I SPY: KAWS

May 31, 2016

Do you know this New York based artist?  Brian Donnelly, better know as KAWS who started his rise as a graffiti artist, turned sculptor, painter and toy designer.  Now famously known for his cartoonish characters, slash Mickey Mouse inspired and Michelin men icons with the X-ed out eyes.  I'm obsessed with him.  So much that it was worth to travel 3500 miles across the ocean to view his work!



I was in London over Memorial Day weekend, and had to catch the KAWS exhibit at Yorkshire Sculpture Park currently on now till June 12, 2016.  From London you can escape to the English countryside and arrive in Wakefield Westgate by train in 2.5 hours.  Then catch a 15 minute taxi ride to Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is 500 acres of sprawling grounds.  Sheep greet you at the entrance of the property, with a backdrop of rolling hills, and home to a whole load of artwork.  There is so much to do and see you could spend days there.  I only had 4 hours to spare, so stuck to the KAWS exhibit trail and thus only saw a small slice of this historic park.




Following the signs to the KAWS exhibit I first spy from a distance 'Small Lies' standing in an open field, in the Lower Park.  Aww…he looks sad!  Need a hug?




The Afrosia wood is so gorgeous, and I love his Pinocchio nose.  But more then anything it is the size of these sculptures.  They're beyond massive, and range from 4 to 10 meters in height.  'Small Lies' is the tallest model.  See the lady in my photo?  She was only the height of his shoe!  HA.



Across the path is another open field with more of KAWS sculptures.  'Better Knowing' (face in hands), 'Final Days' (monster unleashed), and my favorite that reminds me of my kiddos wrapped around my leg, 'Good Intentions'.  Or how I remember it…Mommy and Me.




That's a taste of the open air exhibit.  Moving along now to the Longside Gallery that is indoors, to see more of his works.  Beware that it is situated on the other side of the property.  I literally mean the other end!  Remember how big this property is?  Whoa I did not realize what a trek it was to get to till mid way.  That was my cardio for the day!  HA.



This is the path that leads you there.  LONG.  Along the way you past fields of gold flowers and pastures filled with cows.  Watch out for the poo!





So scenic and lovely to sit and watch.  The animals don't bother you either so don't be afraid.  There are a few benches along the way to stop for a breather and some water.  Otherwise make yourself at home in the grass.



Eventually you do see the light at the end of the tunnel…the road does end!  WOO HOO.  Your reward besides the Longside Gallery is a small kiosk serving ice cream and coffee if you need to sit and relax before continuing.  No food and drinks allowed inside gallery.

The Longside Gallery houses more of KAWS works.  My favorite being the 'Companion' and  'Accomplice' when Pink Panther and a bunny mate!





Good news is you don't have to trek it back through the fields to get home!  There is a shuttle van that runs every 30 minutes back and forth from outside the Longside Gallery back to the visitor center.  Unless of course you really crave that extra workout to get back?

That shuttle saved me time, and gave me half an hour to chill before heading back to the train station.  Grabbed a sandwich from the cafe and had a picnic out with the sheep.  It was great!


Glad I got to support my fellow New Yorker.  I hope these pieces of works come back home to NYC.  I can especially see those open air sculptures fitting in nicely in Central Park, can't you?  Watch for it!


I SPY: Across The Pond

May 26, 2016

What you up to for Memorial Day weekend?  I'm off to venture across the pond.  LONDON here I come! I hope the weather treats me well because man do I have an ever growing list to hit.  Mega case of FOMO.

Photo Credit: IG @paul_smith


Seen this before?  This is just one of the many things that wasn't on the original plan!  It's a field of 300,000 crochet poppies at The Chelsea Flower Show.  It's a tribute to those who have served in the war.  It's held annually, and this year I have perfect timing because it's only on for this weekend.  WOO HOO.   Lucky me!

Fill you in when I return on Tuesday.  Happy Memorial Day weekend y'all!


I SPY: Get Your Silly On

May 25, 2016

You see those red noses they're selling at Walgreens?  Get one!  It's $1 for a good cause, to help children in poverty in the USA and around the world.  All Walgreens profits from the sales of the red noses go to the Red Nose Day fund.



Did you catch NBC's Red Nose Day Special last year?  It's a star studded charity event with a Hollywood line up that helps raise money, awareness and those in need through comedy, music performances, and other fun entertainment.  Tomorrow night, Thursday, May 26, 2016 will be their 2nd year broadcasting this live special.  Check your local listings for time and tune into NBC.





Get your silly on kids and post a photo #rednoseday.  Give some, gain some.  Laughter is priceless!

I SPY: The Matrix

May 24, 2016

Are you team Apple or team Samsung?  Team Apple since day 1, even though I have a love hate relationship with my iPhone!  I do know a few traitors who have switched to Samsung lately and love it though.  They're just being rebels!  Or so I thought…but after visiting the new flagship Samsung 837 building I got to admit they've got a pretty cool thing going for them.  This is not a retail store.  Nothing is sold here.  This is just a huge 55,000 sq foot space in the Meat Packing district to experience, live and play with technology.  The kids and I had a blast in this futuristic playground, and I'm not even a gadget kinda gal!



1st let us take a selfie!  HA.  It's so cool because your image is projected on the Jumbotron made up of a million tiny pics on the screen that is the center stage for the whole space.  It is GIANT.  Three stories high.  They use this screen to project live screenings of sporting events and concerts.  We caught the tail end of a tennis match.



Now this was even cooler.  Known as the Black Egg.  My favorite thing!  It really felt like the matrix in there.  It's a tunnel of mirrors, that pulls photos from your Instagram feed and displays them on big and small screens, along with random hashtags.  It was rather trippy to see all your photos flash back in front of you.  As my tween says 'It was sick'!




Then they have 2 stations that immerse you in 360 degrees of virtual reality, using Samsung's Gear VR head set.  This station transports you to a different place visually, but your stationary.  I need this in winter time to feel like I'm at the beach even though I'm really sitting through a snow storm!



The other station uses the same virtual reality gear, but the seats move, making it 4D.  Get ready for a roller coaster ride.  Don't puke!  HA.



That is just the 1st floor.  The 2nd floor is set up as a living room and kitchen, with home devices, couches to chill on and a cafe.  Great place to zone out.  All VERY cool.

Have you been already?  We are a little late to the game since they opened up two months ago.  We did try to get in on the hype back in March, but they didn't allow Eddy our dog inside, since they serve food upstairs in the cafe.  Ugh.  But we finally made it back, with Eddy in tow again…but this time he was hiding in a bag.  SNEAKY i know!  Just letting you know in advance in case your pooch is tagging along with you.  Anyways, it's probably better that we waited it out because now the crowds and long lines are gone.  If you haven't been yet you need to add it to your NYC to do list!  Sit back, relax and enter the future.

I SPY: Urban Space

May 23, 2016

Have you noticed food courts are trending in NYC?  I'm NOT talking about airport food courts serving McDonalds, Pizza Hut and that kind of fast food junk.  But quality food, such as Red Hook Lobster I previously raved about.



Been to Urbanspace Vanderbilt Market?  I'm lucky it's by my train station - Grand Central.  Not like I'm ever in there though, because I'm always rushing to catch my train!  However, I was there last week catching up with friends and as always over eating!  HA.

Roberta's - Bee Sting Pizza

Ippudo's Kuro - Obi - Pork Ramen

Hai Street Kitchen - Shrimp Tempura Sushi Burrito


Looks good right?  I forgot how great it is!  Over 20 food vendors to select from.  I'm especially happy my favorite ramen place Ippudo has recently joined forces and opened a spin off called Kuro-Obi.  I can now visit their stall instead of trekking it downtown to their restaurant.  There's good and bad in that!



This Vanderbilt market is run by Urbanspace the same group who are behind the food festivals like Mad Sq Eats I always urge you to go to!  Similar food vendors reside in the Vanderbilt market that opened last summer 2015.  The plus is that it's year round, indoors, and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Fast, casual, yummy and no reason to not like this urban space.  VISIT.

I SPY: Pigs & Thighs

May 20, 2016

Need a vacation?  Like a real one?  YES.  I know I'm always traveling, but I can't remember the last vacation I went on where I just sat and did nothing.  My kids have been troopers this year, and we've had our handful of cultural overdose.  But I did promise them that before years end we will have one mini vacation where we do nothing else besides Eat, Sleep & Relax.  Walking thru Kate Spade yesterday I saw these accessories that reminded me I need to plan it.



Mood inspiration?  Some where sunny, warm, pool and beach.  With an added twist...PIGS.  I'm not kidding.  I discovered this in the Bahamas!

Photo Credit: IG +JANESSENCE PRODUCTS 


Have you heard about Pig Beach?  For anybody a little adventurous who can never do anything totally normal, I think this one is for us!  Nothing cultural to it.  Just an experience to remember and a bunch of photos to return with of pigs & thighs, and me squealing for sure.  FUN and had to share.

I SPY: Going Horizontal

May 19, 2016

Remember my old wink eye iPhone case?  I miss it!  But now I'm instead trying on the designers shoes - Chiara Ferragni.  I just got a new pair and am sitting pretty in my living room admiring.  Excuse the sock imprints!  HA.



Retro?  I love the white and red patent color way, with gold button snaps and the light blue heel.  Also those horizontal straps.  I've been looking!  I have a feeling we're going horizontal in straps this summer.  Not the criss cross lace up straps we all had last summer.  Also hot on the market right now are white shoes, and no they don't look like nurses shoes!  White - the new basic color, as opposed to black.



Hey!  It's Memorial Day weekend soon when you can technically officially wear your whites.  Does anybody follow those rules anymore?  I sure don't!  I already broke out the white jeans last month.  Whatever.  Do as your please!  I just can't wait for this weather to straighten up, and I can wear these new shoes full time.  They're going to look so cute with jeans, cropped pants and dresses.  INSPIRED to go play in my closet now!  Buh bye...

I SPY: You Wanna Bet?

May 18, 2016

You know that moment when you see your trait in your child and you question whether it's a good thing?  It happened the other night!  We were at a restaurant we've never been to, Beach House Cafe for dinner and my lil' guy is deciding whether or not the kids mac n' cheese will be enough for him, or if he should order the adult portion.  So HE asks the waiter, not me!  The waiter said the kids size is a generous portion and he has never seen a child finish it.  My lil' smart mouth turns around and says 'You wanna bet?'  HA.  When his food arrived he asked me to take a before pic to start his challenge.



Do you think he finished it?  No joke, he chomped it down man!  He was struggling towards the end and tried to get me and his big bro to help him out.  We declined to see if he could really complete his mission.  With tenacity he succeeded!  You should've seen his eyes light up at the end.




This 7 year old has my genes for sure.  He loves his food, and should never be underestimated because he WILL prove you wrong.  I'm not sure if that is such a good thing with obesity on the rise, but I like the determination!  He obviously surprised the waiter, and got a prize.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream, which he also finished.  Uhm, I thought he was full!?!  HA.



Now we joke that he should join the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Don't be surprised if you see him there one day!


I SPY: Espana

May 17, 2016

What's on your radar this summer?  Every year my kids and I take turns in selecting our big summer 2 week trip.  This year is my lil' ones turn and he has picked SPAIN.  Why?  For lack of better reason, he is obsessed with Neymar Jr., the soccer player from FC Barcelona.  Still…good choice son!



Ever been?  After spending a good amount of time in Barnes & Nobles over the weekend I decided the capitol Madrid doesn't interest me that much.  Am I wrong?  Barcelona looks fun and hip, and the Andalucia area is really what I think will blow my mind.   I'll have to research it a little more, but if you have any tips on Espana please pass them along.



For starts this is what we walked out of the bookstore with.  My homework has begun.  My boys bedtime story slash homework is to learn Spanish, hence the mini dictionary!  I'm terrible at languages so will rely on them to be my translators - *wink* - But at least I know how to read a menu in all languages!  True survival skills.  HA.

I SPY: Get The Scoop

May 16, 2016

Did you hear that Scoop is going out of business?  When I moved to NYC twenty plus years ago, Scoop was THE store.  They sold a good mix of up and coming designers on trend, price point was reasonable, and you could always find something in there to walk out with, in their signature reusable bags that came in a rainbow of colors.  I have so many of these lying around my house and conveniently re-use them for my kids swim stuff, beach bag, and Eddy!



Over the years Scoop expanded nationwide, they started a private label line, and they're merchandising became more up market with a hefty price tag.  It became not affordable for me, and eventually no longer was my favorite place to shop.  I can't remember the last time I bought something from them.  It's been years for sure!  Well, I guess I wasn't the only soul feeling like they'd gone down the drain.

But still sad to see a business close shop.  It was kind of a NYC landmark.  *sigh*  Well you have a chance now to get last dibs, as sales have begun, and their prices have been slashed.  Unfortunately they closed down their e-commerce so no orders can be made through their website.  Their inventory can only be purchased in stores.  If your in NYC pop into one of their stores to get the scoop.  Some great deals, and loads of mens stuff.  I'm happy to brag that I snagged a few goodies!

I SPY: I Donut Care

May 13, 2016

I'm in a donut mood, how about you?  For those of you that are health conscious and watching that figure to reach your summer goals you are the real MVP!  I envy your discipline and I won't screw it up for you.  HA.  Just feast your eyes on these pretty donuts by Jae Yong Kim at Lyons Wier Gallery.  Saturday, May 14, 2016 is the last day to see this installation though.  So run over, and get your fix.  A little cardio and zero calories never hurts!



I donut care THAT much to starve myself, especially not on weekends!  There's unfortunately no Mets baseball home game this weekend.  But if you deserve a cheat weekend and happen to be in the Astoria, Queens area, you must try these donuts.  I tried the last time I was on my way to Citifield to watch a game and it was not overly sweet and super moist.  Love at first bite!  SERIOUSLY.  This is the Funfetti Donut.   



Luckily Queens Comfort only make and sell Donut Diva donuts on Fridays and Sundays.  They're not a donut shop - it's a diner!  They make a small batch of donuts, one flavor only, twice a week.  So you need to plan your visit on the right day and hope they're offering a flavor you like the day you go!  First come first served, and be warned they sell out!



I know they're not healthy.  But once in a while it's okay to treat yourself right?  That flavor donut above is what I hope to try the next time I'm at a Mets game on the right day!  A Reese's puff donut posted by Instagram account +HUNGRY BETCHES Well damn girl!  As she says…Lord have mercy on my soul!  HA.
i * SPY CANDY. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.