My good friend Jeffrey invited me to a show during Fashion Week to preview the new SP2013 Line from Viktor Luna. While I was expecting a runway show, I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be a presentation where we were able to get up close and personal to the garments and the models were very willing to show of the clothes with stunning poses. The construction of his collection was amazing with pleating and beautifully structured jackets along with a gorgeous print of The Met’s rooftop exhibit titled “Cloud City.” The color palette included smoky gray, rich navy, and fresh coral rounding out the neutrals of black and white.
There are more than a few pieces I wanted to add to my own closet. Which one is your favorite?
Oh Fashion Week, WHY must you be so fun and only come twice a year? Not sure why I am complaining, it’s comes twice as many times as Christmas. Although if it could be Fashion Week AND Christmas all the time, my head might explode. SO here we go. Day one, for me started with Fashion’s Night Out. Somehow I lost my mind last year and accidentally booked a trip out of town, so I missed it. So I had to make up for it this year. I planned my excursion so as to get the most bang for my proverbial buck. I knew I wanted to start at Henri Bendel (favorite store in the the city) and maybe pick up some cute little bauble as well as get my hands on a signed print from my favorite fashion illustrator, Izak Zenou. I wanted to purchase an FNO tote from him 2 years ago but just didn’t and I am still kicking myself. I was determined to get something this year. I just adore the Bendel Girls he creates. I see myself in so many of them. From there the plan was to hightail it to Loehmann’s because my other all time favorite New Yorker, Iris Apfel would be there. So, early plans in place, I made later plans to meet up with my friend Jeffrey and just hit some fun spots either in Soho or Meatpacking.
I decided on a fashionable middle part pony since it was a smidge humid and I didn’t want to deal with hair. Smoky eyes and a cobalt blue color block skirt added to the mix and I was off on my platforms. I couldn’t wait to get to Bendel and see all the fun things they were doing. When I got there, I beelined it up to the second floor but then spent 20 minutes trying to figure out where they hid Izak. In the meantime, I sampled one of the Watermelon beverages they were pouring right in the middle of the handbag collections. FNO is such a fun and festive night. Everyone seems to be in a good mood, and helloooo, there are beverages in the handbag! After asking a few of the employees where to find him, I finally made my way to the staircase and there he was. I cannot express enough how much I admire this man’s talent. I want to BE a Bendel Girl. I want to be one of the beautiful city girls he brings to life with his inks and watercolors. I could go on and on, not to mention how envious I am of his talent for goodness sake. UGH to draw like that! Jealous! But I digress. I was now in line and in dire need of one of the prints he was signing and selling, until I saw the price tag. I know it’s a good cause, I know it’s a signed limited edition print, I know it’s FNO but I also know what my budget will and will not allow right now and so I decided unhappily to get out of line and walk around the store some more. I was disappointed but refused to let it put a damper on the evening. In the meantime I loitered and tried to shake my shyness and just go talk to him. I am so bad about that. It always feels weird to me to gush over someone.
Not quite ready to do that, I went back downstairs and decided after some friendly fire in the cosmetics department, to let a lovely make up artist show me a product that turns powder shadow into liner that then doesn’t rub off. Genius, cause I do that with my shadow now and it totally rubs off. If you can make it stick I will totally buy this! She did a little navy liner and a swipe of blush and told me I had done a lovely job on my makeup already. Thanks goodness I didn’t need a full overhaul! I decided to get the magic potion and in the process got a darling little striped Bendel phone cover that they then proceeded to bedazzle with Swarovski crystals in an I <3 HB on the back. From there I mustered up my sass and got in line to meet Izak. It must have been the bling. Its like my super twin power or something. When I got up to him and told him how I had been too shy to introduce myself two years ago and made myself do it this year, he could not have been more gracious. Thankfully he is as nice and friendly as I imagined. I even gave him my card and told him how I would love to shoot him for Framed&Focused, because you know he was rocking some sweet frames. Artists always have very distinct style. I asked if we could take a photo and he asked his friend to shoot it for us. I was over the moon. Not wanting to take up any more if his time as the line was growing, I thanked him again and told him I would be in touch. I think I floated out of Bendel and all the way to Loehmann’s, even in four inch heels.
When I go to Loehmann’s (and no I didn’t walk silly, I took a cab, and it was worth every penny too in those heels), the fashion show was still in full effect! Whew, I hadn’t missed Iris. For those of you who don’t know, iris Apfel is, according to Wikipedia, an American businesswoman, interior designer and fashion icon. I will add to that, she is in her nineties, ridiculously stylish and fan-freaking-tastic. I just adore her and aspire to be not only that active but that COOL when I am her age. I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement when I finally saw her in person while waiting in line to meet her. While I never ask for autographs (I think they are sort of ridiculous, what exactly would you ever do with it) I totally got hers, cause that’s what she was doing, signing stuff. I was not going to say, “No thanks Iris.” But don’t think I didn’t give her a F&F card as well. That woman needs to be on my eyewear blog! We took a picture together and Lord help me if I didn’t want to reach over and just squeeze her.
Completely satisfied, grinning from ear to ear and not really wanting to walk much more in my heels I texted Jeffrey to see where he wanted to meet and thankfully he was worn out as well, so we called it a night and I walked the last few blocks back to my apartment with a little skip in my step. Fashion’s Night Out indeed.
I have only had one father in law in my lifetime. I no longer have a husband but I definitely kept the family in the divorce settlement. Well, ok we got joint custody. And while it’s been a while since I have spent time with them, I have fond memories of Elmo and Nilda James, both together and in separate relationships. There was the girl’s trip to Vancouver that Nilda and I took and I think my abdominal muscles hurt for at least a week upon returning home from all the laughing we did. There were the multiple phone calls to her from Puerto Rico on my first Thanksgiving with Mike when all the directions on the turkey package were in Spanish and I needed serious help or we were going to die of food poisoning. Even with 8 years of Spanish, they never covered stuffing a turkey. There was the road trip from Florida to Arizona in two cars with in laws and a lot of open highway. There were the family holidays in Puerto Rico with roosters, hammocks and lots of bread. And there were the endless stretches of baseball that Elmo and I used to watch together. It was our bonding time and we did a lot of it. From the cheap seats watching the San Antonio Missions to the family section of the big league stadiums to the recliner and sofa at 115 Austin Court. One thing we both loved was baseball.
This morning my father in law passed away and of course I went out to run after getting the news to process my feelings and let my pores bear the burden of some of the tears. I have run for a long time. It seems to be the one constant in my life that reminds me to keep putting one foot in front of the other when times are hard. It reminds me to breathe through pain so thick you think you could cut it with a knife. I ran through college when a serial killer was wreaking havoc on my campus, to gain some sense of control back in my life. I ran through tough times in my marriage, through my divorce and as I packed up my life to move 3000 miles away to a new city and an unfamiliar road. I remember one very poignant run when I was separated. I don’t remember the circumstances of that particular day but I remember heading out the door and running. Not jogging, which is what I would generally classify myself as, but RUNNING. Within a half mile I was gulping air as if I might drown in it. I had to stop and walk or be in danger of passing out on the horse trail. As I walked it dawned on me that I couldn’t run from this problem and that is exactly what I set out to do without realizing it. I laughed a little at myself and from that day forward my running shifted into a welcome respite from the curveballs life tends to throw our way. I don’t run from problems anymore but I run to get through them. When I get back from a run, my head is clearer, my breathing slows and life doesn’t seem so hard for a few moments. Not as hard as 9 miles in 90 degree weather with 85 per cent humidity, anyway.
So today, I took an unfamiliar route as I wanted to keep my mind engaged so as not to run bawling down a New York street. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, not that most New Yorkers would even give me a second look but I wasn’t going to take any chances. I had a general direction in mind and had to run cross town to make my way to the East River Park. As I came upon an intersection I had to wait for the light. I was stopped dead in my tracks by a huge graffiti tag of his name on a building. Elmo in big bright red and white letters. My breath caught in my throat and I had to choke back tears. Mind you this was within mile 1 of a 9 mile run. This would not be good for my breathing. I snapped a picture with my iPhone and repeatedly brushed tears from my cheeks willing the light to change faster as I nervously laughed off my mounting grief. I walked a little and took a few minutes to collect myself, and then hit my stride, surprised by how effortless the rest of the mileage felt today. I guess grief is good fuel. It felt cathartic to let sweat run down my arms and back as I remembered so many little things about Elmo. The way he said tacos, with an a like cat instead of August. How much he loved his family and how patient and kind he was with them. How I shook my head the first time I heard him describe something as “black as pitch.” The countless innings of baseball we watched and how much he enjoyed it.
Later when I was home and able to let the image sink in, I was still struggling with the seemingly unexpected site. I have never run that street. I only two days ago, decided to try a new route and go east on this little island with a million running route options. Why didn’t I go to Central Park to run long like I always do? Why today of all days did I decide to let the street lights dictate my path? Because my God is not random and even though I couldn’t see it at that moment I knew it was a little love note from Him in my time of sorrow. When I shared it on instagram I got my answer. A friend reminded me that it was just God letting me know that Elmo was welcomed home safely. Welcome home Elbow.
Footnote: It has been a few weeks, but it felt like it was time to share this.
I found out about Dead Horse Bay last year and thought my mom wold be chomping at the bit to go explore a 50 year old capped dump that burst, spilling trash out onto the beach for the last 40 or so years. Oh and it's called Dead Horse Bay because before it was a dump, it had a horse rendering plant. You get the picture? Yeah, so did she and she wanted NO part of it. Chicken!!! So it only took me about 8 months to talk someone in to going with me. Amanda and I grabbed a Zip Car and spent a blissful 3 hours by ourselves digging up old bottles on a quiet Brooklyn beach.
It took numerous soakings in bleach water to remove the sediment and scum from the bottles but what treasures!
And then we had a party and I had the perfect little bottles to fill with wildflowers as tablescape.
I used to spend hours playing with Barbie. HOURS. I might even go so far as to say days when you consider I would go to bed with my “town” intact ready to pick right back up the next morning. I had Barbie and Ken and Skipper and Barbie’s friends. Heck I even had Barbie’s Afghan Hound. And trust me when I say the first time I saw one of those in real life (30 odd years later walking down a Manhattan sidewalk) it was like I was 7 again. Tossed right back into the middle of my make believe wonderland.
And it was a magical place. Barbie was happy. She had great friends, a cute boyfriend, she took trips on the Barbie plane. Sometimes she was a passenger, sometimes she was a flight attendant. She had a fun car and drove around with her friends laughing. She dreamed big and had plans for the future. Maybe she had hard times too, I don’t remember. I also don’t remember EVER holding Barbie up and thinking to myself, “this is what I should look like.” And for the record I am not blonde or 6 foot 10 or whatever the naysayers have calculated her out to be in real life. Playing with Barbie had no detrimental impact on my self image as a woman as some would like to argue. Instead, it stoked the fires of my imagination and creativity. Heck, I would still play with Barbies all day long if life allowed it. It’s fun. So can we leave the building of self worth in our children to the rightful owners (parents I am talking to you) and stop pointing fingers at a plastic, inanimate object with flowing blonde locks, cause that’s my girl, and I am fiercely loyal to my girls.
My mom was a phenomenal mom. She didn't have it easy being a single mom but I have very vivid memories of yearly traditions that the two of us shared as I grew up. We made our own Christmas ornaments, strung popcorn, made cookies from scratch and decorated them. Each holiday had it's own fun. Every year at Easter she made a bunny cake, from the time I was a baby. And each year we got out the cookie cutters and made cookies to decorate. She still has the cutters and made them for my niece this year. You can check out her blog here. Now, I haven't really done any Easter stuff in years. I think the last time I dyed eggs I was still living at home. I always aspire to do it every year and have even bought the dye only to get busy and never get around to it. But this year I made a valiant effort to be more festive. So last week, I pulled out my batch of hard boiled eggs and took to decorating. While it made me miss my mom immensely, it was also very fun and quite comforting. I even decided to blow out a few eggs so they would keep longer and literally with the first puff I made, I felt like I was 10 again. It was really weird, but in a good way. So I dunked and dipped and dyed all afternoon. Now I don't know why it took me so long. What a fun tradition. And such beautiful little gems, wouldn't you agree?