Jun 29, 2011

Tea(pot) and a Thought

I just got a new teapot. I already have a teapot. Actually, I have three teapots. Okay, four: A small practical pot, a leaky squat pot that I'm going to use as a planter, a medium-size pretty pot, and a large entertaining pot (with matching mugs). Is five excessive? If I say I'm starting a collection does it seem less decadent?
I've decided teapots are like bras: some are for day-to-day use, some are for special use, and some are for day-to-day-but-I-want-to-feel-special use. If this teapot was a bra it would be for day-to-day-feel-special use. It would be the kind of teapot that would make my boobs look perky but seamless under all my tees. Yeah okay, so I'm still working out this teapot-bra analogy; in the meantime, please admire my new teapot, Timsy.
Yes, I've named him.
Isn't he adorable? And he pours wonderfully, too. I got him for $8 but you can find him here for $12.99. I've given up biscuits with my tea (bikini angst) for a few weeks, but at least I can replace the sugar with a little whimsy/Timsy.

Now, to find some cute little cups ...

Jun 28, 2011

Bantam Beasts

 Mark Twain once said "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I've written a long one instead." Mr. Twain and I should have been pen pals. The art of keeping it short is not generally my forte. See? I just said in eleven words what I could have said in two: I ramble. Maybe that's why I'm so impressed by Bantam Beasts' "terribly tiny tales on things."

Bantam Beasts is the brainchild of Cork-based Rhona Flynn and Lisa Falzon, two writers who share an obsession with microfiction and twisted punchlines. I'm totally taken with their short-and-not-always-sweet fiction—
"Do you recall dear when we made love so fiercely it melted not only our igloo but the snow beneath it and we descended slowly past the skeletons of polar bears and humpback whales to earth's very core? You climbed out fairly easily, but I confess I'm still down there." 
"Darling I would like to split your head open. So as to read the serial number on the back of your eyeball. So I can order more of you. Lots more. So the minutes with you would stop feeling so precious. So the supply would at last exceed the demand.
"I've two single tickets to outer space—but don't get too excited. I'm taking the dog and leaving you here."

—and I love how they made their carefully crafted words even more accessible by making them wearable; you can buy pocket mirrors, necklaces, brooches, and even pillows from their Etsy shop and carry one of their beasts (that's what they call their stories) in your pocket, handbag, or around your neck. I'd love a line of Bantam Beasts stationery, too.

The Bantam Beasts Blog
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Jun 23, 2011

Carosel Are Sorry

Carosel - I'm Sorry (Official Video) from carosel on Vimeo.

Irish Jazz-pop duo Michelle Phelan and Pete McGrane of Carosel are so sorry: they're sorry for sounding so sweet and so summery and so ... Paris (unavoidable side effect of taking up residence in Paris I suppose); sorry for eating fresh croissants and macarons every day and not sharing; sorry for being so frickin' adorable; and sorry for teasing you with this sweet and simple new song from their second album (due out at the end of the summer). Okay Carosel, apology accepted (though, I never apologize for prancing around my appartement and rooftop in my knickers).

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Jun 16, 2011

Insta-Wish You Were Here-Grams

My son just asked me to "Instigam" him. For a second, I wanted to tell him to ask Rosie, because it seemed like the kind of space-age request best handled by the robotic maid. Then, I realized he meant Instagram—what I would describe as an addictive app that melds social media with photography and Photoshop, and he would simply say is as good as Bald Booth or Zombie Booth. Instagram—or more accurately, Instagr.am—lets you snap a photo (or take an existing photo from your phone’s gallery), enhance it with eleven different possible effects, and then show if off on your various social networks including Instagram's own social network. It's also a cool way to get people to look at your vacation pics!

My camera died when we were in Ireland in February so I had to rely on my iPhone to capture vacation moments. I wasn't too excited about it until I recently discovered Instagram ... and how much better we (and our low-quality phone pics) all look through a vintage filter!

Instagram makes it easy/fun to inspire vacation envy electronically, but if you prefer to send hard copies of your photos you might want to check out Postagram—a new service that enables iPhone or Android users to print their Instagram/Facebook/phone images as postcards for $1. 

A write up on Wired.com explains, “Postagram takes your photos, lets you add a message (up to 140 characters) and then mails a printed copy to anyone, anywhere in the world. The picture is printed at 300 dpi on heavy photo paper and comes surrounded by a postcard, from which the print can be popped out. Each picture costs $1 to print and send, and you have to do nothing but choose the picture and pay.” (Sidestory: I normally hear of good ideas, smack myself on the empty noggin, and say "I wish I'd thought of that!" but in Postagram's case, I did think of that! I pitched a so-very-similar idea to my coworkers at DivineCaroline.com four years ago, though Instagram wasn't around at the time for piggybacking purposes. Feels good to validate a good idea; sniffle, it would feel soooo much better if I had validated it myself!)

Okay, so using Postagram means you'll miss out on that quintessential foreign-post-office experience when traveling, and your recipient won't get a foreign stamp on their postcard, but on the upside there's a better chance you'll actually send postcards to your grandmother/friends/coworkers on your travels. I know I would have sent this "on the way home from the airport" postcard to my low-tech nana once we landed back in the States in Feb if only I'd been up to speed about Instagram and Postagram at that time.

I'm definitely going to be playing with these apps this summer and I may have to plan another trip home just so I can Instagram my grandmother's hens and cows (shaky grounds considering the costs of flights at the moment!)
You can find me fiddling around with Instagram @Jacintaoh; let me know if you're pottering about there, too, and I'll follow you!

Jun 11, 2011

James Vincent McMorrow at Mercury Lounge

I hung out with James Vincent McMorrow at The Mercury lounge last night. Of course, by "hung out" I mean hung on his every word and note ... and, ahem, hung on to his hand a little too long when I cornered him after the show to tell him how much I enjoyed his performance. "Awesome" is one of those quintessential American words I try to avoid for fear that "totally" and "dude" will follow and feature regularly, but there is no other way to describe McMorrow live—he's awesome (like totally!) Okay dude, I tell a lie; I could also describe his performance as poetic, magnetic, pure, and beautiful.

I want everyone to love JVMcM like I love JVMcM so I captured one of his songs to share; the iPhone footage is a little grainy but the sound is decent. Wish you could have been there (just not right next to me because 1. You're taller than me 2. I kept trying to sing to show off—to James and everyone else in the room—that I actually knew the lyrics, and 3. I couldn't quite master the whole clap-your-hands-and-say-wohoo-while-holding-plastic-cup-of-beer-in-mouth trick). 

Catch James live on his quick US tour if you can:
June 12 – San Diego, CA at Anthology
June 13 – Los Angeles, CA at Largo at The Coronet
June 14 – Los Angeles, CA at Largo at The Coronet
June 17 – Santa Cruz, CA at The Rio
June 18 – San Francisco, CA at Great American Music Hall
June 21 – Portland, OR at Aladdin Theatre
June 22 – Seattle, WA at The Triple Door


Jun 3, 2011

Gemma Hayes: Let It Break

In bluenosed-woollyknickered January, I dream ahead to summer, and it looks just like the promo pics and cover of Irish folkster Gemma Hayes's new album—all soft, lineny, floaty, blonde, and romantic.
We had a few days of summer here earlier this week and I was quickly reminded that Summer in New York City is not at all soft, floaty, or romantic; it's heavy, sticky, grimy, and slimy. It's frizzy hair, a shiny face, damp armpits, and a line of sweat rolling down your back ... at 10am. Still, there's the lineny bit, and with enough lemons and sun, by August there could be the blonde bit, too. Anyway, there's no reason why summer can't sound and feel daydreamy ...

I've been listening to Gemma Hayes's new album Let It Break the past few days, and it's breathy, golden, and light ... just like that midwinter mirage of summer in the city. A few listens and my mood lifted (along with the humidity), and those summery vibes (ahem, and four bottles of fake tan) will surely take me from pasty-glow to golden-glow in no time.

Here's Gemma playing "Waiting for you" live on The John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1:

You can listen to clips of the album on Gemma's site (GemmaHayes.com), and buy the album/a little summer breeze on iTunes.

Let It Break on iTunes
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