Enduring the line at LaDuree

Getting a fancy dessert for your holidays hosts? Me, you, and everyone's mother agree that the first US outpost of the Parisian macaroon heaven, La Duree, is the best bet. One thing though: the liiiine! Ohlala... tres huge: But don't fret... Besides being absolutely worth it, - you will be proud to be toting the LaDuree bag into your party because everyone will love you - the brave soldiers get a consolation treat for the long wait... tres bon, merci!

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If you are natural procrastinator and left shopping for the last minute, welcome to my world. But instead of aimlessly wandering the streets inefficiently looking for those special, unforgettable gifts (I’ve already done that for you), go straight to those winners. In these shops you will find that perfect gift, that almost feels customized to the receiver’s personality… yes, you spent a lot of time thinking about it.

John Derian – you can spend easily an hour just browsing the hundreds of curiosities in this collectors haven. Very pleasing atmosphere, with something perfect for the old aunty to the hipster cousin, guaranteed. www.johnderian.com

Conran Shop – this British furniture and modern design store located in the basement of ABC Carpet and Home (hey, another place to take a look), is filled with cool housewares and other modern objects that will catch your fancy. www.conrannusa.com

Moss – At the edge of bustling SoHo, Moss is an oasis for beauty seekers. Be it for lighting, artsy pieces or just cool stuff, their buyers scout the most attractive and unique design items from around the world. www.mossonline.com

MoMA Store – no need to introduce this giant global design promoter. Making the smallest souvenir to the most stylish furniture piece accessible to all of us, the MoMA store is the place to go if you need to please a bunch of completely different types. But one thing they’ll have in common: just by seeing the unmistakable red wrapping on your gift, whoever the person is, won’t be able to hide their eagerness to rip it open... www.momastore.org

Assouline – bookworms beware, this place can clean your wallet, and you won’t even resent them afterwards. The selection is superb, most of them nice show off pieces, the so called coffee table book, - because you really want to leave them showcased. They also sell other classy items, such as bookends, chic leather glasses case, or a giant ostrich egg with your last name’s initial on it. Which will look perfect in daddy’s library. www.assouline.com

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Museum Lunches: The Wright at The Guggenheim

The lunch:

I wasn’t very hungry after a vertigo induced museum stroll around Maurizio Cattelan’s hanging lifetime oeuvre… but still, lunch at the Guggenheim’s The Wright, sounded just… you know. My friend, also feeling a bit dizzy after our rotating stroll staring up and down the museum’s void, wanted something light as well. We both had the calamari salad appetizer as our main, and were not disappointed. The small lunch allowed us to share a delicious pumpkin cheesecake with dulce de leche ice cream. The restaurant is smaller then I expected, but cozy, light and clean.

The exhibit:

There’s nothing conventional about this provocative artist, neither is the way his art is displayed. Perfect match: no chronological order, nor your standard way to see art. Nothing wrong with that. Besides the vertiginous feeling when you look down from the Guggenheim’s spiral walkway, the only other little thing that bothered me a bit were all the stuffed real dogs. I’ve seen plenty of large taxidermy animals, so many artists now do them, but puppy pets? What’s next? The hanging children or the old lady in the fridge? If he could, would he?

You really should see it for yourself, it is totally worth it and don’t forget to download the app, it was very useful at some point. Don’t read while walking, you might feel sick, and that would spoil your appetite… The Wright is totally worth a lunch or dinner.

Ends January 22nd

For tickets, directions and hours.

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Paris Theater in New York

It might be rainy, it might be cold in New York City, BUT: we’ll always have Paris… The charming movie theater called Paris is across the Plaza Hotel on 58th Street and 5th Avenue always brings interesting indies and foreign movies that the Mega Cine-plax-max’s out there won’t. It is indeed a trip, at least mentally, to a far away place.

This week I went on that journey twice, for two premieres (thanks to a good friend who works for the Weinstein company). I saw My Week with Marilyn and The Artist, both pristine motion pictures.

So you know, you can escape to Paris when New York City becomes too much.

For more info

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PUMA store: 30% off sneakers for your old pair of shoes

It's true. You get 30% off just for giving up your old pair of shoes, which don't even need to be sneakers. Any brand or size will do a good deed. Remarkable. And if you only have one pair of old shoes on you and decide to get a second one (or a third one like me…), you can just pay $5 for the second (and third, etc…) pair and still get the 30% discount. Really? I stocked up on trendy kicks while doing good. The donations go to the Soles4Souls, a shoe charity that gives shoes to adults and children in need around the world.

And if that wasn’t enough, 100% of all profits from their “project pink” apparel will benefit breast cancer research. What a great example Puma… My hat off, new sneaks on.

Get updated shoes for little, feeling like you did a lot.

Ends November 10th.

For Puma store locations

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Newish SoHo arrivals: Treasure and Bond and The Dutch: shop and eat the best

My tip for a pleasant morning: stroll down West Broadway… First, stop and shop at one of the best curated stores I’ve ever been to (except Merci in Paris, as my Italian friend points out). Meet Treasure & Bond, a boutique that displays the best picks in home décor, accessories, and apparel for all.

The staff is always helpfully standing by, and curiously, 80% of them are green eyed girls who wear abundant mascara (I asked: Dior). So, not only are the sales ladies nice on the eyes, also friendly, no fuss here. Besides, you can count this as philanthropical retail therapy: 100% of their quarterly profits are donated to New York City's non-profits that help children in the NYC area.

Don’t miss the light-flooded second floor.

Treasure & Bond, 350 West Broadway between Broome and Grand 646 669 9049

After the delightful experience of browsing through beautiful things, you might get hungry. But before I give you my second tip, take a peek at Lumas next door.

Great concept: art photography from professionals around the world for affordable prices. Nicely mounted on acrylic frames.

Second stop: The Dutch, just a block north. Very friendly staff here as well. The delicious pork sandwich is practically devoured in a few seconds by any customer who orders it. “Is this from the same owner as Batlhazar?” my italian friend legitimately asks. Nope, not Keith McNally, but you could think so from the Pastis like (and all others) décor: white tiles, French bistro vibe, old mirrors, vintage lighting. The Dutch is co-owned by Locanda Verde’s Andrew Carmellini. Now that I do a little bit of research, The New York Times defines the athmosphere of one of Sam Sifton’s (their food critic at the time) as: “A Balthazar for Generations X and Y, a “21” Club for post-Reagan youth”, So, good eye, amica!

131 Sullivan Street (Prince Street), (212) 677-6200

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Make your Halloween costume shopping easy

Don’t run around aimlessly like a zombie to find your last minute, yet perfect - Halloween attire. In the radius of a mile, you have enough choices to create your ideal disguised alter-persona.

Nicky Menage and Lady Gaga on display at New York Costumes

New York Costumes, Halloween Adventures - Probably the most notorious costume store in New York City. This Gothic Boutique always attracts people into their large store, and is know for a huge line around Halloween.

104 4th Ave & 808 Broadway at 11th Street (two entrances)

For website, click here

Yankee Bill’s Costume Superstore – Pop-up store a block down from the New York Costumes. Props and hundreds of costumes in a bag, feels like Ricky’s…

Corner of Broadway and 9th street.

Ricky’s - A couple of blocks west, on 8th Street, this branch is not the Halloween mega store ( for that, walk a few blocks down to Houston and you shall find the costume mecca on Broadway). But in this Ricky's you'll find great accessories, some costumes, masks, wigs and ideal make up for bloody good effects.

44 E 8th St (between University Pl & Greene St)

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Fashion: It’s a furry fall out there

Free your fur coat from the mothballs. Fuzzy animal skin attire - faux or real - is ferociously loose on the streets of Manhattan! Be it on jackets, cardigan collars or mainly loads of sleeveless waistcoats, pelts are making a big comeback and can be found anywhere. To be clear, all photos on today’s post were taken with my i-Phone (as always) today!

Bloomingdales advertised a brand new “fur salon” department on a full-page ad in the New York Times today, and a few pages down, Macy’s announces a 40% off fur sale. Editorial ads for Chanel and Gucci also showcased pieces of fur. Century 21 on the Upper West Side has heir fur items on full display on the ground floor...

and on my way back home, wearing my furry muffler of course, I candidly photographed these stylish subway riders effortlessly looking chic wrapped in their fashionable harry coats.

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Brazilian Style and designers shine at Swarovski's concept store

Brazilian jewelry designer Camila Klein, who flew in from Sao Paulo for just one night to launch her new collection this week. One of her creations on a mannequin wearing Carlos Miele

Brazilians celebrities and stylish guests were sparkling amongst Swarovski crystals at the brand’s flagship store on Broadway this week during a lively party celebrating the recently published photo book: Brazilian Style by Phaidon. Aside the glitzy A-Listers, what bedazzled me the most was the amount of actual bling showcased along the walls of the this two story, two-year old Austrian concept jewelry store. At the so-called Swarovski Crystallized store (there are only three in the world), shoppers can design and customize their own necklaces, charm bracelets, and earrings.

The customized pieces are made to order and mailed within two weeks. Since last June, Café Kristall, located at the end of the shop, was incorporated to the shop and serves a true café Viennese,a mogst other Austrian delicatessen. Be it for refreshments only or crystal shopping ,this is good stop for your SoHo exploratory walks. Who knows, maybe you’ll even feel inspired and create your own shiny necklace.

Brazilian entrepreneurs in New York: Chris Bhan, founder of My Sweet and Michele Levy, owner of MelissaUSA

Swarovski Crystallized Store

499 Broadway
Between Spring St. and Broome St.

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My eyes wide open at Sleep No More

The other night I felt lost in an abandoned hotel with a mask on my face, tapping in the dark, following a half naked lady up and down the stairs, through a ball room surrounded by large evergreens , up to a mezzanine library, through a closet that opened into a Versailles-like bedroom. The taxidermy décor spooked me out a little bit, but once I found the candy pharmacy, where I was free to take whatever I wanted from the glass containers, I was happy like a child! I never woke up from that haze, because this was not a dream.

And that’s all I will give away from this incredible and unforgettable experience that has been written and raved about so much in the media (read the New York magazine article here). If you see one performance this year, don’t miss Sleep No More by the cast of Punchdrunk, a British site-specific theater company. Lucky for us, and a perfect Halloween outing, extended showings until November…

Official website and tickets

The McKittrick Hotel
530 W. 27th St. near 10th Ave

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Cider in the City

Local orchard s featuring a taste of their apple spirit before Cider Week at a stand in the farmer's market in Union Square

At this time of year we see apples galore around here. What I didn’t know is that New York State is the second highest producer of apples in the nation. No wonder an organization found a good way to market the fact and create fun events around it, including the upcoming Cider Week, from October 16th-19th. We are talking about real distilled cider here, not the Whole Foods plastic bottle variety. To kick off the festivities, a cider bar and panel discussion will take place at the New Amsterdam Market starting at 11am on Sunday. Over 60 restaurants, including The Spotted Pig, Boqueria, John Dory, Eataly, DBGB and Gramercy Tavern, will be serving sophisticated concoctions (think pommeau and calvados) of apple brew derived from more than a hundred varieties of cider apples. Who knew, always absorbing, in this case ingesting, something new in the Big Apple.

Click here to learn more about this initiative by the upstate agricultural not-for-profit Glynwood Center

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BrazilFoundation online auction - Bid on top artwork for peanuts – and for charity!

BrazilFoundation’s tenth annual gala happened a week ago creating a well-deserved buzz in the media. 500 attendees, including Valentino, this year’s chair Andre Dellal and the creator of Rio The Movie, Carlos Saldanha, were the most recognizable amongst dozens of Brazilian import beauties, including Victoria’s Secret angels Alessandra Ambrosio, Ana Beatriz Barros and Jeísa Chiminazzo. The glitz at the New York Public Library that night was undeniable, but the true shining star of the event was the founder Leona Forman, for having started such important work which brought true positive changes in it’s 10 years of existence. More then 300 projects have received the support of the foundation in underdeveloped regions and needy areas in vast Brazil.

All funds raised by this New York based non-profit go towards social projects in Brazil, reshaping the country’s daunting social reality.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to be present at this magical evening, you still have a chance to help, and by doing so, acquire beautiful art by some acclaimed artists, for a way lower price than what these pieces are worth at galleries. And of course, as this is a charity, your bid is tax deductible.

Bid now, auction ends MIDNIGHT TOMORROW! Run Cinderella Hood... and spread the good word.

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Go here for Vogue's photos of the evening

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