a collection: poor man’s art

it can be hard for a broke girl in the city. while my paychecks may have gotten bigger, so has my taste. and so goes the cycle of my life: crossing my fingers, toes and eyes every time i sign into my bank account.

sadly, my plight leaves little room to invest in the important things such as modiglianis, picassos and other great works of art and culture…until now.

as it turns out many share my cultural affliction and several companies have popped up to answer our aesthetically hedonistic pleas.

buy some damn art – having been featured on daily candy, apartment therapy and design sponge, this site has already earned its apartment decorating chops. each week they provide new work, from different artists – with some even creating originals for the site. the work remains listed for up to six weeks and boasts a range of prices ($100 – $500). from modern to portraits to spin art, every fledgling art collector can find something for their walls.

the tappan collective – started by two girls from l.a. who quickly realized there are some truly great artists out there, but few have a place to call home (read: gallery). the result: the tappan collective, an online-only gallery showcasing a select assortment of emerging artists. with some seriously iconic-l.a. art, i have already lost hours of my life (happily) musing on how to clothe my barren walls. #cultureproblems

20 x 200 – a.k.a. the grandfather to the democratic art movement. launched in 2007 (ok, so i am clearly late on this on, but hey i was still living in a dorm and making jello shots in 2007 – no judgment please). a simple formula, as the site says – limited editions x low prices + the internet = art for everyone. slightly more advanced than it’s sister sites, one can search by category, price, color, and artists. currently hosting over 904 works, 20 x 200 remains the most comprehensive in both art and style.

society 6 – think etsy, but with an entirely art focus. with thousands of contributors around the world, the site carries more than just art for your wall, but iphone cases, t-shirts, totes and cards. as a fellow art enthusiast stated, it’s kind of like art facebook…it’s so easy to get lost floating from one artist to the next with decorating daydreams abounding.

ok, so they might not be manets quite yet, but a girl’s got to start somewhere.

a collection: the jewish pop art princess

day after day, 2010

sometimes my job makes me want to pull my hair out. and then sometimes i get to do something really cool. like fly to nyc to interview a serious new york artist for a new digital series.

it’s exciting when a germ of an idea undulates through the creative process and eventually morphs into something very real, something you can be proud of.

last week, i did in fact fly to nyc, i did in fact meet a celebrated american artist and i did in fact have the opportunity to sit down with her to talk about art, inspiration and of course the great american songbook (because really what else is there).

meet deborah kass. one part yentil, one part sass pot and two very big parts creativity. she would never call herself famous, but she’s not unfamous either. unconsciously cool perhaps. all one has to do is look at her velvet cloaked smoking slippers to know she’s that hipster, all grown-up. that girl, who doesn’t even realize (or perhaps she does) how subversively ahead of the curve she truly is…and it kills you.

having gabbed on a panel with andy cohen two weeks ago and developed the lauded warhol project two decades ago, kass has deeply sunk her teeth in the pop conscious of art culture.

the jewish jackie series, 1992

and if that isn’t proof enough, some of her work is currently being featured at the met’s exhibit regarding warhol: 60 artists, 50 years. not bad for someone who actually never got to meet the man himself.

however, what’s got halston (aka yours truly) buzzing is deborah’s first-ever retrospective at the warhol museum in pittsburgh set to open this weekend: before and happily ever after.

the exhibition regales audience members with 30 years of history. american broadway lyrics meet bright colors and political undertones with jarring distraction; warhol-type silk screens are reimagined under the iconography of the greatest jewish bubby princess of all times (barb streisand, duh) and the demise of our country’s fate is vocalized through neon swirls and primary color blocked texts.

sitting with deborah was as profound and blunt as most of her work. she is entirely unapologetic about her lack of fashion sense as well as her obsessive love of the celebrities in her work…which in fact are not quite celebrities, but rather her heroes as she calls them. cindy sherman, frank stella, linda nochlin, elizabeth murray. ashamedly i only knew half the names, but seeing her face twist up in happy admiration left me feeling slighted, making a mental to note to learn and find what i’ve been missing.

she mused on nostalgia, emphatically declaring it is one of the most horribly underrated emotions (genius truth), the narrative of optimism that clothed the immigrant class post-wwii (including her own family), and waxed poetic about her favorite television show, glee (what else would you expect).

deborah’s own narrative is loud, tendentious and filled with showtunes. a woman after my own alter ego. she has that innate new york-born-and-bred armor…a seemingly impenetrable toughness. yet, underneath it all, a warm, yet frenetic energy exists. it is that energy that crosses over into her work and makes her art…and her, immediately loveable.  pretty neat for just another friday at the office.

to see more of the interview, tune in to halston’s facebook page monday at 2pm eastern.

always #winning

it is easy for folks (aka yours truly) to get bogged down by the banal of everyday life. annoying bosses. aggravating traffic. people being too slow. people being too fast.

it is times like those that we need simple reminders that we in fact are winning. every day.

fear not, i am not about to jump into some sappy soapbox deluge of how lucky we have it (obligatory: yes, we do), but rather share this some of life’s little wins courtesy of thought catalog.

1. flipping a pancake over perfectly without it breaking in half and creating a partially cooked, gooey batter mess.

2. defying the laws of alcohol physics by drinking gallons of hard liquor but waking up feeling completely refreshed without the slightest symptoms of a lingering hangover. (i mean with this i feel like i have hit the kidney lottery and promptly engage in day drinking as a form of victory.)

3. hitting three or more consecutive green lights when you’re running late or in a rush to get somewhere.

4. almost calling it a night and going home but instead staying out for what turns into an epic time that you would’ve hated yourself for missing. (quite possibly one of the BEST feelings ever; thereby making the night entirely more epic.)

5. turning to the channel you were watching right when the commercial break ends, just in time for your returning tv show. (it’s that kind of groggy winning, when you’re drowsy at the end of the night, but seeing this just perks you right up…and then you end going to bed 2 hrs later. #fail)

6. getting the username you actually wanted. not since like 2001 has the ideal first choice panned out in my favor.

7. any day that involves eating bacon, churros and something, anything a la mode. (maple bacon fonuts…if you don’t know, find out.)

8. seeing the flashing red and blue lights rapidly approaching, being certain that you and your bank account are about to have their week ruined via expensive tickets, and then having that cop car speed right past you toward his poor victim. (this encapsulates the full spectrum of human emotion in about 9.2 seconds.)

9. writing out a tweet that’s exactly 140 characters long.

see all the other ways you are winning at  http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/22-little-life-wins/#1xfiwvlgyvqsqtdf.99.

in the meantime, just remember #epicwins happen everywhere.


a collection: zara goes home

apparently i have been snoozing at the mass-market wheel, because it has just come to my attention that h&m and zara both have home décor lines…and zara’s launched in the us last week.

ever the perpetual decorator, my mind is waltzing and my wallet is cowering.

while h&m offers diverse options with boldly colored velvet pillows meshed with farm-to-table accents in pinky hues and dusty gray linen sheets…it’s zara that takes the proverbial cake…and cake platter.

perfect touches of an english country manor are brought stateside in the form of rich floral table clothes and crystal wine decanters. the lookbook, which is nothing short of a henry james novel (british airs included) begets a time of stymied elegance, when tea was held at 4pm come rain or shine, and hunting was a worthy wednesday-afternoon pastime.

from bedding all the way to furniture, the primly cohesive collection is a jane austen dream in the making. and well, who doesn’t love jane austen, so excuse me while i hit the snooze button a little longer on this décor daydream.

 (images and further information provided by www.zarahome.com)





true grit: gjelina – a love letter

guest blogger: l.d.

restaurants are my boyfriends. we embark upon a whirlwind love affair; the first flush of the unfamiliar dishes that delight and surprise, honeymoon phase of frequent visits and declarations of eternal love, until inevitably the intoxication of the new fades and another fresher establishment captures my affections. however there is one place, the prototypical bad boy of dining establishments who remains trenchant and aloof, and although i know it just isn’t that into me, i just can’t quite keep myself away.

everything is difficult about this place. you can barely find it if not for the pseudo-bohemians that crowd its entrance, much like clubbers awaiting the leniency of a bouncer. an impromptu visit garners a bitchslap of a waiting time. the clientele seem to be poignantly selected to make you feel bad about yourself. they are better dressed, fitter and thinner than you, just accept it.

the lighting is dim, the brass walls cold to the touch, the clamor of other patrons making it hard to even hear. however with that rebelliousness comes a certain innate badassery that is lacking in most other aim-to-please establishments. this is the place that doesn’t give a shit if you want dressing on the side, victoria beckham, you’re going to eat it the way we make it.

even the name is hard to figure out at first- gjelina. i’ll bet you three of their butterscotch pot de la crèmes that you can’t find someone who can pronounce it right the first time.

although i was wary, i knew my bearded guest with a penchant for quality cocktails and french press coffee would appreciate the haughtiness that tends to ward off plebian gourmands. armed with the reassurance of a reservation, our gangly hipster host escorted us past the communal table where the artfully disheveled crowd nibbled on kale salads, to the cozy back patio. we cracked our knuckles and dove head first into brussel sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon, grilled pears with buratta and bacon vinaigrette, miyake mushroom toast with truffle oil, squash blossom and buratta pizza, and pillowy gnocchi with mushrooms.

the intriguing irony of gjelina is that as carefully crafted as the ambiance and ongoings may be, the food is beautifully, effortlessly simple. the fruits and the vegetables are so fresh, you’d think the chef personally picked each individual cherry tomato himself. dishes that play on the fine line of taste and texture, desserts that verge on caramel nirvana, light rose that washes everything down with the slightest of punches. it all lures me in, crawling back, needing more.

oh gjelina, i just can’t quit you.

the ugly stepsister: los angeles fashion week

l.a. fashion week logo

last night whilst the rest of the world watched the wwf match between the barack “the comeack kid” obama and mitt “the binder” romney, i found myself begrudgingly submerged in the fledging world of los angeles fashion week.

i never really understood why fashion hasn’t taken off here. we are a desert oasis with tons of space, sunshine and creative fodder to last a life time.

then i went to my first los angeles fashion week event…and there was my answer.

wet seal didn’t only throw up at this place, but had montezuma’s revenge. tweeny, teeny bloggers running around in hyper-sequined dresses mixed with too-tight (and bright) for even-the-kardashians-dresses made for a who’s who and what-the *#@& is-that of what not to wear.

no wonder we are new york fashion week’s ugly stepsister. i, an adoring angeleno and lover of all things style was even forced to dip my head in disappointment for this expression of our industry.  the whole night i ached to pat the proverbial head of la fashion. “nice try darling, but if you really want to up your game, you need to stop endorsing the past-prime girls of toddlers and tiaras.”

the truth is fashion won’t start to take l.a. seriously, until los angeles actually takes fashion seriously. with hollywood around the corner, stylists on the boom, and luxury companies such as rodarte and halston popping up, the bend toward designer fashion is beginning to take shape, but then l.a. fashion week comes along, trouncing about with barely-there dresses, gaudy lipstick and silver-lame leggings and botches everything up.

what our industry needs is a bitch-slap from miranda priestly. the it’s not-blue-it’s-cerulean (duh) kind. one that will force us to glamorously gussie up our currently unpedicured toes and strut the runway like we mean it.

i know we have it in us…we just need a little help.

mister mayor…you’re welcome, and by the way, i’m available.



goody goody debate drops

ahh the debates are upon us again. and while everyday is much like a politico-advent calendar with both parties giving the american public shiny new charms and tasty trinkets– it is debate days that have political junkies (aka moi) titillating with delight at the mere thought of what this evening’s door will bring forth.

while the last presidential debate door may have offered up a turd (thank you obama), the vice-presidential door gave us tasty-pearly-white-filled hope (thank you biden), and tonight’s will be determine if we come back for more election gooeyness (make it good candy).

issues to be discussed?  it’s up to the voters, but my bets go on women (the vps took the lead on this before, now it’s time for the big boys to pony up), libya (even with h.c. taking the blame, this is too recent and too complicated to not be talked about), the ever favorite obamacare (duh, it was mitt’s favorite “debate camp” class), and taxes (because most people STILL have no idea what mitt/paul are talking about).

issues to be avoided? well paul ryan forcing members of a religious soup kitchen to pose for an unwanted/unscheduled press opp is one (awkwarddd), presidential sleeping at the podium wheel, the 47% (no doubt mitt will do an olympic-style linguistic jig around that one), and any and all phrases that could be termed a “zinger.” that word died when used car salesmen and hammy grandfathers were finally told they could no longer wear plaid polyester suits. leave it there.

happy debating and here’s hoping the advent gods bless us with a cornucopia of political pleasures.

these kids dress better than you

it’s monday at 4pm, my brain is already non-functioning (thank you weekend) and then i was introduced to the children with swag tumblr

and there goes the rest of my monday.

there are few things i find more amusing than uncomfortably precious kids donning even more precious style. leather jackets, boiler caps, bow ties, leopard print…on a two-year old…i think yes.

let’s be honest, i see it more as a personal lookbook for my future offspring.

eat your heart out harper beckham.