Category Archives: any+all

I’m Moving!

Heads up, ladies and gents! I’m moving over to a new site:

I’ll also be migrating some of the posts from here onto that blog, so if you’re interested in keeping up, scoot over there for the time being. In a couple of weeks, I’ll install a redirect to the new one.

I’m really excited about this new design because it puts more emphasis on my artwork and fiction writing. The struggle with using a blog as a portfolio and vice versa is that it often doesn’t give equal weight to all aspects. The new site, thankfully, does offer relatively equal weight to all of my endeavors. I’m thrilled to share all of that with you, and with more clarity.

Thanks so much for all the love, and I hope you’ll follow me to my new space!




Go Slow (Acoustic) – Haim

GIRL CRUSH. These are some lovely and talented ladies.


T.S. Eliot said…

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

Exploring NYC’s East Village

It’s August (late August), and y’all know what that means: the end of the 100-day weekend, also known as summer. School either has started back or will soon, and the florid green is deepening, preparing to fade.

August in the East Village

I spent my summer reading and working and writing and traveling a bit, and mostly learning how to navigate this city physically, emotionally and mentally. I also spent it exploring, which is my favorite thing, because it is an act of investment and self-edification and fulfillment.

With that in mind, I’d like to share a few places (mostly restaurants) that I’ve fallen in love with and that you should check out in these, our last days of summer. Or fall. Or deep in the winter. These are non-seasonal treasures. Most of them are in my neighborhood, which I am madly in love with, and which is also relatively non-touristy because it’s a bit away from the station. Not all of them, though.

1. Northern Spy Food Co.: An East/Village Alphabet City staple, this phenomenal little restaurant is elegantly designed in every way. A season- and source-conscious menu pairs with an easy-going decor to make for the kind of intimate and unpretentious experience you wish for. The best thing about Northern Spy? The Sunday Night Supper – a three-course, prix fixe meal designed by the chef, Hadley Schmitt, for the unbelievably low price of $27. I had a gorgeous balsamic apple, pear, strawberry and feta salad, jambalaya with grits, and pistachio grandmother’s cake with raspberry coulis when I went earlier this summer. Let your belly really enjoy the summer.

2. Bobwhite Supper Counter: While we’re on restaurants, Bobwhite is a beautiful Southern restaurant on Avenue C. While their fried chicken is prominent on the menu, it’s not as good as they make it out to be. Admittedly, I’ve had excellent fried chicken, being from North Carolina (Price’s…Rooster’s…Acme….), so I am hard to please. It’s the other things on the menu that are absolutely revelatory. First, they make their sweet tea with simple syrup. Yes. They’re purists. Second, their chow-chow (a Southern relish) is perfectly balanced and a bit unusual, as is their tomato chutney. Both go excellently with their pimento cheese sandwich and, wait for it, fried okra. It’s the best fried okra I’ve ever had. Sorry, Frank Stitt.

3. The Dog Park on 15th St. and 3rd Avenue: It’s just a dog park. But it’s a dog park! If you need a little four-legged therapy, this is the place to go. The dogs are friendly and so are the people. And if you don’t have a pup, and are just there to scheme on the neighborhood’s happy animals, that’s okay. You won’t be the only one.

4. Brooklyn Brine: This Gowanus brinery is just about as cool as it gets. They make whiskey sour pickles, pickled chipotle carrots, deli-style pickles, hop-pickles (brined with beer), maple-bourbon bread and butter pickles, orange and fennel pickles, and a whole host of delicious other varieties. It’s also a really friendly space; just pop in, try some pickles, leave with a couple of jars. Also hope that Jenny is there – she’s a gem, and will let you try every single one if you’re that kind of shopper.

Pickles by BB

5. Still House: This is an intricate, well-designed store on 7th near Big Gay Ice Cream and it’s sublime. Full of little items that are special and secret, Still House is a quietly epic place. Most of the things inside are also earthy, or handmade, which is nice to find in this city. 7th Street is a gold mine for this sort of thing, as is 9th.

6. Van Leeuwen: While you’re on 7th, stop into Van Leeuwan for some elevated (expensive) ice cream! With flavors like earl grey and two kinds of vegan ice cream, it’s a bit of a specialty shop. I love ice cream, though, but have trouble with “real” ice cream, so the vegan is worth it for me. Not to mention that it’s also very nicely designed. Would fit right into a little North Carolina town like Chapel Hill, which is probably why I love it so.

That’s a good jumping-off place for now. I’ll add to the list as I can. Happy adventuring!

Laissez les bon temps,

the girl

Let’s Talk About AlunaGeorge’s “Body Music”


Today, the London duo that is AlunaGeorge (Aluna Francis and George Reid) dropped their much-anticipated album, Body Music. I credit this stellar playlist by DonRaphaelAli on 8tracks for turning me on to them. It’s slinky, sexy and got me through most of this winter and frigid spring. Dare you not to adore it, especially if James Blake, Ghost Poet and The Weeknd happen to live pretty high on your list. “Your Drums, Your Love” is the song that got me hooked:

I have trouble describing their work without over-describing it. Let’s just say that there’s something  gorgeous and vulnerable about what they’re doing. Maybe they play in a key that resonates with certain folks particularly and I’m lucky enough to be one of them. My impression of their work, and popular reaction to it, is that it’s delightfully delicious and digestible.

I read today in Lorrie Moore’s stunning short story, People Like That Are the Only People Here, that “The trip and the story of the trip are always two different things. The narrator is the one who has stayed him but then, afterward, pressers her mouth upon the traveler’s mouth, in order to make the mouth work, to make the mouth say, say, say. One cannot go to a place and speak of it, one cannot both see and say, not really. One can go, and upon returning make a lot of hand motions and indications with the arms.  The mouth itself, working at the speed of light, at the eye’s instructions, is necessarily struck still; so fast, so much to report, it hangs open and dump as a gutted bell. All that unsayable life! That’s where the narrator comes in. The narrator comes with her kisses and mimicry and tidying up. The narrator comes and makes a slow, fake song of the mouth’s eager devastation.” (Best American Short Stories: 1998, p.207 – 208)

Is your heart swollen yet?

I hate to admit that Moore may be onto something there; cultural writing and critique very often falls into the echo-chamber category. Very few cultural critics and ambassadors manage to bring original insight to the table, and seem to chatter only for themselves.

With bands like AlunaGeorge, which are currently in that buzzy phase, I hesitate to say much for exactly this reason. My advice: get the album and listen for yourself. While you’re at it, take a gander at the below tracks for some more beautiful work. Then get on to a bit of your own sonic explorations.

1. Cyril Hahn’s remix of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name”

Just yes.

2. Open, by Rhye

My March and April were entirely about Rhye’s album Woman, and this song particularly. The entire album is intricate, sensual, fleeting and forever. The video takes away from the song in a major way, so I didn’t include it. It’s here, if you’re interested.

Here also is a longer set of Rhye songs, courtesy of the FADER:




Hand on Heart – Moko

If you’re a 90s kid with an affinity for New Age music and slow jams, Moko is your kryptonite. Enjoy. 


Laissez les bons temps rouler,


Musicians to watch

I wanted to give a s/o to those artists with obviously unfulfilled potential. The early rounds, for these folks, are hopefully just warm-ups.

Jake Bugg: English musician, really compelling for a few seconds at a time, every few seconds. Enough to keep you guessing but also stay a little disappointed. Lots going on, but not enough. Yet.

Lianne Las Havas: Another English artist, beautiful voice and aesthetic. Her sound is wonderful, but her lyrics need a little bit more depth than they have. She will get more confident and her lyrics will get better.

Sky Ferriera: Hard to argue with this beautiful American pop-punk princess. Think Marina and the Diamonds, but she is a touch less refined and maybe more melancholic. While she is a niche artist – that is, I’m not sure she has potential for mainstream longevity – she is doing a great job making a name for herself. I’m interested in seeing how her artistic concepts develop.




Fran Leibowitz said…

“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.”

I’m moving to New York City in early June, and am overcome with wonder. Can’t wait to dig in.


Laissez les bon temps rouler,


Learning French and Loving MOOCs

It’s been a goal of mine for a good long time to learn French. During school, I never had class time to take extra languages, despite wanting to; I studied Latin. But a solution exists! Today, a friend turned me on to Duolingo. Duolingo is an online language-learning course platform. You can choose to learn Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese, and they’re adding more. I’ve just spent an hour on it, and so far, it’s stellar – very conversational, very usable. Thanks, Ms. Powell, for the pointer.

As far as online learning goes, I’ve always been a critic. I think it’s because most platforms I had used were difficult to navigate (I’m looking at you, Pearson learning labs). Recently though, I got directed to another online learning website called Coursera. I’m signed up for a few classes, but haven’t taken one yet, so I can’t speak for the actual efficacy. The offerings are quite good, though! I’m excited particularly about one on Kierkegaard, another on relationships, and another on business management.

The exciting part about all of this, for me, is that there are no limitations. As someone who loves to learn – it is my all-time favorite thing to do – it opens up a world of possibilities. It also doesn’t require that I pay or be in class, which lets me keep doing other things I’m interested in.

To everyone I argued with about online learning being a waste of time: this is me publicly eating my words. While I may lose some of the personal interaction a class offers, these platforms let me stay involved in learning even after classrooms are no longer a formal part of my life. I’m not saying they’re right for everyone, but I am saying that if you’re into learning new things, these are good ways to do it.



The power of open-mindedness

Screen Shot 2013-04-13 at 2.55.40 PM

From my professional blog, but I think it works both places.

Especially now, laissez les bon temps rouler!

the girl