¡Oye! A LAtina perspective on food, fashion, familia and art.


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Early Harvest

By Laura E. Alvarez

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Clothes Story, here! It’s an early harvest for Fall style. People. If you are not back to school this Fall, then you still need to dress for the harvest. The harvest? Yes, you don’t just get a fresh start if you are starting classes again. You get a fresh start with the harvest. It’s harvest time all over the world this Fall. You planted those little precious seeds last spring, you watered them all summer and watched them grow beautifully. Soon, it’s going to be time to harvest those projects.  Just remember to have a nice bon fire later on where you clear your space of all the old remnants that are left from your process of creation. Yes, you get to do that, too! So many reasons for feasting.

So feast your eyes on this harvest-ready ensemble. Sun drenched scene in late summer: dry leaves on the ground, bright sky, faded wood, chaparral by the sea.

Jeans by Levi’s (wabi sabi by me). T shirt by Giant Robot. Jeans by Levi’s (Wabi Sabi alterations by me). Belt by Patagonia. Shoes by Doc Marten, part of the Pendleton Collection.

 


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Wabi-sabi

by Laura E. Alvarez

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“Emerging in the 15th century as a reaction to the prevailing aesthetic of lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all.” Read more here in this great article about wabi-sabi.  The idea of wabi-sabi is so close to Byron and my heart that we almost put it in the name of our blog. 

I care just as much about showing you how to patch your jeans as I care about showing you the beauty in imperfection as a way of life.  With each patch, as I lovingly choose a different shade of gray, blue or white thread the jeans become more and more beautiful.  This particular pair uses scraps from his younger son’s ripped up jeans that were all but destroyed scrambling down a rock in Joshua Tree over a year ago.  That’s the darker bits you see above.20140511-211227.jpg

These are what is left of the younger son’s jeans after snatching away many pieces for patches.20140511-211243.jpgFirst, I cut out a nice little piece from the sacrificial jeans that will cover the rip with a bit of extra space around it.
20140511-210502.jpgNext, I turn the jeans I am going to repair inside out. I pin the little scrap which is indeed a patch to the inside of the jeans, covering the rip.20140511-210529.jpgI zigzag around the patch, letting the zig zag stitch go back and forth partly on the patch, partly on the jeans.  This is really a fun part.20140511-210259.jpgI turn the jeans back right side out and zig zag over the rip in whatever way makes sense.  The goal is to have the rip closed.

And lastly, I admire the new patch, as it has once again changed this pair of jeans, furthering it as an artwork and example of wabi-sabi.

All denim by Levi’s.


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Korean Drama Style: I Can’t Get Enough

by Laura E. Alvarez

It’s an obsession, but  just give us a chance.  You will come to the dark side… wait, I mean the K pop side of T.V. dramas.  Here is a list of why I love them so much.

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1.  The Fashion.  Is the costume design for some of these shows genius or do I just appreciate the way they over-simplify the wardrobe of every character?  It’s like if Im Meari doesn’t always show up in some kind of Peter Pan collar I might forget who she is.  That could be annoying… if the Peter Pan collars weren’t SO ADORABLE.  While not the star, she’s my favorite style-wise, you will soon see… but if you actually watch Gentleman’s Dignity, do yourself a favor and skip the parts where she cries.  I won’t even try to describe the sound.

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2.  The Men’s Fashion.  To be truthful, the men’s fashion in K dramas is WAY better than the women’s in my opinion.  It’s kind of funny to go so crazy over clothes I’m probably never even going to emulate, but you know how puritan men’s fashion can be in this country.  It’s refreshing to check out men’s fashion in basically any country other than ours for that matter.  Once again, the wardrobes are simplified for each character, and we have a wonderful 80’s style going with this particular character – Jung-rok.

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3.  The Art Direction.  Just check out the cafes in a lot of these shows.  Maybe cafe interior design is particularly creative in South Korea.  Maybe they are just represented in an amazing way on the shows.  On GD in one episode you can typically see around three scenes in different cafe’s. The attention to detail is marvelous.  The unique personality of each cafe is like another character in the scene.  It reflects the tone of the scene as well.  In the above scene, the humor comes from the fact that the three men in their forties are trying to relate to this teenager so… obviously, they have to take him to this teddy bear cafe. Over the top.

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4. Composition. I guess this is an art term, so maybe I mean the cinematography.  It becomes composition when I take screen shots.  You could just take screen shot after screen shot all day and never get tired of these beautiful compositions.  On GD the camera tends to linger on shots of beauty and contemplation.  It reminds me of that appreciation for color and balance that I love in so many great anime films.

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More composition… Excellent Sequence of color, composition and drama.  But, also look at the lovers’ color coordinated looks.  They are connected, even though he fights it.  She is so out of some resort wear collection.  And he is so casual 80’s.

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5.  Intersections of Cultures. Here is a particularly sad but funny sequence where Im Meari is rejected by Choi Yoon for the 54th time. This time, instead of doing that crying thing she goes to a bar in the middle of the day to get drunk and sing sad songs. Wondering what to wear for such an occasion?  A Day of the Dead t shirt and happy 80’s cardigan, of course!  K dramas are full of great cultural combos like this that perfectly capture the complex emotions.

Thanks for indulging me, and I hope you enjoyed this peek into K drama style.  I am totally controlling myself by not going into the fashion in the next series I watched, That Winter the Wind Blows…

… Oops.  Did I just add that photo?  Guess I didn’t control myself.  Both shows available for your viewing pleasure on Netflix.

 


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When Trader Joe’s Shares It’s Parking Lot with a Costume Shop It Can Only Lead to One Thing

by Laura E. Alvarez

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Yes, only one thing.  See, this is why members of a household have different responsibilities that correspond to their strengths.  Some people are really good at going to the market in an efficient, focused manner and other people are good at filling out forms on line.(Oh my goodness, this post was seriously going to be about free family fun and crafts with recycled materials, not sticky psychology issues.  Oh well, I get to give into my digressions sometimes.  It’s fun.  Wait, this is EXACTLY  what I was just going to talk about. Digressions.  Distractions!) Lets say that I am not the best person to send to the market because it will take twice as long.  This isn’t good if people at home are hungry.  Well, anything takes twice as long if I give into impulsive play and creativity.  For example, I stand back looking with pride at the beautiful way I have rearranged and cleaned everything on the kitchen counter and someone walks in and says, “When I walked in here an hour ago, I thought you said you were about to make dinner.” And of course, I respond with, “Now I’m ready to make dinner… I just need to find the right Pandora station and then I’m really ready!”

This is almost too much to read already.  Where does the time go?  I mean… word count.

I usually avoid the many tempting shops near the Trader Joe’s.  (There’s also Sewing Arts Center which last I looked, has crazy beautiful Japanese cottons I don’t see anywhere else.  Just made some napkins out of it.) However, on this rare market stop… I had the Actor with me.  He and his friend used to have a saying:  The Laura’s never say ‘”no”.  I’ve gotten better at saying no, but I still say yes a lot. So, I said yes to going into the costume shop called Make Believe that shares a parking lot with Trader Joe’s.  As we entered the shop we were instantly transported to Venice, Italy.  We had a ball to get ready for.  These masks are seriously art pieces!  There was even a little Egyptian department.

Back at home, a few days later, this mask made of cardboard, packing foam, popsicle sticks and spray paint was created by the Actor and a friend.

Oh yeah.  And we got some almond milk.

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Hermione Love

by Laura E. Alvarez

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How did this happen?  It’s time to read the whole Harry Potter series again!  But this time, let’s listen to the audio book.  Oh!  And it’s time to watch all the movies again.  Yay.  Right now we’re on Deathly Hallows Part Two Film and Chamber of Secrets book.  Yes, it’s confusing.  But here is a Clothes Story:  While my children and I agree that it is very annoying how much muggle clothing infiltrates into the wizarding students’ wardrobes in later films, I must say I am admiring Hermione’s looks in the last two films.  It’s kind of feminine, forest-y and ready for adventure.  I’ve been looking at these photos of my own outfit and it took me a whole two minutes (which is epic in my clothesstoryland) to figure out that I was inspired and channeling Hermione in the last two films.  Hermione on the run.  Of course, I could play Hermione’s mum, but there is no reason that her courageous seventeen year old witch can’t inspire someone like me as I venture through the various portals of Los Angeles’ West Side, avoiding traffic with my magic car.  It would be so cool if my station wagon could fly emitting nothing but Cornish pixie dust.  If only.

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Jacket by Salt and Pepper, blouse vintage, jeans by Levi’s, Stones by Nicole, and additional necklace by Evan.

Photos by Evan Hartzell

 


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Mix It Up, Serendipity

by Laura E. Alvarez

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Oh, how I love mixing thrift store folk textiles, men’s work clothes, Abuelita’s jewelry, Little Tokyo finds, American Apparel factory store bargains, Fred Segal gifts, AND sandals that have been forced into functioning as water shoes.   Doesn’t everybody?  It’s kind of cool when the Levi shirt you borrowed at the park because you didn’t know it would be cold becomes such a great addition to the whole ensemble.

Thrift Store Folk Textile:  I’m pretty sure this is a Mexican dress.  I’m pretty sure my mom helped me bargain (I was an embarrassed teenager!) for one just like this in hot pink… or was it fushia… in Baja back in the 80’s.  And, I’m pretty sure I love any cotton that looks like it was made on a loom.  I LOVE that.  I can feel the love while I’m wearing it.  And these colors?!  They’re SO Greek!

Men’s Work Clothes:  You will see a lot of Levi’s in my outfits because of my husband’s influence on my wardrobe.  Also, back in the early 80’s I used to take my brother’s old Levi’s when he grew out of them.  I would peg them on the sewing machine because I was SO rockabilly in my dress.  This gives the outfit a little Californian railroad worker/craftsman warmth.  Mmmm.

Abuelita’s Jewelry:  Every time I put on one of my mom’s pieces, I feel her love.  Nice.  This necklace reminds me of beautiful things growing underwater.  The beads are glass.  It’s SO pretty.

Little Tokyo Find:  Okay, these sunglasses are kind of already falling apart, but they still look cool.  Any visit to Little Tokyo is just an excuse to go to Cafe Dulce.  Oh, Cafe Dulce.  I could build an altar to Cafe Dulce… but I digress.

American Apparel Factory Store Bargain:  Lucky us to live in L.A. so we can stop at the American Apparel Factory Store on our way to Cafe Dulce – drat, did it again!  Just call this the Cafe Dulce Post, already where no one actually goes to Cafe Dulce and there are NO photos of Cafe Dulce.  Gosh.  Anyway, I found these brilliant blue leggings there for a few dollars and that is why that store is so wonderful.  A great place to shop for kids, as well.  There’s something for everyone!

Fred Segal Gifts:  Bettina Duncan gave me these earrings years ago for Christmas and I think they are just amazing.  She has a shop at Fred Segal.  She’s so smart.  I always feel a little Victorian when I put them on, even though maybe Victorian ladies did not wear earrings.

Forced Into Water Shoes Sandals:  Hush Puppies!  Colors that go with everything.  Found them at DSL Shoes when I needed water shoes to go to a tropical island, but they are not water shoes.  Shhh!  Don’t tell them.  I have walked hip boutique streets in these babies AND walked in a dark and mysterious river, as I boarded my stand up paddle board, for real I have.

Thank you, Evan Hartzell for the nice photographs.

 

 


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thrifting into the new year

How lucky are we… to have boys who love to go thrift shopping and are passionate about food?  An added benefit is to adore the mother of your boy’s good friend. So, I guess the answer is that we are very lucky.

The Goodwill on La Brea in Los Angeles rocks!  I had NO idea.  Oh my goodness.  Some Goodwill locations really seem to cater to the “get dressed for your corporate interview” need… which is great, but this Goodwill…  This Goodwill caters to the “need an outfit for time traveling pronto” people.  That was us.

Ravenclaw Prefect pin  and fez from Whimsic Alley

These two boys are really into Dr. Who right now, thus the tweedy jackets and fez.  It’s all about who you become with that outfit.  For example, my go-to all black stretchy evening wear means I am a relaxing Korean soap opera watcher, while a tweed jacket and a fez for someone else means only one thing:  time travel!  Well, and maybe eating Cuban food.

Did I say Whimsic Alley?  Why yes, I did.  See, we started this little outing at our favorite Harry Potter headquarters, Whimsic Alley.  Yes, I do love it there.  It’s like a little trip to Hogsmeade.  Thus, we have the young lad hiding his butter beer (It’s really just butterscotch soda.  I love it.) behind his menu at El Colmao, one of our favorite spots for Cuban food.  Liquados de mamey?  Check.  Garlic roast chicken?  Check.  Cuban coffee.  Oh, yes.  We need our fuel to thrift.

Black beans, rice, avocados, and garlic roast chicken at El Colmao

 

When I go to El Colmao, I feel like I am time traveling.  Even though I didn’t grow up coming here, the 1960’s time capsule look with the chandeliers and vintage signed head shots make it feel like a place I would have come to after church every Sunday.  I can just picture it.  Instead, we were going to an Orange County K Mart where we might get a submarine sandwich. Did I just share that?  Anyway, this food shot is so not a foodie shot because I think usually foodies remember to take the photo before they start eating the food.

Here is a silk, Hong Kong made dress I got that day at the Goodwill.  It kind of reminded me of Kiki’s Delivery Service even though I couldn’t find an image of a character wearing a dress like this in the movie.  The good news is that I found this when I was looking for a Kiki image.  (Note to self:  Do a post on the espressos and amazing blue of Espresso Cielo in Santa Monica)

Earrings by Evan Hartzell

 

And lastly, a terry cloth top from the same Goodwill trip that makes me feel like I am a soap maker in the Japanese countryside.  You see it, don’t you?  Oh, those days of making soap.  The soft breeze from the garden coming in through the open windows.  The intoxicating soap scents wafting through the air.  I think I just heard the sushi rice cooker go “ping!”.

Fashion.  Food.  Art.  Repeat.

By Laura E. Alvarez