Speaking of the Daylight Savings...

I think watches might be one of my favorite things to wear. Even though bags are my all-time favorite accessory, watches are a very close second. 'Jewelry with a function' is how my mom described them so perfectly.

So here we are, about to 'fall back' and I have 2 new fabulous watches to speak of. They are completely different...and for totally different purposes but they are both completely awesome in their own way. The first is my beautiful, gorgeous new Raymond Weil from the Tango series. A gift from my mom (she got it in a steal of a deal at a closeout sale), it's a watch I dreamed of owning for years now. The band is like a bracelet and I love its rectangular face and roman numerals. The other is a recent purchase from Target. A $40 Timex for the gym and my jogs...this watch does everything...and is a smashing purple color to boot!


Goodbye Daylight Savings-Hello Weekend!

Finally Friday! It's been a long and busy week at work (hence, no time for posting...too tired when I get home) so I am so happy for the weekend. We get back that beautiful hour of sleep (don't forget to change your clocks)...and to make this fabulous looking Japanese stew. I found the recipe on a favorite cooking blog called Closet Cooking. This recipe for Nikujaga looks so unique and tasty.

Hope everyone has a delicious weekend!


Halloween Goods

Don't forget Emily Martin's free Halloween card download! I keep mine up all year! It's too cute to take down....

New Mag Alert: Lonny

I've been waiting for months for this online mag to premiere!!!...and it's finally here. I've done quick scans here & there of Lonny and I love it so far.... You can definitely tell it has a touch of Domino-inspired flare! Also check out creator Michelle Adams' blog....She's quite adorable and she's working on her second issue already (Paris-inspired!).


I heart Law & Order

Oh! I'm dying here.... Law & Order in a Harper's Bazaar fashion spread! I have loved this show since it started...way too long ago for me to even count the years! Jerry Orbach will forever be my all time favorite, along with Sam Waterston....but Jeremy Sisto comes a close third!

I'm a hoarder

You're probably wondering...what does being a hoarder have to do with this cute macaron chart from Laduree?...My answer: this is the small leaflet I took while shopping at the Laduree shop inside the Mitsukoshi department store. Actually, I took several because I knew I wanted to pass along one to my best buddy, KP. It's hard to see but the names of each macron are in French & Japanese...Kinda cute, no? Whenever I go to a cute and/or unusual shop, I always pick up their business card or book mark, or whatever else is given away as freebies. I have a ton in my wallet from my Tokyo travels and I find it amusing to look through them every once in a while..... Fancy that!

Stylin with glasses

I must admit I'm really liking the glasses & camel colored toggle coat on Michelle Williams. It's the geek in me, I guess....


Stylish Japanese Umbrellas

Apparently I wasn't the only person impressed with transparent umbrellas in Tokyo. Kirai has some great photos of clear umbrellas on their blog. It's a rainy Tuesday here and I thought I'd comment about these stylish umbrellas. Do you recall the one Scarlett Jo holds in the Lost in Translation poster? Well, my to-do list included buying such an umbrella and I succeded. See, even the most mudane & functional can be beautiful!


Totes to plushies to wooden cards

Check out this adorable site that has some truly unique items. If you love owls and unusual cards, this site is for you!

Chinese Lunch Friday!

Today is 'Chinese Lunch Friday' in the office. I will be ordering my favorite dish...'Singapore Chow Mei Fun' ... just the kick I need to pick me up on this incredibly dreary day in upstate.

Hope everyone has something yummy to eat this weekend!

Domo Friday, Everyone!

Happy (Domo!) Friday, everyone!!! This is kind of how I'm feeling.... I still have my cold & I feel run down, but little Domo here has really kept up my spirits for the past week. I think I'm still on my Tokyo-kick at the moment and I feel a strange need to keep going to my local 7 eleven so I can see this little creature. Plus, they have a really cute coffee cup with Domo's face on it. Even better is the pumpkin spice latte. I would venture to say it's even better than the Starbucks variety (hint: I mix 2/3 of the pumpkin spice latte with 1/3 of the regularly brewed coffee...I don't like it too sweet). They even have a Fuji apple Slurpee in honor of this fuzzy guy, which I haven't tried yet but am very tempted. Lucky for me that this store is Japanese-owned... Where else would I get my Japanese fix? I'll write more on the whole Japanese Kawaii phenomenon in a near future post (my brain is way too numb from the cold to even think straight). Take care, all!


The Depāto

The Japanese department store. I have to say they are the masters of the universe when it comes to department stores. Having been a New Yorker, I think I know a thing or two about shopping and am usually not phased by stores.....but I have to admit that I was absolutely floored when I entered the department stores in Tokyo. The picture above is of Takashimaya Time Square. This is the behemoth that was across the walkway from our hotel! First off, just a side note about our hotel. It was a fantastically modern sleek hotel that exceeded our expectations. It belongs to a class called business hotels and mostly has a Japanese clientele. The hotel lobby starts on the 20th floor and our room was on the 33rd. We had some awesome views....Views that were pretty much like the ones in Lost in Translation---just spectacular. OK, that being said.....across the walkway was the huge Takashimaya dept. store, Kinokuniya (a fantastic 6 floor book store), & Tokyu Hands (another behemoth that bills itself as a Creative Life Store, where you can find anything and everything for the home--from toilets to stickers!).

Back to the dept. store. you'll never find a 2 or 3 story department store. That would be too easy...No, they have to have at least 10 floors for it to be a serious store. Takashimaya had 14 floors! You ask, "what can you possibly have on 14 floors?" Everything from clothing to foods to entertainment. It is definitely one stop shopping! All the stores have the same concept. Some are ritzier than others, like Takashimaya and the ever ritzy Mitsukoshi, which is where they have the Laduree branch. Even the subway stop was decked out in marble. The basement levels are dedicated to all sorts of prepared foods & dessert delicacies. I can say it feels like a football field when you enter one of these. It's like traveling through the Harrod's food section, but in a grander/bigger scheme. Since they are big fans of French desserts, all the big-time chocolatiers are on hand. It's quite dizzying when you're trying to maze around with all sorts of foods presented your way. And the biggest show stoppers are salespeople. I had read about how each associate goes through extensive training on how to serve customers and even learn the intricacies of how far you should bow to customers, but I didn't believe all of it until I saw it for myself! These people actually like their jobs. No dilly dallying here. They not only bow but say thank you to each and every person that comes their way. I mean, seriously... I learned very quickly that all I really needed to speak was "Arigato gozaimas (basically thank you very much)". The very first department store we went to only had 10 floors(!) but while taking up the escalator through each floor, we encountered the cleaning staff standing at the ends of each rail with a dust rag at the end. They were cleaning up the handrails so they could be kept clean! I mean, can you see anyone doing this in the States? The attention to cleanliness is amazing! Public bathrooms are always spotless. You can seriously eat off the floor (I'm exaggerating here but I'm not far off from the truth!). Side note on public restrooms: Even subway restrooms are spotless! Can you even imagine going inside a restroom in a NY subway station?

As much as I love shopping and had a mission to find certain things on my list, I didn't buy nearly as much as I had planned on....mostly because I was just overwhelmed. That's probably the best word to describe a lot of what I saw. There's just so much of everything--cute things to the umpteenth degree---that I nearly lost my mind. Many times I just had to leave a place because my brain just turned numb. Just thinking about all this makes my brain freeze at the moment. I'll write more later!

NOTE: I totally forgot about the gift wrapping. OK, you think you know about wrapping packages but when you see a Japanese sales associate wrap a gift it's really serious business. First off, they always ask if the item you're buying is a gift. So being greedy I just say it is because I really like nicely packaged goods! They painstakingly wrap each and every item for you. Then they proceed to bow tie it all (sometimes even asking you which paper & bow color you want) and then put it in a bag and then sometimes re-bag the bag and then tape up the whole package again! It's mind boggling. OK...I'll stop now.

Observations: Japanese women & fashion

It might sound strange to begin a segment on Japanese fashion with eyelashes, but this is where I'll begin. These are just my keen observations based on walking the streets of Tokyo & riding on the subways. You can learn a lot about a culture by studying the way women dress. Here are some observations I made:

1)Japanese women LOVE long lashes. I can't tell you how many women were walking around with fake lashes. I know this for a fact: Asian women don't have long lashes.....So sad but true. Japanese women really have a thing for playing up the eyes. "Western Eyes" is the way to go. To have the big doe-eyed look is really in. As I've notice in Anime/Manga, the girls always have big expressive eyes.

2)based on my non-scientific observations about 80% of the women in Tokyo color their hair-- mostly a light reddish brown. It's quite amazing actually. Many times from afar & while you're walking behind someone you'd actually think the person ahead of you was actually a westerner, but lo and behold! they're really Japanese!

3) Women (and most teenagers) love long hair and they usually have soft spiral curls that are strategically placed all over their heads. It's very interesting. I imagine most of these girls really spend a good hour on their hair & makeup alone.

3)Among teens, they LOVE knee high school-girl socks & thigh high socks paired with tall boots. This was a very popular look

4) Paired with the appropriate mentioned shoes/socks, are the short short skirts. I hesitate to even call them skirts because they are so short...They border on being just a small hankie.

5)While teens & younger women love these short short skirts, they are actually quite modest in the top department. You will never see a Japanese woman/teen with a low cut top on. The two instances I saw cleavage were on (most probably) American tourists. I told my mom about this when I returned home and she said some very interesting things. She says that Japanese women are much more modest about showing any cleavage, while Korean women are way more modest about showing any leg. I find this pretty accurate (from my knowledge of traveling in Korea) because Korean women are usually pretty modest about wearing skirts that hit the knees.

6)No one every leaves the house looking like a bum. While not everyone is on par with the current fashion, all do spend time on how presentable they are. No one leaves the house in sweats. I seriously doubt any Japanese would even own sweats. I would think it would go against the rule that everything should be aesthetically pleasing. Hygiene is quite important

7)I mentioned earlier that they are a people of contradictions and I mostly thought of how women are portrayed in their culture as being demure & submissive....but street fashion goes against this "logic" and from what I gather older adults don't take much offense to it. I imagine it's something of rite of passage to dress as outrageously as possible while teenagers, but once they hit adulthood and careers they move on to a more conservative phase in their fashion lives. Most middle aged women were very well dressed---the standard pearls, long eyelashes, perfect hair, appropriate dresses & skirts. What I had read of the Harajuku girls were all true.... They are truly outrageous, never vulgar, and always displays a mix of kawaii (cuteness) & punk.

8)Most women/teens seem to prefer skirts/dresses to pants/jeans. While I noticed more men wearing jeans than women, I just don't think pants are all that popular among women.

So these are just some of the observations I made while walking around....I just found the women fascinating....Their style is very unique to their culture & it's definitely all their own!

Books I am Loving

Here are 3 amazing books I am into now. Each one, totally different from the next:

French Milk
An illustrated travel journal by Lucy Kinsley on her journey to through Paris with her mother.

The Well Dressed Home
A glorious book about ways to make your home can reflect your personal style.

South of Broad The latest book by the great southern writer Pat Conroy. Set against the lush backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, Conroy fills the book with an incredible array of characters and beautiful writing.


Banao coming your way, Laura...

Laura, a small Banao gift coming your way soon! (I just need to get my act together)

A little bit wiser

My dears! I've missed everyone & hope you're all doing well. I've been back a few days & trying to recover from a cold I got over the weekend....Has the weather been crazy up where you are? We've had nonstop rain & winter coats had to be dragged out. What a great homecoming it was!

As with all trips that have just ended, I am still longing for my days in Tokyo. I've been trying to think of how to sum up my trip, but I must admit it's very hard to put everything into words. First things first---the city is magnetic. Its people--the culture, mannerisms, everything about this city is amazing. Guidebooks don't do the city justice. Usually before a trip, I do some major planning--subway system, specific stores, restaurants, etc.... But with Tokyo, I basically had to throw out most of my notes. The city is best experienced through meandering its streets. This might also have to do with the small fact that street names, except major streets, are hard to come by. So from the start you are already lost. But that's OK because this is one city you wouldn't mind being lost in. There is a sensory overload when you experience Tokyo. There are no better words to describe the beautifully chaotic Tokyo scenery. They are a people of contradictions---yet everything peacefully coexists in harmony. Their impeccable manners are what throws them over the top. I've never met such courteous, well meaning individuals. I'm probably rambling on, but that's only because I'm still trying to process my thoughts & experiences. I promise to provide a glimpse of what I saw each day in the posts to come shortly! My title says it all really. As B & I were leaving our hotel for the last walk to the train station, I turned to him and said I felt I was going home a bit wiser....To soak in a culture that is so incredibly different than the one I live in---I truly feel lucky!


Cade Martin is amazing

You simply must check out photographer Cade Martin's site. There is 'fish-out-of-water' loveliness in his images that his mesmerizing.

*Spotted on Black*Eiffel

Could it be? Another long lost love.

So long before Michelle Obama discovered JCrew, Ms. M and I were faithful devotees. And Ms. M will remember, in '98, I purchased a pair of black leather Oxfords (actually we both did) that I decided would go in our 'Hall of Fame' or great purchases. These Oxfords were so great, I STILL have them (I am in, in fact, wearing them today). I don't know what it is about these shoes that is so special. They are just perfect in every way and I absolutely covet them. I am fairly certain that you Ooh La La faithful know what my next comment is going to be...of course...I have been looking for another pair like them for years. Now I know I will never be able to perfectly duplicate my beloved '98 Oxfords but check out these newbies that are from JCrew's sister company Madwell. They have a little more heel than I want and they are kind of pointy, but they are really quite fabulous aside from those two little flaws. I think they might just satisfy my long, sad tale of want.


Long lost love

Years ago, when I first moved to Rochester, I had a backpack. I loved this backpack. It was perfect. Faux leather, perfect size, very stylin' ... and best of all, it reminded me of the very backpack Elaine used to carry on 'Seinfeld' (before she went all glam). I was in grad. school at the time so the poor backpack was always filled to the brim with books...big heavy books. So, you guessed it...after all that abuse, the backpack got destroyed. I have looked for one like it since then (probably 10 years) and I think I finally found it. This one, available at Urban Oufitters, is a dead ringer for my beloved old friend.


A guilty pleasure...courtesy of Lifetime

I saw an ad for this movie a night or two ago and thought it looked completely hysterical but when my sister mentioned it also, well, I knew I had to post it. Are movies made for Lifetime the best or what?! They are the perfect example of something that is so bad, its good. Check out the trailer for this movie, premiering on October 17, on Lifetime. I guarantee you won't be able to resist watching. Sororities...Lifetime...what more can you ask for?


Oh Martha...

...is there anything you can't do? These teacup candles are an absolutely great gift idea and they don't even look hard to make.

A smattering of holiday cards

Picking out holiday cards is one of my favorite parts of the season but there are so many festive ones, I can never ever decide on just one kind. My strategy is usually to buy 2 or 3 styles...that way I satisfy my craving for all the ones I love and my loved ones don't all get the same thing from me. These 3 examples are tops on my list this year...Vera Wang, r nichols and MOMA always have such smashing designs. All are available at amazing Kate's Paperie.

Happy Columbus Day!

For everyone who has this Columbus Day off, I hope you have a lovely time. I am working today (academic libraries never seem to close) but if I had the day off, I am pretty sure I would start the morning off with a walk over to our neighborhood cafe for a hot apple cider. Cafe Vas opened a year or so ago and it is so nice to have it just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the house. After my cider, I think I might take in a matinee or check out the offerings of the ImageOut film festival that is in town this week. I went to a documentary yesterday morning that was made by my friend Chris' college buddy, Dave Marshall. It was called 'Swimming with Lesbians' and it was just terrific. It is making the festival circuit now, so if you get a chance, check it out.

Oh well...back to work...sigh.

*Gorgeous print by Oladesign.

Target Holiday LookBook

Check out the new Target Holiday '09 LookBook. There are some pretty cool ideas for decorating and Netherlands designer Marcel Wanders has designed a line of holiday items are that are very special

(the gift ideas are a little...ho hum)


Feel better Laura! Happy Weekend to All!

I'm off for the day but before I hit the road, I wanted to send a little cupcake love to Laura! I hope you feel better and that all have a simply splendid weekend!

Cupcake photo by meganlee

Mmmmm...cheese grits

Grits are a delicious Southern specialty that I could eat every day. They are even yummier this time of year when it's kind of chilly outside. Easy, cheap and vegetarian...they are a favorite standby. Here's a good recipe to try if you like.

...and magnet love!

Same artist...another awesome idea. These felt magnets are right up my alley!

Button love

These hand-sewn buttons made from authentic Japanese Fabric would make such a great detail on fabulous sweater. I am inventing a project to use them with as I write!

Finally Friday!

Thank heavens! It's finally Friday. I hope everyone has some cool plans for the weekend. It's supposed to be a lovely clear, 50 degrees here in upstate and the yard is begging to be raked. I admit that raking is a yard job that I enjoy. Call me crazy!

Beautiful 'Fall 2009' print by strawberryluna.


Irving Penn, 1917-2009

Famed fashion photographer and longtime Vogue contributor, Irving Penn died yesterday at the age of 92. His images continue to be among the most striking for simplicity of their composition and the elegance of their subject matter. He, like Richard Avedon and Patrick Demarchelier are among the very first reasons I have always been drawn to fashion and photography. They are they masters who made this type of photography an art.

Coolest souvenirs EVER!

Anyone who has been to the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, knows that, while it has some pretty awesome exhibits, the building itself often steals the show. That shell like structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is as famous as the works of any of the artist who have moved in at out of the museum throughout the years. This year, the Guggeneheim is celebrating its 50th anniversary and there all sorts of cool souvenirs to commemorate the occasion, including this snow globe and fabulous mug shaped like the shell-shaped building. And let's face it, everyone knows the best part of any museum is the gift shop anyway :-)

Nescafe Frappe, Parakalo!

By now, all you faithful ooh la la dujour readers know how much I love love love coffee drinks. But I don't think anything tops my all-time favorite Greek frappe. I don't know what the Greeks do to this drink but there is nothing more pleasurable than ordering one at a cafe in Athens and slowly sipping it while people watching. If you can't make it to Greece any time soon, here is a fabulous recipe to try at home!

Instant Luxury

Say what you will about Martha Stewart...she comes up with some really smashing ideas. I am in love with these velvet ribbon belts. Such a simple way to add a touch of luxury to any outfit

Travels and flying solo

As we speak, Ms. M is off on her journey to Tokyo. I am not sure I could be more excited, even if I was traveling there myself. Having traveled a bit with Ms. M, I know a couple things for sure...she is going to pack more into her time there than most people will find humanly possible and she is going to come back with the most fabulous items this land has to offer. Happy travels Ms. M!

Until her return, I will be keeping all up-to-date @ ooh la la dujor!

Photo by Joe


Korean fried chicken

There's a great article in the Dining section of the NY Times today which made me think of the Korean fried chicken. I might be a little biased when I write this, but Koreans really do know how to fry their chicken. It's never greasy and it's always flavorful. The whole chicken is chopped up into 18-20 pieces and each piece is delightfully crisp with every single bite. Whether plain or glazed with either a sweet or fiery glaze, you can't really beat the taste! Yum....Now I'm hungry for dinner!

Domo & friends...

I discovered the most amusing new friends yesterday while at my local....7 Eleven! Go figure!...and they're Japanese! It's Domo, along with Usajii & Tashanna. How cute are they??? I caved and bought the collector's cup(slurpee anyone?). Visit Domo and find out all about him and his buddies!


Bon Voyage Ms. M!

Ms. M...I hope you have the time of your life in Tokyo. I can't imagine a more exciting trip and a person more deserving of the experience. Safe travels...I'll hold down the fort (though blogging without you hardly seems the same)...make sure to take lots and lots and lots of pictures!

Love always, Katie P

Jitters & Postcards...

So I leave for Tokyo early Thursday AM....I'm so nervous for many reasons--but I'll try to concentrate on the good reasons.....Don't you feel like your week is just a bit better when you know you're almost on holiday? I know mine does....The days just seem to breeze by & I'm just in a better mood. Too bad you can't bottle up this feeling. Whenever I travel I love buying postcards--some to send family & friends and some to just keep in my "folder" for future use as art work....There's something so simple about a postcard--yet they bring so much joy.

Warm woolen mittens

Oh how I adore mittens. I love the way they look, I love the way they feel, I love all the different styles...I even love the word. If I had a cat, I always imagined that I would name it 'mittens'. One of my favorite things about winter is wearing mittens. And I am thinking that these mitten clips (above) from Martha S. will be great for gift tags and package decoration.

'Friends with mittens' by Oh My Cavalier