I didn’t just go to the Met for fashion. It’s always a visual treat. And no visit is complete without a few minutes admiring the sheer cheek of snatching an entire temple and dragging it back to New York. It’s breathtaking, with the moat around it and the massive window looking out into Central Park and the surrounding megabucks real estate.
The Egyptian artifacts on display at the Met are impressive as a whole. Heiroglyphic covered walls, jewelry, pottery, statuary… you can easily slip into a reverie and daydream yourself into ancient Egypt while visiting.
But there’s more!
Tastefully appointed rooms perfectly preserved. Silk carpets and marquetry tables, and ornate candelabra. Perfect setting for romances and horror movies. There never any in between.
I have never seen this area before. It’s spectacular, and completely new to me.
This is one of my favorite paintings. This girl is feeling herself and here we are, hundreds of years later, feeling her, too. The color of the gown is what’s known as ‘everything’.
Right after I came back from Paris I ended up going to see the latest offering from Anna Wintour’s Costume Center at the Met. For once I actually had someone to go with, so it was a raucous afternoon of laughing at things that other people take seriously and day drinking wine at lunch. Not a date, just two ladies cackling their way through a cultural institution.
I need more of that in my life, tbf…
Anyway. we met up at the museum and wound our way through the excellent display of stolen goods in the Egyptian wing to the museum. The exhibit was in a little room that you could easily miss. The line for the exhibit is over by the Temple of Dendur.
The show centers around American fashion, and the first items that you see on display explain ASAP Rocky’s red carpet quilt. Patchwork and quilting are as old as those little houses on the prairie. It’s an integral part of the American legend, homie and comfortable. It’s a symbol of how disparate parts can come together as a rich and cohesive whole (which we are capable of, but that’s a whole other blog post).
The museum is actually doing the show in two parts, so right now it’s just a dodgy little display in a smallish suite of rooms in the basement. And because of the times we live in, the narrow aisles feel like a death trap. And there’s this horrible music, that resembles no American music trend, droning on in the background, raising the hackles. Yes, I’m complaining. Better to wait and do it properly instead of this, but no one asked me about that, so…
I will say that they had a ton of black designers so I’m excited to see what the larger show will look like. Featured in the exhibit were Pyer Moss, Patrick Kelly, Stephen Burrows, Dapper Dan and for some reason a look from Rihanna’s Savage underwear line. Not to slight her, but she also did a pretty respectable fashion collection that could have been included.
If you’re in New York, I’d definitely go and take a look at it. Try going early or mid-week so as not to be stuck in the maze-like aisles with a crowd. You can get tickets here.
Way back on August 29th, I took my first trip out to Hudson Yards to attend Sniffapalooza, New York’s own fancy fragrance party. It has been years since my first visit, back in 2015, thanks to winning an instagram contest. It was a much bigger affair than this post covid get together, but the fun of learning about new fragrances was the same.
I have a reason for going besides drinking prosecco and sniffing perfume, but I’ll post about that tomorrow. Anyway. For a small sum we all assembled in the Style Lounge and immediately got glasses of bubbly and bags stuffed with samples. Conversation got livelier with each presentation as we sprayed and sniffed the afternoon away.
Once presentations were over, we streamed out into Hudson Yards to shop. I had an antsy half hour waiting for the group to hit The Conservatory. I am not the sharpest dresser, I don’t wear heels, and can barely remember to do my nails or wear makeup but I love anything that makes life more beautiful. It could be a set of cotton sheets, a cashmere sweater, or a new bowl, anything that makes you feel good about life is a luxury to me. The fragrances they showed off intrigued me, and the atmosphere and merchandise presented in the shop had my credit card burning in my pocket, yearning to be out and tapping. I ended up buying two travel sized fragrances from Bastide, a Coriander candle from La Bruket, and a lovely bottle of Rose 1845 scented hair oil. I’m also working on manifesting a ring and bracelet from Marina B, or a fragrance from Michelle Pfeiffer’s heady Henry Rose label. There one called Dark as Night that makes you feel positively vampiric.
So, I meant to do a bunch of posts, but there are only four Saturdays in every month and we STILL have more Paris vacation to go. So, even though no one asked, I’m just going to post every day until I reach my self-determined goal. Today is a recap of my pop-up experience at Regeneration in Williamsburg.
It’s not good.
I was excited about being asked to participate, and I was excited to be selling in Williamsburg, and it seemed like it would be a perfect fit. But the day came to set up, I realized that it was def not the place to be. The atmosphere felt dead to me. Then the person next to me started acting out because the pop up staff asked her to move her clothing rack over. Just instant drama, and I was just standing there, uncomfortable. As soon as the staff person left my neighbor runs over and grabs my rack and moves it, muttering to herself, then stalks back to her side. I still haven’t said anything. I’m just taking it in.
$280 to spend the weekend next to someone with territory issues. Great! I start unpacking, slowly realizing that everyone else had massive amounts of stuff, but I (oldest, obedient child energy) had brought a small amount as stipulated in the contract. Then my neighbor, out of the blue, goes ’what did you say your name was?’ and I was just done. Like, never do this. Introduce yourself, don’t demand another person’s name. It reeks of bad attitude. Also, if the person is me, they won’t tell you. And you’ll be frustrated and angry while the person (me) ignores you.
So that was move in day.
The next morning, before opening, I brought in some more stuff and a little table. There was someone from the popup staff walking around and I heard her talking to people and being friendly. Then she gets to me and says, ”is this your little setup?” and I was once again, done. Like… its minimalist, ok? Damn. But being me, I just said ‘yeah’, and left it at that. And stood there in my little setup feeling demoralized.
“Little” setup. FML.
Moving on from the unpleasant beginnings, I proceeded to sell three items the whole weekend. A handpainted camo jacket with sashiko stitching and an embroidered patch that I designed when the country was burning down last year. I sold a cute minidress from the French flea market, and a maxidress that I purchased in the metro. For some reason the lady that bought the maxidress left me her skirt. She didn’t ask for a discount or to trade. She just gave me her skirt.
The next thing that happened was these two girls came and one tried one my tie dyed denim vest with feathers while the other filmed her and hyped her up. I kind of tried to sell it, but tbh I was just curious. The hype one was talking to someone on the phone in an exaggerated way and I couldn’t tell if I was dealing with a kpop sensation and her stylist or two social media wannabes.
Also, none of the people selling around me spoke to me. Except once. I was outside eating a burger and one followed me outside, suddenly talkative and smiling. Meanwhile, I’m legit trying to eat quickly without choking so I can go back to my booth. It was just not a good time. Plus, why wait two days to speak? And why do you have to come outside like it’s a secret?
That burger was insanely good, though.
So, def not going back. They make a lot of demands about marketing and social media, but they never once promoted me prior to the pop up, and they skipped over my booth during the weekend. And I only made half my money back, so there no financial incentive. It’s just a lost weekend.
I’m kind of shocked at how much I stuffed into a four day visit. But when you only have a few days, it makes sense to stuff them full of activities and adventures. Its also about staying up late on the internet, stewing over only having a few days and looking for things to do. I didn’t want to fly all that way just to sit in a hotel room alone. Friday afternoon I went to the Louvre , Saturday morning I went to Porte de Montreuil, and Saturday evening I went on a four hour bike tour in the streets of Paris with Fat Tire Tours.
I don’t have a helmet cam, and I’m too anxious of a rider to film on the bike, but trust me… it was incredible. I would not have covered so much ground just walking, and taking the metro is just burrowing through tunnels. Biking on my own was not going to happen, either. The bike tour was a genius idea.
One little travel tidbit? Google works everywhere. If it weren’t for google maps I would have been SOL finding places. So one ongoing adventure was just following google directions all over Paris. Finding the Rue Edgar Faure successfully, was literally the hardest part of taking this tour. Once there we got outfitted with vests, helmets and big, muscular bike. After a quick instruction, we lined up and headed out after our (AMERICAN!) tour guide into the warm Parisian sunset.
But, for real, it was actually sunset.
We rode through traffic and through crowds, along the streets and along the banks of the Seine. We stopped along the way to learn about French architecture, culture and history. Then we stopped for ice cream.
We stopped at the oldest ice cream maker in Paris, Berthillon, for a quick round of cones while listening to a piano player as the sun left streaks of light across the sky. I had roasted pineapple with basil and it was heaven. Then the lights that city is famous for started coming on.
We were supposed to end the night with a boat cruise but that got canceled and we ended up drinking wine in front of the Eiffel Tower, which was better. I bought a mess of keychains and a lightup tower toy to take home. As if it couldn’t get any better, the whole tower sparkled like champagne for about five minutes. All this magic cost me $55.
So, if you don’t know this, I have a reselling side hustle and I’m always looking for new ways to get inventory. I wanted to go to Paris, which is known for croissants, the Eiffel Tower (which they didn’t even want and Eiffel had to pay for it himself), and flea markets. The first time I visited, I dragged my ex-husband to the Port de Vanves open air market, happily haggling over a silver piggy bank. This time around, after doing some research, I decided on the lesser known Porte de Montreuil marche aux puces.
I’m gonna be honest, I was lost for about 45 minutes trying to find this place. First mistake was getting off at the wrong station. There are two Montreuil stops and I had forgotten to screen shot the metró directions before leaving the hotel (no free wifi in the subway there). After realizing that I should have trusted my instinct to get out at PORTE DE MONTREUIL, the literal name of the market. Then I managed to walk in every direction but the right one. Why? Just wild. If you go, just walk towards the highway when you leave the station. Towards the big glass buildings.
I took euros with me, but some vendors will take cards. It’s just all manner of stuff in there. I was laser focused on vintage and clothing, but there was so much more! I could have happily stayed in there browsing and shopping.
I ended up tagging out after about 20 minutes. I filled my bag, even after rolling everything to make as much room as possible it was still full. I left with some good vintage, a raincoat that I’m keeping, and a still fat wad of euros.
I photographed every piece as soon as I got back to the hotel.
Wrong station, great photo. This is not the flea market station. Just trying to save you time.
Next time? The story of a bike ride through Paris.
OK, we’re back in Paris. My first stop, after dropping my stuff off at the hotel, was the Louvre Museum. I’ve wanted to go there for years, and a museum seemed like the perfect place to start my vacation. Not too stressful, lots of art, maybe a little meal. Nothing too crazy. Meanwhile the place is 8 miles long, I had no map and I was late to pick up my audioguide. They were nice and gave me one anyway? But for the life of me I could not figure it out. So I just walked around, headphones around my neck, completely lost. I don’t think was the only one, a lot of people were wandering around with the headphones off.
After getting lost in the Egyptian section, then finding myself in the basement viewing the medieval stones that are the museum’s foundation, I finally found my way to the painting galleries. The walls are filled with landscapes and religious iconography. There are small canvasses tiled on walls and paintings so large that they fully occupy walls that are longer than my studio apartment. It is an onslaught of artistic endeavor. I tried to find the Mona Lisa, but I got turned around and found a hall of Objets d’Art and from there I somehow found Napoleon Bonaparte’s apartments.
Red velvet and gold everywhere. Crystal chandeliers, and paintings of cherubs on the ceiling. It’s garish and unbelievably tacky, but also sumptuous, luxurious and outlandishly royal. What’s wild is now understanding what was in my mom’s head when she decorated. A lot of people are copying this oplulent style unconsciously. I remember going to the homes of relatives and seeing elements of this and now here it was in front of me. The whole thing made me sad about my lack of pillars and corniches and gilded flourishes. Don’t get me started about the dining room.
I got there at about 4pm and they close at six, so it was a sprint. Next time I’m downloading a map and prepping before I get there, but for a first time I feel good with how much I saw. It definitely lived up to the hype. It was also the first time that I used my Nikon dslr since I bought it two years ago, and I got some lovely images. It was my first time going to the little Maxim’s shop in the lower level and my first cannelle. My first day in Paris and I ended up sitting on a bench with the sun beaming down on me just being grateful for being there.
Excited!!! Im going to LIVE at the Regeneration pop up next weekend🎉 and they’re having a launch party! (Not just for me, Artists and Fleas is proud to launch their new baby market!). Regular hours are every weekend from 11am to 6pm, at 70 N 7th Street in Williamsburg, but this week? There’s a party from 5pm to 7pm!🎉🤗
Here are the deets:
Shop 20+ vintage, thrift and upcycled fashion sellers at the Regeneration Celebration Saturday, September 25th from 5-7pm. Special guests include @screamie_weemie stick-and-pokes, @toothcharm tooth gems, mochi from @theboiisco, live stream shopping and $20 shopping credit from ShopShops (download the app here and get $20 spending credit to shop the market!), drinks from Recess, custom jewelry from @lesmissnyc, DJ sets from @poptrainrecords and more.
I went by there on Sunday to take a look, and its adorable.
I don’t usually post mid-week, but its Wednesday and I want to make sure I promoted that fact that I, and some curated preloved and vintage fashion, will be at Regeneration (70 N 7th Street in Williamsburg) this Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
I started planning my trip back in July. I booked the airline, hotel and tours then went about my business, praying every day that there wouldn’t be another lockdown. Luckily there was just a travel restriction, but I got vaccinated earlier this year and I have consistently tested negative. I was still nervous that the whole thing would fall through. Once it got down to the last 7 days before the trip, I could get excited. I had a whole plan and now it was coming true.
I decided to pack a capsule wardrobe in black, with a white maxidress to go to the country in. I took my new plaid shacket for cold airports and to use as a blanket. My wardrobe consisted of:
I ended up adding the 10 euro floral maxidress on the way to the hotel, so I wore the white dress on an evening excursion.
This was how I did luggage. To travel I packed a Rebecca Minkoff tote bag ($40, sample sale) with a folded L.L. Bean camo duffel bag that I got free from another blogger at an event 6 years ago. The tiny wardrobe was packed in a ziplock bag, and I painted a little Street Level handbag (I think it was $20, I got it from C21) to use for my camera and plug adaptors, hand sanitizer, etc. I don’t like having to check anything. I was only staying four days, and I knew I was going to shop so had an empty bag ready.
Unfortunately the Minkoff bag gave up on the way to the hotel. The strap couldn’t handle the pressure. I swapped it out for a cheap tan faux leather bag that I bought in the metro with the dress. Tbh, I bought five dresses and this bag for 50 euro!
I will admit to a lot of toiletries, though. But I have a two Le Sac pouches from a blogger event at Caravan Style Studio ages ago. I took Herbivore Botanicals bakuchiol and Phoenix face oil. I bought Mario Badescu skincare and deodorant from Nordstrom Rack (I love NR), two amazing Bastide fragrances, and the new MAC items from my makeover. I got all the way there and realized that I’d forgotten toothbrush and toothpaste, do I got this awesome Botot brand at a Parisian pharmacy. I also got some Weleda body wash, which was confiscated on the way home.
I was reckless for buying it, and I only got to use it twice🤷🏿♀️
The finishing touch was getting faux locs. I love my hair, but I wanted a completely new, no stress, look. I bought a bonnet to protect them at night, and I admit to using Mario Badescu rosewater facial spray and a few drops of face oil to moisturize my scalp. I got new black and gold framed glasses from Zeelol, with fun costume jewelry from my favorite place (Nordstrom Rack), plus my fave Timex watch.
Oh, and these sweet Converse CX low tops, $70, with clear rubber toe detail and orange rubber soles. It turns out that Converse all stars are pretty popular in Paris. I saw so many different iterations! And they were comfortable for all the stair climbing and walking that I did for my whole trip. I didn’t stop moving from the moment I left my apartment in New York. It was a whole marathon.
Three days back and still a mess. I am still not properly unpacked, my bed is half made. I didn’t get it together to make a proper dinner until yesterday, and now I will be eating jollof inspired saucy rice with chicken deep into next year because guess who used three cups of rice for no reason?
Me. I made a massive pot of rice.
Anyway, I didn’t want to leave my blog empty until next Saturday, so here are some photos from my day tour to Giverny to see the home and gardens of Claude Monet.
But first, this is the first floral dress that I’ve ever liked enough to wear. Long dresses are commonplace on the stylish streets of Paris, and the floral was to honor the theme of this viator booked tour of the countryside. I loved wearing this dress. It felt very fresh and feminine.
I’m going to work on an outline for next week’s post and actually post it on Saturday. I learned a lot, every day was a revelation.