Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Icons we mourn: JK Galbraith

Everyone who studied politics, economics or history has (or ought to have) read at least one article, if not an entire book, by John Kenneth Galbraith. The man who was too tall (at 6 foot 8) to enlist in the US army during WWII died yesterday in Cambridge, MA.

Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, maintains that Mr. Galbraith not only reached but also defined the summit of his field. In the 2000 commencement address at Harvard, Mr. Parker's book recounts, Mr. Sen said the influence of "The Affluent Society," was so pervasive that its many piercing insights were taken for granted.

"It's like reading 'Hamlet' and deciding it's full of quotations," he said.


Tax returns to be proud of

Mr. and Mrs. Cheney, for example, showed an adjusted gross income of $8.82 million on their 2005 income tax report, but most of the money was not taxable because they set aside $6.87 million in proceeds from stock options for charity. As a result, the Cheneys' taxable income was $1.96 million. The couple paid $2.5 million in taxes through withholding and estimated tax payments and are due a refund of about $1.9 million.

I'm sure yours was similar.

Many Dismissing 'Donor Fatigue' [NYT]

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Move over Mary Poppins

Because Scarlett Johansson is starring in the film version of The Nanny Diaries. As if any woman in their right mind would hire Scarlett to take care of their children.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Remember when your girlfriend tried to convince you that women don't judge one another? Not only was she lying, but now self-described Social Rankers are monitoring uber-New Yorker socialites, (apparently male and female, although the list is so far y-chromosome-free), and posting performance rankings online for all to see.
Young, old, East Side, West Side, Bungalow 8 addicts, Zac Posen muses, Ralph’s top consumers and yes, even men were all considered to be gracing this very elite list. The group are the most praise- worthy, beautiful, press hogging, inspirational and hot personalities that make New York party scene so ruthlessly competitive and yet so breathtakingly exciting. So, all 132 names were evaluated by a second Board of Directors which consists of three designers, four editors, two dames and one gentleman of the social scene, one gossip columnist and one party photographer who came up with the final rankings for the first and historic ranking. A new ranking will come out every two weeks and be influenced by a social performance of each of the candidates in the public eye, big press coverage and grand social events.

Trembling in your Choos yet?

PS: I wonder if they used instant runoff voting?


What is it about Pillow Fights?

I've been hearing a lot about them lately - perhaps in spring, a young man's thoughts turn to watching girls jump up and down in pjs while giggling? Even in the NY article on the pending sale of Daily Candy:
The far-flung editors appear to see each other in person very rarely; I did not ask what happens when they do, but if I did, I’m sure the answer would have been pillow fights and much mutual hair-braiding.

Got infantilization of women on the brain? Get over it.

Unless it's for a good cause ...


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shuesday: Calling Mariah

I'm not a fan, but I did read Sasha Frere-Jones' recent career summary in The New Yorker, and I had to be impressed. Ms. Carey is one of the most successful artists of her time. To wit:
Mariah Carey is thirty-six years old, and, barring a debilitating illness, or another movie as bad as “Glitter,” her 2001 vanity project, she will likely break the world record for the most No. 1 songs before she turns forty. She was the biggest-selling female artist of the nineties and is the first woman to have three studio albums sell more than eight million copies each in this country. She has written or co-written sixteen of her seventeen No. 1 hits, more than any other female composer, and has produced twelve No. 1 songs, more than any other woman.

And these are clearly shoes designed with her in mind.
(Carey has often described herself as an “eternal twelve-year-old,” an assertion borne out by her enthusiasm not just for rainbows, butterflies, and glitter—all of which appear on her album covers—but for the songs that were actually on the radio when she was a teen-ager.)


There's a lot of The Big Bad in this world - Chernobyl, ongoing genocide in Darfur, indefinite detention and torture of prisoners by US soldiers, random bombings, to name a very few. And we are definitely aware of and concerned about these issues, and we therefore spend our work days fighting against The Big Bad. It's not the most we could do, but it's something.

And then there's The Little Bad, like last night's insomnia. Went to bed later than I should, as usual, and then awoke around 3:30 and tossed for 3-4 hours, heading back into ZZZ-land just when I had to get up. Blek.

It wasn't because we tanked at trivia (divide and conquer indeed!). It might have been the nose-dive I took into G&T season or the mass quantities of salty foods consumed in a few short hours. I know that staying up to watch 'The Word'-that-never-was on Colbert was a last-minute contributing factor. Also, the cat seems to have realized that he can get attention from me in the wee small hours if he's really persistent. There was coughing, but we refuse to countenance the return of the b-word. And then there's the general stress of pending wisdom tooth surgery, coinciding with a visit from the Fabulous Mom, and one or two other things that are completely out of my control, but that I don't seem to be able to put out of my mind.

Tonight, be it resolved that there will be exercise, dinner will be healthy, the beverages moderate, the house quiet, and the cat ignored. I don't have to come out of my cocoon just because it's spring, damnit.

Monday, April 24, 2006


The Blue Fairy takes beautiful pictures.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ahnold Stikes Again

I've encouraged people here in this state (to buy) vehicles that are fuel efficient. This is why we passed a law that says that people who buy vehicles that get good mileage can use HOV lanes, we want to inspire people to drive less.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "owner of multiple Hummers", discussing oil prices with George Stephanopoulos on This Week.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sweater or Straitjacket?

I kid you not, the Aussies are soliciting sweaters for their fairy penguin population.
Jumpers are being knitted especially for our fairy penguin population. The clothing is used when the birds have been exposed to an oil spill, absorbing the oil off their feathers and keeping the animals warm in the meantime.

Follow the link for a supply list and instructions.

The same article also linked to a recent Vanity Fair photo featuring not one but two women sporting belted sweaters. Not buttonless cardigans with attached knit belts to keep them snuggly, but actual (pleather?) belts worn over elongated cardigans. Environmentalists have enough fashion issues without falling into this trap. To wit:
But ladies ... can we talk about the Mary-Tyler-Moore-style sweater belts? Did this get trendy when I wasn't looking? Cause I don't care if your belt is made of bamboo and crafted by workers in a well-paid Guatemalan peasant collective, sweater belts is fugly, and I'd hate to see such lovely, talented, committed e-gitators end up getting fugged.

ABC Australia
Grist Magazine

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Feet of Clay

I know you're a working mom, but please, PLEASE don't wear shoes like these. At least not in public, and especially not in New York in public. Better to go barefoot - we forgave you that time, and good shoes could only help with the mixed reviews.

A Socialite's Life

My Fair Scotty

SO much has already been said about the departure of White House Spokesman Scott McClellan that I'm not going to add to it ... except to say that he made me miss Ari Fleischer, and that's quite a feat. If you're looking for non-blog info, here's a recent Vanity Fair article:
A kind of daily Socratic dialogue, or at least an attempt at one, continues to take place in the briefing room in a method of inquiry initiated by Joseph Tumulty, Woodrow Wilson's primary aide and, effectively, the nation's first press secretary: a ritual Q&A that leads to both what the White House wants you to know and away from what it doesn't want you to know. Only, now the dialogue is led by something of a knuckleheaded Socrates, each day struggling and failing to talk his way out of a paper bag.

It's this verbal haplessness that has made Scott McClellan—a pleasant, low-wattage, old-before-his-time young fellow, with, at 38, a wife, no children, and "two dogs and four cats"—the living symbol of this White House's profound and, perhaps, mortal problem with language and meaning. McClellan himself, as though having some terrible social disability, has, standing miserably in the press briefing room every day, become a kick-me archetype. He's Piggy in Lord of the Flies: a living victim, whose reason for being is, apparently, to shoulder public ridicule and pain (or, come to think of it, he's Squealer from Animal Farm). He's the person nobody would ever choose to be.

His daily march into hostile territory, without any of the available diversions and protections that a basic presentation-software package might provide, is so fraught that it must be a cunning setup—diabolical Karl Rove at it again. If not, it's a remarkable, defining lack of self-awareness on the part of the heretofore all-controlling Bush administration.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense." - G.W. Bush

Decider: a machine that always halts.

Bush: 'I'm the decider' on Rumsfeld [CNN]

UPDATE: Also (copycats) Wonkette.

Shuesday: Ballet Flats

I've been looking and looking for the perfect, Hepburn-esque pair of black ballet flats, and look what I found! Now, I know they're not cheap, and the way the site throws around the name of their most famous customer is a little off-putting, but there are ballet flats here for everyone.

Because you can't wear heels all the time ...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tony and the duck

I've adored Anthony Bourdain since I read Kitchen Confidential years ago. And I knew he had produced several TV shows, but tonight was the coup de grace - No Reservations went to Montreal for a segment on foie gras. From the duck farm to the carving board to Au Pied de Cochon, where he ate 15 courses of various combinations of duck and foie gras, including poutine de foie gras!

And, later, they went elsewhere for multiple kinds of poutine, including one with peas! Anyone?

Back to middle school?

I understand the need for warmth, especially as spring continues to evade us, but layered woolen knee socks? Really? And with a t-strap platform shoe? It's just a little British school-girl for me.

At least we won't have to see it on the streets until fall ...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Permission to hate her because she's beautiful

Unlike reality tv shows, which appeal because they make us feel better about ourselves, some celebrities appeal because they make us feel worse about ourselves (aka, the mitfreude effect)*. Whether it's because they've sustained an apparently flawless marriage for years, take yoga classes daily, eschew fur, have perfect, ageless skin or eat macrobiotic (anyone coming to mind?), they're out there. And Paige Ferarri, of Things That Make You Go "Hmm", has it in for Gwyneth. To wit:
Fact: Gwyneth Paltrow is the kind of girl who ditched sixth-grade slumber parties so she could be fresh for early morning equestrian lessons.
Fact: Gwyneth Paltrow knows that she can kick back a handle of Jägermeister every night and still produce a child better-looking and smarter than your own.

What can I say? She's funny.

Gwyneth - She's not just like us! [MSNBC]

*Update: OK, maybe it's not mitfreude, but imagine the opposite of schadenfreude and that's where I'm going. And not mudita - we're looking for sadness at the good fortune of others. Anyone?

Wobbling Heights

Podiatrists everywhere cringe when articles celebrating turbo-platform shoes appear on the front page of Thursday Styles.
[...] shoes for spring present a special challenge. You just can't escape the fact that they are taller, more outrageous, involving a great deal more design and expense but also, it must be said, a great many more opportunities to humiliate yourself. Who pictures herself on a gurney? And how do you explain it? "It's not like you broke your leg skiing in St. Moritz," Candy Pratts Price said . "That's a good story. But 'I fell off my platforms'?" Ms. Price smirked.

There's also the risk of memory loss at such altitudes:
"I'm only looking for platforms now," Ms. Chetrit said. "I feel much more balanced in them." Besides, she added, "I need to be taller than my kids when I yell at them." And how tall is she? Ms. Chetrit gave one of those great deadpan New York looks. "I don't know anymore," she said.

At Avenue of the Americas and 55th Street I got out of a taxi. Taking the train there was out of the question: not only are the heels high and slanted, but they also taper to a point the size of a nailhead. I had thought to take along a pair of ballet flats, which many bright women in New York on their way to a date or a party have no trouble rationalizing. It's like having a limousine without the expense and bother. Now six feet tall, I suddenly felt less invincible than wretchedly vulnerable, to gross stares and gusts of wind. I ducked behind a pillar and put on my ballet flats. Then I hurried on, bolting past Ms. Wintour and the noontime crowd. [...] I enjoyed my new height and the giddy looks of fright on the men in the office. In reality you don't wear a pair of shoes like that if you carry a book bag and share trains with commuters. You invite looks of pity. Shoes like that serve a different purpose: seduction, fun, making men bark.

I don't personally feel the need for additional height (as previously discussed) - at least, not enough to add platform soles to my heels, but I can understand the urge - I once worked in an office with several not-so-nice men who also happened to be on the short side, and I wore heels on a regular basis to keep them a little off-kilter. But not at risk of life and limb. At least now I know why our totebags have to be so big - to hold our 'walking' shoes.

Stilt Walking Into Spring - [NYT]

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Taxes: An immodest proposal

While some enjoy the introduction of a brand new theme in the final bars of a symphony, I enjoy a little twist to the end of a magazine article Em & Lo wrote on Love in the Time of Taxes for New York Magazine, comparing cheating on Uncle Sam to cheating on BF Sam. And, in the final sentences,
We can, however, report on at least one instance of taxes bringing two people closer. “I offered an ex one week of nonreciprocal oral sex if she did my taxes,” says James, a 33-year-old film editor. Sex is easy; math is hard.
Remind you of anyone?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Trophy Sandwich

If you've already got the wife, perhaps it's time for the $140 sandwich.
Among the ingredients: Wagyu beef, the most expensive meat on the planet; Brie de Meaux, the finest cheese in Europe; fresh duck fois gras; black truffle mayonnaise; roquet leaf; British plum tomatoes; red peppers; mustard confit; and sour dough bread.

Of course, the flight to London will cost you $1400.

And you thought Canada had a vowel issue

Gyllenhaal, Sarsgaard Engaged
The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 11, 2006; 3:43 PM

NEW YORK -- Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard are engaged and expecting a baby, her publicist said Tuesday. It will be the first marriage for both actors, Gyllenhaal's representative, Amanda Silverman, said Tuesday. No other information was released.

WA Post

Shuesday: The Grass is always Pinker

I decided mid-day yesterday that what I really needed this spring was a pair of peep-toe pink pumps.
(Am fairly certain that I am channeling a pair of Linnea Paolo shoes that I repeatedly did not puchase last spring, despite multiple flybys.)
With a little detective work, I was able to find these up as an alternate - pink without being entirely Barbie. Right?

Damn it ...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Everything old is new again

Remember this post from April 2005? (Of course you do). Just came across it while looking for something else, and it made me sad that 1) The Times Styles section is so repetitive, and 2) some little fact-checker's going to get fired ...

also 3) I wonder why my eye is drawn to articles about facial hair ...

Now We Can Stop Buying Exfoliator {April 2005]
Style, Style, Style [March 2006]

Oops, she did it again

Gwyneth and Chris Martin welcomed their second child into the world this weekend, and named him ... Moses.

*Sigh*. See links below for my thoughts on names - nothing new to say here, except that this isn't exactly the kind of diversity I had in mind.

A Call For Diversity in Naming
And You Thought Gyllenhaal Was a Challenge
What Colour is Your Name?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Utopian marketing: NY style

First, let me admit that I am two and a half weeks behind on my New Yorker reading.*

Nevertheless, it's hard to miss TWO articles in three weeks featuring a woman named Celerie. Celerie Kemble (the 32 year old interior designer/decorator and society figure), is married to a man named Ravenel Boykin Curry IV (and I get flack for having friends with German names!). The good news is that she's retained the Kemble, rather than risk being confused with the delicious but little known Thai dish, celery curry.**

Celerie and Boykin are establishing a Huff-Po style utopian retreat in the Dominican Republic that they claim will become the 'new Hamptons' - apparently the flight from NY to the DR is shorter than the wait on the Long Island Expressway. The article in the Times drops all the names I'd want on my island getaway, and there's no need to repeat them here. Nor will you care that there are a group of 30 something blonde women decorating ridiculously expensive NY and Palm Beach apartments in a style they're calling 'Edgy Traditional" (exqueeze me?).

*(This is where you say, admiringly, 'Is that all?', and I say, 'That's all, AND, I haven't been on vacation since New Year's.' Because I generally take 3-6 on the plane and leave them here and there for my fellow travelers. You're welcome.)
**(OK, it also contains fish.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This is my dance space ...

So I'm not the only one who has the issue with the kissing. I never kiss when meeting someone for the first time, (unless they're someone's older, European parents), and certainly not a colleague. But that could be my WASPy, Canadian reserve (although when Americans do it, it seems so faux ...).

Where I run into the awkward is between those who kiss once (right cheek to right cheek) and those who start on the right and then go for a second kiss to the other side. This is where the potential for lip-lock occurs.

I'm learning to anticipate this with those over 50. It's the under 50 set, those kids of Europeans are SO unpredictable! Although far better to accidentally kiss than their parents ...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

When life hands us maple trees

of course we make syrup. And then we give it to Norwegians when they hand us a much-needed pole in the course of an Olympic cross-country ski race. The 7,400 cans will be distributed around the country, much to the delight of the Norwegian Dental Association.

It really doesn't get more heart-stirring than that. Can't you see all the Nordic people holding hands with their Inuit and Aleut brothers and sisters and singing, "It's a Small World After All" as they dance around the North Pole?

(Sidenote: It's eerie when you know what you're Googling for, but the actual result is kind of fuzzy, yet somehow Google manages to find the exact thing you couldn't bring into focus. I actually had that LP as a wee child. Very surreal.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Grup, grup with people

This is an obituary for the generation gap. It is a story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old. It’s not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent. It’s about the hedge-fund guy in Park Slope with the chunky square glasses, brown rock T-shirt, slight paunch, expensive jeans, Puma sneakers, and shoulder-slung messenger bag, with two kids squirming over his lap like itchy chimps at the Tea Lounge on Sunday morning. It’s about the mom in the low-slung Sevens and ankle boots and vaguely Berlin-art-scene blouse with the $800 stroller and the TV-screen-size Olsen-twins sunglasses perched on her head walking through Bryant Park listening to Death Cab for Cutie on her Nano.

If being a Grup means being 35, and having a job, and using a messenger bag instead of a briefcase, and staying out too late too often, and owning more pairs of sneakers (eleven) than suits (one), and downloading a Hot Hot Heat song from iTunes because it was on a playlist titled “Saturday Errands,” and generally being uneasy and slightly confused about just what it means to be an adult in these modern times—in short, if it means living your life in fundamentally the same way that you did when you were, say, 22—then, let’s face it, I’m a Grup.

Oh New York, you are so right. Read this article in a place where you're free to LOL.

Up With Grups [NY Magazine]

UPDATE: Shame on me for not reading all the articles sent to me by my Fabulous Friends. Trivial Kate sent me this article a WEEK ago, I just hadn't got to it yet ...

Shuesday: One Fluevog Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Shoes are now tax-free in NYC ... at least those under $110. Let's go girls!

And if you haven't met John Fluevog yet, run don't walk to a store near you. They're not inexpensive (unless you compare them to the designer shoes often featured here) but they're durable and SO fun. He also makes shoes for men and accessories.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Faux Cooking

So now we need meal preparation centers to stave off guilt for not cooking and to create those sit-down family gatherings from the 1950's? I don't buy it. People are smarter than that, they're just lazy. Putting together a meal for yourself or your family isn't that difficult.
When Ms. Robbins cooked, it was spaghetti or tuna casserole over and over, with rarely enough time to make a salad.

How long does it take, exactly, to make a salad these days? Greens come pre-washed, you can toast pecans in the microwave while you retrieve plates. Sprinkle croutons, dried cranberries and pre-crumbled gorgonzola over the lettuce. Add the pecans, and cube a pear. Toss with dressing or let the family add their own. If you're making spaghetti, you at least have 10 minutes while the noodles cook. And that's if you're cooking solo.

One of the reasons many adults aren't comfortable in the kitchen is that their parents didn't cook, or didn't involve them in meal preparation. I understand that kids have homework and extra curriculars, but you're not doing them any favours if they arrive at university only able to boil water. Plus, it's an opportunity for quality time. Even if they never turn out a perfect souffle, they could at least help with the salad.
"People basically don't want to cook but they don't want to be told they are not cooking," said Madhur Jaffrey, the Indian cookbook author and actor. "It's an illusion."

And anything you make in your own home, with ingredients you purchased, is going to be better than anything you make with products from Sysco. Go to the bookstore, or online, get yourself a basic cookbook, (this, this or even this will do for a start) and get on with it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Metathesiophobic much?

First CNN, now the Times. Why, oh why, do major websites spring changes on their unwitting users like this?

I'm sure there are lots of reasons, and it's not as though I won't adjust ... it just makes me cranky, and, on top of a long and busy weekend and a looming head cold, it doesn't bode well for tomorrow morning.

Grrr ....