LIFE Archives: LIFE Photographer Nina Leen

24/06/2011 § Leave a comment

Nina Leen is easily one of my favorite LIFE photographers.  She was one of the first female photographers for LIFE and has a prolific body of work.   You’ve probably noticed I’ve featured her work a few times on the blog a few times — my most favorite images are from her studies of the American Woman and the American Man in the mid-1940s — and I recently went looking in the archives to see if I couldn’t find a few pictures of the woman behind the camera.  I found some great images; Nina looks spunky, arty and so effortlessly cool.  I wasn’t aware it was possible, but I may love her even more…

Quite Continental Wants: Fifi du Vie print

24/06/2011 § 1 Comment

How adorable is this?  Available here via Fifi du Vie.

Sounds of Summer: Yeah Yeah Yeahs ~ Maps

23/06/2011 § 4 Comments

“Wait, they don’t love you like I love you…”

The lovely Karen O has me contemplating bangs yet again.  What do we think…?


Quite Continental Recommends: The Diversion Project

23/06/2011 § 5 Comments

My Google Reader is a bit of a bear.  I am subscribed to way too many blogs and the sheer volume of material that accumulates in a single day can be daunting sometimes — but I can’t help it!  So usually, I will flip through everything as quickly as possible and “star” anything I want to come back to, not paying much attention to what site it is.  (For those of you who don’t use Google Reader I realize this may not make sense, but I promise I won’t go on much longer about my beloved RSS feed…)  I recently noticed that I have unwittingly managed to star every single post The Diversion Project has posted in the last three months, which is pretty damn near irrefutable evidence of my blog-crush.

Jules, the lady behind The Diversion Project, has an amazing eye.  Mainly focused on interior design and decor, the blog’s aesthetic is impeccable and coherent, even though I have trouble labeling for you.  It isn’t modern, it isn’t country house, it isn’t traditional, it isn’t regency, it’s somehow all of them at once…and every single image tends to make my head explode (and more than a few end up on my Tumblr).  The Diversion Project hits all the high notes for me: an amazing juxtaposition of surfaces and finishes, luxurious accents mixed with the rustic and vintage, dramatic uses of color, a masterful balance of the feminine and masculine. It is a great source of inspiration for me and because I was so sure you would love it as well, I wanted to pass it along.  Do check it out.

All images via The Diversion Project

Summer in New York: Movies in the Park

21/06/2011 § 2 Comments

Last night in Bryant Park.

One of my absolute favorite things to do in the summer in New York is going to movies in the park.  Grab a blanket, a couple of friends and a few bottles (of wine, whiskey, or what-have-you), and you’re all set for a classic New York experience.  Last night I attended the opening night of the 2011 HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and took in a screening of the classic 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  As you can see from the picture above, the lawn was quite crowded.  We owed our prime screening spot to Sarah, who braved the scrum when the lawn opened at 5pm.  And when I say scrum, I mean scrum.  Take a look at this video from opening night in 2009:

The secret is to run quickly and carry a large blanket.

Highlights of the evening included: hyper-vigilant blanket boundary defense, a man roving through the crowd offering to trade broccoli for booze, and the spontaneous dance party that started when the 1983 HBO “feature presentation song” was played before the film started.  I have to admit, I got excited a bit at the song, too…it’s a cultural touchstone!

If you’d like to attend a few films al fresco this summer, I highly recommend Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park for two completely different experiences.  Bryant Park is an oasis snuggled in between skyscrapers while Brooklyn Bridge Park’s view of Lower Manhattan is second to none.  (Added bonus: because I live just over in the Financial District, it’s definitely a treat to walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge after the movie.)

Brooklyn Bridge Park, from last summer.  We saw Rear Window!
More photos from this excellent evening can be seen here.

For further detail:

Ask Me Anything: Shoes for a São Paulo Winter

20/06/2011 § 3 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line:
Women trying on shoes, 1930. Image via State Library of New South Wales.
I need to buy wintery everyday shoes. I thought about oxfords but they are too popular around here (São Paulo). I dont like moccasins, I’m feeling too old for my Chuck Taylors, and flats are a little boring and too girly. Are there any options left???

I have to admit I was thrown for a loop upon reading your first line!  I was going to confess my jealousy over how forward-thinking you were, as I can never seem to prepare too much for the next season until it is upon me…but then I realized you were in Brazil and in the same boat I usually find myself in.  So let’s get to work and get you ready before the temperatures drop in the Southern Hemisphere.

I love white sneakers, especially canvas ones.  I don’t like them too sparkly white, as I think they’re much better with a “beat to hell” look.  Hands down my favorite canvas sneaker is the classic Jack Purcell (shown above).  Since you mentioned that you felt “too old” for your Chuck Taylors (which is impossible, believe me!), perhaps the Purcells will feel a little more grown-up.  I also like classic white Keds, basic Supergas,Tretorn T56s, Adidas Lavers with the green sole, white on white checkerboard slip-on Vans.

For shoes with a bit more color, I like Onitsuka Tigers, and that’s about it.  I loathe huge basketball shoes and I only wear running shoes to run.  (Anyway, when I buy running shoes I’m not normally paying attention to what color they are, only how well they fit.)

Perhaps you are looking for something a bit sturdier for the winter months?  I love the color and detail of the Wolverine Gibson Mattie boots (shown above).  I also like the classic smooth Doc Martens in 14-eye, and the James Wingtip Lace Up and the Paige Tall Riding Boot, both by Frye.  Speaking of riding boots, if your budget is pretty flexible check out these by Ferragamo and these by Ralph Lauren Collection.  If you care to enter dreamland, feast your eyes on these beauties by Hermes.

Another idea might be men’s desert boots or chukka boots — try Clarks or J. Crew.  They both also make a “women’s” version, which involves taking this naturally handsome boot and sticking it on a wedge.  Avoid at all costs.

I know you mentioned that you didn’t want oxfords, but I was wondering if you had considered a pair of slippers like these beauties shown above by Stubbs & Wootton?  The slipper can be a bit tongue-in-cheek for some, but if you’re not afraid of that, then you’ve got a whole world to consider!  Ralph Lauren has their horses, Brooks Brothers will lend you their monogram, Del Toro will make you a pair with your own, and the aforementioned Stubbs & Wootton has plenty of designs worth perusal.  I especially like the “tassels” on these linen slippers.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line:

Le Smoking: Jessica Miller for Elle US July 2011 {Homage: YSL, Bianca Jagger, Balenciaga}

20/06/2011 § 1 Comment

I am definitely in need of a new tuxedo jacket…

Don’t like sequins — or Dolce & Gabbana, for that matter — but this is amazing.

Editorial via FGR.

This editorial immediately had me thinking of the progenitor and my favorite champion of “Le Smoking.”  I would be remiss if I didn’t include a few iconic images of Bianca Jagger and the most famous one by Helmut Newton of YSL’s design.

For her wedding, Bianca wore a white suit, custom made by Nutters of Savile Row.

Iconic image by Helmut Newton of YSL’s Le Smoking.

Looking for a tuxedo jacket just like me?  Asos has some a few options here, here and here.  Shopbop has a few here, here, here and here.  Now, those are all great, but can we pause momentarily and meditate on the greatness of this Balenciaga amazingness?

Bianca would want me to have this.  I can feel it.

Happy Father’s Day

19/06/2011 § 5 Comments

Me and Dad in my grandparents’ backyard in LA.

I’ve actually already said Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, since I called him up last night in order to be officially first among my siblings.  Win!  But even though I’ve already said it to him, I couldn’t let the day pass without letting you know how amazing my father is.  He’s always been my biggest fan and supporter, even when it meant I would move clear across the country and could no longer to attend the Sunday dinners he works so hard on every week.  My father patiently coached my mediocre soccer skills over the years, made me hold his hand even when I went through that phase when I didn’t want to, tears up at the schmaltziest greeting card (and may even be tearing up right now, in fact), and would do anything within his power for his wife, children and grandchildren.  And has worn an earring since the mid-80s.  And maybe wears a pinky ring now.

Succinctly, my Dad is awesome.  It is my earnest life’s wish that the man I choose to be the father of my children will love them as fiercely as my father loves me.  (Earring/pinky ring is optional.)

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

Me and Dad at a Macy’s fashion show.
I was the one that was modeling that day, but can we talk about the brown three-piece suit my dad is sporting?  His loafers?  That amazing camera strap draped over his knee with the little loops for the film cannisters?

At Christmas — what a little ham sandwich I am being!
Also, his tassels and the shag carpeting = awesome.

Taking advantage of a “picture spot” in our matchy-matchy shirts.

My dad as a boy in San Francisco.

Special shout-out to my Mom, who sent these pictures to me.  Thanks, Mom!


17/06/2011 § Leave a comment

US Navy WAVE Josephine Niemiera operating a telephone switchboard
at a US Naval Air Station.  Taken in Honolulu on July 21, 1945.

Find QC on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, if you’d like to Keep In Touch!

Have a lovely weekend!
xoxo. M.

Your official theme song: Brand New Key

Style Icon: Nina Simone

17/06/2011 § 2 Comments

I’m not sure when I first heard Nina Simone, but I do know my introduction to the singer/songwriter initially came through her studio recordings, which is probably the best way to familiarize yourself with the contralto’s distinctive voice and classically-informed style at the piano, but I quickly realized that the best way to appreciate Nina was to listen to her live recordings.  At times angry or moody or playful, Nina’s performances were unpredictable and always captivating.  She would abruptly stop in the midst of singing a song to talk to her band or ask the audience to sing along — and then admonish them for a sub-par performance.  She was amazing.

While I do not want to dress myself like Nina, I am in awe her spirit, vast talent and fearlessness.  Truly iconic.

In the final scene of Before Sunset, the 2004 Richard Linklater film, Julie Delpy’s character Celine adorably talks about seeing Miss Nina in person (if you haven’t seen that film — or its prequel, Before Sunrise — I definitely recommend making the time to).  I was going to embed the video for you to watch, but can’t seem to find a clip that will work.  So you will have to go here to see it.

Unfamiliar with Nina?  Try some of my favorites first:  Lilac Wine, Do I Move You, Wild is the Wind, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (live!), My Baby Just Cares For Me, I Want a Little Sugar In My Bowl

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