Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The French Have All the Good Stuff

Above is the yacht on which, one day, you will be calling me. When I think of my perfect yacht, this is it. PERIOD. She is "Reverie," and I spotted her twice out and about around St. Maarten. We had a moment. I snapped this photo while on a dive boat with a whole gaggle of French people, all who currently LIVE on St. Maarten. As we passed the yacht row (see below), one of the guys on my dive boat pointed out another yacht and said "that is my boat." I turned to him with a wry smile, like yea right. BUT then he continued to go on about how great that yacht of his was for diving. The French have all the good stuff...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Yep, I scored a restaurant week table at Tom Colicchio's Craft!!!! Not only did I get to say "colicchio" a lot that week, but I finagled a table for FOUR for the much-desired late lunch. So, in true NY fashion, we had a little coworker retreat at that table allll the way up in the front. Our choices:

  1. Quail with 50 year-old Balsamic Vinegar; Malpeque Oysters; Sweet Potato Agnolotti & Pecan; Beets & Tarragon
  2. Painted Hills Flatiron of Beef cooked medium; Diver scallops; Scottish Salmon
  3. Gnocchi with Fleur de Sel; Swiss Chard; Brussels Sprouts
  4. Doughnuts with apple butter and vanilla ice cream; Olive Oil Cake with Citris marmalade and blood orange granita

I SAW IT FIRST!: Mod Tights

So I'm catching up on one of my favorite UK blogs, retrotogo, when I see their post about Celeste Stein pattern tights. I totally SAW IT FIRST. Months back in New Hampshire, I was at a shoe store and went crazzzzzzyyyy over a small batch of these (none in my size because stock was low). Going to the website, you can order them in any of over 1300 different prints! Peep my picks below:
(Clockwise: woodgrain, candy, comics, cats (so funny/creepy), cash, chocolates)


Yes, I have returned...but for how long, who can tell? Twas a lovely many days in St. Maarten; days full of guavaberry, scuba, slot machines, and leathery-tan French people. Oh yes, and we must not forget a healthy dose of my specialty in travel: crazy insane dangerous experiences.

But I am back alive and well, although notably sans money, my left flip flop, and sanity. Oooohh I do think that is the perfect recipe for inspired blogging...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

STRAIGHT TRIPPIN: Live from St. Maarten

HEY my adoring public! Just a little announcement before I jump on the diveboat...tomorrow I will be live from the Maho Bay Beach Bar at 1pm! Ok, so I'll just be drinking at the bar which is at the end of the St. Maarten airport runway, and you can catch me on one of their 5 webcams, oblivious to your presence. Nonetheless, should be an awesome excuse for you to daydream about warmer weather, and to possibly catch the landings of the big Air France from Paris, and the AA and JetBlue flights from NY. That's why I'll be there...oh yes, and for you. Hmm what will I be wearing? Grey capris, a black v-neck, a thick white bracelet, and red sunglasses. Oh yes, and my trusty black Havaianas (by the way, there is a Havaianas boutique here, and each pair is like, 32 Euro! and yes, the Euro is KILLING ME). LOVE from the "friendly island..."

Thursday, January 24, 2008


No, the above picture has not been photoshopped. This is a real landing, of a real 747, onto the very really scary single runway at Princess Juliana Airport on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Sooooo I'm going to go chillax on that beach above for the next few days...have a great weekend! Weather will be 82 and sunny, with chance of possible blog posts...

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


For my reviews of restaurant week, I shall make them blissfully short and lacking in frilly tonight Jessie and I hit Butter on Lafayette. Sure, I could go here any other night, but then I'd be paying $35 for an entree instead of $35 for a 3-course dinner! They *surprisingly* did not alter the portion sizes smaller for restaurant week, and the selection was quite good. I found all my courses to be complimentary in flavor and quite tasty at that. Our decisions:

  1. Beet and Basque Cheese Salad with Sherry Dressing (Jessie: Sauteed shrimp and crispy salt cod with mandarin dressing and arugula). Super yummy!
  2. Duck Breast with roasted sweet potato, dandelion, and kumquats (Jessie: Braised Pork Osso Buco "that's a lot of pork!" with Adzuki beans, charred onions and mustard) and a shared side of white mushrooms and braised leeks with dry vermouth
  3. Dark chocolate and salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream (Jessie: Blood Orange upside-down cake with cognac sauce and orange sherbet) This course was my least favorite because the duck was so summmmmptuous.
Interesting notes about our time at Butter -- We sat underneath a spotlight in the center of the room, and I was a tad put off by this at the beginning. Then the random background music begun: Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower" followed by Kansas' "Dust in the Wind." With the latter song, the dining room quieted a bit and a consciously sad mood briefly descended, as about 3 hours prior (and 3 blocks south), Heath Ledger had been found dead. Also, the dining room reminded me of a freshly-dug grave (albeit warmer).

And yes, there was a specialty butter tasting to whet the appetite.

A LA MODE: Patent and Postmarks

Remember last summer, when all the cute totes had red or yellow patent accents, and everybody had some patent skimmers? Well, the shapes are the same, but the colors have changed. Check out the very yummy Y-Mail Collection from Yves Saint Laurent, for Spring/Summer 2008...bronze and black patent. This is SO my aesthetic...great design & material with a cosmopolitan feel and yet extremely unique. It's exclusive to Asia for now, which is good news for my wallet (even though owning the wallet above would be even better news!). Thanks for the tip, JS! via FashionWeekDaily

Monday, January 21, 2008

The British Have All the Good Stuff

This is what I get for reading British blogs! reports today that British Airways has the Anya Hindmarch Concorde cases for their first class amenity kits for sale and ON SALE! Down from about $100 to $30 for each...but only available to be shipped in the UK. This reminds me of another sore subject... the rarity of the Qantas Marc Newson amenity kits. Ugh.

IN GOTHAM: Gourmet Stomach Aches

It's that time again! I might have cobwebs in my cupboards a la Old Mother Hubbard, but the champagne wishes and caviar dreams get tangible this week: NY Restaurant Week! When the reservations opened around New Years, you KNOW I was all up ons...and I've got the tables to show for it. Check back throughout the week (and a little of next week) to see where I'll be scoring five-star $35 dinners, and where I've stuck my fork in the past.

Libel, I say!

I was dressed for the boardroom: black blouse tucked into a pencil skirt, low heels, 3 strands of pearls, black trench, and black laptop messenger bag. I was standing in Foley Square, low Manhattan with 2 associates. I simply deigned to answer a few questions from a reporter, and now I've been LIBELLED by the NY Observer! Please review the following:

“Is this the first time I’ve been pantless on the subway? No. But is it is the first time I’ve done it officially? Yes,” said a Jessie, a 22-year-old Rutgers student, wearing a pair of pink boy shorts from American Apparel that she had purchased for a “special undie event” earlier that year.

Why would hundreds of people want to take off their clothes on the subway?

“Why not,” asked Jessie.

She was accompanied by her friend Anne, wearing what she described as “unseasonal” candy corn boxer shorts, and Cynthia, who chose a set of “granny panties—because I’m not seeing anyone right now and they are comfortable.”

Libel, I say! Despite what you read, I was NOT the one wearing granny panties, and I described my candy corn boxer shorts as "out of season!" Also, I defend Jessie as she is NOT a Rutgers student and IN FACT has a big-time job in Manhattan! LIBEL!!!

Whatever. We did the Improv Everywhere No Pants Subway Ride last Saturday, and it was lovely. Peep the video below.

Friday, January 18, 2008

RIDILUX: Pop Tab Necklace

I am simply drowning in a sea of ridiculous luxury (maybe part of it is living in NY and being around crazy excess). Yes, that is a necklace of pop can tabs, and yes, you can totally make a better one. They don't even give it a flowery name; it's the "can tab cascade necklace," and it's part of the A/W 07 Maison Martin Margiela Accessories collection. The pricetag is a neat $695, which would buy me about 6 of these. On the other hand, I am totally feenin for the Margiela cork heels and clutch (yea, about $500 each):

The Japanese Have All the Good Stuff

Novelty products don't get any better than this. I can't imagine how someone developed the idea of a compressed T-shirt, but I like to think it's one of the many responses by Japanese society to urban overcrowding (ha). Nonetheless, the companies I've come across who successfully sell compressed T-shirts of their own brand are Japanese: MUJI, Bape, and FinalHome. Looking at the FinalHome shirt below, which measures 5"x5"x0.3", I wish I could compress the contents of my closet. I would so build a fort.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

IN GOTHAM: Moving On

Hello, my name is Cynthia, and it's been two weeks since my last Gawker.

For the last year or so, I have been held captive by the razor-sharp claws of bloggy snark at Gawker. At least once a day I needed a bump of Gawker, or Gridskipper, or Jezebel. I wasn't even living in NY at the time, but the vicious Manhattan gossip and the seemingly endless stream of jaded commenter banter proved addictive. In fact, Gridskipper was my original love...back when Joshua David Stein was editor and nearly every post caused me to chuckle a bit.

We had some special moments: John Fitzgerald Page is the Worst Person in the World, the commenter who started his own blog in the comments of a post, nygirlofmydreams, and the near-daily SJP sightings on Gawker Stalker.

Now Gawker has some new rules, a new editor, and has lost the talent of Choire, Joshua, and Emily. All at once, Gawker has aged literally and figuratively. The young, witty, and talented of the commenters have decamped to SLC Outsider, and even superstar commenter Lolcait has his own blog. It's a sad beginning to 2008 for NY internet media.

A LA MODE: My black trench

So apparently what's so very in vogue is MY BLACK TRENCH. Above on the left is a new $400 trench from Joie, and to the right we have MY Old Navy Clearance Rack find from Dec. 2006 at $25. They are the same except that I think my coat might be a bit longer and has rounder lapels. Who copied who here?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SWINGIN PAD: Ligne Roset Togo

Back in the infancy of my obsession with great design (about 2 years ago), the Togo collection from Ligne Roset was, for me, the epitome of chic living. It had that je ne sais quoi... and appealed to my budding taste for retro-modern. When I was in LA, I popped a squat on those very Togos in the picture (it's my picture) as I was staying at The Standard, Hollywood. OK so maybe they're the reason I stayed there...but I had to pay homage to the design which proved a turning point in my aesthetic.

Below: my shower at The Standard, and mad love for the color orange.

P.S. - Hannah, if you read this, I miss talking Togo fabric swatches!

I SAW IT FIRST!: Gold Poop Pills

When the New Museum on Bowery opened in December, all the blogs were abuzz about this product from Just Another Rich Kid: 24K Gold Poop Pills. You get 3 pills of 24K gold flake for $275, guaranteed to make your poop sparkle and you a complete douche for buying them. But I SAW IT FIRST! Well, actually my friend Jared did, at Hejfina in Wicker Park, Chicago. Then there followed a time when I was actively applying to write for blogs, and I reviewed these pills as a sample of my writing and trend-hunting skillz. 

It's been a year since, and the world is just discovering what I'm so over. And now I'm writing my own blog, unpaid as it is.

Goodbye, Isaac. Hello, Jonathan.

So yes, it may on every other blog today just like the Macbook Air, but Target announced that Isaac Mizrahi will be leaving for Liz Claiborne. He will be replaced (c'mon, like anyone can really replace Isaac!) by Brit Jonathan Saunders (see his stuff above), who will be the next Go! International designer after Jovovich-Hawk. From Racked: "His latest collection for British high street retailer Topshop features jersey dresses printed with bold, primary color shapes." Did somebody say my name?!

When it comes to designer collections for mass production, I leech onto them like the retail vampire I am. Despite my undying love and gratitude for Isaac (hello, he once did a woodgrain skirt and dress for Target!), I'll be VERY thrilled to see the mod prints and bright colors of Saunders after Jovovich-Hawk smears their boho-chic all over Target.

Big BIG News!

Inspired by Perez Hilton's big announcement of a new flavor at Pinkberry, I am proclaiming from the mountaintops (well, this blog anyway) that Metromint water is launching the new flavor: CHOCOLATEMINT. I first sipped the sweet, sweet nectar of Metromint Peppermint after a long day of biking in Chicago, when I stopped in at Filter in Wicker Park (Filter is now a bank, sadly). Then this last summer Metromint released the lemonmint and orangemint, and now they see fit to grace us with Ambrosia...
It's not on the shelf yet, but do look for it soon at Balducci's and West Side Market.

UPDATE: Just bought some at Balducci's! Very subtle...actually refreshing. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

IN GOTHAM: Rich kid buys more stuff

I'm sure you've heard the tales of the young founders of their $10,000-a-month loft, fast relationships with known idiots, and speculation on vices. So I wasn't exactly surprised when I opened the NY Observer the other day and saw this bit about the 1.97 M. condo one of them just purchased in the West Village. Then it sank in that this is the building underneath which sits my PATH station, and houses my local Urban Outfitters and Starbucks, AND generally looks too pretty to house 26 yr old millionaires. The place currently has a duplex penthouse on the market for 7+ M., just in case you fancy the idea of sharing the elevator with someone who made a career out of linking to videos like "How to Make a Big Mac at Home. Awesome."

RIDILUX: 24K Loss Prevention Brooch

This is both Ridiculous Luxury and a Covet . All those months back when I lived in Chicago, I actually encountered a real, live specimen of this on the street. A woman was wearing it hanging off the left lapel of a plain black skirt suit, and I was immediately taken in by this simple and cheeky accessory. It. is. perfection. It is the 2003 "Respect Me" by AndrewAndrew; a loss prevention tag cast in 24K gold. Entranced by the piece, I spent a good several hours of intensive googling before finding the right keywords to locate it, only to discover that it is no longer available. Nowhere can I find a price, how much do you think it would go for? I made feeble attempts at locating one of these old tags in a department store, but to no avail. Make me one? I'm a little short on liquid 24K gold this time of year.

Just another night in Jersey

Yes, I trekked out to Liberty State Park, NJ to see the spectacle on Sunday night. I had to walk a mile or two on a near-deserted non-lighted road in the middle of the park, get drenched to the core by icy rain, and get a talking to from the Park police for crossing some restriction tape, but it was worth it! It was only myself and the crazies...meaning other ship fanatics (mainly Germans). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of hearing my dissertations on the awesomeness of ocean liners, let it suffice to say that they are close to my heart; AND I was at the christening of the Queen Mary 2 in Southampton, England on Jan. 8, 2004.

Now I ask why are you reading this when you could be on Kroooz Kams?! Sounds hokey, but it really is some site. Choose to tap into either the live webcams onboard ships around the world (Greenpeace included) or at their ports. I am now absolutely addicted to randomly peeking in on various ships on course to Vanuatu or the Falkland Islands. You MUST see it once, if only to check in on the tandem world cruise of the Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria...

Monday, January 14, 2008

RIDILUX: Swarovski Toaster

In today's installment of Ridiculous Luxury: The Neiman Marcus limited-edition Swarovski Toaster. Designed by Russell Hobbs (just in case you missed his name surrounded by 200+ Swarovski crystals), this toaster is limited to 500 pieces and available for a clean $300. I'm sorry, but it only toasts 2 pieces at a time and I don't want to be a part of a conversation started by this. I imagine it to be like this: "Let me show you my bling toaster!" "That's pretty pimp, do you have a matching platinum blender or something?" "No, an Osterizer. Want to watch this toast some bread?" I prefer that my toaster have an attitude.

When Swarovski started doing bottled water and the Wii, I officially wrote them off as the last-minute mall-gift-for-female-relative company they are. They're just digging the hole deeper. Via Born Rich

SWINGIN PAD: Ceramica Flaminia Bath

Wow. Can I get this in reverse? My only desire out of life is to have it in orange, with a black & white stripe rug. This is the bathroom envisioned by Ceramica Flaminia. Let us not say that it "redefines the bathing experience" or utter some crap about "visual orchestration." Rather I find the idea of soaking in a sake cup and washing my hands in a pipe from Mario Bros to be SLICK as all get out. Via Trendir

Eames stamps from the USPS

Just out from the US Postal Service is this sheet of Charles & Ray Eames stamps. At about $7 for a sheet, it's the closest I'll ever come to affording anything with the Eames name. I'm buying one sheet to mail (and therefore subtly flaunt my design snobbery to recipients) and another sheet so I can create little stories such as this...
Oh it's been a long day riding my vintage ! I think I'll have a quiet evening all curled up in my reading with the napping on the and low on the radio.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

STRAIGHT TRIPPIN: Taking the Chopper

Welcome to my blog. I guess you could say that I'm an avid blog reader, but I've never indulged myself so far as writing my own. Well, here I am and here you are. Enjoy as I regale you with my first tale of heliocopters, jets, and homelessness...

A few weeks ago I hopped a JetBlue flight out of JFK for the weekend. For that JetBlue flight, I was taking a pretty early departure and still had to work some of the day. Enter US Helicopter, running a special which seemed tailored for me.

The day of, I was at work until 2pm with my looming 3.45 JetBlue out of JFK. JFK...rhymes with FARAWAY. My bright orange luggage and I dashed down to the Wall Street Heliport, and into our waiting corporate chopper. 8 leather seats and 2 pilots...all with overhead reading lights. On top of that, the heliport is flat on the East River, so when we did one of those nose-down charging-straight-on takeoffs, it was practically into Governor's Island. We came around over the shipping lane, over Brooklyn (so low I could practically hear people cursing in their towncars, stuck in traffic on their own way to JFK), and we set down at the Delta Terminal. I had no time. I RAN out of the Delta Terminal, onto the Airtrain (it's a good thing I can navigate JFK like it's my job), through security in the JetBlue Terminal, and discovered that not only was my flight boarding, but at the very furthest gate out in the auxiliary terminal. I suppose that's what I deserve for flying to Ohio.

My zippy orange luggage was still up for some sprinting, so we hightailed it to the transfer bus. There, two people chatted: "how efficient was that? We were just...," and I exploded. It went like this: "YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT EFFICIENT?! I WAS ON A HELICOPTER NAY TEN MINUTES AGO." (Occasionally, archaic terms slip into my working vocabulary). Time sort of stopped, as I hadn't really thought before making such an exclamation. And then all 6 or 7 of us on that transfer bus were immediate best friends or something. It was like, tell your craziest rushing-to-a-flight story hour, except it was only 3 minutes. We parked at the auxiliary terminal, and I had to apologize for ending our conversation because I had to RUN! And I verily shot into my gate and into an EMPTY plane. I sat down, caught my breath, looked around, and thought "hey-this is going to be an awesome empty flight." Come to find out that I had boarded during the time set aside for the elderly and small children. Yea, I'm cool.

Now as I reflected on that experience, I was drawn to wonder at why I love airports so much. But I understand. It's because I've made many places of transit (not just airports) my home for some nights on the road, but not like a vagrant. a vagrant. I can pinpoint the top two sleeps I've ever had in my life: 1- on the floor at Fiumicino Aeroporto, with my brother because he had a flight at 7am and we got to the airport at midnight. 2- in the Euroyouth Hostel in Munich, in one of the 12+ bunk beds they have in one large room. I return to those heavenly beds every time I'm in Munich, despite having 25 bedfellows. Screw the Four Seasons.

So Airports, yes. I've slept (very well) in Roma-Fiumicino, Roma-Ciampino, London-Heathrow, and at every backpacker's rite of passage: London-Stansted, which really makes for the best story. I had dragged my friend Jack to Europe, she had ruined her ankle in Venice early on but didn't think about it until Dublin, and we spent the last night camped out under the main Stansted Departures board. Before settling in to sleep, I foraged for food among the newstands and returned with like, 7 flavors of "crisps" heretofore unknown to the world. Jack wasn't into my prawn cocktail crisps, nor was she all about the maple sausage ones. So I passed out under the Departures Board, on a sea of empty snack-size chip bags, and drifted into lightly salted dreams.

At Heathrow I was alone, and returning from my time abroad, and I learned something. If you have two 26" piece of luggage, you have yourself a bed. I am NOT about to pay something like 70 pounds sterling to sleep 5 hours in a MARRIOTT for chrissakes. So there I was, maxin and chillaxin on my samsonite mattress, when something like my guardian angel made me look at a little crack in a temporary wall. LO AND BEHOLD! The SWISSAIR LOUNGE!!!!! You better believe that I shimmied through that space in the wall like I was a mouse, and spent a lovely evening sprawled on a couch like it was my god-given right. (Pardon the many similes).

Do you know what? I like blogging about this. I could never blog if I'm depressed or anything, because who wants to read THAT?! I sure don't. I want to sit back and reminisce about the 6th time I had a stopover in Salerno, and spent like 4 hours carving those itineraries and dates into a column while waiting for my connection. After all, my life is like a moving walkway. And here I could launch into an extended metaphor, but from that I will save you.