November 2, 2013 § 2 Comments
You’ll recall that Mr. H and I were in Wyoming earlier this fall, and I only shared a few photos with you from when we landed. That trip is quickly becoming a distant memory, so I thought I should post a bit more of our time there, as it was spectacularly beautiful. And we rode horses!
A view of the clouds and the Grand Tetons outside our room. I took great pleasure in watching the sun rise and clouds reveal the view in the morning. Talk about clearing the head…this does the trick.
As did our wildlife excursion the next (very early) morning, where moose and antelope were on order. Look closely and you will see them, I swear!
There was a quiet here that one rarely experiences, I think. Just the wind lightly blowing…
I especially loved the sagebrush. It was everywhere…
And the incredibly green lake. Naturally, I can’t remember the name because, as I mentioned, it was very early in the morning, but it was just so very green…
And we saw a raven…
And by the time the sun was actually up, it was still magical…
Giddy Up! The next day was the Tetons on horseback. And I swear, this was the first time in my life I thought I didn’t have enough fat on my bottom. Four hours on this baby kind of made sitting difficult for a few days…
Alas, Bottom Discomfort was quite worth it…
More closeups of the sagebrush and a pop of red. Albert Hadley would have been pleased…
Going down was harder than going up from time to time, but missing this was not an option. (Also, I am not super clear that walking down this part of the mountains was a great option, either.)
Next Up, Jenny Lake. This time we hiked and in addition to comfy hiking shoes and a hat from Orvis, I made sure that I was prepared…
I also had bear spray and a lesson on how to use it. As pretty as this all is, it is Bear Country, and the Woody Allen in me was not taking any chances. Still, even in the rain that later arrived, this hike was worth it…
And we made it all the way to the top before the rain really kicked in, so I am scoring this as a win. In fact, the whole trip was a win and one of the only places I’ve ever been in the States where there was an earnestness and level of mellow that didn’t appear to be chemically induced or a cliche. Perfect!
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
September 6, 2013 § 2 Comments
I never considered myself to be someone who loved school. I did love learning new things, especially anything involving the arts.* But I never got into the whole ritual of school, except to make sure that I got good grades and was decently popular. I am human and a touch competitive, after all.
When I finished grad school at the tender age of 28, I thought that I was done with the classroom forever.** And I was thrilled. No more schedules, no more textbooks. No tests! And best of all NO MORE PROJECTS!!! I was going to be a Working Woman of Leisure.
All that aside, I still found myself wanting to learn new things. Is there some kind of gene for that? If so, I appear to have it. So, there were tons of books to read on all kinds of topics, museums to visit and professionals to interrogate about their craft. (Thank heavens people who love plants and flowers tend to be pretty mellow — I would kill me if I were a client.)
There were even a few “classes” here and there — lectures at The Met, knife skills and intensive cooking programs, cheese class, wine class, you get the idea. But I never signed up for anything that required any real “work” on my part. (Unless you consider drinking wine and eating cheese to be work. I do not. And if you do, I might need to ask why you are reading my blog.)
And then I got all crazy about interior design. I always loved making my bedroom, Barbie Dream House, dorm room and Single Girl Apartments as comfy and pretty as possible (even then, this often included fresh flowers and a dog), but Mr. H was a bit of a Furniture Head when we met. And that was kind of the end of my casual interest…within a few years, I was hooked.
I now have Furniture Crushes, Imaginary Homes decorated in styles I can’t quite pull off in my current surroundings (my L.A. Apartment is a blast of white and oversized art, the one in Paris, spare and sculptural), and find myself “helping” friends — whether they like it or not — with their own spaces.
A few weeks after our Big, Hairy Project that Took Years to Complete was done at work, I started thinking that maybe now would be a good time to admit it to myself: I think I want to go back to school to study interior design more seriously. At this age??? Seems like a lot of effort for someone with a pretty demanding job. But still. And more still, Julia Child didn’t start her career until she was 40. And I think even Chrolotte Moss worked on Wall Street for some time before she got cracking. So, yes, I am going to give it a shot.
But before I jump right back in to the whole affair, I decided to dip my toes in with a six-week course on the basics. I report to school on Monday, and I already have homework!!
But I am also already loving it — it just must be in my genes.
* How I must have driven my family crazy when in High School during the Humanities lectures that introduced me to Handel’s Water Music. Seriously, I find the incessant harpsichord completely mind-numbing now.
** OK, I did toy with the idea of going back to get an MFA in art history, but the language requirements — German AND French — made me balk.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
Let me begin by saying that, like camping (which I do not do), I never imagined that I would take up running. In fact, very much like camping, I did not believe in running — for myself at least. And I was pretty certain that all the weekend runners I’d seen by the beach were people who were just so sick of Family Togetherness Time that they decided to take up the activity to get out of the house.
And yet, one day last summer, out of some odd fit of curiosity and maybe boredom, I decided to see what this running stuff was all about by going for a jog around town. And by “jog” I mean 45 minutes of absolute terror at the prospect of being hit by a car, bike, or other, more serious runners, and “adjusting my headphones” whenever I felt like I might have a heart attack.
There was no more jogging for some time.
Then came the holidays and one afternoon at the gym, I hopped on the treadmill. And I did it again the next time, and the time after that — which happened to be “Where I Was” when I learned that Kim Kardashian was expecting Kanye West’s baby, in case you were wondering. That time was also the day that I finally understood why this activity is so popular: The Runner’s High. Heavens…it is good. Yes, you are crazy*, but you feel GREAT and want to have that feeling again. As soon as possible. And after a few more sessions it became clear that running allows me to compete against myself — which I find to be awfully irresistible. So this is how I started becoming something I never thought I would be: A Runner.**
The running continued through the spring. And after my Doctor was rather emphatic about my shoes being “my gear” and only the proper gear (not “cool” gear but “proper” gear…he was very clear on that one) would keep me from ruining my knees and ankles, I had myself fit for running shoes at Jack Rabbit (http://jackrabbitsports.com).
Like Fun Shoe Shopping, they had LOTS of options…
Alas, when Running Shoe Shopping, concepts like comfort and suitability seem to come up quite a bit. As does pronation.*** So after the kind people at Jack Rabbit recorded me running in a few pairs of shoes, it was determined that I had a neutral pronation and that Blakes, New Balance and Mizuno were my best options. And so I spent more time thinking about how comfortable I felt in each of these options — a truly foreign concept for me when it comes to shoes — and finally determined that this pair was My Gear:
They are Mizunos and, as intsructed by my Doctor, I purchased two pair so that I could alternate between runs. And what can I say, except that I love them. And running, it seems.
Go figure. And never rule out trying something new — except camping.
* I realized I was experiencing a high when I began thinking that I should totally start a charity. For what, I have no idea. It was the endorphins or something.
** Or at least a tentative one. And camping is still absolutely out of the question.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night. And for the record, not every establishment in Brooklyn is required to have a chalkboard sign outside. It just feels that way.)
April 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
For the last 16 years, I was in a monogamous relationship with my hair stylist. He undid bad highlights (“Who did this to you?” was one of the first things he ever asked me in a withering French accent), was at my house way-too-early on the morning of my wedding to make sure my hair was perfect (by all accounts, it was), and has seen me through all lengths, changing levels of layers and the transition from natural to semi-permanent to permanent color to eliminate those pesky grays.
I knew his dogs, loved his assistants and even got the occasional meal or cocktail with my friend, who also happened to be the man who made me look a heck of a lot more human. It wasn’t that I was unhappy in the relationship, exactly. But over time, things did change. Then an extremely awkward situation arose, and I basically had to stop seeing him. I wish him nothing but the best in his life and career, but in a funny way, I don’t exactly feel terrible about the whole thing. And that actually makes me feel bad. (I know I am not alone in having this particular feeling of Guilt Because I Don’t Feel Guilty. It happens. Right??)
I imagined and feared that changing hair stylists after this many years would be daunting and emotional. But it was surprisingly Not Horrible. And for this, I have to thank the adorable little feature on vogue.com called “Five Days, Five Looks, 1 Girl”. Catherine Piercy’s profile in particular: http://www.vogue.com/fashion/5-days-5-looks-one-girl/catherine-piercy/
I had looked at all the usual suspects (Garren, Fekkai and John Barrett to name a few), but they all felt so “Of Course!”. And I wasn’t exactly looking for that kind of primped and pampered look. I wanted something that felt fresh, but didn’t look like I was trying too hard. And, gosh darn it, I wanted bangs. Karlie Kloss’s, specifically: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=karlie+kloss+bangs&id=D604235A016EF463609AF952F5B48A5EBD0CB613&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=D604235A016EF463609AF952F5B48A5EBD0CB613&selectedIndex=0
Cute, right?? And even though pretty much everyone seems to want them, I didn’t care. I still did, too.
Enter Tommy Guns on the Lower East Side, Catherine Piercy’s salon of record. Now, this place is probably way too young for me, but what of it? I like the punk-ish London* with dash of Too-Hip Williamsburg** feel and the no-nonsense manner of the place. After some research, I left my color to the fantastic Stephanie, who took every last bit of Mexican Sun out of my hair and made it a cool, dark blue brown. (She has since repeated this feat, and even one of my regular “friends” at Marni had to let me know — more than once — that she was “digging all that blue”.***)
And then came the cut. I was flying a touch blind here, but Catherine — who I do not know, mind you — mentioned Derek Bogle in her piece. And since Catherine looked awfully cute in her photos and she works at Vogue, I decided that Derek would be The One. Unlike my last salon (French, French, French), this shop’s founder is English, and Derek is Scottish and rather excellent in his mellow but slightly bawdy way. He dropped by while I was discussing color with Stephanie to say hello and to talk cut.
I showed him a selection of Karlie photos, and told him that I wanted to avoid anything too “styled” or polished. And I wanted to stop relying on The Bun every day. (It is a crutch!) Karlie’s style is on the shorter side, and I was totally willing to go there. But when I sat down in his chair, Derek told me that he’d had “a little think”, and decided that the bangs were going to be a huge enough change and that he was going to cut those, throw in a ton of layers and not do much else. Less than and hour later, it was done. And I LOVED it.
Really, it is a great cut. (Even Mr. H loves it.) Shockingly new — a mix of Klute and Bullitt, if that is possible — but it still felt like me. So while for some months now I have been feeling like “me” was what I had always had, it turns out that this wasn’t necessarily the case. Which I suppose is really the point of the post: Sometimes when you go outside of your comfort zone, you will find yourself feeling even more “you” than you maybe did before. Just a little something to keep in mind should you ever be feeling like you need a little — or huge — change yourself. I vote “Go For It!”.
* And yes, in addition to wine and other beverages, they make a mean cup of tea.
** The location of their other salon, naturally. My money is on my never darkening that door.
*** Please note: my hair IS NOT BLUE. There just isn’t much red to speak of in its current state of brown-ness.
Tommy Guns is located at 138 Ludlow Street (exceedingly close to ‘inoteca on Rivington if you are peckish afterwards) in Manhattan. More info about the salon and its Brooklyn counterpart can be found here: http://tommygunsny.com/pages/salon2.html
October 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
I know you have seen what I have seen: brogues and other lace up flats here, there and everywhere. I blame the trend on certain girls in L.A. and Brooklyn, and was initially opposed to the whole idea. Between my white capazios in the eighties and my thick-soled black shoes in the nineties (worn with black tights, cut-off denim shorts and a navy blazer — I swear it was cute!!!), I thought those days were long behind me.
And then I saw these:
Yes, they look like men’s shoes at that angle, but I assure you that they truly freshen up my go-to Pants and Some Kind of Top look. They are also super comfy, warm and will do well in the rain on account of the patent leather. AND, so far, they seem to be getting the Thumbs Up from people that I trust. So, rather than teetering and tottering this winter, I plan to stay closer to the ground and see where that gets me.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
Mr. H and I decided to go kayaking last Sunday* and much to our surprise, we learned that the Monarch Butterflies are in the process of migrating. So, in the middle of all of the standard Nature’s Wonders, we got the added benefit of hundreds of Monarch Butterflies streaming over our heads…
I could not get a shot of them overhead while in my craft (I am not that good yet), I did manage to get this picture once on shore. Now, just imagine about one hundred of them flying at once in a beautiful migratory pattern, with this view:
It really was kind of magical. And a lovely way to enjoy the last days of summer.
*I told you that I liked it! And this does not make me outdoorsy. It just makes me Open to New Experiences and Arm Workouts.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
In hopes of keeping things fresh for some house guests this past weekend, I arranged for us to all go kayaking. Now, if you know anything about me, this is not the kind of thing I would normally get myself mixed up in. (Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, I lack a general interest in the Sporting Life.) But Mr. H had recently purchased a really beautiful kayak for himself and my friends love all manner of outdoorsy activities. And then there is the fact that when you are staying at my home, I want you to have a good time. So, I decided to give Outdoorsy a try.
And you know what? I liked it!
I think preparation was key…
The destination was the beach on the other side of the “pond”, which after paddling myself across it, I would like to say that “lake” is a better description of this particular body of water.
Even though I knew this was more of a Roughing It kind of day, I did make sure that we stowed away some lobster rolls, chips and cookies for lunch. And Mr. H made sure that the ladies of the party had little chairs to sit on when we reached the beach. During some headwinds, this was a very motivating bit of knowledge.
It was also an extremely motivating fact when I was confronted with how one gets into the kayak. Basically, you have to step into the water and then into your boat. Stepping into water that isn’t heated, chlorinated, or the ocean isn’t really my thing. Especially with shoes on, even if they were the rubber ones I garden in. Still, I did it. (And no, those pink flip flops are not mine. In fact, they shouldn’t be anybody’s.)
To be truthful, that little bit of discomfort was totally worth it for views like these. And an hour-long arm workout getting to the beach made that delicious lunch totally guilt-free!
Best of all, though, was doing something with friends that I’ve never done before. Seeing a new side of each other deepens good friendships, I think, and makes the whole experience of trying something new even more memorable. Definitely a reason to get outdoors.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
So, I am back from a little trip to Southern California for a proper get together with some of my good friends. You probably already know this, but concentrated time with your Besties is very important on the Life Worth Living Front, and I am so glad that we are all able to make it happen on a semi-regular basis, especially when breakfast overlooked this view…
In addition to having a lovely time just hanging out and catching up on the Important Issues of Our Times (managing your triceps, avoiding bad feet later in life, whether or not Ballet Slippers has been reformulated…), I could not help but notice that the spa grounds were covered in marigolds. Not a flower I typically enjoy, but in such concentrated amounts, with dashes of brilliant purple, I was kind of digging them…
This was a reflexology path, which none of us walked on since it looked kind of hot and burned feet were not going to help us relax.
And one closeup of the combo. Not sure if it does it justice, but trust me, it was cool.
Marni Girl that I am, I was also thinking that maybe this is a color combo I can try as summer reaches its peak and rounds into early fall. (Mrs. Roper gave Color a bad name, I fear.) I think carefully planned, this may look kind of fantastic. Full report to come. Until then, mix it up a bit…no better time than the present.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
You know me by now: I get just as excited about finding a new painting that knocks my socks off as I do about a really fresh Oreo. So, it should come as no surprise to you that last week, Mr. H and I made plans to see the Paris Opera Ballet perform Giselle while they are in town this summer, and also went to the County Fair to go try a ride or two and then eat fried dough. (Yes, yes….we went to the gym that day. Really!)
Not much to say about the Paris Opera Ballet just yet, as we haven’t seen them perform before. But I am looking forward to it. And Giselle is one of those classics where the premise kind of cracks me up: Gisele’s mother warns her not to fall in love because she is fragile. But Giselle falls in love with Count Albrecht of Silesia anyway. And then she dies.* There is more, but I won’t spoil it for you.
Now, about that Fair. It was the perfect night to go: Slightly warm with a cool breeze and a very silvery moon. But that lovely moon was a bit overshadowed by the fantastic lights of the fair, and this scary thing:
It was one of those contraptions where they seat you in a line as if you were at the theater, strap you in and start spinning you around until you feel quite unwell. Since that sounds like just about every day of my life, I had no interest in that one. But I most certainly did have a great interest in the Grand Dame of the affair…the Ferris Wheel:
Did you know that for all the years Mr. H and I have been an Item, we have never been on one together? This needed to be rectified right away. And up we went…
It was excellent. And silly romantic. Thank goodness my heart was not like Giselle’s, as I would have missed the view from the top, which was kind of giddy-inducing.
It also gave me an opportunity to scope out our Fried Dough Options…
When we had safely landed, I thought that maybe the Swings (see the top photo) could be fun and we got on line. What can I say about this ride? Well, I couldn’t stop laughing because it was completely out of control and totally fun. Also, I was dizzy, pale and a little upset in the tummy region when we got off. But I was still glad we did it.
Naturally, Fried Dough is the perfect salve for Swings Tummy. But even I draw the line at the funnel cake with fried Oreo. So we selected the classic Zepole. I didn’t feel good about myself later, but I enjoyed mine while it was going down.
We tooled around a bit more, trying hard not to win anything that we would then have to bring home, and took in all the kids, teens and other adults having the best time at this crazy thing. And when we left, we were both unable to stop saying “That was FUN!” until sometime after breakfast the next morning.
* And therefore, as an Italian American, I have a really hard time believing that this ballet is French. This plot point is just so, well, Italian.
(Photos: Mr. H, who is a way better photographer that me.)
December 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have always admired the work of Oscar de la Renta. Grown-up, timeless, beautifully made clothes — for Women Who Were Not Me. I had never ventured into the store on Madison. I was not an Oscar Lady. Oscar Ladies picked at their food, went to Charity Things and never brushed their dog’s teeth. I am pretty much the opposite. Case closed.
Then something happened: I had to go to a very proper luncheon and a very proper dress by an American designer was needed. So I surveyed my American options…
Narcisco: too sexy
Rodarte: too outlandish
Proenza: Not that season.
Michael Kors: I am just not tall enough. (Good luck to him with going public today, though!)
A pretty major Panic set in which led me straight to Oscar’s door. And much to my surprise, I found the Perfect Dress, which they tailored to my imperfect body and I was done. All within an hour. Whew!
A mere 110 weeks later, I was invited to the same luncheon. This time I did not hesitate to make an appointment with Christine, the store manager who helped me during The Panic. My first pick was the winner for the event, but I could not help but notice other things on offer that I could imagine myself wearing quite often. And Things Happened.
I still was eating food and brushing dog teeth, so I chalked it all up to a freaky good run. Until the Pre-Fall collection came in, and I found myself standing before Christine and Graziella (it is a good idea to become friendly with the magician who wields the pins) while she nipped in and let out as necessary. The belted camel dress with a petal collar and I have been having a great time together since the temperature dropped. And I know we will be doing so for many years to come.
While in the store that morning in August, I decided that I could quit Oscar at any time. Right then and there, in fact. Even if there was this really beautiful embroidered floral number that left me drooling. This was it. I was not an Oscar Lady.
Except it wasn’t it. The sale season began and my Embroidered Lovely was available in my size for half the price. The Cosmos was clearly telling me something…maybe that I was an Oscar Lady. And when I slipped the dress on and it fit perfectly, I knew that I was. Just not the usual kind.
This brings me to the Point of the Post, which is that trying something new — anything new, certainly a dress can’t be all that life-altering — isn’t necessarily an attempt to be someone else. It is simply an opportunity to find out things about yourself that you may not have known.
(Close up photo of the Embroidered Lovely: Some Cozy Night.)