18 June 2008

en la calle

Maybe one of my favorite things about Latin America is the way buildings are painted. On my street, there are red houses with turquoise doors, blue houses with yellow doors, and pink houses with green doors. I hesitate to simplify or wax poetic, but I do think it reflects something inherently joyful about the culture. When you think about cultures that employ stark minimalistic and neutral architectural and aesthetic schemas, do you think of them as joyful?
This church is fascinating. Its roots are in Cortesian Mexico, but somewhere along the way, someone decided to give the facade a rosy facelift.
These street musicians were only teenagers and were completely adorable in their little uniforms.
These breakdancers were more than happy to pose for pictures. They were dancing in el centro, the town gathering space, but I found it especially interesting that they were breakdancing right in front of a grandiose and towering government building. What better place for street dancing?

17 June 2008

The "Aggy"

Whoa, whoa... The Daily Mail needs to do some homework. Cool kids got the "Aggy" back in January 2007, or even December 2007.

RIP Cyd Charisse

In March I reminisced about my childhood crush on Cyd Charisse as "The Green Lady." She passed away today.

16 June 2008

Mercado de Las Artesanías, Cuernavaca

The Market of Artisans sits in the shadow of El Palacio de Cortés and a statue of the conquistador himself.
It occupies about a city block with aisles and aisles of handmade jewelry, earthenware, clothing and other crafts. I bought two Aztec calendars printed on some oddly textured paper-like product.
I desperately want one of these traditional Puebla dresses, but it's almost something I want to make for myself. There's a great pattern here, at The Mexican Dress. I used to embroider when I was young, but I never did anything nearly this intricate. I may have to just buy one in Puebla when I'm there this weekend.
This vestidito was so adorable it almost make me want a child.
more to come...


After one day back in Cuernavaca, I remember why it's called "The City of Eternal Spring." The weather is ideally warm, never too muggy and often with a cool breeze. It's especially pleasant with a glass of guayaba juice. Guayaba is the official fruit of Morelos.

Today my language school threw a fiesta for los estudiantes nuevos. Some local women came and performed traditional dances. I tried to get some "in action" shots, but they were too quick on their toes for my camera.

Afterwards, I ate tacos and fruit with chiles till I nearly burst.

13 June 2008


I've spent the day walking around Princeton and ducking into cafés looking for shade and something cold, like Earl Gray gelato.

My sister's busy writing, so I took the liberty of photographing her pretty things, like party dresses...
pearl collection...
pin collection...
Miu Miu and Ferragamo...
Ugg, Dolce & Gabbana, Anna Sui...
Then I spent an hour meandering around Princeton's cemetery, also known as "The Westminster Abbey of America." I saw the graves of Glover Cleveland, Aaron Burr, Jonathan Edwards and John O'Hara, along with a few signers of the Declaration of Independence.

I learned some American history today. Apparently, during the Revolutionary War, Princeton was briefly the capital of the United States, and this building, Nassau Hall, was the official government building where the Continental Congress met. During the Battle of Princeton in 1777, it received canonfire from the Continental army as it attempted to reclaim the building from the Redcoats.
It's getting too hot to sit outside and blog, so I'll have to find some more gelato. The next time I post I will probably be in Mexico.

Hasta luego...

10 June 2008


Tomorrow I set out on my summer travels. On the way to New York, I have a four-hour layover at LAX, so my friend is meeting me to hang out for a bit at the airport. I arrive at JFK around 6am on Thursday and have to haul my ass and my luggage all the way to my sister's apartment in Princeton (this requires taking trains from JFK to Penn Station to Princeton and serves as a nice incentive for packing light). Once I've dumped by bags, I'll probably head right back into the city.

This is seven-weeks worth of clothes and toiletries crammed into one small suitcase (I do have a carry-on, but it's carrying books and my MacBook).

I got a new camera yesterday, so I'll do my best to post pictures as I'm able.

Hope everyone's beginning to enjoy the summer. Anyone have travel plans?

Sandals, finally

I ranted a few weeks ago about my really frustrating experience trying to buy sandals at the mall. I'd pretty much given up hope of finding what I wanted - attractive and wearable sandals with an ankle strap.

With only days left before my trip, I finally found the shoes I wanted. And - surprise, suprise - I did not find them at the mall. I found them at Marshalls. (Marshalls is apparently developing a Shoe Megashop - over 5,000 sq. feet of shoes - for people like me who want quality shoes without having to deal with snotty Nordstrom people.)

It can be difficult finding shoes for my feet (they're size 10 - La Femme knows my pain), but these feel like they were made for me.

Material: Italian leather
Price: under fifty dollars

07 June 2008

Grecian Calf Tassles, Gravity and Guardsmen

Since I'm already thinking about Greece (see previous post), I thought I'd post this picture of Nicolas Sarkozy taken yesterday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square in Athens. I love the uniforms the guardsmen - or Evzones - wear. It's hard not to stare at the little red slides (tsarouhi) with enormous pompoms, and the calf tassles (kaltsodetes). The white skirt is called a fustanella and is apparently the cultural equivalent of a kilt. According to the very scholarly source Wikipedia, the fustanella has "400 pleats, commemorating the 400 years of Ottoman occupation." Aside from the pleats, the uniform has many details that hail Greece's amazing and ancient history.
Tombs to unknown soldiers are such somber symbols of nationalism, history and gratitude. Dozens of countries have them to commemorate their lost. It seems to me that the guardsmen chosen to watch the monuments, aside from adding to the pomp and circumstance, would also be cloaked in uniforms that complement the gravity and symbolism of the tombs.

The intricate and rich uniforms of the Greek Evzones make me a little disgruntled about my own country's uniforms. I realize that the history of the United States is just a blip compared to the history of Greece - we don't have such a vast culture to draw from - but there's nothing remotely historical represented in the uniforms or ritual of the guards at Arlington. Certainly there is an aura of stateliness, but not a real sense of place (especially when the actual monument is a rather bleak block of a sarcophagus).

Maybe I've fixated on something that shouldn't be fixated upon - I wouldn't put it past me - but does anyone agree with me? Does anyone care to educate me on the uniforms or commemorative rituals of other countries?

Photo from Reuters

06 June 2008

Grecian Holiday

My brother and sister-in-law just celebrated their one-year anniversary by taking a weekend holiday to Santorini, Greece. (They live in London, so weekend trips to Greece are relatively easy, damn them.)
My sister-in-law is so cute I had to post pictures of her, but also, because I'm beginning to pack my suitcase for Mexico, I'm taking warm-weather-wear tips from her Grecian holiday attire.Apparently Santorini is known for its sunsets.

I thought it was Sex and the City, not Canine Sex and the City

First, I'll say something nice. The movie got me really excited to be in New York next week. Really excited.

Second, I kind of wish I hadn't seen it. I assumed I'd be underwhelmed, and I was. Really underwhelmed.

Actually, I should clarify. The quality was underwhelming, but the content was overwhelming.

There were so many unnecessary things - I wish they'd just stuck with what worked. Jennifer Hudson? Served no purpose - I kept waiting to get back to Sex and the City as I knew it. Why didn't they give poor Stanford the screentime that Jennifer Hudson used up? Seriously - he was the one who always pulled Carrie together after something dramatic happened.

Samantha in Los Angeles? No. Doesn't work. Samantha on Rodeo Drive, or reclining on her deck of her beach front Malibu pad doesn't make sense in the slightest - she's a Meatpacking District girl.

Charlotte? Hmm... just as annoying as ever. Her snottiness is totally intolerable when the girls are in Mexico and she only eats pudding cups because, "It's Mexico."

It irritated me that the girls treated every Mexican on screen like trash.

Oh, and what was with Miranda when she was househunting? She walks through an old neighborhood and becomes visibly grossed out by the (minority?) situation. She says, "Oh, there's a white man with a baby - follow him!" Quick - stick with the white people!

Also - I realize that at this point in the story, Carrie's supposedly a successful writer with a decent income - but the film is gratuitously materialistic. Yes, more than the original series. Within the first few minutes there are so many labels name-dropped - Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood, Christian Dior, Lanvin - just in case we somehow forgot that Carrie loves fashion. But it isn't just her haute clothing that annoys me - suddenly she's living in a penthouse on 5th Avenue. Suddenly she has a massive and glitzy wedding. Suddenly she has a closet the size of her old apartment. No longer are Louis Vuitton bags lovely things Carries makes eyes at through windows - suddenly they're a constant prop, a plotline, and a recurring topic of conversation.

I wanted a little more grit - maybe a dive bar or a trashy alley scene - and a lot less glitz. The movie lacked anything grounding and Carrie was no longer an "every girl." Had they introduced Carrie in the series as the luxe Carrie in the movie - I can't see how anyone would've stuck around to watch her fuck up her charmed and coutured 5th Avenue lifestyle.

And don't even get me started on the horny dog who got a least four sex-with-pillow scenes. It's called Sex and the City, not Canine Sex and the City. Why did they resort to Judd Apatow humor - to appease the boyfriends who got dragged to the theater? And Charlotte shitting her pants.. also for the male audience? Because the biggest scatalogical joke I remember from the series is Carrie accidentally farting in front of Big.

Anyone see it? Any opinions?

03 June 2008

Laura Miller Hates Generic

From "We Are What We Buy" on Salon.com:

"It's all too easy for people, under the influence of the siren songs of marketing (or murketing), to drift into a situation in which they use commodities 'not to reflect who they are, but to construct who they are. Not to reflect a self, but to build a self.'"

Read the rest here.

02 June 2008


Click here for a slideshow of YSL's work.

01 June 2008

Wedding Season

I went to two weddings yesterday. In general, I try to avoid weddings because I find them exhausting, gaudy displays of vanity that are the first expensive step towards divorce. Yes, I know I'm cynical. But also, I find that weddings very rarely diverge from puffy, chichi and formulaic.

Wedding #2 yesterday was held on a beautiful piece of property in Olympia. It was outdoors, and all the blossoms were out (so were the goats, chickens and kittens). The bride, my friend C., found her lovely ivory lace gown at a boutique in Seattle. It was refreshing to see something other than a starchy white, bedazzled-cupcake gown.

I was grateful she avoided the poodle prom updo and went for a soft classic updo, with a little feather hairpiece. Her sash and shawl contrasted splendidly with her vibrant hair.


Yves Saint Laurent passed away today. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts just opened a YSL retrospective this week, and San Francisco's de Young Museum announced it will host the YSL retrospective this November.

"Fashion does not only exist to embellish women, but also to reassure them, to give them confidence, to allow them to accept themselves… I have wanted… to place myself in the service of women… Meaning to serve them." - Yves Saint Laurent