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.






If I were purchasing, but I am not because it's February, and that's my arbitrary rule, I would buy this because I didn't buy this from H-H and I still may slightly regret it. Kinda sorta. Here's the thing though. I have a perfectly good similar wallet-type-thingie from Coach. The only thing wrong with it is that it's slightly threadbare on the corners. Does that mean I should get a new thingie? I don't know. I think about this issue way too much. Please chime in if you happen upon this post. Oh wait, it's not real leather. Too bad. Now I don't really want it anymore.

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valentine's ramen at rai rai ken

Miso ramen with tofu at Rai Rai Ken

The scene!

The noodles, revealed. Behold!

Nothing says, "I love you" like a hot bowl of miso ramen with tofu. And so we went (and at last I am posting the deliciousness) to Rai Rai Ken in the East Village on Valentine's Day. It was heavenly and lovely and romantic and delicious.

Rai Rai Ken has become our favorite ramen shop in the last six months, and the only one we frequent. After a few visits, I worked up the courage to speak with the chef and find out his story. He is from China, but had a ramen shop in Japan for 14 years, which is totally the best of both worlds when it comes to ramen. For those of you who haven't seen Tampopo or read Oishinbo, ramen in Japanese cuisine is a Chinese-style noodle re-imported into Japan, and too often badly made by Japanese, according to my reading. Chef Rai Rai Ken, however, makes the perfect East-meets-East bowl.

The name Rai Rai Ken, written in Chinese characters, translates roughly to "coming and coming to the counter." In other words, a bowl of well-made ramen equals a quick turn and lots of happy customers. The space is tiny and narrow. There are only about 20 stools (but I think I exaggerate) on 10th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. I have little recollection how we found this heavenly spot. I do remember we were in hot pursuit of a vegetarian broth, because typically ramen is served in a pork broth. And we found it. We get the miso ramen everytime. Hold the chicken -- substitute tofu instead. $9. Totally reasonable. And totally delicious.

Rai Rai Ken

214 E 10th Street (1st & 2nd Avenues)
East Village
New York, NY
Open Mon-Thu,Sun 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-2am

Just look at the side elevation: cabbage mounded up & topped with crispy garlic!
Yes, I lovingly love this bowl of ramen.

One of the assistants spooning out the broth.

The Master [R], with his two able assistants [L]

The key part of the menu.

This shot is a little overexposed, but I had to show you
how narrow it is. You hang up your coat on hooks behind you.
And if anyone wants to go past, you have to lean forward.

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minimalist antlers



where my head is (at)

At least it hasn't gotten this bad.
[image from Albert Records Management]

Sorry about ending the title with a (preposition). But anyway, let's get into here, shall we? I've been on an organizing spree. I can probably trace it back to "New Year's/New Me" type-of-feelings and rereading the introduction to Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure. Mr. Gillingham-Ryan talks about unblocking your space, and cherishing the open spaces between your stuff. Oh yeah, you're supposed to have open spaces. I forgot to cherish them. Or have them. I mean, I am much reformed. My apartment is still relatively spacious. And my shopping habits since moving to New York haven't mushroomed. I think the nine yard sales we had to have in Jamaica Plain (Boston) before we moved did the trick. Let me put it this way. I had a lot of vases.

The more I think about it, I really do think I am a minimalist at heart. Underneath all the clutter, I am a minimalist. I just need to unlayer (in everything) again. So I bought a shredder last week, and have been shredding everything outdated I can get my hands on. The month before, I emptied every drawer and weeded every shirt and accessory. (I have eight skinny belts. Eight! Three of them are silver. But different silvers. I am keeping them all though.) I even emptied and reorganized every drawer and cabinet in the kitchen and bathroom. (The bathroom's the easiest because it's the smallest; but boy did I find a lot of lipsticks. I don't have to buy any lipsticks for a good 10 years. Oy.)

So where was I with this. Oh yes, last night I was going through my studio files. I found copies of business letters that I typed and signed and mailed. Typed! Signed! Mailed! I was quite a good business letter writer I must say. A dead art now. Sad. I received signed letters too regarding my woven labels, my Dewar's sponsorship, and other things. It was a nicer time in society back then. The business letter. People taking the time to address each other in a non-fleeting manner. I am keeping those. I guess I just wanted to get this down on paper, so to speak. At least you can't shred a blog.

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but yes

But I could love this tissue box. Yes indeed-y. I saw it at the MoMA store last night. But don't really buy it for me. As it stands now, my tissue box sits on top of the radiator, and I think it would discolor or something unfortunate like that. Yes, the burden of owning. (My current mindset, for some reason. I'm sure it will pass.)

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I could not own this tissue box cover, knowing there is "Hate" on the other side. I could not hate in the bathroom. It is so un-harmonious.

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I want this. But I am not buying anything in February. Too much stuff. I've been having fun shredding instead. But this pagoda pillow by Jonathan Adler is really right up my alley. Funny, I was thinking of stopping by his site today. Instead I stopped by BussBuss and found it there.

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february t-shirt sale!

The New Index! Shop!

Yes, for the month of February, all of my T-Shirt designs are on sale for $20 each (reg. $24-$46). Get 'em while they're in stock!


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fun with my logo

Loving this!

And this!

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felt food

Why is felt food so pleasing to me? I honestly have no idea.

The perfect play breakfast food. You will receive 3 pancakes - 1 with syrup & butter and 2 that are just plain pancakes. You will also receive 3 strawberries to place on top or keep on the side. All my felt food is pretty much life size and made from a wool-blend felt. -Betsy M

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getting inspired

I'm getting really inspired to redesign my Website. Can I do it? How long will it take? I would like to base it on this image. When you think about it, it's what my clothes are really all about. Graphic pattern mixing, rich colors, largely inspired by architecture, interior design, and furniture. I am really getting excited about this idea.

[L] Labyrinth Tee, $20 on sale in February (reg. $46)
Red Swirl Winter Obi, $96
Silk Pinstripe Skirt, $168
[R] Cascade Top, $68
Silk Obi Sash, $66
Chrysanthemum Skirt, $168

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alexander mcqueen

It is with great shock that I relay that Alexander McQueen is dead. I just read it on Twitter, and clicked through to this article in the Telegraph. How could this be? He was so very talented. I always wish when I read stories like this that someone could have read the signs and intercepted. No human should have to get so desperate to get to this point. I hope they honor him before each and every show at The Tents today. New York Fashion Week started this morning.

There are so few truly inspiring creative designers left. McQueen's last collection
featuring a metamorphosis that was rather mind-boggling. Models transformed from
snake to antelope
to armadillo to goat with a little bit of Africa and
Ancient Greece and modern
computer-generated cyclops mixed in.
Truly an amazing show.

McQueen's Twitter account has been pulled -- @Mcqueenworld -- and his site is black. That is harsh. Dying in the internet world is strange. His Web people were "on it" right away. I wish we could leave flowers here: http://www.alexandermcqueen.com/

Today, alexandermcqueen.com

Alexander McQueen's Twitter page, @Mcqueenworld, was pulled
when the news of his death hit. Apparently his final Tweets indicated
a troubled state of mind. Read them here.

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snowy musings on bags and things of that nature




While I'm on the topic of bags, I usually carry this bag.* Or this bag.** But because of the snow today, I am carrying this bag.*** Wait a minute.****

*I got it from the Greenpoint Hayden-Harnett store in November. One day, I was feeling cooped up and I decided to take a walk down Franklin Street with my credit card for some exercise. Or something. And I impulse-purchased it. And am still 100% happy with it.

**Impulse purchased from Kenneth Cole. To accommodate my gym stuff and all my other stuff. Works well. But demagnetizes my monthly subway pass. Thinking of cutting out the magnets, but don't really want to. How will the bag stay closed?

***I got it from Alter on Franklin Street. It's made of Japanese paper! And totally waterproof. By Matt & Nat. In my opinion, it's important to have a dressy outfit and accessories that are totally waterproof. It's all well and good to look nice, but what are you going to do in the pouring rain or slushy snow? Exactly.

****I do a lot of impulse purchasing. Don't I. I think I only impulse-purchase. Hmm. Perhaps I am a fashion thrill-seeker.

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5 boro bike tour checklist, part 3

Mile 23 = Greenpoint. That is comforting. Is there a crime in only doing 23 miles? I know a lot of "completists" out there would say yes; but I am hoping to change their minds... Does this make me a quitter? Anyway, with the bestest possible Yes-I-Can (but I probably won't) Attitude, I bring you installment #3 of my checklist.
  1. Got the back of the pen off. Hooray.
  2. Jimmied the lock. Didn't work.
  3. Slight panic is setting in.
  4. Must cut 4 slits in the back like Wired suggests, and try again.
  5. Oh no, learned that Kryptonite is bolt-cutter-proof.
  6. Spun with Kyle. Great class, great music, and Kyle has a large vocabulary. What could be better? But the class is later. I wound up eating dinner at 9pm. Starved. Irrational. Must take the inferior earlier class on Mondays from now on instead. Nothing is perfect.

The whole 42 mile route ends with a long wait to take the ferry from Staten Island.
To this I reply, why not cut out Staten Island, the wait and the long ride back from
Lower Manhattan and just double back in good ole BK? It makes a lot of sense when
you think about it you know.

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a tale of two hobos

Will the real hobo please stand up. No not this one.
This is the imposter by Old Navy. Canvas Hobo, $24.50

I was in Old Navy yesterday. It was one of those days where I needed to browse massive amounts of stuff. I always like checking out their accessories, mainly the bags, not the jewelry. And surprise surprise, I saw a Canvas Hobo hanging there and gasped out loud! (hoping the lady near me would ask me what was the matter so I could tell her the following) Old Navy blatantly knocked off one of Hayden-Harnett's signature bags. My friend owns this one. The Havana Hobo. Outrage. Old Navy shouldn't be able to get away with this. It's just not right.* I am hoping Hayden-Harnett reads this and takes action. By the way, Hayden-Harnett's Havana Hobo is half-price today, courtesy of Lucky magazine's Deal of the Day, in case you're interested.

*Back in the day when I was doing trade shows, Urban Outfitters knocked off my designs. Three times! I still boycott Urban Outfitters clothing. It is not cool to knock off indie designers.

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5 boro bike tour checklist, part 2

According to the 5 Boro Bike Tour Website, it's only 82 days until Tour Date. I prefer to think of it as 3 months. I am really getting into this house-cleaning stuff in order to find my bike key. Instead, I found my bike-y wrap-around sunglasses, my bike gloves, flat-changing tools, helmet and a box of CDs we forget we had. And I also found 2 different U-lock keys, neither of which work on my lock. A mystery, to be sure. So here's the latest checklist. If you haven't read the first checklist, read the first one first. It's a series.

  1. Purchased a Bic pen last night from the newstand guy for 85 cents. Gotta love NY.
  2. Attempted to remove the back of the pen with all sorts of implements but failed. Gave up.
  3. Found a cooler Bic pen online by Martin Margiela. Maybe the feather pops off easier and I can use this one.
  4. Washed my bike gloves. They look like they still work. Good, no new gloves necessary.
  5. Spinning class tonight. 6:15 with Kyle. Wearing a sparkly barette to distinguish myself in the peloton.
  6. Carbo-loaded, just in case, with broccoli pizza. And sushi. Hopefully I won't make a habit of double-lunching. This could defeat the purpose.
  7. Thought about having a piece of cake because I'll be "burning so many calories tonight" with the spinning and the swimming, but begged myself to stop deluding myself. It worked for now. But I am still thinking about cake.

Ostrich-plumed designer Bic by Martin Margiela
or Opening Ceremony. Incidentally, the OC store
is opening February 14th at Ace Hotel.

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karl who? no wait, don't tell me...

I have decided to try this look when I ride in the 5 Boro Bike Tour this May. I wonder where Karl got his bike gloves. Nashbar? Must make a new to-do list.

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happy chocolate month

Did you know there was a Hot Chocolate Festival going on at City Bakery? I didn't either, until just now. I would be eager to try tomorrow's Earl Grey Hot Chocolate, and this "pull apart pastry" which looks an awful lot like Monkey Bread!!! Aren't you glad you read this? Me too!

And I thought there was a lull this month.



mantao mondays

I need to get some proper photos for this post. Hopefully I can remedy that tonight before dinner, because we (hopefully) will be eating Mantao Buns! I love these little steamed Chinese buns, slit in half like a sandwich and stuffed with spicy tofu, among other things. They are totally affordable at $3.95 each; but tonight (and Monday, 2.22), you can get 15% off in honor of Chinese New Year. Just mention "Mantao Mondays" when you order.

Hooray for Mantao Mondays (and Mantao Buns in general). They're located on 53rd between 2nd and 3rd. I am going tonight after my swim. I am also going to get the Shiitake & Portobello Mushroom ($4.50 each) for us. Should be great!

Mantao Buns
235 East 53rd Street (2nd/3rd Avenues)
New York, NY 10011
open until 9:30 tonight!

Update, 2.9.2010
Pictures added. Now I want another one.

Mantao wrapped-up deliciousness. The anticipation!

The Shiitake & Portobello Mantao Bun was so incredible!
So full of bold taste! And of course the tofu [foreground] was delicious
as always. Spicy and cucumbery. Summery and delicious.

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5 boro bike tour checklist, part 1

My beautiful but dusty but well-seasoned but heavy
one-up-from-bottom-of-the-line mountain bike
locked to itself, with no sign of a key.
A mystery.

Seeing as I am doing the 5 Boro Bike Tour for the first time ever, I thought I'd write some regular updates until Tour date, Sunday May 2, 2010. So that gives me 3 months to train (spinning classes once a week, swimming, weights, running, and eventually riding my actual bike in my actual neighborhood), get outfitted (yes that means new gear because all my old gear is really old), and find the key to my U-lock, else have my bike be forever locked to the railing in my hall, with 2 flat tires.
  1. First things first. Get UV protection cycling gear. Check. I got an awesome wicking hoodie from the Asics store on 42nd, near Bryant Park. The fabric is so cool and waffle-y. And it's purple to match my bike!
  2. And while I was there, I got a shirt that wicks too (in blue, not orange). Also UV blocking. You can never have too many wicking layers while on the bike.
  3. What sneakers should I wear? Probably just my basic Brooklyn-style Saucony's.
  4. Should I buy a new pair of cycling tights? I have my eye on these by Pearl Izumi.
  5. Or these from Bike Nashbar. These could be really comfy.
  6. Must buy a Bic pen to pop my lock and free my bike from its shackles. I hope it works.

My new UV blocking hoodie and shirt from Asics!

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a twist on pasta & veggies

The Italian Flag, in veggies! Yes I am corny like that.
[L-R] Roasted cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, Brussel sprout leaves

The New Year always inspires me to breathe new life into my cooking habits. And I've been cooking up a storm lately, thanks to the Internet with blogs like Vegan & Demanding, What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway? (excuse the title here Mom, I didn't make it up) and the like. I think this idea for Kamut Pasta with Roasted Brussel Sprout Leaves & Portobello Mushrooms more came from a pizza we had at Motorino just before Christmas, and a realization that I should be buying more fancy mushrooms.

So here's what you need
(modify it any which way you like)

1 box Brussel Sprouts,
1 box Cherry Tomatoes
1 can Chick Peas
1 Portobello Mushroom
Kamut Spirals
Sundried Tomatoes (about 10)
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A Pepper Mill

Fundamental Order of Operations

Cut the bottom end off each Brussel Sprout, then slice in half vertically. Peal. You want to get a lot of leaf here, because the roasted leaves taste yummy and carmelized. Mmmm. Do not discard the little bulb that is leftover. Roast it! Marinate in balsamic, olive oil and black pepper.

Put Brussel Sprout leaves, plain chickpeas, and plain cherry tomatoes on a pizza pan and roast in the oven at 400 degrees. Until done. 20 minutes? Less? I didn't time it.

Slice Portobello mushroom. Marinate in balsamic, olive oil and black pepper. Roast!

Boil the pasta water. Throw in the sundried tomatoes for 5 minutes. Scoop out and drain. Then add pasta. Boil, drain, you know how to do this.

Make a simple sundried tomato sauce in the food processor by adding a little water. Stir into pasta when hot. Add all the roasted veggies when hot. Serve! (If you need to reheat, put it all in a pot and stir until hot. Then serve!)

Kamut Pasta with Roasted Brussel Sprout Leaves & Portobello Mushrooms

It was delicious.