my new favorite shack

August 15th, 2012

the empire state building, central park, time square, all staples in new york culture, and a must for any tourist who is lucky enough to find themselves in the big apple. so, as a person who has visited new york many times and has done the whole tourist thing, i always get excited to be shown around new york by a true new yorker, who can show me the hidden gems and the places that are staples in every new yorkers daily routine.

this past weekend i met up with an old high school friend, kevin, who moved to new york for school. he showed up at my apartment very early saturday morning, which on a saturday anything earlier than 11 is just unacceptable, and after we did the ritual “hello, how are you,” we decided to grab lunch. we stood in my apartment deciding where to go, when his entire face seemed to light up and he yelled, “we have to go to shake shack!” i had never heard of it before, but after seeing someone get so excited about a “shack” how could i not see what all the hoop-la was for myself. so we made our way to madison square park, and after being kicked off the subway for maintenance and through the farmer’s market, we finally made it to his beloved shake shack, which i had learned on the way there, that you are not truly a new yorker until you taste the greatness of the shake shack. once we arrived i thought the restaurant looked very charming amidst all the vegetation and the quaint seating.

photo courtesy of all over albany

kevin pulled my hand and basically dragged me to the line, “hurry, the line is never this short!” so after we quickly ran/walked across the park and ordered, i got the standard shake shack burger and fries, we waited. we sat and enjoyed the park and all the characters that lived among it and waited for our buzzer to buzz. finally, the food was ready. we got our food and i sat for a second and just looked at the burger. kevin, had been talking this burger up for at least an hour, i would be heartbroken if all that hype was a let down. so, i hesitantly raised the burger and took a bite. oh my god, that burger was delicious. we ate those burgers so fast, and then just sat back and relished in the tastiness.

photo courtesy of all over albany

 

so all-in-all this summer living in new york i haven’t done the “tourist thing” and taken in all the sights, but one thing is for sure, this past saturday i found one of my new favorite spots.

~alex

stick with it: life lessons through collage in long island city

August 8th, 2012

gathered 'round for collage critique at the magical oracle club

on the first tuesday of every month, the oracle club in long island city opens its otherwise members-only doors to caris reid’s collage class. described as a whimsical evening,  each class is presented with a new theme to explore ranging from “iconoclasts” to “spirit animals”, or my assignment, “don’t be square”. caris provides unique, vintage, carefully combed material, a tightly curated grouping of images that fit the month’s theme. one week you might find gloved ladies from a 1950′s german fashion ad, brazen youth from a 1970s life magazine, or cloistered victorian photos. caris, an extremely talented painter as well as contributing editor for the arts & culture publication dossier journal, has said that it’s more about process than it is progress, and the intimate group session brings back the arts ‘n crafts of kindergarten, something i truly and actively miss. the space itself is enchanting too, a kind of whistler’s peacock room meets modern-day surrealist literary salon. in queens… just off the pulaski bridge.

hands on instruction

the proprietors, julian (a novelist) and jenna (a painter who, i would like to point out this superlative distinction, was commissioned by sofia coppola to create replicas of 18th century period portraits for her film marie antoinette), are on hand serving specialty cocktails and to man the record player. opened in december of 2011, the oracle is a workspace for artists and writers and an arts club generating a ton of buzz. on nights like these, they welcome a rotating cast of crafters, enticing us to relax and let our imaginations, scissors and gluesticks run free. the class was wonderful, inspiring and surprisingly challenging. challenging because i thought i’d be a natural and when i wasn’t,  i just want you to know that it sent me spiraling.

class aftermath

though my work does not appear here to protect what’s left of the author’s pride, the takeaways from collage class were surprisingly universal, transferable bits of wisdom germane to life in general and not just the folded up collage now near forgotten on my bedroom floor and days away from making the two ft. leap further into the recycling bin. we were talking about collages but we were really talking about our inner selves, weren’t we? class ended in a group critique where our wise instructor focused on the playful, brave, courageous choices made amongst us through color, texture and some “last minute decisions from the artist”. from caris i learned not to fear commitment (to glue) and that “you are going to have to commit sometime”. i learned to balance the expected with the unexpected, that editing is important. collage is so interesting because there are all these decisions that nobody else sees being made. sifting through patterns, shapes and textures, deciding to commit to a symmetrical moment or not, wide open spaces or none whatsoever. i confirmed a suspicion that editing is not my strong suit, nor is knowing when to put down the scissors and the glue.

special thanks to my partner in crafts & freshman year roommate for accompanying me.

classes are $20 at theoracleclub.com

~jamie

my obession with the ombre

August 7th, 2012

ombre. everywhere i look it’s ombre, ombre, ombre. let it be hair, dresses, makeup, or your nails. the trend has, personally, started to grow on me, but not everyone is a fan. my sister for example says in respect to the ombre hair trend, “ombre? we’re from the south where that is called roots, and we wear a hat till we can get to the salon.” i also now question every woman’s hair when i walk down the street, “are those roots, or did she pay for that?” anyways, all that aside, if done right it can kind of look cool. so, i decided why not try it myself, it has to be way less maintenance than my need for platinum blonde hair. all year i gathered pictures of my favorite celebrities and have mentally prepared myself for the permanent root look i was going to inflict on myself. yet every time I find myself, in the salon chair, asking for the usual, “just make it blonder.”

photo courtesy of tumblr

So, i decided after months of doing this silly around the ombre routine, that this look was just not going to happen for me. no matter how much I mentally prepared myself, i could not willingly self-inflict permanent roots, but the look had, oddly enough, grown even more on me and I had to participate in this trend somehow. i liked all the ombre looks within the fashion world, but i decided that maybe i should start small, since i didn’t have a very good track record at going through with this look. so i landed on the ombre colored painted nails, which are scattered all throughout pinterest, where i usually find all of my latest obsessions. i was determined to master those nails. i googled ombre nail tutorials and was greeted with a plethora of different how-to’s. i could take my pick. Then i started to actually read the directions, better yet, look at the pictures. this looked a little out of my nail painting realm. i mean i can paint a mean nail, don’t get me wrong, but these people painted with sponges and mixed their paint prior to using it.

photo courtesy of totally love it

yeah, i was expecting to whip this out in like 20 minutes, not take up my whole afternoon. luckily a friend said she knew of a nail salon that specializes in nail art. so, after i decided that paying to get my nails painted ombre was far more reasonable then losing my sanity trying to master it myself, i made an appointment for sunday. yes, this sunday i will finally enter the ombre world.

photo courtesy of tumblr

I wonder what new obsession pinterest will throw at me next?

~alex

2012 olympics

July 30th, 2012

photo courtesy of csmonitor.com

i look forward to the opening ceremony every olympics for the basic fact that they only happen every four years. it’s torture waiting to see what theatrical masterpiece will be unveiled to us through our television sets. each year everyone will say the same thing, “that was the best show ever,” “last year’s was way better,” or even, “were all those fireworks really necessary?” no matter what people think, this year’s ceremony was definitely memorable.

photo courtesy of herald sun

 

j.k. rowling, james bond, mr. bean and…the queen? only the olympic’s opening ceremony could bring this oddball team together without anyone questioning it.  this year’s theme was a homage to london history, which left me thinking, i wish danny boyle directed my high school history class. if my teacher had obtained enough fireworks to light up the night sky or could charter a plane for not only James bond, but the queen of england to jump out of, well i probably would have listened a bit more.  then again i would only have a vast knowledge of famous literary villains, the industrial era, and a comedic rendition of chariots of fire, and…that’s about it. while all these facts would help me vastly in a game of trivia or maybe even jeopardy, i don’t think they’ll help me too much in the real world. unless I ever do actually end up on a game show and win the grand prize with the knowledge that I gained from the opening ceremony. then i’ll eat my words.  this year’s opening ceremony might not have been as educational as theatrical, but hey, it kept me entertained.

~alex