Monday, December 26, 2011

Caroling in Gramercy Park

Merry Christmas again everyone!

Yesterday, while friends and family on the other side of world were digging in to Christmas breakfast/brunch, it was still Christmas Eve in this neck of the woods. 

With all gift-shopping out of the way, we started the day lazy and then headed out to Broadway for the matinee screening of Relatively Speaking (cheap tickets ftw). 

Then we skipped down to Maialino for an early dinner (God bless their spaghetti alla carbonara) before crossing the street to Gramercy Park for the one day a year the beautiful garden is open to the peasants.. sorry, the public.

NY Times
We caroled around the beautiful blue Christmas tree in freezing temperatures and in nearly-pitch-black surroundings, firmly staying within the grounds for the entire hour the park was open.  

As pretty as the park was (especially in the daytime), it was challenging to truly appreciate the beauty of the small 2-acre piece of well-manicured landscape when one is only allowed in it from 6-7pm on December 24th. For those unaware, the park is usually only accessible to a select few key-holders, whilst the rest of us common-folk can only peek at the space through the tall iron gates surrounding it. I fail to comprehend the rigidity around the access and use of the park and now that I can cross this off my to-do list, I am in no hurry to return. Why remind myself of what I am prohibited from enjoying, no?

Moving on from the soapbox to what I wore:

Anthropologie Sweetheart Shrug Tee, H&M lace skirt, J Crew rose-gold glitter belt and maroon tights, Steve Madden Graanie boots

This top (which I also have in red) is by far my favourite purchase this year and I have worn it nearly every day this week. Although sold out at Anthro, you can still grab it for full-price here

Hand-crafted ring from the recent jaunt to Istanbul

Once again, happy holidays to you and yours!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and the Liebster Blog Award

Merry merry Christmas everyone. Hope Santa was as good to you as he was with me! 

It's a quiet day since our families are 7563894037675 miles away and I have been spending the day on the couch catching up on blogs, tv and reading.  

This brings me to this lovely badge making its way around the blogosphere - the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you so much, Kelly of Fashion Fuel DC for kindly awarding me with this earlier this week.

Liebster means "dearest" in German, and this award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. The stipulations of the award are as follows:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  2. List out your 5 "dearest" blogger picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
  4. Hope that the people you have sent the award to will forward it to their favorite bloggers.

This is a great way to get acquainted with "new-ish" blogs and I am thrilled to pass on the Liebster Blog Award to the following lovely ladies:  

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I'm just a Broadway Baby

I love the theatre and I am grateful the city provides me with plenty of opportunities to indulge.

No doubt this can be expensive - so apart from getting half-priced tickets at TKTS (downtown booth only kids, forget the one in Times Square), my other wonderful source for unbelievably cheap tickets is Student Rush's Will Call Club.

The name is misleading as there is no need for one to be a student to sign up. What you get in return are email notifications when rush tickets are available to shows on-Broadway and off, usually for a token price of $5. I can not say enough good things about Student Rush and I encourage everyone in the city to sign up. 

Last weekend, Student Rush allowed me to see Lysistrata Jones and earlier today, Relatively Speaking - for 5 buckaroos, no joke. I then happily paid full price to watch Jesse Eisenberg in Asuncion before the end of it's run (side note: as good as it was, how many times can Jesse play someone neurotic?!)

As a bad cold meant I barely got dressed this week, this is what I wore last weekend when I went theatre-hopping:

 Anthropologie Frosted Boucle Pullover over a French Connection sweater dress over a Uniqlo Heattech singlet, Calvin Klein black boots and a couple layers of stockings

I usually don't care much for replicas but I couldn't resist this YSL Arty Ovale ring one
Who knew boucle and sequins were a match made-in-heaven?

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am back in DVF!


Much has happened since I have been away - I clocked up nearly 70 hours of flying last month visiting Australia and Turkey. In between the resulting jet lag, work has been extraordinarily busy and I had more visitors to entertain as they passed through the city. Excuses aside, I am glad to be back and I look forward to regaling you with tales from my time away in posts to come.

Now to the issue at hand - how wonderful New York is this time of year! The weather is milder than usual, Christmas is in the air, and most importantly, it's sample sale season! 

Although the Diane Von Furstenberg sample sale officially started yesterday, it was a not-so-secret secret that the venue would be open to the public the afternoon before (i.e. as soon as the press were done with their sneak peak). I rocked up to the sale shortly after 6pm on Monday and was in after a short wait. 

The selection was absolutely brilliant and the lack of crowds verged on luxurious. See here for photos of the racks, and also here for a hilarious video taken on the day 1 of the sale. 

I felt like I was swimming in a pool of wrap dresses so imagine the restraint I exercised by only leaving with one - which I promptly wore to work the very next day. 

New Julian LS Dress In Diamond Haze Large

Ferragamo Carla Pumps in Textured Brown

Fun combo of mint greenish-grey with fuchsia 

Prices are reportedly slashed towards the final days of the sale though choices may be thin. If you are queue-averse like me, you can pick up this dress right here.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I missed out on FITBF for a couple of weeks, but I am back so let's play shall we?

1. When I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. I had
the grades I suppose, but not the passion and dedication particularly necessary for the profession.

2. As an adult, my dream job would be a professional dancer - background for Beyonce or classical, I don't care, as long as I can prance around for a living.

3. When I was younger I wanted to be just like the Spice Girls - I was fascinated with everything they did - the singing, dancing and ALL THAT TRAVELLING. They just seemed to have more fun than most artists I grew up with.  
4. The childhood Halloween costume that I remember most was when I was .. Halloween isn't celebrated in Malaysia but I loved my Vegemite-jar costume from when I celebrated in Melbourne 2 years ago. I had a pretty yellow frock, pinned the logo onto my dress and voila! Being brown-skinned was the easiest part ;)

5. My favorite childhood toy was .. so I was one of those kids that played with books instead! I loved my Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl collection instead.

6. The time I got into the biggest amount of trouble when I was a kid was each time I talked back to my dad. I was pretty opinionated early on in life and that did not fly too well with the powers that be. Of course, now my dad and I appreciate the moments we get to have discussions/arguments - funny how getting older changes things.

7. I get daily inspiration from blogs and glossy magazines.

I fly out to the land Down Under this time next week so this weekend is going to be a INSANELY busy getting things organised for the trip.  I am terribly excited since I have not been back since moving to New York nearly 1.5 years ago.

This is my screensaver at work - I CAN.NOT.WAIT to see it in person again!

Hope y'all have a lovely weekend and let me know how will you fill-in-the-blanks this week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Deepavali!

Today is the Festival of Lights and I am in a jubilant mood!

I miss the festivities that come from being at home with family and friends - the abundance of food, the scent of incense permeating throughout the house, the non-stop flow of visitors popping in for a visit..

Lest the day felt like any other Wednesday, I woke up earlier than usual to whip up some Kesari - a sweet dish my mum would make at every festive occasion. I picked this over the many other sweets one would have today for its fool-proof recipe, much welcome if I am going be "toiling away" in the kitchen, half-awake at 7am.  
Said the ghee to the yellow colouring: "Nice hat."
  • 1 cup semolina (rawa) (available in health food stores and Indian grocers)
  • 1/4 cup ghee (aka clarified butter) (available in health food stores and Indian grocers)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of boiling water
  • a pinch of yellow coloring
  • 1 cup sugar
  • one tablespoon cardamom powder 
  • 12 cashew nuts (cut into halves, to be pre-fried in ghee)
  • 12-15 raisins (to be pre-fried in ghee)
Cashews and raisins drenched in ghee

  • Pre-fry cashew nuts and raisins, taking care not to burn them like I nearly did!
  • Heat ghee and lightly fry semolina on low-medium heat until fragrant and light brown
  • Remove semolina from stove and set aside
  • Pour boiling water into a separate pot with a pinch of salt and a few drops of yellow coloring
  • Add sugar to the pot and let it melt, followed by the cashews and raisins
  • Lastly add the semolina gradually into this pot, stirring continuously over a low fire until it thickens, ensuring that the mixture does not clump
  • Transfer into a greased tray, to about an inch-thick and give it some time to firm up
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!
I didn't wait for the kesari to firm up so the squares look distorted but goodness it tasted awesome and was a hit with the co-workers!

It's customary to dress up in new gear for Deepavali and this green skirt was the perfect thing to put on today! 
H&M skirt, Leifsdottir silk blouse
Anthropologie necklace, Banana Republic belt
Glitter clutch from Zara - which only came out to play after 6pm
That was the extent of my cooking for the week (month?)! We ended the day with dinner at our favourite thosai/dosa place followed by plenty of skyping with loved ones. 

Hope your Wednesday was as fun as mine!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sushi and Lace

For our usual Friday date night, S and I headed north to the Upper East Side for Japanese. Our usual pre-meal research revealed that Sushi of Gari has been around for nearly 15 years with the UES location being the original and apparently the best of the three in New York. 

Now, anyone can write a review (sorry, Sam Sifton) so I usually rely on my highly sophisticated, accurately-calibrated ethnic-restaurant-review-indicator: how many of those dining in the restaurant are locals? Truth be told, SoG had a even mix of Japanese diners and what I can only assume to be UES regulars. In any case, that was good enough for us (swear I am not fussy).

We tend to over-indulge during these date nights, usually because it heralds the beginning of the weekend. Since we also try and squeeze in a workout before heading out, we are usually STARVING by the time we actually eat. So as much as we had the appetite for the omakase, I have issues with certain types of seafood and instead, we had all of the following: tempura, sushi, sashimi, miso eggplant, negimaki, plenty of sake and banana bread pudding (random, I know) to finish off.


The sushi was definitely the stand-out of the meal and we will make sure to order more of those at our next visit.

On other news, I took advantage of the early departure from work on Friday for Columbus Day to check out the new Conscious Collection at H&M and to deal with the 25%-off voucher which was burning a hole in my pocket. 

Gucci red pumps
I really don't care that I am a little vertically-challenged for this frock but I couldn't resist the truly exquisite cream lace detailing, which reminded me a lot of vintage wedding dresses. Besides, it was a bargain with the aforementioned voucher! 

Mimco Australia necklace
Anthropologie Beaded Synergy Clutch
Did anything in the Conscious Collection strike your fancy? Do you have a fancy restaurant-review-indicator-thingy like I do?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Indian Summer

Apart from the glorious weather, one of the things we celebrated last weekend was my first wedding in New York, when S' nephew got married at a beautiful reception centre in Long Island. 

The saree-tying took slightly longer than I expected which resulted in a mad dash the block down 34th street to catch the train to Mineola. Oh the stares we got ..

I love weddings - any reason to dress up in a saree really. Otherwise these beautiful outfits end up relegated to the suitcase stored underneath the bed. 

Tasar silk saree, vintage bag

Not that obvious but I had curls put in earlier that day at Saks

No Indian wedding is complete without plenty of food, drink and lots and lots of dancing! 

The bride in green with a smile that lit up the room

If you were keen, here is an pretty good video of how a saree is usually draped (bonus: it's made in Malaysia)!

Hope y'all had a lovely weekend too! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fill-In-The-Blank Friday

It's time for another installment of fill-in-the-blank Friday hosted by Lauren!

1. Something popular that I can't stand/just don't "get" are lobster rolls. Seafood on bread = NO.

2. Something unpopular that I secretly love is using a paper agenda to organize my life. I love technology but nothing beats writing everything down in this colourful Jonathan Adler planner.
3. When I've had a bad day I shop? I also have a tendency to eat my feelings.  
4. I'd prefer savoury to sweet any day. However I will always say yes to dessert of any kind.

5. Something that makes me nervous is planning the big fat Indian wedding when darling S asks the magic question. Just the idea alone of planning an overseas shindig with a gazillion guests is enough to make this Type-A gal hyperventilate. 

via Jason Keefer
6. Something worth fighting for is without a doubt darling S. We have been through exhilarating highs and terrible lows, but we wouldn't be where we are without each others' love, support and encouragement. Besides, he cooks a mean scrambled eggs for me each weekend.      

7. When people think of me, I hope they think I am happy, smart, friendly and kind {maybe also "kinda awesome" ;)}

How will you fill-in-the-blanks today?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do you want to sea-food?

I have a love-hate relationship with seafood, in the I-love-chili-crabs but I-hate-lobster-on-bread kinda way. Where I come from, seafood is usually deep-fried or smothered in curry, which I presume is to mask any smell of the ocean. So it should not come as a surprise that it took me nearly 1.5 years in the city (where I eat out multiple times a week), to set foot in a fish shack - Mary's Fish Camp. Big mistake. Big. HUGE.

Once again, we arrive at another reason to move to the West Village.

The place is itty-bitty. Any ideas of having a private conversation was left at the door since we were literally rubbing shoulders with patrons on either side of us. All that aside, the dishes were fabulous - I can't stop thinking about the lobster knuckles and the golden tile with quinoa and yogurt I devoured. 

Since I am no longer apprehensive of seafood joints (trick: order the more flavourful dishes on the menu), I have put Pearl Oyster Bar on the list of places to visit next. 
This is not a food blog, and besides photos of fish are rather unappealing so I will leave you with pictures of the other outfit I wore on the weekend:

Helmut Lang T, Armani ripped jeans (circa 2009 when it was hip)

Anthropologie Golden Gate Cardigan, Club Monaco sparkly necklace
Blurry but at least I don't look so tired!
Mad love for the new Giles and Brother cuffs I acquired recently. This is my feeble attempt at an arm party (baby steps, baby steps):
(From Left) Right wrist-bone cuff from Paddington Markets in Sydney (I have not taken this off since 2006)

(Ctd) Giles and Brother Hook Cuff and Railroad Spike Cuff
Tonight I am off to Chelsea Market's Anthropologie to meet Johanna Uurasjarvi and to view Leifsdottir's fall collection. Hope you have a lovely evening too!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Marimekko and Penelope's

Earlier today darling S and I brunched at Penelope's - a lovely, homely little spot we had yet to visit despite the fact it's location being a short walk from the apartment.

Anticipating the long wait we most certainly had to endure, running errands in the flatiron/union square area sounded like a fab plan. Plans change, naturally .. especially when one walks past the new Marimekko store a mere 5 MINUTES after it opens its doors for the very first time.

These are the only two pictures I managed to take of the colourful interiors before being politely asked to put away the (iphone) camera. 

The first items you notice as you walk into this very vibrant and fun store are the beautifully hung clothing. I tried on a few items to satisfy my curiousity on fit and quality. Of the latter, everything appeared very well-made, even if only the fabric is made in Finland with the rest of the garment constructed elsewhere. 

I tried on the Arlene dress in a size 36. It's a very cute dress and is great for work due to the conservative colours and design.

I would size down to a 34 due to the generous cut (a trait consistent with the other pieces I tried on). Notice extra fabric everywhere even after cinching the waist with the belt of the same fabric. 

This paperbag-waisted skirt is fabulous - I can't find it on the website but it's of the same fabric as the Arlene dress above. The exaggerated peplum is unintentionally on-trend and it took a lot of effort not to walk out the store with it.

I have on the skirt in a size 34. Although the waist fit right, I will need to take rest of the skirt in a little so that the bottom layer becomes pencil-skirt like.
How I would like the skirt to actually look like
Goodness I love you, won't you say you love me too?

Then I tried on these high-waisted flares for fun.

They look rather normal standing still - well, as normal as black, white and red high-waisted FLARES can look like. I will consider this for my wardrobe as soon as corporate America deems this work-wear appropriate ...

Now to what I actually wore:

Tucker blouse and AG Stevie Cords

Kenneth Cole wedges

Best accessory = freshly painted toenails in fuchsia 

Now please excuse me while I spend my Saturday evening pouring over all things Marimekko.