First Day in Peru – Lima

Passing by the beautiful parks of Miraflores, the century old olive trees, and the  Pacific Ocean’s waves crashing down below a steep embankment just off the highway, we turn a corner and in the distance see the 120 foot tall statue of Jesus, the “Christ of the Pacific”. After a day of travel, we have arrived in Lima, the capital and largest city in Peru.

We spend the next morning being driven through the many districts, learning the history of the Amerindians, the beautiful houses that hold the embassies from Canada, Algeria, Austria, and seeing the pre-Incan pyramids. Our first official stop is the Church and Monastery of St. Francis, built it 1673. It had all the spectacular paintings and statues as an old church does, but below was far more interesting. Before the modern-day cemetery was formed, the two levels underneath the church’s floor held the bodies of nearly 70,000 people. Only discovered in 1943, a small section of the catacombs has been unearthed, organized by bone type and put on display for visitors.

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Our next stop was the Basilica Cathedral of Lima, the burial place of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire. There was also a statue of Saint Anthony, Patron of Lost Things. You can come hear to pray or leave a note about a specific lost item, but many local women use it to pray for the soulmate they have yet to find. They leave lengthy notes with intimate details of their life, school and address – and then the men come along, snatch the notes up and give them a call. “My amigo Anthony gave me your number, chica.”

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After a quick break to rest of minds, we headed to the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History and the Larco Museum. While the archaeology museum holds a good amount of pre-Incan artifacts, the Larco Museum held my attention much longer. It showcases Peruvian pre-Columbian artifacts including ceramic burial pieces and a huge gold and silver collection.

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Gold and silver had no monetary value to the people, it was only symbolical of their status. So when a ruler died, they buried his/her crowns, necklaces and other ornaments with them, believing that they would need them in their afterlife.IMG_1460

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With barely enough time to settle into out hotel and unpack, we left early the next morning on a flight to Cusco. But I’ll leave that for another day.

xo ZZ

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What I Can Share With You

I haven’t written in awhile, because I’ve doing things I signed my life away NOT to talk about, so there’s professional doom hanging over my head if I tell you who did what where, and what they were wearing.

Mostly though, I’ve been sitting at home sewing.  I can’t show you any of that though, because it all sucks. I’m working on three projects simultaniously – they have all turned out crap (I wasn’t using a pattern). So I’ve spent the past couple nights scouring the internet for cheap patterns and will await their arrival before I use my beautiful, expensive fabric as practice again.

I also made a duct tape model form. While waiting for my lovely assistant, Hilarie to arrive, I took the time to pre-wrap myself in Syran Wrap which I read makes it more accurate in the long run. It took her longer than expected to arrive, and I started shvitzing inside my self-induced torture chamber. I tried doing random things around the apartment to distract from it, but I had just limited my mobility to basically taking penguins steps. Boredom ensued, and all I could do was send humiliating pictures of myself in Saran Wrap to unsuspecting friends. Sorry, if you were one of those.

Once Hilarie arrived, I was ready to have her cut me free, but instead, she spent the next hour carefully placing duct tape on me, constricting me even more, while I complained of breathing problems.

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Since all you people have still been showing up daily and I’ve got nothing to share with you, I’ll send you over to my friend Sophie’s indigogo fundraiser. In a year she lost 100 pounds, and now has excess skin that causes rashes, pinching, and as she says “a deflated balloon” body. That sounds about as comfortable as being wrapped in plastic and duct tape. She’s raising money for reconstructive skin surgery, so do your good deed for the day and help a girl out. $10 will get you a BIG internet hug and a handwritten letter! Here’s some pictures of us being adorable in preschool, and even cuter this New Year’s.

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Sophie’s Transformation

I’ll be performing in a circus and hiking the Inca Trail soon, so check back with me.

xo ZZ

Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2013

I’ve been busting my butt working on a gangsta movie these past two weeks, but I got to take a little break from running around the city buying Hanes t-shirts to volunteer for the charity event of the year, Jeffrey Fashion Cares. It’s a night of mingling, bidding on silent auction items and the hot haut couture fashion show.

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JFC raises money for four different charities to help improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community. The Hetrick-Martin Institute provides a safe and supportive environment for young people and their families. Lambda Legal tackles outdated and not-so-civil rights of this community ranging from marriage to parenting to health care. The AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA)…well it does just what its’ name says. Not only do they test the newest HIV therapies, they also provide information on HIV to disadvantaged communities worldwide. Lastly, the Point Foundation, this charity provides scholarships and more to outstanding LGBT students.

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My role in this event was to help out for the fashion show – the usual tasks like setting up hair and makeup, catering, dressing room and the collection. Since the runway would be the last part of the evening, I was free to join the paying attendees after setting up. Good thing I wore a semi-respectable dress and heels because I was rubbing elbows with Emmy Rossum, Cyndi Lauper, Ireland Baldwin and Cat Greenleaf. The event was held on the giant, war ship, Intrepid, so I enjoyed my cosmos and delicious hors d’oeuvres surrounded by space shuttles.

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Don’t you love my gaffer’s tape belt?

Reluctantly, I had to step away from the tiny cupcakes to get back to work. One very notable difference between JCF and Fashion Week was that walking the runway would be all male models. Let me repeat that, ALL MALE MODELS. And not skinny 18 year olds. Strong, manly men with six-packs and devilish smiles. So, I decided my skills would be best allocated in the dressing room “helping” undress and dress them. They are just as comfortable dressing in a room full of people as the female models, but more so, in that they play it up for the camera. It was a fun time…

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You're welcome, America.

You’re welcome, America.

Have I embarrassed my dad (or myself) enough yet?

In the end, they raised $800,000 that night, 97% of it going straight to the charities, so by oogling the eye candy all night, I helped contribute.

xo ZZ

The Sewing Studio Part 2

After finishing my drawstring bag in my sewing class, I got to work on two more projects. First, I made a zipper pouch, which required using the serger, my new favorite tool, and putting in a zipper. I think I’ll find a chain or piece of leather to turn it into a clutch.

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The last three days at sewing bootcamp were spent on making a skirt. In my naive mind, I thought it would involve wrapping the skirt around me and adding a zipper in the back. That was not the case.

Before even starting on the fabric, I had to cut out the delicate, tissue paper, pattern pieces, adjust it to my size, then lay them out like a puzzle on my fabric and pin it down.

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Once I cut out the fabric, I could get to sewing, which was even harder. Reading pattern instructions is like putting together Ikea furniture… and if you’ve ever seen anything in my apartment, you know I’m terrible at that. There is always a backwards facing piece somewhere, and a lopsided drawer. I ended up sewing my pieces together wrong TWICE, so I got lots of practice at removing seams. Silver lining, I guess.

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The skirt required sewing darts, pressing interfacing into the waistband, making a straight hemline and lots and lots of patience. Thankfully, my Sewing Studio teacher Nasya had enough patience for the both of us. I wanted to give up several times when I had completely sewn the wrong piece on the wrong place – but she gave me the push to fix it, and answer every single one of my (mostly stupid) questions.

I’m glad she did, because my first ever piece of clothing I made turned out pretty well. Cute enough to wear out in public! Not to toot my own horn, but Toot-Toot motherf@$%ers! (Exsuse the grainy pictures, they were taken in the uber-fabulous bathroom of Beauty & Essex, champagne complementary. Also, I can now check off number 16 on my Bucket List.

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I’m now taking orders for custom made clothing* by BZZ**, let me know in the comments what you’d like !

xo clothing designer ZZ

*Must be a short, pencil skirt with a slightly crooked zipper.

**Comments also open for designer name suggestions.

Watch out Calvin, here I come!

Since I was little, I dreamed of being a fashion designer. I spent hours sketching in my notebooks clothing I dreamed of making – for myself, and sometimes for my dolls. As I grew older it became less and less of an attainable dream career (or at least that’s what I thought) so I put it on the back burner. Going into college, I thought choosing to get a degree in fashion design was unrealistic…so instead I chose to live at Disney World for the 5 next years. Because that’s real life.

But now that I’m in New York I can’t get away from it. I get inspiration from women walking down the street, seeing the huge array of ideas on the runway at Fashion Week, the street style waiting outside, and even from the architecture on 77th street and Madison.

If I’m going to become the next McQueen, Wang, or de la Renta, I’ve got to start somewhere. And that somewhere for me learning to sew. So I found the Sewing Studio and signed up for their Intro Bootcamp. It’s a weeklong course, 3 hours a day where you learn how to use a machine, different types of stitches, how to follow a pattern, and all the other beginner necessities.

The first day we learned how to set up our sewing machines and practiced some stitches on muslin. Sounds silly, but I was pretty psyched to see that I had sewn two things together, and not by hand.

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The next day, using actually fabric we made a drawstring pouch. It looks simple enough, but it was actually way more gauging, pressing, and sewing that I thought. So I’m pretty impressed with myself that I finished it. Obviously, my standards are low.

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The final product…

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Who needs a shoe holder, laundry bag or toiletries case??? I think i’ll be able to recreate this on my own.

xo ZZ

Venturing Out

Living on this tiny island of endless possibilities, I feel like I’ll never get to see everything it has to offer. Wrapping my brain around the fact that it’s just a sliver of “New York City” is almost impossible. I’ve only gone about 6 stops into Brooklyn, 2 into Hoboken, and to the airport in Queens. Our newly engaged (YAY Teddy!) friends  are moving to Queens soon, so we ventured out to Jackson Heights to check out where they’d be living. It’s a whole other planet over there. There’s no resemblance of being in NYC, yet you’re only a 30 minute train ride away.

Museum of the Moving Image

While there, we made a stop at the Museum of the Moving Image – an entire place devoted to the art of film, television and digital media. The ongoing exhibition, “Behind the Screen” takes you from conception through presentation of a moving image.This exhibit covers it all from costumes, sound recording equipment, and merchandise. You can see the first type of optical toy and the present day cameras. They have a room showing the metamorphosis of the television set.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

But my favorite part was the rooms that let you be hands on in the making and editing process. In one room you could choose a scene from a movie, then record the lines in your own voice (though we chose to change the lines a bit). In another, you can make your own short animation movie, obviously a calling I missed. The sound effects room lets you choose what effect for the roar of a Jurassic Park dinosaur… so I chose a kitten’s meow. It sure makes that movie less scary.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

After a hard day of movie editing, we spent some couch time watching SpiderMan in our retro living room, cow hide cushions covered in plastic, of course.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Then we rode off into the sunset.

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The End. ZZ