Fabulous Girl's Boudoir

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Icons we mourn: Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green, once America's highest-grossing restaurant, is singing its culinary swan song.

The former sheepfold at the edge of Central Park, now ringed by twinkling lights and fake topiary animals, is preparing for New Year's Eve, when it will serve its last meal. Just three years ago, it was plating more than 700,000 meals annually, bringing in more than $38 million.

But that astronomical sum wasn't enough to keep the landmark restaurant out of bankruptcy court. Its $8 million debt is to be covered at an auction of Baccarat and Waterford chandeliers, Tiffany stained glass, a mural depicting Central Park and other over-the-top decor that has bewitched visitors for decades.

NY Times


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shuesday: Dancing in the New Year

If you're celebrating this year, I've got suggestions for your footwear.

Everyone loves a little fringe, and it looks lovely when you're twirling round and round, so try these in purple suede, or these in black if your dress is the accent piece.

If you're somewhere warm and dry, or are wearing something sparkly, I don't think you could do better than these. Chiffon shoes - thank you Mr. Blahnik!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best of 2009: Catch-up 2

Since this is clearly a once every 10 days event, I'm going to skip around a bit.

Moment of Peace: There have been several, and it's hard to remember them all at this point. Given the year I've had, it's good to know I can recall more than one. Sitting on the dock in the warm early September sun with a book and a beer and a boy. The quiet of my empty, perfectly cleaned apartment in late October on the last day I still had the keys. Those moments where you are the only one awake on the airplane - even surrounded my people, peace can be found.

Challenge: It has to be getting myself out of another challenging workplace with my head held high. And I had LOADS of help and support from friends and family. Thank you!

Album of the Year: I mean, hello, the Glee soundtrack.

Best Place: Previously mentioned dock. The Isle of Skye. Bar Veloce. My apartment on TV night, with friends and cheap Indian food.

New food: Arepas and ramen. Which means Caracas, Ippudo and Wagamama.

Change you made to the place you live: Can I get back to you on that once I have my London flat? 'Cause I've definitely changed the place I live, like, by an ocean, but I'm not in the new place yet.

Rush: Best rush of the year? My surprise engagement party.

Best packaging: My engagement ring came in the most beautiful purple box from Hamilton & Inches. Yes, I'm biased.

Tea of the year: Lady Grey. (This list is clearly by girls for girls.)

Word/phrase of the year: Hod yer wheesht.

Shopping: J. Crew got a lot of my hard earned cash this year, I must say, as did Francis. Next year will obviously be the year of THE DRESS.

Car ride: The 5 days driving around the north of Scotland were amazing.

OK, enough for today. Enjoy! And finish wrapping your presents already!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What the fuss is all about

I know you think the excitement at this time of year is about a little dude born in a manger somewhere in the Middle East 2000+ years ago, but you're wrong - it's actually all about WendyB, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday Wendy!

I'm going to celebrate by going shopping at Wendy's jewelry site for her, choosing the gifts I'd buy for her if I had all the money in the world. And if you're still shopping for the holidays, some of her items are 15% off, like the Lady Jane necklace.

Lady Jane was always one of my favourite figures in British history, and if you haven't seen the movie with Cary Elwes and Helena Bonham-Carter (before she got all crazy), it's a must. Anyway, Wendy looks great in red, and this is a beautiful piece.

Then again, as an independent woman, Wendy might prefer the Virginia Woolf Whistle necklace. Although Virginia also met a tragic end, at least it was one of her own choosing, right? Plus it features all that is most cool about Wendy's designs - moving parts, ironic double meanings, and beautiful craftswomanship. And it's one of a kind. What a conversation piece! Run, don't walk.

Of course, if you use your hands when you talk as much as I do, you'll also need a ring. Wendy usually wears 5-6 at a time, and that doesn't count the Swear Rings! The Queen Min ring has always been one of my favourites - beautiful and subtle at the same time. And isn't purple the new black?

For something with more obvious bells and whistles, I should probably also choose one of the poison rings. Named after famously crafty women in history - Nefertiti, Agrippina, Borgia, Livia and Edburga. They're also a lesson in "be careful whom you marry."

Regardless, I hope Wendy has a fantastic birthday today. And feel free to do all your Boxing Day shopping at her site!

All photos from Wendy Brandes.com

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shuesday: Size matters

If you thought last week's boot was big (and/or you're stuck at an airport in Europe or the Eastern Seaboard at the moment) wait til you see this! You go Tory.

Tory Burch @ BG


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mmmmmm, popovers

My grandmother used to make roast beef and yorkshire puddings once a year, and now that I live in the UK, they're everywhere. But if you're looking for a lighter version, Mark Bittman, The Minimalist, reminds us about popovers.

If you're all fancy, get yourself a special popover pan, but a muffin pan will do (Mark says).


Time: About 45 minutes

  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), optional.

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle a teaspoon or so of melted butter in each cup of a 12-cup muffin pan or a popover tin and put it in oven while you make batter.

2. Beat together the eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon butter, sugar and salt. Beat in the flour a little bit at a time and add thyme if using; mixture should be smooth.

3. Carefully remove muffin tin from oven and fill each cup about halfway. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15 minutes more, or until popovers are puffed and browned. Do not check popovers until they have baked for a total of 30 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and serve hot.

Yield: 12 popovers.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mmmmmm, cookies.

When I come home for the holidays, I generally bake. Mum has all the equipment and ingredients, and a bigger kitchen, and that's enough of a reason for me.

Some years are more ambitious than others, and this one falls somewhere in the middle. I'm doing shortbread with a ginger twist, the infamous Crunchits, and chewy chocolate gingerbread. I love butter twists, but they're a lot of work and I didn't bring the recipe anyway. The shortbread and the gingerbread are both from Martha, and I've been making them for years. Chocolate and gingerbread are two of my fav flavours, so it only makes sense to put them together. They're delish, so enjoy!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Makes 2 dozen (it makes more)

  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more. (You can skip the refrigeration part if you like.)
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
So good!



Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh the Places You'll Go: Toronto (via Amsterdam)

Well there's no place like home for the holidays.

The FG had a truly fabulous journey from the snowy hills of EDI to Toronto, via everyone's favourite capital, Amsterdam. I have been particularly good this year, and Santa must have told the people at KLM, because when I checked in online 30 hours before the flight took off, I was inexplicably able to reserve an exit row on the short flight and a business class seat for the AMS-YYZ leg. Everyone was /very/ pleased with themselves. I read silly magazines on the first leg, and my current book, and quickly found myself in Sin City. Confined to the airport, of course, but still.

There are endless, and endlessly stocked, duty-free shops at Schiphol (where it was also snowing). Honestly, I found it all somewhat overwhelming, and was therefore quite well behaved. Still, it was fun to look around. For security reasons, we all had to go through security again immediately prior to boarding, which no one enjoys, but the machine that shoots rays at you to determine your level of terrorist intentions wasn't working, so at least it was just a normal x-ray machine. And it was in the second waiting area that I ran into a girl I haven't seen since high school graduation. She was in Amsterdam giving a speech about the work she'd done in post-war Bosnia (wow), and we were on the same flight home.

Business class is a good thing, especially on long flights - but you knew that. There was endless leg room, tons of space in the overhead compartments, the seats were wide and of the fully reclining variety - it was wonderful. There was sauvignon blanc and my meal (some airlines are still serving food, it turns out) was quite edible. I watched The September Issue (which I had unconscionably missed in NYC) and The Young Victoria (which was not particularly good). I started watching Che, but decided that sleep wouldn't be a terrible idea.

Am now ensconced at home for the maximum 10 day period, and am looking forward to frolicking with friends and spending quality time en famille. Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shuesday: Abominable Snowman

These are hilarious. I can't imagine wearing these anywhere where you'd be able to see them - I'm thinking insane snowstorms - but they're cute ...

Maybe I'm just looking forward to going home.

(love him!)



Monday, December 14, 2009

Best of 2009: Catch-up

The FG is a little late getting on this particular bandwagon, but I know you'll forgive me. It comes from Gwen Bell, via BS. Bear with my whilst I catch up (and skip a few - best article? I can't possible choose). Here are the first five:

Best trip: Tough choice - the March weekend in Caracas was amazing, and not only because I finally made it to South America. But the two weeks in Scotland in July were gorgeous, especially the drive around the north.

Best restaurant moment: Again, I'm ignoring the formula and picking two - Le Bernardin and the Three Chimneys. Make that three - the Canadian wine tasting at Hearth was fun and delicious.

Best book: Sadly, I'm going to have to go with The New Yorker here. I've been terrible about reading books this year, again, and the ones I have read don't qualify for the best category.

Best night out: I think that would have to be the engagement afternoon/night - all of our NY friends gathered at Bar Veloce for cocktails and merriment, and then we ran off for a quiet dinner together at Hearth. There were also a few fun all night poker sessions, but they don't quite measure up.

Best workshop/conference: Hmmm. Usually this would be a no-brainer, but let's just say that my professional development opportunities were few and far between this year.

And that's all she wrote.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Shopaholic Part 6: What you really, really want

There's always candy at Christmas, but it's often the kind no one really wants to eat - store bought Hershey's crap. You eat it because it's there, in mass quantities, and feel bad later.

This year, indulge your loved ones with caramels, candy, cookies and bars from Bushwick Baked. Fantastic flavours like bourbon pecan, fleur de sel and eggnog caramels, pecan and walnut toffee, chocolate gingerbread, even gluten-free cookies! Peppermint patty brownies, oatmeal peanut butter bars, delicious loaves - I could go on and on. They make perfect stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, or end of meal delights just for you. They're so good, you won't stuff yourself, and you'll want to share them with everyone you know.

Ordering is easy, and they also do events - if you've agreed to host a shower or a holiday party in the next few months, get in touch soon.

Because life is too short to eat bad candy.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Occasional baggage Part V

The Brits knew what they were doing when they came up with this flag. I loooove it.

I think this bag is perfect for the holidays - wear a little navy dress (which also works the asymmetrical neckline that is au courant) instead of black, or pair it with a strapless red dress to really stand out.

Lulu at Harrods
MARC by Marc Jacobs at BG
Herve Leger at BG


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Shuesday: Wear your loyalty on your feet

These are fantastic. Alexander McQueen, of course.

Yes, I'm going through a Union Jack phase. More on that later.

Fashion TV


Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh the Places You'll Go: London (again)

Apologies for not blogging the first trip, a few weeks ago, but I'll summarize it here: Caught a far too early flight, left bags at the station, brunched at Spitalfields, shopped, went to the Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery, caught a rugby game at a pub, and caught the train to Essex for a fantastic cocktail birthday party.

This time, we and had more time in the city proper. So:

Caught a plane in the early evening, took the train in from Standstead, checked in to our hotel just around the corner from St. Paul's Cathedral, and grabbed a late dinner at Yo! Sushi - one of the places where the sushi goes round and round past the diners. I also ordered the Spicy Seafood Udon, which was fantastic. Hit the hay early in preparation for a busy Friday.

I got up early, for me, (which was a good thing, because Blackfriars Station is closed until 2012). Anyway, I made it to The Dress Shop in Belgravia and tried on The Dress (again). Then it was back across to The City to meet with a recruiter near the Lloyds of London building. Lunched at Mother Mash - how could I skip pie in London? - and then hopped back on the Tube to Mayfair, via Oxford Street. I was then right on time to meet Mme. Connected for tea at the Connaught Hotel. There was a live harpist in the tea room - it was /something/.

Back to the hotel to switch from my suit into something more comfortable, and off to a pub to meet the Finance Posse for a little more beer than was absolutely necessary, and then to a curry in Brick Lane at Nazrul. Not the best curry I've had in the UK - so far those have been at Indian Calvalry Club and The Raj (both in EDI), but I'm optimistic. Our fellow diners were more inebriated and raucous than we - I'm talking singing at the top of their lungs at 11:30 pm in a crowded restaurant - but we enjoyed ourselves all the same.

Saturday morning we hit Selfridges - we behaved ourselves quite well - and then walked down Bond Street - away from the mad, mad shoppers - for a family lunch. Then a quick trip to the V&A to see the fashion exhibit before we dashed back to the train station (missing the train we really needed to catch) and flew through security, fortunately catching our QueasyJet home.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shopaholic Part 5: The Countdown is on

I'm off to London for the weekend (again), but I know you're all panicking about what to get everyone from your special someone to the colleagues you're paired with via Secret Santa. My nearest/dearest are getting UK-themed gifts this year, but here are hits for the Restivus:

This turkey stuffing cage is a safe guy gift - unnecessary, but sufficiently cool for the foodie you love. Provided he's willing to clean it afterwards. Or, if your foodie is old fashioned, get him/her a dressing spoon. It was my grandmother's standard wedding gift, and it will help your manicure survive the holiday season. Note: the cage is only for turkeys over 14 lbs, so be sure your giftee holds large-ish holiday meals.

In love with a former Lego devotee? Get them the Guggenheim! I actually think this is pretty cool, provided you have a den or a large bookshelf with room for it. And someone else to dust it.

That's it for today, but there will be more, I promise.

Brick Structures


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Shuesday: Another month ...

another pair of shoes?

Apparently J. Crew has a shoe of the month club, just in time for holiday giving. Bubblegum emailed them and learned the following:

  • It's $1800 for a full 12 months.
  • You can choose to receive either all flats, all heels or a combination of both, and the shoes each month are at a $150 value.
  • They'll exchange for size, but not for color or style.

Generally, I like the idea of their shoes, but not the execution, so I'm not sure I want 12 pair chosen by someone else, but if you know someone who loves shoes and you think the economy's going to turn around in 2010, this may be a gift you'll be giving.

Jcrewaholics has the deets on the other monthly clubs, along with a monthly cost breakdown.

Via HuffPo