My dear readers may not all be aware that I just moved to Brooklyn, NY. I love it here. I have known since I was little that I belonged in New York. But DC will always be close to my heart. I was born in Columbia Hospital for Women, in the District. I grew up in Upper NW, and then spent the past three years in Petworth. DC is a wonderful, varied place and I love it very much.
Today, I was feeling homesick, and I posted on Facebook that I was missing my old hood. A friend mentioned that DC was a rectangle, and it just seemed like the perfect thing to write about right now.
Washington, DC was founded in 1 791 to be the new capital of the United States of America. Previously, the capital had been in Philadelphia, but Congress decided that the capital of the country should not be in a state. Instead, it should be its own federal district, so no state could have undue influence over what when on in the seat of the federal government. Because of this, DC still to this day has no voting representatives in Congress.
And so Washington, DC was born. It is a city that was planned on a grid, with avenues (named after the states) cutting diagonally through the city. It radiates out from the Capitol, which is located in the center of the city, and it is divided into four quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast. Politically, there are eight wards of DC voters.
The city was planned to be a perfect square – 7 miles square. It was made with land donated by Maryland and Virginia. However, due to rising tensions between the north and south, Virginia took back its half in 1847. DC is now mostly a square, with a bite taken out.
DC is, historically, a heavily black city. Recently, the percentage of black citizens is down to about 50% of the population, but in the past that percentage has been much higher. Especially east and south of Rock Creek Park, much of the city is pretty densely black. Because of this, there is a vibrant history of distinct black culture in DC.
The neighborhood nearest and dearest to me in Washington is Petworth. I lived there for the past three years. It is a neighborhood “in transition” – gentrifying, but by no means gentrified. Because rent is still relatively low, Petworth is an incredibly vibrant, diverse mix of people, with the population varying drastically in terms of age, race, and class. It’s a pretty amazing community of people, with lots of small local businesses and neighborhood pride. All of my friends still live there, and it’s truly an amazing place.
My dear friend Torie made the above print of a map of Petworth. I love it, and it hangs right above my bed in my apartment.
So, DC, here is my tribute to you. I’m missing and loving you today.
My friend Daniel (of Manhattan Nest) is the most brilliant thrifter I’ve ever met. Now, I love my thrifting. I don’t say that easily. But he has an eye like nobody else in the world.
A couple of weeks ago, we were on the Upper West Side, and we wandered into an antiques store. In the back of the store, hidden under a cupboard and several chairs, was a filthy oriental rug. But Daniel spotted it immediately. The men in the store offered it to him first for $125, which he bargained down to $100. Then they felt bad – as the rug was very dirty, and had some tears – and offered him $45. He was ecstatic – he got a rug that he loved for dirt cheap. And it ended up beautiful, if a little worn, once he vacuumed it.
I grew up surrounded by oriental rugs. My mom loves them, and so do I. Our favorite type is Heriz, from Northwest Iran, which is an often more geometric style. The colors are so rich and beautiful, and the patterns just exquisite. However, these are not cheap when bought “new.” Of course, the best rugs are not new, per se, but old and in fantastic condition. Oriental rugs are basically put down in the streets for camels to pee on.
So, inspired by Daniel, I set out to find myself a cheap rug on ebay. I found this one for $65, including shipping. It’s a bit worn, but really very pretty. I have it in my kitchen – I apologize for the terrible lighting.
My dear friend Sasha introduced me to red lipstick way back in 2009. My first color was a $7 Sephora option, with blue undertones.
Soon I was a convert. I bought a pink and a mauve and wore lipstick every day, all winter. I was briefly dating someone, and we’d make out and I’d get lipstick all over his face. Thek-thy.
Then I moved on to make-up counters. I tried NARS Jungle Red, which I liked for a while, but something about the color wasn’t enough of a true red, and it smudged really easily. Finally, I moved on to MAC lipstick – which is the best, ever. They make fantastic matte colors, which I like for their saturated color and vintage-y feel.
Lady Danger was my first MAC love. It’s an incredibly vibrant, orangey red with a distinctly vintage look. Whenever I wear it, I get crazy compliments. Something about bright red lips does that to people – men and women alike swoon.
Last spring, I bought Please Me. It’s a pale pink with white undertones, much paler than the picture, which was exactly what I was looking for at the time, although I didn’t end up wearing it much.
This fall, I moved onto Russian Red, which is a completely classic red with slight blue undertones. I was tired of Lady Danger for a bit, and wanted something a little less crazy. I think it looks amazing, and also makes my teeth look whiter as a bonus.
Along with Russian Red, I learned a trick from the good people at MAC. If you put a nude lipliner (I got “Naked“) on before your lipstick, it stays way longer and smudges less easily. Helpful hint! It really works! And it’s totally changed my lipstick life.
MAC has become my make-up go to. I recently learned how to do eyeliner (like, so, so basic), and I went to MAC for eyeliner suggestions. I got “Technakohl” liner in Graphblack. The people at MAC stores and counters are always super helpful and nice. Yay MAC! For all your lipstick needs.
Nothing stimulates my rectangular creativity like being in class. Especially history class. This professor is damn boring, friends. But that’s ok. I have the bloggity to keep me entertained. My boredom is your gain, dear readers.
My readers already know about my affinity for cute animals. But this site takes things a step further. Generally, I care less about cats than dogs, but I still appreciate a good photo of a pet. I generally feel like there is nothing worthwhile on the internet except for (rectangular) photos of people’s pets. And this blog.
Anyway, this brilliant site, “Cats That Look Like Pin Up Girls,” features a picture of a card of a pin-up girl juxtaposed with a picture of a cat in a similar pose. It’s seriously awesome. Some cat/lady pairs are really impressively well-matched.
Some are less than matching, but I appreciate them anyway.
Perhaps part of my partiality to these comparisons is my personal physical similarity to Buckley. Most significantly, we’re both redheads. I like to say that I could have birthed him from my loins. If I were a dog, that is.
I know you all have been awaiting this post with bated breath.
I can see it now. You sit at home, obsessively refreshing TTAR in your browser. “What is her second guilty pleasure website?” you ask yourself, as you systematically pluck out your eyebrows.
Well, friends, your wait has not been in vain. Now, it is revealed:
On the surface, it doesn’t sound that interesting.
“So what,” you think. “How interesting can Etsy be?”
Eat your words, dear reader. Etsy can be fucking ridic.
I should also mention that April, the curator, is fucking funny. Like, her writing actually makes me laugh out loud sometimes. Below is her response to the above photo (also, I should add, the green highlighted emphasis is her own).
Well, now you’re talking – a couple of rocks with string on them! You can add them to your collection, provided you collect rocks with string on them. And how cool is it that the colors change depending on the light? Not too many things you can say that about!
The question is, do you want her to trim the twine or not? That’s a toughie. I mean, what if it’s too short? Then what? You can’t uncut the twine. But then again, if it’s too long it might get caught in your nose ring. Oh well! I guess that’s why she’s on the front page, and you’re just slowly drinking yourself to death.
Whatever you choose, remember that twine-covered rocks are a calming element. Just thinking about the fact that someone got on the front page with this horse shit should put you in the fetal position.
DO NOT TAKE THE ROCK OUTSIDE
If you don’t get it, I can’t explain it to you. But I think it is subtle and brilliant and just plain funny.
Ok, indulge me here. One more.
She made up a term called “noncycling,” which makes fun of the trend to “upcycle” old clothes or items into a new, beautiful thing.
In her words:
1. To take a piece of garbage and turn it into a different piece of garbage
2. To take an object that still has some useful purpose and turn it into a piece of garbage
“Mary stopped Jim from discarding the expired air-fresheners so she could noncycle them into an instant collection.”
Here are too many noncycles, gleaned from a few posts:
Seriously. SERIOUSLY. This shit is for real. April is brilliant. Etsy is INSANE. I actually cannot believe what she finds on there. But I love it. So much.
You’re welcome. Enjoy.
Anyone with a half a toe in the fashion world knows that lovers of style anticipate the September issue of Vogue all year long. It’s usually about a hundred pages long, with unbelievable fashion gracing every page. So far this year, my favorites include these coats from Louis Vuitton, along with their spangled bags:
And Chanel’s take on their signature quilted crossbody bag – in jewel-toned velvet, which I couldn’t find a picture of online.
And Marc Jacobs always, always kills me. This dress has been my favorite thing since his runway show last May. I love the orange and the blue together, plus those flowers are just fab.
I’ve also made a list of Things I Need:
1. A military style jacket, preferably in navy or army green or charcoal grey. This I’m hoping H&M or Forever 21 can provide me with. Maybe Topshop. Maybe Asos.com. I’d thrift it, or even army-surplus it, but it needs to be well-fitted, and tailoring tends not to be the military’s great strength.
2. Big buttons to put on all of my wide-lapeled coats (praise Jesus, I already have some gorgeous vintage babies! Otherwise, wide-lapeled jackets and coats would be on the list, too). These will require a stop at M&J Trimmings, on 6th avenue in New York. If you have any sort of love for buttons, appliques, and other fabulous, well, trimmings – you will simply die in M&J. Simply. Die.
3. Some full, pleated, knee- or mid-length skirts. I’m loving accordion pleats right now. This isn’t really a change from what I have always wanted and always worn, but it’s nice to have an excuse to buy more. Maybe in jewel tones. I’m feeling some jewel tones. I kind of lurve this one, at American Apparel:
Or this from Asos.com – a fabulous site that I recently discovered.
4. Leather. Ideally, a rich leather pencil skirt. Probably in black. Definitely thrifted, because I need leather in the 9 dollar range, as opposed to the 900. I’d love a well-fitted leather dress, not only because it would look unbelievably fab, but also because it would be so warm. That I’m not sure I’ll manage, but if anyone has any tips – I’ll be forever grateful. Maybe ebay will come through.
6. A navy blue blazer with gold buttons. I used to have a fabulous boys’ one that was perfect, but I grew out of it.
7. Brogues. Wingtip. I trust that Tani can come through for me on that front.
8. A colored fur stole. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore fur. I have a gorgeous fur coat that I wear in the winter – not only is it fabulous, it keeps me so warm! And I’ve always said that the minks would want me to have it.
9. Embellished everything. There are huge jewels and sequins on everything this season, and I am SO DOWN.
Finally, I intend to blow off whatever I’m doing on September 9th, so I can go into Target early and check out the Shops at Target stuff before it’s all gone.
Fuck, man. If only I had a rich husband to buy me everything I wanted, I would look so damn good.
Every now and then, we all get sick of our frames. I mean, we wear them every day for years – how can we not want to mix it up occasionally? I had had my previous frames for almost two years, and they had been chewed and broken countless times by the God Damn Dog (GDD). I couldn’t stand to see them on my face anymore.
So I went to a website recommended to me by countless friends – Warby Parker. They offer a wide selection of funky, vintagey (rectangular) frames, some of which I like as much as any Paul Smith or Oliver Peoples option. I was looking for something not that different from my old frames (which were Paul Smith) – just with slightly thicker plastic and a slightly bigger lens. More of a statement frame, in other words. I picked out five frames for a free Home Try-On, and received them in the mail within a few days. I tried them all on, and picked my fave – the Webb, in Amber, which looks seriously perfect on my face.
While the variety of sweet frames and the free Home Try-On service are two awesome features, the best part about Warby Parker is the price. I got new frames and prescription lenses, all for $95. $95!!!! That’s like getting new glasses for free.
Anyway, it was a happy ending all around – for my psyche, my face, my eyes, and my wallet.
This morning, I had a lovely chat-over-coffee with my dear friend Torie Partridge, of Cherry Blossom Creative (Side note: If you’re looking for a design or art project to be done, contact Torie immediately. She is incredibly talented and professional). She complimented me on my new frames, and mentioned that she was in the market for a new pair. She wanted something a little bigger than what she had (the Wiloughby), but still rectangular and wide enough for her face. Here are what we picked for her Home Try-On:
And, the Miles:
So, dear readers – let us pray that Miss Torie finds the glasses of her dreams!
Also, pray that I’m able to save up 150 bucks for my dream sunglasses, the Mabel in Gimlet Tortoise.
It’s hard to find a brand of nail polish that has both pretty colors and doesn’t chip easily. I’ve found that in Essie.
The perfect red. The perfect neutral. The perfect, fun, seasonal colors. Essie has them all. Let me feature some here.
1. The Perfect Nude – “Ballet Slippers”
Any classy lady knows that a nude nail makes her hands look polished and clean, like she’s never done a dish in her life. Since I aspire to that level of lady-hood, I went on the search for the perfect nude color. Ballet Slippers is appropriately opaque, providing good coverage, and it is pale enough to not be far off from my lily-white redhead complexion. It’s less harsh than white, and less boring than beige.
2. The Perfect Red – “Apertif”
I can only spend so much time sitting calmly at my grandparents’ dinner table, after the pastrami is gone. One time, I decided that I wanted to paint my nails while the grown-ups talked about serious things. Grandma Phyl offered me a selection of colors to choose from, insisting that she “didn’t use any of them” and I could keep them for good. I picked a bright, vibrant red. Lo and behold, it was the perfect shade for my skin tone! Bright, rich, and saturated, this color is my dream red. It’s also blue-based, which means it’s not too orangey for my delicate complexion. Oh, Essie, you’ve done it again!
3. The Perfect Trendy Grey – “Chinchilly”
About two years ago, I decided that I needed some grey nail polish. It just seemed really important at the time. But grey nail polish, friends, is a matter of utmost subtlety. Chinchilly is not too dark, so it won’t be confused with black. It’s sort of a browny-grey hybrid, with emphasis on the “grey.”
4. The Perfect Boundary-Pushing Lavender – “Play Date”
Everyone needs a few bright, happy colors in their nail polish collection. This summer, I was really feeling lavender. It turned out to be a bit more of a search than I had expected – many lavenders were sheer, or had sparkles in them (ugh, so gaudy). Then I found Play Date at the CVS – miracle of miracles! It’s perfect. I’m wearing it right now, in fact.
5. An Impulse Buy – “Navigate Her.”
This is my one Essie polish that I’m not so thrilled with. I was intrigued by the spring green color as soon as it came out in Essie’s Spring 2012 collection, but it turned out to be somewhat washed out and boring. It seemed so tempting on the shelf! But it just doesn’t look that great on me. Oh well. Can’t win ’em all.
I’m still on the lookout for a turquoisey pool blue. I have one by China Glaze, called For Audrey, that is the perfect color, but it just chips off so immediately. Any advice would be strongly appreciated.
The best shoe store in America is called Tani. It’s on E. 72nd street, in Manhattan.
The most magical room in America is their sale room.
I bought a gorgeous pair of Kork-Ease sandals there for $30. That’s about 1/4 of the retail price.
Unfortunately, I walk so heavily on my heels that the cork got all misshapen within two months of my owning them. So, I moved onto Summer Shoe Option #2.
I first discovered these fantastically French tennis sneakers when I was 17. I spent a summer au pairing in Brittany, where I first tried oysters, champagne, and, yes, French shoes. Although they’re just flimsy constructions of cotton and rubber, they are somehow incredibly comfortable, incredibly graceful, and incredibly flattering to my skinny ankles. Despite the lack of arch support, I can walk around in them all day. Only the French could pull it off.
Until recently, these shoes were impossible to find in America. I suffered for years without a pair of Bensimons. And then I found them at Tani! What a magical place. And they were on sale.
Finally, my most fabulous purchase there was a pair of purple heels by Coclico.
Ok, so they’re wildly impractical and uncomfortable, but they are perhaps the most fabulous thing I own. I might murder Buckley in cold blood if he ate them.
I’m not even focusing on the unbelievable black leather Gorilla motorcycle boots I got there last year, or the red flannel Creative Recs I found several years ago. Or the mustard Mariana ankle-strap heels. But a lady always leaves some things to the imagination.
Friends, countrymen, and rectangles:
I couldn’t sleep last night, and, for some reason, rectangles were running through my head. I looked through some old posts, and remembered how goddamn brilliant this blog was.
So, add me back to your Google reader!
The rectangles have returned.