Friday, October 30, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile (even with one less tooth)

The pain from my wisdom tooth extraction is now under control and I'm smiling ear to ear
(with a bit of a gap on one side).
Here are some things that made me smile this week, and I hope they'll make you grin, too.

I am one of those naughty few who does NOT completely adore "Le Petit Prince."
I will even go so far as to say I hate it.
HOWEVER, I always loved the illustrations and recognized something magical about the way the book captivates the imaginations of so many.
So my heart took flight when I found the "Deluxe Pop Up Edition" at Barnes & Noble.

For a special glimpse into the pop-up, visit's video tour HERE.
I stumbled upon this book in which a single Jewish girl suddenly becomes a hot commodity to Jewish men when she's confused for a shiksa. I don't plan to read it, but I was amused by the title.

In related news, last Sunday the greatest-converted-shiksa-since-Elizabeth-Taylor wed the mensch of her dreams.
Congrats, Ivanka! You were simply STUNNING in your Grace Kelly-inspired wedding gown!


No make-up. Earth tones. Windblown hair. Wicker baskets. A simple bicycle.
What's not to love?
My F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. holiday of the year is here!
"Hocus Pocus" will be viewed at least once this weekend. (I see you, SJP...)
I also anticipate wearing orange and black in honor of the holiday AND my alma mater;
as Tracy Jordan said on this week's "30 Rock":
"Is it Halloween or Princeton Parents' Weekend?"
I'm happy either way!

Halloween 2003: "Princeton Dorothy" for this Kansas girl in her Freshman year:
Popped collar, Westie stuffed puppy from Harrod's, Louis Vuitton in lieu of a basket.

Accompanied by Little Red Riding Hood, played by MLPR.


No tricks, only treats,

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (and work hard for it!)

As you may be able to tell, the Bunny is older than me. It's not something I sought out, but that's how it worked out, and while I love him for HIM (at any age), there are some perks to dating an older gentleman.

One of those perks is the fact that his friends are closer to achieving their life goals and have often already become the person they are capable of being; in other words, they've reached their peak. Don't get me wrong: I embrace that my friends and I, at age 24, are still very much in our "formative" years and have nearly limitless possibilities before us...but won't it be interesting to see what paths we ultimately choose?

As a child I always had older friends; one of my best friends in middle school was my 50-year-old English teacher. It was so interesting to me that she had already carved her own path, made mistakes along the way, and was all the better and more beautiful for it. Fortunately for me, she was only the first in a long series of wonderful older mentors that I've been blessed to encounter. My life has been so much richer because I've been able to build upon these womens' experiences. And it's really no surprise that I gravitated toward the older (and sometimes wiser--though I don't want to give him TOO much credit) Bunny.

This past weekend, The Bunny and I celebrated one of his friends' achievements at Jazz Standard, Blue Smoke restaurant's downstairs jazz club. A classmate from Bunny's Harvard days, Josh Redman is now one of the most respected jazz musicians in the world and tours with his band, The Joshua Redman Trio. Josh was kind enough to treat us to tickets to the sold-out event. We met a visiting German couple who came out of their way to hear Josh play; they said he is famous even in Germany.

Josh, at left on sax; at right, the Trio

The music was so, so excellent. Smooth, upbeat, sensuous, mysterious, familiar, fun; jazz expresses a range of emotion not found in many musical genres. And I must say that eating Blue Smoke's award-winning BBQ during the concert only made the experience that much more savory.

It was so nice to see Josh enjoying his well-earned success. And I can't wait until I am able to celebrate my friends being at the top of their game...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fashion Forward

The 92nd Street Y is a NYC venue that offers some of the best events, lectures and classes around. When I noticed that their Fall programming included a panel entitled "The Future of Women's Fashion," featuring such illustrious participants as Isaac Mizrahi, Ashley Olsen, Robin Givhan (fashion writer for the Washington Post), and Cindi Levie (Glamour's editor-in-chief), I knew I HAD to go.

I rallied my friends DG and SS (check out her fashion blog, HERE) and we had a wonderful time. To kick-start everything, we were seated across the aisle from Justin Bartha (Ashley's boyfriend and the star of "The Hangover") and Mary-Kate Olsen, who wore a terribly beautiful embroidered velvet jacket.

You can just make out MK's face in this photo.
(NOTE: I once read that the Olsens were taught to say "prune" when they smile, and years of practicing that posture certainly seems to have stuck...)

But back to the panel!

We were treated to a great mix of expertise and personalities.
Cindi and Robin (above far left and above left, respectively), are more in tune with consumers' needs and viewing fashion through the lens of hard numbers. This gave their opinions a lot of practical merit; perhaps even TOO MUCH for the dreamers in the audience like me, who wish only for fashion to be about art and beauty...which is where Ashley and, especially, Isaac come in.

Here are some gems from Isaac:

About being fearless with fashion: "If only we could be as brave about our own work as we are about, you know, playing Monopoly. That's what I always say."

About the role of the designer in dressing women: "Embracing that women look beautiful already, not that 'I'm gonna make you look beautiful' but 'You are beautiful already.'"

On determining the difference between fashion and design: "Fashion happens, but design is eternal. I don't know what fashion is supposed to be anymore: The red carpet? The cover of a magazine? But there's NO excuse for bad design."

On opportunities for entrepreneurs in the current economy: "Perhaps it's not a good time for greedy people to make a lot of money off of something that's not even good."

I adore Isaac, for obvious reasons. If you've never seen his documentary "Unzipped" you should run to Blockbuster or your Netflix queue and make it a priority! Among other simultaneously hilarious and wise tidbits he shared, he announced that he will be selling many new products on QVC, including CHEESECAKE ("it's a family recipe!").

Ashley Olsen was more sly, avoiding answering the question of which fashion trend she wishes would die ("I pass on this question!"), and omitting to tell the audience some major news that would be announced only a day later: that she and MK are launching a clothing line at J.C. Penney called "Olsenboye."

Robin Givhan made some interesting sociological commentary on the state of women's fashion, and even offered her theory of its biggest hurdle:
"People condescend to fashion because it's a woman's industry."
Hmm. Perhaps.

Like many panel discussions (and I recall numerous of these from my Princeton days), there wasn't much of an arrival at consensus or conclusion by the end. Nevertheless, all will agree that it was an entertaining and special occasion.

And don't forget to order your Mizrahi cheesecake...

Links to more info, insight, and better pictures from this event:
The Huffington Post
Just Jared

Monday, October 26, 2009

The September Issue: LIVE!

On Tuesday night I fought off a terrible headache in order to attend a Young Lions event held in the gorgeous New York Public Library at the invitation of my dear friend, MVG. My effort were not without SERIOUS reward! The occasion was entitled "Close Up on Grace Coddington," and offered attendees an intimate conversation between Ms. Coddington, Vogue's Creative Director, and Jay Fielden, an editor at and the New Yorker.

Moments after MVG and I were seated, I noticed a slim figure with a very specific haircut enter the room and sit two rows behind us. It was none other than La Wintour herself, there to support her friend and closest co-worker. I snapped this photo as she left the room at the conclusion of the conversation; I'm particularly proud of this shot and the accidental lighting that almost makes her look like a deity, no?

Back to Grace. The conversation covered her long and interesting life, starting with her childhood in Wales, through her modeling days in Swinging '60s London, and eventually to her time at American Vogue. To be honest, when I was younger I was afraid of Grace and her terrific (in the "terrifying" sense) mop of red hair. But in person she is utterly charming; like the wise great-aunt from whom you have much to learn.

Here are some lovely snippets from Grace:

On reading British Vogue as a child: "I loved to look at the pages and dream."

On having a zest for life in the fashion industry: "The world we live in is so fun, I hope it goes on forever...or at least my life span."

On wearing so many black ensembles: "I just want to put it on like a uniform so I can put all my energy into the clothes I'm gonna photograph."

Jay walked us through some of Grace's best editorials. One in which model Karen Elson is dressed to resemble Grace, is particularly memorable to those of us who have read Vogue in the last two years, as is the editorial featuring Amber Valletta in a world (our world) where technology rules every moment of our lives:

It was a truly special evening. I am so grateful to MVG for treating me to such a memorable occasion and cannot think of anyone with whom I'd rather have shared the experience.

And kudos to Grace for being precisely who she is, and for making beautiful, exceptional art year after year.

BTW, this devil wears Balenciaga.

A Night in the E.R...

As some of you may recall, last week I had a wisdom tooth extracted (the same morning as my excellent haircut at Fox & Boy!). I am fortunate to have been born with only 2 wisdom teeth ("more highly evolved," as my dentist says), but that did not save me the pain of a tooth that needed to come out. Initially I was almost smug about how smoothly the procedure had gone, but in the subsequent days, my tooth and, worse, my HEAD, began to hurt to the point where I could barely focus, or sleep, or eat. This was particularly troublesome given that I was in my first few days on my new job, and that I had a packed week to look forward to. Many exciting things happened-- I will blog about them shortly--but I was so distracted by the pain that I could barely bring myself to do the things I would ordinarily do with pleasure and ease.

On Friday night, a week to the day of my tooth extraction, I was lying in bed with searing pain and weeping silently. My good father urged me (over the phone) to go to the E.R. The goodly Bunny saved the day. Between 12am and 8.30am on Saturday morning we waited uncomfortably in a chaotic E.R. filled with some of the craziest people you'll ever encounter (racists demanding white doctors, people with bullet wounds, injured drunk people discussing the lawsuits they were going to file for the damage they clearly brought upon themselves...).

The doctors worried that the wisdom tooth extraction had caused a brain infection, or that, perhaps, a random hemorrhage had caused bleeding in my brain. In order to check, they ran contrast fluid through my body, which required kidney testing, blood samples, an I.V., and, finally, a CT scan. They gave me a muscle relaxer to ease the pain. Hours passed while we waited for the CT results. Everything came back clear, which led the doctors to the ultimate conclusion that I suffered nerve damage during the tooth extraction. The searing/burning pain I experienced is, apparently, symptomatic of nerve injury.

Two days of rest, liquids, soft foods, and muscle relaxers has me feeling much better, though far from perfect. But what an ordeal to go through! I received some truly excellent support from friends new and old, and I cannot thank you all enough for it. Being in the E.R., even with my excellent boyfriend by my side, was still a very scary, frustrating, overwhelming and, at times, boring experience. I'm glad it's over, and that I am feeling a bit better each day.

Now, a bit of back-blogging to capture some of the GOOD aspects about last week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And it feels so good!

Is there anything better than being reunited with friends? Especially friends with whom a prolonged period of separation feels like no time at all?

This weekend I was wrapped up in that kind of love, surrounded by friends who know me best and who make my life fuller by sharing their interesting perspectives and fantastic stories.

Standing in line for the Prada/Miu Miu sample sale was a joy, despite the cold dreary weather, because I had MBM to keep me company. Our patience was rewarded with a pair of shoes each. Here are some snaps of my selection: Jeweled heel Miu Mius!

Then my dear friends PMH and TPH came to visit from Baltimore and Indianapolis, respectively. We grabbed Magnolia cupcakes, shopped at boutiques on the LES, ate Italian for dinner in the East Village and grabbed coffee at Mud--all while talking and laughing non-stop. In the middle of our busy day we stopped by Times Square to enter the ticket lottery for West Side Story so we could see our friend SAM perform; it's her first Broadway show and she's already the third female lead! We ultimately didn't win tickets, but still had a great time catching up with our former ballet buddy, who was sweet enough to meet us during her quick break between the two Saturday performances.


I ended the weekend with a full and happy heart. And a sweet hostess gift from PMH and TPH:

I can't wait to find some spare time to dig into this treat; PMH has the BEST taste in books and a real talent for selecting the perfect gift.

Thanks to all the ladies who keep me true to my roots and fill my life with laughter!
Until we meet again...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Kickass Haircut.

Today I had my second haircut with the adorable Julie Dickson of Fox & Boy salon in NoLIta.

I can't describe how awesome she is and how much I enjoy my haircuts with her! I absolutely need to schedule these more frequently just so we can hang out.

I showed up in a very typically CJM outfit: Black silk dress from Anthropologie, black herringbone patterned DKNY tights, shearling-lined leather Born boots, Lilly Pulitzer navy band jacket, Burberry scarf, London Fog black trench and a gold J.Crew birdcage necklace. Julie pronounced that I represent the perfect mix of uptown and downtown style (thanks, Julie!).

In keeping with these ideas about my style, Julie was prepared to present her latest muse. Last time our inspiration was Catherine Deneuve. This time, Julie picked another stunning European blonde starlet of the '60s, Bond girl Britt Ekland. Julie thinks my polished look will be the perfect pairing with Britt's sexy, full hair.

Isn't her shiny, thick hair so stunning?
Too many stylists have tried to "under-cut" and thin out my thick Chinese hair, which I really resent.
Julie, the genius, embraces it (one of many reasons to love her).
As she said, she's "so sick of shattered ends." Hear, hear!

'60s glamour, with then-husband Peter Sellers.

Here are our results:
Face-framing layers, shorter length, thick ends, and a shiny finish.

(Photo taken in a badly lit clothing store dressing room shortly after my hair cut.)
It's a terrible photo of me, but you can see how much body, movement and shine my hair has thanks to Julie's amazing handiwork!

I can't recommend Fox & Boy enough.
Here's a video Daily Candy shot of Julie teaching people how to cut their own bangs and create a simple summer updo. Once you see how cute she is, you'll want to run to her salon.

Thanks, Julie, for a haircut I truly love, and for introducing me to an amazing new muse...I'm off to research Britt!

P.S. I had a wisdom tooth extracted this morning and my happy haircut took my mind off of the pain!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Half-Birthday to Me!

Today I am...*gulp*...24-AND-A-HALF years old. Yikes!

The best present I can give to myself in honor of this occasion is the opportunity to return to the field of art history, and make it my professional home.

Thus, today marks my final day in the job I've had for over a year. While this industry is dynamic and interesting, I ultimately believe that I belong around ART! I hope my new museum job will be challenging, educational, rewarding and FUN!

It's silly (and a serious fallacy) to ever expect that a new job (dress, house, friend, etc.) will make one's life different enough to be perfect, but I have a feeling that I am, at the very least, going to LOVE this next step I'm taking.

Cheers to taking the plunge!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keep Calm and Then Some.

I never tire of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" mantra and have posted about it a few times before, oddly enough, also on a Wednesday (truly, it's a great hump day directive).
Lately I've encountered a few twists on this classic phrase that I thought I'd share to give everyone a mid-week chuckle.

Two takes on the reinvention of this maxim:

For those of you worried about the swine flu:

One of my favorites:

If you're feeling crafty:

A fun activity on a rainy day:

From the fine folks at Urban Outfitters:

And, the montage to end all montages, from blogger Remarks from Sparks:

"Raise Hell then Sleep Well."
Word up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Murphy's Law of Wellies

Any attempt to prepare oneself against the onset of rain....

...will result in a day without the slightest drop of moisture.

(I should say this only happens with my Tretorns. My Burberrys came equipped with rain charms.)

Happy Tuesday from my VERY TOASTY toes!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trick or Treat: Funny or Sweet?

I have a few ideas floating around in my head for what I'd like to be for Halloween:

1) Samantha Parkington
With her perfect Victorian curls and pretty taffeta dresses, I would be remiss to let another Halloween pass without dressing as everyone's favorite American Girl...especially if I can recruit my friends to dress as Molly, Kirsten, Felicity, Josefina...........
I do the perfect impression of Kristen Wiig-as-Bjork, and if that weren't reason enough, I have total faith in my ability to create this swan costume. I'm guessing I wouldn't run into many doppelgangers.

3) Cher to the Bunny's Sonny.
In the right pair of heels, I tower over The Bunny. With my long black hair and touch of Cherokee blood, I'm qualified to play the "Half-Breed." The Bunny is willing to grow a mustache and don a wig. I told him I want to wait until I have a "bangin' bod" liker Cher, but he told me I already do. Awwwwwww.

4) Gilly!
One of the SNL characters that delights me most just got that much better this past weekend when Drew Barrymore played her Italian counterpart. Watch HERE.

What do you think?
What will YOU be?

Dinner at Diner

After The Bunny and I returned to NYC from our trip to the country, we were craving dinner at an interesting restaurant. We decided to venture to Brooklyn to sample Diner, which comes highly recommended.

Located within an old boxcar in Williamsburg, Diner offers the precise mix of factors that define most of my favorite New York restaurants: small size, energetic vibe, dark interior, no gimmicks, high-quality and exceptionally delicious food.

This picture is a bit dark (the restaurant is primarily lit by candles), but you can see its approximate width; it's very small and very packed! Patrons happily wait 30-45 minutes for a table or even a stool at the bar.

The daily specials are written on register tape. Very casual approach, and, in a way, very special. Just LOOK at some of those dishes: Grilled Swordfish with squash puree and grilled plums! I don't like seafood but I confess I was very intrigued by that dish.

The Bunny ordered a gorgeous filet mignon with spinach salad covered in goat cheese dressing, and ate every last bite.

I selected the grass-fed burger and fries.
The quality of the meat was exceptional (supplied by Marlow & Daughters), and the serving size was so generous that I could only eat half. I took the other portion home and am cursing myself today for forgetting it in my fridge this morning!

While we may have skipped out on the fried dough with maple cream earlier in the day in Massachusetts, we couldn't resist the maple custard on the menu.

It was absolute heaven.

Perfect end to an excellent weekend.

Weekend Escape: Off to the Berkshires!

At the end of August, The Bunny and I visited our friends at their lovely mountaintop vacation home in Western Massachusetts.

At that time, the view from their back porch looked like this:

We visited again this past weekend to see the changing leaves, and the same foliage looked like this:


The colors everywhere were so beautiful:

We had dinner at a local restaurant called Mike & Tony's Pizzeria, which is located in an old church. We made reservations to sit in the balcony. One of the proprietors is an artist specializing in neon, and his work decorates the restaurant:

The Chrysler Building in the background made me feel right at home!

The waitress gave us a coloring book for the kids, and I discovered this little gem from a previous patron:

On Sunday morning we went to the Ashfield Fair. Musical groups performed, children played games, and we were tempted by some really fantastic food.

A local theatre group, including some musicians on stilts, delighted us all.

Raw apple cider.

Dipping apples into hot caramel sauce.

Hot maple cream is drizzled over fried dough; looked incredible! I didn't indulge...but wish I had!

I ate a pulled pork sandwich from Elmer's; it was delicious!

The skies were blue, the air was crisp, and the surroundings were gorgeous. We couldn't have asked for a better respite from the rush of the City!