Friday, April 22, 2011

Faith & Fortune

Update, 1/2/16 - while Jason and Jim dissolved Faith & Fortune a few years ago, what they did is next level for fashion and retail. They stand with Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Tom Hardy, Sarah Edwards, and Sally Edwards (BLAG) as founders with purpose and style who made impact.
This just in: Faith & Fortune will be at the exceptional Governors Ball Music Festival on June 18. Besides Girl Talk, Big Boi, Passion Pit, and a series of other artists, Jim and Jason (with the help of some other people, including me) will be there selling the t-shirts and game changing attire.

Last spring, on a beautiful weekend in May, I was in Boston and its surrounding areas, to attend my brother's graduation from Babson. His MBA and time with his wife and our families were the reasons to celebrate.

And Faith & Fortune is the other reason.

My friends and loved ones know that I love me some community markets, flea markets, and all undiscovered local businesses. SoWA is a terrific combination of all those and on my search for (no surprise here) artisanal stationery, sandalwood incense, and wearable art, I encountered the founders of Faith & Fortune, Jim Grumbine and Jason Revilla. And I bought some tees. Again, no surprise. The tees and hoodies were and are a unique, beautiful, tactile combination of the ideas I live by and have tattooed on my left arm - pleasure and purpose.

Each quarter, F&F works with artists and philanthropies to bring to life on fabric the artist's work while benefiting a charity. Each quarter's collection is limited edition so when you see it, you buy it, and it captures a moment in time. It's a terrific and stylish way to wear the idea that when you get good, you can do good.

Every shirt and jacket I've purchased has become a favorite and this one I wore so much, I ordered another one. It's available for a little while longer so buy it while you're able. Men's Crest. Stunning. Speak well of Faith & Fortune (and me) when people compliment you on it. [smile]

Men's Crest $27

What Jim and Jason have done here - and you should note that these gents are PR directors and personal trainers so they have a lot of skills to leverage - is make it possible for everyone to be part of a community while celebrating artists and supporting causes that need us.

Spring is here, finally, and F&F's latest collection is available now. I've already ordered a series of tees and a hoodie. And as a thank you for following this blog and reading what's written, when you order items from Faith & Fortune, you'll get 10% off when you enter "kate10" at checkout. Here's a taste of what's on offer this season, with a percentage of sales benefiting Rock for Justice. Go here for items for men and here for the gals.
Artists should know that F&F recognizes a lot of talent by working with a series of creators. These include Deno Angelopolous, Liz Dube, Grant Hanna, and others. Who's to say that you won't be the next creative design provider whose work is brought to life?
Have a beautiful week. Support undiscovered talent and causes by looking terrific.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Where would I be without music?

I started singing for real when I was eight. Someone has the digital evidence of my first lead performance where I must have forgotten that there was an audience as I constantly (there is no tactful or nice version of this) picked a wedgie. No idea if I sang well. My classmates Elizabeth Lacey and Cindy Langmack were off the chain that day.

Since then, I've sung a great deal and music is in every way part of my various celebrations and coping mechanism. And the last couple of years have connected me to a series of musicians who have become critical to my appreciation, admiration, and love of music.

To wit, and I encourage you to listen to and see these whenever possible, here are some bands and albums that you must experience:

Ben Folds / Nick Hornby - Lonely Avenue
When excellent lyricists partner with stellar instrumentalists and vocalists, magic happens. From Fever Pitch through About A Boy, Nick Hornby has a way with the written word that is clever, arch, and emotional. Ben Folds is a composer and vocalist who is ideal to bring to life Hornby's reality, sadness, honesty, and hope. "A Working Day" is a song that I tap into any day when, as you'd expect, I work.

Adele - 21
I pre-ordered "21," Adele's second amazing album, four months before it was released. Before I heard the entire album - which is genuine, moving, warm, sultry, and ass-kicking - I began working on "Rolling in the Deep" for my demo reel. I never thought I could empathize with what she sings and earlier this year, I had no story to be told and I finally saw someone crystal clear (lyrics altered from Adele Adkins's and Paul Epworth's original). I can no longer hear or sing the song without getting tears in my eyes. And the truth of this song keeps me focused on my belief that love is possible always, regardless of the challenges in life's journey.

The Bloodsugars - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
The women responsible for one of the best stores in the five boroughs - Tiburon in Red Hook and Greenpoint - are to be commended for introducing me to The Bloodsugars when I was in their store before an excellent cooking program with A Razor, A Shiny Knife buying a present for my nephew. I asked them if they sold any CDs by local bands and Amy showed me this album. And the four guys who make up this exceptional band vocalize and play instruments. "Form/Function" and "Light At The End Of The Tunnel" could be theme songs for different times in my life and I must see this crew live.

Over The Rhine - The Long Surrender
I will always be grateful to Andy Kohler, guitarist and vocalist of Vox Voronet, for reminding me about Over The Rhine. While described as Alt-Country, Linford Detweiler, Karin Bergquist, and the exceptional musicians who join them onstage and in studio are so much more. They are truth and anger and love and observation and lust and fun and history. Having seen them in two cities and three different venues reinforces my notion that we can make anywhere our home so long as we create community and surround ourselves with great people. OTR does this consistently and Joe Henry's production of their latest album is evidence of his talent and strength.

My friends know how much I love going to shows and within the last year or so I've been blessed to see Jamie Lidell (twice), Mayer Hawthorne and the County (twice), Over the Rhine (three times and believe me, I considered writing "thrice"), The ones I'm looking forward to seeing this year (more to come, I'm sure) are Teddy Thompson, Martin Sexton, A Perfect Circle, and Bebel Gilberto. And if I can possibly find tickets to Adele and Bruno Mars/Janelle Monae, my cheeks will hurt because I'll be smiling so much.

Have a beautiful weekend. Support local and undiscovered musicians.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

It's Happening - beauty & art in clothing & jewelry

The entrepreneurial spirit is something to admire and support. When you witness it in others, it is an opportunity to learn and to retail therapize (not a word and if Webster's is any indication it will become one).

The Italian Collection is indeed one of these. Myriam Altieri and Douglas Haslinger have put together a remarkable clothing and accessories collection. Speaking for and representing Italian artisans, TIC has the exclusive on some of the finest pieces I've ever seen. This is luxury and fashion, writ large.

Pieces are exquisitely designed, constructed by hand, and made of the finest possible materials. Investment gear, if you will, and the kind of dresses, hats, bags, and coats that will ensure someone's personal style while being timeless.

The Ornella gold cuff bracelet is a wearable, classic piece that's completely on trend.

Currently, Milan is where every single piece is created. And you don't need to watch "The Rachel Zoe Project" to know that Milan is the hub of fashion. Every piece is guaranteed (who made it, where it was made, what materials were used).

Think of The Italian Collection as the slow food movement of fashion.

Everyone who knows me knows that I respond intensely to handmade jewelry. LIH Designs is a favorite creator and provider of such pieces. Leslie Halloran finds beads from around the world, designs and construct necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that speak to geography, tradition, art, and unexpected beauty.

Necklaces are available in eight collections and the look and feel of each stone, bead, and gem will take you somewhere unexpected. We're talking about green garnets, lapis lazulis, vintage moonglow lucites, African vulcanites, and a range of other elements.

This new necklace is in every way a new season with its colors, shape, and texture. These Bohemian wedding beads are molded glass. Made in the Czech Republic, these were constructed in the 1950s and are exported from Africa.

Leslie has included descriptions and explanations of some of the stones and gems she uses. Terrific to know that there is so much more available than emeralds, rubies, and diamonds.

Keeping with my commitment today to small businesses providing the best in style, one of my favorite stores in the boroughs is Life:Curated. Ryan, Sarah, and the team blog like no other retailers with personality, humor, and honesty.

Have a beautiful day. Support local and small businesses.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Really Back to It

La Plaza Cultural (photograph by Kate Harvie)
La Plaza Cultural (photograph by Kate Harvie)
So it's been some time since I wrote here and I'm celebrating today's completion of a journal (more than two years worth of musings), introduction by two friends of excellent things (details below here), and the commitment to my mantra, Pleasure and Purpose.

I can't and won't guarantee that I'll write every day and what I will write will be everything and anything meaningful, entertaining, and informative.

You can decide which is which to you and, as always, I encourage you to share any feedback here.

One of the amazing things about living in New York City is the undiscovered local gems that we encounter on our own and through the observation and great taste of others.

A friend did me a solid earlier today by introducing me to The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory with a line out the door and the purveyor of the most amazing ice cream I've tasted since gelato at some trattoria way back when. We ordered shakes and he had his favorite (Red Bean) and I got one that was peanut butter and sesame. Remarkable taste and texture, and sitting in the park while we sipped and talked helped to make today beautiful and fun. Thanks, JMM.

Ryan Martin is an exceptional writer and his blog is an introduction to intimate and exceptional ways to look at life. Whatever frustrations I have, whatever disappointments (and we all have several of each from time to time), what Ryan's doing is so much more than promoting the notion that good things come to those who wait. He's making clear that while we're bringing our dreams to reality, there are many great things we can appreciate and adore. Have at it, Ryan. You're a badass.

Lastly, my two favorite parks on the seven mile island are Tudor City Park and La Plaza. I discovered La Plaza a few years ago and have had the blessing of being there when the sun is shining and at night. I was there yesterday and that's where I snapped these pictures. They speak for themselves and the corner of 9th Street and Avenue C must be experienced to be believed. A community garden, a place of peace, the location of (to my knowledge) the only willow trees in NYC, and a mellow and beautiful area. Get there. As we're in the dawn of spring, as the leaves return to the trees and beautiful flowers are planted, there is no better place to sit, to sip, and to watch.

Fashion is affected by celebrities, design muses, the economy, and a range of other things. Fashables is a web series that has smart, genuine people, who are healthy and not celebs or models, weighing in on and photographing themselves wearing the latest trends. Always with respect, passion, and honesty, Fashables is one to watch and read.

Have a beautiful day. Support local businesses.