August 18th, 2014

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By far NYC has to be one of the best walking cities in the world, especially for photographers. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an amateur like me, every block is its own postcard in the making. Just point and shoot and the picture tells its own story:

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From cityscape to waterfront, the city is every camera’s dream:

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But hands down, my favorite photo opp on this trip was this giant topiary (for lack of a better description), Split-Rocker, by Jeff Koons:

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It’s half toy-pony, half toy-dinosaur. Wonderful interview with the artist at this link. Too bad I did not have enough time to squeeze in a visit at the Whitney’s Jeff Koons retrospective. Here’s the shot from across Rockefeller Plaza:

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Split-Rocker will be on display through September 12, 2014. I wish I could be here again in a few weeks to see how much it has grown (the flowers will probably be even more in bloom than they already are in my first pic). Go see it and feed your inner whimsy!

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August 15th, 2014

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Almost exactly one week before September 11, 2001, I walked across the grounds of the World Trade Twin Towers after visiting an art gallery. On that fateful Tuesday morning, back in LA, as reality set in after fielding a few calls from my East Coast clients in the money management industry (I cannot tell you how unsettling it is to hear the quivering voices of Alpha males on the other end of phone), I sat alone in my office and thought there was no truer saying than there but for the grace of God go I… Life and death are in everyone’s cards. We just don’t know when or how they get played out.

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A year later, I walked around the fenced-in hole that was now Ground Zero. The wound was still so raw, the enormity of it all looming over everyone’s face, heart, and spirit. As a child of war myself, for me the greatest fear was that my family and I would have to live through yet another deadly fight for freedom. How many wars can one lifetime sustain and still not lose hope?

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So it was with great anticipation that I visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum a few days ago. It’s been almost 13 years and the city has indeed survived. The Memorial’s reflecting pools and waterfalls are a great reminder of the endless tears shed over these now hallowed grounds, as well as a symbol of continuity. Where ashes fall life begins anew…

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Much of the museum's exhibition space is naturally below ground. The embattled enormous slurry wall and box columns bear witness to how much destruction took place here:

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Seeing the Vessey Street stair remnant (aka the Survivors’ Stairs)…

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and the Last Column…

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made me very emotional. But even after seeing so many artifacts of hate, pain, and most of all, courage, from the twisted metals…

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to the humongous quilt handmade out of love,

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nothing shook me more than this immense wall:

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Is this now our own Wailing Wall?

By the Slurry wall, you can write your tribute here

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then run over to find your message appear for a second or two:

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I was deep in thought before I left my brief message when the docent hurried me over to get a photo of my message before it evaporated. I was a bit flustered when he did that because I was still teary-eyed over some of the other visitors’ messages.

If you have the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum, give yourself at least two hours to take it all in. It’s a heavy experience loaded with a gamut of emotions. Makes you angry, sad, incredulous, pained. My head struggles to find forgiveness. My heart certainly cannot.

But as I walk away from the museum, I come across this patinated bronze Trinity Root in the courtyard of the historic St. Paul’s Chapel at Broadway and Fulton Street. The sculpture was inspired by a large Sycamore tree that was uprooted by the explosion. The tree had fallen in such a way that it actually shielded the tombstones in the church’s cemetery as well as blocked any damage to the chapel. Steve Tobin heard about the story of this Sycamore and in September 2005 had this sculpture installed here as “a metaphor for connectedness and strength.”

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So while forgiveness may never arrive, I can at least answer the question I posed earlier. A lifetime can sustain many wars and tremendous loss, only because hope is as certain as the next sunrise.

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August 13th, 2014

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It should be no surprise to you that I am back on the road. The last photo of the suitcases in my last entry should have been a dead giveaway. What I failed to mention, though, was that I actually ended up with three pairs of striped sneakers: two from the Missoni x Converse collab and another slip-on pair from Vans that just happens to have the zigzags. Let’s see if I manage to tie today’s opening photo to the last photo in this entry!

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I’ve been to NYC enough times to now have routines each time I go there. And after this particular trip, I now have a hairdresser I can add to my routine. It’s a bit drastic to go cross-country for a good hair coloring, but I think it’s no coincidence that his salon is in Soho. As much as I enjoy discovering all the neighborhoods in NY, I’ve always felt that I would be a downtown girl if I lived in Manhattan.

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I would haunt the Hermes boutique down here on Wall Street…

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maneuver these sidewalks on my way to work each morning…

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make these institutions my neighbors…

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and order Moules-frites from this Les Halles location at least once a week…

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So yeah, I’m talking Lower Manhattan. Wayyy downtown. Far from the more heavily touristy areas. But in NYC, it’s rather hard to escape the tourists. I had to run out very early to get a clear shot of the Charging Bull (aka Wall Street Bull or Bowling Green Bull) without huge crowds around it:

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But NYC would not be the same without the teeming crowds and their collective human energy.

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August 3rd, 2014

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If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you’d know that I basically live in my leather Converse sneakers when I’m visiting a new city, especially if there’s a lot of walking involved on a given day. You’d also know that I have a thing for designer collaborations and a soft spot for all things Missoni. So when Converse and Missoni decided to team up for a collaboration (currently available at Nordstrom), you’d think I would have been all over that, right? Well, errr, no. I did not get that memo.

It was purely by chance that a friend and I bumped into this display when we went to grab a quick lunch at the store:

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I was gobsmacked! Zigzags in so many fun colorways as a low-top and a high-top:

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But obviously I had to have these…

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to go with my luggage, right?! Who doesn’t match shoes with luggage?

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Remember that epic Missoni/Target collaboration? Sigh…sure wish I had bought another set of luggage as a backup.

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July 31st, 2014

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The days of showing a collection to a selected few in Mademoiselle’s private salon at 31 rue Cambon are long over. In these golden Karl Lagerfeld days, it’s all about the spectacle of the runway at the Grand Palais in Paris…about how to one-up the last one in the over-the-top department. It’s so much fun to see the show and review the still photos days later from the comfort of my sofa, but Chanel to me is all about the first-hand experience. I could write for days (and maybe I have :D ), extolling the virtues of the craftsmanship and fabrication and designs and fit, but I doubt I could convince any of you to buy your first piece of Chanel RTW until you yourself have seen and touched it. It’s all about the tactile experience.

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For the 2014 Fall RTW show, the stage was set up like a supermarket à la Chanel. Only down these very chic aisles can you find quilted egg cartons and shopping baskets with the intertwined chains. The staging was so elaborate and fantastic that it was hard, even for me, to focus on the clothes. The accessories definitely stood out for me. A closer look at the RTW, however, did not motivate me to add any looks to my wishlist. But after seeing these advertisements (courtesy of Chanel.com),

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the photography piqued my interest. I went in for the tactile experience at my local boutique’s trunk show. Hmmm…

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that jacket definitely does not look as fun as in the ad. Even if I leap across the dressing room, it will still be too generous a cut for my frame. This color is also not for me. Here’s hoping the mustard, collared jacket from that same advertisement will be more suited for me. Speaking of mustard/ochre/saffron…

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Love the cut of this dress, but hello, are my days of resisting Spanx numbered? This was definitely the first time I’ve tried on a dress in my usual size that was this tight. Not sure going up a size for more room in the waist will mean too much room up on top. This goes on the maybe list. As in maybe I’ll do a few extra situps.

So after trying a few things that caught my eye, I basically felt that my wallet would be safe come fall shopping. Nothing I had to have. And then I saw this:

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I am the last person on Earth to drink milk, so I think it would be rather funny to add this bag to my collection. Lait de Coco makes the short list! But dear readers, you know I probably would not even be posting about this rather lackluster collection unless there was something truly spectacular for my camera, right? This candy/confetti dress caught my eye immediately:

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I debated in my head how the sleeves could be removed to make the dress more wearable, but then my sales associate noted that the embellishments in the sleeves were supposed to resemble M&Ms/candies (though I suppose the Ms would be replaced by interlocking Cs as it were) as a nod to the supermarket theme. Crazy amazing details. I go blind just looking at the tiny pleats.

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I stared at this dress for so long that a friend who came to the show with me urged me to try it on after we squealed over the price ($38,350). It was a sample size 38 so it had the longer length of the 38 (which I love) but the fit of a 34/36. And by urged I meant she said you should try it on and I said yeah! This is why it’s so much more fun to go to trunk shows with a buddy.

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Whoever that’s rich or “special” enough to get to own this dress will have one epic toothache. Just looking at the eye candy from my photos is enough to make me want to call my dentist. Or someone who can give me the numbers for a winning lotto ticket.

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