Archive for the ‘Random thoughts’ Category

I haven’t been posting much since we have been experiencing this global failure in our economy. Basically I had a conniption (quite literally, I was yelling) about the whole mentality of my interest in fashion which I have decided to make my career. The exact thought process stemmed from the idea of superficiality, as the way we dress is the result of disgusting consumerism displayed as the outer lining of who we want people to see us as. Although my sole interest in fashion is not elitism, how does one produce great style without seeming narcissistic when fashion lives in an alternate universe filled with excessive primping of self image? Don’t get me wrong, I die when I see vintage Valentino, melt if I could wear Balmain, and dressing the part feels powerful but I would like to think its not my sole reason for purpose. With that said I am feeling this wave of ’70’s bohemian thing going on, excessive jewelry and flowery prints…

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Past the mundane everyday existence of each person’s life, is there a hidden layer that passionately seeks more? I think about myself more and more as the days get shorter and shorter and the air slowly smells like the spices of winter. Sometimes I unconsciously feel extreme in order to maintain my sense of creativity and longing for beauty. As I see life to be in layers of thought and appreciation of amazing talent in concoctions of words, theory of color, fabric manipulation, I want to push myself to learn more. I want to hear the story of a genius, I want to travel to a world where art proceeds structure, where life is lived beyond the boundaries, and sense is the only thing that moves the heart.

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After spending the weekend surrounded by the gorges and driving through the castskills, I realized how much I missed the skyline of the city. Tonight I was looking out the window at work after everyone had left and couldn’t stop enjoying the beauty of the art deco Chrysler Building and its luminous symmetrical lights. Here are some of the places I want to visit this winter sipping negronis and reading.

Shaken and Stirred

A Deep Sip for Deep Thinkers

Published: October 3, 2008

A Negroni demands your full, upright attention. It will not tolerate mindless swigging, the way all those sweet summertime drinks do, which is just one reason no one has ever ordered one at a swim-up bar at a resort pool. Each sip telegraphs a terse forget-me-not message to the tongue, a pinprick of bitterness demanding respect and contemplation.

There is cheer in it, but grown-up, melancholy cheer, which makes the Negroni an ideal drink for end times — the end of summer, for instance, or the end of American prosperity. The perfect drink when the sky is falling — or merely the leaves.Last week I visited I Sodi, a Tuscan restaurant tucked into a skinny minimalist space on Christopher Street in the West Village that Rita Sodi (a former Calvin Klein executive) and a partner, Josh Dworkis, opened in March.

Negronis are the specialty at I Sodi: there are four on the cocktail menu, three of them subtle variations on the classically fixed theme — that being equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, as in the restaurant’s Negroni Classico.

“In my old job, bartending at Union Square Cafe, I would always play around with Negronis,” said Hakan Westergren, I Sodi’s manager and chief Negroni officer. “There are so many kinds of vermouth, so many kinds of gin.”

Mr. Westergren understands that a proper Negroni is as perfectly and tripodically balanced as, say, a water molecule. Add another atom of oxygen to that H2O formula, and the result is hydrogen peroxide — hardly as refreshing. So it goes with the Negroni. To mess with it is to risk messing it up altogether. Caution signs should be posted behind the bar.

I Sodi’s Carousel Negroni veers the furthest from the traditional formula credited to Count Camillo Negroni, who allegedly invented the drink, in 1919, by asking a bartender to beef up an Americano cocktail by adding a shot of gin.

The Carousel Negroni is a jammy, ginless mixture of three Italian liqueurs and sweet vermouth — more bitter-orange, as in marmalade, than bitter.

Two variations hew closer to the purist line, one by substituting an artichoke-based liqueur, Cynar, for the Campari, which gives the drink a boskier flavor, the other by injecting a bit more perfuminess into the formula via Hendrick’s gin, a Scottish gin infused with rose petals and cucumber, and Punt e Mes, a dry, woodsy vermouth.

The latter, which Mr. Westergren calls the Punt-e-groni, is so gorgeously bitter that it almost stings the tongue. Drinking it is like being slapped by an ex-lover. It is such a deep ruby red that vampires would be drawn to it.

Is it possible that, simply by tweaking the spirits, adding a little more herbiness here and a touch less sweetness there, Mr. Westergren has actually improved upon the original formula?

It’s worth contemplating. Not that this drink will let you do otherwise.

Punt-e-groni Adapted from I Sodi

1 3/4 ounces Hendrick’s gin

1 1/4 ounces Carpano Punt e Mes vermouth

1 ounce Campari

1 orange slice, for garnish

Combine the ingredients with ice in a rocks glass and stir. Garnish with the orange slice and serve.

Yield: 1 serving


Manhattan: Idlewild Books

Published October 5, 2008

A guidebook will certainly tell you where to visit, stay and eat in another country, giving you tips on the hottest new restaurants and hotels. But what if you want to know what that place might have appeared like to, say, a 19th-century novelist visiting for the first time?

That’s where Idlewild Books, a three-month-old store just off Union Square, comes in. There, in a cozy mezzanine-level space, the classic travel texts of guidebooks, maps and phrasebooks are grouped with literary fiction, memoirs, romance novels, spy thrillers — books that, at first glance, might not be what the average traveler would think about packing in her suitcase.

But as you thumb your way through the shelves, a certain logic begins to emerge. In the India section, “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth shares shelf space with “A Passage to India” by E. M. Forster, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra.”

In the Colombia section, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez sits next to Piers Paul Read’s “Alive,” about the survivors of a plane crash in the Andes. The China section features Qiu Xiaolong’s “Death of a Red Heroine,” based in 1990s Shanghai.

“Every time I was preparing for a trip, I just didn’t understand why a travel book store wasn’t put together this way,” says the owner, David Del Vecchio, who was inspired to create Idlewild while working as a press officer for the United Nations. (The store is named for the previous incarnation of what is now Kennedy International Airport.) Throughout the store, contemporary works from around the world like Yan Lianke’s “Serve the People!” (a book currently banned in China about a love affair during the Cultural Revolution) are readily available in translation, or in some cases, their original languages.

Mr. Del Vecchio says that mysteries and thrillers are also good at conveying a sense of a city’s culture and street life. “They have a really strong sense of place,” he says. “The characters might not be as three-dimensional as they are in literary fiction, but you learn so much about the streets, the neighborhoods and the culture of a place.”

Idlewild Books , 12 West 19th Street, New York; (212) 414-8888; www.idlewildbooks.com.

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I just got home from watching, “The Duchess” and what a beautiful film, directed by Saul Dibb. In my mind, it was a fashionable capture of the 18th century aristocracy in Europe all adorned with fine ruffled silk frocks and sumptuously flamboyant hats. The screenplay was full of banter that was both witty and eloquent in revealing each of the characters’ nature.

The Duchess

The Duchess Georgiana played by Keira Knightly

The Duchess Georgiana in the beginning of the film was portrayed as such a crowd pleaser full of life and dreams. I kept seeing myself in her, as I too am full of passionate dreams and desires. Ultimately, the idealisms she carried inside of her faded away as life became about compromises. Sometimes I do wonder though if these thoughts only provoke creative nonsense which prevent us from useful, productive cognitions. When does a dream create your reality and when does it lead you into disappointment?

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I have never felt this lonely before, is what I thought as I left the theater and strolled home smelling the chilly night air. Past windows of restaurants filled with the facade of people talking about their perception of life and analyzing. The act of conversation includes such simple universal gestures that make one feel included into society. I pictured myself seated at one of the empty tables surrounded by the voices of stories that I would only overhear and not respond to. I could go an entire day without speaking to anyone, as the art of speech makes the human race distinct with intelligence. I had just finished watching a movie about the balance of love and independence and the emotions of the film were still felt weighing my heart. At times like these, I always hear the beautifully harsh minor chords of Chopin’s Nocturne op. 48 clanging in my head. I wanted access to the world, to fulfill and create a greater vision for myself, these things I could make choices about but I can’t make choices about who I can share it with.

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Every summer the Park family treks down to Hilton Head for a week of relaxation. For the past 2 years it was spent without me since I’ve been in New York trying hard to study, intern anywhere I could (being stuck in fashion closets, dressing models in 20 seconds flat for fashion week), and now working. I just read my sister Christina’s blog entitled, “From Start to Continuum” which made me feel like I was on vacation and left a smile on my face.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Family Time is Sweet

Of all the Park family vacations taken, I think this past one was the laziest. It was a wonderful time to enjoy the company of my dynamic family. There was plenty of food eating and beach walking, but all of it was done at a pace that left a lot of time for reflection. Reflection was only spurred on by a constant reminder to think and not just check out.

Things learned about family:

  • Playing board games with competitive spirits is bad for everyone involved
  • Walking up the stairs every time we leave our room only does so much to offset the massive amounts of food consumed.
  • Dad shares food, something not all dads are willing to do
  • 3 pints of ice cream, 2 boxes of frozen fruit bars, 1 box of drumstick ice cream bars, 1 box of frozen capri-sun is not enough frozen novelty sustenance for 5 Parks for 5 days
  • We love each other by grace

victory cheer

The princess and the pea needed 100 mattresses…
James Park uses 700

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“The mind does its perceiving in terms of intensity of existence, profundity of significance, relationships within a pattern.” ~Huxley

I admire the ability to translate ordain instances into perceptive interpretations. The ability to recreate a feeling into art or to capture an experience into words. We are constantly surrounded by all things spontaneous to remind us that life is filled with beautiful images. Without these reassurances the monotonous tones would drain us from individuality and expression. These are the things I find beauty in, to exist, to interpret, to see.

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