Tuesday, October 29, 2013

....Oh, it's such a perfect day

What a beautiful day for a bike ride. After a fairly productive morning of sewing in my office, Matt came home from work, and after making lunch, he insisted that I break for a few hours to go on a bike ride with him to Memorial Park in Riverside. We live just a few miles down the road, and made the whole trip about 10 miles around town. 

Living in Florida, while it has it's downfalls at times, is worth it 100 times over, on a day like this. We rode the five miles to the park, and laid in the grass together, taking in the sunshine, and eventually had to move to shade, because it was too hot in the sun! Agh!
 
We laughed and chatted about random stuff, getting covered in burrs and admiring the mass amounts of Spanish moss above us in the trees. The squirrels that kept stalking us, thinking we'd toss them a nut or two. It was so lovely. 

A few things could have made it even better, and we'll plan for our next bike ride. A backpack packed with or containing a handful of the following: a sheet, two sandwiches, lemon water with fresh mint, a bottle of chilled white wine, bread and cheese, a tripod and camera to take cheesy lovey dovey photos, and Zeus (if Zeus could be squeezed into a backpack and then taken out at our destination hehe).

 My favorite part of Memorial Park, is it's location right along the St. John's River. Our home, a few miles west of the park, is also on the river, and we basically follow it all the way down to Riverside.

BTW, my current hair style, my Buddy Holly coif and flattop, is perfect for windy bike rides and I'm so excited about it, you don't even know! Some days, I channel Elvis, some Buddy, depends on the mood. It's pretty awesome to say the least!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you are all enjoying this little heat wave after last week's chilling temps! Chicago was beyond cold, and I'm happy to be back in the south, back to work and sewing like a crazy woman, per usual.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicago Thrifting with Nicole of Manic Pop Clothing

Meet Nicole of Manic Pop Clothing. We're been online friends for a long time, and I'm sure we met once or twice many moons ago, when she was a coworker and friend of my younger sister. We all grew up in West Michigan, but went to different high schools. Nicole lives in Chicago, and is a fashion school grad. She has the life of most fashion school grads, working a full-time job and using her spare time to sew and work on new designs. 

After grabbing lunch at her favorite hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant uptown, Thai Uptown, we walked over to her favorite thrift store, "the best in the city". And it was pretty fantastic. I was so happy to be in the middle of a lively thrift shop. Whenever I thrift, as most of you also experience, I'm the only 'young' person in the store, and there are very few people shopping, only an employee or two. City thrifting it so different! The shops are a well oiled machine, with employees everywhere, constantly straightening the racks, putting things in their right place, bringing out new merchandise all day. And there are so many shoppers! Fighting to find those hidden gems, there are so many other young people there, sifting through the racks and filling up their carts. 

And the clothing is amazing! So many name brand and designer clothes, some of which are marked less than the Old Navy dress next to it. While the prices are more expensive, they have half priced Fridays every week (I wish we could fill up a whole suitcase on Friday!). I found a handful of things, but had to keep in mind that my checked bag was a few pounds over. I traveled up to Chicago with my sewing machine and tools to work from my hotel room. I couldn't really buy much but still managed to find a few great pieces.

Since I currently live in Florida, being in Chicago is tough. It is unusually cold this week, yesterday's high being 39 degrees. By comparison, Matt reminded me that is was high 70s in our backyard while he played with Zeus. Thanks, Matt haha

Naturally, I've been freezing my bum off, wearing jeans and boots all week, paired with my infinity scarf (made by your truly), and the handful of light sweaters I own. I've lived in the south so long, I have very few warm clothes. My 'winter' coats are midwest fall jackets. There's really no point in a winter wardrobe past a handful of jeans and tissue tee cardigans, since I get to wear the really heavy stuff maybe a few weeks out of the year. For the past four years I've just layered and gotten through the little cold spells we had. Packing for this trip was difficult to say the least. 

I was so excited when I found the long knee length oversized sweater, above. Taking my elastic belt I'd had on with my high waisted jeans, I put it around my waist, and voila, warmer outfit. "Just cinch it with a belt!" I can hear Matt now, in a joking voice when I'm wearing oversized clothes and making them work.

Nicole's perfect score was a vintage sewing book on tailoring. On top of the tailoring book, she also found a handful of vintage sewing books, that she collects from the 60s and 70s. In the clothes section, Nicole scored a badass throwback dress she is going to tailor to her size (check out her blog, and maybe she'll show you how she does it), and two sweaters she is going to cut up and refashion into a color block sweater. Always honing her sewing skills, I can't wait to see what she does with them!

Now this suit bag was the Best. Find. Ever! It's a vintage American Tourist suit bag from the 60s or 70s. In preparing for a festival in a few weeks, I have to sew a ton of vegan-friendly accessories, i.e. I can't have leather anywhere on my handbags. Plus, the festival asks that no animal products be sold, which is fine by me. All my leather comes from old clothing I find at thrift stores, but still, they don't want any animal products in what they buy. This vinyl suit bag is going to be cut into a million pieces, making a TON of beautiful handbags more durable, and vegan friendly! I can't wait to see how much of the hardware I can salvage.

AND! BONUS!! Nicole found me a book, "Serger Shortcuts", as she knows how much I dread using my serger, and it is currently gathering dust in my garage. I also met up with my other design friend, Sara, and she gave me a few hints on how to adjust my tension settings on my serger, and I'm almost positive all three of us have the exact same serger!

I can't wait to get back to Florida and get that girl out of my moving boxes that are half unpacked in the garage. In the bottom of one with all my embroidery loops and floss sits that dusty thing, and she is screaming to make pretty things! Soon, my girl, soon.

I'm having the best business trip ever! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, and is staying warm, wherever you are. 

Today is the day (cue the Yo La Tengo song that is my favorite). Today is the day I trek all around the city with my friend Michelle to market my handbags to local boutiques. So exciting! Agh!

Check out Nicole's pages here:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Away on business...

Saturday at RAM was such a blast! A super hot day for mid-October, as I was too hot in denim cutoffs and a t-shirt. Crazy Florida, it's fall, cool off! As most Saturdays are, I met some awesome local people, sold some bags, scarves, a dress to a sweet Australian au pair, and delivered a beautiful custom handbag to a local lady. All-in-all, a great time. 

I'm currently sitting in a Chicago hotel room, working and setting up my sewing machine. Here on business for the week, I'm expanding Sally Ann to the midwest, fingers crossed. Wish me luck as I scour the city for small handmade boutiques to showcase my designs. I'll also be sewing from my room in my off time, listening to the city sounds below, headphones in my ears. I packed one of my mobile machines, sewing tools, and a TON of fabric in my large checked bag. I was praying it was less than 50 pounds when I got to the airline's checkin at 4 am this morning, and I was two pounds over! Agh! Moving some fabric to my carry-on, I survived. I'll also be meeting up with old friends, and also visiting some local thrift shops. 

My hometown is on the Michigan side, about three-four hours north of Chicago. I used to visit the city whenever I got the chance, but it's been a while, too many years since I visited this gorgeous city. Since moving south, all my trips north are to my hometown to see family or to New York. I need to change that, and visit more. Some of my close friends live here, losing touch over the years. Gotta change that too. Maybe this will be the first trip of many. Any of you live in or love Chicago? Tell me some cool places to visit! My schedule is wide open this week!

Happy Sunday, friends!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mad Nails by Morgan, Number 2

Who doesn't just love the pampered feeling of getting your nails done? Morgan of Mad Nails, came by yesterday for another of her fantastic home manicure. That's right. She comes to my house. The last manicure she gave me was sewing themed and so much fun! This time, I only gave Morgan one request, nude background. And this is what she did. I'm so in love with them!




Mad Nails links:

$47 Thrift Haul!

Slowly, since moving to Florida, my fabric supply has dwindled down to small scraps and less than one yard pieces. It was that time. Time to head to my Mecca: Florida thrift stores! Something about this state, it's the best thrifting I've seen anywhere. Maybe it's all the older people that live here, owning older things that I love to pieces, or maybe it's something I can't quit put my finger on, but it's amazing. 

Sunday, armed with cash from Saturday's success market day, I was anxious to spend it at a local thrift shop. Since I haven't been thrifting too much lately, I didn't know too many hidden gems around Jacksonville. I was determined to find a new hot spot. Towards Beach Blvd. I drove, where Matt and I had done some light thrifting months ago. Now, when I thrift, I prefer to be by myself, sometimes with headphones in my ears, with absolutely no time constraint to get into my own little world, losting myself amoungst all the "junk" in the store.

After driving a few miles, stopping at places I'd googled to find they had $1 clothing being closed on Sundays, I continued East, hoping to find that perfect place. Passing a few more that were closed, I became a little frustrated. On a divided road, each side having 5 lanes, Beach Blvd, needless to say, is difficult to the average driver. Quickly noticing I'd passed a few potential prime locations, I turned around, making a U turn. First shop, closed on Sundays, again. Second stop, in an IGA grocery store shopping center, called Angel Aid Thrift Shop. HEAVEN!

Everything was 50% off unless marked otherwise, which generally only applied to the leather coats, fur coats, and furniture. I stumbled upon their fabric section after finding some scarfs. I filled my cart up with yards upon yards of vintage by the yard fabric!


With many many bundles of by the yard fabric, a pair of pajama pants, a few belts to finish my belt chairs, a few picture frames for Shelby, and a planter for my green room, my total was only $47. CRAZY!

All afternoon and evening on Tuesday, (as my morning was spent my first official day as a videographer for #MattaboutJax) I made the most beautiful infinity scarves using my giant stash of ric rac. I can't wait to show you all! I've been trying to figure out how to use all my ric rac, and make seasonal accessories/clothing that can be worn by my customers from Florida to Michigan, while still not breaking the bank.

Happy mid week to you all! I'm spending the day at University of North Florida, at their market at the heart of their campus. More soon! xoxo!

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Easy-To-Make Skirts"

My most favorite thrift scores: vintage sewing notions! In all my clothing, I only use vintage seam binding, and hem tape. For durability, I always use new Gutterman thread, and elastic. Zippers can be hard to find, so it's 50/50 on new/second-hand in all my wares. Because elastic looses it's elasticity over time, it's very difficult to have vintage and older elastic that is still good to use. This elastic waistband was a rare rare find! I can't overstate how rare. When my friend, Grace, gave me a monster bag of sewing notions from a lady on her street, and I found this at the bottom of the bag, I swear I almost peed my pants with excitement. I just had to share the sewing project and cute instructions that it came with. Oh, how I wish these were still sold in stores today.

 As usual, I deviated from the directions, honestly I didn't even read them. I scanned them to show you all, and I haven't even removed the paper from my scanner. To hide my raw edge of the skirt, I sewed the back side of the elastic, and interior of the skirt together, bad sides together first, about 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of the elastic. Folding the skirt down, with both bad side up, good sides down, I top stitched along the bottom edge of the elastic, enclosing the raw edge of the skirt. 

And a Sally Ann tag nicely covers up the raw edge of the elastic.

And this is the only photo of the finished skirt, as it was the first thing to sell on Saturday morning at Riverside Arts Market. I'm so excited for the recipient of this skirt to wear it and treasure it, and I hope they find their way to this post, and see the sewing process.

Fun little added fact for y'all. See the infinity scarf on the dressform with the skirt? Well, it's made of vintage fabric from a handmade skirt, and look closely, the same brand of elastic as used in this skirt! My roommate in college bought it as part of a handmade two piece women's suit. The elastic was so stretched out, and the deep purple skirt was way too small, so I finally cut it up, pairing it with some thrifted velour for a super soft infinity scarf.

Happy Monday, everyone! I'm off to wash my giant thrift haul from yesterday, and get to sewing!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sewing Tutorial: How To Take In A Guayabera


The trick to alterations, and altering clothing to fit to size, is to make it look like you never touched it. Like it was never altered in the first place. Friends of mine are getting married next month, and the groom is wearing his grandfather's Guayabera, a men's traditional Cuban shirt. This was something I had never done before, but not out of my skill set. These shirts are unlike other men's fitted shirts in that they have a front pocket, and a slit at the side seams.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Date night in San Marco

Date nights are the best nights. Being the workaholics that we are, and being that we film all kinds of events around town for Matt's job, it's rare that we get a night out with nothing on the agenda but time for "us". And those few and far between nights are my favorite. 

In preparation for our New York trip, Matt and I spent a nice quiet evening walking around the San Marco neighborhood's downtown strip. Directly south of the heart of downtown Jacksonville, San Marco is a quiet upscale neighborhood with a few restaurants, a cute little movie theater, a bookstore, and a few boutiques. We'd only been through once or twice, and decided it would be nice revisit the area.  I had just gotten back from my long weekend in Augusta, and we started with a happy hour cocktail.

After grabbing a bite to eat, we walked over to the bookstore, where all books were BOGO half off. Each of us picked out a biography to take to New York. I bought Ava Gardner's biography, and I haven't been able to put it down! 

Life lately has just been going by so fast. I wish there was more time for nights like this. No real cameras (as in so SLR or big video camera), cell phones must be put away while we eat and relax together, only taking them out to snap a few shots here and there. Our lives are so much hustle and bustle, I long for technology free time. Maybe I can convince Matt to have a nice picnic one of these afternoons. Pack sandwiches, a blanket, and some refreshments and just sit in the middle of a park, in the sunshine, with our books and that's it. When did everything become so rushed!?

Even as I sit and type this entry, I feel burdened with 100 things on my to-do list, when all I want to do is curl up on my couch with a cup of tea and some Downton Abbey. Possibly a crochet hook and yarn as well. Something about the fall season just makes me want to slow things down and relax. What do you like to do in your downtime?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prospect Park and Our Last Day in the City

Day 4 of our New York trip. Ah. So much walking. Just waking up and walking around the apartment Matt and I were limping just getting up to fix a pot of coffee. But our last full day in the city, we had to keep going. We decided to walk to Prospect Park again, but this time, make sure we wander around a lot more, explore the trails, ponds, and hidden gems. This is the final post to conclude our wonderful trip. 

Waking up with the sun, I got up alone, while Matt slept, and wandered around our neighborhood in Carroll Gardens to capture the lovely neighborhood on 'film'. This Brownstone, above, was my favorite. Mums lining the steps, pumpkins for fall, a wreath on the door, and the quaintest little yard. I will live in a house like this someday. I just know it.
 
I'm still in awe of this part of the city. Sure, Manhattan is great and wonderful, and if I had an office in the Flatiron Building or an apartment in the village, I would be the happiest person on the planet, but in all reality, Brooklyn just seems so much more me. This trip has really been an eye-opened into what Matt and I want for our future, the life we want, and the life we are, from this point on, going to strive to have. I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about it. 

Sure, we love Florida, but this move was never going to be a permanent one. We'll enjoy a few years here, soak up the sun, grow professionally and personally, enjoy the ocean nearby, and having the freedom of our own home, a yard, etc. But I like the idea of moving again. I don't want to jinx it too much (even though I don't believe in jinxing) and I'll zip my lips. 

The walk to Prospect Park seemed to take forever on Sunday. My legs were like jelly from the knee down, the pain shooting up along the outside of my ankles upward to the sides of my calves. The park was about 2 miles from the apartment, and the walk couldn't have given us more beautiful weather. We took a different path than the day before, walking along Union Street the entire way, until we reached Grand Army Plaza.

The Northwest entrance to Prospect Park has this grand plaza, with a beautiful fountain, a statue for JFK, the Brooklyn Library, and more. With a Subway sub in my purse, we found a nice spot in the  northernmost lawn to eat. We watched a group of guys playing touch football, and families everywhere, flying kites, biking, runners all over the place, and more. People watching was delightful. We walked back north, to the plaza, and continued east, towards the botanical gardens of the park, and closer to the Zoo, since this was the area we explored on Friday.

Quickly, the feel of the park changed, and it was like we were in a different neighborhood. Parts of the cast iron fence were clearly busted from car wrecks, vandalism, and replaced with chicken wire and the wooden fences you see on beaches in the off season. It was a definite feeling of, "I don't want to enter through that path, because I have no idea what would be waiting at the end of it"... RVs were parked along the street, which seemed very odd, and cars that looked to be abandoned, this was definitely different than Carroll Gardens. Then, out of nowhere, there was the Zoo, and a little farther we stumbled upon a home from one of the founding families of Brooklyn, the Lefferts Historic Home

Meant to be a children's museum, the 200 year old home was moved six blocks from it's original location about 100 years ago, to the spot it sits today. An 18th century farmhouse, it is a great example of Dutch family life in the 17 and 1800s. It was remarkable to see something from before Brooklyn was the city it is today. The downstairs was turned into a museum, more geared towards children, and very basic, but still interesting. We really wished the upstair had been open to us, but understandably, the structure is probably very fragile. More info on the home here.

Entering the park on the south end, with a map we received from the volunteers at the Leffert home., we were on a mission to find the water. We'd heard how beautiful the 'lakes and ponds' were in the park, and we had no idea what we'd find.

Following the path on our map, we quickly found the Boathouse, and it was like something out of a movie! Of course, someone was hosting a wedding reception inside. If I do say so myself, this is the most adorable and lovely place to EVER host a wedding and reception. The swans in the pond, the stillness of the water with people laying in the lawns playing their ukuleles (not even kidding, hipster kids playing ukuleles were actually there on a blanket with swans nearby!), the sun coming through the trees, and the lights along the water. It is perfect

After setting up my camera on a ledge and taking some photos with the remote (first picture of this post ^^^), we crossed the bridge and wandered through some trails. At the end of one trail, we found a little wooden seating area off a smaller pond, with a man and his guitar and amp being overshadowed by some teens playing rap music on their speakers of their cell phone. Made me giggle but sad for the old man just wanting to play his guitar. I think we had heard his music from afar before we got down there, when we first walked up to the boathouse, I remember hearing acoustic music but not seeing it. Then those kids probably busted in, and started playing TI, or something. Oh kids these days ha.

We eventually found another spot to sit and relax in the south end of the park, watching a large group of what I think were West African and Haitian men playing soccer in a large field. It was hard to decipher their accents, and comical when they'd instinctively talk to their teammates in their native language, and the other team would yell "English! Only English" to make sure everyone could understand what they were saying. 

There was something so wonderful about being surrounded with languages you won't understand in a city. Whether it was walking through Chinatown, Brooklyn, the parks, everywhere we went, there was someone talking that I couldn't understand what they were saying. I really want to live in a place with such diversity that I see people in different walks of life than what I'm used to. Aside from when I first moved to the south, and I couldn't understand even English because of the thick southern drawls, this was a breathe of fresh air. 

I'm looking forward to the next time we visit the city. Next time, I have another long list of museums and places to visit. That's the great thing about New York City, there is always something to discover.

Have you ever been to NYC? What's your favorite thing there?!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Saturday In The City, More Of Our NYC Vacation

Saturday, our second full day in the city, was absolutely perfect. We woke up nice and early, got coffee and breakfast at a little bodega. We walked up Clinton Street in Carroll Gardens, oohing and aahhing at all the beautiful historic homes. It was pretty quiet, family with strollers walking through the neighborhood, and cute little corners with the most quaint little shops. I felt like we were in a Woody Allen movie; was this really New York? The hustle and bustle I'd expect was calm, Saturday, day off as usual. 

We witnessed the greatest gesture on this side of town. Walking by Brownstones that had books and items, sitting outside, up for the taking. Maybe people do this all over the city, one home had a row of John Grisham and Tom Clancy books on the stoop, free for whomever wanted a used book to read. Another had two wool balls the size of a softball, sitting on a paper plate with a small sign "Free wool dryer ball" (which I'm guessing is used in place of a dryer sheet). In the more questionable areas around Prospect Park, later that weekend, we'd see nicely folded piles of clothes on park benches. Probably set out for homeless people, and those in need of fall clothing. Why take your stuff to Goodwill, when you can simply set it outside for someone to pick up on their commute through the neighborhood.

We continued north, our goal was to walk up to the Brooklyn Bridge, and walk across into Chinatown in Manhattan, wander up through Little Italy, and then farther north eventually to Central Park for the Global Citizens Festival, doors opened at 2pm, show started at 4pm. That was the plan. But we were learning from just the day and a half so far of our trip, nothing was going to go as planned. 

About two miles into our walk, the Brooklyn Bridge still feels forever away, but we're walked a little west to the water, and follow the river north. We found the most amazing place where families were at a large soccer complex at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Over 100 kids playing soccer, other kids walking dogs and playing games, parents and people everywhere. This soccer complex was so green and beautiful, bordered by water and with lower Manhattan in the background. These kids have it made, what an absolutely beautiful site it was. To them, probably born city kids, don't know any different. But to me, it's a world away from the soccer of my childhood. 

Alongside the soccer complex at Brooklyn Bridge Park, was picnic tables, permanent charcoal grills, a great spot for picnics and gatherings. We found a table to sit up my camera for a quick photo op (above). The sun was shining and we were in the fresh air of New York City. Close your eyes and ears, and you'd never be able to tell you're in New York!

Well, after talking to a park employee, the Brooklyn Bridge is another mile and a half north, but we'd just passed the Brooklyn Ferry, with routes to lower Manhattan, and the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, a place called Governor's Island, and back to the park where we were standing. So why not get out on the water, for a fresh perspective, and save us the mile and a half, AND it was free! 

We stand in line with tons of people, mostly families and small children, waiting for the ferry. Finally, after more patient waiting, the ferry is off, and we head south west. Hmm... southwest? We were supposed to head one mile north to the Brooklyn Bridge. Next thing we know, we're pulling up to a small island, south of Manhattan that appears to have old Army barracks bordering the entire island. The ferry stops and everyone gets off. Wait a minute, this isn't where we're supposed to be. 

After talking to a few people getting off, they tell us there is an old historic carnival on the island and it's the last weekend of the festival. What the hell. Why not check it out, right? 

Little did we know, it was a vintage french carnival, FĂȘte Paradiso. Matt and I felt like we stepped into a time warp, French music playing, carnival employees all dressed in black pants, black and white striped tees, with red bandanas around their necks, and all super hip young kids in their 20s. Some of the rides, that were 80+ years old, were still functioning, as children hopped into the cars of a small roller coaster. It was so intriguing and terrifying at the same time!

My favorite was the carnival games with Charlie Chaplin and a semi nude flapper, with their mouths opening and closing, and the object was to throw the ball in their mouths. Of course many of the games were just for display, as was this one. The island, with the backdrop of lower Manhattan in the background, was lined with old Victorian homes, many empty, and old barracks, also empty, with this carnival in the middle, a beer garden, foods, and about a thousand people. It was so surreal.

Come to find out, the island is reserved for private parties, weddings, festivals, and events like this. For years, the city has been trying to figure out what to do with the space. Years ago, it used to be a coast guard station, hence the buildings that looked like barracks.

After a little more wandering, our perfect mistake of getting on the ferry turned out to be quite the adventure. We found a cute little gift shop, chickens in a large coop that were part of a project to get city kids out of the parked city to learn how to raise chickens as a summer project, more carnival stuff, people biking around the island. Running to catch the ferry to take us off the island, and into lower Manhattan, we were off, and back on track to head towards Chinatown.

Thankfully, we caught the ferry just as it was about to pull away from Governor's Island. Phew. It was beautiful, sunny, breezy, and you can't beat getting out on the water. Heading north towards Manhattan, we spotted the Staten Island Ferry to our left, and the Statue of Liberty off in the distance, (we'll save her for our next trip when we can go up to her crown).

We pull into Manhattan, right by the helipad for helicopter tours of the city, that would also be something fun to do our next trip, and we walk toward Chinatown. About a mile north, we finally get underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and bam, we're in Chinatown. It felt like another planet. I loved the little stands all along the streets selling vegetables I couldn't even recognize, and park benches full of elderly Chinese women chatting. Men on street corners playing a cigar box looking guitar with a small amp, and the most delicious smells coming from all the restaurants.

For how slow and calm Brooklyn had been, Chinatown couldn't be more polar opposite. We're fast walkers and Matt's always the one that's ready to be in a rush to get where we're going, and I felt like we were a snails pace compared to everyone surrounding us.

Next thing we know, we're on a sketchy block and then arrive at Sara Roosevelt park, the dividing line it seems, between Chinatown and Little Italy. Our dogs are barking (already up to at least 5-6 miles and it's only half past noon). We scurry down to the subway and hop on a train to take us up to Central Park. No way we're going to walk all the way from Lower Manhattan up to the Upper East Side. "Ain't gonnn happen," as Matt would jokingly say in his southern accent.

Matt and I come out of the subway tunnel in the Upper East Side, and it's like a completely different city from the one we saw above us as we entered in Chinatown. A beautiful, clean, affluent area, with the most beautiful women walking up and down Park Avenue. Then we hit the line at Central Park's east gate, a few blocks south of the 72nd Street entrance, and it's hipster central. I go from feeling young and middle class on Park Avenue, to feeling old and chic compared to the hipsters in their made-to-look-tattered Urban Outfitter clothes.

We're shuffled into the park like sheep, by the thousands, and find our way to the big lawn on the north side of the park, the massive stage about 100 yards in front of us. We missed the memo on "no SLRs" allowed in the gate, and there's no way I can turn around and drop it back off at the apartment in Brooklyn. We are super sly, and wrap it up in my infinity scarf, and put it at the bottom of my bag, covering it with Matt's "just-in-case" scarf and sweater. Take that security guards, we snuck it in past you.

Finding our little place on the lawn, we're surrounded by so many people on beach towels. We patiently wait for the bands to start. The lineup, in the order we guessed, was Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Kings of Leon, and finally Stevie Wonder. Irritated at being really close to some drunk young kids that were just plain obnoxious, we hope for the hour to fly by, so we can get things started. Then, a miracle. Matt spots Kings Of Leon's drum set on the stage. No way they are playing first, right?

We decided if Kings of Leon play first, we'll leave after they play, and explore more of the Upper East Side. Sure, I have a secret crush on John Mayer, and I'd love to see him, but when the lines for food, water, and the bathrooms are all over an hour, and we're surrounded by 60,000 people, I can wait until the next time he's in town. And Stevie Wonder would be great to see too, but there's always next time.

Low and behold, Kings of Leon played first, and it was amazing. Introduced by the incredibly handsome Gerard Butler, they started the show with their new single. After a few songs, we moved up 50 yards to be closer to the stage. The last time Matt and I saw Kings of Leon, was a few years ago in Atlanta, they were amazing, and we knew they'd be just as good. Since they're Matt's favorite band, he was like a kid in a candy store watching them play.

 
KOL wrapped up their set, and we headed out just as Elvis Costello came on stage for a few songs while roadies cleared the stage. It was such a great festival, and I kinda sorta wish we would have stayed for a bit longer, but only having standing room or crowded lawn seating, and overpriced food/water, and nasty port-a-potties, I was ready to leave and hit up a pub.

Matt and I found the cutest little hole in the wall a few blocks away when we exited the park. Using the app "Around Me" with my iPhone, we found Trinity Pub. It's my kind of pub when there's Guinness sign out front and an Irishman behind the bar. A few much needed refreshments and chatting with locals were just what we needed.

Before we know it, the day is coming to an end, and it's time to retire for the night. We weren't really about making it a crazy late night, as I was on a mission to wake up to catch the sunrise in our neighborhood of Brooklyn, and capture the sunlight hitting the building just right. And that's exactly what I did.

More of that tomorrow. ♥