Review: Heaven & Earth Fashion Show @ The Empire Sat Dec. 19. 2015

Spirikal’s bottom line.  In spite of some very talented models showcasing racy swimwear, the show fell flat and was over rushed. The overall lack of variety and slight cheeziness of the skimpy wear left me feeling a bit disappointed. I wanted to see something a bit more high end. Don’t get me wrong. I had fun, but it could have been a lot better.



Review: I’ve seen some great independent fashion shows that featured classy outfits, stuff that you could see people wearing, but this show seemed to be more about showing skin than style. If you’re going to do a swim wear show, you need to feature a better variety of beach fashion that people would wear while on holiday.


The highlight of the show. Great job Dira!


Many of these outfits were the opposite. Yes, sexy is good, but there should be style and panache with an attitude to say, “I’m rockin’ it!” To me, some of the models seemed a bit uncomfortable as the show grew from skimpy to borderline tacky.

Why not show, beach shawls, sportswear and  even some one pieces? Plus, I found it strange that there weren’t any real outfits for guys.

I’ve been to several fashion shows including Uomo Moderno and Privé, where both had something there for everyone. In this event, the men in the show looked more like gladiators than dudes you’d see hanging around the beach. Finally, the show lasted about 15 minutes, and then it was over.


More skin

More skin

There were, however, some really nice moments. I especially liked the outfit sported by Dira Ve. Classy, elegant and the right attitude. I wished there would’ve been more like this.

Mingling with the talent

Mingling with the talent after the show.





Even he had to laugh

Review: Uomo Moderno Winter Party & Fashion Show @ Hudson Terrace

Event: Uomo Moderno Fashion Mag Winter Launch Party & Fashion Show at Hudson Terrace

Event organizer Francesco from Uomo with some of the talent

Event organizer Francesco di Maio from Uomo with some of the talent

Spirikal’s bottom line: While it was an interesting blend of unique fashion and beautiful models, the show itself was a bit too brief, and I’d have enjoyed seeing a wider variety of styles, including some more evening wear.


Denim made to look like leather


Due di latte – made with milk

It was great running into Francesco Di Maio again who always has tremendous energy to push these new fashion events. And this time, the Hudson Terrace proved to be a far better venue than at the Cutting Room during Fashion Week.

Spirikal, Francesco and some of the models

Spirikal, Francesco and some of the models

My only negatives were that show only lasted about 30 minutes, which was a shame.  And the DJ seemed to be playing the same tracks over and over. Perhaps he had his I-Pod Shuffle on repeat, but if I ever hear Uptown Funk again, I’ll probably shoot the sound system.


Due di latte



All smiles, gentlemen. Some of the male model talent.

Instead of a lengthy review, I’ll instead leave you with some of the shots of the evening. Enjoy and share with your friends.


I really loved the vibrant colors of the Due di latte brand. Whoever thought milk protein could be used to make clothes.


Due di Latte




Striking a pose!


Due di latte


Beauty in blue

Review: Marie-Lou&D Reception with French District Thurs. Dec. 3, 2015

Event: Marie-Lou&D Maison de beauté reception and promotion Thurs. Dec. 3, 2015

with the staff @ Marie-Lou&D

with the staff @ Marie-Lou&D

Spirikal’s bottom line: There’s always something happening in SoHo on a week night. Whether you’re looking to mingle with a glass of wine and cheese or searching for a deal, you’ll always discover something new. Marie-Lou&D’s wine, cheese reception was just another reason to love this neighborhood.


Mingling and smiles

Event: It was just an excuse to be in city. I hadn’t quite yet from the French Morning’s No Frames art exhibit, and tonight I came back to SoHo to check out something new. There are so many luxury spas and beauty salons in SoHo, and I have commend Marie-Lou&D for having found a prime, ground-floor location.

While many places specialize with either hair colouring or manicures, Marie-Lou&D pretty much offers everything from haircuts, facials, massage, and mani-pedi. And for a salon West SoHo, this place was surprisingly big. Hanna, the gal who greeted at the reception told me that this was the second event they put. And it was thanks to a collaboration with French District, the online guide for the French-speaking community, that they got a good turnout for this event. The crowd varied from the French expats to Americans and I even got to practice my Japanese with a gal who works Barclay’s Capital.

Juan Carlos Cedeno from Cremieux sporting a suave jacket

Juan Carlos Cedeno from Cremieux sporting a suave jacket

There were loads of Frenchies who came for hair advice, but everyone gathered around the wine & cheese. I was a little miffed that there weren’t any real hors d’œuvres or canapés, but I wasn’t complaining a beautifully balanced dry rosé from Provence in one hand and fruit and cheese in the other. The team at Marie-Lou&D were both very friendly and professional. One of the more interesting conversations I had was with Courtney, the beautician who is also an artist. Check our her instagram.

Rosé from the South of France

Rosé from the South of France

For guys, the salon was neutral in its décor, without appearing too girly, which I could honestly see myself at if I were in search of a little luxury. I’d definitely like to check out this spa again if I ever find myself between hairdressers, or maybe, just maybe, I might toddle back for a facial treatment. I have to confess that I’ve been feeling a bit wrinkily as of lately.  I promise I’ll follow up with another review. Good night.





Review: French Morning’s “No Frames” art exhibit & reception Soho Wed. Dec. 2, 2015

Event: “No Frames” Art Expo & Reception at a gallery in SoHo with four female artists, Fabienne Cutter, Anne de Villeméjane, Laurence Belotti and Inma Barrero hosted by French Morning.

Glamourous French beauty and art

Glamourous French beauty and art with Anne de Villeméjane

Spirikal’s bottom line: A fantastic evening with some really talented French female artists and wonderful guests. The turnout was surprisingly good for a Wednesday evening, and the mingling kept rolling as the wine kept pourring well into the night.



The Talented Laurence Belotti

It was the perfect way to end a long tiring day at work and my evening class up in Harlem. I hopped on the subway as soon as my class ended and headed south to French Morning’s art expo in East SoHo. Although I was exhausted, I got a second wind as I passed by several receptions at some of the boutiques in neighborhood until I reached my destination. When I arrived, I just walked in. No need to RSVP because no one was at the door checking names.


A tribute to Serge Gainsburg by Laurance Bellotti

To my dismay, there was no coat rack so I had fumble around with my coat, bag, a glass of wine and my camera as I took some snaps of the exhibit and the people – many of whom were expats from France. Happily, I eventually found a bench to stash my coat with about a dozen others.

I guzzled my first glass of white wine, a slightly dry one from Spain as I gazed at the artwork. I’ve seen so many mundane art expos with some pretentious art, but these ladies have got some serious talent. I suddenly felt guilty for any jaded thoughts I might had had before arriving.

Wine, art and great conversation. What an evening that was!

Wine, art and great conversation. What an evening that was!

My first stop was Inma Barrero, who made a wonderful installation of neutral-colored hanging mobiles. It’s shame that I wasn’t in the market because her display would have been perfect for my living room.  I was also hugely impressed with Anne de Villeméjane, who made such interesting sculptures with a slight exotic Southern Asian influence.

Inma Barreo

Spirikal meets Inma Barrero

Laurence Bellotti, one of the artists, had some serious talent. Some of her works reminded me of the artwork one would have seen from the artists employed by the WPA during the Great Depression, which was, although a difficult time, the art world flourished. One painting, in particular, looked like a design I had seen of Moma that was made during the 1930s. She also featured two works, a beautiful painting of woman with colorful, exotic features and a print of Serge Gainsbourg, the famous French singer.

Soho art reception, Dec. 2015

Soho “No Frames” art reception, Dec. 2015

Fabienne Cutter was by far one of the most imaginative artists I met that evening. Her works were  printed on aluminium and stainless steel. She had a peculiar minimalist style with a certain hidden boldness that caught my eye.

Yes, but is it art? Spirikal tries to impress. Note her bemused expression. lol!

Yes, but is it art? Spirikal tries to impress a bemused Fabienne Cutter

I’m hoping that she might come chat with my students about her works.  As I sipped another glass of wine, I tried to sound as witty as possible, but it backfired because her art needed no interpretation. It was simple but incredibly powerful. As I think about it now, I’m still at a loss for words. Wow!


Posing with Anne de Villeméjane

The crowd was amazing bunch. Many were expats working for French investment banks such as Société Générale and others were Americans, Germans and Brits all with different stories but passionate about art. So many people, so many conversations. I wished I could have carried on all night.

As my fatigue finally caught up with me; however, it was time to go. I headed out in the streets in the Lower East in search of a cab. It was after 11pm by the time I got home, but the images of some really fine art and memories of meeting so many kinds of people danced in my head as I finally crashed. Until tomorrow. Another day, another place to go. That is the life of a metronaut.

Who are the best associations & groups putting on events in the city

Spirikal‘s list of the best associations, groups and organizations around NYC that put on stuff worth checking out. If you find something you like, I’d suggest getting on their mailing list or becoming a member. As I discover more things, I’ll share them here with you.


Open house at the Alliance française


Some of the delights on offer at the Open House at FIAF

Alliance française (FIAF)- 60th between Madison and Park avenues.  Meet-and-greets like First Tuesdays, Open House and their lecture series on travel, food and fashion are just a couple of reasons to join. Some events are for members-only or they get special discounts. Plus for Francophiles like me, they’ve got an amazing reading room with books and mags from France and French-speaking countries. If you’re interested in learning why the French are awesome, take advantages of their summer discount promos which begin around Bastille Day on July 14.

Cocktails at the FIAF

Cocktails and wine at the FIAF

American Museum of Natural History I’m a natural history fan and absolutely adore this museum; however, even if you lack a nerdy side, the AMNH hosts really cool after-hours events.  Some member-only activities such as their exhibit previews back room tours and fossils digs are as cool for kids and grown-ups alike. Others include happy hours and Sci-cafe – which is a scientific-themed colloquium and cash bar. Sadly, the museum has concluded the 8th season of One Step Beyond Dance party, which included artists like Questlove. I pray that the museum starts it up again. I’ll update you  as soon as I know.

Asia Society 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021 by Hunter College.  If your interested in experiencing diversity of Asian cultures, then this place is for you. I’ve attended various socials, concerts and art expos here, but I’ve got to say that the building is incredibly modern and beautiful. It’s got a fantastic bookshop, café with the Leo Bar. Highlights this coming fall include Philippine Gold reception and expo and the LBGT cocktail hour at the Leo Bar.


NY 2015 New York Wine tasting at the Astor Room


Good Eats NYC with Edible







Edible Manhattan / Edible Brooklyn magazines. Edible Magazine is one of our nation’s best foodie treasures available online and in print.

Scotch and cheese pairing class with Compass Box and Edible Manhattan.

Scotch and cheese pairing – Edible.

Both Manhattan and Brooklyn editions feature tastings, food expos, talks, classes and socials. Tickets are often available through  Eventbrite; however, sign up for the newsletter to get alerts on their activities. For their food expos, take advantage of their early bird promotions, which are well worth it. I just hope Edible Queens will make a comeback!!!

Vin du Maroc?

Edible Mag’s Escape, 2015



Eurocircle at the Ganesvoort Park Avenue NYC

Eurocircle NYC Locations vary depending on the event. With chapters in other major cities, this is one social group who likes to party. To some, this is nothing more than a glorified, but their events are actually really cool and have a certain swankiness. What I like most is that their is no secret list, no dickhead bouncer at the door refusing people or general snobbery.


Rooftop DJ dance party with Maserati and Sky Vodka


Eurocircle Spring Into Action charity event

Either it’s ticketed or you say “Eurocircle” at the door. No member referrals needed. Events are sponsored by companies like Sky Vodka, Maserati and others, and they are mostly rooftop meet-and-greet soirées or DJ parties. Advice? Look the part, bring cash for the bar and don’t forget your cards. I’ve met a ton of people at these events.


Carving of aged mimolette at the French Cheese Board tasting and pop-up store


Mimolette is back and here to stay


French Cheese Board Pop up

French Cheese Board 26 West 39th Street (Between 5th and 6th Avenues) New York, NY 10018. Just south of Bryant Park, this pop up cheese store / PR promotional campaign is set to remind everyone why French cheese is simply awesome. They even do classes.  Dec. 2015 will be the last pop up shop. They will relocate to SoHo with an entirely new concept.

Dorothée Selz Food Art reception party

Dorothée Selz Food Art reception party


And wine too!

I stumbled upon this association by accident while reading the Times Front Burner in the Food & Dining section and decided to give it a try. From time to time, usually once a month, the French Cheese Board does their pop-up shop selling delicious cheeses and butters for super cheap. They give you a glass or two of wine, and you set out tasting everything in sight. When you’ve bought your cheeses, you can stroll over to Eric Kayser on 40th street between 5th and 6th avenues, south of Bryant Park for a baguette to go with your delicious cheese.


French District Online guide and social network. Primarily geared to the French-speaking community, you don’t have to speak the language to attend French District’s activities and events which include: meet ups, art receptions, in-store promotions and receptions.

Soho art reception, Dec. 2015

Soho art reception, Dec. 2015

Many of the members are Americans, who like their French counterparts, are confirmed metronauts in search of things going on the city. Advice? Get on their mailing list for upcoming cool stuff.

Marie-Lou&D salon w/ French District, wine & canapé reception

Marie-Lou&D salon w/ French District, wine & canapé reception

French Morning and French Morning in English online magazine And you thought the French don’t exist in the US. Well, they’re here and put on some cool stuff for everyone. Whether you’re a bored-out-of-your-skull-from-work-metronaut like me or want to meet people from different walks of life, then get on French Morning’s mailing list. They collaborate with most other French groups in New York, including the Alliance Française FIAF, French Consulate, French Tuesdays and more. Events include the annual bilingual education conference and the monthly, traveling ‘speak easy‘, a meet-and-drink French-English exchange.

with Fabrice Jaumont @ the annual bilingual education expo, Hunter College

with Fabrice Jaumont @ the annual bilingual education expo, Hunter College

934 Conference series at French Consulate NYC  / 934 Conférence au Consulat Général de la France 934 Fifth Avenue (between 74th et 75th Street), New York, NY 10021.


934 Conférence at the elegant, French consulate

French expats, Francophiles, foreign dignitaries, intellectuals and more flock to this lecture series, which starts in the fall and finishes around May.  Most events are followed by mingling reception of champagne and hors d’œuvres.  All events are in English, but there’s plenty of opportunity to practice your French.2015-08-27-00-05-17_deco Some events are invite-only, but all are free with RSVP. Dress always respectably, exude charm and bring your business cards. Whatever your day is, you are a diplomat the moment you enter those elegant doors.


The Box burlesque club

The Box

French Tuesdays, Locations vary depending on the occasion. French Tuesdays have chapters in several major cities both here and abroad.  I often hear how French Tuesdays “used to be cool” before all the swanky people showed up. Funnily, I can’t recall FT ever being a workers’ movement. And who am I to complain about swanky girls? You must be referred by a current FT member in order to join, but members can usually bring their friends. Most of their events are cocktails, rooftops, and posh lounge meet-and-greets. Although I gave their wear-only-white party ‘cos that’s not my thing,
we checked out the Bastille Day celebration at the burlesque and cabaret at The Box. Pity, I couldn’t post pics of the naughty entertainment, but this is family website.

German Consulate 871 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017 (opposite the UN). Perhaps having learnt from the French, the Germans have also beefed up their outreach program to bring outsiders to their events which include art receptions, discussions and small concerts.  In contrast to that of the French, the German consulate is incredibly minimalist and modern.



Art reception at the German Consulate


Art reception at the German Consulate


East German-inspired art and wine

Non-concert events feature a beer / wine and pretzel mingling portion, where you can interact with the guests and consulate personnel. Security is a lot more visible here with metal detectors and armed guards. Don’t be intimidated because the staff are really welcoming.


Otafuku okonomiyaki talk and tasting – presented by Chef Morimoto


Japanese art installation – members preview and reception


with David Bouley at the Japan Society


Shinenkai Reception at the Japan Society







Japan Society 333 East 47th Street (Between 1st and 2nd avenues) New York, NY 10017  Interested in Japanese language, art, cuisine and culture? I’ve been taking language classes at JS Toyota Language Center and attending many events here over the years. 
Things not to miss include: the annual sake expo, Shinnenkai (after new year party), Nihongo Chat or Japanese language meet-and-greet and their beer lecture and tasting. Notable chefs such as Morimoto and David Bouley have come here to showcase their interpretation of Japanese classic cookery. Membership gets you into art receptions and discounted tickets for events.

Pop Rally at Moma, Moma in Manhattan and PS1 in Long Island City created Pop Rally to attract a younger and more diverse crowd. This has become a fantastic party series, which includes art installations, DJ dance parties, indie art film screenings and the essential open wine bar.

Pop Rally at Moma

Pop Rally at Moma

2015-08-28-10-37-53_decoEvents vary depending on venue and theme, but there are a lot of fun. Moma members have access to discounted tix, but events are open to the public.  Events include Sat. Sept 12, 2015, Gentleman’s party at Moma in Manhattan.


Pølse – yummy!



Revolving Dansk, locations vary depending on event.  What is a pølse?
It is a Danish style hot dog with some delicious but unorthodox condiments to go with. Revolving Dansk held their succesful launch party in the LES and sent off a hundred tongues wagging.  The have also collaborated with whisky distributor in Brooklyn.

Savoring the delights at the Copenhagen Street Dog launch party

Savoring the delights at the Copenhagen Street Dog launch party


Free gøødies!

Their events are casual, fun and most importantly delicious.  And who’s going to argue with a hot dog, unless you’re vegetarian of course! Events not to miss include the Scandanvian Festival, Sept.6 2015.


Rinsed.It party at Le Bain, Standard Hotel, MPD


Rinsed NYC locations vary. My chum, who is a house music fiend, introduced me to Rinsed last year. cropped-cropped-IMAG1145.jpg It was one of the coolest dance parties because they always are spinning house, disco, funk and more. And none of it sounds like Z100 or what I hear at the gym. Most of their parties are in warehouses in secret TBA locations and tickets are available on Resident Advisor. Tips? Always buy your tickets as early as possible because the cheapies sell out quickly. Be careful of their parties at Le Bain at the Standard Hotel. There’s this awful Asian bouncer who dresses like the dude in The Crow with a weird god complex who won’t let you in, regardless if you’re on the list.

TAP-NY, locations vary depending on event.  My fascination with Taiwan and all things Taiwanese led to me to the Taiwanese-American Professionals NYC, while at an event on Taiwanese cuisine at the WNYC Greene Space.

Taiwanese cuisine at the Greene Space

Taiwanese cuisine at the Greene Space

They have chapters in several major cities and have plenty of activities for young people to do. Some of their events have gotten mixed reviews, but I’m really impressed on how active they are. I only wish the Indians were as enthusiastic. Events include: March Madness pub crawls, cooking demonstrations and the annual Taipei Night Market.



TPECC / Taiwanese Consulate office in New York. For a country fighting for greater international recognition, its NY consulate is overdrive hosting loads receptions, film screenings, art & technology expos and classical concerts.

With the Taiwanese ambassador

With the Taiwanese ambassador

Meeting the composer of the avant-garde nightmare. Gosh she's cute!

Classical concert & reception @ TPECC

In terms of the number and variety of activities, the Taiwanese truly rival both the French & German consulates hands down. The TPECC building is truly spectacular with a film screening area downstairs.

WNYC Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street at Varick, Soho, New York, NY 10013. I’m an avid NPR & WNYC listener and absolutely adore going to events here, especially the ones about food. Over the past couple years I’ve met Michelin star-studded chefs like Bill Telepan and celebrities such as Madhur Jaffrey and have sampled the exotic delights of Taiwanese cuisine. Its location across from City Winery makes this an ideal place for a after work date or meetup with friends.

Meeting Madhur Jaffrey at the Greene Space

Meeting Madhur Jaffrey at the Greene Space

Events include: Leonard Lopate and Locavore series with famous chefs including Madhur Jaffrey and Marcus Samuelsson this fall.


WNYC Greene Space / Taiwanese Taste and Talk