The inspirational journal of rising NYC jewelry designer, entrepreneur, violinist, and pastry chef, Yumi Chen.

NYC Jewelry Designer, Violinist, Pastry Chef, Small Business Owner, Free-Spirit, Positive Thinker!

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Archive for November, 2009

Must See: Union Square

Friday, November 27th, 2009


November 27, 2009
by Cassie Newman

It could be said that Union Square is the center of New York City. Of course, this statement is incorrect geographically speaking, and many tourists probably don’t have the spot on the top of their Must See/To Do lists. But ask a New Yorker, or take a look through the history books, and suddenly this theory is merited. Just think about this: Union Square has been playing host to the people of New York since 1839. That’s 170 years, folks. The first Labor Day celebration paraded through in 1882, and ever since, Union Square has been a breeding ground for protests, parades and celebrations.

But protests are left mostly to the locals (as is the skateboarding). If anything is going to bring the tourists to Union Square, it’s the markets. At the turn of the 20th century, the cobblestone paths were home to a local flower market. The flowers have faded, more or less, in the shadows of the bountiful edibles which now fill the square three days a week as part of the Greenmarket. For over 30 years, this farmer’s market has been a local landmark that both chefs and foodies alike swear by and depend on for the season’s best produce.

And with the changing of the seasons, comes the now infamous Holiday market with its candy-can striped stalls, open now through Christmas Eve. All of the hustle and bustle that is standard to Union Square will be shepherded through the market’s windy paths, all aglitter with everything from jewelry to scarves to sculptures.

If Union Square is the center of New York, itself an epicenter for shopping, then surely this Holiday Market is the place to be for anyone (both tourists and locals) with a little shopping to do. So start checkin off those lists (including your newly updated Must See list)!

P.S. YUMI CHEN booth can be found near E. 14th Street in the center of the holiday market, close to the subway, near the hot chocolate and brownies booth, and on the Whole Foods side of Union Square.) Swing on by our booth and receive 10% off all holiday purchases at Union Square when you mention Yumi Chen Blog!

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 8 PM; Saturdays, 10 AM to 8 PM; Sundays, 11 AM to 7 PM; and 11 AM to 4 PM on Christmas Eve.

* photo credit: *

Profiles of Hope: Linda Zeng, free spirit, open mind.

Monday, November 9th, 2009


November 9, 2009
by Cassie Newman

To Linda Zeng, doing something creative with her hands and doing something creative with her mind are not mutually exclusive things. Having been an English major at UC Berkeley, there’s no doubt she’s ‘book-smart’ and passionate about words on the page. But she’s perhaps more interested in doing something creative with her hands. “Sometimes I just get an urge to crochet a scarf or twirl a ring,” she confesses, giggling softly. Even as a little girl growing up in Brooklyn, she used to design clothes for her Barbies, cut their hair, make them over. “I’m sort of an aspiring makeup artist,” she says softly, as if she’s reluctant to be labeled as such just yet.

Linda only recently returned to the east coast from Berkeley and admits: “I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do.” She stumbled upon the work of designer Yumi Chen and “just wanted to be near someone so motivated. Her story just interested me a lot.” So about a month ago, she began working as a sales girl and particularly likes working the booth at fairs and markets. “I was afraid to apply because I didn’t think I had enough experience as a salesperson. I didn’t think doors would ever open.” But they already have. “I really don’t like desk jobs. I’ve had them. This is great for me; being outdoors. And people really are from all over the world.”

She’s not sure what’s next, but she’s not too worried. “I’m really free and open to opportunities. Which I guess is both good and bad. Right now I think I want to stay here [in New York] because opportunities are here. People here are very driven. And they really appreciate design and materials and colors in a different way than people on the west coast.” Which works for Linda, who also is inspired by colors. “I really like Swavorski crystals; how even the clear ones really sparkle,” She holds one up to her wrist, her passion newly engaged, her eyes shining, “See how they absorb your skin color and reflect it?” Probably the most genuine sales pitch you’ll hear all season.

Seems like this salesperson thing is working out just fine.