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Archive for October, 2012

The prisoner of Madison Avenue

Aside from the fact that I’m sleeping on an air mattress, my life is just like Gossip Girl right now

It would appear as though power is in no particular rush to make its way back to lower Manhattan, and so I find myself—highest of high class problems—closing in on Day Three of my exile on the Upper East Side. It sure is a whole different world around here, guys. A world where, if you can’t exactly say life imitates Gossip Girl, you can’t exactly say it doesn’t either: Fiftysomething former Blair Waldorfs wearing headbands, quilted hunting coats, and tight little smiles share sidewalk space with impossibly tall and tawny Serena van der Woodsens of all ages, who may or may not be jogging, walking golden retrievers, or in the company of gold-Rolexed, well-preserved, somewhat older gentlemen wearing open-collared shirts with navy blazers. The type of men it wouldn’t surprise one to learn owned a large boat docked in Crete.
And then there are the stores. So, so many stores. I popped in to Diptique to pick up a travel version of my favorite Lavender candle—if I can’t be at home, then at least I can remind myself of it, right?—and at the cash register, went out of my head over their Holiday Collection. The candles come in three scents—Amber, Fir, and Frankincense—all of which are divine (especially the Frankincense, which is the purple one you see here). Memo to everybody in my life who complains that I’m impossible to buy gifts for: this, please.
And just a few doors down: I think it’s safe to say that Christian Louboutin has jumped the shark, no?
Stubbs and Wooton—of the bespoke velvet slippers only Fran Lebowitz can really get away with, and that’s because she can get away with whatever she wants—have always felt super-sissypants and highly objectionable to me. I am amazed afresh every time I see a grown man wearing them—that whole cheeky preppy thing; it’s just deathly. But I can not lie: when I saw this needlepoint camo duffel in their window today, I didn’t not think it was fantastic.
My decision to flee downtown before the storm was made at the last conceivable moment, and left me with about ten minutes to pack. So I just threw whatever I thought I might need at the suitcase and hoped for the best. And considering the circumstances, I did pretty well. Except that I completely neglected to pack anything having to do with the care and maintenance of my hair. I’ve got a very specific regimen—with a flotilla of me-specific products at home, and was in no mood to spend a fortune trying to replicate it. So I just popped over to Zitomer —an overgrown drugstore/dry goods emporium that you must visit if you’re ever in the neighborhood, even though the staff isn’t exactly the friendliest, because they’ve got everything: exotic candles, homeopathic remedies, a house cosmetics line, nipple petals, a whole floor of toys and children’s clothing. And I bought myself some good, old fashioned Psssst. There are a lot of fancier options in the hair shampoo/hair powder category these days, but more than one big deal hairdresser of my acquaintance swears by this stuff, because it gives you body for days.
Finally: I am feeling deeply, deeply fortunate to have made out so comparatively well in the aftermath of Sandy. Every single friend I’ve got who doesn’t live in Brooklyn is without power, and one of my Brooklyn friends lost his car when it drowned. Others of course, have had it far, far worse than that. Here is a particularly helpful list of places to donate your money or time to help those who’ve been affected by the storm. I’m hoping to do some Citymeals on Wheels deliveries this weekend—something I’ve wanted to do forever anyway, but never got it together for until exactly now.
Posted on October 31st, 2012 17 Comments

Happy post-stormy, Halloweeny Wednesday links

  •  I bring you  Brooke Shields and Gene Simmons. Because you’re welcome. (The Cut)
  • Tonight’s Halloween parade may be cancelled, but Sunday’s New York City marathon is on, on, on. (NY1)
  • You guys, the New York City subway system  is messed. Up. Just look at some of these pictures. (Death & Taxes)
  • I love when my crackpot theories turn out to be true: in order to get ahead in the corporate world, it helps quite a lot if you’re just a little bit of  a psychopath. (Smithsonian)
  • The Bond Girl as feminist icon. (Slate)
Posted on October 31st, 2012

Apres le deluge

Did everyone get through that whole storm thing OK?  I’m safe and sound at my parents’ place, having chosen, when my my super told me yesterday that he was sure our neighborhood would be among the first to lose power, to believe him. My parents’ building has a generator. And—more important—is close enough in proximity to Casa Bloomberg for me to feel confident that if power did go out, it’d come right back on  tout suite. So: as a refrigerator full of lovely food rots in my apartment 80-odd blocks downtown, here I type.  Last night, I stayed up alternately checking my Twitter feed for disaster updates, and texting my neighbor/webmistress/site designer Dolly Meieran about various things we’ve been working on. And apropos of the weather, sort of—and, just as the lights flickered out in the West Village—we were discussing The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Dolly, like many a cultivated hipster a certain age, loves it. I, however, can’t bear a musical of any stripe. But a good movie poster is a good movie poster. And it’s always fun to look at international editions of posters for the for the same film, no? These are all for Dolly, who toils today in the chill and the dark. First up: something  happy, purply, and  German.

And here’s a very rare one from Japan, by artist Kazuo Kaminura.

This Spanish poster feels very Almodovar, which makes a certain sense.

I’m not sure how this Czech poster relates much to the spirit of the movie, but it is my favorite nevertheless.

A boldly employed yellow, like in this Polish version, always gets a thumbs-up from me.

And at last: the original French.

Posted on October 30th, 2012 7 Comments

Storm preparation for canines

So this morning, the dog and I headed over to the Hudson to have a look around: the river’s about three (long) blocks from my place, and I wanted to see if anything dramatic—five-foot waves; fully submerged park benches—had happened yet. An umbrella seemed unnecessary: there was rain, but it was that just-past- drizzle/less-than-full-on kind of rain I always associate with the year I spent living in Seattle. Instead, I just snapped the detachable hood on to my trusty Barbour coat and figured I’d be good to go. By the time we got to the water, however, the heavens had opened up substantially, and Sammy and I were both soaked. In addition to which, park rangers were barricading the area, and I came stupidly close to getting a ticket just so I could capture this very shot, for which I anticipate winning multiple photojournalism awards.

As we headed toward home,  I resolved to finally get Sammy the Barbour waxed cotton dog coat I instructed myself to buy him a year ago but never did. There are times when a dog needs a good coat (sweaters do nothing to protect a pooch from  the actual elements) and most dog coats are awful and theme-y, with little shiny hoods and whatnot—the dog attire industry having all but all but invented twee. This, however, is just about as elegant as it gets. Go ahead and laugh all you want at the thought of us strolling through the streets of downtown Manhattan in our matchy English countryside outerwear. I’m thinking (hoping) it’ll come off  less Crazy Dog Lady, more Royal Tennenbaums.

Finally: here’s something I did get it together to buy Sammy pre-storm (and is he a handsome boy or is he a handsome boy?): the Thundershirt. It apparently applies calming, gentle pressure that in turn helps calm the kind of canine freakouts that are incited by storms and fireworks and the like. I’ve got no idea what the science behind it is, but people rave and rave. Have any of you tried it?

Posted on October 29th, 2012 23 Comments

Morning links

  • Greetings from beautiful downtown Frankenstorm, everyone. I hope those of you in Sandy’s path are staying staying safe and warm and dry, and that you get to stay home and watch movies and pretend this is all one big fun snow day. Fingers crossed for a minimum of chaos in any case. Check out these creepy/amazing  pictures of a near-empty Grand Central Station, just after it suspended service on all lines at around 7 last night. The photo of a dead-still Times Square subway station is particularly freaky too. (MTA)
  • Here are links to a bunch of  webcams located all around town, so that you can watch the storm as it hits such notable New York spots as the Brooklyn Bridge, Soho, The Empire State Building and Times Square. (Quartz via Kottke)
  • Even when he’s just canceling shows on account of  foul weather, Louie CK can’t help but be the funniest guy in the room. (Flavorwire)
  • New York Magazine’s website is liveblogging the storm—there are already some pretty scary pictures of  flooding in Red Hook and Battery Park City. (NYmag)
  • And, in other news: how about this for a tattoo, ladies? (Daily What)
Posted on October 29th, 2012 2 Comments

Dresses with dignity

 

There is no fun in recognizing moments when you have become a cliche. But, I have decided, there is no shame in it either. So indulge me for a moment as I become That Woman and issue this complaint: why must designers persist in turning out otherwise desirable dresses with absurdly short hemlines? Why must finding something that hits significantly closer to the knee be so hard? What happened to the elegance, people? I do love this one by Saloni, though, because of its feminine, slightly retroish cut and because how could I not with that print?

I like the idea of wearing this Willow dress with black tights and a black cardigan—for sort of  a reverse black and white effect, which always looks so cool.

Sweater dresses can be tricky, tricky for the less than flat-of-stomach,but that’s what Spanx are for, right? I have always been a sucker for the look of a super-low waistline: it just seems so slouchy and comfortable, and this Marc by Marc Jacobs dress feels like it  could be one of the coziest pieces ever.

Another super-retroish, very flattering dress—by Tucker, who my enthusiasm for grows in direct proportion to how far they let themselves  stray from their signature peasant dress template. I’m also very fond of the same dress in this print, but the springy green-on green is sweet and unexpected for fall.

If I needed a knockout dress for a party, I’d totally go for this one my Cynthia Rowley—not a designer who is usually my cup of tea, but I’d make a big fat exception here.

 

 

 

Posted on October 26th, 2012 29 Comments

Morning links

  • Did any of you watch the first season of The Hour? The BBC America drama that takes place in 50s London and is like Mad Men but realer (and set at a TV news show, not an ad agency) and that has maybe the best love triangle in all of TV-dom? If so, then lookee! Here’s the first season two trailer. If not, then you must watch season one before season two starts so you can get in on the well-written, super well-acted, extra-British smarty-ness of it all. Truly, you are only cheating yourself if you don’t. (You Tube)
  • For your delectation: every single piece in the Margiela for H&M collection. (British Vogue)
  • This guide to distinguishing between the indistinguishable men of Nashville is very funny and right on point. (Vulture)
  • We didn’t really think we were going to get to get through this election cycle without a Lena Dunham PSA for Obama, did we? It’s aimed at college-aged kids, and it’s actually very charming. (The Grindstone)
  • Kurt and Courtney, the musical? (Flavorwire)
Posted on October 26th, 2012 8 Comments

Concealers: you asked, I answered

A hint of an under eye circle on Charlotte Rampling actually looked pretty sexy. On the rest of us, maybe not so much

A few of you have requested that I share my thoughts on concealer —intuiting, perhaps, that I might hold some strong opinions on the topic. And you intuited right, of course. I am plagued (possibly too strong a word) by under eye circles, and after years in a job that allowed me access to every newer and better eye de-puffer and un-darkener civilization has to offer, I finally came to the conclusion that the only real cure for dark circles is to just cover them up.

Choosing a good concealer is so damn tricky, though, and I’m fortunate to have had good tutors: almost everything I know about the topic I learned working at fashion magazines, where all of the more seasoned  beauty editors swore by  Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage.  It’s definitely for the person who knows her way around a makeup brush, as it’s closer to a solid than a cream, and therefore a bit tougher to apply. But if you’re good at that type of thing, it can’t be beat.

Givenchy’s Mister Light is super-simple to use, which made it a standby for  just about every woman I worked with who wasn’t a beauty editor, including me.

An editor once instructed me to allow eye cream an honest five minutes to sink in before you apply concealer, and—cumbersome though following that bit of advice may be—it really does make a difference. Things just go on more smoothly and stay on longer. Sometimes a girl is in a rush to get out the door, though, and that’s why I love Mac mineralize concealer (which I’ve mentioned here before, but am throwing in again)—it’s so creamy you can skip the moisturizing step altogether.

When I’m looking at a serious code blue situation, I pull out my treasured stash of Cle de Peau. The fantabulous makeup artist and all-around wonderful person Wei Lang introduced it to me back when photo shoots and TV appearances made the occasional appearance on my schedule, and nothing but the seriously Good Stuff would do.

A lot of people swear by YSL’s Touche Eclat, but I’d never actually tried it myself until just a couple of weeks ago when I grabbed it out of a friend’s makeup bag and gave it a whirl. And you know what? It is MAGIC. In that brightening, luminizing kind of way.

 

 

Posted on October 24th, 2012 30 Comments

The heart wants what it wants

I’m not entirely certain why I became so obsessed with finding the perfect foul weather poncho, but now that I believe myself to have done so, it is taking all my will (helped along by the fact that I’m doing battle with a cold and feeling weak as a kitten) not to hie myself to Bird immediately and snatch it up. I mean, does this hooded cape by Fjallraven have some clean, elegant lines for a piece of foul weather gear or what? Not even to mention that it looks crazy cozy.  And the whole where does one carry one’s handbag? issue that inevitably emerges with capes and ponchos is mitigated by the giant pockets, which look like they’d accomodate a wallet, phone, and lippie with ease.

Also: this one. Which at $899 is not really even up for contention, but which is a little slice of heaven nevertheless.

Posted on October 24th, 2012 4 Comments

Pretty, pricey little things

Fornasetti candles cost an arm and a leg, but they are so damn pretty that they really do qualify as decorative objets in their own right, don’t you think? I was quite pleased, just this morning as the dog and I were strolling down Christopher street, to note that that they’re now at the spectacular fragrance emporium Aedes De Venustas* —as I’ve never been able to track them down in the States, much less so close to my place of residence. And they’ve got a fantastic e-commerce site, so they might as well be in your backyard as well.

*Truly, if you are at all into this type of thing and a visit to New York is in your plans, you must stop in to this place. At a time when so many stores resemble so many other stores, there is no other place quite like this one.

Posted on October 23rd, 2012 7 Comments