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Lifestyle, Shopping

3 Resolutions for 2017

I’m not usually one for resolutions, instead preferring to make small adjustments throughout the year in an effort to live a more balanced life. But this year I’m making an exception. At the close of 2016 I find myself rather unexpectedly in a new city, completely single for the first time in over a decade and less than a year away from 30—to say I’m ready to usher in the new year with fresh start would be an understatement.

And so, after months of toying with the options, I’ve resolved to make three changes in the coming year. One is trivial and fun, another is a mere formalization of a goal I’ve been working toward for a couple years and the last is an honest-to-goodness life-changing resolution so astounding that everyone I’ve told about it—from family and friends to new coworkers—has reacted with nothing short of an eyes-bulging, mouth-agape stare. It’s not going to be easy, but I think it will be important. Read on to find out what my three resolutions are for 2017.

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1. Blog Three Times a Week
I love channeling my creative energy into Homemade Banana, and this year I’d like to make my efforts a bit more regimented. I’ll be aiming to put together even more fashion, food and DIY posts in hopes of broadening this community and hopefully making some new blogger friends here in Seattle! Continue Reading

Clothing, Lifestyle, Style

Current Inspiration: Akris + Carmen Herrera

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I guess I’m late(r) to the party but boy oh boy: Carmen Herrera!

A Havana-born artist who spent her postwar years in Paris exhibiting with Mondrian and developing her craft with Yves Klein before settling in New York in 1954, Herrera failed to achieve any of the critical or commercial success of her male counterpoints. She was a woman and she was Cuban and she was shy and so her significant contributions to the minimalist form were ignored. For five decades she kept painting privately, in her studio loft near Union Square, despite the indifference of the art world.

As has been widely publicized of late, Herrera made her first sale in 2004 at the age of 89. Her first solo exhibition at a major New York museum is currently underway at the Whitney. She’s 101 years old. I’m not usually one for inspirational messages, but for Ms. Herrera, I’ll make an exception.

carmen-herrera-blouin-artWhat passion to wake up every day with the desire to create that which others refuse to acknowledge. What discipline to spend a lifetime in pursuit of the perfect line. What poetic satisfaction—and tragedy—in finding massive success and validation after 50 years of artistic solitude.  We could all learn something from Carmen Herrera.

Albert Kriemler certainly did. His Akris Spring 2017 show is directly inspired by several of Ms. Herrera’s most important works. And I have this Akris show to thank for my all-too-tardy introduction to the work and world of Carmen Herrera. I spent the better part of the workday yesterday writing about white linen jackets constructed with shocks of green satin—a nod to Blanco y Verde (1959)—and silk tunics printed with glowing geometric shapes akin to those that energize Iberic (1949). Below, I’ve put together six diptychs that pair Akris looks with their Carmen Herrera-made counterparts.

carmen-herrera-akris-2carmen-herrera-akris-3carmen-herrera-akris-4carmen-herrera-akris-5carmen-herrera-akris-6carmen-herrera-akris-1Carmen Herrera images from top to bottom: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8
Akris images from top to bottom: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Lifestyle

7 Best Ballet Documentaries to Watch This Weekend

02-shop-the-ballet-lookPhoto via Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

You know those moments of artistic appreciation that just cut right to your soul and summon tears to your eyes because of the sheer beauty of the moment? Hearing a favorite band play a great show, getting lost in the colors of a masterful painting, eating that perfect bite of salmon nigiri (don’t laugh; it’s happened). Ballet never fails to evoke this type of emotional response from me. Picture me ugly crying as the curtain closes on the final pas de deux of Don Quixote, whispering to myself, “It’s just so beautiful.”

I’ve loved the ballet since I was three, when I first donned pink slippers and did my first plié. And although my first pair of pointe shoes have long been packed away in a box in my mom’s garage, I’ve found ways to keep ballet in my life. Last spring, I took an adult ballet class (boy, was I rusty), I see The Nutcracker every year, plus usually at least one other live performance, and I watch and rewatch every ballet-related documentary that pops up on my internet radar.

Below, a round-up the seven best ballet documentaries out there, so grab some popcorn, turn out those feet and get streaming.

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1. First Position
This documentary follows several young dancers as they prepare to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the premier ballet competitions in the world. After you watch this, two things will happen: you’ll feel much more motivated to work harder and you’ll spend at least an hour Googling where these kids are now.

lovette_cityballet
2. City Ballet
Produced and narrated by none other than SJP, this web series features interviews, insights and looks into the lives of dancers in the New York City Ballet. If you’re new to ballet, this series is great because it explains the basics of how world-class companies function, and if you’re a die-hard fan you’ll have fun nerding out over Sara Mearns’ gorgeous hair and Chase Finlay’s real-life Cooper Nielson status.

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3. Ballet 422
Justin Peck is a dancer with the New York City Ballet, and in 2013 he was commissioned to choreograph a new work for the company. This documentary chronicles that process, which has since launched he to superstar status in the world of ballet choreography. Although I wish this film featured a bit more dancing and a bit less broody staring, it’s lovely to witness the origin of what will likely be one of the greatest choreographic talents of our time.

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4. A Ballerina’s Tale
Misty Copeland is that rare thing: a ballet dancer whose fame crosses into pop culture territory. Perhaps you’ve seen her interview with Obama, her Under Armour commercial or you simply know her as the first African American dancer to to made a principal at ABT. Whatever the case may be, it’s worth watching this doc on her rise to the top of this white-dominated industry.

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5. Ballet Russes
As much a beautiful history lesson as it is an ode to Serge Diaghilev’s legendary Paris-based Ballets Russes, this documentary lovingly weaves together archival footage with modern-day interviews while offering a master class in the origin of ballet as we know it.

Bolshoi_Babylon
6. Bolshoi Babylon
The Bolshoi is one of Russia’s cultural crown jewels, but in 2013 it was floundering. A star dancer stood trial for throwing acid in the face of company director Sergei Filin, partially blinding him and tearing the company apart. This new documentary chronicles the aftermath of one of the most scandalous events in ballet history.

bringing-balanchine-back
7. Bringing Balanchine Back
This documentary is an oldie but a goodie. It chronicles the return of the New York City Ballet to the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, home of NYCB co-founder George Balanchine. Bonus points if you can spot a young Benjamin Millepied (current director of the Paris Opera Ballet and husband to Natalie Portman) waiting in the wings.

Do you have any favorite ballet documentaries I forgot to mention?

Lifestyle, Trendspotting

Trendspotting: Tiny Spoons

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Over the past month or so, I’ve noticed a new trend in cutlery popping up on latte saucers across my favorite cafes: the tiny spoon. With a dainty bowl just big enough for a modest helping of sweetener and a slender handle perfect for swirling the cream through your coffee, this diminutive utensil is equal parts miniature form and function. After stirring my morning cup with more than a few tiny spoons, I decided I needed to add a few to my silverware drawer, pronto.

The problem was, I couldn’t find a tiny spoon on the world wide web to save my life. I searched and searched every combination of the words “tiny” “spoon” and “coffee” to no avail. And then, an online curtain parted and I finally found one single, solitary spoon with my desired tiny dimensions. It was called a demitasse spoon and I soon learned that my self-titled Tiny Spoons also masquerade under the names “spice spoon” and “condiment spoon.” Once I finally cracked the SEO code, I was able to round up a baker’s dozen of my very favorite tiny spoons to share with you all. Crisis averted.
tiny-spoons1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14

Lifestyle, Style

What to Wear Apple Picking

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Hat: Tommy Hilfiger // Scarf: Zara // Sweater: Target (similar) // Shirt: J.Crew // Pants: Express // Boots: Hunter in Raspberry // Bag: Deus Lux // Necklace: Julie Vos// Bow Ring: Kate Spade // Nails: Deborah Lippmann in Laughin’ to the Bank

What’s that phrase again? As American as apple pie?

As the idiom goes, few things are more quintessentially Yankee than apple pie, baseball (hats) and Tommy Hilfiger. And so, on a recent trek to our local apple orchard, I thought it most appropriate to don a Hilfiger baseball cap sewn with a vintage-inspired felt “H” that I like to pretend stands for Hannah (viva la monogram!).  A cozy knit atop my go-to chambray popover fit the bill for comfort and warmth, while a requisite Zara plaid scarf was ready and waiting for a chilly October breeze to rustle through the apple tree leaves.

For the sake of functionality—and, let’s be honest, fashion—I begrudgingly tempered by All-American look with a new pair of Hunter wellies, beautifully unadorned in all their British glory. Anyway, Brits like apple pie too, right? I’ve found that apart from their trendy appeal, these raspberry-hued rubber beauts are lighter weight and far more comfortable than their less spendy counterparts. I also appreciate that they come in a shorter size, making them much more proportionally appropriate for my five-foot-three frame.

A crisp autumn afternoon spent tromping through tall grass in search of the perfect assortment of ripe apples is one well spent, in my opinion, and made all the richer by cozy clothes and charming company.