Friday, October 20, 2006

birds of a feather

As much as I look forward to seeing jack-o-lanterns and glowing skulls decorating homes on Halloween, there's something so chic and Goth about these Angel Wreaths ($39). They're made from hundreds of colorful, soft feathers, making it endlessly pet-able. I really like the orange and black tipped wreath, but also love the simple style of the single-tone ones. They're family-friendly enough to place on your door for welcoming trick-or-treaters and modern enough for vamping up the inside of your home for more mature celebrations.


not-so-far east

I never make a plan to visit the Pearl River store. But whenever I find myself downtown, I make a point to pop in to the crazy store and do a little shelf digging. And I'm rarely disappointed. Pearl River is one of those great New York shops on the fringes of Chinatown, that is filled with unique Asian home and body products at i-can't-believe-it's-so-cheap prices (everything would cost you five times the price at a SoHo boutique). It's the perfect spot for finding chic hostess and birthday gifts—and no one will ever be the wiser that you probably spent less than $20. On my gift list right now are the gold ceramic bowls ($25.50 for four); bamboo dusk placemats ($15 for four); and coral print plate ($5.50) sold in red, green and black. I gave the boxed floral rice bowls ($16.50 for a boxed set of five) as a house warming gift last month, and my friend still won't stop talking about them.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

touch of glass

The distinct designs on Emmanuel Babled's hand-blown patterned tumblers are so elegant that they'd be great for everyday use or for your next party——also helpful so people will remember which glass is theirs. They're $98 for six at the MoMA Design Store.


suck it up

Although this device may look like a pimped out super soaker or a body-busting relic from the Terminator movies, it's actually Dyson's new Root 6 hand vacuum. (Hasta la vista, Dust Buster!) I tested a pre-release model a few months ago, and it definitely performs better than the average hand-vac (powerful cyclone technology, never losing suction, blah, blah), but honestly ... is this really necessary? I mean, just look at this thing. It looks like it's designed for warfare and combat rather than picking up bread crumbs in my kitchen. Granted it is ergonomic, easy to use and can get into narrow corners with the angled brush tip. And I guess it's handy for those people with cars or who live in small spaces. And for $150, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the regular ol' Dyson upright. Okay, so maybe this guy makes sense after all.


letter perfect

I am over the moon for these Scrabble letter pillows—gimme, gimme, gimme—that soften up the cool break room in the London offices of Bloomberg financial services. I would have endless fun arranging them to display my mood (or fave word) for the day. Like today, it would most definitely spell out "GO METS!"

(Thanks, Design-Milk)


walk on, buy

As the saying goes, one person's junk is another one's treasure. For the current Home Design issue of Time Out New York, the editors had two decorators round up discarded furniture on the streets of the city and refurbish and redesign the pieces for a special catalogue. Those jazzed-up items are being sold in an online auction, proceeds to benefit Housing Works.

BRITNEY FOOTSTOOL. It's amazing how many people throw out a perfectly good piece of furniture just because the don't like the fabric. The designers replaced the ratty upholstery from this bench cushion with a small piece of vintage fabric. Voila——better than new! Bidding will start at $25.

CONDI COUCH. I love how they turned this traditional sofa into a modern beauty by lifting the base a few inches and adding chrome-looking legs (which are actually made from lumber and adhesive silver paper). Bidding will start at $50.

(Thanks for the tip, DC!)


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

face time

Ever lost your cell phone and then worried about someone making calls on your dime, viewing the address book or reading your steamy text messages? Fear not, oh paranoid one, the new Sharp SH903i has this fancy facial recognition software, using its 3MP camera, that allows access to the keypad and data only once the phone recognizes your face. For those truly obsessed about privacy, the phone also has a privacy filter so that no one can see your screen from the sides. It looks like it's only sold in Japan (for now) but look for it to come stateside very soon.


haute chocolate

While vacationing in Paris two years ago, my friend and I popped into the Fauchon boutique for some yummy ooohing and aahhing. While swooning indecisively over which macaroons I would be treating myself to that day, a woman walked up beside me and ordered a Megève cake, which could only be described as a Shirley Temple explosion—a beautiful round cake piled high with hundreds of intricately crafted milky, chocolate curls. It looked almost too beautiful to eat (although, believe me, I would have). The man behind the counter told me it has been the best selling item in the store for 80 years. (Oh, man, it had to be good.) It was made of white vanilla meringue, layered with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache, topped with a chocolate glaze and covered with chocolate curls, and finally dusted with powdered sugar. Sacré bleu! But since we were in tourist mode, trekking around the city all day, buying the cake for myself was out of the question. So when I returned home, I hit our local Fauchon to buy a Megève for myself only to find out it was only sold in the Paris location. Well, be still my chocolate-loving heart, because the NYC Fauchon has finally started offering the cake (for $70), and also offers home delivery. Vive le Megève!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

designer series

Fitzsu Grand Prix, an LA-based tabletop and home accessories store, invited their favorite designers from different mediums to create their own interpretation of the original PLAYSAM streamliner toy car for charity. (Adorable!!) Some of the famous names who have designed one include Karim Rashid, Mark Mothersbaugh, Michael Graves, Sebastian Knorr and Eva Eisler. There are about 40 different cars in the collection, and each of the one-of-a-kind toys will be auctioned off on Oct. 19th to benefit the World Childhood Foundation. (Thanks for the tip, Swiss Miss!)


say cheese whiz!

What a cute idea to add photos to everyday grocery cans and bottles——a can of beans never looked so good! It would make a fun gift or perfect for displaying on open shelving. Click here to see Photojojo's step-by-step instructions for making your own personalized pantry, and all it takes is any ol' can or bottle, some glue, a photo and 15 minutes. Voila——real pop art!


Monday, October 16, 2006

flavor of mexico

Ahhh ... what a glorious week in paradise! My vacation in Cabo was amazing -- from the perfectly sunny days to my comfy lounge chair on the beach to the deliciously spicy food -- it was exactly the break-from-reality I needed. I'll be posting some of our pictures from the trip very soon. So many highlights to tell you all about!

Since today has been a crazy, catch-up day (it's taken me hours just to get through my e-mails!), here's my big culinary discovery from the week -- Mexican Salsa.

Awww, yeah, is this stuff good! I'm forever saying adios to the bottled, saucy salsas from my local grocery store, and hola to the fresh, chunky stuff that I plan to make every chance I get. Each restaurant we visited had a different take on their salsa, some more about the tomatoes, some kicking in a few extra jalapenos, some going wild with garlic. And at each meal, I tried to pick apart the recipe to identify the ingredients that made their version so yummy. So after eating my body weight in salsa, here's the recipe I think is most authentic and simple.

4 large tomatoes, seeded
2 jalapenos, finely chopped with seeds
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 heaping tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Combine tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl, and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with tortilla chips.