Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jamie Magazine


During my regular lunchtime perusal of the magazine aisle at Borders, I found myself glued to a copy of Jamie Magazine, the food magazine from British chef Jamie Oliver.  I was really impressed with the magazine, which has an interesting layout, great pictures, cool graphics and fonts, and is printed on that good thick matte paper.  It had a bunch of entertaining foodie articles on a variety of topics, from Italian produce to English ciders, and is just really well done.  Not at all what you'd expect from a "celebrity chef."

I really admire what Jamie Oliver has done to bring awareness to the sorry state of school lunches in England and now America, and I once saw him rather gallantly fend off a paparazzo in Primrose Hill while holding one of his adorable daughters (the guy was awful, anyone would have lost their cool), but having lived in England for a while I'm still not sold on the idea of a Brit telling me how to cook.  In fairness, I haven't brought myself to try any of the recipes, so I should reserve judgment.  I think I'll finally give Jamie a try.  It's definitely worth checking out for a hip, un-stuffy approach to food.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Infinte Variety

via Martha Stewart
There are always a million reasons I can think of that make me want to be in New York at any given time, but the biggest one right now is an exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory by the American Folk Art Museum called Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts.  Private collector Joanna Rose has amassed an amazing collection of red and white quilts, and as an 80th birthday gift, her husband arranged for them to be exhibited at the Armory, for six days, going on right now.  The exhibition was featured on the Martha Stewart Show today, and it's amazing.

  There are over 650 quilts, unbelievably with no repeats, exhibited in an ingenious way by a company called Thinc Design.  The way in which they've displayed the hanging spirals of quilts manages to rid them of the stuffy, Grandma-ish air I usually associate with them, and makes them feel strikingly fresh and modern, even though some date from the 1800s.  The vibrant red cloth is made from something called Turkey red dye, which was prized for its colorfastness, and the  unique designs really stand out in the red and white color scheme. 

Some of the quilts are totally op-art and some are totally folksy. They've completely changed my mind about quilts.  I can't get over the creativity and labor that the women who made them put in.  I am incredibly jealous of those in NYC who get to check out such an inspiring collection firsthand.  The rest of us will have to click over to Martha's blog for a better look.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

California Girls

Malibu Beach, via Creative Commons
I've never been to L.A., but decided I would hate it.  I could never be a California Girl.  I'm almost translucently pale, I can't stand the sun, drive as little as humanly possible, and I'm not that big a fan of the beach.  But I do love the smell of the seaside, so this weekend I tested two different perfumes that were both created to represent the same California, beachy lifestyle.  Jennifer Aniston perfume and Royal Apothic City of Angels.

via Sephora
Jennifer Aniston Perfume, obviously Jennifer Aniston's foray into the overcrowded world of celebrity fragrance, is now carried by Sephora and finally made it to my local store.  From hearing about this perfume, I was expecting a really beach-y scent with maybe some hint of suntan oil, something tropical like monoi, and maybe a whiff of salt air, Malibu in a bottle, if you will. What I got was a vaguely familiar hit of white floral, with a jasmine overtone, and a drydown of the Egyptian musk you get in those exotic looking bottles at Whole Foods for six dollars.  Now, I love night-blooming jasmine more than most people, and I actually think that little cheap bottle of Egyptian musk smells really good, but really Jen?  I got none of the beach notes I was hoping for, especially not the promised "smell of wood fires from Jennifer's friend's houses on summer evenings", and I had a nagging supsicion the top notes smelled exactly like something I already owned.

When I got home, I dug up a bottle of Tatiana by Diane Von Furstenberg that I purchased a while ago on a whim off of a sale table at Perfumania for less than $10.  The box says it's a "fresh bouquet of jasmine, gardenia and honeysuckle." They sold me right there. I gave it a spray.  Yup.  There it was, that familiar white floral I smelled in the Jennifer Aniston. but lacking the bottom notes. Tatiana was created in 1975, so maybe Jennifer Aniston liked it when she was younger?  So, in my humble opinion, you could save yourself the money and just get a super-cheap bottle of Tatiana and a bottle of that musk from Whole Foods, layer them, and when someone ask what you're wearing, you can say, "oh, this is just a little something I threw together" and not have the embarrassing experience of having to say you're wearing Jennifer Aniston.

Sephora lists the notes for Jennifer Aniston Perfume as:
Citrus Grove Accord, Rose Water, Jasmine, Violet, Amazon Lily, Musk, Amber, Sandalwood.  A 1.7 oz bottle will set you back $55

via Anthropologie

Royal Apothic City of Angels is carried by Anthropologie, and describes it online as "a seaside breeze of eucalyptus and night-blooming jasmine"  To my nose, this was a much nicer riff on the California beachy jasmine theme.  At first sniff, it's a very natural smelling jasmine solifiore, but then the sharp greenness of the eucalyptus kicks in, tempering the sweet, floral jasmine. It's fairly straightforward, but nicely done.  City of Angels is a must-try for jasmine lovers. The scent is very feminine, but unexpected.

City of Angels is part of Royal Apothic's line of fragrance inspired by urban gardens.  Anthropologie also carries the company's line of room sprays and candles; they're all well done and worth a sniff.  It's a great find for perfume lovers, at $32.  The box is adorable, with the map of London, picture of the Queen, and the little floral bow, and that atomizer is a nice touch.

I'm still looking for my favorite "beachy" perfume, and for my jasmine fix I'll stick to L'Orientaliste Jasmin, which is a heady, true to life night-blooming jasmine with a slightly citrus kick.  It's always great to satisfy some perfume curiousity, though.

Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY Lipcolor

Vogue Daily had a piece on Jeanine Lobell, founder of Stila, making lipsticks and glosses in the kitchen with her daughter and friends.  She used mineral pigments, a vitamin E stick, and castor oil, and melted them down in the microwave.  Looks like, good, not-so-clean fun.  Great activity to do at home with a bunch of girls, and you get to customize your own lip product.

The post didn't give many details, but it looks pretty easy.  If the kids can do it, I guess I can.  (Meanwhile, I don't have a cool enough name to hang out with this bunch: Poppy, Wallis, Gray, Esme, Jasper, oh my.)  I was happy to read the little bit of info that she has some upcoming projects, including a collaboration with Opening Ceremony (!)  Will definitely be keeping my eyes open for that one.

I have a bunch of little baggies of mineral color sitting around; samples from ordering mineral makeup.  I just need some little pots and my microwave is going to be very busy. I'm thinking about all sorts of possibilities.  You could add your own essential oils, like mint or lavender, different moisturizers, like jojoba or coconut oil, and mix until you got exactly what your little obsessive heart desired. And think of all the crazy things you could name your finished product.  You could give Mr. Nars  a run for his money in the obscure names department.   I'm getting so excited just thinking about it.  Now, if Jeanine would cough up the secret formula for my dearly departed Stila Natalie lipstick, my happiness would be complete.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

so cute

Browsing the mall with my sister the other day, we spotted this pair of super cute red printed flouncy shorts things at aerie.  We were smitten, and then she said, "wait, but aren't these cullotes?  Are we really gonna do that again?" Too funny. Well, aerie calls this a "skort", so I'm going with that.

They would be so cute with a french-y striped shirt (wouldn't everything?) and some red lips.  Even if I'm pretty sure I had a pair in the fourth grade!

Monday, March 21, 2011


These looks from Zara's March lookbook are killing it.  Love the clean lines and pops of color.  They look so of-the-moment and timeless all at once. Dying for some colored slim pants and a camel jacket.  Such a fresh look for spring.
Speaking of fresh, how great does the model's matte pink lip look?  I'd try Tarte Lipsurgence Natural Matte lipstain.  These seem to have the best color payoff, in my experience playing around with lipstains at Sephora.

Vintage purses

via Vanessa Jackman

While looking around for what seems like forever for a brown leather handbag with a slightly Seventies feel, I noticed that the price of leather bags seems to have crept up over the past couple years.  And stores are charging an arm and a leg for vinyl bags these days.  So, what's a girl to do?  Go vintage.  The craftsmanship is generally better at a fraction of the price, and it has the added benefit of being very environmentally friendly.
I have mixed feelings about wearing leather.  I'm not a vegan but I don't really like the idea of wearing animal skins.  So-called "Vegan" bags are usually made from PVC or polyurethane, which is very bad for the planet and seems counter-productive to trying to live a "greener" lifestyle.
I came across a post on Alicia Silverstone's great website, where she explains how she makes just this choice while shopping.
I found a couple of great-looking options on ebay, like this frame purse and this saddlebag, but I bet a trip to a local thrift store could yield some finds.
Gotta love fashion that's both economical and eco-conscious!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Value of a Dollar

Artist Jonathan Blaustein has a very interesting project called The Value of a Dollar Project, where he has photographed a dollar's worth of various types of foods, such as the ten organic blueberries above, and the dozen servings of shrimp ramen.  Intended to show how unbalanced nutritional value and price are, it's a very eye-opening display.  And the double cheeseburger looks really gross, so maybe you could look at that next time you get a craving, and save your heart the trouble.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

100% Pure

via Apartment Therapy
I have a box full of lipsticks that are barely discernible from each other, and barely detectable when I put them on my lips, but like just about everyone else, I'm on a constant hunt for that perfect rosy, dewy natural lip look. The reigning favorite is Nars Dolce Vita- but I'm looking for a natural replacement.

This lip glaze from 100% Pure is made from certified organic avocado butter, organic cocoa butter, and pigments from organic fruits and vegetables, and rose petals.  That's it.  There are a number of great looking colors, but I'm drawn to Rose Petal, for obvious reasons. I have bought their lipgloss in the past, and it was nice, I liked the color and the scent, but the tube was a leaky mess!  Such a bummer.  This looks like it wouldn't leak, so I'm very intrigued. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011


via the always amazing Garance Dore

Thinking about the people of Japan.  Friends I've lost touch with and those I've yet to meet.  If you can, donate to the Red Cross.

Shopbop Wedding Boutique

Shopbop, my go-to site for drooling over very cool clothes and accessories I can't afford, has launched a wedding boutique.  While I'm not getting married anytime real soon (pretty sure you need a boyfriend for that first), the traditonal bridal industry bores me to tears, so I headed over to check out the goods. 
It's not exactly budget, but it has a range of great wedding and bridesmaids dresses that aren't too crazy-expensive, and its always nice to have more fashion-y options in a sea of same-old, same-old strapless a-line dresses.  Definitely worth checking out if you're a more adventurous bride (or know someone who is).   There are some modern takes on the classic long wedding dress from labels like Thakoon, Thread Social and Halston Heritage, but how rad would it be to run off and get married in this Temperley mini?

Cosabella for J. Crew

J. Crew and Cosabella have launched a collaboration, a mini-collection of bras and knickers in very J. Crew colors (I particularly like the dark seaweed, above).  I'm a little (ok, more than a little obsessed with underwear) and this is very exciting to me.  It's shockingly hard to find an unlined bra with thin straps and plain knickers in non-putrid tones.  J. Crew used to have a great selection of intimates back in the day, hopefully this is a sign of more to come.  Btw, do you hate the word "panties" as much as I do? I always say "underwear" or "knickers".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Facial Oil?

While perusing the Urban Outfitters beauty department online, I came across this cool looking bottle of face and body oil.  Skin&Bones is an all natural oil that can be used all over, face, knees, cuticles, hair, wherever.  It's made from pure jojoba oil and a blend of essential oils like frankincense, jasmine and cedarwood.  The idea of rubbing oil on my already oily face seems counterintuitive, but it's supposed to balance oil production while moisturizing. The idea of one product for everything is definitely intriguing, in a "look at me I'm so low-maintenance while not actually being low-maintenance" way.  And did I mention the bottle is dark violet glass? Dying to try it out.

Mon Jasmin Noir

via the Scented Salamander
Isn't the ad for the new Bulgari perfume, Mon Jasmin Noir, gorgeous?  Kirsten Dunst and a lion, they couldn't go wrong.  The perfume is a flanker to Jasmin Noir, and it sounds like it's lighter and aimed at a "younger" audience.
   from Nordstrom:
            "BVLGARI Mon Jasmin Noir: A luminous and addictive new floral fragrance, cut like a gem with                  dazzling clarity, offering an undeniably modern and sensual femininity.

            Notes: lily of the valley, sambac jasmine, musky nougatine, vibrant wood."
            Prices: $80 and $105
The original was a nice fragrance, but a little too "lady" for my tastes.  I tend to dislike anything that screams "fancy perfume".  I love Lily of the Valley, so I'll definitely be sniffing this when and if it hits my local Sephora.

Mad Ireland

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I've never been to Ireland, but I've always wanted to go.  I know most of these things are a cliche, but I love some many Irish things:
Fisherman Sweaters, Bono and U2, cool, rainy weather, Shamrock Shakes (lol), writers like Joyce and Yeats, the movie Once (so awesome, so depressing), last but not least, the accent. Sigh.  I'll celebrate St. Patrick's Day by listening to The Swell Season and reading poetry, maybe grabbing a pint of Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide ice cream. Now where can I get a Guinness with a Shamrock in it like this?

Spring Forward

 My hair is waist-length now, patiently awaiting getting chopped and donated to a worthy cause, and when it's not up in a very messy bun with one brave bobby-pin stuck haphazardly in it, it's in an equally messy side braid ala last Spring's Alexander Wang show.  All I need to add is this cool-looking organic lip stain I found on Etsy and a sprinkling of the best-looking jasmine scented hair powder I've ever seen, and I'll be good to go when spring gets here this weekend.