Wearing Love of NY Around My Neck

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I may not live there anymore, but I still love NY. And this particular day has become one filled with memories. I found this subway token in my NY apartment when workers came to fix a hole in the ceiling that poked through to the roof (another story for another day involves firefighters and a wobbly fire escape and my fear of heights). The token almost escaped my notice; it was tarnished and dropped down with broken bits of plaster and glass from a skylight that was hidden by a landlord who had no idea that tenants like me would pay more rent for such details as tin ceilings, skylights, and claw foot bathtubs. This particular token was in use before my subway-riding days and I have come to imagine it belonged to a young woman who dropped it out her purse or pocket while taking in the view of the city while on the building’s roof. She might have been up there to cool off on an oppressive summer night. Or maybe she was bundled up in winter, cheered by the holiday lights on the church across the street. When I lived there, you could see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Twin Towers from the roof. Then, the view suddenly became less spectacular. Now I wear the token on a gold chain whenever I feel far away from the city I once called home.

Better than Before: Replacement Flip-Flops

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Cross-posted on the Surf Like A Girl blog

My new Sanuk flippies were a gift from my sweet mom, who went to the local surf shop to buy them for me after my silver Havaianas flip-flops were stolen from the beach near the home of my parents. (Beach-goers leave their shoes by the dunes before walking onto the beach, but my pair apparently caught the eyes of a shoe thief.) Mom wanted to replace them and picked the only silver pair the shop had in my size — and it is a definite upgrade. I love the simple style and comfort of Havaianas, but these Sanuks — made from recycled yoga mats! — are pillowy and feel dreamy on my feet.

Flapper Look: Sparkly, Red, Smokey

For a family friend’s 85th birthday party, she threw a ’20s-themed party and asked guests to dress in period attire. She picked good timing, with another movie version of “The Great Gatsby” coming out soon and ’20s looks showing up on red carpets and in fashion spreads. I love ’20s style any day.

You can see Lila and I had the same thing in mind when putting together our looks.

My flapper look came together easily with accessories and makeup choices. Subtlety? That’s no fun. In addition to a ring on every finger (two on a few!), I wore multiple strands of pearl, crystal, and glass beads, a pearl brooch, and a rhinestone headband. Most accessories were vintage finds.

I pulled my hair back in a clip to approximate the bob look and decided on matte red lips and smokey grey eyes. I shudder to think about the chemicals found in makeup available in the ’20s — there was certainly lead in the lipstick — but my 21st century makeup bag contains only non-toxic choices. Lips: Jane Iredale’s Lip Definer in Crimson topped with RMS Lip2Cheek in Rapture. Eyes: Jane Iredale Eye Liner in Black Grey and Alima Pure Pearl Luster Eye Shadow in Grace. Face: Un-Cover-Up by RMS, topped with Alima Pure’s Shimmer Powder in Sorbet, plus some Living Luminizer by RMS in the corners of eyes and on brow bone. Voila.

Zen Place on a Chain

My favorite vintage items are the ones that I’ve had before they were vintage. I’ve had this beach scene charm since I was a kid. Closing my eyes and picturing the beach is the trick I use to calm myself. This is like wearing my zen place around my neck.

Game Day Look: True Blue

My Super Bowl look: Something old, something new, something upcycled, something blue. I took a NY Giants shirt and recreated it by cutting off the sleeves and adding details to the neckline with a strip of denim from a thrift store pair of jeans and fabric from the cut-off sleeves. The necklace is was made with a string of glass beads from a broken chandelier purchased from a yard sale.

Groundhog Day: New Day for the Vest

It’s Groundhog Day and the movie of the same name has been airing on cable TV. Andie Macdowell’s character wears a pink baggy sweater over a blue button-down shirt for most of the movie (not appealing), but I like the white shirt and vest she wears in the dinner scene with Bill Murray’s character. In the ’80s and ’90s, this look would be paired with high-waisted and pleated (gasp) jeans or trousers, but I would like it with skinny jeans and booties.

Converse All-Stars: High, Low

I’ve been thinking about a new pair of Converse All-Stars in red and recently spotted this pair in the Waraku shop window on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, CA. I like a good wedge, but think I’ll stick to the classic Chuck Taylor style this time around.

Q&A: Perfumer Mandy Aftel

Excerpt of my interview with Mandy Aftel, originally published on Greenopia.com

Perfumer Mandy Aftel’s love of natural essences drives her business. While most commercial perfumes are made using synthetic scents, her Berkeley-based Aftelier Perfumes is focused on making artisan natural perfumes. She’s also written books on the subject, including Essence & Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume and Aroma: Cooking with Essential Oils (co-authored with Coi chef Daniel Patterson).

Best part of your job?
I love smelling new natural materials and creating with them. I love all the different ways they smell—it’s amazing. For instance, I love the difference between Moroccan, Indian, and Egyptian roses. So, I would say the best part is creating and using those materials.

Is there a particular environmental non-profit you support?
Alice Water’s Edible School Yard.

What’s your favorite vacation destination?
I love to go to cities with great art and where great literature has been written, like London and Paris.

What’s your favorite weekend outdoor activity?
Gardening. I have a wonderful garden. I grow the stuff I don’t have the essences for. I love lilies and I grow a lot of roses.

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
I’d be a fir tree because I like the way it smells. It’s kinda jammy, like strawberry jam in the forest.

Describe your path to green. How and when you became eco-conscious.
I would have to say my passion for natural essences is behind it. You cannot help but be in awe of nature when it makes such incredible smells. Barks of trees and flowers—this rainbow of smells is so extraordinary. It’s hard to not be in awe of nature and to want to preserve it.

Charlie Brown Magazine Christmas Tree

I’ve always loved the Charlie Brown Christmas special and the scrawny tree in need of some love. After making a recycled paper Christmas tree last year using pages from Vogue magazine, I decided that this year’s DIY creation would be a nod to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Rolled pages from the magazine were taped together to make up the base and the branches are fringed strips covering a wire with double-sided tape. For a stand, I used a crystal wine decanter.