The Albuquerque Hawt List: Fall Edition

Uh oh, it’s that time of year. The season has changed, and with the season, the fashions. Things that were once smoking hot are now kind of smoldering lame. This is comme il faut. We are a novelty-driven culture even if those novelties are old-fashioned relics like baroque wigs, and lace doilies, and typewriting machines.


But don’t worry. You, personally, don’t need to keep up with what’s hot in Albuquerque. That’s what you have me for. I have turned this town upside down and given it a good shake until all of the cool stuff fell out of its pockets and jangled on the floor. (That’s where people usually keep their cool stuff.)

But first let me get up on my super stylish retro soapbox for a spell and preach against confusing fashion with style. I’d like to open with a quote by Coco Chanel: “Fashion fades. Only style remains the same.”

I think everyone on this list has a foot in both fires–the one may flame out by January (Fashion), but the other shall endure F-O-R-E-V-E-R (Style).

And that concludes my speech in which I quoted Coco Chanel and said one other thing. So without further ado, I give you the Albuquerque Hot List for Fall 2013!!!!!

1) Cactus Tractor

A sweet little local band has put together a Kickstarter campaign for their first album. They call themselves Cactus Tractor and I stole these pictures from them. If you donate money to their campaign they will come to your house in their swim togs and wash your dog or give you a songbook of their songs or make you a felt creature to cuddle with. Give them some money before all of these insider opportunities dry up and suddenly they’re rich and famous (or at least critically acclaimed) and wouldn’t come near your dog for no amount of flattery. Listen to some of their hot and lovely ditties here.  Also read their blog. It’s funny.



2) Sophia Rose & La Abeja Herbs

What can we say about Sophia Rose, wood nymph, concoctress of elixirs, Venus of the junipers? She can give you a name and vignette for almost any flower or herb in the mountains or bosque. She makes dream catchers out of antique doilies. She has her own yurt spread with animal pelts and woven rugs. She cures meats, infuses honeys, pickles lemon peel and tinctures everything. Also she collects weird vintage memorabilia, as pictured below.

Someday I’m going to leave the rat race behind and run away with her into the woods. All we’ll need is a plastic horse, some world globes, an antique typewriter and a bundle of feathers. Oh and a captain’s hat. And a lamb’s fleece. And a derelict hornet’s nest. That’s all we’ll need. And some dead butterflies. That’s all. And a miniature shiny gold pyramid thingy. That should cover it. Until then I’m just going to take some of her classes.



3) Whoo’s Donuts

Last week when I was talking about a donut vendor just steps away from my new house, I was referring to Whoo’s Donuts. Yes, they’re made in Santa Fe, but Michael Thomas Coffee imports them city-side every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Flavors are either seasonal–like apple cider, caramel apple, pumpkin cream filled–or just exciting like blue corn cake with lavender icing and orange chocolate espresso. Quantities are limited so prepare to fight me for the pumpkin cream.

Oh there’s two. You’ll have to fight me for two pumpkin creams.

4) Arturo’s Jewelry

Arturo is this Columbian architect guy who I’ve known as an acquaintance for years. This weekend I found out that he sells Columbian-made artisanal jewelry on the side under the name Etnico.

I didn’t actually know whether to believe him at first when he asked if I wanted to see his jewelry. He’s always telling falsehoods: “I’m a monster!!!!” he’ll scream at the kids waving his arms around and they’ll run clear across the park.

But then he showed me his business card and I thought, “That’s a lot of effort for a prank.” So he displayed his wares and there on the table where he was pointing (his display table) were some real beauts–necklaces, rings and earrings molded from glossy, glassy resin. Here’s the ring I bought for only five dollars. (!!) Unfortunately Arturo doesn’t have a website or Facebook page yet. But, then, his elusiveness is part of what makes his stuff so cool. He informs me that he is working on devising a Facebook page right now. When that happens I will post the link on my own Spartan Holiday’s Facebook page (which incidentally you should “like” if you haven’t already).

Photo on 10-17-13 at 12.01 PM

5) Not Having Internet in Your Home

Disconnect your internet. When I heard all of the cool people were doing it (like the hip bearded guys at the public library), I did it myself. So far, I’ve made some stunning progress on the ukulele, completed a king’s ransom of crossword puzzles and read heaps of hard copy books. Hard copy! So don’t be trying to email me after 5:00 pm or get upset when I text you for phone numbers and addresses to places around town. That’s very uncool. Anyone else off the juice? Come over! We’ll play some board games and pretending we’re Skyping each other in person.

6) Jewish Apple Cake

While some people (unfashionable people) may be trotting out one long cortege of apple pie this season, apple cake is where it’s at. It’s easier than apple pie, it’s prettier than pie. And it’s cakier than pie. It feeds twelve freakin people at least and has been perfected by the Jewish people. I like Deb Perelman’s version from Smitten Kitchen. I love it so much I stole this picture from her.

Make one.


7) Sichler Farm Stand

An uncool person trying to look cooler by holding a gray-ish green pumpkin.

Another thing that’s really hot right now in Albuquerque is red chile and pumpkins. They are absolutely everywhere. It seems like butternuts, ristras, and the like are en vogue every autumn, but even more so this year.

Like, you wouldn’t be caught dead walking around without a pumpkin under your arm. Especially a grayish-green pumpkin which, I’ve been told, makes the best pies. As a matter of fact I made pumpkin whoopie pies with one this week and they were exquisite.

I think the chic-est and worldliest place to buy chiles, beans, pistachios or winter squash is probably the Sichler Farms stand on San Mateo just south of Lomas. They’re only open till the end of October, so if you don’t get there soon, you’re screwed.

8) Vintage Patriotism

Why is that suddenly patriotic bunting and playing the bugle and the glamor of flying Pan Am are hot again? Vintage patriotism is trendy because modern patriotism is impossible. What was all that crap that just happened in Congress? Tiny patriotic cherubs everywhere are weeping and have been weeping from almost the beginning (says Howard Zinn). Their tears fall on us all.

What should we believe in if we can’t believe in America? For now the hot thing to do, until we have a new economic and political system, is place our faith in things like the hostile and impenetrable forests of Appalachia, artisan blacksmiths, and New England clam bakes. I know it. It sucks.


Okay, that’s the end of the list. There’s some other hot stuff too, but I’m having technical difficulties with blogging, what with this crappy laptop I’m working on and no internet at my house.

I DO hope you all feel a smidge hotter than you did before you read this and that you’ll come back for the Fall Fashion Edition of Spartan Holiday.

Yes! That’s right! In two weeks, check back to see what the hottest Albuquerqueans are wearing this season.

Well, hej dah, until we meet again.

(That’s “goodbye” in Swedish. Swedish things are really hot in London now, by the way, as you can read for yourself in this article.)

The Royal Palace of Stockholm. A picture stolen from my cousin Kim.

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