The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

Love and Marriage

On True Love: A Couple in Chicago

Books & Words, Love and MarriageAlexandra king2 Comments

Did you guys see the wonderful old New Yorker interview with a young Barack and Michelle Obama that's been doing the rounds online this week?

In 1996, photographer Mariana Cook began a photography project on couples in America. She interviewed the Obamas, and took the photo above- aren't they adorable here? Fresh faced, long-limbed, determined of countenance. Michelle's body language here is so revealing and beautiful, too, a strong and protective ying to B's languorous yang. Reading their words now is so wonderful ("There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career" muses Michelle) but it's what Barack says about his then wife of four years that moves me so much. I don't think I've read such a pure description of true love in a very long time.

"Michelle is a tremendously strong person, and has a very strong sense of herself and who she is and where she comes from. But I also think in her eyes you can see a trace of vulnerability that most people don’t know, because when she’s walking through the world she is this tall, beautiful, confident woman. There is a part of her that is vulnerable and young and sometimes frightened, and I think seeing both of those things is what attracted me to her. And then what sustains our relationship is I’m extremely happy with her, and part of it has to do with the fact that she is at once completely familiar to me, so that I can be myself and she knows me very well and I trust her completely, but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person."

I'm going to miss these two.

#TBT To A Vermont Road Trip

Living For The Weekend, Love and Marriage, TravelAlexandra king2 Comments

It's been a GLORIOUS day in New York City. 21 degrees, Spring like, birds chirping up a storm. As I opened my front door and felt the balmy air kiss my forehead this morning, promising Spring and Summer and warmth, I found myself reminiscing about our trip to Vermont last year. So, in honour of throw back Thursday, I thought I'd re-post the super nerdy video I made of our trip.

To those curious about our Vermont get-away, after first stopping at our wonderful friend's wedding at this beautiful place, we drove to the historic town of Woodstock. Our hotel was The Kedron Valley Inn, which I cannot recommend enough-comfy beds, an idyllic location and an on-site swimming pond (which you can see me making good use of in the video!). We also loved visiting Billings Farm for old-time wagon rides and some serious interiors inspo (black bottomed bathtubs- be still my heart). And we loved learning about maple syrup (and taste testing, natch) at Sugarbush Farm, which also has one of the best farm shops I've ever been to (we are now hopelessly addicted to these pickles, and have to bulk order them online). Other highlights include amazing interiors heaven Farmhouse Pottery, divine vintage shop Who Is Sylvia (I couldn't resist this) and rad downtown grocery store Woodstock Farmers Market. Guys, I fell so heavily in love with Vermont on this trip. It has, without doubt, the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen in the US, the people are amazing and the food is fresh, local and delicious without even needing to be advertised as so (just as an example, one night at The Kedron we were served raspberries for dessert that the waitress had picked from her garden that morning). In short, Vermont= the ideal mini break for a couple of strung-out New Yorkers looking to stretch out their limbs, sip on local IPA's and pet a seemingly never ending supply of adorable baby farm animals.

Wait, can I go back now?



Five Off The Rack (And Off The Chain) Wedding Dresses

Fashion & Beauty, Love and MarriageAlexandra kingComment
alexandra king-lyles

Today I remembered, courtesy of a flip through my phone, that it was about this time, two years (!) ago that I bought my wedding dress. Though I did end up buying mine, to my surprise, from a bridal shop (this awesome one) I remember being totally convinced at the beginning of my search that I would probably just buy a white, not necessarily "bridal" dress. There are so many beautiful options out there, and, best of all, they all come without the insane wedding mark up- for happy wallets as well as happy hearts. Two years on I still feel a flutter when I spot a perfect white dress. So here are five beautiful, alternative, straight off the rack wedding-worthy get ups that I've spied recently and which require no trips to weird pink stores filled with tulle and smelling of vanilla candles.

1) Ulla Johnson Clara Dress, $690

ulla johnson Clara dress
Elizabeth Suzann
no 6 wallace jumpsuit

How To Connect With Anyone (In Just 4 Minutes)

Love and MarriageAlexandra king1 Comment

I know it's been doing the rounds, but I watched this beautifully done film over the weekend, which asks six couples, from complete strangers to a couple on their fourth date to a darling husband and wife who have been married for over half a century to simply stare into each other's eyes for four minutes. Watch it if you haven't already.

Anyway, I was so moved by the character's reactions to this experiment that I immediately asked Isaac to do it with me. So last night, for four minutes, we stared at each other from opposite ends of the sofa, and...it was INSANE! At first, we were nervous, trying not to laugh, but by the end we both had tears in our eyes (I actually cried like a baby). Half way through, I suddenly had this weird sensation where I felt a whole body connection to him, as if the world had stopped turning, and all that was there us. I just saw his gorgeous, smart, funny face and couldn't believe I hadn't spent more time looking at it. It was this incredible feeling of deep connection. Isaac was impressed. In his own words "it was so interesting how it evolved. At first it felt funny, and we were both smiling, but then there was this feeling of intense comfort in looking into your eyes. I loved it". It's so true! Four minutes felt like a lifetime, and there were all these different phases from shyness to laughter to really intense affection and intimacy. Afterwards I felt so close to him, and, weirdly, more relaxed and compassionate generally. You've got to try it guys! (I now want to do it with everyone I love). So simple but so intense (I suppose it's a lot like this in many ways).

Will you guys try it too and report back? I would love to hear your stories!


A Frying Pan

Love and Marriage, Home and DesignAlexandra kingComment
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Here's a story about romance. Not the Valentine's Day bullshit kind. The real kind. On the first birthday I ever spent with Isaac, he bought me a frying pan. A FRYING PAN. Now let me tell you, on initial encounter, it wasn't that I was disappointed, exactly. I had not fallen in love with a man with a Ferrari or a Ferrari budget (thank god and dammit). But really, dude, a frying pan? He presented it, beaming, unwrapped, entirely naked, stern in its plain, utilitarian usefulness, and I dutifully went through the motions of pretending to be absolutely delighted (you can take the girl out of England..). What a nice sturdy handle! I exclaimed, half-heartedly. A terribly useful non-stick surface! Just the right size for pancakes! Then he explained.

When his parents were newly married, both just out of the military and living in Alabama, for their first wedding anniversary Isaac's father had wanted to get his new wife, Isaac's Mum, something nice. But they were totally broke, living at home, saving up for a new life in Texas. So, Isaac's dad went along to a tiny store in Gadsden, one of the only places to buy things at the time, and he saw the frying pan. They needed one, he said. He also remembers it was "teflon, and about four or five dollars" (I called up my sweet father-in-law, Dave, to get him to tell me the story in his own words). He also remembered that Isaac's Mum was "very surprised, and very gracious".

They used the frying pan for years, he added. Though he insists that when it comes to his romantic gifting skills, "I got better!".

So here's to the loveliest of family traditions. And here's to my frying pan. Long may it sizzle, and hang in the walls of my heart and home- as hot, heavy and hopeful as my love.

P.S

This Christmas Isaac got me a Soda Stream. I LOVE IT.



The TSWIL Anti Valentine's Night In

Love and MarriageAlexandra king2 Comments
The TSWIL Anti Valentines night in

Oh Valentine's Day, you big bloody tease slash actual nightmare. Your heart's in the right place, but you're so commercial, so non-inclusive. What if you're happily single after ditching that A-hole you stayed with for way too long? What if you're beyond fatigued and depressed and a little heart sore after a year of mediocre dates? What if you're in a long-distance relationship because your beloved's job is in a different city or country? What if you're working because your pesky husband decided to open an art gallery last year? All theoretical, natch (hehe). But the answer to all of these quandaries, say I, is the same. Avoid the ambush of restaurant tables for two and weird club nights and sad red roses looking really embarrassed about the baby's breath. Stay home. If you're happily shacked up with your one and only, fabulous-every day is Valentines Day, write each other a beautiful love letter and make out. But if, for all the above reasons, you are dateless on Sunday, WHATEVER. Take a beautiful night for yourself, either solo or with a loving bestie. My recommendations for the perfect anti Valentines night in, going from left to right, below.

1) I'll Stand By You- The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, because these girls knew how to do romance 2) Cashmere legwarmers for off-duty baller-ina chic 3) Kneipp Pure Bliss Bath Salts for the most uplifting aromatherapy soak 4) This candle, to burn away any bad penis karma 5) Heavenly smelling Aesop Resolute body lotion for post bath moisturizing 5) When Harry Met Sally (plus anything and everything by Nora Ephron) This scene gets me every time 6) A sexy, comfy set, because one doesn't need to negate the other 7) A sage stick for smudging your home and readying it for new love 7) A nice bottle of Vino. You can't go wrong with Oyster Bay SV 8) Take out, obviously.




Words With Love: The Best Valentine's Day Cards

Love and Marriage, Books & WordsAlexandra king2 Comments

NYC-based publisher and general renaissance woman Sonel Breslav, runs her own publishing house, Blonde Art Books. For Valentine's Day this year, Sonel collaborated with fellow publisher Corina Reynolds and artist Cara Benedetto to produce a unique set of Valentine's Day Cards, part of an ongoing project titled "Words With Love". The cards are designed by a carefully selected group of women artists, writers and activists, sold in sets of six and printed in a limited edition of 100. They are, in turn, hilarious and romantic and moving. I have mixed feelings about Valentines Day, but I'm passionate about the power of a good love letter. And I LOVE these cards. So much, in fact, that I asked Sonel if she could tell me and you a little more about the project.

Cammi Clamico

Cammi Clamico


Alex: Tell me about Words With Love. How did the project begin?

Sonel: The project stemmed from a much larger conversation I've been having with Cara Benedetto and Corina Reynolds. The mission of Blonde Art Books has always been to celebrate independent publishing and I've only ever been involved in projects that are highly collaborative. Things that I have questions and curiosities about. I don't know the answers myself and so I reach out to learn through the process of publishing! Words With Love is meant to be read as 'words with' love. Like the expression 'to have a word with'. The cards are direct- urging the receiver to rethink, re-imagine and challenge notions of love and romance.

In large part the project came from my desire to collaborate with Cara. I met Cara through a book she had written called The Coming of Age, an erotic romance novel. Her interest in this genre was really interesting to me - she has a very particular voice, a strong feminist voice. I can only speak for my interpretation and to me the book is very much about coming to terms with the many disappointments that come along with romantic life. About finding ways to find romance within different relationships - with friends, partners, family, and with yourself. I identified with this position. The anger, humor, and sexiness (!!) of disappointment. So of course I wanted to collaborate with Cara. Words With Love came together very quickly but stems from a series of conversations that we'd had over the course of a year. We had a wishlist of artists, poets, activists, with whom we wanted to reach out to in what we saw an an on-going conversation. This was the starting point for inviting these women to contribute to Words With Love.

Cassandra Troyan

Cassandra Troyan

General Sisters

General Sisters

Alex: When I saw the cards, I immediately wanted to send them to all my girlfriends. Who do you see the cards as being for?

Sonel: I really love this idea. But I also feel like they're for yourself. They're really beautiful and also limited edition, so first and foremost they’re just lovely things to have. But I’ll say that they're definitely for people who think about love in an open and complex way. I hope that anyone who receives one of these cards will see it as something to be kept aside and thought about very specifically. I hope the cards inspire people to write letters and to think about their own vulnerability. They are really genuine and thoughtful- a starting point to a conversation or to a secret or to a relationship. I imagine them to say something that you haven't said before, to express a fantasy. Even just being involved in making the cards has been a unique and loving experience- I’m really moved by the gathering of these amazing women. A lot of the artists I didn't know very well before but I feel close to them now- through their words and artwork.

 

Lex Brown

Lex Brown

Lucy Ives

Lucy Ives

Alex: You asked the women who designed the cards to send the finished product to you in the mail. I love that. Sonel, is this you engineering a way to receive 30 separate love letters? Solid work.

Sonel: Ha! I felt that having the artists send the cards to me in the mail would keep with the idea of it being handmade and from the heart. That romantic gesture of putting something in the mail. What was really interesting was the care that people had wrapped them in. It was so amazing unwrapping them all.

Mira Schor

Mira Schor

Alex: Now that the project is completed, when you look at the cards, what do you feel in your heart?

Sonel: When I look at the cards I feel proud. I think of who they’ll be sent to- the women, the friends, the lovers, the colleagues, the co-conspirators. I hope they will also feel this sense of empowerment and joy. A romantic expressioncan be balloons, hearts and chocolate but it can be anything really. For me this is a project about love, whatever you define it as. 

Moyra Davey

Moyra Davey

Thank you so much to the wonderful Sonel Breslav for talking to me. And run don't walk to get your cards!

Set 1: Mira Dancy, Kayla Guthrie,  Jill Magid, Karin Schneider, Christine Wang, and Camilla Wills.
Pre-order here


Set 2: Moyra Davey, General Sisters, Suzanne Herrera, Amy Lam, Aura Rosenberg, and Cassandra Troyan.
Pre-order here


Set 3:  Lex Brown, Cammi Climaco, Sara Greenburger Rafferty, Lucy Ives, Mira Schor, and Danna Vajda.
Pre-order here