Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pajama Party


When I was young my friends would always have sleep-over parties for their birthdays. We would stay up late, watch scary movies, eat lots of cake with sugary icing and buttercream flowers from the Cupcake Cafe, and play truth or dare. Then we would all change into our pajamas and sleep in sleeping bags in the living room. Whenever I see a cute pair of pajamas in a boutique or catalog it reminds me of my sleep-over party days and how much fun I used to have, except of course for the one time the we watched The Shining and I was terrified for weeks and had to sleep with the lights on. These Pink Blossom Pajamas from Bedhead, with a cheerful and springy cherry blossom pattern are flattering as well as comfortable. The mandarin collar and feminine cut makes them extra chic for lounging around the house. Forget about your spring cleaning and instead put on your cute pjs, light a Dayna Decker Yasmin candle, settle down with an iced Elderflower Sidecar, and have your own pajama party.





photo credit pajamas: http://www.blissworld.com
photo credit candle: http://www.beautyexclusive.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dr. Feel Good



I always get sick at the most inconvenient times, like before I have to write a final paper or take an art history exam. This instance is no different as I've come down with something right when the weather is getting nice and springy. I've been staying in bed invalid style for the past week, renting numerous movies (FYI: Enchanted is my new favorite movie) and literally reading every magazine they sell in my local Gristedes. I've also developed an arsenal of feel-good products, which besides my antibiotics ensure that I will soon be on the road to recovery. Badger Headache Soother is a great organic alternative to popping a Tylenol. The balm has a fresh minty aroma and when rubbed on my forehead provides much needed relief. An added bonus is that it seems to have erased my forehead wrinkles thanks to its moisturizing consistency imparted by olive oil. My second product of choice is Altoids Ginger Mints. These spicy mints knock out nausea like nothing else and have a refreshing zing that perks me up. To eradicate my lack of sun induced pallor, I've taken to using copious amounts of Shu Uemura Glow On blush in Tranquil Pink to fake a sun-kissed peachy glow that looks entirely natural with a hint of shimmer. What remedies do you use when you're feeling under the weather?




photo credit for Badger balm: http://store.everythingfragrant.com/slv-bbhs1.html
photo credit for Altoids: http://www.amazon.com
photo credit for blush: http://www.sephora.com

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fro-Yo Fix

Whenever I go to Bloomingdales I have to stop at Forty Carrots for a frozen yogurt. I usually have plain yogurt with rainbow sprinkles on top. I love the creamy texture and richness of Forty Carrots' yogurt. It's thicker than Pinkberry, which I find to be a bit too icy at times, and it has a refreshing tartness. However, I just saw a review in New York Magazine that cited Lord & Taylor's Larry Forgione's Signature Cafe as the best place to get your fro-yo fix. The mag explains that it's the same type of yogurt you get at Forty Carrots, but served in an environment with a more low key vibe, described specifically as "a stuck-in-time hangout of grannies who lunch." That's exactly the kind of old fashioned frozen yogurt experience I'm craving, after being bombarded with the sheer assembly-line modernity of fro-yo chains. Plus, you can get your yogurt topped with "Michigan-made preserves." It's time to get back to our frozen yogurt roots on Lord & Taylor's sixth floor. Don't forget the sprinkles!



photo credit: http://www.wikipedia.com

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Insomnia Rx


Lately I've been having some trouble drifting off to sleep. I chalk this up to a combination of not exercising, worrying about papers that I need to write, and general stress. I have found a low tech solution to my problem, however - one that involves beauty products! Specifically, I've been using Deep Calm Shower and Bath Gel by This Works, combined with Lierac Thekoa Relaxing Anti-Stress Oil. Now, I must warn you that this is an extremely powerful combo, so don't operate any heavy machinery, plan to wash the dishes, or even expect to watch an entire movie after using these products. First, I shower with the Deep Calm gel, making sure to inhale deeply and lather up. Next, I apply Thekoa oil to my pulse points and my temples, once again inhaling the scent of the oil deeply. I feel so relaxed after this second step that I can't help but put my head down on the pillow and fall asleep. I don't know what it is about the Thekoa oil, but there is something about it that is akin to taking a Xanex. I know that it's pricey and hard to find, but I've become such a fan that I even apply it to my pulse points when I'm anxious before a Power Point presentation. Do you have any tried and true insomnia remedies that you use? Let me know in the comments section. Sweet dreams readers.





photo credit for shower and bath gel: http://www.spalook.com
photo credit for oil: http://www.makemeheal.com

Dessert for Breakfast

I love to have meals out of order. I think breakfast food tastes best at lunch, dinner is when I like a sandwich and salad, and breakfast is when I crave a sweet desserty treat like Haagen-Dazs' new flavor Fleur de Sel. This flavor features caramel ice cream dotted with chocolate covered caramel candies and then finished off with a hint of sea salt. I could eat some right now!! Anyway, I know that my feasting habits are a bit unconventional (especially ice cream for breakfast), so I usually opt out of fully indulging in a dessert fantasy at 9 A.M. and instead get my dessert fix in the shower. Philosophy's Carrot Cake wash can be used as a shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all in one, significantly cutting down on shower time. More importantly though, it smells exactly like Billy's Carrot Cake Bars with cream cheese icing. I can be indulgent without actually indulging, which is far better for my energy level (cheerios is a decidedly better breakfast fuel than a dessert treat) not to mention my waistline. P.S. But seriously now, you must try this new Haagen-Dazs ice cream flavor. Don't blame me if you start eating dessert for breakfast!





photo credit for body wash: http://www.beauty.com
photo credit for ice cream: http://www.haagendazs.com

Perfume(d) Periodical

We get bombarded with a slew of perfume advertisements every time that we open up a magazine. Ads of gorgeous (often well-known) women dousing themselves in the scent du jour fill our visual field, while the perfume itself wafts up from the folded sleeve of the page that has been coated with it for our olfactory pleasure. I do sometimes dab my wrists with the aforementioned perfume, I must admit, especially when it's a really good one like D& G's the one. Anyway, now perfume is not only being advertised in your periodical, it has actually become the star of its own (very well-written) article and book. Check out Chandler Burr's "Scent Notes" from the New York Times' insert magazine Design Spring 2008, where he discusses architectural structures such as the Lever House and their scent equivalents. Also, be sure to pre-order your copy of Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. This book was reviewed in this month's Elle (the one with Natalie Portman on the cover), and it sounds like a lot of fun. Best of all, it will help you find out which perfumes are the ones you need on your vanity stand and which ones you can do without. For those of you that like instant gratification, Turin and Sanchez offer a sneak peak with reviews of scents by Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal, and Kenzo, among others, up on their website right now. Happy reading!



photo credit: http://www.amazon.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Top Drawer Denim

I got an email from my fave store in the West Village, Elizabeth Charles, and thought I should pass on the good news. This store is really shopper friendly. They have a wonderful selection of unique designer labels, some of which hail from Charles' native Australia , and they have a nice comfortable couch to sit on in between try-ons. Also, the women who work there are fantastically stylish and nice and give honest advice (if you ask their opinion) regarding how things fit you. Pop in to 639 1/2 Hudson Street (between Horatio and Gansevoort) and score some designer denim before the end of March.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Heart Cranberry


I love the smell and taste of cranberries, not only because they are packed with Vitamin C, but also because they have a crisp and refreshing quality. In honor of the warmer weather, I've begun making myself a Spring Spritzer composed of one part Ocean Spray White Cranberry & Peach Juice and two parts gingerale with a slice of lime. So delish! My love of cranberry has also caused me to seek out beauty products that contain this ingredient. My favorite product so far is Arcona Triad Pads Refresh. These pink toner pads contain cranberry, touted on the label for it's "anti-microbial" properties, plus loads of good for you nutrients and vitamins including Vitamin E and Omega 3s. Best of all, these pads smell incredibly like a combo of cranberry mixed with a subtle hint of rose. They have a slightly abrasive texture, making them perfect to use in lieu of an exfoliating scrub. I'm all about multi-tasking, so I love that this product works as a cleanser, toner, and exfoliant all in one. A pad swiped across my face before bed leaves my skin gleaming, break-out free, and soft. Health and beauty benefits all from one little berry... now what could be better than that?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Smells Like Spring


Get yourself into the spring state of mind by taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and getting outside for a stroll, or a jog if you're up for it, and most importantly by buying yourself some flowers. If you're in Chelsea skip on over to the chic, modern, minimalist shop Spruce on 8th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Street. Check out their rustic rose crates, or if you're in the market for a long-term plant, check out their unique selection of miniature succulents with flowering pink buds planted in white ceramic squares! These are perfectly sized for your tiny NYC windowsill and totally chic. If you're in the West Village head over to VSF on 10th Street right off Bleecker, pictured in this photo from a review in NY Mag, which is like stepping into a gorgeous garden in the English countryside. The arrangements are breathtakingly beautiful and fresh, and if you walk home with a bouquet from here, you'll have a permanent smile on your face for the rest of the day. Better yet, surprise your S.O. with a bouquet when they get home from work, and if they ask what the occasion is you can proudly say it's "in anticipation of spring."





photo credit for VSF interior: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://nymag.com/listings/store/mainvsfflowers.jpg&imgrefurl=http://nymag.com/listings/stores/vsf-flowers/&h=215&w=200&sz=16&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=BkeEb-VW0kO0PM:&tbnh=106&tbnw=99&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dvsf%2Bflowers%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN
photo credit for rose crate: http://www.spruceup.com

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Blue Mercury Comes to the UWS


The UWS is becoming a beauty destination for hip, in-the-know consumers who want unique products displayed in an aesthetically pleasing environment. First there was Therapie, then came Space NK, and now my fave Rittenhouse Square spa (from my years living in Philadelphia) has joined its predecessors. On February 25th the famed spa and beauty mecca retail chain Blue Mercury opened an outpost on Broadway between 83rd and 84th street. Blue Mercury carries a variety of luxury brands including Serge Lutens, Remede, Lola Kelly, Diptyque, Mario Badescu, and Dr. Sebagh, among others. Full disclosure: I have not been there yet, but I have visited their addictive website so many times that I've narrowed down the products that I MUST purchase when I visit to 5 top picks:

1.) Caudalie Cleansing Water (a makeup remover and cleanser in one that I'm hopeful will smell as light and fresh as their foaming cleanser of which I am also a fan.)

2.) Tocca Stella Body Polish (I am obsessed with this brand and own an array of their candles and Cleopatra Perfume, so I am absolutely dying to try this blood orange scented tub of exfoliating body scrub.)

3.) Trish McEvoy Sheer Palm Beach lip color (To make me look and feel like I'm on a tropical vacation and to complement my new lighter Spring makeup palette).

4.) Fresh's Demitasse candle (Partly because the description sounds heavenly; it's inspired by the "quaint cafes of Europe" and also because I'm really into coffee scents recently after falling in love with Comptoir Sud Pacifique's latest fragrance Vanille Mokha.)

5.) Bliss Homme Improvement Post-Shave Repair Lotion (This light hydrator is a perfect gift for the Beast. Not only is it supposed to "prevent ingrown hairs," but also helps your man "shave less often," which might allow him a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.)

Start making your lists and head uptown to this beauty wonderland to indulge in some much needed shopping!




photo credits: http://www.bluemercury.com

Friday, March 7, 2008

Old Fashioned Glamour: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day


I just returned
from seeing the comedy
Miss
Pettigrew Lives for a Day
,
and I absolutely loved it! The film tells the heartwarming
story of a London governess Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand)
who comes to work for the high-strung beauty Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) as her social secretary. It's set in London just before the start of WWII . The film is uplifting, glamorous, and indulgently fun. Think
Auntie Mame with a touch of Thoroughly Modern Millie. There was something about the dialogue, purposefully hyperbolic acting, and grand musical number that reminded me of seeing a stage play, and in the context of this film it works splendidly. Also, the costumes and elegant interiors are magnificent, and the film doesn't take itself too seriously, which is part of its charm. Be sure to check out Amy Adams' pink dressing gown in the scene where she is introduced to Miss Pettigrew. It's tres chic and has inspired me to seek out a similar vintage 1930's version to wear around the house. Check out Silver Screen Loungerie to purchase this dressing gown or to view more peignoir options. Also, after seeing Adams' glittery barrettes I've decided that these need to stage a comeback as well. Luckily, ebay has a variety of barrettes to choose from. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy so it might be the perfect day to see this film and be transported to 1930's London high society for an hour and a half.




photo credit for dressing gown: http://www.silverscreenloungerie.com/detail.asp?item_number=749&page_num=1
photo credit for barrette: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=320223894635&Category=3845&_trksid=p3907.m29

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Telling Time: Pascale Judet's Clock-Sculptures

According to her website, French born Pascale Judet studied philosophy before she turned to art in the seventies. Her unique clock-sculptures have a Dali-esque sensibility that taps into the fanciful musings of the unconscious. There is a playful absurdity to Judet's art that is undeniably Surrealist. I fell in love with her clock-sculpture Dancing the Moose Away and can't wait to give it to a friend as a housewarming gift. I really like the way that she juxtaposes her tiny figures against painted backdrops, creating miniature environments that just beg to be imaginatively entered into. Uncommon Goods explains that her figures are taken "from model railroad sets" and then placed in the scenes. Judet's work also reminds me of my favorite dollhouse from childhood. The fact that this art object is functional is just icing on the cake. Check out her other timepieces, and maybe Judet's art will inspire you to trade in your digital clock radio for something a lot more fun.



photo credit: http://www.pascalejudetw.com/clients/judetpw/nav/frameset.shtml

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pashma Comes to the Met

Yesterday afternoon when it was pouring outside I went to the Metropolitan Museum to see the Courbet show that opened recently. The show was an incredibly extensive look at Courbet's ouvre. Some highlights from the show include his canonical nudes, a whole room devoted to his youthful self portraits, and his tumultuous seascapes. While Origin of the World was included (FYI it's smaller than you would imagine, and it was influenced by stereoscopic images by Andre Belloc), sadly The Artist's Studio was only represented by a lame cardboard reproduction at the end of the exhibit. Give yourself plenty of time to view the exhibition if you are a compulsive label reader, or alternately you can do what I did and just look at the paintings that capture your interest. I always go to the Museum Store after walking through the exhibits, and yesterday was no exception. However, unlike my usual visit to the shop, where I check out the books and jewelry and completely gloss over the scarves, this time a shawl caught my eye right away. Pashma, a company based in India, is now selling their lightweight cashmere shawls in statement-making floral patterns perfect for Spring. While I used to think of the Met as a place to buy scarves for my grandmother and other elegant older women, I never would categorize the designs as suitable for twenty-somethings. Not only do Pashma's designs suit women of all ages, but they are also comprised of a deliciously thin weave that is perfect for air conditioned offices in the Spring and Summer. Plus the pattern is just really gorgeous; even the man who was ringing me up was in awe of how beautiful the scarf was. You must go over to the Met to see the Courbet show, and treat yourself to a Pashma shawl for Spring.



photo credit (draped scarf): http://www.nexusshowroom.com/index.php

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Take it all off!


Never go to sleep with your makeup on again! On Saturdays after a late night out at El Quinto Pino (the newish wine bar from the geniuses behind Tia Pol), all I feel like doing is crawling into bed with the latest issue of Nylon and reading myself to sleep. Often I'll have mascara, eye liner, bronzer, blush, and lipstick on, all of which can potentially stain my satin pillowcases. More importantly, when I wake up on Sunday morning I look like Willem de Kooning's Woman, I. Neutrogena's Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes are a godsend for Saturday night situations. With one cashmere-soft cloth, Houdini-like I can make the day's residue disappear in one quick swipe, and there's no need to rinse. I like these cloths so much that I've taken to using them a few times a week. My pores actually appear to have shrunk, and I would almost swear that they are keeping me from breaking out. There's truly something magic about this make-up remover.



photo credit for painting: Willem de Kooning, Woman, I. 1950-52, oil on canvas
http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=79810
photo credit for cloths: http://www.drugstore.com

Monday, March 3, 2008

L'Arte Del Gelato

It feels like Spring outside, and that means that it's time for gelato! When I traveled to Florence a few years ago, I enjoyed the great museums, the delicious pasta, and most of all the gelato. You can purchase gelato on nearly every corner in Florence, and the flavors run the gamut from traditional to exotic. Whenever I feel like being transported to Florence I walk over to Chelsea Market on 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th Street for a treat. L'Arte Del Gelato combines Italian tradition with modern flair. They even serve their frozen treats in those brightly colored plastic cups with tiny neon spoons like they do in Florence. The flavors will please purists and adventuresome eaters alike, and they change seasonally. Standouts include grapefruit sorbetti, stracciatella gelato, mascarpone gelato, and pear sorbetti. If you're feeling very indulgent then spring for the cannoli cream gelato! You can even rent a party cart filled with your favorite flavors for special events. Mangia everybody, and happy almost Spring.



photo credit: http://www.lartedelgelato.com/index.html

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chelsea Gallery Going


This
weekend,
feeling totally out of the loop of the contemporary
art scene, my boyfriend and I decided it was time to visit some galleries in the neighborhood. While we saw a variety of great shows, there was one that really stood out to me. Jil Weinstock's show
Wear at the Charles Cowles Gallery has become the show to see among Manhattan fashionistas. I heard about it through a chic friend from Bard Dec. Arts. Weinstock suspends vintage childrens' clothing in rubber to create a unique effect where a portion of the patterned fabric of the garment becomes encased in a resin-like environment. The release statement explains that she makes, "vintage dresses float Ophelia-like in compositions revealing their seams, linings and zippers." She also fashions white and red rubber into pop arty models of men's dress shirts and then exhibits them in series. There is a whimsy to Weinstock's works that address the question of fashion as art and art as fashion with a playful tongue-in cheek sensibility. The pieces are also extremely aesthetically appealing, due in large part to the rich fabrics that she uses as her material and the fact that she maintains the integrity of the garment construction. This show will be on view at Charles Cowles (on 24th Street between 10th and 11th avenue) until March 8th, so be sure to come over to Chelsea to see it before it closes.



photo credit (green dress):
Sea Floral Print Silk, 2005, rubber, fabric http://www.cowlesgallery.com/weinstock/JW_SeaFloral_1N.html
photo credit (pink dress):
Rose Pink Party, 2006, rubber, fabric http://www.cowlesgallery.com/weinstock/JW12611.html

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Beast Speaks: Modern Furniture Fetish


When my girlfriend announced to me shortly after we began seeing one another that she “doesn’t wear mass produced clothing,” I was taken aback and my suburban, mall-going sensibilities slightly offended. I became much more empathic as my burgeoning furniture fetish developed toward the same discriminating tendency. To celebrate this sympathy of tastes, here are a couple of design pieces to match even your chicest fashions.

Best remembered as the innovative director of Herman Miller and as designer of the ubiquitous Nelson Bench, George Nelson offers up his refined functionalism in this enameled steel cabinet with glass top. For an updated take on the modern aesthetic consider this table from Dominique Mathieu in yellow Plexiglas with a lacquered base. Though witness to your good taste, be forewarned; these pieces may upstage even your most sophisticated look.


photo credit: Miguel Saco Gallery (http://www.miguelsaco.com/)