Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Monday, March 31, 2008

Love me, love my books

This NYT article resonated with me particularly because I made very tough choices of what to bring and what to pass back into the bookosphere when I moved across the country (for the second time). All my books now fit on two of these (of course mine are full), and I'm very proud of my culled collection. Criteria included the actually irreplacable (out-of-print, for example), my top five*, complete sets (His Dark Materials, Tariq Ali's Islam series), prized cookbooks, and whatever I was currently reading (as I generally have 2-3 on the go at a time).

And now, a year later, the book shelves remain similarly sparse. The cookbooks have moved off the shelves into the kitchen, and there's enough room on the shelves for a resting spot for the computer and a stack of current magazines, but there's a bag of books on its way to The Strand for re-release, and I don't feel the need to keep every book that comes my way anymore. Thank heavens for small apartments.

*If you could only have five books, what would you keep? Mine (resolutely leaving all series aside) are:

Franny & Zooey (Salinger)
Pilgrim (Findley)
A Suitable Boy (Seth) - an especially good choice for the proverbial desert island at 1488 pgs.
The Tale of Genji (Shikibu) - also a long haul
and ...

Damn, I can't pick a fifth. Possession (Byatt), and The Time Traveler's Wife (Niffenegger) (best book I've read in the past two years, hands down) vie for contention, along with The Life of Pi (Martel). And I don't feel defensive about them at all. I've read some of the classics, but I don't tote them about to appear, well, anything. You'll most frequently find me reading The New Yorker (which I'm sure is a statement in its own right, particularly in, say, Big Timber, MT), but has at least as much to do with its weight and my competitive streak (must stay ahead of subscription!) as anything else

And what do you think about this paragraph?
Let’s face it — this may be a gender issue. Brainy women are probably more sensitive to literary deal breakers than are brainy men. (Rare is the guy who’d throw a pretty girl out of bed for revealing her imperfect taste in books.) After all, women read more, especially when it comes to fiction. “It’s really great if you find a guy that reads, period,” said Beverly West, an author of “Bibliotherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives.” Jessa Crispin, a blogger at the literary site Bookslut.com, agrees. “Most of my friends and men in my life are nonreaders,” she said, but “now that you mention it, if I went over to a man’s house and there were those books about life’s lessons learned from dogs, I would probably keep my clothes on.”


Sunday, March 30, 2008

She cooks!

It's been a long, long time, since I made a real dinner, and longer since I made it for anyone but me. But I got inspired (and had the time), so I cooked.

I made the rice pudding first, then the beans. The sprouts were easy to prepare, and the tuna took seconds, and only 2 minutes a side in the pan. Simple, and delicious.

Why don't I do this more often?

*East Coast Guy doesn't do dairy.


Friday, March 28, 2008

I McKellen, you McKellen, he McKellen, she McKellen

Wouldn't you like to be McKellen too?

On hearing the news that Sir Ian will return as Gandalf, NYMag writer Adam Sternbergh says:

We’re so generally in awe of Sir Ian that we propose a new verb: to McKellen.

McKellen (v)

Definition: When a distinguished actor sells out late in his/her career in a way that feels earned and great and non-reprehensible because he/she is awesome and totally deserves it.

Usage: Let’s say Dame Judi Dench accepted the role of Hippolyte, Wonder Woman’s mother in a Wonder Woman film. (Don’t get excited, fanboys, we’re just blue-skying here, though we now expect to see this rumor on Ain’t It Cool by Friday.) You can say, “Yes, I heard she’s McKellening the role.” Or, “She’s reportedly McKellening it over.” As for Sir Ian, we’re ecstatic to hear that he’ll once again be McKellening the white-bearded wizard.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Shuesday: Bah, Humbug

The thing about the new J. Crew is that it is just overpriced. I mean, these are not worth $118 plus tax and shipping. There's just not enough shoe in the shoe to tip them over the $90 price point (and if they think they're recession proof, they should reconsider, instead of expanding into, oh, I don't know, costume jewelry, for example).

But I want them, because they remind me of Coco Chanel's camellias.

It all makes me nostalgic for the old J. Crew, circa 1998 or so.

Click here for more fabulous (and fabulously overpriced) spring footwear.


No degrees of separation

We all know people who know people - East Coast Guy went to high school with The Silver Fox, Midwest Medved has shared Thanksgiving dinner with the Cusacks, etc. - and in NY, and I'm sure in Toronto, Vancouver and LA, we occasionally see the famous they go about their daily lives.

But now I actually know someone who's in Wikipedia ... and you do too! It's The Blue Fairy! I'm thrilled for her. And I wonder, now that she's famous, will I see her more often? (nudge nudge, whatcha up to this weekend, oh famous one?)


Monday, March 24, 2008

I wanted to ...

I finally caught up with The Lead Singer for dinner in Brooklyn. She's moving (within B'lyn & not back to the mother island, sadly), and was looking at an apartment near Atlantic & Fourth. It's been a while since I left The City, and ages since I've been in a non-Bay Ridge or Astoria part of B'lyn. It's not snobbery, really, I just don't have occasion to go.

The LS said she wanted to try Melt, and, after checking out the website, I suggested she make a reservation, just in case. Clearly I wasn't thinking - it's the Monday after Easter and it's B'lyn - but it couldn't hurt. I arrived early to a more than half empty restaurant, laughed at myself, and sat down at the bar for a drink while I waited. The happy hour special was a margarita cosmopolitan, which, sadly, was neither. When The LS arrived and we were seated, she laughed and said that they'd told her she couldn't have a 7:30 reservation, but she could have a 7:45. I expect that sort of treatment on a weekend in the theatre district, but it was stupidly pretentious for a weeknight in Brooklyn.

Our server was sweet, in a Little Lord Fauntleroy way (blonde and blue-eyes with House of Windsor ears), and I was prepared to be charmed - there's nothing wrong with a little tableside banter with friendly and competent wait staff. But after he explained the prix fixe menu, he touched my shoulder as he left us to decide. There's just no reason to do that. And he did it again after taking our order. The temperature tableside dropped decidedly.

We chose lobster dumplings, warm Boucheron goat cheese salad with marinated beefsteak tomato, figs, and organic greens, yellow fin tuna tartar with avocado, cucumber relish, and micro cilantro, and sea scallops with indian spice and hazlenut crust. And for dessert, a chocolate cupcake and a banana chocolate spring roll with strawberries and whipped cream. The food was good, but my sauvignon blanc was on the grassy side, and I don't think I'll be rushing back.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eight Things: Part 3 (finale)

This is the final installment - apologies TR for the wait!

Eight songs I could listen to over and over

1) Beast of Burden - Rolling Stones (you know who you are)
2) Freedom 90 - George Michael (because everyone wants to be a lip-synching supermodel)
3) Emperor's New Clothes - Sinead O'Connor (wrote all my university essays to this the night before they were due (except the thesis))
4) Such a Way - Stephen Kellogg (new & delightful)
5) Since You've Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson (natch)
6) Bleed a Little While Tonight - Lowest of the Low
7) Falling is Like This/Untouchable Face - Ani Difranco
8) Get Away - Gwen Stefani
9) Grace, too - Tragically Hip (yes, I can count)

Eight things that attract me to my best friends*

1) I keep in touch
2) my uncanny knowledge of pop culture and fashion (a particularly winning combination during awards show season)
3) I am generous with my time, attention and resources (very good at helping you shop, for example ...)
4) I am willing to say, "I don't get that, can you explain it to me?", and to admit when I'm wrong.
5) I am a good listener
6) I forget details, and arguments, but not the important stuff
7) there's always something to drink in the house (and if I know you're coming over, it will be at least in the category of things I know you like)
8) I will argue with you over a principle to the death. Or at least to the pain. That's attractive, right?

*#9 would be that I can be slightly oblivious, but in a way that is (hopefully) charming. For example, I thought this was a list of things /I/ was attracted to in my best friends ...


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shuesday: Tea for two

And you for me.


Icons we mourn: Anthony Minghella

British film director and writer Anthony Minghella has died at the age of 54, his agent has said. Minghella, whose films include Truly, Madly, Deeply and Cold Mountain, was chairman of the British Film Institute. In 1997, he won an Oscar for directing The English Patient and was nominated for writing the screenplay for 1999's The Talented Mr Ripley.

This man was at least partially responsible for some of my favourite films. He will be missed.



Sunday, March 16, 2008

Eight Things: Part 2

Eight things I say often:

1) Often (with a /t/)
2) Ahem
3) This is what I'm saying
4) /I know!/
5) That's not the point*
6) I understand that this database is really good at (X), but what I need it to do is (Y)
7) That's just how I spell/pronounce it
8) Dirty Sapphire martini with extra olives, please**

Eight books I have read lately

1) The New Yorker ^
2) The Emperor's Children#
3) A Whistling Woman#
4) Curry#
5) The Time Traveler's Wife
6) The Namesake
7) The Year of Magical Thinking
8) Snow

*even when it /so/ is ...
** amended to add /straight up and dry/, except that feels /so/ like ordering a half caff, no whip, two percent, extra-hot, with room latte ...
^let's be clear that I'm only a week behind, at the moment.
# books I am technically currently reading


Friday, March 14, 2008

Eight things: Part 1

Yes, I know, hot on the heels of WendyB and BS, but I'm thrilled to emulate them any day (especially if one of them is en route to Hawaii ...)

Eight things I'm passionate about

1. Principles
2. My friends
3. Good food (oysters, bread pudding, gourmet mac & cheese)
4. A properly constructed dirty martini
5. Shoes (surprise)
6. A really good kiss
7. Art (Ukiyo-e, Lawren Harris, The Painter, Florentine early Renaissance)
8. Good smells

Eight things I want to do before I die

1. Fall in love again (and again, and again ...)
2. Be debt-free*
3. Go back to school
4. Run my own department
5. Own a cottage in Ontario
6. Visit the Wickaninnish Inn for a week, with unlimited spa treatments
7. Give Rome a second chance
8. Have enough time to read

More later ...

*Note: other items on this list may preclude #2


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shuesday: Practical/nautical

I got a great deal from one of my favourite, easy places to shop, and I know I should wear flats more often, so I broke down and ordered these. And these. What's the worst that could happen?


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Shuesday: It takes a very steady hand

Shoes without proper heels are popping up everywhere these days, but of course, Manolo did it first, away back in Summer 2006, as blog.mode at the Met can attest.

The show was worth seeing, if you're there, but not riveting otherwise. I liked the pieces by Hussein Chalayan best.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Occasional Baggage

Because I know BS will forgive me (and also bc she's 12 days and counting from Kona).

I fell in love with this on my way home from a late brunch (more about my brunch companions later this week) at Bubby's Pie Company on Sunday.

But it doesn't have feet!

I'm sure I don't need another high maintenance bag ... but I loove the colour, and the top closure. And it's soooo soft ...


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Braveheart (not to mention stomach)

Posts are a little scrambled these days, but I know you'll forgive me. As you're no doubt already aware, The Scot visited the FG for a few days in February. We're immensely proud that he's off to med school in the fall, and were thrilled that he made it out to see us now, before he finds himself staggering under the weight of various textbooks, hospital shifts, and dates with cute nurses.

We went to Crema the first night (because The Scot's best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night ... sorry, got distracted, The Scot's best friend's sister-in-law is the chef. Ahem.). We drank a little too much sangria and ate far too much rich food, starting with a queso flamedo (that the FG did not need on the heels of Project Runway/fondue night the week before). The next day The Scot recovered from his three days of ambulance driving, and then hit The Thirsty Scholar with a friend, where I joined them after work. We drank enough to earn complimentary shots of tequila from my fav bartender, and then went to Cafe Centosette for pasta and a lovely bottle of Mr. Coppola's best.

The next day, we visited the Guggenheim, where we saw the Cai Guo-Qiang's I Want to Believe exhibit, before heading to Sarabeth's for delicious soup and sandwiches, and a bottle of wine. Walking downtown, we built a snow buddha in Central Park at the south east end of the reservoir, we visited Ito-en to shop for green tea, and then drank ridiculously rich hot chocolate at MarieBelle Fine Chocolates. We flew downtown to The Brandy Library to meet The Pastry Chef for a drink - fortunately, she reminded me of how much I adore Lillet, and The Scot (I think) ordered a Sherry casked Bruichladdich. And then we were off to dine chez Ramsey.

The next morning, we work up, puttered about, and went to Momofuku Noodlebar for brunch/lunch. Note to self: arrive between noon and one o'clock, it's a madhouse after 1. There were steamed chicken buns, ramen noodles with shredded pork, and something with duck that I can't find on the menu. (Perhaps The Scot can assist in the comments?) And then he went home, catching his plane with seconds to spare (note to self, leave MORE time when taking the train to JFK.)

It was a delightful visit. And now I am back on the superfood diet ... although I noticed that someone got smart and has turned the master cleanse ingredients into an easy-to deal with powder you can stir into water ... no more messy measuring of maple syrup! Ha!

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