1 Emmy Awards 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

How I love myself an award show. The E! red carpet, the industry jokes, the video montages, the sappy speeches... Give me a bowl of popcorn and we're done. I was giggling with delight at the opening to last night's Emmy's, a perfectly done spoof of Glee. Two words: Jon Hamm. (I could have done without Kate Gosselin, though. As usual.)

The thing is, I just really love TV.

Lea Michele's dress (by Oscar de la Renta, who else?) was truly stunning. Though in this photo she has a strange body-detached-from head thing going on. January Jones wore this odd Versace gown, but she rocked it. The color is beautiful on her.

Claire Danes is gorgeous as usual in an Armani sheath. Dianna Agron's Carolina Herrera gown feels old-fashioned and romantic.

One of the tallest women in attendance, and one of the shortest. Heidi Klum stuns in a mini Marchesa. And Kiernan Shipka is simply adorable - she looks like a little princess.

For those of you who missed the Emmy's, here is a laugh-out-loud funny re-cap.

1 Eat, Pray...Eh.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So I saw Eat Pray Love yesterday. I couldn't stop thinking of these hysterical articles, so my experience was partially tainted by snarky comments about Javier Bardem's beard and the inclusion of too many Eddie Vedder songs. The film was mostly loyal to the book in terms of plot and character, but I felt like it lacked the depth and personal spirit that made the book so great. Gilbert is a talented and eloquent writer, and I loved how honest she was - you could feel and understand the year-long trip for her was very much a personal and spiritual enlightenment. That is how the movie is packaged, but without Gilbert's words guiding you through her story, so it has all the makings of being this profound, self-discovery story but it ultimately falls short. Ultimately it just wasn't translatable into film - there would have been far more voiceovers required of Julia Roberts than could have sanely fit into a (long) feature-length film. Also, the meditation aspects were glazed over and misinterpreted. And - although she does end up with the Brazillian dude in real life, too - the movie literally ended with them sailing off into the sunset. (Sorry to ruin the ending. Surprise!)

But it did get me excited to go to Italy.

P.S. There were three stellar rom com trailers before EPL. Clean shaven Jake is the cutest. And reunited with Anne Hathaway! My heart melts.

images via weheartit

0 High & Low for Fall: Part 1

Monday, August 23, 2010

Soon I'll be living on the Euro with only American dollars to my name, and fall shopping is becoming increasingly more tempting. But these days you can acquire your desired look at any price, and I plan to invest in just a few great pieces that won't break the bank. Below are a few high and low versions of my favorite fall looks, suited for both the millionaires and bargain hunters amongst you.

The short, flat boot. Low-maintenance but chic when worn over skinny pants. Pair with a flouncy skirt to show of those gams.
High: Elizabeth and James Cami, $350
Low: Steve Madden Lodunn, $109

The slouch pant. Wear them with flats and an oversized sweater on a rainy day. Dress up your look with suede pumps for a night out.
High: Vince Cropped Slouch Pants, $235
Low: Sparkle & Fade Cuff Ankle Pant, $58

The convertible saddle. Part prep, part boho. This bag is equally fit for the first day of school and for scoping out the new bar downtown.
High: Marc by Marc Jacobs Saddlery Sophie Tote, $478
Low: Tano Thin Lizzy, $190

The long-sleeved dress. Classy with high heels; cozy and cute with boots and tights.
High: Generra Long Sleeve Dress, $175
Low: Forever 21 Wildflower Knit Dress, $22.80

0 I also happen to be the shooting star, the evening paper blowing down an alley and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This is the cutest thing ever.

via for me, for you

2 Sweet and Sour

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cupcakes are my favorite treat to make. I adore looking at beautifully-decorated cupcakes (like on my friend Nadia's awesome blog), but I'm no pastry chef, and am too intimidated to attempt the ones that require an artistic flair and a steady hand. Yesterday I decided to take a leap from my tried and true favorites, and baked Martha Stewart's Triple-Citrus Cupcakes for a friend's surprise party. I had to zest far too many lemons, limes, and oranges, but the labor-intensive recipe was worth it. These were a fabulous summer treat - refreshing, light, and perfectly balanced between sweet and sour. I had never worked with a glaze before, though dipping cupcakes actually turned out to be much easier than frosting them. I also substituted a third of the butter with applesauce to make them more moist. The lime ones were my favorites - I used key lime juice in the frosting, so they tasted like mini key-lime pies.

2 Cool Weather Calling

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I've had enough of you, summer wardrobe. It's been hot and humid every day since mid-May, when I returned from - lest we forget - sub-Saharan Africa. Sure, rompers were fun, but the impracticalities of wearing a button-down one-piece revealed themselves quickly. The zipper broke on my favorite slate gray shorts, and the high-waisted demin ones, after three summers of wear, are begging for some alone time. Strapless bras have to be worn with every halter or sleeveless top, which I'm never happy about. And let's not neglect the cruel fact that it's been bikini season for three months.

Favorite pieces, from left: 1. Merino Tunic Dress, £125; 2. Merino Roll Sleeve Pullover, £95; 3. Needlecord Tunic, £89; 4. Stretch Skinny Trouser, £99; 5. Riding Boot, £265; 6. Felted Wool Cape Jacket, £195; 7. Jest Heel, £235. Now is about the time that someone needs to begin paying me in pounds.

Sure, it's nice to be tan, but around this time every year, my favorite jeans and softest sweaters are practically screaming to be let out from the back of my closet. Anne's outfit-to-room post on Toast's Early Autumn Collection jump-started my cool weather excitement. Long tunics, skinny pants, riding boots and rolled up sweaters drew my eye. Can you tell I'm having a navy-slate moment this season? (Use of the word "moment" attributed entirely to Rachel Zoe). Now I'm spending far too much time ogling over fall lookbooks and dreaming of cool afternoons in Bordeaux, drinking espresso and armed with a fountain pen and my Moleskine.

Coming soon: more outfits comprised of some of my favorite early fall trends - minimalist, comfortable, and chic.

1 Why We Travel

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I keep this picture on my desktop, of three of the girls in Malawi, and my heart bursts every time I look at it. I'm missing Malawi a lot today. As I prepare for my stay in France, only a month away now, it does feel bittersweet that I won't be spending the next year in Mzuzu instead. There would be something comforting about returning to that city instead of moving somewhere new again.

But, as scared as I am of the uncertainty that awaits me, I feel slightly more confident parting ways with dear America this time. I loved Malawi not in spite of but because of its differences to home - the differences that first disguised themselves as flaws. No one wore watches, we ate with our hands, I had to walk everywhere. The daily rainstorms. The only bar in town. The mud. I don't know for sure why we travel, but if I had to guess, I'd say it has something to do with learning how to see those things as quirks that only enhance our experiences. We don't fly around the world for more of the same.

2 Why I Love Mad Men

Ah, what I would give to write for Jezebel. I loved this article about the psychology of women through Mad Men's 1965 lens. Seeing how things used to be for American women through the show feels simultaneously foreign and familiar; we note how much has changed for us by observing the female characters, and, at the same time, how much has stayed exactly the same. When the wives on the show dote on their husbands, like Trudi with Peter or Joanie with Greg, it seems exaggerated and demeaning, exhibiting how far women have come. But the sentiments of the women in the Ponds Cold Cream focus group in Sunday's episode were not far off from those in modern female psychology. Although the group members were asked about their beauty routines, the topic of conversation quickly turned to why they try to look attractive, and the answer was simple: to find a husband.

Yes, we've come a long way. Now women say, "we don't dress for men; we dress for other women." Is that entirely true, though? Maybe for fashion, but not so much for general attractiveness: grooming, exercising, eating right, etc. are big components in making ourselves appealing to the opposite sex. And whether or not we want to admit it, marriage, or at least relationships, remain pillars in mainstream female culture in ways they simply don't with male culture. If I had a dime for every time someone asked me if I had a boyfriend, and another for the follow-up - "why not?", or a more tactful version of that question - well, I'd be a very rich lady. I imagine guys my age are not asked that question as often (though I have not exactly taken a survey). Don's take on the issue was interesting; he disagreed that Ponds should take a matrimonial approach on its new campaign, arguing, "You can't tell how people are going to behave based on how they have behaved." This leads me to a chicken-or-the-egg sort of dilemma. Do popular culture and advertising inform women's behaviors (and people's, for that matter), or is it the other way around?

1 The Adirondacks

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We spent the past few days at Crystal Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. It was an old-fashioned family vacation, complete with hikes, lazy afternoons, Rummy 500, and nightly happy hours (of course, my experience on the family vacations didn't used to include vodka tonics). As my brother and I get older, vacations with all of us are fewer and farther between, so it was nice to share a few of the dog days of summer together before Sam heads back to school.

1 & 8: Crystal Lake
2, 3, 4: Hiking Mt. Severance (really its name)
5. Schroon Lake
6. Sam, Rusty and Dad at the top of the mountain
7. White pizza by candlelight in Bolton Landing
9. Naps on the ride home

0 The Simple Life

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today, this article got me thinking about what really makes us happy. It centers on the idea that "people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects." The article then goes into ways in which this could "recession-proof" our lives for the future, though I'm stuck on that happiness thing. I think we buy and are constantly plugged in to all our little devices because they serve as convenient little distractions. Our stuff serve as buffers from connecting with nature, with the people in our lives, or, most probably, the tough decisions and inner dilemmas that we'd rather not face. No wonder most of us don't consider letting go of them.

You know you're a little bit confused about your philosophy on consumerism when you post about shoes one day and an article on downsizing materially the next. Still, I don't think I'm so unusual. In this climate, between the influx of gadgets that seem to be more and more necessary, and the economic times, it makes sense to be conflicted.

But when we allow ourselves, there is something entirely wonderful about shutting off our computers or turning off our phones and not doing a whole lot for an afternoon. When I take the time to unplug I wonder why I don't do it more often. I guess that's my cue. Adios, then, until tomorrow's replug.

images via we heart it

0 An oxford comma

Monday, August 9, 2010

Top, from left: Whitney Port, Jessica Alba, Sienna Miller; Bottom: Rosario Dawson, Kate Bosworth, Whitney Port (the girl can do no wrong, as far as I'm concerned)

I need a new walking shoe for France, and the oxford seems like both an attractive and practical alternative. I love how oxfords look with flouncy skirts, rolled up boyfriend jeans, and even sundresses. Below are some of my favorite and more affordable versions of this versatile shoe for fall.

1. Frye James Wingtip Oxfords
2. Bass Elisa Oxford
3. Sam Edelman Kat
4. Madewell Aberdeen Two-Tone Boot
5. Frye Carson Oxford
6. Nicole Kindle
7. We Who See Spectator Oxford

0 Lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it

Friday, August 6, 2010

I found this video on my new favorite blog, Daily Poetics, and I had to pass it along. What a lovely reminder for us, when everything is telling us we need to be constantly stimulated and surrounded, that it's okay to be calm and alone. See the full transcript of the gorgeous poem here.

"And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no ones watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings."

0 Current read: The Great Gatsby

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Until recently, the only memory I had of The Great Gatsby was listening to it on tape and falling asleep as my parents and I visited colleges during my senior year (sorry Mr. Burns). I found a used copy at a garage sale a few weeks ago and bought it for ten cents, along with about a dozen other classics that I've been meaning to read. Well, I tore through it the other weekend at the beach, and now I'm not surprised why so many call it their favorite book. Fitzgerald has an incredible gift for dialogue and for revealing so much in few words, and the characters are so beautifully and uniquely rendered.

As my friend Lauren said after I passed the book along to her, there's no question as to what time period the book takes place in. Of course, one of the most fun things about Gatsby is that it's set in the roaring 20s - always the decade I say I'd choose to live in. The bob haircuts, the mint juleps, the fabulous parties: what's not to love?

I adore these black and white stills from the original film, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Don't they make a beautiful couple? Word on the street is that Baz Luhrmann is filming a new version of The Great Gatsby as we speak. Anyone have more info on it?

"He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life... It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself."