Thursday, May 31, 2012

Leisure Lusting

I am in the lounge at the Newark airport, slowly sipping cold water; teetotalers have ordained that it is too early for wine or drink, probably. Off to Peru for a very brief business trip, my luggage is packed neatly with two suits. There will be much running and rushing to and fro this summer, with my various projects, exhilarating and exhausting. Experience is grand, however, a uniform of a plain white blouse, tattered and well worn denim, a landscape of a lonely beach or a wooden dock housing various boats, would be very welcome as well.

(image taken from Denimology)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Perfect Summer Pant

Curated personally for me based on the contents and style from my copious online shopping sprees at Banana Republic, and the umbrella company Gap, I woke up over the weekend to a computer-generated personalized message advertising my ideal summer pant: a slim fit white linen pant. Apparently, whatever smartly concocted algorithm that divines these recommendations knows me quite well; these are exactly the slacks that my closet lack. Unfortunately, responsibility called for updated contact lenses, and a flair for fun called for a wild adventurous trip this autumn, so, restraint, restraint. 

(image taken from Banana Republic)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Living Pleasantly

My father tends bar, mixing Manhattans for myself and my mother, while she prepares some prime red steak to pair with a domestic red wine. The Cesar salad dressing is freshly made, aromatizing the house with the perfume of anchovy paste, sending the cat into a near heat. Simple flavors, a classic meal, yet one that is never dull or unwelcome. Spending the weekend back at home for the first time in months was definitely relaxing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Let Them Eat Charcuterie

Now, over a month later, I am taking advantage of this long weekend to finally sort through my copious collection of photographs from Paris; it is a strange task, as my trip is very near in my past, yet with the other various journeys for work and challenges and surprises between then and now, it seems as though it were eons ago. Due to the volume, I am going to attempt to curate these in some fashion, though, my commentary may be limited. The general thematic message will be this, simply: Paris is a beautiful, incredible city that welcomes and envelopes the traveler into an intricate foray of art, music, food, drink, and life. Go, and embrace.

At the suggestion of my dear friend Morgan, when I made the suburban trek on the local transit system out to Versailles from my cozy studio apartment in the Latin Quarter, I packed a picnic lunch. Red wine, goat cheese, creamy pate, and a selection of salted salamis were suitable sustenance for the chilly and gloomily bright day out in the grand gardens.

The gardens are labyrinthine and, not unexpectedly, almost absurdly opulent; large and stately marble statues line the walks, carved fountains spill water into pools, and the green and foliage seems so stretch for eternity, to create some external dimension for this castle. 

After my picnic, I entered the atrium of the main building, amid swarms of tourists from around the globe, anxiously shuffling in awe through the corridors and the rooms, snapping and clicking furiously with their cameras. Immediately, I was inundated with sensory stimulation; opulent, bombastic, deluge of decadence, do not even begin to describe the experience. Whatever can be gilded or carved or lathered with imagery and iconography is done so. Imagining actual normal human beings residing in this place, in another and chronologically and culturally faraway time, was nearly impossible. I am sure many historians and cultural critics alike would argue that those who did wake, dress, dine, and sleep within these walls were not normal human beings at all; they were absurd mythological creatures, sculpted from their own innate circumstance and construct. They were powerful and pompous and delusional; to those who live now, characters. Design, decor, and ambiance here are, in a word, ludicrous. 

The infamous and iconic Hall of Mirrors, resplendent with crystal and glass and the subsequent beams of refracting light, which were surprisingly brilliant despite the rather overcast day. 

With the heavy draped fabrics and the tessellating patterns of floral detritus in the quintessential gold and shades of red that evoke bloodied organs, I do not think I could ever sleep restfully in either of these beds.

Crowds of turtle-paced tourists aside, with their large backpacks and fanny-packs and chattering cameras, my tour was pleasant; hustling through with large groups actually seemed appropriate, given the effusive undulating barrage to the senses from every wall and corner and nook of every room. My trip to Paris was planned to be one of peace and tranquility; I could not imagine not taking advantage of seeing a monumentous work of art such as Versailles, but, am certainly glad to have heeded the advice of an old friend and relished in the slightly more open solace of the gardens as well.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Outfit for a Tuesday: Yacht Club in the Office

When I found this navy and almost-white cream striped dress on a sale rack at Target a few years ago, I believe the last time I purchased an article of clothing there, I did not anticipate that the piece would become a favorite for layering in the warmer months, particularly to create the illusion of a now nearly hackneyed and ubiquitous nautical-themed skirt. The other day, I decided to yet again enjoy the simple and classic pattern, with its bizarre swoop of added fabric sash, pairing it with a very sheer golden metallic sweater and a camel blazer. Essentially, as is typical, pretending that instead of the office, I am attending a party on a boat somewhere, and creating my absolute favorite color scheme: gold, cream, camel, and navy. Generally, this type of outfit is constructed frantically, with wanton disregard for probable polite professional propriety, while I am showering, running late, and concerned over whether or not I have sufficient time to put my coffee in a portable mug for the admittedly super short ride to work. So, I just throw on some items that I like, implicitly knowing that they work well, while understanding on a more conscious level that they may be ridiculous.

A strand of large round costume pearls was the obvious choice to complete this tardy to teleconferences foible turned sailor-infused success; now is an appropriate time for the admission that I have just finished dinner with my parents, which means cocktails as well as wine were imbibed. Further cogent commentary or wisdom or insight cannot be expected. Costume pearls are a beautiful addition, this is all I have to offer.


Lately, these are the only shoes I have any desire to wear, classically camel and comfortable; I am still rather uncertain how I was able to survive previously without them. Yes, my dependency on inanimate and commercially superficial objects is indeed this grave.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Decadence on a Dime: Rose Ginger Cocktails

When it comes to shaking up and pouring a cocktail, I take my business very seriously; I want my gin or my bourbon or my tequila very well chilled, my flavors fresh and nuanced, and my garnish a delightful flair. A traditionalist, in my mind, a martini means one thing, and one thing alone; the only deviation really being whether there is a twist or an olive, because, if you have a cocktail onion, that is a Gibson, and if you select vodka as your poison, then that is a vodka martini. So, on the rare chance that while out at a restaurant or a bar and am ordering some aberration that contains cranberry juice for color or Chambord or some other ingredient, I am emphatic that I am simply ordering a cocktail and not some bizarre bastardization of the traditional gin, dry vermouth, and garnish blend. Anyway, I digress.

Gin always has, and always will be, my primary choice for the dominant punch in my drink, the cold and juniper-accented sunshine in my glass, unless I am slumming it in a dive bar, in which case a simple bourbon and ginger tends to suffice. While some friends were visiting for the weekend earlier in the spring, I discovered botanically-brewed Fentimans Rose Lemonade at my local grocery store; seeking a refreshing and more intricate flavor for a simple cocktail to entertain my company, I scooped up a pack. When shaken with gin, in my case Hendrick's or Bombay Sapphire, served either on the rocks in a Collins glass or up in a cocktail glass, the effect is a bombastic floral-fused aroma and taste, simultaneously delicate and overbearing, whispering coolly, but not for the faint of heart. For the less adventurous, and the more modern, easily swayed by contemporary trends, vodka could be swapped in for the gin; organic Prairie Vodka, which is affordable and delicious, would be my preference, however, the surprising and tantalizing rose flavor will be dulled.

(image taken from

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recent Read: Amphibians, Tarot, and Theories of the Economic and Extraterrestrial Kind

About a week ago or so, I finished the latest novel by contemporary fiction rock star and resident narcissist, a club in which he is paralleled by many but potentially matched by few, Tom Robbins. Set in slumbering and rain-splashed Seattle over the course of a single long Easter weekend, the narrative is broken into short chronological increments, detailing the foibles and adventures of Gwendolyn Mati, a young and ambitious Filipina stock broker who is muddling through a stagnant relationship with a wealthy but boring philanthropic Christian, fiery lust for a new and mysterious stranger, and economic decay as the market crashes everywhere. Typical for Robbins, the characters are bizarre and varied, simultaneously twistedly cartoon-like and realistic; Gwendolyn and her gang do not disappoint. Included in the cast is a born-again, purported reformed jewel-thieving primate, an obese and occasionally perversely promiscuous psychic, and a Native American who utilized funds speculated from stock investments to purchase one single van Gogh sketch. Although it was immediately clear within the first few sentences that this would not become a favorite of mine, or even a favorite among his works, I persevered, generally prone to complete a book once begun.

I had read a few of his novels a number of years ago, at the crux between high school and university, those fluid times of loose and free late adolescence. Pliable and easily entertained, amused, amazed, the methods by which Robbins rode language captivated me, a sort of devolution from something refined and tamed to something new and strange and wild, bucking and hawing like a flaming bronco. Although it has been a few years, according to my memory, these works, such as Skinny Legs and All and Even Cowboys Get the Blues, seemed to have a sense of control, of purpose. Within the first few pages of Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, the wanton and flamboyant use of literary and rhetorical device, with no sense of rhythm or clear warranty, almost repulsed me; thankfully, the intrigue of the plot and the slow reveal of character intentions inspired sufficient motivation to swallow the disgust and move onward. I can appreciate the contortion of language into something new, something I had not previously imagined, but only when performed artfully, and not with petulant flair of a child, flaunting certain feats and goading one to see just what they can do.

Unfortunately for this novel, the greatest fault and mistake was in the chosen point of view: a second-person narrative perspective. An avid admirer and devotee of Lorrie Moore and her seminal work Self-Help, I, quite rightly, hold extreme and austere expectations when it comes to use of the second-person voice. For a novel of this length, in which Robbins cultivates a very specific personality and physique and history for his narrator, the second-person simply could not be sustained. For me, this device requires a delicate skill, a shorter form, and a more vague embodiment of the narrator, such that I, truly, can believe the perspective when the text repeats over and over to me: "you."

Despite these obvious flaws and the occasionally obnoxious postures with language, the novel is worth a read; given the current crumbling of the global socioeconomic machine, downward velocities that are rippling east and west, Robbins' meditation on materialism and capitalist forces as predominant, self-selected influencers of identity is worthwhile. Ultimately, he does halt and take some caution when exuding the importance of human connection and the utter transience of all things produced-purchased-consumed through fabrications of want and need. In a sense, a sort of life is short, so live it, philosophy; unfortunately, given that, if I had the opportunity to make my reading choice again, I probably would have opted to pass on this one.

(image taken from Wal-Mart)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Casual Friday: Pink and Blue Grid Lines

Sometimes, the effortless and classic and comfortable outfits are those that end up looking the most chic; while I can certainly appreciate layering to add texture and nuance, or indulging in particular popular trends, those pieces that are tried and true will, indeed, always be true. So, occasionally, I will use Casual Friday at my office as an opportunity to wear something a bit more on the fringe than the tenets of business casual would typically permit, however, lately, I am more prone to slide into my cigarette-leg skinny jeans and wear a simple blouse. This past Friday, I selected my favorite pair of pants, the pair that actually incited my desire to wear pants more frequently than seeing a pale blue moon, dark indigo denim in the ever flattering, though potentially misleading, skinny cut. For the blouse, I debuted this men's button-down shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt; loose but crisp and fresh, well fitting through the bust and shoulders, quite a feat for a men's shirt on an hourglass frame, it is the perfect blend of demure masculinity and confident femininity.

The soft pink and blue grid line pattern of this button-down is a pleasant and welcome alternative to the classic but all too familiar pink or blue gingham, stripes, or solid.

A number of months ago, the filmmaker surprised me with a small collection of earrings, including these gold mesh dome pieces. Whenever I am at a loss for accessories, or am running late to the office without time to contemplate and mull over my obscene collection, I can grab these and rest satisfied knowing that my choice was simply perfect.

A simple pearl bracelet to complement the tomboy preppy feel of this look.

Somehow, in this universe strange and chaotic and perpetually in motion, I have been maneuvering through my daily happenings without a pair of basic camel colored flats; while browsing the sale wares at Century 21 the other evening, I immediately ameliorated that with the purchase of these. The gold embellishment, a sort of woven coil, braided like the sinuous and plastic body of a spiraling serpent, adds an intriguing flair, ideal for all of my golden baubles and bangles and beads.

Friday evening soundtrack: R.I.P. Actress