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me, myself, and Carrie Bradshaw May 24, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Culture, Dating/Relationships, Personal, Television, Uncategorized.
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My personal love affair with a fictional icon

Her name has become synonymous with style and the chic, single-girl lifestyle. She represents the new woman’s funny, sharp, likable everygirl. She’s Carrie Bradshaw, possibly one of the most influential fictional characters to ever influence a generation. Sex and the City played a huge role in revolutionizing the way America views single women; presenting the idea that we do not have to be programmed primarily to achieve the cookie-cutter life targets we’ve been told we should reach for so long (marriage, house, baby, etc). Instead, the bachelorette cherishes single life, independence and freedom. The major storylines in the show, however, do center on not whether or not the characters do in fact marry, have children, or even serious relationships, but how they do it–without losing their sense of self. Being single is not the key, a sense of self is, and Carrie Bradshaw leads the way.

Along with many other women around the world, I have always identified with Carrie. She’s all about opening your heart and your mind at the same time. She’s witty, she’s sharp, she’s sexy–but all in a very accessible, believable way. Mine and Carrie’s “storylines” have coincided as I have watched and re-watched the show and begun to experience my single life as a young woman. While I’m not near my thirties yet, I still feel the inevitable pull from older influences–and society in general–to “settle down,” whatever that means. For Carrie and I, marriage and “happily ever after” is not the be-all, end-all in life. And just like Carrie, I’m a career-focused girl but not necessarily as schooled or as driven as the other three women on the show.

I feel akin to Carrie in many ways. She smokes and drinks and has had a fair helping of casual dating and one-night-stands, but at the end of the day, she’s an old-fashioned girl. She believes in the One, she believes in romance, and most of all, she believes in love. She’s sentimental and reflective. All women are complex, but I relate to Carrie a lot in this way too–her needs and feelings are often conflicted and result in charged and sometimes difficult relationships with men. She’s had to know when to walk away, and it’s bittersweet; especially in her second breakup with Aidan, whom she truly loved and respected, but it just didn’t work, and she couldn’t be what he wanted her to be. It’s never easy to strike a balance. Not just anyone will do. Mischiko Kakutani accused Carrie of “disposing” of men when she reviewed her book in Season Five; I’ve had many of my older friends and colleagues say the same thing to me. But I digress: When searching for a soulmate, one can never be too picky. And so continues the endless search. Carrie was looking for love, real love. “Ridiculous, consuming, can’t live without each other love.” And she found it, as we all hoped and predicted–in Mr. Big.

It’s easy to make a sweeping judgment of the carefree single girl–Carrie and myself included–and throw out terms like “promiscuous” and the like. Aside from the ludicrous societal double-standard, I like to believe that I’ve maintained a moral compass. You can’t look back, you can only learn. Carrie is flawed. I am flawed. We trip over things, we can’t (don’t?) cook, have messy apartments and high credit card bills due to an unshakable shopping addiction. But she’s real–still fictional–but that’s what makes the show so amazing. The writers really, really made Carrie real and relatable to all of us. We can look at her and say: “I’m her.”

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roadside nostalgia March 21, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Culture, Photography, Travel, Vintage.
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Since I absolutely love anything to do with Route 66, vintage road signs and ephemera, 1950’s diners and Americana…here are a few more pictures I’ve gathered. I think these are just so cool!

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Oklahoma

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Vintage ad for Papaburger (good ol’ A&W, it does not get better my friends…I miss the South!)

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Tad’s Chicken n’ Dumplings in Troutdale, Oregon 

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The Steak n’ Shake in Springfield, Missouri

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A cafe in Oklahoma…love the giant fiberglass figures, such an awesome relic!

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Tacoma, Washington

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Henry’s in Cicero, Illinois

NYC subway map March 20, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Culture, Interior Design, Travel.
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I absolutely need this shower curtain! I think I got the idea when Carrie (Bradshaw…who else?) and Berger were at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Season 5 of Sex and the City. I love anything to do New York City, and this chic shower curtain brings a bit of metropolitan glamour into any bathroom. Purchase here.

Candy Girl January 20, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Books, Culture.
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(a memoir) by Diablo Cody

I was instantly lured to Diablo Cody’s finely-drawn memoir of a year in the flesh trades. A career-girl copy typist at an ad agency, Cody just moved to Minneapolis to be with her uber-sexy (and unwaveringly supportive) Internet boyfriend. On utter impulse, she’s suddenly participating in the most unlikely career of all for a woman like her: Stripping. Starting off as a sort of cheap thrill/experiment, Cody is hardly the tautly tan, artificially-enhanced, platinum haired vixen stereotype commonly associated with titty bars. Rather, she’s an intellectual, brazen, self-professed nerd. She pursues her new “career” with voracity, struggling and taking everything in, undergoing a sort of metamorphosis as she goes. Cody is boldly descriptive of her own so-called shortcomings.

The book is startling yet lighthearted, Cody’s sardonic wit and creative writing style keeps you turning the page. Between the jaw-dropping, raunchy and real observations about the night-to-night encounters of stripperdom, the book is drenched with insight on life as well. (Be prepared to define the terms tip rail, porn shui and jack-shack upon completion, not to mention the “lucrative” business end of the scheme, and how hard it really is to bank major “clams.”) Surely to some women, the idea of peeling buck naked for men we’re likely to otherwise avoid would be less than savory a notion. Not having been abused, neglected, or addicted, even she wasn’t quite sure why she got into stripping. Boredom? Discontent? Why else would anyone impulsively choose to chase something so fiercely?

Cody shines as a bright star in the decidedly melancholy gloom of the shabby adult entertainment industry. The book is an eye-opening, compelling (perhaps repelling?) experience in and of itself. It won’t be like anything else you’ve ever read, that’s a guarantee you can definitely bank on. Highly recommend.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum December 17, 2007

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Archives, Art, Culture.
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Note: Dated
When: August 18th, 2005 | Where: Boston, Massachusetts

My [former] grandmother-in-law and I stumbled upon the Gardner Museum completely by mistake–credit my forgetfulness. We were supposed to be visiting the Museum of Fine Arts during our Boston visit, but I (naturally) forgot the all-important discounted passes I made such a fuss about getting from my local library. Kate had mentioned something about this to me one time when we were waiting at the DMV (that’s a whole other story!) and it seemed interesting; neither one of us had ever been before. I wasn’t sure what to expect–something along the lines of an old lady’s house. I didn’t expect it to be so grand or so impactive.

A little background: Isabella Stewart Gardner (married to John L. Gardner) was a wealthy socialite in the mid 1800s (1840-1923); she loved Boston’s local culture almost as she loved traveling the world. Her passion was apparent from the moment we stepped into the museum–at one time, the Gardner Museum was her home–and an incredibly stunning one at that; completely unique from anything you could possibly imagine. All 2,500 works of art, sculpture, furniture, tapestries (13 of its finest–estimated at $100 million–were stolen in 1990 and are still missing)–ranging from ancient to mid 19th-century and collected from over 30 countries–have been preserved (for the most part) the way she had arranged them, because that was her parting wish–for all the beautiful things she collected on her travels to be displayed for posterity.

The collection amassed at the Gardner Museum is something more stunning than any museum display I have ever seen. Instead of the harsh halogenic glow and curated atmosphere; I felt as if I had been taken back in time, looking into each room, at each painting, at each sculpture. The courtyard is the most notable–the museum is built around it; with its 240 A.D. mosaic surrounded by stone statues and a graceful fountain on the back wall. It is serene, beautiful, magical; untouched and essentially unchanged since Isabella was alive. Kate and I were completely slack-jawed in amazement as we visited each room, commenting on things as we passed. What struck us most was the intricate detail of everything, and the rich, beautiful history–the art was sensational and deeply moving.

The only way to explain the enchantment of the Gardner Museum is to go there yourself. It’s such a gem of Boston. The things that I found the most interesting were the furniture (you just don’t see curves, paint detailing, scroll work) like that anymore–it’s all pre-fab and everyone’s got the same stuff unless it’s antique) and the ancient Greek sculptures, as well as the religious art. Isabella was a brilliant decorator. She styled her home in an Old-World eclectic style, mixing things from different places and times and arranging them in often quirky and atypical ways. Our visit was fascinating and inspiring–I truly think it was a one-of-a-kind experience I was lucky to have.

blue door montage October 24, 2007

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Culture, Photography, Travel.
9 comments

I am completely fascinated by blue doors. I collect photos of them from around the world. It’s a really cool superstition; blue doors are prevalent in a lot of exotic places around the world (especially in the Mediterranean regions) as they are believed to repel evil. The vast difference in structure and surrounding fascinates me. I’m intrigued by imperfections (peeling paint, signs of wear, etc) and architectural detail, and pulled by the allure of the foreign. I painted my own front door to my apartment blue. It stands out beautifully. It brings something unique to something ordinary. I think I will always have a blue door.

I found this fascinating, from greecetravel.com:

“The ancient Egyptians were furnished with the turquoise-blue stone (cyanus, lapis lazuli) from the Sinai peninsula since the 4th millenium BC. The precious material is found in abundance in Tourkestan where its name originates. It was also known in Cyprus but according to ancient writers, the best quality was the Scythian turquoise, whose origin was most probably Chinese. Today, it is mined in North America (California, Arizona) in Central America (Mexico), in Australia, in North Africa and in Siberia. In North America the artifacts of the Indians decorated with the precious blue stone are well known. In Europe the stone is imported mainly from Iran (province of Isfahan), where the best variation of the stone is found. Its shape is opaque and very hard, but porous, and changes color (it turns to green) and “dies”, when it comes in contact with perfumes and cosmetics.
Its ancient name “cyanus” refers, apart from the mineral stone, to the artificial glass and to the paint as well. The natural turquoise stone decorated mainly jewels and weapons, statues, like the statue of Zeus in Olympia had eyes of turquoise inserted and in this practice the Greeks imagined their Gods and heroes as blue-eyed.
The turquoise paint that the painters used was the product of powder turquoise stone mixed with other ingredients or a mixture of copper from Cyprus and sand. The third and most expensive paint was made with the plant “Indian cyanus” (indigo, bluing). Architectural parts of public buildings, like the triglyphs and mutule of the Parthenon, as well as parts of villas in Pompeii and Rome, were painted in turquoise. In Athens, at Omonia square, on Dorou street No. 1 and on Stadiou street No. 58, blue friezes surround restored neoclassical buildings. Similar friezes are found in the Ionian islands, in the Cyclades, in the islands of the Argosaronic gulf and in Macedonia, in the villages of Mt. Paghaion.
The custom is of worldwide dimension, because even today in provinces of Spain (like in the Mancha of Don Quixote) buildings are decorated with blue bands and designs. Also, houses in Egypt, in the Arab villages of Israel, and entire villages in Moroco, have blue walls. The same turquoise color decorates the houses of Mexican Indians and strongly speaks of common universal civilization features.”

Here, some of my favorite blue door photos from around the world–enjoy.


Morocco


Tunisia


Sarajevo, Bosnia


Gyeongju, Korea


Essaouira, Morocco (by Linda Mathieu)


Asilah, Morocco (this one is just so amazing, the colors)!


Greece


Greece (my personal favorite)!