Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: China: Through the Looking Glass

On Monday I attended the press preview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new exhibition,  "China Through the Looking Glass,".  At the preview, Director of the Museum, Thomas Campbell,  Chairman of the Department of Art, Mike Hearn, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and, Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton, and famed Hong Kong director and Artistic Director of the exhibition, Wong Kar Wai, gave opening remarks.  Also in attendance were Anna Wintour, financier Silas Chou, Wendi Murdoch, and designer Vivienne Tam.
L to R (Top: Thomas Campell, Anna Wintour, Silas Chou, Wendi Murdoch, Wong Kar-Wai, Bottom: Mike Hearn, Marissa Mayer, Andrew Bolton)
The exhibition in one of the biggest undertaken by the museum, displaying 150 haute couture dresses, gowns, costumes and accessories from 40 designers alongside Chinese art,costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films.  It explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries.  The exhibition runs from May 7 to Aug. 16.  

The exhibition was so immense, I was a bit overwhelmed, but plan on returning to the Met to see the art and fashion at a more leisurely pace.  One of my favorite rooms was the Blue Porcelain room with designs influenced by traditional blue and white Chinese porcelain.

The Blue Porcelain Room: Gown by Designer Guo Pei ( designed Rihanna's yellow gown for Met Gala), ( photo with Guo Pei 2013)

Another favorite was the Astor Court which features a thematic vignette dedicated to Chinese opera, focusing on John Galliano’s spring 2003 Christian Dior Haute Couture Collection.  Two gowns designed by Martin Margiela using vintage Chinese opera costumes were a highlight.  

 Cinema plays a big role in Western understanding of the richness of Chinese history.  One of the galleries exhibits a group of cheongsam also know as qipao, considered the traditional dress of China.  Video clips of Maggie Cheung wearing colorful qipaos from the movie "In the Mood for Love" provide visual and audio ambience perfect for this exhibit.
Screenshot of Maggie Cheung dressed in one of the many colorful cheongsams in the film "In the Mood for Love" directed by Wong Kar-Wai.

Chinese Cheongsam 1932

In the Chinese Galleries, Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American actress was the center of attention.  Wong was a pioneer for Asian-American actors and one of the few actors in general to transition from silent to talking films.

Anna May Wong Christian Dior Evening Gown

Christian Dior Gown
Left: Alexander McQueen Dress in silk.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Starkist Creations: Premium New Flavors!

I was recently invited to see and taste the new StarKist products launching this fall. It was a really fun night with delicious food and tasty cocktails! 
Starkist Honey BBQ tuna sliders and Hot Buffalo Tuna pita chips.
Lisa Lillien of Hungry Girl gave a sneak peak of her new book The Hungry Girl Diet Cookbook: Healthy Recipes for Mix-n-Match Meals & Snacks. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Masterclass with j.f. lazartigue: Luxury Products for Hair and Scalp: Masks, Serums, Massage Gel

I recently attended a masterclass for j.f. lazartigue, led by Mary Pergola, National Sales Director.  The luxury French brand was founded in 1976 by Mr. Jean-Francois Lazartigue, one of the most renowned hair care specialists.  Their products are great for over processed and damaged hair caused by oxidation color, perms, straightening, ironing, or even daily blow-drying.  Mary, who has worked with Mr. Lazartigue for 18 years, is an expert on diagnosing hair and scalp.  I learned a lot in the class about maintaining healthy hair and scalp.

One of the interesting products I learned about was the Oily Scalp Treatment Pre-Shampoo Massage Gel for Deep Cleansing ($47).  Mary told us that since the scalp is just the extension of our facial skin, we should be treating it the same way.  The Massage Gel is an exfoliant that can be used weekly and is great for oily or dandruff prone scalps.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Brazilian Steakhouse: Texas de Brazil Upper East Side NYC

I was recently invited for a complimentary dinner with a guest at Texas de Brazil, located on 1011 3rd Avenue at 60th Street.  I have fond memories of visiting Rio de Janeiro and eating at a churrascaria while sipping capairinhas, so I was looking forward to the experience.  

The space was really large with 2 levels.  We waited by the  bar on the ground floor for a few minutes before being escorted to the 2nd floor where the salad bar is located.   The salad bar had a solid offering of fresh salad, fruit, cold cuts, potato salad, artichoke heart, palm hearts, asparagus.  There was also soup, cocktail shrimp, seared tuna, smoked salmon, and a small selection of sushi or California rolls (which I didn't try since I was saving room for meat!).
We were given the choice of either the house wine or a cocktail.  Our waitress told us the most popular cocktail is the capairinha, which is Brazil's national cocktail, made with cacha├ža (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar and lime. I chose the regular capairinha, while my friend chose the coconut one.  Both were delicious!  I was pleasantly surprised by the capairinha (I hadn't had a good one since I visited Brazil) which was tasty and refreshing. It was just the right blend of tartness and sweetness.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Organic Pharmacy Cocktail Launch of Beauty Drops

I recently visited The Organic Pharmacy located at 353 Bleeker Street for their Organic Cocktail Launch. I was excited to learn about the London based company, which was founded by Margo Marrone, a pharmacist with a background specializing in herbal medicine and nutrition. Marrone was shocked about the level of toxins in our food and cosmetics and decided to start the brand with her husband Franco. I'm a big fan of organic and homeopathic products, and am happy to find that their products have no artificial preservatives, no artificial colorants, no artificial fragrances, are free of petrochemicals and preservatives, does no animal testing, and are organic and fair trade.

The first product I tried was their new Beauty Drops ($99), a supplement made with  ginseng, gotu kola, and blueberry.  The drops can be taken internally by adding 2-3 drops to a glass of water.  When sipped, Beauty Drops improves the energy of cells, gives the mind an energy boost and improves skin hydration.  I tasted the drops by itself; it had a pleasant flavor which was slightly sweet and herbal.  

Benefits of Beauty Drop Key Ingredients
Ginseng, Gotu Kola, and Blueberry:
I tried it in a cocktail as well and the flavor was hardly noticeable and blended well with the drink.  The beauty drops can also be added to an Organic Pharmacy cream, serum or mask, to give an instant energy boost for radiant and energized skin. 
I then tried the Carrot Butter Cleanser ($74) which smelled absolutely divine and had a lovely velvety texture. When massaged, it melted into my skin easily.  The cleanser is rich in antioxidants, is great for dissolving dirt, and gentle enough to use to remove eye make-up.  I was told that a little amount goes a long way.
Another product I tried the Honey & Jasmine Mask ($74), which also smelled fabulous and is enriched with Evening Primrose, Rose Hip and Jasmine to revitalize the skin.  The mask is also made with shea butter which Organic Pharmacy sources from a women's widow group cooperative in Ghana, and extracted using traditional methods.  Organic Pharmacy products are really reasonably priced and definitely should be on the radar for those who wish to purchase quality organic and sustainable beauty products.