Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Time to Relax?
Although I was awoken at 6:37am by the fire house alarm (I hope the fire they went to was not serious!), today was day one to relax.

It feels good to be out of the city and to smell the salt on the air.

I started the day by putting tomrorows lunch on the stove. It's a spiced chicken dish that's served in a wrap, cold. I'll post the recipe tomorrow. Thankfully Allegra had some chicken in the freezer. The chicken I'd brought was SPOILED when I opened it! I JUST BOUGHT IT YESTERDAY! There's no way I'm lugging it back to the city though. Blah.

Next task?

Head down the the ferry to meet Dan! Yeah!!! He was able to wrap up all of his school work and come out for the weekend. He certainly could use a weekend away with how hard he's been working in school! Columbia certainly doesn't skimp on the amount of work when they put together their 1-year Master's degrees. Of course he had school work in his bag!

A quick lunch of salads and dips laid out by our hostess (yum!) and we headed to the beach.

Dan was toting his camera too and took some of these photos in the loop below. Some great shots of both Allegra and I having fun and laughs!

He caught me sunbathing and then covered from it's hot rays! Yes, that's me under that hat and towel! Funny! Obviously those of him were taken by me! Thanks Dan for snapping them! (More photos click on his name.)

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Beach Calling
I dashed from the office, packed, food shopped and hopped the early train to get me out to Bay Shore, Long Island to catch the ferry with Allegra to Fair Harbor for the weekend.

Why the early train

I needed THIS: Steamers from Nick's Clam shack. They are SO GOOD!!!

I was ordered and awaiting their delivery when Allegra arrived. Sadly she's allergic to shellfish and simply could comment on how good they smelled.

The sun treated us to quite a show on the bay side while on the ferry ride out and before we knew it we were relaxing with a plate of dinner (a simple pasta with zucchini, tomatos and basil) and a nice glass of wine enjoying an evening of girl talk.

We took our last glasses of wine for a walk down to the beach on the ocean side of the island and saw THIS:
How beautiful!
Tomorrow marks the full moon!
We'll have to come back and look!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wine and cheese

What's wrong with that?


What a great day. I finishe 2 deadlines, put in all of the expenses for the last 4.5 months (phew) and met Michelle at the Central Park Conservancy for "An Evening at the Garden"... Or line on up and drink your fill of good wine paired with Murry's cheese.
Um... YUM!
I'm hoping their website still has the pairings listed so I can write a few of them down.

Michelle introduced her friend Matt and we picked up a new friend, Tara, in line waiting for the yums. We need to take Tara to Artisinal. Seriously...and soon.

Stopping in at my apartment -- the first half of the floor is done -- beautiful!!!
Walls to still to go -- the sheetrock is replaced but yet to sand/paint.
Yeah!!! Bring it on!!! BBQ season beckons!!
Sent from my Blackberry

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Manufactured Landscapes

Tonight Dan and I went to see a beautiful film, Manufactured Landscapes at the Film Forum down on West Houston. Thank You Simon for letting us know, from the West Coast no less, that it was playing.
We could easily see why it has won so many awards. Jennifer Baichwal directed this visually stimulating film documenting the large-scale photography by artist Edward Burtynsky.

In this film Burtynsky is followed through China as he documents its ongoing industrial revolution without judgement. The opening scene shows you an endless factory setting the stage. He also journeys to Bangladesh briefly where the ship breaking photos are amazing! You see photos of the Three Gorges Dam in China from 2004 under construction. I could go on and on... Dan bought the book of the same name that was being sold at the cinema.

Throughout the film you aren't told whether he thinks the developments photographed are good or bad, allowing you to make your own decisions and showing you a view that you would otherwise likely never see.

It's showing at the Film Forum through July 3rd. If you're in NYC, go! See it! If you're not in NYC, keep an eye out for it!

Buy tickets:

More info:

After the show we had a quick bite at Mekong (Vietnamese) around the corner.


16-18 King Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 343-8169

The food was served quickly by a friendly staff, even though we were the last patrons of the night. I never felt rushed. Their pho was tasty (3 of 5 stars), their fried pork dumplings were yummy (3 of 5 stars) and the grilled duck Dan ordered ranked the same leaving it at a middle 3 star rating. They made a good iced tea lemonade too that hit the spot as we sat out cafe style street-side.

All-in-all a lovely quick meal after a visual feast!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Work Has Begun!!

We have gone from this: Just after the Flood (April 15th) sorting through everything with the help of my wonderful family. I have been sleeping at Dan's and spending as little time as I can at the apartment, unless I'm just relaxing or working in the garden.

It can be, at times, hard to breath and is very musty.

To this: Just over 2 months have passed and they've decided to do half of the room at a time,moving my belongings to the other half rather than pay the money to remove my belongings and do it in one fell swoop...

But in the process we've found THIS... And this...

So now I'm on the continueing search to have it inspected by someone with knowledge of mold. The owner simply says, "Don't you worry about it."

He's supposed to come Friday to see the progess etc.
Time will tell.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Launch Launched
Today, although a very LONG day, was a good day indeed.

It's always so nice to see the folks that come. Some of them I've become friends with over the years and wish I could see them more often.

On our way at 7:30am to unpack 60+ cartons (the stack shown int he background of the photo below) of product for the 10am meeting. We complete it by 9:25am and Joanne and I popped out for a little breakfast. My first proper English breakfast of the trip. Why don't we serve mushrooms and grilled tomatos for breakfast in the US? Yum!

Nearly nine hours later my presentation was complete and the details of what would be offered in the UK and across Europe were settled and it was time to pack it all up! The samples get split and sent to the two agents that will begin selling first.
Everything is packed up, products that won't be run overseas packed for return to the US and voila - it's time for the company dinner!

We had the dinner this time at The Hoxton Grill at the Hoxton Hotel. The food was quite good in fact! I had a green pea soup (as in fresh peas not split peas.) I burned my tongue on the first bite though -- I'd never had this soup served HOT. I expected it to be cold. It was still good - although I think I may have preferred it cold. My Lamb - YUM! Sandra's Salmon Cakes looked delicious too! The Puddings varied from Pavlova and Trifle to a yummy Lemon Tart with fresh Blackberry Ice Cream.

Thanks to the entire team!! Good fun and a great meeting! See you all in a few months!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Top Notch

For some reason, this trip through London has left me sleepless. I've been up until 3am or later just waiting for sleep to take me. Truely, and thankfully, this is a rare occurance with me and traveling. So, in my sleepless wee hours of Sunday morning I loaded more photos onto my Flickr site so that I could work towards completing all of my writings from the list of trips I had this spring.
I began my day meeting up with Deji. With the day he had ahead of him I'm hoping seeing a smiling face helped! We met at the Liverpool tube station and he walked me, ourating all the way, through the old fabric market - now a street market - around twists and turns until even he had lost his bearings only to find out we were right down the block from what he was looking for. We lunched at the Old Spitalfields Market, specifically at The Daily Grind. I will never get used to the sandwiches in the UK. Wonderbread with a few slices of something in between and often too much mayo. It had been ages since I'd eatten a bread that stuck like peanut butter to the roof of my mouth! I suppose you are meant to wash it down with a good cuppa, so I did. Conversation lingered and before we knew it it was time to say our farewells and move along with our days.

I hopped back onto the tube... Next Stop: Oxford Street for some more shopping. Well, less shopping and more browsing to see what my competition has out in stores. When I shop the stores for work, I hit as many as I can within each day not only to see if I may have missed something grand in my own line, but to see if there are any interesting trends that are connecting the stores. It means standing, walking and dealing with salespeople all day long.

Oxford Street is always full of hustle and bustle. It's truely a buzz with action. It's also a place you need to make sure your bags are zipped up!

First stop - Top Shop. Top shop has been looking for a spot in New York City to open up for at least 6-8 months if not longer. (For such a large company, they have got the SLOWEST website!) They replenish there goods on the floor multiple times in each day which means they need to have a constantly working loading dock...which is difficult space to aquire in NYC. My boss emailed from the hotel - he'd arrived! I wrote him directions to meet me at Fenwick's Department Store and would have an hour before we met. I popped in and out of shops along the way.

In John Lewis I watched women picking out hats - it is Ascot week after all! I love to watch people putting on hats. As they sit the hat upon their head you can see them get lost in the thoughts of where they would wear it. What they would dress in and who they would show it off to. One woman was having a very hard time choosing betwen two hats. Asking her husband recieved a reply of "which is cheaper..." which of course did not answer the which looks better question. As she pulled out her dress to hold up in front of her, I couldn't help myself and picked up the second hat to hold next to her so she could see them both with the dress. It was instantly a no-brainer. She said, "Oh good, I'd love an oppinion if you don't mind!" Her husband begrudgingly said, "And what do you think she'll know about this that I don't?"

Yes, I couldn't help myself and said with a grin, "Well, I am a milliner from the States."

His mouth fell open and immediately wanted me to help his wife choose the perfect hat (suddenly the cost seemed to be of no trouble.) Very funny indeed. We all settled upon the red hat - it really looked wonderful with her skin tone and made her flirty Flamenco dress pop, as a hat should. Further, it drew attention to her eyes -- everything a hat is supposed to do!

After picking up coffee for my boss and I, I wandered down New Bond Street for my hat shopping meeting. Our shopping was a success and we headed back to the hotel to drop the hat boxes and find dinner. Heading off in a different direction we happened upon Little Hanoi (147 Curtain Road, Shorditch, London EC2A 3QE) for a Vietnamese bite. YUM YUM YUM!!! Do pop in for a bite if you're in the neighborhood. Their Spring Rolls were nicely ballanced, the Indonesian salad (with beef) was REALLY good and our Pho - YUM!

What a lovely way to end a busy weekend! Tomorrow I'll launch my new line here in the UK for the UK/Europe. Fingers crossed! We pack in at 7:30am! Time for some sleep.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

That is when the sun isn't out! The weather here in London since I've arrived has been raining (sometimes pouring) and the next minute it's bright and sunny.

Had a lovely dinner at the Yard (140 Tabernacle Street, London EC2A 4SD Tel: 02.07.336.7758) last night. A tasty salad followed by a rather gourmet wild mushroom (and garlic) pizza -- do you SEE those cloves of roasted garlic -- YUMMMM! Washed it down with a nice glass of Montepulciano and some sparkling water and headed back to the hotel for some sleep...which finally came around 2:30am.

Today I was up in time to catch the Queen's Birthday Parade on the tellie. While I was watching I heard a loud noise and popped to the window to see planes flying just overhead in formation. I finally was prepared when the third and final grouping - the Red Arrows - flew overhead and I was able to get this photo.

The transportation here reminded me of NYC on the weekends -- the subway line that was most convenient to where I needed to go was simply closed for the weekend. Thus I arrived through a bit of a round the way traveling to meet Henri and Deji near the Globe Theatre/Tate Modern for a walk through London's Borough market and a lovely lunch at a local Greek restaurant.

While at the market I had 2 lovely things -- an amazing cup of coffee from Monmouth Coffee Co. and one of the BEST Brownies I've ever had... the brownie was from Flour Power City Bakery. YUUUUM!

We walked down the river enjoying a little bit of sun hoping it would hold off until we hit the tube -- which it did -- but barely -- LOOK at that SKY (left)! Angry!! Just moments before it looked like this (below right)...

From here they joined me to Harrod's where I continued my looking for work. I often have to dash through as many stores as I can in a day to see what my competition has on offer. Sometimes it also involves purchasing items... Today was one of those day. Below left we see Henri happily holding the boxes containing my purchases of the day. Fun!
I am saddened to say that Harvey Nichols no longer has a millinery department AT ALL. Truly a shame. Folks here in London -- get out there and buy more hats!!! Bring it back!! They used to have such a lovely and quirky department!!!

It was so nice to see both Henri and Deji. Deji used to live in NYC but I didn't know him much then. Now he's back in England. Henri lives in NYC but happened to be here in London for a few days on her way to Slovakia. She'll fly there tomorrow and take a test (for school) later this week. GOOD LUCK HENRI!!! I know you'll do well!! I've spent more of my time with Henri out of the US then in the US. We'll have to change that!

Upon returning to the hotel I ran into some coworkers who have also arrived for the lingering conference and joined them for a bite at Cantaloupe (35 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3PD.) We'd had a company dinner here once before. The food is alright. My salad was nice -- but the atmosphere -- it's just -- LOUD I guess. It's loud and hard to have conversation.

Tonight I worked a bit on adding more photos to my Flickr page so that I can write my Sri Lanka blog posts etc. So many photos to organize! I still have well over 1000 to go through. Phew. Time - I just need time!
Nighty night!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

A Hop, Flight and Circle

One thing you should know when flying to or from both JFK and Heathrow... they are busy airports. Thus = don't plan your connections too tight!
We were on the ground for more than an extra hour leaving, and circled over Heathrow for almost 1.5 hours upon arrival... thus the 6hr 50min flight hit almost 9 hours... which is still a drop in the bucket and I got a bit more rest!

I really like Virgin Atlantic Airlines.
The staff is friendly, seats clean and a bit more room than many other flights in Economy class. We got beverages and Worcester Sauce Flavour Mini Pretzels for a snack followed by a our meal. Do pick a meal on their website for a special meal -- I picked the low cholesterol/low fat meal and it was YUM (not dry or icky.) I often find that by selecting a meal ahead, you get better food and more fresh veggies/fruit. Worth a click or two in my book any day!

I settled in for some knitting (above right photo) and a movie - The Painted Veil - from their entertainment on demand selection.

Really a stellar flight.

I do recommend the train from Heathrow into Paddington over a taxi if you haven't too much to carry. The fare is only £15.50 (one way) and a taxi from there is easy (mine was £20.) Certainly cheaper than the cheapest fare I've seen at £57. Certainly a better bet when the exchange rate is 2-to-1 with our dollar being such junk right now.

Dinner time!! Ciao Ciao!

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I have been tagged (last month) by Marjorie.
Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves...and here is mine.

1. I'm allergic to olives. More specifically olive meat. Olive oil is fine. My reaction to olives seems to have lessoned these past 5 years to one of upset tummy from it's origin of having everything race from my body as fast as possible from which ever end it could get to fast enough.

2. I have a super sensitive nose and can smell things that most people cannot. This can be both good and bad.

3. I will plan a trip around being able to get to my favorite yarn shop and restaurant in whatever city I'm in.

4. When home, I often wake up craving foods that are only available by hopping on a 16 hour flight and jetting to foreign lands. Why can't Din Tai Fun open a restaurant in NYC? They have one in California. (Although their newest in Hong Kong does not hold a candle to the ones in Taipei!) Great, now I'm in London craving Taiwanese dumplings.

5. I'm DYING to become fluent in Mandarin and cannot find a private tutor in NYC! Group classes don't work with my travel schedule. I'd some day like to get a Master's Degree in Chinese language I think.

6. Some of my favorite flowers include: passion flowers, anemonies, tulips, bachelor buttons, iris, ...and I cannot have any scented lilies near me or my eyes get very unhappy and a headache comes on.

7. I'm hoping to meet up with a SnB this weekend here in London, but haven't been able to track one down yet. Hmmmm. I've knit with groups in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and have plans to knit with one in Florence on my next trip. I've sadly missed the one in Birmingham, UK but mere hours every time I've been there.

I'm supposed to tag 7 other people, then contact them via email or in their comments, advising them that they have been tagged and to read this post.
I'll tag: Tatiana, J, Joanna, Sha, Darlene, Dani (at her new blog location!), and last but not least Andrea (one of the most fun folks that I was able to spoil in a Secret Pal ring what seems like AGES ago!)

And Andrea!!! Thanks for the gift you sent all too many weeks ago!! I FINALLY got to go through my mail just before leaving for London after I'd finished packing etc for the pending flood-o-renovation!!
You are wonderful! It was just the lovely hello I needed!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


Racing past deadlines in a single bound...OK so maybe it was less racing and a bit more meticulously plotting...and it wasn't really a single bound unless you can squish 3 weeks into one hop.
Through broken USB ports (minor cursing), running out of memory (yeah - my new 200G portable drive arrived just in time -- I think my company should invest in a few) and clogged printer ink cartridges... the project is done and here I sit at JFK sipping scalding hot Italian Wedding soup and chasing it with some Sparkling VOSS awaiting my departure for Heathrow.

The flight to the UK always seem to depart at night, thus you arrive 6-7hrs later feeling like you've pulled an all-nighter-- because you have. It's a more difficult flight for me than to Asia any day. It does make me chuckle when I hear folks complaining about how LONG the flight was when I am thinking, "it was so quick! I didn't get in more than one movie after the meal, and the nap was just that." Anything compare to a direct flight to Asia is short.

Upon landing you grab a taxi or the train into London and work your way to your hotel. The old hotel they would put us up at NEVER accomidated an early check-in. This left one no choice but to colapse on a couch in the lobby after a full english breakfast. The next hotel we tested out last trip is stellar! Quirky and accomidating with a far friendlier staff to boot.

I'm looking forward to getting a few hours in on the cowl-necked draped top I'm knitting on the flight. I'm using Laines Du Nord "Dream" in a primary color blend (#71). It's a Cotton/Linen/Poly blend with a lovely texture. I bought the yarn in Florence from Beatrice. I can only knit on the way over since you cannot fly out of the UK with your knitting in your carry-on. Knitting needles are still on the "No-no" list when you check in. Blah.

I'm in talks with one of the yarn shops in NYC to teach a Finishing class in August. No not how to get through your UFOs (I've a cabinet full!), but the cast-off options and ways to assemble and ties in all those ends as beautifully as you knit the pieces. More on that as it/if it develops!

Sent from my Blackberry

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tick Tick Tick...

Deadline looms --- I'm still at work...
I'm so close I can taste it!!!

Hopefully I'll create a few moments of down time next week...
Regroup. Write in Blog. So much fun has been happening these past few MONTHS - so much to write!

Things on the horizon...
* My downstairs renovation-a-la-flood is set to begin Wednesday (3 cheers!)
* I have to figure out when I'll have the time to look for a new assistant.
* PLANT MY GARDEN -- fill in those empty annual spots.
* ... R-E-L-A-X ????

Soon... Soon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


In a necessary break from studying while I cooked up dinner...

...Look whose custom made Tuxedo arrived today in the Post!!!
He'd ordered it in Hong Kong when we were there in April, but a small misunderstanding required the trousers to be remade and delayed its arrival.

Yes - he got a real bow tie (I'm a total sucker for a man in a bow tie!!)

Now we just need to find an excuse to break it out and to bust Dan away from the crazed study schedule he's on.
He's in week 2 of his one year Master's program at Columbia University and is a studying machine!!!

Hmmm...where to wear the tux first...

Meanwhile, upon my return from this next trip I have a TON of sewing to do! I've dropped two sizes since last summer and my closet of dresses mine as well be potato sacks!

So much to do - darn that work thing!

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Wow indeed! Things here have been so busy!
Between 15+ hour work days (shooting and writing the next catalog - it's looking GREAT!!) and packing up my entire lower floor from the flood.

It looks like after 2 months, the landlord is to start work on replacing the the floor and walls downstairs next week. Two MONTHS.

Oh the MOLD! It has caused some breathing difficulties in me and others (my boss came today to be witness to the conversation about the renovations and had to wait outside for the landlord to arrive as his throat was closing up!)
Does anyone know of an agency in NYC that tests for mold??

Thursday I'm off to London to present my next collection to my UK/European sales agents. Then it's home and time to start gardening and posting things on Freecycle!

I'm hoping late next week to be able to get back to proper writing! So much I want to get down in writing before I forget it from my travels!!
Sent from my Blackberry