Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Speaking of skinny

More on the too-thin model controversy:
“There are two ways of looking at it,” the seasoned model Angela Lindvall said at Pucci. “Models are like pro athletes, like boxers. You box at a certain weight. You don’t make the weight, you don’t get in the ring.”

Ms. Lindvall is 5-foot-11 and, after two children, weighs 127 pounds. “I used to be a lot scrawnier,” she said. “But you hit 20, and you start developing a woman’s body. What I worry about is people exploiting the fact that these girls are insecure, innocent, already questioning themselves about their bodies.”

I'm sorry, 5-foot-11 and 127 pounds?

Friday, September 29, 2006

The day the music died

The Internet disappeared last night at 9:30.

I was just sitting there, TV on, computer open, sewing the seams on a sweater I knit for my nephew, minding my own business, and the refresh function ceased to work. Firefox couldn't find ... well, anything. I restarted the computer, unplugged and replugged various cords, pressed little buttons on the cable/broadband box, to no avail. I even called my friends in the immediate area (all of whom have lives and were therefore not available) to see if it was just me.

Once I realized there was nothing I could do, I just sat there for a moment. And seriously considered just going to bed. Which indicates that what I really need is an internet vacation. A new book arrived today, so perhaps I'll take advantage and spend some time off line in the next few weeks.

Come on and let me know ...

"It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties which make the defense of our nation worthwhile." - Earl Warren

Yesterday's Senate vote, stripping detainees of their habeus corpus right to challenge their detentions in court, is just one more reason to head for the hills, despite warnings from those around me that citizenship's only going to get harder to obtain, that I should gain access to all the rights I can, and that my progressive vote is sorely needed here. And I'm starting to wonder, what's it really going to take to get me to go? Because if I'm still here now ...

Looking for someone who's expressed your frustrations eloquently? (Thanks, Blue Fairy.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hot Chocolate

The Privacy Guru throws the occasional fantastic holiday party (Winter Solstice, Hero's Day, etc.) catered by a fantastic (and sadly now defunct) friend's company. I always headed straight for the chocolate - cayenne truffles, even before securing the requisite glass of red wine.

They must have known it's been ages since the last party - Vosges Haut Chocolat has just come out with Red Fire Chocolate Tortilla Chips:
a chic Pringles-style canister of organic corn chips dipped in milk chocolate and dusted with ancho- and chipotle-chile powder that pick up nicely where chocolate-covered pretzels leave off.

New York Magazine

Eating habits

At 5:15 last night I realized I'd be at work for at least another 90 minutes, and was craving ... something, so I headed out to Red Bowls, determined to have something healthy for my very early dinner. You can't go wrong with raw fish, brown rice and steamed vegetables.

Alas, they closed much earlier than advertised (I was surprised to read they were open until 6:30 in the graveyard this city becomes after work, but who knows?). And so I went to the Drug-&-so-much-more-store. Where I found the nectar of the gods, and halloween candy on pre-sale. Kale (who is fantastic about checking in to see if I want anything en route to our local coffee spot*) has been harassing me for letting the chocolate cupboard run dry, so I caved. Walked out with Kisses, peanut butter cups and Red Vines, along with the aforementioned nectar. The good news is that, while I have zero self-control when it comes to shopping, once purchased, I can work these tiny bags of candy for weeks. Weeks!

* Which reminds me - favourite quote from Ali:

I am searching for the moment that
I am so intoxicated with love
that if you offered me another cup,
I could not take it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

These are a few of my favourite things

Oh, to live in a country where fashion photographers were encouraged to take risks without fear of censorship. Italy, for example.

Check out this Italian Vogue photo shoot combining couture with post 9/11 living in the USA. We heart Steven Meisel.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Skinny, socially acceptable white people

Love dots. I'm just saying, how fun! They remind me of these awesome shoes that I'm not buying, because I want them in navy, with beige dots, or the reverse, even though they're satin, which is insane in this climate.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Shuesday: Pre-emptive, but with reason

Midwest Medved made Manolo!

Manolo the Columnist
Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,
My friend is getting married in November and she has selected for her bridesmaids a brown dress with a sage sash. I’d like to help her avoid the typical dyed satin slippers. What would you suggest?

Manolo says, November! Brown and sage! From this alone the Manolo can intuit not only the entire scheme of this wedding, from the decoration to the table centerpieces, but he can even tell you the menu at the reception, which will undoubtedly feature the roast acorn squash and the cranberry sauce. There is the reason why most of the weddings are held in the spring, so as to avoid exactly this.

But, it is now almost October, too late to reschedule, too early to phone the bride with your fake illness, and so you must do what you can to minimize the damage. Happily, if you act quickly and are persuasive, at the least your shoes can look stunning. The Manolo would suggest something with the heel, something that would elevate you above the colorful fall leaves and gilded pine cones that will undoubtedly be strewn in the aisles. Also, you will want to have the shoes that you can wear again.

Thus the Manolo would recommend to his friend the Maxime from the BCBG Max Azria in the color called the black coffee. As the special exclusive treat for the readers of the Manolo’s humble shoe blog, here is the picture sent by the Manolo’s internet friend of the autumnal dress for which the shoes above are intended.

What The Manolo doesn't know is that, in addition to being a November wedding, it's taking place in Michigan. In November. Actual outdoor time will be minimal, but the FG is convinced these bridesmaids are going to feel like fudgesicles in this ensemble. The FG was consulted prior to The Manolo, and recommended closed toe shoes such as these (price was also a consideration).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's the little things

  • My hairdresser called me tonight to tell he he's moving to another salon. I don't know if you've had the experience of building a relationship with the wo/man who does your hair, only to call one day to schedule an appointment and learn from a gum-snapping receptionist that s/he left 5 weeks ago for parts unknown, but I have. Twice. Now, I know I was spoilt in my salad days, having had the same hairdresser for the first twentysomething years (for better or for worse), but the last few people who tended my tresses have left me in the lurch, emotionally and otherwise. So, when Juan called tonight, I was ecstatic, and not just because the move brings him but a mile away from my office.
  • As much as I scoff at this town that wants so desperately to be a world class city, it was charming to find myself driving through hometown pride yesterday in the form of a home game for the local university football team. Hordes of people of all ages, dressed in purple and white, walking from all directions towards the stadium, happy in the sunshine. It was sweet and honest and the final piece in a jigsaw puzzle of a lovely fall day.
  • New TV shows - I heart Studio 60, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Sorkin & Schlamme do it again, and I'll watch Bradley Whitford read the dictionary. I may even start liking Amanda Peet. But someone needs to tell Timothy Busfield that he's better off with a beard. Seriously. I picked up House in re-runs this summer, so that's an option on Tuesdays. I test drove Brothers & Sisters tonight, which was just fine. Other than that, I'm pretty much sticking with the regular line-up.
  • Bill Clinton was everywhere this week, which was totally fine with me. On The Daily Show, on Meet the Press, in an extensive profile in The New Yorker, and smacking the hell out of Chris Wallace on Fox News. What a man, what a man.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fennel is your friend

TK was expressing concern about dealing with the fennel in her weekly delivery of organic veggies, so I thought I'd provide one of my favourite recipes.*

Penne with Fennel, Currants & Pine Nuts - serves 4-6
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed with feathers reserved
3 scallions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/3 cup currants
6 flat anchovies, rinsed, dried & chopped fine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 pound penne
1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs, toasted until golden
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
lemon juice to taste

Quarter the fennel lengthwise and discard the core. Slice the fennel thinly lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss fennel;, scallions, oil, garlic, fenel seeds, anchovies, currants, salt & pepper (to taste). Let stand 30 minutes. Cook the pasta and drain. Immediately add pasta to fennel mixture and toss well. Add bread crumbs, pine nuts, lemon juice and additional s&p if necessary. Toss again. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* Having a hard time believing that I haven't already blogged this, but I searched and searched to no avail.

Wouldn't you like to be Picasso too?

Play Mr. Picassohead!

Thanks, Blue Fairy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fierce Creature

Ring the alarm,
I've been through this so long,
but I'll be damned if I see another chick on your arm ...
But this is my show, and I won't let you go ...

Guilty pleasures are myriad in the life of the FG, and Beyonce has a recurring role. Who else can work a white dress shirt, recreate the infamous scene from Basic Instinct, work a long trench coat with knee high boots, and play vulnerable in front of a gorgeous ocean backdrop all in one video?

The Renaissance Man
(I know, right?!) sent me the Youtube VMA performance of Ring the Alarm, and now I'm stuck on the song. I'm justifying it because it sets a faster running pace than my usual. Plus,I unapologetically adore the girl power anthem genre - I've recently rediscovered Son of a Gun.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Check your favourite feline simile here

“My favorite things in the world are cookin’, kids and animals and falling in love,” Ms. Marshall said, “but you don’t get to do that all the time.”

You have to love a woman this optimistic in the face of challenges like these. Love her. Second woman this week making my life look sunny and simple. Not schadenfreude, just appreciation.

Especially for the bare feet.

Shuesday: Print-astic

I know, I know, J. Crew shoes are a) overpriced and b) have fit issues. But I really like this fun pattern. Besides, they have a covered, 3 1/2 inch heel, fun suede bow and peep toes. What more could a girl ask for? Plus, it's a print shoe for fall/winter that isn't the animal print everyone else is wearing.

And there's more!

So pleased to introduce you to Weekly Baggage, a feature from my dear e-friend Busty Satan (apparently we were separated at birth - sadface!) But TK brought us back together (virtually, anyway), and at the moment, we're even in the same time zone. She was concerned that my shoes were bagless and alone, so she's stepping into the breach on Thursdays. I can hardly wait!

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm not looking for a New England

I don't want to change the world ...

So that's not true, but SUCH a great song.

Hopped to Boston this weekend - despite getting hung up in the Midwest overnight, where I had a hilarious dinner at Nick's Fishmarket at the O'Hare. I was the only woman there under 50 and one of two people not wearing a buttondown shirt and navy blazer. Fortunately, they serve GIANT martinis. Ordered king crab legs for the first time in years - so fun and still an excellent vehicle for drawn butter. Ahem.

On to Boston the next morning (after losing a double-ended lipgloss to the TSA, due to hasty handbag re-packing at 4:30 a.m.). Checked into a room with a view and took a nap before meeting the fantastic Micah and Rachel for lunch at Shino Express, meandering up and down Newbury Street, El Diablo (chocolate and cayenne) ice cream at JP Licks, mocking the Eurotrash at the Armani Cafe, and marvelling at the candy selection at Sugar Heaven, and managing not to keel over laughing at Micah's wit and Rachel's wisdom. You know you've got good friends when their friends are this good. Met up with Jacquie and Darren for dinner at The Franklin Cafe - dark, with blood-red walls and good martinis. I never understand why they fill them to the rim - get bigger glasses or (heaven forbid) make smaller martinis, but I was spilling all over before my first sip. When they tell you the wait is an hour and a half at the Franklin, they mean it. Finally sat down to a decent veggie spring roll, and amazing black pepper seared tuna sashimi loin with citron blanc, field greens and chive mash. Found a bottle of Evolution No. 9 from one of my favourite Oregon vineyards, which went well with all the dishes (others had miso grilled salmon and sweet pea ravioli). Then it was back to their new pad for prosecco and dacquoise.

Saturday morning dawned sunny and hot - I slept in a wee bit (not enough time nor the right kind of weather for the MFA, apologies to BS) and was picked up by my favourite cousin and family for the trip out to their home in idyllic Concord, Mass. Insane the place is, I'm telling you. White picket fences, a swing set in every yard, barking dogs (neither too long nor too loud), kids learning to ride bikes, Walden Pond, dads mowing lawns, the smell of bbq, beautifuly restored clapboard houses, a ribbon cutting ceremony at the elementary school down the road, home made ice cream and fresh corn from the farm down the way. Amazing.

On the way back, I flew in an exit row with two seats from Logan to Denver. The woman in the aisle seat arrived first, unpacked all over my seat (the gate attendants had announced to the assembled passengers that the plane was full before boarding began), lowered her tray table and was 1/3 of the way through a chicken caesar salad as I arrived at the row. She apologised perfunctorily and let me through. The smell from the salad was overwhelming, and then she pulled out a dressing packet the size of a small keenex pack and proceeded to ooze it all over the salad. That's right, I can't fly with hand lotion or lipgloss, but giant packets of salad dressing are perfectly acceptable. She was also on her Blackberry throughout the flight, including take off and landing. And did I mention the baseball cap and dark blue windbreaker ensemble?


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Come on now sugar

Bring it on, bring it on yeah.

Veronica Mars rocks. ROCKS! I'm just saying. And I'm only 8 shows into the first season.

Love her, love the writing, love the theme song, love that Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna play Logan Echolls' parents - perfect plastic, tanned, skinny people - love love this show.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shuesday: A tizzle, a tassel

I really wanted to find those aforementioned green suede, kitten heels, but I've been unable to locate them anywhere online. Fortunately, when one door closes, another opens, and I was thrilled to come across these Louboutins. With a very, very simple, on the short side black dress, and preferably for an evening when you'll be elevated above the masses for a very good cause/reason, they'd be Fan-tastic.

I take it back

Josh Lyman brought this 9/11 retrospective by Keith Olbermann to my attention:
Did you hear Keith Olberman's editorial on MsNBC yesterday? I can't commend it to you strongly enough. Moving and powerful. It's a total indictment of the President's politicization of 9/11. He's gotten rather Murrow-esque. Who knew a former sportscaster had it in himself?

Thanks you - definitely worth watching. Especially if you thought that all the airwaves had been taken over by right wing, bible thumping jerks.

Anyone for seconds?

This is my favourite dessert.

Bread Pudding (serves 6-8)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 11x7 baking dish or an 8x8 square pan.
  • 12 slices white bread
  • 6 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 6 tbsp currants
  • 2 cups creme anglaise (recipe follows)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Trim crusts off bread (optional) and spread one side of each slice with butter & jam. Arrange six bread slices, buttered side up in the dish. Sprinkle with half the currants. Repeat with remaining bread and currants (make 3 layers in the 8x8 pan). Combine creme anglaise with the egg and salt. Pour evenly over bread. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes, until custard is set and top is golden brown. Serve.

Creme Anglaise (makes 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups light cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, beat sugar and egg yolks until mixture is thick & lemon coloured. Mixture will fall from whisk like ribbons. Beat in cream until blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure eight pattern (not sure why this is important) to prevent lumping, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon - do not boil. Strain custard into a slightly smaller bowl than the ice bath. Set the custard bowl atop the ice bath to stop the cooking. Keep stirring for 5 more minutes until the custard is cooled. Stir in vanilla.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Obligatory moment of recognition

Yes, it is September 11th. And that's all I can really say about it, because everyone else has already said everything that there is to say about it. Not trying to be flip, just gently insisting that you find your 9/11 commemorative reading elsewhere.

I'm heading to Beantown on Thursday for the weekend - suggestions anyone? Is the MFA worth a trip? I hear there's great shopping on Newbury Street from TK, and Rainster recommended Vox Populi for a decent martini. Anyone else?

Wardrobe's Holy Grail

While we'd all like to walk around in comfort and style 24/7, it's simply not possible - without making a significant compromise like head to toe black at all times (and we're not prepared to go there ... yet).

The Sartorialist found someone who's making it happen ... except for the shoes. It's not about flip flops per se, they just don't work for me in this instance, and they're messing with the line of the jeans.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fall (Just) Desserts

One today and one tomorrow, for the Blue Fairy:

Pumpkin Creme Caramel
(serves 8-10)
Prepare one 1.25 - 1.5 litre heat proof baking dish, or 10 custard cups, and a larger pan for a bain-marie. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

For the caramel:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cups water
  • 2-3 drops lemon juice
Dissolve the sugar in the water in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice. Without stirring, cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Occasionally brush down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan with a pastry brush that's been dipped in water. Continue to cook until mixture turns a deep caramel brown. Remove immediately from heat and pour into the bottom of the baking dish or custard cups. Set aside.

For the custard:
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 & 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch each ground allspice & nutmeg
  • 2 cups 18% cream
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with maple syrup. Add pumpkin and spices; blend well. Heat cream just until small bubbles form around edge of the pan. Stirring constantly, slowly add cream to pumpkin mixture. Pour into dish(es). Set dish(es) into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan, until it reaches half way up the sides of the custard dish(es). Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Custard should be set, but will jiggle slightly in the centre. Remove custard dish(es) from bain marie, let cool 30 minutes and refrigerate until serving. To unmold and loosen caramel, hold a hot cloth around the bottom of the dish for 10 seconds, then run a hot knife around the caramel and invert onto a serving platter. Sprinkle platter with additional cinnamon and nutmeg, and serve.

More tomorrow.

You can be overdressed

for a tennis match. Congrats to Maria, but what's with the cocktail dress on the court?

Friday, September 08, 2006

When life gives you lemons ...

turn your cancelled wedding into a celebration of women -slash- fundraiser for charities you care about. Now that's lemonade. Wonder what the cheating fiance thinks about it.

PS - HATE the word /jilted/, especially in this context.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Soundtrack for Working Late

Bananarama: Look on the Floor (Angel City Video Mix)

Paris Hilton: Stars Are Blind (also apparently good at getting away with drunk driving)

Justin Timberlake: Sexy Back (a sexy back is an underrated erogenous zone)


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shuesday: White After Labor Day?

For the record, the FG is in favour of the no white after Labor Day rule (I know, you're shocked - shocked! - to hear it.) Although the rule was clarified 'round here last week to mean no white below the waist - pants, shorts (hopefully you don't own these anyway - beachwear excepted), skirts & shoes. And it's worth noting that The Manolo disagrees with me on this one.
But what do we do about white paired with black? Because these shoes are definitely for fall, and are pretty fabulous.

Neiman Marcus is avoiding the entire white dilemma and recommending red accents for fall. You can go traditional with a twist in a pair of Manolo Mary Janes, but the FG prefers these lambskin peeptoes - if you're going to accent with red, it should be with a really interesting shoe.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Steinem on Rice

This is why she's so good at what she does:

Is Condoleezza Rice an ally of women?

I wish someone would write an article called “How Did Condoleezza Rice Get That Way?” She’s so separate from the welfare of the majority of Americans and especially the female and African-American communities to which she belongs.

Questions for Gloria Steinem: All About Eve [NYT]

Friday, September 01, 2006

Risky (Meme) Business

The Blue Fairy says:

Electric Grandmother has this posted on her site and it looks like fun.

I would like everyone who reads this to ask me 3 questions: no more, no less. Ask me anything you want. Anything! Doesn’t mean I’ll answer them in the way you expect. Then go to your journal, copy and paste this, allowing your friends (including me) to ask you anything.

Among other things, I’m curious how many people read this and it seems like a fun way to find out. Yes, you neo-luddites may ask questions even if you don’t have an online journal.

OK kids, bring it. This could make for an interesting weekend.