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Meet & Greet – Rachel

Meet Rachel. I can tell you right now that she is going to HATE me for using that photo – she is notoriously hard to get photographed, like an illusive unicorn. She is a close friend of mine who has now been living in New York City for about 2.5 years. She is originally a West Coaster (but her heart belongs on the East Coast) from Irvine, California. Rachel studied Film Production at The University of Southern California and is a Production Assistant for several TV shows (including Gossip Girl, The Big C, Mildred Pierce, Pan Am), and a few movies. I actually visited her on the set of a new pilot just last week. She and I both enjoy a clever cocktail. However, we hardly EVER go to the movies together, she is an extremely theoretical and judgmental critic (as she is well versed in cinematography) – she was definitely NOT the friend to ask to see Twilight at midnight. Har har. Rachel has lived in Barcelona, Spain were she gained a working knowledge of Spanish. I can only guess that this is where she had her love affair with Spanish director, screenwriter, and producer, Pedro Almodóvar Caballero. Her favorite quote by him (and in life) is thus, “Una película vista por mil personas se puede convertir en mil películas distintas, y todas son legítimas” – meaning, “A movie seen by a thousand people can be converted into a thousand distinct movies, and all are legitimate”.

Aside from one of the best senses of humor (wry, sarcastic, facetious, realist) among any of my friends, she also has one of the best personal styles. However, I do not think I have ever seen her wear a color (except in jewelry). She is the paragon of minimalistic greys, whites, and blacks.

As part of my ongoing EAT/SEE/SHOP/DO series, I asked her to come up with a short list of her favorites:

EAT:  “Favorite place to eat is such a hard question. It depends on what mood you’re in. If you want formal, if you want casual, it all changes. My favorite hang out spot is The Grey Dog at Union Square – I take everyone there . But if we’re talking my favorite culinary delight, I would say Boqueria or I Sodi. A coffee shop is my absolute favorite, if you want to capture my essence…you know how I feel about coffee”

The Spanish tapas and paella joint in NYC has several types of Sangria (including a beer infused version) and amazing small plates. Boqueria, 53 West 19th Street
New York. Image found HERE.

This tiny Italian restaurant on the West Village/Tribeca border is quaint, cozy, and familial. Aside from a perfect after dinner espresso, all the pastas and sorbets are handmade!  Now, let us join together for a moment of silence as we thank Rita Sodi for honoring the integrity of fresh (including locally made olive oil) farm food and the authenticity of traditional italian cuisine. Image courtesy of the restaurant, I Sodi, 105 Christopher St., 10014 New York, NY. 

The founders of The Grey Dog explain, “In 1996 the Grey Dog coffeehouse was created. She was named after Moose and Goose, our two labrador retrievers, one white the other black. The goal was to build a small coffeehouse in the world’s great city. We wanted to concentrate on little things that often get lost in big city life, like getting to know the names of our patrons and serving wonderful fresh foods at very reasonable prices.” The Grey Dog, 90 University Place  New York, NY 10003. Also, Rachel and I always talk about how “laissez-faire-hot” the baristas are. Image found via Elaine is Eating, HERE.

SEE: “My favorite building in NYC is the Empire State Building, I never really go into it but,  it’s the key symbol for An Affair To Remember (one of my favorite classic movies).”

SHOP: Of favorite places to shop she explains, “Oh my god, I love shopping up and down the entire Fifth Avenue strip in the Flatiron District. All my shops are there, such as Anthropologie, Free People, Zara.” She pauses, “….I don’t know I’m not very exciting, Keren. I should be saying some weird vintage shop that I love, something funky but, I like Rag & Bone – it brings happiness to my heart.”

Here is Rachel (or as we all call her “Jaros”) looking snazzy in her threads and hailing a cab. She’s the cab hailing expert, we all call her “the team captain”. 

DO: “My favorite thing to do on a day off is to get a coffee at 11th Street Cafe and then to go to the Angelika Film Center by myself.”

Image courtesy of Parsons’ Urban Research Tool found HERE.

AND NOW, the grande finale, A TOUR OF HER WEST VILLAGE DIGS:

Do you have any friends whose style is extremely different from yours, and yet you LOVE it?

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Mixology (9)

Tree: The iconic Joshua tree, the namesake of the California park, is actually a member of the lily family. Legend says that Mormon travelers named the tree after the biblical figure of Joshua. Image found HERE. / Room: Home of Maurizio Zucchi, from Ideat Magazine, June 2011. Image found HERE.

Tree: Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’). Image found HERE. / Room: Purple floral living room Oversized floral wallpaper can be teamed with simple, solid, and bold accents to create a balance. Mirror – Tesco Direct. Armchair – Sofa Workshop. Photograph by Dominic Blackmore. Image found HERE.

Tree: Meyer Lemon Tree (and recipes to use its fruits), found at Happelsauce, HERE. / Room: Amy Lau Design, Beach House Bridgehampton. An airy, midcentury, natural, citrusy, living room. Image found HERE.

 

Tree: ‘October Glory’ maple is a hybrid between the Red maple (Acer rubrum) and the Silver maple (Acer saccharinum). It is not as brittle as the silver maple, but has the rapid growth of the silver maple. Fall color rivals that of the red maple. The tree and image found via Lynn’s Garden in Arkansas, HERE.  / Room: Elegant Pre-war 2 bedroom apartment in boutique full service cooperative on a lovely tree-lined street.  170 East 78th Street #5F on Upper East Side, NYC. It can be yours for ONLY $1.25 million. Image found, HERE.

P.S. What are you doing for earth day this year? Any special traditions or recycling and water usage promises?

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Silver Screen Scenes (3)

The Royal Tenebaums directed by Wes Anderson and co-written by Owen Wilson follows the lives of three gifted siblings who experience great success in youth, and even greater disappointment and failure after their eccentric father leaves them in their adolescent years. An ironic, sardonic, and absurdist sense of humor pervades the film.

The house used in the film is located near Sugar Hill in the Hamilton Heights section of Harlem in Manhattan, New York City. The address is 336 Convent Avenue. If you want to visit, you can take the A, B, C, or D to the 145th Street stop or the 1 to the 145th Street stop. This is a private residence so do not camp out or re-enact scenes. Wes Anderson explains, “Though we never call it New York in the film, I was looking for a certain feeling of living in New York, not the real New York, more a New York of the imagination”. Although the exteriors were largely shot in New York, Wes Anderson intentionally avoided virtually all shots of skyscrapers or other distinctive New York landmarks.

The sense of the formalized, fairy tale city is reflected in the screenplay by the faux-New York neighborhoods, unmarked gypsy cabs and various simulated landmarks: Archer Avenue, Mockingbird Heights, Public Archives, the 375th Street, the Irving Island Ferry, 22nd Avenue Express, and Green line Bus (none of which ACTUALLY exist on the isle of Manhattan). Thank you to Mooviees for Production Notes!

Here is a photo of the house:

“It was apparent that the house was one of the characters in the movie,” notes production designer David Wasco.

The african and tribally inspired room of Margot Tenebabum is filled with mock Baule (Baoule) Masks. The Baule People are from the Ivory Coast of Africa. The mask on the lower left hand side of the above image is a type of Baule mask is known as a Goli mask. It is used in dances during harvest festivals, in processions to honor distinguished visitors, and at the funerals of important figures. The circular face represents the life-giving force of the sun and the horns symbolise the great power of the buffalo. Directly above Margot and to her right is a type of mask known as a Dan mask. These are used for protection and as a conduit for communication in the spirit world. If you want to explore what the other shapes of the masks mean, visit HERE.

ALSO, can we talk about that wallpaper? The pattern dates to 1940’s when Chef Gino Circiello decided to open “Gino’s” – an Italian restaurant at 780 Lexington Avenue in New York and he was looking for a decorating theme for his new eatery. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Circiello was a hunter without the means to pay for an African safari, but he reasoned that he could at least afford zebras on his wallpaper.” The restaurant closed in 2010 but will always be remembered for its contributions to the design world – the Franco Scalamandre wallpaper!

Eric Anderson, the director’s brother and a gifted artist and illustrator, was another important contributor to the film. He painted all of Richie’s artwork, including seventeen portraits of Margot, which hang in the family ballroom.

Craving Margot Tenebaum look-alike illustrations? Go HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE

Native American Chief Paintings are clearly by George Catlin. Buy some posters HERE. Also, I secretly love the idea of decorating with a full-size medical skeleton. Skulls have been really in lately (as paperweights, and as small repetitive prints), but lets take this a step further and do all 206 bones. 

The paintings in Eli’s apartment are by Mexican artist Miguel Calderón. The images were part of the artist’s 1998 exhibit “Aggressively Mediocre/Mentally Challenged/Fantasy Island (circle one)”, though they were not actually painted by him. Calderón took photographs of his friends posed on motorcycles and, after deciding the photographs were not realistic, hired a portrait painter to reproduce them on canvas.I actually have a print in my guest room that has a very similar oeuvre by an artist who also works in the ideals of Hispanic culture and the Chicano movement.  Interesting that each Tenenbaum child seems entrenched in a culture that is not his/her own. 

The board game closet, complete with mouse. 

Vintage magazine, vintage board games, vintage lamps, and delicate teacups. 

Clearly this burnt red ochre is echoed throughout the film – in the stained glass, in clothing, in the lamplight. Also, a vintage damask couch is ALWAYS a wonderful addition. 

HOW DO I LIVE IN A QUIRKY FAMILY MANSION?

Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7a/ 7b / 8 /

P.S. A big thank you to THIS site for all screen captures of the movie.