Sunday, April 29, 2012

go global, shop local

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I promise I'll be back with a more substantial post later in the week, I hit kind of a rough patch this past week both internet-wise and life-wise.  Don't even worry, i'm currently in the process of rising from the ashes like a phoneix. But in the meantime I just wanted to say a little word about the importance of local markets. While Ryan and I were in Saigon we went to the war remnants museum, which houses exhibits about the Vietnam war. One of the exhibits focuses on the use of and the effects of "agent orange". Without getting too political, agent orange is the code name for the powerful chemical defoliant dioxin that was used by the US army during the war to clear forests. It had some pretty horrific side effects for the people who came into contact with it on both sides. More shocking than the harrowing photographs of said side effects was learning that the two major producers of dioxin in the US were Dow chemical and the Monsanto corporation. Maybe you've heard of them? Dow is nice enough to make us those cute little ziploc bags and tupperware we can't recycle (what up plastic island) and Monsanto gives us genetically engineered seeds and the bovine growth hormone. Without getting too political, um ew. That got me thinking about the importance of the local market. I talk about local markets a lot on this blog, read all the time, and while I may only highlight the more jewel laden parts of said markets, most of them also function as the main food markets in the places I visit. Farm to table isn't a trendy fad in these places, it's their way of life. Local farmers bring their goods to these markets meaning that they're freshly picked, they're the size they're supposed to be and not some freak jumbo version (thanks but no thanks graisin.), and if something's not in season or not native to the place you won't find it.  So here's a thought, maybe give the grocery store a break the next time you go to do your food shopping and find a local farmer's market instead. Addicted to your fresh direct deliveries? Sign up for a CSA subscription! Check out local harvest if you have no idea where a farmer's market near you is or you have no idea what I'm talking about with this CSA thing. So make like me and hit those markets hard and don't even think about leaving empty handed! Your local farmer will thank you, the earth will thank you, and I'll even thank you personally! The best part about markets, besides the cheese monger boyfriends (hello San Francisco farmer's market!), they're a great excuse to stock up on cute tote bags!  Here are a few of my current favorite to get you excited for your next market run.

The aptly named farmer's market tote from j.crew.

retro woven bag from Bamboula for Madewell . And the best part, the bags are imported from Kenya fair trade style. Something I can definitely get into!

Love this woven bag from free people. The black and white will really let your bright fresh produce pop! 

A farmers market is the perfect way to get back to your native roots. So is this river island Aztec print shopper from asos!

Another retro basket bag.  Can you believe this puppy is from Old Navy?  Maybe Molly's been right all along and ON really is the epitome of cool...
More of a canvas tote person? Nastygal's got you covered with their awesome zodiac tote! 

And so does etsy thanks to their Ola liola print totes! Obviously I can't get enough of the feather jewelry print bag 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the brilliance of mr. newton

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and i'm not talking isaac.  i wanted to take some time to share one of my fashion, and by fashion i obviously mean jewelry, inspirations with y'all, the incomprable mr. newton aka one of my favorite street fashion bloggers ever.  in a weird turn of events mr. newton actually found me two years ago.  i was walking to a friend's bbq in williamsburg one summer afternoon when a man stopped me and asked if he could please photograph me because he loved my floral dress and the light was perfect.  he followed this up with, "i swear i'm not a creep, i have a street fashion blog" and gave me a card with his website on it, or the golden ticket to street fashion as i like to think of it.  he took a couple of photos and asked if i could maybe make my hands a little less awkward and try to look a little more comfortable in front of the camera.  turned out no could do and needless to say i was never featured on his blog.  so while a street fashion star wasn't born that day a die hard mr. newton fan was.  living in new york and especially williamsburg is a fashion lifeline for me.  i once did an online interview for fader when they did a feature on new york shop girls, which went a lot better than the doomed mr. newton photo shoot mostly just because there were no cameras involved, and they asked me what my main source of fashion inspiration was.  i told them the subway and i stand by that to this day. so you can imagine how frustrating it can be to be on the road and cut off from my lifeline.  enter the street stlye blogger aka my saviour abroad.  while i have a number of go-tos to sate my need for inspiration (here's looking at you the sartorialiststreet peeper, and citizen couture) mr. newton has remained a favorite.  maybe it's the attainable feel to the looks featured, maybe it's the beauty of the photography, or maybe it's just the fact that everyone looks happy.  whatever it is i just hope he keeps it up because my awkward hands and i would be lost without him!    

fur sleeves and copious amounts of silver jewelry.  this is what dreams are made of.

here's a play by play of how i took this photo in.  that necklace!!  those bracelets!!  that skirt!!  those shoes!!  basically utter perfection.  the turquoise bracelets with the coral leather skirt is beyond inspiring.

oh hey boo!  this makes me want to finally actually go to siren festival instead of just saying that i'm gonna go to siren festival.  i love the all black with the pop of the white watch.  love how she turned a wrist band into an upper arm band. 
don't worry, this is just the first of a whole lotta morgan wendelborn you'll be seeing on here. 

love her bracelets.  and her boots.  and her purse.  

oh to be beautiful, french, and heiresses to the clarin cosmetics fortune.  it's pretty much a recipe for always nailing it. 

i'm hitting the hardware store as soon as i get back to america in search of a chain that big.

all images taken from mr. newton's amazing blog

Thursday, April 5, 2012

cai be floating market

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twice now i've promised you a post about the markets in vietnam so here comes a post about a very special type of market, one that floats.  trust me, it'll be worth the hype!  since i didn't make it to the damnoen saduak floating market of james bond fame while we were in thailand i decided that i wouldn't make the same mistake while i was in vietnam and jumped at the chance to do a tour of the mekong delta that included a trip to the floating market in cai be. the day also included a trip to an apiary and a coconut candy factory, both of which were very informative and delicious but this blog is about my market adventures.  you can read all about the other two in my other blog, the coconutty beekeeper.  just kidding.  well for now anyway, i could get into that.  but back to the market!  cai be is one of the largest wholesale markets in southern vietnam and for a lot of the sellers the river is their entire life and livelihood.  the merchants buy the goods from local farmers and transport them from farm to market via boat and shopkeepers from neighboring towns come to the market to get products to fill their shops with.  the coolest feature of the market is a little device that the merchants use to advertise their wares called a "cay beo".  it's a bamboo pole attached to the front of the boat on which the merchants hang up whatever it is that they have to sell.  that way when you're floating down the river and you get a craving for some watermelon you don't have to float up to every single boat asking if they're selling it.  you just look for the boat that has a watermelon hung up from its cay beo and bam, watermelon craving sated.  pretty genius if you ask me.  you know i had my eyes peeled for a bamboo pole with some beautiful gems dripping from it but sadly no such luck.  i did manage to find some of the best rambutan i've ever eaten though.  the vinh long province boasts the best rambutan in all of vietnam and i gotta say, they more than delivered on that boast.

a cay beo adveritsing yams in the distance.  it's time like these that i miss cooking for myself.

this boat was selling grain.  no cay beo necessary here.

all of the boats had the most amazing painted faces.  ryan thought i was crazy when i kept talking about how cute the boat's faces were until he finally saw what i was talking about.  someone needs some glasses.  and it's not these boats.

bringing the day's purchases home.  just slightly different from a typical supermarket trip.

the best rambutan in all of vietnam.  photo by jim richter.

 after our day in the mekong delta we had a day to wander around saigon and take in the ben thanh central market on dry land.  totally boring after you've experienced one that floats.  the market was full of touristy stuff like uncle ho chi minh t-shirts and vietnamese silk, which would have been more fun to shop if the sellers weren't quite so hardcore.  they didn't really seem to understand the concept of just browsing at this market.  i made the mistake of asking the price of a bracelet and went to put it back when the price was exorbitant and the seller followed me around for a few more stalls yelling at me that people shouldn't come to this market to look and why are you even looking if you're not buying.  i mean i've worked retail and i'm familiar with the hard sell but cool it lady!  needless to say, i didn't buy anything from her.  luckily the ben thanh market has more to offer than just mediocre t-shirts and aggressive merchants, the food stalls are where this market really shines.  there are stalls that specialize in every kind of vietnamese delicacy you can imagine and where the merchants in other parts of the market might have a lot to learn, these merchants are masters of their game.  i had the best prawn spring rolls of my life and some amazing chao ga (rice porridge with chicken).  confession, the porridge had this weird, soft, brown stuff in it in addition to pieces of chicken and i ate every last one of them.  i still have no idea what it was.  i'm choosing to believe it was tofu.  really dark tofu.  ryan tried the vietnamese classic pho bo (beef noodle soup).  we finished the day at the fruit market and capped off our feast with a delicious mango and dragon fruit.  and by we did i mean i did, because ryan hates any fruit that isn't blended into a smoothie.  whatever, more for me! 

the ben thanh central market in saigon.  not featured, the overly aggressive shopkeeper.  i figured if looking wasn't allowed photos were probably a no go as well.

so look at that, one post, two markets, lucky you!  too bad this post was less of a things i bought post and more of a things i ate post.  next stop indonesia, and i promise i'll shop more!