Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Scream

Yesterday, S and I went to see "The Scream" by Edvard Munch at the Museum of Modern Art. There aren't many times you get to view a monumental piece of art - especially one currently holding the title of most expensive artwork ever sold
Munch made four versions of "The Scream" - with only this one on view outside of Norway. So thank you, Mr Leon Black for forking out $120 million and then sharing this crazy painting with the world.
When I first read about the sale, I also came across a cool article about a man's quest to locate the exact spot in Oslo of this painting, finding it only with the help of Google and Google Maps! I wonder where Bob would have landed had he used Apple Maps instead. Fun piece - go read!
Besides the 1893 painting, on view were a few of his lithographs that Munch created around the same time. If you aren't familiar with the "Scream" series, the subject in the foreground is nearly identical in each painting/ lithograph but the people in the background are never the same. How cool would it be if all of them could be viewed in one space.
Anyhoo all that white space in the museum makes for nice backgrounds for outfit photos:
COS oversized knit (sim), AG Stevies, Uniqlo Heattech Tank top, J Crew Macalister Wedge Boots (40% off sale!) with laces switched out, Club Monaco necklace, Anthropologie Ghita headband, usual jewelry plus a new sparkler on my left hand ;)
It was a quickie visit (a corporate membership allows me to pop in for free whenever I like) but we revisited some of my favourite permanent objects at the museum on our way out:
The Starry Night

Campbell's Soup Cans

Maybe I will try and catch the Matisse exhibit at the Met next weekend...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Miami Getaway

When the boy suggested heading south to escape the winter for the long weekend I couldn't say yes quickly enough. 
Unplanned by us, our trip to Miami coincided with the annual Art Deco weekend - which is a celebration of art deco architecture unique to Miami Beach. The main strip, Ocean Drive turned into a pedestrian-only street fair - with stalls on either side selling a variety of vintage/ art deco items and small eats and $5 mojitos - the latter I had plenty of! 

There was also a parade of classic cars including a DMC Delorean complete with a young Marty McFly.

Art Deco architecture is the only other main draw of South Beach besides the beach itself. We took advantage of the festive weekend by taking a walking tour run by the Miami Design Preservation League.
We discovered that Art Deco became popular after the Paris Exposition in the 1920s and is identified by the presence of ziggurat (stepped) rooflines, overall symmetry, decorative sculptural panels, concrete "eyebrow" panels over windows, round porthole windows, terrazzo floors, curved edges and corners. 

Since Miami planning rules required buildings over three-floors install elevators, Art Deco built in that heyday rarely went above that limit. 

No new Art Deco buildings can be built in Miami so what you see is what was erected decades ago. Also any expansion to existing buildings can not alter any design elements of the original facade - add-ons can only take inspiration from the original but is forbidden from being identical to it entirely! 
These arrows are in the Essex - which was a not-so-discreet way to direct guests back in the day to the clandestine gambling den in the hotel
Not Art Deco but worthy of inclusion since Gianni Versace took his last breath at this entryway
We stayed at Prime, a boutique hotel in the southern end of Miami Beach known as SoFi (short for south of fifth). The location was perfect, we were a block from the ocean and a 15 minute walk from the main art deco strip - a great way to build up our appetite or burn off the indulging we partook those four days. There was also a roofdeck with a pool - a great spot to laze and take outfit photos - when we weren't on the beach that is!
polka dots vincci
H&M Dress (sim), Zara stretch belt (sim and sim), Vincci Malaysia sandals (sim)
polka dots vincci
Lastly, here are my dining notes from the weekend - all of which are located on the island. Skip the mediocre offerings on Ocean Drive and head to these instead:

Prime 112 - scene-y Miami steakhouse which was part of our hotel. This place seemed to be the hottest place in town. The people-watching was priceless, so were the gratis smoked bacon served at the bar while waiting for a table. It's not cheap but the gigantic portions make up for it. Order the sesame-crusted tuna if you don't eat steak like me. 

Yardbird - hearty, casual southern food. Must orders: the chicken and friend green tomatoes. The cocktails here skew towards rye-based liqours that even a gin-drinker like me had great appreciation for. Very excited for their potential expansion into New York!

Khong River House - part of the Yardbird empire. We dined at brunch and had their to-die-for coconut pancakes served with an unusual but tasty thai-style syrup.

My Ceviche - hole-in-wall place that serves tacos and really fresh ceviche. There is a singular bench to sit on so we took it away to eat on the balcony attached to our hotel room. 

Florida Cookery - I chose this based on the desire to have local Floridian dishes. While I couldn't tell how authentic the food was, I really liked how fresh and light most of the dishes were. Plus it is housed in the swanky James Hotel and has a lush view of the Atlantic. 

Las Olas - a local Cuban cafe. The Cuban coffee was so yum, albeit heavy-handed on the sugar. Skip the cuban sandwiches for the empanadas instead - and don't leave without some sugarcane juice to-go.

I had a great time in Miami and look forward to coming back! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favourite

This blog has fallen on the wayside lately - I blame the early stages of wedding planning and falling into the black hole that is Pinterest). I have a couple of posts in the pipeline, including finishing off my Asian-holiday recap (laughably overdue) and telling you about our quick sojourn to Miami last weekend. 

But first, since it's Friday, I wanted to show you the inspiration for my favourite for the week:

I can't help but see leopard/cheetah faux fur coats everywhere. With good reason I admit - as they seem to elevate any outfit to some astronomical level of chic. With the speedy pace trends trickle down to high street brands, you would think a reasonably-priced yet decent-looking version would be easy to come by, but alas. 

However after weeks of looking, I believe we finally have a winner:

I received this today and can report that this coat (less than $70) looks better than the photo above (don't you think the collar and lapel looks a little off? me too). The faux cheetah fur on this one is super soft, feeling and looking far superior than this other ASOS one I ordered. 

Too bad it's far too cold to bust it out this weekend.

Hope you are having a great Friday! 

Image sources: (from top) Cheetah is the New Black, Atlantic-Pacific, unknown, unknown 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ballerinas, Gingham and Dots

Yesterday, Hitha and I caught the Henry Leutwyler exhibit at the Foley Gallery in the Lower East Side

Leutwyler was the portrait photographer of the New York City Ballet for a few years - his photos are what graces the brochures of the NYCB. He was recently allowed an all-access pass to the company - resulting in these exquisite behind-the-scene images. 
The exhibit was teeny-tiny (some 20 images) but whatever few photos struck a chord with the dancer in me - the grueling rehearsals, the anxiety before going on stage, the pretty hair and costumes.. 

Nearly 300 of these are set out his tome, Ballet - a beautiful book every dance-lover should own and which I am excited to add to my bookcase. 

Until it arrives, I am going to flip through this beautiful Vanity Fair slideshow repeatedly.

Padini (Malaysia) gingham blouse (sim), AG Stevie polka dot denim (sim and sim), J Crew Shearling Macalister wedge boots (on sale!) with Cole Haan laces, Dinosaur Designs necklace, day-old Dry Bar blowout

(tip - the women's laces are not long enough for the Macalister so get the longer men's laces instead)

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

13 Hours in Hong Kong

Happy 2013 everyone!

We are having a extra-relaxing first weekend of the year since the boy is under the weather.  I haven't left the apartment but to see Les Miserable (I bawled like a baby throughout. So good) and Django Unchained (hilarious at times, predictably violent at others. Overall enjoyable). 

A quiet weekend is also a great time to get back to posting about my time away in Asia. So after my short time in Taipei, I landed in Hong Kong for a quickie trip. I completely miscalculated the time I would have in the Fragrant Harbour and ended up with only 13 hours before my flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Upon getting to my friend, Sandy's at 8pm, we MAD DASHED it to COS. You all know of my love for the store  (previously professed here) and Hong Kong is fortunate to be the location of their ONLY store outside of Europe. In and out in half an hour, I picked up a few winter staples below:
This pretty purple-trim jumper with a neck-tie at the back
A chunky wool jumper that woud look good with a leather mini
My favourite thumb key-hole cashmere in yet another colour
After speed-shopping and a quick outfit change, I was brought to a private kitchen for some of the best szechuan food I've tasted in a long time.

Private kitchens, if you are not familiar, are speakeasy restaurants, generally located in private apartments behind unmarked doors. They  became popular in Hong Kong during the economic downturn in the late '90s to avoid operational costs associated with the usual restaurant business. These days, private kitchens are badly-kept secrets and to my relief, not entirely illegal due to restricted licences offered by the government. 

I was told Yellow Door was one of the original private kitchens. For around 300HKD (<40USD) these were the 16 (!!) dishes that were served:
The food was fantastic (the stewed pork ribs were my favourite) and the service exemplary. It was such a great experience and I can't wait to try another private kitchen on my next visit.

We then moved on to lots of dancing (and some amazing shots called "snowballs") at Lan Kwai Fong. I admit the area is a notorious expat hangout,  but it's always festive and fail-safe option for a fabulous night about town. 

The next morning, I had an early flight to catch but Sandy and I still managed to squeeze in some quality time at Din Tai Fung - and with each bite of xiao long bao, I wished both Sandy and the restaurant chain would come over to New York already.