Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bright Spots in the Gray.

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Those orange lights.
They flash. They glow. And then, one by one, they flicker out. Out. Out. Out. One by one. One. By. One... as the train stops. Doors open. Then, close. The next light darkens.
We're making progress. We're moving forward. We're all on this steel rectangle, this rattling collective line of train cars together, shoved into uncomfortable positions. Un-comfort-able. Pushed, smushed into one another. Body against body. Hand to hand. Breaths intertwined. Hips pressed against one another tightly.
 We are close...right?

I just gave a man selling snack food a dollar. I don't want his Pringles. Not that I'm too good, or above that, or anything of that sort. It has nothing to do with that. I don't act in the name of charity and pity or some ingrained elitism that stems from deeply buried guilt.
I just don't need anything at this very moment. Do you know how that feels? I don't want or need for anything. I don't have everything. I lack a great deal.
But, I'm warm. 
My internal organs are cozy and content. I have to remind myself of this. 
My coat is covered in snow, my hands are numb, but I am not cold.

This is today.
Thank you, you, for today.

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And, of course!
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    Miss Blanche D, my foxy & furry partner in crime, indulged in a fancy steak Thanksgiving meal, so I'm sure that she wasn't terribly upset over my absence in the apartment. The night before Thanksgiving, in the biting cold and snowy mess, I braved the slow-walking, picture-taking crowds to view the Macy's Parade floats as handlers struggled to inflate them in the midst of knock-down winds on the Upper West Side, right by Central Park West and the Museum of Natural History. Although extremely tourist-y, it was one more notch on my New York to-do/to-see list. If you ever plan to go, arm yourself with hot coffee or chocolate, gloves, comfortable walking shoes and an extra helping of patience to walk through the maze of gates, people, and parade workers who will herd you around the float-viewing areas. It was stressful. But, I'm glad that I made the effort...even if I only stayed for fifteen minutes.

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Hello Kitty literally rising from the ashes of 81st street.

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Blanche and the remnants of her t-bone Thanksgiving feast.

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Bright pops! on a gray winter day.

More of my bright spots?
Green--
The trees.
They're baaaaack. My dear friends, hailing from Montreal, have returned, as they do every year at this time, to sell the fine folks of Williamsburg, Brooklyn some equally fine Frasier firs. I wrote all about them last year, HERE, in "The Trees" and exactly how their presence is pivotal for me personally each and every year. I spend just about every day or night, right there with them, on the corner of Bedford and Metropolitan. Rain, snow, freezing temperatures, and all. Three heaters. We're warm, though. I just hate, though, that when I return after Christmas, my friends and these trees are no longer there, waiting for me. The corner looks so desolate, with only a few lonely needles, sprawled around the sidewalk, as reminders of the moments we shared. I will enjoy every last minute until we meet again next year.


...And bright winter white! 
Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow.
It's everywhere! It's freezing! 
But, it is beee-you-teeeee-ful!




Earth tones--
Solitary walks through the most natural spots in the city
...mornings & evenings...have just gotten more peaceful and allow me time to prepare for the long day and/or to process the day that is commencing. This is when I streamline my thoughts. This is outdoor therapy. And, this is one satisfied patient of New york City herself.





 
 Central Park in the evenings can be so enlightening. 



Yellow--
Arthur Avenue Cheese
(Truffle parmesan cheese, respectfully)
I ventured up to the Bronx, to the "real little Italy," the legendary Arthur Avenue. I enjoyed a delicious Italian lunch, but I couldn't just stop there. I needed to leave with something, and preferably something food-related. Cheese. Ahhhhh, cheese. Teitel prides itself upon its wide selection of olive oils, cheeses, nuts, olives, and the like. They were offering samples of truffle parmesan. They had me at "truffle." It was a sublime experience. I left with two pounds of paradise. And yes, it's all gone, and yes, only I was responsible for its demolition. I can't decide whether I'm proud of my good taste or disappointed with my lack of willpower.
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arthur=

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Found: Gone with the Wind Winter Fabulous

This girl adores a good vintage store.
That's been established, if you know anything about me. Come on, now.
Haven't I taught you anything?
I'm an old lady, an "old soul," if you will...trapped in a wild child body.
It's like Freaky Friday but... every day.
 
With that preface, hand me a beautiful coat, cape, what-have-you, and I'm going to twirl and twirl like a crazy Kenya Moore on a tropical vacation.
 
**If you've deprived yourself of the pleasure/trainwreck that is the Bravo network's "Real Housewives of Atlanta," then do yourself a solid favor and press play below.
You're welcome.


Now that we're all on the same page, I'll finish. Give me a good coat, and I'm twirling. Give me a fabulouuuuuus vintage 70s faux fur coat AND a hunter green floor-length cape?
 
I'm going to be dancing around the porch in a frenzy, all the while being fabulous, honey.
...And, you guessed it...
Gone with the Wind Fabulous.
Your mission for the day:
slide that little phrase into a conversation.
You'll be wondering how you ever communicated without it.
 
Kenya Moore, girl, thank you for this. You've provided us all with an incredible 30 seconds of pure heinous entertainment and an everyday, functional phrase that I shall forever be indebted to you for.
 
I found both of these second-hand beauties, on the same afternoon, while meandering in Park Slope after another pre-Halloween trip to the historic Green-Wood cemetery. I wasn't even "hunting," as I tend to do. It wasn't a seek and destroy mission of mine. This was purely a "look what I stumbled upon!" lucky day.
Hats off to you, Guvnor's Vintage, for providing me with a store-full of enticing, unique pieces to choose from that don't break the bank. Oh, and if you sign up for their once-a-month email (any more than once-a-month is a sure-fire way to get "trashed" by me), you can receive 20% off.

Exhibit A:

Off-white 70s faux fur coat
Perfect with a shorter dress, and knee-high boots
 
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Exhibit B:
 
Hunter green floor-length hooded cape
Making Little Red Riding Hood green with envy...
 
  
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Righttttttt?
 
Again, these may not be exactly your style, but hey...they're interesting. Functionally speaking, they're warm. They're not the coats in the windows of H&M and Forever21 that every single girl and her mother will be wearing next you on the street, in the elevator, at the table next to you, sipping wine. That's the worst! And, I can guarantee you that those awkward run-ins will occur. For about the same price tag, give or take, you can own something incredibly unique. Personally, that's my absolutely favorite aspect of vintage and consignment shopping. Try some things on that you normally wouldn't have pulled off of the rack in that megastore of fast-fashion.
You just might surprise yourself when you take a risk...
or, at the very least, entertain yourself.
 
Now,
twirl, twirl, twirl.
 
You deserve a good spin on a Monday.

 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What I Wore: First Chill in Chelsea

 
So, it officially feels like winter here in New York. No, no. Not fall. Definitely not. Where was fall this year? Oh, was it that random two week period awhile back when I donned a trench coat?
 
But, good news! It's the holiday season--Cue Bing Crosby, maestro!--and this elf can hardly contain her unmatchable excitement. This is my element, and I'm out and proud. I can finally (finally!), publicly, blast holiday music, and refuse to hide or justify my incessant watching of cheesy, winter movies. Thanks, Mom, for that addiction. I blame you after years of being hog-tied to the couch, drinking hot chocolate and being forced to view Hallmark and Lifetime movies.
 
Pull out your scarves, gloves and earmuffs. You're going to need them. I was in Chelsea on this particularly beautiful, albeit biting, morning. Chitter. Chatter. Those are my teeth.
A faux leather skirt, interestingly-colored tights (re: not black), a woven hooded coat, and a cozy sweater all worked together to provide me with some semblance of warmth before my morning cup--OK, three--of coffee. The accessories, including a studded headband, cocktail rings, and a leopard clutch steered this easy outfit of separates out of the "boring" category. Getting dressed to face the cold can be stress-free, and dare I say-fun?!-when you have plenty of layers and winter accessories to play with.
The more, the merrier, honey.
 
 
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The Vitals:
 
-Gap grey and white color blocked sweater, Similar HERE
-BCBGeneration faux leather A-line skirt, Similar HERE
-Banana Republic plum ribbed tights, Similar HERE 
-L.A.M.B. Carlisle leopard clutch/tote (2 in 1! It folds over!), item unavailable now on Nordstrom's, but you can find this bag similar options by L.A.M.B. on Ebay HERE
-Dolce Vita Pace black suede wedge booties
-Vintage woven hooded coat
-BCBGMaxazria silver spike headband, Similar HERE and seen HERE
 
So, this week, I've regained my footing, being back here in the city. Per usual, I was out and about, doing, seeing, and exploring.

Highlights included:

*A trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
On a perfect morning, I chose to walk the hour-long trek from Williamsburg to Crown Heights. The Botanic Gardens offer free admission during the winter weekdays, and then, on weekends from 10AM-12PM. I walked in at 12:02, but thankfully, the gentleman working the entrance had pity on me, after my four-mile walk, and the fact that I was profusely sweating. I took a guided tour and meandered through the numerous "mini gardens"--Chinese, rose, herb, oak tree, and they continue. Although it is off-season, the Botanic Garden was just the oasis I was looking for to feel as if I'd been transported back out of town again. I can hardly believe that such an expansive, breathtaking gem exists in the midst of a bustling city and neighborhood.
 
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*"Gangs of New York" walking tour around the Lower East Side
Big Onion undoubtedly leads some of the best, most informative walking tours around. Seriously, even NYCers take these. The information can be a bit offbeat, and you'll learn so many quirky and historical antidotes. Big Onion offers a tour of almost every neighborhood. I've attended several, and I still have a few more to go on, and coming up for me is "Satan's Seat: New York During the Prohibition Era," which covers all of the old speakeasies, culture, and general climate during the roaring 20s. Sounds amazing, right? Very unlike like 6th grade American History class I snored through practically on cue every day at 1PM. Look up their schedule, and I highly recommend making this a priority, whether you reside here in New York or are visiting.
 
*Dallas Buyers Club
Put on your running shoes and race to the theater. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto all shine in this film, based on the events of one Texas cowboy's life and course of action after being diagnosed with HIV, and then full-blown AIDS, during the 1980s. Particularly during this early stage of the AIDS virus's emergence and initial research, social stigma and the questionable treatments (including FDA and non-FDA drugs) become all too real, everyday issues in this film that explores the disease's unapologetic world. The emaciated McConaughey may have just delivered the performance of his lifetime. Warning, though, this film packs a punch and won't simply touch you with its genuinely gritty look at the AIDS crisis, but it will equally disturb you. It's not easy to watch. It's not pretty. But, it's riveting even in its painful struggles. It's real. And, when the credits rolled, the audience just sat. In silence in our seats, unmoving. I left with something, a feeling of connectivity to the strangers sitting next to me, walking beside me down the hectic streets of New York. We're all human; We're all in this together.
 
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Image Credit: Anne Marie Fox/Focus Features
 
*Walking it out with chilly night strolls
 I adore a good walk. At night, in the morning, it can be just what I need to begin, end my day with, and a chance to streamline my thoughts, meditate, pray, or just be. With the brisk weather, I've been bundling up, pushing play on the appropriate soundtrack, and setting off. It's amazing where a pair of legs can take you. I've been meeting a girlfriend when she finishes work in SOHO, and we've been making our way over the bridge home to Williamsburg, just chatting and soaking in the winter evenings. It's so overly simple, but that's what I've been getting back to. When almost every day brings a slew of unforeseen incidents (both good and bad), some times, I just need to throw on a coat and walk it out.

Today, I'll leave you with one extremely grave question of the utmost importance.

"You've had three hairstyles. What's next for your career?"
- Zach Galifianakis to Justin Bieber on "Between Two Ferns"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Currently Crushing- Spiked Punch

“Ah," she cried, "you look so cool."

Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.
 
"You always look so cool," she repeated.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby  
 
 
 So, the "theory of cool" is really inexplicable. There is no definitive explanation of what constitutes "cool," no boundaries or rules and stipulations. We instinctively know cool when we see, hear, or feel it. It's relative. Fashionably speaking? Spikes are cool. I'm into them. Maybe a little too much. Shockerrrrr.
Spike it, and I'll like it (hot chocolate, anyone?!)
I don't favor a look that's too prim or proper or (cough, cough) boring.
Not for me, personally, at least. So, I'll take mine spiked, please. All of it.
 

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Shoes: BCBGMaxazria black slingbags with silver spikes; Topshop black loafers with silver spikes//  Headbands : Topshop (left); BCBGMaxazria (right)// Rings: BCBGMaxazria gold all-over spike ring; Crossroads random single gold and black spike ring; H&M silver spike ring //Bracelets: Joomi Lim (both)
 
 
I crave a point of interest. Something contrasting or visually appealing.
Pack a punch with these babies--pair with plaid pleated skirts, feminine lace, or go full-throttle urban-chic and don all black, leather, and a cozy knit.
Grow a pair...
of spikes.
Those rings? They're weapons. Actually, any of these double as a tool for combat.  They yell, "Don't even think about trying to give me a sly grope on the subway, don't sit by me and breathe all heavily on me with your bad breath and body odor, and MOST DEFINITELY don't even think of asking me for money, much less, attempt to pickpocket me."
 
Yes, that's what they say.
Fashion with a voice?
That sounds like this kind of girl's accessory.
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But, I found some pretty sick similar/even more lust-worthy accessories below for you to peruse and gain some spike-y inspiration from. I compiled them below, and yes, we cover all price points, from big names to smaller brands.
There's a spike out there for everyone.



Spiked Punch

 
 



Oh?
Like I said, I'm into any and all things spiked.
I like my beverages similar to how I prefer my accessories.
So, since we're on the subject,
I'll leave you with a wonderfully-winter spiked punch recipe for whatever your holiday gatherings plan to celebrate. Or, even better, celebrate just for the heck of it being a Tuesday, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, or simply being together with a few genuine friends.
That's my favorite reason anyway any time.

Courtesy of Yummly

Hot Cranberry Punch with Sage & Peppercorns
Serves 4 to 8 




2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 cups frozen or fresh cranberries
1/4 cup honey
1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry Riesling, divided
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
1 cup Benedictine liqueur
 
1. Place peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add cranberries, honey, and 1 cup Riesling and simmer over medium heat until thick and syrupy and some of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes.
2. Smash cranberries with a fork. Add the remaining wine and sage, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3.Strain the mixture, smashing the cranberries once more, then discard solids. (At this point the strained mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
4. To serve, add the Benedictine liqueur and warm over low heat until steaming. Serve in warm cups.

Let your spiked flag fly!
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