Friday, May 31, 2013

Pink Elephants, or, Not in New Jersey Anymore, Toto

To liken the past few weeks to a whirlwind would be on the equivalent dampening plane as calling the recent emotional turmoils surrounding child star Amanda Bynes, and its accompanied frenzied media diarrhea, simply stress. Perhaps it is just my own stress of feeling constantly under the proverbial gun, inciting this hyperbole, but packing up my life, throwing out old parts of my life, and moving to a new city and a new job have been taxing. Naturally, with the actual apartment hunt having gone, all things considered, smoothly and successfully, I discover, to my dismay, last Tuesday that my telephone land-line has been cut, making my self-installation internet service impossible. A stroke of genius in business cruelty and revenue generation, Verizon has revived the land-line from the realm of unnecessary and novel oddities from centuries passed, by using the land-line, as opposed to the cable line, for their high-speed service. While, for a brief moment, I was ecstatic and relieved that I could potentially make local telephone calls during now infamous east coast super-storms, to other suckers with Verizon land-line service, the realization that an additional week without connectivity was harsh. Thankfully, I still indulge in yet another antiquated novelty, books, so, survival and entertainment were never actually in question.

But I digress. 

My first two weeks on the new job have revealed some wonderful and welcome lessons. Even the most minor modicum of process in place feels like an entirely new and foreign planet when you have been professionally raised, so to speak, in that entrepreneurial milieu of utter and complete chaos at a tiny company. Never, ever second-guess that immediate friendship with the geeky technology liaison; his insights and attentiveness are worth more than the entire arsenal of MacBooks at the agency. Although decidedly not as intimate as those forged between Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, bond with the executive director and creative partner of your entire agency over your safari adventures in Africa. Because, obviously, everyone loves elephants and is awe-struck by their magnificence. Also, after collecting copious piles of costume jewelry and cocktail accoutrement and other riffraff generally discarded by those with a less cultivated sense of nostalgia for years, there is a monumental professional pay off; bond with that same executive director over this as well. Over this insatiable love for bakelite and for art deco furniture and for glass cocktail shakers, decorated with none other than cartoonish elephants. Finally, do not be surprised when said director, of a different and distant generation, admonishes you for not being an active Pinterest member. 

(image taken from Pinterest)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Packed Rat and Pinotage

Things have been quiet around these, normally, opulently verbose parts; changes of the magnitude that would make our favorite Thin White Duke call for more milk, more milk. Or something. Bucking the surprisingly potent shackles of stagnation, I abandoned the suburbs of the polarized, adored and abhorred, Garden State, now find myself a mere block from Prospect Park in Brooklyn. While it pained me to bid a teary farewell to some truly incredible colleagues, friends, I have survived my first few days at my new and exciting position, strong and assured and unscathed. The level of meticulous process and attention to project routing is a bit daunting, to say the least, for one with my enterpreneurially chaotic background, but, acclimating to new environments is a welcome challenge after the initial shock of discomfort and change.

With the overwhelmingly generous and dedicated help of my filmmaker, I have very nearly packed my entire apartment and moved into the new space. As even a brief perusal of some of these random ramblings and visual accompaniments will indicate, I am a violent pack rat. Armed with a suburban pad with enormous closets, I much needed a gleaning of my belongings, particular in the clothing department. Although it had been long postponed, the process was less painful than I anticipated; it was, tritely, a therapeutic cleansing. As we shed old garments, we also shed former skins; decisions, moments, relationships, emotions, we regret, or we harbor pride for, and can reflect briefly, again. Simultaneously building anew, building stronger, and a sort of homage rite, to the past. Sentimentality is, depending on perspective, a strength and a weakness; to search for greater meaning in these mundane quotidian.  

In an effort to avoid using my kitchen and dirtying my dishes, which needed to be gingerly wrapped and placed in boxes, the filmmaker and I went to our favorite local sushi joint one last time. Combating that hoarding tendency once more, I spontaneously brought this bottle of pinotage rose, one of four stowaways from my trip to South Africa last October, one trip, of many, in which I am still delinquent on sharing photographs and waxing nostalgic about the glories and beauties and challenges of travel. The wine had an incredible flavor to it, light, as a rose generally promises, but with that titillating hint of unbridled wilderness associated with a pinotage. Pairing well with fish, and with a day of exhausted packing, I am delighted that I resisted the urge to save it for some more appropriate occasion. Celebrating life, the new, the now, is occasion enough.   

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Outfit for a Tuesday: Red for Billy's Red Room

There have been some exciting changes in my life lately, so today, feeling proud and happy and optimistic, seemed ideal for playing with bold, bright colors: red, cobalt, and violet. These red and golden swirl earrings, like clusters of iridescent bits of sand, magnified and dangling, were a gift from my mother ages ago. They are a little tight on my ears, so I do not wear them as frequently as I would like, but I love the changeling nature of the colors and their bright visual jingle. For some reason, one without significance, some caprice, I tend to wear these wedge sandals with cobalt blue; my sense of color balance and complement is satisfied with the red, blue, violet spectrum the pairing creates.

After work, to cheer up a rather slow Tuesday, some of my colleagues and I went to dinner at our favorite happy hour and dinner spot near the office, a hybrid fishing shack and bar called Billy's Red Room. Literally slathered in kitsch plastic seafaring paraphernalia, colorful bass and sharks and goldfish and crusted old anchors dripping off the walls, the joint is dank with charm. If the ambiance were not enough to win over even the most cantankerous of curmudgeons, each table features a large pool of spicy, homemade pickled vegetables and the proprietor, Billy, meanders drunkenly from party to party, slurring half-sensical filthy jokes and generously bestowing patrons with moonshine-soaked maraschino cherries. Nothing but class.  

Business Black

So far, I have not had the pleasure, or the inconvenience, depending on perspective, of working in a business formal office. I like the idea of dressing exclusively in monochrome black, a perpetual rotation of sleek tuxedo-inspired blazers and crisp tailored pants. Though not mandated by corporate policy, at least not yet, perhaps this tribute to infinitely sophisticated darkness can become my new uniform anyway. Like some chic New Yorker, ambitious and on-the-go, swaggering to an urban beat. Hint.

(image taken from The Pursuit Aesthetic)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Belle du Jour

(image taken from Cinematic Thoughts)

A number of weeks ago, I had a frenzied film viewing session during the Hulu free weekend featuring the impressive and provocative works of the Criterion Collection; early on in my media indulgence, I, finally, watched Belle du Jour with the beautiful Catherine Deneuve. The film comedically, but no less poignantly, chronicles the sexual awakening, and ultimately self awakening, of a young and restless Parisian housewife, imbued with ennui and frustration. French cinema from this period remains today delightfully refreshing, and, usually, is just as innovative and revealing of human nature and society as when they were initially released; there is a quality of endurance and truth. Belle du Jour plays with the classic madonna-whore complex, the conflict of a woman wanting to appease her partner, and herself, sexually without corroding the foundations of the relationship. Though a familiar trope, the approach is not trite, and is that wonderfully French attitude of playful and yet a bit dark. Ultimately, her adventures daylighting as a prostitute strengthens her sense of self and her marriage, in a manner that evokes a fairy tale ending, in convenience and ever-after happiness, but with a sardonic twist.

The film is an absolute must-see for any interested in French New Wave, or in Madame Deneuve; it is also a bastion of early mod French fashion, an aesthetic experiencing a remarkable resurgence, owed to the popularity of the most recent season of Mad Men

(image taken from The Style Notebook)

Classic camel trench coats always seem more stereotypically Parisian, compared to a red wool pea coat, but I admire the bold color and detailing that remains simple and sophisticated. I have worn a red wool coat the past two winter seasons, and it is the easiest way to elevate a mood when the weather is gray and drab.

(image taken from TCM)

Couching in such an overt disguise, thick black sunglasses and elegant black hat, matching her coat and purse, defeats any attempts at anonymity. The monochrome black and large, structured accessories serve only to draw the eye, invite scrutiny to her whereabouts and her intentions. Despite collecting vintage handbags for a number of years, I am still on the market for a clean, black leather box-like bag, similar to this chic design.

(image taken from Movie and Fashion)

The simple, understated elegance and luxury in outerwear continues. Any jacket that is trimmed with thick fur is delicious in my eyes and likely to incite immediate envy.

(image taken from So Hollywood Chic)

Simple black and white pairings have been the vehement rage this past season. Puritan chic has not quite established itself as a mainstream aesthetic, despite the rich historical precedence here in the United States, and, though quaint, I find the understated, clean cut refined.

(image taken from Piano Forte Girl)

Progressive pilgrim aesthetic continues; these low heel buckle pumps were an iconic staple in the 1960s, it is fitting that our heroine dons them as she dabbles in promiscuity.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Outfit for a Wednesday: Gingham and Pearls

When the sun finally emerges, escapes from the clutches of a desperate winter chill, warm blue gingham seems appropriate. This collared blouse is soft, a pleasant surprise with new, fresh cotton that can occasionally feel stiff or overbearing; I bought this recently on sale from Banana Republic and was glad to see, or feel, that the fabric was already worn in. Although gingham is quintessential spring casual, I wanted to fuse it with another tried and true traditional preppy stalwart, the copious layering of white pearls. Somewhere, some shadow of my sixth grade self is laughing, loud, mouth agape, at me, right now. The past few months, I have been writing pen pal letters to two sixth grade girls in Arkansas, as part of a volunteer project. It has been incredibly fun, and rewarding; while I certainly look forward to their letters, I also love the moments of reflection devoted to my own past, what I have learned, where I have come from.