Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Will you still need me will you still feed me, when I'm twenty four

In two days I will officially be twenty-four, which to me means I will be out of my early-twenties and dipping my toes into my mid-twenties, but also able to just slightly tip my head up and catch sight of my late-twenties.
(Erica calls twenty-four “So young” and will probably smack me for my whining, so I guess it is all relative.)
But I panic because I am crazy and I have/do/always will feel life slipping by in a quick way that I cannot handle in my brain. We only get one chance at each day and after that it’s gone forever, and that is a thought that stays with me always. (Pills anyone? Just throw them at my face and I’ll grab whatever I can.)
I can’t even grasp how people can spend days laying around in bed, or watching TV; the idea is so petrifying to me that I get panicky just thinking about them and how I can help them get outside and seize the day. I am big on doing things, feeling complete, worrying that others are not feeling complete. I write it all down, I take pictures, and I tell stories. I need to know and to feel that what I am doing is a forward motion, something that makes my life better and that I will never look back in sadness or regret.
Regret is a word that I cannot stand in the least. (A little Dr Seuss for you.)
This is probably why birthdays mean a lot to me, even after twenty-four years of having them.
And although I feel like someone is pushing a glass window down over my head when I think about getting older, I actually (maybe for one of the first times) feel good about this past year. It’s odd because I am so neurotic that I am even hesitant to make that statement. But that is how I am feeling—yes it is in waves, and only when the waves of panic pass, but for me, this is really big.
Sure there are things I would change and goals I have not yet attained. But this summer has been really wonderful, and for me, walking into my twenty-fourth birthday sort of feels… okay. Okay with a big side of panic and unsure tension, of course, because hello I am me and I don’t want to have to take my life more seriously and think about things like job security and adult relationships and savings. But still, I feel… ready? It was like this summer has allowed me to feel this way and for that I am truly grateful. I feel prepared to take the next steps that I have to take to achieve my goals for twenty-four.
Plus, in a way, twenty-four sounds like a very sexy age.
“Hello, yes, I am twenty-four, what’s that? My table is ready even though I didn’t make a reservation? Of course it is. Champagne? Sure I’ll have some.”
It sounds more grounded than twenty-three, which can still have connotations of…
“Hello, yes I am twenty-three and, what do you mean you don’t serve onion rings here? What’s that? Okay yes, sometimes I throw up after I’ve had too much to drink, what does that have to do with anything?”
Anyway, I’d still rather it not have come up so quickly, but since it is here, I guess I’ll try to take it in stride without my head blowing up. And as I make everyone do (Some more begrudgingly than others) I shall muddle over my goals for twenty-four.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sample Blog I wrote for Chief Magazine

Blog 2 – This town is going straight to Hell

So last night I was using my laptop in Aroma coffee shop (since the asshole that I used to steal wireless from had the audacity to move or die or some other lame excuse for not providing me with free internet any longer), minding my own business, when a whole bunch of police cars started parking on Greene Street.
Now, although the flashing lights were an annoyance and a general indication of something gone terribly wrong, I decided to pay no mind.
Like any true American hero, I generally make it my policy to ignore whatever is going on until it directly affects me or my personal space.
So I continued with my imperative Facebook Profile updating until even more cop cars showed up, now accompanied by what looked to be hoards of very agitated people.
The thin Asian man on the laptop next to me turned away from his Jonathan Rhys Myers background and touched my arm. (Now affecting my personal space, I was forced to address the situation.)
“What is going on?” he quivered.
I sighed dramatically. “I don’t know, I don’t know! Alright, let’s find out.”
“Oh yes,” he nodded, happy enough to be the Joe to my Frank Hardy.
Hopping off of our stools we made our way to the front of the shop, shoving open the glass doors with some difficulty as the street was now teaming with what was, upon closer inspection, about a hundred teenaged girls. Strong-arming a few in the face I paved a path for my companion and myself, only to be stopped dead in our tracks about five feet through the unruly crowd. A piercing scream came from my left side as I realized that the world was ending; the monster from Cloverfield was finally as real as I had told everyone he was, and he was already dining on Yuppies in the West Village.
More screams rose all around as the crowd surged forward, knocking me to the floor. Asian Joe Hardy grabbed my arm and shouted into my ear…
“It’s the Jonas Brothers!”
My mind raced. I knew the name from somewhere, perhaps Americas Most Wanted? Terrorists? Criminal masterminds? Evil scientists? A thirteen year old sobbed into her cell phone as she ran by. Dear God.
“They are a boy band, from Disney. They are sworn virgins!” he shouted, rushing head first into the crowd of girls who were now chasing a black Chevy Suburban down the block, tearing their hair in madness.
I remained on the floor as the crowd thinned around me, all rushing down West Houston in a mass of maniacal passion. Two girls on the street corner furiously waved a cardboard sign that read “We love you Nick” and did not read “Recovering prostitutes and meth-addicts please spare some change” as I had previously assumed.
“They are the Beatles of this generation,” a plump mother explained to a terrified looking father as their daughter ran into the street while grabbing at her chest.
Virgins? Sweet lord, I thought, this town is going straight to hell.

Friday, August 8, 2008 designer profiles

Designer Profile
Diana Widman
Diana Widman Design

Diana Widman began her career as a bookbinder and a printmaker. This passion for paper and fabric is extremely evident in her work; Widman’s ‘Gold and Silver Linen’ collection actually has the look of paper or fabric. Using a style called fold-forming, this Montana artist has been able to create pieces that are innovative in their whimsical designs. This softness affects even the texture of the pieces, which are smooth and silky to the touch. Her other pieces also utilize these fluid lines and shapes, as seen in her ‘Squiggle Collection.’ Widman often uses pearls, gems, and diamonds, and takes great pride in combining stones that are not often seen together. This ‘mixed company’ technique piques a sense of curiosity that will surely have wearers answering questions about their jewelry time and time again. “Elegance for Every Day” is the motto that Widman attempts to uphold with her work, as she believes that her pieces are perfect for that transition from day at work to night out on the town.

Designer Profile
Donna Distefano
Donna Distefano Ltd.

Once the senior goldsmith for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Donna Distefano brings an amazing amount of experience and background to her work. She has been in business for over fifteen years, and her jewelry has appeared on the red carpet and in the pages of countless magazies such as InStyle, Gotham, and Modern Bride. Distefano’s lines are all created by hand, and her Amor Fati line has become a big name in the bridal market. Harnessing trends and styles from the renaissance era, Distefano’s pieces feature intricate scrollwork, medallions, gemstones, and rich colors. The collections highlight her preference for deep colors, and many pieces are ornamented with rich blues and reds. One of her most intriguing endeavors is a necklace made from an actual portrait, recreated in miniatures and placed on a 22k gold pendant. Distefano’s work is for the woman who wants a piece that combines the old with the new a piece that can be passed through the generations.

Designer Profile

Gintare Kizys
Gintare Jewelry

Although Gintare Kizys is a new face at the JA Jewelry Show, her designs seem to stretch back to medieval times. Kizys’ line, Gintare, is reminiscent of the jewelry and detailing that we see in the Bayeux Tapestries. Her use of crosses, fleur-de-lis, angels, and chalices are all capable of transporting us to another era. When speaking with the willowy blond Lithuanian, she refers to dynasties and historical events as her inspiration; she clearly pulls her muses from religions and traditions of the past.

Kizys often uses 18k white, rose, and yellow gold, making her work delicate and somehow simple in its detailing. Many of her pieces feature precious and rare stones, which are enfolded into the gold in a soft and tender way. One of the most striking Gintare pieces is a ring with quartz, and within the stone there are small water bubbles; details such as these pull you in to Kizys’ designs and keep you entranced.
One of Gintare’s signature pieces is the interlocking ring. Patterned with the fleur-de-lis and spotted with stones, this piece (like most of Kizys’ pieces) is unisex. Composed of several layers, the ring can be taken apart and worn separately, or mixed and matched with other interlocking rings of assorted colors. This creativity and depth gives all of Kizys’ pieces a sense of history and purpose that harnesses the past but brings forth a breath or fresh air.

Designer Profile
Lena Sklyut
Lena Sklyut Fine Jewelry and Accessories

Lena Sklyut’s jewelry is impossible to ignore. Love it or hate it, her pieces are made to be noticed. As an American designer of Russian descent, Sklyut brings forth two separate backgrounds and mixes them together into her eclectic line. This is statement jewelry, fully adorned with snakes, skulls, and spiders. Most pieces are made of 18k gold or sterling silver and feature a dominant LS symbol. These large rings, bracelets, and necklaces are often ornamented with diamonds or semiprecious stones, and are quite large in their sizes. Sklyut’s color choices are often regal in their combination; many of her pieces feature dominant pinks and reds, or diamonds and gold. “This is one of a kind jewelry for a one of a kind woman,” Sklyut says. “It is for a woman who can handle attention and wants it.” The five different Lena Sklyut lines feature many unique limited edition pieces, ranging in themes from the depth of the ocean, to symbols of love and prosperity. The lines also feature other accessories including belts, money clips, and pendants. Sklyut’s jewelry is powerful and bold, and not to be worn by the meek.

Designer Profile
Sonja Picard
The Sonja Picard Collection

The Sonja Picard Collection boasts over 300 pieces, each with a different meaning. This Canadian designer creates pieces that honor the ancient yogic concepts and call upon its mantras. Picard practices yoga for the mind, and believes that her jewelry allows for a connection to meditation throughout the day. Pieces are first hand-carved in wax and then produced in multi-color 14k gold adorned with various gemstones and diamonds. Each item is then inscribed with divine symbols, Sanskrit mantras, or celestial images. Some of the pieces, like her ‘Om Shanti’ necklace, have both Sanskrit writing on one side and English on the other. What makes Picard’s jewelry stand out is the spirituality that emanates from each item; she is a practicing bhakti Yogini and she has created jewelry that is deeply rooted in those beliefs. These items range from studio to couture, allowing you to practice your ‘art of adornment’ wherever you go.

Designer ProfilesKristin HansonKristin Hanson Jewelry
Jewelry available on
With designs inspired by the raw beauty of our earth, Kristin Hanson's jewelry lines are flawless embodiments of the natural elements that surround us. Each piece is motivated by an organic object and the names of her collections reflect this theme: Sea, Petal, Rain, Bone and Forrest. Most of Hanson’s work is made with 18K gold and silver, but each piece is cast from actual organic materials; the designer first molds her pieces in bone, coral, and shells, giving them the shape and feel of nature. She then adds gems and precious stones, enhancing these forms to reflect the beauty of the objects. This handmade process allows for incredibly intricate details.

A multitalented woman, Hanson is not only a designer; she also owns and runs her own school. The Kristin Hanson Fine Jewelry School (located in New York City) teaches students of all different skill levels, and classes range from learning fundamentals to producing your own designs. Even with so much going on, Hanson still strives for more, saying “I hope to continue to develop my collection, open a signature store and build up my school on an international level.”

my UnVogue Informer articles

Red White and Blue Issue

American Models

I see models, everywhere. It’s almost as if they are following me, taunting me with their unbelievably long legs and increasingly young age. As fashion week rolls around, the West Village is overrun with all of these lanky youngsters; they are certainly hard to miss in a crowd. But what always strikes me most about these pretty young things is the fluid stream of French/Spanish/Russian drifting over from their conversations. It seems that American runways have become a giant melting pot for models from all over the globe, leaving the natives in what seems to be the minority. But fear not patriotic readers, for there are still a ton of up-and-comers who hail from the US of A.
Jordan Richardson was born in Norfolk, Virginia and graced the cover of our very first issue of UNVOGUE. Hailing from Colleyville, Texas, Ali Michael is another American model to watch. Besides starring in numerous Vogue editorials, Ali has made her name known for speaking out against the pressures to be thin in the fashion industry. Chanel Iman is an Atlanta, Georgia native, who appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue and has been photographed by Annie Leibowitz. Some more established American models like Bridget Hall have crossed over into Hollywood, appearing in films like The Devil Wears Prada and The Outsider. So keep your eyes peeled for these American beauties as they continue to flourish.

Dieu Ex Machina

There is a new brand in the world of luxury sportswear, and the clothes are a striking as the name. Dieu Ex Machina’s designs are clean and effortless, but capture a dark spirit. The label is the brainchild of Carissa Knapp and Thulinh France, two designers who met while studying at Parsons School of Design. They launched their line in the Gen Art Styles 2008 in New York City and plan to reintroduce the line in the fall of 2009. Both Knapp and France feel that their mission is to keep the customer in mind; they find the Dieu Ex Machina woman is moody and wild but also very fresh. The label’s lines are rather androgynous in their silhouettes, but still manage to capture a sense of femininity with their sensual fabrics and furs.

American artists

At the moment there are a plethora of young Americans dominating the arts scene. None have had their names become more synonymous with the youth of New York than Ryan McGinley. Originally a New Jersey to New York transplant, Ryan’s photography has been lauded for capturing the voice of our generation with particular focus on those who remain on the outsides of the norm. At 24 he was the youngest artist to ever have a solo show in the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2003 he was named photographer of the year by American Photo Magazine and in 2007 he received the ICP Infinity Award for best Young Photographer. His photographs often feature nudes in motion surrounded by large still spaces; his ability to capture his subjects is apparent in the New York Times Magazine Oscar Portfolio in which he shot the likes of Paul Dano and Ellen Page. Part of McGinley’s fame must be credited to his friendship with Dash Snow, another young American artist known more for his graffiti, outlandish behavior, and dominant roll in the New York social scene. The two were featured together on the cover of New York Magazine in 2007. In the upcoming year McGinley will be holding a number of solo gallery shows ranging from California to Portugal to Greece, truly spreading his vision of American youth and sub-culture all across the globe.

American dreams

The USA has been taking it hard lately. Between the war, the economy, and the President, our stock is not at its highest. Yet America has always been and still remains the land of opportunity. As natives we forget the vast opportunities that are open to us, and how lucky we are to have all that we do. Artists, writers, painters, students, teachers, parents, and children from all over the world still regard coming to America as a new chance and a new place to start a life. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the young talent that has journeyed to our shores to find success in their chosen fields. Gonzalo Garcia immigrated to California from Zaragoza, Spain after being selected by the San Franscisco Ballet School. He is now a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet. Junot Diaz moved from Santo Domingo to New Jersey when he was a child. In 2007 his first novel was published; The Brief and Wondrous life of Oscar Wao won the Pulitzer Prize as well as several other prestigious awards. Actor Dijimon Hounsou left Benin at age 13 and is now a naturalized US citizen. Hounsou has had leading roles in a variety of films, is the face of Calvin Klein underwear, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in two separate roles. These people came to American soils to achieve their goals, and we are all the more lucky that they did.

American Bands

The music of the 1960’s was heavy with political messages and societal commentary. Sadly, few bands of today harness that same passion and urgency towards making a change; it seems that the music of the millennium is more focused on money, fame, broken hearts, and sex. The Dixie Chicks are a standout among a sea of misogynistic lyrics, brainless whines, and pop beats. Attacking all facets of media and art, this country music trio has sung out their messages loud and clear. To be fair, the Chicks weren’t always this politically charged; their battles began after lead singer Natalie Maines made an anti war/anti Bush statement during a concert in London. After this incident there was a boycott of the Chicks’ music, and three years of drama surrounded their every move. In 2006 the Chicks released a documentary called Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing, which followed the girls through these years of abuse and accusations. The Chicks went on to win five Grammy Awards in 2007, and gained their positive public image back, now with political depth. Currently the ladies are taking a break, but still continue updating their ever-popular MySpace page with letters and discussions about government and society.

American Food

When I was studying in Australia, the question that I got asked most often was “How bad is American food?” Apparently it was assumed that I survived on white bread and processed meats, pizza slices, and the occasional gallon of soda. It took a while to convince my classmates that I came from some of the best food in the world, and that perhaps they should be questioning some of their own palate choices, such as meat pies and vegemite. When I think of American food I cannot help but spend time salivating over the Bromberg brothers’ Blue Ribbon restaurants. The brothers were originally born in New Jersey, but left the country to attend culinary school in France. In 1992 they returned home to open Blue Ribbon in New York City. Soon after seeing the immense success of the restaurant, the brothers went on to open sister eateries, including Blue Ribbon Sushi, and Blue Ribbon Bakery. Spanning throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, these immensely popular restaurants cater to whatever urge you have; their menus stretch from wine to beer, oxtail marmalade to fried chicken. The Bromberg brothers take pride in their American background, and feel as though it contributed greatly to their techniques and therefore their success both in New York and abroad at school. While enjoying their duck sandwich and a side cheese platter, I could not agree more.

my UNvogue columns

Green Issue

The Informer Goes Green
Gabrielle Sierra- UNVOGUE Issue 2

Green Feet
Natalie Portman is one of my all-time favorite brilliant babes. As smart as she is
beautiful, the young actress can now add Green Designer to her ever growing resume.
Ms. Portman has teamed up with the vegan shoe line Te Casan (‘A Woman’s Path’) and
created her own collection. I had a vegan roommate in college; she wore a lot of
hemp and kept her pants up with a long lanyard necklace. Needless to say, I didn’t come
away with the best image of vegan fashion. The phrase ‘vegan shoes’ conjures to mind
some sort of cloth sandals decorated with pinecones and leaves. But Natalie Portman’s Te
Casan shoe line ranges from flats to high heels, and is made from various satins and faux-
patents, not dirt and sand. Although some of the shoes may seem a bit pricey (most of the
heels run at around $265.00 per pair), this limited edition line is certainly a wonderful
step in the right direction. Just don’t wear them with your snake skin jacket.

Recycling is a girl’s best friend
Talk about trash becoming a treasure! Your recycling has never looked better thanks to the smarty-pants at Cool Planet Jewelry. The company has partnered with to produce a line of entirely eco-friendly designs created from recycled precious materials. Celebrities like Sheryl Crow and Kristin Cavallari have been sporting the recycled gold, silver, and platinum jewelry, which features the Stop Global Warming insignia. These simple pieces come in both men’s and women’s, and what they lack in intricacy they made up for in purpose, as fifty percent of the proceeds are donated. The straightforward style would go great with a plain white t-shirt and pieces range from $35.00 to $450.00. Even the website itself is green, as it is run on solar power and all orders are sent in hemp packaging.

Radiohead tours naturally
Summer is coming and so is the wave of music festivals that go along with the warm weather. Music lovers everywhere have already begun buying their tickets for events, eagerly positioned at the edge of their seats in anticipation for the outdoor concerts, drum circles, and overpriced falafels. But rumor has it that eco-friendly rock band Radiohead will not be performing at this year’s Glastonbury Music Festival in England. Lead singer (and my future husband) Thom Yorke has said that the band will not participate in any festivals or events that do not provide public transportation for its attendees. The Glastonbury Festival website does suggest some other means of reaching the grounds including ‘lift sharing’ and the frightening idea of hitchhiking; however, they are one of the few large festivals that will not be providing any public bus or car transportation. Radiohead has long been active in trying to reduce its carbon footprint on the world. In the past Yorke has stated that he has a hard time dealing with the harsh environmental impact of touring, and it seems that the band has begun to take action with their new 2008 schedule. Radiohead will be playing many other festivals and venues around the world, so get your bongo drums ready.
Treat yourself (and the earth)
Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to go hand in hand with limiting your luxury. Nowadays many top resorts are being designed with going green in mind. No longer will you feel required to go camping and roast organic tofu hot-dogs; these vacations are crafted for style, adventure, comfort, and relaxation. Chaa Creek was one of the first eco-lodges opened in Belize and now has a spa, horseback riding, and a five star rating. El Nido Resort in the Philippines is also a turtle sanctuary, and therefore provides amazing diving opportunities to its guests. Vacations aren’t the only way to green the luxury in your life; you can indulge in fine dining while still going green. allows you to find eco-friendly restaurants of all different cuisines in all different areas. Or you can green your massage and facial treatments at an eco-friendly spa, many of which are listed on Thanks to these various environmentally sound services, being eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you ever have to give up your favorite treats.

Models lend a hand
It’s not just designers who are getting in on the Green Movement; models are showing their environmentally friendly side as well. Super-beauty Cindy Crawford is teaming up with PUR Water Filtration and launching a new campaign called “Thirsty for a Change”. This program aims to cut down on the massive amount of water bottles that are piled up in garbage dumps everyday. Natalia Vodianova is another model who is striving to make the world a better place. In 2007 she was a part of Al Gore’s ‘The Climate Project’, through which she designed an organic tee shirt. She is also the board president of the Naked Heart foundation, an organization that was created to fund and construct play parks around Russia. Summer Rayne Oakes shows that beauty, brains, and a green lifestyle can all go hand in hand; Summer is an environmental scientist and a model who travels the world participating in sustainable development programs. These ladies aren’t just pretty on the outside; they are making wonderful steps to help our earth and raise awareness.

Want to go green but don’t know where to start? Look no further than, a site entirely dedicated to Green event listings. Sorted by date, time, type, and location, this site makes it hard to find an excuse not to get involved. Contributors are able to post their listings for all types of events, ranging from arts to business, health to design; visitors are able to search and link to their exact interests.
Larry Sheehy is the creator of, and he is just as warm and kind as you would expect a green-site-maker to be. “For now I would say the main purpose of the site is to increase awareness of the sustainability of the revolution/green living movement by way of publicizing the events of this growing-by-the-day revolution.” He places all credit into the hands of Ida Tremblay, the creator of the green living expo aptly and originally named Ecopalooza. Larry has high hopes for the green revolution. “Simplify, Switch and Join together in cooperation!” Larry says. “The easiest and most effective ways we can green our lives is to simplify by purchasing fewer things and when we buy, buy recycled or green. Switch to a plant based diet and eat as local as possible. Join in a community and cooperation with our neighbors to create cooperative green ventures that promote green living. If there’s not a green living event near you, then think about creating one. Let a thousand Ecopaloozas Bloom!”