Monday, November 2, 2009

Jeggings from Uniqlo

With this fall season comes my obsession with leggings. I have been searching high and low for different kinds with thicker material that will last. A visit to Uniqlo in Soho made me discover jeggings: a genius hybrid between jeans and leggings that actually make it look like skinny jeans. You get the look of skinny jeans with the comfort of leggings for $19.50. How awesome is that?

Uniqlo does not call it jeggings, but calls it denim ribbed waistband leggings. That's right, it does not have a button or zipper for closure but comes with a maternity-jeans type ribbed waistband with flat drawstrings that won't bulge. The front has a stitched front that makes it look like it has a zipper and the back has real pockets. The material is denim so it provides enough coverage, even if you just wear a regular length t-shirt and not a tunic, and even streamlines your silhouette because of the absence of bulk in your waist area.

It comes in black, navy and blue - and I have all three. Grab one while it lasts!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Space-saving and modern furniture from CB2

I have been wanting to make better use of the apartment space for so long, but never quite got around to it until now. Now that I'm doing a lot of design work for school, I really need a dedicated workspace and get my dining table and living room back. Hubby and I decided that we are hauling our big computer table to the guestroom, getting rid of the bed, and turning that into a home office. And everyone knows, once you start with these renovations then all of a sudden everything needs to get replaced. Among the things we are getting rid of our decades-old white leather couch (a hand-me-down from his parents) and our big coffee table, which I plan to turn into bench seating.

A trip to CB2 last weekend made me lust over the Sidecar High Dining Table and Vapor Bar Stool:

Photo: CB2

The Sidecar has the perfect height, the perfect compact size, and the cool extra storage - all for $399. However, the Vapor bar stool (the see through one on the right), as (suprisingly) comfortable and as beautiful as it was, goes for $189 PER chair. Now, that's a little too much for my taste, but trust me, I am on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. Or maybe I'll find an interior decorator friend who has "trade" discounts.

Another gem I found is the Vincent Twin Sleeper:

Photo: CB2

My husband and I sat very comfortably in it and the fact that it's a sleeper also just makes it so much better. It retails for $999 which is a little steep. I found a comparable one at Ikea that I'll feature on my next post.

Finally, I do not consider myself a rug person. I know it's the easiest way to divide a room and definitely adds a touch of design, but personally, I prefer the clean, and easy cleanup, beauty of wooden floors. The Par Shag Rug that I fell in love with made me reconsider:

Photo: CB2

The image does not do justice to this rug, and for $299, you get the look of real grass inside your apartment and the plush feel of a shag rug underneath your bare feet.

Stay tuned for my Ikea trip on my next post!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Josephs and their wares

Does the idea of lessening the drudgery of the kitchen by being surrounded by funky colored kitchenware sound appealing to you? Or are you one of those who love being in the kitchen and are always on the lookout for cool stuff to jazz it up? In both cases, you should definitely check out Joseph Joseph which carries product that I wish I came up with. Joseph Joseph is a London-based company co-founded by adorable twin brothers, Richard and Anthony Joseph, who blended their individual expertise in business and product design. The result is a line of clean and innovative homeware that is sure to appeal to your inner domestic goddess.

I was first dismayed by the prices, which are in pounds (£), and their delivery policy of charging £100 anywhere outside London. I put on my Nancy Drew cap and after some sleuthing, found some of their products available on Amazon and if you're lucky, the object will qualify for the Super Saver Free Shipping on orders over $25. I personally do not own any of the product, but please make sure to read all the information and check out the reviews (some of them are less than stellar) before purchasing. Following are some interesting designs:

Joseph Joseph Worktop Saver, Hot Lips, $24.95
I never knew what a worktop saver was until I saw this. It's basically a cutting board/multi-functional worktop surface to protect your granite counter.

I own one of those 1-dimensional graters that spew crumbs all over the place. Time to reconsider!

Joseph Joseph Melamine and Beech Bread Box, $69.95
I have been considering buying a breadbox to keep my baked goods fresh in this sticky summer weather. It is a little pricey, but you have to admit, with the lid doubling as a breadboard, it is a pretty cool design.
Joseph Joseph Measuring Spoon Magnetic Yellow, $2.95
Different spoon sizes on each end and a magnetic memo holder too - what more can you ask for?

Inspired kitchenware

The windows of Fishs Eddy always look full to the brim, and therefore, a little claustrophobic-inducing. I remember smiling upon seeing "We did NOT lose our LEASE sale" signs before and making a mental note to stop by. I had forgotten until I walked past it on the way home one sunny afternoon.

Fishs Eddy carries kitschy and vintage-inspired pieces for your dining table and kitchen use. Granted, the glove molds that greet you when you come in are a bit creepy, like a horror flick when all these hands try to reach out and grab you. But if you pass this little test, you will be duly rewarded with some of the most unique and fun pieces that will ever grace your table. Check it out:
Brooklyn Salt & Pepper Pair $9.95
Aren't these Brooklyn salt and pepper shakers just adorable?
Guest Check tray, $7.95
Use these as dessert plates when you have guests over for dinner to have a little chuckle.

Swimmer glass, 15.5oz $5.50 each
Nothing says summer like swimmers in your glass!

Strip Tea Glass, $5.00 each
How about some strip tea glasses when you're feeling a little naughty?

American Glassware Pitchers, starting from $49.95
These graceful, jewel-toned pitchers are sure to fancy up any beverage you serve.

There were just so many beautiful things I couldn't decide what to get. I was in love! So I just lingered and woozily soaked everything in, promising to stop by again next time when I am more clear-headed. The store is small, so I was very careful not to bump against anything. Make sure you bring the smallest possible purse with you to lessen the chances of any unfortunate accidents happening.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Julie and Julia

I love cooking, but that wasn't always the case. My mom can kick my ass in the kitchen any day, and since she enjoyed cooking, I didn't feel much of a need to learn. One day, I saw a cooking course at the the nearby county college and jokingly mentioned it to my mom that maybe that will finally force me to learn. Before I knew it, I was signed up for the course, courtesy of my mom. I have to say, I am very thankful for that because that was the most fun I ever had in a class. My fear of knives and splattering oil were conquered in the first lesson alone. Now that I'm married, the skills I learned have proved to be very valuable. I still make the Tilapia with Remoulade I learned from that course. When the opportunity came up to see Julie & Julia for free the day before it opened, needless to say, I grabbed it.

Julie & Julia appealed to me because it combined some of my great loves: cooking, eating, and writing. Honestly, I did not have high expectations for the movie from the commercials depicting it to be a predictable chick flick. Yes, it is a predictable chick flick, but the ride to the anticipated end was so entertaining! Meryl Streep can do no wrong and was a singsong-y, larger than life Julia Child. Amy Adams was perfect in her role as well, as the whiny, meltdown-prone, hitting-30 dilemma'd Julie Powell. The gentlemen, Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina, play very supportive husband roles that makes you question if this is an alternate universe. The chemistry between Meryl and Stanley was palpable in their rather cheesy scenes, but I venture to say that I watched their love story with more eagerness than the younger couple's. I loved watching Julia's journey for kitchen success in Paris, and I could totally relate to Julie's crazy experiments in her own Queens kitchen. The food images are so delectable that you can almost smell them. All in all, it was very engaging and inspired me to attempt poaching some eggs (Quite successfully, I might add!) and to buy a dutch oven for my own stab at Beef Bourguignon. Bon Appetit!

**Pictured here next to their on-screen characters are Julie Powell (top right) and Julia Child (bottom left). (Columbia Pictures/AP Photo/Getty Images)
Source: ABC News

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting jewelry out of my system

I have spent all of my professional life in the jewelry trade; and that is, all of 8 years. I did not set out to become a part of it, but it was the first available job right after college. I stuck to the path, thinking I loved jewelry enough to keep me inspired. My favorite days were when I received new jewelry because that was when I saw the fruits of my labor. Even if I did not personally make it by hand, I was very much a part-creator. I was the one who sent in the sketch, priced items out with a hundred variations, exchanged various emails endlessly, re-sketched to show what I meant and approved models as far as I could tell from an image. These blissful moments did not last and would actually be quickly followed by a feeding frenzy. Eager beaver sales reps or art directors would grab the samples, never to be seen again until inventory time comes around. Guess who they will ask for it?

This vicious cycle overtook the pleasure of creating something and I found myself burnt out and wanting to get into something else. I was also disheartened by the knowledge of how jewelry was really being created overseas, and the sacrifices that people had to go through just to be able to make them. I felt like I was batting for the wrong team and my husband felt like I was becoming somebody else: I was a snarling animal if he called me in the middle of the day.

The funny thing is, I somehow found myself in jewelry making classes when I had all the opportunity to take on something else. And you know what, I loved it. My teachers always praised my work, but I felt like I was cheating because I knew a little more than other people in the class because of my job. I tried starting my own little jewelry design business, but quickly nixed that idea when I figured out my costs. I couldn't really compete with the sweatshops.

I still can't stop thinking about the beauty of creating. I look at Etsy everyday for inspiration, awed by what people are able to make and how cheap they can sell them, and green with envy of those "Quit my day job" success stories. I don't know, maybe I just need to find cheaper materials or maybe I should start creating something else?