Let me start with a recommendation of what NOT to do when you are in New York. Don’t go to Vu Hair at the Peninsula Hotel. DON’T!!!!Do. Fucking. Not!!! Getting my hair cut in New York has always been a treat for me. I try to go somewhere special. It’s a little way I like to spoil myself. This time I was trying a lovely sounding salon on the 22nd floor of a grand hotel. It got great Yelp reviews. I was excited. Well… Moi was in for a nasty surprise. ScissorHands did not listen to me when I told him what I wanted: three to four inches off the bottom and layering on the side.Instead, my almost waist long hair (when straightened) was hacked to little more than shoulder length (a good 8 inches off). I was devastated. Into the lobby bathroom I went, where I cried for about twenty minutes — well, if you are going to cry like a big baby, it might as well be in some fancy bathroom. It heightens the drama. Am I right?
I always thought my hair was the most special part of me, the thing that made me pretty. My hair has always been long. From childhood, I have associated long hair with beauty. So to have it chopped so significantly… it was both shocking and somewhat devastating. It’s just hair, I know, but somehow the end result felt so brutal. Yeah, yeah, “it will grow back,” they tell me, like this is going to make things better. IN A FUCKING YEAR!!!! I now feel as attractive as a sack of potatoes.Maybe I shouldn’t be so vain. I am more than what I look like. I know that. But even now as I write, I’m still upset about it. Traumatic.
Fuck that though. I’m still gonna roll like a gangsta. Shitty hair be damned. I shall move from the worst part of my vacation to the best. I saw my first ever concert. Going to see Florence + The Machine was the main reason for my trip. I didn’t know what to expect. Yeah, I could have seen her closer to home, but why would I do that when I could see her in Brooklyn? Makes no sense. Was it weird that I was going alone? Maybe a little, huh? I was nervous. Dealing with the unknown is always a little scary for me, but at the same time, I try to be brave. I don’t want life to pass me by. Was I going to stick out like a sore thumb? Was it going to be just completely and utterly awkward?
Actually my dears, it was awesome. Ah Florence… could I possibly be more in love? Words don’t describe it. Her angelic aura, her super powerful voice, the way she danced in her diaphanous gown and bare feet, her beautiful bright spirit that lit up the Barclay Center. She is just so utterly lovely. Mostly she sang songs from her newest release, “High as Hope,” but there were some of her beloved classics too. Magical my lovelies, magical. I sang (yes, me!) … I even danced (if you could call it that). It was so special, a memory I will cherish forever.
Of course there was plenty of eating. You know how I do, dollies. But I mostly stuck with my old favorites, so I am not going to bore you with stuff I’ve already written about previously. Suffice it to say, weight was surely gained. Need a fat ass to balance my awkward coiffure, methinks. And then there was the street art.
I found five Invader pieces to add to Moi collection. That always thrills me to bits.
I make really poor food choices when I go on holiday. It starts from the beginning, at the airport. I am not to blame. It’s Lakeshia. She is someone I shared a Diet Coke with in Salt Lake City. We started off with a gigantic peanut butter cup… and the games began. From the beginning of the trip, to its culmination… all poor nutritional nutritional decision making were solely hers. Got that? She is naughty. She makes me do bad things.
Really, I don’t know how to tell you all the wonderful things that happened on my eight days of vacation, and I loathe to try. I mean ugh. I’d be typing forever! I am not one for writing super long posts, and I am not one for reading super long posts, so I will be leaving out A LOT of stuff. This is just a sampling of highlights.
First let’s start with Oregon. Portland is all about food. It’s my kind of city for sure, so food is where I shall begin:
Pok Pok: OMG those chicken wings. Totally worth the hype. I swear it. They smell a little odd (it’s the fish sauce), but wow. There is this sweet and spicy thing going on that is just perfection. If it was just me and Crazy Kat, I might have licked the plate, but her husband was there, and he don’t know me like that (though I think he has an inkling).
The lavender honey ice cream at Salt & Straw … swoon worthy. They have a lot of amazing flavors, from the weird (and I mean super crazy and kinda yuck sounding, like bone marrow!), to the wonderful, but the lavender honey is the one that gets my vote. There is something about that flavor that just completely does it for me. I should also mention that the people who work there are fab. It makes a good experience even better.
The biscuits at this most adorable little shop ever, Lauretta Jean’s. Oh gosh, these were sooooo good. Perfect, simple, and decadent. Gobs of butter, and a touch of honey. I was in heaven. Plus I just adored the vintage setting and all of the irresistible homemade pies on display which seemed to speak to me in a way that only my very own piglet ears can hear. Really, the place was unbearably charming.
After biscuits we went street art hunting, and Portland actually has a great street art scene. I discovered a new artist I love called Fin DAC. Check out how clever this piece is. The geisha’s hair is actually composed of live plants. I believe this piece is called “Gratitude.”
And really, there are so much more art pieces worth showing you, but it feels strange to me to lump them all together. I feel like it starts to cheapen the specialness of each individual work, so I’m not going do do that. Again, this post is just about showing you SOME of what I found special.
International Rose Test Garden– beautiful roses as far as the eye can see. Portland is actually known as the City of Roses, so there is no better place for this garden to exist. Some roses gave off the most exquisite fragrances, while some smelled of nothing. It’s somewhat odd being surrounded by so much beauty, you almost become numbed to it after a while. Each rose is more beautiful than the next. It was a wonderful experience, a Portland excursion that should not be missed. I imagine that the rose garden would be an amazing setting to get married in *le sigh* … maybe one day. Or donuts, those are fine too.
Blue Star Donuts… okay the huge and slow moving line? So annoying, yet it was worth it. I got to try every donut I wanted. I tried five. Hey… be quiet okay? It is so cool being an adult because you can eat ungodly amounts of donut and nobody will stop you. It’s the law LOL!!! My favorite was the orange olive oil donut. It was so good that I bought some for the return flight home… because I could, and by that point I was already super fat, so whatever. And by the way, I did also try Voodoo Doughnuts, because how could I not? Save your calories. Kitch factor galore and a good Instagram opportunity for sure, but so meh!
Crazy Kat’s stunning beach house in Arch Cape is a contemporary masterpiece. Wow, that place is beyond impressive. I love knowing that someone I love so much gets something that gorgeous. A queen deserves a castle… on the beach… with fabulous bath tubs. Sometimes nature is lost on me, but through a giant glass wall in a luxury setting, the sunset looks especially beautiful. I can see why her Instagram is always peppered with so many sunsets! While in Arch Cape, we went to Cannon Beach where I got to see Haystack Rock. It was a rock formation that was pivotal in finding the pirate treasure in the 80s film, The Goonies. I found treasure in Oregon too. Problem is, I ate it.
And Seattle? Well, I believe the first thing we did after grabbing some chocolates at Fran’s was to head to the famed Pike Place Market: a rabbit warren of fruits, vegetables, “flying” fish and all manner of touristy knickknacks that you will never find a use for.
Of course I got to see the famous Space Needle. I like to think of it as the Eiffel Tower of the American west. It was right next to the Chihuly Garden and Glass where CK and I saw some stunning glass sculptures. Amongst all the gorgeousness, this one, by far, was my favorite:
And of course I have to share some Seattle Street Art. D*Face was recently in Seattle doing an exhibit at Treason Gallery, and did two awesome murals, which I was only able to find thanks to CK. She is becoming quite adept at hunting street art. The first, “Careless Whisper” is not my photo, I just couldn’t get a good shot with all the cars that were parked in front of it. The second is of Kurt Cobain, who I consider synonymous with Seattle.
I can’t possibly end this post without saying how much I adore Crazy Kat and her wonderful husband Blue Eyes (not to mention her two lovely boys which I finally had the pleasure of meeting). They are so kind and good to me. I don’t know how I lucked out by meeting CK, but rather than question it, I thank thank the Universe for my good fortune. While I was there, it felt like every day was my birthday. Lots of love and thanks go out to you CK (though dear, you are an enabler, you totally let Lakeshia have her way… and we love you for it).
Okay, so yeah, I have written about visiting NYC maaaaaany many times. Maybe you even got your barf bag ready, cause here Caroline goes again. But whateva, cause the place is just so beyond fabulous, dollies. I will never get sick of it, I will never stop going, and I’ll never stop writing about it. It is a constantly evolving city, and there are always new and wonderful things to eat, see, explore, and do. Still, I’m going to be easy on you and just share the highlights.
Exhibit A: The blubbery calfoutis at Le Coucou. Le Coucou is a very fancy French restaurant in the downtown area. I’d love to have dinner there but I’d feel a little self conscious going on my own for a larger meal — I’ll get over that, but CrazyKat, we have a date, okay? That, and Lobster Rumble, girlie. The restaurant itself is stunning and sumptuous. It requires you to get a bit dressed up (but I imagine breakfast is more casual than dinner, and also you don’t have to make a reservation then). I sat my fat ass down on a velvet tuffet as the most beautiful pancake ever was set before my beady little eyes. Oh, and do you know dollies, it was just as delicious as it looked. I loved the added touches of the cream quenelle dusted in lime zest.
Exhibit B: The pancakes at Chez Ma Tante were completely the opposite. The didn’t win the pancake beauty contest like the one at Le Coucou, as they were much more rustic looking, but ooooooooh. And oooooooooooh. Okay so these had the most incredible texture for a pancake that I have yet to encounter (and yes, I did try the ones at Cinton Street Baking Company… good, but meh in comparison). These were crunchy on the outsides, fluffy on the inside, with the faintest hint of lemon, covered in maple syrup and a healthy pat of buttah (it’s good for the skin dont’cha know). And it happened to be just DEVINE. Yep, totally freaking swoon-worthy. Okay, so I should mention that technically these are in Williamsburg, not NYC, but go. Gooooooooooooo!
Seeing an artist at work. As you know I love street art. I happened to be in Williamsburg while the Moniker Art Fair was in progress (which I went to). In conjunction with the fair, a very famous street artist known as D*Face was finishing up a piece, and I happened to see him action, which was very special for me.
Speaking of art, another highlight of my trip was taking part in an exhibit by Candy Chang. I am a huge fan of hers, I have been ever since I saw her Ted Talk. I always wanted to write on one of her “Before I Die” walls, but I have never encountered one in my travels thus far. This, however, was just as cool, if not cooler. The exhibit was at a lesser known NYC museum, The Rubin Museum of Art. The exhibit was called “A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful.” There were two walls. On one wall people were invited to write one of their hopes and include it with the other contributors. On the other wall, visitors wrote their anxieties. What people wrote ran the gamut from funny to very deep and real. It struck a very personal cord with me. I loved being able to share my own and be a tiny part of this beautiful collective.
Treating myself. Well, the truth is, all of my vacations are about indulgence in some way. Food, art, and sometimes (but not always) there are goodies involved. I’m not really one to collect souvenirs, but I did see something quite special at Bergdorf Goodman that I could not resist. It was a bit of an extravagance, but you only live once. I am a great believer in treating oneself to the finer things, when and if it is possible, because we are the only one we can truly count on at the end of the day. My mom always says, “I buy myself flowers, because if I have to wait for a man to do it, I might grow a beard.” Yeah well, I bought myself the moon, and strung it along my neck. I have always wanted a pretty moon necklace. I’m a Cancer, so it’s my sign. The moon is also supposed to be a representation of feminine energy/power. Who would have guessed? Me, Caroline, that’s who.
Rather than discussing all about what I got up to in NYC and recount everything I stuffed into my belly (I’ve done that before), I thought I’d write about a very cool excursion I made into Bushwick (Brooklyn). It ain’t Manhattan, that’s for sure. But what it is, is a street art hotspot. I booked a tour, and I was super excited to see what artists I would find there. It was so worth the trek! I also learned quite a bit in the process. And yeah, there was a little somethin’ for da belly too … you know how I roll.
Here’s an interesting fact I learned: did you know that street art all started because a guy was trying to get a girl’s attention? He went by Cornbread (though his real name was Darryl McCray). Sometime in the 60’s he started “tagging” the words “Cornbread loves Cynthia” all over Philadelphia. This started a trend that would spread far and wide. Others followed his example, and by the 70s, graffiti became a big deal in New York. By the 80s, it was a global phenomenon (not to mention a public nuisance). And yeah, Cornbread did win the heart of his beloved Cynthia. Graffiti was born.
In my eyes, street art is just as high an art as anything you would find at the Louvre. To prove it, I give you Exhibit A.
I went a couple hours early to scope the place out. I’m so glad I did, because otherwise I would not have seen what is undoubtedly the most beautiful piece of street art that I have ever personally encountered. It is a mash up of Rafael’s Madonna dell Granduca and Kieth Haring’s Radiant Baby. While Rafael did his work on a canvas with oils and paint brushes, Owen Dippie created a work on a much grander scale using spray cans. In my opinion, “stunning” doesn’t even come close to describing the results. So I ask you, who has the greater skill? The renaissance master painter, or the street artist? Food for thought my lovelies.
Nothing I saw wowed me in this same way, but I did get so see plenty of other cool pieces, including a couple by my beloved Invader…
… but there was plenty of other stuff too. Eye candy galore! Mostly the tour concentrated on what is called the “Bushwick Collective.” This is basically sanctioned street art, where the neighborhood business owners allow the artists to beautify the space, simply for art’s sake. There is no money exchanging hands. In return, Bushwick gets to look freaking awesome. I love that. Some really famous street artists from far and wide have come to help decorate the space.
Here are a few of my favorites:
I took loads of pictures, but I think you are ready to eat. Non, mon amours? I think if there is one special place to eat in Bushwick, it’s the legendary Roberta’s. In fact, Bushwick and Roberta’s are quite synonymous. This uber hipster hangout is not just a place for guys with pretty beards and well manicured mustachios! Oh no! This place makes some fine and fatty pizzas. Moi had the “white guy pizza” (though I have to say, I think I am partial to Cubans *wink*).
No my dears, I’m not going to waste my time convincing you. A picture will tell you all you need to know.
Yeah, that hunting in the Bush(wick) is no easy task, but someone’s got to do it *burp.*