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.

IMG_6094

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.

IMG_6099

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.

IMG_6107

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.

IMG_6132

IMG_6131

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.

Advertisements

Clover Canyon RTW Fall 2013 NYFW

Fashion Week is over, but I still have seven designers to show you. So keep checking back this week for behind-the-scenes photos from Reem Acre, Newbark, Trina Turk, Rachel Zoe, Jen Kao and the Grand Finale – Calvin Klein.

Candela may have been my favorite “RTW by Zoey” collection – but Clover Canyon took first place in “Ugh – this presentation is just so f*&#ing fantastic, it’s hurting my eyes.”

I visited the showroom a view days before the presentation and got a sneak peek of the clothes and bedazzled pointe shoes, so I knew it was going to be gorgeous. But I didn’t know how over-the-top opulent it would be – the girls standing together in front of a bright winter’s scene, crystals dripping from everyone’s heels, and a fairy godmother who sprinkled pixie dust into their hair.

The collection itself was beautiful, designer Rozae Nichols drew inspiration from the Russian ballet to create these hand-engineered prints, some of which came from chandeliers, china patterns, faberge eggs, and architecture.

When I saw model/ballerinas – Madison, Shannon and Katilin standing together, I couldn’t look away. I took about 100 pictures, but managed to narrow it down to 20, Enjoy!

IMG_5617

IMG_5569

Repurposed J.Crew shoes covered in hand-glued crystals

IMG_5570

IMG_5571

Shannon trying on her ballet flats before the show, it had been awhile since she had danced and was nervous.

Shannon trying on her ballet flats before the show, it had been awhile since she had danced and was nervous.

IMG_5578

IMG_5583

Taking notes on how to do this at home.

IMG_5584

IMG_5589

IMG_5590

Heaping spoonfuls of glitter at the last moment before going out.

Heaping spoonfuls of glitter at the last moment before going out.

IMG_5596

IMG_5598

IMG_5602

IMG_5603

IMG_5609

IMG_5615

IMG_5617IMG_5625

IMG_5627

Don’t forget to enter to win the flat iron!

xo ZZ

My Quest for New York’s Best Pizza

I’d like to thank Donald Trump for our hunt of the best pizza place in New York. That’s really how this all began. When Sarah Palin visited New York, Trump took her to a “real NY” pizza place, Famiglia in Times Square. They then ate their chain-restaurant pizza with fork and knife.  Jon Stewart caught wind of this and went on a rant about how idiotic that chose was, and proceeded to give his list of best pizza places, (which brother feverishly took note of).

So far, we’ve only been to a few of them. Lombardi’s (American’s first pizzeria) has by far the best pizza. The menu is very limited, they are basically saying, “we know what we’re doing, we’re not going to let you mess this up with toppings, substitutions, frills, etc.” It’s always packed, so it’s best to get there early.

Lombardi’s

John’s Pizzeria is also pretty good. They have a HUGE menu, and the restaurant is HUGE, so there isn’t as long of a wait. They use a 75 year old oven with no thermometer to regulate temperatures, so it takes a skilled eye to make it right, and every pie comes out differently. Though the pizza isn’t #1 on my list, if this was a World’s Best Garlic Rolls contest, they would win hands down.

Look at these! Such good garlic rolls from John’s.

The other places on his list that I’ve yet to get to are: GrimaldisTotonnosArturos.

Number 1 on my list of unique pizza is Roberta’s Bee Sting. I’ve mentioned it several times before, holybananashananegans, it’s the perfect combination of salty, sweet and spicy. I really should try something else there, but it’s just so good I can’t resist it.

Bee Sting – mozzarella, peper flakes and honey

Last week my world was completely flipped upside down when I found a different list of America’s Best Pizzas, and it didn’t match Jon Stewart’s at all?! So is this unknown pizza better or worse?? I had to get to the bottom of this immediately.

First up, we tried Motorino. It’s a tiny restaurant, with maybe 10 tables in East Village. We ordered the baby brussel sprouts with caramelized onions, garlic, honey and pecorino. Yum. We also tried the octopus salad with fingerling potatoes, red onion, celery, capers and chili oil. Also yum yum.

Octopus salad

Baby brussel sprouts

Then came the pizza. Maybe it was because I was starving… but this pizza is giving all the other ones a run for their money. I can’t think of any more words to say how delicious, yummy and freakin’ awesome pizza is… so, just take the drool on my shirt as proof, head over to Motorino’s.

Now I just have to try Di Fara, Co., and Joe’s, before I can officially name my own America’s Best Pizza.

If you’re mouth isn’t watering yet, check out this list.

Thanks Donald.

xo ZZ

BIRDS, BABYCAKES AND THE WORLD’S BEST BISCUIT

Where to start? We did an armload of stuff with the friends this week, including all the must sees for a first-timer like the Highline, Chelsea Market, Times Square, The Strand bookstore, Vosgue Chocolate, Central Park, Museum of Natural History,  The Met, and FAO Schwarz (almost all of which we did last week with cousin and parents). We did deviate from the norm a little this time and got to experience some new things.

Our friends Jay and Emily are bird nerds, bird lovers, bird rescuers, they majored in Birding, basically a breathing encyclopedia of bird knowlegde. They’re actually on the way to a job in Maine where they will spend the summer studying terns, egrets and herons. It involves camping all summer long on the small island of Stratton, using a solar panel to get their electricity, a composting toilet, a boat if they must leave the island, washing their clothing in the ocean, showering under a plastic bag of sun-warmed water – basically my hell. I think I could do it for one, maybe two nights. That one time in Japan where we slept on very thin mats in a garage and washed ourselves with wet wipes, I wanted to die. I spent all night freaking out about when I would get my next shower (and worrying about bugs crawling in my mouth since I was only inches from the ground). In the morning, I discovered that there was a shower in the big house, crisis averted. So…maybe a half day on the island and I’d need to swim to shore.

Our “hotel room” in Japan.

Back to the birds watchers, it was fun going to the Natural History Museum with them because normally I’d have no interest whatsoever in those flying-poop-on-my-car-creatures (I don’t dislike birds, I’d rather look at an otter though), but with two new sets of eyes, they pointed out birds in displays I would have never glanced at before. We played “Name that Bird” and tested them on about 300 species of bird names, and I think they got about 275 right.

Name That Bird!

Also, while on the fourth floor a rouge butterfly from the Butterfly exhibit on the 1st floor landed on my arm and hung out for 20 minutes. Does that mean I’ll be crowned Queen next week or should I buy a lottery ticket. I finally made him leave, and he went right for Peter’s shoulder. I then tried finding a window or anyway to set him free, but in the end we had to leave him with the dinosaurs.

Jay is gluten-free these days (and 4 of us are vegetarians), so it made picking a place to eat a whole new adventure. We found a gluten-free bakery downtown to check out – BabyCakes, and it was adorable and delicious.

In their own words “In a city dominated by cupcakes overflowing with sugar, flour and butter cream, it’s easy for those with persnickety diets to feel left out. BabyCakes offers all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. Rest assured, all sweeteners have been chosen responsibly and used sparingly. White sugar will never be found in our bakery, nor will we ever use toxic chemical sweeteners. Instead, most products are sweetened with agave nectar—a natural syrup from a cactus which is low on the glycemia index and often a safe alternative to most non-insulin dependant diabetics. Occasionally, unprocessed and unrefined sugar is used in certain goods, although sparingly.”

I ordered a spelt spicy cheddar biscuit and a gluten-free cookies-n-cream donut. (Spelt is a gluten free wheat). The biscuit was the best biscuit I’ve ever had. I think I could make it will my friend Jaclyn’s famous cheesy biscuit recipe and add the red pepper flakes. I’ll let you know how that turns out. I was too full and my mouth was burning too much to even eat the donut, but I tried a bite later and it was yumm. As was the mint cupcake, and banana coconut donut. The frosting on the banana coconut was basically slightly maserated mashed bananas – mouthwatering.

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Donut

Much more places and foods to tell you about from this week, so stay tuned for Waffles and Dinges, the Brooklyn Bridge, Afghan food, Barbies, hairdo’s on a subway, and the winner of 2nd place for “Place I can only be for half a day before I run away screaming” award aka Coney Island.

I’m an Op-iest.

What a crazy, eye-opening, heart pounding, s’marvelous, lucky day. It actually started yesterday when I waited the 45 minutes to pick up the tickets (not bad considering there was 3,500 people in line).

When Talia and I arrived for the first show at 12:30, I was hoping to talk to an Oprah staff and ask if once all the seats were filled, we could occupy some empty ones. They told me to talk to an usher, the usher said to talk to an Oprah staff. While waiting by the doors inside I overheard another woman asking a staff member the same thing I was wondering, and he said no, you have to sit in your own seat, they’d be taking people from outside to be seat fillers.  We decided to wait there anyways instead of walking the many many stairs to the third mezzanine, last row. Then out of nowhere, an Oprah staff came up to us, and said “follow me”.  My hands are on my mouth and I’m just saying Oh my god, oh my god, I cant believe we get to sit down here. We just keep walking and walking.

At this point I am squealing so much Talia thinks I’ve gone crazy (she doesn’t know Oprah like me). The closer we get, the more I’m thinking there has a got to be a mistake, do they think we’re famous? Once we reach the front row, we’re just sort of standing there, unsure of where to sit, he leaves us while I shout to him “I love you!!”  The other Oprah staff then walks us into the orchestra section and sits us down in the front row, literally touching the stage. I’m in such a state of shock that this is actually happening, FRONT ROW! Though not in enough shock to keep my front jumping up and down. Immediately everyone around us is telling us the same thing happened to them and sharing their story.

While waiting for the show to start the audience was buzzing with excitement. There was never a dull moment, we were either reading tweets on the screens in front of us, sending those tweets, taking pictures of each other, dancing with strangers, or swaying along with the audience warm up.

The theme of the show was spirituality, karma, who you are, what you want, and the first hour or so was Oprah and Deepak Chopra. They talked to each other, with audience members and used Skype to talk to men and women around the world, including 6 women in prison.

Then Perez Hilton joined them. If you don’t know him, he has a celebrity gossip blog where he daily reports on the daily happenings of Hollywood, and the juiciest rumors. Up until a few years ago, he was mean and ruthful to these celebrities, saying nasty things about them, covering their pictures in hateful words, and outing Neil Patrick Harris and other gay celebrities. Since then, he has had a turnaround, completely revamped his blog, and in turn – himself. He used to be this bitchy character with colorful hair, and now he is trying to be himself, inspire people and take a stand against bullying.  So to listen to him have a change of heart, explain how he got to where he is, and have the experience input of Deepak was very interesting.

Some of the more memorable topics, quotes, and inspiring words said from any of the people mentioned above:

Who are you without all the labels? What most people call your “bio” is really your ego profile. How do you explain who you are without mentioned what you do for work.

Don’t get confused between what people say you are and who you know you are.

The worst thing you can say about another contains some truth about yourself.

You can never feel good about yourself by bringing somebody else down.

Karma, whatever you do come back to you. Everything you’ve done has already been done to you.

Each day is an opportunity to take a breath and move in a more authentic direction for you.

A good way to take negative thoughts out of your head, or practicing meditation:

STOP.  1. S, Stop. 2. T, Take 3 deep breaths and smile inward. Smile all over your body. 3. O, Observe your body. 4. P, Proceed with kindness and compassion.

And if all else, fails, just say “Next!”

I’m sure you’ve had enough of my confusing spiritual talk. It’s hard to explain 2 hours in a few sentences when I could barely grasp everything they were saying. But it was a really great experience. What I mostly took out of it was to try to live in the now (I’m constantly worried Peter is going to fall off a cliff), be positive, put positive energy out there, and be kind.

(Gayle, Oprah’s BFF)

More shopping, museums, and finally cool air.

Once Peter had found the perfect shoes and bow tie, it only made sense that he look for a suit. At least that’s how I plan most of my outfits- shoes first.

After months of scouring the internet for a yellow dress, and trying on many, it’s nice to watch someone else shop. It was mostly fun, but sort of scary that Grandma and I were the only ones there to have our opinions.  What if the color is wrong, or the style to business-like, or we swayed him towards one he didn’t really like?!? It would have been even nicer to have Hilarie there. But maybe that’s bad luck? The salesman Izzy was awesome though, and was very confident in his knowledge of what looked best on Peter and what was appropriate for a June wedding.

In the end it came down to two, and after watching many episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” I tried to use all the tricks I knew to help him figure out which one he liked best. I had him in one suit, held up the other in front of it. Took pictures of both, quickly showed them back and forth. Grandma tried the “ignore the price tag” one. I even pulled out the good ole’ Phoebe trick from Friends where she tells Rachel she isn’t pregnant.  None of them really worked.

The bride always picks that first dress, and so did Peter. Here were some of the contenders:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Then like a real New Yorker on a weekday, we went to Moma. There was a collection of photographs by Cindy Sherman. Not sure what to call her – photographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, model, set designer, costume director – she does it all, and well. It takes at least 20 people to get 1 picture for a magazine, and she has taken on all those herself. Even more impressive is that she’s a good model. As Tyra Banks has shown us, it’s the little squint in the eyes and fierceness that makes a big difference, and Sherman has mastered that. Peter didn’t even realize it was the same women in all the photographs until we were half way through the exhibit.

A lot of the photos were a little odd, some a little to graphic to describe on a family blog, but some were really impressive. She truly invokes the character she is portraying, and her message comes across clear.

Image

ImageImageImage

Image

Seriously, those are all the same woman, and she did everything for that photograph to be. I wouldn’t want one of her pieces hanging above my bed, but they certainly are interesting.

Then a short stroll through the courtyard.

Image

Image

One last stop before the day could be complete, the air conditioning store. I think I’ve lost more weight sweating in my apartment than from the gym. That’s how hot my apartment is. Even with the windows open and being 35 degrees out. Damn people below me using their heaters. Don’t they know I’m suffering?

Peter was so nice to carry it home, up four flights of stairs, climb out my window, climb over to the “balcony” and install the A/C for me.  What a good brother.

Image

Image

Image

Isn’t my view beautiful?

Image

Don’t worry, that got straightened out. Now I all need is my dad to check and make sure everything was done correctly. (I swear, I trust you Peter!)

 

And that’s it. I’m now using more electricity than ever trying to power my bedroom which is a far as possible on the other side of the room. I may resort to sleeping in the kitchen.

 

Happy St.Patricks Day!

xo ZZ

Would you be? Could you be? Won’t you be my neighbor?

Several times I day I walk the block between my place and P&H’s, which is also on the way to the subway, so I’ve memorized practically every step along the way. There’s three restaurants, two laundromats, the building with the smelly trash cans, the place I am always sure to see a rat, the brownstone that always has furniture on the sidewalk on trash day, the doll house store, bakery and the passive-aggressive-note-leaver. Though I guess he/she isn’t that passive aggressive…

Oddly enough, there aren’t any windows close to this sign…? Though maybe that red tape is the window they speak of??

I love walking by the Tiny Doll House store, which is exactly as it sounds. They have the tiny version of anything you can think of and it would take hours to see every single object. Strollers, brick walls, sushi, wood planes, violins, jewelry box, kittens playing, Louis Vuitton suitcases, Tiffanys shopping bags, Harry Potter books – it all comes in size A/M for adorably mini.

Right next door is Orwasher’s Bakery, it seems to always be open, and always handing out samples of bread. I think I’ve tried almost everything there, the black and white cookies, the sourdough, the spelt bread, raspberry, apricot, and strawberry cookies,  – the only thing I have yet to taste is the doughnut that is filled with jelly upon ordering.

What’s also nice about this block is that Orwasher’s paints the sidewalk from my doorstep to H&P’s with color chalk drawings, arrows and happy phrases, and I’m always up for a little light reading on my strolls.

Then there is Heidi’s House. The first couple times I walked by it, I thought it was a bar, or a small room you rent out for a party. Turns out it’s a restaurant that is just always full, but I guess its not that hard to fill a place that only sits 20 people. They don’t take reservations, so I had to call right when they opened and put my name on the list. Luckily no one else wanted to eat earlier than us, because there is only 1 table that seats 4.

I don’t know if I was just really hungry, but other than the service that was…unavailable?… the food exceeded my expectations. The bruchetta appetizers used bread from Orwashers with melted fresh mozzarella, perfectly ripe yellow and red tomatoes, onions and a sprinkle of S&P.

We also tried the Dandelion and Burdock. It’s like cream soda, black licorice, root beer – and I guess dandelion. Very strange, but intriguing at the same time.

Peter ordered the 25 minute macaroni and cheese which uses organic gluten free pasta, bacon from properly fed piggies (their words, not mine), chorizo sausage and lobster. It certainly looked good.

Then my meal. Sometime I get a case of “whatever ever someone else ordered, looks better than mine” but this did not turn out that way.  It was a special written on the chalkboard, and I don’t even remember everything that was in it, but it went something like: Squid and shrimp salad with fennel frissee with blood orange. Every bite was citrusy, salty, fresh and mouthwatering. I even ate the legs off the octopus, which I never do.

If there is a lava cake or soufflé of sorts, Peter can’t not order it. I’m glad he has no willpower over gooey chocolate, because this soufflé was really good, probably because of all the organic Belgian dark chocolate.

I only wish there would have been a longer walk home to work off some of that food.

And that’s what happening in my neck of the woods.

xo ZZ