November 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
If you asked me to imagine my dream boutique what would it be? Well, it would have feminist and lady-powered music, zines and independent books, fun accessories, a tight selection of perfect clothes that are both functional and fashionable that could go from the street, to work, to a rock show, as well as serving as a community gathering and event space for music, readings and art. Well, low and behold, my dream boutique exists and it exists in Paris no less.
Gals Rock is a space dedicated to ladies/women’s/girls/grrrls’ rock music and culture. A petite boutique in the 9eme in Pigalle, just steps away from the tourist crush of Monmatre, its an oasis of feminist creative energy. The front room features clothes, accessories and zines for lady rockers and their allies. I found a perfectly fitted, ladies button down shirt that was created by the Gals Rock crew who were frustrated that they couldn’t find a shift tailored to ladies’ proportions. In addition, I couldn’t resist picking up a silkscreened t-shirt with a hand drawn design featuring the names of all my favorite grrrl bands from the 1990s, including Sleater-Kinney, Excuse 17, and Huggy Bear. I wear that shirt with pride! Gals Rock also features a wide selection of the indie fashion label Kulte.
The back room is dedicated to music, most of it independent, in which girls, grrrls, ladies, and women play a key role. While Gals Rock clearly is focused on rock music and culture, their selection includes electronic and hip-hop music as well and is forward looking and broadly defined. The ladies who run the shop host regular events and concerts, all which sound like the perfect, feminist, music focused soirees. As if I ever needed more reasons to move to Paris.
Gals Rock, 17 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris
August 29, 2012 § 5 Comments
“You can live however you want in New York City,” an artist/mentor once told me when I was a teenager. She was right. I’ve lived in New York for over ten years and I keep discovering what kinds of experiences are possible in this city.
I thought I hated boats. I grew up in Maine and boating was part of my existence. While I loved exploring islands and the rocky coast, I also grew to loathe the tedium and seasickness that I felt when I traveled long distances by boat. As a result I’ve avoided myself from most things maritime since I was a teenager. However, like everything that I once thought I didn’t like, I recently reconsidered.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading Anne-So’s breathtaking accounts of re-learning to sail and then taking a trans-Atlantic journey via sailboat, but boating has been on my mind lately. When our friend C. offered to take us sailing on his father’s boat I had to jump at the chance.
The boat was moored at City Island, a small island off the Bronx that feels like a New England town: seafood shacks, clapboard covered houses, and the air full of wheeling gulls. C’s Dad reviewed safety and protocol aboard and soon we were hoisting sails and settling in for an afternoon on the water. When we cut the engine and were propelled by nothing more than the wind and could hear the waves slapping against the side of the boat I felt like I was in a space connected to my memories growing up, the place where I am from and the where I am now. Looking back to the Manhattan skyline from across the glittering water, I felt like we weren’t just floating off an island off the Bronx, but in a space that was all its own. That’s why realized I needed to rethink my feelings about boats: they are a world apart, no matter where their port of call.
August 24, 2012 § 6 Comments
I know that summer will end eventually. I know that some of you wish it would just hurry up and go already, so that we can get on with the crisper weather, cooler temperatures and new outfits for la rentree. But I feel I am finally settling into summer and doing what I can to maximize the waning warm, lazy days: filling them with bike rides and backyard barbeques and early morning iced coffee with friends. I’ve even decided its a time to try out a few new looks:
Mixing Lace and Leather:
Daring to wear shorts to work and trying to put a “le petit noeud” in my button shirt, which apparently all the celebrities did this summer:
Backyard BBQ style with Guess vintage denim:
Are you holding on to summer style or anxious for fall?
August 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Sometimes you have to travel far away to meet someone who lives next door. That was certainly the case when my band Corita went to Austin this spring to play (unofficial) shows during the South by South West music festival. We were lucky enough to play with bands from all over the country, including bands from Brooklyn! We met Jim Campbell when he was playing in Moonmen on the Moon, Man and he gave us a 7″ of his band Paper Fleet. While we were playing Jim shot this great footage of Corita playing our song “Degrees of Freedom” on Super 8. Fastforward a few months and he managed to splice together audio recording he made and the film and voila! Corita’s very own home movie! Enjoy our punk rock parking lot performance.
We also just played a show last night with Paper Fleet at Don Pedro’s in Williamsburg. It’s such a treat to play with bands that you respect and enjoy. In addition, Don Pedro’s is much improved as a venue since the last time I went there a few years ago. They have a menu featuring delicious homemade burgers and there’s even a vintage store, Mystery Train Vintage, in the basement (!). So last night not only did Jim make another great video of Corita (this time on a digital camera and of our song “Remember That You Will Die”), but I also scored a Guess denim dress and a vintage braided leather belt – a whole new show outfit for $26. Punk rock!
I also want to point out that in this show outfit I am wearing my new, beloved t-shirt from Gal’s Rock boutique in Paris. It’s a whole store devoted to the music and fashion of women who make rock music! I will write more about it when I finally get around to posting my photos from my France trip, but suffice it to say that the t-shirt contains the names of all my favorite bands from the US and the UK in the 1990s. Yes, please!
July 11, 2012 § 4 Comments
Everyone, I am so excited! Today I depart for mon voyage des reves to France for two and a half weeks! My trip is taking me to Paris and Provence, as well as Gent (in Belgium), Metz and Lille. I’m impatient to see new and old friends, eat lots of wonderful food, and spend my time walking around and taking in the sights I love and discovering new places that I will return to in the future. This blog will be pretty quiet during that time, though you can expect another Creative Money Maker and a few other posts. When I’m able to find Wi-fi I will updates Twitter and Instagram, and I will try to post some of those shots here as well.
Those of you who travel know that preparation and anticipation is part of the journey. I spent months planning the outfits that I would take to France. I knew I would need layers, because I’m going to be in both the north and south, and the summer weather there either seems to feel like November or a canicule. I also know I will be walking a lot, so I’ve left all my four inch platforms at home. When I travel I favor clothing made out of basic fibers like cotton with solid, neutral colors over anything too fancy. In addition, I never check a bag, so all of my clothes have to be adaptable and easily washable. Here’s a sneak peek at my travel style:
Simple, big city style is what I have in mind. Casual and elegant – a look that can go from morning to evening.
Warm tones, bright sun, old stone houses and the mistral were in mind when I picked out this outfit.
Pour la plage et la piscine
Flattering, retro-styled swimwear to while away the sunny days in style.
I always freeze on the airplane. I always wonder about those who are able to wear flip-flops while flying – every appendage of mine feels like an ice cub when in the air, so I have to layer up. In addition, this time I have to change planes in Reykjavik, so I know I’ll need to be able to walk quickly, as well as wear an outfit comfortable enough to try to nap.
I’m bringing very few extras. I only packed two books in English because my favorite activity in France is buying the newspaper, magazines and novels. aI like to keep my makeup and accessories even more minimal than usual when I travel. I’m not packing nail polish or lipstick because I hope to acquire some of the French Essie nail polish while I’m there as well as Bourjois lip and eye makeup. Nothing fancy, just basic French things that I love.
What do you pack when you travel?
June 13, 2012 § 4 Comments
June is always a fickle month. It’s not quite summer, but I’m already itching to go to the beach, to feel the sand between my toes, the sun on my back, and to spend long lazy days by the ocean or on the board walk, letting my cares drift away.
For a June birthday celebration we wove a nautical theme into a Saturday afternoon with clams at Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay (offering fried seafood that is, reportedly “the pride of Sheepshead Bay”), a walk along the board walk at Brighton Beach and a stop at Ruby’s Bar in Coney Island. In honor of all things sea worthy I pulled out my old favorite LL Bean tote bag and paired it with a very matching Built by Wendy dress.
This was the perfect outfit to show off my new Ellips shoes from designer Priscille Demanche’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection. She had a 4 day sale on my birthday and when I emailed her and said that I was offering myself a pair of her sandals as a gift she gave me free shipping all the way from France! What a darling! And hurry, she has organized a sale to benefit a charity of your choice on her past season collections just until Friday the 15th. Up to 60% off and a donation to a good cause! Shop your shoes at the Ellips site here (don’t hesitate to email Priscille if you are ordering from outside of France) and vote on which association should benefit here.
See you on the beach and the boardwalk this summer!
Thanks to my friend Heather Donahue for the lovely photographs!
May 21, 2012 § 8 Comments
My latest favorite pair of shoes illustrate that I can never predict how my fashion tastes will develop. In the late 80s and early 90s all the cool kids had Air Jordan sneakers and they regularly shelled out large sums of their parents’ money each season to purchase the latest model. I was immune to this trend. Shod in moccasins, boat shoes or penny loafers from the Dexter Outlet I thought those high tops, with all their extra ankle padding, big tongues and laces were ridiculous.
I have held on to this belief throughout the last twenty years and was never tempted to rethink it until I started seeing baskets compensées on French fashion blogs last fall. These shoes were inspired by Isabelle Marant who put out some wedge heeled high top sneakers which sent the fashion world into a twitter. Naturally, this trend has quickly trickled down into fashionable retailers with more accessible prices. “Cool,” I thought, admiring les filles prancing around Paris in high comfort and style, “but really, not for me.”
My resistance crumbled when Stephanie, always a source of fashion inspiration, posted about a “Marant-like” version of these shoes by Asos, and then later showed off several versions of them. Stephanie makes everything look good and wearable even to the less fashion forward of us. I finally cracked, especially because Asos was offering 10% off.
These shoes are a complete departure for me because I’ve always been a Converse or Vans sneaker girl. However, my first time wearing them out they drew complements from all over Brooklyn, from hipsters, metal dudes and fashion bloggers alike.
Sometimes when we decide to try a new look we have to risk looking and feeling a little ridiculous.
I’m grateful to my fellow blogger and neighbor Danielle for helping me document these beauties on the courts of Sunset Park. You can check out her own photos on her Tumblr. I was tempted to call this post, “Jouez-vous au basket? Non, pas de tout,” but felt that was just a little too self-referential. What fashion risks have you taken lately? Do you think you’ll fall for the wedge sneaker craze?
April 22, 2012 § 8 Comments
There’s a few weeks in April and May that are fleetingly perfect. The sun is out, the breeze blows, you can wear stylish layers, but not overheat, and still not freeze if you happen to forget your jacket. Flowers pop and everywhere you look there is renewed energy, color and vigor. This past weekend was an oportune time to pay a spring visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where, thanks to a strangely warm spring, the cherry trees and lilacs are in full bloom several weeks early.
In planning my outfit I wanted to dress to match the colors I knew would be in full effect and also dress to around comfortably. Azaleas, lilacs, cherry trees, tulips, and peonies are all in bloom right now… I knew the color palate would be pink, fuchsia, lavender, magenta and rose, so I put together the hot colors of the season: tangerine and bright pink, with the print of the season: floral. It was the perfect time to introduce my new shirt by Canadian designer Jennifer Glasgow that I bought in Montreal. With transparent tangerine and floral prints its on trend and timeless. Also, do you like how my pants disappear into the azalea bushes? Finally, did you know you can check out the status of the cherry blossoms at BBG on their bloom map?
I love the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in any season, but in early spring it is over the top with color and flowers. It’s wonderful for a weekend morning wander with friends and as a word to the wise, if you get there between 10 am and noon on Saturday entry is free! What is your favorite thing to do in spring?
April 6, 2012 § 6 Comments
Apparently fashion’s new bright, spring colors are helping revive the US economy and sales in retail are up. Though I am on a self-imposed shopping diet (it’s not going very well, does anyone know of a Weight Watcher’s like program to curb conspicuous consumption?) I could not help but succumb to the continued rage for color blocking, helped in part by some bright numbers from Old Navy (of all places!).
Perhaps it is the transition between seasons, but I’ve also been enjoying new versions of my classic favorites – slim black pants and jeans – and have gotten my new favorite slims from Mavi, a classic pair of straight legs from Built by Wendy and slim black pants (with zippers on the ankles) from Brooklyn Industries. I’ve even wearing pants of all colors to work (gasp, Killerfemme, really?).
Have you succumbed to the bright spring colors? How do your outfits transition from weekdays to weekends?
February 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
I know, I know I wait until winter is on its last legs to share some wooly goodness with you. But rest assured, if you leave anywhere vaguely North the March winds are just as chilling as any other winter weather, so you still have a good few weeks to swaddle yourself in wool to keep warm. This year marks my return to knitting after a five year break. While my mother is a knitting expert, and I have an archive of one-of-a-kind sweaters she has made me since I was a little girl, I am a slow and imprecise knitter. I love making things, but I’ve never been able to retain knowledge about how to knit from one project to another.
However, for the second winter in a row I was seeing huge, soft, infinity scarves that engulfed their wearers in warmth and style and I wanted one. In December saw a grey, silky wool cowl at one of my favorite boutiques NOS in DUMBO, but when I inched in to look at the price I balked and declared, “I could make that!”
Another piece of wool I’ve been wanting to add to my collection is the perfect cable knit sweater. I reached out to my mother and asked if I might be able to commission such a sweater from her. In a beautiful marriage of technology and craft I put together a Pinterest board to share my cable knit ideas with her and she found a variety of patterns on Ravelry, a pattern sharing and social networking site for yarn crafters, for me to look at. Together we found the perfect pattern, which was in a book she ordered from Amazon! Ahh, the modern world.
While I was home for the holidays my Mom and I went yarn shopping and after considering various organic yarns for my sweater I wandered around the yarn shop, Grace Robinson in Freeport, Maine, and found the perfect yarn for the cowl of my dreams. It was thick and soft, like petting a cat or grabbing a handful of clouds, if clouds were warm. It was 100 percent Merino wool by Bel Aire and the color was poetically named “Philly Fog.” I bought 3 skeins. I admit I had the yarn before the pattern, but my mom found me the perfect pattern on Ravelry, the Gaptastic Cowl. As a note, the yarn I used was a big bigger than the yard suggested for the pattern, so my scarf is even chunkier than the one in this pattern.
I had to get a little help from LJ to remember how to cast on and encouragement from Sabine, but I actually remembered how to knit pretty easily and didn’t even need a lesson to remember how to pearl!
Of course my mother, champion knitter that she is, finished an entire sweater before I finished my scarf, but by mid-February I have been able to wear my two new high-fashion, handmade woolens – my lovely cable knit, organic, Oatmeal colored sweater made by my mother, and my voluminous grey cowl, made by me!