Archive for the ‘me’ Category

I’ve moved: please visit Creative Wanderings

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

hutong02.jpgApologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been getting my life together for a big move to Beijing. Find out more at my new blog!  I’ll be leaving this one behind as I start on some new adventures. Please continue to enjoy the content that resides here at Dine. Travel. Design. More importantly, please visit my new home to keep up with my posts and join me in some Creative Wanderings! Cheers!

Image via Good  

dilemma of craft vs. cheap

Monday, January 4th, 2010

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When I was at mall last week in search for an inexpensive dress for New Years, I saw a very familiar knit ‘hat’ in one of the teeny-bopper stores. It was the EXACT SAME style, hand-knit hat that I had bought just last year around Christmas time from Volang, during my (seemingly annual) trip to Union Square, NYC.

Of course, this mass produced product, selling at the mall was less than one-third the price of hat from Volang where, at the Christmas stall, I was able to chat with the craftswoman who made the very hat I wear during these cold months. I suppose this goes hand-in-hand with knock-off and counterfeit luxury brand items. But, at what point does one go for quality and personal touch over price? People want to be fashionable, yet purchase items that are affordable. And even if items are affordable and supporting independent artists and designers, they’re hard to locate. There are very few outlets other than Etsy, which has been saturated with “junk” where people can purchase or browse independent designs. You could try checking out Supermarket, but the best part of experiencing the craftsmanship is actually getting to touch and feel the products! Oh the dilemma…! end rant.

On a side note, the reason I really enjoy shopping so much when traveling is because it allows me to explore new (or old) cities, while hunting for specialty items.. (outside of touristy areas, of course!) Can’t wait for the new adventures that 2010 hold 🙂 Stay tuned!

ABC (Already Been Chewed) Cookie Cutters and Uniqueness

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

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Hoping that everyone had a great holiday season and a wonderful new year!

I was itching to make this post earlier, but couldn’t give away the gift I used for my family Secret Santa. So, here it is -adorable holiday cookie cutters by WorldwideFred that were found during holiday shopping in NYC. Oddly (or not so oddly), I found them at Henri Bendel, located at 712 5th Avenue.

Initially, I would have never expected such a quirky gift from a prestigious fashion retailer, but after being delighted to have found a unique gift, I made the connection –uniqueness. Retailers are constantly on the search to differentiate themselves and be trend setters. They need to offer clients and customers a reason to come back. Is that reason pure product quality? Affordability? Luxury? Variety? It’s a combination of a many differentiators which range from the convenience of a one-stop-shop or being a specialty store to selling the customer service experience. Regardless the exact strategy at Henri Bendel, I was happily surprised and excited to have found WorldWideFred products there and would certainly go back to find that ‘special’ gift. It seems like a mission accomplished for both retailer and gift-hunter.

off topic: A Better World by Design ’09

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The Association for Community Design has posted my article about “A Better World by Design” conference that happened last month! Re-posted below:

The 2nd annual “A Better World by Design conference” hosted by RISD and Brown University from Oct 2-4, 2009 in Providence, RI surpassed expectations, particularly for a first time attendee. The conference was fully organized and run by students, who are already actively engaged with projects that change our world. With a diverse speaker list and panel discussions, conversations ranged from affordable housing and architecture in the developing world to clean energy, emerging markets, and social entrepreneurship. As described on the website, “A Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators to Providence, Rhode Island, to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal. [The event] is an immersive experience that deepens our understanding of the power of design, technology, and enterprise to reshape our communities and sustain our environment.” Themes of cross-disciplinary collaboration, contextual projects, and the future of community empowerment were apparent.

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Drink: a unique addition to the Boston bar scene

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Summer is coming to an end and Labor Day weekend is just around the corner. 2009 is flying by! I’ve been meaning to write this entry months ago. There’s no real excuse, except for a fun-filled summer and as a result entries have been scarce. Apologies to any readers out there!

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So here goes:
Almost a year ago, a friend took me to Drink at 348 Congress Street in the FortPoint area of South Boston. At the time, little did I know this cozy place was a new food and drink concept started by local chef Barbara Lynch alongside her bar maestro John Gertsen, which opened in September 2008.

Super fresh ingredients and knowledgeable bar staff are just the beginning. It’s truly about the experience and enjoyment of mingling. The odd zig-zag shaped bar allows for intimate conversation as sounds bounce around. Dark colors, metal decor and cool grays reflect the neighborhood’s transitioning industrial zone. Lighting is dim but welcoming; vibrant colors from fresh fruit will make you focus behind the bar. Scarce decor puts your attention to the basic ingredients and tools for a great cocktail.

Be patient since mixologists take longer than normal to stir-up a sensory experience. Bartenders go back and forth from the prep table to pick fresh herbs or peel fresh fruit and back to the bar to press olives for their juices for your beverage. The non-existent drink menu tests their skills as you describe the flavors you enjoy or ask for a suggestion. Well worth the wait for a strong, but not overpowering drink (I can’t recall what it was, but I’ll tell you whatever I had was delicious!)  The decor is well thought out and the choice of tableware is delightful. Bravo! Go check it out 🙂

Read more about Barbara Lynch’s Drink at Boston.com and FortPointBlog.

Fresh ingredients are more than just a trend. Pursip offers consultancy services and shares drink recipes using fresh ingredients that seem to revolve around interaction.

Ben & Jerry’s Flipped Out!

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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A few weeks ago I was in Harvard Square for MakeMusicCambrdige. There were quite a few freebies and product samples for the event. Of note is Ben & Jerry’s new FlippedOut! ice-cream sundae.

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Guggenheim Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

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My very first visit to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City was long overdue. But what a fitting first visit it was this past weekend to see the exhibit “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward“- about the architect who designed the museum, which is showing until the end of August. In addition to being reminded of the Guggenheim being the last building Wright finished designing, I was also reminded of what a revolutionary thinker he was. The use of radiant heating system in the floor and pushing our preconceived idea of what buildings should be, while truly exploring the relation of scale and space.

The exhibit was a fairly chronological walk through Wright’s works, showing sketches and drawings that we’re not used to seeing since it’s much easier to see the finished building. I found it rather insightful to see his thought process in many of the sketches and doodles alongside the finished architectural plans. I did wish that there was more talk about what influenced Wright’s work, his ideas, and his thought process rather than just a display of his accomplishments and achievements. I came away wanting more discussion about conflict and struggle, since many of his project proposals were never realized. One of my favorite pieces is the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo; distinctly Frank Lloyd Wright, yet also distinctly Japanese. It’s a shame that this building has since been demolished and can only be seen through images.

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DesignSojourn offers a Mentoring Program

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I have recently in the start of 2009 started following and reading a lot of RSS feeds via Google Reader, and wow am I overwhelmed (in a good way) with design information, inspiration, and work that is out there!

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Of particular note are the great posts, advice, and information shared by Brian Ling of DesignSojourn. As a design manager at Philips Design in Singapore, Brian is constantly sharing insight into design. Brian recently decided to start a Designer Mentorship program that is currently accepting 5 mentees. So with that said, here goes my post in applying to be part of his program:

In the past year, I’ve been struggling with myself. What do I want to do? Where do I want to be in life? How do I get wherever that is?

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my new Posterous blog

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

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I’ve just started my posterous blog “Through Open Eyes: observations and inspiration” as a very quick way to share- can you guess? Observations and Inspiration! And to document all the other things that interest me but may not fit on Dine. Travel. Design.

Have a look and follow what others are posting on Posterous or start your own.

Cooktop concepts vs. Real tabletop cooking

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

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Coincidence. I came across some interesting cooktop concepts featured at YankoDesign earlier this week and last night I happen to go to Kaze, a ShabuShabu restaurant in Boston for dinner with a friend. For those who don’t know what ShabuShabu is, you can read more at Wikipedia, which states:

Shabu-shabu is a Japanese variant of hot pot. The dish uses thinly sliced meat and vegetables, and usually served with dipping sauces. It is considered a winter dish but is eaten year-round.

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This communal way of eating is an experience on its own, similar to the better known Fondue experience. The Asian style of eating through a shared experience is one of variety and complementary flavors. Now, my question is, for such an elegant experience with a culture where visuals in food presentation and tableware are emphasized, why isn’t the center piece of this experience just as appealing?

Above concepts certainly bridge that gap and are able to connect the beauty of food with beauty of tabletop cookware. At the restaurant, the electric cooking surface is built into the table, almost hidden. The pot used is purely utilitarian. We spend a good deal of money on other kitchen accessories like blenders and mixers, that guests rarely see. Why can’t the centerpiece of a sharing, fondue-like experience really be emphasized and celebrated?

Chinese New Year 2009 in HK

Friday, March 6th, 2009

It’s been almost a month since I came back from Asia and celebrating Chinese New Year (Jan 26) in Hong Kong. Here’s the CNY celebration recap: People, people, people everywhere! (1,330,044,544 people in China from July 2008 estimate)

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New Year’s Fair in Victoria Park, Hong Kong is filled with people!! We could barely see or stop to look at all the souvenirs for sale on the side of the aisles. Vendors are screaming for attention at the sidelines and have the wackiest signs as high as possible with balloons and the like so that you have a glimpse of what they’re selling.. buy it only if you can go through the crowd to get there in the first place. Fun vibe!

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Taipei Night Markets

Friday, February 27th, 2009

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The first of the many Taipei night-market stops was ShiLin Night Market… I didn’t even know where to begin with the overwhelming amount of Chinese food that, even with my being Chinese, was foreign. As you may know, Chinese food (along with language) is very regional and this is evident (along with Japanese influence) in Taipei.

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