Eating brunch in a small café.

My friend Darryl and I went to the Pigeon Hole for brunch yesterday. It was my first time there and I was downright enchanted by the decor…those lights, aren’t they just perfect? They remind me of Parisian boulevards, mostly because I listened to Charlotte Gainsbourg for a few hours before eating. The menu is also quite charming and although the quirkiness of the place is intentional it’s still pleasant. I ordered French toast which was ok, maybe I can make it better – I’ll have some friends over one day and we’ll have a contest of sorts. French toast is, how do you say? My jam. I’ve been perfecting my method for awhile now…who wants to try?

James Anthony does not put birds on things.

Although I suppose he might, if you ask him nicely…

I met Anthony Friday night for a screen-printing workshop in John Sarah John’s multifunctional West Main St. shop of wonders. The Miami transplant has been in the screen-printing business for like, years (journalism!) and is so successful that he doesn’t even need a day job. Anthony spends his time scouting for new and interesting images (he majored in art history or something – journalism x2) and then, of course, prints them on fabric using his wizard powers. {An alternative explanation for how screen-printing happens may be inferred from the above pictures…an interesting factoid I recall is that the print is not, in fact, silk-screened onto the garment, but is printed using a mesh screen. The more you know.}

Sarah mentioned this workshop to me back in June, so I had plenty of time to plan my own screen-printing adventure. I originally figured I’d just have a t-shirt done, but while on vacation in New York I picked up some army surplus at Beacon’s Closet as well as the book Stylist: The Interpreters of Fashion. What do the two have to do with each other? Well, it was in my newly acquired book that I found inspiration in this Craig McDean portrait of Kate Moss, wearing an Edward Enninful-customized military parka:

And my finished product:

My interpretation involves no display of devotion to the British royal family, but it is rather evocative of McQueen with its morbid/romantic graphic – that X-ray is actually of some guy’s wife’s hand (that’s her wedding ring you see on the finger!) Underneath I’m wearing my Jimmy O and the Ready Ted’s band t-shirt from Low and my Lion pendant, courtesy of Judy at the Greenwood Country Store. The head is actually a belt buckle that I put on a chain – c’est fantastique, no?

P.S. Stop by James Anthony Apparel if you like what you see!

This ain’t your childhood handheld.

The summer heat has made a new addition to my bagdrobe (it’s a bag wardrobe!) truly necessary since I’m stripped down to the bare essentials some days – a tank top and my “Daisy Dukes” (Ksubi denim cutoffs) has become a recurring “look” of mine, unfortunately. For the days I decide to make an effort, I fortunately came across this gorgeous little number at Rock Paper Scissors. It’s a recycled leather pouch from Italian line San Lorenzo Design and I love it. It’s the perfect size for wallet, keys, iPhone and chapstick/rogue diamonds – everything that, during the summer when I lose access to all those lovely coat pockets, creates unsightly bulges in my shorts. I can carry it super comfortably under an arm or to my side. The sleek design is super unisex and comes in the brands full range of colors. The best best part, though? It was only $18!

P.S. Please to forgive the crap Photoshopping in picture 3 – quel horror!

It’s officially summer and all I wanna wear is black.

As the seasons have progressed, so has my look. For whatever reason, I find myself leaving the “traditional” roots that informed the foundation of my winter wardrobe behind and am turning instead to the bad guys from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for inspiration. I’m loving denim cut offs, black leather, eerie statement jewelry and oversized tops.

This shoot took place in a graveyard off Maple Street. I suppose I was thinking it might be a fun neo-gothic spin to put on a first-day-of-summer shoot, but really the place was just too beautiful to be macabre. If you can get over the simple fact that it’s a graveyard I think it’s a wonderful place to while away an afternoon…maybe have a picnic – although that’s a bit Addams Family, isn’t it?

Theoretically this outfit is pulling inspiration from London’s punk scene in the ’80’s…but really, it’s more like what I imagine that to be like, if the punks are actually 15-year-old art students who can’t make art and listen to Kylie Minogue more than The Ramones. The main point of contention here, it must be said, is the deep-V. Apparently it’s appearance in my last outfit post caused a quiet stir with at least one reader/friend, who declared it incontrovertibly “cheesy.” Sacre bleu! What do we think? Does my new favorite thing ever (said deep-V) cross a line?

The happiness project, or, a five-point plan for the perfect weekend morning.

1) Stop by the Farmer’s Market first thing Saturday morning and pick up fresh blueberries and raspberries, because they are delicious and beautiful.

2) Because you are spiritually a petite Frenchman and inherently disdain “exercise,” skip this crazy thing called jogging and meander over to the Albemarle Baking Company to inhale the aromas and pick up a loaf of bread – carrying it home will be your strength training for the day.

3) On your way back swing by Mudhouse for a cappuccino. Take an Instagram of it and Tweet the picture to your followers.

4) Mix granola, two heaping scoops of Greek yogurt and berries in a bowl. Drizzle with honey. Eat without purpose, solely for pleasure, while poring over the shiny, glossy pages of a magazine (read backwards for a Japanese twist.)

5) Repeat every Saturday for the entire summer.

Gorgeous little things.

 This past Saturday unexpectedly became a day for ceramics shopping. I happened upon a sale at O’Suzannah and picked up the adorable little vessel you see holding my rings. I don’t know what to call it – it’s sort of an oblong miniature decorative plate? The crown stamp won me over…but of course, so did the price tag ($7.) The olive jar holding my pens/pencils came from Artifacts, where I also picked up some twine to use in lieu of a leather strap that broke on one of my vintage bags (a little project the results of which will be featured in the near future, for sure!) as well as a Le Cahier notebook that’s comparable in size to Field Notes notebooks, but isn’t as conspicuous.
The little dish you see here serving as a candle base is from Oasis spa, of all places! They have a solid selection of inexpensive and absolutely gorgeous Japanese pottery…little cups and bowls and dishes you can set keys and rings and rogue diamonds sitting in, just to be glamorous. The wave pattern is so charming and this was only four dollars! The abstract floral pattern on my new makeshift toothbrush holder (see below) is wonderfully retro yet modern and the blue pottery contrasts beautifully with my bamboo toothbrush and soap dish. Now if only I could keep my sink so clean all the time…

Taking pictures down by the river.

Because I’m just a simple country boy…

Lucy and I headed down to the Rivanna something something park to snap some shots for my lookbook. It’s a really nice park! I’m sure lots of people enjoy normal outdoor activities there such as jogging, taking their babies/dogs for walks and fishing or whatever. The things I enjoy doing outside include:

1) Sitting and reading
2) Walking slowly
3) Sitting and eating

Obviously I’ll also take pictures of myself out of doors, as long as I don’t have to step into the water where the algae is because that’s gross.

The shirt is a woman’s deep V-neck (haha, whoops) from Urban Outfitters. It’s made of modal (learn about it here!) and manufactured in the U.S., of all places (hooray!) The necklace is also from UO, and the jeans are from Banana Republic. They’re actually the women’s denim legging style…[double whoops]. The belt is from Ike’s – and is officially my favorite belt ever. I wear it almost every day, with everything.

Enjoy the weekend, and be sure to get out and see some of the Look3 exhibits! I stopped by a few galleries today – they’re a nice reprieve from the heat and make me fondly reminisce on my time museum-hopping last fall in Basel. I particularly liked Christopher Anderson’s portraits at the Water Street gallery, for the recommendation-inclined…

I love my garden, even when it smells like poo.

I took a composting class the other weekend at Blue Ridge Eco Shop – just dropped in by happenstance and sat through about an hour of enlightenment. Owner Paige was gracious enough to extend the 10% off for attending the class and so I returned a week later with my knowledge and picked up an Official Composter, which, as you can see from picture four, has a happy picture of itself eating my garbage. It likes it! That’s good, because I have a lot of it. Having taken a Class I felt prepared for the challenge of dumping my organic waste into a pile in the yard and mixing it with leaves, but it turns out composting is trickier than that. Also, even when you swear you’re doing it right and you’re willing to bet a million dollars on that fact, your pile of decomposing waste can still smell like poo (and it’s gross). I just want to divert as much of my trash away from landfills so that my future babies don’t live in a trash world! Or a Kevin Costner movie.

I have good reason to idealize urban green living. Listen to how Annie Novak, a Brooklyn rooftop farmer featured on the Urban Outfitters’ blog, describes her life:

“Most days I wake up at 7am, feed the animals (chickens and rabbits), and check on all the veggies. The light and temperature that early in the morning is beautiful. Then I break around 2pm to eat lunch with the friends I’m working with. We’ll ride bikes in the afternoon – sometimes out to the Rockaways to visit the ocean, or sometimes to Manhattan to run errands or go to a museum. In the evening, we’ll check out a cool new local foods restaurant and see if the chef wants to buy our produce, or I’ll cook a big feast for friends at my house while we listen to the radio. Between May and November, every day is a perfect day!”

WHAT?! And she lives in Brooklyn – I live in a small town in the South! Shouldn’t bunny rabbits, bike riding and eating with friends be a part of my green routine? Not flies, the scent of dumpsters in heat and more flies that just birthed themselves in my stinkpile?

So gardening and I are on hold for the moment, until I get the basic decomposition of organic matter into soil under control. But the stuff that’s sprung up on it’s own is rather pretty, no? At least I haven’t killed it all! (yet!)

I got this poncho at Ike’s Underground and I’m pretty sure I’ll get more action now.

I mean, right? It’s a half-eaten “old hippie thing” Ike had laying around that I paired with my grandmother’s Aztec face necklace. Who’s not turned on by that combo?

Also, nail art is my new favorite thing ever. My right thumb is officially my “accent nail” and for the time being it is clad in zebra stripe. Up next? I want leopard print…and/or my initial. With leopard print. In leopard print. The possibilities are endless.

Sorry things have been so slow lately, I’ve been working two jobs for awhile now and time for blogging is limited! Lucy came over the other night and took these shots of my new poncho for me…what do we think? I’ve been vacillating between trying to put together more staged shots and just getting a picture taken because I can. I’ve honestly been a bit overwhelmed by the blogging the past month or so because I’ve been pushing myself to create so much content – it’s a bit exhausting! I think as I move forward I’m going to maybe post a little less (in case you hadn’t noticed) and try to really formulate posts that matter more to me. Maybe they’ll be a bit humorous (this one) or maybe a little more artfully done (Friday’s post). I think moving in a more lo-fi direction will help me keep things rolling, and being a bit more tongue-in-cheek couldn’t hurt, either.

Also also, if you didn’t know already, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @theSSsantiago 🙂 That way you’ll get daily updates!

Let’s get Sidetrack’d.

Sidetracks is an independent record store I like to visit for used cd’s. It’s on Water Street, and you can see the phone number in that last picture!