Tonight, I attended a musical performance in an art gallery.
During the second part, after interacting briefly with a woman who helped me get water out of the near-empty water dispenser, the woman approached me:
W: As a mother of three boys, I have to ask you: Are you married?
H: [quiet laughter, because the concert has resumed in the next room of the gallery] I am not, no.
W: Good, because I like you… I have a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead, so you can take your pick.
H: Didn’t you just say that one of them is married?
W: Well, yes, the redhead is married.
H: [quiet laughter]
W: … But that might not last… you never know… And then you could have him… I’d be a good mother-in-law… I’m great at presents… I’ve had to deal with multiple mothers-in-law, so I’ve learned… I can be a very good mother-in-law… and I wouldn’t live next door.
Another 45 minutes or so later, the concert had ended, I had had several more reasons shared with me as to why I ought to consider marrying one of this woman’s sons, and I left the gallery with her e-mail and phone number, not because she had me convinced with her son who looks just like the (absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion) guy in “Fantastic Beasts” (though I remember him from loving him in “Les Mis'”), or with the fact that his job is a promise of absurdly high amounts of money for the rest of our lives, but because of her job…
You see, I was thinking to myself just his morning that I was interested in learning more about this specific something in Houston… and here I was tonight, under hilarious pretenses, handed a woman who works in just that specific something.
I plan to e-mail her this week to set up a meeting about her work.
And, who knows?… perhaps I’ll end up going out with her boy after all. 😛
H: [totally cracks up, alone in her room, as she considers the scenario]
I never had little siblings, younger brothers or sisters… I was the baby of many, and by a bit.
My eldest sister would be mistaken as my mother whenever we would go out places… eleven and a half years difference can do that.
And so, I grew up learning loads of things not to do, loads of mistakes not to bother making, because at least one of my older siblings did that thing, made that mistake, and I learned the result long before I might have considered doing any of it myself.
Therefore, I’ve always struggled to understand what it could be like, having your younger sister in grammar school or still in high school… going to their terrible school performances or sports games… my siblings were all older by a good amount, so their performances and games were always awesome to me – in my child mind, they could have been pro compared to my own performances or games at the same time.
Tonight, I ran into two old classmates who were attending the art show of their little sister… and it reminded me that people actually do that, come back to the high school because of the younger sibling… I’d forgotten.
I’d thought people only really returned to visit for themselves, see old teachers and new buildings… that sort of thing… or to work there.
As I pondered how odd that idea feels, I suddenly recalled that I actually can relate a little bit.
You see, it’s almost like I have a borrowed younger sister.
My best friend lives in England, but her youngest sister lives in Houston, and she’s in high school right now.
Though I mostly am at the school for work purposes, I occasionally arrange my schedule around seeing her or spending time with her.
For the art show tonight, I had already planned to attend it, because it is always amazing.
However, I also knew that she would be performing in it, and so made sure to arrange accordingly to be there when she performed.
I always record her performance, and send it to her sister, who, naturally, is too far to make the trip for a short little performance every time.
So, in a way, I have a borrowed little sister: my best friend’s little sister.
It’s not exactly the same as her being my real sister, because I’d have attended loads more of her events and such…, but it has enough similarities for me to be able, ever so slightly, to relate to those who have younger siblings.
Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda. Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell. St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.
Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors. When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop. Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs). The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results. It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell. And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.
On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.
Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell. I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda. Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell. Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides. She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.
Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!
Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream. Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front. When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell. And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂
Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen. I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines. Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead. Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.
The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively). The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know. Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit. And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.
When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen. If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!
Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.
Today, I socialized while getting myself some of the good Japanese culture, and even a bit of the language, too.
I made this:
The fancy and “real” one is the white paperboard one, but I messed it up, so I much prefer my practice one on the newspaper (that’s why I put the hanko [stamp] on it, too).
It is the Japanese writing for Anshin, which means ‘peace of mind; freedom from care; relief.’
We did it as an activity called kakizome 書き初め, which is the first kanji one writes in the new year, and it is an intention and wish one makes for the year.
I selected 安心, because that is what I want in abundance in my life this year (I almost considered アットホウム, which is not kanji, but is spelling out a word, and, in this case, spelling out the two foreign words “at home”, because I couldn’t find anything that seemed quite right for what I longed for in my life this year…, but then I found 安心).
安心 was perfect, as soon as someone wrote it down for me… we had discussed the meaning, which I really liked, but it was when I saw it that I loved it.
I don’t remember what the very top part is, but the whole thing includes the word for woman and the word for heart – those two kanji, combined with the meaning?… done deal – let’s do this. 😛
And, so, we did. 🙂
Post-a-day 2019 (The last year of Emperor Heisei, Heisei 31 平成三十一 )
I wanted to go read, because I didn’t want to think about what to write…,
But then I thought about how I would be thinking all along in the back of my mind about things I could use for writing, as well as maintaining that semi-constant reminder that also resides back there to make sure I write before I go to bed…
And so I came and sat down on my magical handmade chair… thing – I think it’s possibly a stool, technically, and “magical” just felt right, because it is special to me, not because it is a regular Hermione Granger or anything of the sort – and picked up the little phone – “little” being totally relative, because it is definitely not Zoolander sized, but it also is loads smaller than the first many versions of phones, as well as the most recent iPad-type mobile phones – here to write something…
Apparently this is what I ended up writing for tonight – and “For Tonight” is the name of a musical that is about to have its world premier here in Houston(!)… 😛
Okay, one ended up not happening after all, but the first photo thing happened today, and, not only was it a successful photo shoot, but it was also an awesome adventure!
I was doing photos for a friend who is a curator at a museum, and so I got to go see (and photograph, of course – that’s why I was there) the new museum setup before it has even opened its doors to the public!
It was something wonderful to see, and also a delightful learning experience regarding all of the objects and models and things on display within the museum!
I really enjoyed the whole time of it.
Then, looking through the photos tonight – which I was rather terrified to do, and which I only did because I’d given my word to the friend that I would check over them tonight – I discovered that almost all of them looked great!
I just need to redo a few, which was already expected, anyway, due to the fact that not everything was finished being set up in the museum yet.
Also, when going through them, I went ahead and loaded the previous two rounds of photos I’d done… and those.. were.. awesome!
I was totally inspired by my own photos – a concept which then doubly blew my mind with inspiration!
Tomorrow, I have on my schedule, somewhat unexpectedly, two very different photo sessions scheduled.
Ones where I take the photos for someone else…
And one of them has even requested my photo-taking ability for pay…(!!!)
I am sometimes terrified, whenever I see my current place and undetermined path from the eyes of those around me…, and it is times like this that I can trust that feeling deep inside me that I am exactly and perfectly in the right spot and heading in the right direction for me and my life right now.