Monday, January 30, 2012


Hey, New York City.

I'm Char.

I know we've hung out a bunch of times this past year informally,... we have the same friends and what not..... but I guess we've never really been formally introduced. I'm sorry. I really should've taken the initiative sooner. In all honestly, I've spent the last year seeing not much more than your face out the window of a 21st floor office building. I guess what I'm saying is it's never too late to make a change. I know a lot of people really like you... I wanna get to know you better while I have still have the chance. Let's not let this be one of those things where the opportunity passed, and neither one of us said anything, though we always meant to.
I guess that's it. It's good to finally meet you. I'll see you tomorrow, new friend.

CHARxNYC: T Minus 30.
Sunrise at Central Park.

Google says the witching house is estimated for 7:08 am when the sun will rise over New York City. It's 6:08 as I lay in bed with no ticket to return to Dreamville in my near future. Too much on my mind, I suppose. I can make it Uptown to 81st St. within the hour for sure. Let's DO THIS SHIT. It's rare that I've seen the desolate streets of Bushwick at such an early hour,..... A few months back I did a freelance project that had me up for nearly three days straight. I saw the digital numbers on the oven go from 8pm to 8am for several consecutive days -- Talk about literally losing your mind. And there's been the unfortunate and unfathomably uncomfortable scenarios where the remnants of last night's party are still present while you watch the more responsible members of society on their way to start their day. You aim to go to sleep and wake up having forgotten that your night ended at 8am and you're way too old to be raging this hard. Neither were the situation today, but I did take new notice of the different demographic of folks in the neighborhood at 6:30am. Industrial Brooklyn -- a vision of graffiti covered walls, rooftop parties, exposed brick loft buildings, artist work spaces and trendy co-ops. But INDUSTRIAL BROOKLYN...? Factories. Industrial factories. 6:30 a.m. trains are filled with workers on their way to their factory jobs. Clearly 9 a.m. is the hour for black wool peacoats headed to Midtown Manhattan for their high paying salary jobs and full package benefits. And the typical Bushwick resident with his boat shoes (no socks) and raccoon tail doesn't really need to be up at ANY particular time because the beauty of being an artist is the unstructured nature of the occupation, also masked as the term "freelance".

I haven't been remotely near Central Park since riding in one of the horse drawn carriages with my family when I was in high school and visiting New York as an ultimate tourist. There may have been a hot pretzel consumption that partnered this experience. Today there was no pretzel and the horse drawn carriages must not start luring in unknowing and money throwing tourists until later in the day. But I did see the determination of early morning joggers.... friends catching up on gossip.... TONS of dogs having the time of their lives running freely off their leashes and being rewarded by their masters with treats. And I did catch the sunrise.

I was hoping to feel some kind of groundbreaking epiphany as a result of my "morning meditaton", if you will. But even with seeing and partaking in one of the most beautiful offerings of one of the most lucrative and exciting cities in the world, I couldn't get much further than the thought of "What's beauty or success or happiness in life without someone to share it with?"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on, Ireeeeeeene!

Well, folks.... It's been a minute and MUCH has transpired. But first and foremost on the importance list, the summer is winding to a bitter sweet end and I am nothing short of elated. Not gonna lie,... it was grueling. Braving the summer living on the top floor of a 3rd floor walk up with no air conditioning is just foolish, or otherwise cast as an amateur move for a summer in New York. But the universe had my back in bringing the hottest and most miserable weekend when I was conveniently on a short but sweet trip to the West Coast // Best Coast. So my complaints are few. Needless to say, I am eye-fucking my winter coats from across the room and dreaming of chilly nights and heated mattress pads. Ohhh yes. Alas, there is something to live for.

Work. Life. Love. And Irene: the big joke of 2011.

I wasn't sure if I should heed warning like everyone seemed to be doing.... It just didn't feel like it could possibly be the next Katrina in NYC. I mean, there was AMPLE warning. DAYS of warning. Aren't the biggest devestating natural disasters the ones that strike quickly upon unprepared and unknowing innocent people? People began evacuating the city as early as Friday morning with the "impending doom" scheduled to hit Sunday. Welp, it's Sunday morning and skies are pretty clear. Winds were wild last night but seriously, calm the fuck down, New York. It was an 1.0 earthquake. It was an extremely windy night. The morning after, the death count is 5 oak trees and a small colony of rats. But the good news is you now have 15 cases of bottled water and all the AAA batteries that you could possibly need for the rest of the year. EPICxFAIL.

Work: Going extremely well. We're gearing up for the Betsey show on September 12th for New York Fashion Week. I worked with Betsey on the show tee and am on red alert rush mode to get that shit turned and back to us in NY in time for the show. There's been mixed reviews internally and a few naysayers but I think it's going to all come off super fun and super Betsey, which is the point. And I foresee major press as a result of it all, so we shall see. All I have to say on the show is ASS AND TITTIES. You should probably stream it live on September 12th. Just sayin'.

I've had a couple new designs of mine come through into the stores and they're doing well. Through the duration of 2011, there will be a few more styles of mine out in stores each month, so I'm hoping they are all as well received as what's come out so far. Check out whats in the mix now.....

WAYYYY more to come.
Life: On the upswing. There is so much rad shit on deck for the next few months. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. On the recent tip, I just moved into a bitchin' new place with two of my favorite gals in NYC. It's a ground floor loft unit on the GOOD side of the tracks in Bushwick. Subway stop on our corner, normal human beings surrounding us. I have said adios por vida to the endless disgusting cat calls and sexual comments by gross old Puerto Rican men as you try to walk to the corner bodega for a can of soup. The new pad is amazing but it's a major project.... It's coming along, teaching me a thing or two about general construction work (which was definitely on my "to learn in 2011 list"... errrr.... uh...) and ultimately going to be something we are super proud of since we have literally but our blood, sweat and tears into it. Check out the prog pics....

In other "General Life" news, started working on a potential project out here playing with a band of a few guys I've met over the past few months. Stoked to be able to play again, period. The trusty ol' Korginator is gettin' amped for a big cross country move, and my soul is feeling almost whole again with the promise of late night Cat Power cover sessions and rock n' roll shows. And next week marks the cameo appearance of one of LBC's finest in the big bad city. Photo documentation to follow. It's gonna be a shit show.

And last and certainly least.... Love: Love is a battlefield. Yet again, I've let an evil male (also known as a super solid, legit, amazing dude) play a leisurely game of ping pong with my heart and I, in the end, lose. If there was some alternative blouse that I could buy that didn't include my heart being completely, tragically and fatally sewn on my sleeve, I would pay top dollar. So there isn't much to say on that tip except I hang up my high heels with grace and dignity knowing that I was true to myself. And now following the storm, I transition as gracefully as possible to a new era focused on taking care of myself, my family and my friends and embracing all the things that I have built to make my life amazing.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Haute Child in the City.

It's been a hot minute. And I mean a HOT minute. A lot of notable shit's gone down in the past few months while I've been completely absent from blogland but "noting" it all hasn't exactly been high on the priority list. My apologies in the aftermath. I've realized since being here in New York that in a day's time there is so much to share but by the end of the day actually sharing it seems overwhelmingly daunting. But I digress.

But yes, when folk's tell you that summer in New York is a shit show, they definitely aren't joking. Something deep inside me was secretly praying it was a big exaggeration. A friend at Betsey eluded on multiple occasions to her excitement about summer and how everything was going to be so much funner. I get that. I totally do. Rooftop parties, the weather's suggestion to dress scantily clad, the hipster bikers looking sweatier and greasier than usual. But I, in contrast, dream of fall. While waking up at 8am drenched in sweat and waiting on a subway platform with the hot smells of urine and body odor is totally my vibe, the fast forward button on time would come in handy about now. Cut to late October, por favor.


Things have been super up. Slightly down. Ass backwards. Inside out. Full circle. I've been stoked. Frustrated. Lonely. Full of hope. Empty of funds. Empty handed. Hands full. Learning a ton. About myself, about my life,... past, present. But one thing that has been reluctant to leave my head is the reality of how life trudges along... I keep finding myself back on the conclusion that nothing is ever how it was before. The way you can never go back. The clock keeps ticking..... unless it runs out of batteries I suppose. But no matter what I choose or how I feel or what I want, time rolls on with or without my willing participation. I think this whole idea becomes more clear and real when you relocate. It's interesting how little you hear from your friends and family... it's not their fault. I don't call either. But the truth is that they're all living their lives everyday. And at the current time I'm not actively in them. This is because I made the choices to leave.... transport.... write the story that's MY life. I've always felt this extremely overwhelming pressure when it comes to the matter of making the decisions (like these) that take my life through it's turns. I've always had a huge fear of making the wrong choices in this.... taking the wrong opportunities... being taken away by my own hand from what's actually good for me.... creating some avenue that is going to ultimately destroy everything that I need (or think) I want. I guess it ties in awkwardly with self-sabotage. Yes, I want to have a good life. I want all these things that I can list. A normal person takes the appropriate steps towards getting all of those things. Looking at this on paper, it appears I've made the right decisions to add up to right answer. But the chance that maybe the answer won't add up is what I've always feared.

It's a pretty wild sensation to see the slow process of building a life over again when you previously had one (or several). I feel like I've had several lives at this point. I guess I'm grateful? I'm definitely grateful. I can't say which has been my favorite. They've all been amazing and heartbreaking simultaneously. Fuck the human condition. I wonder if everyone over analyzes their life as much as I do. If it were a choice on my behalf I'd hit the off switch on that shit for the occasional mental vacay. I used to have a German friend named Jagermeister that helped me do that. We had a falling out. But I guess it would be hard to be grateful if you aren't even aware where you've been or where you are or what you've got.

For now this life is treating me well. The last three months in rough succession...

+An LBC favorite made an NYC cameo. Got to put in some serious bro time. Matching tattys ensued.

+Was the bitter recipient of a subway ticket. If you wanna throw $100 down the garbage shoot go ahead and go through the Emergency Exit with all the other hoodrats in your morning rush to the train. Pay no mind to the $105 Unlimited Metro Card you're too lazy to pull out. Minus points, Char.

+Witnessed the aftermath of a double homicide // hostage situation on our street corner. Later news updates revealed the actual events involved a team of undercover cops busting some Bushwick hoodrats selling illegal firearms. Hoodrat #1 shot by cops, Hoodrat #2 taken into custody. No hostage. No innocent teens wrapped up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not quite the story you portrayed to us, hipster onlooker. But cute. Now shower your dirty bod.

+Payed an unrealistically quick visit to the West Coast.... NY. SF. Cen Cal. 4 days. Was a bitter-sweet experience as predicted.

+Joined a dance crew called the Sexcamaids. Best. Decision. Ever. What do you get when you mix cheerleading, ass shaking, parades, glitter, feathers, a bunch of random women (and a few good men) into a pot? A hot mess that keeps me totally sane. Bonus points, New York.

+Made one last crawl back to the arms of my old beau Bill W. We are working things out again. Life is much better as a result. Shocking.

+Bought a shot out shitty Yamaha 61-key off Craigslist for 75 bones. Delivery included? Bring er' over. Any way to negate carrying musical equipment on the subway and sending out the "Yea dude, I'm totalllly a musician" vibe would be ideal. And FUCK... it ain't my Korg Triton (that's for fuckin' sure) but JESUS CHRIST is life more tolerable having a keyboard to vent to. Bonus points, Char.

+Saw Against Me! @ Webster Hall with my favorite woman in NY (Feather Bee). Performance: A+. Crowd: Sketchy.

+Danced in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade with the Sexcamaids and won Best in Show. Experience: Currently holding the 2nd raddest thing I've done in NYC title.

+Randomly caught the hot tip that The Bronx was playing a show on a boat out of Pier 20. Took two of my homegirls and for $30 got to endure a sail down the Hudson River, cruising a stone's throw away from the statue of liberty while one of my favorite bands ever played both of their best albums from top to bottom in succession. (I love when bands do that). Ranking: #1 Raddest Thing I've Done in NYC (to date).

+Went to a rooftop party that would inevitably end up being the rooftop of my future home. I'm moving next month to a loft that is pretty much straight out of photos that I used to look at for inspiration on moving to New York "one day".

+Went to my first Yankees game. Love.

+Caught a panoramic view of fireworks spanning nearly all five boroughs from a rooftop in Astoria. Best mellow no-pressure 4th of July holiday I've had in a long time. Good company is hard to come by.

+2 for 2 on CharcorexBetsey tee designs making the best-sellers list. Heyo! More to come....

+Caught the hot tip (a little late) that there's an art installation currently in NYC where 60 pianos are randomly planted all over the 5 boroughs. On the last day of the installation being up, I set out to play and photograph as many as I could. 2 out of 60 ain't bad. Nothing comes close to playing an upright. Bonus points when you're in the middle of nothing/everything.

Until next time, feast on some light imagery. Enjoi.

LBC in NYC. Eat your heart out.

A flight across the country is worth it for this alone.

NYC bestey.

My favorite thing in the work sitting pretty and alone in Tompkins Square Park.

Creepin' up and out of the ghetto move by move. New hood in prog.

Flashmobbin' in Times Square with the Sexcamaids.

What do you get when you cross a Mermaid crew with a breakdancing crew,...? beautiful nonsense with a nice crowd to boot...

Amy Winomaid in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

One of the first designs I've worked on with Betsey...

BJ wanted a boombox so I gave her a boombox. Currently a best-seller... I guess someone liked it.... neighborhood also had the right idea.

.....and the rest was herstory.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ahhhh, Life....

I've been many things in my wild 26 years. But I never. NEVER imagined I would be what I've become as of late.

I am the worst blogger ever.

As in, I absolutely do not blog anymore.

If you read this shit period you must give a shit or two about me, or be extremely bored and miserable. In either case, I can tell you the truth.

Here goes.

I find it hard to write anything if I can't be totally honest. I find it especially hard to write if I can't pull some kind of witty angle. And to be very honest and anything but humorous, shit's taken a turbulent turn in the last month. As previously stated, I suffer from the inability to speak if it can't be kind of over the top and bitchin'. It's a disease. Okay, let's not get crazy. But it is definitely an ego thing. Again, with the honesty. It just comes pouring out of my mouth. It's a curse. I CANNOT LIE.

But truth is, I'm in the three month funk. I'm calling this time the "reality check" period. I've been here before. I will probably be here again. You've done some big leap. It's all exciting and fucking epic. A penny on the ground looks shinier than it would have if it was on the ground a couple months earlier back at home in the comfortable life you left behind. But after a little bit of time in your new exciting world, the penny is just a penny again. It's absolutely crazy to me the way your mind/heart adapts to it's surroundings. Or maybe it's just mine.... similar to the way my income seems to stay exactly the same regardless of how much my paycheck is. My shopping habit increases while my standard of living remains exactly the same despite a $50k increase in salary. I wish that last part was more than an analogy. Do you follow?

I have a list of gripes plaguing my life right now but the list is counteracted with an equal list of "bless it"s. The posi list might be leading by a tiny hair. The good news is that I think with each day that passes, that list is going to kick the gripes list to the curb and this pothole will be filed in the gone and forgotten folder.

Vague update from Brokelyn, I know. But if I can't write anything nice, I will write nothing (specific) at all. I will go the ambiguous route.

In other news, the boy scene is grim as ever. Read it and weep.

If you happen to stay abreast of my East Coast dating nightmares, please refer to "First Date in Brooklyn, Circa January 11'". The Lloyd Christmas I'm-best-friends-with-every-band-you've-ever-liked-name-dropper? Yea. That fuckin' guy. Mmmmm remember when we went out and had no chemistry? Yea we still don't. And I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Also good lookin' out on catchin' the sarcasm. Please die.

Good thing landing a mate isn't on my top 5 right now.

Honesty and laughter coming May 2011.

Stayin' up. <3

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Slow Motion For Meh'.

I am due for some serious blog updates but I find myself reluctant to post when I'm not feeling clever at very least. So for now I will say this random video is a great visual analogy for how things feel right now. Leave the rest to your imagination.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Char as in "Chardonnay"

"Char? Like Chardonnay?! Ohhh I can remember that!" -Betsey Johnson, circa January 2011.

I feel confident to say BJ definitely knows my name now. A lot has happened this month. A LOT. I don't know where to even begin. I guess we'll break it in dysfunctional and anything but cohesive fragments.

First and foremost, I've moved up n' outta the ghetto. Well really I'd say I just swapped ghettos. Ha. There is a rather obvious ethnic change which goes hand in hand with a new found language barrier (here in Bushwick), but nothing I haven't experienced for the past 26 years or anything...... ain't my first quinceanera.

The Hood Vs. The Hood Rundown:

Pros,.....Started to feel pretty comfortable there. Started enjoying (too much) my neighbohood bars. Began light friendship with neighborhood bartenders. Grew accustomed to neighboring hoods (Clinton Hill, and...well, yea. Clinton Hill).

(Ex)Cons......Things I will not miss: The god-awful G train and waiting 30 minutes for it nearly everytime I took the train. My roommates super gross and highly selfish living habits. The hoarders den that my apartment building mates called a foyer.

Cons,.... All the Mexicans that refer to you as "sexy mami" while making totally degrading noises I didn't even know a mouth could make as you quickly scamper by trying to get to work on time and 8am. The streets are wayyyyy dirtier than Bed-Stuy (the stuy was actually rather clean on the streets,... just desolate as fuck.) Bonus Points: The Bank of America that just opened up about 6 blocks up the road (thank fucking GOD). My handful of friends that happen to live in this neighborhood. The close proximity to Life Cafe, my weekly Sunday brunch spot. The somewhat comforting resemblence to TJ that the Bushwick streets provide (.....also highly resembling my hometown. Sorry, Dina. 'Tis true). The VAST improvement in public transportation on this side of town.... Option A) The L train usually swimming with hotties or B) The J/M/Z line that is a direct shot to the city without a transfer (on weekdays). Pros (continuing on...): The park a block away from my house if and when I bring the kid out here. The grocery store a block away. The fact that bodegas take atm cards over here. The LA Burrito joint on my street corner that is actually pretty fucking bomb (at least on the bean burrito side of the equation). The comfy coffee shop I've been searching for pretty much since my first weekend in NY. And we haven't even touched on my MUCH improved living space and NORMAL roommates.

Close race? Bushwick wins by a long shot. Sorry Biggie. I ain't mad atcha.

So much more has gone down in the past month.... big changes around the BJ office.... I've done the absolute best I can and it's payed off so far. My work is far from over... it's definitely only just started. But I'm up for the challenge and determined to get what I want out of this.....

...but that's another blog entree. <3

Until then, enjoy some ghetto fabulous imagery. <3

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Always Late but Worth the Wait...

..."Late" as in it's been two weeks since the Betsey show and I have YET to do any proper blogging about the experience. But shit has been CRAY CRAY even after the show is yesterday's news. I have honestly probably NEVER left the office before 7:30 pm since I started 6 weeks ago. And the best part about it is on a day like today, I sit on Illustrator/Photoshop all day, get home at 11pm and find myself on Illustrator just for fun. I think I've definitely gone to the dark side...

But on the real tip, I just had a moment of clarity today that I have learned a SHIT ton even in just the short time I've been @ Betsey. Again, I hate to beat a dead whorse but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for having this experience come into my life. Everything is going so fucking well, I am STILL (a month and a half later) pinching myself daily that this is my life. I am so completely ecstatic and rejuvenated on life as a result of making the decision to come here.

Anyhow. Enough of the sappy bullshit. Enjoy some photos from the Fall 2011 Betsey show. <3 These are some of my favorite looks and my personal contribution to them. :)

....Absolutely love this acid wash group. (Added a hook and eye closure that was missing on this corset).

....Sourced the fur for this look in midtown Manhattan ...but sorry to break it to you... the super top secret go-to spots for faux fur are highly confidential. Insider shit. I'm sure you understand. :)

....Just did the CAD sketch for this jacket today, and am sourcing the felt flowers (used in the entire runway show) tomorrow in hopes that they can produce them.

LOVE this shit.

Another of my favorite looks from the show....

I hand stitched on the lace trim on the sleeves and hem of this coat.

...Also sourced the fur for this coat. You don't want to know the price per yard. It's completely fucking ridiculous.

...Again, handled finding all the fur for these (which Betsey and team LOVED). Char: 10, Other Interns: 0.

...And the task of scouring midtown Manhattan in search of the perfect vintage lace (used on this dress) put me in the "in" crowd with the new Design Director. Holler!

And at a total tie for 1st place in my book for favorite look, feast your eyes on these fuckin' broads....

And the debut of the new Diffusion line "Pink Patch", modeled by the lovely works of Betsey Johnson...

Petra (Public Relations Assistant).

Lizzie (Design Assistant, Freelance). Cutest Brit I've ever met.

Gina (Design Associate). Love this bitch.

Heather, the homegirl. Probably the most bitchin' chick I've met in New York so far. (Design Assistant // Partner in Crime)

Ashley (Graphic Designer)....

Betsey's famous for her whimsical sketching style and handwriting... so she always makes colorful fun signs that go backstage at the shows. I had the lovely task of going out a few days before the show to restock on her specifically requested markers to make these signs. The day before the show, I was hand sewing at the table and Betsey is sitting next to me drawing these signs, when she says in reference to another designer who's show would be the following day....

"Do you think Carolina Hererra is coloring signs right now?" --Betsey Johnson

Fucking love her.

The hot shit.

Model cards I slaved over until wee hours of the morning the weekend before the show....

Giftbags. One thousand and fifty of them to be exact with about 20 hours of labor and a team of ten people involved in putting them together and putting them pristinely on each seat at the show. Before the doors officially opened, 7 gift bags were swiped. GHETTTTTTTTTO.

Ummmm yea. BJ kinda does rock a lil' bit. <3