Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Diva Style

Good news mes amis, I started freelancing yesterday at a major midtown ad agency.
Over the weekend, we enjoyed watching the Emmys. I loved seeing Gossip Girl Blake Lively dressed in a scarlet dress by Versace with a plunging neckline. The dress really doesn't show up so well here on the red carpet but when she came out on the stage during the program she really looked pretty geat. Her sleek hair was in a long blonde braid, and when she opens her mouth she has a deep dusky voice; this girl's got it going on.

The dress reminded me of the Versace frock which really put Jennifer Lopez on the fashion map. That Donatella Versace knows her way around a plunging neckline.

We also caught VH1 Divas which was quite entertaining. While I love watching high fashion on the red carpet, this song below called "Video," sung by Adele and India.Arie, offers the opposite take on Rachel-Zoe-like celebrity styling:
"I'm not your average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet my thighs my lips my eyes I'm loving what I see."
Now that's beautiful.

I just like watching this video.

Friday, September 18, 2009

J. Crew Knows Best

The good people over at J. Crew sent me a video clip about a new service they are offering for men called "Jack Knows Best." Their in-house style consultant will be answering sartorial questions for men who need some style help.
The video clip which you can watch below is pretty cute – I only wish it went slower so I could see all the clothes. It looks like we move through all four seasons and from casual to formal – fun!
I have said here before that I really like what is going on at J. Crew now. For men, it's classics with a nip and a tuck so that shapes are narrower and more fitted. For women, it's pretty clothes in cheerful colors like pink and yellow plus the sparkle of jewelry for a style that is happy and optimistic. There is not a lot of black at J. Crew – I'm with Anna Wintour, and Michelle Obama, on this: black is for funerals. Going into J. Crew is like walking into a candy store, and I like that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 11, 2009

The ad agency where I have been working since April in a great job as senior copywriter is located downtown in a tall building near the World Trade Center. You might remember hearing during the spring about a 747 flying around downtown Manhattan causing buildings to be evacuated. I was there for that scare which turned out to be a misguided White House photo shoot.
The office overlooks Ground Zero so on Friday I could see far below the ceremony for the eighth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. A circular reflecting pool had been built in remembrance, and family members were allowed to surround the pool in small groups. It was raining all day, and round black umbrellas covering the mourners echoed the shape of the reflecting pool.
(photos from Reuters)

We were busy working on a presentation but I paused twice to look down below at the memorial. It was sad. The dark rain made it seem like the sky was crying.

At the end of the day I was called into the human resources department and told that my work had come to end due to the business climate. They said they would call me again when things picked up. Twenty minutes later I was on the sidewalk going toward the subway station carrying a few personal items in a paper shopping bag. It was still raining.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Weekend on Fire Island

I had a challenging week at work at the ad agency so no chance to blog but I want to return a minute to last weekend, Labor Day weekend, when we went to visit our friend Philip on Fire Island. Ted and I were also celebrating our anniversary – we met in Fire Island Pines on Labor Day weekend twenty-four years ago.

Philip bought this house on Fire Island six years ago. It was designed by pioneering architect Andrew Geller and when it was built in 1961, it was the first example of modernism in the Pines. This important house had deteriorated and been altered but Philip completely restored it and brought it back to life. The design flies upward with bright expanses of glass windows. The walls were not built at ninety degrees but slant inwards instead which further emphasises the upward feeling. As a result, all of the corners and joints fit together inside like a wooden jigsaw puzzle. It's kind of like being inside a beautifully crafted boat.

The heated lap pool always entices.

Inside, modern furniture complements the architecture.

Chicness itself, as we say.

Through the guest room is a spiral stair case...

which leads up to a fantastic roof deck...

with spectacular views of the ocean...

and the bay. Really divine.

My favorite walk: the walk to the beach.

We set up camp...

and Ted and Philip took a dip.

When Ted and I met on Fire Island twenty-four years ago, we actually had already been introduced earlier that summer at an event for the Road Runners, the gay running club. When we met again on Fire Island, I was visiting a house on the ocean with friends and up from the beach came Ted who was part of that house. Last weekend I went for a run on the board walk and then I walked down to the beach. I stopped in front of the house where we met. A new house is now built on the site but ironically the owners still wave the Fire Island Pines flag which Ted designed for the community. I was standing there on the beach looking at the house thinking about the day that my life changed, when up from behind me came Ted. Just like twenty-four years ago.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Garden Downtown

It's a great joy to live and work near the Hudson River. I love water and the wide river that runs along the west side of the island of Manhattan is a beautiful thing. Down at the southern end of island is a little park called Wagner Park but it's really a garden.

It was created by garden designer Lyndon B. Miller, America’s foremost public garden designer who is also the brilliant designer of Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, and the Conservatory Garden in the northern reaches of Central Park, one of the most beautiful places in New York City. If you go in the spring when the tulips are blooming you’ll faint from the sight.

Lyndon Miller is dedicated to well-planted and well-maintained city parks, and her organization, Public Garden Design, works to create city gardens, stating that they “soften and civilize city life." Yes, that is exactly right.

I've noticed that in her work she uses a limited palette – it's not every color in the book. Her gardens often feature flowers and plants that are blue, purple, pink, green and white, which I personally like. It's a soft country palette that is not jarring to the eye. The plants are placed together in a wonderful collage of colors, textures and shapes. Lyndon Miller is really an artist, and her medium is plants.

Pink, purple and white on a background of green.

The city crowds in at the edges.

The garden is adjacent to a pier which is being renovated.

Purple flowers similar in color but different in shape.

Sea grass the same color as a faded wooden bench. From this bench is a wonderful view of New York Harbor.

On the way out of the park you follow a path through the trees. It's almost like being in the woods.

And out into the city.

A visit to a New York City park is almost like a short vacation.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! TD and I are off to Fire Island and we will be celebrating our anniversary – our 24th!
Enjoy the last days of summer.