Love for Swedes

27 04 2009

Oh those Swedish… They bring us some of the best shopping around.

First, there’s Ikea. I sometimes feel that I’d prefer to impale myself with a handful of those tiny pencils they pass out at the door than fight the crowds and maze-setup of this circus; but at the same time I must admit that there’s something satisfying about wandering navigating the maze, gazing at random gadgets and stockpiling items I never knew I needed, partially because they’re too cool to pass up (cheese grater that then stores grated cheese?) and partially because they’re ridiculously cheap (hello set of three scissors. I need you not but you’re $1.99!)

Then, there’s H&M, which despite its affordable price tags, can quickly become very, very expensive. And time consuming. And, ultimately (and most importantly) fashionable.

Now Sweden has done it again. I introduce from Sthlm,a site that celebrates the brilliance of Swedish design. Now you too can indulge in the brilliance of the Swedes (without dangerous pencils or the madness that is the H&M fitting room). Starting in April, the site will feature a new designer every month, selling that designer’s merchandise for a limited time (the period said designer is featured). This month: the candy-colored towels, coasters and other items of Lotta Kühlhorn. What a way to get unique, fun, and brilliantly designed items that aren’t recognizable as Ikea or H&M! Sign up for the newsletter and you too will soon be saying, “Thanks. It came from Sweden.”

Resident Traveler

1 05 2008

I haven’t blogged in a while, and it’s not because I have nothing to say. In fact, I have sundry thoughts and new ideas that need to be written into a blog, but there just isn’t currently the time. What’s keeping my so busy?

Well, for one I’m currently in Travel Writing Bootcamp. No, it’s not jumping jacks and push-ups (though my poor gym-deprived body could probably use more of that). This is more like jumping jacks and push-ups for the mind. Or something like that. It’s a MediaBistro class that has certainly kept me busy. Each week I have to write a new story and pitch letter to review with the class.

Also, in the last week, I’ve been playing tour guide, or something like it. My college roommate and dear friend Adrienne paid me a much needed visit and was here all last week. While Age was incredibly easy in terms of guests, the pressure is always on to show your guests the New York bests, even if it’s really, as in the case of Adrienne, only because you make that pressure.

And so I found myself playing resident traveler, or traveler in residence. I know I blog about New York a lot, but there is something different when you actually have to look at it from the eyes of a visitor. And then there is that elusive list of all the places I would take a visitor that I can never find when the visitor actually arrives. And so, I record that list here:

  1. We started out the week with a night at the Bryant Park Hotel. (No, I’m not that impressive. I was shopping it.) Perfect timing too, because it was so warm and the park was filled with happy New Yorkers enjoying the sunshine. Oh, and we had a view of it all.
  2. Tuesday was dinner at Lil’ Frankie’s, which, it turns out is under the same ownership as one of my all time faves, Supper (it just so happens Supper was the restaurant of choice last time Age visited). Supper, I will say, wins hands down, though, or maybe we just caught LF on a bad night.
  3. Wednesday Age had pizza while I went to class, and then we met up for some fro yo Tasty Delight. (Ok, I know there is a trend here. And yes, our week revolved around eating. This is partly because Adrienne and I love to eat, and partly because we simply had evenings together, both working during the day.)
  4. Thursday evening was the big night. Dinner at the NY chic/LA reminiscent Cafeteria, where we shared a Mac Attack (3 types of mac and cheese) and chicken and waffles (yum!) and then off to dessert at Tao (did someone say mousse-filled fortune cookie?). And yes, we walked a lot in between.
  5. Friday we shopped in Nolita, only to discover that neither of us could afford even a glove there. Then we headed down to Soho where we had more luck. I think the highlight of the day was when I introduced her to Dead Sea salt soaps at Sabon, or could it have been the refuel stop for cupcakes at Sugar Sweet Sunshine? Not to take our eating mission lightly, we finished off the week in style with a dinner (and several bottles of wine) with the girls at Otto.

And now, still stuffed to the brim, I prepare for the arrival of the parents tomorrow. Get ready to start all over again…

Earth Day Musings

22 04 2008

They sure picked the right time for Earth Day. It’s definitely (finally) springtime in New York and there is something about the fresh smells in the air (and the warmth in the air that makes you want to actually be outdoors and able to smell it) and the new little blossoms on the trees that makes one love earth all the more. I am all about being pro-Earth and all, but I’d be far less inclined to be impressed by Earth Day fairs if they took place in frigid temps when the environment is nothing more than the wind whipping against my ears and causing my hands to sting.

Anyhow, rant over. It is spring and despite being a little foggy-headed from allergies, I am very much pro-environment and pro-doing what I can to help it. Last year at this time I sent an invective to my siblings who (living in Colorado of all places) didn’t recycle. They were annoyed, but a few months later I got a call from my nephew (to whom I assigned the task of bugging his parents about social responsibility) to inform me of the delivery of their recycling bins.

This year I have no siblings to enlighten but I will extend the plea to any and all other Coloradans who may come across my blog: PLEASE RECYCLE.

And now I have many other tasks to which I must attend (like Earth Day fairs) so I will end with a list of Earth friendly items, and pick up Earth Week again tomorrow:

  • Last year I posted about Earth Day friendly travel on EuroCheapo’s blog.
  • has a list of Earth Day Discounts and Freebies for green chicks who refuse to sacrifice style for the Earth (or travel).
  • And because I love sweets, I want to turn everyone onto Travel Chocolate, the socially responsible chocolate bar (more to come).

Over and Out.

Llama Sweater

26 02 2008

Anyone want this sweater?
Complete with nieve in the hair: A regular Snow White.

Oh the llama sweater, a staple in the tourist arsenal. In Peru they are sold everywhere and everyone seems to have one. Made (ostensibly) of llama wool, they are soft and oh-so-warm and tourists love to buy them.

On our second day in Cusco I myself almost did just that. It wasn’t the manly type with pictures of llamas on it, but a fitted cream number with a simple geometric design around the collar. It had fringe on the bottom, however, and toggles on the hood. I was in one of those tourism frenzies, where, overcome buy the excitement of all things new, the tourist buys or seriously considers buying things she would never even pick up otherwise. Luckily, some new friends who joined at the market played the “will you really wear it?” card and I was spared an unneeded sweater.

Then came Northwest Argentina, where llama sweaters again abounded. And, in a moment of need rather than want, I had to buy one. I had left my belongings in a hostel in San Salvador de Jujuy, had traveled to Humahuaca for Carnaval with nothing but two changes of clothes (both dresses), some pajamas, and my fleece. Too bad I hadn’t done my research and realized that Humahuaca is cold in the evenings, even in summer. Very cold.

So there I was in my thin pants and not quite warm enough fleece, with flip flops on my feet. The wind was picking up and it was promising to be a long night. What was a girl to do except to splurge on a $10 llama sweater, an oh-so-attractive thick and too big sweater, complete with llamas prancing across my chest. Wasn’t I the fairest of them all? But I was warm.

So now I’m back in New York with my llama sweater, which, in the land of Fifth Ave. and Soho boutiques might just be cause for beheading if I were to wear it outside (or at least cause for pointing and staring). So, if anyone out there would like a llama sweater, women’s medium, I have one here and it’s up for grabs.

Lesson learned: Check the weather ahead of time. And pack accordingly.