charlene kaye’s music is dominating my itunes right now. animal love is one of those songs that i always feel like listening to, even if i just finished listening to it a moment ago. her albums are the authentic, capturing-life kind of music that i can listen to on shuffle and repeat all day. my favorite kind of lyrics – the kind that blend into the song perfectly, but on the twentieth listen-through a phrase will strike for the first time and realization hits: this is not just fun to listen to but so true. in concert charlene is just as energetic as her recordings suggest (except it’s a controlled, directed, quiet energy. it’s cool.). she wears all white and so does her band (they’re such a team) but it’s with the edge of a fringe jacket. and she performs barefoot. ★
^ before: connecting cords for my iphone, camera, and kindle. after: charge and go.
cords are messy and tangly and take up space. my new charge and go (by dci, the masterminds behind the tea duck and pop quiz clock), from urban outfitters, is not only adorable and pink, but also allows me to part with the above trio of wiry things. it is advertised as a “multi-use usb phone charger” but i am pleased to be using all three ports, as the micro and mini usbs connect to my kindle and camera. (and the iphone plug charges my…iphone.). i charge everything i can through my computer (especially because i have a uk adaptor for my laptop charger, so i don’t have to deal with messy conversions), so this makes doing so that much easier. ★
the accessories: yellow walk signs and traffic lights and matching city cabs. the green street signs, the grey lampposts, the long wide streets and borders of sidewalk. the buildings: a wide copper one dominating the square, a strip of colored triangles crawling up the side of another in the distance, creating the illusion of dimension. one moment ago i was lost in my own head, calculating the time, planning my path. this is america, this is new york. for the most part – and there is much of it – it is a predictable grid, so much so that i lose focus of my surroundings, being used to their pattern. but certain corners strike me. ★
^ from a corridor at moma in nyc
i saw some incredible works of art at moma. monet, matisse, piscasso, and perhaps most enchanting of all: [my computer wallpaper of three months] van gogh’s starry night. what really struck me about moma, however, was the structure itself. there are tucked-away galleries, but the building’s center is open and visible from all floors. the staircases celebrate simplicity. the walls and floors too are without complication, complementing the art without dominating. it is an overwhelming collection in size, but the building gives hints at where to begin, allowing parts of exhibits to peak into view, encouraging exploration most politely. it allows room to breathe. ★
^ that’s me, photographed by the lovely perrine in a little picnicy area in greenwich (what my head refers to as “the marc jacobs area”). dress: dorothy perkins. bag, watch: betsey johnson. cupcake: magnolia bakery.
i have deep respect for the difficult art of the cupcake, perhaps the greatest art in the pastry world. a cup filled with cake – what a lovely concept! how simple, how useful, and yet how incredibly challenging. cupcakes are not just about cake and frosting, but the harmony of the two. i make an effort to sample cupcakes from around the globe, seeking candidates for my prestigious list of best cupcakes in the world. the current champions are thus:
* Kara’s Cupcakes ~ San Francisco
* Kickass Cupcakes ~ Boston
* The Cake Shop ~ Oxford
* Sweet Tooth Factory ~ London
on my recent visit to new york, i continued the tradition. while i found the infamous magnolia bakery’s frosting too sweet, i discovered a new favorite in the form of another local staple:
* Baked by Melissa ~ New York City
her mini cupcakes are the epitome of minimalism, urging the taster to savor each tiny bite: quality over quantity. that is…if you can limit yourself to just one, which is a challenge perhaps even more difficult than the act of mastering the perfect cupcake recipe to begin with. ★