Dress Me Up

I confess. I do not wear dresses often. I love seeing a well dressed woman in a dress that flows over the body and I swear up and down every Spring and Summer that I will be that woman but alas, another season comes and finds me in blues jeans.

I do have a few dresss in my closet that makes me feel like I want to sit in a church pew or sit at my favorite beachside restaurant enjoying some beach bites. These are two dresses that I pulled this morning just for the heck of it. I may make it a goal to wear them out this week instead of my millionth time slipping into a pair of jeans.

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Photos: John Ricard Using the IPhone.

Kings Theatre: Brooklyn’s Finest Edition

The Kings Theatre, formerly Loew’s Kings Theatre, is a live performance venue in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. Opened by Loew’s Theatres as a movie palace in 1929 and closed in 1977, the theater sat empty for decades until a complete renovation was initiated in 2010.

I recently got a chance to tour the theatre as a guest of a member of the Prospect Park Alliance. I have been wanting to tour the theatre since it reopened but time and money had your girl put this activity on the back burner. What a treat it was to get an invite for a tour of a theatre that is in my very own backyard.

I watched a great documentary about the renovation a few years back. It is a story of a group of men who went to Erasmus High School (who spent a great part of their youth at the King’s Theater) and their plight to revitalize the theater was truly moving. I don’t know if the students at Erasmus High can spend hours at the King’s Theatre now because it is no longer a movie house, it is more of a concert venue. The prices if concerts and rent are both too damn high but it is without a doubt, hands down, a great addition to the community.

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The stage.

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Every inch of this theatre has a detail worth noting.

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This amazing ceiling reminded me of a what we see in modern day Sci-Fi movies as the representation of a UFO. It is elevated, high and amazing.

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The moldings are ornate and intricate and looks like wood and marble but is actually a cast made of plaster.

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Our Kings Theatre Tour Guide gave us an intimate talk and this ladies powder room was easily one of her favorite places and it was also one of mine.

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The carpet pattern is the original carpeting from the 1920s. I loved the skirt’s pattern parted with the carpet’s tapestry.

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Molding on the wall and baseboards elevates a room.

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Listening closely to our docent’s words.

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The fleur de lis crests were all around us. The velvet chairs on the upper level had these crests embroidered into it. The French influence was felt and our guides shared that the Kings Theatre was modeled after the design of the Opera House in Paris.

http://www.kingstheatre.com/about/history/

New Showrooms: Red Hook Ikea Edition

There is nothing better than a lazy Sunday afternoon trip to Ikea! We make it our mission to walk through the entire showroom and then through the Marketplace. There is something to see in every corner and every step I take moves me closer to filling my big yellow Ikea bag with Norwegian goodies.

Our visit is never early so we never get a nice, neat Ikea showroom presentation. By the time we make it there on a Sunday afternoon or evening, all of Red Hook Brooklyn has already mussed with the pillows and tussled the sofa seats. The beauty and the curse of New York is the hectic pace and loads of people everywhere. Even though the showroom pieces were not in the best of shape, they were beautiful nonetheless.

Take a look at my favorite showroom moments:

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This gallery wall is perfectly done. I love the mismatched shapes and sizes on the frames. 

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Angelique contributing to the mussing up of showroom sofas. How comfy do those pillows look?

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I love this faux cow print foot stool. 

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Where in the world? If this does not inspire you to travel then nothing will. Take your travel photos out of the album and pin them to your wall.

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Pretty in Pink. I would normally not veer towards an entire sofa unit done in a soft pink but this works.

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The green sofas and wooden chandelier really brings an earthy vibe to the room.

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This wall unit is giving me an Italian Lacquer feel, which is not my speed, but the earthy accessories work with the piece.

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My favorite!! The kitchen!! (In my Oprah Voice). Grey and stainless steel. It’s a winning combination.

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But for real though, I’ve said it before, wooden cabinets are timeless.

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The girl and I. Can you spy my yellow Ikea bag?

 

 

Sensational Saturday: L Train Vintage Furs

I’m driving through Williamsburg, Brooklyn and could not help but stop into one of my favorite vintage stores. I’ve been trying to find a teddy bear coat or fur coat because they are on trend. I tend to follow trends, not to the extreme, but add maybe one piece that is on trend at the moment in my closet. I don’t walk to walk around in clothes that I won’t feel great in two months from now. I follow my little shopping ♡ when I see a trend. If a piece is still on my mind after weeks or months of me thinking about it, then I act on it. Go out and buy the piece girl!

Well, thats what happened at L Train Vintage today. I stopped in to try on some vintage coats hoping to find a piece with some character and something that I may still love after the trend dies down. I bought a great black coat from the 70s, in great condition, for $18. It fit like a glove but I have no pictures of me in it. My photog, my daughter, wasn’t feeling my coat of choice so she inadvertently took no pictures of me in it. She has tons of pictures of me trying on some fur pieces though. I was low-key in love with the shrugs but did not pick one up because I’m trying to practice self control.

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L Train’s huge iconic mirror.

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Found a honey brown fur caplet that was just the right size for me. 

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Combing through the racks with a fellow shopper nearby.

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There is a large selection of full length furs but I’m 5 feet so they swallow me. I need a mid length situation.

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This is the girl who almost went home with me but I left her in store. She was $30. Well worth the price. The satin lining was in great condition. Perfect for throwing on over a cocktail dress.

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This bag is almost as popular as the Bloomies bag at this point. Am I exaggerating? Maybe just a little. 

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Till next time L Train Vintage.

Do you shop vintage? If so, what are some of your tips for finding great pieces at bargain prices.

 

 

What I Wore Today: Bomb Cyclone Edition

If you are on the East Coast you are probably snowed in today. We’ve been experiencing some fridigit temps for the past few weeks on the East Coast. Our friends in the South have also had unseasonably cold temperatures. It’s like 44 degrees in Miami at night! Why?!

The unfair temperatures have forced me to hibernate more and find indoor activities to partake in instead of having to brave the cold.

I can’t always escape the cold temps, as much as I would like to, and that means I have to dress to conquer the weather. We are currently under a storm watch and there is a “Bomb Cyclone” advisory on today. A what? A Bomb Cyclone. It sounds freaking scary and I’ve never heard anything of the like before. It feels like a typical snowstorm only wish more winds.

We stayed in and are binge watching Black Mirror. We had to go out to shovel our walk so I decided to throw on a little lip and put on my favorite sunglasses for fun.

Enjoy!

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Despite the shenanigans, we did shovel our walk and cleared some of the snow from our car.

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The streets are near barren.

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Few commuters are on the road and little to no foot traffic leaves for quiet streets.

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I am learning to embrace the elements I once disliked, like the Atlantic Ocean and the cold weather. Enjoy the time that you are in and the space that you occupy. 

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Protect your head, feet and ya neck! (Brooklyn Talk)

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Cold but happy.

Details:

Coat, Hat and Sweater (Old Navy)

Sunglasses (Chloe)

Boots (Burlington Coat Factory)

Lip (CoverGirl Outlast)

Pictures: John Ricard

 

Curlfest: Brooklyn’s Finest

Curlfest is a gathering of the most beautiful people ever! The third annual Curlfest happened in July and this is the first year that I actually got the chance to attend. I’ve RSVPed every year prior but life happened and I was never able to attend. well, it was worth the wait. I took my 12-year-old daughter along to the dopest picnic with the dopest women rocking natural hair.

There was a main stage with a DJ spinning all of the Beyonce that you can dance to. All of your favorite curl products/brands were on the lawn in Prospect Park selling your faves, handing out samples and vibing with cool IG backdrops for cool pictures.

The ladies over at http://www.curlygirlcollective.com/ knows how to throw a party. Make sure you are on the lawn next year.

The New York Times Coverage:

Essence’s Curlfest Roundup:

http://www.essence.com/hair/curlfest-2017-hair-street-style

Curly Girls

Curly Girls

The ladies of Fanm Djanm were on the lawn.

Photos: Hannah Selah

 

Coney Island’s Art Walls

It’s summertime and the living is easy. Every New Yorker knows that a visit to Coney Island is a “must do” when the warm weather rolls around. You go for the boardwalk, good bites (food), the rides, cool people and strolling on the very busy beach. A great addition to the already great spot is the art walls. A collective of artists get together and curate a great collection of colorful and though provocative pieces. Stop and take a  picture because it’s worth it.

A great addition to the already great spot is the Art Walls. A collective of artists get together and curate a great collection of colorful and though provocative pieces. Stop and take a  picture because it’s worth it.

 

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The historic parachute drop.

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Our view from the elevated “Q” Train MTA line.

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It’s All About the Benjamins Baby. I guess you do flips when you have a seat at the money table.

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I adored the simplicity and nostalgia of this piece. But the message here can connote that love can be dangerous.

 

Buy a quick bite from a vendor, bring a blanket and munch on the beach.

http://www.coneyisland.com/tourist-information

 

Brooklyn Caribbean Eats: Suede

If you are in Brooklyn, NYC, and looking to enjoy great Caribbean food and drinks in an amazingly chic yet chill atmosphere then Suede is your spot. I’ve been wanting to visit for over a year now but just did not get a chance to so I took advantage of a quiet Sunday morning to visit recently.  I brunched with my daughter and we were both impressed by our meal and the service. The waitress was sweet and provided us with smiles and the greatest attention throughout the visit. My daughter had the eggs and roasted potatoes which she enjoyed. She never eats the homefries that come with the morning meals but this was an exception. I had the bake and saltfish which was tasty and transported me to the islands immediately.

Less than a week later I visited Suede again just to dine on their outdoor patio. The only thing missing from the patio is a view of the beach! There is a cool little fountain in the middle of the patio that leaves a hum of falling water and the rich brown patio furniture provides the most serene feel. The vibes are enhanced even more by the mix of Buju and 90s reggae spinning in the background.

Let’s take a look at my evening at Suede:

 

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Catch the amazing sunset on Clarendon Road at around 7:30pm.

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Pulled out some sexy sandals for the evening.

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How cute is this setup?!

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I love the rich browns and natural wood tones.

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Tip: Order the Rum Punch. There is a whole lotta rum and a little punch.

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Ric had the Creole Shrimp Pasta which was delish. I opted for 2 appetizers as a meal. There was a pumpkin callaloo soup listed on them menu but not available. There was a fish soup available instead which did not disappoint.  The crabcakes were also great. There was lump crab inside and the aioli was a good compliment. Fresh corn salsa on the side. Yup. 

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Close up of the cakes.

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Chocolate cake and bread pudding for dessert.

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The fountain lights up in the evening. How delightful!

Happy Dining!

http://www.suedenyc.com/

 

 

 

Welcome to Brooklyn: Bed-Stuy Wine & Soul Food

The Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn has become well known because of famous former residents like Biggie Smalls and Jay Z but it has a history that is felt when you walk the blocks and view the many grand brownstones and once mansions that surrounds you. You feel the history and grandeur that once was one of the most prominent neighborhoods in New York. Anyone who has ever strolled down MacDonough Street and soaked up the beautifully restored row houses and mansions know that the place is something special.

Bed-Stuy has made many shifts since it’s 17th century conception. It was once inhabited by the Dutch who farmed the land. By the 18th century, the land was inhabited by mostly upper middle class families of German and Irish descent. Bed-Stuy was residential and the brownstones and mansions were developed along with this booming upper class. At the same time, there was also a prominent African American  community called Weeksville in Bed-Stuy. Weeksville was recognized as one of the first free African American communities in the United States. The Great Depression hit and the upper middle class families could no longer maintain  the homes and African American families from Harlem and the South flocked to Bed-Stuy where they purchased the homes that we see today.

Once again, there is a huge cultural shift happening in Bed-Stuy and in the rest of Brooklyn for that matter. Gentrification is changing the face of the neighbors that we see everyday along with the cost of housing. The brownstones, many of which got a face/body-lift, are now being sold for millions or rented for something close to that sum. The gentrification has brought about many business but many of them are owned by African Americans. The gentrification that we are sometimes overwhelmed by might have also breathed life into the entrepreneurial spirit that has always existed in the Black Community. There are some great places to sit and chat with folks from Brooklyn or those that call Bed-Stuy home.

Check out two of my favorites below:

Therapy Wine Bar 

Went there with friends and had a fantastic time. It was karaoke night and even though I sucked at karaoke the crowd didn’t make me feel like I was at the Apollo Theater about to get Sandmanned. That’s how you know you are with good folk.

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The artwork on the brick face wall was cool. It was all things Brooklyn and all things Soul.

Peaches and Peaches Hothouse

If you are looking for Southern fare with a cool atmosphere then please do visit “Peaches” or “Peaches Hothouse”. Do get the fried chicken or anything fried. Get the extra butter and the extra sauce. Get your food fried, with butter and slathered in sauce. Forget about the resolutions or the promise to eat your kale and just have some chicken or some grits darn it.

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Have you ever visited Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn? Where do you like to eat or hang when you are there?

Summertime and the Living is Easy.

As much as I love going away for vacation, there is nothing I love more than sitting at home on my front porch. There is a constant display of toys (for children of differing ages just in case we get little visitors), comfy fold up chairs and family/friends. It is not the norm to have a big porch in Brooklyn and we probably sit on it as much as we do. There is a backyard that we seldom use, maybe it’s because there is no street view in the back? We know the neighbors and the neighbors know us. We children play (outside) together. They ride their bikes and scooters up and down the block. It feels like comfort. It feels like Summer.

IBJJF 2015 NY Spring Open,  April 11, 2015 photographed by John Ricard.

Summertime….and the livin’ is easy.

IBJJF 2015 NY Spring Open,  April 11, 2015 photographed by John Ricard.

Fresh pineapples from Hawaii. One of my favorite summertime treats.

IBJJF 2015 NY Spring Open,  April 11, 2015 photographed by John Ricard.

I promise I actually ate it and didn’t just hold it up for the camera.

IBJJF 2015 NY Spring Open,  April 11, 2015 photographed by John Ricard.

Our porch is a meeting and play place in the summer. Tons of chairs and toys.

IBJJF 2015 NY Spring Open,  April 11, 2015 photographed by John Ricard.

The quiet street and view of the blooming trees and old homes is unbeatable.

 

Photos: JohnRicard using his Leica