The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Megatron of Galleries

Flashback to Friday last week – to my first foray into the Megatron of Art Galleries – the Metropolitan Museum of Art or as it’s affectionately known, the Met.

Megatron (Transformers)

Megatron (Transformers) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mum – Megatron is a really, really big Transformer. He’s kind of bad, which the Met clearly isn’t. But he has the ability to shift into different things depending on what universe he’s in – kind of like the Met, which is so big and diverse you could easily have a different experience of it every time you go there. But more on that later.

I was implored by a dear friend to venture out after having spent the week in bed and I suspect, after complaining profusely of boredom (I know, how can you be bored in NYC? Well, spend a week after week within the same four walls and you can be bored anywhere, bay-bee!). It happened to be the one day that a very disturbed man let loose on his ex-boss at the Empire State Building so of course Midtown was completely shut down as they assessed the situation.

My guide-to-getting-everywhere, the iPhone app HopStop suggested I take 3 buses to get there. I begged to differ, chose to wait a half hour instead and the subways opened up again. Hey presto!

My first glimpse of the gallery was like a vision at the end of a long residential street. Spectacular.

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This was probably the second time I experienced the giddy feeling I got when I first got to New York. The girly, excited, ants in your pants “I can’t believe I’m really here” kind of feeling that lets you know instantly you are exactly where you are meant to be. I was so glad to have been ordered out of the house, even though I didn’t feel quite 100% it didn’t matter anymore.

The building itself is sensational – built in the 19th century – it is a work of art in itself. I took these in a stairwell – so this is just one tiny corner of the fabulousness that is ALL OVER the damn place.

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If you’re visiting New York you definitely need a day (or two if you can) to get around to all of the exhibits that comprehensively span the continents, centuries, ideologies in a seemingly endless corridor, room after room. I’m planning on visiting regularly to take it all in. As it was I let my mood dictate the exhibits I visited. I think I saw about 15% of what was there in 4 hours.

You definitely need refreshment stops. And bring your camera. Possibly the most surprising part of my visit was that you are ALLOWED to take pictures of the artwork and exhibits. Obviously not with flash (though I saw lots of people do it anyway). I thought it was nice of the Met to allow it, but in another way I wondered how much you could really enjoy an artwork if all you did was point and shoot at it then go on to the next one and do the same (saw so many people doing this!). You could have just picked up a book!?

Here are some of my favourite visions from the day:

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The last picture, the painting, is of Joan of Arc. I found myself drawn to several representations of her scattered throughout the gallery, different styles, times and places, and when it occurred to me, I thought it was a lovely coincidence and reminder of the strength I have.

It’s not so much that I feel I’ve forgotten my strength but that I haven’t been living in it. Using it to create change. In the last week, SO MUCH has already changed. So I like to think maybe Joan’s little wink at me made all the difference.

Now I’m paying it forward: remember your strength today. If you feel like you’ve forgotten where it is be sure to keep your eyes open so you don’t miss the wink I’m sending your way.

x

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BlogHer, Obama-loving and Health Marketing

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was my first day at the BlogHer ’12 conference. It’s technically not the first day of the conference, it’s actually a “pre” conference day, but two specialised streams of the conference took place that I did not attend and the most awesome thing I have ever seen – a live video cross with POTUS himself – I did.

The trip in to the Hilton New York on 6th Ave takes around half an hour on the M-train (walk included) and I figured I should get to the conference by 3.30 to give myself time for registration and a bit of the old faffing around. A reasonable combination of nerves, excitement and general nerdiness contributed to my 2pm arrival despite a pit stop at the most awesome bakery I have ever eaten in.

Magnolia Bakery.

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Magnolia cupcakes also offers a monthly CUPCAKE CLUB where you can receive 6 or 12 cupcakes delivered to your door. Is this the best idea ever, or what? For posterity, it should also be timed to your cycle.

For the uninitiated, the Magnolia Bakery is like mecca for cupcake lovers, where you should go if you’d like to know what it would feel like to have an angel shart in your mouth. I won’t explain what sharting is because there are ladies reading this, but just be happy with the angel reference. I had a vanilla cupcake with vanilla bean frosting (blue) and sprinkles (multicolour) and of course, my new favourite beverage, iced coffee.

Nutritious requirements for the day fulfilled, I proceeded to trounce up 6th Ave (or down, I’m not sure which is the correct vernacular) and on the way spotted this awesome place. The design of the signs in this city just blow me away.

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Radio City Hall baby!

I also passed NBC studios (sweet) but I’m saving that pic for the day I catch someone awesome walking out. Or maybe tomorrow. It was too much excitement for one day and I didn’t want to peak too early on Instagram.

The Hilton New York is a grand old dame, a little brassy but not without it’s charm. The actual conference itself is in it’s 8th year and now has around 4000 blogettes attending, plus a handful of male blogettes, which equals a lot of very excited and slightly tipsy women (and some men) snatching up a giant motherload of product samples and wifi usage.

Registration was so fast (bonus points for efficiency!) I barely had time to whip out my NSW driver’s license before I had a lanyard and program. The great part of that was it left me with plenty of time to wander the halls and wonder what on earth I have gotten myself into.

You see, attending the BlogHer conference wasn’t part of my grand plan. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I really should attend. Yes, there is my recent blogging activity. My long standing obsession with social media. My PR background and interest in all things marketing. My looking for a job. The abundant opportunities to network. My love of hotel buffets. And wanting to make new friends here in NYC. All good reasons to attend.

So you can imagine my delight when I found out that the President of the United States (POTUS!) himself would be addressing the conference LIVE via satellite link.

And you can also imagine my horror and impending sense of doom at being at a conference of thousands of (mostly) women, recreating a scenario not unlike the all-female school-type institutions I attended. I’m one of those people that shudders when people say “school – ah the best years of your life” because if you paid me $10,000,000 to go back to school I would say no thanks and stay happily in my 30s – in fact, I’d possibly even take an additional 10 year penalty and go into my 40s, just to further distance myself from it.

Why the melodrama, Adriana? I think it’s summed up with a few more A-words: awkward, acne, anxiety, adolescence and also just being told what to think and how to be by teachers, parents, and mostly peers frankly sucks. Alright, so I don’t have the acne (just the scars) anymore and I’m not an adolescent, so this should be a cinch? Hmm. If female-dominated workplaces have taught me anything it’s that women, en masse, require Survivor-like skills to be endured. Sadly western culture and the glass ceiling have not done great things to the sisterhood. Corporate life teaches us “eat or be eaten”. Some decide they didn’t get enough of the popularity contest in high-school and keep recreating their sorority in each new environment they encounter. The bitching endemic in mostly female workplaces kills me.

So you can imagine my (pleasant) surprise when nobody I encountered today was even remotely like the people I’m referring to. My first encounter whilst waiting (an hour early) for POTUS-link to commence, was with a lovely lass, a health writer for a medical website from San Francisco. My response to her question “Can I sit here” was “Yes please!” and quickly trickled into a lovely discussion about the state of FDA regulations in the US and the fact that you only have to prove your product DOESN’T kill anyone, not that it does. And the fact that San Fran really does seem lovely and she was staying recently in Nantucket which I thought must have just been a funny hick-town’s name they put in a limerick but it turns out it’s actually an island.

I KNOW!

Crazy. The next women I met were both contemplating a glass of wine after POTUS-link at the bar. We each drank a glass of white wine and discussed the state of our careers and what we wanted out of our blogs, which was all rather different but as it turns out we all had sage advice to share, and really if you think about it, most women do a wonderful job of being nurturing so why the hell don’t we nurture each other more rather than tearing each other down?

DIGRESSION! (I just re-read Catcher in the Rye, so if you don’t understand the reference, you could read it. Or you could guess what that means. You’d be right)

President Obama filled the grand ballroom at the Hilton New York today. Actually his projected image on 3 video screens did. President Obama also won me a $10 Starbucks gift card (THANKS, MR. PRESIDENT!) because I was the first person in that entire ballroom to live-tweet a picture of his head on Twitter.

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My wining twit pic. I LOVE YOU OBAMA!

THE FIRST! In a whole ballroom of bloggers.

I didn’t even know there was a competition on.. But I can guarantee you that seeing as I have finally received the remuneration I deserve for my rapid and unrelenting social media over-sharing, that I will surely continue it, and then some.

Mr. President Obama’s speech mainly addressed the female health aspects of his campaign, pointing out that Romney is planning on closing down Planned Parenthood (BOO). Several grown women hollered out “I love you Obama” like he was a rockstar. He also acknowledged the term “Obamacare” was thrust upon him but that he was glad to accept it as he was proud of the reforms he has been able to bring in. Lots of people stood up after his speech and clapped the video monitors.

And the most beautiful part of it was that the two event organisers that were there – Lisa and Elise – both hugged each other afterwards, because for them it had meant the achievement of something really special – to have established a community of bloggers so highly regarded that the President himself would bother to address them.

Really inspirational stuff.

We then had a couple of hours to explore the exhibitors stands which, let me tell you, are equal parts marketer’s dream and nightmare.

I will regale you with more stories about the loot later but here’s the loot so far:

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Lots of stuff I needed. Clearly.

And just because I cannot understand what they were thinking, booby prize goes to this effort from Poise:

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Targeting menopausal women with a fan I get. But what is the light for? To watch your fertility wither? To check your underpants for leakage? I DON’T UNDERSTAND!

Tomorrow I have to be up early to take full advantage of the buffet breakfast before a full day of workshops/seminars so I’m going to sign off now.

TOODLES! x


Coney Island and the Brooklyn Cyclones

Sounds like a cool name for a band, huh?

If you use it I promise I won’t sue you but I will ask that you include a mention and possibly photo of me inside your album sleeve. Another teenaged aspiration achieved. Adriana – 1, Adolescent Angst – 0

Now I’m on a winning streak – I hope you’ll forgive me for this tardy recollection. Forgive me, it’s been two days since this actually happened, so I may in fact exaggerate, or distort facts for my own amusement, for a change.

Our lovely downstairs neighbours, Derek and Shaniqua (changed to protect their identity, I always wanted a friend named Shaniqua, as a side note), invited us to come to a baseball game to which of course we said yes. I had forgotten we had made such an arrangement until Shaniqua helpfully reminded us on the weekend. Thank heavens for her. Seriously.

Neither of us had ever been to a baseball game and I had never even watched one (though I had schooled myself via The Simpsons and the Madonna-tastic A League of Their Own so was clearly an expert). Derek and Shaniqua also hadn’t visited Coney Island for ages, so were keen to see the sights.

Derek and I, being dutiful stay at home “wives” took the subway into Manhattan, picked up Shaniqua at her work (in the garment district – like Surry Hills if it was huge and nothing like Surry Hills) and walked the ten blocks to the husband’s workplace. Due to the incredible heat, and tourists milling like blinded cattle around the base of the Empire State Building (WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE!) I was reduced to a particularly hot, hangry** mess by the time we got to the h-place.

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I thank the city of New York every day for their air conditioned trains. I LOVE YOU.

The hangriness* subsided somewhat in the air conditioned ride on the F-train out to Coney Island where we were ecstatic to be received by the hot-dog stalwart Nathan’s.

Hot dogs are somewhat an institution here and strangely edible.

Oh, I know they’re like the roulette of meat products.

It hasn’t stopped me from enjoying them on a semi-regular basis – in fact I’ve had two since I’ve arrived here a month ago, and based on my previous rate of consumption (around once every ten years) I have increased my intake exponentially by the power of pi x infinity*** since leaving Australia.

The first hot dog I ate was at Costco, and it was $1.50 including a refillable soda pop (Diet Coke, of course) and was delicious.

The Nathan’s hot dog I would rate secondary to the Costco hot dog for two reasons:

1 – The price, which was comparable to a Harry’s pie v a Four and Twenty pie but without the extra mushy goodness to justify it

2 – The size, which matched my hand and not my forearm.

What gives, Nathan’s? I’m sure your founder, Nathan Handwerker, would be interested to know what his non-Polish cousin Peter Costco**** is up to.

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Nathan likes: hot dogs, and signs. Dislikes: non-battered foods, Costco

The h also bought a poutin-type side dish to accompany his hot dog which was a sore-looking mess of crinkle-cut fries topped in bacon bits and (neon orange) American cheese. American cheese is excellent – when I asked what it was nobody could tell me. God bless America!

Anyway, back to our protagonist.

Sated, we ambled around to the stadium which was exactly like what you see in The Simpsons only with slightly more concrete, and Coney Island amusements in the background.

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Take me out to the ballgame…

The Cyclones C team is a minor league team that has some promising members but on the whole plays like … well, me. Shows potential, but can’t catch a ball with a bucket. The only terminology I have to reference here is from my own juvenile exploits in primary school compulsory soft ball so I am excited to share with you my cultural analysis of the experience:

– everyone gets their own scoreboard graphic and theme music. Theme music best described as urban versions of “Coco Jambo” by Mr. President.

– Medieval Times, evidently a sponsor of the stadium, hands out free crowns in either red or blue, depending on which team you go for. They also had a halftime.. ahem.. show of knights in team colours sword fighting. I never thought I’d be one to say this, but it was a little exciting. There were sparks flying off their sword strikes, loud banging noises, grunting… it was AWESOME. It also appeals to my newfound love of cosplay which means I WILL be making the trip to Jersey to go to Medieval Times (more on that later) and also to the New York Renaissance Fair the day before I come back to Sydney. But like I said, more on that another time. SO. Excited.

– Various fried foods – corndogs, burgers (deceptively called sandwiches), fries, cheese on a stick, and the smell of your pants melting as your butt expands faster than the speed of light. Seriously, the only non-fried food options were a pretzel or ice-cream. Delicious, but hardly dietetic. Particularly after a hot dog main.

– Chatty McChat Chats – you go to a ball game to be heard, and not seen, so it’s important to note that there was a lady there actually wearing pyjamas, and several men that alternately either kindly let us eavesdrop on their oral history of baseball coaches or would graciously correct our conversational mis-steps.

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I am SO excited this photo worked out. I caught the Knights at play. Hahahahha. Mature, I know. Ohhh yeah.

We relished the game experience (reminds me – we saw a hot-dog race – Relish won but as Derek informed me – there is no winner, cause you need Ketchup, Mustard, AND Relish all together for a hot dog to be a winner) for about an hour then decided to split and take a stroll along the boardwalk.

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Did someone say CHEER SQUAD? There is a small part of me that’s dead sure I would have been a cheerleader if I was born here. But I wasn’t. And nobody needs to watch a 30+ year old, wise-cracking cheerleader fumble her way through a bump and grind routine that would make Madonna blush.

Now, Coney Island is now a “cleaned” up version of its former self. That’s to say, it still attracts a colourful crowd and a fair chunk of that crowd is not familiar with the concept of a belt to hold their pants up.

The crowd itself I don’t mind (actually quite enjoy the people watching) but they clearly don’t understand the social mores of public ablutions.

There was one public toilet block open on the boardwalk by the time we left the game. Stupidly I had been deaf to the call of nature inside the stadium and once outside realised the urgency of about a litre of Diet Coke working its way through my kidneys and hitting my bladder.

Thinking quick, one gentleman had decided to pee on the door of the nearest closed facility. Shaniqua and I shuffled on to the open one, which is where I was greeted by the dirtiest, no, that’s not the word for it. The grungiest toilet block I have ever been into. One side of stalls was POLICE TAPED and a lady was still in there – possibly passed out, possibly dead. Who could know. The other side was fortunately available for use and featured the usual wet floor you encounter in public toilets (why is it that people don’t seem to be able to aim their crotch directly above the bowl? I get it, there’s no way I’d sit on the seat – if there is one – either, but you can’t get the pee in the toilet? Is your chakra misaligned? WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE?). I was wearing shoes that are easily hosed off, so wasn’t concerned with the wet floor. What was interesting was that I noticed the cleanest part of the bathroom – walls, door, empty toilet roll holder, etc.. WAS THE CEILING FAN. Which was covered in about 10cm (not kidding) of dust. But dust seems cleaner to me than miscellaneous body fluids, used gum, or sanitary refuse. Am I alone in this?

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This sign should be above the toilet block.

After a full body hand-sanitiser rub down we continued our promenade, walked through the amusements (I didn’t ride anything though the scariest would have to be the Cyclone – built in 1927 and wooden) and busted a move outside this awesome looking joint.

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Bump your a$$ off! Dodgem cars – awesomely signed.

By then our Coney Island paradise had faded beyond dusk into darkness. The streets, still steamy, filled up with more slack waisted pant wearers, and their loud female accompaniments. We hailed a town car (possibly the only town car with no air con) and Shaniqua and I shang***** our little hearts out to the radio, to the wild bemusement of the driver who the h implored to have pity on him for having to live with me (sucker).

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OOHHHH I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY!

Then we were home. To the cleanest, coldest, sweetest place in Brooklyn that night.

THE END.

* hangriness – (etymology: a combination of hungry + angry) when you are so hungry you feel like eating your own fist, which is ironic considering all you want to do is swing it at the nearest person.

** hangry – like hangriness but an adjective, instead of a poorly constructed noun

*** in case you have your calculator out, this is not really an accurate value but I haven’t done maths in a really long time. As a frame of reference, this value is inversely proportionate to the quality of my digestive health which is another story (and equally corrupt formula)

**** Not actually founded by someone called Peter Costco, some dudes named James and Jeffrey from Washington. Guys who clearly know their way around a hot dog…

***** shang – past tense of shing, when you shout + sing at the same time. Often a result of excessive ingestion of alcohol, in this case, heat induced delirium


The Un-NY, Non-Domestic, Non-Productive Post AND Weekend Recap

Hey kids!

Remember what it was like to be sick, last time you were sick? Probably not, because if you did, you’d remember not to pass it on to someone else next time. You’d stay home and make sure nobody else felt the way you did. But seeing as we each get to a point where we think “Actually I don’t feel that bad, and I really need to do x” and pass all this lovely stuff around I thought I’d dedicate this post to the sickies out there who just caught something off someone.

Apparently it’s very un-NY to stay at home when you’re sick. You keep going to work (work can be hard to come by). You keep going out (there’s stuff on.) There are subway poles to lick. People to sneeze on.

Yes, I’m under the weather, just to add to the current list of maladies I am battling off a feverish episode that has left my body feeling like boiled lunch meat in week old garbage. Lovely huh? 🙂

The strange thing is, I feel like working out – because my body is so gross to me right now – even though I know it won’t really help my getting over whatever it is… I am just sick of feeling soft, lazy, immobile. (In case you think I’m crazy – I just spent the last couple of months getting over two operations.)

I also have a strong craving for carbs and dairy – two things I know will set off any number of digestive complaints… even if I do order the vegan (dairy free) gluten free mac and cheese from Brooklyn Mac… It’s tempting.. but carbs.. is it worth it? So I’m sitting here on my MacBook, and I’m switching between the menu for Brooklyn Mac, and the menu for M Noodle (dumplings… mmmm). Which do I want? Do I even want food? Do I have enough cash? Why can’t someone order for me?

All in all, I’m a HOT MESS of a woman. Cannot make up my mind what to do. It’s just as well I’m home alone or I’d probably be picking a fight or simply driving h crazy with my indecisive, maudlin, cry-baby attitude.

At any rate – I thought you might like a recap of the weekend. It was a rather lovely weekend (before my fever set in again last night) and it was largely thanks to our lovely downstairs neighbours.

While Saturday was forecast over 100 degrees (fahrenheit, obviously, for the dummies) the searing heat was no deterrent for the Giglio festival. You heard me.

Now, the Giglio festival is exactly like what you would expect if someone said the phrase “EYE-talian American” to you, put it in a bottle, shook it around and sprayed it at your Cousin Vinny. It was loud, a little dramatic, but sweet and full of meat.

The Feast of Giglio, also known as the Cooperative Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and San Paolino di Nola, is a street celebration held annually in Williamsburg to remind inhabitants to eat. Mainly fried objects. They also erect a large statue of a saint, make charitable contributions to the church in exchange for a name plate on a large wall, and watch old Ronnie recreate his halcyon days as a dance hall singer on the church steps.

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I would eat you both again, my nutritionally deficient friends

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Hey, How’s your Braciole? Sounds awesome in an eye-talian American accent.

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I am waiting for your orders, pregnant ladies.

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Creepiest but most captivating clown ever.

For a hilarious but very detailed description of foods and drinks available check out the Short & Bald Eat New York‘s review. I am shocked, but also annoyed to discover that the Pina Coladas we all decided couldnt possibly be alcoholic ACTUALLY WERE – because it’s legal to serve alcohol on religious principle! I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to buy an overpriced, oversized colourful cup full of delicious goodness.

Oh stuff it, I’m ordering the mac & cheese. Ah. Okay. That’s better.

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So the neighbours had Philly Cheese Steaks – haven’t tried one of these yet – can’t remember what the h ate (something meaty I’m sure) and I sampled a variety of novelty foods including barbequed corn (delicious), MY FIRST PRETZEL (salty, but delicious), pink lemonade (the real lemon variety) and a chicken skewer then felt as if I might throw up. Michael did buy some zeppole (like a donut but in a random shape dusted with icing sugar) and I know this will sound crazy – me loving sweet things and pastry – but I could take or leave it. Not sweet enough 🙂

Spotted: Scariest Bozo the Clown ever cajoling the crowds as he smoked on his perch nonchalantly – dunk Bozo indeed.

On our amble home (attempt to walk off calories) we spotted this gorgeous bar and decided to stop for a refreshing, iced cocktail (calorie burning attempt failure no. 245,049). Owned by a lovely French man, the bar was exceptionally trendy but still friendly. The cocktails were pleasant, company excellent, and this bar, she take a good photo. Eric doused it with his drink so we decided to continue walking home. 🙂

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Santos Anne – must come back

Spotted: Verizon building 2 blocks from our house – no windows for 4 floors – neighbours have identified it as excellent place to hide from zombies.

Sunday we had a very long sleep in and in defiance of yet another scorching forecast decided to head out to the Brooklyn Flea Markets down by the water in Williamsburg.

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What I wore on Sunday. Subway floor.

On our way we made a pit stop at our local donut boutique – Dunwell Doughnuts. Awesomely retro-styled goodness.

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We took the subway to Bushwick Ave and walked down to the markets.

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On Saturdays they also have a food version called Smorgasburg. Definitely going to have to try that one!

It was there that I had my first celebrity spot of my life in New York – Jonathan Cheban. Watchers of Keeping Up with the Kardashians will know Jonathan as Kim’s publicist at CommandPR. I did a little “I might wee my pants” dance but didn’t ask for a photo. I mean really, I’m not a child. Alright – bible, I just chickened out.

Whilst in W’burg we perused overpriced antiques, I walked into my first proper ‘bar’ (smells like beer! just like back home!) looking for somewhere to eat, and decided to go back to Cafe Ella for my favourite Cobb Salad with dressing on the side.

After refreshing our sweet selves we caught the subway home, I worked out, and after I made dinner for h (and fruit salad for me) started feeling rather poorly.

So that was my weekend! We also started watching HBO’s The Newsroom which is pretty amazing, if not a little unbelievable (seen the second ep? End of the ep – completely out of character. But, FINE.)

How was your weekend? If you think these questions at the end are rhetorical you’re wrong. I really do want to know 🙂

My Non-Mac and Cheese just got here. Gotta run….

Love,

Fatty.

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Taste the rainbow – street view of dry cleaner’s sign

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What nobody knew was that Pepe had his own thing going on, the whole time.


J’Accuse! A General Introduction to Being, in Brooklyn.

The creation of an identity is intrinsically artificial – we only need to look at the artful construction of self-presentation to see this grand production made vivid in a gesture, a manner of dress, or a way of thinking. All cues that can be learned, modified, honed to perfection for the absolute achievement – in successfully manipulating ones life into a spectrum of acceptable experience – for the self and inevitably for others.

It’s a distasteful thing, to think of your own self as something you pieced together consciously – as if this could not possibly be authentic. As if it’s a departure from your naturally born being – that pink, bleating organism that opened eyes upon the world and just was.

Yet the necessity of the construction is – to me – evident in the process of day to day life. That elemental forging of a being through one’s assimilated experiences and choices – perhaps in the misguided pursuit of happiness – cannot be cast aside to reveal Ground Zero. That in itself is a duck and weave from the reality of the very nature of being.

No, I didn’t take LSD today. But I digress.

Two mind-altering things did happen.

Firstly, being a Saturday (and a rare opportunity to wander New York together) the H and I decided to venture into W’burg proper – more accurately into hipsterville. Arriving early on a Saturday had two advantages – firstly that it was not busy (though most shops had barely opened), and secondly that the atmosphere hadn’t yet rustled up the anticipated 40 or so degrees that had been forecast.

Summertime on the Avenue

The first scenario involved an uninterested and hirsute roadside bookseller who just happened to have two books on sale by authors I had been thinking about over the past two days. Both female writers whose work I admire, in charming editions that were $5 a piece. Of course I bought them. And have already started to re-devour each. I can already feel the words of these women infecting my consciousness, as all good literature does, and I love it.

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Model muses: Anais Nin, Gertrude Stein

The second was a run in with a second-hand store owner whose store I admittedly browsed at length whilst stealing glances of various items, mentally stashing them into potential holes in our unfurnished home. Let’s just call it the Junk Store. In half an hour of un-airconditioned wandering I found 3 items in the entire store – a shed filled with piles and piles of rubbish. This must be the most satisfying part of all – the feeling that I edited my way through thousands of lifetimes of knick knacks and memorabilia. Discarded, salvaged, priced to sell.

Approaching the cash-register happily, I then placed each item amongst the refuse that had been previously collected on the counter. A dour faced woman eyed me suspiciously, then glanced at the first item.

“I’m not selling you this,” she says.

“Pardon? I don’t understand?”

“You changed the sticker. I know what this is meant to cost. I just priced it myself.”

As happens with all my brushes with authority, I quickly examine my conscience for a memory of having done something wrong.

“But I just picked it up off that shelf – that one there – and I didn’t do anything to it.” My pitch is starting to rise and falter slightly, panicking because unlike the guilty, I haven’t a response prepared. I check my sweaty hands, front and back, to see if somehow maybe a price sticker has rolled off onto them?

“Listen, lady, that’s what you all say. You walk up here and you say innocently, “I didn’t change the sticker, I swear”, but I know what it should cost – I just put the price on.”

By now I’m exasperated – even feeling a little teary – and not wanting to let this carrion of a woman reduce me to a scene I take a breath.

“Look, I didn’t do anything. What is it supposed to cost then – I will pay whatever it’s supposed to be. I just want to buy it.” Deep breath.

“No, I’m not selling it to you. That’s our policy. If you change the sticker, I won’t sell it to you.” She sets it aside, amongst the detritus, and starts ringing up the other items on the cash register as I consider telling her where to stick them. But I really want the item in question now – it’s a matter of principle, of clearing my name…

I take one more breath, and finally retort “Why don’t you check the cameras then. I have a clear conscience, so you can say whatever you like. I didn’t do anything wrong. And you know, I understand your position, but I really don’t appreciate being accused of something I haven’t done.” I stare her down.

She looks back at me. “Alright, alright, I believe you, that’s why I’m selling it to you.”

Incredulous, I watch as she totals the tally – $13 – and starts to wrap each item in newspaper. Finally she wraps the item in question. I hand over a $20, mentally scanning for something satisfying to say to this woman who is doing exactly what I wanted her to do anyway, what she should be doing because I haven’t done anything wrong, but no words come.

She hands me my change, and a plastic bag emblazoned with repeating red “Thank You”s that’s filled with newspaper and junk and saying nothing nothing! what a loser! I walk out of the store to find the H in a pink mist of frustration.

It occurs to me on the way home how hilarious this is, but not before I have enjoyed stewing in a funk of a mood that matches the weather for obnoxiousness.

Why so hilarious?

Not because I realise that I shouldn’t really give two flying ones what she thought of me when I knew I’d done nothing wrong. When I knew the person that I am wouldn’t bother doing something like that. Because from a tender age the thought of shoplifting leaves me with a telltale blush of shame over my face and chest.

Hilarious, my dear readers, because The Incident was over this:

Awesome paperweight of a horse’s arse. That I fought for with my honour, people. MY HONOUR.

And that…. is that. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to feel like an arse, it might as well be over one.

X

For those interested, these were the other two items. One day I’ll have a surface to display them on.

Milkglass ashtray with studs and scalloping. Gorgeous. Not to be used as an ashtray.

Memphis checked and approved this purchase – bud vase – no chips or scratches. $3.99. Score!


Everlane Pops Up in Soho and McNally Jackson Books me for Lunch

Today was really just a lovely, lovely day.

It didn’t start out perfectly but perhaps that’s the point. After some thunderstorms the other day and a temporary cooling off, the temperature has started to climb again. When I woke up this morning I was really keen to make myself an iced coffee, and remembered hubby had come home with two ice cube trays last night. So I was almost ready to go, dissolved the instant coffee powder, added sugar, opened the freezer and…

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He put them in the freezer, STILL WRAPPED. Not just empty, but he didn’t even take them out of the packaging! I can’t write what I actually said but it was something along the lines of $%&^%)#

After much angst over what to wear I headed out to catch the M train – which I CAUGHT – SUCCESSFULLY! – to Broadway and Lafayette in my first foray into SoHo. For the uninitiated it’s a bit like Surry Hills in Sydney, formerly dubbed “The Wastelands” it now primarily consists of fashion boutiques and clothing retailers, chic cafes and men in strange combinations of clothing and this week, the Everlane pop-up store.

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I arrived about 10 minutes early, so not wanting to seem way too keen, I hung back a little and took a shot of the beautifully done front windows.

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Not a shop – Everlane pop-up in NYC

Inside the ultra-friendly staff helped to navigate the carefully curated collection of designer esssentials. Everything pictured is available online (for shipping in the US – if you want something sent to my address get in touch and I’ll help sort it out!) except the backpacks which are preview only and were only available to order today.

The Classic Tote (pictured in top shelf and left hand side rack below) are super thick, well constructed in heavy raw canvas with an interior pocket and stud fastening. The straps are a gorgeous chocolate leather colour and it’s the perfect size to fit a MacBook, plus a few essential items. I ordered one in black (I know! All those colours and I pick black – but I don’t have a black tote and really need one) at the incredible price of $30.

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Seriously, when was the last time you got a quality bag especially one not made out of synthetic fibres for $30?

Also on show were these Weekender bags, which are priced higher at $95. They’re super-roomy inside but would easily fit enough for a quick weekend getaway and would make a great gift for someone. I’m thinking someone who has EVERYTHING and needs nothing and is a nightmare to buy presents for… hopefully they’re not reading this blog post. But again, it’s the details that make this a designer item at a deeply discounted price. Heavily reinforced straps, chic colourways and stripe motif, pocket detail.. just.. clever.

I also had a sticky beak at the belts and of course those gorgeous tees I blogged about here. I ended up buying two of the v-necked tees – one in black (of course) and white (for something a little different 🙂 haha) and that was that. A well-constructed, classic tote with leather handles and two designer tees for $60 with free shipping. Crazy.

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The Women’s Weekender $95 from Everlane.com

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Women’s The Slim Belts – felt really nice to touch, heavy leather and not rough/unfinished on the inside like some belts can be. Buckle is also sturdy – lots of ticks!

So my earlier giddiness and excitement over the brand was entirely warranted. The presentation and service was what you would expect from a designer label, without the ridiculous price tag – exactly what their messaging promises. Really just a refreshing fashion experience, all in all. So I was strolling through Soho and spied McNally Jackson bookstore – an independent bookseller with a two-level store  at 52 Prince Street with an actual self-publishing service! Someone stirred that little beauty into action while I was there. I wondered what they were publishing.

After perusing the fiction and biography shelves I found myself in the poetry corner and picked up two books – an intensely beautiful book by Pablo Neruda (The Captain’s Verses) and also decided to revisit Field Work by Seamus Heaney – a collection of poems from which we studied in high school and has never left me.

Interestingly both books were written by the authors in some type of (either necessary or self imposed) exile. I’m certain I don’t feel exiled but it could have to do with the feeling of displacement of being in a new city.

I settled down with a coffee and a bagel and before I knew it had read the entire Neruda. Just, breathtaking.

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“Today, this day was a brimming cup,
today, this day was the immense wave,
today it was all the earth.”
– from “September 8th” in The Captain’s Verses, Pablo Neruda

Post-poetry and lunch and in a nice haze I visited hubby at work (the entire office waved to me in unison – kind of first day at a new school style) and had my first trip to Trader Joes – like Norton Street Grocer but WAY bigger, and cheaper. I will blog about it some other time – it’s seriously worthy of its own post at some point.

And I got home, and had TWO parcels! So exciting.

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No more paper plates for the doggies! ORE Woof melamine bowls from wag.com

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My cute side plate order from Anthropologie!

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Loved the presentation of the Anthropologie order – receipt comes in a lined wallet envelope.. gorgeous.

And there you have it, just a really nice, really good day. Hope you have a great one.

x


Subway Fail – Meet Shopping Fail

To the various forms of transportation in NYC

Today, once more, I succumbed to your temptation despite the rain and attempted to use the subway.

This was with somewhat hilarious results as I attempted, and failed, to get to Greenpoint via the M line. Which for the record is not really possible because it’s on the G line.

I actually have to confess, I did end up on Manhattan island at one point, then I caught a new train – the F – which I have never caught before.

And as a result found some marvellous “99c Shops” (Aussies – this is exactly what it sounds like it is so I won’t explain) and bought some of my aforementioned essential items for home making, plus wandered around possibly the most Jewish area in Williamsburg and felt very inappropriately dressed in leopard print pants.

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Leopard Print jeans from Switchblade Stiletto… Macbook by Apple

In the interest of creating a reliable document for people of the future who are using this blog as their holy scripture I feel I need to be as descriptive as possible – to avoid unfortunate misinterpretations that have plagued others in the past.

Essential item acquisitions:

– a saucepan with a lip so I can boil and pour water, and possibly even poach eggs in it if I feel so inclined

– a bread knife and cutting board

– two mugs (thought about buying just one – but that would mean sharing and mornings are not a good time to ask me to share anything) and some stainless steel teaspoons

– white vinegar and a spray bottle (useful for cleaning just about anything)

Feeling accomplished, I picked up some bagels and instant coffee and got home just before it decided to bucket down with rain again. Thought I’d done some good today. Flushed a few tissues down the loo and presto! It’s blocked. So hubby will have to pick up a plunger on the way home.

Mother&%*%

Yep, that’s right. Another essential item. No amount of poking wispy bits of toilet paper down what you can reach with a stick is going to clear a blocked toilet. Not even if you add vinegar.

Too much information?