Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On my list

I've never understood retail timelines.  It's still Indian summer, yet fall clothing is already in stores and even on sale.  Of course, now that DC has just gotten that amazing non-humid, breezy weather that we hear our west coast friends call "year round," Mother Nature and Vogue are telling us to move on already (Wintour is coming).

Yes, fall is my favorite time of year, but the only thing I like more than fall is complaining.  I know, I know, all these #whitegirlproblems!  Yet as each season departs, I find myself left with a lot of wardrobe junk and no money.  And who says life isn't a carnival?

So every year, as the warm weather gives way to chillier temps, I begin to plan my List.

For the past few seasons my roommate and I have compiled lists of items we especially want in order to limit insane impulse purchases like harem pants or heel-less platforms (but she should totally have kept that fur and sequin Phillip Lim coat, right?).

And even though it's still September, she has blazed through her own list with leopard flats, suede ankle boots, red denim, pleated leather, and a camel coat, while I'm still pondering what to eat for dinner (I went with Vietnamese).

In fact, I haven't even completed writing mine, recreated here:

  • Ankle boots
  • More plaid oxford shirts
  • Stripes
  • Pygmy penguin? (check lease)
  • Gummi bears
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Pho or Chipotle for dinner?
  • Call Comcast
  • Job

Here's what I've haphazardly picked up so far, without the help of the List.  My mom was right, I need structure.

Bangles from Etsy and Kate Spade.
Nude J. Crew ballet flats and navy velvet Zara loafers.
And that Vietnamese I went with from the Asian Chipotle.  I should've trusted my instincts and gotten a burrito.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waste not, want more

I love meringue in all forms: cookies, pavlova, on top of pie.  My only holdup is that it only requires egg whites, which means I end up wasting the yolks.  And I hate wastefulness.

So when my roommate made the most delicious yolk pasta for dinner two nights ago, I was only too happy to put the whites to good use.  Flourless chocolate cookies have the shiny topcoat of a good brownie but with a more condensed chew from the meringue-like base.  As you guessed, the recipe doesn't call for flour, but it doesn't include butter either!  Didn't see that coming, did you?  Me, make a recipe without butter?

You can download a PDF of my take on the recipe, adapted from Fran├žois Payard, here.  Do it, it's pretty.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Look at that fucking trust fund

I was on gchat the other day, catching up with someone from college.  Hipster Dan, let's call him, because that's actually what we did call him.  He lives in Brooklyn now where he still plays bass, manages an American Apparel, promotes his band, listens to b-sides, scouts venues, remixes, band band band...he's in a baaaand.

So while I'm passively letting him complain about his finances--I'm fine, Hipster Dan, thanks for asking--it occurs to me: you'd better be rolling in it to keep up with this lifestyle.  Concerts, record collecting, tech gadgets, a carbon bike--it gets expensive.  I mean, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but really, are hipsters the ones with feelings?  Or are those exclusively for emo kids?  It's hip to be nihilist, right?  I can't keep up with you kids and your rock and roll music.  Youtube.

At any rate, I felt compelled to make a collage board of hipster consumerism because this screen capture program is cool and so is Hipster Dan.  Let's break down the basics:

1. Chan Luu sterling silver wrap bracelet to go with your festival wristbands, $195
2. Super "Ciccio" glasses, non-prescription, of course, $140
3. Apple iPad to manage your tumblr, starts at $499
4. Pendleton for Opening Ceremony military jacket to stand out from the poseurs, reduced from $925 to a mere $278!
5. Leica M9 camera for blogging, $6995
6. Marlboro Red cigarettes to be accepted, $20.59/carton/week
7. Thom Browne plaid scarf to stay warm when using #6, $240
8. JanSport "Westridge" backpack to hold your novel and English degree ego, $200

Oh, but what about a beanie, Laura?  No headphones?  Some limited edition dunks overnighted from Japan, maybe ? Look, these are just some of the basics, and you can't buy everything at once.  God, it's like you're actually trying.

Plus, cocaine is like, really freakin' expensive, man.

Friday, September 23, 2011



My lovely roommate spent a weekend in LA a while back, bringing back a tan and a colossal salted caramel macaron from Lemonade Cafe to match.  I'm craving one so hard right now, but all I have are these photos.

Yes, some of them were taken on the floor.  I was chasing daylight and it was the only spot the sun hit that afternoon.  It's a MACARON.  Come down from your ivory tower and stop acting like you've never employed the 5-second rule before.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Impulse buys

Lookee-loo what I just bought.

Did the link work?  No?  Oh, that's right, it's because I snagged the very last one.

Tucker "Disco dress" via Shopbop.

Man, Shopbop's strategy of showing live inventory is genius.  The panic of reading "Only 1 left in this size/color" is enough to push even the most Frugal Fannie over the cusp from should I get it? to I.MUST.OWN.THIS.  And that sense of euphoria that comes from beating out someone else?  I mean, it feels like winning a marathon.

Only I wouldn't know since that requires training, and I quit my gym.

Speaking of which, who wants a cookie?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ping's Zoo

I've been itching to get a dog for all 25 years of my life.  In fact, I'm so desperate for a pet that despite my lack of space and time, I may even concede to my boyfriend and get a cat.  (Never.)

Somehow, I found the time to fill out an adoption application on the National Brussels Griffon Rescue (idle hands...).  In the meantime, I'll settle on a couple of these charming illustrations by Ping Zhu.  Ping, a London-based, Los Angeles-born artist, has had her work featured in the New York Times, Playboy, and everything in between.  I've been on a real print kick lately, and I think that Ping's Zoo fits the bill perfectly.

images via PingsZoo and Design*Sponge

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crack pie

Crack Pie, another decidedly unhealthy yet delicious creation of the (in)famous Momofuku franchise, has been on my to-bake list for months now.  It's essentially a butter-caramel tart with a crispy oatmeal cookie crust--enough to give you diabetes just by reading the ingredients.  Do yourself a favor and cut off your foot now.

The recipe yields two 10-inch pies.  Typically, I would halve the measurements to make only one, but after reading all the rave reviews, I didn't want to chance pie withdrawal.

I have a problem.  The butter, it calls to me.

After tasting it, even Martha Stewart herself asked for the recipeJesus H. Christ, that's Martha H. Stewart.  And what's good enough for Martha is probably too good for me, but I deserve some happiness too.  Even if I don't make my own ricotta and wear 10,000-ply cashmere.

The first and most important step is to GET MILK.  Do not skip this step.   Even those with an inordinate amount of hubris (I'm looking at you, Miley Cyrus) will experience regret when forced to wash down the most extraordinary dessert in the world with plain, old water.

You may initially think, "I don't need milk.  I don't like milk.  And above all, I don't have milk," but you will ultimately be left with both egg and tears on your face.  Get the milk.

The preparation is basically three parts: 1) baking cookies for the crust; 2) forming the shell; and 3) mixing the filling.  While labor intensive, the overall difficulty level is as easy as...a gratuitous word pun.

"All that heavy cream in a dessert?" you may ask.  "I'd rather just order one and save myself the trouble.  What does she know?"

Well, the answer is: not much.  But I do know it's either 44 billz for a pie or a couple of hours til cheap, homemade nirvana.  And I've learned my lesson: never again put off a recipe calling for this much brown sugar.  Make this now.  Don't be like me.  And more importantly, don't be like Miley.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kick it

Since college, I've tried to move on from pairing sneakers with jeans.  The combination was my go-to uniform in undergrad, but in my mid-twenties, it can come off like I'm not trying.  Which is true.  Now that colder weather is approaching, I think that these would be a nice throw back, especially if paired with the right cords for tearing around the city.

I've been lusting after Frye's Kira low top sneakers for over a year now, and that taupe pair in the corner has been waiting far too long.

image via Unruly Things

Friday, September 16, 2011

Faux real?

Another DIY inspired by overpriced jewelry, in a few variations: turquoise, crystal, and ruby.  Sure, my chain and findings are gold plated, but they only cost about $20-40 to make, depending on the beads.  Compare that to the $2500 designer price tag at Bergdorf's.  Do you realize how cheap even the real stuff is in India?  You know, Padma.



Next up: hot pink EVERY-THING.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Double Take

Zara Knitted Dress v. Madewell "Lamppost" Sweaterdress

Sweaterdresses: the basis of a transitioning summer-to-fall wardrobe.  I've seen both in person and believe me when I say that you should get the Zara version.  It has a better fit, a smaller knit (less likely to snag), and a great price.  No need to thank me, I'm cool like that.


I first encountered Mean Cards at the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair last year where I promptly emptied my wallet in return for a stack of snarky, crude, and hilarious cards.  I suggest you do the same at their online store.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I have two female icons: Nancy Pelosi--current Minority Leader of the House of Representatives; former Speaker of the House; and unaging miracle woman--and Eloise, the fictional children's character.

"I am Eloise.  I am six.  I am a city child.  I live at the Plaza."

To be fair, Eloise came first in my life by way of her her self-titled book by Kay Thompson.  But like Pelosi, she gets even better with time.

"Eloise is a little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York.  She is not yet pretty but she is already a Person.

Henry James would want to study her.

Queen Victoria would recognize her as an Equal.

The New York Jets would want to have her on their side.

Lewis Carroll would love her (once he got over the initial shock).

She knows everything about The Plaza.  She is interested in people when they are not boring.

She has Inner Resources.

If you take her home with you, you will always be glad you did."

I imagine that had she been real and made it past the first grade into adulthood, she'd still be kickin' around the Plaza, but maybe in something more updated: