Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Arequipa, keeping it old school

In a wonderful stroke of luck, I had the opportunity this week to visit Peru and film some organizations connected with my place of work.

We flew into Arequipa, Peru this afternoon and have our first shoot at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Leaving some extra time (I learned well, traveling two years ago in Chile) we got the chance to walk around Arequipa today.

The downtown area of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is really a beautiful colonial town. So far, the food is delicious, the local beer is crisp and the weather is bright and sunny.

They have a thing for Llamas. Which I think is pretty okay.

 Getting ready to shoot in the morning now. Testing equipment and making sure that we're going to come away with something beautiful and inspiring.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Tricky: Vintage Hip Hop Gear

I've recently started to feel like I haven't really been grabbing New York by the horns and so I've made a conscious effort to partake in things that I can only do in this great city.

A friend of mine at work asked me a few weeks ago if I would be interested in taking a hip hop class with her. Well, it just so happens that I was once on a hip hop dance squad captained by Twitch now of So You Think You Can Dance fame.

The classes we've been taking are public classes offered by the incredibly well respected Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The instructors are stellar, the routines are great but sadly my hip hop wardrobe was long ago discarded. After the dance majors at my college nudged me off the team for not  having the right major (Twitch was the only one who didn't care) I ceremoniously rid my closet of my neon pants and nike sneakers.

It looks like the time has come to replace them.

As our instructor on Monday night informed us, one of the tenants of dancing hip hop is doing it with attitude. Whatever you think your attitude is will work, but the worst thing you can do is copy someone else's. My attitude is most definitely that of the latter part of Salt N' Pepa's career. Not the men's sweatpants of their youth, but the fitted street style of their later performing years. 

So obviously this t-shirt is right up my alley. A little pricey but probably worth it. 

It seems counterintuitive when you're working up a sweat but a jacket is a must. This one is a classic. 

I prefer the legging look to the more obvious oversized sweats. These are kind of perfect, but most likely a little small for my backside. 


And what hip hop outfit is complete without a pair of kicks. These, my friends are what you might call "fly". 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Writing, as one should...

I believe that there's something to be said about writing with something permanent. Computers have this great little thing called a delete button (I've used it about 12 times since I started this sentence) but pens and typewriters have no such thing. Once something has been laid to paper, even if you cross it out, it remains in one way or another. There's a consciousness that goes with that. A thought like that hanging over your head not only makes you more thoughtful about what you put down but also makes you less likely to delete a piece of genius you might hate in the moment but realize is superb at some point in the future.

Thus, my birthday present. A 1940's Shaeffer fountain pen. It looks like the green one above, but it is wine colored. 

So when we decided this weekend to jet to the July installment of Brimfield this year I immediately started dreaming about inkwells.  

I think I need one like this.

I'm pretty sure either of these will help to stop this oh-so-permanent ink from it's desire to stain everything around me except my notebook. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vintage Cakes....

For Christmas this year my brother's wife got me this really irresistible cookbook called Vintage Cakes. The authors have gathered up a bunch of vintage cake recipes that make you want to throw on an apron and red lipstick and cook all day. 

I've been dying to make something out of it but what with all of our jet-setting since the holidays I've not been home long enough to even fry an egg. So, last weekend I decided to go forth and re-domesticate myself by whipping up a Maple Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Icing. 

At noon, in order to force myself to stick to the multi-stage plan of the cake-baking, I invited 5 friends over for cake-eating that evening. They were thrilled (I also made dinner, I figured it would be cruel to just serve beer and cake, that's the worst hangover ever). 

While in the Spice Islands, we picked up a handful of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, the perfect spices for my recipe of choice. The cinnamon has been sitting next to my (unplanted) basil tempting me with its gorgeous scent, so I shaved a bunch of it into the brown butter icing. 

I've had this lovely piece of machinery for about 3 years now. It is probably the best thing that ever happened to my kitchen. My mom and dad bought it for me, in my favorite 1950's color. It is possible the sole reason for this present was their desire to see me squeal like a five year old again, but that's okay. It is worth it (although my lovely husband still enjoys laughing about that moment from time to time). 

It came out of the oven looking deliciously mapled. 

Frosted and ready for guests, perfectly placed on my favorite vintage Russel Wright platter. By the next morning after breakfast, not a crumb remained. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Indonesia, where nothing gets tossed...

kota ternate, ternate, maluku, tidore
The view from our hotel in Kota Ternate
Well, nothing might be a bold classification. They surely throw empty drink bottles and candy wrappers away. None-the-less, their flare for reuse is astounding. We should take notice of their ingenuity before we deem something trash.

They don't just reuse old clothes and cars, they make houses out of reused cinder blocks, they cover roofs with reused tin sheets and construct road-side stands out of scrap wood. They cook food on sidewalks in hundred year old pans and will spend hours, days fixing boat motors before sending out for a new part. I'm not sure of the safety merits of these practices -- I'm sure the old cinder blocks are a bad idea -- but the idea that everything old can be used for something new certainly could add a bit of stability to this old planet's future.

A warung, or sidewalk restaurant, in Sorong, West Papua. 

The view from an old Portuguese fort in Kota Ternate. 
 We just got back from a 3 week trip to the other side of the world -- specifically Indonesia -- and I was in total awe of their stuff-saving abilities. Though traveling from New York City to a developing nation is more than just culture shock (body shock, eye shock, skin shock, sleep shock, language shock, stomach shock...okay, I'll stop now) it is ultimately inspiring.

This is actually an old Spanish fort in Tidore which an old Indonesian man has turned into a farm. This is the edge of his corn field. 
The geography of Indonesia is stunning and so are the people. In addition to the general population being statistically beautiful, they also smile a lot....all the time...at everyone...especially foreigners. It is that full-faced kind of smiling that people practice when they really mean to make you feel good as they stare at you. It is the kind of gigantic smiling that people on the street practice when they genuinely are happy to see you, a stranger, for some strange reason. It is kind of awesome.

Questionably old artifacts in Jakarta. 
We didn't buy much while we were there -- it wasn't really a souvenir kind of trip, mostly because there are very few places to buy souvenirs -- I did manage to pick up a hand-woven basket for my parents, just like those that the local ladies use to hold their fruits in the market and two pieces of gorgeous batik clothing for myself and the guy. Mostly we just walked around astounded by what we were looking at. It is a seriously beautiful place. Seriously.

An antique market in Jakarta. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It is all in the fit.

The odd twin, vintage clothes, how to wear vintage clothes
(photo from The Odd Twin, a simply wonderful vintage store in Park Slope)

A woman at work recently asked me if my outfit was vintage. She inquired while I was wearing a tan 1940's day dress with giant purple, red and turquoise flowers on it that has a high waist, a boat neck and an almost round flowing skirt.

I kind of chucked and said that more than half my clothes and certainly every interesting piece was made before 1980. She seemed stunned and followed up with one of my most favorite statements ever, "but they don't look old."

So, I told her my three secrets...

Friday, September 14, 2012

We bought a sofa...

vintage advertising, vintage furniture, modern furniture, vintage modern

It has happened. My beloved 1970's raw silk, feather cushioned sofa has been replaced. I adored it, even with all the pillow fluffing and concern over red wine spills. Even after Harriet decided one of the cushions was just too pretty and she had to tear it up. Even after the wonderful man spent his umpteenth hour laying in discomfort exclaiming that his LazyBoy had been a better bet then my vintage gem.

Even with all of my adoration, the time came for it to be replaced and to be honest, though I'm excited to freshen up my seating experience, I'm a litte ashamed. We caved. We bent. We dove.

Right into the inventory of the ABC Carpet and Home warehouse in the Bronx.

We came home with a deep purple, sexy as heck, 1/3 priced comfortable beauty with just one, foam-filled cushion that I assure you, will need no fluffing.

That being said, the real reason for this post is to highlight the fact that though my dedication to the old, preloved and left behind is strong, I do try and succeed at times in loving new things. A sofa, now a sofa is a thing that you get a lot of years out of, you get a lot of wear out of, you get a lot of hours of lounging out of. If there's something to be purchased new, it should be something useful, that will serve a dedicated purpose and need to stand up to wear and tear. A sofa, now that's the kind of thing you buy new.

(I'm not just fooling myself here right?)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oh my. Swoon.

vintage jewelry, vintage necklace, flapper necklace, 1920's necklace, 1930's necklace

Look familiar? That's because all of those rhinestone collar necklaces that are oh so en vogue these days are simply copies of the art deco period. Here's the real deal ladies. Can't you imagine Zelda Fitzgerald swinging on the dance floor in Paris with this lovely piece around her neck?

I especially love the juxtaposition of the rhinestones to the large chain piece. It gives the whole thing a little bit of edge. What I wouldn't give to go back to the late 1920's just for a moment a lá Midnight in Paris.