HOT Yoga Mats

In life, serendipity results in unexpected consequences. When designer Doreen Hing set out to create a visually stimulating yoga mat, she ended up developing a product that enhanced the users health and well-being, in addition to being visually appealing. I met Hing after my recent move to the Boston area. She introduced herself as a serial upgrader, someone who strives to improve and redesign the things around her. When you meet her you immediately notice her strong sense of style and of self. The former children’s shoe designer for Sam & Libby and Mootsies Tootsies made her imprint, quite literally, on the staid yoga mat industry.

According to her website, while exploring the technology to imprint unique, high-quality photos onto the yoga mats, Hing and the lab discovered the surface coating developed to protect the artwork had increased grip potential when body heat and pressure were applied.

“Grip” is the one feature every “best yoga mat on the market” claims as their unique differentiator. Hing says Plank is the only company that goes deeper than grip — their mats create a two-way “connection.” While grip establishes a simple sense of security between the practioner and the mat, Plank’s patented heat activated technology creates true awareness of one’s proper hand and feet connection & placement. This feedback system teaches practioners how to build the solid pose foundations necessary for holding poses longer. It generates the confidence required to go deeper into poses, and it ultimately transforms every class into an exceptional yoga experience.

The fashionista side of Hing emerges in her choice of images for her mats. According to the Boston Globe, “Hing commissioned Christopher Harting to take iconic photos, which are then screened on recyclable, biodegradable Ecolite material. There’s a mat featuring two handprints in dense shag carpeting – very trompe l’oeil – and a mat that looks like an actual plank of wood, referring, of course, to the yoga pose.”

She goes so far as to outline what her images are NOT – Cute like Pets. Pretty like Flowers. Cool like Clouds
Gag producing, yoga obvious or generic images, e.g. Lotus flowers, OM symbols or inspirational words like ‘Breathe or Karma. You get the idea.

Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen Pompeo, and other celebrities have all saluted the sun on Hing’s Plank mats.

“People fall out of poses, people yawn during class. It’s not all perfect poses and glamorous people in lululemon.”

She’s hoping her mats help yoga students improve their poses while being entertained by her cheeky images.

$20 off Yogacise

Vintage Designer Bags

My friend Jennifer recently invited me to a show for her friend Dylan who is a Korean designer.  I went for the show but I came home with the coolest new evening clutch ever.  It’s a vintage Dior handbag re-designed and personalized by Dylan Ryu.  She takes authentic designer handbags that she finds in antique markets in Paris, London and New York and re-designs them into unique pieces.  I’ve had many comments and compliments on my new clutch wherever I take it.

Apparently, even Rachel Bilson is a fan!
check out Dylan’s line ‘History’ at

Folli Follie

Best Year of the Dragon Gift

As you may know I love Shanghai Tang, but you may not know that I also love Nespresso coffee.  So, I couldn’t believe my luck when they put the two together into one beautifully designed, Asian-inspired coffee maker.  I hopped on the Nespresso bandwagon this past summer.  We rented a beautiful cottage in Muskoka, Ontario.  The kind of cottage that offers espresso makers and t.v.’s in the fridge door.  My kind of camping.  I love to start my day with an exquisite cappuccino even when I am roughing it at the cottage.  The Nespresso machine was fantastic.  And I accepted being the brunt of my friends’ jokes for my rugged outdoors-y nature. (But they also enjoyed the lattes I made for them each morning)

In any case, I think this would be a memorable gift for a friend or for yourself, because life’s too short to drink bad coffee.

It’s available at selected Nespresso and Shanghai Tang stores in HK, China, Singapore, Dubai, Australia, Kuwait and New Zealand (unfortunately not in North America).  It’s a limited edition so there are only 3000 sets being made. It costs approximately 10,000 HKD ($1300 USD) depending on which capsule holder you choose, the inlaid Jade or the metal one.

Here is a link to the Nespresso-Shanghai Tang site.


Acai Elixir

This year’s Academy Awards swag bag included both the covetable (a private island getaway to Belize, anyone?) and the random (a scale model of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft). It also included a bottle of the made-in-Japan antioxidant drink Kousanka. According to August Hergesheimer, whose company Albios makes the drink, it’s the first time a product from Japan has made it into the famous gift bag. Kousanka, whose name symbolizes “youthful, beauty, forever,” is a blend of wild-harvested acai extract, organic sour cherry concentrate, and lemon juice.
“I pushed the exclusivity part really hard. We don’t even sell it in the US,” said Hergesheimer, describing his efforts to get the drink approved as Oscars swag. “The fact that it’s an all-natural, chemical-free product helped, too.”

Not that he’s expecting Nicole Kidman to start raving about it on Oprah. Still, the buzz created by the celebrity connection has already translated into increased sales; Natural House alone quadrupled their order following the news.

Since Metropolis last talked to Tokyo-based Hergesheimer over a year ago, he has made exactly zero new products, which shows just how much faith he has in his existing lineup.

“You don’t need anything else,” he says emphatically, adding that to his knowledge, Kousanka has more antioxidant value than any other similar product on the market. Hergesheimer recommends mixing it with sparkling water.

“It makes a killer martini, too,” he says. “It’s a tradeoff, but at least you break even.”

Kousanka, ¥8,400 per 500ml bottle.
article from Metropolis March 31, 2011 written by Rebecca Milner
photo courtesy Albios

To order/request more information, please click link below.


Shanghai Tang

I fell in love with Shanghai Tang at a meeting one fall morning.
My gorgeous, well-traveled friend arrived and casually slung hers over the back of her chair.
I was mesmerized.  To me, it was the quintessential bag to say, I’ve been to Asia or I love Asian style.  It was like a luxurious, trendy souvenir you could come back with. I love how it incorporates classic Chinese elements like the jade beads and leather tassels, with a chic modern style. Shanghai Tang is the first  leading, luxury, lifestyle brand emerging from China.

Hip New App

I am old school and I’m proud of it. I love the sound of 70′s rock, old B&W photos and vintage fashion.  So, when I discovered a very cool (new) app called Hipstamatic, a vintage camera app for your iphone I was thrilled and wanted to share it.  It makes your digital pictures look analogue.  We live our lives through social media now so pictures have become our digital diary.  Sometimes I wonder if it matters what we are doing as long as we have photos of us doing it.  For example, my daughter was skiing last winter and we had to stop along the ski hill to document this fact.  Which kind of interrupted my flow, or my attempt to schuss in style.  Then we had to go into the clubhouse to download the photos to post on Facebook.  Live action status updates.  So, having something that makes your digital diary stand out, makes you stand out amongst your online “friends”.

The app allows you to select different lenses and types of film and recreates the feeling of using the old plastic toy cameras from the past.  Coincidentally, I was out a local watering hole last weekend and saw two guys carrying disposable plastic cameras documenting their evening.  I told them about hipstamatic and they were hooked.

I think it capitalizes on a demand for nostalgia, conveying a feeling of the Halcyon Days of our youth.  And it seems to have struck a chord as it has become one of the most downloaded apps for iphone.  Millions of users have begun taking burnt, tinted and filtered shots without ever having taken a course in photography.

If you’re a photo booth fan or hanker to do some developing in the darkroom, they’ve added two new apps, SwankoLab and IncrediBooth.

Drink of the Month: Lemongrass Mojito

While mojitos have been trendy for awhile, the addition of lemongrass adds a unique Asian twist to the traditional mix. Its lemony essence cuts the sweetness and instills a complimentary flavor to the mint muddle.

1 1/2  oz Superior Rum
2 tsp. Sugar
8-10 Mint leaves
1 stick Lemongrass
2 oz Club soda
1  Sprig of mint, for garnish

Halve the lemongrass stick widthways, finely chop bottom half and muddle lemongrass, mint and sugar in mixing glass with pestle.  Add a superior rum and ice and shake vigorously.  Pour over fresh ice into tall glass and top with club soda.  Using the back of the knife, crush the cut end of remaining half of lemongrass and garnish drink with it, placing the crushed end inside the glass.  Strong flavoured.