Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Couple Nuggets and an Adieu

Fair Nerophytes, the week has flown of a feather and as the Nero Trio prepares to board our flight to Cairo, I leave you with a pair of juicy morsels from this weekend's WSJ Magazine. You can thank me later, natch.


First on the roster, that chiseled chunk o' lust and owner of some serious acting chops otherwise known as Michael Fassbender, has a bit of a chat about his past, latest and upcoming film projects. Nero's conclusion you ask? Well, let's just say that when a German  an Irishwoman mate for life, the result is some meaty, mindful offspring. So sink your teeth into this golden gray matter.

Next up, Gary Friedman, the co-CEO and renegade visionary behind Restoration Hardware's recent reinvention weaves a (Belgian linen) yarn about how he took the company from almost broke to fixed and looking up, up, up by opting for the road less travelled and forgetting the client -- albeit only momentarily. To read about how Gary turned the tables and started representing through reproduction, grab your distressed leather jacket and head over here.

The view from Gary's California crib

A newly-opened flagship store unfurled in the heart of San Francisco

Lastly, dear readers, I must today away and so I leave you but only briefly. I hope to send a few not-far-between communiques of Cairo times your way and to hopefully regale you with a tale or two about transformation and what we Nero did with this...


And this

And now, without further ado, into the sun Nero goes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Of Nero Antebellum and the Fear Factor

Fairest Nerophytes, earlier last week, Nero made a false claim -- told a fib -- touted practicality as one of my virtues. But now it turns out that much like Odysseus -- fandi fictor -- Nero's been faking it. As I ready for a journey that is sure to be battle-ridden, Nero's feeling flummoxed, focused on things most frivolous. I wonder if the King of Ithaca at times felt thus and whether or not Nero will be able to pull off her own species of Trojan Horse trick -- namely, getting these bits and bobs to Cairo in one piece? Let's take a Grand Tour of the goods, shall we?

My, my, is that a Pfaucet by Pfister in your suitcase or are you just happy to see me? 
Why yes, as a matter of fact it is, because a girl's gotta have Pfriorities, after all.

And what of this? Seems rather cumbersome for sultry desert climes. 
I do hope you don't plan on engaging in tomb-raiding this time. 
Dear friends, when in Egypt, 'tis always best to be on one's toes, 
as playing the Pfoxy Cleopatra goes a long way, you know. 

And this?! 
Why it's the world's most wrinkled bathing suit for sure -- appears to be missing a strap, btw. 
Oh that old thing, well, as the adage goes, er, when marooned in the dunes, search for a watering hole stat. 

Did someone not mention sand and cobbled stone? 
Indeed, most true, but when navigating life's twists and turns, always do so with a light and agile step, says I -- how I do wish Achilles were here to explain.

I daresay, is that a parachute my dear? 
Well, technically it's a hybrid bit of ruching-cum-bustle, however, Nero never knows when she'll need to make a swift getaway from a Nile-side balcony. 

Positively dizzying my lady, but I can't quite make it out. You wouldn't happen to have a Rosetta Stone handy would you? I find I'm lost in translation, do interpret.
Hm, I see, well this is a bit of a Greco-Roman-Aztec-gone-Geisha frock Nero likes to don when feeling most cross-cultural. 
Enlightened, I'm sure.

But what of the convenient and comfortable cargos, modest and ankle-skimming and riddled with handy pockets? Where are the sensible shoes for scaling pyramids and scouring souks? The three-quarter-sleeved cotton shirts for staving off skeeter and sun? In short, what of the real world and its perils, milady? 

By and by, by and by, these things too will come. But first Nero, a bona fide creature of the Bronze Age, must prepare to bare arms -- to face the phalanx in style. 

In short, fair Nerophytes, the moral of the story goes thus: Beware of false Greeks bearing frivolous goods. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rue's Out Boos

Get jiggy with it

Mulling Monday the Numbing

Nero's having a hard time shaking this frame of mind and moving on with Monday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Of Drive-By Destinations and Wanting to Brake

Houston-based interior designer Lisa Rowe's stately but edgy home, set back on a large swath of verdant, tree-dotted lawn, has long been a favorite drive-by stakeout landmark which has often helped ease the dull ache of the monotonous carpool route. Long before Rowe's home was featured in our local PaperCity last summer, Nero had an inkling that someone with spunk had lovingly molded a fairly traditional facade into a dwelling with more than a smattering of cool southern panache. On a recent internet trawl, I noticed Lisa had fleshed out her website, so what better time than the present to revisit her comely digs as well as a few other spaces where she's worked her magic? Lisa also offers DIY design assistance through her latest endeavor Row x Rowe, an online service where clients can send in pictures and fill out a questionnaire, which Rowe then uses to dream up a freshly-designed room for a flat-fee. Ok, so here goes...take a long swig off that latte, slip on your sunglasses, slow to a crawl -- shhhh! -- and keep your heads down.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Of Gilding the Sandpit and a Plea for En-Lighten-ment

Fairest Nerophytes, dear ones, we're counting down about a week until time to lift off ground for sandier climes. Now, Nero's known for her follies, yes, her epic flights of fancy are the stuff of urban legend, but this gilded pickle takes it to another level entirely. You see, this little stash of golden goodies, this bountiful booty, is destined to travel from Casa Ali (aka Villa Nero) to our very own cave of Ali Baba ensconced in the dunes. Quandary is -- in short and without mincing words -- how the Hell to get it all there in one piece? The kitchen faucet has a box of its own and will likely be slipped into a checked-in suitcase, ditto with the two soapdishes, the assortment of napkins and the pair of pillowcases. The delicate plates, however, are vulnerable and will have to be painstakingly embalmed and planted in some sort of armored carry-on case. 

I assume this is the sort of treasure chest modern pirates go for these days?

The Berk's ikat bowl, inspired by some sort of Turkish fling by way of Marrakech in Manhattan, no doubt, is surprisingly sturdy. That thing arrived in a simple, unpadded box, nestled in a cardboard doughnut. The FedEx delivery bloke plunked it down with a resounding thud on our stoop and surprisingly, its body remained intact. That Nate really knows how to weather a storm.

But what of the lot of it, fair Nerophytes? Surely many of you fellow design lovers and beauty hunters have toted illicit goods across miles of land and sea for the sake of preserving or creating a memory? You see, Nero really is a practical gal. I would count the above contraband as the bare essentials for a life well-lived. Nero's merely making plans, you know, thinking ahead. So how to do, dear lady-loves and man-cubs? And what lengths would you all resort to to smuggle these bits and bobs where they need to be? 

Oh and I almost forgot, you see that pillow up there, the one in coin drag disguised as a belly dancer? Yes, that one. Well, I've got two of those. As well as the pair of twee (totally useful) tagines below. Because, well, I figured the larger one may come in handy for serving something small and piping hot, and the salt may look cute in the smaller one, or it may work wonders for corralling the cumin, right? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On the Benefits of Living with Offspring

Kids add a particular elastic dimension to a home and its decor.
Take for instance...
The increased frequency of artful paper installations

An enhanced tendency to include the silly in what would otherwise be 
banal, everyday, utilitarian objects

Zany self-portraiture that masquerades as creative, artistic expression

The casual coterie of rare, one-off masterpieces 
with neighboring artifacts of great cultural relevance and gravitas

The surreptitious proliferation of candy goods

And pint-sized but attentive and well-dressed men

Oh, and I'd be remiss not to mention the skater who patrols the powder room.

(And yet Nero begs the question, often wonders, is the carefree kiddo not perhaps taking the flack, bearing the blame and burden of his mother's own outlandish whims? for some serious grown-up thought.)


Urban flâneuse, armchair observer, absent-minded scribbler, occasional epicure and carpool line cultural attaché, my nom de plume is Nero. Join me as I catalog a compilation of earthly delights and stuff that I dig. Alcira Molina-Ali



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