The Blog

· April 24th, 2014

TO BUY · 11/22/2013

Introducing our collaboration with Beck

When we heard Beck was releasing an album in sheet-music form, we were all eyes. The tracks (if that’s the right word) from his Song Reader has never been officially recorded—instead, they’re for all the world to interpret. It’s exactly the kind of tradition-skewing artistry that we love.

When we heard Beck was releasing an album in sheet-music form, we were all eyes. The tracks (if that’s the right word) from his Song Reader has never been officially recorded—instead, they’re for all the world to interpret. It’s exactly the kind of tradition-skewing artistry that we love.

As for the frames? We’ve teamed up with Beck on a limited-edition pair of frames that are equal parts eclectic and charming. And we’re not stopping with glasses. We’ll also be bringing this partnership to life in the liveliest way possible: a concert.

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Carmichael in Root Beer

This Sunday we’re hosting an evening at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Allison and Tiffany Anders, Jack Black, Jon Brion, Merry Clayton, Jarvis Cocker, Childish Gambino, Jonathan Gold, Juanes, Josh Kun, Jenny Lewis, Roger Manning, Jr., Fred Martin & the Levite Camp, Tig Notaro, Van Dyke Parks, Randall Poster, John C. Reilly with Becky Stark and Tom Brosseau, and Moses Sumney join Beck onstage for an evening of storytelling and their musical translations of his Song Reader arrangements. (What a lineup.)

The Song Reader’s inclusivity and originality is what got us involved, and you can participate too. Take Beck’s compositions and make them your own at SongReader.net.

Stick around for more Beck. We’ll share more good stuff soon.

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Carmichael sunglasses in Crystal

Shop the collaboration online here and in stores starting Saturday, the 23rd.

 

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TO MEET · 11/21/2013

To Meet: Nina O’Neil

Meet Nina O’Neil, a fashionable D.C.-based designer who wears many hats, both literally and figuratively. By day, she works at the National Gallery of Art as a Curatorial Assistant. Her free time is reserved for hat and accessory-making as Ciao Nina. The results are bold and colorful, with a vintage twist.

Meet Nina O’Neil, a fashionable D.C.-based designer who wears many hats, both literally and figuratively. By day, she works at the National Gallery of Art as a Curatorial Assistant. Her free time is reserved for hat and accessory-making as Ciao Nina. The results are bold and colorful, with a vintage twist.

We caught up with her at Union Market to chat about her designs and the city’s best vintage shopping spots.

What do you do at the National Gallery of Art?

It varies a lot from day to day, which I love. The NGA has a world-class collection of French pictures that are on display in the museum and travel the globe. I manage the department, project manage exhibitions, and handle the general comings and goings of our art and curators.

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How do you balance your job there with hat-making?

Working in the arts is a wonderful thing. Since I am in a museum environment, everyone seems to encourage creativity and they get a kick out of me wearing hats at work. The inspiring workplace is a constant source of support and thoughtful feedback makes the balance possible. Also, I have an extremely supportive husband who believes in my talent and doesn’t mind cereal for dinner (so he says).

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Where do you source your vintage hats, fabrics and other design elements?

Anywhere. Nothing is too strange to consider. I will incorporate anything into a hat if I feel the scale of the fabric pattern or composition of the item is worthy. I’ve used vintage model train trees, and giant shoulder-padded 80’s brocade jackets. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than giving new life to an item that has fallen out of favor as is.

If we’re spending a day hunting for vintage wares in D.C., where should we go?

Mercedes Bien in Adams Morgan, Treasury Vintage and Goodwood are all exceptional brick and mortar options for vintage goods. The stellar Foundry Vintage will be opening their new store on H Street in mid-December. I’m excited and already budgeting for them to be in my neighborhood!

On Saturdays, you have to visit the District Flea. You can find vintage glasses frames from the 50’s and 60’s (and an instant costume change) and plenty of great vintage clothing and furniture to sift through.

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Your ultimate hat inspiration?

I am constantly inspired by photos of both of my grandmothers when they were in their twenties. My mom’s mother in England in the early 1950’s and my dad’s mother in the mid-1920’s in Italy. Fashion styles changed, but the incorporation of a hat could make anything look instantly chic and polished. Yestadt Millinery is always doing inspiring work.

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Nina is wearing the Ripley in Whiskey Tortoise

Photos by Collin Hughes

 

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TO READ · 11/20/2013

Further Reading: Winter Collection

Doctor your tea and blast the heat—it’s time to curl up with a warm pair of socks, a well-positioned lamp, and this little reading list. You’ll never have to leave your blanket fort.

Doctor your tea and blast the heat—it’s time to curl up with a warm pair of socks, a well-positioned lamp, and this little reading list. You’ll never have to leave your blanket fort.

Where Mail With Illegible Addresses Goes to Be Read
Ron Nixon • The New York Times • May 2013
“The best letters, Ms. Jenkins said, are those addressed to Santa Claus. They come in without an address and are sent to a processing center in Alaska, where volunteers answer them.”

My Misspent Youth
Meghan Daum • The New Yorker • Oct 1999
On a young adulthood spent in pre-war apartments and solving Manhattan-accumulated debt that ensued.

The Frozen Ladder
Julia Grønnevet • n+1 • Nov 2010
A Norwegian travels to Alaska mid-winter to try her hand at fishing.

Pixies, Sheilas, Dirtbags and Cougar Bait: Modern Slang
Caleb Crain • The Nation • Dec 2008
Stone the Crows, the second edition of Oxford University Press’s dictionary of modern slang, is eccentric and risqué, like a well-read, intermittently potty-mouthed uncle.”

On Gruck
Sadie Stein • The Paris Review • Apr 2012
One writer’s aversion to everything troll-like— the simultaneously funny, grotesque, and cute.

The Comfort Zone
Jonathan Franzen • The New Yorker • Nov 2004
“Like most of the nation’s ten-year-olds, I had an intense, private relationship with Snoopy, the cartoon beagle.”

Pictured: Chamberlain in Whiskey Tortoise

Shop the entire Winter Collection here.

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TO SEE · 11/20/2013

Daily Treasure

(Three things we’re enjoying while we work.)

(Three things we’re enjoying while we work.)

1.  1953 World Sidecar Champion Stan Dibben shares tales from the track in this New York Times Op-Doc, directed by Cabell Hopkins.

2. Andersen M Studio and Colenso BBDO bring Maurice Gee’s novel Going West to life in this spellbinding short created for the New Zealand Book Council.

3.  Photographer Thomas Prior captures the explosive madness of Tultepec, Mexico’s annual firework festival.

TO BUY · 11/19/2013

You’ve Been Gif’d

Tis the shopping season, and aren’t you in luck: you barely have to do a thing!

(Hurray.)

Warby Parker gift cards are here, and we’ve got a couple of options on the table.

Tis the shopping season, and aren’t you in luck: you barely have to do a thing!

(Hurray.)

Warby Parker gift cards are here, and we’ve got a couple of options on the table.

If you’d like to buy a physical gift card for your loved one, we’ll send them a bonus Make-a-Snowman kit containing all the ingredients for building a frozen friend. Also, who doesn’t love unwrapping a gift? (If your friend lives in a non-snowy climate, don’t worry: we’ve provided snow-free alternative activities.)

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You can also choose to send an e-gift card. Just pick a date, and we’ll email your recipient that day. It’s the Best Email Ever.

Both gift card options are available in $95, $150, or $195.

Well, now that your gift-giving is taken care of, here’s what you can do with all that extra time:

-Perfect your triple toe loop.

-Train for the upcoming Feats of Strength. May you not be the head of your household.

-Catch up on a nice, dense book or go semi-Jack Torrance.

-Make a gingerbread house in the spirit of Gaudí’s Catalan Modernism.  (No pressure to finish.)

 

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TO READ · 11/19/2013

To Read: Dissident Gardens

Any parental drama we encountered in our teenage years is nothing compared to the dueling mother-daughter relationship at the center of Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, Dissident Gardens.

Any parental drama we encountered in our teenage years is nothing compared to the dueling mother-daughter relationship at the center of Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, Dissident Gardens. Miriam is a rebellious teen growing up in Queens; her mother, Rose, is a forceful Communist given to shoving her daughter’s head into the oven to make a point.

Yikes.

The relationship sounds exhausting, and Lethem’s parade of characters—annoying cousin Lenny, Miriam’s searching son Sergius—are also, um, “big personalities”.

Yet each is animated so expertly and thoroughly that the cumulative effect is a propulsive energy that propels the plot forward.

The various chips on this family’s progressively sloping shoulders (the book spans three generations) may not necessarily endear them to readers, but so what? It’s a spectacle, and one that works well on the page.

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem, published by Doubleday

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TO READ · 11/18/2013

Superlatives: The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton

Superlatives is where we talk about what we’re currently enjoying, high-school style. This week, we’ve selected our favorite passages from The Luminaries, a new novel by Eleanor Catton.

Superlatives is where we talk about what we’re currently enjoying, high-school style. This week, we’ve selected our favorite passages from The Luminaries, a new novel by Eleanor Catton.

Best Reason to Practice Your Handwriting 
“Each item of business was described in the expansive, flourishing script that Balfour associated, in his mind, with a man who could afford to waste his ink on curlicues.”

Best Description of Worst Person Ever
“He was a private hedonist, perennially wrapped in the cocoon of his own senses, mindful, always, of the things he already possessed, and the things he had yet to gain; his subjectivity was comprehensive, and complete.”

Most Tragic Depiction of Solitude
“Even friendship would have seemed to Pritchard a feast behind a pane of glass; even the smallest charity would have wet his lip, and left him wanting.”

Best Faking of Nonchalance
“Lydia Wells always seemed to arrange herself in postures of luxury, so that she might be startled out of them, laughing, when someone approached.”

Most Discomfiting Example of Memory Loss
“He could not remember boarding a ship, and nor could he remember a shipwreck—though he seemed to recall being washed up on the beach, coughing seawater, both arms wrapped around a cask of salt beef.”

 

The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, is available now from Little Brown and Company.

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