The unfortunately-named dress


The minute I saw this dress on Lena Corwin's blog (big fan!), I loved it. It's by Vena Cava, apparently a beloved label to those in the loop. I'm not usually a dress kinda gal because I hate having to be all lady-like in skirts. I'm more of a bounding, leaping and sometimes even squatting (!) kinda gal, but that does not mean I don't like dresses, there's a time and place for it, is all.

I have a hard time figuring out why it's called a "Typhoid Dress" though, but power to them for being able to make something disturbing-sounding so desirable. :-)

Later, I came across a photo of the actress Kirsten Dunst wearing a version of it and realized that the lightness of the dress makes it a hard thing to pull off. So now, I'm not as hot for it anymore. Still, it's a pretty little number to look at, don't cha think?


image of dress via oaknyc.


Anne Maa Jewelry


There are quite a number of pieces on
Anne Maa's site that I heart, certainly more than I can display on my own ten fingers and the one neck (hmm, noticing that I never seem to pay attention to the ears, so why did I get them pierced?) but I'm going to do the polite thing and show just a few here. I'm thinking it's rude to rob all the attention from her, see?

What's surprising is that I'm really liking this necklace here, which isn't normally what I go for at all.


I've noticed of late that I like vintage or vintage-looking pieces. I'm never one to believe in regrets, but I've had trouble battling that lately thinking of all the clothes from the 70's that belonged to my mom that I told her to give away. It didn't cross my mind that I might one day want them for myself. I remember the moment clearly too, we were emptying the closet in the spare bedroom and she said that once the clothes are donated, there's no getting them back, and she warned me to be very sure of my decision. I hesitated for a second, a mere second, and practicality (oh, always the troublemaker, you practicality) won out. "I would have no space for them anyway", went the argument in my head. 

Hindsight, it's an ugly, ugly beast.

I. Ronni Kappos

While at Beklina's (see previous post), I also spied these beautiful necklace by I. Ronni Kappos. Accessories are tough for me, since I have a hard time pulling them off. But this feels understated yet bold at the same time, think I can just about manage it, wink.

It also reminds me of one of the few fashion accessories I lust over, a hand-embroidered corded necklace from Mia Zia, a label by Valerie Barkowski who works with natives of Marrakesh to hand produce the pieces. Sadly, I can't find an image of the necklace I saw in her store in Soho a few years ago, and her website isn't very helpful either. Wish I kept that booklet from her store. :-( Oh well, it shall live on in my memory…

Mociun Bauhaus T-shirt


My heart died a little knowing I can't afford this, and that no matter how hard I skimp, I won't be able to justify the purchase. No consolation at all can be found from the fact that I'm living a monk-like life of perpetual contemplation by choice (well, almost!), N-O-N-E. Flags are gonna be raised at half-mast around here, people. 

I can't bring myself to post where you can purchase this online, so you're just gonna have to google it yourself. Tough.

Alright, alright, I hate it when I'm being unkind. Beklina's the place to go. 

P/S: Again, I can't remember where I came across this. I even tried to retrace my steps but with no success. Owing more people karma, eeee...


Michael Johnson

If you came to cheeky.cicak's a couple weeks ago, you'd have seen that I was just then discovering johnson banks' (a design studio in London) "Thought of the week". I feel bad I can't attribute to whom I found the link from, but I totally dredged that area in my skull and still came up empty so I'm just gonna have to leave aside some karma instead, in case that piece of memory comes back.

Anyway, I loved what Michael Johnson (the founder of johnson banks) did to the T-Mobile logo. As an exercise, he took the existing logo and "massaged" it so it looks a lot more presentable. If you care about logo design, you would agree that the existing one is a few steps shy of "a-lot-more-presentable" but hey, I've noticed that if you throw enough money behind any crappy logo (oops! did I just imply that I think T-Mobile's is crappy?), it would somehow sustain itself in the free market. Here, you take a look at his LoGoReDo: T-Mobile, and see if you agree.

What I took even more delight in checking out however, is the stamps he created for Royal Mail. The Beatles stamps (top) had irregular edges creating the illusion of a stack of Beatles album covers. Swoon! And one of my favourite themes -- interactivity -- is in the other set of stamps, the Fun Fruits & Veg stamps (above). Pick me up off the floor Double Swoon! This set comes with stickers that you can then customize the fruits and veggies with, so that you end up with different features and characters. The danger with me getting hold of a set of these would be that I will be tempted to play with them and will most probably end up sticking them all over places. Money down the tube but imagine the fun that could be had :-)

Found an interview between AIGA and Michael Johnson from more than a year ago, an illuminating read, if for nothing else other than to let you into the world of stamp design a wee bit.

images via aiga.org


Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi illustration
Ever since buying a copy of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis at Forbidden Planet oh-so-many years ago, I've been an avid fan of hers. It's not just the graphics. (But seriously, have you seen her illustrations? 'nuff said) It's also her story – it's autobiographical and very relatable.

I don't like putting people up on a pedestal, especially people I only know of, but in terms of looking at personalities that inspire, hers is quite up there. Here is a woman with a voice and the relentless courage to make sure it's heard.

CulturePulp, a site by writer and comic artist Mike Russell, had a Q&A while she was in U.S. to promote her animated film based on both part one and two of her Persepolis books. I am not sure everyone will agree with her sentiments or the way she sees the world, but the interview makes for a good read, if only to see the world from a different perspective. My favorite part has to be where she says the divide of the world shouldn't be along the lines of races or religious beliefs but between the intelligent and the stupid. I interpret stupid to mean people who willfully stay ignorant, who, in my opinion, are a dangerous breed but rarely recognized as such. You can read the interview here.

The read is on the lengthy side, shorter illustrated version here :-) Alternately, you can read more here.

I cannot close this post without also mentioning Maus by Art Spiegelman, an iconic book in its own right and my introduction into the world of graphic novels, except his isn't so much a "novel" as it is the telling of one man's experience of the Holocaust, that man being his father. The book has to be a post by itself.

image from Payvand.


Snow Leopards

National Geographic Snow Leopard

I was reading June's issue of National Geographic (yes, I have some catching up to do!) and they featured snow leopards, a species of cats that roam the high mountains in Central Asia. The writer, Douglas Chadwick, and photographer, Steve Winter, did such a great job that I fell in love with this truly beautiful animal. 

My favorite part about the snow leopards is how they sometimes use their super long fuzzy tail like we would a scarf, wrapping it around themselves when they're curled up to sleep. I can imagine it being oh-so-adorable. Mind you, though, these are 60-120 pound mammals with claws, so yeah, adorable, but not the cuddling type.

It is also, unfortunately, an endangered species. Sigh, doesn't it feel like that list is a never-ending one?

Good news is, conservancy efforts have been making some headway with their programs to help preserve the animal's natural habitat and to find ways for locals to survive without hunting the animals.

One of the groups mentioned was Snow Leopard Trust that also has an online-shop selling products hand-crafted by the locals. When I went to check them out, I was truly amazed. Here are all these gorgeous things I would love to buy for myself or my home, and you're telling me they're not only handmade, but that I will be helping impoverished locals in that region make a living AS WELL AS SAVING SNOW LEOPARDS?

Snow Leopard Trust Shop Handmade

I'm giddy with joy all of a sudden.

image of snow leopard by Steve Winter for National Geography.


It's so frustrating when eight hours of work disappear because of one simple click. I would cry if my eyes weren't already so sore from staying up the whole night. Sigh...



Ants are proving to be the invisible hands of a higher being these days.

Having a notorious reputation for being hard to wake up, I have been known to sleep through construction noises and alarm clocks.  In fact, I am guilty of having murdered quite a few of the beeping nuisances in my lifetime. (Yes, I am aware that they are, however, a useful and necessary nuisance)

So bad am I at getting up in the morning that I have missed job interviews before and on one occasion, would have been late for my first day at work if not for my then-roommate who set her alarm to wake
her up so that she can come into my room to shake me awake.

Have I proven my point yet? :-) 

Anyway, I have been keeping very bad hours recently and it's getting out of hand. I would get up only to realize I have missed not only breakfast but lunch as well, and was shamefully close to missing tea. My resolve to wake up at marginally normal hours has been met with slippery success.

Enter the ants that remind me of the fundamentalists who believe in sacrificing their body for what they perceive to be a greater good. I have, for three days in a row, been waking up at fairly decent hours thanks to one solitary ant each morning that would chomp down heartily on my bare skin, rendering my brain no choice but to scream awake. That's three consecutive days of seeing the sun on the east side of the house. And three days of being able to catch Martha Stewart on TV if I had so wanted. (I didn't)

And you know it's a different ant each time because, like I had alluded to the fundamentalists earlier, don't think for a minute that a waking giant isn't going to smite the very thing that causes it pain.

Yessiree, I am thankful for ants these days.

Full disclosure: I do not believe in religion. But I have to admit that I often cannot shake the feeling that there is a bigger force out there, to which no earthly labels apply.


Moss Terrarium


Who've ever heard? But now that I have, I wouldn't mind having it for real. Although, I can't decide if it's the moss I like more or the mushrooms :-)

Get yours at madebymavis.

The cult of flowers

Of late, I've noticed that flowers have a magical sway over me. When I'm feeling the blues, it's managed to hold the frown at bay. It's like the therapist I never had, the happy pill I never took and the religion I never found :-)

So, I'm going to start posting photos I find online of flowers that chase away bad thoughts. Yay to the power of flowers, woo hoo!

First up is this serene close-up of a pink multi-layered ranunculus. My eyes feel fresher already just looking at it. Thanks to Yumi, a most fortuitous find from flickr. (I have a feeling I'm going to be visiting her site A LOT!)

Hasankeyf, now you see it…

but soon you won't. Hasankeyf is a historical city in southeastern Turkey that will be submerged in water once the Ilisu Dam is underway. GOOD writes about the city as it prepares itself for the change in a mini-series entitled "Village of the Damned". Be sure to check out Part 2 where comparison is made to other controversial dam projects around the world.


As with any development that alters so much of our landscape (what more those that are archaelogically rich), damming is a controversial subject. Should we sleep better knowing it's a necessary evil?


Ryan McGinley

We used to share a class, and now he's a whole stratosphere ahead. His photographs are truly amazing, though, so if you haven't checked them out before, you can scope them out at his site.

I love his latest body of work, "I know where the summer goes", which just finished showing at Team Gallery in New York this past May. The images breathe life and vitality and the colors are so refreshing that I found myself wishing that this 'landscape' he's created is an amusement park that I can pay an entrance fee to escape into. If only.

Here's an article of him in the NY Times, from a year ago.

It's not always easy shopping for yourself…

…especially when you are on a tight budget, and loving things a little out of your reach. But a girl's allowed to online-window shop :-) Look, a tunic that has my name written all over it! Check out the rest of her store, Snoozer Loser.


stainless-steel-and-powder-coated beauty

I have a hard time finding accessories that I like, rings being the only exception. So my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I saw these brooches by Iris Saar Isaacs and Jane Barwick of in sync design, a contemporary jewelry design studio based in Australia. I can totally pull these off. *snap snap*

Radici, a worthy visit in itself.

silly labbit

My head's so stuffed up from all the going-ons in the world -- the global financial meltdown, the piracy in Aden, political mind games the world over etc. That's what following the news will do to ya! 

Before it hits depression level, I like to look at the little things that bring me joy, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they are. These white bunny rabbits by Frank Kozik managed to cause the corners of my mouth to crease.

If you can afford it, here's where you go to get some joy.

Arcadia International Bookshop

Is it just me, or do you want to make your living room look like this bookshop too?


Live from Kenya

Whenever I'm at someone's house and they have cable, you can find me tuning in to the nature channel. It's just so fascinating, plus I know so little of the other species that I share the earth with. 

BBC is, once again, after my own heart when they installed webcams in Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve to capture on video the animals' lives there. What I'm loving even more (if it's true) is that the webcams are set up to be as un-invasive as possible.

You can follow the action here.


Xavier Nuez

I am a big fan of alley and subway shots, so while trolling the internet for some, I came across Xavier Nuez on Moco Loco, and a subsequent visit to his site did not disappoint. While I had trouble navigating the slideshow (it kept getting stuck halfway), the incredible photos and the accompanying anecdotes were a gem. The find made my day.

Top: "Time is tickin", 2007, Seattle, WA
Bottom: "Ghost City", 2007, Kansas City, MO


You had me at Scavenger Hunt

I've been mulling over whether to join this exciting book project held by Art House, an art co-operative in Atlanta and Design for Mankind. Holding me back is the admission charge (not a lot by any means, but it's kinda tight around here now) and the time. I found out about it late-ish, and I'm worried that I won't be able to finish all 24 pages. Still, it looks like so much fun. What to do, what to do…

Prêt à Voyager.


Smokin’ hot off the press

If you've ever caught Wheel of Fortune on TV, you'd know that what I did there with the title, that's called a Before & After :-)

These beautiful letterpressed cards are from UK-based Blush Publishing. To purchase, head over to Not On The High Street.


Follow the Box

BBC News is doing an interesting report on globalization by monitoring the journey of a shipping container, dubbed "The Box" as it goes from port to port carrying cargoes for a full year. The container is hooked up with a GPS transmitter so that its passage can be followed by readers online as well.

The journey only began on the 8th of September so there's quite a bit of days before we will know the full story. Meanwhile, the Box has been garnering its share of attention and I, for one, eagerly anticipates the full report, presumably in 2009.

My only gripe is that instead of editorial updates and background stories (well ok, there are a couple of these) so far, we have to make do with mostly videos, something I do not have the bandwidth for. Still, I'm very excited about the project as I've always been curious about the lives of shipping containers (go figure!), and can't wait to see more as the story develops.

You can read more about it


Food and Us: Part 2

After reading the Guardian article (see previous post), I had to find out more about the good people of Rotherham and why they seemed so intent on eating bad food. I am not one to discount the comfort of an occasional Snickers bar or a late-night snack of instant noodle, but to allow junk food to win over a hot plate of rice and greens (you know what I mean) seemed like letting the devil in.

In case you didn't get to read the aforementioned article, here's the gist of what I felt was heartbreaking. Cafeterias were finally being told to dish out healthier servings to school children, but some parents were up in arms over the change and were instead hand-delivering unhealthy takeouts over the school fencing.

I was flabbergasted that parents, of all parties involved, were the ones not driving home the point to their school-going kids, that healthy eating means healthy living. As it turns out, there is a more forgiving side to the parents' story, which you'll find in this latest link.

My fourth click yielded this, which promptly brought the sun (no pun intended) out shining again. Call me an idealist, but I needed to believe that good will trump evil, and that campaigns with good intention will eventually produce some of its desired effects. And after reading "Peace in our Thyme", I felt like optimism has a place on earth after all.

Anyone need a reason to go Paris?

Hah! As if anyone REALLY needs reasons to visit the City of Lights?

A retrospective of Jeff Koons' work is being held at Versailles until this Dec 14.  I love looking at things in different context, so this would have been right up my alley. NY Times has a write-up on it. 

Prêt à Voyager.
images via NY Times and Spiegel.


Food and Us

For those who never thought there's a correlation between food and social status, here's a really good read from The Guardian in UK. 
link via my new hero, eatdrinkonewoman.

Tadashi Kawamata

This looks like a fun installation. It will be open to the public on October 2nd, at Madison Square Park in Midtown. Can't wait for more photos in the days to come. Here's the artist's blog documenting the process.

On a personal level, I'm seeing a little irony in this – there were one or two people I've met in New York who, either out of jest or ignorance, asked if people lived in tree huts in Malaysia. Now look where the tree huts are, hee hee.

image via cityrag.

Agapanthus by Green Chair Press

It seems mean to be showing something that is no longer available for purchase, but I just lurve this print by Green Chair Press

link via Dooce.

How long would you wait?

A friend travelled to Shanghai recently and told me about waiting in line for over an hour for the famous xiao long bao at Nanxiang in Yu Yuan Garden

Now, xiao long bao is my favorite thing to order whenever I visit a Shanghaiese restaurant, but it's not something I would stay in line for more than an hour in 90° weather outdoors! But apparently the dumplings there are really good and world-famous.

Here's an illuminating read for those not familiar with xiao long bao.

Top image by David Butow for National Geographic and bottom image by scaredy_kat on Flickr.

What kind are you?

Are you the kind of person who buys leather bags, or do you go for the vegan material and fabric-made bags? Philosophically, I lean towards the latter options, but hotdamnit if the leather ones don't pull at my heartstrings.

Top right: vegan Matt & Nat "Portishead", $250
Middle: leather Hayden-Harnett "Tharpe Hobo", $548
Left and bottom right: canvas Moop "Market Bag", $93


Talking about green roofs

Seeing the roof on the California Academy of Sciences (see previous post) reminded me of Hundertwasser's belief that "everything situated horizontally in the open air belongs to nature".1 He was a huge advocate of grass roofs, arguing that they have "ecological, health and insulation advantages".2 If I ever find myself agreeing to the notion of land-ownership, and by extension, a house, I think green roofs would definitely be my architectural choice.

images of Waldspirale in Darmstadt found via NY Times via The Orange Commune and by Bockstark Knits on Flickr.

1 2 Hundertwasser KunstHausWien, (Taschen, 2002)

P/S: If green roofs are your passion, maybe you'd be interested in this kind of vacation. link via treehugger.

California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco has a beautiful addition in the midst of their already very extraordinary Golden Gate Park. The California Academy of Sciences, a Renzo Piano masterpiece, opened on Monday, 29th of September. Most commendable is the fact that the entire structure is designed with sustainability in mind. According to the CAS website, they are now working on getting their Platinum-level LEED certification post-completion.

The very dependable NY Times has a
write-up and the quintessential shots to accompany it. This time though, I skipped straight to the slideshow. Naughty, I know.

images via NY Times.

Christo & Jeanne-Claude = Great Negotiators

This amazing environmental artistic duo was awarded the 2008 Great Negotiator by Harvard Law School. I hadn't given it much thought before but it now seems obvious that without communication and negotiation skills, artists would never have much success in showing their work. Especially the kind that Christo and Jeanne-Claude are known for. The scale of their art, the complexities and the number of people that would have to give their nod of approval before it can be realized is mind-boggling. Kudos to the husband-and-wife team!

On a personal level, I saw the The Gates back in 2005 and it was an unforgettable experience – it felt surreal yet unpretentiously so. Many people took home beautiful mementoes (everyone brought their cameras). I should scan mine in one of these days.

Images shown above are from The Umbrella 1984–1991 via
christojeanneclaude.net and are copyrighted.

Soil and Us

An eye-opening read on the state of our soil titled "Our Good Earth" over at National Geographic. Hopefully, no one went MEGO.

blog disclaimer:

Please be advised that a couple of archived posts could be considered adult in the sense that it shows nudity, albeit minimally and in an artistic sense.