Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner

These recipes were featured in the NY Times in 2002 in a wonderful article by Lucian Truscott. At the request of his daughter for mid-week pancakes, he comes to the realization that they're not really that hard to make, and are the best pancakes I've ever tasted. With or without bacon. And if you're not into the banana topping, PLEASE use real maple syrup.
Mississippi Pancakes
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp butter -- melted
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tsp salt
 1. Place a nonstick griddle or a skillet over medium heat.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and foamy. Add milk, oil and butter.
In another bowl, sift together dry ingredients, then beat them into the
liquid ingredients with a wire whisk.
 2. When skillet is hot, pour in about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake,
leaving space between. Flip when batter bubbles.
Continue cooking for about a minute. Serve immediately.
  Yield: About 20 medium pancakes.

Haydee's Microwave Bananas

2 very ripe soft bananas -- peeled and sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Place bananas in a ceramic bowl with all other ingredients. Do not mix.
Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon on top of pancakes.
  Yield: 4 servings.

Shuesday: Everything's coming up Roses 2

The chilly, sunny days of February are turning to the Lion that is March - rain and cloud cover abounds. (Notwithstanding I just turned around and looked out the window only to wince at the sunshine streaming in.) Rene Caovilla says pah to the weather with fun pink strappy sandals decorated with roses. Now where can I get $780 before Friday night ... ? I like them with this dress.

BTW, discovered a new wine last night during a fabulous dinner at Restaurant Zoe - DeLille Vinyard's D2. Mmmmm.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

On to Vancouver

I'm a pushover for the Olympics, costume critiques notwithstanding.

The unpredictability is amazing - skaters pulling out and falling down, skiers who'd been featured on the covers of national magazines failing to medal at all, athletes from countries who'd never won before surprising themselves and the favourites by pulling ahead at the last moment, and insane athletes throwing themselves down ice tracks head first. They closed the schools in Newfoundland when Brad Gushe and his curling rink won the gold medal, the first for a Newfoundlander. (The last time they closed the schools, the Pope was in town.) Even the touching Tim Horton's commercials, featuring the dad who never knew that his father came to every one of his hockey games.

Sigh. I wonder how preparations are going in Beijing?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Things You Don't Know About Me

I retrieved my baby book from storage today, (in search of family tree information for the Fabulous Family), and took the opportunity to flip through it. In addition to being amazed at the time and energy my mother put into it in the days and years following my birth, I was shocked to discover that I reached the height of 5 foot 7 inches at age 12. OK, 12 and a half.

My first thought was that I'd only grown an additional 2-3 inches in all the years following, which makes my growth seem a bit hasty in the first place (although fits with my tendencies towards impatience and competition). Secondly, I can't quite believe that I've been this tall for this long, and yet I continue to trip and walk into things on a regular basis. (Another argument against intelligent design.) And finally, it seems a little strange to think about the people I know who are fully grown adults and who are still shorter than I was at age 12. And a half. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just saying.

I'm not going to bore you by recounting the times I wished I was shorter and when I realized that I was going to be OK with my height (not that there's anything to be done about it). I just didn't quite realize how early it started, that's all.

And now I have to go put things back on the top shelves in my kitchen. Without a stool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Embarrassment of Riches

There's really unlimited material when it comes to figure skaters and the costumes they wear. Colours no reasonable woman would be caught dead in on the street are somehow appropriate as they soar over a plain white background?

But the focus today is on unfortunately named Irina Slutskaya. Please, please don't wear pants, ladies. It's an unfortunate silhouette, and, when your hair is short and bowl cut, makes you look like a 14 year old boy. It didn't look good on Debi Thomas in 1988 and it doesn't look good now.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Shuesday: Combat Wedge?

This is a sandal that defeats the purpose of a sandal - there's more shoe here than in most pumps. While the FG has proportionally sized feet herself, she's still not a fan of any shoe that makes the foot look bigger than it actually is. Which is not the biggest problem with these gladiatrix-style wedge contraptions from Michael Kors, but is certainly something to consider.

And btw, if you spend $700 or more on Manolos at Neiman Marcus, you'll receive the following:
  • Free organza bag
  • 1 oz Bobbi Brown Beach fragrance spray
  • Pair espadrille thongs
Because the lack of gift with purchase was keeping you away.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Did someone say twizzle?

The Cookie Monster and the Scottish Cowgirl began a debate at yesterday's BaconFest 2K6 about whether ice dancing could be considered a sport. I'm not going to re-hash it for you here, but after tonight's free skate, I think that the Olympics would be a far less interesting place without it. Barely-there costumes, bizzare headgear, music from Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, Cirque du Soleil-esque contortions performed in motion on ice. Torvill & Dean it's not.

Not Grrrrreat!

I know, I know, it's hard to be a male figure skater, but do you have to dress like Tony the Tiger? Is this the dawn of a new era, where even figure skaters promote products through their costumes?

I'm just asking.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Breaking news: Cheney victim part Canadian?

Harry M. Whittington, who became embroiled in a drama that has consumed Washington when he was shot last weekend by Vice President Dick Cheney, emerged from the hospital today to say that he is "deeply sorry" for all that the vice president "has gone through this week."

Are you kidding me? He's sorry for the Vice President? He's been in the hospital for 6 days and suffered a minor heart attack, but he's sorry?

Man in Line of Fire Expresses Sorrow for Cheney's Troubles [NYT]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I enjoy being a ... hmmm

As long as there are human beings - particularly boys and overgrown boys - around to fart, and make fart jokes, there will be cartoons. Of that you can be sure. This is not at all a criticism of boys or what they turn into; it just happens to be a fact, and a diamond hard one, that boys aren't subject to the depredations of the Four Horsemen of Appropriateness:
  • Received Notions About Femininity
  • Fear of Not Being Perceived as Nice
  • No Boy Will Ever Want You If You Act/Look/Talk Like That, and
  • Caring Too Much What Other People Think of You
These soul killers, having been loosed on the world by all the manufacturers of pink toys and spaghetti strap toddlerwear, and sometimes by well-meaning, anxious mothers, come after girls before they even start elementary school and turn them into polite (if sometimes mean) little beings.

From Nancy Franklin's article on 'Family Guy' in The New Yorker, January 16, '06.

Kind of makes the Nazgul seem like less of a big deal.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Great Minds Shoe Alike

Had to note that The Manolo and Shoewawa shared the FG's red shoe fetish yesterday, although Shoewawa found a far superior pair of red boots. (The FG's not usually a Versace kind of girl, but there are always exceptions.) Hope your day was rosy and well-shod.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Take That, Chuck Klosterman

Hank Stuever addresses our Lloyd Dobler fetish:
Two Valentine's Days ago, in the Style section, it was discussed at great length why women still think about Jake Ryan -- the cool-mannered, Porsche-driving, completely fictional hunk from the 1984 teen flick "Sixteen Candles." ... it turns out, for every one woman with a residual Jake Ryan thing there are maybe 100 with a persistent Lloyd Dobler fetish. Those women wrote in, too, extolling the character played by John Cusack in the 1989 movie "Say Anything." Heaps of devotional words have been written about Lloyd Dobler. The early stages of a popularized Internet seemed to exist for people to make Lloyd Dobler references, and Lloyd Dobler tribute pages that linger ("Last updated on July 1, 1997"). Anyhow, here is your sequel, '80s ladies: Lloyd Dobler rules over Jake Ryan.

"Jake Ryan is dessert, and Lloyd Dobler is like the vegetables you need," says Sasha Johnson, 29. "Lloyd Dobler ruined men forever. I can't take total credit for this, an ex-boyfriend said this to me once. He contended that Lloyd Dobler's boombox moment became the pinnacle of romance -- the standard that no man could ever meet no matter how hard he tried. I've always loved Lloyd Dobler and have grown to appreciate him more as the years have gone on . . . the guy in high school that no woman wanted but ultimately now the kind of man we want to marry. He had that right mix of self-assuredness, sensitivity and geekiness. He was willing to make an insanely bold gesture to get the woman of his dreams back -- something every woman wishes could happen to her."

Shuesday: Everything's Coming up Roses

Red shoes can add a great kick to the little black dress you're wearing to dinner tonight - red boots if you're on the Eastern Seaboard.

Here are a few of my current favourites.

From Manolo, of course - I'm not a fan of t-straps, but these are too fun to resist.

If you're fortunate enough to be in Miami Beach for the month, these Gucci sandals or pink satin sandals from Christian Lacroix are darling.

Or you can go all out with fire engine red strappy sandals from Manolo. Enough already!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Grippy - not that way

Doctors in Turin, Italy, probably were as deserving of a medal as any of the 2,500 Olympic participants on Monday. No less than 11 athletes were injured at the Torino Winter Games as several crashes occurred on the ski slopes and luge track, in the centre of the halfpipe and at a skating rink. During a women's downhill training run, Canada's Allison Forsyth tore a ligament in her left knee when she lost control of her ski and skidded into the protective fencing.

Forsyth insisted the course in San Sicario, Italy, is safe. Olympic organizers increased the height of several jumps and sharpened corners after some skiers complained it was "boring" following a World Cup event last year."I think it was a very difficult course as far as the conditions of the snow, and the conditions of the snow isn't anybody's fault but nature," Forsyth said. Kerrin Lee-Gartner of CBC Sports attributed Monday's problems to the course conditions, saying it was icy and grippy in spots. Austrian skier Michaela Dorfmeister, the harshest critic of the course last year, told CBC Sports that some turns are very icy and bumpy, but added "it's a very nice downhill."

Enough already

I have listened to Americans make pro-gun ownership arguments for almost 10 years now. That it's a right, that learning about gun safety leads to fewer accidents, that it's a skill like tennis or knitting. I have nodded and smiled and deferred to their cultural proclivities.

I can't imagine who thinks it's a good idea to put loaded projectile-launching devices into the hands of elected officials. From a PR standpoint, it's a complete nightmare.

Never mind that 9 people under the age of 19 were killed by guns every day in 2000, forget about statistics. What this weekend's incident proves is that accidents happen when people use guns, regardless of the shooter's age, experience or proximity to Secret Service Agents, and people get hurt. It hardly seems worth it.

And, on a lighter note, the Young Activist penned alternate lyrics to Aerosmith's classic Janie's got a Gun:
Cheney's got a gun, Cheney's got a gun
His whole world's come undone, From lookin' straight at the sun ...

Poster Child

There was a conversation going on yesterday about which sport produces the most attractive athletes - skiiers and snowboarders were among the top candidates.

Luge wasn't mentioned, but then, none of us had seen Regan Lauscher yet. Take that, Flying Tomato!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Valentine's Day: All Shacked Up

You probably know your partner well enough to choose an appropriate gift/event for the occasion, or perhaps you're so established that you plan something together. Be extra appreciative that s/he stuck around, at least for the occasion.

It has also been brought to my attention that there are people, especially those in longer term relationships, who don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Perhaps they don't enjoy the inflated flower prices, crowded restaurants and the Hallmark sense of the day. By all means, if it's not your thing, boycott away.

Friday, February 10, 2006

V-Day: I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen

Those in new relationships suffer from 'how much is too much- how much is too little' syndrome. This, the FG can't help you with, except to say that it's probably better to go slightly overboard than to underwhelm.* A dozen roses and really good chocolate is perfectly acceptable.

Something small from Tiffany's, say, the dragonfly pendant, is also OK, if it suits your budget and matches your intentions. (Although the FG is NOT a fan of heart shaped jewelry, Elsa Peretti or otherwise. To each their own.)

Something large, say, the Bubbles diamond necklace, however beautiful, will send a signal you will find hard to retract, if necessary. (You know who you are.) You also run the risk of your new love fainting at the table. Know your recipient.

There's also the question of what's appropriate if you're sending to work. Flowers to the office is a pretty safe step, unless you're conducting a clandestine office romance, or your partner is married to someone else. The V doesn't stand for Vendetta or Vengeance. In this case. Plants are not OK - no one wants a plant from their paramour, on this occasion or almost any other.

If you're hoping for a little more adventure in the bedroom, it is not OK to send new lingerie, etc., to the office. Save the gift-giving for later in the evening, or use your words in the heat of the moment.

*Feel free to use that phrase elsewhere as necessary.

The Olympics

No, not these ones, although they were stupendous this morning. The ones in Italia. Apparently they're starting today in Torino, where Passion Lives - so appropriate in the lead up to V-Day.
(yes, I've been avoiding all things Couric.)
For the first time, eight women carried the Olympic flag: Italian actress Sophia Loren, Chilean writer Isabel Allende, American actress Susan Sarandon, Nobel Peace-prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya, and three Olympic medal winners. They were Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco, Manuela Di Centa of Italy, and Maria Mutola of Mozambique. The eighth was Cambodian human rights activist Somaly Mam.

Very nice. And, with any luck, the US will still have athletes eligible to compete by the time their events commence.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

V-Day: Flying Solo?

And those who are single? The FG doesn't recommend sending yourself flowers, etc., from your boy/girlfriend who lives in Canada. Take yourselves out to dinner with friends - you know who you are. Pick somewhere unromantic, where you won't disturb or be surrounded by couples, with bright lights and great food - this is not an occasion for Outback. Although a karaoke excursion afterwards might be called for ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

V-Day: When you care enough to send the very best

Are you in a long-distance relationship that makes it impossible to hold a mid-week tryst?*

Those who are geographically-challenged have to deal with 'will it get there in time' & 'can I really trust the florist in Minneapolis/Louisville/god-forbid Amarillo (yes, yes and probably not). The safest course of action is to send oneself as a surprise guest, although only to those who like surprises. Mobissimo will find all the cheapest fares for you.

If the postage is out of your price range or the cost of the ticket prohibitive, never fear. Contact an actual florist near your honey and arrange for flowers, rather than going through a 1-800 service. You don't have to send roses, something more original but equally beautiful is preferred by your discerning FGirl/Guy. It's not about the cost - although carnations and daisies aren't recommended unless you're sure they're his/her favourite. You can arrange for a massage or treatment at their favourite spa. There are online shops that offer a wide variety of options and last minute shipping. Or you can send a card with an IOU for the next time you're together - a night at a hotel, a special dinner at home or at a favourite restaurant - this is not a cop-out as long as you follow through.

*Anything over a three hour drive qualifies in FG world. You have permission to call in sick/schedule an appointment on the morning of the 15th.

Women have been hunted ...

I resisted as long as I could (about 15 minutes) but just had to share The Manhunt Scarf. It comes to us from Mystery Date, via Gawker, so I'm not taking an iota of credit.
The Manhunt scarf is just that, a silk scarf that probably was a premium made available to readers of Mademoiselle Magazine. It's about 23 inches square, made of white, pink and black silk, with a 1963 copyright by Condé Nast Publications. But this was more than a mere fashion accessory. You see, the Manhunt scarf was meant to be used as a game board. The instructions, printed as part of the border, are simple: "Take one die, any number of girls, and toss. Use shells, pebbles, anything small for markers. First girl home is first girl married." But the way to "Home & Him" is fraught with potential pitfalls, thus saving Manhunt from being one dull game. "You didn't put your perfume on this morning. Back to GO," reads one square. Then again, maybe spine-tingling excitement isn't the game's strongpoint. I, of course, prefer the more Freudian illustrations to the somewhat schoolmarm-ish text. Take for example this drawing adjacent to a space marked "You broil a great hotdog. Ahead 1." I mean, I think this would be enough to send certain, less secure men packing. Most of the sentiments involved are not surprising for their time ("He's invited you for breakfast. Back 5."). But others show a more liberal attitude: "You're studying aeronautical engineering" garners the player a one-square advance, while "He's in his first year at medical school," loses her two.

Thanks, Mom, for being there, so I could be here. Please note this is not part of the Valentine's Day series.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Valentine's Day: The Countdown Begins

The 14th is a mere 7 days out, and International Anxiety Week has begun. Only those in long-term relationships are really safe on this holiday - provided they remember it. Consider this your seven day warning.

To help you through the week, the FG is launching a 5 part series (she's far less ambitious than Steven Colbert). Call it the Five Days of Valentines, if you will. Why five? Because if you haven't made up your mind two days in advance, you're going to panic shop and the FG wants no part of that. Speaking of which, if you haven't made a dinner reservation yet, do it NOW.

Depending on your relationship status, if any, she'll dispense gift and event recommendations as well as advice on pitfalls to avoid. Whether to send to the office, what not to send to the office, perhaps even what to do if your relationship ends in the next few days (other than make a bulk purchase of facial tissue).

As always, it's not about me, but I'm secretly hoping for these (what can I say, it's Shuesday), courtesy of Shoewawa. I don't need the height, but the bows are SO pretty. Easily combined with tickets to the ballet.

Shuesday: Ye Olden Shoe

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Today, at the suggestion of the Blue Fairy, we visit shoes of the past, courtesy of the Vintage Fashion Guild. Shoes weren't always quite as sturdy, or heels as high, as they are today, and the necessity of household staff becomes immediately apparent when one is shod in dainties such as this American white kid boot, and the roads are unpaved. Of course, until the early 1900's , no one could see your shoes anyway, as skirts were so long.

Speaking of Scarlett

She's appearing au natural on the cover on March's Vanity Fair, accompanied by Keira Knightley and designer Tom Ford (fully clothed, of course), who was directing the shoot. As CNN delicately describes it:
For the cover photo, Knightley, 20, was photographed sitting sideways, with legs and arms carefully placed. The 21-year-old Johansson, draped over Ford's leg, is somewhat more exposed -- readers who open the fold-out cover will see her bare buttocks.

Perhaps this will give Issac Mizrahi license to grab her 'buttocks' at the Oscars? As she's putting them out there ... And are there readers who won't open the fold out cover?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Quote du Jour: Senatorial Logic

Overheard by the new boys of Wonkette at this morning's defense of the President's assertion that he's above the perfectly good system we already have in place to get warrants to spy on Americans, by our second favourite AG, Mr. Gonzales, before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
wonkette: Sessions: “Nearly 3,000 people have no civil rights anymore. They're no longer with us. Due to a terrorist attack.”
wonkette: ???
operative: so, wait, by taking just a few civil liberties from all citizens, can we restore all the civil liberties to people who died on 9/11? is it like the march of dimes?

Also, is it possible to paint FISA as a living document while demanding an originalist interpretation of the Constitution?

Join already!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Icons we mourn: Betty Friedan

The FG feels understandably unqualified to make original comments on the life and career of Ms. Freidan, so here's the NYT obit:

Betty Friedan, the feminist crusader and author whose searing first book, "The Feminine Mystique," ignited the contemporary women's movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world, died yesterday, her 85th birthday, at her home in Washington.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Emily Bazelon, a family spokeswoman.

With its impassioned yet clear-eyed analysis of the issues that affected women's lives in the decades after World War II — including enforced domesticity, limited career prospects and, as chronicled in later editions, the campaign for legalized abortion — "The Feminine Mystique" is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century. Published by W. W. Norton & Company, the book had sold more than three million copies by the year 2000 and has been translated into many languages.

"The Feminine Mystique" made Ms. Friedan world famous. It also made her one of the chief architects of the women's liberation movement of the late 1960's and afterward, a sweeping social upheaval that harked back to the suffrage campaigns of the turn of the century and would be called feminism's second wave.

In 1966, Ms. Friedan helped found the National Organization for Women, serving as its first president. In 1969, she was a founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as Naral Pro-Choice America. With Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and others, she founded the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971.

Though in later years, some feminists dismissed Ms. Friedan's work as outmoded, a great many aspects of modern life that seem routine today — from unisex Help Wanted ads to women in politics, medicine, the clergy and the military — are the direct result of the hard-won advances she helped women attain.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Blogging the Sphere: Brokeback to the Future

Hey, it's Friday. Having grown up with Family Ties as a staple of the limited TV I was allows to watch, Michael J. Fox has always had a place in my heart. Which doesn't mean I can't enjoy this excellent Brokeback Mountain/Back to the Future smash, brought to us by Chocolate Cake City, via Defamer & Gawker.


The Manolo, he has recognized the superior fashion sense of the Neighbours to the North!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The FG Predicts: The Oscars

This isn't exactly a challenge, especially post-Globes, DGAs, SAGs and the release of the nominations, and I'm skipping several categories, (you're welcome). The key to the Oscars is that each category votes for its own - actors for actors, directors for directors, so it's not entirely unpredictable.

Best Adapted Screenplay
: Brokeback Mountain - great movies start with great stories. A reminder that actors, (and scenery for that matter), can be as beautiful or as rugged as possible, but if they don't have anything good to say or do, it's a waste of everyone's time.

Best Art Direction: I'd like to see Good Night & Good Luck win this category - it's pretty courageous to release a black & white film these days & this one was so good overall, I'm hoping it will win a few of the /smaller/ categories (I think it's going to miss out on the big ones). Of course, Memoirs of a Geisha might also eek it out, for entirely different reasons.

Best Supporting Actor: This is a slightly more challenging category than usual. George Clooney isn't going to get best director, so the Academy may give him this category as a consolation prize, because he's so popular, and because he puts his money and his art where his principles lie. Paul Giamatti pulled a Russell Crowe at the SAGs, winning this year because the actors feel guilty he didn't win for Sideways, so he can't be ruled out. I don't see the other three really contending, unless Jake Gyllenhaal wins to kick off a Mountain-slide.

Best Supporting Actress: Hmm. I have yet to hear a single kudo from a real person for Rachel Weisz's performance in The Constant Gardener, but I may be better able to evaluate that when I've seen it later this week. (She won the Globe and the SAG.) I'm tempted to think it's a result of all the Brits holding SAG cards ... Catherine Keener would be a nice choice, and again, Michelle Williams could win as part of the aforementioned Mountain-slide.

Best Actress: Although I suspect Felicity Huffman should win for TransAmerica, I don't think we're going to see a one-two punch on gender issues this year. Keira Knightley was lovely as Elizabeth Bennett, but wasn't even nominated at the SAGs. Reese Witherspoon seems to have this one sewn up, (which I know will disappoint all the Scarlett Johanssen fans coast-to-coast - she wasn't even nominated! Apparently it's just enough that she shows up to be groped.) Of course, any time Judi Dench is nominated, there's a chance she'll win. Still, I'm going with Reese - the added bonus is that you know she'll wear something amazing.

Best Actor: Every now and again, several outstanding performances pop up in the same Oscar season, and the best actor nominees are suffering this year. David Strathairn was amazing in Good Night & Good Luck, Heath Ledger broke new ground for straight Australian men in cinema, but this award belongs to Phillip Seymour Hoffman for two reasons. He hasn't won before, despite a string of incredible performances, and he embodied Capote.

Best Director/Picture: Ang Lee is going to win for direction & the Academy likes to keep these categories together like bookends - splitting it up only five times in the past 25 years (1981, 1989, 1998, 2000, 2002). Plus, they really wanted to give it to him in 2000 for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (the award went to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic). So I predict Mountain will take the two that really matter, while blanking on the acting categories.

Quibbles? Queries? Outright indignation? Bring it on - that's why there's a comments section.