2Fried Squid bites with black squid ink.  So crispy and fresh. Squeeze of lemon and Yum Yum Yum!  Below Jessica and Andrew…

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IMG_0230_2Quick fried soft tofu sitting in a soy based broth…  This was one of my favorite. So tender and so much flavor. I loved it!

IMG_0231Seared tuna with ponzu sauce and side of grilled wild mushroom. It was bit too cold at the center but still yummy. Or we may have been quite full by the time this dish arrived. Regardless, isn’t it pretty!?

IMG_0223Me and Jessica cheering to the night. The last night of great week at the Korea office together.

IMG_0233_2A view of Hong Dae through a cozy window of “To-Ra” Sake bar. 

IMG_0242_2After a long lovely dinner with Andrew and Jessica, we headed out for a little strolling for the town a bit. ( also needed to walk after that big dinner!)  You will find quite many Taro Card readings in the town. About $4.00 a session.

IMG_0241Another Bar, ” Po Cha”.  An old traditional signage for a bar: a wooden box lamp. These small details add lots of little charms to Hong Dae town.

IMG_0243Expect to see millions and billions of coffee shops in Seoul. The least interesting thins is the Star Bucks chain in Seoul. There are so many big and small independent coffee shops that make kick ass authentic coffee!  I was told most of coffee shop owners will go for a year or two of intense training to Italy to learn roasting coffee beans to making a heart on your cappuccino.  No place has disappointed my Italian native trained tongue for a good cup of coffee yet in Seoul.

IMG_0244_2Good interior and exterior design adds more fun to your cup of coffee.

IMG_0239_2A cute Sashimi and Japanese cuisine house, ” Wha Dong”. Wha means Flower in Korean.

IMG_0235_2Bit dirty and cute at the same time. A small street…

IMG_0245_2People are lined up to get into a club, Cocoon.  So Hong Dae town apparently has much appetite for all sort of music like Hip Hop, Jazz, House, Rock, Trans,  drum and base and more… The last Friday of each month  is a “Club Day”. You can do a club hopping with one single ticket you have purchased. Also it’s a great area to try  many small indie bands and other live concerts in Seoul.

IMG_0246Tented Food Carts= Pojang Macha= The best way to taste the most common street food in Korea.

I would say visiting Hong Dae Town is may be the best way to taste the heart of  Young culture in Seoul. With much tiring and suppressing education system in Korea, getting accepted into a college is the biggest deal of your life. And that is ‘ THE TICKET’ to start your true life as an adult. And they will truly enjoy that freedom to live, argue, read and think. And Hong Dae is a really good short cut to glance that Young culture of Korea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born in 1972. The hippie free rebellious organic everything  70′s. So wish I could have tasted the middle of all, but  I was only a baby! Completely feeling the 70′s vibe in the fashion air for the moment, here I have a few tears put together.

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It was very windy when we were setting it up this morning but it got calm down bit and sun came out and Emi got quite a sun on his face. Ha ha! It was quite a day for us and thank you everyone who came by to say hi and also hang a bit and all the new friends we met. Thank you and Thank you!

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flea11We sold many fresh items and met so many great peeps!  And you all stylish people! I guess this is the beauty of the flea. Blue sky, great people, fun coversation and providing what you want!

Sure we will do it again soon!!! Thank you again for great business today!

Go Brooklyn Flea!!

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