i am a fashion designer. gee
click here to maximize your minimalism!

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click here to view my favorites from the archives. gee




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.





japanese granny fashion

fashionable haramaki

[images from PingMag]

Japanese 'granny fashion' is what they are calling it at PingMag, the Tokyo-based magazine about design and making things. Could the haramaki* shed its uncool image as underwear for the old and infirm to become the next fashion hit? Well apparently, after a few design updates, the haramaki already has become a "super desirable fashion item" in Tokyo.

As the success story goes, designer Shigesato Itoi from Hobonichi collaborated with a Niigata-based knitwear producer to offer his updated haramaki in colorful fun prints. Hobonichi offers two collections per year, Winter and Summer, each composed of limited edition pieces which customers seem to snap up immediately. Hobonichi, now on its 11th collection, sells 15,000 haramaki per season! That's a lot of haramaki.

I guess I can see the appeal. If you want to wear a dress over jeans and don't want to go to all the trouble, the haramaki, worn low, gives the same effect. If you are an obi enthusiast, but want a more forgiving knit version, again, the haramaki is your go-to piece. If your shirt is too short, and all your tank tops are in the wash, the haramaki to the rescue!

So I guess you could say that I am pro-haramaki.

*hara=stomach, as in 'hara heta,' the granny way to say 'I'm hungry'; maki=roll, as in sushi roll

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how to fight 'the thing' that is going around and around and around

  1. Don't admit your sick. Don't even say the word sick. You're not sick after all. Stop saying sick.
  2. For heaven's sake, get dressed. Only sick people stay in their pajamas.
  3. Eat lunch with lots of broccoli. Broccoli makes all things better.
  4. Take your multi-vitamin. Why haven't you been taking your multi-vitamin you idiot. If you had been, you wouldn't be feeling so run down. Well move on. Just take it now.
  5. Shower. Act as if nothing is wrong.
  6. Put on a nice outfit.
  7. Clean the house. Environment is important.
  8. Drink a lot of hot tea. And water. Don't worry that the picture you just posted is blurry. You're not at your best at the moment. But you're not sick. The double vision will go away with a few more cups of tea.
  9. Maybe skip the pool today, but pack your gym bag and pretend you are going any minute.
  10. Watch Reba at 4 and 4:30. You know how much Barbra Jean makes you laugh. Oh that Barbra Jean.



visions of sugar plums

Day VIII of my Sugar Fast. No strange visions, no inexplicably aggressive behavior. No tears. Good results! I don't want to toot my own horn too much, because it just might be my undoing. Untoot.




meet me for coffee: el beit

The sign lured me in. How could a resist a cappuccino
with heart-shaped foam saying hi to me? I couldn't.
And I'm glad I didn't.

New cafe on the block: El Beit opened earlier this month
on 158 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg

I was dazzled by the decor as soon as I walked in, particularly
the striped chairs. There is such fine attention to detail here.

Does that say 'cutting table'?? You've got my attention.

After my bag-purchasing trip to Brooklyn Industries, I passed an appealing sandwich board in front of the newest cafe on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg: El Beit. I've been eager to check out the decor of this place. And a cappuccino with heart-shaped foam was just what I was in the mood for. It will sound trite to say that as soon as I walked in, I was dazzled. But I was. The striped chairs, the minimalist space, the textures. Wow. Williamsburg is rapidly changing.

Coffee master, Dan Griffin who manages El Beit and (I don't want to say curates but) curates the coffee offerings, was kind enough to talk with me about the underlying details of the place. We discussed everything from decor to design to materials to coffee nuances. El Beit which means 'home' in Arabic and Hebrew, is owned by three brothers, one of whom, Bassam Ali currently works as a designer for Coach. The cafe tables that are stamped 'cutting table' are indeed cut from actual butcher block fabric cutting tables. Aha.

Bassam was largely responsible for the design and build-out of the space. Its centerpiece is a striking shingled coffee bar which was constructed from the facade of a barn. The shingles are oak. The surface is steel. The walls and ceiling of the cafe have been re-plastered and re-bricked to incorporate soothing curves. In fact, the flow of the entire space is pleasing. And yes, that was on purpose, Dan pointed out. The front door was relocated to be in line with the back door (also taken from the old barn), thus creating a better flow of traffic to an outdoor patio space that will be completed in the coming months.

The coffee menu is for the serious connoisseur. No super-sized 20 ounce cups dripping with peppermint syrup here. Thank goodness. On my next trip to El Beit, I will opt for a brewed-to-order cup from The Clover, a machine made in Seattle. As Dan explains, the dose, grind and brew time must be adjusted to bring out the particular flavors of each varietal. The resulting cup has a similar body to that of French press coffee. But you really have to try it. And so I will. Is it gauche to add milk? I'm not sure. Meet me for coffee!

El Beit Coffee
158 Bedford Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wi-Fi: yes
(no Website)

El Beit to go.

The classic tulip-bulb-shaped espresso and cappuccino cups, offers Dan,
are best for experiencing the full aroma and flavor of the espresso.
Like the wine glass does for wine. Dan is the sommelier of coffee.

The curves of the exposed ductwork mirror the curves of the ceiling.
You will enjoy examining every design detail of El Beit, each
thoughtfully considered. Very architectonic indeed.

The space is used so economically. And I love the choice of seating.
B-Pop Striped Chairs and Onda Counter Stools, both from DWR.

Attention coffee connoisseurs: have you ever heard of The Clover?
(The machine is made in Seattle!)

The dose, grind, and brew time must be adjusted for each varietal.
You must try an individually brewed-to-order cup on your next trip
to El Beit. I will join you.

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x bands

I have a graphic designer friend, Jodi, who loves all things stationary including Russell+Hazel, as do I. I think she would probably love these X Bands. And for $5, I don't see why I shouldn't rush right over to the Moma Store and acquire some. Hey, Jodi's birthday is coming up. I think I will send her some. I wonder if she will read this and spoil the surprise...

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brunch at cafe mogador

Brunch at Cafe Mogador is not only tasty, but also nice on the pocketbook.
I had the
'Middle Eastern Eggs' which includes two eggs any style,
hummus, tabouli, salad, and zaatar bread. All for just $8.

I am going to call the brunch at Cafe Mogador
in the East Village a hidden gem, even though many many many people already know about it. As I scanned the room while happily enjoying my Middle Eastern Eggs and cappuccino yesterday at a cozy sunlit table in the corner of the spacious Morroccan restaurant, I couldn't believe how many brunchers were happily munching, and how many more were still waiting outside. But I am not surprised. The atmosphere is great. The menu offers tasty creative options. And the price is amazing.

I recommend dinner as well. Cafe Mogador has been a favorite spot of mine for ten years.

Cafe Mogador
101 St. Marks Place (1st Avenue & A)
East Village, New York

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i am a test pattern. gee (6th edition)

It is time for another recap of my top 7 favorite posts from the past few months. I will be back on Monday with lots of good stuff, plus a special feature on a new cafe in Williamsburg (Tuesday). Instead of eating sugar at around 4ish on Day II of my Sugar Fast, I conducted an interview while sipping a cappuccino, right after I bought the Brooklyn Industries woodgrain tote.

  1. Orange and Woodgrain
  2. Coach for the Holidays
  3. Forever 21 Goes Couture
  4. The Brooklyn-France Connection
  5. Victor and Rolf's Flowerbomb
  6. East Beach Cafe, Littlehampton
  7. Brilliantly Packaged Beverly Hills Cupcakes (Sprinkles)

Enjoy! And somewhere in there, my blog turned two! For more archived faves, click on the .gee logo to the left.

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friday room inspiration

[image from pillowsandthrows.com by way of decor 8]

It is a snowy day, best for staying under the covers. I need a soothing interior and some muted colors on which to meditate. Blissliving Home's Ashley Citron collection is just what I need today. I think I like the colors so much because they match the blog. gee

Blissliving Home also makes some sexy throw pillows. Check out this pillow. And this one.

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fashionably mundane

A placid meditative image for this snowy day. This reminds me of the kind of stylized waves you can find on Japanese screen paintings, lacquerware and textiles in the 18th century. I will look through my Japanese art books and try to find some good comparative images for you. Here is one for now.

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brooklyn industries' signature water tower

Water tower wallpaper currently in all the Brooklyn Industries stores.
They have trademarked the water tower. Good idea.

The water tower makes me spend money. I have purchased an I 'water tower' BK shirt from Brooklyn Industries, and I would purchase the wallpaper if they start selling it. I live across from the water tower depicted. It is our apartment's signature water tower. It is our good luck charm. It watches over us. Word has it, Brooklyn Industries may start selling the signature water tower wallpaper in the near future. It was produced for all the store displays, and apparently people have been inquiring.

Below you can view the inside of my great new woodgrain tote. I was so excited that the lining is a map. I thought it was a map of Brooklyn. Or at least of Brooklyn's look-alike, France. But no. Strangely it is a German language map of Japan. There are so many great pockets inside the bag, that I have no idea what I will put in the outside flap pockets. The red topstitching is also a great feature. It is possible that the woodgrain tote will become my signature.

I moved into my bag immediately. We are very happy together.
Sadly, because of the snow, I had to use another bag today.
But when I get back home, I am reloading it.

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brooklyn industries woodgrain tote

  1. I read
  2. I commented
  3. I purchased
  4. I blogged

It is a very satisfying progression actually.

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look, another bento blog!

I found another 'Bento Blog' today (see post from 2.6.2008). This one is called Bento Diet by a California-based mom trying to get back into shape. I think she uses the new Whole Foods salad bar container, and inserts a divider. Bento Diet follows a similar Weight Watchers-related food-minimizing format to Hawaii mom, Pikko's Adventures in Bento Making. Just how many other 'Bento Blogs' are there, I wonder?
Check out:
  1. Feisty Bento
  2. Bento Diet (dig the crazy hot dog octopi)
  3. The Original My Bento Diet
  4. Lunch in a Box
  5. Oh, Bento (haha funny Japanese pun)
  6. Oh! Bento
  7. Bento pa svenska (in Swedish)
  8. C'est dans la boite (in French)
  9. Bento Bento (Netherlands)
  10. Veggie-bento
  11. Vegan Lunch Box

And on and on. Who knew? There is even Bento TV. Plus a whole Bento community for people who want to receive constructive feedback on their bento boxes to perfect their Japanese lunch box skills and artistry. Wow. I had no idea.

If I had a French-style Japanese bento blog, I would call it 'à bientôt bento!' (translation: see you soon Japanese lunchy!), and be sure to include at least one Japanese-style French pastry per meal, to remain consistent with the theme.

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whole foods salad bar container with lid

The new look in recyclable salad bar containers at Whole Foods Market

The latest salad bar containers at Whole Foods market are not only recyclable, unbleached, and made from a renewable source, they are compostable. After an informative phone conversation with a knowledgeable employee at the Whole Foods Headquarters in Austin, Texas, I found out that the new container was introduced in the stores in December, offered in addition to the plastic to-go containers, the unbleached Chinese take-out boxes, and the to-stay salad bowls. The new salad boxes are made from unbleached pulp from two different renewable sources. One is sugarcane fiber, which is the (normally discarded) by-product of the sugar cane crop. The other is bull rush cattails which grow in the wild and are harvested annually. The crops from which the pulp is harvested contain no chemicals or fertilizers.

Instead of putting my salad in them, I took two home to photograph. I am not sure what I will do with them yet, but they are such a pleasing design, color and material, I am sure I will come up with something.

Who says only kids at Christmas like the box better than the toy that comes inside.

Some alternate uses for the new Whole Foods salad bar container:
you could store your winter hats

or your pens

or your tiny gold pine cone collection...
As I said, I don't know what I will do with them yet, but I like them.
Perhaps I'll make a salad today.

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homemade bamboo trellis

After having built a bamboo support structure for my Christmas amaryllis, now far past its prime, I cannot part with it. Besides, I could let it go dormant in my Brooklyn hallway, and try to make it bloom again next year. An Amaryllis Grows in Brooklyn, and that sort of stuff.

another happy plant with bamboo support structure



sugar fast

I didn't want to tell you this yesterday, just in case I failed on my very first day, because that would be rather embarrassing, but I decided to give up sugar until my birthday, which is March 19, a Wednesday this year, by the way.

As I begin Day II of my Sugar Fast (I think the Roman numerals add the necessary gravitas to my endeavor, don't you?), I feel confident and hopeful, because it is morning, and I never eat sugar before noon anyway. The hours of my greatest weakness are between 4pm and 8pm. I almost ran right to the Tasti D-lite near Bryant Park yesterday for a swirl cone, but I had to stop myself, about eight times. I watched the people who were taking the Oprah Quit Smoking Challenge on TV the other day cry on Day I of their video diaries because they wanted a cigarette so badly. I don't think I will cry. But I am not sure. Wish me luck today.




navid o nadia

I am in love with these shoes by Navid O Nadia, which is really saying something for a girl who only wears square toe or pointy toe. I've never seen a round toe so lovely. I love all three colors together. I actually have a grey shirt, turquoise cardigan and brown pants. I never thought of putting these three colors together. Now if I only had 3 feet...

Psst, these Navid O Nadia shoes are currently on sale for $49.99 at Shoegasm on 23rd!

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two more fashion week candids

Nigel Barker and friend with very nice macro-fish net stockings,
on their way in to see the Twinkle by Wenlan show

Upon spotting Nigel Barker, Tyra's co-star on America's Next Top Model, as he approached the Tents at Bryant Park, I broke into an inexplicably half-giddy sprint to snap his picture.

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horchata horchata horchata

It seems that every time I turn around lately, I see another article about horchata, a traditional Mexican beverage made with milk, rice, and a hint of cinnamon. And so I have become obsessed. And the only way to get over my obsession is to blog about it.

Doesn't horchata sound delicious? I have only tried it once, where it was called chicha, a Venezuelan version described as a "delicious sweet and thick drink made out of rice with cinnamon on top." It was very rich, like a milkshake-meets-rice pudding. You can try one at Caracas Arepa Bar on 7th Street in the East Village. While you are there, you should also try an arepa, and the Venezuelan style chips and guacamole. Bring a friend and dine in. It is a great little place. You will not believe how small the tables are. But then again, if you have dined anywhere in the East Village before, you will be used to it.

I was so excited to find a packaged version of horchata, and Coffee Horchata no less, on the Kern's Website. But then sad to find that Kern's horchata is only available in California, Arizona and Nevada. If you live in these western states, try it and tell me how you like it!

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7th regiment armory

I must say, I am not the least bit interested in the bribery 'scandal' involving Marc Jacobs and the 69th Regiment Armory on Park Avenue and 26th Street. So what.

I am interested in a different armory on Park Avenue though: the 7th Regiment Armory at 67th Street. All month, I have been eagerly anticipating viewing The Art Show organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA). The exhibition, which includes work of all periods from 70 leading art galleries, runs from February 21-25. It is always a treat. I will be there on the 24th. Tickets are $20.

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pleasing display

It is very pleasing the way the shoes are displayed 'pigeon-toed' to accentuate the lines of the table legs.

Please note: Ferm Living is a textile design company based in Denmark. They do not make shoes. Or tables.

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Happy day-after-Valentine's Day!




brilliantly packaged beverly hills cupcakes

I was watching Martha while on the elliptical machine at the Y on Tuesday and saw a segment on these upscale minimalist cupcakes from Beverly Hills. Candace Nelson, the Executive Pastry Chef and owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes is a slender and attractive young woman, and the ideal spokesperson for her company. Watching her speak about her product, you somehow think that eating a Sprinkles Cupcake in one of the beautifully designed and minimalist Sprinkles Cafe locations won't make you fat.

Go to the Website and look at every one of the beautiful photos. They will make your mouth water, but in a restrained, smart, prudent sort of way. The cupcakes are served on a plate with an ecologically friendly fork. How elegant. Immediately, the cupcake which one would normally eat with one's hands, is transformed into something else. Into 'pastry' perhaps. As the advertising copy reads on the Website, "Let's be clear, they're not just pint-sized cupcakes. Cupcakes are something else entirely."

There is something intellectual and haute about these cupcakes. Read the Design statement. And the Community & Environment commitment. And notice the way the no-nonsense but beautiful and delicate font works on you as you read the text. Now mouse over the Flavors descriptions. Sheer genius! The Sprinkles experience is about so much more than cupcakes, or indulgence. Indulgence is wrong. Indulgence will make you fat. But design, architecture, the art of 'pastry' is a treat for the mind. Now that you have rationalized all of this, you are ready to spend the $46 for a dozen.

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year of the rat

It is not surprising that Reebok should create a sneaker honoring the Chinese New Year with a tribute to the Year of the Rat. After all, these sneakers were made in China.

The sole of the shoe includes a repeat of the Chinese character for 'rat,' as well as painting of the auspicious critter, which symbolizes prosperity and opportunity.




happy chinese new year! (yesterday)

And to celebrate, we had, er, Mexican.




happy japanese lunchy

Bento=Japanese Lunch Box

For lunch today, I walked over to JAS Mart on 23rd Street and purchased an assortment of healthy Japanese treats: salmon onigiri, seaweed salad and vegetable tofu patties. I realize now, having come across a blog called Adventures in BentoMaking soon after consuming my beautiful bento-style lunch, albeit on small paper plates, that I should have photographed my healthy little feast. Next time.

For now, please enjoy Adventures in BentoMaking. Writer, Pikko, seems to have lost 22 pounds eating these concise small meals -- her beautifully designed Japanese solution to the Weight Watchers plan. If there is a particular food that interests you, don't forget to click on Pikko's category list to the right. For example, onigiri! Yum.

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gucci loves new york

Gucci has created a Website especially for the opening of their new 5th Avenue Flagship (725 Fifth Avenue opens this Friday, February 8) called Gucci Loves New York. The page that fascinates me is the one pictured above, "Fashion Bloggers Love New York," featuring five fashion bloggers who have been selected by Gucci and billed as "the hottest international fashion bloggers." The fab five: Cory Kennedy, Style Bubble, La Coquette, Fashion is Spinach, and Openers. Wow. Good for them.

I clicked through to each of the five blogs. I have to say, La Coquette won me over with this post. She has a great voice, and doesn't write strictly about fashion, and what she wants to buy, or what she has bought, because frankly, that can get a little tedious, n'est pas? Check out the five blogs on Gucci Loves New York. I am sure you will find some new favorite weekly reads.

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fashion week candids

Soap opera star, Finola Hughes, dashes past after the Lacoste show.
Her current fashion-related project is called 'Style Kick'
where she delivers fashion trends and news directly to your mobile phone

Mystery Man with Philip Johnson glasses exits Lacoste show
and rushes past. Do you know who he is? I don't either.
But I know he's somebody.

Bill Cunningham of The New York Times captures everyone on the street,
but I captured Bill Cunningham!

In my book, two major fashion press powerhouses:
Cunningham confers with Fashion Director of The Daily Telegraph,
Hilary Alexander

and then she gets in a car and speeds off to the next show.
Hilary Alexander!

Bill Cunningham of The New York Times and I caught the crowd rushing out of the Tents at Bryant Park this morning after the Lacoste show. "Look, that's Bill Cunningham! He is the photographer for 'On the Street' in the Sunday Style section! Wow, Bill Cunningham. I think he uses real film in his camera. Neat." Yes I was at it again. See previous post for details.

And then he turned his camera on me. I hope I don't appear in tomorrow's New York Times. It was not my best hair day.

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