Naturalist Chic: Flower Power at Boudicca

Sunday, June 29, 2008 4 comments

Five minutes before stepping onto the train for a shamefully late virgin visit to the New York Botanical Garden, the skies opened...again (so I dashed to 10ft. Single and picked up a wool 1940s motorcycle jacket instead). If other New Yorkers are having trouble finding the proper 20 minute window to dedicate to the leafy bits, a few clicks through the Boudicca spring collection may sate the nature need. As press photos go, these are pretty freakin' great.

Hogspear: The Greatest Ebay Store Ever

Saturday, June 28, 2008 3 comments
Competition is quite nice for economics and sport, but decidedly un-nice when it comes to auctions. But here I am opening up a can of worms that will potentially lead us all into a competitive frenzy. Brother against brother (ok, sister against metaphorical brother). Colonial-militaria-and-British-school-aesthetic obsessive against colonial-militaria-and-British-school-aesthetic obsessive. Call me the Black Hand, but it must be done. Here is Hogspear, the greatest Ebay store ever. (Above, 1920s Cambridge University Boat Club caps, bits sit at £30.77)

Polo hat and knee pads, bids sit at £22.

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Friday, June 27, 2008 1 comment

To save the family after her husband's investment business went south in The Crash, Mrs. Alvin Hovey-King (an additional coincidence since my family is divided into two batches of cousins – Hoveys and Kings) opened this little perfumery in the French Quarter in '31 to make good on the craft her Creole mom had taught her. It's moved around the Quarter a few times since, but still is as old fashioned as ever – just like stepping into an old apothecary.

824 Royal Street
(French Quarter)
New Orleans
Jiminy Cricket!

Thursday, June 26, 2008 No comments

If one is to keep his tie in place, he'd best do so with a nice grip. The handle makes this tie clip. Bids on British Ebay sit at GBP3.59. Auction ends in five days.
Fringe Benefits

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 1 comment

When Bottega Veneta offically relaunched a few years ago, I was dying to get my feet into the men's fringed moccasin-style driving shoes. During a post-Christmas/bonus-in-the-bank spending binge this year, I did just that. But they're lined in fur, so wildly inappropriate for any temperatures above about 4 degrees. These Original Car Shoes can fill the void in the remaining three seasons. I love when they get all worn in and the mocc fringe starts drooping, making them look like those shaggy dogs that can't see through their eyebrows. $469 a StyleDrops.
Those Poor, Poor Male Models

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 2 comments
It may be a small miracle that this post sees the light of cyberspace. See, just three minutes ago, I gauged my eyes out over the men's spring 2009 collections. It's very tough to post and type in such a state! Prada gave the guys jazzercise tops and forgot to put pants on a few of those poor male models...Bottega Veneta kept it up with the baggies...Christopher Bailey took the hipster v-neck undershirt trend to the navel and paired it with bootlegs for another season at Burberry Prorsum...and Gucci, well, Gucci was inexplicable. Thank god for their bags. Let's just hope men enjoy a nice purse (ok - these aren't that femmie, but I'd certainly take one of these). But overall, lord, deliver us from the '80s. I'm so looking forward to the Americans. Fingers crossed for Lauren and Ford.

Ebay Shopping: 1930s-'40s Abercrombie + Fitch Boots

Monday, June 23, 2008 1 comment
Oh, the good ole days (I'm never allowed to use that phrase again, btw) before the buyouts and Bruce Webber soft core catalogs (and a well-named subsidiary). These circa 1930s-40s beauties are from the original Abercrombie & Fitch, a company much more concerned with well shaped and tanned men's boots than well-shaped and tanned men's bottoms. The reserve hasn't been met yet, so there's no telling how wide you'll have to open the purse strings. But I'd go for quite a pull. Auction ends in six days. (Oh, and you can pick up that great rug for $425).

HOVEY VINTAGE Comes to Life!

Sunday, June 22, 2008 1 comment

As one who has some trouble following through on projects (books!, leather collars!) I'm quite proud to report that Porter and I finally -- officially -- began selling the oodles of vintage baby duds and toys we've collected lately (be it a few weeks late). What fun it was! Check out our HOVEY VINTAGE blog for some more pics!
HOVEY VINTAGE Finally Hits the Street!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008 3 comments

Porter and I will finally be setting up our HOVEY VINTAGE shop on Bedford Ave. tomorrow morning to sell our small size early 20th century finds (and a few newer things, to boot!). We've got the ladybug soap box derby car from the spring Kate Spade ads! A 1959 pram! Riding boots! Riding pants! 1930s Navajo moccasins! A nearly perfect 1960s Smoky the Bear! Piles of 1920s-40s linen playsuits! Leiderhosen!

Look for us next to Catbird on Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, between North 4th and North 5th Streets from about 10-6 on Saturday.
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Friday, June 20, 2008 4 comments

Whether they successfully packed all that story into two hours is yet to be seen, but regardless of plot or character development, this flick will sure be easy on the eyes. Opens in select theatres July 25.

Brooks School Class of '63

Thursday, June 19, 2008 No comments

There's dad at Brooks School in the early '60s. Second row from the top, in the middle with all that hair. He popped over to North Andover for his 45th reunion last weekend to see this motley crew. Love all those penny loafers.
CSI: 1890s Chicago

Monday, June 16, 2008 No comments

Well, a little less CSI, a little more Sherlock Holmes. The auction for this old fingerprint kit (complete with six different powers and detective manual) ends in about a half hour. My clue to you: bid now! (No clue if it has anything to do with Chicago, but Devil in the White City came to mind).
Ebay Shopping: 1938 John Player + Sons Cricketers Ciggie Cards

Monday, June 16, 2008 No comments

Oh, the good ole days of cigarettes and sport! Quite a bit more alluring than Camel cash, the tobacco companies sure knew how to feed an addiction (for collecting images of handsome preppies...the British family...countless regiments...and sporty jocks, of course). The full set of the 50 cards and booklet in the 1938 John Player + Sons "Cricketers" collection is up for bids around $19 with five days to go.
What a Raquet!

Monday, June 16, 2008 1 comment

A friend returned from a camping trip in New Hampshire yesterday happy to report that she came out of the experience with ONLY five mosquito bites (inluding one that made her entire left hand swell). Five!? Happy? I suppose I'm one of those lucky types who either lacks or has whatever it takes to keep bugs from biting. In all my 29 years, I've been dinner for approximately two mosquitos (and the spiders, bees and wasps have stayed away, full stop). That's not to say that I'm friendly with these pests. So, when I saw this cute, macabre fly swatter yesterday at Restoration Hardware, I had to get it. Throw in batteries and send all bugs to the electric chair. Of course, I haven't put the batteries in to test this out and managed to drop it and dislodge about half the wires in the course of taking the photo above, so god knows if it actually works. I do like the idea, though. Just handle it gingerly and don't go all McEnroe on that fly. RH doesn't have them on its website, but they're
all over the internet for about $10-$20.
Colonial Chic: Vintage Elephant Console

Saturday, June 14, 2008 No comments

Minus the enraged elephant that nearly trampled my aunt, uncle and cousin on their South African safari last summer, there's not a pachyderm out there you can't love. The same goes for most interiors featuring them. The L.A. antiques store Coleen + Company is offering up this incredible hand carved console for $3,200. I'm shocked that Kelly Wearstler hasn't already snatched it up. It seems made for The Viceroy.
Purple Hearts

Saturday, June 14, 2008 No comments

My favorite vegetable, my second favorite "flower" (the King Protea will always reign supreme). Many local florists are selling these gargantuan artichokes these days. They don't come cheap -- around $25 to $40 a pop, but they do make an impression...for weeks and week and weeks. And it's an impression with an evolution. The hearts literally come alive. I guess they find artichokes delicious, too, as they seem to cannibalize the rest of the plant in order to feed their uncontrollable, brilliant purple growth. I took this one out of its water last Sunday to let it dry - most of that lush lavender lawn spawned in the days since.
Father's Day Schedule

Saturday, June 14, 2008 No comments

Growing up, we never paid any heed to Mother's or Father's Day. Our mom did PR for Hallmark and, to her, both meant nothing more than pumping out more press release copy. But for the millions who will pay homage to dad tomorrow, this might make a nice day of things. Start with breakfast at the Wolseley. If you're not in London and lucky enough to have scored a spot there for tea, wake dad up with one of the recipes from this breakfast institution situated in the 1920s-built Wolseley Auto showroom on Picadilly. After he's slept off his eggs benedict, present him with his new British racing green Minden Master gas grill and a pile of red meat. Let him play with his new toy and make the bulk of dinner while you slice up pears and soak them in honey lemon water. After the downing the meaty bits, sneak over to the grill and throw those pears right on. Serve under a dollop of crème fraîche and sprinkle with fresh blueberries. It'll taste perfect with a side of Hudson Manhattan Rye on the rocks.

Skin(ny) Dipping: MaTouche Croco Porcelain Tile

Saturday, June 14, 2008 No comments

When it comes to bathrooms, I'm not much for modern innovation. Give me subway tiles for the walls and chicken wire white with black grout on the floor (or similar squares with a celadon border, a look much loved by French cafe designers). The same flooring philosophy holds true for mud rooms and such. But that was all before I saw this: porcelain tile made to look like any number of exotic skins. If you can swing for heated floors (a friend of mine's parents have them -- what a delicious touch), this would work in any number of rooms with the greatest effect. While the manufacturer likes to pair it with the most modern of bathroom amenities, I'd go for a classic clawfoot and miles and miles of chrome. Croco, Ostrich, Elephant and Reptile versions available at Hastings Tile + Bath Co.
A Sad Day

Friday, June 13, 2008 No comments

What a terribly sad day. Tim Russert was one of the true greats. A pillar of journalism and a legitimately warm man who loved his job. Hearts are heavy across the land, but reading the hundreds of comments New York Times readers have written about him can restore your faith that people in this world of tabloids and reality TV still appreciate old fashioned work ethic, kindness, passion and intellect. While absolutely the most frivolous thing to bring up at this time, I must say, he looked just great in a green tie. So great, in fact, that I always picture him in one. Much to my surprise, there's nary a photo online to support me on this. C'est la vie. It's how he's carved into my memory: Tim, the kind voice and the tie that matches his eyes. When all the pundits, politicos and talking heads out there donned their red or blue, Tim was there, impartial, wearing the jade, standing out even in the eyes of the most politically jaded.
Fanatical Heat

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 No comments

I think it was Siskel + Ebert (and probably countless others) who opined that air conditioning ruined summer movies. Pre-AC, you got stickball games and open fire hydrants. Today's generation of chubby, pale kids with great PlayStation skills doesn't give you Stand By Me. But when it's 93 degrees at 8:30 a.m., even an industrial sized window AC doesn't cut the mustard. In the end, all of us non-central aired New Yorkers turn back to our fans and look as if we're suffering through the Summer of Sam. If you don't mind a little white (I'm not sure a 10-decible roar counts) noise, Ebay has hundreds of beautiful old fans to choose from. I like this old Westinghouse number, for which bids currently sit at $9.99.
A Quick Refresher: Santa Maria Novella Pomegranate Cologne

Monday, June 09, 2008 3 comments

They - and by that, I mean some very smart woman - always say that a gal should wear one scent and stick to it. Let one whiff of the stuff send former lovers into Pavlovian fits of yearning. Well, I, unfortunately, never followed that rule. The closest I've come to a commitment would be Tom Ford's Nu for YSL, which, of course, left the market when Tom left Gucci Group. So now I alternate things between Jo Malone's Red Roses and Orange Blossom, Prada Amber, Prada Tendre, Tom Ford's Black Orchid Voile De Fleur, Robert Piguet's Fracas, Agent Provocateur, a few Burberry's and many Ralph Lauren's. I'm not kidding (and that's only about half). When it comes to the boys - who surely aren't quite as enthralled by the perfume aisle at Sephora as I - I have two all-time favorites. For fall/winter: Terre d'Hermès (Hermès claims it evokes the "smell of bodies after lovemaking") and for these absoultely miserable sweltering days like today, Santa Maria Novella's Pomegranate. It's powdery and fresh and I promise that it won't leave you smelling like a ball of antioxidants.
Ebay Shopping: Orientalist Van Gogh Copy ca 1900

Friday, June 06, 2008 No comments

Yeah, yeah, it's a copy, but it's a very old copy...and it's fantastic.  I'd buy it in a second if I wasn't in post-Raj parsimony mode. May someone else open the purse strings!  Bids hover at $99 with about a day left.  
Gatsby Chic: Joseph O'Neill's "Netherland"

Thursday, June 05, 2008 No comments
I love books, but couldn't be a more pathetic reader. I really do well with the first 75-100 pages, but then my mind runs amok, inspired with new projects and ideas. The book falls by the wayside, joining the ranks of the hundreds of other partially read new American classics lining my completely full wall-sized book case. See, I have no problem buying books, and I'll certainly be buying this one: a Gastby-esque vision of New York and the American dream...the Chelsea Hotel...and a whole lot of cricket. It turns out that there's actually a huge cricket contingent in -- Statan Island. Mr. O'Neill sets up his wicket there and has woven these sporting tales into this new endeavor, of which The Times gives a smashing review. Sounds so good, in fact, that I may even make it through to the middle.

O'Neill reads tonight at 192 Books in Chelsea (10th Ave. at 21st Street).
The Black List: Rudest Cute Stores In Brooklyn

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 8 comments
In light of the recent victory against grunting at the gym, I'm finally going to publicly air my fury at inappropriate rudeness that has wolloped me of late. What's most infuriating is that these events have occured at places I've held up as centers of warmth and good feeling. I don't care if I love the aesthetics, I'm putting them on my blacklist until further notice. This may seem cruel, but these are long standing frustrations with very un-Emily Post (pictured above)-like behavior that recently came to a head.

1. Moon River Chattle: Porter and I used to visit the store every weekend. However, all the weekends of late have been ruined by the dark cloud who haunts the cashier's desk. She knows nothing about the merchandise and acts completely exasperated at any question (relating to small tchotchkes, books or multi-thousand dollar flooring projects) that comes her way. For a sweet-looking faux mercantile store with wildly marked up prices, that ain't the 'tude that's gonna sell. But I'd had my eye on a wonderful, yet overpriced glass jug with a spiget for some time. Oh, it would make an excellent drink dispenser for the Raj on the Roof, I thought. So, I popped in a couple weeks ago to pick one up. $160 was a lot, but god, it was perfect for the party. She rings it up. $208. What?!!?!? "We just got these. They're $208 now." "But the price tag said $160! And you've had them for months." (I looked down and she had the $160 price tag in her hand). "It's $208. The price just changed." "Fine, then I'm going to have to pass." "FINE, ptawh!!!!!" I will never go back.

2. Sweet William: Porter and I dream of opening a real store. A store where we'd be there every day, speaking with our customers about our carefully curated merchandise with passion and excitement. When in Dumbo a few weeks ago, the guy at the Tivoli Home was so excited about his Scandinavian wares that he opened up an Ole Jensen familia tea pot and said, "It's really expensive, but you just have to see it. It's so beautiful." What a delight to see someone care. The woman who owns Sweet William in Williamsburg must care a lot about her store, too. She was an editor at Cookie and has fabulous taste. But you'd never know she had a vested interest in getting all those $80 organic baby t-shirts out the door. She's been cold every time we've popped in and actually kicked us out for walking in about 10 minutes before she officially opened (she hadn't bothered to lock her door and was just standing around). I understand why the Gap or WalMart won't open their doors early, but when you're a one woman show trying to keep a pricey boutique afloat in a sinking economy, let the customers shop.

(This series will continue as people who own or work for homey stores act like they were raised in barns).
Potentially The Most Expensive Piece of Paper On Ebay -- Featuring a Fabulous Sweater

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 No comments

Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde knew his way around sticks, be they bent on ice or bent with a net. The hockey legend (scored for the Montreal Canadiens in the first NHL game ever) also managed to get himself named Canada's best lacrosse player of the first half of the 20th century. This circa 1910 Imperial Tobacco Co. LAX card - featuring the very stylish Montreal Nationale team sweater - is going for an eye popping $100,000 on Ebay. Some lucky hockey fanatic grabbed up his other ciggie card for that bargain price last year.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2008 No comments

The previews for Fincher's new take on the old Fitzgerald tale are finally out - and it looks great (note: none of the English versions are working, so you get this one en espanol). Baby Button is one horrifying child, though, I must say! (Saw it with Indiana Jones, which I found to be a grave disappointment. Aliens, really? Steven, let go of the obession. Of course the Henry Jones professor sets were extraordinary. The rest just felt like a Universal Studios ride, which I suppose, for financial implications sakes, is the point.)

A Few More Shots for Posterity!

Monday, June 02, 2008 3 comments
A delightful beverage, with a lovely label.

Caitlin got this '20s dress on ebay. 

Me, with a non-knock off Indian pith...

Meredith, looking fab in her Ralph Lauren ensemble...

Porter making the dash...(the shoes are Opening Ceremony)

Love that the tiger's just taking a stroll...
All photos courtesy Andrew Harris.