i am a fashion designer. gee
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are you a fonts enthusiast? a typophile?
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find the beauty on your daily walk! take time to notice the details of your landscape.
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there is nothing like seeing a great handbag in action.
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plastics are our future. how can you resist plastic? it is so shiny and pleasing. I have a penchant for plastics.
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chronicling my quest for the one true
Greek Cup
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have you ever noticed the similarity between nyc fire call boxes and benevolent Kannon, goddess of mercy?
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every design, fashion and art magazine I read lately features some important directional artist making big contributions to their genre. and where do they live? brooklyn!
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who says there are no more 'new ideas' in art and design? the newness is in the juxtaposition.
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this is how I really get things done. with my little green co-worker/task-master.
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my clothing & accessories design
east-meets-west minimalism

my site

the look
dressy utilitarian

my concept
useful, economical, modular pieces that can be mix-matched in numerous ways (because why can't fashion be useful and lasting? I think it can!) So I say Maximize your Minimalism!

Satin Karate Belt featured in Dec 06 Real Simple

Voted Best Designer 2006 Style Bakery
'On the Rise'

Daily Buss Feature

Luckymag.com Feature

in the blog press
midtown lunch
the girl who ate everything
queens eats
(into) the fray
funky finds
style document
gowanus lounge
far too cute
ethereal bliss
couture in the city
independent luxe
decor 8
funky finds
urban socialite
lady licorice
high fashion girl

more press...

furniture (especially chairs from the 50s and 60s), uniforms, repeating patterns, menswear, Oscar Niemeyer, traditional Japanese architecture, the Rimpa School and Ogata Korin's 8-Point Bridge, Matisse, bromeliads, succulents and other waxy flora

particular loves
bamboo, coral, moss, woodgrain, silhouettes & other cut-outs, plastic, low-resolution images, the photo copier, off-registration prints, Max Ernst's Lunar Asparagus, NYC fire call boxes that look like Kannon, Fauvist color sense, the Noguchi Museum, pretty much all of Abstract Expressionism

magazines of current interest
Domino, Elle Decor (British), ARTnews, Art in America, Wallpaper

favorite heel style
the wedge, but a sleek modern interpretation

second favorite
the stiletto

current shoe obsession
alas, the sneaker. (because I live in nyc and walk a ton!) but not too sneakery of a sneaker. more of a sneaker disguised as a shoe, like a mary jane style or a high-tech looking black one with a metallic accent. how about Royal Elastics? I must go try some on. I really like the non-sneakeryness of their styles.





healthy quickie veggie dinner

I always think of Monday night's dinner as the most important healthy meal of the week. It is a great time to recharge after a hectic first day back to work, and detox from the weekend's indulgences. Here is a healthy quickie veggie dinner that you might like. I am making it for tonight's meal, so I thought I would share it with you, photographing as I go.

Polenta with carmelized onions, baby bellas, broccoli and sun dried tomatoes

(serves 2)
1 tube of polenta

1 package of 'baby bella' mushrooms
1 yellow onion
3+ cloves of garlic
balsamic vinegar

extra virgin olive oil
sun dried tomatoes (about 6)
broccoli or zucchini or spinach

Carmelize the onion in a pot with the lid on. After 5 minutes, add 3 cloves of garlic, sliced, and sun dried tomatoes, sliced. After another five minutes add the thickly sliced baby bellas. Add fresh ground black pepper and stir. Replace the lid and lower the heat until mushrooms are tender. Set aside.

Cut the whole tube of polenta into slices. Polenta is surprising low in calories, so you may as well use it all. Then cube the slices as shown. Cut the broccoli into pieces as shown. Using the same pot, add the polenta and 1 cup of water. Add the broccoli on top. Drizzle some balsamic. Cook over medium heat with lid on.

Stir the mixture when you hear it start to bubble. When the broccoli is cooked and the polenta starts to break up, turn off heat.

Add the mushroom mixture back in and stir. Serve the polenta with black pepper and grated peppery pecorino.

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1-2-3 dinner party!



10 minutes per room

If you are having a dinner party and your place is not quite people friendly (piles of mail, piles of paper, half-done projects spread all over the place), pour a big glass of water, put on your work-out togs* and set your egg timers!

Ready, get set, clean each room for 10 minutes, starting with the bathroom. When the egg timer dings, change rooms and take a big sip of water. No cheating! You're looking for the Big Picture Clean with this exercise. As your space gets de-cluttered, you also get hydrated. Great idea right? It works! And you feel an instant sense of accomplishment.

If your space needs more cleaning (which it most often will), do a second pass, this time setting your timer for 15 minutes. Repeat the cycle, increasing your time interval, until you feel satisfied. It's a great way to clean your space in a hurry and stay on-task.

*I always find that wearing racing stripes and sneakers makes me work faster. I do this when I need to get an order out the door too.

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if you prefer hot, i've got another great coffee treat for you

I have often contemplated walking the 19 blocks down Lexington Avenue from my Y to Pongal, just to enjoy the most perfect cup of coffee in the world, post swim. That perfect cup is a Madras coffee, a South Indian treat with steamed milk served in a metal cup and saucer. The presentation is half the deliciousness for me. I love the cup and saucer.

Madras coffee is available at many but not all of the restaurants around Lex and 28th, the neighborhood which has come to be known as Curry Hill.* It is a rare treat though; you won't find at any restaurant that serves tandoori, because tandoori is from the north.

I guess you could liken the Madras coffee to a latte, but to do that would be to ignore all the delicious nuances. You'll just have to try it for yourself, and thank me later.

110 Lexington Avenue
served as shown

Madras Mahal
104 Lexington Ave
served in a regular teacup

*The neighborhood is really Murray Hill.

The sad part is when the Madras coffee is half empty.
You can see me reflected somewhere in the cup I think.

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(that's so) architectonic

For example, I liked this element so much,
I made an architectonic index page for my Website.

Don't you love the word architectonic? I took a sculpture class in college where we had to sculpt a cow vertebra from plaster using a chisel. People in the class liked mine because I left it textured with chisel marks. The comments I received during the critique, which I cherish to this day were as follows: Your bone is so 'bonic.' I like your bone because it is so totally 'bonular.'

I think I like throwing the word 'architectonic' around in a similar nonsensical formal analysis sort of way. Hey Frank, your new building on the West Side Highway is so architectonic. I really like your museum in Fort Worth Tadao. It's totally architectonular.




shopping on franklin: dalaga

Dalaga means 'quintessential woman in her prime' in Tagalog.
A view of the store in the afternoon sunlight.

Some skinny belts displayed on the Victorian armoire.

Spring Trend: Print & Pattern
Michelle will focus on circle prints and Mod looks.
I love the alcove and hanging photos in the dressing rooms.

One of Michelle's trend picks for Spring: sexy platforms!
New deliveries are expected throughout the season.

Dalaga opened its doors just 10 months ago, but there is already talk of expanding the boutique, devoted to designer women's and men's clothing, shoes and accessories. "The store gets really crowded on the weekends now with lines for the dressing rooms. We had to start a sign-in sheet so people can keep shopping comfortably," says owner/designer Michelle Mangiliman. Michelle always has an eye on her customers' needs, and has a talent for creating a warm and inviting shopping environment. This coming Saturday for example, all are invited to join Michelle at the store for cupcakes, cocktails and discounts as part of a 5-day birthday sale she is running, beginning today! I'll be there.

I was happy to hear that
Dalaga's following just keeps growing and growing. I consider Dalaga to be the trailblazer of the new Franklin Street, ushering in what I believe will be many more small creative retail projects in the coming future. The instant success of Dalaga on a street with sparse foot traffic seems to prove the adage, "If you build it, they will come." I sat down with Michelle to talk about how Dalaga came to be and about her vision for Spring/Summer 07.

EP: Talk about your design philosophy and your concept for the store.
MM: My ideas about clothing are changing all the time, so when it comes to designing or buying for the store, it's all about filling the need. I feel like the store is
an extension of my own closet. The decor concept for the store is 'boudoir meets mysterious interior garden,' a private space where you can feel free and comfortable to reinvent yourself. [Note: the store fixtures are part of a Victorian bedroom set, which includes armoire, end tables, dresser and headboard which are adorned with silk flowers.]

EP: Tell us about the name, Dalaga, and what you carry.
Dalaga means 'quintessential woman in her prime' in Tagalog. We currently carry 3/4 women's and 1/4 men's. Clothing, denim, shoes, belts, jewelry, bags. We're always looking for Greenpoint designers. People really get into the fact that the person who made this lives in the neighborhood. In the beginning we also carried designers from the Philippines which sold really well. We are working on sourcing more. And of course we carry the Dalaga label which I design.

EP: Tell us more about your design background.
MM: I started sewing at 10, took a Fashion Marketing program in high school and designed my first collection. I attended the San Francisco Academy of Art
with a major in Fashion Design. In San Francisco, I was lucky to fall in with a collaborative underground boutique where I developed and produced my designs and showed them at a local club. I followed my [now fiance] to New York and worked as a freelance designer for a missy/juniors start-up for a year. After that I continued to pursue my own label [Dalaga] and tried to find partners. In the meantime, I held sample sales once a month in a warehouse on Green Street [in Greenpoint], which I promoted on Craig's List. I have always thought about having a store, but thought of it as five years down the road. Then one day, much sooner than expected, the time and place were right.

EP: How long have you lived in New York?
MM: Three years, all in Greenpoint. July will be the one-year anniversary of the

EP: Name the hottest 3 designers you carry.
MM: CASTE by Micah Cohen out of L.A. He does menswear. DALAGA. MADE IN HEAVEN which is a line of high-rise skinny jeans, recently revived by the daughter of the label's original spokesmodel.

EP: What are the trends you will capitalize on for Spring/Summer?
MM: Cute, sexy platform shoes that are walker-friendly and wearable. Primary color dresses in bold yellow, blue, and red, with a very mod look. Circle prints. And we'll continue the prairy, lacey, eyelet-y looks that we always have going on in the store.

Thank you so much Michelle! As I finish writing up this interview, I am eager to get back to your store and see what's new. Happy Birthday! See you on Saturday for cupcakes, but I think I'll pop in today for a sneak peak.
150 Franklin Street
Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222
G to Greenpoint Ave
DALAGA is the first store portrait in our new "Shopping on Franklin" special feature. Watch for a new store portrait next Thursday.

Two of my favorite details in the store: the Victorian tin ceilings
and the elaborate carving above the register
[actually an upside-down headboard-- part of a Victorian bedroom set
which serve as the store fixtures. So clever!]

Fun prints, fun shapes for Spring/Summer 07

Some of the shoe selection at Dalaga. There are many more great bags too.

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spring trend: the flouncy sleeve

The flouncy sleeveless 'sleeve' is popping up all over this season. So cute. So girly. So coquettish. Yet suitable for the office. A perfect detail this Spring.

Pictured [images from respective Websites]:

  1. MALENE BIRGER Sleeveless Ruffle Top at OTTE
  2. BCBG Chambray Silk/Cotton Voile Top at BCBG (caution: music)
  3. ALICE+OLIVIA Pintuck Ruffle Blouse at SAKS
  4. SEE BY CHLOE Ruffle Plaid Blouse at OTTE

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velocity art and design

Speaking of Velocity Art and Design, did you notice that they have some Angela Adams rugs on sale? Not to mention some Thomas Paul pillows. This site is worth checking out thoroughly. Pictured above, 2'x3' Raindrop Cotton Rug was $70, now $59.50. Below, Thomas Paul silk pillow was $74, now $55.50. Limited time!

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pop ink paper doll plates

Of course these appeal to me. And they're plastic! Paper doll melamine plate set by Pop Ink. Set of 4, available on Velocity Art and Design. Pop Ink has quite a few fashion-related designs. Check out their collection here. Below are more of my favorites. [images from velocityartanddesign.com]

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It's all in the presentation, isn't it? Now, at least, I am more excited to dig into my healthy bowl of oatmeal and get to the pool early.

Bowl from Kahla Cumulus, spoon from Chinatown, oatmeal from Quaker.




shoe trend: this season's espadrille

This season calls for a little update to your espadrille. Look for an espadrille with an extra-high wedge heel, a faux dupioni silk fabric and a little criss-cross action on the toe. And remember to avoid the puddles! Your espadrille will stiffen as soon as the straw heel hits water, and you'll feel like you're walking the plank. Most unpleasant, I say from experience. Above, my new espadrilles I got for mere pennies. 2499 pennies to be exact, at Fabco.

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it's frappe season!

The Frappe is almost like a good Guinness.
2/3 foam when it arrives at your table.
And look at the beautiful cascade.

There is a mysteriously good coffee drink served up in every cafe in Astoria. One sip and you will say goodbye to Starbuck's forever and start embracing local color again (which you should do anyway, sip or no sip, in my humble opinion...) The drink is called a frappe (pron. frappay). Take the N or W to Queens and get off at Broadway or 30th Avenue where the Greek cafes are most plentiful. Just walk the neighborhood a little and you will see many people enjoying these drinks.

Order your frappe with milk or without, with sugar or without. The coffee beverage is made with a special kind of Nescafe instant coffee which you can buy at Titan Foods or Mediterranean Foods, should you want to continue the coffee fun at home. The ingredients (instant coffee, water, milk optional, ice, sugar optional) are mixed together in a milkshake machine or a blender. My husband and I started drinking these last summer, became obsessed, and then started making them at home with a martini shaker. They are quite caffeinated and as it turns out, much more enjoyable when someone else makes them. This year I think I will save my coffee treat for the cafes, and enjoy a leisurely chat n' sip outdoors with my hubby.

You can buy a can of Nescafe Classic at nearby Titan Foods
and make Frappes at home.

Or just leave it to the experts.

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koziol affordable candelabras

If you have been looking high and low for an affordable candelabra, look no further. Koziol, maker of great affordable design products, offers this colorful plastic version for only $14. [also available in red, not shown]

If you live in New York, this piece can be yours today by visiting Live It Up on Avenue B, a small shop jam-packed with pretty much everything cute for the home. You can also order the candelabra on their Website by clicking here and then clicking the rollover picture that says "DECOR" on the bottom right. I think I might have to get the red one. Or perhaps the orange one. Or the hot pink.

Live It Up
207 Avenue B (between 12th and 13th Streets)
New York, NY 10009

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see the signage on eyeglass row

Who knew that just off Delancey on the Lower East Side, is/was eyeglass row? Looking up at these great old signs, one wonders if one has stepped into another time period. Or many other time periods, for that matter. They don't make signs like these anymore.



in hot pursuit of a handbag, #2

I chased this silver tote-style handbag down just outside of Grand Central on Lex this past Wednesday. Oh the crowds. It makes it quite difficult to capture one's subject clearly, I'll tell you. (I was jogging behind her, trying to hold the camera steady.) This bag was so enchanting. I loved the asymmetry in the pocket arrangement, and those lovely curved insets at the corners. I have a particular fondness for curved insets.

Do any of you recognize this bag? I will try to find it and provide a better picture. I am still working on the first one too, which I have seen carried by three more women, this week alone. It must be an 'It Bag.' Upon closer look yesterday, I found that it has not one, but two extra-long tassels!

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more pleasing subway abstractions

Continuing my "Ghosts of Subway Advertisements Past" series, I found this one on the Manhattan-bound E platform. You must visit this piece before it gets papered over. It delights me that others appreciate the abstract remains created from ripped off subway posters.

Map of the U.S.A., artist unknown, 2007; photographed in sections so you can see the details.

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street art

When it comes to graffiti and street art, I find I am drawn to humorous subjects of the everyday. Like this over-sharpened pencil, for example. Remember when you first used a pencil, how much fun it was to sharpen it to the nub and then try to write with it?

Photographed somewhere in Greenpoint.

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restaurants on 22nd street

Celebrity chefs and posh eateries abound on 22nd Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway in the Flatiron District. There is a nice range of cuisines to choose from, including Indian, Italian, Spanish tapas and progressive American. I recognized this block from having investigated celebrity chef Rocco's eponymous restaurant back in the day. (I just looked at it and gawked a little. I admit it.)

One in particular I was excited to try this week was Kitchen 22, when I thought it was the new New York outpost of Chicago chef, Charlie Trotter. It turned out to be Charlie Palmer's. Oops, sorry Charlie. We stopped in to sample the atmosphere and get a feel for the place at happy hour. It was a very nice intimate space. They have delicious truffle popcorn which you can order with your $3. draft. Kitchen 22 offers a very nice three-course prix fixe for $29. I would order the Tortilla Soup, the Crispy Skinned Salmon and the Triple Chocolate Mousse. And on Wednesdays, you can get a bottle of wine for only $10 with your dinner. That is a nice idea to keep in mind.




in hot pursuit of a handbag

Running after my subject. Oh no, stairs!
That doesn't work. Too blurry.

Someone rushes past. Kind of neat looking though.

Almost, but she moved.

Oh no, train coming. Aha! Good enough.

Yesterday morning on the subway, I noticed a fabulous bag with a tassel. I pursued my unknowing subject from the G to the E, trying to get a good clear photo of the bag in question, so I could investigate the maker later. At last, a clear photo. The things I do for fashion. Sheesh.

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