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Monday, September 29, 2014

Weasley Tours Battery Park City

For a long time now I have been wanting to take Weasley to Battery Park City in Manhattan for an outing and two Sundays ago we finally did it.   Battery Park City is one of the newer communities in Manhattan and its constantly changing so there was lots for Weasley to see, prepare for picture overload.  To get there from Jersey we took Weasley and his stroller on the Ferry.


The ferry ride is very short, only about three minutes and your in Manhattan so there wasn't a lot of time for photos on the ferry,
 
We made up for it though!  There is lots to see in this area of Manhattan.  Since its right on the water their our tons of boats: yachts, cruise ships, small boats, big boats, you get the idea.
 
 
You can also see right across the river to Jersey City
 
 



Sports are  plentiful you can play tennis, soccer, basketball, go kayaking, play mini golf, there is even a beach volleyball court:
 
 

 
 
If sports aren't your thing you might like the gardens along the waterfront path ways.  Dogs aren't allowed in these but they can walk on the paths past them.  There is even a duck pond.
 
 
 
 
My favorite part is the Irish Hunger memorial.  This is a memorial in memory of the Irish Potato famine and also a reminder of current world hunger.  It was made using stones and native plans and even a cottage brought to New York from Ireland.  It really does look like a piece of the Irish country side and its quite weird and wonderful to find it in Manhattan.  Dogs are not allowed inside but we took Weasley's picture in front of the memorial.
 
 


If you prefer art then the sculptures in the Rockefeller Park might interest you.  Created by Tom Otterness they are designed to be interacted with by humans, and canines, who visit the park:




Of course Battery Park City also has an actual dog park, its small, but it has Sprinklers!
 
 
 



 
We finished our Battery Park City outing with a treat Weasley really appreciated cupcakes from Sprinkles at Hudson Easts.  They make a dog friendly version:
 
 

 
 
 

 

 
 
After our cupcakes it was time to head back home on the ferry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Silent Film Sunday-The Cat and The Canary 1927



A silent horror film classic from 1927 about a wealthy millionaire, Cyrus West, who dies after being driven mad by his greedy relatives, the cats around the canary.  Twenty years after his death the relatives come to West's house for the reading of his will, and find more then money waiting for them.
 
 
This well restored silent film is available for free on Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime.  I particularly love the lettering on the title cards in this film.
 
 
 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Fridays with Fred-Cool Cats

It's been awhile since I did a Friday's with Fred post, so in honor of September being Happy Cat Month here is one of my favorite photos of Fred.  Taken in the early 1960s for Life Magazine Fred looks ever so dapper in his suit grey suit and white loafers, and his Siamese cat looks similarly elegant in complementary grey and black furs.  The cat, named Carlyle, was a gift to Fred from Kim Novak. 


Image Source

Sadly Carlyle did not live a long life.  He was killed by a pack of coyotes in Fred's back yard.  Fred never owned a cat again.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thoughtless Thursday-Ten Free, Or Nearly Free, Vintage Halloween Reads for Kindle

 
 
Note: My apologies to anyone who has read this post before, if so just skip it.  I wrote it last October but I think that unlike most of my blog posts this one actually contains usual information, at least if you are a Halloween loving bargain hunting bookworm.
 
Just as Judy demonstrates in the above picture an October evening is the perfect time to cuddle up with a spooky read and a furry friend.  One of the most wonderful things about my beloved Kindle Fire is there are so many vintage reads available for free or close to free, and Halloween appropriate reads are no exception.  Here are ten ghostly kindle reads availble for free or close to free all of which make excellent October reading.

1) Dracula by Bram Stoker Available for Free


The grand daddy of all Vampire stories and one of the most popular novels ever written this is a total Halloween reading essential.  Those who are only familiar with the many cinematic re-creations of the uber-vampire, may be a bit surprised by Stoker's depiction of the monster as a repellant creature possessing little charm.  Still this a fast paced novel, one of the best adventure stories ever written in my humble opinion.  While depictions of woman are quite outdated its much more contemporary then many other novels of its retains plenty of appeal for modern readers.  

2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelly Available for Free

 Admittedly I'm more of a Dracula fan and in the past I thought I preferred the story of how Shelly created her famous monster then I do the actual novel.    However, upon re-reading the book with this free kindle addition I realized that its a much more complex story then its cinematic re-creations or the popular impression of it is.  The monster is the hero, not the villain, and the story to me seems to be about the importance of loyalty.  Frankenstein, the scientist, is the real monster, abandoning his helpless creation when he needs him the most.  Still this is a much more dated read the Dracula, a good thing for some vintage fans I'm sure, and those looking for a traditional horror adventure story might be disappointed.

3)  Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan (Illustrated) Available for $0.99
This Gothic novella pre-dates Stoker's Dracula and was a major influence on his masterwork.  It told in the first person and narrated by an isolated young woman who falls under the hypnotic spell of a charming and beautiful female vampire whose preference is for female victims.  Much has been made of the lesbian sub-text, not much of a sub-text really as its rather central to the plot, and its true the Carmilla is one of the first vampires who inspires a strong sexual attraction in her victim making her as much the pre-cursor of the modern sex crazed vampires as Dracula is.  Another nice feature of this addition is its Gothic illustrations.

4) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems (Illustrated) Available for $0.99
One of the most quintessentially American writers Poe was a master of the short story and is widely considered to be the inventor of the detective genre.  Poe was a prolific writer, being one of the first American writers to try to support himself on writing alone which had mixed results, and his many works include mysteries, science fiction, and poetry.  Of course he is best remembered for his Gothic tales of terror, which have for better or worse eclipsed his other works.  Any of Poe's masterful short stories make a wonderful Halloween read.

5) Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoke Available for Free


This collection of short stories, the title story being of course about Stoker's most famous creation, was published post-humously by Stoker's wife, who wrote a short but moving forward.  Each of the stories has a creepy Gothic atmosphere and demonstrates Stoker's gift for moving a plot along.   The best of the stories is title one, but they all make interesting reading.

6) Varney the Vampire: Or The Feast of Blood by Thomas Presskett Prest Available for Free


 I confess that I have not read this work in its entirety, though I have it on my kindle and have perused sections, in my defense its 886 pages long!!!  Varney was created to appeal to the masses and his adventures were published in penny dreadful pamphlets chock full of plenty of over the top Gothic drama.  A major influence on Stoker and other authors of later Vampire works this makes an interesting read for those who want to learn more about the tastes of readers during the Victorian Era. 

7) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Illustrated) Available for $0.99

This classic creepy mystery about two children, their governess, and possibly some supernatural servants stuck in an isolated English manor house is a nearly perfect example of the haunted house story, with some major twists.  It is a favorite of academics due to its wonderfully ambiguous nature.   The question of whether or  not the ghosts in the story or real, or simply the product of the governess imagination has been debated for decades.

8) The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Illustrated) Available for $0.99


 This classic Holmes mystery about an investigation into the origins of possibly supernatural beast is probably the best known of Doyle's tales.  Its been adopted for the screen dozens of times and its meeting of the supernatural and the scientific, in the form of the ghostly dog and the utterly pragmatic Holmes remains popular to this day.

9) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Available for Free

This is another classic  that I confess I have yet to read.  Though of course everyone is familiar with the concept of the dual nature of humanity embodied in a civilized man, with a violent alter ego.

10) H.P. Lovecraft The Complete Collection Available for $2.99

 The most modern author on  my list Lovecraft completed most of his writing during the 1920s and is a decidedly divisive figure with as many detractors as fans.  Largely unknown during his lifetime, he published his work in cheap pulp magazines while holding down a succession of odd jobs.   His depressing and down trodden life influenced his work.  Both of his parents suffering from mental illnesses and died in institutions,  and he suffered his own breakdown in highschool, and an early death at age 47.  Intensely xenophobic and paranoid his stories deal with sub-human creatures, forbidden knowledge, and insanity.   There is no triumph of good over evil in his work, instead Lovecraft's personal terrors pervade his fiction making for a disturbing, but compelling, read.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are You Perhaps Affiliated With The Girl Scouts?

 
My vintage blogging friend the lovely and brilliant Jessica of Chronically Vintage has addressed the subject of the sometimes odd comments that vintage lovers get in this post and this video .

Living in the NYC area where it takes quite a bit to raise eyebrows means my vintage look generally flies under the radar, which I prefer because I'm actually pretty shy.   However,  you can't wear nearly full on vintage everyday as I  have had the last two years without attracting some sidelong glances and comments.  Most people are very complimentary and sweet.  I most often get told I look or good or get asked where I get my clothes.   However, one slightly odd comment I have gotten a few times is: "Are you a girl scout?" Or as one rather proper lady put it "are you perhaps affiliated with the girl scouts?"  Now since I do own a green 1940s Jitterbuggin' jumper I can see the connection:

 


However, several times when I have gotten the comment I haven't been wearing the jumper!, but just my ordinary vintage gear.  So why do people keep thinking I'm an over the hill girl scout?  Its a bit of a mystery but I have decided to take it as a compliment, because frankly girl scouts are super cool.  They have a long and storied history as feminist pioneers, everyone loves the cookies, and the uniforms and badges really are quite fab. 




 


image source

 
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Plus Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the girl scouts, was one amazing lady


 
 
with an unshakeable faith in the great things girls could do when given the right opportunities. 

 So while I haven't been officially affiliated with the Girl Scouts since a brief period in elementary  school nearly 30 years ago.  I've decided to take the question as a compliment and even emphasize the comparison.  Now when I wear my Jitterbuggin' jumper I accessorize it with some of my vintage pins, my version of the badges





and I quite like the look.

The whole thing has gotten me thinking Girl Scouts, and of course craving Girl Scout cookies,

image source


 which is why when I purchased the kindle version of the book First Prize Pies 



and saw the recipe for a pie inspired by the famous Samoa cookies



I set out to make it immediately.   I knew the pie would be delicious because I have sampled Allison Kave's pies at Smorgasburg and they are amazing.  I can't wait to the brick and mortar shop version opens.

The pie more then lived up to my expectations, as did the entire book, Allison Kave's directions are simple and straight forward and can turn even a novice pie baker into a pro.  The Samoa pie was very little effort and yielded what was by far the best pie I have ever tasted. 


Samoa Pie


 


Short Bread crust

1 ½ cups short bread cookies 15 to 20

2 to 4 tbsp butter

Filling

2 cups sugar

¼ cup corn syrup

1 stick unsalted butter

1 14 0z can full fat coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1 cup toasted coconut

Topping

¼ cup toasted shredded coconut

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

¼ cup heavy cream


Make the curst

Grind the cookies in the processor and transfer to a large bowl and add the melted butter, a little at a time, and mix  (hands are best for this until the texture is that of wet sand.) Try not to add all the butter.  Press into a pie pan.  Chill in freezer or fridge while preheating oven to 350 bake 10 min until golden and then cool.

Filling

In heavy pan stir together ¼ cup water the sugar and corn syrup until sugar is mostly disolved.  Cook over med high heat moving the pan around occasionally until the caramel has turned a dark amber and reached 360 on a candy thermometer.  Keep a close eye as it can burn quickly. 

Remove caramel from heat and immediately start to whisk in the butter, be very careful.  Open the can of coconut milk and spoon of the thick cream and discard the water.  Whisk the coconut cream into the caramel until fully dissolved and then add the salt and vanilla. Stir in the toasted coconut and pour into prebaked pie shell.  Refrigerate pie uncovered for one hour and then sprinkle over the toasted shredded coconut.


Topping

Heat cream to scalded and pour it over the chocolate.  Whisk until glossy drizzle the ganache over the pie.  Refrigerate again uncovered, 4 hours or overnight.



I can't recommend First Prize Pies strongly its a fun read with delicious recipes and clear instructions and I can't wait to work my way through the remaining recipes.  As for vintage fashion and the Girl Scouts, green is my favorite color.







Monday, September 22, 2014

Pug on a Bike, A Street Fair, and a Vintage Outfit Post

This Saturday was the 4th annual All About Downtown Street fair in Jersey City.  We have lived in Jersey City for seven years but this Saturday was our first time attending the fair.  Since we new parking would be impossible, but that it would also be a dog friendly outdoor event, we decided to bring Ping in her Cynthia's Twigs basket. 


She seemed pretty eager to get on the road.   Since I naturally associate autumnal bicycling with tweed




I decided to have my own tweed run for one by pairing my old Brooks Brothers jacket from the Salvation army with a 1930s dress and hat from Adeline's Attic on Etsy.   Individually I love all of the pieces in this outfit but together, I like them even more.  I think this is my favorite new fall look 



 

The poodle brooch is very old, early 1900s.  It is from Chronically Vintage's Etsy shop and its one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.  She has lots of beautiful and fun things for reasonable prices and if you like vintage you simply must check it out. 


I love when you have things for a long time and then you put them together and get something totally new.

Anyway, back to the more interesting, at least for the non-vintage obsessed, subject of the street fair and the pug on the bike.  Ping did very well on her bike ride, she loves her basket and we stopped to snap her picture outside city hall. I wanted to dress her up too so she is wearing one of her dresses from Pugpossessed.


The fair was packed! 



Thousands of people and tons of food trucks and stands.   It was hard to even squeeze through. 


In the 7  years since we have moved here I have really seen Jersey City grow and change.  I think it used to be a sort of overlooked suburb of Manhattan and now its become a very up and coming place, its going through the kind of renaissance Brooklyn did in the 90s and early 2000s.  The fair had so many vendors and all with interesting stuff.

I quickly found a stand from the local vintage store Another Man's Treasure.  I particularly loved their sign (I think you can see why, though a pug dog would have been even better).



Ping helped me shop and we were admiring this amazing Miss. Marple style carpet bag

when the shop owner called me over to look at the most amazing late 1930s or  early 40s coat that matched my hat.   Now obviously I buy a lot of vintage but I don't usually impulse buy and I really didn't need a new coat, but sometimes things are meant to be.  The coat fit perfectly, was super warm, and definitely the sort of item I would never see again.   I thought about it for about ten minutes before agreeing with the shop owner that it was destiny.  Since we had our bikes and couldn't carry the coat home on them I put a deposit down and I will pick it up on Thursday.  I now wish I had taken a photo to post here but somehow I neglected too.  Once I get the coat home I'm sure Ill take tons of pictures.

Ping had been a patient shopper so we had to award her with some tripe treats from the Hound About Town stand:
 




 
 
They clearly met with her approval even if it took her remaining old lady teeth a good ten minutes to gum them down.   Next we went to a stand that sold  Peperoni Bread and offered free dog treats, and Ping of course sampled both.
 
 
 
By the time we got home Ping was pretty tired form her adventure: 
 
 

 
The fair was lots of fun and reminded me of how lucky I am to live in such an interesting and vibrant place.


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