Monday, June 23, 2008

Read a Q&A with Ivanka Trump in Vanity Fair, in which she discusses her business ventures, her multiple roles at the Trump corporation, her jewelry line, gives some advice. When asked about her morning routine, she says, "The first thing I do in the morning is read the New York Post."The interviewer then clarifies with, "What about your morning beauty rituals?" And so she talks about bath products, says she doesn't wear much make-up. And she goes back to talking about business. The headline, however: "Ivanka Trump on her daily beauty rituals and how to avoid frenemies." Thanks for taking women seriously, VF.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cafe Campagne tonight ...

and it was delicious.

I'm happy to have had a dinner that fit within a clear cuisine, rather than more "new American." While I love the high brow comfort food trend of saffron mashed potatoes and lobster mac-and-cheese, the clear theme of Cafe Campagne was delicious before the food even arrive. And the prix fixe menu of -- I imagine -- authentically French dishes was a treat. Brian and I traded soups, but it was exciting to order three courses I'd not normally have picked.

And sparkling Rose! If there's anything I love more than pink wine, it is bubbly wine. It is happiness in a chilled bottle.

I don't normally enjoy the type of older men who think they're charming -- those who flirt with waitresses and dominate the dinner table with scripted jokes and slouch a little bit to show their nonchalance -- but I enjoyed the man sitting next to us. He asked Brian about his duck confit and then asked the waitress for peanut butter to go with the french bread. I'd be happy to have him as an uncle.

Am I projecting?

Or does Conor Oberst seem too old to be dressed up all grimey vintage looking coy in front of kitch wallpaper?

We are not in high school anymore, Bright Eyes. The angst is now nostaligia, not a lifestyle.

Not that I wouldn't go see him ... if it wasn't a weeknight.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I love Vogue because you can tell from the first few ad-pasted pages in June that deep purple and royal blue will be great colors for the coming autumn. I'm enthused.
After a walk to campus with Buster and half hour or so with A Tree Grown In Brooklyn (which is amazing), found myself three cookies deep into a freshly-baked batch of fantastic chocolate chip cookies. I added walnuts to half the batch, which probably adds some flavor but mostly gives them a fabulous "rustic" texture. After purchasing an array of cookie scoops in various sizes, I've decided I don't actually want them all perfect circles. I miss the organic, lumpy, made-from-dough look.

Brian's insistance I try Crisco paid off, though. The cookies are super soft with a mysteriously airbrushed-looking yellow creaminess. Am still disturbed to have a vat of solid white fat sitting warm in the cupboard, but I can overlook the greatest weirdness for a good cookie.

It was a happy, leisurey Friday evening, after leaving work a little early and discovering the sun even hotter than it had been at noon when I met Caitie for lunch on the Ave. She talked about the GRE and getting her nipples pierced; I talked about professional pet portraits for Buster. If we hadn't come to our standard conclusion that mom is a crazy lady, we'd have been very unlikely to appear sisters at all.

My weekend calendar filled quickly with food-oriented social plans: Cafe Campagne, birthday barbecue, dim sum, and Brouwer's. Sarah also hopes I stop by the Fremont parade where she'll be standing enthusiastically at a Cease Fire table. I hope the weather hold so I can wear new summer clothes instead of the same four sweaters I've been wearing since October.

Friday, June 13, 2008

In her NY Times' blog, Judith Warner writes on sexually-charged manifestations of patriarchy in the US and abroad.

The premise: the connection between hymen-restoration trend in France, driven by the cultural need for unmarried women to remain (or re-become) virgins, and similar efforts in the US -- particularly, fathers who lead their teenage daughters to chastity balls and assert that it is their duty to protect their purity.

Warner also brings up rape and incest as more extreme examples of patriarchy -- and while they do not equate, she says,"there is nonetheless a kind of horror to their [fathers'] obsession with their daughters’ sexuality. ... And there is even greater danger to the fact that this particular aspect of the nationwide “abstinence movement” has not been broadly denounced as the form of emotional violence against girls that it indisputably is."


And an interesting counterpoint to arguments against the over-sexualization of young women. I personally find this paternal obsession with virginity about as creepy and inappropriate as Billy Ray's audience to Miley's sexually-charged Liebowitz photos.

While it's definitely uncomfortable for bratty, ridiculous teenagers and awkward parents to have 'the talk,' it is entirely possible for normal families to address sexuality in a normal, healthy, non-creepy way. No need to venture into territory that causes bloggers to revolt nationwide!

No one tried very hard to protect my virginity, and I don't recall ever being afraid of losing it too early or keeping it too long. I'm sure there was some kind of mental turmoil over it, and my parents were not thrilled when it went the way of YM magazine and shopping in the juniors section. But I'm fairly certain fears were over pregnancy, primarily, and not purity.

New new blog look.

Edited again. The off-center alignment was haunting me.

New blog look.

Not sure if I'm in love, but I erased the HTML for the old template so that's the end of that.

May play with this this weekend, clean it up, and make it a little more interesting. Also would like it centered -- am not a fan web pages pushed to one side of the browser.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I get excited just seeing Mark Bittman's name on the Times' front page -- it means some new and exciting commentary of food and how to eat it. Today, eating less meat.

I love that he discusses how less can be good rather than why it is. The recommendations are practical and interesting. I think I will precook those beans that have been in the pantry since Januaryish.

But reading, I must wonder who's eating so much meat. I've certainly never made an effort to eat less meat (aside from that vegan month freshman year), and I definitely don't feel deprived eating meat at dinner only. I could go days without meat and not notice. But meat for breakfast and lunch and dinner, too? Do people really eat breakfast meat on a daily basis? OK, maybe people in Texas, but do people I know do this? Are there people in my office eating meat three times per day? I never even considered this a possibility. I do love a good piece of meatiness, am no more grossed out by it than by dairy or eggs. So what is so different in my life, my upbringing or values or health or cravings, that my habit would be the aim of others' efforts?

Likely, I am just a carb and fruit addict. It's killing me not having gone to Costco for bushels of apples and spinach last weekend. I eagerly await the weekend, not for sleeping in or early summer barbecue, but in the hopes that asparagus will be on sale.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Showers, showers, few showers, partly cloudy. I left my umbrella at Thaiger Room last week,
and I can't figure out what to wear for this weather. Is it spring? Can I wear florals when my flowers have yet to bloom? Can I wear skirts bare-legged in this weather? Long pants dragging in puddles are as bad as open toes in this drizzle, and I'm sick of tights. I'm ready for weather that makes me forget what it feels like so overcast and chilly.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bill Cunningham discusses vests on Not just any vests, or all vests, but traditional three-piece-suit style vests (and a waistcoat or two) layered by young people over jeans and tees, blouses, and untucked dress shirts. I'm a big fan of the look -- it takes otherwise-bland outfits to a very current, urban, sharp place. The structure adds almost gravitas to Gap basics, but the trendiness keeps a dress shirt and slacks from looking like Ross on Friends. I love almost every single one of these looks ... everything except the "interesting" look on the woman at :55 -- who's looking at the vest when her underwear is rising 6 inches out of such hideous jeans?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Years of Clinique leads to quite a collection of Gift-With-Purchase makeup bags -- too many, and yet all too small to store the large quantities of lipstick bought to enable these GWPs in the first place. But we can't just trow away a nice floral-print PVC zippered pouch, so until now they've sat in a drawer in the closet. Le sigh.

Until now! Now I have discovered the wonder of swapping on Makeupalley. The site, which I used previously for user reviews, hosts a forum where ladies to trade lipgloss for lipgloss, shampoo for scrub, and four samples of MAC pigment for -- yes -- my useless little make-up bags. Useless to me, but an excellent find for Irony26 from Sublimity, OR, who apparently has a multitude of craft supplies to organize.

Over the last two weeks, I've received lipsticks, gloss, polish, and a bevy of "extras" -- it's standard, though not obligatory, to toss in a teeny sample or other free/cheapo bit of beauty with your swap.

I've also become a post office expert. Wednesday, I helped a woman with limited English and complete lack of USPS knowledge mail her Comcast bill, then explained the APC to a thoroughly mesmerized woman. (The APC, for you novices, is the Automatic Postal Center for weighing packages and printing lables. I highly recommend.)

Brian seemed skeptical -- and frankly, it's a little weird not knowing exactly where this gloss passed between Dior and my doorstep. But most people list (hopefully honestly) whether a product has been used, and every user receives reviews and positive or negative 'tokens' after a swap. So far, all my brand new friends have sent things in excellent condition. I can't imagine much greater rick here than sampling my way through Sephora on a busy Saturday.

And the benefits are excellent: swapping is like online shopping, except you only pay shipping. I get to tidy my stash, test brands I don't normally buy, and receive fun little packages of fun in mail. I also like to think we're helping the environment a bit by reusing and recycling. Al Gore would certainly be proud.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wedding dress shopping

A second and longer round of wedding gown shopping last weekend with The Kennedys. (I must falsely allude that I know a great political family before she changes her name.)

A rare combination of emotion and business, romance and critical judgement, anticipation and leisure. I can see how the many very personal factors influencing this decision could make it a very trying shopping-spree. But Melissa shuffled through ruched and bedazzled dresses decisively, narrowing the piles down to four favorites over the course of three stores. No one sobbed, no one complained that they looked too fat or too thin, no one tried to sell us extra tulle or imported sequins.

Also fortunately, Melissa would look good in pretty much anything, and she picked fairly classic, flattering shapes. It wasn't hard to agree with her choices. There's a decent amount of variety in the gowns, but for the most part they're white, shimmery, and designed to flatter the female figure. The business of weighing pros and cons in this homogenous group sort of tempers the romance.

Not quite so with the bridesmaid dresses. We also visited a bridal party store, and while I wouldn't call the process romantic it was certainly more varied. The tone of the dressing room was almost frantic, outside neat rows of dresses ravaged by clusters of excited ladies. You could hear cameras zooming and clicking through the velvet dressing room drapes.

As the other bridesmaids are in Texas, Manhattan, Egypt, and California, respectively, I was the lucky first to lady try on and influence dress selection. Strapless is good.

When is Brian's turn in the dressing room? I asked Melissa about the groomsmen's clothing, and she waved a hand dismissively and said, "That's all Nate's job!" So possibly I will be in taffeta and he will be in flipflops ...
Though they were within walking distance of work, I first heard of Fran's salted caramels on NPR - where else? I wasn't sure if they sounded gimmicky or legitimately gourmet, but who really cares if they're delicious? I eventually bought a small package as a present for who-remembers-anymore, and ate them half-at-a-time over the course of a week or so. Supreme deliciousness confirmed.

And now, I think, vague gimmickiness has given way to full Seattle food trend. New ice cream shop Molly Moon's in Wallingford: salted caramel ice cream. New Belltown seafood restaurant Banzino: salted caramel semifreddo (which apparently means semi-frozen, as in half-frozen custard or ice-cream cake).

It could be wonderful to experience this combination as a river of sugary decadence running through the city -- salted caramel barbecue sauce, salted caramel frappuccino -- but my inkling is this flavor is best in moderation. Though the basic pairing of sugar and salt is no shock (hello Chex mix and honey-roasted nuts), this particular execution is almost overwhelming-- hence the rare experience of those four candies lasting a full week.