29 September 2011

Hippest Squeeze in the Bul

I am sitting here in the friendliest juice bar in Istanbul.  Last time I was in this fair city I discovered Cuppa Juice bar and was charmed by the atmosphere, organic faire and cafe cat. Now I feel like its a home away from home.

This morning I started the day with a concoction of fresh fruits, veggies and herbs blended to yummy perfection, caffe americano and a platter of fresh cucumbers and baby tomatoes served with toasted homade bread and organic pesto dipping spread.  I booked all of my meet ups here today, and am sitting in the southern facing open window enjoying the afternoon warmth. 

Cuppa Juice
The owner, Dinc Togrol is always here, and today I heard him speaking English with me, turning around and conversing in German with other guests then back to Turkish and can't help but wonder just how many languages he does speak? 

The walls are a bright green and painted on the way it says (in Turkish) "All veggies and fruits are freshly squeezed with care."  Located in the Cihangir neighborhood of Istanbul on Yeni Yuva, the cafe is frequented by expats, artists and cool cats of both the human and feline variety.  The menu includes lots of vegetarian dishes and the kitchen is always glad to accommodate special requests.

Although a bit off the beaten path, bohemian Cihangir has long been popular among antiquarians and hipsters alike.Wandering in and around the spiderweb of cobblestone streets its easy to get lost in the sights and smells. Shopkeeps are very laid back and happy to give you a tour of their ateliers

While the area checkout Mariposa, a charming little retro-themed shop that carries a range of colorful clothing as their own line. They tailor make to order as per your design. Another great boutique, Berrin Akyuz, specializes in re-worked vintage clothing items as well as new pieces with a romantic feel. A favorite among locals, the store carries unique accessories.

 I just can not get enough of this place.

21 September 2011

Up Up and Away

Packing for a light getaway?  I go by the rule of 8 – eight lucky wardrobe pieces get to travel with me and I always leave extra room in my travel case just in case I adopt a new addition en route.

Two dresses, two skirts, one pair jeans, one sweater, one lace camisole, one jacket are the standard selections for a trip lasting one week or longer.  Funny thing is that if I pack more, I usually stick to the core eight essentials anyway.  Shoes and accessories are of course a must addition, and I do not go by the comfort comes first rule as let’s face it, the trimmings make the outfit.

Many recommend rolling instead of folding.  I really feel it depends on the garment.  I still like hanger bags as they make unpacking quick and easy, but must admit to rolling, folding, stuffing and even layering and wearing to make the carry on work for the return tour.  

If you watched the dapper George Clooney in “Up in the Air”, or William Hurt in “The Accidental Traveler” you witnessed mastery at the art of packing the rolling carry on bag. For every pound of weight shed from a plane, 14,000 gallons of fuel are spared per year. 
Heyes EcoCase

I like to start with a “right sized” bag as the bigger the bag the more stuff manage to port along with me. The sleek EcoCase by Heyes 3 Piece Set comes in plenty of color options and is made from 100% recycled plastic. More rugged eco-friendly bags include Sativa Bags , made of organically grown hemp/cotton and Ecolution , offering a roomy hemp duffel.

Trunk-style suitcases swathed in luxury leather, cavernous doctor’s bags and military canvas are just some of the styles available as vintage finds and retro repros.

Technological advancements may have brought us super lightweight cases, durable wheels, and even electric suitcases, but the lure of a stylish vintage case is pure magic.
Dunhill's Bladon Bag

Dunhill’s vintage Bladon bag takes its name from the English village where Winston Churchill is buried – he was a loyal customer of the brand. The company is debuting a new line of gentleman’s heirloom luggage dubbed the Bladon Leather collection. With a nod to history.

Globe-Trotter "Candy" Limited Edition

The company is not the only baggage manufacturer to look back for inspiration. Globe-Trotter has collaborated with Hackett on retro repros including the limited edition “Candy.”  This hot pink sweetie is super eye-catching with delicious burgundy leather trim and lining.

The only question I have now is will it fit in the overhead bin?

20 September 2011

Homegrown Goodness

"My Farm" won best cider in the Mid Atlantic Region this year. I call it this because I grew up on the homegrown corn, peaches, apples and beans.  Indeed I can walk or ride my bike there and fill my basket full of fresh picked seasonal fare from May to November.

Shenot Farm  has practiced sustainable farming, with minimal use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, since 1854. Founded by Christopher Scheno when he arrived in America in 1854, the farm has passed from father-to-son for five generations now.  I know Mary Lou who runs the market and makes over 50 varieties of homemade fudge.  Ed operates the farm and has the magic recipe for the award-winning apple cider.  Rob, one of Mary Lou and Ed’s three children, assists with farming operations, greenhouse and irritations management.

The folks at the farm harvest strictly by hand and the careful soil management practices they follow are evident in the taste of their bounty.  During harvesting they treat the pick as though it were as delicate and fragile as eggs. When there at the farm stand pickers frequently enter with freshly selected fruits and veggies to replenish the hourly offering so that everything is always perfectly just picked.

There is a lot of confusion over the true meaning behind terms like terms like  “conventional”, “organic”, “biotechnology”, “IPM”, and “sustainable” when it comes to farming.  The Shenots look at farming with logic and love of the land. Sustainable farming is a common-sense approach that is neither organic nor conventional as neither method leads to the best long-term use of the land instead opting for a combination of sustainable farming practices.

Beginning  the last weekend in September and every weekend in October, plus Columbus Day, Shenot Farm hosts hayrides to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. What better way to spend an autumn day?  Take home  an acorn squash and try this recipe.

Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Toast 1/2 cup walnuts in peanut oil and salt generously in a skillet until lightly brown
  • Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds
  • Fill each half squash with a tbsp (more or less to taste) of brown sugar and the remaining cavity with toasted walnuts
  • Roast in oven for about an hour
Substitutions abound. Try switching out Pecans for the Walnuts and adding dried fruit such as cranberries to the stuffing. Make each time different and you will never get bored with this autumn treat.

16 September 2011

What Audrey Wore

My love for film and fashion collide when I think about starlets like Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Lauren, The Great Katherine Hepburn.  I have a gala to attend this weekend and was flipping through my clippings of fashion favorites for inspiration.  The long gloves, veiled pillbox hat, dainty kitten heels speak to me in ways that make me so glad to be a woman.

Vintage continues to trend with strong influences on the runways in Milan, New York and Paris. Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Tori Burch, and Bill Blass continue to shine with looks that often harken back to simpler, more elegant times that bring a tone of nostalgia to the runway.

Vintage Inspired Spring 2012 Collections

Whether it is a new Vintage inspired look with a twist or the incorporation of true fashion finds of the ages, the key to pulling of a vintage look without coming off as old fashioned or “cute” is the key.
Stars such as Drew Barrymore, Mandy Moore, Winona Ryder, and Chloe Sevigny spark red carpet buzz when they don their trademark time piece fashions and win “best dressed” list year after year.

Chloe Sevigny

Winona Rider
Drew Barrymore

Vintage clothing is so much more than just used clothes. It’s clothing that had style back in its time and which continues to have style today even though the era when it was originally made is long gone. Some of the vintage finds even come from celebrities who have used them in movies and then offloaded them when they were done wearing them.

Over the years I have found that shopping in upscale resale and vintage boutiques and hidden gems off the beaten path, I can get great vintage looks in top condition. These stores include Decades Inc in LA and Jim Smiley Vintage Clothing in Manhattan. 

I also love to visit flea markets when traveling abroad for that “something something” that makes an outfit really pop. 

Hope to find that ”something something” this weekend and let my inner vintage vixen shine.

12 September 2011

Knitting a Modern Yarn

Our future is being designed today. While searching out trendsetting eco couture knitwear for the coming months I discovered some gems.

Irish designer, Sharon Wauchob, is now Creative Director of Bono and Ali Hewson's ethical brand EDUN. Wauchob established a loyal following within the industry for her alternative and conceptual lifestyle style and layering to create fashion forward sustainable stylings. The majority of Edun Apparel clothing - 80% of units manufactured - is made in Africa, specifically in Tunisia, Tanzania and Kenya, the remaining 20% is split between Peru and China.

Jonäno is the perfect one-stop shop for mindful and modern fashionista. The Scandinavian/American fashion brand Jonäno was founded in 2006 by international designer Bonnie Siefers, and has, over the last years, developed into a strong ready to wear eco fashion brand in the USA and internationally. 

For the classic eco couture, Bolivian born, BeatrizCanedo Patiño, is a true pioneer. Since the 1980’s her alpaca collections have been fashioned by the likes of European and Asian Royalty, celebrities, and international press named her “The Queen of the Alpaca.”

04 September 2011

Unraveling the Lure of the Sloppy Joe Sweater

Why do I yearn to pull over an oversized pullover? The “Sloppy Joe Sweater” – that long, baggy pullover sweater that is oft that of the opposite sex’s wardrobe begins to call my name as the leaves begin to change.

It harkens me back to crisp evening ballgames, September bonfires and ice skating on ‘Forest’ pond. I will get to the modern sweater in a later post, but first I wanted to share some fables about my favorite well-worn cables as I unpack those sweater boxes.

My grandpa Ken was an outdoorsman. We have shoeboxes of photos showing ‘Kenpa’ in all of his glory holding the big fish high in one hand, oar in the other. On his back, of course the Woolrich Sweater and camp shirt pulled over buttoned up oversized trousers.

‘ Franma’ went along on at least one of these excursions and lore has it that she gathered berries while Ken and his brother were out catching dinner. When they returned she had baked a fresh berry pie in the coals of the fire pit.

My mother had a love of sweaters, too. She had one that I loved to borrow. It was crème with blue and red accents at the neck and bands on one sleeve only. She said that the asymmetry was a designer accent. I wondered for years whether it was an accent or a mistake.

When I traveled to Europe in my teenage years I discovered the beauty of the Norwegian Cable Knit sweater. This sweater always needed to be paired with legging on me as it was and still is as over-sized as they come. The thing I love the most about my old ‘Scandi’ Pullover is that I can wear it all winter long without an overcoat. It is truly the warmest sweater I have ever worn.

Last story. We all have that oversized pullover that we keep long past its expiration date. Mine is a simple mottled Scottish Aran Sweater. I guess the Scots are not known for their sweaters for nothing. The color matches every outfit, as an Aran sweater is made from undyed natural-colored báinín yarn made from sheep's wool, sometimes "black-sheep" wool. I have mended my old favorite several times, even patching the elbows, and I feel that like so many things, it just gets better with time.