What I am watching, reading, listening

 

 

Watching. Netflix.

Atypical

I was so bummed when I finished this two seasons so far, show, on Netflix. Hands down my favorite in a long time. I love a show that has me entertained with witty and well written dialogue. I love a show that has me laughing and crying within minutes. (yes, I DO watch This Is Us and I laugh and cry watching that too, but everyone loves that show so I am not using it as part of this list.) Atypical features as its main character, Sam, an 18 year old on the spectrum (Kier Gilchrist) who’s burgeoning need for independence is not without many bumps both deep and shallow for him as well as his family who, is dealing with their own stuff. The most important reason I love this show is Jennifer Jason Leigh’s portrayal of the mom, Elsa.  (I just wish JJL didn’t mess up that face with all those fillers.) Elsa is so earnest, flawed and dear.  The actress who plays the daughter Casey, (Brigette Lundy Paine) is excellent . The writing is good. I hope there is a season three.

Reading. Non Fiction.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness book written in 1994 is more timely now than ever. When people I know have repeated drama and persistent complaints about how life will be better when….,  I note how they forget that they take themselves into that next place and time. This book isn’t quite that, but it reminds you that all we have is now. Listening to your own self and being present in the moment is perhaps the best investment in your life you will ever make. What a simple concept so difficult to accomplish. Yes, meditation is a practice. This book isn’t all woo woo or rigid but clear and welcoming to the world of mindfulness.

Listening. Podcasts.

The New Yorker, The Writer’s Voice

It’s wonderful listening to a writer read their new fiction to me while I clean the kitchen, iron or do laundry. This podcast elevates my task into an opportunity to be transported.

Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda

While I am new to this podcast I can’t believe that Alan Alda is still such a relevant and talented human being (who didn’t watch M*A*S*H growing up in the 70’s and 80’s?) His conversations with  interesting people from all sorts of industries and walks of life teach us about connection and communication. No matter who the guest is, Alda brings out what is compelling and noteworthy.  I want to be that vibrant and interested when I am 82, no wait, forget that. That’s who I want to be now.

 

 

 

Flea Market Musings

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I had a wonderful time combing through trash and treasures last weekend at a few of New York City’s flea markets. Some of the booths were selling brand new, or never been worn linens, shoes or handbags. And they were lovely. But not what I want to see when I am in a dirty parking lot with sweat dripping down my back and harboring wishes of wearing a hazmat suit in such close proximity to some questionable merchandise. I want to see stuff I can’t see in Bergdorf’s circa 2018. I want to see items that are tacky, beautiful, cast away and foreign, and also yet strangely familiar.

One gentleman’s booth housed what may be the finest collection of household sterling silver pieces this side of the pond. Gleaming fish forks, apothecary jars with highly polished lids and water pitchers with bone handles elevated that nasty booth into what I imagine could be a well turned out estate. I was enchanted. And very inspired to polish my own silver collection–very soon.

There were trays of costume jewelry that broke my heart. Just imagining the pride once felt by the women who collected them. And here they were on West 25th Street languishing with no one to adorn.

Truth be told, I saw too many items I actually own from my own grandmothers hand me downs. Too many times I thought to myself, yikes, I have those candle sticks, I have that dish, I have that fake Hermes belt buckle (yeah, yeah). And items called to me from the past. That the very son I used to feed with a Barney spoon just like the one peeking up from a cutlery pile, had met me for breakfast just hours earlier, now a completely independent adult.

That’s the kind of flea market experience I want. To be transported by the crap from other lives, including my own other lives, to feel things I may never get to feel again or make sure I spend time making sure I do.

Dad Shoes

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I love how fashion can be completely anti good looking and sell it with a straight face. These chunky and clunky sneakers are very comfortable, make easy walking, and certainly are not going to send its wearer to the podiatrist. I think they are paired best with a wide leg so they stay in some kind of proportion. They are fresh and fun and if you purchase the Zara look alikes instead of the pricier Balenciaga ones, you won’t be making an investment you will regret.

Scent of Style

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Using a big vase of fresh fragrant flowers (Lillies always, please) is my favorite way to style a room with scent. A reed diffuser, candle or room spray is an easy way to add the olfactory dimension to a room without the upkeep of changing the vase water or picking off tired leaves. I’m thinking of a masculine tobacco reed diffuser for a den, patchouli candle for the bedroom, or a fresh verbena room spray for the kitchen.

Cross Body/Belt Bag

Wearing your belt bag as a shoulder bag or cross body isn’t that new. When I travel I have an old Gucci belt bag I sling over my shoulder when I have forgotten an evening bag. But, in the fashion industry this is a huge trend of the moment. Last year, the Wall Street Journal did a mens accessories feature and the fanny pack (as it’s known by its most unattractive name) quickly went diagonal. My large chested friends say it’s not for them. Some think it’s a young person’s look. I like it, it’s practical at keeping your belongings close. Last weekend, I tried the MZ Wallace quilted bag featured above in an airport retail store. The salesperson became unglued watching me fasten it across my chest. She didn’t get the memo or the sale.

Chains and Charms

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harrowstyle photograph

I am ridiculously attracted to Instagram for inspiration. One of my favorite Instagramers is @henrydominiquejewelry. Amazingly beautiful necklace styling photographs that are so well curated. Taking different types of chains and lengths add to the dimension, while charms bring an intimacy of the wearer’s story.

Rugs

 

Nothing anchors a room like a rug and nothing adds quick character to a space the way a rug does. I am partial to vintage Persian (modern day Iran) multi colored area rugs. The saturated reds and blues feel significant but in a neutral, non-invasive way. I like them paired with either antique or modern decor. While a sisal rug is hard on your bare feet, I like way it acts as a elegant cover up of a mediocre floor or a base for other rugs to be placed atop. Animal prints are also another great neutral. If you are spending upwards of thousands of dollars on a rug, you are going to want the rug to play chameleon for long time.

More is More

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These images of Kenneth Jay Lane’s duplex apartment at 23 Park Avenue (The Robb House) were published recently in multiple home design blogs and publications as it went up for sale after the famed jewelry designer died. I felt like I won the interior design voyeur lottery. The former mansion was designed by architect Stanford White and completed in 1891.  Many years ago, I lived three blocks up from this beauty and was continually charmed when I walked past it in my neighborhood. Fashion and advertising shoots took advantaged of its stunning exterior. Often after dark, as I walked slowly by, I would peer into the leaded windows trying to catch a glimpse of anything–anything, that was inside. I had no idea who lived there or how the building was broken up into apartments. I had a incredible design crush on the property. To see these interior photographs is satisfying. I have spent way too much time going over the details of each room, from the bones of the building to the tchotchkes on each surface. There are so many layers to explore. This is a case of more is more.

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Floral and Feminine

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Rebecca Taylor

 

Floral dresses are everywhere. It may take awhile to find the one that best suits you.  For me, the challenge is not looking frumpy or too trendy. A delicate balance for a very pretty trend.