I had the opportunity to visit the Swarovski Crystallize concept store in Soho yesterday. It's a really neat place!
Crystallize is a unique and opulent blend of a jewelry store, museum of sorts, loose crystal store, and cafe. While the cafe is a strange addition, the museum has all kinds of neat displays of items that used Swarovski.
There is an amazing, dripping chandelier that is three stories tall. This photo doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.
This is a eccentric headpiece that nobody in the store seemed to know where it came from. In any case, it's pretty wild and neat.
There was a large mural (made of crystals) of the company founder Daniel Swarovski.
These shoes were adorned with crystals all over. I adore the way they're displayed, too!
We headed to Boston for a few days this week for work and fun. I had the pleasure of visiting some fantastic boutiques and meeting the smart, savvy women who run them. I'll tell you more about that later, but here's a quick run-down of our adventure.
The North End felt like home to us because it's the Italian neighborhood. It's very authentic and cute! We had lunch at this window seat at the Florentine Cafe...lobster ravioli and pizza. Yum!
Upon insistence from a local, we stopped for Italian goodies at Mike's Pastry. Almond macaroons, lemon crescents, and (of course) cannoli. Sweet sugary goodness.
We stayed on the water and there were working fishing boats all around. Unfortunately it smelled like fish, too.
Grilled calamari! It sure looks different than those battered and deep fried little nuggets.
Lobster was all over including this huge guy.
The tall ships were coming into Boston during our time there and we saw them sailing all the time. Neat!
Go to Anthony's Pier 4 for a truly old-school dining experience. The waitresses even wore little black dresses and white aprons. Our waiter was cranky, but the food was good and the view was amazing!
This weekend, we saw My Sister's Keeper...and pretty much sobbed through the entire thing.
I'm not talking about tears running down our cheeks or a few sniffles. I mean full-on crying. That kind of crying where your entire upper body heaves up and down because of the force. It pretty much brought on exhaustion afterward.
The story is about the plight of a family whose eldest teenage daughter, Kate, has been battling leukemia since she was a toddler. When Kate was diagnosed, her only hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant. Nobody in the family was a match for this. So the parents had another child, Anna, with the help of a doctor who engineered a perfect transplant match.
As the years pass and the sisters become very close. The movie's main plot focuses on Anna's filing for legal medical emancipation in order for her parents to stop using her body to keep her sister alive...and, of course, the entire raw emotions around this perplexing turn of events.
Cameron Diaz as the mom is phenomenal as is Abigail Breslin as Anna. But the true star of the movie is Sofia Vassilieva who plays Kate. What a wonderful performance! Great cameos by Joan Cusack and Alec Baldwin.
If you need to really let it rip and cry, see this movie. I guarantee results!
I love going out to eat! It's the best to go to a new place and discover that it's amazing...and now a new favorite.
Some of my current favorites are:
Indigo Grillin San Diego - This place is so unique and yummy! All the dishes are very creative and nothing is predictable. Plus their cocktails are creative and delish, too. There is a slight southwestern flair to the food, but it's not prevalent.
I adore the Pippian-Encrusted Brie which is baked, so it's warm and soft. It's served with amazing mole sauce (I'm normally not a mole fan), baked garlic, jalapeno jam, and several kinds of bread and tortillas. I crave this!
I also love the Cedar Plank Salmon. The salmon is perfectly prepared and has just the right amount of smokiness. It's served with a fresh-tasting cucumber and pepper pico de gallo and yummy squid ink pasta in a white cheese sauce. Mmmmmm!
The ambiance is casual, but very nice. There's a half-round booth near the outdoor patio that is like a little cove. Romantic and very private!
Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco - Fine California dining at it's best! We had a tasting menu plus the wine pairing. I just can't express how perfect it was and how much the wines accentuated the food. Every little bit was delicious! I loved the cheese course where they roll over a huge cart of cheese and explain the "story" of each gourmet cheese. They were so yummy!
Mona Lisa in San Diego (I can't find their web site) - Best. Pizza. Ever. Get the 4-cheese pizza and you will not be disappointed! This is the quintessential Italian restaurant with delish food.
Fuji-Yain Minneapolis - Sushi extraordinary! Who would think a landlocked state would have amazing sushi? Strange, but true. Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh. Very creative (but not weird) rolls. Plus they have a waitress that is pretty much a clone of Margaret Cho.
David Burkein Las Vegas - Amazing service and wonderful food! It's "modern American cuisine" meaning that there's no ethnic flare, but it's quite creative and new. The bread here is amazing...ask for more.
Peohe's in San Diego - Wonderful water-front dining on Coronado...meaning that you get THE best view of San Diego. Quite a bit of seafood and even some sushi. Best martinis ever...ice cold glasses and not too much juice. This crab and mango stacked salad is wonderful!
Cafe Italia in Albany (could not find a web site) - Bella Italian! Everything here is yum yum. I think I could drink the spiced-up olive oil that's used for dipping bread. It is incomparable! This place holds a particularly special place in my heart because it's where we meet my father-in-law most of the time and he's been going here for 30 years. As for ambiance...sometimes I feel like we're in an episode of the Sopranos.
Candelas in San Diego - Perfect, romantic restaurant with amazing, amazing food. It's Mexican cuisine, but it's upscale and sophisticated Mexican. I rarely order soup when I'm out, but their soup cannot be passed up. It's quite dark inside and super romantic.
Orgeta's Bistro in San Diego - Puerto Nuevo lobster! Yummmmm! There are all sorts of baja-style Mexican dishes here. Great guacamole and wonderful queso fundito. Plus great margaritas. I sure hope they welcome me back after the last scene there. Let's just say that we had a really good time!
Some others that I also enjoy very much are:
Forno Toscano in Saratoga Springs, NY - Nice ambiance, great wine list, creative Italian food
Ferretti's Pizza in Clifton Park, NY - Ahhhhhh...thin-crust NY pies. Plus a large cheese is $10.64 including tax!
King & I Thaiin Minneapolis - Superb Thai...best I've ever had. Get the martini with the chili pepper-infused gin.
Mesa Grill in Las Vegas and NYC - Bobby Flay does it right here. Great southwestern cuisine!
I truly could go on and on about places I like (and some that I don't), so let's continue this in a future blog post.
Bicycle bicycle bicycle I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride it where I like
This weather needs to warm up (and stop raining!) so I can ride my fun bicycle all the time. I took it for a little trek this weekend, but I want to ride it every day.
Last year, in one of my California-girl moods, I bought my husband and I beach cruiser bikes. We may be the only people in upstate New York with these kind of bikes. In fact, I had to order them on-line because I could not find any locally. We really need to be on a beach boardwalk with these, but they're just so fun and functional that I can't resist using them even if they're out of place.
Mine has a basket for Lola. She's hilarious when we ride because her little head bobbles with the bumps and her ears flap in the wind! She seems to like it (although she looks miserable here!).
While I kind of look like a goon, I insist on wearing my helmet. This year I have a new pink one! I've had several people close to me who have had head injuries as a result of not wearing helmets and it's just not worth the risk and danger. Did you know (stats courtesy of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute):
- There are 67,000 head injuries caused by bicycling every year
- 2/3 of deaths from bicycling are caused by a head injury
- Direct costs of cyclists injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year
Helmets are cheap! You can get them at Target or Wal-Mart for between $10 and $20. A small price, in my opinion, for keeping your noggin in one piece!
Bicycle races are coming your way So forget all your duties oh yeah Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today So look out for those beauties oh yeah On your marks get set go Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race
I spent another Saturday scoping out vintage jewelry at an antique show around upstate NY including Rhinebeck, NY. What a great little town! There were a few amazing hotels and great-looking restaurants in the area (but we ate in Hudson...more on that later).
The show we went to at the fairgrounds was filled with HIGH-END antiques. I didn't find much that would be good for Twinkle Studio jewelry, but it was interesting none-the-less. Plus the people were classic...just exactly what you'd imagine at a snooty, high-end antique show.
This is an old set of Louis Vitton trunks...each going for nearly $1,000.
These old bathing suits were an interesting display. The amazing thing about them was how heavy and thick the fabric was. They must've weighed 10 pounds when they were wet!
These guys do a similar thing to me...they remake vintage/antique finds into something else. In their case, they made tables, mirrors, lamps, and other furniture pieces. Very clever artisans.
Lovely green marble lamps. These were once antique architectural accents, but the dudes I mentioned above converted them into lamps.
One of the vendors had pages from old books. This print must've been about 12"x20"...it was huge, which must've made for a gigantic book.
Just a blur...scoping it out!
This was a huge clock...about 4' in diameter. It's patina finish was lovely, too.
After the antique show in Rhinebeck, we stopped at a few other antique stores in that area. I got a fantastic mirror for my show booth! I also scored a great ivory and gold jewelry box and a few other small things.
Ah...the reward for a day of shopping! We stopped in Hudson, NY at Mexican Radio. I really like this restaurant because they have delicious margaritas and their menu is unique and very veggie friendly! I had wonderful chile rellenos...mmmmmm....poblanos and cheese!
I attended an insane antique show on Thursday. There were more than 5,000 dealers there...wow! Unfortunately it rained much of the day, but that might have been a blessing because it kept the crowds to a manageable level (meaning that I didn't get trampled or elbowed or injured in any way).
I found some good jewelry treasures (including the best and most unique chandelier crystals!), but was quite intrigued by some of the other items that I saw.
It's not obvious by the photo, but this gal stood about 8 feet tall. Awwww, I really would have loved her. Not even sure what I would have done with her. Maybe a spot on the roof!? But she was absolutely commanding and outrageous...fun!
These bottles were about 24 inches across on the bottoms...huge and gorgeous. Even though the sun was not shining, they were brilliant.
Aye-aye, Captain! What great treasures if you're a nautical buff.
You can't really tell in this photo, but these chairs were diminutive. I'm sure they were made for children and, perhaps, used in a school. The pattern of their shape and the differences in color made for such a unique scene.
These are some kind of a nautical item, but I have no idea what. Anyone know?
When I was in Minneapolis, I spend lots of time (and dough) at one of my favorite stores: The Bead Monkey. While I make the Twinkle Studio jewelry mostly out of vintage components, a new bead or bauble is necessary once in a while. I have found the most unique and lovely pieces at The Bead Monkey.
During my last visit, the gals at The Bead Monkey had a flyer out for the the 3/50 Project.
I am a big fan of shopping locally and do it myself all the time. However, I dispute the claim that "nothing comes home" when shoppers buy on-line.
Every single crafter and artisan on Etsy and other on-line crafting sites are local to somewhere. I am entirely in support of shopping locally. At the same time, local doesn't always have to mean a physical bricks and mortar retail store.
Etsy has a cool feature where you can "Shop Local" and find sellers based upon their geographic region. Go to the homepage by clicking here. Then scroll down and there is a menu bar on the left hand side. Click this icon:
How cool is that? Shopping locally right from the comfort of your living room!