Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Of Swimming with the Fishes and Mat-Crobatics

As we barrel, nay, burn towards the end of this freshman month of the Annus Novos, Nero is reflecting on the fact that many of the past few days have been wiled away in this semi-prone position -- note the lunar landscape, then think beach ball. 

When not assuming a sort of upright, reverse cobra stance or a "C curve," Nero has been actively engaged in park-pounding, followed by not-so-passive down-dogging. In fact, if Nero had a prehensile tail, it would at this time likely be put to good use lifting free weights or juggling a medicine ball. 

Such is the evolution of resolutions. Mens sana in corpore sano, a strange pursuit if ever there was one. In the quest for wellbeing and longevity, we often overlook what an absurd waste it seems to die in perfect health. That said, Nero's pretty sure the time-worn frat house cry will never evolve into a mantra of "Let's do probiotic shots, y'all!" And so we soldier on. 

A couple more points have floated into Nero's frontal lobe while engaging in topsy-turvy mat-crobatics. First and thoroughly self-evident is that it is always easier to keep treading 'round the hamster wheel if there is a goal in sight, a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Most people seem to think said tunnel measures about 26.2 miles, aka a marathon. But Nero stops way short of that wild notion.

Secondly, and far more illuminating, is that a few candid fashion shots seem to garner more excitement in this realm of the blogosphere than a thousand arduously chosen words. This comes as a true relief, as searching for le mot juste is typically harder most mornings than heaving my resisting 5 ft. 3'' bones up and over a plyo box

On a decidedly lighter note, while swimming with the fishes may have a morbid ring to it, the Nero Trio will be doing just that in about ten days. A much-anticipated Cancunavention is underfoot and Nero is in a state of pop-fizz over it. Truth be told -- because this is a safe place of full disclosure -- this blogger's bag was packed and ready to roll two weeks ago, folks. Overzealous much, you ask? Perhaps. After all, a similar incident occurred the night before starting second grade and the rest of the year didn't bode so well.

But yes, this little four-day seascapade has put a bit of a swing in our stride. And yet, strange things have begun to happen -- things Nero's not entirely proud of. It would appear that a whiff of teen spirit has crept through the chinks in our all-grown-up armor. Neurotic neons, pulsating pinks and shapes which resist mathematical definition have wormed their way into the fray. Techno plumage, horizontal stripes and -- dare someone my age utter the profane? -- color-blocking, have decided to crash the beach party. 

No, fair Nerophytes, no civilized excursion to the British West Indies will this be. Thus far, there's nary a golf course nor a yacht as far as the half-naked eye can see. There has, however, been some mention of an adults-only pool area where Maxim girls man the bar. That's not really the Nero Trio's scene, but for everyone's safety, we may have to send our six-year-old to investigate. Nero fears this case of fluorescent, arrested development may end badly. So stay tuned for more South of the Border disorder. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Where the Wild Things Work

Creating an inviting and engaging professional space presents a particular Rubix cube for any designer. Coupling functionality and efficiency with style, often while navigating the red tape of building and city code, can make for a multi-faceted brain tease akin to a bad headache. 
Nero's been out of the official workforce for six years now, and as a result, I often find myself romanticizing during the gym-to-grocery-to-carpool commute the delight that strolling into a stunning office and straight over to the macchiato machine would bring as opposed to, say, Swiffering. And so as Nero daydreams -- nay, deludes herself -- this oddly inventive commercial space, designed by Rafael de Cardenas, instantly had me wanting to fly the proverbial kitchen-coop. 
The penthouse quarters, a species of haute hen house, is home to the art gallery branch of the Ford Modeling Agency in New York's Upper East Side. Nero was intrigued, mesmerized even, by the delicate study in juxtapositions -- the earthy bleached wood panels, the vaguely cautionary avian art, the icy velvets and sleek light fixtures, the antique mantel pieces, preserved intact and seamlessly incorporated, likely original to the building. Work is certainly a thing of beauty, fair Nerophytes, and this is just the sort of office that could tempt a gal to clock in for a little overtime.

Of Getting Chewed and Finding a Comfort Zone

Yesterday, Nero received one of the most side-splitting yet tragic text messages from a friend. It read something along the lines of: "Aaarrghghgh! The dog just ate my Lanvin flats!!!" And while Nero could certainly sympathize, and felt only pangs of compassion (never schadenfreude, mind you), it instantly occurred to me that "The Dog Just Ate My Lanvins!" would make for a superb title for a debut novel, soon to be followed by a rip-roariously chic television series. But I digress. 
Similarly, the Celerie Kemble-designed room below, much like a pair of lovingly chewed on Lanvin flats (in a ballet nude, btw, RIP), would still maintain an air of comfort and finery despite a little impromptu wear and tear. So go ahead, fair Nerophytes, today reach for that special place, that imperfect, cozy, lived-in comfort zone that only warms with time, with use, with a little nibble around the edges.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Of the Perfect Pad and a Living Room Ricochet

Images of designer Tabitha Simmons' NYC crib have begun to ricochet around the blogosphere like rubber bullets ever since a piece on her dwelling popped up over at VogueAnd so, try as I may to resist the ripple effect, rarely has there been a home oh-so-Nero. So for those of you dear readers who've been there and done that, do pardon the repeat offense. But for those who haven't and seek further enlightenment and visuals, Nero'll hone in on the essentials. Alternately, for those already moist-of-brow and short-of-breath, and interested in a complete reveal, well, simply hightail it over here.

Inlaid mirror and cloche-ed flora and fauna -- check

Footwear frenzy in the master bath -- check

Iron-clad window walls -- light, light, light -- check

Oh, did Nero mention the animalia?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Of Concession Confessions and Wanton Wontons

The Year of the Dragon has a sleek and seductive ring to it. 
It conjures up steamy imagery, and not solely of the wonton variety. 
It packs some serious Kung-Pao punch.

Nero dreams of someday visiting China,
And of wandering through Shanghai's French Concession, 
Where so many historical homes have been restored
To dramatic effect.

The marriage of East and West,
Ever an ongoing, ephemerally beautiful, 
Subtly complex, 
Delicate balance. 

They say the Year of the Dragon is a lucky one, fair Nerophytes,
So don't forget to see red, breathe fire
And blow off a little smoke now and then. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

To Dimanche and a Derriere

Lo and behold it's Sunday, fair Nerophytes. 
So let bygones be bygones, and let what is behind stay behind.
And choose to look instead, ahead.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Of Mars Stones and a Rockstud

Skimming the Wall Street Journal this morning -- this is what mothers of wee ones do, we skim things, as we have little time to really delve -- Nero spotted a piece confirming that some rocks found in Morocco were indeed the fallout from a meteorite shower from Mars. 

In a similarly singular and monumental event, Nero, whilst absent-mindedly poking around a neighboring Nordstrom Rack outlet, came across an object no less otherwordly, rare, mysterious and vaguely threatening -- a Valentino Rockstud Dome bag stamped in a big cat print, with a -- wait for it fair Nerophytes, two-thousand dollar price cut. So the gold-spiked detachable shoulder strap had gone astray somewhere in the cosmos and was MIA...So What. This earthbound, thoroughly mortal carpool mom wasn't about to pass up on this interplanetary orbital offering.

And so the moral of the story is this, dear readers, next time you find yourselves wandering in a field, or shuffling around a sandy desert, or hiking through a secluded wood, look around, watch for clues and listen -- leave no stone unturned. For sometimes, just sometimes, strange and wondrous things fall from the sky.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Of Seas at Night and Thieves and White

Somehow mid-week has snuck up on Nero like a thief in the night. 
And as it can't be helped, I plan to drop my purse without a fight 
and instead close my eyes and conjure up an islandscape of white. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

To Friday and a Curiosity Cabinet

It's Friday, fair Nerophytes. 
May your weekends be filled with Savage Beauty.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Of Pissing in Paris and other Pipe Dreams

The first time Nero visited Paris was in the second grade, at the tender age of seven. It was April, fittingly, and on an eccentric whim, our father, known for grand, architectural, outlandish gestures, decided that we'd take the Concorde through New York, on the going leg. Because after all, these wondrous things, these marvels of modern science, had to be tried in one's lifetime, he believed. And so we embarked from Manhattan in a silver bullet with portholes the size of silver dollars. We were champagne-ed and tray-dined by comely French flight attendants in perfectly-applied leepsteek, showered with trinkets and memorabilia -- things like fancy writing tools and custom glass paperweights -- the fodder of 1980s businessmen's high-flying fantasies. 
When we arrived in the Ville-Lumière, we wound up in a dreary and generic hotel due to a reservations snafu. The dingy bedroom was equipped with orange and avocado-coverleted cots and the facilities were cramped and vaguely menacing, resembling something one would encounter on a Soviet space craft. Ever the optimist -- and often annoyingly so -- Dad began to hum "April in Paris," replacing the lyrics with things like "miserable showers" and other such jabs at the sub-par pissoir setup. 
Determined not to let a bad crash-pad situation rain on our Parisian parade, we decamped without even opening our suitcases to a charming petit hotel that we were told had once been the home of Napoleon's private doctor. After a bit of googling, Nero believes that this must be the place, long since revamped to reel in a haute hipster crowd. Along with visiting the museums, schlepping to the top of the Eiffel, and taking a life-altering day trip to Vaux le Vicomte, we did zany things like roller skate through the streets (oh the glares elicited -- damned Americans!) We also somehow ended up breakfasting on soft boiled eggs early one morning in a nightclub that wasn't due to open 'til long after dark -- don't ask, Nero has no idea how exactly this went down. 
At any rate that first trip to Paris sealed the deal, the love die were cast and Nero was besotted with this grande dame, this gracious courtesan in billowing skirts stretched out along the Seine and twinkling jewels which never seemed to lose their luster, even after a long night of carousing and gourmandise. 
Nero hasn't been back to Paris in a decade now, a fact that I find hard to believe, though it is firmly rooted in reality. Somehow, no matter how dynamic a place, Nero basically thinks of Paris' core as unchanging, wavering very little despite the passage of time from its premise as the most perfect place on the planet. And that is a fact and not just because the French say so, you hear?
Fortunately, one thing that has greatly grown is the availability of top-notch hotels and vacation rentals to help guarantee a splendid time when one does finally book that long-overdue flight. Some things are gone forever -- the Concorde is now but a mercury memory, and these days, nary a head would turn were Nero to rollerskate 'round the Place de la Concorde. But luckily, and the apartment below is a monumental testament to this very fact, the bathroom situation in the city seems to have greatly improved. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Of Cover Story Coterie

When did the covers of books become almost as beautiful their contents? Most latter-day tomes may not be leather-bound, hand-illustrated or brightly illuminated in gold tones, and yet somehow, 'round Villa Nero way, books once read nearly always seem to become a permanent and inextricable addition to our landscape. So here's to cover art and all that lies between the fold and the paper cut.


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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