Friday, December 29, 2017

Another Staycation Outing

Since I took this week off between Christmas and New Year's, but had no vacation plans, I just stuck around the MD/DC area. Here were some of my adventures from the other day:

1. Visited the Freer/Sackler exhibits. I took two Hindu classes in college as well as an arts history class on Chinese art, so I was very excited to see exhibits focused on Asia. Here are some of the pieces we saw:

Ganesh (or Ganesha) is always easy to identify because of his elephant head.
These are three of the oldest lacquer Buddhas in the world. It's amazing that some of the colorful pigment is still there today!
I like that this Buddha is connected to a mandala.
This was an amazing room that was set up as a shrine. There were statues of gods and goddesses everywhere, and there was a recording of chanting playing in the background. It may sound weird, but as soon as I walked in, there was a different energy in the space. It was incredible and definitely my favorite part of this museum visit.
This is an ancient Chinese bell. The designs on it look very similar to metal work I learned about in school.
I liked these tiger/dragon statues.
Ancient deviled egg plate?
How cute is this antelope cup?
We also saw an exhibit that focused on the importance of lions in ancient Egyptian sculpture. I didn't take any pictures because the pieces looked like standard hieroglyphics and sphinxes. Those pieces looked kind of rudimentary, until my friend mentioned that the ancient Egyptian art was from 4,000 years ago, while the Buddhist pieces were only about 1,000 years old.

Image found here

2. Went to the United States Botanic Garden. I always like visiting the Botanic Garden, especially during Christmas time. Unfortunately the gallery where they have Christmas trees and lots of poinsettias was closed, and the line to see the model trains was too long, but we saw the rest of it.

This is the newest mini-creation at the garden: the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
I liked this tree they made from leaves painted gold.


There were random dinosaurs throughout one of the rooms. At least some were home-made, like this one.

Others were just plastic, like this Stegosaurus and crocodile. Not sure of their purpose...

If you look closely, each of those yellow "mouths" has nectar coming from it. I have never noticed that before in poinsettias!

Then we quickly looked at the Capitol and its Christmas tree. But it was really cold so we didn't linger!

This squirrel was cold and hungry!

Image found here

3. Saw the Christmas lights at the Mormon Temple. I've done this nearly every year since 2013. Their festival of lights is so beautiful; the place looks like Disney World!

This tree has "fruit" made from lights!

Most of the trees on the campus are deciduous, but I did see this pine tree!
Their lights especially impress me because they seem to light up ALL the branches ALL the way to the top!
More lit-up fruit
Inside the Visitors Center there were several Christmas trees.
I liked the strings of dried apple on this one.
Whew, and to think we did all of that in just one day! So much to see and do around the holidays in D.C.!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Fashion Show: Wool Wonders

I randomly found out about this "Wool Wonders" fashion show through Goldstar, and since it was only $10, I figured I'd go. I had no idea what to expect, except that it was a winter fashion show. I quickly learned that Irena Levkovich's designs are all about felting. From what I understand, felting is making your own felt fabrics and then turning them into things, like in this case, dresses (and even tiaras!). 

I'm sorry I didn't get any good photos, but here are I few I snapped:

The distressed designs were not really my taste, but I could appreciate the creativity. Because of all of the layers and textures, the dresses were not particularly figure-flattering, even on these tall, thin women. And even though the outfits were made of wool, the fabrics themselves looked rather thin (you could see the panties of some of the models!), and most of the looks were sleeveless; they wouldn't keep you warm in the winter, but would be too hot to wear in the summer, so when would you actually wear these? The brighter colors like the pinks and blues looked very odd in these eco-friendly fabrics, while the tans looked more natural. I think my favorite part of the show was that the 2018 collection had a princess-bridal-fairy tale feel about it; even the hairstyles were very feminine and romantic, so that part was beautiful.

A lot of the hairstyles had braids like this one, which I thought was really pretty.
Most of us never see fashion shows in real life. We watch them on Project Runway or catch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on TV, both of which are highly professional, ritzy affairs. This local runway show was very different. First of all, the models wore their own shoes, so none of them matched each other (or the outfits quite frankly). And the timing was off in between the models, so sometimes you waited a while for the next look, while other times the girls were practically walking on one another. And since these aren't professional models (just pretty girls), they didn't realize that when you're a model, you're modeling ALL the time, not just during the runway. See here:

The girl on the left is making a weird face with her mouth, and the one on the right is messing with her hair.

Also, in between the two separate runway shows (There were THIRTY minutes in between them, probably waiting for the MC who didn't even show up for the first half...), a belly dancer and her male partner performed for us. I have to say... she was the biggest belly dancer I've ever seen. The dancing wasn't good at all; I've seen better at the Interfusion Festival. I even heard them trying to pick out which songs they would dance to, so they clearly hadn't even prepared for the show. And, what does belly dancing have to do with Wool Wonders? I know I was not the only one thinking all of this; I watched the reactions on other people's faces, and they looked just as uncomfortable and confused as I did. And, not only did they dance for us (twice), but at the end of the show they encouraged all attendees to turn the runway into a dance floor. That's when I left.

This is the designer.

Not sure this show was worth the $10 or the late night metro ride home, but it was something different. The designer does have an Etsy store, so if you do like what you see, you can purchase something from her (or even buy patterns to make your own).