Sunday, September 11, 2016


Forget Williamsburg! Skip Soho! Dare to expand your shopping horizons and boldly go where few intrepid fashionistas have gone...gasp....Jackson Heights, Queens!

For a swipe on your metro card you can (and should) check out the various private gardens along 34th and 35th Avenues.

Alright, that's enough fresh air. We are here to shop after all. This time around skip the multitude of Indian boutiques and satisfy your shopping cravings at a darling little gift shop called LOCKWOOD at 77-13 37th Avenue. I love the quirky selection of candles, limited edition totes, tees,jewelry, gorgeous cards and coordinating wrapping paper.

Do not walk out without buying one of Lockwood's "wall mounted animal head trophies" in wool felt. They're available in 3 sizes and are simply adorable. I'm getting the "sheep", but other species are just as cute and funny. Think of this as cruelty free big game hunting without leaving your house. This shop is a must for off the radar birthday and Christmas shopping.

Spending money is tiring, so head over to LETY Bakery & Café at 77-07 37th Avenue and indulge in any one of their delish desserts. Try he Italian cheese cake...just saying.

The sugar rush should keep you going for a while... so jump on board the local train to the Rego Park Mall (63rd St. and Rego Park subway station... the R or M local train) home of Kohl's and the affordably priced Reed handbag collection. (Reed Krakoff was for many years the creative director of COACH, so you know that he can deliver the goods). I already own one of his bags and can vouch for the chic styling.

So go forth my children and expand your shopping horizon off the beaten track. You never know when the next great find will turn up.

Until next time,


Thursday, September 8, 2016


Kicking off New York Jewelry Week at The famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the boutique jewelry show, LUXURY Prive, ran from Sunday, July 24th, through Tuesday, July 26th; touted by show organizers as an “elevated show experience with expanded offerings, known for its white glove service and intimate environment, drawing in the best of the best in jewelry.” 

While all of that might be true, this editor noticed a considerably smaller number of attendees on the Salon floor this time around, when during a Monday visit to the show, there was more than just a bit of ample walking around room from booth to booth. But, with that being said, for the buyers who showed up, there was all of the expected (and some unexpected) requisite bling, encompassing lots of interesting renderings, embracing mixtures of sparkling white and colored diamonds; white, yellow, rose gold, Platinum, fanciful gemstones, leather mixed with precious stones and metals, neoprene, gold, vermeil, et al, served up by a host of big name, well-known brands.

In addition to all of the big name designer houses showcasing their haute couture jewels here, there was something else going on; something that cast a decidedly hip, fresh, buoyant, and very exciting vibe across this show, by way of a newly curated area, where a bunch of groovy and cool capsule collections from an equally neat group of young, BCBG type designers (interestingly, some Brooklyn based) set the tone and made the news. 


At Goldhenn, (pronounced golden), the credo is all about the luxury and celebration of imperfection; a beautiful thing is never perfect and life is about celebrating the luxury of imperfection. All kinds of rocks, minerals, gemstones (gravel, too) are the inspiration behind this line, hand-crafted by artisans in New York and Santa Fe. An eclectic assortment of precious stone and diamond rings, earrings, necklaces (often mismatched) are featured, right up there with brand new, huge and petite, multi-colorful Horn bracelets; some set in 18k gold and liberally sprinkled with diamonds. According to designer Meaghan Hennelly, “horn is ethically and sustainably sourced through farming practices. The animals are not hunted for their horns. Lacquer is applied over the horn to achieve color. Additionally, for fun, horn is good luck talisman!!

Ebony and Ivory AND Diamonds - GOLDHENN'S Bracelet Brings Peace, Love, and Sparkles to Your Wrist!

William Henry, based out of McMinnville, OR., showed a very different kind of luxury men's collection, embracing hand-crafted, wild and wooly knives, money clips, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, et al, with names such as ‘Yucatan’, ‘Grandis”, ‘Full Circle’, ‘Serenity’, Ovation”, ‘First Mate, Monterey’, ‘Woodstock” , ‘Lancet’, ‘Kells Cross 111’. Groovy, masculine pieces pick up on the aura of past, present and future, incorporating bold prehistoric and modern accents (many found in the American West), along with intricate details; unique mechanisms and techniques, mixes of color, patterns, mosaics, antique finishes and the like. Millions of years old, fossil dinosaur bone, snakeskin, rich yellow and rose gold, diamonds, sterling and nickel silver, rubber, copper, brass, skulls, frosted black onyx, red topaz, blue sapphire, make up a totally eclectic design repertoire here. According to Dave Boeckel, CEO, “this is our first LUXURY Privé and we are very pleased. There is a very nice flow of existing customers and new prospects and we are having high quality interactions that are not rushed or pressured. The size of the show, the quality of the attendees, and the overall environment make this an excellent show for both exhibitors and retailers."

William Henry's Jewelry Pirates Your Applause


"First Mate"

Aero Diamonds’ “Diamonds in Space” collection focuses on a new concept of a visible artistry of diamonds connected without any kind of traditional mountings. While the “Add-a-Diamond Heritage Program” is a hallmark of the grouping; centered around petite diamond earrings, necklaces, chokers, et al., the biggest stars here are most definitely the outrageous, custom-made, sparkly diamond ankle bracelets, created especially for two super fashiony, super glam celebs. Now, while we cannot mention any "names", you get the idea.

Areo Diamonds Keep Your Diamonds in Space and Ankles on Earth

Andreoli , the charming, old world jewelry house, which was established in Valenza, Italy in 1945, and has now become well known for prestige and glamorous collections - centering on a fresh, fertile, fun attitude - worn by a bevy of beautiful (and Royal) international women, is no newcomer to haute couture jewelry, and that was quite apparent at the show, where a broad array of luxurious gem-set jewels and a surprising collection of titanium jewelry were on display. Although a third-generation is now onboard, continuing the brand’s legacy, originally begun by Abraham Hadjibay, the story here is still the same as when the company first opened up its doors, nearly a century ago. A team of top Valenza-based artisans are continually seeking out new technical challenges, unusual materials and motifs, to create bold and innovative statements; on a quest to find the perfect stones and materials for each new piece. From classical precious gems to funky colorful precious and semi-precious stones and metals, the idea is to focus on audacious colors and technical innovation to present intricately configured, fashionably cutting edge collections.

Andreoli's Butterfly is Gorgeous and Staying Put!

For Nina Nguyen, who grew up in war-torn Vietnam, the beginnings of her love affair with beautiful jewelry, multi colorful stones and eclectic design and fashion, began when as a young girl, she helped her uncle, a goldsmith in his jewelry casting foundry, working with locally panned gold, “The jewelry I design now is a reflection of my spirit. I create each piece to be unique, feminine and stylish. I envision my pieces empowering the wearer.” Nguyen has always had a love affair with beautiful gems and design; arriving in America with her mother, the young girl designed jewelry as a hobby throughout her high school and college years. Today, her rich cultural background, steeped in jewelry created for kings and queens, flows through into collections combining understated elegance, lighthearted and bold styling, intricate and detailed design techniques. The new “Heritage” Collection, which celebrates the designer’s roots and a new legacy, features black oxidized sterling silver and 14k yellow gold, finished with an exclusive crosshatch engraving and delicate rose cut diamond accents. Hand-forged bangles, delicate rings, earrings, necklaces and wrap bracelets – all meant to wear alone or mixed together – present the look and feeling of precious, long ago, gems, found now in a beautiful antique treasure chest.

Nina Nguyen Brings Yesterday to Today for Tomorrow

Brooklyn based, Judi Powers gives her collection such a joyous, easy-going, high luxury aura, mingled with a sense of understated elegance by way of flora, fauna, beach, art inspirations. Delicate pieces with names like “Dharma”, “Amada”, “A Tree Grows”, “Botanica”, “Talisman”, “Gum Drops”, “Love Letters” and “Wedding” become modern and timeless, made with repurposed, recycled precious metals; ethically sourced colored and natural diamonds; blue sapphires, tourmalines, crystals, tsavorite, et al; signature cashmere style finishes. 

Judi Powers' Tourmaline Necklace
Beware Hipsters, Easy-Going Luxury is Coming from Brooklyn!

Known as the Caribbean gemstone and is, in fact, only found in that area, Larimar offers a mesmerizing array of colors ranging from a lighter sky blue with wispy clouds to a deeper oceanic blue with crashing waves. The enigmatic gem was discovered on a beach in the Dominican Republic when fishermen found white and green colored pebbles that had been dislodged by an earthquake and had fallen into a river, eventually washing up on the shore. Today, Henderson, Nevada-based Marahlago, presents a wide array of the blue gem, rendered in a neat range of fashion-forward settings, generally silver, and often enhanced with other sprakling gemstones.

Marahlago's Jelly Fish Has Tendrils You'll Want to Touch

A nearly fifty year destiny of beauty, intermixed with a something very different this way comes attitude, serves to make Italian based Giovanni Raspini, so very unique and off the beat. Emerging from the heart of Tuscany, highly detailed and hand-made pieces run the gamut from soft and pretty to completely outrageous and crazy. Sure, the intertwined necklaces, rings and bracelets are sexy and desirable in their own right, but the big, bold sterling silver ice bucket, adorned with skull head handles is just the coolest thing ever to hold ice, champagne, wine and everything in between.

Giovanni Raspini at the Intersection of Art, Function, 
and the Occasional Nightmare Fuel

END NOTE: Some big changes are in the works for the 2017 edition of LUXURY Prive (Sunday, July 23rd-Tuesday, July 25th), meaning that exhibitors, buyers, guests and press will no longer be showing up at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel; those days are gone now. As The Wall Street Journal reports, some three-quarters of the Hotel’s rooms are slated for conversion into luxury co-op apartments over the next three years, by China’s Anbang Insurance Group, who bought the hotel from Hilton Worldwide Holdings in 2014 for $1.95 billion. According to a Show spokesperson, LUXURY Prive will debut at its new home; the InterContinental Barclay Hotel, located on Lexington Avenue, across from the Waldorf Astoria. “The Intercontinental is a modern environment that allows the LUXURY Privé legacy to thrive – sophisticated buying experience, high-end service, and elegant surroundings pair hand in hand with this hotel's credo. This New York icon, informed by its heritage, is undeniably authentic and a product of the moment. The recent completion of a $180 million renovation displays quintessential New York charm and a new mode of luxury, focused on exceptional service standards and providing luxurious, meaningful guest culture.” – ADWB for C&C


Calling all bargain hunters; treasure seekers; true fashionistas, dyed-in-the- wool Swapaholics; Swapping across the country is the big thrill; surely one of the, if not the, very best ways to get some really good karma going; de-clutter your life and your home; donate things that you already have; do not need or want anymore; get your Swapping jones on at the same time, by snagging a little or a lot of other donated, gently used and new items that you love or didn’t even know you ever could love or want, with all leftovers donated to various charities; a win-win-win all the way around for everyone.

Swapping - Retail's Worst Nightmare, a Shoppers' Best Dream!

While the Swapping mantra seems to always revolve around the chant of “patience, patience, patience is a virtue”, nearly every event this C&C editor has attended has been chock-a-block full of hefty assortments of something for everyone’s tastes; gently used and often-times new with labels merchandise for women, men, kids and pets, too, meaning tons of stuff from soup to nuts. 

Think about clothing (modern, vintage; well-known brands, Designer labels (Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Dior, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, et al, mais oui) ; accessories galore (although jewelry is sometimes in short supply); home and paper goods, books, electronics; maybe a big-screen TV, a toilet seat in its original box; diapers, sealed and, or packaged food; lots more; you get the idea.

The Hunt is On!

Photo Credit:  Jenifer Rosenberg

Now, while not every Swapper (this editor included) may not always have the opportunity to find her or his heart’s desire at one Swap, not to worry and stop crying, because, eventually, that one coveted item will surely turn up somewhere down the yellow brick Swapping road.


Photo Credit:  Jenifer Rosenberg

So, forget about those super-pricey (off-price, too) brick-and-mortar retail stores, online auctions; home shopping networks; flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, and the like; leave all of that behind; just get up, get out, start Swapping; grab that next big haul at a Swap Meet near you right now; weekly, monthly; bi-monthly; weekdays, weeknights, weekends; Libraries, Churches, Temples, Schools, Public Spaces, et al. 

Seriously, while the idea of Swapping may not be the be all and end all to fulfilling every person’s desire for the most outrageous high ever, for this editor, who loves the idea of Swapping for way too many reasons to list here, the name of the game is getting that high fulfilled (at least 99.9% of the time) right along with donating and giving back to the community, not to mention, of course, getting more than a mere few of free, nifty things in the bargain (yes, pun intended).

Sure, while there is the thrill of the hunt and although nobody ever knows what kind of merchandise will be available at any given Swap; moreover, nothing costs $$$$, the fact remains that not all (or even some) of the stuff featured at a particular Swap may be your style. But, given the fact that the best things in life are free and that everything at every Swap event is up for grabs, the cardinal rule of Swapping is always the same: if and when anything catches your eye, you need to be prepared to move fast; navigate quickly through a sea of swappers; no thinking about “should I or shouldn’t I,”  because if you want something, and you are not the first one to latch onto that chosen piece; toss it into your bag, and move on, well, as the old adage goes, “you snooze, you lose.”

ADWB's Find; She Moved First and Fastest!

Photo Credit:  Jenifer Rosenberg

Swapping is definitely it. At a recent Greenpoint, Brooklyn event, feeling like a kid in a fun-filled candy store, I not only donated lots of cool things, but, I also snapped up some of the best goodies ever; vintage kitchenware (wooden/aluminum spoons, ladles, etc.; pair of perfect, never used, vintage Revere for Corning; USA made, glass cooking pots; coffee table and children’s hardcover books; dolls, toys; name brand cosmetics and perfumes; crazy socks; leather wallets; designer sunglasses with cases. But, the real find here was the one-of-a-kind, embellished, vintage, “Capixay” Medicine Man/Mountain Shaman’s boiled wool coat from Guatamala; just the thing for good luck; warding off evil spirits. One can only imagine the big ticket price this coat would command in a Brooklyn or NYC vintage store; absolutely fabulous. 

Greenpoint's Next Swaps

C&C sat down with two venerable Swap mavens (and long-time Brooklyn residents); Jenifer Rosenberg (Organizer, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Bi-monthly Swap) and Pia Noble (Volunteer, Greenpoint Swap; Coordinator; Free Store Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; Judson Church, Greenwich Village, NY) to get the inside scoop on the wild, wooly; uniquely different world of Swapping. Here’s what they had to say:

How and why did Swapping get started? How, why did you get into Swapping?

JR: Swapping has been around for the past 25 years; the concept likely came out of the Environmental movement; trend towards minimalism, downsizing, de-cluttering. There is a very strong “I want it; I must have it right now” kind of shopping mentality for most consumers, particularly in America, to buy and hang onto far more things in abundance than these people will ever need, and I think that many people have far more things in their homes and their closets than they will ever use in a lifetime. I kind of fell into Swapping; I started seeing lots of fliers and posters advertising Swaps, and I went to one event; found out about other Swaps from talking to people; got myself on mass-swapping email lists; this is a tightly, knit community; mostly everyone knows and talks to everyone else; word is always spread around about next up events.

PN: I was a shopaholic; I don’t shop in stores anymore. A friend invited me to a Swap; I had no idea what a Swap was; I’ve been donating and Swapping ever since; just a wonderful way for people to donate and clean out their homes; trade, barter, give back to the community for the greater good.

Why has Swapping become so popular? Is there a “typical” Swapper or neighborhood?

JR: I feel that more people are realizing that there are other options aside from spending money for unnecessary things; holding on to unneeded things; happily living with less. Look, times are tough; making ends meet is a daily challenge, especially with astronomical rents, food, clothing, etc. Swapping is a free way for a person to find wanted or needed things; a way to give to others who may need or want something that the donor no longer needs or wants. I think bthat most people love the idea of saving time and money; never knowing what amazing things they might find at a Swap. On average across the board, Swappers embrace all ages, ethnicities, social status; mostly women, but, more men are showing up at events. Swappers are basically sharp and savvy, and although not everyone is into haute fashion, swappers in general are always searching for great finds, treasures, clothing, gifts; anything and everything interesting.

PN: I go all over to Swaps; there is no particular Swapper, neighborhood or expected location where people are going to go for the best Swap and the best goods. Look, merchandise is merchandise; you just never know who’s going to walk into any Swap, anywhere in the city; anywhere in the world, really; who is going to bring in what, and all of this is what makes people excited about wanting to go to Swaps, because every event is different, unique, often intimate; friendly (we hope); lots of fun. 

Do you think that Swapping and the people who attend the events get a bad rap?

JR: Some people are such snobs; will never touch or want to use anything secondhand; some people may have a germ or bedbug phobia; maybe, that person grew up with hand-me-downs and still feels that anything other people are willing to part with for free, must be useless, worthless junk. For me, all of this is just a silly bias; not based on fact at all. I do think that there is a stigma about Swapping, meaning that events must cater only to riffraff, the homeless; downtrodden people; the poorest of the poor; raggedy, undesirable merchandise, which, in reality, these ideas are simply not true. While there are needy people who attend Swap meets, and why not; these people deserve to be shopping along with everyone else, I have never seen any person whom I would be ashamed of or embarrassed about. As for merchandise being shoddy, not true; I have found many Designer items, often with tags attached, expensive electronic items in their original packaging; DVD’s; lots of great things, all in mint condition. 

PN: Yes, of course, there are always going to be some greedy people who grab everything; people who think their God given right is to be verbally, physically abusive to others; making things uncomfortable, pushing, shoving, being loud and all, just to have a free item; take more things than they could ever really need or use; other shoppers see this going on; not good for our reputation. But, we are all in this together; people need to be considerate; mindful of others. There is always more than enough merchandise to go around, but I have been to Swaps where people fight to the death. 

C&C: Tell us about items which we probably would not find at a Swap? 

JR: No unpackaged, untagged undergarments, swimwear, lingerie; no broken items with missing parts; no damaged, ripped, torn, stained items. 

C&C: What were your best and worst Swapping experiences?

JR: Huge, incredible event along the Gowanas Canal several years back; mother lode of all Swaps. Even before I got on line, I was able to get a Food Processor in its original packaging. My cart was loaded with the most amazing finds; this event has become mystical in the Swapping community; you were either there or you weren’t. Then, there are Swaps that think way too much of themselves; in it only for the money charged for people to get in; long waiting time. Some of these Swaps have the most ridiculous, long set of rules and regulations, which hinder everyone and make the Swap a miserable and uninviting experience; recipe for disaster. I know of one Swap, which is set up in a U-shape; teenage volunteers with bad attitudes, sorting and hoarding the best items for themselves; fights going on because Swappers cannot select items at the same time; waiting game; feeding time at the shark tank; nobody even has a chance, great merchandise gone in a flash. There are Swaps doling out one token at a time; (15 minutes of Swapping per token; limit of five items per token); these Swaps are horrible and probably the reason why they have now disappeared.

C&C: What changes have you seen in Swapping over the years? What does the future hold for Swapping?

JR: While many of the more mainstream events, such as the Greenpoint Bi-monthly Swap, for example, never charge an entry fee; there are no tokens; no timed shopping; no nonsense going on; generally nice, friendly people; no snooty attitudes for the most part, there are a few, exclusive “Fashionista” Swaps popping up. These events, which can and do get away with charging $25 (or more) for an entry ticket, offer an array of super expensive, mostly designer items, but, along with the toney merchandise, there is a very strict limit on how much merchandise people can bring and take away. So, with this being said, I do think that these types of events are really not so representative of, nor are these events truly serving the Swapping community well, because, there are generally more volunteer workers than swappers; most of the events are run by people with little or no interest or understanding about what Swapping is meant to be. But, in the end, no matter which kind of Swap a person chooses to attend, I know that Swapping is increasing in popularity, because more people are much more aware of and want other ways to shop vs. spending their hard-earned dollars at traditional retail stores, along with the idea of selling, donating used, unwanted items to the usual suspects; Salvation Army; online websites; yard sales, flea markets, auctions, per se. 

I definitely see more people saying, “I wish Swaps were in my area; maybe, I will host an event myself. And, that is exactly how I felt; exactly what I did, when, around three years ago, as a member of the historic Greenpoint Shul, I went to the Rabbi and talked to him about my idea. He is a young, hip Rabbi; he was looking for ways to expand the Shul’s repertoire and reputation; spread community goodwill; he liked my concept; the Greenpoint Bi-monthly Swap was born. I made the decision to hold events in the open, airy, lower sanctuary, adjacent to the open garden. We always serve refreshments and snacks; just another nice touch. I have gone to many Swaps over the years; I feel it is important for me as a volunteer of the Greenpoint Swap, to give back to the community; uphold the charitable traditions of Swapping in a beautiful House of Worship, because helping people and the less fortunate are both key parts of what we stand for; what we are doing here. I understand this mentality well, because I have gone through different times in my life. I know that Swaps definitely help many people who are down on their luck; may be too proud to ask for help; Swapping is a shame and guilt-free way to give and get a helping hand, even though a person does not have to be poor to attend a Swap. In fact, most people are not needy or poor at all. We never turn our backs or look down on any person who is truly in need. 

PN: Swapping has gone way beyond the big, Metropolitan cities; New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, et al; Swapping is internationally known; events are growing more and more; becoming even more popular and well attended; an accepted and well-known breeding ground in shopping. – ADWB FOR C&C

Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row