Monday, August 31, 2009

The Good Earth.

I feel like a city girl through-and-through.
But there's a part of me that connects to my Grandmother's Kansas farm roots and my own Cherokee blood, and makes me truly appreciate how generous the earth can be.
Three days in northwestern Massachusetts put me back in touch with that gratitude.

Here's what we ate for three days:

Breakfast of farm-fresh eggs, local goat's milk cheese, and vine ripened tomatoes from the garden in the backyard.

The Gill Tavern. Gill, MA.
We started with a plate of locally-made cheese, and caprese with fresh basil and tomatoes.

For my entree I had a local grass-fed beef burger.
The menu notes that it's "from a 1/2 mile down the road." Amazing.
Elmer's Store. Ashfield, MA.

In keeping with the liberal nature of Western Mass, the menu offers an "Obamalette" complete with "Universal Health Care."

My pancake.

Bunny's omelette.

A gorgeous Federalist-style house from the late 1700s, located across the street from Elmer's.

We went to a grange fair, which is similar to a State Fair but on a much smaller scale.
Children are encouraged to grow produce and create crafts, and generally learn to be reliant on nature and themselves. Ribbons are rewarded for their hard efforts, and the results are indeed spectacular.

ENORMOUS cabbage heads and sunflower; I used my hand as a point of reference.

And then there's the land itself.
Our friends own 220 acres at the top of a mountain which offers spectacular views in every season. Following 2 days of rainfall we found ourselves surrounded by fog.

That red object is a hummingbird feeder and we were lucky enough to see several hummingbirds arrive for a snack; they're beautiful to watch.

Our friends are growing a beautiful and hearty garden. We were able to eat their zucchini and tomatoes, and they're even growing a little pumpkin patch!

A walk in the woods on their property.

I LOVE Queen Anne's lace. Complex and delicate all at the same time.

Sunflowers from a neighbor's garden. So happy!

TIRE SWING! (This is a new addition to the property!) //
Singing the "Baby Shark" song with my little friends; this is a personal specialty.

Just what I needed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quote du Jour

Here I am, posting again before my weekend trip. I just can't stop myself. I DO love blogging.

Anyway, I'm back to share a sweet little story.

Last night it was starting to rain and I opened my very large umbrella. I walked by a group of people standing on the sidewalk and one of them observed "That's a big umbrella." Then his friend said, "Yesterday I saw the prettiest girl with the biggest umbrella," to which the first person responded ,"What a GREAT phrase!"

And indeed. Isn't that a nice mental image?

"The Prettiest Girl with the Biggest Umbrella."

Sounds like a dream Sartorialist photo, or a snippet of a Bill Cunningham montage.

Pleasant and ladylike and perfect. The next time it rains, that's who I plan to be.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile, Against All Odds.

Things aren't good, though God knows I'm trying.
The blog is now private.
If you're reading this, thank you.
Thank you for your interest, your loyalty, and for validating my thoughts.

I didn't start this blog for anyone but myself.
I think I live a good and interesting life and I felt like I wanted to record it so that on nostalgic or difficult days I could review everything and realize both how much I have to be grateful for and how much I have accomplished.
I consider it my good fortune, and a pleasant surprise, that others want to read what I have to say.

I have worked hard to carve out my own special place in a section of the world that matters to me, and I wanted to celebrate it. Sometimes friends have joked that I am like Charlotte York Goldenblatt from Sex and the City, and on bad days I like to tally our similarities:
-Art History education and work in the field in NYC (she, a gallerina; me, a Sotheby's girl)
-A good, solid Jewish boyfriend (a former lawyer, no less) who loves his family and loves me
-The good fortune to wear the fashions that make me happy
-Shiny hair
-I have even lived in a Penthouse on Park Avenue (South).

And this is my life.
Lately, some people have been trying to make me apologize for it.
It won't last forever. But this is where things are right now.

I'm running away from the City for a few days to clear my head. Therefore, I'm doing my usual Friday "Things That Make Me Smile" post today.

And what makes me smile?

In keeping with my other posts on this topic, here are a few other things that make me smile too:

1) Taylor Swift.
Everything about this girl is perfection.
She is talented and beautiful, which, in a way, has nothing to do with her.
But she has chosen to be kind, generous, sensible, sophisticated and wise.
There aren't many celebrities--or civilians for that matter--who elect to value these qualities and I'm so grateful that amidst all of the shameful stories I read on celebrity blogs, all things associated with Taylor are positive, happy, reassuring.
She's 4 years younger than me, but I am constantly learning by her example.

2) Twists on a Classic.
As you know, I love the "Keep Calm and Carry On" mantra. But I believe that axioms only "work" at certain times. Life can get complicated and messy and the only thing to do when that happens is to go easy on yourself and have a little fun...hence the NOW PANIC and FREAK OUT mug. Everyone's entitled to a little freak out now and then.

3) 220 acres in Western Massachusetts.
The Bunny and I have friends who own a large mountaintop property that we have been lucky to be invited to a number of times. We have visited in every season and it's always beautiful and always refreshing; a few days in the country provides a much needed break from the city.
And, I can cartwheel to my heart's delight.

Take care and talk soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lip Service

I remember reading a NYTimes article which mentioned a theory proposed by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder:

"After the terrorist attacks of 2001 deflated the economy, Mr. Lauder noticed that his company was selling more lipstick than usual. He hypothesized that lipstick purchases are a way to gauge the economy. When it’s shaky, he said, sales increase as women boost their mood with inexpensive lipstick purchases instead of $500 slingbacks."

Economic theories aside, I agree that lipstick can be a small indulgence that makes a world of difference.

Right now nothing is going my way (save for my wonderful Bunny...who would like all of you to know that his real name is a respectable STEVEN and not, in fact, some cutesy variant of "rabbit"). On a day where I continually thought things couldn't get worse, and was consistently proven WRONG, I decided to treat myself to *you guessed it!* LIPSTICK.

Or, more specifically, lip gloss. Givenchy always makes the BEST colors. I stopped by Sephora after a late-evening departure from work and purchased 2 of their Gloss Interdit (nothing like "forbidden" gloss to make a girl feel glamorous). I ran home and did a bit of a princess dress-up session in front of the bathroom mirror.

I finally found my perfect Barbie pink: #07, Glamorous Fuchsia.

And I found a GREAT orange that balances with my pale skin and dark hair: #11, Succulent Orange.

Next time you're blue, you'll know what to do: Pucker up!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Time Traveler's Email

For a present at my middle school graduation, I received a very special diary from my very favorite teacher. Inscribed on the front page was her wish for me in using the journal:

"I hope you'll use this to record the wonderful woman you're becoming, and in future years you can look back and observe the fine person you've become."

Obviously this was QUITE complimentary (she was incredibly biased in my favor) but I like the idea of using a diary not just to spill your emotions so that you don't blabber to the entire world, but as a record of a moment in time that adds up to something larger.

We may not be able to learn much from our collective history, but hopefully we can each learn something from our personal histories. I certainly hope I'll look back on my blog archives in 10, 20, 30 years and smile, for better or for worse.

And that's precisely what appeals to me about In a spin on the classic summer camp letter-writing project, you can write your future self an email today, and they will arrange to send this email to you as late as 2037.

Do you think you would want to read a letter from your younger self?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cheap Thrill

I am nothing if not a girly-girl.
Give me tea dresses, patent leather maryjanes, ribbons and bows and I'm a happy camper.
When I was a little girl, I found my older sister's ballet recital tutu and wore it EVERYWHERE.
(Literally every photo of me at age 4 shows me in this tutu.)
My parents struggled to get it off of me before bathtime and pre-school and eventually had to destroy it before I brought social disgrace on the entire family.

So it should come as no surprise that I have a new girly-girl accessory that I simply don't want to take off.
On my way to Anthropologie this weekend I stopped into H&M and found this little velvet-bow bangle and couldn't help myself.
It was only $9.00.
Isn't it sweet?

It's always the little things that make a big difference.

Speaking of the little things, thanks to everyone who responded to my last post. I appreciate the good advice, the honest disclosures, and the well-wishing. I hope anyone with advice will continue to share it with me, and I'll keep you all posted as I make some decisions about my future.

Before I sign off, I want to give a quick birthday shout-out to my friend AK! Such a lovely and thoughtful girl. I can't wait to raise my glass in her honor tonight!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Love Abounds!

Thanks to all the gracious readers who wished me well on my anniversary with The Bunny.
In addition to feeling loved by the man himself, I feel so loved by all of you.
I know that there can be negativity and cruelty in the blogosphere, so I feel especially fortunate to draw energy, strength and constant encouragement from the friends I've made here.

Tonight The Bunny hailed us a cab and surprised me by taking us to Casa Mono.
This petite Mario Battali restaurant near Gramercy Park has a good reputation and a fun vibe, and, importantly, is a tapas restaurant.
The Bunny and I had our first date at a taperia and try to keep the tradition alive everytime we think to celebrate a monthly or annual anniversary.

Our dinner was absolutely delicious, as well as simple and intimate, and thus was exactly what we wanted. The Bunny knows me so well.
He also gave me a card with such a touching note that I cried and ruined my makeup.

Life is good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tea for TWO YEARS!

Today I celebrate TWO YEARS with my marvelous BUNNY!

It's been an incredible time and I feel so fortunate to have such a fun relationship and to have created so many special memories with someone who is my friend, most trusted adviser, who knows how to keep me in line and makes me smile each and every day.

Just look at us: Can you believe he puts up with me?!

And check out what a GREAT SPORT he is:

Sparkly star sunglasses at my 23rd birthday party....

In a tricock hat at Colonial Williamsburg (that I forced him to put on...):

And look at how handsome he is:

Bahahaha "Blue Steel"

I look at this photo everyday.

Because you are good to me, to my friends, and to the world,
(and for a million other reasons)
I love you, Bunny.
Here's to our long and happy journey ahead...

Wheel(don)'s on Fire

New York City is at its absolute best in the Summer.
The City whirs with nervous energy through Autumn, Winter and Spring and finally expresses itself in Summer. One of the many benefits of the season is Summer Stage in Central Park, wherein high-caliber performers from all genres present free shows. My friend SKW recommended that we catch Christopher Wheeldon's company, Morphoses, and what a treat it was!

Morphoses is three years old and borrows much of its dancing talent from principals at other leading companies like the City Ballet and the Royal Ballet; Christopher Wheeldon, the company's founder, is a former dancer at both. His dancing and ideas may be modern, but they happen within the realm of ballet and, as my friend PMH says, "He's the best thing to happen to ballet since Balanchine." I couldn't agree more.

For the Summer Stage production, Wheeldon collaborated with singer Martha Wainwright to produce new, original and sometimes very upbeat songs to inspire his choreography. She performed live (below, with guitar) which made my viewing experience that much more rich.

Here are some more photos. Fortunately, they allowed photography. Unfortunately, they prohibited flash. I did the best I could.

NYCBallet principal Wendy Whelan, with Edward Watson of the Royal Ballet.

More NYCB Dancers: Below Left: Teresa Reichlin (in blue), and Below Right: Tiler Peck (at left)

And some photos of the INCREDIBLE Maria Kowroski (from City Ballet).
I ran into my Princeton friend, a former ballerina, BAI, after the performance and we both agreed that we never truly valued Kowroski until seeing her dance Wheeldon's pieces. He takes advantage of her muscularity and her ability to think deftly on her feet. She was extraordinary.

Seeing dance makes me miss my ballet days immensely, but sometimes it's better to leave it to the pros. I may not be on stage, but by watching them dance from my blanket I was able to eat brie with water crackers!

I loved Wheeldon's choreography and the exquisite performances he's able to coax out of his marvelous dancers (including 16-year-old Beatriz Stix-Brunell). I thought each subsequent piece was the best dancing I'd ever seen in my life, but it kept getting better and better. I cannot wait to see Morphoses at City Center in October!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile: Colorful, Splendid Life.

1) Purple Shoes.
They add the perfect *POP* of color. I love my new Chloes from Paris, and I love these suede loafers featured on The Sartorialist.

2) New Shades-of-Purple Vespas.
If you know me, you'll know that I've always dreamed of having a red canoe and a lavender Vespa. You might also know that I have a fish at my office named Aubergine. I passed this Vespa yesterday and it seemed like fate.

3) Subconsciously dwelling on Paris.
In the last few weeks I've randomly happened to watch a number of movies with French connections:
  • Julie & Julia. A truly EXCELLENT and utterly CHARMING film. As she lives and loves in Paris, Julia learns and eventually masters the art of French cooking.
  • Taken. A gory action film. Set in Paris.
  • La Vie En Rose. Another BRILLIANT film. Set in Paris and New York. It was lovely to watch Marion Cotillard walk through Montmartre then Central Park and think about how I've taken those same steps in the past few days.
  • Revolutionary Road. I watched this on the plane en route to Paris. Despite its dark tone, the movie sets Paris as the ideal place to be--where one discovers the answers to life's questions and really learns how to live.
4) Exploring Brooklyn.
My friend CLB is my best excuse for exploring Brooklyn. This week we had dinner at Clover Club, a nouveau-speakeasy she selected for us.

We sat in the back room, which had a lovely library-feel and a fireplace filled with candles.
And the cocktails aren't bad either!

5) Spending time with friends, particularly friends from far away!

Dinner with CMM, in town for the summer, at Westville East // Sassy new New Yorker RFS post-(a separate) dinner at Westville East.

Kayaking on the Hudson with MVG: We didn't fall in!

Cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens with TAG // Post-Dinner at Kefi with visiting Londoner HP!

Model as Muse exhibit at the Met with TMS, in town from L.A.!

Pool Party on Long Island with my Princeton Gals: CHW, MVG, A(K)K, CJM, LAT, EJS
I have a great weekend planned and I hope you do too!
Enjoy one of the final weekends of summer!