Monday, January 25, 2010

BBC for the Win

You have to watch this awesome promo from the BBC for their Olympic coverage. I found it at Warming Glow. As Matt says, it has "art that looks like a graphic novel, an operatic score, wolves chasing a guy on skis, and no fewer than five different winter sports, including a scene where a monster encased in ice is defeated by the explosive power of curling."

Upside Down/ Inside Out

This was the invitation:

It´s "drawers open and bottoms up" at Rienzi. The Upside Down/Inside Out event highlights select pieces of furniture and other treasured objects from the Rienzi Collection that will be opened up or turned over, giving guests a rare chance to see the inner workings.
Isn't that the best idea ever? Listen, Rienzi is worth a visit any time, if only to listen to the docents. It's worth the price of admission to hear a lady named (no lie) Sally Lunn tell you about the "armaleww" (ormolu) and the "aayperns" (epergnes).

But yesterday we got to see the insides of cabinets, the machinery of an early English long case clock, the undersides of the silver serving pieces, and even an X-ray of a wooden torchiere. They had a first edition of Tom Jones out on display (they kept the Ben Jonson locked up, alas). We saw the stitching and structure of this footstool, created for Spencer House in London [it was evacuated during World War II and then sold off to some rich Texans].

I actually got to the house an hour early (they had the starting time wrong on the online calendar), so I had a chance to wander all over the property and check out the gardens. The camellias were going crazy. In a couple of months it will be all about the azaleas, but I love it when the camellias have their moment.

And I thought of you the whole time, HOBAC.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ram Van

Ram Van, originally uploaded by houston mamacita.

This guy is always in my office on Wednesday mornings. I thought he needed a rainbow heart to complete the look.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

They Make It Look Almost Fun

Check out this gallery of cool kindergartens at Junior Society.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

NYC Part II: Upper East Side Shopping

For some people, this would have been the highlight of the trip. But since I can't afford anything sold on the Upper East Side, it was just some more sightseeing for me.

The first place I went on Saturday morning was Takashimaya. The floral department was very exciting. If I lived in New York, I would want my boyfriend to send me flowers from there. I loved the way they incorporated the principles of Western flower arranging with the principles of ikebana. The picture above is borrowed from here; those sales ladies give you the stink eye if you try to take photos. Also, the security guard followed me around the whole time I was on the second floor; I hope someone else took the opportunity to rob them blind.

I also got to see Bergdorf Goodman -- so tiny! You can barely turn around in there. I walked by the windows at Barney's, but they were having a sale, and I think Barney's punishes the sales hounds by denying them Simon Doonan's genius. You have to be paying full price for that.

I also went into Frederic Malle while I was walking by. Why not?

At the Ralph Lauren flagship in the former Rhinelander mansion, I was disappointed to see how little of the original architecture was left. Of course, they had the whole Ralph lifestyle thing going on, and I noticed in the model bedroom that Ralph wants you to match your firewood to your overall color scheme. So get on that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rebecca is in the other room playing school. She just led her class through a rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance where she replaced every noun with the word poop.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NYC Part IV: Other Landmarks

Oy, I forgot to post the last installment.

I was desperate to see Central Park, even though it was 22 degrees outside. I hired a pedicab that took me around the southern tip of the park for 20 minutes. A lovely trip, but I became very concerned that my toes were going to fall off (in spite of Smartwool socks and knee-high leather boots). I would really like to see more of the park when everything is in bloom. And when it's not 22 degrees.

Of course I had to go by and see Grand Central Station. What an amazing place. This is the zodiac mural on the ceiling.

photo via Wikipedia

And I ate at the Grand Central Oyster bar. Roasted oysters in anchovy butter--oh hell yes. I think I need more anchovy butter in my life. And way more NYC.

NYC Part II: Upper East Side--Museums

So, the reason I went to New York was to check out the Art of the Samurai exhibition going on at the Met. It did not disappoint. I direct your attention to the photo below. The plaque next to the display case indicated that this style of headgear, including the hair, was "favored by the more rambunctious samurai." Ladies and gentlemen, I traveled to Edo Japan by way of contemporary New York and finally discovered the origin of the mullet.

The Met was a great place to visit, though it would take months to get through all of it. I also checked out the Wrightsman Galleries while I was there. 18th century French decorative arts aren't that exciting to me, but the galleries were lovely.

The second thing on my list, and one of the highlights of the trip, was the Neue Galerie. It's in an old townhouse once owned by some Vanderbilts. The library -- now a bookstore -- had the most fantastic bookcases. While I was at the Neue Galerie, I ate at Cafe Sabarsky (which Smitten Kitchen blogged about the very same day). Totally delicious spaetzle with mushrooms followed by Sachertorte. FYI, if you live in NYC--they have free admission on the first Friday of every month from 6-8 pm.

I was also really looking forward to seeing The Frick Collection. House museums are always fascinating. This one was begun by Henry Clay Frick (one-time "most hated man in America.") [Do you suppose that Jon from Jon+Kate is amassing a spectacular art collection that we don't know about yet?] The Frick was also everything I had hoped.

Oh, Lord, I'm going on and on. Anyway, I also stepped into the MoMA and the Guggenheim. I didn't do much looking around, though. I was trying to see the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA, but it was sold out until later in the afternoon, after I had to split. I was mostly interested in the architecture at the Guggenheim. It was my first visit to a Frank Lloyd Wright joint. Again, it was everything I hoped it would be and more. [Also, again, much smaller than it looks in pictures.] You've seen the photos from the outside, and the photos of the ramp on the inside, so I just took a photo of the built-in phone booths. FLW was the man.

NYC Part I: Lower East Side

Hooray! I didn't fall through the subway grate in NYC. It was a danger, you know. But I had a fantastic visit.

The best shopping I did was on the Lower East Side. I was trying to find things that I can't get in Houston.

First of all, I'm glad I finally got to go to Muji, even though I'm now convinced that "Muji" is Japanese for "Ikea." Pearl River Mart was a lot of fun, and I got the cutest tote EVER while I was there (see above) [you can actually buy it on the Internet]. Dean and Deluca had some great stuff, though it was so packed you could barely turn around. I didn't buy much there, because you can actually get fetishized produce in Houston. Oh, but they had very small pouches of Kookabura licorice, which I've been wanting to try. [FYI: the black tastes even more like licorice, so if that's your thing, you'd like it. I really liked the red -- the texture was so much better than Red Vines.]

I missed Ted Muehling because they were closed on Sundays (thought I checked that...). So I didn't get to visit my favorite earrings.

Russ and Daughters was pretty amazing. A TINY little shop -- all the pictures make it look bigger -- and it was absolutely mobbed on Sunday. I was on an errand to bring back bialys for Letitia. I asked the man at the counter, "What kind of bialys do you have?" and he gave me a lecture on how there was only ONE kind of bialy; "they don't make blueberry banana bialys or whatevah." He was funny in a gruff way.

While I was in the neighborhood I ate lunch at Ray's Pizzeria. It was fine. The sausage was pretty good. I think it must have been authentic because there were people shouting at each other in Italian while I was there.

Okay, more later.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New! York! City?!

This is a hat, y'all. Photo via The Awl.

I am headed to the Big Apple. For real. I can't believe the day is finally here. I've been dreaming about NYC for years now. Back when I worked at the art gallery, I tried hard not to let on that I'd never been (because it made me feel like a hick). So now I'm braving epic security checkpoint lines and 14 degree temperatures to make the trip.

The catalyst for finally going is this exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I can't believe I'm finally going there -- as a kid I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I might have to hide in a bathroom stall and stay overnight.

So this time tomorrow, I'll be on a plane. I will be back in Houston late on Sunday. In the 60 hours (or so) I'll be in the city, I have big plans to...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Guggenheim Museum
The Frick Collection
Neue Galerie
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
as much of Central Park as I can bear, given the weather

Russ & Daughters
Dean & Deluca
Bergdorf Goodman
the Ralph Lauren mothership, formerly the Rhinelander mansion
Ted Muehling
Pearl River Mart

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie
Bemelmans Bar (no, I can't really hang out at a bar, alone, in a strange city. But I would like to pop my head in and take a look at the murals.)

Yeah, that's kind of an ambitious list. It is the upper portion of my long-running, fantasy-visit-to-New York list.

Now the big question: what souvenirs should I bring back?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Awesome Dawson was the only person elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

Way to redeem yourselves after eight years, fuckers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old Man Winter Has It In for Me

So ideally the evening will go like this: it's super cold out today, and Emmet and Papi have Scouts tonight. I plan to start a nice pot of ribollita, and we can eat it with a baguette and the leftover olive spread from New Year's. Sounds pretty nice, right?

Here is a more realistic scenario: I will barely get through the store in time to pick the kids up. I will have to make the ribollita while dragging them through their homework for two hours. I will get distracted and burn the bread. Papi will walk in the door to black smoke and a sobbing wife and two unwashed children mesmerized by low-rent cartoons on Qubo. Then he will have to face 20 eight-year-old boys and entertain/educate them for an hour.

I mean, sometimes I wonder why he doesn't go out for a pack of cigarettes and never come back.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Papi, you're getting old.

This week is the anniversary of my first date with Papi.

The twentieth anniversary.

Because we are old and befuddled, we don't remember the exact details. On or about January 4, 1990, I recall that we went to see Look Who's Talking, where I was mortified by the opening credits scene of sperm traveling through Fallopian tubes. Papi remembers there being a visit to Putt-Putt Miniature Golf and a stop at a JV basketball game where a guy in my class gave me a high-five. Anyway, that's pretty much the grand tour of Southeast Texas date spots.

Twenty years later Papi knows far more about my Fallopian tubes than he could have ever imagined as a 16-year old with a mullet and a brand new driver's license.

Happy anniversary, Papi.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Drink of the Week: Greyhound

Hair o' the dog, y'all.


shot of vodka
grapefruit juice
splash of orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau)
twist of lime

Serve over ice and stir.

If you salt the rim of the glass, you have yourself a Salty Dog.