Friday, September 30, 2011

A Crown of Flowers, A Catbird Bride

This wedding is impossible to introduce. I will let Leigh, the poet, speak for herself.

I am trying to find a way in, a way to start telling you how you plan a wedding, a rebirth, when your first love, your great love, your mother is dying. I hope this falls on deaf ears, that none of you sail on this same wild ship with me, but I think that we all sail on it together, if not now, then. I hope that my profoundly bittersweet celebration finds a home in tender hearts.

My whole life, the only things I ever knew about my wedding is that the rabbi who married me would be the rabbi I grew up with, and that I would speak the words, “I am beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (I am, and he is). I did not know, that nearly 6 months after my wedding, I would remember virtually nothing our rabbi said as he spoke to us under the chuppah that I made with my best girl. Instead, my head echoes with the unbelievably beautiful words he spoke at my unbelievably beautiful mother’s funeral, 76 days after I was married. How hard we work for one day, our wedding day. We ought only to work so hard for every day that follows.

"Death, most presences of absences, had entered the garden, and from that moment on, absences multiplied. It was dusk, and the appointed hour had arrived, the warm scents of the banquet were rising from the kitchens, and in spite of the tragedy everything was ready to go on time..." -Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie

Oh, but my mother was well at my wedding. Up she went, in the chair for the hora, with glee and joy radiating more than any diamond could. She gave me away that day, but I am always hers.

I knew that I wanted our wedding to be a celebration of all my mother taught me to treasure more than the gold I love so much: family, friends, community. I wanted her to see the people who would cradle me in her most present absence. Cradle me they have, none more so than the man I am lucky enough to call my husband. 

Leigh's Photo Captions:

1. Hallway – My friend and neighbor, Amy Merrick, made my flower crown. I asked for wild, and wild I got

2. Liz – My best girl, getting me ready. She painted us a huge portrait of John and Yoko on their wedding day. It hangs over our bed, the patron saints of love.

3. Nails – Naomi at Hello Beautiful covered my nails in pearls and mirrors that spelled out Kevin on one hand and Leigh on the other.

4. Shoes – My mom bought my shoes. When I wore them to her funeral, the confetti from the wedding was still stuck to the insides.

5. Swan girls – I’m sure the Metropolitan Building has since instituted a no-confetti policy. Eleanor, Carlos, I’m sorry.

6. Swan guests – The absolutely lovely Chad Merritt of Mon Petit Fantome provided the swan artwork. Seating was open, which meant some of our friends took to the floor. Some of our parents were not pleased.

7. My mom  We walked down the aisle to Mount Wittenberg Orca by The Dirty Projectors. Maryam Keyhani made my feather bouquet. Kevin’s suit is by Mr. Ned and his tie is Acne. And me? My parents made me.

8. Balloons – In lieu of flowers, I opted for more guests and a couple hundred balloons.

9. Married! – I sewed the chuppah from old lace and tassels with one of my best girls. She's a perfectionist, I am not. She is henceforth known as the tassle-master.

10. Me and Mom – My little, beautiful mom.


11. Friends – The gentleman in the suit is Andrew of Grand Street Suit Company wearing his pitch-perfect wares.

12. Us hora – We danced the hora, so up on the chairs we went.

13. Mom hora – The diamonds on her neck were dun next to the light of her smile. Nothing compared.

14. He plays – Kevin and our friends played covers of Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac, Dylan and The Shirelles.

15. Dress – Our friend Ryan took this photo of my Vera Wang dress with one of the antique cameras he collects.

16. And then we went to the bar. 

Leigh adds: I did mean to mention my photographer, Fede, and Nackie who owns The Parlour who did my hair and makeup. They were both such dears to work with.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What should a Scottish gal, her hipster sister and their amazing Mum do in NYC?

I realize I've leaned a little heavy on the touristy bullsh*t this week, but I'VE GOTTA TAKE CARE OF MY GIRLS.


I'm a long time reader. (I didn't have to write to you when I got married last year, but reading your blog certainly helped quell the crazy a few times).

I've just booked a last minute trip to New York for 4 days in two weeks time to celebrate my kid sister's 21st birthday. I appreciate this is a totally non-wedding related question so you may tell me to eff off, but do you or your readers have any tips on where to go/eat/avoid/whether to pack our coats? The last time I was in NYC was 9 years ago, and I'm sure plenty has changed since then. (Where did CBGB's go?)

So, do you have any advice for a 32-year old Scottish gal, her 21-year old hipster sister and their amazing Mum? Or should I just go and buy a Lonely Planet guidebook?

P.S. I've included a picture of my Mum and Sister at our wedding last year as a tenuous wedding link.


Hokay. So I did move to LA six years ago...... but I get back to NYC on occasion. Here's a short list of my favorite spots:

The place is gorgeous and the cocktails are AMAZING.

Hey all you New Yorkers who still haven't been to this free park with lawn chairs, crazy views + the most amazing people-watching on the planet: WHAT'S YOUR DAMAGE?

(The High Line by Iwan Baan)

The Metropolitan Museum ROOF GARDEN (open Apr 26-Oct 30, weather permitting)
Sculpture. Skyline. A birds-eye view of Central Park. I always thought this would be the perfect place to get married, actually.

Catbird (DUH). While you're in Williamsburg, I love this tiny weird museum. And Hotel Delmano is another superb place to get a cocktail. It is just fucking beautiful in there. Plus they have oysters.

There are a kajillion more W'msburg recommends here. (Kid will probably want to spend a full day in hipsterville.)

And I asked Matt to suggest a few restaurants. This list came in via iphone late last night.

I might add Smorgasburg and/or Brooklyn Flea on Saturday and Sunday respectively. They take place on the waterfront in Williamsburg, one being a food market with some of the best food in the city, and the other, well, is a flea market.

Also in Williamsburg, pies 'n' thighs for great, pretty cheap southern food. Fried chicken is awesome and the chicken biscuit sandwich is heavenly. Across the street only 20 yards down the block) is Dram. Wood, wrought iron, and a kayak as a light fixture extending the length of the bar (for the most part). Big floor to ceiling windows are left open during good weather. Drinks are great.

(Dram by Evan Sung for The New York Times)

And if anyone really likes pie, try Four & Twenty Blackbirds, which is in Gowanus...but worth the trip. 

And for a great meal in a cool setting in the east village, try Edi & The Wolf. Sunroom with eclectic flower pots, such as mason jars, hanging upside down stools, even an old workboot.

The ladies have already arrived in the city, so here's hoping they're prepared for that muggy/rainy/partly sunny/party cloudy situation, amirite?

Photobooth pic by Cameron Presentations

happy thursballz!

Don't hate me for saying so, but I could rly use an extra day this week.

I'm script-suping on a six-day shoot starting tomorrow, and next Thursday we leave for Vancouver (WOOT!) Not sure when I'll find the time to scour Wasteland for new (old) t-shirts.


There's a scandalous new Dear ESB up on 100LC for you. SCANDALOUS. I'm not exaggerating.

The lovely Kristina even used the word "wh-re" when I sent it to her. I know.

Photo: Kim Noorda by Viktor Vauthier for Tank Fall 2011 via Fashion Gone Rogue

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What To Wear In Vancouver?

Let's switch the conversation over to RAINGEAR, yes? Yes.

Hi ESB, 

When I got engaged last year and became suddenly interested in the wedding industry, I found your blog and have been reading it regularly every morning since. I neeeeed my morning snark.

Anyways, no real wedding drama to report, just wanted to ask you for some wardrobe advice. I am getting married on October 1st, and guess where we are going for the honeymoon afterwards: VAN-FREAKING-COUVER! Since we will be in the area, and you happened to post about it, the hubs and I are going to come to your film screening on October 7th.

Here's the deets: we are outdoorsy people and are looking forward to exploring Vancouver. Since I planned the wedding I let (begged) my man plan the honeymoon. I think we are going to go kayaking, hiking, skydiving if the weather cooperates, and now also seeing All AgesOther than that, I am happily oblivious to his plans.

Here's a general breakdown of where we are going:
Flying into Seattle and spending the first night there
Vancouver Island for 3 days
Vancouver city for 3 days
Drive back to Seattle and fly out after exploring the city some

So... since you're obviously going to be there at the same time, what kind of stuff are you going to be wearing? More to the point, what should I pack for the trip? I know the weather will be a bit chilly, so I'd really like to get a sweet pair of flat boots to walk around in but my large calf muscles always seem to crush my dreams of that. That's as far as I have gotten as of now. Clothing and any other Vancouver related advice would be much appreciated (restaurants to check out?)

I'll hold up a No Crying banner for you,
Vancouver Bound


Here's what my friend L had to say about Vancouver fashion:

The thing with Vancouver, is that if you're outdoorsy and you like fashion you kind of have to have a split personality because it's hard to marry the two. A lot of people ride their bikes etc. and it rains all the time. Although I will say that in my neighborhood the hipsters manage to still look fashionable on their bikes (maybe not in the pouring rain though), and they couldn't just hop off their bikes and go hiking — nope that wouldn't work. My two-cents: outerwear is very important and shoes, and a collapsible umbrella (cuz even if it looks like it won't rain, it probably will).

Rubber boots are very popular here, Hunters especially are pretty ubiquitous, but I still like them. Got to get me some after those other stupid ones I bought for $100 got holes in them. Of course early October may not be rainy, but then again it might, but it won't be cold yet. Thin layers are the way to go, no need for warm coats yet. But I've lived here for like 17 years and I still have a hard time getting the temperature thing right. I'm usually overdressed and I get hot and sweaty, but I hate being cold too. You kind of have to be prepared for anything.

L never got around to sending me a list of her favorite restaurants.... She's 8 months pregnant and she's like quilting an entire nursery, so.

But Leanne sent me these restaurant recommends via Twitter:


also the granville room. super douchey plc but their tenderloin steak is AMAZING, its $22.get it with the potato gratin. 

&the diamond in gastown amaze dumplings&cocktails, also the beef short rib sandwich is unreal. ask to go in the back, they have a secret bar

(Authentic Vancouver fashion photos by/of Leanne herself)

p.s. Thanks for plugging my movie! I couldn't have done it better if I'd written in with a fake Dear ESB. And I can't wait to meet you!! And YIKES WHAT SHOULD I WEAR??


Apparently Norma Kamali invented the puffer for women:

After splitting with her husband, Mohammed (Eddie) Kamali, in the mid-1970s, she took to camping in the woods with a boyfriend. “It was cold,” she recalled, “and I was always getting up at night to go to the bathroom.” On one particularly nippy night, she threw on her sleeping bag and sprinted for the bush. “As I was running,” she said, “I was thinking, ‘I need to put sleeves in this thing.’ ”

Ruth La Ferla for The New York Times

(Photo by The Sart)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rachel Comey FTW!

Can we talk about these for a wedding?? They're not cheap, but they look uber-comf.

Man. I'd wear the hell outta these.

Rachel Comey at Steven Alan.

where should a couple of Aussies go in NYC?

Hello ESB.

Straight to it - we're honeymooning in New York. In January. We live in Sydney, Australia, where winters barely make it below 60 (yes, I just googled the conversion). Cities with snow are practically fairy tales.

Can you help us out? What shall we do, where shall we go? We are big foodies, love big cities, and love adventuring. Both of us have been to NYC before, separately and years ago, and we want to rediscover this town in all its glory together and in style. We've done the tourist stuff - this time it's personal.

Also... what does a lady wear in a NYC winter to keep herself warm? Should I buy some sort of awesome coat? Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!

Sunny in Sydney


Since I briefly put this one up by accident (you can't blame me for mixing up the Aussie honeymooners with the Aussie elopers, can you??) I figure I'll let you guys take a crack at restaurants/adventures.

COME BACK ANON! Give us those suggestions again, will you??

As for warmth/fashion, because you're not used to the cold, I recommend a classic down jacket like this one by North Face.

(Which, if you don't trust me and you arrive without one and proceed to freeze your tits off, you can always pick one up on lower Broadway.)

And I have a bit of bad news. Snow in New York is only magical for a brief moment: while it's falling. Once it hits the pavement it turns into wet slush.

This means a pair of waterproof boots is essential. I'm digging these Fryes.

I'm gonna go ahead and assume that in Sydney you wear Uggs as SLIPPERS, not as motherfucking street shoes like the ding-dong NYU girls.

Top photo: The Selby via Skittish Skies

the ELOPER'S GUIDE to nyc

Hello Lady,

So, I got engaged to my boy last year and we started the crazy wedding planning journey. Well, didn't that just turn into some kind of monster! It all got crazy, people involved got crazy and it was turning out to not be very much fun. Cut to me saying to the boy in a moment of total fed upedness 'we should just run away and get married in New York' and so WE ARE! Eeeek! Total excitement!

So, I was wondering if I could get a bit of advice from you and your lovely readers. We are Australians and neither of us have never been to New York before....I haven't been to America before. Sooo, we are planning on getting married at City Hall. We are tossing up about getting a photographer to come and photograph the ceremony and then maybe take some photos after......

Also, what to do once we're married? We don't know......we're thinking of somewhere nice to go and eat, drink and just be giddy about the fact we just got married. Suggestions?

Would totally appreciate any advice you may have.....we would love the day to just be rad!


I brought in a expert for you.

Matthew Downes (who's a friend of my lady Jamie) is a Brooklyn chef inspired by the seasons, and he just put up a brand spankin gorgeous new blog over here.

Here are Matt's recommendations:

Planning on eloping in New York City? Well, if all that wedding planning (or non-wedding planning) has got you hungry, you’ve come to the right spot. There is no dearth of restaurants in this great city, but here’s a helpful guide to put the finishing touch on that magical day.

Located in an eighteenth century carriage house in the West Village, One If By Land, Two If By Sea is remarkably romantic, with fireside dining and live piano music. The food, while not the most spectacular gustatory event in the city, is modern enough to delight the senses. But, it is the old-world atmosphere, the feeling of being transported to another time, even another place, that whisks you away and may just be the topper to your wedding day.

Blue Hill is known for their simple, yet elegant, farm-focused food, and their location near Washington Square Park is fitting for a wedding day feast that will still leave you light enough for some late night frolicking. The dining room is spacious enough, by Manhattan standards, that won’t leave you competing to hear your new spouse’s voice, and the kitchen is very accommodating, which makes for the perfect spot for any vegetarians, vegans or anyone with food allergies.

(Blue Hill at Stone Barns)

For a truly spectacular dinner, head to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, about an hour north of Manhattan by train/cab. Located on a former Rockefeller estate, Stone Barns is an absolute delight if you really want to spoil yourself. I recommend making an early reservation (5:30 or 6 pm) and arriving around 3 pm. Walk around the farm, visit the greenhouse, get lost in the woods, say hello to the pigs. Once the dining room doors open, enjoy a cocktail on the terrace before the kitchen takes you on a culinary tour that is influenced by that day’s harvest. And after dinner, retire to the terrace for tea service. They’ll roll out a cart of potted herbs for you to choose, mix and match.

For the vegetarians and vegans out there looking for a meal befitting of your wedding day, the only true vegetarian restaurant I would recommend is Kajitsu, located in the East Village. Old school Shojin principles meet modern techniques to create a memorable dinner. The atmosphere, while not traditionally romantic, is quiet and Zen-like. Try heading to The Bourgeois Pig for a glass of wine before or after dinner…or both! Located only a couple blocks from Kajitsu, the dark burgundy décor and candlelight will compensate for any overly romantic atmosphere that Kajitsu may lack.

Want to kick it in Brooklyn after a trip to City Hall? Once you tie the knot, take a water taxi to Fulton Ferry landing in DUMBO and dine at The River Café. Watch the sun set over the East River and the Manhattan skyline while dining at one of New York’s storied restaurants. The food is good, the view is even better!

(Andrew Field + Rockaway Taco by The Selby)

And finally, for those of you that just want to catch your first waves as newlyweds, head to Rockaway Beach. Take in some surfing, and when you’ve worked up an appetite, hit up Rockaway Taco. Open seasonally from May to October, they serve up some of the best tacos in the city, only blocks from the beach. Be warned, with lines down the block, and limited seating, you may be parking your wedding dress curbside.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Smoking Slippers Are the New Ballet Slippers?

Hey, Refinery29 said it, not me.

I personally think they're a little... Douchebag. Thoughts?

Manney Dalmatian PrintKosy Mustard Suede Slipper Loafers from Topshop

he doesn't want babies after all.

dearest esb,

I just wanted first of all to say thank you, and even though you are an evil club of mean, hipster brides, I have thought of you as my friends, inspiration and source of much merriment in the last three or so years of my engagement... 

and here we get to the tricky part. My FH and I are parting ways. We are still very much in love and respect each other deeply, however, FH, or maybe I should say NFH (no-longer future husband), has decided he does not want babies after all. Which is something I can not compromise on in the least... This does in a way, make the whole decision a little easier... I mean it is not as if you can strike a balance and have half a baby.... but it does not make it any less complicated having to picture a life with out the soul mate I thought I would spend the rest of my life with... 

I try super tremendously hard to maintain a positive spin on this ... I am planning like a mo-fo... trips to Paris; a change of town; lots of galleries, wine bars and society after moving to a tiny Australian town with the man. But it is hard; hard to laugh when my awesome older brother tells me he's getting engaged to his amazing girl... difficult to keep smiling when the students at my school keep asking me when the wedding is and where their invites are (super sweet really)... tremendously complicated when I think of the plans and decisions we had made... (we had named our first born son in hypothetical land and talked about all of this before anyone thinks this was rushed into or glossed over.. the decision was recent and out of the blue..) 

and I could probably list one hundred or so more instances that make me falter in my daily flight, but it is not hard to visit ESB and giggle. In fact it is a daily check for me during some down time at work. I love the outrageous responses and questions. I like the catharsis and acerbic wit, the vicarious joy of yay or naying. It is one of the few survivors of what is at best a time of vast change and growth... and it does give me pause to keep looking ahead, yeah that dress is funky and flash, and there may be a day when I'm looking again, and to be honest to myself I hope so. 

So thank you for the smiles and glimpses of new


Lady, I'm so proud of you. Both of you.

There would be fewer divorces if everyone did this kind of soul-searching before they tied the knot.


Tiny Vipers by David Belisle via Claire Cottrell via jen causey

Incidentally, did you guys see the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy on Thurs? I shouted at my TV: "THANK YOU, SHONDA!" when they depicted (onscreen, on network TV!) a strong, successful, married woman choose to put her feet up in the stirrups and have an abortion rather than carry to term a child she didn't want.

Her decision was of course complicated by the fact that her husband did want kids (something they didn't discuss before they got married).


Friday, September 23, 2011

Introducing the MOHAWK of wedding dresses

(I mean, if this one is the mullet.)

Ivory Serpent Dress by Lover at Bona Drag

Thursday, September 22, 2011

intimates? nope.

Our Minnesota Groom Style Expert took the bait and emailed me a wee follow-up to this morning's post:

The problem with asking for sexaay intimates for men, superfluous vowels notwithstanding, is that it doesn’t really exist in the same form that it does for women (well, it does, but I’ve been to the markets for that category, and it definitely ranks as the most awkward series of appointments I’ve ever had).

In men’s clothing world it all gets classified as loungewear, and in that arena there are actually some pretty cool things. We deal with a brand called American Essentials that makes all sorts of robes and pants out of pretty nice fabrics. In particular, there is a collection of silk cotton blends that come in understated colors that I think are sort of what the initial inquiry was geared towards. There is also a British brand called Derek Rose that’s definitely a bit more stuffy, but they still make some really beautiful robes and other things. I also just found out about a pair of sister brands the other day called etiquette clothiers and united brief that actually sound sort of interesting. They’re new, so I don’t know if you can actually buy them anywhere yet.

Regarding everything else, there isn’t a shortage of cool socks, but I really don’t know how socks get sexy. And I think if someone is looking for sock garters, there will not be a lot of options available (It should be noted that socks made today stay up by themselves. Yay technology.) Instead of aftershave look for proper fragrances. I’m fairly certain, given the evidence presented in the store, that girls want their boys to smell like Carthusia Uomo. There are a ton of other options, so just be sure to avoid the fragrance counter at whatever mid-level department store and the gentleman in question won't smell like every other guy one should happen to smell.

And lastly, the Cannabis scent from Malin + Goetz is our best-selling candle.  It’s kind of amazing.

Sorry this took a bit - I got sidetracked imagining Max’s response. Let me know if you need anything else.

Best Regards,
Sam Fehrenbach

Sock + Sock Garter Porn courtesy of Etiquette Clothiers. (Clearly my reader is not the only one with a fetish.)

Seeking: sexaay intimates for a hipster boy

Dear ESB,

Where does a straight man go for some sexaay intimates? Undies, a robe, non-gross aftershave, maybe even some cool socks and sock garters (OK, sock garters are my thing, and he probably won't want to wear them, but still...)? 

I know everyone's definition of what constitutes "sexy" underthings is different, but you know the kind of shit your readers tend to like. Something that's not Hanes His Way, but that's also not a thong or a pair of over-sized purple silk boxers pre-scented with Axe body spray. Something that says he's scrubbed, stylin', and went out of his way to look nice for you. 

Are there one-stop-shop places for intimates for hipster guys, like there are for gals? Or is my man (and me too) SOL? 

PS: Honeymoon is in Hawaii so no super-heavy fabrics



Sock garters are your thing?

Do the rest of you have bizarre fetishes i ought to know about??


As far as a one stop shop for hipster boys, Steven Alan is about as close as you can get. (And when you say "hipster," I assume you mean yipster, because hipsters don't scrub all that often. Obviously.)

Steven Alan isn't carrying pajama bottoms at the moment, which kills me because the pair I bought for H last year are SO BEST, but I assume their boxers are just as good.

And I like the sound of the manly apothecary items they carry, like Citrus/Ginger Sea Salt Spray + Sea Kelp/Clary Sage Bath Salt.

H is also a huge fan of Malin + Goetz, especially the Peppermint ShampooCilantro Hair Conditioner and Bergamot Body Wash.

I really ought to buy him the Cannabis Candle ("addictive and sexy")!

Realizing I sorta didn't fully answer your question. Oh well. I got a little pre-Christmas brainstorming done.

Photo: February 12, 1909, "James Clarke, winner of Brooklyn Marathon, with others," 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection via Shorpy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

1999, who knew??

I thought you might enjoy a few more images from Arthur Elgort's 1999 Vogue shoot that inspired this bride.

Pointy-toed pumps are happening again right now.

Which leads me to wonder... Would these Zara booties be too much with the Chanel knockoff? Er, HOMAGE.


Not to beat a dead horse or anything.

Audrey Marnay photographed by Arthur Elgort + styled by Grace Coddington for Vogue USA, March 1999 via Dust Jacket Attic


Please note: this data was not gathered "scientifically." Also, I'm pretty sure the chart is not to scale.