Saturday, December 29, 2012

Self-Consciousness.

I'll repeat the title of this post:

Self-Consciousness.

    At midnight, I will officially turn 26 (I mean, really? I feel old. When did I reach this "old" checkpoint? I feel older than the way "twenty-six" sounds...What the hell happened?!)  So, yes, I'm entitled, as the birthday girl (obviously), to a tiny, itty bitty smidgen of self-reflection before I go about my way for the night with friends in order to celebrate yet-another year I have been alive, and yet another year, another chance, another "turning of the leaf," per se, for me to continue on my life's journey. To continue my life's work. My purpose. To continue to explore myself and deepen my relationship with the combination of mind, body, and spirit. To enrich relationships with those already in my life...and to prepare for others to enter into it. To get better. To be better. To be more thoughtful. To be more productive. To give more back to people in all ways.

I'm diving in and forging ahead, although I am often nervous and/or terrified of what the future may hold. But...yes, but...

I know me.



And, you know what? It may have taken a lot of heartache and sparring with myself (and others--BOTH literally and figuratively), but I've exited the darkness.

I know me, and I like me.

 
 
    On that note, Pozie's Poems creates these incredibly adorable hanging mobiles. Most consist of five-to-six words, all flowing vertically down on hand-painted wooden slats. Pozie's Poems is run by just a handful of people who set up shop at the Union Square Holiday Market here in New York, on the Highline with other independent designers, or a handful of other young artist and vendor flea markets. I believe that you can research them online and discover where they are currently selling, considering it changes quite often.

Give them as gifts, personalize them, or purchase one for yourself (like I did). I use mine as a visual of my own self-affirmation. But, I plan on purchasing a different version, with words I will choose, for my nephew's baby room.

 I enjoy opening my sleepy eyes to a few encouraging words in the wee hours of the morning or just glancing at it while I slip in and out of my room throughout the day.

I thought I'd share. That's all.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Trees.

    NOTE: This entry is going to run a bit longer, truth be told. You've been warned, but I assure you, well, hope (really) that you will feel something after scanning my words. The words I've written--OK, typed--are extracted directly out of my heart. Enjoy, and happy holidays. 

 

    Tonight, back in my neighborhood in Williamsburg, around 1 a.m., one of my very favorite parts of Christmas or the entire holiday season will be packing up and heading north to Canada, back home.

   My two dear friends (Yes, they are referred to as dear friends)- Max and Alain- will be selling off their last stragglers-of-Christmas trees for five dollars or something obscene, or else they will be discarded on to Metropolitan Street.

I hate that. 
I hate the empty corner where their tree stand should, and normally sits from November 15 to December 24. 
I hate returning back to Brooklyn to that vacancy after I drop my suitcase off at my apartment.
I hate that there is no longer a range of Christmas trees from small to large, a segregation of Douglas trees and Frasier firs, Christmas lights strung high above, Max and Alain's van parked right behind their makeshift hut. 
But, most of all, I hate that it has all vanished--not just the cliche symbols of the holiday season, but the warmth, the people, the conversations surrounded by the sight of hot breath hitting the brisk air, and the trees.
I will deeply, deeply, deeply miss my two dear friends and what they've come to represent. 

   These two young guys hail from Quebec, Canada. Not "Quiiii-Beck." Like, "Key-Beck." Moving on, they both work in music event production year-round. They take about six weeks off a year to drive down to New York in some beat-up van to sell Christmas trees. There's a lot of money in Christmas trees, mind you. No scoffing. But, they also continue to undergo almost pure torture to the human body and mind-numbing cabin fever in order to return to the neighborhood family they've established. We love them in Williamsburg. Food, booze, a hot shower, whatever. What is ours, is theirs.



    I've known them for three years, and for these six weeks From November to December, twenty-four hours a day, one or both of them is awake. I'm baffled at how they do it. They battle the cold weather, and the night shift, believe me, can be a hauntingly lonely one. One or both stands on the corner, chatting with neighborhood friends who stop to talk or aiding customers, wrapping up trees, etcetera...At times, a moment arises to take a seat in their hut to sit by the electric heater and stay for a bit longer, during the slower hours. 

   Max and Alain each work individual 8-hour shifts, and then they work one 8-hour shift together during peak hours. It's truly incredible. They live on a corner, doing not much else, for these six weeks. But, they are my constant. Comforting. Something very reassuring about their presence.

   I need them. I need to see them. Like, I want and need to be near that corner. It's actually difficult for me to find the appropriate words. They, their presence, their spirits, have become part of the entire season for me

    I have spent hundreds of hours on that corner with them over the years. Hundreds. Max's English has improved immensely in the past three years, but my French still needs a great deal of work. We drink wine and discuss politics late at night. Alain plays the guitar and sings Tom Petty and "Bub Dylan" as we all sing along. A few of our other neighborhood friends stop by, as we all huddle in front of the heater on those nights that the freezing December wind whips around. But, we are warm. It's warm on that corner, and it isn't due to the damn heater.

    Those are my pure and happy moments. I have to say that, in utter honesty, those are some of my most beautiful and content hours I've ever spent. 

    Us "regulars" have created this inner circle. Kathy, a 77-year-old who has lived in Williamsburg across the street from their stand for the past fifty years, arrives at eleven a.m.  and remains until 10 or 11 p.m. every single day that the boys live and work in Brooklyn. She refers to them as her grandsons. Victor, her husband, makes us all hot chocolate. Correction, Peruvian hot chocolate, which Kathy ensures that we all remember. During the days when she and I both stop by together, we help Max speak to customers, negotiate prices, and sell, if need be. Days and nights, I have helped Max and Alain sell those trees, swaying prospective buyers toward the more expensive Frasier firs over the Douglases, because "the needles don't fall off, and they look more regal--a better quality tree, my friend." 

    Kathy and I simply sit and watch the neighborhood folks walk by on other days. Kathy tells me stories of when she first came to New York with twenty dollars (which was a lot of money then, she says), sleeping on the roof of an apartment building, because it was free and the summer evenings were warm. She speaks of dating wealthy doctors and dancing at the Copacabana. "The original one, not those other copies that followed," she continues.   

   Anyway, Max aids me with my French and lectures me about the dangers of the Americans' "current situation." I explain the great mystery of the southern United States to him as he listens intently, squinting, pondering everything I'm telling him. The South fascinates him. It's quite entertaining. 

    I have so much I wish I could divulge, but, you're reading the gist. Bottom line: this is Christmas for me. They are Christmas to me. And, I don't mean Christmas in simple terms--as in the religious aspect or the surface, elementary-level viewpoint of the whole ordeal. What I'm referring to is the feeling. A feeling.

   And, back to the basics, I love the trees, don't get me wrong. I've adored the royal quality they possess since I was a child, gazing at our family's in its glory, glowing gold and burgundy almost from somewhere within. Now, though, they represent even more. So much more. When I think of these pine needles, I think of my happy place--on that corner, in that hut. I feel warmth. And, I miss. I miss, just miss... 

   I wait, each year, until they return again. They always do. I enjoy knowing that--that they return. They always do, I think to myself. They will be back, and I will be doing it all over again too.


Bedford and Metropolitan, my very own magical hideout for when the world grows a little too daunting, a little too dark, a little too something I don't feel like facing. 

I will never grow tired of walking to that corner. I have friends there among the trees.




  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stoned, man.

Picture this:

December 13, 2012...

Something incredible occurred in Newark, New Jersey. Believe me, nothing incredible occurs in Newark, New Jersey. Incredibly scary, yes. Incredibly close yet incredibly far from New york City, you bet. OK, I'll finish ripping on the poor city.

    But, the miraculous, the fabulous, the infamous Rolling Stones descended upon 'ole Newark and forever changed it. Well, in my mind, anyway.

Please allow me to introduce myself,
I'm a man of wealth and taste.
I've been around for a long, long year,l
Stole many a man's soul and faith.
 -"Sympathy for the Devil"

    They had no warm-up band, as if they needed one. No one was shelling out $750+ for tickets to see a warm-up band. Yes, SEVEN. HUNDRED. AND. FIFTY. DOLLARS.  FOR NOSEBLEED SEATS. Do you know what you can do with that kind of money?!

     Only a band, such a legendary, influential, timeless, rock'nroll band, like The Stones could have convinced even a nosebleed section to joyously hand over almost one thousand dollars for about two hours  (give or take).  This expensive ticket, though, entitled the audience to an experience unlike any other in which the pulsating pulsating pulsating sounds and the glowing glowing glowing sights of their favorite band flooded their ears and eyes.


     The feeling there, in New Jersey, was simply...just alive. The connection was palpable, easily seen and felt. The people in this crowd were tied, bound even, to this music. The lyrics. This band. It was unlike anything I've ever seen. We all existed in this bubble, a coliseum, together, unaware of time or space or anything that could have separated or differentiated any of us.

[Confession: My only grievance--The fact that "Beast of Burden" seemed to have been deliberately left off of their setlist. Like, really? Really? But, my other favorites, "Miss You," "Under my Thumb," "Sympathy for the Devil," and "Honky Tonk Women" were of course performed and performed just as I'd imagined. I guess a girl can't always get what she waaaaaants. I'm corny. I get it. ]

    It all acted as an extension of them. Granted, this music expressed so many emotions that had previously been dismissed, frowned upon, and as a result, suppressed by so many, predominantly the youth.  Especially during the social, political, and personal unrest of so many during the 60s and 70s. Art, particularly music, became the ultimate form of expression and even rebellion. A mouthpiece.

   The Rolling Stones made no excuses. They never have. They are just who they are and let their work, words, guitar riffs represent their people. So, yes, I, being one of the youngest members in the crowd--The absurdly high ticket prices served as one reason why many people in my age bracket were unable to go, unfortunately--danced and sang along with many of those who had been following The Stones since they were teenagers. These people were in love with this fantastic display of sensory overload.


 

 Their music transcends time. Their message transcends age gaps, racial barriers, and cultural differences. Here's to your 50th, Stones. I look forward to the next 50 years, in fact.



    The music-as ridiculously sentimental as this might sound-brought a crowd of thirty thousand people together that night. I literally fist-bumped, high-fived, wiggled, screamed and shimmied with concertgoers all around me, exchanging only but a few words except for the lyrics, which we were all belting. Me, not well. Not well at all.

    I will never forget this.  I will never forget those moments and how I FELT. I FELT. 

That is what we NEVER forget...
NEVER forget these moments in time when we feel so alive we could burst into a million glorious pieces. 




"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!" 

- Jack Kerouac, On the Road  



Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I Wore: Crayola.

"Well, COLOR me Happy...
There's a sofa in here for two!"
-Vivien from Pretty Woman, a legendary kind of girl.


     Speaking of...great segue, huh? Color is an amazing thing. My innate attraction to anything black in addition to living here in New York (the dark city--they call it Gotham for a reason, dear), has pretty much dictated the contents of my closet for the last few years. Blacks, whites, and greys reigned.  It's been a difficult thing- bringing in some POPS of color. No one believed in me. I never thought it would be possible to defeat the black beast. But, alas, by George, I've done it! In fact, I'm LOVING pairing unlike, non-matching colors with one another.

Last night, I saw "A Christmas Story: the Musical"  (which was such a hilarious delight!) on Broadway, and I threw together the following color combination for a night of theater and dining:

1. Teal-blue silk sheath by Diane Von Furstenberg
2. Lemon-yellow Rebecca Minkoff "MAC Daddy" shoulder bag
3.  Lime-green suede wedges by Dolce Vita
Interesting, eh? I thought so. Give it a whirl and a good twirl.
And, I leave you with my favorite scene of Vivien.
Cha-ching.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Get some clothes on!


"Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy,
And they'll be nice to you."- Ms. Reba McEntire
     So, I've been absent for a good reason. Like, this would have been legit, I tell you, with my Chemistry teacher for a week in high school. My middle sister gave birth to my dashing (come on, we're related) nephew last week. To say that it's been hectic all around New York with family flying in and out, mini-reunions, and visits from every friend and acquaintance we know to meet the little newborn, all while juggling my own day-to-day schedule...well, hectic would be an understatement. Whiplash, honestly. I can hardly believe it's Monday again.

But, I'm itching to actually clothe myself in style again, after emerging from Babyland.
Let's get on with it, 
let's get.our.clothes.on. 
 "...Here's your chance, Fancy, don't let me down.Here's your one chance Fancy, don't let me down."
Here, I began with two ultra winter staples that were--yes, you guessed it, Sherlocks--Fancy and from JoeFresh**an emerging retailer here in New York.



**The skinny (Vanilla latte) on JoeFresh: Created by Joe Mimran, it currently holds locations in Canada and the U.S. It's super affordable--Price-wise, it's a step above Forever 21 or H&M, but in terms of the apparel and accessories, the quality is an absolutely steal. MORE than worth it.  -See how fresh Joe is here-



To our right, we have:

1. Two-tone burgundy/red fedora ($24)

2. Camel and gold faux fur extra-large circle-stole ($39)

This is one of my FAVORITE items I've purchased in a very long time! The thing is enormous, but I adore that about it.



I like these classic feminine pieces with a bit of punch. Let's not limit ourselves to boring, straightforward, and irritatingly expected when finishing the ensemble. Staying true to my own style, I added some--OK, OK, a good amount of--leather.






1. Vintage British punk rock leather jacket from London

2. Studded Morgan black leather bag with alligator-print embossed by Alexander Wang (Genius! But then again, you already know how I feel about the designer.)

1) Learn more here-Alexander Wang's Official Site

2) Peruse here-Alexander Wang on ShopBop

3) Search hard and actually purchase some deals here-Alexander Wang on Ebay




"...Fancy, now, don't let me down. You better start movin' uptown."

--This kind of girl here. 












Monday, December 3, 2012

Step lightly, now.


On-the-go.
Planes, trains, and automobiles...and feet. Literally.

     Traveling from one place to another alllllll damn day is my reality. I'm always zipping around, carrying a million and one bags, climbing up subway stairs, hopping over rails, running after cabs, and walking walking walking until my legs give out. It's New York, so I'm usually doing all of the activities without the athletic gear, and unfortunately for my feet, without tennis shoes.

     We simply neeeed shoes that can survive rain and sleet and, of course, a trek from the Upper West side to the Lower East side, back over the Williamsburg Bridge--Function and sustainability may be necessities, but we neeeed to look fabulous, darling, while participating in these obstacle courses. Not a sweaty mess.

     House of Harlow 1960 (Click!), Nicole Richie's accessories line, produces some beautiful pieces. And in terms of flats, they get it. The mix of texture, fabric, and color is unique and the quality of the shoe is impeccable. Rejoice! My workout attire continues to try to tempt me in to wearing it all of the time, everywhere, so it's a rarity for me to happily jump out of that convenient pair of walking shoes and into something a bit more stylish. My House of Harlow 1960s do, though.
 
One of my favorites, in gold and cream alligator, which I donned all weekend around Manhattan and Brooklyn:




Ch-ch-check it out, friend.


Gawk and/or buy here:


1) House of Harlow on Shopbop

Shopbop carries a vast number of House of Harlow 1960, and many of them are on sale. Sales! I like a good sale, and so should you.


2) House of Harlow on Beso.com

Also, Beso.Com compiles products from multiple shopping sites and features them all together in one place. They mark items down quickly as well.
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