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#172: Lunch

November 15, 2011

In Chimayo, NM, there’s only one place to get your lunch.  I’m not being figurative.  There’s really only once place to get your lunch.  So go to Ranchero de Chimayo and enjoy it.  The Road to Taos is a long one, and you’ll need the fuel.  And the guacamole.  And the prickly pear frozen lemonade.

Backlogging through a summer’s worth of photos has me hankering…

Cookin’ up summer, all year round.

#171: Stories

October 24, 2011

I haven’t thought much about ISV this autumn.  A bit obvious, but life is real outside the boundaries of the internet, and sometimes it needs ones full focus.  But the loving comments of those that read ISV, the awesome emails, y’all bring me back when I stray away.  There’s still so much old, natural beauty lying around, enough to keep me interested in sharing things with you; I’m grateful to know that there are so many likeminded spirits out there with remote interest in the pretty little/big things and nuanced details that keep things real for me.  Thank you.

In New Mexico in August my friend Ed helped me find this old Navajo squash blossom necklace.  He tells me that the naja (crescent shaped pendant) and the smooth beads, along with the silver “blossoms” date from around or before World War I.  The fluted, melon shaped beads date from the 1930’s.  We suspect that the necklace belonged to a child, and when the child grew up, they added more beads to the necklace so that they might grow old together.  Whether the stories are real or supposed, they’re what make things special.


#170: Sky

September 12, 2011

The sky looks different out there.

Each sunset and passing rainstorm provides a textile of lights and darks, colors and shapes I sometimes forget exist in nature.  To feel so often in awe, those evenings under the skies of New Mexico were rich with gratefulness and inspiration.

#169: Made in California

September 5, 2011

Call me sentimental, but “Made in USA” means more than built to last, polished with elbow grease.  It means good vibes.  My favorite sneaks of all time, the Vans Authentic, were once made in California–where good vibes come from.  In 1994 Vans began manufacturing overseas.

Vans Authentics circa early 1980’s, and appropriately patriotic:

Here’s how you can tell an old pair of Vans from a new pair:

– Made in USA on footbed

– Made is USA on back heel

– More narrow, markedly pointier

Currently and happily working through my seventh pair of Authentics, each pair like a notch on my belt.  Getting older ain’t so bad, really.  Do you remember your first pair of Vans?  Do they bring you back?  If you haven’t, find yourself a trusty old pair and enjoy them.  Wear them out.  It’ll feel good.

#168: Faces of Chimayo, New Mexico

August 31, 2011

Michael lives in Chimayo, New Mexico.  He was born there, as was his daddy before him.  In the 1970’s he moved to another New Mexico town, and another after that, but after his mother passed he returned to Chimayo to start his own family.  Clover, at center below, “the cute one” as Michael calls her, is the matriarch of the brood.  Her eight-week old grandpuppies will be sold for $100 each.  Michael thinks he’ll call the one with white feet White Socks.  As we said goodbye he took my hand and wished me “a beautiful day.”

Down the road I met Carlitos, from whom I bought some dried pepper and spices.  He had me put a pistachio shell-sized helping of each different spice in my mouth along with a “Mexican Clam” (the pistachio nut itself) while thoughtfully heeding my warning that anything too spicy would send me running.  He said that his photo hadn’t been taken since 1989 and so preferred to keep it that way.  His son Adam, however, was much more inclined to pose.

Carlitos noticed my gray Chimayo purse  and beckoned his sister over, a former weaver and current silver worker.  She received her Masters in social work but chose to live in Chimayo and practice her traditional craft.  She told me that their grandmother was a Chimayan weaver in the 1940’s, at the same time that my purse was woven in their town.  Their shop and outdoor spice market is located across the the dusty way from the Potrero Trading Post and El Santuario, the town’s beloved shrine built in 1856.  There you can scoop from a pile of Holy Dirt to use as you please.  I didn’t scoop, but my friend brought some back for her grandmother.

There’s something about a one-horse town.  You can spend a long time searching for its stories.


#167: Row

August 15, 2011

I found this row bracelet in a dusty little Nevada town last year.  The deep blue-green of its turquoise stones reminds me of the Southwestern night sky in that moment just after the sun sets, the vastness illuminated just before everything goes dark.

The lady with whom I found it said she believed it to be a Zuni piece from the 1940’s.  I think it looks more like old Navajo, with its crude bezels and rough character.  It’s  the imperfections that make things special.

It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that Native American artisans were caused to stamp their pieces with their initials or silver quality.  If you’re looking for something old, remember this important bit as you go along your travels.

In Navajo symbolism the circle signifies life.  I’ve written this over and over but it always feels good to do it again: turquoise protects the body and the spirit, and brings us health and happiness.  Go on and find yourself a nice little piece.

I just received the happy news that I’ll be taking an impromptu trip out to New Mexico next week.  That blue-green Southwestern sky is all mine.  Land of Enchantment, here I come…

#166: Sidewalk surf

August 11, 2011
Behold the sickest auction on eBay in the Universe:
Tony Alva for Logan Earth Ski
For real?  Not even kidding?
From the seller: “FOR REAL. I’m not EVEN Kidding. When TA started Alva Skates, he was done with Logan Earth Ski and gave me this shirt in 1977 when we were roommates for about 6 months up in Malibu. This is the real deal…It needs to be in a Museum as it has some rips and tears, but it’s still one of the Rarest and Coolest Skateboard Tee Shirts ever! Ridden at Wallos and many Pool Sessions, only Logan Team Riders ever got one of these…”
Gotta at least try, so I of course lowballed the guy with a friendly offer and got this response: “Hey Man, thanks for the offer but I can’t do it…this really is a museum item so I am having it professionally mounted in a shadow box with the shot of TA wearing it complete with a letter of Authenticity.”
If ya gotta have it, go on and get it.

#165: Shredability

July 25, 2011

I’ve recently taken up skateboarding (inquiring minds: I ride goofy) and my daydreams are now pretty much limited to imagining how high I might be able to ollie one day and wondering which Vans are the sickest (Classics are, of course).   I’m a summer baby and I wasn’t about to let another birthday come to pass without learning to “shred”, or at least getting myself to a place where I can at least think about being able to “shred” one day.  High shredability, very important!

Loyal Dean makes the most beautiful boards I have ever seen.  Born in California, made in the USA and designed by nature, their thing is “40% reclaimed lumber, organic-where-the-wind-goes-design and a surplus of buttery smooth downhill asphalt rolling
toward the horizon line.”

“We’re master craftsmen, designers and woodworkers for 25 combined years.  So when it comes to working with wood, we know our craft.  We know design.  And we, well, know our wood.  Simply put, the reputation we’ve earned as maestro woodmen is also ideal for creating and crafting premium wooden skateboards.” – Loyal Dean

Check them out and think about saving up for one.  This is what I’m getting for my birthday next year.

Here’s two more skate links, daydreams to the tune of reality:

Skate this house

Pool paint

#164: Ammo

June 15, 2011

More from London: Leather bag ca. 1930’s, probably a variation on a cartridge bag and used to hold extra ammunition while out on the hunt, designed to take a good beating out in the field.  It’s ladylike and manly at the same time, and you know I always like to fall somewhere in between.  Well suited to hold all types of ammo (including red lipstick).

Leather aged 80+ years has ineffably cool qualities and nuances, every year adds another dimension to the texture and color.

Silver plated hardware, lovely patina to the strap.

This bag came from The Vintage Emporium, tucked away in Shoreditch, and home to the most incredible collection of dresses from the 1900’s – 1930’s that I had ever seen, like eyes-a-poppin’.  If you’re in town and ya like the frocks, mark an X on this spot.  Also a very nice selection of leather goods and small but nice offering of mens.  Cute scruffy doggies, too, will give you kisses, and when don’t you need some of those.

#163: So Into It

June 14, 2011

In my experience, men with thick, white mustaches know a thing or two about life.  When they start telling you about love, how to cook mussels, or what you should be drinking, you listen.

One such man advised me to pick up The Root by Art in the Age out of Philadelphia at his wine and liquor shop off of Columbus Circle in Manhattan.  As authentic as it gets, and particularly zippy, this tasty stock is something that any of us “adults” who have ever enjoyed a frosty mug of root beer can be stoked on.  Coolest back story on this one, check out the story of The Root:


Here’s my take on The Root:

– 1 part The Root

– 1 part Fentiman’s Ginger Beer

– Topped off with Reed’s Premium Ginger Brew to taste (in my concoction, this is 2 parts Reed’s.  I’m not very tough.)

Put a chunky slice of ginger in the bottom of the glass for garnish and pour the concoction over a couple of rocks.  Summer sippin’.


I love this branding.

Locate The Root here and also look for Snap, their recipe based on the orginal ginger snap.

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