Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

With 2013 coming to a close, I look back to a wonderful year I had.  My business reached a new height.  Thank you to all my clients.  Without you believing in my vision for your home/ office, I would not be where I am today.  Thank you to all my readers for keeping up with this blog.  I know readership for blogs has gone down year over year as people's lives had gotten more and more busy.  So I appreciate you still stopping by.  I am thankful for the good health my family has because without it, life can be miserable.  Lastly, I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy.  Having just visited a few communist museums in ex-communist countries in Europe, and watching the movie 12 Years A Slave, made me grateful for living in this country in 21st century.

I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for me!  May your 2014 be a healthy and prosperous one.  See you next year! :)    

Monday, December 30, 2013

Machedron chandelier by Bec Brittain

How gorge is this chandelier?  It looks like a meteor!  The light is very retro looking... reminds me of something came out of 1970s.  But at the same time, it also feels very now.  I can't quite explain it but I just think it's the chicest thing I have seen in awhile.  I can totally see an installation of this down a large hallway... like five of them in a row.  It would be the coolest thing.  This light would look great in a super modern setting but I think it would also juxtaposition quite well against a traditional interior like a wood paneled library.  Light comes in 24", 30", or 42" configuration.  It would also look very cool if you put all three sizes together say in the foyer area and hang them at different height.  Get your fix at Roll & Hill.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Jannis Brevet at Ikarus Restaurant

Ikarus is a restaurant in Salzburg that invites top chefs all around the world to come and be a guest chef for a month in their kitchen.  It has one Michelin star.  But as you can imagine, quality of food varies from month to month.  Luckily for me, I got Jannis Brevet on my trip to Ikarus.  He's one of the most respected chef from Netherlands.  His restaurant, Inter Scaldes, has two Michelin Stars.  And yes, the food I had at Ikarus was definitely a two Michelin star quality.

Here was my menu with non alcoholic drink pairing (indicate below with *)

Egg with cauliflower, smoked eel and basil sabayon

Langostino with a cream of onions, granny smith, sea banana and lavender vinaigrette *Cucumber sour

Dutch caviar with a brandade of sturgeon and white grapes *Grapes chai

Luke warm potato salad with black truffle, radish and parmigiano reggiano *Quince bitter

Cream of Peking ducking with popcorn foam and fig chutney * Carrot fennel

Atlantic turbot with fennel, pumpkin seed oil, marinated vegetables and mace broth *Soothing pear

Anjou pigeon with epoisse cream, carrots and white truffle *Soya cabernet

Relief construction, cardamom, blueberry, caramel, tomato *Cassis shake

I have never seen any non alcoholic pairing with any food before in any restaurants.  This is a first and I'm a fan!  The food was so delectable.  Let's just say next time when I go back to Netherlands, I'm stopping by his restaurant!!!  Btw, Ikarus restaurant is in Hanger 7 which stores Red Bull's owner's "toys".  What I mean toys is fast cars, planes, etc.  It was cool to walk through the museum.  The service at Ikarus was very formal and exact; no complaints from me for sure (unlike Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas...Just saying...).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

F/W 2013 Sale Round up!

Merry Christmas!  

It's that time of the year again.  Sale sale sale!  So many things to buy and not enough money to go around.  But at least everything is marked down so you can get more bang for your buck.  Here's a list of places where you can find your guilty pleasure at:

Ssense: Some of the stuff are already at 70% off.  This is the best place to get the best bang for your bucks right now.  But be aware that sometimes for one item or two, Ssense will price it higher than other stores so I would check around to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Neiman Marcus: It's up to 60% off.  Key words "up to".  That means most of the stuff you want will probably be more like 40-50% off.  Still not a bad deal but just not that 60% off deal in the headline.

Saks: Now it's also up to 70% off.  But the discount differ from brand to brand.  I saw Brunello Cucinelli stuff are only 40% off while a prada iphone 4 sleeve is marked down 65% off.  Don't forget to enter "Holiday" for free shipping and as always go through sites like Ebates to get additional 8% rebate back.

MatchesFashion: Up to 50% off but most of the more desirable stuff are only 30% off.  I say give it some times before everything hits 50% off.  Most of their listing prices are 10-20% off other retailers already from the get go so I give it some slacks.

Lanvin: Its ready to wear were marked down 50% off few days ago when I checked.

Bottega Veneta: Same as Lanvin, this venerable brand has most of its F/W 2013 collection marked down to 50% off when I check few days ago. 

Marc Jacobs: As always, MJ never cease to amaze me at their 70% off sales.  Rarely does a high street brand cut their prices so low on their own website.  Only MJ does it.  The markdown had been going on for awhile.

Missoni: Again 50% off.  What's there not to like?

Mr Porter: The day of instant 50% off sale are gone.  They torture you with 30% off with some whatever brands at 50% off.  It's no longer exciting to check Mr Porter anymore.  Other websites like MatchesFashion and Ssense give better discounts IMO.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest

With plethora of luxury hotels in the world, one of the hotel that consistently ranks in the top 10 in Conde Nast Traveler magazine is Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest.  I can see why.  Like all Four Seasons Hotel world wide, you get top notch services but this particular one, really go out of their way to make you feel cuddled.  I really felt cared for when I stayed here.  Without a doubt, I would rank this as one of the top three hotel I have ever stayed at.

First, the hotel is absolutely gorgeous.  Unlike most Four Seasons Hotels around the world, this one is special as it's historical in comparison.  I believe it was built during Art Nouveau period and it definitely looks it.  While I appreciate other Four Seasons Hotels like the one in New York city that was designed by I.M Pei, there is just something more special about staying at a 'palace'.

Second, the food is top notch.  I would say the bar food I had was just as good as the ones I would get at any other Four Seasons hotel.

Third, the service was just unbelievable.  They really go out of their way to make you feel special.  Every night they leave several petite fours as a night cap when they do turn down service.  These petite fours are restaurant level not some stale day old left over from their restaurant downstairs.  The night before I checked out of the hotel, they left plastic zip lock bags for my toiletry.  I have never seen that before in any hotel stay.  While it's only a plastic bag, but it felt they really thought about all their guests' needs.  Budapest also is known for theirs thermal baths around town.  This Four Seasons hotel gives out free prep bags with various amenities such as slippers, towels, lotions, etc. for their guests to take to baths.  How thoughtful is that?!

If you visit Budapest and stay here, definitely make sure you pay the extra bucks to face the Chain Bridge side of the hotel.  I see some of the rooms face side streets or interior courtyard.  Personally I feel if you are flying all the way across the world to go to Budapest, you might as well stay in a viewed room.  Interestingly, the hotel has a mezzanine floor so if your room is on the 1st floor, that means it's actually on the 3rd floor (in American term since 1st floor in Europe is American second floor).  My room was on the 3rd floor which means it's actually 5th floor.  With double pane windows and french doors, even though I was facing the busier street in front, my room was rather quiet.    

Friday, December 20, 2013

How to wear a starchitect on your toes?

Don't believe me?  Well, you can..... if you can pony up a pretty penny.  This pair of shoes designed by Zaha Hadid for United Nude is absolutely incredible.  United Nude's design director, Rem Koolhaas (another fellow Starchitect) said "Zaha consistently reinvents the program with her own ideas and interpretations. Her visionary creations are often unexpected, yet reinforce their origins.  I could not resist the challenge to work with Zaha. We gave ourselves the greatest degree of experimentation and used the latest digital design and manufacturing technologies to create one of the most innovative shoes ever produced.”  Get your limited edition (100 per color with three colors available) shoes here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

There is tape dispenser and then there is Cube Tape Dispenser

Another great and affordable Christmas gift for that someone who has everything is Cube tape dispenser from Georg Jensen.  Pretty much everyone has a tape dispenser or two in their homes, but how many of us can actually be proud of the tape dispenser we own?  I have quite a few from OfficeMax and Scotch.  All of them are hidden in a drawer.  After all, they are not pleasant to look at so why would I put them on top of my desk?  But if I have a Georg Jensen Cube tape dispenser, 99.9% chance I would have it proudly displayed.  So if you have a love one or a friend who has everything, I think this will be a perfect gift for them because chances are, their tape dispensers are aesthetically challenged. You can purchase the said dispenser on Georg Jensen's for $65.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another gift idea for someone who has it all

I always love stationery items.  Not that I write that many letters these days.   In fact, I don't think I have written any letters since high school.  I guess writing a letter is more or less a thing of the past.  However, I always feel there is certain amount of romanticism when one sends a letter versus an email or a text.  Somehow it just doesn't seem very personal the way we do things today.

I got a catalog from Louis Vuitton couple weeks ago.  They always send me these delicious catalogs that I just wish I can afford everything in it.  Anyhoo, upon turning onto the last page, I saw an inkwell.  I'm like there is no way Louis Vuitton makes inkwells.... this has to be a prop.  I look on the price list, sure enough, there it is.  $1290.

It's not cheap for sure.  But for someone who has everything, I think it may just be one of those perfect little gift (if you can comfortably afford to give it).  Wouldn't you love to receive one of these goodies?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Damien Hirst for Christmas stocking

Well, as we inch closer and closer to the holidays, one question typically pops into my minds is "what am I getting for that so and so who has everything?"  I think I have found just the right solution for that art loving so and so:  A Damien Hirst butterfly mug.  He has been using the butterfly motif since 1991 and it's one of the most recognizable DH "signature" in his oeuvre.  Plus this mug is less than 15 pounds shipped to US... and you thought you may have to break your piggy bank.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Marc by Marc Jacobs Dreamy Graffiti scarf giveaway winner!

Drum roll please!  The winner of the Marc by Marc Jacobs Dreamy Graffiti scarf is Emmy S!  Please contact me with a week with your US mailing address.  Thank you everyone for entering and have a great holiday season.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Marc by Marc Jacobs Dreamy Graffiti scarf giveaway!

Here comes Thanksgiving!  To thank my readers, I've decided to give away a Marc by Marc Jacobs Graffiti scarf.  It's 100% modal so it's as soft as it can be!  In the mean time, I'm signing off for a couple weeks.  I will see you all in December!  As Heidi Klum says "Auf Wiedersehen!"

Please note: apologies to my international friends - I wish I could extend these giveaways to you but legal restrictions prevent it. Thanks for understanding.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shawn “JAY Z” Carter and Rick Owens = OMG

Well, I know you have been looking forward to Jay Z's collection at Barney's New York!  Like all the hip hop artists these days, it seems like whatever these guys touch, it turns into gold.  For example, Kanye's collaboration with A.P.C. was sold out in within one day and crashed A.P.C.'s website.   But I digress.  Jay Z, of course, had to out do Kanye.  He's collaborating with brands such as Rick Owens, Moncler, Lanvin, Balmain, etc. (basically all my fav brands).  The proceeds are being donated 100% to his charity.  But you gotta have a pretty deep pocket to get your hands on this collaboration.  Prices range from an affordable Barney's New York T for $70 to eye-popping Rick Owens Mollino Crocodile Jacket for a cool $58,000 (slightly out of my price range... just slightly.. lol)!!!  In case you are wondering who's crazy enough to spend that much money on a jacket, let's just say S, L, XL are all sold out.  But if you are a M or a XXL, you are in luck... provided that you move fast and have some serious dough.  

Update (Dec 20): Just came across Barney's dedicated page to Jay Z's collection.  Apparently this $58k jacket is sold out!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

And the winner for Isabel Marant Scarf giveaway is.....

And the winner for Isabel Marant Etoile Scarf giveaway is..... Corrie V!  Please send me your shipping address and thank you everyone for entering.  Happy thanksgiving and happy holidays!

Monday, November 18, 2013

National Geographic. Around the world in 125 years

I remember growing up in my uncle's home, he had National Geographic magazines proudly displayed in one of the cabinets.  I always thought the photographs looked stunning.  Well, apparently Taschen feels the same way too!  In fact, they are collaborating with National Geographic magazine to celebrate its 125th anniversary.  The end result is three stunning books with gorgeous photographs that celebrates earth with all its riches.  The books are divided into Americas and Antarctica, Europe and Africa, Asian and Oceania.  These books will surely delight anyone's eyes and are perfect Christmas gifts.  Checkout Taschen for more information.   

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not quite H&M, but nonetheless Isabel Marant scarf Giveaway!

Well, we are almost here!  Just one more day before H&M launches its collaboration with Isabel Marant.  How excited are you?!  Some of you I bet are already lined up on the streets to get those coveted pieces that you have thought about a month ago when the photographs of the collection leaked.  While I don't have any Isabel Marant for H&M scarf on hand, I do have an Isabel Marant Etoile 100% modal scarf to giveaway.  This made in Italy scarf will surely give you a dash of color for your fall/ winter outfits.

Please note: apologies to my international friends - I wish I could extend these giveaways to you but legal restrictions prevent it. Thanks for understanding.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Nikolas Weinstein's glass sculpture

Bar Agricole in Soma is one of those place where I go for brunch or dinner here and there.  I always find the interior architecture rather interesting...but what really catches my eyes every time are the glass sculptures in the ceiling.  I just couldn't quite figure out what is it?!  Well, 7X7 Magazine finally solve that mystery for me.  The sculptures are done by San Francisco local glass artist Nikolas Weinstein.  His claim to fame was architect Frank Gehry commissioned him to make a massive chandelier for a bank headquarters on Berlin's Pariser Platz.  The chandelier took four years to complete.  Since then, one can find Nikolas' gorgeous sculptures everywhere; from Inter-Continental hotel in Shanghai to Bar Agricole here in San Francisco.  Perhaps I will find a client who "needs" one of these gorgeous sculpture in near future!? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dragon Chandelier by Baylar Atelier

Talk about drama.  If this chandelier doesn't bring it, I don't know what will!  Love the fringe looking chains draping down from this chandelier.  It almost look like a piece of tattered fabric hanging down on two chains.  But the finishes bring it up a notch and instead of looking like fabric falling apart, it emotes luxury and romance in stead.  It also has a mysterious quality about it.  One wonders what is inside this tattered fabric?   More info can be found here

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nazi looted art trove found in Munich that is valued up to $1 billion euros!

Just read an article on NY Times that an apartment in Munich held over 1,500 works of art that Gurlitt (one of Hitler's art advisor) stashed away for himself.  Apparently Gurlitt, his wife, and now his son had been selling the artworks off one by one through the years to support themselves.  German government found the trove in February 2012 but failed to inform the world until now. Apparently the stashed away treasure includes art works by Matisse, Picasso, Dix, Chagall, Marc, Toulouse-Lautrec, Liebermann, Kirchner, Beckmann, Dürer, Canaletto, Courbet, etc.  Basically the who's who in any art history book.  Custom officials are not going to make art works public but ask people (or descendents) who had art works looted by Nazi to contact authorities directly.  I think the easiest way for rightful owners to come forward would be sell the artwork in a group of say hundred at Sotheby's and Christie's auction house.  You bet any rightful owners of any looted Nazi artworks will read that catalog forwards and backwards.  Any artwork not claim, the proceeds should be donated to Jewish and gay causes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Parabola Chair by Carlo Aiello

First time I saw this chair I was like what is that thing?  Looks like a piece of sculpture or something....  Upon further investigation, I realized it's a chair!  According to the creator: "The design intention of the Parabola Chair was to create a simple and porous yet highly sculptural chair. The challenge was to achieve a single surface that serves as seating, armrest, and backrest supported by a minimal structure. Although the chair exhibits curvatures in two directions (hyperbolic paraboloid) all its components are straight and easy to manufacture. In order to achieve perfect comfort both curvatures were carefully calibrated to hold the body in the best position."  Find out more at his website

Friday, November 1, 2013

And the winner of my Missoni headband/ scarf giveaway is......

Congrats to Natasha S!  Please send me your address within one week and your sparkly Missoni goodie will be on its way!  Thank you everyone for entering.  Mark your Calendar for November 13 of this month, I may just have another giveaway....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos

I don't venture much down to Los Gatos usually, but for a two Michelin star restaurant, any time.  There are only 2 two-Michelin star restaurants on the San Francisco peninsula.  One was Baume which I have covered before.  The other one is Manresa.  Both are really quite good.  For restaurant setting, Manresa definitely has Baume beaten hands down.  Food wise, I think Baume was slightly more consistent.  But of course this is all very subjective since both are just wonderful.  In either case, let's just say I would not mind to dine at Manresa nightly.  Everything I had was done expertly and precisely.  Presentation was on point and nothing I had cause me to think what were they thinking.  I even got my frozen pea ice cream dessert that is reminiscent of the one I had at Meadowood Restaurant that I loved so much.  All in all it was delectable meal that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who's traveling to or live around San Jose (or for that matter, SF bay area).   

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sons & Daughters Restaurant in San Francisco

Sons & Daughters restaurant is one of those restaurant in SF that's unassuming, reasonably priced (seven dishes for $98 so that's $14 per dish), and delicious.  Presentation of the food was pretty.  I thought every single dish I had was quite delicious and balanced.  The proportion of the dishes were correct so I didn't feel like to bow over and throw up at the end of the dinner from too much rich food.  Some of the ingredients were rather special.  For example, my dessert was geranium ice cream with white chocolate and alpine strawberry.  I mean I don't recall the last time I had geranium ice cream!  Check it out.  It may be one of those neighborhoody restaurant that you wish you had discovered earlier.  One Michelin star.

Friday, October 25, 2013

San Francisco Asian Art Museum's Korean Art during Joseon Dynasty

If you have not been to SF Asian Art Museum for awhile, you should really go.  They have been doing block buster exhibitions one after another.  The latest one is Korean Art from Joseon Dynasty.  Most of the stuff are loaned by National Museums from Korea and everything is fabulous!  I went to the gala dinner yesterday and had the privilege to see this exhibition first hand.  I have seen some Korean art before but it's nice to see the best stuff from national museums in Korea.  My favorite things were the seals.  I'm not sure why but all the seals are top by turtles sculptures.  My guess is turtle symbolizes long health?     

Monday, October 21, 2013

Van Cleef & Arpels Watches

While I'm not a jewelry person, I do appreciate gorgeous designs when I see them.  I have to say among thousands and thousands of watch designs out there, I probably love Van Cleef & Arpels watch design for ladies the best.  They are absolutely magical and whimsical.  I love the care and details they have for each creation.  Everything just look so meticulously put together. No wonder when Prince Rainier of Monaco decided to give Princess Grace Kelly an engagement set in 1956, he commissioned it from Van Cleef & Arpels.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Can't see Stars in NYC? Check this out!

Who says you can't see stars in NYC?  Cooper Joseph Studio made sure they change that with a light installation (picture taken by Eduard Hueber).  According to their website:

Starlight activates the space in which it sits.  Designed with a precisely uniform e-dimensional grid pattern, the geometry seemingly changes as the viewer ascends the stairs. Bursts of star pattern change your perception forming perforated veils to the classical architecture.  Each pixel is constructed from a double-sided circuit board, on which LEDs are mounted above and below.  They are held at the center of a 3-strand stainless steel wire assembly.

So next time you wish you can wish upon a star in NYC, pop on by Museum of the City of New York.  Your wish may just come true.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Missoni Headband/ Scarf Giveaway

As we get closer and closer to the holiday season, it's time to bring out the sparkles!  For this giveaway, we have a beautiful Missoni headband/ scarf.  This made in Italy 100" long beauty has metallic threads incorporated into the weave to give you that extra shine every girl deserves to have!  Wear it as a headband or as a scarf, this Missoni piece will certainly give you an extra oomph to any outfit you put on.   

Please note: apologies to my international friends - I wish I could extend these giveaways to you but legal restrictions prevent it. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Michael Taylor and the Alchemy of Design: The Diana Dollar Knowles Collection

Probably the most famous Californian interior designer ever lived, Michael Taylor exemplified what California living is all about.  He is mostly known for white over-sized furniture that your parents had that perhaps you hated.  Love him or despise him, he definitely had a look to his design which was extremely influential even to today. 

On October 22, 2013, Christie's auction house will auction off Diana Dollar Knowles collection.  This collection was put together by Michael Taylor for Mrs Knowles who is a San Franciscan socialite of the bygone era.    She is known to be a generous supporter of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco Ballet, and San Francisco Opera. 
Mrs. Knowles was a generous supporter of the arts in San Francisco, especially the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=163524080#sthash.V5mYsJs8.dpuf
Mrs. Knowles was a generous supporter of the arts in San Francisco, especially the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=163524080#sthash.V5mYsJs8.dpuf
Mrs. Knowles was a generous supporter of the arts in San Francisco, especially the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=163524080#sthash.V5mYsJs8.dpuf√
Mrs. Knowles was a generous supporter of the arts in San Francisco, especially the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=163524080#sthash.V5mYsJs8.dpuf
Mrs. Knowles was a generous supporter of the arts in San Francisco, especially the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=163524080#sthash.V5mYsJs8.dpuf

Friday, October 11, 2013

Raise the pagoda lanterns

I have always been fascinated with Chinoiserie.  While some may find it demeaning, I actually think the style is delightful.  Europeans have always been curious about the Far East Asia and during 17th and 18th century, trades with China, Japan, and India blossomed.  Lacquer techniques, ceramic, and anything mildly Asian shape is wholeheartedly celebrated in Europe.  Obviously with internet connecting the whole world in 21st century, Far East Asia no longer mystify anyone who has access to google.  But I still find lanterns like these, an imitation to past relic, charming.  I think with the right light bulbs, they may be a perfect pair for a powder room or a long hallway.    

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Skies and Beyond box by Bottega Veneta Home

If you are in the market for exquisite boxes, then look no further and head straight to Bottega Veneta's website.  They are collaborating with Nancy Lorenz, who's known for her abstract paintings, to produce great object d'art.  This particular box is made of moon gold leaf, silver leaf, resin, suede, and brown mother of pearl on wooden panel.  If an decorative object can be call delicious, well this is it. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

How do you make a soft and flowy building?

Just ask architect Zaha Hadid!  She gives a masterclass to architectural students on how to take a Mobius strip/ Klein bottle shape and turn it into a real functional building.  Once again, her architecture is beyond inspiring.  Heydar Aliyev cultural center looks like a gentle waterfall from the sky.  The ceiling structure seems like a handkerchief dripping down on some kind of ridgid structure and enveloping it in the process.  A building manages to look soft while it's inherent quality is rigid.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Review of Saint Laurent Paris Menswear Fall/ Winter 2013

How gorge is the SLP men's fall/winter 2013 collection?  It's so yummy I can't stand it!!!  LOL.  IMO these are the must haves from this collection:

1. Black and red striped mohair Krueger scarf.  It's all about the long scarves this season.  It's a must have accessory for any look you want to put on.

2. Zipped nappa biker trousers.  OMG.  These leather pants are just ahhhmazing!!!  Love love love the knee zippers.  If you can afford them, get them!!  If not, I think a pair of skinny black jeans would do.

3. Zip off leather hood sweatshirt.  Yes please!  Someone sign me up for one!  When was the last time you saw a hood sweatshirt this delectable?  

4. Black biker jacket.  When did biker jacket went out of style?  Like never.  Ger yourself one that you love.  It doesn't have to be SLP (although it never hurt to have one) but buy the one you love and you are set for life!   

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A pair of "Pan" table lamps by Marc Lalique

This is one of my favorite piece by Marc Lalique; Pan table lamp.  Marc is the son of Rene Lalique, the founder of Lalique Crystal.  Interestingly, during Rene's lifetime, technically he did not produce crystal.  Under the French law, he produced demi cristal.  It was not until he passed away and Marc took over the company that Lalique factory doubled the amount of lead oxide to 24% which qualified it to be called cristal.  Higher lead content means Lalique crystal is brighter, clearer, and heavier when compare to its own production pre-1945.  This also help Rene Lalique collectors to differentiate pre-1945 and post- 1945 pieces as many of Rene Lalique's designed were continued to be produced long after he died in 1945.  More information about Rene Lalique can be found on my previous post.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Arbiters of Style: The Collection of Anthony Hail & Charles Posey

On October 8, Christie's auction house will auction off belonging from Anthony Hail and Charles Posey.  Anthony Hail is a San Francisco interior designer of the bygone era.  He epitomizes decorator as stylemaker.  His style is traditional and exact which is perfect for his era.  He understood how A-list San Franciscan high society moved and he provided them with perfect backdrops. 

This sale comprise furnishing from Anthony Hail and his partner Charles Posey.  As one can imagine, the offering is eclectic to say the least.  According to Christie's auction house "European furniture, spectacular Russian chandeliers, Chinese works of art, Lamps from Billy Baldwin and Old Master paintings among other things. Each lot within the sale was meticulously chosen by Posey and Hail to fill and form their home, demonstrating the timeless aesthetic of a well-informed combination of styles and time periods."   

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The winner for a Mini Yellow Satchel by Phillip Lim for Target raffle is.......

Congratulations!  The winner for my mini yellow satchel by Phillip Lim for Target raffle is Rebecca P.  Please contact me with your shipping address within a week.  All other entrants thank you for entering.  Please check back often for other giveaways.  You never know... the next one may just be around the corner! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Gary Hume 1000 windows

When was the last time you purchased an original artwork by a known artist for less than $300?  Well, here's your opportunity.  You can purchase one by Gary Hume on Tate Museum's website.  There are one thousand of them in existence.  Each are individually painted, signed, and numbered.  This particular work is derived from a painting he did in 2000.  According to NYT:

“Yellow Window,” from 2000, a black canvas with bright yellow outlining the window panes, is “about van Gogh and Duchamp,” he said, “because I like to look at the world through their eyes.” Then there’s “Baby,” from 1994-95, in which red eyes and a white mouth peek out from an otherwise dark canvas. He made it that way because, “When they arrive they’re real and totally alien,” he said, recalling when his son, who is now 26, was born. “I’m drawn to vulnerability and ugliness,” Mr. Hume went on. “As a kid growing up in Kent I was the ugly duckling.”

Gary Hume is part of the Young British Artists (YBA) group.  His work was included in the infamous Sensation exhibition (artwork owned by Charles Saatchi) that toured Royal Academy of Art in London, Berlin, and New York (Brooklyn Museum).  Yes, this was the exhibition that then mayor Rudolph Giuliani tried to shut down.  Since that exhibition, many of its artists have gone on and become extremely famous.  The most famous ones are arguably Damien Hirst (shark in a tank with formaldehyde) and Chris Ofili (the one who painted black Madonna with elephant dung that gave Giuliani fits).

Gary Hume's work is vastly undervalued in my opinion.  His exhibition at Tate Britain is closed now but you can purchase the exhibition catalogue on Tate Museum's website.   

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Crocodile King

Many of you have heard of Nancy Gonzalez, you know, the crocodile queen.  Her luxurious crocodile bags are own by celebrities such as Blake Lively and Sofia Vergara.  If you are looking for a beautifully crafted hand bag, look no further.  Luckily for men, her son Santiago Gonzalez have decided to launch men's precious skin accessories line.  There are duffels, wallets, card holders, computer cases, etc.   Each one meticulous put together.  With plethora of colors, I'm sure you can find something that satisfy your needs.  You can find Santiago's creation at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Mr Porter.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's the knobs that make the difference

The best way to make a kitchen or bathroom look high end is install beautiful knobs.  They are not only functional, but whatever the choice you made also says a lot about you.  Therefore, one must choose one's knobs carefully.  I recently came across Baronne doorknob by Murano House.  They are absolutely gorgeous!  These are handmade with Murano Glass.  The best part about them is each glass is infused with either 24ct Gold Leaf or 925 Silver Leaf!  How luxurious is that?!  Even if you are just renting, I would get them because when you move, you can easily twist these knobs off and install them at your next place.  Changing out knobs is the easiest way to update your kitchen or bath.  Naturally with something as fabulous as these knobs, they don't come cheap.   But if you use them daily, they may be a lot cheaper per use if you compare them to that pair of Louboutin shoes you just got last week!  They can be found here.   

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bottega Veneta double twill wool cashmere coat

It's been awhile since I saw a coat that took my breathe away but this is definitely one of them.  I love the clean line of the coat and the fastening neck strap detail just absolutely makes this coat for me.  So in love!  It's not out yet but check regularly with Bottega Veneta regularly for its availability.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Yellow Mini Satchel with Gusset Giveaway

For those fashionistas in the know, no doubt you were waiting in line bright and early on Sunday morning to grab those delicious Phillip Lim bags.  Some of you were even up late Saturday night waiting for Target's website go live!  Well, after all the dust had settled, Phillip Lim for Target mini satchels were all gone.  But fear not, I had a friend grab one for me from her local Target store so I can giveaway this impossibly hard to find bag to one of my readers!  I don't need to go into details about this bag because I'm sure you are more than familiar with it.  Good luck everyone and may you be the lucky gal to call this bag yours!

Please note: apologies to my international friends - I wish I could extend these giveaways to you but legal restrictions prevent it. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Phillip Lim x Target collaboration Men's collection review

I had a chance to hop to a few Target stores in the SF bay area on Sunday (9/15).  Didn't see the whole collection.  Quite a few of the pieces were online only.  So I guess I shall see them when I finally get everything I ordered (one can only hope.  It's Target.com after all so you never know).  I did try on few pieces and touch few others.  Here's my take:

The Blazers.
These run one size bigger than normal.  So if you are a typical EU 50 like me, you would need a M not a L.  The M actually fits quite well on me.  Sadly I feel the proportion of the jacket is off.  The length of the jacket, IMO should be an inch shorter (you can clearly see in their model picture above that the sports coat is too long).  If you are looking for fashion type of sports jacket, you should not get this unless you are willing to take it to a tailor (or if you are good at DIY) to have it shortened by an inch.  But as one may have guessed, it will cost the same as the jacket if I were to take it to my local tailor so the sports jacket was a thumb down for me.  The blazer is partially lined.  

The Trench coats.
I only got to try on the khaki color ones.  The black ones are online only.  Again, the sizing is on the large side.  But of course that depends on if you wear a suit underneath or not.  If you are looking to wear this trench with a long sleeve shirt or a t-shirt, then you should take a size smaller than your normal suit size.  For me, that would mean getting a M instead of L.  The coat is not lined but at $80, I don't expect it to be.  The fabric feels nice and solid not flimsy.  I am also getting the black version which I feel looks more chic than the typical Inspector Gadget trench coat color.

Addendum (9/16): I did finally find a S to try on.  I can still fit in it but it's more on the snug size.  If you are into slim cut and if you are slim, then S is definitely the way to go.  I suspect if you normally wear a M but with a slim body, you may find even S is a bit too big.

The Camo / Color Block sweatershirts.
I ordered both in L online last night.  Of course both are terribly oversized as I try them on in person this morning.  Again, if you are a typical L, you will need a M.  There were so much room when I tried on the color block L sweatshirt.  So if you have a large beer gut, then go with the L if you typically wear a L.  If you are on the trimmer side or slim, you should definitely take a size down.  The construction on the camo sweatshirt feels better than the color block one.  The seam where black meets gray looks a bit funny in person.  But that's just personal opinion.  I do wonder since these are not yet washed, perhaps hot water plus dryer can make a L into a M???  Will have to test that out.

Addendum (9/16): I thought black/gray color block sweatshirt and camo sweatshirt is cut the same.  Not so.  I compared size M for both.  The camo is 2" shorter in body length and 1" shorter in arm length.  Not sure if that's because maybe my camo M was mislabeled or they are just differently.  When my online order gets here, I will be better able to confirm this.  Color block M sweatshirt is still rather large on me.  But I would call it roomy I guess.  The camo M is what I would call slim cut.

The Cotton Pants
The pants sizing was correct.  At least for me.  It's a normal waist pants (ie. the pants button closure hits right below your naval).  I've not worn such a high waisted pants for awhile.  But I suppose it's not technically high waisted since that would mean the pants closure would be at naval or higher.  The fabrication is nice.  I ended up buying the navy one in person even though it was not on my to buy list.  And I also ordered a khaki one online.

The Color Block pocket t-shirt
I didn't get one as I feel it's very Marni-esque.  It also looks kinda flimsy in person. Not my thing. 

The Sweaters/ Cardigans
Honestly, they were too plain for me.  I have something similar already so I only touched them and didn't try them on.  They were fairly soft and not scratchy as one may think they can be.  I don't buy sweaters anymore as I seldom wear them.  I do buy cardigans but I only buy cashmere cardigans so I passed on these.  But for someone who doesn't have basic cardigans and doesn't need it to be cashmere/wool, then I think these are good alternatives.

The Leather Jacket
I didn't try it on as by the time I found them, there were only XL left.  I just figure what's the point of trying them on?  They don't look cheap to me in person but I would not use the word luxurious either.

The Shoes
Again, I have too many pairs of shoes to bother with these.  They looked too plain for me.  I think people have enough basics already.  We need shoes that make statements!

The Bags
Unfortunately I did not see any bags during my foray this morning to Targets.  I'm sure they were fought over by my local bay area residents and then some.  I shudder to think what actually happened at my stores when they first open.  But I did get mine online last night so let's hope those get shipped soon!

The Sweat pants
I picked up the zodiac night one.  It's nice and soft.  I also picked up a heather gray one with zippers without trying it on.  I just figure it look about the same size as the zodiac night one.  But later when I got home, I was trying everything on again and when I looked over what's still available online, I realized that the gray one is actually for women.  There are few subtle differences between the men's sweat pants and women's.  First the men's sweat pants has a drop crotch design.  But IMO it didn't drop low enough.  You see drop crotch pants was repopularized (in early 1990s, it was MC Hammer) by Rick Owens few years ago.  I almost feel that Phillip wanted to do a drop crotch sweat pants but refrained from it as it won't sell very well so we get this kinda drop crotch but not really drop crotch sweat pants....The women's sweat pants isn't as soft and doesn't have a drop crotch but it does have zipper pockets which I like because things won't fall out if you zip those pockets up.  In terms of sizing, surprisingly the women's large is the exact same size as men's large at the waist.  Another difference is length.  The women one is shorter but not by a lot.. about 3".  I'm 5'10" and the length of the gray one was fine on me.  However, because men's sweat pants is softer, I'll return the heather gray one and try to find the dark gray sweat pants.

I think this is a good effort by Target to give men some nice options for these designer collabs.  I feel there were a lot more options for men this time (compare to when Target collaborated with Missoni).  Obviously with Prabal and Wu, men were left out.  I'm glad we are included this time around.  In addition, I think Target controlled their inventory quite well.... so far anyway.  I believe the leather jacket for men is only available in SF Target store in the whole bay area (so said my tracker on Saturday afternoon).  I was hoping to get it at a discount when they go on sale but I'm doubtful if I can even find one in my size in person or online now without discount!  How was your shopping trip at Target this past Sunday?