Whiskers for Travel

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 6 comments
Unforeseen, infuriating computer issues (an apparently broken CD burner on a non-internety computer that literally spits the disks out from its bowels mid-burn, a new terabyte drive that the spitting machine won't recognize, two other broken external hard drives and an unfortunate tendency to remove thumb drives from home and leave them at the office) have prevented the oh-so-promised Istanbul photo post.  However, other exciting news is brewing.  

The very, very cool folks at Extremely Hungary (an initiative/festival to show off Hungarian art and letters in New York and D.C. throughout 2009) are throwing their own mustache contest and the winner gets a trip for two to Budapest (Porter's favorite travel destination).  

Put the razors down, boys. Put the razors down.  (Franz Joseph, pictured, who ruled the Hungarians (and Austrians) for a bit, would've been a heavy contender). 
We're Back...Major Postage Pending

Monday, March 30, 2009 8 comments
The immediate takeaways - before I inundate you with hundreds of photos of Porter and me standing in profile with our hands on our hips:

(1) No matter how sunny, the Istanbul skyline always evokes an old autochrome image.

(2) The House Cafe is amazing. All nine (or however many there are) of them.

(3a) The Turks should teach lessons on street maintenance. They seem to keep their steep-as-an-Alp roads pothole free - while maintaining the sea shell mosaic cobble stone pattern (with no stones out of place).

(3b) The garbage men may be the hardest working on the planet. They haul the bags at light speed and then follow up with hand brooms and large dustpans (while wearing quite cute Wellie-esque rain boots also favored by the hundreds of fishermen).

(4) There is absolutely nothing of interest in the Grand Bazaar. At all. The Spice Market beats it hands down (world's greatest string cheese (sold for pennies), wonderfully packaged Turkish coffee...).

(5) New York dogs and cats should go to obedience school on the streets of Istanbul.  Feral, yet so well behaved!  (Also, a proliferation of comparably cute feral cats = no rats).

(6) Infinity pools are amazing. Especially infinity pools "spilling" into the Bosporus.

(7) The Turkish contacts/Lasix lobby is beating the vintage-inspired thick rimmed glasses lobby hands down. I was the only person in thick frames at a solidly packed gallery opening (in New York, the average is more like 50-70% (20% of whom probably have 20/20 vision)).

More to come in parts: shopping/acquisitions, key sites, eating!
Photo: Porter, in front of one of the Dolmabahçe Palace gates overlooking the Bosporus
Spring Break!

Friday, March 20, 2009 14 comments
Well, I'm off!  And in the spirit of true creative revitalization, I'm actually going offline the entire time.  No plans to touch a computer until March 29.  (Total furious busy-ness and blogger's block held me back from attempting to schedule posts, underscoring need for said vacation/unplugging).
Rain Slippers

Thursday, March 19, 2009 14 comments
On a French class trip to Canada in 5th grade, I thought it'd be fun to go be rascally with the boys, so I jumped in a lake...in jeans...right before a five hour bus ride with no access to my suitcase (or a place to change and preserve any kind of modesty).  I have no plans to take a dip into the Bosporus, however, the forecast for Istanbul calls for undesirable quantities of moisture.  So, in hopes of saving my feet from the wet misery of the bus trip and my suitcases from the space-suck required for duck boots or wellies, I bought Totes. Men's over-the-shoe Totes. But then I cut them up...and painted them. They're not velvet. They're not even remotely feminine, but they'll pack up nicely and - from a distance - maybe even pass.
AW09 | Fly Me (To Heaven)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 7 comments
I like a man who can look a recession in the face and spit.  Cowhide items at Hermès weren't really pricey enough, so Jean Paul Gaultier stitched up a collection of fur and alligator Earhart-inspired duds to sate the plebes.  Whole planes probably cost less.  But my goodness, if one was ever to splurge...

(photos all from style.com)
no image

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 2 comments

This month's Paris Vogue pays full homage to Ms. Chanel - ahead of the April 22 release of the Audrey Tautou biopic in France (we Americans must wait).  And waiting will be difficult.  Not only do we have the sets and the fashion and France -- we get Alessandro Nivola as the mustachioed poloist, jacket inspirer and lover, Boy Capel.  He probably doesn't sing for Chanel, but he should.  He should always sing.  Just like he did in Junebug (I've seen it about 4,534 times and it never ceases to make me weep).   
Well Polished

Sunday, March 15, 2009 8 comments
Porter once kicked her shoes off in front of a banker-type, revealing her near-black burgundy, very sophisticated toenail polish. One look at her feet and he roared: "Try pink, hon-ay. Try pink!!!"  Message received (sort of).

So, years later, the day before a first date, she took an informal poll with guys around the office and discovered some interesting trends.  In general, the straight white guys went with pink/buff, Asian guys said red and the gay guys went with mauve or near-black burgundy.  Porter ignored the hetero polling results and chose mauve.  These days, I'm erring more towards orange.  Essie's Clam Bake looks perfect with tweedy browns, all my purses and my green sea urchin box (from Moon River Chattel) - which is really all that matters.
Ebay Shopping: 1930s Indian Jodhpurs

Friday, March 13, 2009 1 comment
In grade/middle school, all the boys in my class would latch onto one movie a year and run with it - and the choices always seemed quite bizarre.  In 6th grade, it was the Lost Boys and by 7th, all attention turned to The Doors.  One boy went so far in emulating Val Kilmer emulating Jim Morrison that he talked his parents into buying him a pair of leather pants which he committed himself to wearing for fortnights at a time while concurrently giving up all commitments to bathing ("just like Jim").  Holding that memory far too close in my mind, it's hard to consider buying used leather pants, but if you're brave, these have probably had quite a bit of time to air out.  You can buy these 1930s-ish leather Indian Motorcycle jodhpurs now for $299 or take your chance at bidding.
Day Trippin': The Princes' Islands

Thursday, March 12, 2009 11 comments
We're T-minus eight days from Turkey takeoff and haven't even begun to really plan.  However, we know that on one of the days we'll be jumping onto a very frigid hour-long ferry ride to the Princes' Islands -- a polyglot paradise where the sultan's crew sent their spurned lovers to exile and no one drives cars.  It's like the sexiest looking-version of Amish country -- which is completely wrong to say -- but completely right for a day trip.

Scary Scenes from the Dermatology Meeting Pt. 2

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 15 comments
I have an amazing ability to pay attention to details - the wrong details. Say my apartment looks like a Hurricane Katrina-ravaged bar (a bar hit by said hurricane prior to anyone clearing away the beer bottles).  I'll ignore that and polish the silver or organize my ribbon drawer.  

The same affliction has hit with my I-could-kick-Lohan's-butt-in-a-freckle-contest face (captured at the Coppertone booth to highlight one's wildly bad behavior under the sun without Coppertone).  There are so many things to say: (1)  HHH, you look like Magnum PI, only your 'stash is made of melanomas! (2) HHH, stop falling asleep wearing your glasses, it's making linear dents in your nose.  (3) HHH, you look quite nice as a demon in a dog collar.  Ptah!  What gets me sweatin' and agonizin'?  My asymmetrical eyebrows.  It's all I've been able to see for two days.
Scary Scenes from the Dermatology Meeting

Monday, March 09, 2009 5 comments
In San Francisco for the American Academy of Dermatology Meeting where physicians line up for miles for samples of OTC creams and bottles of Dove. Most of the convention center looks like a mall, but there are some exceptions: The best-dressed man at the conference - a French doctor - and three guys sat down for an ice facial (designed to help speed things along after facial nips and tucks).
The Hoveys Play Painting

Thursday, March 05, 2009 17 comments

We couldn't wait for a party. I dressed up the poor little victim (in barely anything) and made her pretend to be a slightly more modest version of Matisse's Odalisque with Magnolias, my favorite from his Morocco era.  Just another average night in the apartment.

High Brow, Low Brow, Best Use of Brows Ever

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 6 comments
I've always had this fantasy of throwing a costume party where all guests would be required to come as their favorite painting.  But I'd expect quite an effort: fig leaves...military uniforms...comfy pants made for lounging in Marrakech. But then I remember how hard it is to even get people to wear safari clothes.  If only I had Seth's email address...

(Norma Jean Roy captures Seth Rogan as Frida Kahlo in the new issue of Vanity Fair - so good).
With Nails, Fix 'er Up

Tuesday, March 03, 2009 4 comments
Sleddale Hall - best known as Uncle Monty's "horrible shack"/stone den of iniquity from Withnail + I - has a new owner, a "public schoolboy who has crewed on Alaskan packet boats, run chalets in Austria and now settled in the Far Eastern fells with a portfolio of holiday cottages and a pub" (according to The Guardian's Martin Wainwright).  He wants to restore it to its height-of-fame less than spiffy grandeur.  Read about the epic undertaking here.       

(Images by Christopher Thomond for The Guardian)
When a Shopping Binge Goes (Temporarily) Bad

Monday, March 02, 2009 16 comments
Saturday after brunch, I struck out on my own without my voice of shopping reason (Porter) to guide me. Very. Dangerous. Stuff. 

Prior to brunch, I'd stopped into John Derian and talked myself OUT of buying a new candle (major coup), but then talked myself into buying a German duster and body scrub brush (pictured) (major setback). Desperately in need of a new suit, I soldiered onto SoHo.  Suiting didn't seem to suit me, but I did find two great dresses for Porter to wear in Turkey. And then I went to Pearl River. 

Pearl River is like my version of Sam's Club.  Where a Sam's Clubber may go in for a jumbo bag of coffee beans and come out with a flat screen TV and a lifetime supply of bar-bq sauce, I entered Pearl River for nothing at all and came out with six blue and white bowls, a tin race car, a straw hat, wooden stick pencils, a blue and white porcelain vase, gardening shears, a carved bone cicada letter opener and the two largest blue and white porcelain planters they sell. 

Highly elated and hopeful, I told the doubtful sales guys, "Oh, no worries here, I'll just jump into a cab!"  

Those same store guys struggled to help me to the curb. They waved at me on that curb as they took smoke break after smoke break after smoke break. Hopeless despair descended. No available cabs passed. 

After generations had elapsed, I tried to lift my planters (and the heavy water catcher platter things) to seek out a more strategic spot. I got 'em up about an inch. With these porcelain balls + chains holding me down and frost bite and tundra muscles (that state of cold when it takes about nine hours for your bottom to thaw) taking hold, I contemplated a shopper's Sophie's Choice: do I leave the beloved planters behind and save myself? I cannot die outside Pearl River! 

In the end, I did not die on Broadway, but I almost cried.  A cab eventually saved me. I came home, struggled to get everything inside in different trips, and felt pure joy as I unwrapped all my finds and thawed out my bottom.  It seems a little agony makes gluttony that much more sweet.