Sunday, November 30, 2008
Update: The New York Times Magazine this week has an article on "street-style photoblogs", and from the sound of it, they like Garance Dore as much as I do (which is to say, a lot).
Besides Garance Dore, they also list many other street style blogs they like.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A Zagat guide is indispensable for urban dining, so it's really not surprising that the good people who created the Zagat guides, the Zagats (in the photo above- photos by Nathaniel Brooks for the New York Times) have a really cool house.
It was featured in the New York Times on October 9, 2008.
Just look at this kitchen. First, there is a gas stove. Enameled cast iron pots and a lovely tea kettle sit on the stovetop. The butcher-block counter has a warmth to it. And then there is the cupboard full of cookbooks, and a counter full of wooden salt and pepper grinders and miscellaneous cooking supplies. All the ingredients one needs for the good life.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
When I was twelve I went to my great- great- aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party. My cousins and I served coffee and were the only people under the age of 60 there. I will never forget watching those people dance.
If you live in Seattle, or near enough to come here every week, you should sign up for classes at Century Ballroom, IMHO one of the most beautiful spaces in Seattle. You can take Salsa, Tango, Swing, etc. (The photo is from their website.)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
On the right is a photo of her with a dancer from PNB (photo by Marc Von Borstel, from the PNB Uleashed Blog).
The show was pure bliss. On the cover of the program was a photo of Ms. Tharp. She is lovely in her faded Levis, white shirt, with her hair casually swept up.
A great ballet can make you fall in love with a piece of music. And so, right now I am deeply in love with Frank Sinatra. (Last year it was Philip Glass, Glassworks).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
1. Croquet. You need a really big lawn.
2. Cribbage. You need a really cute wooden thing, and I think some cards. I obviously haven't played it in a long time.
3. Yahtzee. Super fun, you can play it all afternoon.
4. Monopoly. The best board game ever.
5. Scrabble. The second-best board game ever.
6. Card games- I have to throw in a few- war and go fish are clearly the winners here, but any card game is great cause you only need a deck of cards. THE game for minimalists.
7. Chess. I don't know how to play it. Very important to have a cool set made of marble or something, not some cheesy Simpsons set or something.
8. Checkers. Way better and way easier than chess.
9. Candyland. My sister ate the Plumpy card from our set. And people say there's nothing to learn playing this game.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
If you think that's crazy, imagine placing a $12,000 set of china in unlocked cabinets in a retail store. See for yourself at Knight's store, J.Z. Rose in Bellevue Square. What a great selection of books she has on her website (especially loving the Beauty & Fashion and Home & Garden selections). There is even a separate section of her website titled Art Nouveau.
Crazy people always have great taste.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
The most expensive items in your wardrobe should be the things that you wear the most. Coats, shoes, bags, and whatever else you wear/use every day should be the best quality that you can afford. Keep them clean (get them professionally cleaned occasionally) and in good condition.
A few years ago I splurged on a pair of Chanel sunglasses which were (well, let’s just say they cost a lot). However, I wear them almost every day, I love them, and for me this was money well spent.
When I am considering buying a new bag, I ask myself, “Will I have this forever?” If the answer is no then I usually walk away because bags are a) incredibly expensive and b) ideally of high enough quality that they can last forever, so I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that won’t be around for long. I’d rather have one or two really nice bags than a whole bunch of not-so-nice bags.
I think most of us have a uniform, which may be jeans or suits, for example. Mine is skirts since this is typically what I wear to work. We all deviate from this of course, but I think it’s helpful to identify what it is that is easiest for you to pull on in the morning and feel good about, and pay attention to those pieces as they will be what you wear the most. In particular, think about your uniform when buying things. For example, if you wear jeans most of the time make sure that your most expensive shoes are something you can wear with jeans.
For basics like button-up shirts, pencil skirts, and solid-colored sweaters, buying online (for example, at bananarepublic.com and jcrew.com) can give you better selection of colors, styles, and sizes than buying from the brick-and-mortar store. Only buy from a store that you have easy access to so that you can return things easily. I prefer not to buy pants or jeans on-line as I usually have to try a zillion of these on just to find one pair that works.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Your scrapbook allows you to see which colors and combinations work best. Sometimes what looks great on a person looks really boring on a hanger. For example, I have in my scrapbook an outfit (from a J. Crew catalog way-back-when) with a black t-shirt, white Capri pants, and black ballet flats. While a black t-shirt with jeans risks being too boring, with the white Capri pants it makes a great look.
Basic research may also include shopping trips where you don’t buy anything. Although it might drive your guy crazy, there is nothing wrong with going out for a day of shopping and not buying anything. Shopping is not just about buying things- it’s about knowing stores' inventories, when sales are, prices at different stores, and what size you typically wear in each store, so that when you need to find something you will know where to look. Research may be done at any time- shopping trips with friends, lunch breaks from work, etc.
The people around you are also a wealth of information. Listen carefully to well-dressed friends for tips on where to shop and what to look for. Especially valuable in this regard is a friend who always looks great and loves to talk shop. Also, when out in public, pay attention to what other people wear. You can get some great ideas just from people-watching.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Be sure to hit Slidewaters, the best water park ever. In my next life I will have one of those retro blue and orange shirts that says, "Slidewaters Staff".
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Classic, everyone's favorite movie. All of the clothes in the movie would still look great today. Love the spare apartment with the bathtub sofa.
Blame it on Fidel: In 1970, an upper class French family gives up their comfortable life. Neat houses, great clothes.
Chocolat: Totally hot, cool house.
Fame: Fun, old movie. Awesome soundtrack.
Grey Gardens: Two eccentric ladies, members of Jackie Kennedy's clan, living in a run-down mansion in the Hamptons.
L'Avventura: Classic, Italian. Won the Jury Prize at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. Antonioni's masterpiece. But most importantly, great clothes- a room full of women in little black dresses and pearls looks so classy. Only in Italy, or only in 1960?
La Vie en Rose: The life of Edith Piaf. Paris.
Legally Blonde: Reece Witherspoon. Surprisingly great fashion ideas, fun movie.
Rabbit-Proof Fence: Such a cute movie, with the cutest little Australian girls ever. A little bit sad.
Also, anything by Pedro Almodovar,especially: All About My Mother, Talk to Her, and Volver; the John Hughes Brat Pack movies- Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink.
I considered joining a popular weight loss group, but I am too cheap. So I'm trying another method: writing down everything I eat.
This method is mentioned in the book, "French Women Don't Get Fat," by Mireille Guiliano (which has many other great tips and tricks), however in this book she only advocates doing this for three weeks, to learn what your "offenders" are (those foods you eat a lot of that aren't helping matters). Studies show that a relatively easy way to lose weight and keep it off is to write down everything you eat, indefinitely.
The thing is, keeping it up is painful. It's a real drag. But having to buy all new clothes because I don't fit into the old ones is an even bigger drag, and I'm willing to fill up volumes with boring lists of breakfasts, lunch, and dinners to avoid this.
Right away it's easy to spot the more obvious offenders. Trips to the candy aisle at Rite-Aid have been axed. Then away went white bread (including pizza), pasta, pastries, cookies, beer, and other obvious carbs. Last night I realized that I cannot keep fun cheeses in the house- I may eat these on the occasional restaurant trip, but I cannot be trusted with a big block of Stilton cheese.
So what is left? I typically eat instant oatmeal for breakfast, a salad with grilled chicken for lunch, and dinner is random- eggs and toast, 1/2 a tuna sandwich, minestrone soup, or something of the sort. (I'm not a big dinner person). Snacks are either protein in the form of nuts or cheese (with strict portion control) or fruits and vegetables.
There is one other thing that is left, and that is Fran's 1.1 oz 72% Bittersweet Chocolate Bars. These are not cheap, but they are only 125 calories each, and I can get through a day of my diet food as long as it includes one of these.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
What I would really love to find are two Tupperware toys that I had when I was a kid. One was a juice set, with a mini pitcher like the one above, and four little cups (in 70's yellow, orange, brown, and green). The whole thing was housed in a rectangular container (I think it was brown) with a clear lid, and I think there were a few other things in it. The other thing was a baking set for kids, with a pastry mat, rolling pin, etc. Tupperware, if you're reading this, please bring these back!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I get my shoes repaired all the time. (I didn't say this then). In fact, I am in the shoe repair place at least once every couple months. Here's my rundown on how to keep shoes maintained:
1. Only buy good quality shoes that you love and that fit perfectly (and only buy smooth leather- suede does not last). When they are still new, before you have worn them, spray them with a leather protector (spot test them first).
2. Keep those good quality shoes that you love in good condition by periodically taking them to a shoe repair place to have them cleaned, conditioned, and polished. (You can also do this yourself. There are lots of products out there, but I love the pop-up containers of wipes with leather cleaner on them. They make it so easy to clean dirty shoes, bags, and other things made of leather. The conditioning and polishing is a dirty job and I think it's worth the $5 to have someone else do it.) I like to find a small place where I actually speak to the person who is doing the repairs.
3. The heel of a shoe (especially on high-heels) will wear down and need to be replaced from time to time.
4. If your shoes are pointy, the shoe-repair guy can put taps on them to extend their life.
5. If you get a little nick or tear in the leather, this can usually be fixed.
6. Shoe repair guys can do amazing things sometimes. If your shoes have issues, take them in to the repair place and explain what the problem is, and ask if they know of any solutions. From slippery shoes to wrong-size shoes, there is often a solution to the problem.
7. I like to store my shoes in the box they came in. It protects the shoes from dirt, dust, and deformation, with the added benefit that you can stack them all in a neat little pile on a shelf or so.
8. A word on athletic shoes: shoes that are not leather, such as most running shoes, can be machine washed. I have washed many, many pairs of running shoes and haven't had a disaster yet (although I can't make any guarantees...). Just throw them in the washing machine with some detergent on a warm water cycle and when they are done, put them in a warm place, such as next to a heater, to dry. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER.
Oh, and one last thing, I always ask what the cost of any service is before I request it to avoid any bad surprises.
Here is a link to an article by Martha Stewart titled, Tips and tricks for keeping your shoes shipshape.
Here are a few excerpts:
Chapter 5: En Suite Home: Perfecting Your Domestic Pitch
"...interesting objects are not mass-produced."
"Except for neo-contemporary looks, furniture should never smack of newness. There's something a bit ne'er-do-well about a sofa that looks never rested upon. Or an Art Deco dresser that's been over-restored to gleaming perfection. Similarly, a shiny new Steinway is vulgar unless you can dash out Chopin's complete works on it. "
"...when it comes to books, there should be no hiding place...Jackie preferred open bookcases for her dining room library and - except for special tabletop tomes - avoided arranging them with institutional precision."
"...keep your memories tidy. Arrange old photographs in decorative boxes or binders, marked by event and date...In New York, Jackie preserved pictures in lovely red Moroccan leather volumes."
Chapter 6: Building Your Inner Temple: The Art of Self-Enrichment and Fulfillment
"...you must never pass up the chance to attach yourself to intriguing people, experiences, causes - venturing outside your own comfort zone (and zip code) to find new levels of depth."
"All those horrid hours spent learning to conjugate verbs...pay off big time when you glide into an Italian store and order your Parma ham like a native...Jackie spoke French, Italian, Spanish, and even a little Greek..."
"Be a conspicuous (culture) consumer...know the must-see plays, operas, and other goings-on about town...seek out the best current literature, and revisit old favorites...learn exotic dances...audit grad school classes..."
"Know your way around the stacks, as in, the library."
This photo shows pink ones, but my favorites are red, and I recently saw a black window box planted with all white geraniums that was really beautiful.
This entry from the blog, "French Kitchen in America" has a cute photo of a Parisian building with geraniums.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Listening to classical music is very relaxing and makes you smarter.
I listen to these on Rhapsody because this allows me to listen to almost anything I want, anywhere I have access to the internet. But it's all available on CD, too.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Apparently, Hurricane Katrina is the reason the owners of Diva Dollz are in business in Seattle, and I'm so happy to see (according to the recent People's Pick results) that they are doing well.
Here's a few highlights:
First, you (mostly) only need five things: baking soda, borax, lemon, salt, and white vinegar. Cheap, so I'm on board. (Except, where does one buy borax? Not at Rite-Aid. I'm still looking. Update: I found it at Whole Foods.)
A couple of the greatest-hits recipes:
- Equal parts borax, baking soda, and Ivory soap flakes for laundry detergent
- Equal parts borax and baking soda for electric dishwashing detergent
- Add to fresh flowers: two Tbsp. white vinegar, one tsp. sugar for each one quart water
- 1/4 cup borax and 1/4 cup baking soda for all-purpose kitchen and bath cleaner; add salt as needed as an abrasive
All these cheap and easy cleaning solutions lead me to wonder: why did I ever start buying those toxic cleaners to begin with?
Thursday, July 31, 2008
It's philosophy reminds me of a place that I stayed this summer for a yoga retreat, the Whidbey Institute. Unfortunately the Whidbey Institute does not appear to allow for individual stays, however Rebekkah LaDyne of Refreshing Retreats hosts her annual yoga retreat there. This was such a great weekend: delicious food, cute little houses and cabins (and camping!) in the forest, nice people, and of course the best yoga instructor ever.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The new season of the Pacific Northwest Ballet is starting soon! I just got season tickets for the Gallery Upper section. I contemplated getting Backstage Pass tickets, which are an amazing deal for folks 21-39. The performances are on Friday nights, however, which doesn't really work so well with my 7:30 am Saturday morning runs- Saturday night is my night of choice to party at McCaw Hall.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Do you love to make lists? I sure do, and I compile them all in this little notebook by Moleskine. According to Amazon.com, "This silent and discreet keeper of an extraordinary tradition, which has been missing for years, has set out again on its journey."
Actually, I have two of these. One of them I keep in the bag I carry with me, and it has lists including: things to do, things to buy (separated by store, including groceries, drugstore, hardware store, etc.), music to get, etc. I like to be able to jot down notes when inspired, like when I'm travelling. The second of my Moleskine notebooks is a large ruled notebook, which I have turned into my house journal where I detail the things that I do (to? for?) my house. I try to include what I did, products used, companies who did the work, etc.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Since I've been posting some more serious things lately, I thought I'd post something on the softer side...so this is a post about perfume: specifically, Penhaligon's.
They have beautiful stores in Paris- dark and dimly lit with candles, and rows and rows of perfume bottles and a few little silver or leather things here and there.
Their most famous perfume is Bluebell, shown above.
City People's Garden Store
2939 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98112
For all the random little things I need to fix things up around the house:
Madison Park Hardware
1837 42nd Ave. East
Seattle, Wa 98112
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Swiss Army watches
Swing Away Can Opener
Starr Bottle Opener
And, generally, both Costco and LL Bean got several votes from people who mentioned generous return policies (and, by the way, LL Bean offers free shipping and free monogramming if you use the LL Bean Visa Card).
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Cast iron pans are superior to other pans in many ways. They are non-stick, retain heat well to brown food in a way that other pans do not, are incredibly inexpensive and last forever. Care can be somewhat tricky but I've found that now that I've got it down it really isn't so bad.
The key is to properly season the pans. I actually had to go through the seasoning process I found on a website twice with mine before I got the right non-stick finish. But the results are worth it.
Lodge has many different types and sizes of cast-iron pans (the Lodge site includes instructions for seasoning and caring for cast iron). I bought an 8" Lodge skillet at the Sur La Table in the Pike Place Market, and I use it for everything, including omelettes. I also have a larger one that I bought at Crate and Barrel.
Someday I might even cook stew over an open fire with one of those big cast iron pots (not the Le Creuset kind, although these are also wonderful, but the kind you get at the general store out somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula with a handle on it so it can hang over the fire).
Saturday, June 21, 2008
When I was a kid, we never threw away jars because my grandmother would clean them and use them for jams, jellies, and assorted other things. I love glass because of its reusability- whatever it was used for before, it can be cleaned and repurposed.
Photo from marthastewart.com.
503 Westlake Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
3823 Stone Way N
Seattle, Washington 98103
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
And, related- here are some links to Seattle salvage companies:
Second Use Building Materials -- 7953 Second Ave. S. (west side of Duwamish Waterway); 206-763-6929
Earthwise Building Salvage -- 2462 First Ave. S.; 206-624-4510
The RE Store -- 1440 N.W. 52nd St. (just north of the Ballard Bridge); 206-297-9119
Seattle Building Salvage -- 2114 Hewitt Ave., Everett; 425-303-8500
Sunday, June 8, 2008
If you know a little French reading this magazine is great for sharpening your language skills. A college French professor of mine advised us to read out loud even when just reading to ourselves in order to practice speaking.