Monday, October 20, 2014
I love my job. I'm happy to say I love my job, despite the complaining that sometimes comes out of my mouth because the 16 year old inside of me, who didn't want to go to school then, and didn't want to go to class in college, and doesn't want to go to work on any given day today because sometimes, we just have those days where we don't want to do a thing. I still love my job... once I arrive.
I love having the responsibilities of the "behind-the-scenes" if you will, at J.Crew. Working at a flagship store out of Los Angles, I have been blessed with amazing learning experiences and opportunities. I am in no way boasting, I just never really mention my work over social media as often as I talk about it with Zeke, my family and close friends.
Sometimes I feel lucky to do the visuals for J.Crew, and I think to myself, why me? How? Zeke's frank response is, "because you have a degree in Fine Arts." There you go... But I really didn't know how much fun I'd have. I love tasks, and busy work, and the nooks and crannies of J.Crew. I love building the shelves, pulling looks for 150+ mannequins, steaming the looks (sometimes I feel like I work as a vogue intern, like Lauren Conrad on 'The Hills', and I like that), dressing and pinning every article of clothing, every layer, every panama hat, every heel or leopard flat and every torte shell statement necklace with a splash of glistening crystals. I love organizing and labeling shoe boxes, sending out pant alterations to our tailor, putting decals on the front store windows, building the front window displays, painting walls, organizing the signage for our promos and sales in our signage library, folding and arranging a perfectly neat table displaying hues of your favorite cashmere sweater with De Kooning and Slim Aarons table books on the side. Do you get it? Do you get that I love this stuff? I love being the one who takes the price gun and marks down all sale items and placing them in the sale section. I love when shipment arrives because that means I get to tear the crap out of 300 boxes with fresh new arrivals and pretend like it's Christmas and that they are all for me - and they're not, but it's a thrill!
I love having the opportunity to work with a great team, and working with a great partner for visuals. I love the opportunity to have frequent visits with Mickey Drexler, and getting to know him, and sharing my personal artwork with him, as well as Jenna Lyons brother, who models every now and then in our Style Guides. That doesn't happen every day folks, nor did I ever imagine that it would have! I love feeling like I am making something happen - putting the store together, making it looks crisp and clean and beautiful. I love to step back and see the hard work I put in and then watch the customers tear it to shreds like animals. I just love my job.
I also love that most of the time, I am in the store when it's closed - either at the butt-crack of dawn, or over-night roll out shifts. I just got home from a rollout shift - it's 7:30 in the morning. I started work at 9 last night, so you best believe I'm going to be nocturnal today, and tomorrow, as I'm doing another rollout tonight, AND tomorrow night. It's a beast, I tell ya. It's a lot of work, hard work - dressing all those mannequins, and putting up the window displays. My back aches and all I want to do is sleep, but when it's all said and done, I realize how much fun I was having. And how I'd do it again and again, and again - which I do and dread it hours before hand. But nonetheless, I feel as though I have gained new skills, and new opportunities and for that I am grateful.
Graveyard shifts at the Crew allow me to do what I love - and that's being creative.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
One of my favorite months of the year is here. Obviously, seeing as how we are two and a half weeks into it. I haven't been as festive as I normally am, nor excited nor as obsessed; and I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around my abnormal Halloween behavior. But I know the root cause of it and there is someone/something to blame - and that's the state everyone and their mother drools over - CALIFORNIA.
I swear I'm celebrating Christmas in July. First off, the weather keeps getting warmer and warmer. I'm sweating throughout the night like a hog, and no leaves outside have changed color. Maybe, just maybe, it's because there are no actual trees in Santa Monica, only palm trees. And maybe, just maybe, the trees we do have last all year - everything is still in full bloom - roses, hydrangeas, you name it. I sound stupid, don't I? Doesn't it all sound like paradise, what I am describing to you? It is, don't get be wrong. Someone still needs to slap me silly because I am constantly in awe with the beauty of this small city by the Sea, but seasons - I NEED SEASONS. I am such a holiday fanatic, and you cant play the part if you don't have the backdrop or else it feels like you're faking it.
It's hard too because no one here decorates for Halloween. For the most part, everyone is either single, older, or a student and most of the housing are apartments. But if you go a block or two north and you hit the high society and all the old money neighborhoods with their mansions - everything is gated or blocked by boxwoods and hedges so even if they did decorate, I couldn't see it to tell you that they do.
Zeke has even noticed my odd behavior. In the middle of September he kept asking, "Hey, where's the Halloween/Fall decor?" Wait, it's a week till October?! I thought it was JUNE! I truthfully kept forgetting it was fall. I feel like we are still in the midst of summer and that this has been the longest year of my life until I realize I only have two and a half more months of 2014 left. Then I begin to panic.
We still have yet to go to a pumpkin patch, or a haunted house or go ghost hunting. We have watched some scary movies and I did hang up bats in our house, as you can see above, but it's just not doing the trick. I force myself to wear a sweater but then I regret the decision as I am dying of heat and would rather put my swimsuit on and head to the beach. What a blindsided spoil brat I sound like, huh? But, the grass is always greener on the other side, I'm sure. Everyone with seasons and the perfect crisp fall breeze and aroma are thinking how they are so over it all and wish for the beach. Except, on my Instagram feed, that's not the vibe I'm getting. Everyone and their mother is apple picking, going on hayrides, collecting an ombre collection of fall leaves, decorating their porches with pumpkins, eating stew, you name it and they've got the backdrop to prove it's actually October.
Woe is me I guess. I'm starting to understand why people who are okay without seasons move out to sunny California- the weather is perfect year round.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
In honor of the 75th Anniversary of my favorite film of all-time, "Gone With the Wind," here are my favorite lines from Margaret Mitchell's novel.
"Magnolia-white skin - that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns."
"Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything. For 'tis the only thing in this world that lasts, and don't you be forgetting it! 'Tis the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for - worth dying for."
" She spoke in the soft slurring voice of the coastal Georgian, liquid of vowels, kind to consonants and with the barest trace of French accent." (description of Ellen O'Hara)
"...There was an air of solidness, of stability and permanence about Tara; and whenever Gerald galloped around the bend in the road and saw his own roof rising through green branches, his heart swelled with pride as though each sight of it were the first sight."
"Savannah- that gently mannered city by the sea."
"Savannah - a quiet jungle beauty of the sea islands draped in their gray moss and tangled green, the white stretches of beach hot beneath a semitropic sun, the long flat vistas of sandy land studded with palmetto and palm."
"Twelve Oaks - they topped the rise and the White House reared it's perfect symmetry before her, tall of columns, wide of verandas, flat of roof, beautiful as a woman is beautiful who is so sure of her charm that she can be generous and gracious to all."
"Savannah and Charleston are like aged grandmothers fanning themselves placidly in the sun."
"Atlanta was a mixture of the old and new in Georgia, in which the old often came off second best in it's conflicts with the self-willed and vigorous new."
"Lonely plantations in Charleston, where the bellow of alligators broke the night stillness; dreaming in it's gardens behind it's high walls. Savannah, with it's wide streets lined with palmetto and the muddy river beside it."
"Southerners were as enthusiastic visitors as they were hosts, and there was nothing unusual in relatives coming to spend the Christmas holidays and remaining until July. Visitors added excitement and variety to the slow-moving Southern life and they were always welcomed."
"Scarlett wanted to be home. She wanted Tara with desperate desire of a frightened child frantic for the only haven it had ever known."
"Her love for this land with it's softly rolling hills of bright-red soil, this beautiful red earth that was blood colored, garnet, brick dust, vermilion, which so miraculously grew green bushes started with white puffs, was one part of Scarlett which did not change when all else was changing. Nowhere else in the world was there land like this."
"Wars were fought for swelling acres, softly furrowed by the plow, for pastures geen with stubby cropped grass, for lazy yellow rivers and white houses that were cool amid magnolias. These were the only things worth fighting for, the red earth which was theirs would be their sons', the red earth which would beat cotton for their sons and their sons' sons."
"God intended women to be timid frightened creatures and there's something unnatural about a women who isn't afraid... Scarlett, always save something to fear - even as you save something to love."
"There was something about cotton that was reassuring, steadying. Tara had risen to riches on cotton, even as the whole South had risen, and Scarlett was Southerner enough to believe that both Tara and the South would rise again out of the red fields."
"I'm like Atlanta. It takes more than Yankees or a burning to keep me down."
"I do mind, very much, the loss of the beauty of the old life I loved. Scarlett, before the war, life was beautiful. There was a glamour to it, a perfection and a completeness and a symmetry to it like Grecian art. Maybe it wasn't so to everyone. I know that. But to me, living at Twelve Oaks, there was a real beauty to living. I belonged in that life. I was a part of it. And now it is gone and I am out of place in this new life, and I am afraid."
"You should be kissed and often, by someone who knows how."
"They burned you," she thought, "and they laid you flat. But they didn't lick you. They couldn't lick you. You'll grow back just as big and sassy as you used to be!"
"But, no matter what sights they had seen, what menial tasks they had done and would have to do, they remained ladies and gentlemen, royalty in exile - bitter, aloof, incurious, kind to one another, diamond hard, as bright and brittle as the crystals of the broken chandelier over their heads. The old days has gone but these people would go their ways as if the old days still existed, charming, leisurely, determined not to rush and scramble for pennies as the Yankees did, determined to part with none of the old ways."
"Atlanta, it seemed, must always be hurrying, not matter what it's circumstances might be. Savannah, Charleston, Augusta, Richmond, New Orleans would never hurry. It was ill bred and Yankeefied to hurry. But in this period, Atlanta was more ill bred and Yankeefied than it had ever been before or would ever be again."
"Night after night, in these newly built homes, the windows were ablaze with gas light and the sound of music and dancing feet drifted out upon the air. Women in stiff bright-colored silks strolled about long verandas, squired by men in evening clothes. Champagne corks popped, and on lace tablecloths seven-course dinners were laid. Hand in wine, pressed duck, pate de foie gras, rare fruits in and out of season, were spread in profusion."
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
This past weekend was packed, with lots of to-do's from my bucketlist and I can confidently say, I was in heaven. It's one thing to spend a Saturday with your girlfriends, but it's another to spend the day with Henri Matisse.
We went to the LACMA and saw the 'Van Gogh to Kandinsky' Exhibit, which included other Fauvism & German Expressionist Artists. I can't explain to you the joy that fills me when I am in a art gallery filled with my favorite artists and my most favorite works that I have always dreamed of seeing in the flesh. Matisse makes my heart flutter, with his playfulness and his color palettes. He is truly one of my role models and the fact that I was able to see my two favorite works of his, "La Gerbe" and "Open Window Collioure" was truly a dream come true.
My head is spinning with inspiration. All I want to do is not show up to work and paint paint paint paint paint. I want to dab into fauvism and experience painting techniques in the Matisse way. He is such an inspiration to me. I wish so badly I had the guts to paint as he did with no mental thought involved. I'm too much of a perfectionist as an artist, and I think too hard about how to create the perfect stroke or palette within an abstract or just a painting for that matter. One day I'll get there, but for now - I am still over the moon with my experience at the LACMA. Like, I dream about it nightly.
On to the next Los Angeles adventure with my girlfriends!
Friday, September 5, 2014
Football season has arrived, which is exciting. Though, I'm the kind of gal who likes to tune in to one game and one game only, which would be my football team. Whereas, the Zoo likes to watch every single football game ever played, meaning my Saturdays are shot from here on out.
But at the same time, I have had a list of things I've been wanting to see and do in Los Angeles, and most of them I have a feeling the Zoo wouldn't be so thrilled about. I don't blame him as they are more feminine activities. So now I'm thinking, I'm going to spend my Saturdays with my gal pals and have no shame in doing so because I'll know the Zoo is perfectly content surfing in the mornings and sitting on the couch screaming at the tv the rest of the afternoon till the sun sets.
As for me, I'm going to explore, eat and set my eyes on Los Angeles! So I've created a bucket list and I plan on checking off every single one.
places to eat:
- Belcampo Meat Co.
- Bottega Louie
- Reel Inn
- The Polo Lounge
- Gracias Madre
- Blue Plate Oysterette
- Pinks Hot Dogs
- Randy's Doughnuts
see & do:
- Santa Monica Bowling Lawn
- Annenberg Beach House Pool
- Spend a day sketching at The Getty Villa
-Visit Marilyn Monroe's Home
- Beverly Hills (Hollywood) Tour
- Nethercutt Museum
- Griffith Observatory
- Pantages Theater
- The Magic Castle
- Stahl House
- Bikes Santa Monica Boardwalk
Thursday, September 4, 2014
I am finally conquering the strong waves of the Pacific. Truthfully, going into the ocean out here scares the living daylights out of me. I feel that I have no control over myself and that the sea is stronger than I. There is a massive undertow that doesn't exist in the warm and calm waters of the Atlantic. The temperature is below freezing and the waves could and will swallow me in one big gulp.
I can normally ride the waves out as if I were in a wave pool, but here, you have to dive through and under or else you'll come crashing with it into the sand. It has happened to me before and I thought I was going to die.
As of late, with the holidays and having no work on Monday's, the Zoo and I have been spending our lazy mornings at the beach. Him surfing, and myself finishing off my last couple of hours of morning zzz's and then waking up on the beach to read a book. Once noon hits, we leave Zuma Beach in Malibu and head down the coast to my favorite cove - Point Dume. It's perfectly tucked away in cliffs located in a very ritzy neighborhood and the water's hue becomes a sparkling ombre of topaz and emeralds. There are fewer people, dogs running around splashing, and for a moment I feel like I am in the south of France.
August has been a very hot month, especially for living by the sea, you'd think the ocean breeze would keep Santa Monica cool, but it's not. So, shockingly, the ocean water has been quite refreshing. Normally, I'd think anyone was crazy to step foot in it. So I have been brave and I've been conquering the Pacific. It's a rush. For one, I wear contacts, so every time a wave five times taller than me comes along, I have no choice but to dive under and I don't even have time to think about it. But once I swim back to the surface, I have to rub my eyes because my contacts are irritated. Before I know it another gigantic wave is coming at me and I have very little time to prepare myself for it. Like I said, it's a rush. But the more I swim in the ocean, the more I find myself enjoying it and now I'm a little bit addicted. I never thought I'd see the day come where I'd be swimming in the Pacific comfortably.
On some other random notes, this cat down the street keeps finding me to hang out. I am not complaining one bit, but I do find it comical how cats always seem to find me. Zeke and I were watching 'Mad Men' the other night and our door was propped open to allow a breeze to come in and randomly we heard a meow and the next thing you know, this kitten is just letting herself in, jumps on our couch and snuggles up to us in our leopard blanket purring. I WAS IN HEAVEN. And luckily, the Zoo didn't mind, so we let her stay awhile knowing that she'd just go back to her home once she was done with us. And that she did. We didn't have to kick her out or anything. She just did as she pleased.
I love the area we live in during the golden hour and at night. The shadows of the palm trees come alive and the silhouettes in the pale moonlight form. Fog rolls in and the scent of the warm ocean breeze fills the air. Zeke and I will take walks some nights and come back through our back alley way because its shorter. There is something about our back alley way that transports me into the past. I think it's because of all the telephone wires looping down the street but it takes me to one of my favorite songs by Lana Del Rey, 'Summertime Sadness.' If you don't know Lana, she's unique. The tone of her voice is haunting and can hypnotize you. She portrays a character like Priscilla Presley and has this very old hollywood feel to her image and music. When I hear her songs, and listen to the lyrics, I imagine Los Angeles in the 40's and 50's. In 'Summertime Sadness' she sings,
"I'm feelin' electric tonight. Cruising down the coast goin' 'bout 99.... I feel it in the air, telephone wires above are sizzling like a snare."
I have always imagined how those scenes of the lyrics played out in my head and I always envisioned scenes from the 1946 film, "The Postman Always Rings Twice."
And then the other day, it dawned on me. Zeke and I were walking home through the back alley way and I could hear a sizzling. I looked up and the telephone wires were sparking like sparklers and for a moment I was nervous because I've never see such a thing, and asking Zeke about it, he said it's normal. Then I remembered Lana's lyrics, "telephone wires above are sizzling like a snare." And they did, they did just that. They sizzled like a snare and I thought to myself, "so what she sings about Los Angeles is true." As weird as it sounds, it made everything come alive from the past. And now every time we drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, I hear her haunting voice in the back of my head, "cruising down the coast goin' 'bout 99." The pale moonlight is sparking across the ripples of the black sea while the warm ocean breeze blows on our faces with the windows rolled down and all along the coast are telephone wires sizzling like a snare. She described it perfectly. I am probably making no sense right now, but with the combination of Lana Del Rey's music, and "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and all the original typography of the hotels and apartment buildings, all of the art deco that swallows Los Angeles whole puts me in this state that I can't help but eat up. I truly feel like I am living in a dream, or getting just a small taste of what the past was like. And I'll take as much of that feeling as I can.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, "Where billionaires help out the millionaires," said Jay Leno last sunday in Pebble Beach at the greatest classic car show in the world. And he wasn't kidding. Let me begin by informing you that at a Bonhams Auction that weekend, a Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $38 million. Daddy Warbucks, say what!? It was like the shot heard round the world - news of the bid spread like wildfire, which started the weekend off with excitement.
I grew up spending lazy afternoons watching whatever my dad would watch - meaning, the masters, and car auctions. The auctions where mostly my favorite. It was then, that I gained a love and interest in classic cars, and anything that my dad is passionate about, sure enough, I am too. He and I are one in the same when it comes to passions. With that said, we'd always talk about the greatest classic car show in the world, 'The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance,' and we'd always look up the 'best of show' for each year and just drool over each and every one. We decided to add it to the bucket list - to attend Pebble Beach one year, which is so out of the way seeing as how it was across the country in California and we lived in Georgia. Well, years have past and what do you know, Zeke and I now live in California and so we bit the bullet and planned the beginning of this year to do it. And we did and it was a dream come true. I am just so thankful that my dad and I were able to go together and share that memory with each other. It wouldn't have been as meaningful or the same without him.
It was fun to see my dad in his pure element. It was like watching a kid in a toy store. Anything concerning cars is a dream for my dad. I remember when I was little he always talked about wanting a Porsche 911 in midnight blue with a tan leather interior. So for christmas, I bought him that exact car, but in a toy car model. I was so excited to give that to him. I was maybe 7 or 8 at the time and I remember thinking how mature of a christmas gift that was and I was so excited for him to open it. We shared the car - he'd have it on his desk in the study to remind him that some day he'd own the actual car himself, and I used it as the dream car for my dolls to drive around the doll house in (they fit perfectly in the car, it was awesome.) Years down the road, his dream came true and after all those years of saving he brought home his baby, an 87' midnight blue Porsche 911 Cabriolet with a tan leather interior. I moved on from my doll house and got to ride in the real deal. That car has so many memories linked to it. My favorite was having late night drives with my dad and driving through the Crystals drive thru to order some burgers and Coca Cola Slush. Another comical memory for the rest of us in the family minus my dad was when my mom dropped the ladder on the car inside the garage and she was too afraid to say anything so she made my sister break the news to my dad - we look back and laugh but it was a scary moment for my mom and my sisters and I. He still doesn't laugh about it today, and if he does it's a total fake laugh.
A couple of years ago my dad was able to seal the deal and crown the car with a classic car license plate - the baby is official. I think it was a proud moment for my dad, which put a smile on my face. Though to some, cars may be materialistic, for me, they are art, fine art, they are the transportation for memories. Literally and metaphorically speaking, they take you places. They have souls just like you and I and my dad and I appreciate them for that matter. It's not a toy, it's not a show-and-tell, and we don't parade the car around for people to look at us. Strangely, that car is like a member of the family who will be the last one standing and passed down for generations and generations with so many stories to tell. And for me, that's pretty incredible.
And so was last weekend. It may have been an event filled with wealth but the people there were filled with passion for cars, and cars that had a story of the past linked to it. There was one car who won 'the most elegant' award and the woman in the car was bawling as she was driving it up the path to except her award. See her emotion, you just knew that the car was extremely special to her, that it had belonged to her father perhaps, and it had become something worth working for and taking care of in the family, because to them it had some significance. I understood that, and it touched me.
It was the weekend for Ferrari's with one going home to a passionate collector for $38 million and for another who won a title they won't ever forget - the 'Best of Show.' Pictured above, it was a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe, owned by Jon Shirley. I think that may have been one of the greatest days in his life. The smile on his face was priceless when the winner was announced. The anticipation was perfect and the crowd cheered and applauded with such proudness and admiration.
I've got my eye on a particular car that I plan on purchasing far far down the road. She catches my eye every time and my gasps never grow old. I think my dad could agree with me that she's a real beauty. Until then, I get to have more memories in my dad's dream car he worked so hard for. Can't wait to grab some burgers in that midnight blue with the top down in December with my dad.
And as for Pebble Beach, we'll see you next year, as I think our bucket list just became a family tradition.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
My stomach is bloated from eating too much watermelon, and that's okay because it's July - and that's how you should eat your way through the month of July. Tomorrow is one of my very most favorite day's out of the year. I love America's birthday more than my own. I love that the whole nation comes together despite our differences and we celebrate our country that let's our freedom ring from sea to shining sea.
Tonight, I kicked my feet back in silence until I began to hear a loud booming and knew it was the sound of a magical firework show ringing in the celebration of the 4th. So, I jumped out of my seat, threw on my flip flops and I ran down the block over to Palisades Park and with the warm sea breeze cooling the summer night, I leaned over the railing to view the coastline of America and watched magic happen in the sky miles down the coast in Malibu and it made me smile. Everyone around me was silent. It was a good quiet moment to take in what we have been given as American citizens. What love I have for this country and for our soldiers who fight selflessly for us. May tomorrow be a beautiful day!