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3/31/15

25. behind the style: chloe bouscaren




what makes a piece of clothing a favorite piece of clothing? what are the stories that we share with these articles that elevate them from closet staple to treasured possession? each of us has one item in our wardrobe that we reach for again and again - maybe it gives us that extra boost of confidence and security, or it reminds us of a special time or person. these are our future heirlooms.

this series will tell these stories and show the many ways our favorite pieces continue to be reinvented to suit our evolving style. for this first post, we've enlisted the help of the always fashionable chloe bouscaren and her favorite sweater. this is chloe's story behind the style:


"the town of tilcara is tucked away in the northwest corner of the province of jujuy, argentina surrounded by peaks and valleys, cactus and dry climate vegetation. it was in this town at the flea market that i found my alpaca sweater. much like many cities that host artisan fairs on the weekends in their town squares, tilcara hosts a similar event, although theirs, to my surprise and delight, included a game of bingo in which the winner takes home live sheep. mining for treasures and trinkets to take home, i came across what has come to be my favorite sweater and prized possession. while i did not partake in the game of bingo, i did consider myself a winner coming home with my very own sheep rendition. close to the bolivian and paraguayan borders, i was told that it was likely my sweater was knotted by hand in bolivia, although it will forever be my argentine alpaca sweater. alpaca is more or less a south american llama (see photo) - needless to say, very cute, lots of swagger.



while my alpaca sweater is mostly worn in the winter and fall seasons, i have also taken it on numerous camping and overnight excursions. warmer than what seems like any jacket or blanket i own, it has proven to be a comfort to me since i left argentina six years ago. having lived in buenos aires after graduating college, i grew up a lot and learned a lot about myself in the process. perhaps the sweater is a reminder of this growth and the adventures i had in my twenties. it is this little slice of nostalgia in my closet that makes me smile. and admittedly, i have only washed it once..."


-chloe louise bouscaren






3/27/15

24. weekend to-do's


li:

  1. pop in to forge baking company in somerville. they are collaborating with boston general store to host a weekend pop-up shop. i'm looking forward to finding a few special gifts while picking up some tasty treats for myself-i love multitasking!
  2. download tinashe's excellent new mixtape amethyst. this collection follows her debut studio album aquarius, building on the shimmering vocals and flawless production that we have come to expect from her. it's the perfect soundtrack for some weekend downtime.
  3. plan a movie date to see kumiko the treasure hunter. there is so much to be excited about with this film: it has striking imagery, stars rinko kikuchi and boasts an original score by the octopus project.
  4. support local indie fashion. emily vs. bear, a cambridge-based women's wear company, recently launched an indiegogo campaign to expand production of their stylishly sustainable collection. i am always thrilled to find opportunities to be a more conscious consumer - and i can totally see the wool pullover being a year-round staple.

liz:

  1. visit the big apple. i haven't been to new york city in quite some time and am looking forward to spending some quality time photographing my good friend and yoga instructor, kristen woods.
  2. get my om on. take a yoga class with one of my favorite teachers (mentioned above). kristen is now teaching at yoga union in nyc where they focus on backcare, posture awareness & the overall spinal health of their yogis. looking forward to checking out their impressive studio and all the new information she has learned since starting at yoga union.
  3. get in the mood. since i will be spending time in the area, i plan on popping into mood designer fabrics to peruse the aisles for new materials to make a few spring skirts and shirts. in all my trips to new york, i have yet to make it to mood!
  4. treat yo self. in complete opposition to my yoga weekend, i'm planning on walking over to the doughnuttery in in chelsea market for a delicious treat. their list of innovative doughnut flavors is long and i have to admit, i'm intrigued by the beer caramel dipping sauce. mmmmmm.

3/26/15

23. profile: elio deluca + the soul shop


elio deluca is an accomplished musician, arranger and engineer. he's played and toured with such artists as titus andronicus, faces on film, blinders and keys to the streets of fear. along with streets of fear's patrick grenham, he fronts the r&b band the new lights and is currently working on his first solo album (using the moniker, the pisces). in 2007, he and grenham built the soul shop, an all-analog recording studio in medford, ma. working in the traditional style of classic tape studios, elio has recently engineered and produced albums from wilder maker, eternals, bent shapes, and dan webb & the spiders.

we visited elio at the soul shop to discuss the beauty of working in analog and to experience it first-hand as he recorded an intimate, in-studio performance by musician peter matthew bauer. here are some of the highlights from our conversation with this talented multi-tasker:

what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration?
it's inspiring to be surrounded by great musicians and songwriters on a regular basis. every engineer has horror stories but i've had many more positive experiences of connecting with a client's aesthetic, and being able to help them realize it on a recording. that's really the nature of the job. it's not always fluid or easy to accomplish. also working with people like marc valois of blinders or stephen konrads of eternals makes me constantly strive to improve my writing and expand my arranging abilities.


what kinds of sounds or feelings do you pursue in your work?
it's nearly impossible for me to have an honest perspective on my own writing, so instead... as an engineer and producer, i try to be extremely attuned to both the needs of the client and to the material itself. i'm always trying to push the listener's perspective. oftentimes that's the first thing that gets lost when you're responsible for the creative side, as an author, performer, or engineer. you need to consider the inner logic of the music itself, sometimes it will reveal things to you that no amount of forced, purposeful action will accomplish.

what research do you do (if any) before starting work with a new artist?
i am very much interested in pre-production before working on a record: becoming familiar with the songs, the arrangements, the artist's background, and goals for the task at hand. finding common ground through other music, building trust, establishing a dialog and a working vocabulary. as an artist making a record, it's not easy to immediately convey to someone else what, up to that point, has only existed for you in the abstract - much less to bring someone in on your creative process. especially when the most crucial step in that process is committing your work to tape. suddenly, someone else is involved to the point where they can have drastic influence over the sound and feel of the record, and it's important for the artist to be able to trust me in that role. as an engineer, i try to become part of their working methodology, almost as a piece of equipment, like the tape machine. a facilitator. as a producer, i try to only involve myself enough to make the most of the studio experience and enhance their process, not derail it.

what drew you to recording and engineering? what made you decide to record in analog?
i've always recorded my own music, even just on cassette 4-track, back when i didn't know what i was doing. that snowballed into recording bands i was in, putting together basement shows, piecing together pa systems out of duct tape and coat hangers, you know, diy out of necessity. the earliest experiences i had with digital recording were frustrating and unfulfilling. i could never work fast enough for what i was trying to do, and the interface of scrolling through menus and trying to parse how each different unit handled terminology and workflow was annoying, when i would rather spend that time with the music. also, this was compounded with the horrendous state of digital recording in the late 90's: brittle sounds and slow processing. analog, rather, was immediate, tactile, and gave excellent visual and physical feedback when you succeeded or screwed up. this to an impatient kid was perfect. obviously, i've refined that aesthetic over years and years of working with live sound, working on radio, eventually moving toward legitimate studio recording, and myself and patrick building the shop, but the physicality and powerful workflow of analog has always captured my attention. i like the fact that the gear has personality - a certain compressor from 1976 may have the same control layout as one built last year, but one has a "grab" the other doesn't, or a sonic signature that makes it immediately apparent which one is right or wrong for the task at hand. that's extremely appealing to me, still. the equipment has character, just like the people involved. digital recording, still, spends a hilariously pathetic amount of time trying to ape character, trying to model the quirks and unique attributes of analog gear. good luck with that!


how has your work changed over time?
i've certainly learned from circumstances. for example, everyone has budgetary constraints, so i've always had to work fast. initially, that was stressful, but then it became part of my regular approach, and now i'd say it's an asset. i had a band in the shop recently working on their second album. for their first record, at a different studio, they had spent eight months of on-and-off work recording it, much of that time spent chasing their tail, trying to make decisions, revisiting things they'd already done. this time around, they were confident in what they wanted - they were well-rehearsed, we spoke several times about goals and pre-production decisions before starting, and we ended up cutting the entire album in five solid days. that's not unusual. that's how i prefer to work. we're mixing now, and that takes time, and revisions, but the band has been articulate and communicative about what they want, what they like and don't like, and what the goal of revisions are before we do them. for me, once any project is complete, it's hugely important that the artist feel they were well represented and that the music was portrayed accurately. everyone has made a record that they regret, that they can't listen to afterwards, but i don't want to allow that to happen to anyone who's trusted me to work with them.

what is your dream project?
there are lots of people i would love to work with (yo, justin timberlake, call me, dude), but lately i've been really dying to get to collaborate with katie von schleicher again. she and i have done several records together, and her recent songwriting has been some of her best material yet. the demo recordings are mind-blowing and her voice has never sounded better. i really want to see firsthand what happens with those songs.


what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
one of my favorite musicians of all time is jazz pianist lennie tristano. he was a pioneering recording artist and educator. i'm paraphrasing, but he has a great line about technique (and he himself was a devastating technician at the piano): "the goal of acquiring technique is to try to gain enough skill to be able to express feeling without getting caught up in the technique itself." in other words, learn as much as you can, practice as hard as possible, refine your craft endlessly, but in the moment of execution, let all of that go and just do what you do, be expressive and intuitive. that's what i'm constantly pursuing.


what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give?
trust your instincts. this harkens back to the above tristano quote, of course. your instincts aren't cosmic attributes you were born with. they're honed and sharpened and informed by all of your experiences. let that work on your behalf by staying in the moment and not holding on too hard to absolutes. this also relates, in writing, arranging, or recording, to paying attention to what the music is trying to tell you. always make sure to be listening.



if you are interested in collaborating with elio and would like to learn more about his music or the soul shop, he can be contacted through his website.




3/24/15

22. travelogue: south beach miami


i was fortunate to have traveled to south beach miami a few weeks back for a weekend get away. it was during the height of winter's wrath here in boston and it felt like medicine to wear flip flops and shorts-even if it rained most of the trip. one of my dearest friends got married at the palms hotel and it could not have been more perfect. their service was impeccable and the grounds were beautiful. while it was a short trip, i managed to get in a few restaurants and other local shops that made my trip really memorable. for anyone who is thinking of taking a trip to south beach, here are a few of the places to check out.

modern and rustic coffeehouse with talented baristas making artful cappuccinos and delicious croissant breakfast sandwiches

well-crafted cocktails, delicious kale salmon salad, and beautiful decor including metallic hand-drawn wall murals

beautiful pool-side brunch with lush greenery and direct access to the turquoise water of south beach

edgy and stylish clothing store with great accessory pieces. while it can be pricey, there are options that won't break the bank







3/20/15

21. weekend to-do's



li:

  1. open my heart. yoga instructor jenn falk and herbalist steph zabel are joining forces to lead saturday's heart openers: poses & plants workshop at third life studio in union square. this 2-hour workshop will combine jenn's yin-hatha yoga practice with a lesson in steph's favorite herbs for heart health.
  2. get a spring preview. the margaret c. ferguson greenhouses at the wellesley college botanic garden offer a vast and diverse collection of plant life with origins ranging from the deserts of africa to the rainforests of brazil. it's free and open to the public year-round.
  3. bake up something savory. babycakes founder, erin mckenna has just released her third cookbook bread & butter. true to it's title, this one is full of vegan and gluten free versions of rolls, croissants, pizza dough and much more. there is even a recipe for homemade vegan butter!
  4. stock up on natural beauty essentials at follian. their gorgeous south end location is stocked with all of my favorite healthy cosmetics, including must-haves from rms, vapour and herbivore botanicals.

liz:

  1. take a mini weekend trip. get a hotel room, sit by the fire and enjoy the company of my favorite guy. to make things even more cozy, this blanket from sackcloth & ashes is the perfect thing to throw in my weekend bag. not only is it a beautiful piece, there's a beautiful mission behind it. for every blanket purchased, the company provides a blanket to a local homeless shelter in need.
  2. vintage roaming. can't wait to check out the furnishings, art, clothing & jewelry at crompton collective. i'm in the market for some artwork for my bedroom and always love a good vintage clothing find!
  3. spring into spring. the worcester art museum is celebrating the arrival of the spring season with a cherry blossom festival featuring japanese themed music, performances, and art-making sessions. in addition to the festival, their current exhibits include an intricate screen from the edo period (1615-1868) and the prints + paintings of 19th century artist tsukioka yoshitoshi.

mini ohkubo shears by korin
bud vase by clementine porcelain


3/17/15

20. the french 5: basics



spring is such a perfect time to reevaluate your closet and make room for new items that suit the changing weather. this process can be made far more daunting when your drawers and hangers are packed with items you no longer wear. the french 5 piece wardrobe is a way of carefully curating what you own, focusing on quality over quantity. don't worry, this does not mean that you only have 5 items in your closet. inspired by the french method of starting with a foundation of well-made basics, you'll slowly build upon it with 5 carefully chosen pieces, every 6 months. here are our tips for editing out what you don't need and assembling a wardrobe of pieces you truly love:


start with a clean slate
go through every item in your closet and honestly assess whether it deserves a place in your wardrobe. things to keep in mind: condition of the garment, whether it fits properly and adaptability for multiple outfits. all discarded pieces should go into one of two categories:

throw out 
items that are damaged in a way that renders them no longer wearable

pass on 
pieces that you no longer have use for, but can be given to someone who will. we suggest hosting a clothing swap with a group of friends-most people will leave with at least one thing they love and you can donate whatever is left over.



invest in the basics



now that you have a closet filled with your favorite essentials, it's time to stock up on the building blocks. the great thing about keeping a minimal wardrobe is that it allows you to focus on buying versatile, high-quality items that will last you a long time. instead of a drawer filled with inexpensive t-shirts that you know will only last you for one season, invest in a handful of well made t's. they will look and feel better and, if cared for properly, will last for years. here are our favorite sites for finding beautiful basics:

everlane
zady
cuyana
brass




shop seasonally
for all non-basic items (including shoes and accessories) this is where the 5 comes in. the fashion industry has two seasons: spring/summer and fall/winter. for each of these two seasons, thoughtfully select five amazing pieces to supplement your wardrobe. focus on quality and versatility, how will the new items interact with the pieces you already own? how long will they last? look at each of these purchases as an investment. 

we'll be posting our 5 picks each season, so stay tuned!







3/13/15

19. weekend to-do's


photo: avi weinstein

li:

  1. head over to atwood's tavern to cheer on my girl liz as she performs with her band parks on saturday night. the band is gearing up to release their debut album and this show will be a great opportunity to preview the new songs (word is there will also be a few interesting covers added to the mix).
  2. set aside some time to read vol. 8 of cereal from cover to cover. this is by far the most beautiful travel magazine that i've come across. among the places highlighted in this issue are hong kong, tuscany and the yukon.
  3. continue my daily repeat-listens of seth avett & jessica lea mayfield sing elliot smith. i've always loved their live cover of twilight, and these further interpretations from smith's vast and brilliant songbook do not disappoint.
  4. visit the mfa for two very different but equally intriguing exhibitions. lee mingwei's sonic blossom is the first extended exhibition of performance art in the history of the museum. in this installation, lee will audition and train local soloists for spontaneous performances. and starting saturday, the museum will be displaying the iconic work of herb ritts, whose photographs are among some of the most striking images from the 80's and 90's.

liz:

  1. play a rare and intimate concert at atwood's tavern with my band parks. looking forward to sharing the stage with ruby rose fox. and, the rumors are true...we have a few covers sprinkled in and a bunch of new tunes to play!
  2. get familiar with npr's playlist of the top 100 sxsw artists of 2015 which they deem "worth discovering". every year there are an incredible number of artists (both old & new) and the thought of sifting through so many can be daunting. this list is a nice guide to get a taste of what this year has to offer. but this is only the beginning of all the musicians featured at the festival so i plan on using this list to get me started.
  3. get some tasty treats at tatte bakery's newest location on charles st. this sweet little cafe serves breakfast and lunch daily. i can't wait to dig into their muesli with pumpkin & sunflower seeds, honey, sliced almonds and whipped greek yogurt with fruit. sounds heavenly!
  4. do my om thing. i've been reading great reviews recently on rebecca pachecco's book, do your om thing: bending yoga tradition to fit your modern life. after spending some much needed down time this past weekend, i am realizing how caught up in daily life i have gotten and how desperately important it is to get back to a balanced life where i am present and grateful. looking forward to her take on applying the principles of yoga to my own daily routine.

3/10/15

18. travelogue: charleston



andy and i were lucky enough to to escape boston's most recent blizzard and get away for a long weekend in charleston, sc. we were immediately taken with the city's history, charm and warmth (well, relative warmth-60 degrees felt downright tropical to us). for anyone who may be planning their own great escape, here are a few of the places that made our trip so special.

sunny and serene coffeehouse serving up a perfect pour-over

some of the most inventive and tasty doughnuts we've ever tried (we've tried a lot)

well worth the short drive out of the city to stroll along it's peaceful beaches

sandwich heaven, sourcing fresh and local ingredients 



-li