Monday, March 30, 2009

The Best Go WEST

Ever since "Designing Women," I've had a soft spot for folks from Georgia. In college I met one of my best friends, AWC, who is an honest-to-god Georgia peach.

AWC has a big heart and is an ardent supporter of a film called "Darius Goes West." This documentary was conceived, directed, filmed, produced, and edited by AWC's friends from Athens, GA. When I saw the movie I cried throughout, alternating between deep sorrow and intense laughter.

The documentary follows Darius Weems, a teenager who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. DMD is 100% fatal, and took the life of Darius's brother when he was 19; Darius himself is currently 19. He may be both the bravest and the sassiest person you'll ever encounter.

Setting out with the goal of getting MTV to "Pimp" Darius's ride (his motorized wheelchair, to which he is confined), his gang of friends have no choice but to transport Darius's mostly incapacitated body from Georgia to MTV's West Coast studios via van. The documentary movingly captures the highlights of their roadtrip: a post-adolescent boy's first steps into the ocean in Florida, a true teenage night out in New Orleans, Darius's first-ever moments leaving the ground when flying in a hot air balloon over New Mexico. The movie is also a sobering commentary on Darius's degenerating condition, and the pathetic state of handicapped access throughout our country. Fortunately, the film will restore your faith in camaraderie and true friendship. And Darius RAPS. It's BRILLIANT.

I promise this documentary will delight you and move you in ways you cannot expect. Order a copy of the film by clicking here: DARIUS GOES WEST. It will be well worth your while. And the proceeds from the DVD benefit Charley's Fund, established in honor of another DMD victim.

I have been amazed by how many people from my many different walks of life know about and are actively involved in the "Darius Goes West" movement. My aunt-by-marriage's second cousin happened to be researching DMD and discovered Darius's story. I overheard her mention Darius at, of all places, a family WAKE and we realized we were both Darius fans! And a childhood friend of mine, whose parents are from England and ended up in Kansas, went to school in Georgia, and got swept up in the Darius mania there.

What a small, but wonderful, world.

Support the cause today. If you have any interest in hosting a screening of "Darius Goes West," let me know and I'll put you in touch with the DGW crew! We want to drum up as much publicity for this amazing project as possible!

Love to AWC, the best Georgia peach!


Monday Musings

Oh, Monday...

Good News: The tulips are budding along Park Avenue!
I saw them with my own eyes yesterday. This gives me faith that Spring really is coming. I am currently plagued by my second cold in a month's time, so I reallllly need Spring to GET A MOVE ON ASAP.
Bad News: "Great Depression Cooking."
This seems, somehow, so very very wrong:
Funny News: Unjustified Confidence in One's Singing/Teaching Abilities.
Real or Fake, I can't stop laughing:
Makes-You-Go-"Wah Wah"-News: Deli woman makes me feel ugly.
This morning at a deli where I frequently get my morning coffee, I am told by the Burmese check-out girl that I look just like her cousin.
I say, "Oh, my mother is Chinese, perhaps that's why!"
She responds, "No, you have same color brown hair, same color brown eyes, and teeth,
F my life...?
Quote of the Day:
"Dalyah Duek-Flaks acknowledges that opening her new Madison Avenue diamond store, Dalyah, is about as well-timed as opening a cake shop on the eve of the French Revolution."
(Bless the NYTimes)

Not sure if this is a tally, but I'm pretty confident that I come out on bottom.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile

This was QUITE the week. I wasn't sure I would survive, but once again we've arrived at Friday. If that's not reason enough to smile, here are several others:

1) The World's Smallest Postal Service.
Leafcutter Designs offers several ingenious products, not the least of which is the WSPS.

The original idea was for senders to track down a roving WSPS carrier in the San Francisco area. Once found, they would transcribe your (brief) message onto a tiny piece of paper, which was then folded into a baby envelope, closed with a teensy wax seal bearing your initials, and sent on its merry way to a very lucky friend. Whimsical though that wild goose chase was, they wised up and now offer e-commerce orders, as well as special holiday parcels. I'm sending some STAT.

2) Good Numbers.
As some of you know, I've been attending Weight Watchers and lost 5.4 pounds in my first week. Since then I've skipped the gym and indulged in a few decadent meals. Fearing that I might have gained weight from a handful of Fat Witch brownies last weekend, this week I got serious and went to the gym everyday. I am happy to report that since I lost the 5.4lbs four weeks ago, I haven't gained an ounce back. Plateauing is a blessing when you've eaten as many brownies as I have.
Also, my blog surpassed 2000 views on Tuesday and is growing by the hour. I love seeing readers from all over the world. Please leave me comments--I want to hear what you have to say!

3) Wish-Making Matches
You can dispense these or keep them for yourself.
The idea is that you can grant 3 selfish wishes (e.g. "I WANT A PONY")
and 3 selfless wishes (e.g. "I want a pony that my friends can also ride...sometimes").

I think it's just a simple, lovely idea.

4) This Meta-Moment.
(From Face Hunter)

5) Gift Cards with Snark.
It seems like gifts fall into three categories: frivolous, overly-practical, or a poor match for the recipient. So why not at least hit the right note with these gift cards:

6) Chatting ATT with TAG.
It's OOC.

7) Unorthodox Childrens' Rockers.
In this case it's a praying mantis, an insect that normally terrifies me. But I grant a lot of artistic license to childrens' toy makers and tend to be fascinated by most of what I find. I discovered this item on My Notting Hill, a great blog about interior design.

As someone who had (and loved) an unusual childhood rocker, I happily embrace the clever mantis. And I can't wait to pass the elephant on to my children.


Jewelry by my Homeslice: The Whole Slice Jewelry

One Autumn day at Princeton, several of us took a fieldtrip to a Brooklyn art gallery and P.S. 1.
My good friend and classmate, Marisa Reisel, made an early trek to the City to buy art supplies (as well as an outrageous pair of leggings--but that's a separate story). During this part of her day, a stranger stopped to inquire where she purchased the amazing pizza earrings she was wearing. When she kindly informed him they were made by her own hand, he ordered four pairs ON THE SPOT to give as gifts to friends.

And thus began what would eventually become Marisa's company,

Meanwhile, I (naughty child) was playing around and generally embarrassing the professor and classmates with whom we were traveling...

Not sure what I'm doing here in the courtyard of P.S. 1

Performance art (ha) outside the Southfirst Gallery.

Marisa is a crafty gal. She has a BA in Visual Arts from Princeton. Her Senior Thesis show swept the department awards. She trained at Yale's School of Art in Norfolk, and was awarded a fellowship to study painting in Spain. She can style thrift store finds into the cutest outfit you've ever seen. And she even achieves the impossible by making a Princeton beer jacket look sexy:

Her creativity extends to her jewelry designs.
The idea behind the company's name is that a slice is part of a whole, just like the pizza above, or the crudite platter below:

The earring set for any hostess with the mostess.

Mac & Cheese. A piece for each ear makes a lovely pair.

There are "Whole" servings too, like this cherry pie pendant; good enough to eat.

Marisa enjoys designing most when she's turning your ideas into delectable, pint-sized creations. I own cupcake earrings and a teapot/teacup earring set, all custom-crafted just for me. My dear friend LAB custom-ordered a bagel and lox cream cheese earring pair that turned out brilliantly. The possibilities are endless. In a world of mass-manufacturing, it's nice to have a handmade treasure created with you in mind.

She's offering my readers a special discount! Email her at to take advantage.

You are what you eat if you WEAR what you eat.
Here's lookin' at you, Cupcake.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Springing Forward and UPward: The Highline

There are so many things I love about Springtime generally.

Growing up in Kansas, Spring guaranteed exciting thunderstorms, big rainbows, and beautiful sunsets stretching across that glorious flat horizon. (And for those of you who love stereotypes, yes, there was a tornado or two thrown in there to ensure at least one panic attack per season.)

I longed for those thunderstorms in my Freshman year of college and wasn't sure what do to in New Jersey without the erratic, yet comforting, Kansas weather patterns. One of my sweetest college memories is of seeing the sky turn to gray from my bedroom window, and later hearing a loud crack of thunder immediately followed by the running footsteps of my friends darting from their room one floor above to come fetch me, all the while shouting "PUT ON YOUR WELLIES, CHRISTINE! THIS IS KANSAS WEATHER!" We ran outside to celebrate and jumped in the puddles as long as we could stand it.

Spring in NYC means something altogether different but is no less delightful. After a long cold winter, everyone jumps the gun. At the earliest sign of the thaw restaurants set out their sidewalk tables and girls don their sundresses and sandals, only to discover that the last snow has yet to fall. But it's both glorious and fleeting, and City summers can be brutal (the Hamptons exist for a reason), so New Yorkers soak up every ounce of Spring they can get their hands on.

Of the many things which make me anxious for Spring this year, the biggest and best reason is The Highline. The Highline was formerly an elevated train line running along Manhattan's west side through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. Built between 1929 and 1934, the tracks fell into disuse and disrepair and are now overgrown by weeds and grass. In 2002, the Chelsea Village Business Owners decided to preserve and restore The Highline by turning it into the City's first and only elevated park, an idea inspired by the Promenade Plantee in Paris.

(Artist's Rendering from the NYTimes)

The Highline website hasn't been updated in awhile, and there hasn't been a NYTimes article about it since 2008, but I heard on the local news (NY1) the other day that the park is slated to open in a few months' time.

I admit that I don't like the air of snobbery surrounding this project (extending from both the celebrities who founded "Friends of The Highline" and the now-posh neighborhoods in which it falls). My simple hope that any and every New Yorker will engage with and enjoy this park, make memories here, and let it become a part of what makes NYC special in their hearts...all starting with a stroll along its glorious tracks in the Spring City sunshine.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A new reason to LOVE Paris in the Springtime...

When mon amie Parisienne, MLPR, visited me in NYC last summer, she knew I was going to drag her around to several cupcake shops. She's a petite little thing, and wasn't expecting the average serving size at Crumbs (one of my favorite bakeries) to be approximately the size of her head. She and her petit chou, the dashing FV, selected Crumbs' smallest cupcake and could barely finish it between the two of them.

During our snack time, I realized I didn't know the French word for "cupcake" and inquired. MLPR and FV confirmed there wasn't such a word.
Fortunately, MLPR emailed me today to say that the French have amended their ways, usurped the English word (we're happy to share it!), and, voila!

"Enfin" is right.
MLPR just moved into a new apartment and has invited me to pay a visit (it's only fair since I haven't been to Paris since 2005, but she's paid me at least 3 visits in that time).
As if she herself wasn't worth the trip, the cupcakes are pushing me over the edge.
MLPR works in Advertising for Louis Vuitton and let me just say, THIS GIRL KNOWS HOW TO MARKET AN IDEA.

Is it unpatriotic to use my stimulus check to travel to France?

Recessionista?: Monday Musings.

There are days when it's difficult to be enthusiastic about work. I'm not a morning person. I drag myself out of bed approximately 30 minutes before I'm supposed to report for duty (if I'm having a good day), thank God that I picked out an outfit/packed my bag/showered the night before, and I'm out the door. I apply my make-up on the subway (a faux pas I judge others for), pick up coffee on the short path between the subway and my office, and there I am, 15 minutes late, and still not fully-functional.

I should note that this is in sharp contrast to how I was in high school, when I awoke at 5.45am to style my makeup and perfect my hair, rotated between at least 3 outfits, and sat down to a hearty breakfast during which time I reviewed class notes, all before trotting off to my extra "zero hour" course at 7am. This may explain why I was voted Most Likely to Succeed by my graduating class. Even in my Freshman year of college I took a 9am Chinese language class Monday through Friday. Have you ever tried speaking Chinese at 9am? Don't.

At any rate, despite all my grumbling--partly due to the fact that anything before 2pm might as well be 4am in my book--I'm grateful every day to be employed. All bets are off in this economy, and employers are no longer beholden to their employees.

But what kind of a recession is this, really? It goes without saying that an atomic bomb landed on Wall Street and has affected nearly every other industry, but what's the trickle-down? The NYTimes reports that even the rich are affected, which means reduced personal training sessions and increased time between hair appointments (wah wah). Yes, the stores and restaurants are slightly less crowded here in NYC, but the fact is that they are by no means EMPTY. Manhattan is a young city. Most of the people who live here may be a little older than I am, but we all are from generations that don't know economic hardship. "Recession" is right up there with "Okie" and "Land Rush" in regards to terms that have no bearing on the world as we currently know it/as we have known it in our lifetimes. Is it simply that we don't know how to "DO" a recession in a post-conspicuous-consumption world where everything is interconnected and mass-produced?

My paternal grandmother simultaneously lived through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in northern Kansas. Her family produced their own food and ran their own farm. When Depression hit, there was no Ebay to turn to for selling their reserves of jewelry, no discount bin at Wal-Mart to pick through, no college tuitions being paid that they could cut back on for extra cash. Life was simpler. Not in an idyllic way, but financially life was less complicated: Hard work was expected, fooling around wasn't allowed, no partying in the hottest club (what clubs?), no shopping sprees (what malls?), there simply wasn't access to many things, but it's also as if they didn't know what they were "missing." Only in comparison to what she has amassed in her long lifetime does my grandmother feel deprived of anything in her childhood.

But despite current economic climes, I have hardly become a recessionista myself. I am fortunate to have my job, but I'm not allowing (perhaps to my detriment) my nagging fear of lay-offs, etc. stop me from wanting to buy the perfect dress and shoes for my birthday party, or planning my next vacation, or going out to dinner, or subscribing to a new gym membership, or traveling to Princeton for Reunions. And I don't think my friends are reassessing their habits either.

Is my generation simply incapable of coping with a Recession until it strikes us in a very personal way? Would we be able to survive if it did? Thanks to our evolutionary skills, humans are wonderfully adaptable in ways we might not expect...but I also worry that as we, particularly those of us in NYC where I monitor this firsthand, continue to live as we always have, might be running ourselves deep into the ground.

Maybe battling the alarm clock should be the least of my concerns. Or, at least, something to be thankful for.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile

1) Matilda Ledger in this photo.
Mis-buttoned cardigan. Tummy hanging out. Pippi Longstocking tights. Flowered Doc Martens. Sassy leg-crossing.

It reminds me of another sassy leg-crosser (far left):

2) The Karl Lagerfeld Barbie doll.
Because...really?! But also...why the hell not.

3) Model Bartenders.
Mmm. What a deliciously ridiculous concept.

4)'s homepage today:

5) KU's victory today.

6) Pikmin.
Until I owned a Wii, I had less than no interest in video games or "gamer" culture. But then I played Super Mario Galaxy and turned over a new leaf. The Bunny just bought Pikmin, the brand new Wii game, and we wasted 2 hours of our lives last night checking it out.
I fear this is only the beginning.

7) Birthdays!
Everyone I know seems to be born in March. I can only assume this is the result of so many June weddings and anniversaries. I'm very much looking forward to a wonderful weekend!!

It's the first day of Spring, but it snowed in Manhattan. Here's to you, New York.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Save the Drama For your Mama/Save the Date for ME!

Having just sent a save-the-date for my birthday celebration (mid-20s, here I come...), I was delighted to find a REALLY clever wedding save-the-date by the always sweet Ginny Branch, whose blog is one of my daily reads.

Ginny is to be married in May and, as with all things she encounters, she's added a touch of whimsy to her wedding planning. Behold her save-the-dates:

A monogrammed pencil (like we all had in elementary school) engraved to say
"Ginny and Eddie 30 May 2009"

Untie the string and unfurl the scroll to reveal:

Isn't that just PERFECT?

Life is a cabaret, old chum/
It's only a cabaret, old chum/
And I love a cabaret.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thank YOU for bein' a friend.

I love Gossip Girl. When I first encountered the books I thought they were soul-sucking, ethics-destroying harbingers of doom. And honestly, I think you could say the same is true of the TV series...but somehow I have welcomed it into my life, embraced it, defended it, and really miss it when it's not around. I believe that Leighton Meester has single-handedly elevated TV-acting to an art form. And what would my Tuesday mornings be without NYMag's Daily Intel report?

So what better way to celebrate the end of its hiatus of 238902342 weeks than by dressing up like GGs and dining in Chuck Bass' wake?

As soon as I found out that the marketing masterminds behind one of my favorite NYC restaurants, Park Avenue Winter (which is also delightful be it Spring, Summer or Autumn), were hosting a gratis dinner for all Blair and Serena doppelgangers in celebration of the resto's cameo on GG, I grabbed 3 friends (TAG, LAB and LAT), grabbed the phone, and grabbed a table with our names on it.

In the spirit of GG, PAW offered unparalleled hospitality.
  • Choice of Appetizer: I chose French Onion Soup with Braised Beef Gruyère Crouton
  • Choice of Entrée: I had Filet Mignon, Braised Short Rib, Root Vegetables
  • Choice of Two Plates for the Table: We selected Potato Latkes and Crispy Cauliflower
  • Choice of Dessert: I nibbled on Warm Walnut Gingerbread Cake, with Apple Puree, Spiced Raisins & Cinnamon
  • Choice of Drinks: I sipped a delightful La Spinetta Moscato d'Asti
By limiting myself to a few satisfying bites of each course, I was able to delight my senses while staying within my daily WW points allowance. And who cares about the food when you have this gorgeous company:

TAG: Perfectly Preppy as ever in Phillip Lim and Burberry,
and me, in Ralph Lauren and Max Azria

LAB: the J.Crew Jewel, and
LAT: The Brooks Brothers Baroness

Polite young ladies, right at home in plaids, tweeds, cardis and pleats:

Next themed-dinner idea? Dress up like THESE GGs:


Just like a CIRCUS

Last Friday I was supposed to go bowling with TAG and Sunshine in the City. However, just as I arrived home from work at 6.45pm I received a call from a VIP I know offering me two extra tickets to that evening's BRITNEY SPEARS concert. I was told that the Pussycat Dolls opened at 8, and Britney went on at 9.30, so I had a limited window in which to:
  • Offer my condolences to my bowling buddies (who decided to spend the evening together rather than split so one could take my extra ticket)
  • Find a friend to go with me (I'm so glad MBM joined the fun!)
  • Get glammed up (must be pretty for Brit!)
  • Hustle to the UES where said VIP chauffeured himself, his wife, my friend and I off in their Mercedes to a distant land called Newark, NJ.
We probably arrived around 8.45 due to bad traffic leaving the City. Our tickets granted us access to the VIP lounge where there were cocktail samplers and gaggles of eager girls. The Pussycat Dolls were still onstage but MBM and I were STARVING since we hadn't had time to eat dinner! We snacked in the VIP lounge and then made our way to our seats once it was clear Britney was on her way.

Our seats were in the 13th row and, as it turned out, we were seated just behind Jessica of the Pussycat Dolls; talk about great seats! (In the interest of full disclosure: My party had no idea who she was but became curious after several tweens came to ask for her photo. We inquired to a member of her entourage who kindly identified her for us.)

I saw Britney's Onyx Hotel Hour in 2004. At that point she had experienced quite a bit of drama and I wasn't sure that she would ever tour again. I was so glad to see her back in action 5 years later. Her life has been difficult in many ways, and I was certainly full of bittersweet feelings thinking about some of the existential issues of Britney's life: Namely, what does it matter if millions of people adore you when you cannot connect with any of them? But I think some people are meant to be entertainers, and sometimes I want to be entertained out of the context of real life.

And the girl can put on a show.

The circus theme lends some really entertaining fodder for spectacular concert concepts.
There were contortionists, aerialists, jugglers, magicians, and a tightrope walker/gymnast who sprang high into the air from a flexible bar, completed a flip, and landed perfectly back on the bar.

I don't want to bore you with too many detail shots. Suffice it to say, the supporting acts were stunning. But here are some photos of the woman herself. Despite the lip-synching and less-animated dancing than in her previous concert (she's had TWO children since then!), Britney is still a showstopper. And bedecked in great costumes by DSquared!

Like a firecracker, she makes it HOT!

An unexpected but wonderful evening. Only in New York...or Newark!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Quote du Jour

Valentino, to NY Magazine:

"And now, all of the designers are doing the eighties. I hate the eighties. I did it, and I hate it. When I go to see my dresses of the eighties, I vomit.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Perfect Stationery!

In a world stuffed to overflowing with pretty but VERY GENERIC things, the truly GREAT objects really bowl you over.

This is precisely how I felt when I saw The Peak of Chic's post about Gadabout Papers.
I was so excited about these products that I broke my own rule re: not posting more than once a day! (tsk, tsk)

  • Pen and Paper is truly my favorite medium.
  • I adore monogramming.
  • I love clever twists on old concepts.
And Gadabout anticipates--and executes perfectly on--these preferences.

This settee with signet-monogrammed pillow smartly incorporates your monogram, but not at the cost of beautiful design.

This set of necklaces displays beautiful silhouettes to strike just the right traditional vs. modern balance, and slips in an engraved pendant to exhibit your initials!

Everything they feature is so beautiful. I know I CANNOT PASS UP owning a piece of this craftiness. But I am too overwhelmed to make up my mind!!

Should I get this one? I used to make stationery like this for myself. I LOVE a good monogrammed bag!

Or maybe this one? (Which reminds me of an old Kate Spade print, below, that I always wanted):

As I have previously noted, crabs always get the best treatment:

Click here to visit/view/buy from the Gadabout Papers blog, and their sister-site, Gallivant Papers.

P.S. "Dreck is Dreck and no amount of polish is ever going to make it anything else." -Linda Ellerbee

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile

I love pausing to reflect on what makes life so sweet.

I am not always as grateful as I should be, but I want to make it a good practice in my life, and
I think it's the perfect Friday blog topic.

So, here are 10 things, both personal and general, that have made me smile this week:

1) First and foremost: Friends, new and old.
In college and one's early 20s, things are so transitional that it's easy for relationships to be mercurial, sidelined, and more complex than necessary. Despite this, I've recently reconnected with MBM, JKB and LAB, and it makes my heart so glad. I've also been thankful to make some new friendships in the past year that become stronger and deeper each day: TAG and GAS, this means you! And my old standbys, who always encourage and support me and make me feel worthwhile, you are treasures!

2) Lilly Loving.
Wearing Lilly just feels right, especially in Spring. I can't imagine approaching warm weather without some shift dresses at hand. I loved meeting fellow enthusiasts and picking up some new LP items on Tuesday night, and am delighted to be part of the great cult of Lilly Lovers!

Here I am in Lilly last summer after brunching in Brooklyn with my dear (and much missed!) friend EP

3) Changing my Body.
A week and a half ago, I decided it was time for change. I joined Crunch and (I'm a little embarrased to admit this) Weight Watchers. I've been sick with a bad cold so I have yet to make it to the gym, but I stuck to my guns with the WW food plan (thanks to TAG for her daily support!!!), and today I discovered that I've lost 5.4 pounds in the last week. I feel better already.

4) This Blog!
I derive so much pleasure out of writing these posts, and have been fortunate to receive lots of support from friends as well as positive responses from readers. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and engage with this. I appreciate and welcome your comments!
And speaking of readers, today I passed the 500-reader milestone! It's a humble number, but for a rookie like me it's incredibly gratifying to see.

5) Zooey Deschanel's sunglass line for Oliver Peoples.
When you huff and puff on the lenses, red lips appear! They're silly, slightly tacky, and don't come cheaply, but they're just about making life fun and it's an approach we would all do well to embrace more.

6) The Snarky Longchamp Bag.
See above. TAG's baby sister has also posted about this! Great minds think alike!

7) Moschino's Meatpacking mini-dresses-as-hot-air-balloons Window Display.
Weird but also whimsically wonderful. Dresses + hot air balloons. What more could you ask for?

8) Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's imaginary friend, "Amy"

9) The Partners and Spade Drawathon.
My friend MVG and I both adore Kate Spade and were excited to hear that Kate's (possibly lecherous) husband Andy opened his own shop, so we checked it out on opening weekend and even spotted the man himself. This weekend, artist Jason Polan will be in-store to draw whatever you request in the revered medium of Sharpie and paper for $20 a pop.
All Aboard the H.M.S. Booze Cruise!

10) Bowling!
I have three standing dates in March to go bowling with friends. I love bowling but previously haven't much luck rounding up a gang, so I've been relegated to bowling on Wii Sports; let's just say, virtual is not the same as actual, because I've never bowled a 300 in real time!
Watch out, Bowlmor Lanes! Mama's ready to go!

Life is so good. And Spring is in the air. Happy Weekend!