Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stay tuned...

Sorry for the lack of posting recently! It's been hectic around here. We'll be back to regularly scheduled posts next week! In the meantime, you can catch me on twitter and pinterest. Happy early weekend readers!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Recap: Memorial Day

This weekend we celebrated Memorial Day with some friends and cook-out in the garden. We bought bison burgers at the farmer's market just for the occasion. I would like to say I'm an adventurous food eater, as I'm constantly inspired by Anthony Bourdain and his culinary travels, and I am with some things - sweets, cheese, fruits, and vegetables - just not really with meat. I'm not a huge meat eater. I don't even really like hamburgers. For years I didn't even cook meat at home, poor Gman.

However, there has been some buzz over bison and its leaner, healthier qualities and we like the bison (and pork) guy at the farmer's market. So I decided to give Gman the green light for a taste test. As soon as we mentioned to our guests that a) we were having bison burgers and b) where we got them, they were giddy with excitement. The same guy goes to their market! I wish I could remember his name now, though I'm sure if you live in DC and are a meat eater, you know who I'm talking about.

I'm happy to report that I really liked it! The meat was tender, slightly marbled with fat, just enough to give it a juicy texture. It was light and slightly sweet. I liked it much better than beef. Like a lot more. I'm so glad I pushed myself to try something new!

What about you? Are you adventurous with food or do you stick to just a few favorites?

PS - I totally destroyed that Strawberry Rhubarb pie. It's basically the only thing I ate all weekend. That and a vanilla ice cream accompaniment.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm gettin' my art blog on.

Aaron Canipe, Native Place

I've been crazy busy lately with some exciting new ventures, in addition to some new project for High Heeled Traveler, I've been hired by ArtSee DC as a blogger (yippie!).

If you aren't familiar with ArtSee DC, they are an arts company who engage with artists and art enthusiasts in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to discover, exchange, and promote art in the community. I will write a monthly artist interview column as well as review gallery exhibitions. Check out my first interview with photographer Aaron Canipe here!

Discovering Art and Art History: Pottery with Jonathan Adler

large jade bird bowl, limited edition ceramic croccharade drape vase, capuchine large gourd, georgia vase  

When I was in undergrad I went through an obsessive ancient Greek sculpture and vase phase. I was so into it that I could go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and guess the time periods of the artwork correctly without looking at the labels. I knew which type of drapery was associated with each artistic period and what region it was from. Besides being generally impressed by the skill and sophistication of it all, I thought it was interesting that a lot of the sculpture and particularly the vases were decorative objects made for everyday and ceremonial use. Just like us today, many people then wanted to be surrounded by beautiful objects. Many of the vases made were designed and created by craftsmen. They were made in workshops and sold as craft. We look at them now in the museum setting and think about how precious they are (I mean anything that lasts +2,000 years is well-made in my book) but then they were part of people’s everyday life and culture. There is a blurred line here between artist and craftsman, art object and commercial object.

This leads me to Jonathan Adler. I had the pleasure of attending his lecture (and meeting him!) on Tuesday night at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design. He spoke to a standing-room-only audience about his professional journey. If you aren’t familiar with his brand of decorative objects, I highly recommend you read his manifesto and bio ASAP. You will be laughing out loud. His “irreverent luxury” and making “happy” a brand were indeed inspiring. There were many take-aways for me but I kept coming back to this idea of art vs. craft as Mr. Adler’s career is founded on his insatiable passion for creating pottery.

He started his career creating pots for artistic consumption, “one of a kind” type objects that one might find at a local art fair. But he soon saw the value in producing his work on a grander scale, the opportunity in changing motifs with the seasons, and the challenge of mixing the creative with the sellable. Mr. Adler noted that his animal sculptures are best sellers and recommends to “anyone trying to do a business - do animals. People love them” :).

Throughout the lecture, Mr. Adler kept mentioning that during the course of his career he has dealt with the same aesthetic concerns of silhouette and proportion in his pottery (which he still does daily, literally hands on in the design process). He wants to liberate each pot from its raw form; to be “uncovered rather than created” as if it had always existed. He wants each sculpture to be perfect. Each new motif- inspired by everything from nature, shop mannequins, drapes, to precious pups-enlivens his passion to pull the perfect form from the mud. These concerns are those of an artist, no?

However, he creates decorative objects that we can use in our everyday life. Instead of plain ol’ salt and pepper shakers, how about one with a moustache? Instead of a glass vase, how about a porcelain one with a perfect geometric design? His designs are mass produced in workshops worldwide (mostly in Peru through Aid to Artisans), so are they still artistically valuable? I ask myself, would one of his Georgia vases one day end up in a museum representing our time and culture? Is a craftsman a purveyor of artistic aesthetic? Is a commercially successful potter speaking about his work in a historical museum ironic? Can there be a blurred line to art and craft in the contemporary world or is it something left in the past? What do you think? Tell me in the comments below…

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Poetry Tasting: A New Series!

Hello dear readers! I want to introduce you to our first contributor and a new series on High Heeled Traveler called A Poetry Tasting. I've been wanting to add some poetic delights to the blog for a while but it's one style of story telling that escapes me. Luckily one of my best friends, Kate, is a poet and agreed to write some special rhymes just for us! Let me/us know what you think in the comments below.
So here you go, the first poem in our monthly series...

Ode to a Hotel Room
by Kate Lindblom

A hotel room is made up of three plain things:
security, simplicity, and sighs.
Peace sinks to the core
when we're behind a door
that to us has no ties.

First, security of the calmest kind,
is ready to greet each guest.
With plastered walls
and silent halls
A traveler can take a rest

from winds that gust and rains that pelt
to snow that crusts to ice.
Brass locks that click
and clocks that tick
soothe us through the night.

Simplicity comes in the form of things
like smooth ivory tiles and sheets
as blank and clean
as twilights unseen,
as cool as the mossy peat.

Soap that under a fingernail curls
and pillows stuffed with things
like slanted sunlight
and sounds of the night
a freshness to us brings.

And what of the sighs that from us arise
when we thump our bags on the floor?
They're the same ones heard
instead of a word
when the lamp shines gold no more.

Sheets of glass and cotton curtains
Keep us apart from the noise.
So let out your sighs
and close your eyes.
Let a hotel room bring you joy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shoe Love: Wedding delights

I can't believe I was so distracted last week by those yellow pumps that I forgot to share with you my wedding day shoes! My original plan was to go with a colored pump, then I changed my mind and wanted glitter. But when I finally found the lace dress I didn't want anything to take away from its delicate prettiness. So I went with something surprisingly traditional- a dreamy pair of creamy satin d'orsay Manolo Blahniks.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wardrobe: Chesapeake Bay

Tshirt, bracelet, hoody, tote, sunglasses, boat shoes, shorts, ring

Out on Chesapeake Bay you'll want to be comfortable for a long day on the boat and not all boating weather is bikini weather. I found my good ol' fashioned hoody to be a lifesaver and the classic Sperry boat shoes are brought to life with gold metallic (these are great for commuting too, as I'm told by many a New York lady friend). The print on these shorts is so funky and fun, I couldn't resist. Such a nice break from my black or khaki go to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Destination: Chesapeake Bay

When I was moving to New York City years ago (can't believe that was years ago already!) my parents and I stopped by Baltimore on our drive to NYC. Gman was living there at the time. We had always wanted to visit Annapolis and eat Maryland soft shell crabs. It just seemed like something you were supposed to do. One of those all-American experiences. Annapolis was darling and we enjoyed just walking around looking in shop windows. As hunger pangs began to strike we searched in vain for soft shell crabs, or any crabs for that matter. It was September and decidedly not crab season. Who knew? We drove all around Maryland before finally finding one side-of-the-road seafood place that had some frozen ones. We bought them out of desperation.

A few weeks ago my parents called me and said they wanted to come visit and take a boat ride out on Chesapeake Bay. So this boat ride would be experience round two. It was the beginning of crab season and the the beginning of perfect boating weather. We rented a Sea Ray for the day and headed out on a beautiful Saturday morning. The water was dark and murky compared to what we were used to in Florida. It was colder too, with the wind. The Bay was a lot larger than I expected, I mean huge, and it took two hours to cross a small portion. It was littered with sail boats racing and fisherman patiently waiting for their prize catch.

Our destination was St. Michael's where we heard one finds the best freshly caught crabs on the Bay. Everyone I mentioned our little plan to said, "Oh! You HAVE to go to St. Michael's for crabs." So we arrived in the early afternoon ready to conquer some tasty animals *editor's note: I was the only one not conquering as I'm not a seafood lover. Besides, someone had to take pictures right?

We liked the open air vibe of the picnic table set up at The Crab Claw Restaurant. Not to mention it was the first restaurant we saw and we were starving. What is it about boating that gives me the munchies? Maryland Blue Crabs were bountiful on the menu as well as crab cakes and other medleys of seafood. It was chilly out on the water (you'll find out how chilly in the What I Wore post later...) and blazing hot on land in comparison. I wasn't prepared for the seemingly extreme change. But we enjoyed sitting at a picnic table watching my dad diligently pick through a pile of sea creatures. Live gospel music could be heard coming from the near distance and it gave the dock a nostalgic tone.

After almost two hours there, we planned on stretching our legs with a walk through town. But our time was cut short but the impending thunderstorms that threatened to keep us from getting back to our home base. Our next plan to was to swing by Annapolis to again browse shop windows and find some new treasures and maybe a pint or two. But the storms were quickly following us and created less than desirable choppy waters. The boat ride back was rough. We had a quick dinner at LeveL in Annapolis then headed home.  In my family the tell tale sign of a successful day is a quiet car ride home, as everyone is passed out from too much fun. Despite a change of plans due to weather, this car ride was one of the quietest.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Recap: I was in the garden again

I know you are probably sick of hearing about the garden, but I pretty much spent every waking moment out there this weekend. Saturday we had some friends over for a light lunch and wine. Then on Sunday I laid out in the sun and read for a few hours. I love it back there! It's like my private oasis in the city. My little island of grass in a sea of concrete! When I sit back there I think, yes, you can have it all

To bring a little of the garden into the house, I picked up these peonies at the farmer's market on Sunday. Aren't they heavenly? I love that they look so pillowy and delicate but have this peppery scent.

What did you do this weekend? Did you do something special for your Mother? I would love to hear!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Shoe Love: A pop of yellow

Patent Film Noir Pumps via Madewell

I love the bright summery pop of color these pumps would bring to my usual neutral ensembles. I would pretty much wear these with everything, for work or play. What do you think? Could you wear these in your office?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Exploring Wine: Viognier

Cono Sur, Bicycle Viognier, Chile, 2009, $10.00
My rating for this bottle? I would drink a few glasses. 

I have only recently heard of this varietal, viognier. It is a grape now commonly grown in Virginia but has in the past been difficult to grow world-wide due to its sensitivity to disease. This one is from Chile. I've been seeing it on menus recently and decided to share a bottle with my parents while they were here visiting.

On my first sip, I was struck by the crisp, bright (that little sparkle on your tongue), and delicate flavor. Pear or apricot were the first fruit descriptions to come to mind but it wasn't too sweet or too tart. We enjoyed drinking this bottle in our newly renovated garden with grilled kabobs and salad with pecans, cranberries, and feta.

Just like Loimer did for their Grüner Veltliner, Cono Sur provided a technical sheet for this vintage on their website. Here is the link. I found it helpful to compare my impression of the wine vs their description, after I drank it. You might want to compare your tasting notes as well.

Mother's Day

Lotion, scarf, chocolate covered nuts, earrings, flats, perfume

So... Mother's Day is on Sunday. Did it sneak up on you like it did for me? I don't know about you, but my mom spends all her time and money taking care of everyone else but feels guilty buying decent hand lotion for herself. I always like to give my mom something indulgent, something she wouldn't buy herself (and usually I give it to her about two months late, just to keep her on her toes...).

Besides flowers, wine, and fancy coffee, here are my last minute gift ideas to help celebrate the one you brought you into this world. I'm sure she wouldn't mind a nice framed picture of you two either. My dad and sister are taking my mom for a beach picnic. I wish I could be there to join them!

Also, my all-time favorite Mother's Day video ever and some snarky cards.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Wedding Post

Happy two year anniversary to the most handsome man I know!

When we were planning our wedding we got lots and lots of unsolicited advice on what we should do, serve, wear, how we should talk, who should be invited, you name it someone told us their opinion. At first it was fun to share in the excitement but then it was so overwhelming that I just wanted to do whatever the heck was good for me. No tanning or princess dress for instance.

So here is my unsolicited advice to all you brides to be. Pick three things that are really important to you and let everything else go. Gman and I choose three each and there was some overlap: good food, good music, free booze for the guests, and I was obsessed, and still am, with my flowers.

The planning process is stressful, and the day of even more so (for me anyways) but remember why you are getting married and keep your eye on the prize, which is hopefully your husband to be.

All photos in this post were taken by Mike Buoy for Mike & Ann Visual Storytellers (except the dessert bar; that was taken by one of my lovely bridesmaids). They were a pleasure to work with and two of the most dedicated and hard-working people I know. You can find more of their photographs on their blog here and if you like their work (how could you not!?) follow them on facebook here.

Here are the rest of our vendors. They all created a perfectly seamless experience for me and my guests and I couldn’t be more pleased with their services. 

Flowers: Flowers by Jenny. She's seriously the best ever.
Ceremony site: Palm Harbor White Chapel. I liked the white washed walls and stained glass windows. It also had the shortest aisle in town.
Reception site: Bon Appetit Restaurant and Inn. Carmen took care of everything for us, making the wedding day run perfectly. Almost all of the guests stayed at the hotel too and it made for a fun weekend get-a-way.

UPDATE: I forgot to tell you who I'm wearing :) Dress is Douglas Hannant, shoes Manolo Blahnik, and  cage veil Tigerlilly Jewelry.

We also had a second chef make the cakes but unfortunately I can not remember who it was! I will do some digging and add an update when I can.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Recap: a visit from the 'rents

My parents came to visit this weekend and we ate and drank our way through DC and the Chesapeake Bay area. We spend so much time relaxing and a few days without worries was just what the doctor ordered. Saturday we rented a boat and cruised around Chesapeake Bay (more on that for tomorrow's Destination!) and Sunday we finished working on the back garden. 

It's rare that these types of projects work out to our greatest expectations, especially when a tight budget is concerned, but I couldn't be more happy with the way our garden turned out. I wish I had some before pictures because it was seriously a mess back there (turns out all previous pictures taken were creative enough to hide the scary bits.) The trees were overgrown and half-dead shrubs encroached on the entertaining space. We took out all the dead plants, cleaned out the underbrush, replanted fresh flowers, and even put down some grass! We have grass in the city! I feel like we've really made it in the world. And who cares that our patch of grass is only 9 x 4 ft. There is even a dove who liked our garden so much she decided it would be the perfect place to raise her soon-to-hatch babies.

These pictures are just a preview, there will be more to come!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shoe Love: Happy Hour

I've been insanely busy lately and last Friday I was beginning to tweak. I had plans for happy hour (my favorite hour) but they were pushed back so I had a few minutes to kill. I walk by Nine West everyday and never go in. But I impulsively decided to go in there (retail therapy anyone?) and check out their new spring shoes. I wasn't the only one either. The staff was not prepared for the amount of women who impulsively buy shoes on their way to happy hour. It was like the party already started! Besides having to wait my turn to get the shoes I wanted, it was fun to try them on with complete strangers, showering each other with compliments in the process, "Those are so cute on you!" "Those make your legs look so long!" "Sexy!" and finally "Please tell me you bought the pink ones?!" Yes fellow weary lady workers, I bought the pink ones.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Exploring Wine: A Rosé Story

This Exploring Wine post won't be a review but in honor of the warming weather, a little story about that pink wine.

During the hot summer days in Georgia my grandmother used to drink sweet rosé wine over ice. She loved it almost as much as sweet tea and sprite, her go-tos. She isn't a big alcohol drinker and her taste in wine was whatever was sweet and cheap. As a young adult I remember looking down on her choice as less than sophisticated. I always associated rosé with tacky old-fashioned furniture and matching shorts outfits that older ladies in Florida just love to wear. As I became a wine drinker, I teased her behind her back about her beloved  rosé with ice.

Then I moved to Paris in the summer of  2006 to study abroad. I became a francophile and fell in love with all things Parisian. It was hot, I mean real hot, and there was little air conditioning to be had. We even bought hand fans to cool ourselves and spent little time in our apartments or classrooms. Parisians congregated in the street cafes in hopes of a breeze and at least some interesting people watching. My girlfriends and I followed suit. I looked around to see what everyone was ordering and was horrified to see chic French men and women drinking  rosé with ice. Just one ice cube floating there in the middle of the pink liquid. Then I did the unthinkable and ordered one (let's be honest, I ordered a bottle). The first sip was smooth, light, slightly sweet, and coolly refreshing.

Grandma, in fact, knew what she was doing. She knew what would take the edge off of summer heat. I gained a new respect for her that summer. Now she's no longer able to enjoy her  rosé with ice. So each year when spring finally gives in to the heat of summer, I buy a bottle in her honor and toast to the miserable heat to come.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tips to Travel By: Make Reservations

Whenever I'm starving I cannot decide where to eat. I don't just want anything but I don't have a craving for something either. Furthermore, I don't like wasting calories or a precious meal on something less than amazing. This is hugely problematic when I'm traveling because usually I don't know where I'm going, I don't know which restaurants are actually good, and sometimes there's a language barrier to boot.

What I do to avoid a meltdown is research the food scene of my destination ahead of time then make reservations. I'm flexible enough for some spontaneity but overall the trip goes smoother if I know we are going to have fresh Italian pasta at 7pm or steak frites at 8. Not only does it give me something to look forward to but I know I will be avoiding being lost and hungry.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Discovering Art and Art History: Dealing with Space

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, my photos from the evening suffered from major technical difficulties; the pictures here are all from my stop at Water Street.

“Really explore the studio space this time... I mean, really... explore the space.” – Christopher Walken as Bruce Dickinson, SNL

I went to three art exhibitions in one night last Thursday. It was partly because I over commit myself. I must like the challenge of being insanely busy. I do sleep sometimes. On the weekends. As I reflected on my evening I kept thinking about how different the three exhibitions were and how each of the artists responded to the space. The exhibition space sets the tone for the pieces being presented and in general the artist is working with spacial limitations in mind.

Historically, a painting would need to fit on the wall of the patron’s house or the size of a sculpture might be affected by the size of the courtyard it would sit in. Today, although the variety of media an artist could work in spans the amount of materials available on earth, spacial constraints are still considered. Where will the art live and for how long? Let’s consider the three shows I went to as an example.

The first was a quiet opening for one of the Corcoran College of Art + Design's photography classes. A young photography class presented their latest project for critique by their professor and peers. The critique space is a long wide hallway between some of the classroom/studio spaces. All of the artwork had to be carried by the student and hung with relative ease on simple hangers or nails. The show was very temporary with another class coming in days later. So the photographs were small in scale. On a side note: I’m impressed by the quality of work the Corcoran’s students are producing. Keep it up!

The second exhibition was the opening for Desks as Portraits: An Inside Look at the DC Art World by E. Brady Robinson at FotoSpace in Adam’s Morgan. The show was photographs of various desks of people who work in the D.C. art scene. A few were people from my office and it was fun to see their desk presented as a portrait of their working life and habits. Some were unsettlingly accurate in their description.

Fotospace is a small gallery. There is some wall space but not enough for the amount of images Robinson created for this show.  So what to do? Hang them on top of each other? She chose to present her photographs as a projection on the wall and on a monitor. The images were shown on a loop, one by one. I didn’t like it at first as I am used to seeing photography printed and hung on the walls. However, as I considered it more, I really appreciated her thoughtfulness in choosing to present the work in a way that was relevant to the subjects being presented – desks displayed on a PowerPoint Presentation. Once I realized that, I laughed about it to myself for longer than I should have. 

To end the night, I headed over to the Water Street Project in Georgetown. This show was a pop-up gallery in a raw warehouse space with brick walls, concrete floors, the whole deal. The space was open for a week and presented new work by emerging artists which would be surrounded by live music and performances. The artists included several graffitists, like Kelly Towles, who painted directly onto the walls and floors while installation sculptures played off of the rough unrefined space. Maggie O’Neill’s colorful paintings of President Lincoln and the Capitol Building responded to D.C. at large while Drew Storm Graham’s tattoo inspired sculptures appealed to the alternative crowds browsing the artwork. All of the pieces responded to the raw and ephemeral nature of the temporary show. 

It was neat to see how the artists at all three exhibitions dealt with the space of their temporary exhibitions. Next time you are out looking at art think about how the artist considered their surroundings when creating it and how the gallery or museum thought about the art in the space as well (such as how historical paintings are hung). It might lead to insight into the meaning of the work or lead you to appreciate it in a new way.

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