Archive for December, 2012
- Happy Christmas Eve, guys; I hope your holiday break has either already begun or is exceptionally imminent. I’m going to step away for the screen for a tiny break myself, so expect me back full-steam on January 2—but don’t surprised if I pop in before then for a quickie or two. Meanwhile, let’s celebrate 2012′s last round of morning links with a bunch of vintage holiday-themed Playboy covers. (Retronaut)
- Were you aware of the popular megachurch holiday tradition known as the singing Christmas tree? Because it sure took me by surprise. (Slate)
- The origins of the Christmas Stocking, with fun pictures. (Threaded)
- Shoppers: I have located the Ugly Christmas sweater motherlode. Behold. (Ugly Christmas Sweaters)
- The Vatican has its own tax-free secret department store. (Time)
Thanks to the no-electronics-after-9pm rule I’ve imposed (medium-successfully) on myself in an effort to drive insomnia out of my life, I’m getting a lot more reading done lately. And after converting to consuming pretty much all my books via an iPad, it’s been nice to return to the neighborhood bookstore and buy actual, physical books: it feels so familiar and right, like staring at an album cover while you were listening to a record used to. You know?
I’ll get to Grace Coddington’s memoir at some point—it sounds like too much gossipy good fun to pass up—but first up on my Fashion True Believers reading list is Diana Vreeland: Empress of Fashion. Vreeland’s grand pronouncements (“The bikini is the biggest thing since the atom bomb”) and her sharp, patrician features—combined a sense of hauteur so outsized that you can practically feel it coming at you in photographs—have helped create an almost cartoony prototype of the old school fashion editor. But she was a complicated character, driven and difficult and not necessarily on the fondest terms with the truth when it didn’t suit her. The less-pretty daughter of a very beautiful mother, she let her imagination lead her to a world of unstoppable beauty and surprise. That it’s all set against the backdrop of the New York publishing scene—and at a time where the only place a woman could advance to the top was a fashion title—makes it all that much more difficult to resist.
I’m finally getting around to reading Ellissa Schappell’s series of interconnected stories, Blueprints for Building Better Girls, which came out a while back. I loved Schappell’s first book, Use Me, and am falling for this one too: she writes with an edge and wit and commitment to the truth, but tempers the more achingly real moments with a deep affection for her characters. The collection’s second story, a portrait of a failing marriage in stroller-land Brooklyn, had me reading with my heart in my throat.
Also: Love Goes To Buildings on Fire, a history of the New York music scene from 1973 to 1977—a time that saw the intersection of disco and punk rock and the birth of hip hop. I’m not a big one for rock history books—they’re always either too academic or too hagiographic, but this one deals with the popular culture at large during that time—and what a crazy time it was, what with the city on the brink of bankruptcy, and crime running rampant in the streets rate—as well.
In addition to which: I’m considering Wild by Cheryl Strayed, about which the entire universe raves, but am still undecided. What do you guys think? Also, what’s on your list? What did you just read and love? Please do chime in.
I like the way my eyes look with mascara on the lower lashes, but only know this because of the few times makeup artists have applied it for me; any attempts to do so on my own have resulted in a look that is as smeary as it is tarantular. But I’m quite encouraged by the idea of this Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, and am seriously thinking about breaking my drugstore-only rule to try it. And while we’re on the topic: what do you guys think of lash tinting? I do my brows and that’s been (mildly) life altering, but the idea of dye that close to my eyes weirds me out a little.
- Music venue The Boston Tea Party wasn’t around for as long as the Fillmores East or West (it opened in 1967 and closed in 1971) but it hosted legendary shows, and cranked out out a bunch of pretty fantastic posters as well. As you can see here. (Voices of East Anglia)
- Truly. If ever there was an example of two items that didn’t need to be streamlined into one, this would be it. (The Cut)
- Simon Doonan threw a Christmas tree decorating contest, because of course he did. Check out the (suitably Doonan-ian) winners. (Slate)
- Good on National Geographic for taking a bold stance against Instagram’s objectionable new terms of service by simply suspending their use of it. (Hyperallergic via Flavorwire)
- You think your mom can be annoying. (Telegraph)
So much good stuff on sale, people—enough to really affect a person’s ability to focus on normal everyday activities. And yet focus one must. So allow me to do a little brain dump here: that way, maybe you can find some nice pieces, and I can maybe move on. Like for instance: Things—some very, very nice things, and lots of them—are up to 50 percent off at the high-end Canadian site Ssense. I’m pretty sure my life would actually be just a few degrees better if this scarf collar coat with that excellent white stripe was in it.
Everything on the Fleabags site is 25 percent off, which means that I am having to sit on my hands to keep from buying this blue bag that you may or may not recall my having gotten all sloppy over a while back. I also love this blanket satchel, with its nervy color combination of yellow and red. It reminds me of a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac bag I bought back when I was in college that could not have been more loud, and could not have brought me more joy.
Right now J Crew is taking 30 percent off of everything, whether you’re shopping on the site or in one of their stores. Which in my household can only mean trouble in the cashmere section. In a season of excellent fair isle sweaters, is this not one of the more excellent?
The year-end lists are coming fast and furious now: here are the best book covers, as chosen by graphic designers—who are highly particular about these things. (NY Times)
And here’s the year in weirdness. (NY Mag)
Who better than Les Fugs to take us through the most gloriously, absolutely right red carpet moments of 2012? (The Cut)
I found this piece about 2012′s most irksome, made-up, and incorrectly-deployed words (ping, YOLO, artisinal, I’m looking at you) deeply gratifying. (The Atlantic)
And finally: the year’s 30 best movie posters. (Flavorwire)
I’m a stickler for a tight edit. So after deciding to do a little item based on animal jewelry, I got a little anxious, because animal jewelry as a theme is just too broad for me to be happy with. And then I realized: these animals have all got hooves. Which is a theme! (That thud you hear is the sound of the jaw of every editor who ever had to pitch me a trend story dropping to the ground.) Still, the stuff is cute. Like for instance, this Chloe horse head bangle—thrillingly on sale—which is somehow more rock and roll than its more traditional counterparts.
I do adore this rather pricey little rose gold Piggy.
Yes, I’ve got a bit of a horse thing. What of it?
Given the season, it seemed appropriate to include a reindeer. It’s rather elegant, no?
Animal lovers: If you don’t follow any other advice I ever give you, please just promise you will go visit The Magic Zoo, the site where I found this very winning giraffe, because it is crazy. They make little the cutest charms! Look at the greyhound. The little Dachsund on his hind legs! And the Great Dane. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
As I have stated in the past, I’m not big on logos. But I’m also a complicated lady, full of quirks and contradictions, one of which is that—despite my stated distaste for logos—I am a total sucker for the Comme Des Garcons Play line and its bewitching little red heart. I haven’t actually ever bought anything, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t gazed at various stripey tees, V-necks and Converse sneakers with great longing and hunger in my eyes. The other day, however, a girlfriend dragged me with her to the Comme de Garcons Chelsea store to get a cardigan for her boyfriend. With a black heart—red would not do—because everyone knows the ones with black hearts are infinitely cooler (I of course did not know). And so now I am obsessed with owning the women’s version of the black heart cardigan. Because yes, it truly is somehow just that much cooler than the red. But mostly because I am a sheep. I leave it to you.
- Really quite beautiful x-ray photos of Christmas gifts (Faith is Torment via Flavorwire)
- Somebody wrote a whole book on the topic, but if you’re not interested in wading in quite that deep, here’s a brief pop-cultural history of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”—from its 80s origins as a masterwork by the High King of music nerd boys to its rebirth as Shrek soundrack-fodder, and beyond. (The Atlantic)
- This Peanuts gang/Bad Brains mashup is exactly the type of thing that makes me wish I still occasionally got high. (Death + Taxes)
- Nobody created a more amusing Gossip Girl recap—or one with a more passionate fan base—than Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar over at New York’s website. Rozvar bowed out some time ago for a new gig, but reunited—deeply amusingly—with Pressler for Monday’s big farewell. You might enjoy it even if you never watched the show, seeing as how you’re way past its demographic and all (cough). (Vulture)
- Dear lordy, has it really come to this? (Mother Jones)
Nobody seems to like that Microsoft’s ad guys took over the Times Square/Grand Central shuttle and made the cars mobile advertisements for their new Tablet, complete with video screens that play their ads on endless loop. But for some reason—like maybe that the Times Square/Grand Central Shuttle is a total drag of a subway line that manages to pack a lot of bummer into just one stop—this delights me. Of course, the fact that the shuttle’s only a 45-second ride is also what makes this seem OK—any longer than that, and a person could start feeling very Trapped at the Barbie Factory—as is the fact that it’s temporary.
Also, I like a well-executed bit of big dramatic marketing (see here) just as long as it’s ephemeral and not too disruptive.
It can also be innovative and really fun—check out this spot set in an Antwerp train station where commuters approach a Coke Zero machine that challenges them in a in a race against the clock to win tickets for Skyfall. And I think this Korean Coke machine/dance-off-bot is pretty amusing too. On the other hand, I curse the day Taxi TV was invented. We all have our limits. What are yours?