Sunday, May 31, 2009

on the environmental tip

B and I eat out at Asian restaurants quite frequently. More often than not, they provide disposable chopsticks. It wasn't bothering me when the chopsticks were of the heavy, bamboo variety. But many places use the thin, break-apart wooden style, and I hate the way they feel in my hands. So I've been looking for a pair of portable chopsticks. I really love the heavy plastic ones that we keep at home- I bought them ten for $1.99 at Soho/Chinatown's venerable Pearl River Mart. Not finding what I wanted in portable ones, a light bulb went off- why not just carry the plastic ones with me? So that's what I've been doing- two pairs at a time. They resemble the heavy chopsticks you get at Vietnamese places, and come in a rainbow of colors. I have a system for keeping them clean- they go in a pocket of my bag that I carry with me. When I use a pair, I wipe them off with a damp napkin, then stick them in my bag, outside the pocket. That way I know to switch them out with a clean pair when I get home. So what started out as a quest for comfort has had an environmental bonus. The ones we have are bright green, so I'm hoping people will notice me using them and think about bringing their own.

You can buy 10 pairs of chopsticks for $2.50 from Pearl River here.

From one environmental problem solved to one still in process. I have a pair of Tsubo hiking shoes that I absolutely love. I bought them 2 1/2 years ago to wear on hikes when we visit L.A. But they are so comfortable (and pretty stylish) that I ended up wearing them every day in nyc, esp. when out for our hours-long walks. So as a result, the treads have worn way down, to the point where there are holes in the soles. Because of their wrap-around outersole, I'm having a hard time getting them resoled. I tried a local shoe repair that got top votes on yelp- no dice. I contacted an online company that specializes in shoe resoling- nope. I even contacted Tsubo, who told me that they don't resole their shoes, but offered me a 10% discount on a new pair.

No, no, no, they just don't get it. I don't want to buy a new pair of shoes. It took about a year to break the damn things in and they're finally comfortable. They're made extremely well, and the only thing worn on them is the sole. They cost around $100. I can't in good conscience throw them away. Companies like Birkenstock will resole their shoes forever. Why not Tsubo? I personally think this is bad business practice, and would prevent me from buying another pair of their shoes. It would also make me consider the sole when buying shoes of another brand- and ask the question if they look like they could be repaired.

Has anyone out there had any luck getting shoes with specialty soles repaired? I'd appreciate any input.

Friday, May 29, 2009

worship worthy

what a great post on my work from the fashion and style blog with the mock religious theme, worship worthy. click here to view the post.

Monday, May 25, 2009

IOTW: double drape necklace

check out the latest item of the week: the double drape necklace. a great, versatile piece, made of vintage and new materials. fastens on the side with a hand made copper clasp.

this week only, the double drape necklace is 30% off,
only on my supermarket shop.

a day at the beach

yesterday was all about santa monica. first we headed out to the s.m. airport flea market. because if you don't know, southern california rules supreme in the flea market arena. it's such a huge phenomenon that they rotate markets each week of the month. the big three: pasadena city college 1st sunday, rose bowl 2nd sunday, long beach 3rd sunday. then there are minor ones like santa monica (1st and 4th sunday) that still blow away most cities' markets, and fairfax high school, which meets every sunday. the s.m. market is held at their tiny airport, which flies small, private planes. so much is changing in santa monica in the five years since I left. the extra space at the airport used to be a series of dingy hangars with an industrial feel. well, it looked like a small airport. now they've added landscaping, a dog run, a soccer field, a building that houses a s.m. college satellite campus, and the restaurant that opened several years ago is hopping. I found some great stuff at the market- mainly these enormous brass pendants that are horsey themed. I'm not sure what their original purpose was. but they're frickin cool and will make very blingy necklaces.

afterwards we headed downtown to get some tacos at wahoo's. mine were really good- two fish tacos served the real way on soft corn tortillas with cabbage. I had the platter with a side of spicy cajun white beans and brown rice. brown rice! only 25 cents extra. the whole plate was so yummy and healthy. wahoo's is a chain that started in orange county and has a surf-shack vibe. their food is always really fresh and cheap and the people that work there are super friendly. b had a salad b/c he chowed on chashu bao (steamed pork buns) that he picked up at a chinese bakery on the way out of gardena. but even his salad was good.

stuffed, we walked over to the 3rd street promenade. free meter parking on sundays. woo hoo! this area has been santa monica's pride and joy for some time now, an outdoor shopping mall that draws tons of tourists and locals. when I moved to the city in the late 90's the promenade still had plenty of locally-owned shops and restaurants. now it's mostly filled with big chains. but it does seem to have taken another upward turn (it was starting to look pretty crappy a few years ago, getting excessively mall-like) as has a lot of santa monica. the indoor mall at the broadway end, santa monica place, is being dismantled in favor of more outdoor shopping. after strolling through we walked down the stairs of the cliffs, along the footbridge over the pch (pacific coast highway) and down to the beach. it was pretty busy though the weather has been kind of cool, but once the sun came out around noon, it got pretty hot. we strolled south, walking under the pier, and emerging at the *adult playground* as I like to call it. there are several sets of traveling rings, (as I posted about last year) ropes, chin-up bars and gymnastic equipment made out of metal. we watched and i tried doing a few chin-ups. ha ha. then we noticed a big crowd on a patch of grass. there was a capoeira circle and people doing acrobatics and juggling.

after watching we headed back to the car, then drove east on wilshire blvd., through westwood and beverly hills. being a holiday weekend, the streets were amazingly empty of traffic. we went through korea town, by macarthur park in westlake. turning south onto union ave., we went through pico-union, then onto hoover st. and into west adams, passing usc, and exposition park. we took figueroa st. all the way south to gardena, stopping to visit b's friends the bouzas before dinner. as we walk in the door, david looks at us and comments "Lakers fans!" oh god. unintentially, we both had dressed in purple and gold and walked around all day without noticing. no one could care less about team sports than me and b. hilarious! finally we met my cousin and her husband for dinner in long beach.

Friday, May 22, 2009

a little time off

so! b and I are in San Pedro again, back for our once or twice yearly L.A. trip to see friends and family. we have a wedding to attend this weekend. chuck picked us up around 3pm yesterday at Long Beach airport. the best little airport that is NOT LAX. but he told us that he heard that they might be discontinuing Jet Blue service to Long Beach since they're picking up LAX. say it isn't so!

stacy and chuck lucked into a house deal here in Pedro, so they'll be giving up our favorite apartment on the bluff. we swung by the new house on the way back from the airport and we got to see all the work they've been putting into it. it's in the rewall / refloor, rip out part of the staircase stage. the house belonged to a friend who was a middle-aged bachelor pack rat, so, you know. it's a 1920's bungalow that has been extended to the back, has tons of light from each side, a sun room off the master bedroom, original tile in the bathrooms, a full, pitched-roof attic, um, yeah. pretty charming. since they have a one-year old baby, the house will come in handy.

today on her way to work stacy dropped me off at the san pedro farmer's market downtown. spanning a block of sixth street, it has produce, hand made soaps and food items, latin american crafts, antiques, several mexican food vendors and live music. I went straight for the tamales and fresh strawberry-lime juice. yum! the beadwork of the one of the vendors caught my eye and I inquired about buying wholesale. the men selling the work were Huichol Indians from Mexico, dressed in full authentic wear of brightly embroidered white shirts and pants, broad-brimmed hats decorated with large tassels, and their peyote stitch jewelry. I put together a great selection of earrings, tasseled barettes and necklaces. the color combinations are gorgeous. I can't wait to photograph them.

so now the sun is setting and b is napping on the couch. ciao.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I first met Roxy Marj (Roxanne Asami) at Jenny Kwok's moving sale a few years back, when Jenny was leaving Brooklyn for Istanbul. At the time we were both selling our work on cut + paste, Jenny's site, the granddaddy of all online hand made marketplaces. Although I haven't seen Roxy that much since I met her, we've been keeping up with each other online. She has such a great aesthetic, is a wonderful illustrator and has the best sense of humor. When I found out that Roxy was also having a moving sale, because she too was leaving Brooklyn for lands far off, I knew I had to go. We won't be able to make her going away party next weekend since we'll be in L.A., so I wanted to say goodbye, and also see what she had to offer. If you didn't know, artists have the best yard sales.

As a newcomer to nyc you will quickly get used to reading the MTA's weekend service advisories. Flush with tax revenue from the economic boom of the past several years, they've been fastidiously repairing every mile of track in the enormous subway system. In addition, most of the major stations have been undergoing sorely needed renovations. So as a result, the MTA works on certain lines for several months at a time, closing down lines on the weekends and re-routing your trip. If you live near a line that has a local and an express train, they will close down one track as they work on the other. b and I have gotten so used to seeing the posters in the A/C station that we use, we've stopped reading them carefully. The usual deal is- C (local) train not running, A (express) train runs as a local train. okay- so we didn't read the signs yesterday, hopped on the A train, and it bypassed the first local stop. We got out at the next stop, knowing if we stayed on it would go too far past where we wanted to be. Getting out, we saw that there was yellow tape across the entrance to the local tracks. That meant no local service at all! So we decided to walk the rest of the way, through Crown Heights. Along the way we found several *free* boxes set out on the sidewalk. b scored a jackpot on *hacker manual* zines. Further along, as we entered Prospect Heights, there were multi-family sales in front of large apartment buildings. I found b a pair of new flip-flops for a dollar.

Roxy held her stoop sale in front of her friend's apartment in Prospect Heights, the building coincidentally being named "the Roxana." when we arrived Roxy was goofing around with two neighborhood girls, Alana and Aleeza. they asked me to guess their names, and looking into Alana's face I said "Alison." pretty close, huh? Later on they were joined by their older brother Ari. I bonded with the kids over being Jewish and having facebook and twitter accounts. while there I amassed a great pile of books, clothing, fabric, art supplies and jewelry. I feel ridiculously honored to own four of Roxy's unfinished sketch books. I've been planning on starting a new one myself, so it will be fun to use these.

b started acting kind of grumpy, and I explained to Roxy that he was hungry. What do you know, she offers him a slice of her pitza (pizza made on home made pita) from Zaytoons. We had eaten at their Carroll Gardens location the other day, and fell in instant love. So good, so fresh, (they bake their pita bread fresh per order) pretty cheap, and so welcoming. I felt like friends had invited me into their home for lunch. So after filling up two bags with loot, we said goodbye to Roxy and walked to Vanderbilt Ave. for a late lunch. Such a variety of choices, but we decided on Le Gamin Cafe. Another great spot that has multiple nyc locations. b had the croque madame and I had the quiche du jour. Really authentically frenchie spot down to all the details- quiche made the correct way with cream, snails on the menu, beverages like sour lemonade and cafe au lait served in a bowl. an adorable little vintage aluminum condiment tray on the table, with salt, pepper and a tiny glass dish of mustard.

I had a few things I had to pick up before we went home, so we walked across to Park Slope to find a Duane Reade. (nyc's big pharmacy chain, which kicks the other chain's butts) Heading west, I found another free box and scored a lightweight summer dress. Choosing to walk down 5th ave., the street has a decided lack of big-chain pharmacies. It isn't until you get into the South Slope that you find them. Alas, only a Rite Aid, but they had what I needed. We kept walking south on 5th, finding several new bars and restaurants, as the neighborhood bleeds into Sunset Park. We finally headed back up 6th., one of my favorite streets, as it's partially commercial but mainly residential. So it's one of the major north-south avenues in Park Slope, but it has a quieter, tree-lined feel. And then home.

Friday, May 15, 2009

IOTW: key chains!

here's a really, really good item of the week.
all key chains on my supermarket shop are marked 30% off this week.
pick up a hand made key chain- many of them one of a kind- for under $45 this week only.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

IOTW: end of day necklace

this time I'm offering the end of day necklace as my item of the week on Supermarket. This has been a popular necklace, so grab one now if you've had your eye on it. Each necklace is one of a kind, made from chains scraps which are joined together with hand made copper wraps. this week only, the end of day necklace is $87.50.

Friday, May 1, 2009


in the interest of the cash-strapped, over on my supermarket shop,, I've started something called item of the week. each week a different piece will be featured at 30% off. first up is the copper bracelet at $54.50.