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Posts tagged ‘#Brooklyn’

am·biv·a·lence amˈbivələns/

The state of having mixed feelings or contradictary ideas about something or someone New York I love you… New York I don’t even like you….. no, I love you.. no, oh I’m not sure…….. On a recent breezy Brooklyn morning, my day started out full of positivity, joy and with a perfect cool summer breeze.   I took my daughter to an outdoor music event at 10am; in the park, with several other Brooklyn parents. Sipping on my latte, while my mini-me bounced around on the grass in her Saltwater Sandals.. I thought, yeah BK, I can do this. I kind of love you. For a minute….

Fort Greene Park, live music for little ones

Fort Greene Park, live music for little ones

My day ahead was already planned. Prepping for a shoot in Manhattan that week. Bring it on New York, with this life;  maybe I can stay forever? Maybe it will all start to make sense as to why so many milllions of people fall in love with this place…. As my husband and I swtiched roles at 11am (a nanny free day means tag-teaming parents… how very on trend we are), I clicked on my UBER app to see a taxi would pick me up a few minutes later. With a spring in my step.. I hopped out of our apartment and into the cab.

The day was really starting to heat up, and the cab had no aircon. His driving was like something out of a 1990’s Bollywood film and as we careered through Chinatown, stop/start stop/start, I started to feel a little sick. The smells that began to drift through the car, city smog, mixed with sweat, dirt and a slight fishiness of the LES.. Ugh, New York I don’t love you. It wasn’t even 11.30….. We hopped a couple of avenues west and then slowly jolted our way up 6th Av, stop/start stop/start. Nausea, sweat. Yes, NY, the love can fade fast. I arrived at my first prop shopping destination, a mere 5 miles and 50 minutes later, relieved to be inside cool and now familiar surroundings. Ok NYC, you are forgiven.. for a moment.

My assistant arrived with iced coffees and a ready eye for propping… how dreamy life can be. The coolness, the convenience, the fast paced ‘get it all done yesterday’ vibe. New York we could really be something. The late afternoon involved another child handover. I stepped into my husband’s place of work. A super cool, (I felt far too old to be there), communal creative hub. I was not laden with bags as my assistant and two messenger services had taken control of that. So easy, NY. My next mini challenge was to get the subway up to Union Sq, and continue with my shopping, stroller in tow. (Pushchair, or pram, for those of you reading from afar). I walked around a few immediate subway entrances. Not a single disabled access sign. They are labeled for wheelchair accessibilty, but being a Mum in Manhattan with a baby… this is the entrance we were looking for. Nothing. So I embarked on bumping my baby down three huge flights of stairs to the subway line, one slow sweaty step at a time. Not one single person stopped to ask me did I need any help. Not one. Until I got to the penultimate step, and a guy casually offered his assistance. NY.. at that moment, I hated you. We stood sweating on the stifling platform, praying for a train to come. There are no little screens telling you what is coming. It’s mostly a gamble as to what is happening when; on most lines.

Not even 6 pm, and I had already done the make up/break up scenario with New York in my head many times over.  After a few more pit stops we decided upon a short playground break in Union Square. Such a lovely playground, right in the middle of the city. So easy and safe.  Sandpits and swings surrounded by high-rises and high rollers. What a place. My heart filled with a little bit of joy, seeing my mini Brooklynite hanging with the city kids in their hood. photo 1 As the evening drew in we met up with my husband and headed for an early dinner in Tribeca.  Sitting there, surrounded by other professionals, familes and young hopefuls all shaking off the buzz of the day from the melting pot of energy, creativity and ambition that is NYC, I looked at my daughter taking it all in. What a lucky little girl so see the sights and sounds so many yearn for and never get to see. My relationship with NY is like a relationship with a highly unsuitable, yet mesmersising boyfriend.. up and down.. off … on…  should I stay or should I go?  I’m still trying to work out what all the fuss is about.. high rents, no space, terrible winters, scorching summers… and yet, here we are. Not letting go. For now, we stay. I want to see what else  you have to offer me Empire State. New York I remain forever, yet ambivalently.. yours.. For now……

LES. We have only really recently bonded. And I want to know you more.

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Miss Liberty at her very finest. Photo credit Gary Hershorn. Instgram.

 

de·part·ment store

A large store stocking many varieties of goods in different departments

I love a department store. After all the posts I’ve written, each with a definition, somehow reading the above sentence makes my heart race more than previous ones. Words like ‘store’ and ‘goods’ do something for me.

I’m not sure if this passion for the department store is because I’m a stylist, or because I’m just getting old. Maybe it’s the perfect combination of both. Memories of growing up in the UK and my utter loathing of John Lewis, where my Mum used to buy just about everything; are flooding back to me. I considered the place extremely un-cool, especially when it came to clothes. I must admit I’m still not a fan of the John Lewis brand. Something about it seems very clinical, like a local pharmacy. But I am warming to the place in my old age. Especially the homes and interiors department –  commissioning the revival of the G Plan range was genuis. My friends in London bought their super stylish G Plan sofa from John Lewis, and I had quite a pang of living room envy when I stayed with there. Turning into my mother it seems. John Lewis, you never know, we may be reunited.

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Sofa by G Plan. Baby by me.

During my formative years I was more of a House of Fraser girl, Debenhams on a bad week. If I still lived there, I’ve convinced myself my ‘go to’ place would be Harvey Nichols. For special occasions, I believe there is nowhere in the world like Liberty of London. Growing up, Liberty was always there, lingering, slightly out of my reach in all its Tudor glory in Soho. Fabric and fragrance heaven.

Now I live in America, all of these brands are often a fond memory and I must decide whether I’m a Macy’s, Bloomingdales or Saks girl. There are so many here.. maybe Lord & Taylor, who am I? Bergdorf Goodman is far too sombre for me.  It’s the kind of store I feel like I have to be very quiet in, and pretend I’m much richer than I really am. I think I am none of the above.

My heart lies truly with ABC home. It is a department store of it’s own breed and it’s also my nirvana, I have said it before and I say it again –  I want to live there. Although this week I stumbled across a $1200 pillow cover. Indian vintage. I’ve been to India, I’m sure I saw something just like it on a bench in a cheap hotel. Come on ABC, be reasonable. I could go on holiday to India and buy 10 pillows.

Flat pack mini tables and chairs. With a splash on neon.. ABC you total flirt.

Flat pack mini tables and chairs. With a splash on neon.. ABC you total flirt.

Recently, in my Brooklyn neighborhood; we aqcuired our very own department store. Or ‘tiny’ department store as the owner describes it. I fell upon the eponymously named, Jill Lindsey store one morning and couldn’t believe my eyes. Just what we need, a tiny department store! Luckily for me, I adore all the departments.. gifts, pottery, candles, vintage finds and fashion. Each of them miniscule. The store also has it’s own oyster and champagne situtaion going on out the back.. in a quiet and cute little garden. Like gold dust in Brooklyn.. a garden.. this will be my summer ‘go to’ I’m sure.

It’s wonderful to see so many small an independent businesses popping up in Brooklyn, not only are they all after my own heart, it’s fabulous to feel a sense of community that we can support and enjoy. It’s another reason to keep me from the sweat box that is Manhattan…

Still, nothing will keep me permanently from my little fix of drifting the aisles of fabrics, pillows and nick nacks.. gliding up and down elevators with the aircon blowing in my hair… big department stores are still pretty cool too…….my age tells me so.

Jill Lindsey, mini deparment store Fort Greene.

Jill Lindsey, mini deparment store Fort Greene.

Jill Lindsey, mini department store Fort Greene

Jill Lindsey, mini department store Fort Greene

 

 

 

 

space /spās/

1. A continuous area or expanse that is free, available or unoccupied

2. The dimension of height, depth and width in which all things exist and move

When we moved to New York a couple of years ago; fresh from Sydney shores all sun kissed and dreamy, newly married and searching for the epitome of NY living, we moved into a two floor brownstone.  I remember writing about what it felt like to finally settle in and be at home somewhere, and also to belong. Our home was equipped with stunning hardwood floors, period shutters, fireplaces, claw foot tubs and the most incredible afternoon sunlight. I don’t know if I will ever find such a luxury again. Although the place was bursting at the seams with character, I still couldn’t wait to get my sticky stylist mitts on it and change the wall colours, carpets, light fittings and so on.. until it was mine. It took almost the full two years of living there to get it how I really liked it. And then…..we moved. Leaving our mark. old house

Two years on, we find ourselves in a space that is the polar opposite of a brownstone with all its exquisite detail and homeliness. Now, we find ourselves in a space that doesn’t even have a simple set of walls, or even the odd door. An open industrial loft. Sure, a few eyebrows were raised when I told people… open loft, dog, 6 month old baby, both work from home.. yeah NO problem!

And now I’m sitting here, five weeks after the event with no interior walls, doors, storage and wondering where on earth to begin and what on earth I was thinking? My husband, a childhood fan of the film, Big, loves it in all its lofty glory. But then he doesn’t have to make it a home. I do. I’m going to start at the beginning.  Im going to create a wonderful, stylish, urban home.. in a huge empty space. For the first time in my life I have a completely blank canvas. Modern kitchen, modern bathroom… and 3 white walls.   Wish me luck.

wall of windows spaceunpacking
entryway

per·cep·tion /pərˈsepSHən/

The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

The state of being or process of becoming aware of something in such a way.

A few weeks ago, I found myself walking the dog in Prospect Park during a cold snap of minus six degrees Celsius, whilst getting over food poisoning, battling the flu, dealing with entering my seventh month of pregnancy and all the while… trying to dodge the rangers who might ticket me for having the dog off the lead after 9am.

Words to the effect of ‘What the hell am I doing in this godforsaken place anyway?’ ran through my then negative mind at a rapid pace, and didn’t subside. This stayed with me for several days. I was ready to pack up and leave for warmer, more friendly shores. I miss you Australia.

Then….some magical things began to happen.

A friend sent me an article they thought I may find interesting, and it was as though someone had turned on a light.
It was an interview with Sharon Beesley, writer and author of blog NYC Taught Me, and had been published on SayDaily. Her wonderful point of view of a city offering many challenges was an inspiration to me, especially as I  had arrived as a newby to NY, just like her.

Her interview covers some of NYC’s many highlights that I had begun to overlook in my bleakness. You can get anything and everything delivered, there is always something to do in one of the many museums, galleries and creative spaces all over the five boroughs. Pretty much everywhere is child friendly. It made me open my eyes and my mind.

A few days later, I was in Kentucky working on a job, and I unexpectedly passed an HSBC ad campaign that has always caught my eye in the airports in London. I was so surprised to see it in Louisville; it was another little moment of synchronicity and I lapped it up. It demonstrates in many of its images; one person’s pain may be another’s pleasure… for example things like marmite, chilli… or skydiving… or, if it were my household.. ballet… and The Vicar of Dibley.

Once my husband came back from his overseas trip, and I finally managed to fight all the illness… I started to see a little more clearly. The sun began to poke through the clouds, I realised that my previous negativity wasn’t all about where I was or what I was doing, but it was the way I was looking at it.

I needed to embrace the cold, the snow and all the things I had missed about the Northern Hemisphere for so many years.

My daily work as a stylist is all about creating an image that I hope will be pleasing to the eye; but whose eye? What I believe to be simply gorgeous may be really hideous to someone else. This is what I love about art, photography and the image – it’s all subjective.

How we perceive something may depend very much upon the mood we are in, the way we are looking at it, and many other uncontrollable things about the environment around us.

We are now in another cold snap and I’m trying to enjoy it for what it is – crisp white snow.. kids sledding, warm cosy cups of hot tea and Tim Tams whilst grabbing the slivers of afternoon sunlight through the shutters. Bliss.

Perception

AK thought for the day, keep an open mind, an open heart and next time you feel in an awfully glum mood like I did… see if you can look at it with brand new eyes. If that fails.. eat some chocolate.