Le Dejeuner en Fourrure, 1936
Meret Oppenheim 

The teacup was inspired by a conversation between Oppenheim and artists Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar while at Cafe de Flore in Paris. Admiring Oppenheim's fur-covered  brass bracelet, Picasso remarked that one could cover anything with fur, to which she replied, "Even this cup and saucer." Soon after, when asked by André Breton, Surrealism's leader, to participate in the first Surrealist exhibition dedicated to objects, Oppenheim bought a teacup, saucer, and spoon at a department store and covered them with the fur of a Chinese gazelle. In so doing, she transformed genteel items traditionally associated with feminine decorum into sensuous, sexually punning tableware--- MoMA

class notes:
"Inspired by Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, Surrealists viewed their work as an expression of their unconscious, inner world of their pysche, dreams and the fantasy realm. The aim of the proponents of this movement was to combine or juxtapose inner or outer reality, unrelated events or objects that convey an element of surprise. Naturalistic Surrealists showed obvious scenes whereas Biomorphic Surrealists showed abstraction and organic forms. Meret Oppenheim was one of the few women in this period with an unconventional streak. Her youthfulness, free spirit, and uninhibited beauty developed the model for a Surrealist woman---beautiful, independent and creative. 

Many of the artist's pieces allude to female sexuality and feminine exploitation by the opposite sex. In her one woman exhibit at the Galerie Schultness in Basel, visitors called her the quintessential surrealist symbol for her originality and audacity. This piece is whimsical and humorous. It captures surrealist moods by provoking, defying logic, and sensual.
She also strongly believed that art has no gender, and strove to balance and unite the opposite sides of her psyche, the spiritual-female and spiritual-male, an effort that was reflected in her appearance and in the dreams of her last years. She felt that, ever since the establishment of patriarchy, the female principle had been devalued and projected on to women. Because of this disturbed balance, she felt that a new direction in the evolution of mankind is needed, where the female principle is not devalued and humanity arrives at wholeness."

 A muse for Man Ray, he did this portrait of her
"Every notion is born along with its form. 
I make reality of ideas as they come into my head" 
-Meret Oppenheim

Man Ray's portrait of the object

 Fur Gloves with Wooden Fingernails
Image Credit: Tate. Copyright DACS, London 2009

For Zizi's (my fave art teacher) art history class, we were asked to pick an artwork that spoke to us. It was no surprise to a few that this would be my choice. Personally, I like its eroticism and primal qualities. It invites the viewer into imagining what the fur lined cup might feel like to drink from. It makes one wonder about that particularly unusual sensation. It was recently featured in MoMA's recent exhibit on The Erotic Object which I saw. As this wintry night pronounces its presence, I echo Meret's words to Picasso "un peu plus de fourrure", s'il vous plaît....
Table With Bird's Feet, 1939
Meret Oppenheim

*Books on the artist

Tabula Rasa

It was only a couple of days ago when we had
a little fling with spring
and the waters of Lake Norman
tempestuously washed against the shore.

Oh baby, it's cold outside...
This tropical girl
revels in seeing snow
and delights in experiencing shivers down her spine.
There is something special about
the hushed beauty of white on white.
It evokes a feeling of being frozen in time.
Yet, a poignant reminder
that everyday is a blank slate (tabula rasa),
for us to constantly journey and lightly tread on.
Even if a single teardrop remains unforgotten
as it drifts away with the tide.


Some Fill With Each Good Rain

It is pouring outside.
The sound of the rain is beckoning me to sleep...

Some Fill With Each Good Rain
Hafiz of Shiraz – Persian Poet 1315-1390

There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that.

In one well
You have just a few precious cups of water,

That "love" is literally something of yourself,
It can grow as slow as a diamond
If it is lost.

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a

Only to someone
who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife

Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,

Others far, far too deep
For that.



I've been railroaded with Snug Furniture work since the year rang in. As many of you know, starting up a business entails too many many things that I can't even begin to bore you about. I have a few blog posts lined up but haven't gotten around to them. This month somewhat threw me into a loop with work deadlines and 2010 goal setting+follow through. And nothing like the Haiti catastrophe to render me helpless as I sit and watch from the comfort of my home and discomfortably, yet gratefully reflect about life.

So I am thankful to


for pulling me out of a quick hibernation from the blogosphere. She kindly indulged me and Snug a supportive shoutout on her blog as well as sharing her beautiful memories of Vietnam. After reading her blog post last night, I watched one of my favorite movies, Indochine, by another Catherine ~ Vive La Deneuve.
photo courtesy of movieposter.com
The movie brought back beautiful memories of my own holiday with extended family to Hong Kong, Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay from Dec 26, 2003 to Jan 3, 2004. Thank you Catherine. Traveling back through time was the perfect 'holiday' I needed on a cold and foggy Sunday afternoon. Let me know when you want to come to Cebu so I can arrange it!

After leaving Hong Kong with a hangover from our favorite shopping, culinary, and nightlife must stops, we arrived Hanoi on this desolate day and wondered if we had made the right choice to spend New Year's in the city. Garrison Rousseau (my evil twin), whom you've met in a previous blogpost, is always after my own heart wherever I go. He made sure I call his good friend, Christina Yu of Ipa-Nima, Hanoi's social and fashion doyenne to immediately plug into the most happening events in town.
So we met at Restaurant Bobby Chinn, probably still
the chicest place in town
Bobby Chinn, celebrity chef, pre TV host days
with my best friend since high school, Kerwin Go ,pre cinematographer days
A night with the bubbly Christina and her gang erased the afternoon's dreariness. Her bags are fabulous too! I have about five that I continue to carry today and an exquisite silk shawl with a beaded trim that never fails to warrant compliments. A must try at Bobby Chinn's: the martini cocktail he named after Christina, Typhoon Tina
From googling (don't you just love Google), I just found out that the restaurant has moved to a new location,Xuan Dieu Street, a new expat enclave according to an NYT review comment. See this other review for more details where I got this photo below.

Since there were eleven of us, my Uncle Manuel hired a bus with a driver and tour guide so we could plan our own tour and schedule. This is a typical traffic condition in Hanoi or many Southeast Asian cities so the next time you think about going off on a road rage, don't fret too much

We dropped by somewhere in the country for a boat ride along the rice paddies.
Nothing like some nature to nurture...
Yes, we passed through that eye of a needle
to get a glimpse of their world
where bananas grow in wild abandon along the shore.
To appreciate its beauty in solitude is as precious
as sharing their genuine laughter.
Our next stop was the legendary Halong Bay
Halong means "where the dragon descends into the sea"
A Unesco world heritage site since 1994,
you have the option to explore with a no frills or luxe Chinese junk
where you can enjoy a picnic freshly concocted onboard by a cook
or make a tropical fruit salad from the wares of this man,
this gives "fresh off the boat" a new meaning....
the potted plant in Chinese pottery adds a delightful touch

one can get lost in the Gulf of Tonkin
amidst 2,000 of these limestone monoliths
some topped with jungle vegetation
while others are hollow
with explorable caves
the sunset pierced through the clouds
as we sailed back to the shore.

My favorite guide to Hanoi and many other cities...
nothing is more au courant than Luxe.

Click here for the trailer of Indochine

*photos, unless noted, are from personal archives*