10 things i can't live without
1. NYTimes weekend paper
2. MŪNface serum
3. BVLA rose gold septum ring
4. palo santo smudge sticks
5. Kiki de Montraparnasse lingerie set
6. Feijoada from restaurant Bar do Mineiro
7. Libeco linen towel
8. Globetrotter suitcase
9. Envelopes from Luiban stationary boutique in Berlin
10. Angora hair clutch
1.) Don't let my multiple Apple gadgets and Global Entry electronic airport privileges, online advertising or things like wireless headphones confuse you...in my heart of hearts; I'm a neo-luddite. It's not that I oppose technological or scientific advances, on the contrary! It is just there's something to be said for the old-school way of doing things. For example: I prefer ancient holistic healing remedies to modern pharmaceuticals, there's a pad of paper for taking notes in all purses, I still own DVD's; and I will always wax-nostalgic when I remember how the only thing that could save my Fugees 1996 "The Score" cassette, after the car tape deck tried to eat it...was the end of a pencil.
The anorak in me romanticizes the purist, the naturalist, the old skool and the time-honored.
One of my favourite ways to honor the persnickety (and apparently grumpy 71 year old man) in me - is the newspaper. The way the ink smells, the sounds as it crinkles open, and the way you really do have to lick your thumb to turn the page. The New York Timesnewspaper is my favourite paper, which has been a daily publication since 1851, while I started reading the newspapers in 1990 for the funnies of course. I order The Times to be delivered in the morning when I stay in hotels, and the International Edition when I'm overseas. I get bundles of fresh flowers wrapped in them, and as you've perhaps noticed, it makes a frequent appearance in many of my social media photos. Branding! I'll admittedly get huffy-puffy when people condescendingly remind me that the newspapers are a dying thing, which of course they are, but until they're extinct...at $195 per year, it's my favourite cheapest thing I can't live without.
For an entirely too accurate (I feel so attacked) and comical observation of the 'type of people' who read newspapers, see this article from Huff Post UK.
2.) Did you know that in a woman's lifetime, she will spend roughly the same amount of money on beauty products, as one would to buy 80 acres of wooded land on a lake in Oregon state (or about 300k dollars)? Three hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money and a lot of makeup, but hey, I don't make the rules.
If it were to ever become ethical and feasible; I'd pay a handsome sum to completely replace all my skin every decade with fresh new flesh! Can you imagine, being 60 looking like a 30yr old?! Until such creepy advances are made in the medical field, I'll stick with regular plastic surgery and serums like everyone else. The prickly pear seed oil, Argan oil, and Bulgarian rose oil coming out of this tiny cute pump bottle of MŪN Youth Serum is not a miracle in a bottle, but close. It smooth wrinkles, lightens my heroin-chic dark under eye circles, and stimulates collagen renewal! All while leaving my face smelling like what I can only imagine heaven probably smells like. If ya believe in that kind of thing.
3.) Aesthetically speaking, I generally feel "less is more" when it comes to jewelry; the same way I feel about makeup. I wear very little of both. Since I am so heavily decorated with tattoos, I like just a few delicate jewelry pieces to throw on to complete an outfit. I think gold looks best with my skin complexion...also gold is a pretty smart investment, so if I'm spending my money (or if I am spending yours) it'll be on gold. Of all my body modifications I think my septum ring is my absolute favourite of them! I've had the same one in my nose, not ever taking it out, for a couple years now. I'm thinking I'd love to alternate it out soon though with something a little more flashy...likethis piece or this one, which are both from the same company as my current nose bling.
4.) Palo Santo sticks go absolutely everywhere with me. I keep some in the glovebox of my Mercedes and it's always in my packed luggage for trips. Bursar graveolens trees (in Spanish known as palo santo, meaning "holy wood") grow throughout much of South and Central America. The ethnobotany of palo santo is profoundly beautiful, and dates back a few thousand years, used in both ritual and in indigenous medicine. Burning palo santo wood and wafting the smoke about, is done to cleanse a space and combat bad energy. Much the same as white sage has been used by the indigenous people of North America in ceremony.
I practicesmudgingat home (and on the go) with a gratitude and reverence for the traditional protocol and ancient customs. To understand aboriginal ritual and medicine, we must also learn the people it comes from...otherwise we're trifling with things that do not belong to us. And few things are more gross than cultural (and in this case sacred!) appropriating. I'm still learning and have had a lot of knowledge taught to me over the years, from friends and Shamans, and voodoo priests, all whom practice in their respective faiths with the wisdom that was passed on to them ancestrally. I love the richness of nature-based neo-pagan belief systems. Scientifically speaking, for those of you who aren't into woo-woolike I am: during a smudging when white sage, other herbs or palo santo wood are burned; the smoke releases negative ions into the air, when the smoke is breathed in, it is said to boost serotonin levels in the bloodstream, which as we know....elevates moods.
In religion it's called spirits, in science it's called energy, in the streets we call it "vibes"...all I am saying is that whatever you call it, trust it.
And if you don't, you can always smudge the fuck out of it.
5.)The French lingerie company Kiki de Montparnasse got it's name after the Parisian model, nightclub singer, actress and socialite extraordinaire Alice Ernestine Prin (1901 – 1953)....who arguably defined the roaring 20's in Parisand who was otherwise known as the Queen of Montparnasse and more colloquially later as just "Kiki de Montraparnasse". The company KDM closed it's romantic luxury lingerie doors in early 2016, which was a sad sad dark day in the negligee world. Fortunately for me though, I still have a few pieces from earlier collections. #5 of the 'things I can't live without' is a curve-hugging black stretch-lace panty/bra set, in my private lingerie collection. And by "private collection" I do mean that unless you're my partner or my benefactor; then nope, not for your eyes! Bummer dude.
6.) Feijoada is comfort food, and much like all comfort food dishes - it just shouldn't be photographed. Kinda like your Auntie's baked mac n' cheese or the strawberry jam you won best recipe for at the county fair. in other words delicious, but ugly! . Feijoadais a classic Brazilian dish, with each state in Brazil having it's own variation. It's a meat and black bean stew which comes paired with a medley of 5 side dishes...and wouldn't be complete without a frostyOriginal Cerveja (my favourite beer). And I do mean FROSTY - in Brazil, the restaurants and bars freeze their beers till almost slushy-consistency-cold before serving them in small 6oz glasses...Muito refrescante! The Feijoada from Bar do Mineiro, a neighborhood gem one of the Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods, is hands-down the best in the city. I've literally had dreams about it.
7.) Linen = understated luxury.
My Libeco towel which I take on all summer holidays; multi-tasks and earns it's keep (price tag) by acting both as a beach throw and as a wrap after the sun sets and the breeze comes in off the ocean. The thing with linen that is so delightful is the fabric becomes softer the longer you use and wash them, is more breathable than cotton in summer, yet also more durable than cotton; lasting for decades if properly cared for. But what really gets me with Linen, is how sustainable and ecological it is. Linen comes from flax, which needs zero irrigation during growing and little or no chemicals (organic). Swoon. I've had my eye on a full set of Libeco bedlinens for years, the ultimate splurge and indulgence. (The Geneve collection size Queen, in white....if anyone was inquiring. hint hint hint.)
8.) Something I once learned about money from a man (who had a lot of money) about spendingmoney, is this: rich people are stingy as fuck. They're rich because they don't like to part with their savings all willy nilly. Duh. Successful people don't waste money on unnecessary fees, impulse buys and silly splurges...It's not that they don't enjoy creature comforts and have fine taste; they do. Their spending habits however, boil down to the investment in the price tag (which correlates with the quality, meaning it holds up better over time, requiring replacement less frequently, if ever). Successful folk with mad cash, have mastered the art of making their dollar stretch.
*off subject: I could draw a similar comparison with men who understand the investment in the companionship they hire....the longevity of the experience we offer, the quality of attention, the authenticity of connection, the class of lingerie worn, the type of hotel suite booked...etc etc, but this is surely another blog topic, so I'll come back to it at a later time.*
What I was getting at is that a lot of people have expensive taste, but just because something cost an arm and a leg doesn't mean it's quality and most certainly does not equate having good taste. I am still growing into my personal style of living life, somewhere between eccentric and wasp, but I can say this: I like nice things, quality stuff, bespoke shit. And while I haven't yet learned and mastered the attributes wealthy folk share in their fiscal habits, I do like knowing that if I spend a chunk of change on a luxury good, it buys me the peace of mind knowing that...
A.) I get to love it until the wheels fall off....and B.) bask in the compliments of said thing, until they do!
Of all the "bespoke shit" I have every wanted and then spoiled myself with...this swanky hunk of black vulcanized board is my favourite.
9.) Greeting cards, wax seals and paper products, OH MY!!
Fixation? Obsession? Fetish??! I don't know exactly how to describe my infatuation with card stock, paper products and office supplies; but I sure got one. I have my own business cards, I mail hand-written letters to friends, I wax seal cards with my custom signet ring, I tip my house movers (entirely in $2 bills) slipped into clear vellum envelopes! Shipped gift packages are first wrapped in brown paper & twine, then addressed in black marker, the upper right hand corner of box plastered in no less than 15 postage stamps of carrying sizes and designs. Special delivery! I always hope the person on receiving end notices the gesture and little efforts, although I am sure they often do not. No matter, I'll still do them. It's about the details, it's an aesthetic thing...and it's become my personal signature (remember..."eccentric waspy anorak").
On my last trip to Berlin, I was on a city walk trying to locate a certain book store, when I instead stumbled across the stationary shop of my dreams. Now every time I'm in the city, I stock up on envelopes, ya never know when I might need one! The blood-red "button string" envelopes are one of my faves.
10.) How many handbags does a girl need? The obvious answer to this riddle, is many. Most of which should be in the color black, or course. hashtag allblackeverything. The majority of my wardrobe is also black, and neutral monochromatic...with the rare occasional splash of a coral/pink (if you notice, my website and Instagramand Twitteraccounts all mimic a similar aesthetic too). I like the contrast, the clean lines, an understated sensual style...often tailored, a tad dapper even. Quoting the brooding cinematic creature Wednesday Addams, "I'll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour". I hear you kiddo, and I agree.
That being said, my favourite statement piece, is a whitehand clutch, in curly sheepskin. It's perfectly cheeky. Looking either high-fashion, or as if I've brought my actual sofa pillow with me to the club for cocktails. Gotta leave 'em guessing.