Ivan Ramen (New York City)

Ivan Ramen opened this year, and it’s fabulous.

Sit at the counter, because the tables are always taken. You can look at this mural by cartoonist Nathan Fox as you eat. It encapsulates the attitude of this hip, fun place. It’s open until midnight. Mostly young people. Great service, by the way.


The dishes are hearty, the portions are just the right size, and the whimsical menu is just focused enough to make sure everything’s cooked right. Disclaimer: I’m a vegetarian and a creature of habit. This is what I order every time. It’s all I need.

IMG_0001 Tofu Coney Island

The Tofu Coney Island is a witty take on a hot dog with mustard. Chef Ivan Orkin covered the tofu with mustard, miso mushroom chili (it tastes like regular vegetarian chili except a bit milder), and heaped on the scallions. The presentation is great, but once you dig in it’s got a great sloppy-joe feel to it. You don’t really notice the tofu, just the three contrasting flavors.

IMG_0003 Vegetarian Shoyu Ramen

Here’s how it looks when it comes out. Keep in mind my ramen knowledge was previously limited to the Maruchan variety when I was a kid. (Oriental, thank you very much.) I was delighted by how much stuff I got with my noodles. You get a big gummy roasted tomato in there, hidden under a nice big pile of lettuce and chewy enoki mushrooms. I ate all that first so I could get to the rich, hearty soy sauce & vegetable broth. The rye noodles are a little softer than al dente, but they’re usually not too soggy. You slurp them up to get that broth flavor. Then, if you’re like me, you use your spoon to get the remaining broth bit by bit so you can savor every drop.

Chef: Ivan Orkin
My Rating: 10
Recommended Dish: Tofu Coney Island
Atmosphere: Painfully hip
Price Range: $20-$35 per person

Read the reviews at The New York Times and Grub Street.


25 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002

OPEN: 12:00pm – 3:30pm for Lunch
5:30pm – Midnight for Dinner

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Joe’s Pineapple Cheese Pastry

I found this in Queens.


The title is comically off-putting, (there needs to be a third descriptor here!) but it’s pretty good. It’s a moist, slightly crumbly cake that feels glazed. The pineapple is jammy and the cheese is abstracted. I saw no discernible expiration date on it, so stock up!

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Kampai Alley (Columbia, MO)

o kampai (from servicenoodle.com)

Kampai Alley is Columbia’s best sushi restaurant. That fact is implied by the prodigious amount of space it takes up in A Alley. The building has two huge stories, red and black d├ęcor, a ton of couches, and a big patio and balcony. I used to bring my computer and work on Scentsate there.

First, order the miso soup. It’s loaded with flavor and only sets you back 2 bucks. It contains soy, wakame, enoki, tofu, and green onions. (Wakame is another name for seaweed, and enoki are long, think white mushrooms that float at the top of your soup.)

I ordered vegetable sushi= avocado, asparagus, kaiware (pickled radish) and little balls of fried cream cheese. You have to ask for the fried cream cheese. The result won’t taste much like its predecessor, but you’ll love it.

My friend ordered a hotpot called nabe yaki: soft white noodles, egg, crispy shrimp, and kamaboko. Her boyfriend ordered tonkatsu: pork friend in bread, with sides of chili and sriracha sauce. They both liked their dishes.

Kampai Alley also has excellent sake and a mixed drink called “Kampai Fizz,” which is made of gin, banana-flavored spirits, and a few other things. They put a mint leaf in it too.

Kampai does not seem like completely authentic Japanese/Thai food, but that’s part of its charm. You get creative license applied to trendy food with an atmosphere to entertain a college town.

My Rating: 7.5
Recommended Dish: Miso soup
Atmosphere: Big and stylish, but not oppressive
Price Range: $15-25 per person
Clientele: Everyone

907 Alley A, Columbia MO 65201

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Kooky Professor Fashion Sketches

Here’s three sketches with a nerd-chic customer in mind, 20-40, maybe a Ph.D student or a copywriter. They were for a fabrics class. I’ll tell you the fabrics too.

Scan_20141022 (2)

Girl on Left:
Cotton weave jacket
Stretch silk charmeuse blouse

Girl on Right:
Silk jacquard blouse
Nylon lace and sheer skirt


Cotton corduroy jacket, stretch cotton blouse, wool pants

I think it’d be really hip if she wore an elegant perfume like Prada’s Infusion d’Iris with these.

I hope you like them!

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Givenchy III Parfum


This cool picture from Fragrantica is the vintage eau de toilette, but I’m reviewing the modern parfum.

Givenchy III is considered one of the greatest green fragrances of all time. It’s green in the old-fashioned way: musty and powdery in contrast to today’s bright, fresh green scents. (Sometimes the latter turn out well but often they’re screechy and feel like they’re marketed for someone who wants to wear their favorite Febreze to the club.)

Here’s the official note list, from Yesterday’s Perfume:

Top notes: Aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin, galbanum, peach, gardenia
Heart notes: lily of the valley, hyacinth, rose, jasmine, iris root
Base notes: Patchouli, oakmoss, amber, sandalwood

My take’s a bit different than the list. I think it opens up with rich layers of musty green, like moss or cut grass that’s been lying there damp for a day or two. It also smells kind of like cashmere. It’s very rich, heavy, and opulent in kind of a brainy way. The lady who wears Givenchy III isn’t necessarily going to a ball. She could be going to a fancy dinner with literary types.

I can smell some leathery notes in the heart. It also gets a bit astringent. It smells fruitier sprayed on fabric. The iris root contributes to the soft powderiness, and becomes strong in the heart notes. I can also smell some Chamade-style hyacinth. I don’t notice any rose and jasmine in the modern version. (I haven’t tried the vintage.)

Towards the end I mostly notice the oakmoss. It smells pretty close to a classic chypre despite the lack of labdanum. The citrus notes make the overall effect a little more buoyant. I’d definitely recommend it as a fall/winter fragrance.

Overall it’s a fantastic fragrance. You can smell the layers and the depth. To me, it feels like putting on a cozy thick sweater on a gray day.

I Googled “grey cable knit sweater” and these pics went along with how Givenchy III feels to me. (*Note: I am not being paid to advertise any of these things. I just wish I could afford to buy them.)
462b144852a2223f999de6febda7351c (pinterest)

thB1QHVR7R (followpics.me)

dolce-gabbana-grey-cable-knit-sweater-product-5-4400103-082752041_large_flex (lyst.com Dolce & Gabbana cardigan)

wool cardigan (poshposh.com Alexander McQueen wool/cashmere sweater)

All that being said, I prefer my fragrances brighter or louder or something. Givenchy III has a great personality but I’m not sure what to say to it.

Bottle Designer: I found several sources that said the bottle was designed by Pierre Dinand, but my usual source for perfume data, Fragrantica, didn’t state the perfumer on its Givenchy III page.
Price Range: Expensive
Recommended Occasion: I’d wear it for any, but some would say fancy.
Release Year: 1970
My Rating: 8.5

Read more Givenchy III reviews at Yesterday’s Perfume and The Scented Hound. They’re both reviewing the vintage version.

Posted in Aldehydic, Amber, Bergamot, Chypre, Galbanum, Gardenia, Hyacinth, Iris, Jasmine, Mandarin, Muguet, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Peach, Rose, Sandalwood, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Halloween Weekend

So I’d scheduled a picture of my adorable black cat, Bessie, for Halloween morning. I think my WordPress had a glitch because it didn’t post.

BessieThis is Bessie!

Also, my Halloween outfit. I was a cowgirl. IMG_0055

Perfume: Chanel’s Cuir de Russie.

Outfit: Vintage top, H&M T-shirt, Little Big denim skirt, Lucchese boots.

It was a great weekend!

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Shopbop Family & Friends 25% Off Sale

Shopbop’s Friends and Family sale is coming up! From October 14-16th you can save 25% on all merchandise if you enter the discount code FAMILY25 at checkout!



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Shopbop Sale: CK Underwear 25% Off

ck sale

Hey everyone!

Shopbop is having a 25% off sale on Calvin Klein underwear from October 8 to 13! Check it out here: http://www.shopbop.com/ci/3/lp/discount-promo-coupon-code.html

Discount at checkout. No coupon code needed.

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Sketches: Corduroy, Silk Faille, and Houndstooth

I had an assignment to illustrate people wearing corduroy, silk faille, and houndstooth. Here they are:

Scan_20140917 (2) Corduroy

Scan_20140917 (4) Silk Faille

Scan_20140917 Houndstooth

Hope you like them!

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Ambra di Venezia Parfum


I got a bottle of Ambra di Venezia parfum when I was 18, along with the lush matching lotion. I bought it in a store called Takashimaya. (Takashimaya is a Japanese luxury department store. There used to be one on Fifth Avenue.) It smelled huge to me back then and it does now too. I felt sinfully adult when I wore it. I pictured it someday sitting on a vanity table in my “boudoir:” a decadent title that no bedroom I’ve had has lived up to.

This is what I think a woman who wears Ambra di Venezia looks like:

salma-hayek-frida-kahlo (Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo)

She dresses up every day, in bright colors, and has a bit of a throaty voice.

Ambra di Venezia smells to me like a sweet amber tuberose, with a side of jasmine and citrus and a dose of dark humor. From top to bottom, it’s a sultry and slightly dangerous fragrance that you should really only wear on your most confident days.

The note list is as follows, from Aedes.com:

Top Notes: bergamot, lime, tangerine
Middle Notes: jasmine, narcissus, mango
Base Notes: sandalwood
(I listed amber and tuberose too under “Categories.”)

I don’t remember it coming with a note list (unless I lost it, which is likely.) The note list isn’t anything like I expected. But there is something very ripe about it. I never would have guessed mango, but now I can see how it fits. The sandalwood starts out light and becomes stronger. Ambra di Venezia also gets fruitier as it goes on, but it doesn’t lose that sexy, slightly carnivalesque appeal. The drydown is softer than the come-on.

A lot of these deep fragrances seem to have something dark about them. Ambra di Venezia doesn’t. That’s quite a feat.

Perfumer: Rayda Vega
Price Range: Expensive
Recommended Occasion: Sultry
Release Year: 1998
My Rating: 8.5

Steve at The Scented Hound smells more sandalwood and less tuberose/amber.

Posted in Amber, Bergamot, Jasmine, Lime, Mango, Narcissus, Narcissus, Sandalwood, Tangerine, Tuberose | Tagged , | 6 Comments