Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cover Up!

Over the years, I've been frustrated that the only electrical cord covers I could find were the typical snake-like vinyl tubes that are cut on the side to slide your cords into.

But wait no more! Here's an elegant solution to hiding your lamp cords and bundled cords out of sight! Cord Coverups are made of silk dupioni and come in various colors to blend with your wall, drapes, or lampshades. Used mainly to cover chandelier cords, this is a wrap-around fabric with velcro and snugly attaches around whatever cord you need to hide. For under $30, this Martha Stewart style solution is so easy and no sewing required. Give your home a nice finishing touch!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bottle Shock Uncorked!

Did you see the movie Sideways and venture out to Santa Barbara? Well now you'll have to see Bottle Shock and venture out to Napa!

Nestled in St. Helena (north Napa) there lies a beautiful small winery called Chateau Montelena. After many ownership changes, their chardonnay competed in the '76 French 'Judgment of Paris' blind tasting and was crowned first prize! A true "bottle shock" as wine in Cally was still considered a bit of a joke in the 70's. This sensational incident has now been transformed into a movie and will be uncorked on August 6!!! I'm already smelling hints of humor, tears and joy in this glass. Furthermore, it's PG13 so you don't have to be 18+ to "taste" ;-)

When I went to Chateau Montelena last winter, we got first dibs that they'd just finished shooting the movie there. Knowing that the winery would boom after the release, I immediately joined the charter membership which allows me to secure my estate wines a year ahead and close to wholesale $$. The key is, this winery is owned and operated by Jim and Bo Barrett, and Bo is Heidi Barrett's husband (Heidi is the powerful winemaker for many cult wines, including former Screaming Eagles.) Of course their quality is top notch! While their chardonnay was crowned for the '76 tastings, their estate cab is my favorite. Click here for the movie trailer and get uncorked!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


As I've blogged before, I'm a little bit selective on candles in my home. Some are aromatic and some in the dining room are scent-less. But the universal tool I use to light my candles are the cheap dollar fifty plastic lighters. Well this weekend I came across Firefly, a sleek and beautifully designed stainless steel lighter that stands on its own!! Manufactured by Ambienti Gift & Home (www., this totally belongs in the New York Museum of Modern Art!!! The candle lighter comes in a long 11" version that stands, and a shorter length of 7" (this one doesn't stand.) I bought the taller one and it prominently stands right next to my favorite candle in my living room side table :-) The lighter is simple to refill with butane gas there's a perk! The store that I purchased this at said lifetime refill is guaranteed anytime I take it in and they can do it for me. Now I won't have to buy the plastic lighters in bulk!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Well Aged!

When the thermostat climbs to 92F like today, I definitely prefer a scoop of Wine Cellar Sorbet than a glass of wine. This decadant sorbet contains 5% wine and you'll be surprised at how well the character of the wine is preserved. The manufacturer works with vinters from around the world to source wines that go into this delicious sorbet. Just like real wine, the sorbet is limited quantity that elevates its value. I've only had the Pinot Noir, but the Sangria Rojo and Riesling are definitely catching my eye! $6.99/pint will sure be a better investment than a cheap glass of house wine. It's only available in stores on the East Coast but you can order online and it'll be shipped in dry ice via 2nd day air. Here's a toast to a very well executed sorbet! Oh, and make sure you're over 21 cuz it contains real alcohol!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Non-Hollywood Facelift

This is not another W Hotel... it is a fast-food franchise in Europe and a mega-Americano brand at that, a.k.a. McDonalds!!! News is, they've done so well with this Euro-contemporary-bistro design which was spearheaded by the head of McD in France, it may soon make its way to our continent. I guess Ronald McD realized 99 cent Big Macs were no longer the solution to "beef up" their traffic. Menus like made-to-order pasta in Italy's McD sounds like someone's really doing their homework! It feels like Ronald went to boarding school in Europe and graduated with honors! As far as space design goes, this brand is no longer "made in U.S.A.'!!! Now if only they'll import the French McD smaller sized burgers on ciabatta with the Dijon mustard, I think I may consider setting foot in one of these joints. Nice face lift for a job done outside Hollywood!

Ring Bearer

Do you take your ring off when you do the dishes? If so, this might be the perfect addition to your sink. Casabella, a brand that creates stylish and affordable home cleaning products has cleverly combined a ring holder and a sponge dish called Sink Sider™ Sponge and Ring Caddy.

The all-in-one combo can hold your rings and a sponge or soap. Why didn't anyone think of this before!!! You can get it at Bed, Bath and Beyond or online for a mere $9.99. It's a steal!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watch Out!

Bummer, bummer, bummer! My Bvlgari watch stopped out of the bloooo and I was sure it was the battery. Well the verdict was "I'm afraid your watch needs a whole movement replacement" and I ended up getting a $590 repair estimate from a over-priced Jewelery shop in the Stanford Mall!!!! Furthermore, they said Bvlgari no longer has parts so $590 is just for a random movement by a no-name!!! Are you kidding? I can buy Louis V sunglasses. I instantly took the watch to Menlo Clock Works and got it done for $370 instead! From all of this, I learned that you have to "watch out" for battery leaks and replace the battery every 12 months. Don't wait till it stops! Leaks usually happen after 12 months of wear with a new battery, and is the most popular reason for wrist watch repair (aside from dropping the watch in water.) I highly recommend we listen to the pros. I learned the hard way and will make sure to spend $30 a year to avoid such situations in the future. Sigh.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Doggie Blog - by Me!

I'm so consumed with investigating various dog supply items and dog-related info, I've decided to launch a new blog dedicated to the process of my dog ownership and call it: Doggielicious.
Here you will find a suite of info I collect as I pursue my quest for my Coton de Tulear.Please pass the URL along to your fellow dog owners and dog fans!! Thank you!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stylish basics Italiano-style!

I'm a sucker for cool designs and my favorite house ware & kitchen line is Italy's ALESSI. Every room in my home has something from ALESSI, be it an alarm clock, coffee spoon, paper towel holder, cat dish, etc., etc. ALESSI contracts famous designers from all over the world and churns out amazing sleek contemporary products of utmost quality and cute designs. The best fact is they're all quite affordable and make nice gifts. For years I've been adding a few items here antd there and my collection is still growing! Lucky me, there's an ALESSI store in San Francisco @ Union Square that showcases mosst of their main and new products. It's a very nice store a.k.a. showroom, worthy of a visit for sure!

Here are two of the many basic items in my kitchen, coincidentally designed by the same designer, Stefano Giovannoni.

Just slide your paper towel center over the carrot and adjust the bunny against the paper towel. It totally adds a whimsical look to my sleek granite counter top and is easy to clean as it's made out of plastic. I smile every time I tear off my paper towel! You can get it online at

2) Mami Series Pans (right image)
Sure I've splurged on a full-line of All-Clad pots and pans, but of all the pans I've used, the Mami series I stumbled on last year is the king has thef best design and size variety. The ergonomically well-designed handle is round, hollow and easy to hold. The small pan I got for my birthday serves well for omelette's, and I recently bought the wok-style deep pan for my everyday sautéeing. You can purchase separate lids for these pans and will surely not regret this investment!

Do you want a cool kitchen? Just start by collecting these items and you'll be sure to impress your friends. Cooking skills unnecessary!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Affordable Pop Art

Has art and fragrance ever mixed so well?? Nope, I'm not talking about a contemporary aroma exhibit you might find at the MoMA where a painting of a coffee cup might smell like real coffee beans. I'm talkin' Andy Warhol and owning something for $100+!!

Bond No.9 is a fragrance line developed by Laurice Rahme, who decided after 9/11 that NYC was in much dire need to smell better, and deserved to! This is a true story that led her to develop and establish her line of creative fragrance, Bond No.9. Each release is inspired by NYC neighborhoods and has been named: New Harlem, Broadway, Central Park, etc. I personally find the "Andy Warhol Union Square" line to be the cutest and clever artist collaboration ever! Twelve fragrances, under agreement with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, will be released and "Union Square" was named after the location of Andy's original art studio. The fragrance sports the famous Warhol flower artwork and the 1.7 oz. bottle can be yours for $135 at Saks Fifth Ave. For the avid Warhol collectors that have $$$ to stretch, get the 10 bottle portfolio set for $1500! Here's a chance to own a special Warhol.

The seductive scent of lily of the valley combined with blue freesia, golden amber, and animal musk is sure to please any Warhol-fanatic. Cute, classy and well designed, this scores high on my wish list!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flippty Flop

Summer is definitely here! Every weekend I'm pitter-patting all over the place with a few of my favorite flip flops I acquired this year. Since I've been getting soooooo many compliments, here are the flip flops of 2008 that I highly recommend. C'mon these aren't just for the beach or post-pedicures anymore, they're totally qualified for town and will go well with your cute shorts or cool jeans or sweats. Flip flops have now gradutated the beach and are dominating my shoe rack.

I jumped into the Tory Burch NY flagship store in SoHo one afternoon, when a sudden downpour of thunder, lightning and heavy rain spoiled our shopping spree. Soaked in wet feet, I bumped into the last pair of this gorgeous patent leather flip flop, with a camelia flower motif and a gold Tory button in my size. Lucky me, they were on sale too! $175 -> $105. Every time I wear them, EVERYONE loves them and will stop me to ask where I got them. On Tory's online store, they're still on sale in many colors so get yours while they last!!!

I didn't realize those rubber, everyday flip flops was a "branded" item till I read about it on In-Style Magazine. I still can't pronounce the name correctly but it is spelled "Havaianas." Did you bite your tongue??? When Cameron Diaz said these were the only flip flops she cherishes, I was sold! In NY, I came across a solid yellow color on sale for $8!!!! Of course I snatched it and this was the start of my Havaianas collection circa 2008. So recently, when I encountered the Heart motif flip flops, I HAD to have it and got them for a mere $15 on sale! I wear my yellow to go fetch stuff in my mail box, and I wear my hearts in the yard. Yes! My Havaianas each have a specific role just like your kitchen tools. Now to find one for my gym and another for my pedicures....The heart Havaianas are pretty much sold out but you can still get it at It seems to have been featured in Oprah so no wonder these are hard to come by! Lucky me!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Doggie Play Date & Sirus Doggie Training

Today was my debut at a Coton De Tulear Doggie play date! While I still don't own a Coton just yet, the owners who came with their Cotons were very friendly and nice. Here are pics from the 10 am play date at Crissy Fields in San Francisco. The dogs were unleashed and 25+ Cotons romped around in the sand like crazy, and they were sooooooo adorable! Someone was remarking that this is the first breed they've ever seen where the dogs are so friendly with each other and don't bark like crazy. Totally agree!

There are many doggie training classes available, but according to Gloria, the breeder who kindly invited me today, the Sirus method seems to be the best. They have 19 training locations in the bay area and it's taught by Dr. Dunbar who taught the world's very first puppy class, so that his Alaskan Malamute puppy could attend school. In those days, puppies had to be 6 months or older, but in reality, puppies need to be trained much earlier. Sounds like humans! Click here for the Sirus Dog Training site.

I will be sure to enroll my doggie in this class and look forward to more tips and education from Gloria, she is too nice!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cute overload!

The Savvy Auntie site I recommended was a hit. Not having my own kid leaves me with more free time and a reason to spoil other distant munchkins, but I just got a note from my HOA that the next board mtg. is set for 9/15... which means they may finally approve the permission to own small dogs under 25 lbs.! Whatever dog I adopt will be MY munchkin for sure!

So while I patiently wait for them to give the green light, I'm definitely doing my homework these days. Surfing dog sites, joining Yahoo! dog groups, and connecting with Coton De Tulear breeders and owners. While I was digging around, I almost fell off my chair when I found some sites that sell "puppy announcement" cards. Wow, I would've never guessed! This is too fun!!!! Hey, maybe I can have a puppy shower so that my furry companion will be all ready for his/her home. Do I sound vain?? I know my future fellow dog owner buddies won't think so, or at least I hope.

I've been invited to a Coton Play Date on Sunday at Crissy Fields in the city. It'll be a great chance to check out the breed and mingle with other owners, I am excited!

Don't be surprised if you get one of these cards from me to celebrate the arrival of my furry friend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

After S.A.T.C., P.A.N.K. is in!

Yes, the world still needs another acronym and it's quite clever: P.A.N.K. = Professional Aunt, No Kids. How many of you fit this category? Well, most of my gal pals do and so do I! Thanks to Melanie Notkin who founded SavvyAuntie dot com, we now have a site to turn to for "aunt-ing." It's a parenting site for non-parents, I love the concept! Whether you're looking to spoil your niece rotten and need to find a b'day gift or just wanna mingle with fellow aunties, it seems like should be your destination! Don't you love the cute badge they made?
Here's an excerpt from their feature on Tech Crunch.
"Women account for 80% of the economy. Mothers spend about $1.7 trillion dollars on consumer products each year. But that’s only about 50% of women. What about the other 50%?
SavvyAuntie is a site geared toward the other 50% of women who don’t have kids, but know some. Melanie Notkin, the founder of SavvyAuntie, refers to these women as P.A.N.K.s (Professional Aunt, No Kids). Chances are you know some women who don’t have kids, but are either ABRs (Aunts by Relation) or ABC (Aunts by Choice). These women typically spend money on children in some way or another, but where do they turn to learn what to buy? SavvyAuntie is basically a parenting site for non-parents.

SavvyAuntie is comprised of a social network, and resources like user blogs, expert blogs, activity guides and gift suggestions. Users register and fill in information about their nieces and nephews to get customized gift and activity suggestions, and information about themselves so that they can meet other aunts (and uncles)."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cut the crap!

Once upon a time ten years ago, I had my own lovely office with a door in a famous NYC landmark skyscraper on the 33rd floor of 550 Madison Ave, a.k.a. the Sony Music Bldg. What came with the office was a fab Sony A/V player and I had the leisure of playing music all day long with the free CDs that were supplied monthly, courtesy of Sony Music! Man do I miss New York! Well, lately in my open-air Silicon V-style cube; where even our founders sit in similar cubes; it's nothing but distraction as I have no office door to close and a bunch of sales folks in the next aisle on the phone chit chatting away. Grrrrr! I can't concentrate and neither can my colleagues. The remedy? Noise-cancellation headphones are now a must-have on our team.

So here's the Steal, Splendid and Splurge recommendation for things that work like magic when you just want to shut out the world.

STEAL: Silicone Ear Plugs - if you don't want a headphone, just get this.
I've blogged about this before so check out my post titled "Zzzzzz" in the archive on May 30, 2008.
For ten bucks, this will do a decent job.

SPLENDID: Sharper Image Noise Cancellation Headsets - ON SALE around $49.99
Poor Sharper Image is no longer sharp but bankrupt. The brand will live and products will be carried as a B2B wholesale biz, but since they're closing the retail chains, every Sharper Image store is having a BLOWOUT closing sale. I came across their noise cancellation headsets this weekend and for the price it's going, this is a fantastic product. The online store is closed so get to the store before they sell out!

SPLURGE: BOSE QuietComfort® 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones $299
BOSE = Quality... what more can I say? The brand speaks for itself and this compact, well designed piece is the master of all headphones. It's comfy, portable and does the job well! You just have to pay the price ;-) The re-chargable battery will last 25 hrs. so it's definitely the Rolls Royce of all and well worth the investment.

Happy noise-cutting!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Which is your new flame?

Candle time!
Whether it's for your dinner party, your bed side or a gift, I think candles are a luxury one should always have in their home. So here's the Steal, Splendid and Splurge for the special candles I recommend. If you have any other faves, be sure to comment and share

STEAL (affordable): IKEA GLIMMA tea votive

When you need to light up your home for those special parties, I always have a stash of IKEA candles. My secret? I own a variety of cool tea votive holders and can use them separately or bunch them together, catering to any occasion I can think of. So the IKEA GLIMMA tea votives have always been a must-have and are a steal since you get 100 for $3.99! Go stock up!!

SPLENDID (nice-price point): Voluspa Victoria Candle

No corners cut, this is a pure, fragrant and quality candle that's sure to please. They have various selections but my fave is the Voluspa Victoria series that come in cute triangular glass holders. They're available in cute tins too, nice for traveling! I think "Pink Fatale" is my favorite and I wonder which ones Scarlett Johansson and Halle Berry got.

When you hear "couture" candle, how can I resist? The sensual, provocative, beautiful black box tied with a black satin bow encompasses the most gorgeous candle of all. Dayna's candle uses a patented EcoWood Wick (TM) that actually crackles when the candle burns. For the very special occasion, it's gotta be a Dayna! My fave fragrance is Pink Couture. Oh, and did I mention they come in 3oz., 6 oz., 16 oz. sizes?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jammy, yummy hostess gift

How many parties have you been invited to for the Fourth? I bet they're all BBQs right? While I still have to figure out how to juggle my schedule, one party I can't miss is a very cute "Tea Party." My Barefoot Contessa a.k.a. Ina Garden-esque friend is a HUGE tea connoisseur and just returned from India with lots of tea. Of course the Fourth is all about the macho BBQ all over town and she knows she can't compete as she lives in a condo. So cleverly, she's designed a cute tea party for people to swing by between BBQs. So smart! I'll bring a bottle or wine or a pack of beer for the BBQs, but what do you bring to a "Tea Party"????? Ah, I have the perfect gift in mind!

One hostess gift that's always been a hit is the Fauchon Strawberry Jam. C'mon, it's a Fauchon jam, not some ordinary jelly that sits in Safeway. This is the most sophisticated flavor I've ever tasted in any jam and you won't disappoint! Perfect with scones, waffles, yogurt or anything that needs jam or pairs well with Srawberry. For sure you'll be swarmed with questions on where you got this item and feel like a Queen. To spill the secret, it's available in the U.S. at Neiman Marcus stores for about $12. Yup, very affordable! If you're ever at loss on a nice hostess gift, just remember this one as any house needs a jar of jam, right?