amalfi coast

words cannot even accurately express this beauty that is the amalfi coast…

one of the towns along the amalfi coast: positano…
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then there’s ravello…

highlight: this magical resort, the belmond hotel caruso20140818-224814.jpgsilky, sweet infinity pool overlooking opulence.20140818-230420.jpga panoramic with an accidental photobomber.20140818-230517.jpgone with the lil sister…is this real life?20140818-230554.jpgreunited with my dear friend, terren. follow her for breath-taking views, crazy hikes & adventures around the world.20140818-230649.jpgsome daytime brunching & relaxing, why not.20140818-230724.jpg

i love menus with no prices – it’s always a pleasant surprise when you get the check.

20140818-231240.jpgwinners for the peach bellini contest. so delicious.
20140818-231307.jpghelp yourself at the salad bar20140818-231326.jpgor indulge in the special of the day: seafood pasta20140818-231345.jpgor order the vongole that we’ve been obsessively ordering at every single restaurant in search of the best all across italy. we found one here in florence.20140818-231412.jpgafter crying over the fact that this vacation will be over soon absorbing the beauty around me, a restroom break was in order. i could also take a shower. all the personal toiletries were available too. what more can i possibly need?20140818-231433.jpg
selfie done right with the gopro camera + selfie stick with the best hosts ever.20140818-231454.jpggoodbye for now.20140818-231520.jpg
no wait…20140818-224348.jpg
i can live here.

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tribute to the greats…

new lyrics:

glass walls paper trails small doors evil prevails
pink sheets hard knocks wake up early morning talks
big plans bigger dreams lost sound muffled screams
private jets city lights honking horns island life
mask and hide run & shout not everything always works itself out

too many leave too soon — by choice, by accident, by predisposed conditions, by fate — regardless, each & every single one, special in their own way, special to those around them, special to those moved by them all across the world.

please tell us that you haven’t really given up yet
don’t leave us it’s not time to go it’s not your last set

if death by suicide, whatever the underlying demons may be, i believe many of those premature deaths could have been [and therefore should always be] prevented or even further delayed if the necessary & sufficient support and help was available.

there can be complete darkness…and then you can find light. the battle may be more difficult than you’ve ever imagined & may even seem impossible but you can. it’s true. we can.

flowers grow angels fall people cheat nature calls
fancy yachts blotted ink power draughts & broken syncs
mermaid runs lights retreat smoking kills with weak defeat
lipstick red million lies, figure me out you win in life
moving up slowin down hurry up or i’ll steal the crown

20140812-034710.jpgrest in peace robin williams. you’re a genie-us and your brilliance lives on. thank you for the laughs.
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rest in peace leslie cheung — hong kong superstar, true mover & shaker of his time. founder of cantopop & definition of beyond sexy. watch days of being wild and happy together for starters. listen to his beautiful cover of a classic chinese song here.
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rest in peace anita mui — hong kong superstar, mover & shaker of the same era, dubbed as the madonna of asia. my all-time favorite song of hers here.
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leslie cheung + anita mui [sporting a fake 'stache, nbd] = hong kong royalty + cantopop & cinema heaven. both unafraid to take risks in their roles, their careers, constantly pushing boundaries while challenging & inspiring their audience. their music is available on spotify. treat yourself to some of their classic films for a true hk cinematic experience. you can start with the award-winning rouge.
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rest in peace heath ledger. “you’re just too good to be true…”

there is always meaning & purpose. let’s overcome the obstacles & find what we need together. it’s worth it.

life is short…but you make it long for me
so stay a while let’s take it to the finish line.

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le progrès paris

le progrès || 1 rue de bretagne, le marais district, paris, france

fee fie foe foie,
i smell the cafe full of cool parisians.

why this is my favorite cafe:

1. they don’t have a website [aka they are snobbish cool, just like you & me]

2. they are located in the middle of a 6-street intersection = massive people-watching haven

3. their food is solid. yum.

4. this is the hip hangout with cool [and pretty] people & right next door to a modeling agency & various fashion houses. models & artists central.

5. their servers are consistently entertaining. [one tried to "pimp out" his younger colleague to us...]

with all the positives, i was able to forgive them for not having wifi.

my favorite here, salade gourmande au foie gras + magret de canard fumé: foie gras + smoked duck breast + haricots verts + tomatoes + greens, drizzled with the perfect citrus vinaigrette 20140805-175541.jpgsalad la parisienne: ham + cheese + egg + tomatoes + simple greens 20140805-175640.jpgcool artifacts…20140805-175725.jpgthen i spy 3 guys…20140805-175801.jpghow to pick up on 3 [cute] guys?20140805-175835.jpgpretend to have a parisian cigarette “vogue” right behind them & eavesdrop [like a super creeper] & wait for the right moment to attack start up convo…20140805-180204.jpgphotobomb-kiss by a passerby. i was caught & the targets are leaving…20140805-180308.jpgmission failed. pretend nothing ever happened. denydenydeny. 20140805-180352.jpggoodbye. we’ll never see you again.20140805-180447.jpgbut tomorrow will be another day! 20140805-180541.jpg
and then le progres revisited…
20140805-180648.jpgback for lunch with my favorite, the lovely fashionista paula! and it happens to be her birthday today!!! parabéns linda!20140809-183730.jpgif it’s delicious, why not get it again? their foie gras has that extra spark in it, infused with magical wine & such. perfect. more than reasonably priced. 20140809-183757.jpgsteak tartare was seasoned well.20140809-183826.jpgcafe viennois was our staple caffeine. yum.20140809-185646.jpgand finally, our last visit here was a wonderful farewell of whiskey drinking games + adventures + lotto tickets.

you win some, you lose some.
but whœuf they are handsome.

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matignon paris

matignon || 3 avenue matignon, 75008, paris, france || +33 1 42 89 64 72

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all dolled up & red. lot of red lights.20140725-011920.jpg
let’s take a moment to appreciate the spinning birdman in the back. and then the brilliant lawyers in the making. 20140725-011935.jpg
mandatory selfie.20140725-011945.jpg
and finally. what have we got here. jacques. if not for the scene, the beautiful people, the french accents, the birdman, the cool dj, the food, then come for mister maitre’d of the year. whœuf.

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beautique ny

beautique || 8 w. 58th street, new york, ny 10019 ||

“first impressions are of utmost importance, especially in a pretentious setting.”

blame it on the recent write up on page six in the new york post attracting a particular high profile clientele now scrambling over to this venue like there’s no tomorrow. wear your 9′s, bring your 10′s because this is serious.

upon entering beautique [after getting the approval from the almighty gatekeeper that you are worthy enough to join] you are instantly greeted by a beautiful giant bouquet of flowers + a shiny birchwood baby grand piano — double win.20140723-235100.jpg20140723-235118.jpg20140723-235205.jpgnaturally i had to test it out. 20140723-235328.jpgthen you pass a staircase of angled mirrors [last looks to ensure your face is perfect] before you descend into a den of judgmental patrons & staff more opulence. [the staff was actually very warm + welcoming.]20140723-235345.jpgwallpaper of bittersweet cut rose heads or lychee, i haven’t quite figured it out yet, but either way, really contributing to the aesthetics. they care!20140723-235437.jpgif you are special enough, you will be guided through the kitchen to a secret back room only available to the VIP & such. the walls are covered in artwork including warhol originals & other reputable artists.20140723-235452.jpgof course i made a pitstop behind the kitchen counter. “i’m topchef i swear!”20140723-235833.jpgconcentrating on placing the snow pea shoot perfectly onto the roasted leg of lamb dish. 20140724-000031.jpgquick snaps of a few dishes: salmon + soft-shell crab. the lighting is dark in the back room & since i dislike flash for dishes, i didn’t photo-document the complete dinner. 20140724-000039.jpgrecommended appetizers not photographed: mixed green salad with fruit – simple yet delicious. // spaghetti in a sweet tomato sauce.

recommended main courses not photographed: roasted chicken breast – very juicy & tender – not overcooked at all – i was impressed. // roasted sweet potato over buckwheat, mushrooms, & spinach mix

basically i’d like to return for the 3rd time to try everything else on the menu, especially the items laced with foie gras, & even more so after learning that beautique is under the helm of star chef craig hopson, formerly of le cirque.20140724-000543.jpgespresso martini + double espresso20140724-000614.jpglouis xiii + other fine whiskey20140724-000812.jpgkeepin it classy with the soft shell crab: slightly salty but the bed of puréed peas & greens was delightful.20140724-011313.jpgsnap of the ladies. you can’t sit with us but you can try to charm us.

i hear tuesday nights are especially great there since rogue nights brings in a crazy wonderful bunch. from the beautiful decor to the trendy, upscale crowd to the attentively crafted menu selection, this is a rare combo + gold medal winner.

beautique is simply magnifique!

also it’s located near the infamous plaza hotel & right next to the paris theater…oh paris.20140724-012344.jpgparting is such sweet sorrow, but there will always be tomorrow!20140724-173701.jpgchanneling the end of the night scene of [classy] drunks on the piano from gatsby.

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novikov – london

novikov || 50a berkeley st., london || +44 20 7399 4330

touchdown [fancy] londontown!

this dark [yet perfectly lit for footos: foodie photos], decadent, festive, sexy venue filled with beautiful people [with british accents] & especially fresh seafood [+wifi!] deserves a proper standing ovation, so here it is:
20140714-141458.jpgles poissons, les poissons…20140714-141628.jpghee hee hee…20140714-141658.jpghoh hoh hoh…20140714-141716.jpgafter saying hello to the kitchen staff & shaking hands with the lively seafood on display, onto the real excitement – the eye candy food & beverages:20140714-142922.jpgfrom the bar area, starting with perfectly crafted espresso martinis – not overly sweet like one too many places.20140714-143538.jpgas we venture over to our table, the dining room faces the fresh seafood flown in first class from various parts of the world + the seemingly open kitchen for you to enjoy the art of cooking segregated by a glass wall so as not to ruin the scent of our carefully slathered perfumes [or colognes].20140714-144358.jpgshrimp dumpling topped with ikura.20140714-144442.jpglangoustine carpaccio – YES.20140714-144606.jpgo-toro, you’re so fatty. hotate, you’re so hot. YES.
20140714-144821.jpgikura, you’re so ballsy. YES.20140714-144956.jpg[edible?] floral drinks for the ladies. 20140714-145058.jpgcrispy fatty duck with microgreens, pomegranate, pine nuts = mixed guilty + guilt-free feelings cancel out = nonetheless, delicious.20140714-145256.jpgking crab legs cooked with superman butter.20140714-145338.jpglightly seared razor clams in a citrus sauce – YES.20140714-145439.jpgspicy sea bass in an orange sauce [think fancy orange chicken] – not my favorite but still done well.20140714-150325.jpgcrispy soft shell crab – yum.20140714-150402.jpgi changed it up to a whiskey-based drink served in bamboo for a tropical effect. for dessert, we had few more espresso martinis – they were consistently great. overall, wonderful experience! bravo novikov!

next stop: the rififi club [members only] for restaurateur arkady novikov’s newest creations. more soon!

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world cup

inspiration for the finals:
20140712-135609.jpgmister italia perfecto, fabio cannavaro.20140712-135617.jpghail to the glorious dolce & gabbana ad campaign. team italia!20140712-135624.jpggo italia! oh wait they’re not involved anymore. so sad.

brazil should redeem themselves & get 3rd, germany 2nd, & argentina should take 1st & make evita proud. all the winners should do nude half-naked ad campaigns featuring their perfectly-sculpted bodies. this is what world cup is about. this is real life.

july 13 add-on: ok so brazil didn’t really redeem themselves. those cutie pie netherland boys played better & won deservingly, despite some controversial referee calls.20140713-124801.jpgbut go argentina! take home the trophy!20140713-125055.jpg

les benjamins

love notes from paris,
drums on my heart…

20140709-104726.jpgparis fashion week is here. an up & coming turkish designer brand is making waves across the borders: les benjamins. the cocktail party in le marais hosted by the lovely paula was filled with special guests & fashionistas as the new collection was unveiled.20140709-195015.jpgwhen paula & i first met @ cannes film festival, all dolled up & glowing #tbt20140710-142315.jpg20140709-195028.jpgmy favorite piece in the collection: albert einstein + miley cyrus. e=m[iley]c[yrus] squared. brilliant. 20140709-195044.jpgsister loved it too.20140710-183340.jpgcute + hyperactive dog spotted. must pick up. he went for a kiss.20140709-195103.jpgmust take photos.20140709-195349.jpgsome help from his owner.
20140710-030655.jpgme: is he neutered? [random question]
he: what? [laughs hysterically]20140710-030802.jpgfinally got the shot [after 20 tries]. meet easy, the dog.20140710-030902.jpgthanks to victor malecot at ten days in paris for our sibling photo.20140710-031017.jpgcoolest kids in town selfie: L-R yours truly, myself [in creepy shadow]; benoit, a talented jazz musician [& natural charmer]; martin the attorney; baby co, the little sister & attorney in the making.20140710-031058.jpgbaby co had harassed chased down stalked pet every single dog in sight during our monthlong eurotrip. what is one more lovable italian greyhound?20140710-031114.jpgles benjamins has an effortless chic & feel to their designs. trendy streetwear full of attitude mixed with symbolic images allow one to ponder about pop culture and its influences. the understated cool factor is here to stay.

a great celebration it was with champagne & beer flowing since it was also a glorious win for france against nigeria that day. allez les bleus!20140710-175934.jpg

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osteria pastella – florence, italy

osteria pastella || via della scala, 17/r – 50123 firenze || 055 2670240

“this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!”

ciao! as i explored italy with my sister, we stumbled upon this place all on our own – no tripadvisor, no help from yelp. i was instantly drawn to the front window showcasing a sous chef making fresh rows of pasta. what can i say, i fall for appearances, thus, this new restaurant had already stolen my heart passed the first test & quickly became my favorite in florence. [plus they have wifi!] 20140706-075904.jpgpuff of joy starter.20140706-075935.jpg20140706-075955.jpgthe caprese was interestingly stacked high & executed well, tasting of mouthfuls of freshness.20140706-080018.jpgthe fresh tagliolini alle vongole was hands down the best vongole i’ve had in italy [at such a reasonable price too]. the strong but well-blended wine + the finely chopped garlic parsley as their sauce was magical – this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!20140706-080109.jpg20140706-080139.jpg20140706-080151.jpgwe went with the pio ix dessert option which was recommended by our server & it was indeed a unique delicacy. i don’t know much beyond the fact that it is named after pope ix & it was delicious. took me a lot of googling to find out exactly what that nostalgic tasting fruit was: a european gooseberry.

then as a very kind welcome to osteria pastella + florence, the [awesome] big boss presented us these following italian specimens: tasty dessert wine & [drum roll] grappa. a lot of grappa.20140706-081649.jpg20140706-081703.jpgit was a challenge we couldn’t refuse.

their usage of flavors + quality of ingredients + presentation are comparable perhaps even superior to fine dining places but without the arm-chopping fine dining prices [and snobbery]. it really shows they care about maintaining the authenticity of the cuisine with no extra side orders of bs. such a wonderful experience overall. this is a must-visit when in florence! cannot wait to return to try more from the menu.

note: on fridays, they have live jazz :D what more could you ask for? big thank you to pietro for being a wonderful human being who truly appreciates the arts all across the board – grazie & salute!
20140706-140233.jpgregrettably, i didn’t do justice for the welcoming window photo the first time around.

20140706-142157.jpgso we went back. arrivederci!

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