Not Your Grandmother’s Wedgwood

Stumbled upon this shop down in Soho, NYC.  Checked out the site michelevarian.com and had a good laugh over these anthropomorphic plates.

fine china with animals in victorian clothing

Growing up my Gramy’s everyday china was an elegant Wedgwood set with a grape design.  These precious pieces were not saved for special occasions.  Their beauty was enjoyed everyday.  Her philosophy was if you take good care of things why wouldn’t you use them.  And amazing enough I don’t remember a single one breaking during my childhood.  Would have loved to slip a couple of these into the mix for a chuckle.

I knew there was a proper term for “animals in human clothing”, or rather when human characteristics are applied to animals, and so in my Google search to learn “anthropomorphism” also came across these fetching Victorian inspired prints by Hot Digital Dog on Etsy.

vintage photos of animals in victorian clothing

If you want to take it to extremes, how about clothing with animals in clothing on it?  My personal favorite, is Emily Temple Cute’s print of rabbit ballerina’s – soooo cute!

emily temple cute rabbit ballerinas

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

 

 

Oilily & Spring’s Gingham Trend

oilily logoThe brand and the story behind Oilily is so charming.  As a reaction to the miniaturized and dull clothing for children in the early 1960’s this Dutch fashion house made its start.  Their incredible patchwork collage of bright colors and fairy tale prints and details was a stark contrast to a palette of black, white and grays which were the norm at the time.

Fast forward a few decades and their high quality fabrics and craftsmanship coupled with a sense of humor keeps the brand fresh.  For me it is the punchy pinks and bright colors.  And even more impressive the timeless quality.  With their mix of fabrics and materials they are able to successfully mix a dash of vintage, with some whimsy, while still staying modern and unfussy.

I have several pieces in the vast expanse that is my closet.  Admittedly, they are not items that I can wear everyday to my gig in the financial industry, but instead are go-to favorites when I want to liven things up and brighten the day.

oilily women's kila cardigan

In their current spring/summer collection this mix-and-match cardigan is a knock out.  It is right on trend with its gingham checker fabric for the front body.  But unlike Miu Miu, Jil Sander and Marc Jacobs take on the trend, Oilily’s departure incorporates two different color sleeves and a random selection of buttons to make the trend their own.

2012 spring summer gingham trend

Mind you, I actually like how all of the fashion houses have reinterpreted gingham and taken a country staple and made it seriously contemporary and chic.

So now we can take this classic print from picnics in the park to the executive board room.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

Credits: Oilily logo and Kila Cardigan photos from oililyshop.com; Miu Miu shoes from glamour.com; Jil Sander dress from jilsander.com; Marc Jacobs dress from saksfifthavenue.com.

 

New Haircut – New Attitude

The days are growing warmer, and this weekend my hair went a bit shorter.  As much as I adore being able to pull it all back into pigtails I have wanted to try something a bit more adventuresome for awhile now.

my new kera inspired haircut

The inspiration for the new ‘do came from Kera magazine.  Sorry that I didn’t keep the details on which issue, but here is the clip I saved in my files.

tear sheet from kera magazine as inspiration

I thought it looked like something Cleopatra would have if she were around today.  Fresh, clean, sharp and super modern.

For over 10 years now I have trusted only one man with my hair – Yamasa Hiroshi.  He is a master in the art of hair dressing.  His resume is out of this world!  Check it out at yamasastudio.com.  I don’t normally bring in a photo for Yamasa to work from, he is way too good to need reference.  (I still can’t believe my luck in finding him all those years ago.) But this one time I wasn’t sure I could explain my crazy idea without some help.

hopscotch salon in greenwich and me making silly faces

Hopscotch Salon in Greenwich, CT is where its at if you are looking for a NYC stylist – but don’t want to leave the burbs.  This quote from their website about sums it up, “This novel idea of bringing a city salon to local customers saved Connecticut clients considerable time, expense, and bother.”

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi Yasuda in NYC

Sushi, sushi, and more sushi.  I have been in a rut lately – a rut that I am not complaining about one bit.  On a special occasion recently my love and I had the chance to dine at Sushi Yasuda in New York.

I learned about the restaurant during Japanese class at Japan Society.  Sensei used a list of great Japanese establishments in the city as a way to teach us how to say phone numbers.  And on that list, yes you guessed it, this sushi-ya. The next step was finding the place.  It is on a very unassuming street in the business district by Grand Central Terminal.  And the signage for the restaurant is even more unassuming.

what to look for to find sushi yasuda's storefront

Itadakimasu

The restaurant is sharp.  Floor to ceiling bamboo wraps you in an inviting warmth.  The sake selection was OK.  I give the sushi a 4 out of 5.  It is good, very good, but I have been spoiled.  They lost a point for portion sizes (very small nigiri) and the rice more than anything.  It had a bit too much bite for my liking.  But I know a lot of people like that so do be sure to try it yourself.

sushi and sake at sushi yasuda

Gochisosama

There was something kinda cute on their website.  Looks like they sell some sushi oriented origami as souvenirs.

sushi yasuda origami

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

 

Le Carrousel in Bryant Park

Beautiful day to take a stroll in Bryant Park, NYC.

le carrousel in bryant parkThe carousel is chanting it’s charming French cabaret music.
A ride is just $2.00.  Stop on by!

the rabbit is one of 14 animals on teh bryant park carousel

It’s Back! Domino Magazine

I was attending business meetings at Condé Nast last week.  The staff are really amazing, warm, and smart.  Have to admit that I was a bit star struck being there.  Their content has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

When we were about to depart after the meeting they gave us all a little treat for the commute back to the suburbs – the new edition of Domino.

I can remember vividly when Domino disappeared from the magazine stands.  It was the number one go-to for fueling my passion on Life’s Sweet Essential #3 – Shelter.  This might sound too dramatic, but it was like losing a friend. The articles were always spot on, modern, and accessible for those with either a small or large budget to play with.

The Quick Fixes special edition doesn’t disappoint.  And a surprising treat, it is incredibly sparse on advertising (only 3 pages one of which is the back cover) and that means, from cover-to-cover, it is chock full of rich content.

  • The “Makeover Manual” (page 11) has an awesome project for crafting a wooden shelf as a radiator topper.  And if you too have rented as many pre-war apartments as I have, I am certain you will appreciate this trick.
  • Would love to copy cat the Chanel logo artwork (page 25).  It is the star of the show in a very impressive way to hide a big air conditioner eyesore.
  • Well and then there is the spread on dressing up desks (in particular pages 80-81 shown above).  If only my desk looked that posh.  The crown topper pencils are to die for!  So sweet.

Have you picked up your copy yet?

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

 

 

Dassai Junmai Daiginjo Sake

Had an absolutely spectacular night at the Dassai X Megu event in NYC.  Sakurai-san, the Kuramoto (Sake Brewery Owner,) is the most charming young man.  He is the 4th generation owner of the honorable Dassai and Asahi Shuzo Brewery.  A wealth of knowledge about his subject matter is equally matched with his passion for the art that is sake brewing.

the polishing of rice grains for making sake

An excerpt from Kateigaho magazine featuring Dassai.

Dassai 39

This sake is my new love.  I am not very articulate about describing sake or wines, but I enjoyed that Dassai was dry with only a subtle touch of sweetness.  It had a consistent taste – it stays on your tongue and doesn’t waiver.  Very clean and refreshing taste.  I’ll need to stop by Sakagura and also Mitsuwa to check out the price.  As it is a premium Junmai Daiginjo, my Life’s Sweet Essential #4 – Money might be taking a bit of a hit soon.

Sake Soap!

soap made from sake-kasu, lees left over after sake production

Life’s Sweet Essential – Shelter got a surprise perk too.  Received a bar of Dassai Sekken Junmai Daiginjo Soap!  It is made from sake-kasu, which I learned are the deposits and residuals of yeast left over after sake production.  I am told this is the best thing ever for getting lovely young and fresh skin – yay!  So good to see that even the residuals from the process can be turned into something so useful.  And look at that uber-kawaii otter on the bar of soap  <*)) >>=<

The story behind the brand’s name is adorable too.  Here is a quote from their website:

The name of our sake, Dassai, means “otter festival,” and the origins convey much of what we are about. Part of the name refers to an ancient name for the region here in Yamaguchi Prefecture, as long ago there were many otters frolicking in the nearby rivers. Otters will lay out the fish that they catch on the shore, almost as if they are showing them off in a festival. This led to references to “otter festivals” in ancient poems. But there is more…

Be sure to read the rest of the tale on the Dassai site!

A little embarrassed to say that what stood out about the food at Megu was the wasabi cheesecake that was served for dessert.  It was a really interesting mix of sweet with a punch of heat.

photo of Sakurai, wasabi cheesecake, asumi saito, and me

Kazuhiro Sakurai | Wasabi Cheesecake at Megu | Me and Asumi Saito (photo taken by Sakurai-san)

Before I sign off – I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Sakurai-san; Asumi Saito, the sales representative for Dassai; and to Chizuko Kiikawa-Helton, from Sake Discoveries who helped plan the event.  (Chizuko-san wore a smashing Okinawa Bingata Kimono that was so cute.)  Domo arigato gozaimasu!!!

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

 

Dassai X Megu

You know how I mentioned the other day that I signed up for emails from the Japanese Culinary Center.  Well it has already paid off.  Heading out in a little while to Megu for a Dassai sake tasting dinner!

Here’s a caption from the email:

“Dassai, one of Japan’s most sought-after sake breweries in Japan, crafts only ultra premium Junmai Daiginjo [Sheri’s heart begins to melt] sake made exlusively from Yamada Nishiki rice, the finest sake rice available from Hyogo Prefecture.”

The event is limited to 20 guests.  I am very excited we were able to get tickets.  Looking forward to mingling and meeting new people.  Well and am elated to enjoy a 5 course meal at Megu!!!

Exquisite interior featuring the Lord Buddha in center stage at Megu in NY.

Kanpai!!!

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

Credits:  Dassai flyer photo from Japanese Culinary Center’s email campaign; dining room photo from  megurestaurants.com.
 

H Mart – Korean Grocery

Recently, H Mart, a Korean grocery store, opened in Hartsdale, NY.  This adds another great Asian fixture to the Westchester community.  Daido is an absolute must for Japanese staples and Kam Sen has a good mix but is predominately focused on Chinese delicacies.

I have to thank two of my colleagues at work who both came into the office over the past few weeks raving, “Sheri has to go to H Mart, she will love it.”  This was followed by, “I can’t believe all the free samples.”  So it sounded as if my friends left the store with full carts and full stomachs.  Having stopped in on Saturday, I totally see why.

First there were noodles …

… then some pancakes …

… next was pickled side dishes …  literally every isle had something to snack on!

H Mart had a pretty large selection of live fish and even a plethora of various frozen fish balls.  We brought home live crabs, oysters, some fish to grill, and some uni for an afternoon treat.

We also picked up one of H Mart’s loyalty cards which will help with both of Life’s Sweet Essentials – Food & Money.

Are you hungry?

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

 

The Art of Content Curation

This week MasterCard Worldwide cut the ribbon on their new Social Media Conversation Suite.  Facebook lead several presentations and had small genius bar type breakouts for employees to participate in.

Facebook Genius Bars in MasterCard’s Conversation Suite

One session that personally struck a cord was James Gross of Percolate.  James gave an interactive presentation on The Art of Content Curation.  Once you get past all the puns Percolate has around their process (like build your brew) the exercise was really practical to help calibrate, or re-calibrate, one’s focus when creating content.  For me I intend to apply the lessons right away here on Life’s Sweet Essentials.

James Gross from Percolate presenting at MasterCard Worldwide

James used the metaphor of party-planning as a means to help editors stop procrastinating and to start creating!

  1. How do you great your guests? – Do you know  your elevator speech – who are you, what do you stand for, who do you want to connect with…
  2. What will guests be talking about? – To set the mood of the party, what types of conversations would you hope to inspire amongst your guests, those topics should reflect you and tie back to your elevator speech.
  3. Who’s your inner circle? – Who would be on the guest list?  This step involved listing out at least 15 web sites (personalities) that are your muses.
  4. How will you keep it interesting? – What would really mix things up at the party, where could you expand beyond your comfort zone, what party guests could help you to liven things up.
  5. Who’s the guest of honor? – Who would you place in the spotlight, who are those few guests that would be most strategic to your success.
  6. What will you be serving? – No party is complete without drinks! But there are always “hard” and “soft” drinks available for guests.  Thinking back to the conversations you want to inspire, what topics would be your hard alcohol versus your soft drinks.
  7. How would a guest’s thank you note read? – After the party how do you want to be remembered, what would their impression be and if someone were to thank you, what would their positive feedback be like, did they have a delightful surprise that they didn’t expect, what constructive recommendation might they offer on something you could have done differently?

The Topics of Conversation exercise was pretty straight forward for Life’s Sweet Essentials.

Was really interesting to complete step 3.  Made me realize that I need to spend some more time on the web as relates to a few of my key topics of conversation.  Well and maybe some less time on other sites that totally distract me.

So if you happen to stumble upon this James, my thank you note goes to you.  Really appreciate the inspiration and the insight to help make myself and my editorial better.  Cheers-mate.

 

Sweet Dreams, Sheri

 

 

 

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