I did a fireside chat with Joaquin Roca. It was a free-flowing conversation. A good group of people too. As always, I am probably more candid than I should be but what can I say.
I did a fireside chat with Joaquin Roca. It was a free-flowing conversation. A good group of people too. As always, I am probably more candid than I should be but what can I say.
The last few years there have been several retrospectives at museums around the globe on fashion designers. Alexander McQueen at the MET, YSL at the Petit Palais, Valentino at the Museum Les Art Decoratifs are three that I can think of that I went to see. This past week I went to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.
You can not help but be intrigued by the brilliance and out of the box thinking of Gaultier. He has pushed the envelope throughout his career focusing on playful street wear making statements of the times. At age 18 he was already working in Paris for Pierre Cardin. It was the first step towards having his own line by age 26.
The exhibit shows a variety of pret-a-porter designs including videos, advertisements, drawings and runway shows. The custom mannequins for the show all have interactive faces that are talking or singing. It is pretty cool. BTW, this outfit above took 163 hours to create.
The show covers his early work to his current work broken down into seven different themes. I particularly liked one of his quotes that was in the room where he began to make provocative clothes for men too. He believed that fashion was for everyone. This quote was a reaction to the convention of only using tall white models for the runway shows. He says "Perfection is relative and beauty is subjective. I wanted to make imperfection admirable. Sometimes a different energy and bearing or an unusual type of body catches my eye and makes me want to invent something. With both haute couture and pret-a-porter, I've always tried to create collections that could speak to to all kinds of men and women of different ages and styles." That saying is what makes Gaultier truly bold and unique.
Going to Lazare might have been a turning point in our restaurant going in Paris. For years all the restaurants were pure old school. Rarely did new places open up. Then just like every other city food became a new economy and restaurants opened everywhere. There are so many new places in Paris that are amazing. Yet if I closed my eyes Lazare could have been in NYC or Chicago or London. Nouvelle French cuisine that just did not perform. Keep in mind they opened in mid-September but still. I am going to return to the old school places next trip.
The room is nice, simple and modern. The restaurant sits in side the train station although you can only access it from outside and you can see it from the inside of the station. Essentially the restaurant is housed in a mall. We started with two appetizers. One was blinis with sliced salmon and a creme fraiche. Thick blinis that were almost like pancakes. Salmon that was thickly sliced with very little flavor. Creme fraiche that was more like a boursin.
The other appetizer was a savory clafoutis. Eggs, cream, scallops and herbs. Not exactly a clafoutis but interesting. The scallops were overcooked which isn't surprising in this particular dish. The egg part was buttery and tasty but the scallops just sank to the bottom.
All and all just not what I expected. The following day I got up and just knew I was not well. Maybe it was the meal maybe it was just a stomach virus. Regardless, the day was not pretty. I am sure it will go down in our family history. Not fun being sick when you aren't in your own bed.
Back to NYC the next day after watching Fred speak at Le Web. Always a good trip to Paris, regardless of being sick.
Fred and I came over to Paris for a quick jaunt. We rented an apartment thru One Fine Stay. It is pretty sweet being able to chill in a living room and have some of the comforts of home.
We didn't do a lot yesterday but walk around, have lunch and take a nap. We did however go to Bones for dinner. It is in the 11th. Very industrial in feel and the food is delicious. We could not get a reservation so went early and sat at the bar. By the time we left the place was packed.
This was just amazing. Cote de Boeuf on the bone. Sliced up and served. We thought there was no way we could eat the whole thing and yet we did. We did share one piece with a woman who was obviously a foodie at the bar who completely enjoyed it too. Served with an incredible soft polenta that was doused with olive oil and a nice simple green salad. Insanely delicious.
Afterward we made our way over to the Marais to have a late lunch at Bobs Kitchen So good. Fred had a green juice. They are known for their jucies.
Jessica and I went to see The Commons of Pensacola, the latest production at MTC starring Blythe Danner and Jessica Sarah Parker. The play was written by Amanda Peet, her debut as a playwright.
The play centers around the new home of Judith located in the Gulf Coast of Florida. Judith is the mother who had lived quite a life before her husband lost millions of his clients money through a supposed ponzi scheme. The play essentially is about the Madoff scandal and what it would be like to be the wife and the daughters, supposedly victims too, of their father/husband.
The writing is clever and humorous yet there are so many dysfunctional things going on in this family regardless of the challenges that life has brought for them. In the aftermath of this huge scandal there have been a few novels written with the Madoff family in mind. Even Mrs Madoff and her son have appeared on Sixty Minutes to let the public get a look at what their life is now and their own personal remorse for something they supposedly knew nothing of. An interesting topic to pick.
More important, Parker and Danner are wonderful to watch. Both superb actresses that work well together. Seeing them act in such a small setting is alone worth going to see. Two icons of acting are always worth seeing live.
I love portfolio synergy!
This weekend Kitchensurfing and Food52/Provisions have collaborated together on a pop-up on the Bowery. Located at 168 Bowery on the corner of Kenmare. It is right on the corner with big glass windows.
When I was there to kick off the event I got a goodie bag to go. One of the items in it was a eco-friendly sandwich wrapper. Instead of sending your kids off to school every day with a new plastic baggie or something wrapped in tin foil, this can be used every day and the truth is that it holds the sandwich in place better. I am sorry I did not take a picture but it is super cool. I most definitely would have used these when my kids were younger.
Here is the best part of this pop-up shop. You can taste the chefs wares, you can buy goodies to go and you can also buy them online when you are there and have them delivered to your door. The other good thing is once you experience both companies you will be able to connect with them 24/7 because although this is a pop-up brick and mortar shop, these sites are live all the time and happy to connect with their customers.
Happy Holiday shopping and eating!
I have always loved real estate. Not only the buy and sell aspect but the building aspect, the investing aspect, the big picture aspect and obviously the technology part too. I am sitting on a panel at the Inman News event conference on January 16th at 10am. Brad has made a serious mark in the real estate arena and I was fortunate enough to sit on the Curbed board with him for several years.
When Fred and I first graduated from college we honestly knew nothing about real estate. Most of our learning experiences on real estate startedwhen we first began to work. Renting our first apartment, what it cost, the location and all the other factors that come into play. We took in NYC with gusto. We'd walk from one end of the town to another when ever we could exploring different neighborhoods. To this day I can still go into random neighborhoods and see the changes because we touched every corner. We'd dream of owning a large plot of land in NYC and building a huge parking lot. At that point we certainly understood that value.
Years later before we bought our own first apartment our friend was telling us about a commercial property that was owned by his grandfather out in the midwest. It has been given as a gift to both him and his sister. Every ten years they would take out a new mortgage on the property, split the amount of cash they took from it because they had the proper tenants in place that would cover the monthly mortgage. We thought that was utterly brilliant. Once you owned a property with value you could continue to pull value from it eternally. Of course everything has to fit into place.
Needless to say our first major purchase was an apartment. We definitely overpaid into a building that was converting into a co-op and boy did we learn a lot. Fred stepped up to the plate and got on the board. Renegotiating the lease for the grocery store and parking lot in the building and I believe the mortgage on the property too. The lawyer who worked on this ended up becoming one of our friends for life. He is still our real estate lawyer today.
Fast forward, we have purchased more than our share of personal property and we have moved many times, upgrading as we went along. I believe that I have invested in companies that are changing the way the real estate world works. Sweeten, a community that connects people renovating their homes with the right contractor that has been fully vetted. Nestio, an online and mobile app that allows landlords, owners and brokers to get real time data in regards to rentals. Architizer, changing the way that architects source and collect all their materials and a place where the consumers can discover architects. Curbed, a place to get content on anything happening in the real estate market nationally and locally. We are also investors in a company that builds commercial and residential properties. A nice umbrella overseeing what is happening in the real estate world. Each are unique, Curbed has recently sold to Vox (thrilled for them!) and each give me a birds eye view into the real estate marketplace.
I am actually looking to expand our real estate world looking at buildings to buy in areas that are up and coming. That alone is a full time job but it is something I am interested in and enjoy. Truth is I'd love to buy a place and build a hotel but I might have to hold off on that until at least Josh goes to college.
There is definitely an art to gift giving. Some people are incredible at it while others not so good. In our family Emily is the best gift giver, hands down. Josh absolutely hates it. There has been a bunch of conversation about gifts because of the holiday season. We are having a family secret santa and the angst behind it for some is not pretty. One gift, come on!
This is also the season where tons of stuff just arrives. Fred ends up bringing our car over to the office in early January and hauls a serious supply of stuff home. Sometimes I truly wonder about who was behind the thinking around those gifts.
Here are my personal thoughts on gifts particularly when they come to clients. Stick to food, wine and alcohol. Make sure it is good food and wine. There is nothing more upsetting than having some terrible book or gadget that nobody is ever going to use show up at the door with someones company logo on it. I'd rather the givers give to a charity they know I am passionate about or the company supports.
Needless to say, as I am investor in all these companies but you can buy great gift packages on Mouth. You can even call them up and have them create something special for a slew of clients. Food52 has items on Provisions for the home chef not necessarily for clients. There is always Ricks Picks and their goods are also sold on Mouth. Each of these companies have items that are perfect for holiday consumption. They also are carrying saavy products which makes the giver look smart.
If you are going to give make sure that you want the client to remember that you gave the best gift not the paper printed calendar from yesteryear.
How can you not have fun trying 17 latkes?
I was thrilled to be a judge for the 5th annual latke festival put on my Great Performances. All the proceeds to go the Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm, a garden to table program inspiring children to eat well. I was in a great company of judges: Ben Leventhal (Eater, Kitchensurfing), Amanda Hesser (Food52), Lee Schrager (Food and Wine Festival), Elinor Tatum (New York Amsterdam News), Jonathan LaPook (CBS News), Jason Ackerman (Fresh Direct), Robert Lavalva (New Amsterdam Market), Alan Boss (Metropolitan Pavilion).
I am just going to roll through these latkes...and yes I took a bite of every single one.
The winner? Well it appeared there was a consensus when it came to Commerce but they had a frying pan that was crisping the latkes which was not allowed so we had to take them out of the picture. The winner was Mae Mae Cafe with the savory/sweet combo. My other two faves were definitely Stone Barns Yogurt and Mile End.
Until next year...
There are two books that we are all supposed to finish before the holidays; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Circle by Dave Eggers. I finished them both. I loved the Goldfinch. I wrote about it. I feel compelled to write about the Circle too because I keep referring to it.
The Circle is set on the campus of the most powerful Internet companies. We follow the main character Mae who has scored a job there. She is beyond elated and so is her family. Over time Mae begins to move up the ladder and we learn more about the products that are being developed and integrated in our world from the Circle.
The story is captivating because the pace of the world that is lived through the Circle is not so far from the life many of us live today. I remember reading Brave New World and 1984 as a kid thinking how out there the books were but with the Circle it isn't so out there. The constant 24/7 communication happens today.
In The Circle, Social media is mandatory as an employee. You need to respond to every poke, every text, every email, every invitation, etc. It is exhausting. Soon transparency is everywhere. Mae's life is being documented to the world as she watches her audience participation soar. Small cameras are planted around the globe so we can see everything happening. By sharing everything and having pure transparency the world can supposedly be the perfect utopia. Quite frankly some of it seems compelling but most of it is scary.
We have been having many conversations these days around the need for more human touch, intimacy, talking and less texting and social media. At one point we lose touch with our day to day lives. That is what makes this book so relevant. Eggers is exploring the speed at which technology is transforming our lives in a good way but also in perhaps a dangerous way too. I believe that somethings are not meant to be shared. Eggers obviously does too.
A worthy ready especially for anybody in the tech community.
Catchafire matches professionals who want to give their skills with nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help.
Cacao Prieto makes delicious chocolate and bonbons and distills rums and liqueurs from 100% Dominican cocoa beans in Brooklyn, NY.
DailyWorth is a community of women who talk money. We deliver practical tips, empowering ideas, and the occasional kick in the pants… daily to your inbox.
EDITD connects fashion, luxury and apparel people with data they need so they can make better decisions.
Little Borrowed Dress offers stylish bridesmaid dresses for rent at a fraction of the retail price.
NG Advantage delivers CNG to energy intensive enterprises not connected to a gas pipeline.
Food52: The place where kitchens meet.
New York Mouth is an online retailer that sells small independent packaged food makers' products.
Rick's Picks makes fourteen varieties of hand-packed all natural pickles, made in season with produce from local farmers.
How Good rates the "Goodness" of food.
Kitchensurfing is building a community marketplace for chefs and kitchens. Give everyone access to delicious food at home.
LittleBits is an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping and play.
Lover.ly helps you discover and save wedding ideas in one, easy place.
Nestio offers landlords, brokers, and renters the ability to manage and communicate information in real-time, all in one place.
Red Stamp lets you email, text, tweet, facebook, and paper mail personalized photo cards, notes, invitations + announcements right from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
The Talk Market is revolutionizing online shopping with video.
Have to Have's interactive ad units engage online shoppers, capture shopper demand and drive sales across desktop, mobile web, and tablet.
Venuebook: Discover and book your ideal venue.
Scoot: Speedy, fun, electric scooters you can ride anywhere in the city.
Windowfarms: A vertical, hydroponic garden for growing food in your windows.
Edison Junior invents new ideas in large markets.
Willa natural skin care for girls.
Architizer: explore, collect, and source architecture & interiors.
Vengolabs is the high-tech vending machine everywhere you need it.
theSweeten matches your project with the right Architects, Interior Designers & Contractors, selected from our invite-only network.
GIFTLAB is the world’s premier destination for luxury online gifting.
Mecaris is a market data service and online trading platform for organic, non-GMO, and certified agricultural commodities.
Maker's Row: Factory sourcing made easy.
Captureproof: Securely share photos & video, doctor–to–doctor and patient–to–doctor.
One Fine Stay: So there's this new thing: the unhotel. And we're it.
Gertrude offers Salons, intimate occasions to learn, discuss and collect contemporary art.
Platejoy: healthy eating for busy people.
20x200: affordable art prints.
Admittedly: Don’t waste time applying to the wrong universities.Find your best match, then improve your chances.
Dave Eggers: The Circle
a crazy book about a company that seems similar to a google or yahoo that is essentially moving towards world domination. a world of complete transparency. makes you really wonder about the 24/7 world we live in. lots of interesting conversation here.
R. J. Palacio: Wonder
Wonderful young adult book about August, a young man with a severe facial deformity. After being home schooled he begins school in NYC in 5th grade. The issues he faces are challenging. The story is written highlighting different characters each chapter and how they see August. The book is about growing up, being brave, being accepting and more than anything about the importance of being kind. A great quick read.
Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch
I can't imagine that this will not be my top book of the year. An insanely well written fantastic book.
Naoki Higashida: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
A beautiful insightful book written by a boy with Autism. He explains what goes on his mind and the way he reacts to the world. A true gift for everyone who has someone with Autism in their life.
Jesmyn Ward: Men We Reaped: A Memoir
A powerful memoir about growing up black in rural Mississippi with poverty, racism, drugs and lack of jobs. Watching more than a handful of Ward's young male friends lose their lives and way before 25 is what prompted her to write this memoir. A stark reminder of how the odds are against young black males in this country and why. A really powerful honest book that will stick with me.
Amanda Lindhout: A House in the Sky: A Memoir
Incredible book Must read.
David Levithan: Two Boys Kissing
Everyone should read this book. It flows like a beautifully written essay. Two gay boys in high school try to break the world record for kissing. The event goes viral. That is the main thread of the book among a few other gay relationships. The hardships of coming of age and coming of age gay. Can't say enough good things. Loved this book.
Mitchell Jackson: The Residue Years
An autobiographical novel that goes back and forth between a young man and his mother in Portland, Oregon. The draw of the drugs on the street continues to bring them both back to something they want to move past. The language and swagger of the characters looking to overcome obstacles that are hard to shed.
Katherine Boo: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
A biography of the desperately poor in Mumbai, India. It is actually a non-fiction book but reads like fiction. I did not finish it. I hope to go back to it but I have read several books on this subject and although this was real I just couldn't get through it.
Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Fun read, well written page turner. The main character describes her life living with a chimp, a father scientist, a mother and a brother who left home. Nature vs nurture.