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Archive for October, 2008

Ever wonder how to say some of those designer names? No Ralph Lauren is American… here is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. Enjoy!

Q: I felt pretty out of it when I asked a saleswoman about the handbags of “Bottega Veneta” — and she promptly corrected my pronunciation — to VEN-e-ta instead of ven-ETT-a. Can you give us a little glossary on how to say foreign fashion names like Nicolas Ghesquière? And how about Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan — are their surnames stressed on the first or last syllable?

A: I remember when American consumers in the 1970s routinely butchered the names of their imported cars — blithely unaware of the correct pronunciation of Renault (ruh-NO) and Peugeot (puh-ZHO). We’ve come a long way since then, saying foreign car names like Hyundai with ease. But these days, there are a host of new designer names tripping us up, as globalization and the democratization of fashion bring brands from all over the world — once limited to the couture cognoscenti — to regular folk.

Most of the first French names to appear in the U.S. were a cinch, like Dior and Chanel. But a lot of the names in play today need to be spoken with a real lilt , like Jean Paul Gaultier (zhan paul GO-tee-AY), Alber Elbaz for Lanvin (al-BEAR el-BAHZ for lon-VAN), and Nicolas Ghesquière (NEE-ko-la guess-KYAIR).

Mamma mia! The Italian names can play tricks on you, too — such as Bulgari (BOOL-ga-ree), Ungaro (OON-ga-ro), Versace (ver-SAH-chay) and Zegna (ZANE-ya). And from Spain comes the tricky Loewe (LO-ee-VAY). (To hear every last nuance of pronunciation, check out the audio tutorial at WSJ.com/Fashion.)

Even some American designers can leave you tongue-tied. Last year, Target shoppers were faced with the challenge of pronouncing Proenza Schouler (pro-EN-za SCHOOL-er), when the American duo sold a collection that included $49 bustier tops there.

Don’t worry that you’ll sound affected. Why not try to get it right? The more syllables, the more delicious it sounds: I just love to say the name of Swiss watch maker Vacheron Constantin (va-sha-RON con-ston-TAN).

But don’t force a fashion-y flourish on American designers whose names sound just like they look: It’s Ralph Lauren (rhymes with “foreign”) and Donna Karan (sounds like “Karen”).

Full Article Here

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Lykke Li – Little Bit.

Check out Lykke Li’s song Little Bit. Uber cute!

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Past the mundane everyday existence of each person’s life, is there a hidden layer that passionately seeks more? I think about myself more and more as the days get shorter and shorter and the air slowly smells like the spices of winter. Sometimes I unconsciously feel extreme in order to maintain my sense of creativity and longing for beauty. As I see life to be in layers of thought and appreciation of amazing talent in concoctions of words, theory of color, fabric manipulation, I want to push myself to learn more. I want to hear the story of a genius, I want to travel to a world where art proceeds structure, where life is lived beyond the boundaries, and sense is the only thing that moves the heart.

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Here are some of my fav artists on my iPod!

Santogold

Yelle

Chopin

M.I.A.

Coldplay

Santana

Lupe Fiasco

The Duke Spirit

The Smashing Pumpkins

Paco de Lucia

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Muse

Oasis

MGMT

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After spending the weekend surrounded by the gorges and driving through the castskills, I realized how much I missed the skyline of the city. Tonight I was looking out the window at work after everyone had left and couldn’t stop enjoying the beauty of the art deco Chrysler Building and its luminous symmetrical lights. Here are some of the places I want to visit this winter sipping negronis and reading.

Shaken and Stirred

A Deep Sip for Deep Thinkers

By JONATHAN MILES
Published: October 3, 2008

A Negroni demands your full, upright attention. It will not tolerate mindless swigging, the way all those sweet summertime drinks do, which is just one reason no one has ever ordered one at a swim-up bar at a resort pool. Each sip telegraphs a terse forget-me-not message to the tongue, a pinprick of bitterness demanding respect and contemplation.

There is cheer in it, but grown-up, melancholy cheer, which makes the Negroni an ideal drink for end times — the end of summer, for instance, or the end of American prosperity. The perfect drink when the sky is falling — or merely the leaves.Last week I visited I Sodi, a Tuscan restaurant tucked into a skinny minimalist space on Christopher Street in the West Village that Rita Sodi (a former Calvin Klein executive) and a partner, Josh Dworkis, opened in March.

Negronis are the specialty at I Sodi: there are four on the cocktail menu, three of them subtle variations on the classically fixed theme — that being equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, as in the restaurant’s Negroni Classico.

“In my old job, bartending at Union Square Cafe, I would always play around with Negronis,” said Hakan Westergren, I Sodi’s manager and chief Negroni officer. “There are so many kinds of vermouth, so many kinds of gin.”

Mr. Westergren understands that a proper Negroni is as perfectly and tripodically balanced as, say, a water molecule. Add another atom of oxygen to that H2O formula, and the result is hydrogen peroxide — hardly as refreshing. So it goes with the Negroni. To mess with it is to risk messing it up altogether. Caution signs should be posted behind the bar.

I Sodi’s Carousel Negroni veers the furthest from the traditional formula credited to Count Camillo Negroni, who allegedly invented the drink, in 1919, by asking a bartender to beef up an Americano cocktail by adding a shot of gin.

The Carousel Negroni is a jammy, ginless mixture of three Italian liqueurs and sweet vermouth — more bitter-orange, as in marmalade, than bitter.

Two variations hew closer to the purist line, one by substituting an artichoke-based liqueur, Cynar, for the Campari, which gives the drink a boskier flavor, the other by injecting a bit more perfuminess into the formula via Hendrick’s gin, a Scottish gin infused with rose petals and cucumber, and Punt e Mes, a dry, woodsy vermouth.

The latter, which Mr. Westergren calls the Punt-e-groni, is so gorgeously bitter that it almost stings the tongue. Drinking it is like being slapped by an ex-lover. It is such a deep ruby red that vampires would be drawn to it.

Is it possible that, simply by tweaking the spirits, adding a little more herbiness here and a touch less sweetness there, Mr. Westergren has actually improved upon the original formula?

It’s worth contemplating. Not that this drink will let you do otherwise.

Punt-e-groni Adapted from I Sodi

1 3/4 ounces Hendrick’s gin

1 1/4 ounces Carpano Punt e Mes vermouth

1 ounce Campari

1 orange slice, for garnish

Combine the ingredients with ice in a rocks glass and stir. Garnish with the orange slice and serve.

Yield: 1 serving

Foraging

Manhattan: Idlewild Books

By HILARY HOWARD
Published October 5, 2008

A guidebook will certainly tell you where to visit, stay and eat in another country, giving you tips on the hottest new restaurants and hotels. But what if you want to know what that place might have appeared like to, say, a 19th-century novelist visiting for the first time?

That’s where Idlewild Books, a three-month-old store just off Union Square, comes in. There, in a cozy mezzanine-level space, the classic travel texts of guidebooks, maps and phrasebooks are grouped with literary fiction, memoirs, romance novels, spy thrillers — books that, at first glance, might not be what the average traveler would think about packing in her suitcase.

But as you thumb your way through the shelves, a certain logic begins to emerge. In the India section, “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth shares shelf space with “A Passage to India” by E. M. Forster, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra.”

In the Colombia section, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez sits next to Piers Paul Read’s “Alive,” about the survivors of a plane crash in the Andes. The China section features Qiu Xiaolong’s “Death of a Red Heroine,” based in 1990s Shanghai.

“Every time I was preparing for a trip, I just didn’t understand why a travel book store wasn’t put together this way,” says the owner, David Del Vecchio, who was inspired to create Idlewild while working as a press officer for the United Nations. (The store is named for the previous incarnation of what is now Kennedy International Airport.) Throughout the store, contemporary works from around the world like Yan Lianke’s “Serve the People!” (a book currently banned in China about a love affair during the Cultural Revolution) are readily available in translation, or in some cases, their original languages.

Mr. Del Vecchio says that mysteries and thrillers are also good at conveying a sense of a city’s culture and street life. “They have a really strong sense of place,” he says. “The characters might not be as three-dimensional as they are in literary fiction, but you learn so much about the streets, the neighborhoods and the culture of a place.”

Idlewild Books , 12 West 19th Street, New York; (212) 414-8888; www.idlewildbooks.com.

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