Monthly Archives: July 2013

Single Shot: Soundings at MoMA

Posted by The E on July 31, 2013

In a first for any major museum, MoMA dedicates their upcoming exhibit, “Soundings: A Contemporary Score,” entirely to sound. The show examines 16 of the world’s foremost most artists who currently make auditory-based work, whether using the visual arts, architecture, performance, computer programming, or music. Our favorite (pictured) is Stephen Vitiello’s “A Bell for Every Minute” (2010), which samples tones from bells throughout NYC in a piece installed in the MoMA courtyard.

“Soundings” opens August 10, 2013 and runs through November 3, 2013 at MoMA.

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Habitual Studio Playlist: Midsummer

Posted by The E on July 30, 2013

For this edition of Habitual’s current favorite tunes, we bring you everything from foot-stomping blues and frenetic French electro-swing to sweetly melancholy folk ballads—including a few newly discovered at the inimitable Newport Folk Festival last weekend. Enjoy! And see more music from earlier in the summer in our June Playlist.

At 29 years-old, the blues tradition continues with the wailing steel of Gary Clark Jr.’s guitar. After first witnessing the young man perform in Amanganset, NY to a small crowd (packed with the likes of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and other legends), we now see him bringing his brand of Americana cool to John Varvatos’ ad campaigns. We’re lately loving “Don’t Owe You a Thang,” a classic example of Clark Jr.’s fuzzed-out roots music, from his 2010 EP.

This video of duo Sea Stars performing their track “The Maker” live gives a hint at how they are even amazing live. To hear a recording of  the heart-rendingly beautiful song, head to their Bandcamp page.

“Blackbird,” the new release from New Zealand band Fat Freddy’s Drop is such a deftly-crafted blend of reggae, dub, electronic, blues, and African influences that we almost want to call it a concept album. Listening from start to finish feels satisfyingly like hearing a story being told. Here, from what would be the peak of the narrative, we chose an upbeat jazz-tinged song, “Bones.”

A quartet of electronic music composers sharing a taste for ’30s “jazz manouche,” Caravan Palace’s “Bambous” introduces high-energy pacing to French swing that sounds like a raucous party in a wagon.’

Zap Mama‘s incredible raw talent virtuosically combines an immense range of history and influences into an exquisite musical soup. As longtime fans of her music, we included “Seven,” which was also a soundtrack to one of our Super 8 college projects. (Let’s just say we prefer the music to the film!)

One of the most talked about sets at the Newport Folk Festival, Josh Tillman of Father John Misty interspersed his performance with cigarettes, moonshine, hip-cocking, and sardonic comments, like “I’m not a folk artist…I just got invited here because I’m white and I have a beard.” Closing it out with “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” the band turned the mellow song into a Nirvana-worthy act, ending it by Tillman mounting the drum kit and the bassist smashing his guitar. See the video on YouTube.

In an intimate show with Bonnie “Prince” Williams, Dawn McCarthy, and bandmates in a semi-circle around a single mic, Newport audiences also experienced beautiful Isley Brothers covers from their recent “What the Brothers Saw,” like the above “Omaha,” as well as gorgeously souful vocals from McCarthy’s other project Faun Fables.

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Quote of the Day: Spark the Brain

Posted by The E on July 29, 2013

“I’m not saying I’m going to change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will.” -Tupac

Quote via RichForever Instagram; image via Coudo Pinterest

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Obsessions: Naturewell, LA

Posted by The E on July 24, 2013

Known for bringing the best of what nature has to offer, Naturewell promises only top-notch organic products using the most quality ingredients available. The “wellness bar” emphasizes the health benefits of gorging on organic raw foods and how consuming them helps prevent sickness to build a happier, healthier you.

While that stance might invite debate as the juice craze rages on, we can’t argue with a delicious, sugar-free treat to help fuel shopping in the heart of Silverlake Junction. Like many other fans, we suggest the Coconut Kale Smoothie, made from coconut milk and flesh, kale, bananas, and agave. For spice-lovers, the Cardamom Smoothie makes a refreshing choice with its blend of almonds and cardamom seeds. Also try the Face Melter, consisting of fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, and oil from oregano served in a shot glass—a healthful way to wake-up your whole system.

In addition to smoothies, Naturewell has a selection of bulk and prepared raw foods, making it a one-stop shop for both those looking to seriously detox or if you just need a quick dose of health.

Image via Glori of Food

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Made in the USA: Alabama Chanin Halter Top

Posted by The E on July 23, 2013

We’ve long admired Alabama Chanin’s couture-like approach to making handcrafted products with new, organic and recycled materials. And like us, founder Natalie Chanin’s commitment to the “Made in the USA” label shows in everything she does, most recently with last February’s launch of Basics, a line of  clean, everyday garments to wear with everything.

A great choice from the new collection that’s perfect for summer heat, we’re coveting their lightweight Halter Top. The simple shirt is made from 100% organic cotton jersey and completely hand-stitched down to the adjustable halter that allows you to decide just how much skin to show. With a length that hits at the hip, we’d wear one with a cropped pair of Habitual Angelinas in a cigarette leg for a flirty but casual look on a night out.

You can get it for $145 in a wide range of colors and fabrics directly from Alabama Chanin. It should tide us over until their recently announced machine-made venture, A. Chanin, comes out—a first!

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Quote of the Day: An Essential Idea

Posted by The E on July 22, 2013

All the tools in the world are meaningless without an essential idea. – George Lois

From his book “Damn Good Advice.” Image of vintage Esquire covers (art-directed by Lois) via Hypebeast.

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Single Shot: Stacks

Posted by The T on July 19, 2013

Stylish and functional packaging perfect for an outdoor concert or poolside… cheers!

Learn more at the Drink Stacks site.

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Obsessions: A.B. Biagi, NYC

Posted by The E on July 18, 2013

Walking into A.B. Biagi is like you never left your mother’s kitchen—that is, if your mother’s Italian and you grew up in Brazil. Owner Antonio Barros Biagi, raised in the Brazilian countryside by Italian immigrants, uses his aunt Giuliana’s recipe to bring creamy, but light gelato, to downtown Manhattan. The answer to sweltering NYC summers, this twist on the original comes from an adaptation featuring fruits and naturally lower-fat milk to withstand the heat of Brazil.

New York by way of Brazil through and through, Biagi takes pride in using farm fresh milk from upstate New York and organic sugar from Brazil, expertly combining ingredients with skills picked up from training in France and Italy with top gelatieri. The international influence shows up in the range of gelato flavors, from traditional chocolate, vanilla, and Bronte pistachio to more adventurous choices, such as goat cheese with orange or biscotti and port wine.

At the Nolita shop you can see the gelato spun before customers’ eyes in a traditional vertical freezer, the Cavttabriga EFFE, the first of its kind in New York. Housed in a welcoming environment in multiple shades of yellow and white, meant to replicate Biagi’s life in São Paolo, A.B. Biagi is a must-visit place for delicious frozen confections or simply to grab a cup of the finest Brazilian coffee.

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Habitual Rituals: Five Questions for Alana Jones-Mann

Posted by The E on July 17, 2013

Whether rocking burgundy coated Habituals or a rainbow-hued floral dress from the ’70s, Alana Jones-Mann’s personal style is only rivaled by her consummate skills in making treats like a donut-shaped cake, or crafting ombré heart garlands. Not only does she have a killer aesthetic, but what she bakes tastes good too—we know firsthand thanks to the delicious cupcakes she’s provided us for our showroom. With that kind of Martha Stewart-dipped-in-Joan-Jett appeal, it isn’t any wonder that she recently quit her day job at an agency to do her own thing. We checked in with Alana to see what life without a 9-to-5 is like by asking her five questions.

New York or Los Angeles, and why?

New York has been my home for the past eight years and, as of right now, it’s my city of choice. Here I was able to find what I’m truly passionate about, and turn that passion into a profession. I’m not sure any other city could have provided me with the determination and motivation I needed to be able to do that.

Give us a sense of your personal style.

In one word, vintage. Since I was a kid, I have loved to scour thrift shops and flea markets for treasures. My entire home is a hodgepodge of antiques and vintage goods, and my closet is primarily vintage tops, dresses, and jackets I’ve collected over the years.

What do you consider your greatest talent?

Greatest talent? Definitely creating unique handcrafted goods. Whether I’m baking a cake, designing a piece for a wedding, or just thinking of a DIY for my blog, everything I make is completely customized and one-of-a-kind. I love creating truly unique and beautiful goods that directly speak to the individual or client I’ve created them for.

What’s your daily habit?

That’s a tough one—I have a few. I’d say the top two are Pinterest and sugar. I need a little fix of both at some point throughout each day!

What’s one thing in your closet you could never give up? And what’s your go-to piece in the closet right now?

I could never give up my vintage dresses…or my hats!  However, with this hot and humid New York weather, anything lightweight and comfortable is a go-to for me.

BONUS: What’s your favorite cake to bake and favorite to eat?

Favorite cake to bake (and eat) is a rich chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. Simple and delicious!

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Vanity Projects, NYC

Posted by The E on July 16, 2013

With all the time we spend pecking at devices and keyboards—along with the timeless appeal of in-real-life dramatic gestures—it’s no wonder that nail art officially transcended simple self-expression to become mini galleries at our fingertips. Restrained pinks and classic red still serve their well-groomed purpose, but the statement manicure has become a mainstay on fashionable digits from coast to coast. And no salon makes a more bold statement than Vanity Projects, a new nail-art-meets-video-gallery in NYC’s Lower East Side.

Curator Rita Pinto explains, “Artists are continually inspired by their environment and so, by default, the nail artists are inspired just by being here!” For those looking for more than magazines and texting while getting another ho-hum manicure, head to Vanity Projects and let Britney Tokyo (known for “modern art”) or “pop art” manicurist Jessica Washik bring their inspiration to life on your hands.

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