Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Lucky Fish blog


Jann of Lucky Fish, Swell’s favorite silk screen T maker, was kind enough to participate in my mildly successful Holiday Wish List.  Lucky Fish is based in Brooklyn, NY as is Jann and her family.  Another gal balancing work and family life in an urban setting – producing easy, fabulous clothing for women and children ( also for men, so look out for some dad stock come father’s day… but that’s another blog). 

Here is our interview:

E:  NYC is beautiful this time of year.  My favorite activity holiday time is to walk 5th Avenue looking at the window displays at Saks and Bergdorf, followed by a stop in at The Plaza’s Oak Bar for a bloody mary. Top it off with a bundled up stroll through Central Park and I am in heaven.  Cliche as it is, it’s a great day in the big apple. What does your dream day look like this time of year in NYC/Brooklyn?

J:  Have to agree with you-I love the city at holiday time-one of my favorite places to be!

But this time of year is just so crazy for me work wise-I think my dream day would be a lazy Sunday in my Brooklyn neighborhood.

If it’s a lovely sunny morning might start out with a taking my daughter ice skating in Prospect Park. Then for a great Montreal style bagel brunch at Mile End. Perhaps take a walk down to the Brooklyn Flea which is housed in the magnificent clock tower bank building down on Flatbush Avenue, always fun and inspirational. Great for browsing tons of vintage and crafts and amazing snacks in the basement! Then amble down Atlantic Avenue stopping in at all my favorite neighborhood stores. There are so many new ones these days-always something different to explore. Could head all the way down to Brooklyn Heights and catch the sunset over the city from the Piers. Then maybe meet up with some  friends and head for a cocktail and early dinner at Rucola my new favorite restaurant which is one block from my house. It’s so popular I  put my name down on the list and go home for an hour till my table is ready!

Not very ambitious but a day I would enjoy right now!

E:  Your originally from South Africa, so I don’t know if all this American Thanksgiving and Holiday hoopla is lost on you, but I am curious to hear what your Holiday traditions are and what a traditional South African holiday meal consists of?

J:  At home its glorious summer now so the whole winter wonderland concept can be a bit hilarious. Snow and reindeer and a big woolly warm Father Christmas, hmm?  A typical holiday meal could be a braivleis (BBQ) outside by the pool-eaten in your swimming costume! Or it might be a very traditional english christmas meal, turkey and all the trimmings, but always there is a flaming brandy christmas plum pudding and christmas crackers (the ones you pull with a bang and a gifts inside.) And no,we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa. I think maybe New Years Eve is more of an occasion than anything as the year really closes and begins on Jan 1 and we love to celebrate that. In fact in Cape Town where I’m from we celebrate January 2nd too!

E:  Lucky Fish designs are inspired by nature.  How do you come up with your graphic imagery?  Looking at your winter line 2011, what are some of your favorite prints?

J:  Right now I think my most favorite items are the animals prints in the foils. I just love the shimmery colors-like chocolate box wrappers. A real treat! As for sourcing I’m a bit of a magpie picking up bits and pieces of random ephemera and playing with images-trying to put together in new and interesting ways.

E:  We all have a gift wish list, some obtainable and some just fantasy fun.  What is your top 5 off your wish list?  

J:  For me for xmas:

1.  Definitely to travel -Peru, or Turkey, Morocco????  

2.  A Spa day with outdoor hot springs!  

3.  New Boots

4.  Pottery lessons on the wheel

5.  Oh and how about a Brooklyn Brownstone!

 For my daughter all she wants is everything!!!

Potted Trees

Cool, huh?  No waste, just plant in your yard or donate.

Far Away… mind and body

In high school one of my good friends, whose dad is a Buddhist, went on a silent retreat for a week.  The memory of her going is very strong for me as I was both unaware of such things and intrigued by the idea.  I remember her saying once she was back it was hard to talk… hard to talk, HARD to TALK?!  Not a problem I’ve ever had.  To be totally honest, I was envious of her trip and envious that she felt so comfortable in her silence.  It sounded free and peaceful.

Fast forward $*(&  years later and I am sitting in Swell reading the Times Style section and came across this article, Getting Far, Far Away From It All by Hilary Stout.   It chronicles an advertising exec from Brooklyn, the former owner of Bumble & Bumble and an actress/ doctor couple who all elect to do Lerung: a Tibetan buddhism practice of silent, solo retreats in 1 week – 1 month stints.  The general idea of unplugging sounds satisfying, right – no phones, no work, no email, no home responsibilities, no kids to care for, no spouse to share it all with – just you.   These folks wake up each day to a caffeine free cup of tea followed by hours of meditation and chanting.  They walk, they pick up their meals at designated drop spots ( so as not to encounter another human being), do chores in their simple cabins and turn in by 10pm.

There’s some discussion of how foreign that kind of isolation is for your average urbanite, much less these power career individuals.  One describes being “flighty, shaky… giddy, thinking crazy thoughts, laughing at yourself.”  But all describe powerful insight and clarity into who they are and what they want out of life.  All go back to their normal daily life making changes for the better and all have prioritized a return visit to solitude.

I would hate to be the poor fly on the wall watching me spend a week alone… the fly might kamikaze into the glass window.  However, if I can carve out the time I would like to try a silent retreat.  Today I will settle for some silent gyrotonic.


Benetton, yes the same Benetton who sold those ugly green and white striped raglan tops that were such a fad in the 80’s is having a comeback, or at least in the press.  It’s latest add campaign, UNHATE, depicts world leaders in conflict giving a big ol’ kiss to each other.

The UNHATE foundation encourages peace and non tolerance of hate around the world. Benetton hopes a youth movement will ensue, spreading the images to places of conflict such as Tel – Aviv, New York, Rome, Milan and Paris.  Alessandro Benetton, executive deputy chairman said, “The images are very strong, but we have to send a strong message. We are not wanting to be disrespectful of leaders … we consider them “conception figures” making a statement of brotherhood with a kiss.”


President Obama kissing Chinese President Hu Jintao

French President Nicolas Sarkozy kissing German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The pope kissing a leading imam

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il kissing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak

President Obama kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez


I can hear the Beatles music playing now… “love, love, love… da na na na na… all you need is love, love, love is all you need.”





Once… continued

One of my favorite movies of all time is Once, a rock musical.  Don’t be turned away by the “musical” part, it’s amazing.

Now 4 years later, The Swell Season, a documentary following the lead characters from Once, is here.  It follows the folksy, heartfelt band as they tour and gain fame.  The coolest part of the whole story is the actors, who were not actors just musicians found to play the leads in Once, fell in love filming the movie and went on to form The Swell Season.  Now I get to see whatever came of them… nice band name by the way, wink wink.

watch trailer here:


Movember ended a week or so ago, but before it’s a thing of the distant past, I wanted to acknowledge my husband’s “Mo” and his efforts to raise money for men’s health.

I would like to celebrate December, otherwise known as No-Mo-Mo month!

Here’s a little bit about Movember United States taken from the site:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

Fashion Fix

A little shot of fashion is needed every day.  The Satorialist is my quick go to for a beautiful image to take my imagination to some far off place or some new beautiful style. Likewise, I await the NY Times T Magazine to infuse me with style.   Now there is The Collection – an ipad app chalk full of T Magazine, Style, NY Times Style blog and Herald Tribune.

Maybe I am ditching my campaign for a bicycle in favor of an ipad!?!!

Holiday Interview with Two New York

Monica Patel in her studio as documented by The Makers Project

Monica Patel, designer and creator of the gorgeous line Two New York, was kind enough to share a little about her Holiday and the best part… her own wish list.   Monica lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, travels far and wide for her one of a kind fabrics and juggles family life and work life just like the rest of us poor slobs.  Somehow it seems more glamorous from my vantage point!

E:  I know you have just returned from a big fabric sourcing trip in India.  I have never been to India myself, but can imagine the colors, fabrics and culture would be an incredible source for inspiration.
You’ve talked a little bit to me about how each region has their own textile patterns and colors.  Can you tell me more about that and what you’ve discovered?

M:  Textiles are so different per region. I visited Calcutta West Bengal which is home to the Jamdani, a type of weave that can take days and months to finish.  They use the lightest cottons and have the most gorgeous designs. The result is very sheer cottons with geometric shapes that are eye-catching.

E:  Brooklyn is your base for both business and life; it’s full of family friendly activities, restaurants, parks, etc.  Now that your back in Brooklyn, how do you spend holiday time with your family?

M:  This year we will be relaxing and catching up on sleep. We were travelling and the kids were in California while I was in India. so it’s late nights for them and we just need to catch up and get back on schedule and enjoy the time together…
We will be at my in law’s to celebrate Chanukah and I will try to totally confuse the kids by getting a christmas tree too so we can celebrate it both ways.

E:  What does your dream day look like this time of year in NYC/Brooklyn?

M:  Relax. Just watching our kids enjoy and spending time with them without being in a rush!

E:  We all have a gift wish list, some obtainable and some just fantasy fun.
What is your top 5 off your wish list?

M:  Wow love this question!  For me, to get organized and find a new studio! which we just found! YAY!


1.  To hang out with some local creative and just dialogue while my husband babysits sans complaints.

2.  A Hermes wallet or double strand watch (someday)

3.  A trip to Paris

4.  A play kitchen that can heighten the level of decor in our apartment!

5.  10 more days in India

E:  Thanksgiving and the Holidays are all about traditions and food.  Do you have any traditions that are unique to the holiday season or a favorite dish you like to serve?  If your willing to share your recipe, we would love it.

M:  Ah I am the worst for thanksgiving, shall we change it to christmas?
For christmas I like to get crafty and come up with a few new dishes.


Smart gal – Hermes watch, Paris – I like her thinking.  Congrats on your new studio space, can’t wait to see what you do next!  Happy Holidays and Cheers to a GREAT 2012!

New from Matta

Matta has perfected the scarf : silks, cottons, merino wool, pashmina… rich colors and soft luxurious textures.  They just have that je ne sais quoi.  This wool/silk red dupatta sold out, but here are images of what has just arrived for Resort 12′ ( There’s dresses, tops, bags & wallets and new colors of the classic Maya wrap,  too) – Enjoy!

Nara Merino Wool Shawl $210

Nara Merino Wool Scarf, Indigo $210

Nara Merino Wool Scarf, Black $210

Sheela Pashmina Stole $280

Sheilu Wool/Silk Scarf $150

Jemu Cotton Scarf $95


Maya Wrap Bracelet, Necklace, Belt, Teal $84

Maya Wrap, Sierra $84 * Also available in a Poppy Red!!

Tina Handbag Silver $130

Idhaya Habutai Silk Top $170, Jemu Scarf Cloud $95

Idhaya Habutai Silk Top $170 * Silver & Teal

Chahna Dress $185, Sheilu Wool/Silk Scarf $150

Chahna Dress $185 * Red & Teal







Latest in from Lucky Fish, Atsuyo et Akiko and MJ Manning

MJ Manning is so popular at Swell, by the time I had the chance to load these images ( day 2 of inventory being out) half the necklaces and earrings are sold!  Her pieces are so beautiful in their detail and simplicity!  Here is new availability:

14k Triangle Stud $165

14k Ruby Briolette $100

Quartz Post Earrings $165

14K 3 drop Citrine & Smokey Quartz $265

14k Blue Apapite Chunk earring $240

14k & Sterling Onyx Necklace $125

14k/sterling Horseshoe necklace $100

A few trickling items just came in from Atsuyo et Akiko.  They are the ultimate in Frenchy style – which do you like more:  the gold Eiffel Tower or the silver Frites & Cream?

Eiffel Tower Cardigan Gold $50

Frites & Cream Raglan $50

Lastly, are a few pieces from Lucky Fish.  A bright, Aztec-ish print to bring  a little south america warmth into your northern cool.

Flame Stripe Tee $75

Tapestry Scoop Tee $60