Saturday, May 31, 2008
a vulgar, shrill, deeply shallow — and, at 2 hours and 22 turgid minutes, overlong
The latter Carrie is the one we get in this padded push-up version of "Sex and the City." She's a half-pint Norma Desmond: Every time she does something as simple as walk through a doorway, she's announcing, "I'm ready for my closeup."
The movie's costumes have, once again, been scrounged up by the dread Patricia Field, who puts poor Carrie into a series of god-awful designer mishmashes that might have been tolerable on the small screen but that scream down at us like banshees from the big one.
I'm trying to round up some of my LA Bagista's to go see it on Sunday. If we make it, I'll give you my review.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Just a note about Talbots: although they have a reputation as being very staid and conservative, I've often found really cute and inexpensive accessories there that garner lots of compliments. I'd bet dollars to donuts that this bag would be one of those items.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Last year prior to my first trip to Paris, I obsessed for months about what to wear and pack. Between mon mari, who is a chronic over-packer, and my own desire to have whatever just-in-case items available for this most stylish of destinations, we ended up shlepping an oversized duffel and another wheeled bag both of which we checked, in addition to a wheeled carry-on bag. I wore probably half of what I'd packed, and getting all of that luggage through customs (especially on the way home where we were trying to make--and ultimately missed--a connecting flight), made me vow that a) I'd pack much lighter next time and b) we'd invest in some luggage that was better designed.
For a start, being able to survive for two weeks with nothing but a pair of trousers, two tops, one dress, a pair of flip-flops, a receptacle to purify your urine and a spool of twine (or whatever) all squashed into a handbag is nothing to boast about.
...And moreover, would you wear the same shirt (or anything else) four times in a week at home? Of course you wouldn't. So why, in the name of all that is fragrant and sanitary, would you do so on holiday?
The development of my own packing modus operandi owes a great deal to the fear of having to wear dirty clothes. So I've erred in the past on the side of too much rather than too little. But the last two trips I've taken have helped me figure out which items are the essentials and which should be left at home. Strategies I've developed from my recent sojourns (and these apply mostly to visiting a single locale/climate per trip):
1. Pick one neutral for basics (pants, jackets, shoes, bag) and work around it. No surprise here, but black is my choice for all but tropical destinations.
2. Bring multiples of black and white t-shirts that are light enough to be used as layering pieces. (Banana Republic makes an excellent one.) A black t-shirt under a jacket can also look dressy enough for most venues with some jewelry or a scarf.
3. Bring scarves to accent and change the look of your neutral ensembles. (But you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?)
4. Bring 2-3 bags maximum - one for day, a small one for evening, and (optional) a bigger, lighter bag to be used for a personal carry-on item (for airlines that allow in addition to a carry-on bag).
5. Carry cell phone and laptop chargers with you. Lost luggage + dead cell phone = Extremely Grumpy Traveler.
6. If you've followed #1, you should be able to get by with two or three pair of shoes (wear one, pack 2).
7. Rolling some clothes, packing clothes individually in dry cleaning bags, and underpacking will all help prevent wrinkling. I do usually pack a small travel steamer, just in case.
8. Bring a Tide spot removal pen, and some powdered handwashing soap to wash items in the sink. Bring a small sprayer full of Febreeze to get smoke or other scents out of otherwise clean-enough-to-wear-again clothes.
9. Bring no more than 1-2 pairs of denim jeans. They are bulky, heavy and you can usually get 3 wearings out from a single pair before they need washing.
For any trip longer than 2-3 days, I use a bag big enough that it has to be checked. Some airlines are starting to charge for checked bags. I know for some travellers it's a matter of pride to be able to get two weeks' worth of stuff in a carry-on bag, but I reside somewhere between that extreme and Hadley Freeman, whom I'm guessing travels with a team of sherpas.
What are your packing philosophies and tips?
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The gold scarf ring is a horse bit design. I've had it for some years and don't remember where I purchased it, but recently dug it out and put it back on active duty. I keep getting asked if it's Gucci. (It's not.)
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
*Title inspired from this comment from materfamilias on her post here, (responding to comments from the Scarves discussion at The Thoughtful Dresser), "Personally, I rather think that fighting one's inner bourgeois is a foolish and losing battle, and I'd rather embrace my and give her a bit of funk while I'm at it..."
\ˈbu̇rzh-ˌwä also ˈbu̇zh- or ˈbüzh- or bu̇rzh-ˈ\
Middle French, from Old French burgeis townsman, from burc, borg town, from Latin burgus
1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the townsman or of the social middle class 2 : marked by a concern for material interests and respectability and a tendency toward mediocrity 3 : dominated by commercial and industrial interests : capitalistic
Back in my 20's and 30's, one of the worst insults that could be lobbed at one was "bourgeois." Bourgeois carried the implication of staid, smug, middle class complacency, intellectual laziness, and indiscriminate materialism. Coming of age when I did during the counter-culture years, I fought against that part of myself that craved comfort, stability, and yes, luxury. As an outer manifestation of those values, my friends and I chased a more bohemian aesthetic, while I still secretly admired more classic and quality pieces that I saw on stylish, upscale women. The primary sartorial values my parents had instilled were a) buy quality fabrics and workmanship and b) stick to simple styles as you won't tire of them quickly. Not surprisingly, I've come full circle back to that way of thinking when it comes to style.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
First flight, here's what I remember: I was 4, my sister 1-1/2. Being trussed up in our best clothes (fancy dresses, stiff petticoats, patent leather mary janes) and lectured about how we'd better behave, dammit. Passing through a large hangar-like building and crossing the tarmac and up the stair-on-wheels to board the plane. Jr. Hostess wings from the stewardesses (back then they were all female) and going up front to meet the pilots and see the cockpit. Chewing gum to make our ears pop. A hot meal with silverware (at that point the most elegant meal I'd had in my young life). Looking out the windows and playing with the shades. Saying "wheee!" when we hit turbulence. Using the (then) space-age potty. Landing in Chicago, sleepy. Light fixture on the ceiling at Midway airport looked like stars. Boarding the plane for Wheeling, having to walk uphill from the back of the plane to our seats. Little cloth curtains on the windows, and the wings had propellers. Waking up as we landed.
Another flight I'll never forget involved propellers as well. When I was 16, my mother, my sister and I had flown with another family to Vancouver, and were connecting to Victoria. My mother was a nervous flyer and hated smaller planes and propellers especially. When we got to the boarding area and she saw that our connecting flight involved both, she headed to the nearest bar and started drinking. By the time we took off, she was already at twenty thousand feet. It was a beautiful flight that stayed fairly low and we flew over pretty green islands, some with sheep on the hills. On landing, which was a little bumpy but nothing out of the ordinary, our mother threw her head into her lap and started screaming "we're going to DIE! We're going to DIE!" (Oh, and during the flight she'd burned a hole in her dress with her cigarette.) The whole cabin of twenty or so people cracked up but we pretended we didn't know her until we got into our rental car.
Then, for a lot of years, I didn't fly at all. When I did start flying again, it was a new era, no longer special or elegant. People in sweats pushed and shoved to board, the seats were sometimes covered in crumbs or stuffed with trash from the last occupant, the flight attendants were surly. It had become Greyhound with wings.
If you're reading this on Monday, I am probably somewhere between home and the airport, or waiting to board my flight, or 32,000 feet over Missouri, or landing in New York. But there's another flight I plan to take sometime in the few months, and it doesn't involve crowds or even pressurized cabins:I had planned to take a ride in an open cockpit bi-plane for my 50th birthday, but then we went to Paris instead. I had hip surgery a few weeks before my 51st birthday. But I'm not going to wait for another birthday to pass before I have this adventure. The ironic part is that mon mari hates flying, and so I'll probably have to take my son up with me. He shares my love of the wild blue yonder.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Last May when we were in Paris, we saw Anne Paceo perform as part of a trio opening for Ben Sidran/Georgie Fame. If you are in Paris, like jazz and have a chance to see her perform, don't miss it. She's a phenomenal percussionist!
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
If you are listed on my blogroll and have not been tagged the for the last two memes, consider yourself tagged!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
"Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day"
The New Yorker.
Horses munching hay in a barn, red-winged blackbird calls, drumming, music (all kinds).
None, I'm done procreating.
Buy a horse.
Cool, until you see the funnel cloud.
Did you actually think I'd say something other than coffee? ;-)
Travel and read more books.
If cooked, yes. If raw, no.
Palo Alto, Los Altos, Dayton, OH, San Luis Obispo, San Jose (Costa Rica), Princeton, NJ, Woodside, Sunnyvale, Arroyo Grande (means Big Ditch in Spanish!), Los Angeles, Culver City
Equestrian events, American football
She is quite intelligent.
Storage boxes with our ski clothes.
Yes. But with better hair.
Outdoors on a patio overlooking a lake.
Monday, May 5, 2008
- A bit of protein with every meal, and fresh fruits and veggies as often as possible.
- Limiting sugary foods to immediately after meals (prevents blood sugar crashes)
- Walking as much as possible, and once I'm cleared by the orthopedist, riding my recumbent stationary bike a few times a week
- Regular dental care (more and more evidence that gum disease is a factor in a host of other serious conditions, such as heart disease!) Flossing daily in addition to brushing.
- Regular medical checkups
- Remembering to take my thyroid med every morning
- Sleep (getting 8 hours is a challenge at times, but I try)
- Wearing clothing that fits my body NOW, not when I'm five pounds thinner
- Wearing a seatbelt (it's the law here, but still)
- Down time where no one is making demands on me (I get up an hour before the rest of my family to achieve this)
- SUNSCREEN. Every day. 40+ SPF.
- Writing for this blog.
- Doing some stretches daily, again once the orthopedist signs off (I'm restricted from certain movements until my bones have fused to my artificial hip)
- Vitamin, calcium, and fish oil tablets daily
- A bit of dark chocolate daily, and a glass of wine a few times a week.
- A good laugh at my own expense at least once a day. ("I used to be disgusted/But now I'm just amused.")
Saturday, May 3, 2008
A couple of commenters in the Poaching thread mentioned adding vinegar to the water. I was certain there was probably a reason for this, and so tried it. It makes the egg white cook up more solidly and cohesively, so I've now replaced the salt with vinegar in my egg poaching process.
Friday, May 2, 2008
When I first moved to LA, one of the high points was living near a Trader Joe's. If you've never been to one, it's like a gourmet grocery with very low prices on many items. They have a lot of organic foods and environmentally friendly products, and a great wine department featuring inexpensive to mid-priced wines. My son is hooked on their canned chicken chili with beans, and I'm hooked on the "Just a Handful" almonds, both raw and roasted that are packaged in single-serving portions. Another winner is the frozen Frenched rack of lamb, which is a thaw, cook and serve dinner, along with a salad of their house brand baby greens. If you're looking for fresh flowers and herbs they have some of the best around and again at the best prices. During the grocery strike a couple years ago, I shopped almost exclusively at TJ's, and we never ate better. Convenience is now the only reason I shop anywhere else; my nearest supermarket also has a branch of my bank and a pharmacy where we have most of our prescriptions, but I make a point to get to TJ's every week or two to stock up on our favorites.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
On to this week's foulard: yes, it's the truly gorgeous "Billets-Doux" scarf by Ashley Ashoff, which I first admired a couple weeks ago. Despite my protestations about being over budget for clothing purchases this month, I succumbed to the lure of its pure blue color and words of love. It arrived late last week, but we were having quite the heat wave, and yesterday was the first day it was cool enough to wear it.
I first tried it on tied loosely like a man's tie.
But the fabric is so fluid and drapes so nicely, and the pattern so pretty, I decided to show it off to better advantage: This is another variation on the "bib" with that the ends left hanging loose in front. You can also secure by running both ends through a scarf ring in the back if you don't want to have to continually readjust.