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This Intern’s Life

12 Jun

So this past spring, in addition to grad school, freelance writing, volunteering with a mentor poet, and living in NYC (it’s a job, trust me), I juggled not one, but two internships, all as part of my master plan to…hmmm, I’m not really sure. I mean, when the Brain said he wanted to take over the world, he could have meant the literary one, right? Well, if anything can make you feel like mighty mouse, it’s splitting your time between two jobs. In my case, they were Picador (the publishing imprint) and Interview (the magazine). The full surrealism of rushing between these two fast-paced and extremely different worlds truly hit me when I opened my own mail. And by that I mean I completed a massive Paul Auster mailing (I’m talking 200 books, press release in the flap, stuffed into envelopes) and I recognized one of the editors from Interview as a recipient, only to go in and open the same envelope I had stuffed a week before. Surrealism aside, I had a great time, made friends, learned a ton, got to go to the Flatiron Building for one job, and then be in the heart of Soho for the other. I made my mark at Interview (I’m listed as an intern in the April issue) but as I was leaving Picador, I wanted to do something a little more substantial. And with their new Tumblr and my ongoing delusions of grandeur and people actually caring about what I have to say, it was too good to pass up. Et voilà…

Read about my day of intern living, from the Picador Book Room

Happy Taking Over the World,

-KH

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Because it’s Gorgeous Out…

17 Mar

…I’ve decided to do a post about…gowns! See the connection? Don’t worry, you can’t be in on the joke every time. I recently attended the first ever Bloggerini Event at Lair  NYC, where style expert Katlean de Monchy (she’s a regular on NBC’s TODAY Show, E! News, CNN and Inside Edition) showed us mere mortals how to look like red carpet divas on a mere mortal budget.

The dresses were all by Camille La Vie, doyenne of wedding dresses, prom dresses, and dresses of general awesome gorgeousness, you know, for that revenge date with that guy who dumped you in high school (oops, did I say that out loud?) I was truly baffled by the details and materials and the fact that just about all of them were under $500. Mere mortals unite!

There was also a display of Katlean’s newest jewelry line, the de Monchy Collection, perfect for pairing with these stellar dresses, or with jeans and a tee to pump the volume.

Case in point, here I am in a decidedly non-shimmering outfit, and if I may say so myself, that green has perked things up. Speaking of perking things up…the event was sponsored by, among others, Voli vodka, a low-calorie option for those who get all their calories from booze (ahem). I had the Bloggertini, a lemon-y, raspberry blend of deliciousness, and it did not taste like I was on any kind of booze diet. Liquid calorie consumers unite!

So, I’m inventing a new expression: Revenge is a dish best served on the rocks and sparkly.

Happy Gorgeous Drinking!

-KH

Fresh Fanatic Bakery by Chef Michael Allen is Open!

3 Dec

Vegan Chocolate Cookies from Chef Michael Allen

Image: The Restaurant Fairy

Vegans Unite! Now you have one more thing to brag about along with your incredible digestive tract…gourmet desserts made just for you! I was recently invited to taste and fall in love with the products of a collaboration between Brooklyn grocery Fresh Fanatic and celeb chef pastry Michael Allen. The grocery and Allen are feeling the pain of the lactose and gluten intolerant/anti-animal ingredients/slow foodies and they partnered to supply BK and the greater NYC with delectable French pastries that are organic, vegan and gluten-free. And let me tell you, these are not your mother’s rock hard cookies. The crème brûlée, the madeleines, the chocolate cookies, they’ll have you saying, “Got [soy] milk?”

Image: Clinton Hill Foodie

So the next time you’re in the Clinton Hill area, and you want to flaunt your gastronomic superiority (without breaking any teeth), swing by Fresh Fanatic and grab a vegan baguette. It will make the butter you lather on it taste waaaaay better.

Fresh Fanatic Bakery by Michael Allen
80 Washington Ave
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Happy Organic Eating,

-KH

CB2 Eastside Opens!

26 Oct

So last night I attended the grand opening of CB2 Eastside, a new location of the modern home design destination under Crate and Barrel‘s umbrella. This was one of the first events I’ve been invited to as press, so it’s hard for me not to gush just on that accord. However, the event was pretty freaking awesome, so my gushing is going to come oh so naturally. I mean DMC (yep, of the Run-DMC) and Maggie Gyllenhaal were both in attendance! So let’s just say, I’m brushing my shoulders off, Jigga-style.

One of the things I loved about the event was that people were having a fully interactive experience with the furniture and the pieces. Guests were snuggling up under covers, sprawled across couches and putting their glasses on every available table. The music rocked, courtesy of DJ Spider, and Tastings NYC, a bespoke catering company, handled the orgasm-in-my-mouth bites that went around. Yes, I said that.

Tastings NYC totally kept the urban cool New York mood with mini hotdogs, bite size burgers, lamb gyros, crab tacos…that lamb gyro up top made my tongue do the moonwalk. Add to that model-look-alike bartenders and servers in all-black and knit beanies, I was ready to move in.

Not to mention the “clever treasures”, mod knick knacks, and chic, yet affordable pieces that would make any home immediately cooler. Check out that pebble bedside mat top left; it’s a beach in the bedroom without all the sandy clean up. And who doesn’t love mini robots? What do they do? Not sure, and it doesn’t matter. I would build a whole little robot village with those things. As a child of the Caribbean, glass always reminds me of the sea in the early morning. In your house, it looks expensive. Hey, fake it till you make it.

Thanks again to the folks at CB2 for a fun night, and I’ll be back to get my lollipop microphone. More on that later.

Happy Home Decoring,

-KH

A Conversation with Ger Duany

15 Aug

Ger Duany, rocking a Spur Tree Lounge t-shirt

You may recognize him from the glossy pages of your high fashion magazines, or his turn as the strong wise type in the 2004 hit I Heart Huckabees. Yet Ger Duany definitely has something to say. A former child soldier in war-torn Sudan, Ger has been working on a documentary about the separation of Sudan into two countries, Africa’s newest in 30 years, as well as his incredible reunion with the family he left behind. I recently met Ger at a fundraiser he was hosting at the LES’s Spur Tree Lounge, a trendy Jamaican restaurant with a vibe as cool and mellow as Ger himself. We later met for coffee and talked the incredible journeys both he and his new homeland have made.

Strangers Have the Best Candy: Something that struck me in an article I read about you was that you mentioned that while you were in school in that States, you felt like you did in Sudan, kind of wandering, like a nomad. I was wondering if you feel more a peace since you reunited with your family, like you have a place in the world?

Ger Duany: My life in Sudan kind of mimicked my life in America. When I was in Sudan during the civil war, I was always moving from place to place. If something happened in one place, we would have to move somewhere else. We were just in survival mode, constantly. In ’94, I found myself in the same mode. I lived in, like, 11 cities in America. I’ve never really lived in one place, the first time was in New York, for about the last seven years now. Going back this year, after 18 years, finding my mom, my dad, my brother, that kind of brought peace. It gave me clarity about what I wanted to do after all these years.

SHTBC: In addition, your return comes at the same time that Sudan will split, creating Africa’s first country in 30 years.

GD: Yeah, the biggest country in Africa is splitting, and that’s pretty big, because nobody ever thought that Sudan could be split into two parts. When you think of the wars in the countries in the Middle East, they kind of followed the lead of what happened in Sudan. We went through a civil war in 1955 before we got our independence, and 1956. For us, fighting for a decade, we kind of set an example for all the other countries, for the dictators, that you have to stand up for yourself, and become a world unto your own self. With South Sudan becoming its own country, you see Egypt going through something, Libya going through something, all those countries. Sudan is considered one of the Middle Eastern countries, but we [the South] never really wanted to be part of the Middle Eastern Arab league, we’re African descendants and that’s it.

SHTBC: So there’s a lot of talk about how the countries are going to share the wealth. What are your thoughts on that?

GD: It’s tough, but the comprehensive peace agreement that was signed in 2005 covers that. The oil that exists now, they’re going to try to split it 50/50, but there’s a lot that hasn’t been discovered yet, so that we’re not going to split 50/50. If it was up to me, I would just give them the area to develop and then redirect the pipeline to a different area, then we wouldn’t have to split with North Sudan. But because they are children of Sudan, it’s ok. It doesn’t have to be 50/50, to me it should be at least 10 per cent more for us for a certain amount of time, maybe 10, 15 years, and then we change things around.

SHTBC: In terms of connecting with your family, what are your plans? Will you have them visit you? How are you going to work on your relationship going forward?

GD: A lot of people have been asking me that, because America, it’s become attached to me, but my birthplace is also important. As far as my family coming here or me going there, I’m not seeing that. What I see is closing the gap between this country and my birthplace. My work is there, as a young man now, I see how important it is for me to work there. I can always come back to this city and this country, but I want to be in Africa and helping. Maybe I could be the voice that comes to you guys and tells you what’s happening there…

SHTBC: Yes, an ambassador for this new country…

GD: Yes, exactly!

SHTBC: So tell me about how you feel living in New York, being a model and an actor and how you feel about this new reality, compared to your beginnings. Is it surreal and strange?

GD: Well, it is sometimes, be being a model and in the fashion industry. They don’t know what happened in my past. For quite a few people, they were shocked to learn that I was a war child who had fought for nine, 10 years in civil wars, because they never saw that part of me. It was something that I stayed away from. Modelling was good for me. It was good that I stayed away from my story for so long, because people could have been overwhelmed and sympathized with me, and I didn’t want that. I wanted them to see me as just another kid from Sudan, pursuing my dreams like everyone else in America. I struggled just like any other American. But modeling has been good to me. I’ve done well and I’ve met so many people. I think this is what I’m supposed to be doing, to connect with people. It’s not about me collecting wealth. Sean [from Spur Tree Lounge] gave me some great advice the other day, he said, “Your wealth is inside of you.” And I always used to say to myself that the answer to what I’m looking for in life is right here [points to his chest], so whatever I’m doing, whether its modelling or acting, if I get a job I get it, but if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. SHTBC: Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can talk about?

GD: I do. I just made a movie, about a year ago, it’s called Restless City. The director actually came out to support me at the fundraiser at Spur Tree. It’s about five guys from West Africa who come to New York City, being young, black, and African, no parents, just pursuing dreams, falling in love with girls [laughs]…

SHTBC: Sounds like your story…

GD: [laughs] Pretty much, that’s the life of New York. So that’s one project. They had a premiere on the 29th of June I think, and then they’re going to a lot of festivals. Then there’s my documentary.

SHTBC: Yes, that was going to be my next question. Are you done filming or still shooting?

GD: No, we’re still shooting. I’m going back to shoot the last sequence, when we raise the flag and all that. Also, my father is in prison, which you may remember from the feature I sent you, he will be released. That makes my whole story come together.

SHTBC: Yes, I can imagine. In terms of fundraising efforts for South Sudan, do you have any more plans for that? For example, will you use any of the proceeds for the documentary toward that?

GD: Yes, definitely. My focus is really to go to Sudan and capture what is happening and then go from there. I don’t really have the money to make the documentary happen yet. The people that work with me, they just like my story, I can’t afford to pay them. The director and I, we have the ownership of the whole story, so that makes it a lot easier. So we work with what we have most of the time. The last time we went to Sudan, we didn’t have any money, we each had $500 in our pockets [laughs]. We had mosquito nets and blankets, we were eating one meal a day, but that was it. All the money that we get goes into travel.We have to fly everywhere in Sudan, because it’s so big, and it’s an NGO world, so expensive. To stay in a hotel is like $200 a night. So we said, nah, we have to use our mosquito nets. So once the documentary is finished, I want to share my story with everyone, all over Africa and the states, and all over the Caribbean. I just want to tell my story to the people. Then maybe I’ll do some more fundraising all around [the US], but by then I’ll be doing fundraising to build a school, in the area from where I was displaced, and a few clinics.

SHTBC: Ok, last question, what’s something you miss about life in Sudan, that you can’t experience here in the states? Other than your family, of course, and what’s something that’s not in Sudan, that you appreciate about the States?

GD: Yes, I definitely miss my family. My childhood there, even during the civil war, there were still good things. I love the Nile, I love going to it, going fishing, or just looking at the water. Or, early in the morning when you’re getting up, there’s always a natural rhythm, the cricket noises, the sounds of water. For the States, when you look around at the culture here in New York, and the people, they come from all walks of life but we all have the same drive, to make a difference, and I think that’s what I get in New York. It kind of balances my energy. I get it in Sudan too, but it’s there because you come from big families, so you’re never really alone. You may be alone in your house in New York, but when you come out, like sitting in this coffee shop right now and looking around, you’re not quite alone. Everybody is driven. That’s very motivating. Everybody is doing something.

To do something, or to find out more about Ger and South Sudan, visit www.gerduany.com.

Happy World Changing!

-K

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