Spend a Couple Hours »Seafood Fest

Charlestown, RI

Fried dough, Olde Timey photos, and bajas? Must be a festival!! Fortunately for us, this one also featured a bevy of Rhode Island seafood, hence the name the Seafood Festival. Located in Charlestown at the Ninigret Park, this modest fest was pleasant and we ate well. At Chowder Kitchen we tried the stuffed Quahogs, at Salty Dags we opted for the Fisherman’s Lobster Roll (warm with butter and the best bite of the bunch), at D&L Lobster Express we got the cold lobster roll (with a touch of mayo and celery) from a cranky lady and washed it all down with the state’s greatest contribution to summer drinking, Del’s frozen lemonade.

We totally got one of the olde timey portraits too.

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Posted on August 8, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Get a New Bathroom

A Big Job

Well technically, this should be in a new category called “things to do with a couple weeks or months”. Like most home improvements, this bathroom remodeling has taken much, much longer with much more inconvenience than expected.. but it’s truly all worth it. Some people scoffed at the idea of an all black bathroom (inspired by this photo) but I knew it was going to turn out divine!

We have Jim’s friend from High School and current contractor to thank for coordinating the job and were especially impressed with the tub reglazing (a cheaper option to getting a new tub) courtesy of The Painted Otter. Tiles came from Nemo and we used build.com for the fixtures – an extremely easy and affordable site for all your building needs. We had some hiccups at the Home Depot for paint (we rejected cans of paint that were meant to be grey but were green) and decided to pay the extra cash for Sherwin Williams. Our ceiling fixture was a refurbished art nouveau light that I found on ebay and spray painted white.

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Posted on August 1, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »32nd Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow

at the Queens County Farm Museum

The 32nd Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow has been on my calendar for about a year since I first heard about it. The costumes and performances did not disappoint and I was especially psyched for the kids that were carrying on the tradition. All the costumes were hand made and really stunning and incredible: neon quilting, huge feathers, intricate beading (in one instance, a tweety bird), and bell covered dresses, oh my. The dance ground was surrounded with booths that sold everything from Horseradish Pickles to a great chest plate necklace I was very, very tempted to splurge on.

This was my first visit to the Queens County Farm Museum, a lovely little place that hosts several events throughout the year. We rushed out as the weather got wild leaving behind the horseradish pickles unpurchased and a snack that will be on my mind until next year (or if I can find them elsewhere).

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Posted on July 25, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Honey Spa

592 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

I am not a regular manicure pedicure customer. I treat it as an indulgence so am always open to other’s opinions and reviews for the service. Honey Spa received glowing reviews compared to the many slightly cheaper nail spots that dot my neighborhood, so I gave them a call. Cleanliness was a particular concern (especially while pregnant) and Honey is spotless, pleasant and relaxing. It fits someplace between a super high end (and high priced experience – I spent as much on just a pedicure in the city) and those hole in the wall cheap spots, which makes it just right for so many local girls, myself included. The staff is friendly and very professional. Natalia, an expert with the polish, was even kind enough to fix a toe smear before I left. They also offer other spa services like facials, messages, and waxing. Be sure to book ahead of time. They were getting phone calls all day and booked until closing.

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Posted on July 11, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Brooklyn Museum: American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection

200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn

I don’t know why the trek to the Brooklyn Museum seemed so insurmountable that I kept putting off my trip to see the American High Style exhibit. In truth it only takes about and hour and is more than worth it. If the sister exhibit at the Met is the dolled up, flashy younger sister boasting pop music, glitzy styled head pieces and films, this one is the calm, dignified older sister. It’s far larger and more spaced out than the other exhibit and features some incredible fanning Charles James, well preserved and embellished Worths, a huge amount of shoes, and more stunning prints, draping, and colors than any fashion lover could want for.

I’d heard great things about the exhibit, so was not surprised to be delighted. I was surprised, however at what a great museum it is over all. I spent most of the day on the 4th floor where they have huge recreations of old homesteads and interior design through the decades (recreated interiors are a favorite of mine in any museum). Also currently on exhibit is an inspiring Kiki Smith retrospective, the famous Judy Chicago “The Dinner Party”, a show of the jewelry of Art Smith that had my head swimming with want (many of the awesome pieces reminded me of what Grace Jones would wear), and he vibrant exhibition called Extended Family that includes work from sculptor Nick Cave, Nina Chanel Abnay, and Vadis Turner.

So, lovers of decorative arts take the 2/3 train and prepare to spend a day on the 4th floor in pure happiness. Plus! They allow non flash photography!

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Posted on June 27, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Big Apple BBQ

at Madison Square Park

We’ve braved the long lines (that actually go very quickly) and major crowds many times now to enjoy the outdoor Big Apple BBQ, which features pitmasters from around the country. We went in with a plan this year. We came when the festivities began to help ease some of the crowding and made for two specific places. First, 17th Street Bar and Grill, the Mike Mills Illinois based stand that featured baby back ribs and baked beans. I’d heard so many raves about the cue, that constantly, throughout the festival boasts incredibly long lines. There’s a reason – these are incredible! Slightly sweet, but mild, but flavorful and moist, I was thoroughly impressed. The baked beans that featured a variety of beans beyond the basic haricot beans.

Second, we made our way to the sandwich that we look forward to eating once every year – the whole hog from Ed Mitchell’s Pit. Perfectly, subtly vinegary and incredibly moist, like always it didn’t disappoint. I am psyched Van got to develop such good taste for BBQ so early in his life – I was hoping there’d be a baby onesie among the merchandise but no such luck.

There were less sweets than other years, only Blue Smoke offered them (we got the rootbeer float) and I was bummed to see there was no Brunswick Stew, but all in all, despite all the grumbling I heard and the crowds, I always love the Big Apple BBQ and look forward to it annually.

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Posted on June 13, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Brunch Party!

Sunday Perfection

Break out the mimosas, the bellinis, and the quiche – it’s a great time to have a brunch party! If you’re lazy like me, you can get the quiches from Fresh Direct and the world’s greatest donuts from Peter Pan. It took me a mere thirty minutes to get the whole shebang together. Throw in a few party games – Apples to Apples and a new game (to me) called Celebrity fit the bill nicely, and invite friends as awesome as mine who bring adorable babies, smoked oysters (!), homemade exquisite lemon meringue pie and it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Posted on June 6, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I will always be giddily happy with any museum or gallery show that lets me ogle unbelievable bead work, divine draping, stunning silhouettes, and incredible fabrics. The vintage clothes, from the 1900s to the 1940s presented with great headpieces and backdrops at the Met’s American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity made me and friend Stacy dizzy with pleasure and whispering about details we col hardly contain our excitement about.

Still, like all the fashion oriented shows at the Met, it was not without its flaws. I can only guess that the Costume Institute is limited in its funds compared to other wings, because the shows are always boxed off into some very tight corridors that become at times wildly packed with visitors exclaiming that “no one would really wear that” (ha!). Any room with video playing gets instantly bottle-necked and with no room to really stand back from the garments, much patience is needed to get a good, unobstructed view.

We were a little surprised to find the first “Heiress” room filled exclusively with Worths (not that we’d say no to a Worth or, pun intended under estimate his Worth as one of the most amazing couturiers if his time) but there were other designers of the era. The room for the suffragettes pretty much screamed “boring!” – all the wool suits were pushed in the corners with little fanfare, but my biggest gripe was the abrupt and undignified end. After the dreamy Starlet clothes of the  and 40s, we’re accosted by a bright screen of alternating images of modern beauties (like Jennifer Aniston, of course) and a blaring loop of the title sharing Lenny Kravitz song. After all this dimly lit beauty what were they trying to say? That true style ended in the over 60 years ago and now it’s all pop and noise? Probably not the intention.

Still, with the unusual limited time frame of the show (would have assumed The American Woman had some sartorial significance for the past few decades) and the limits of the space, once again The Met delivered with the actual clothes and styling, both amazing. Worth a visit before it closes August 1.

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Posted on May 31, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Otto Dix

at the Neue Galerie

The Otto Dix show at the Neue Galerie is “the first solo museum exhibition of works by this major German artist ever held in North America” and it’s thrilling, disturbing, and inspiring to see, so make sure you stop by before August 30 when it comes down. A fascinating artist dealing with absurd and the realistic, Dix art, with wit and amazing imagery, covers both the horrors of World War I and the decadence of the Weimar culture. Both of it’s time and timeless, the paintings and etchings called to mind not only the writings of Christopher Isherwood, but more modern wits like Anthony Burgess, Charles Burns, Kurt Vonnegut and Francis Bacon as well as my favorite spot in the Met: the Flemish portraits.

The large colorful portraits are stunning, particularly his iconic glowing red study of Anita Berber, complete with razor sharp manicure, but the smaller etchings have equal impact. A great show by an artist many would be wise to become aware of if the name’s unfamiliar.

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Posted on May 23, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

333 East 47th Street

Some art shows that I have been excited about (talking to you Younger Than I’ll Be at BAM) are disappointing in their scope, offering little more than the images released online, the incredible, awe inspiring, amazingly inspiring and exquisitely beautiful Utagawa Kuniyoshi exhibit: Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters at the Japan Society is the exact opposite. Room after room offered more stunning work in this comprehensive exploration of the artist career is almost overwhelming – but in a most excellent way. My dad exclaimed it to be the best art show he’s ever been to, and if these close up images strike your fancy at all (and they are really only poor quality photos from my camera off the exhibit book) you need to see this in person. I walked away so completely inspired and can guarantee you will too.

The museum itself is also worth noting as a pretty neat spot that also features Japanese language classes, sake tastings, and other events including film screenings. Some limited reproduction prints as well as a beautiful book are available for sale on this particular exhibition.

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Posted on May 9, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Pre Natal Massage at Greenhouse Holistic

88 Roebling Street, Brooklyn, NY

Years ago I had memorably amazing hot stone massage at Brooklyn’s Greenhouse Holistic so when recently, I was itching for a prenatal massage, I thought of them. Comparatively affordable (100 for 90 minutes, 80 for 60), this is an incredible experience and a day later I feel wonderful. Muscle aches and pains are alleviated and I am as relaxed as I get. Of course, if you’re not pregnant, the traditional massages are sure to be just as wonderful. For those that are pregnant and curious, a prenatal massage works like a regular one (which here included the incredible hot stone therapy), except there is a special cushion that eases any pressure on your tummy and breasts. Later in your pregnancy you may opt to get the massage on your side.

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Posted on May 2, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Manhattan Vintage

at the Metropolitan Pavilion

I hadn’t been to Manhattan Vintage in years, but am glad I made it to this months event if not to gawk at amazing gowns, jewelry, and hats, then to be surrounded by sometimes fellow lovers of vintage (sometimes kind of famous ones at that). The place is certainly not for bargain hunters (which I am, I admit) but the selections from an array of dealers are not bargain bin either. You will find well curated clothing and accessories that after a couple hours will make you spin with want.

I’d recommend it for lovers to browse, designers to find inspiration, the very wealthy, or those looking for a special something for an occasion where they don’t mind spending a little extra for a one of a kind piece. Of course, I could hardly leave empty handed and with my own special ability, managed to root out an beautiful Egyptian inspired necklace that was sold for about a third of the price most booths averaged. It came from Fool’s Gold and I love it dearly.

I also dearly love my good friend Stacy and her shop Exquisite Costume, which boasted an impressive spot full of incredible pieces.

While this season’s show is at an end as I speak this, the next one will be October 8-9. Then you can see for yourself as I neglected/was too scared of the vendors to take photos.

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Posted on April 25, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Blue Jam

Surreal Radio Comedy

If you know Chris Morris, you probably know him from the precursor to The Daily Show, The Day Today or from his more extreme and controversial Brass Eye. While the epically strange radio show Blue Jam has bits of that off the wall take on real life humour (a woman describing organized baby fights for example) this is a far, far more somber and surreal trip than faux documentary tends to offer up.

I received this well sought after (well, among a small subsection of American Chris Morris fans) in a very serendipitous way. I had stumbled across its existence while researching Snuff Box and no more than a few weeks later, our dear friend Matthew (who often has cult and rare pop culture goodies to share) had it ready for my hot little hand without me ever mentioning it once.

The sometimes hypnotic, constantly inappropriate, and poetically absurd show, of which there are hours and hours of, is nearly indescribable, which I realize is extremely lazy to say, especially when you are trying to describe it to others but there you are. It also, particularly if you are already on the darker side of moody, puts you in one hell of a head space. It is hilarious in its own way but I’d be extremely weary of who you might recommend it to. While it grows on me more and more, I think this could be one of the most brilliant finds I’ve had in a while, it is beyond being an acquired taste.

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Posted on March 7, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Jon Brion at The Largo

366 N La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

Our good friend Matthew  made sure that one LA experience we had was a Jon Brion show, so I felt absolutely horrible when Jim, Laura and I began dozing off early in the performance!! In our defense: we were totally jet lagged, it was warm and dark, and Brion was playing soft, Aimee Mannish piano tinkles that could easily be released on a collection of lullabies.

But things got wildly entertaining and even the most tired of us perked up when Brion began a mind-bending and mind-blowing cover of Tomorrow Never Knows complete with a Maria Callas video loop, his own looped drumming and guitar, and video of a great looking George Harrison. The rest of the evening consisted of more audience-requested covers (though none of mine took: Sex in the Kitchen, Pony, Thunder Road…) including a xylophone and audience participation version of Don’t Stop Believing, a trippy Wish You Were Here and a straight forward acoustic rendition Gigantic. It was invigorating and amazing to watch: every element of the songs he performs is created right in front of you. He’ll start on the piano, then drums, loop them then add guitar, loop that, they play around with video and voice… it’s totally amazing.

I had no idea what I was in for: admittedly a dunce when it comes to the modern soundtrack scene of Paul Thomas Anderson, I figured Brion was a comedian or something, but in fact he’s the highly respected genius behind not only the (PT) Anderson soundtracks, but the production of Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright, Elliott Smith, Kanye West, and Fiona Apple records!

At the new Largo location, the show seems to be almost monthly and sells out quickly; be sure to arrive on the early side to get pick up your tickets if you desire up close seats.

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Posted on February 28, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Facial

35 E 1st Street

My very first facial was serene and relaxing at Sakura Salon (home of the awesome manicures I’ve raved about). They have a small, secluded spa room where the sounds of ocean waves and birds chirping really take you away. The woman was gentle and the products were nicely scented… it was thoroughly peaceful. I had a gift certificate for a mini facial (thanks again Astrid!!) but opted to extend my treatment to a full hour, which includes a neck and shoulder massage and extractions.

I had been warned that extraction could be painful from friends, but it really wasn’t bad at all. If you need to be pampered, this is certainly a very excellent way to go about it.

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Posted on February 21, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Bloody Valentine Party

For Those That Adore Gore

Not everyone is into the flowers, chocolates, hearts, and candies associated with Valentine’s Day – those particularly disinterested in the holiday’s Hallmarkiness might just want to take a page from my friend’s book and host a Bloody Valentines Day Party instead of snuggling by candlelight.

As many of you know, I’ll get into costume at the drop of a (top) hat, since Halloween but comes once a year, so I’m totally looking forward to this party.

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Posted on February 7, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Ugly Sweater Party

Wintertime Funtime

Friends Astrid and Marcus are hostess and host extraordinaire. Just take a look at the photo-montage that adorned the invite of this month’s party, which, in acknowledgment of the frigid temperatures, was ugly sweater themed – you’d be amazed just how easy they are to find.

Several guests discovered an abundance of suitably unstylish garments at an Upper West Side Salvation Army, while Jim skipped the “vintage” route and pulled about half a dozen options right off the rack at one of the many discount shops on Manhattan Avenue right around the corner here in Greenpoint (you know those shops with the outdoor racks of faux Calvin Klein). Note the unusual length and half mock neck that passes for fashion in today’s world of Cosby sweaters.

I got my bejeweled masterpiece years back while in Austin, just knowing that some day it would come in handy…

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Posted on January 31, 2010