The Karen Section of Town

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Those of you who knew me in the ’90s know this about me, but for the rest of you, let me paint you a picture of what my life was like.  I taught art at a middle school that was an hour drive from home, so a typical Friday looked like this:  get up at 5:30 am, leave the house at 6:30 to be at work at 7:30; work until 3:30 pm, get home at 4:30; go to the gym for two hours.  Clean my room (or not).

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At around 10:00 pm, I would drive to Armory Square.  No plans – I just knew my friends would be out.  They always started at a bar called Witherspoon’s (not there anymore), and somehow we would hop around until 2:00 am then go to a Denny’s.  So I would pretty much do a twenty-four hour day!

Crazy times.

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But before that – in the ’80s…dating myself…I worked at Bryant & Stratton teaching Fashion Merchandising.  Yes, I was a professor.  I used to frequent Armory Square when it was a sort of derelict meets artsy neighborhood.  There was a frame shop on the corner of the main intersection called I’ve Been Framed (where I met a very beautiful guy named Mike).  I got my bed (that I still sleep in) at the Antique Underground on E. Fayette St. at a basement shoppe that reeked of mold, lol.

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When I told my cousin Nick the story of how I got a flat tire on E. Fayette Street (nearly thirty years ago) across from what is now The Black Olive restaurant – how there was no one to help me.  Every man who walked by was either blind or crippled, or missing an arm it seemed.

It was just super weird, I know.  And there were no cell phones, so I tried calling for help from the pay phone but the line was busy because there was also no call-waiting back then.  I should also preface this by saying it was raining that day and I was wearing a white linen suit complete with a pencil skirt, stockings and heels…and I am still unwilling to learn how to change a flat tire, lol…. When I got one this past summer, I still called my dad.  One of these days I should get AAA….

Anyhow, to make a short story long, as I have been known to do, in around 1986 or ’87, Nick started calling Armory Square the Karen section of town.

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The Karen section of town has changed a lot since then.  Lots of restaurant chains, as well as local haunts that are GREAT.  There’s a Starbucks and a Subway along with Kitty Hoynes, Blue Tusk, Empire Brewing Company, Pastabilities, The Bistro Elephant….

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There’s Jet Black, an amazing clothing shop where I bought my very first Trina Turk top, which is still one of my favorites to this day (bought in ’98 or ’99).  And now (drum roll)- THERE IS AN ART CO-OP CALLED ARMORY ARTWORKS!

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They had a grand opening that I missed, even though it said I went to it on Facebook.  I click that I am going everywhere and I don’t always follow through.  But I rectified that today.

My friend Janine and I took a stroll around the block, had lunch at the Empire Brewing Company and visited the gallery.

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The address is 136 Walton Street, Syracuse, NY.  It is an upstairs venue so I am going to say I do not think it is handicapped-accessible.  I mean, I did not remember seeing an elevator.  But if that is not an issue, once upstairs you will find an array of decorative and functional pieces by local artists.

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From what I understand, there are a couple of ways one can join the co-op. There is a $120 per month cover to be a member.  There is also a part-time scenario where you help (wo)man the place, ring register, and allow a 40% commission off sales of your art.

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Hours of operation:

11:00 am – 6:00 pm  Monday-Wednesday

11:00 am – 7:00 pm  Thursday

11:00 am – 8:00 pm  Friday-Saturday

noon – 5:00 pm  Sunday

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It is really beautifully merchandised and the prices are surprisingly reasonable.  Several of my friends are selling work there – Barbara Vural, Wendy Harris, Amy Bartell.  You can get art that has been printed on notecards for only $3.00 each or four for $10.00.   I usually do this then put the cards in frames if I cannot afford the originals.  It’s a great way to start an art collection.

Bracelets for under $40.00; hand-made sweaters, scarves, pottery, paintings, prints, you name it!  There’s really something for everyone!

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If you haven’t yet purchased original art for your home, I really urge you to do so.  There’s nothing better than owning something made with love, something made by a neighbor.  I don’t know – the comaraderie of friendship is a great gift, I think.  There is so much good here that I feel like we all benefit from the experience.

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So, if you find yourself in the Karen section of town, please visit this amazing place!  And if you get there soon, you’ll have a chance at a $25 gift certificate prize – no purchase necessary!

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For more information, call them at (315) 870-3408 or visit their website armoryartworks.com

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They are also on Facebook – find them here.

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Pizza & Art

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I’m not much of a drinker – I have a glass of wine socially, maybe, like, once a month (if that). I don’t really love the way it tastes and it gives me a headache afterwards so it’s not my “cup of tea”.  And for that matter, alcohol in general.

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I don’t eat bread or cheese.  I don’t like spicy foods or garlic….  For these obvious reasons and probably others of which I am not yet fully aware, I rarely date Italian men for very long periods of time, lol.  No wine, pasta, or pizza…no ice cream either.   Am just not an Italian foodie, or foodie in general.

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So what was I doing at a pizza-themed art show last night?

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Yeah – there was a pop-up art exhibition last night at Spark gallery on Fayette Street in Syracuse, New York.  Called The Passion of the Crust.

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A tenner got me in to see pizza paintings and sculptures.

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Many were painted on these pizza paddles.  I loved the concept!  It reminded me of a Project Runway fashion design challenge, only with artwork.

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This would be a great art lesson for my Studio in Art students (or at least a sketchbook homework assignment)!

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Some of the interpretations were kind of macabre…

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And some quite literal.

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Because it had been planned for the day after Christmas, many used religion to get their pizza messages across…

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It really was a great concept.  Dozens of artists sharing work on the walls in the gallery space.  Music and pizza slices available in the back room.

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A lot of the pieces had sold tickets on them, which was great, but unfortunately, there was no literature available as to making future purchases.  I guess that is the very nature of a one-night only event. It’s kind of like a happening of sorts and I commend these artists on making this event happen.  Syracuse has some really cool artsy people and part of what I am attempting to do with this blog is to make everyone aware of that.  To bring the art scene to the public in a way that the regular Joe can understand it, like it, buy it, live with it, love it, etc.

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The only person I knew there was Steve Nyland (above with the blue hair).  He is an artist and art curator who lives and works in Syracuse and in Utica, New York.  He said that many of these artists were from the Utica area.

Steve is curating a Star Wars and Star Trek art-themed show at the Syracuse Tech Garden next month!  (Perfect timing, don’t you think?)

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I really hope they decide to take this show on the road – like, get it seen in other venues, maybe a pizza shoppe or two.  Get it resurrected?  Call it The Dough Also Rises.  Tastes like a plan….

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Sandals in Syracuse in December!

Banana Republic cardigan, Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria top, BCBGGeneration sandals
Banana Republic cardigan, Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria top, BCBGGeneration sandals

I am officially starting my Christmas vacation!  Wore this holiday look today.  My new BCBG Max Azria pants with my favorite top and a sweater I never wear, lol.  But my absolute favorite part of the above look is that I could wear sandals to work today!  It is sixty degrees in Syracuse.  Yes.  On December 23rd!  Last year at this time we had a bunch of snow.  A week later we had these cray-cray sub zero temps!

Banana Republic cardigan and pants, Bailey 44 top, BCBGGeneration sandals
Banana Republic cardigan and pants, Bailey 44 top, BCBGGeneration sandals

I am LOVING this warm weather.  Green Christmas, here I come.

Banana Republic cardigan, Banana Republic dress, Nine West booties
Banana Republic cardigan, Banana Republic dress, Nine West booties
Banana Republic cardigan, Trina Turk dress, Nine West booties
Banana Republic cardigan, Trina Turk dress, Nine West booties

After Christmas, I am going to put on my thinking cap and start making future art plans.  I expect to concentrate on this art career of mine.  I should have bigged myself up a few weeks ago – I could have sold some art and merchandise from my redbubble.com site.  You can still buy it, just not in time for Christmas.  Oh well.

Ann Taylor cashmere sweater, Bailey 44 skirt, Nine West boots
Ann Taylor cashmere sweater, Bailey 44 skirt, Nine West boots

Happy holidays!

Tashionista’s Trinkets & Boots

BCBGMaxAzria top, pants and belt, BCBGGeneration sandals
BCBGMaxAzria top, pants and belt, BCBGGeneration sandals

I’ve been in a whirlwind of social activity, including art stuff – like I went to Plowshares, an art show at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, NY over the weekend.  I went there to shop for Christmas gifts because I am a firm believer in buying local.

BCBGMaxAzria dress, Nine West boots
BCBGMaxAzria dress, Nine West boots

The vendor in particular – Michelle DaRin.  Michelle is a jewelry designer and I absolutely love her work!  She often does art shows and fairs but you can also find her work here.  For Christmas, she is offering different specials every day.

Lord & Taylor cashmere cardigan, Rachel Roy top, Champion yoga pants, Nine West booties
Lord & Taylor cashmere cardigan, Rachel Roy top, Champion yoga pants, Nine West booties

I also stumbled upon a great boot sale at ninewest.com.  On Black Friday, they had 50% off boots then an additional 20% off that, so, I bought lots.  Not that I needed them, of course, but now that I am fashion blogging, I just desire new things.  Curbing spending will be a New Year’s resolution…or not.  I say it in my head then go – nah!

JCrew sweater, Banana Republic skirt, Nine West booties
JCrew sweater, Banana Republic skirt, Nine West booties

Most of my waking hours are spent on bcbg.com.  They have 60% off stuff!  Just bought a top, and pants that I haven’t worn yet.  As you can see, my new belt has been in heavy rotation these past two weeks!

JCrew cardigan, Trina Turk dress, BCBGMaxAzria belt, Nine West boots
JCrew cardigan, Trina Turk dress, BCBGMaxAzria belt, Nine West boots

I see Amanda LaDue at Miracles in Fayetteville, NY every three weeks.  She added more highlights to my hair to the point that my blonde sister asked me if I was single-white-femaling her, lol.  We are definitely twinning right now!

Trina Turk dress, Steve Madden boots
Trina Turk dress, Steve Madden boots

I took my sister’s yoga class for the first time ever.  She is an instructor at O Yoga.  It was really pretty amazing!  I am a pilates girl but I think Sophie is about to convert me to yogini – nah!, well…maybe….

Lord & Taylor cardigan, Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk pants, Nine West booties
Lord & Taylor cardigan, Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk pants, Nine West booties

Trina Turk was doing 30% off stuff.  What you need to do is get on the emailing list so that you can receive invitations for all the special sales.

BCBGMaxAzria dress and belt, Ralph Lauren boots
BCBGMaxAzria dress and belt, Ralph Lauren boots

I am not sure what is up next – there are loads of craft fairs going on.  A new art gallery in Armory Square and several art exhibitions that I have been invited to attend through my connections on Facebook.

Banana Republic cardigan and pants, Bailey 44 top, BCBGGeneration booties
Banana Republic cardigan and pants, Bailey 44 top, BCBGGeneration booties

As for my own work, I will wait for whatever comes my way in the new year.  I am planning to revise my Shopify.com store and you can still purchase merchandise with my artwork on it – phone cases, T-shirts and mugs – through http://www.redbubble.com.

Free People cardigan, Lucky Brand top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Nine West boots
Free People cardigan, Lucky Brand top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Nine West boots

I guess that is another New Year’s resolution – to be more the vendor than the customer – nah! well, you know…yes!

BCBGMaxAzria sweater and belt, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGGeneration booties
BCBGMaxAzria sweater and belt, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGGeneration booties