Bonne année!

03/01/2013 § 13 Comments

2013.

I do hope this post finds you as thankful as I am for all that 2012 had in store for us.  Like most years, 2012 was something of a mixed bag.  We had highest highs, lowest lows and everything in between.  We cried a little, laughed a lot, and learned a bit more about ourselves.  We loved, we lost, and we moved on.  We grew.

Most of all, I am grateful this year for the support of my amazing family and friends, grateful for the lovely new people I’ve met via this tiny corner of the interwebs that I call home, and grateful for fresh starts and a sparkling clean 2013.  Here’s to the happiest of new years, my dears!

2013

Getting down to business: Where on earth have I been for two weeks?  I took a much-needed trip home for the holidays to Los Angeles to relax and recharge and visit my family, and while I was there I decided to take an unplanned break in honor of the holidays, which included my birthday.  I spent a lot of time driving around some of my old haunts, visiting with friends and perfecting my Wii dance moves with my 9 year-old nieces.  I also had time to take a few quick pictures with photographer Idris Erba, a friend I’ve had for more than a decade — and as you can see in the pictures he took, the weather in LA was pretty idyllic.

Wearing: scarf: J.Press lambswool scarf (25% off!) || blazer: vintage || shirt: J.Crew chambray work shirt || denim: Uniqlo || bag: Lotuff Leather (c/o) || watch: Form Function Form button stud weekender (c/o)

I also wanted to share a few photos from my trip home that I took via Instagram.  Snapped in Hollywood, Silverlake, Downtown, Long Beach and Manhattan Beach, they represent some of my very favorite moments.

2013 2013 2013 2013 2013

On trips home I frequently get asked when I’m going to finally tire of New York — the cost! the weather! the people! the subways! — and move back west.  Perhaps west coasters imagine that New York is something to suffer through, to thicken your skin and toughen up a bit.  All I know is that if I still get that thrill down my spine when I catch that first glimpse of the Manhattan skyline when I return from being out of town, I must still be in the right place.  Los Angeles has plenty to offer, and will always have a very special piece of my heart, but Manhattan has her hooks in me and she isn’t ready — just yet — to let me go.

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Happy Mother’s Day

12/05/2012 § 4 Comments

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there,
and especially to my own fabulous mom.

Also, if you’d fancy reading a post I did for the Rugby Ralph Lauren Style
blog
about three style lessons I learned from my mom, you can find it here.

Sitting In A Tree

14/02/2012 § Leave a comment

State Library of New South Wales.
State Library of New South Wales.
Galt Museum & Archives.
Australian War Memorial Collection.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

His & Hers Gift Guide: Valentine’s Day

29/01/2012 § Leave a comment

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away, and I’ve pulled together a few ideas for budgets big and small alike.  Personally, I’d take anything on either list…just in case you were shopping, that is.

From top left:
Kiki de Montparnasse satin Muse corset bra and matching heart panty
La Maison du Chocolat heart box 13 piece assortment
Henri Bendel lady compact
Art can only be erotic – Pablo Picasso
Stella McCartney “Sam Partying” silk-satin playsuit
Cartier Panthere yellow and white gold ring
Diptyque votive in Baies
Hermès “Boucles et galons du Tsar” vintage style silk scarf
Smythson leather jewelry box
Santa Maria Novella Toscano cologne
Moynat Pauline crocodile city bag
Kiki de Montparnasse “My Tie” leather and silk restraint cuffs
The Lover, by Marguerite Duras

From top left:
Turnbull & Asser paisley dressing gown
Smythson leather watch roll
Hermès “L’Arbre de Vie” silk twill pocket square
Terrapin Stationers “I Fucking Love You” valentines
J.Press glen plaid patch cashmere scarf
Kiki de Montparnasse erotic chess set
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda
Holland and Holland canvas bolster bag
Kiki de Montparnasse massage candle
Barber’s Adagio
Shackelton’s Whisky: Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt
1930s closed case Rolex
Santa Maria Novella shaving kit
Levi’s Vintage Clothing shawl-collar wool cardigan

Resolved: 2012

02/01/2012 § 10 Comments

Photo via George Eastman House

“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account”
Oscar Wilde

In referring to my often-neglected journal to find my resolutions for 2011 and 2010, I saw a few repeats, a few things I achieved, a few things I failed miserably at, and a few things I completely forgot that I had resolved to do.  With this in mind — along with Oscar’s words above — I’ve decided to pare down my list for this year, from its usual ten or eleven item list to six.  Thus, here are the six things I can achieve, and will achieve, this year:

  1. Travel to at least one new country.  I’ve managed to keep my streak alive for the last three years, and I’m definitely committed to continuing this year.  Currently thinking my new country for 2012 will be somewhere in North Africa, Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe, but this is definitely not nailed down yet.  Have any suggestions for me?
  2. Run two half marathons.  I ran the New York Marathon in 2010, and have run plenty of road races of shorter lengths over the past 4 years (view my running posts here).  Admittedly, after the marathon, I suffered from a bit of burnout and my training has been uneven ever since.  This year I resolve to run two half marathons.  I will give myself extra points for sub-2 hour finishes, but I will be more than happy with two uninjured, smiling finishes.  I’ve got a former international competitor as a training partner (eesh!), but she assures me she needs just as much training as I do.  We’ll see about that.  Have any races you’d suggest I look into?  Even better, would you like to run with me?
  3. Cook some things.  My friends frequently point out that I blog about plenty of interesting things, cocktails and whatnot, but I almost never mention food.  Were you to look into my refrigerator, you might understand why.  It currently holds water, condiments, booze and two oranges.  And the oranges are for making Old Fashioneds.  I also cannot honestly remember the last time I used my oven or stove.  So in 2012, I’m resolving to actually buy myself groceries and cook at least once a week.  (Sidenote: Please do understand that “cooking” shall be construed quite liberally.)  Have any ridiculously easy, yet nutritious and delicious recipes for me?
  4. I’m on a horse. This was actually a 2011 resolution that I did not achieve, and so it’s getting carried over.  For as horse crazy as I am, I really have no excuse for not riding anymore.  I grew up taking all different kinds of lessons — even mounted drill team…yes, I am that awesome — and I still feel the need to get on a horse almost daily.  Admittedly, it can be a bit difficult doing so, living in New York City, but this just can’t keep being the reason I don’t ride.  This year, be it lessons, a trail ride, or perhaps even a dude ranch, I will get myself on a horse.  How do you make time for your interests?  Do you ride?
  5. To read twelve books.  I’ve always been a rather voracious consumer of all sorts of information, but I have found that in the last year my reading of books has been a record low.  Not acceptable.  To that end, I resolve to read twelve books — hopefully, one a month — in 2012.  Read any great books lately?  How is this best accomplished?  Do you think I need an e-reader?
  6. To live with purpose.  Rather abstract, I admit, but 2012 will definitely be my year of living with purpose.  Making decisions, choosing actions to make sure I achieve my goals, focusing on the immediate as a way to get to the eventual.  My life is best lived when I grab it by the horns, summon up the courage and blaze my own trail.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have ever lived in Italy by myself, travelled alone in Europe, moved to New York, or gone to law school — and who knows what else.  No sitting on the sidelines this year.  No letting life meander on without making affirmative decisions of my own.  Live like that, and life will pass you by.  How do you put your words into action?  How do you live with purpose?

Lastly, I’m excited to see what 2012 will bring for ye olde blog.  A big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read, email me, comment, Tumbl, Tweet, Pin and otherwise share the rather random stuff I post about.  I’m deeply grateful for your indulgence and I look forward to learning more from you in 2012.

Here’s to having our best year ever.  Cheers!

Au revoir, 2011!

31/12/2011 § Leave a comment

2011 has certainly been a wild and wonderful year.  I’ve traveled to new places, met amazing people, deepened existing relationships, and learned a lot about myself and the world around me.  Most of all, I want to thank those of you who inspired me, who made me think, who supported me, who called my bluff, who made me laugh, and even those of you who made me cry.  A million thanks.  I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Tonight, I’ll be with my nearest and dearest, and I hope you will be too.

Let’s ring it in like Paul and Joanne, shall we?

Happy New Year, my darlings.

Yes, Virginia, there is…

24/12/2011 § 2 Comments

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Unsigned editorial (written by Francis Pharcellus Church), appeared in the New York Sun on September 21, 1897.

View the original clipping here, courtesy of the Newseum.

Happy Birthday to Corinne

22/12/2011 § 6 Comments

On this day in 1915,  my grandmother Corinne Carey was born in Washington, D.C.  Were she still alive, she would be turning 96 today.  We used to commiserate on quite a few items:  we both were/are Christmas babies (my birthday arrives in just a *few* days, in fact); we both were/are the eldest sister; we both were/are on the tall side; we both love/loved art.  Little-known fact: I carry her name as my own middle name. 

I do find it a bit funny that I have never forgotten her birthday, but can’t seem to ever remember my parents’ wedding anniversary, which happens to be sometime in December as well.  (I suppose my mother finds this less funny.)

Important things I learned from my grandmother:

  • Red lipstick is never, ever, EVER wrong.
  • It is important to always smell pretty.  Even if you end up wearing enough perfume to knock out your entire family.
  • Always have your hair done.  By someone else.  Twice a week.
  • It is acceptable parenting to get all gussied up with your sister and then put your children to bed, telling them that you and their aunt are just going sit on the porch and “chat.”
  • Drinking beer from the can can definitely be ladylike.
  • Let your husband have his hobbies.  As long as he keeps them in the garage.

From Corinne, you should take bit of a devil-may-care attitude with a healthy dose of no-nonsense.  A perfectly polished party girl who didn’t take no guff from nobody.  She was a proud mother, a loving sister and a grandmother I miss dearly.

Happiest possible returns, Grandma.

Rabbit Hole: Interviews After the Day of Infamy

07/12/2011 § Leave a comment

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in which 2,402 Americans were killed, and 1,282 were wounded.  Japanese planes inflicted heavy damages to the US Pacific Fleet stationed in Hawaii, particularly to her battleships: all eight were damaged, four were sunk, and two were never to be raised again — the Arizona and the Oklahoma.  In an instant, the isolationism that had dominated US politics and popular sentiment vanished and America was galvanized to war.

The following day President Roosevelt requested (and immediately received) a Congressional declaration of war on Japan in what has become known as his Day of Infamy speech.  That same day, the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center), dispatched their fieldworkers to collect “man on the street” reactions to both the attack and the declaration of war.  By February 1942, fieldworkers had recorded over twelve hours of opinions from more than two hundred individuals across the country.  Touching on topics such as race relations and national pride, the interviews are a revealing look at the American state of mind in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

Head here to listen to these interviews for yourself, courtesy of the US National Archives.  You will find them cross-referenced by subject, name and location.

Personally, I found these interviews to be quite the rabbit hole and I am sure you will also find this to be the case.  I have a close connection to the Pacific Theatre, as both my grandfathers served there and one of my grandmothers was born and raised in Guam.  I have been to the USS Arizona, the battleship still quietly sleeping at the bottom of Pearl Harbor with over 1,000 souls entombed.  It is amazing to have the opportunity to hear exactly what Americans thought and felt in those bewildering months, without the filter of nostalgic memories.

USS Arizona, sinking in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
She was born in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

All images via the US National Archives.

Related: Happy Liberation Day: Battle of Guam – July 21, 1944

Happy Veterans Day

11/11/2011 § 1 Comment

Armistice Day, New York, 1919.
Victory Arch.

Veterans Day was originally celebrated as Armistice Day, commemorating the day that the Great War ended, which at the time was thought to be the “War to End all Wars.”  By 1939 it became apparent that this ideal would unfortunately not bear out and the holiday was expanded in 1953 to honor all veterans, living or dead.  Veterans Day has my father, grandfather, great uncle and many other friends and family members who have proudly served our country front of mind today — not least of all because the parade will be passing my office on Fifth Avenue.  To each and every one of them, I owe a deep debt of gratitude and I admire their commitment and bravery.  Thank you.

Happy Veterans Day.

Armistice Day, New York , 1919.
Colonel Donovan and staff of 165th Infantry, passing under the Victory Arch.

Armistice Day, London, 1918.

Armistice Day, Virginia, 1943.
Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Images via US National Archives and LIFE Archives.

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