Meet Adam and Laura, two writers on a gastronomical journey to sample the cuisine of every nation on the planet…without ever leaving NYC. It’s all chronicled on their blog, Navigeaters, and you have to check it out. Love this couple, and love their site.
Also, they’ve invited Kendrick and me along on one of their upcoming adventures! Raw chicken was mentioned. I don’t think I can do that. But we’ll see.
Presenting: the first installment of StriVectin’s Wrinkle Report, featuring Jeannine from Beauty Sweet Spot. Remember to click HERE to win one of 10,000 StriVectin SD samples and a trip for two to Los Angeles!
And the winner of the StriVectin Discovery Kit is…AlexisJulian!
I have to say: I was beyond thrilled when Alexis’ number popped up as the winner. I actually jumped out of my seat and did a little dance. Why? Here’s her entry:
I have been interested in Strivectin since one of my favorite beauty gurus on Youtube (lollipop26) mentioned that she loved it. But I’m 19 and happy with my day to day moisturizer. My mother, on the other hand, began chemo treatments last month and since chemo kills all fast growing cells, she’s been trying every kind of moisturizer under the sun to keep her skin as nice as possible. So I’m entering for my momma! I think her number one skin concern is wrinkles, but my number one concern for her is that I want her to feel as beautiful as possible even without her signature black curly bob.
Winner chosen via Random.org. Thanks to all who entered, and keep your eyes peeled for more great RG giveaways coming up!!
At the Katherine Kwei event on Tuesday night, one of the other bloggers strolled in wearing a totally jaw-dropping outfit. I was too shy to ask her if I could take a picture, but here’s an approximation:
I obviously own a red plaid shirt, and I’m still circling around the idea of picking up a pair of the Steve Madden boots pictured above, so all I need to make this happen is a silver sequin miniskirt. The one pictured above is incredible, but it’s Haute Hippie and $365…so…can’t. Hot Topic makes one, though. For $29! So I may need to take this look for a spin.
Quick question: what are your thoughts on legwear with this outfit? I feel like black tights are a little boring, but almost anything else would compete with the skirt. Hm.
A Wallet-Friendly Way To Indulge My Quilt Obsession
I have a thing for quilts, but I do not have a thing for how pricey they often are. Hand-stitched is lovely and all, but sometimes you want to mix up your bedding a bit…and you can’t really do that when the things are $300 a pop. American Living’s quilts are in the ballpark of $100 for a queen-size…and are on closeout right this very moment. I like the Blue Point Quilt at left, but there are lots of other styles, and I think it’d actually look nice to do some mixing and matching with the shams and Euro pillows if you’re working a country vintage look in your bedroom.
P.S. If you should be so lucky to have a guest bedroom, inexpensive quilts are a great decor option.
"…Many doctors see juice fasting as just another form of American extremism — as Dr. Colbert put it, ‘somewhere between religiosity and craziness.’ Marianne Gillow, a psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan who consults for, among others, the Fashion Institute of Technology, sees a lot of patients with unresolved food issues. “My biggest concern about juice cleanses is that they fuel obsessive thinking,” she said. ‘People who have trouble managing their weight tend to be all or nothing about things. Cleansing doesn’t allow you to make peace with real food.’”
That pretty much lays out my feelings on the topic. The author of the article, interestingly, seemed to enjoy cleansing, referring to it as a “triumph over sensuality” that was intensely freeing…but to me, what that speaks of is a desire for control that’s being confused with a sense of freedom, and that crosses the border into dangerous territory. Also, serious question: why in the world would you want to triumph over sensuality? For me, that’s the point of waking up every morning: to embrace food, light, joy, beauty, the people and things that you love…to live. And to live sensually, in touch with the world around you.
If you missed my cleansing experience back in May, this is why I decided to do it. And then this is what happened. And this was my opinion on the whole thing once it was over.
Lucy and Virgil freaking lose their minds overthe “Poochinis" they serve at Shake Shack. They’re basically ice cream sundaes for dogs, and again, they’re way easy to DIY. Just mash a little banana and a spoonful or two of peanut butter into some plain yogurt, pour into a paper cup or an ice cube tray, top with a little doggie biscuit, and freeze. (This also makes a spectacular Kong filling.)
P.S. If you have smaller dogs, make sure not to give them too much of this treat - I give Lucy and Virgil each a quarter of a Poochini and freeze the rest for later. Also, watch out for nut allergies: if you’ve never given your dog peanut butter before, proceed with a bit of caution.
Yesterday afternoon I got a call from RTL asking me to swing by Macy’s to do a quick report on Kim Kardashian’s appearance to promote her new fragrance. It was…madness. There was a line out the door and around the block of people waiting for the opportunity to get their photo taken with her, and there were a few times when I thought I was going to get body-checked straight out of the press area. (I can’t tell you how many times I was ordered to MOVE…NOW by the security team. A please would have been nice, but hey, the crowd was intense, and they were just trying to maintain control.)
Anyway. It was pretty interesting to see this kind of celebrity scene up-close. More interesting than the Jonas Brothers premiere, actually, because that was more or less a standard red-carpet walk (the kind you see on ET all the time), while this event involved Kim actually interacting with her fans…sort of.
What fascinated me was how Kim responded to each person as they approached her, especially in light of the fact that by most accounts she’s a very fan-friendly celeb: she barely looked at them, gave them a sort of half-smile, and then fell into her standard chin-down-lips-together pose for the picture. I started to sort of bristle about this - this is incredibly exciting for her fans, and an actual “hello” would probably make their day - but then I realized that I can’t even begin to understand what her degree of celebrity entails. And I suppose the only way to handle that kind of massive attention is to be polite, but to not engage too much…mostly for the sake of time. That was a seriously long line.
These Modern Luxury Pillow Shams ($42 on Etsy; $125 for a matching duvet) are just adorable, and would make a sweet, unique bridal shower (or anything) gift…but they’d also be super-easy to DIY. Just cut small slits in a plain pillowcase, thread through some beautiful ribbon, and tie in a bow! I think I see my next project…
I’ve talked before about the dramatic difference that I’ve noticed in my skin texture ever since I switched up my skincare routine a couple of months ago, and a big part of that was bumping up my anti-aging regimen with products that I first sampled on the set of the Strivectin shoot for BetterTV. Since the shoot, I’ve been using all three of the products at left daily, and I haven’t felt this good about my skin in as long as I can remember.
(P.S. The other video I mention - the one in which I didn’t love my skin - is this one.).
I’ll be posting the Wrinkle Report that I shot for Better here in when it airs (should be a couple of weeks), but in advance of that Strivectin has offered to give an RG reader the chance to test out the line for themselves! We’re giving away one Discovery Kit (retail value $79), which includes the three products that I use: StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles, StriVectin-SD Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles and StriVectin-SD Instant Retexturizing Scrub (go HERE to learn more about the products).
Just comment below (I’d love to hear your #1 skincare concern). You can get an extra entry by sending a Tweet mentioning the contest to @ramshackleglam and @strivectin, and a third entry by commenting under the post mentioning the contest on my Facebook page.
Maximum 3 entries per person. You must be 18+ to enter, and live in the U.S. or Canada.
P.S. Click HERE to enter to win one of 10,000 free Strivectin SD samples and a grand prize of a trip for two to LA!
So I sorta screwed this one up. Apparently Ciara (at left in the unbelievable dress), Denise Richards, Mayor Bloomberg, and Jessica Szohr were in attendance at last night’s Lord & Taylor “The Ultimate Face-Lift” event toasting the completion of the store’s considerable (and impressive) renovations, but I was running late and ended up missing them. Which is really too bad, because I would have liked to congratulate Ms. Szohr on the very excellent Piranha 3D (not kidding). Ah, well.
I did, however, get to wander around the store with my mom drinking champagne, getting Swarovski crystal tattoos, and looking at clothing, so, you know…good times anyway. At left, that’s me making a champagne-inspired (and yet, I think, quite awesome) purchase of a Calvin Klein sweaterdress for just $36 (special thanks to the super nice dressing room attendant who went running around the floor to find a coupon to get me an extra few dollars off).
Lord & Taylor is seemingly in the midst of not only physical renovations, but also a massive image overhaul: they’re sort of known as an old-school store, but they’re clearly working on updating their look and feel. As far as I can see, it’s been pretty wildly successful, at least if you gauge “success” by the fact that the place is now on my list of go-to shopping destinations.
Last night I headed down to Lafayette Street to check out a press preview of Katherine Kwei’s Spring 2011 collection with a bunch of blogger friends, eat things like Peking duck and little steamy shrimp buns, and generally have a lovely time.
The foundation of Katherine Kwei’s bags: a Chinese knotting technique Katherine (pictured above with her adorable dog) learned from her grandmother. Every collection includes beautiful neutrals, and the Spring 2011 collection also incorporates a bit of fun, bright batik, as well as my favorite print: that leopard snakeskin I’m holding in the top shot (it’s amazing: a totally unexpected go-with-everything neutral layered with metallic accents that make it easy to transition from day to night).
My favorite parts of the evening: 1) making my very own knotted leather keychain (crafting at an event?! yes please!) and 2) meeting Small Girls PR's Mallory, who is a great friend of Kendrick's ex-bandmate. She's pictured above, far right, with her equally lovely partner Bianca (center) and their intern Taylor.
So last weekend Katy of Sugarlaws, who does regular style posts and has been my partner-in-crime for pretty much every event I’ve attended over the last few months, asked me to participate in one of her shoots. She and photographer Kristen swung by my place, and we snuck up onto my rooftop (fortunately, my landlord does not read here) for a very fun photo session. Basically, we drank mulled wine, played dress-up, and hung out. Not a bad Sunday afternoon.
This is the first of two very different outfits I chose (the other one’s coming up in a few days). Have to say, I think it looks better (much better) in person than it does in photos, but I still love it for its transitional feel: it’s sort of like one foot is still hanging on to summer while the other is firmly planted in autumn.
Dresses like the one pictured here are my staple from fall to spring - all I do is move from bare legs to fishnets to thick knit tights. This one is from one of those cheap cheap cheap dress stores that pepper the city - you know, the ones you stop into “just to have a look” on the way home from work and then end up buying three things, because everything is $30? In this case, it’s Coup de Coeur, and is just about the most comfortable thing ever.
I’m trying to play with color more recently - my wardrobe consists primarily of black, white, and grey - and decided at the last minute to throw on a necklace from the Dominican Republic that my dear friend Ali brought me on her last visit…because a long chain of rainbow beads is always a good idea, no? The rest of the accessories are my go-tos as of late: a vintage bracelet that was a gift from my friend Katie, a watch that Kendrick won for being generally brilliant in high school, and that enormous cocktail ring I bought in Chinatown on our anniversary.
i have never made these, but i am reading a book called sex, death & oysters and obsessing about the damn things (going to esca on thursday to eat oysters with dad, fingerscrossed), so i may have to try.
I bought a jar of fresh shucked oysters from the farmer’s market, and needed to use them fast. I promised myself I wasn’t going to fry them, but my boyfriend will only eat them if they are fried, and I wasn’t going to eat a huge oyster stew on my own. I dipped them in milk and egg, and rolled them in a mix of cornmeal and flour with salt and pepper.
They were fried, and they were good. Next time I’ll just go for it.
One day, I will live in a house. It will have rooms that are not arranged in a straight line, a front doorstep not shared with a large percentage of the city’s construction workers, and an actual, for-real bathroom. One that I can turn around in.
It will look like this:
Can you tell I may be a little into the Shabby Chic cream-and-chandeliers look? Just a bit? Stick a silver cup of pink peonies in any of those rooms and you’d never get me out.
Heretofore Unseen Part of Apartment / I Hate You, Ugly-And-Weirdly-Located Bathroom
You’ve never seen my bathroom. You’ve seen glimpses of my W.C., which is conveniently located in our kitchen (sigh), but never the bathtub/shower area itself. Want to know why?
This is why. Gorgeous, right?
You have to open the door (which is off of the hallway between our living room and our office/music room - another room I’ve never put up photographs of, by the way, because it basically serves as Kendrick’s den) to even get out of the shower. And the floor space?
Holds one person and maybe one small dog. No more. Which makes for some interesting ballet moves when Kendrick and I try to brush our teeth at the same time.
I’ve thought about trying to fix it up, but it seems like a totally lost cause. I’ve re-caulked the sink and the tub, but that made them only marginally less gross-looking. I’ve scrubbed at the tiles to no end, but they still look like they’re about 60 years old (they probably are). And the bathtub? It’s a clawfoot, which sounds exciting, but it is also not something that I would ever want to bask in, both due to the peeling enamel and the fact that the room itself doesn’t exactly scream relaxation.
So I’ve been thinking about ways to make our bathroom a bit prettier, and here are some of the perk-ups I’m considering:
- A fabulous shower curtain (click HERE for fun suggestions).
- A pretty box to hide away our bottles, potions and whatsits.
- A non-dilapidated bathmat.
- Something on the wall. Anything.
- Some beautiful, feminine touches, like colorful glass jars.
But honestly? I can’t imagine that even these additions would transform the bathroom into somewhere I would want to spend any appreciable amount of time.
I really want to know: what do you think? Is overhauling our bathroom as best we can worth it, or is it just never going to be particularly attractive, making this a shut-the-door-and-pretend-it-doesn’t-exist-because-hey-it’s-a-rental situation?
I first discovered X-Rated last February, and ever since then it’s been my go-to mix-in whenever I want just a little fruitiness in my drink without too much kick (a mix of French vodka, blood orange, mango and passion fruit, it’s delicious while being relatively low-alcohol).
I suspect it’s commonly thought of as a summertime drink (pink, fruity, etc), but my favorite way to use it is by mixing an ounce into a cup of hot pomegranate tea. It’s also delicious in iced pomegranate tea with a slice or two of lime squeezed in, but these days I’m feeling more steamy than icy, so hot tea it is.
An awesome wedding gift tip from Kristen (or rather her aunt) in response to this post, which talked about how to make “boring” registry gifts more personal: “[My aunt] gets things off the registry, but makes it special through the packaging. She’ll pack it in a beautiful basket and use things like pretty dish towels etc. Everything is from the registry but comes across as more special than just buying the item and having it packaged at the store.”
I think this is such a fantastic way to give a couple something they really need while still making your gift say something about your unique relationship with them. Dish towels (love these, but Etsy has tons of great options) are a great thing to include, along with handwritten recipes, two mini bottles of champagne, or a holiday ornament. I also love the idea of adding a couple of hand-decorated stones to your gift: try purchasing some flat, white stones and writing a message for the couple on them in black pen. Click HERE and HERE for some inspiration. :)
First, I am completely bummed that I missed the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade. I thought it was this coming weekend. Whoops. (Here’s a photo gallery, if you missed it too.)
BUT! To the rescue are lots of other fun Halloween-y events around the city. Tops on the list of free things to do is the Village Halloween Parade, which is pretty much madness, but generally a blast, if only for the drunken antics you’re sure to witness. I usually end up planning to stay home on Halloween, and then getting coerced into heading downtown to at least check it out for a moment.
Then there’s Nightmare: Superstitions. I went to Nightmare: Vampires last year (pictured above), and it just about slayed me. I am not going back because I do not enjoy being that frightened, but I suppose if you’re into being miserable for half an hour or so you might like it. Tickets $30 in advance, $35 at door.
The NYC Halloween Haunted House on West 27th Street is another event that I will most certainly not be attending: you have to be 18 to go, you have to consent to being touched (nooooo), and YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH ALONE.
But if all that sounds fun to you, it is cheaper than many similar events in the city (tickets start at $15). And for yet a third haunted house option, consider Blood Manor (tickets are $30, but student discounts are offered).
In the Events That I Might Enjoy category:
- The Haunted Forest at Inwood Hill Park, where you can take a tour featuring haunted caves and jack-o-lanterns and eat pizza courtesy of Domino’s. Friday Oct 29 until 10PM. Free!
- A screening of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (complete with ominous church-organ sound effects) at St. John The Divine. Friday Oct 29 at 7 & 10PM. Also free!
- The Halloweekend Pub Crawl, where $15 ($30 for all three nights) gets you an evening of creepy cocktails (all cover charges included; drink specials offered at every bar on the crawl). Oct 29-30 from 5PM until pass-out.
I’ve already mentioned how much I heart Williams-Sonoma wreaths…but they’re so easy to make yourself, why not DIY? All you need to make a lavender wreath are some dried lavender sprigs, a frame, wire or twine, and a bit of ribbon (full instructions HERE).
The adorable lavender wreath at left was made by reader Amanda’s mother as a gift for her birthday. Amanda hung it on her apartment door, and every so often she crushes a few of the buds to release the scent. Love it!
I also think that wreaths are a lovely, unique way to preserve wedding bouquets (or any floral arrangement that you want to hang onto). I just dried out my wedding bouquet and put it in one of the tin jars we used as centerpieces, and it’s very pretty…but I wish I had thought to do something like this:
To make a wreath like the one pictured above, pick up a twig frame from a craft store (Michael’s carries them), and then use wire to affix your flowers to the branches (you can either pre-dry them or let them dry out once they’re on the wreath). If you end up with some bare patches, just buy a few fake branches and use them as filler.
So in November I’m going to an ex’s wedding (I’m happy for him, happy for her, they’re excited to see me, etc., so we’re all in a pretty great place). They’re registered at a couple places and chose really affordable items, which I love them for, but all the items are soooo practical. (Fair enough - they might actually need this stuff, and far be it for me to tell them their wedding registry needs a little whimsy.) Still…
I’d love to get them something special. Any thoughts? I’m thinking that his fiancee, especially, will love to open up a gift that involves more than baking dishes and electric mixers…
Thanks for any advice you can offer!
A. Giving a gift - any gift - is a wonderful, thoughtful gesture, and will of course be appreciated, but unless you’re super close to the couple and are absolutely certain that an non-registry gift is something they’d be totally over-the-moon about (maybe tickets to see a team or band that they both love?), my honest advice is to stick to the registry. When I got married, we registered for our honeymoon (via thebigday.com) and for a few basic household items that we really needed. A few people got us things that we hadn’t registered for, and while of course we loved these gifts…the truth is that we actually didn’t have room for any more stuff in our apartment, so some things only got unpacked once we moved into a larger place. Sure, registry items can sometimes feel like “boring” purchases, but they really are things that the couple needs and wants - and there are usually a few more interesting things peppered in among the forks and knives (cocktail shakers, picnic baskets, decorative items, etc).
If you want to make your gift to them more personal, how about getting them something off of their registry, and then sending a (small) additional gift? Some ideas (the last three can definitely be stand-alone gifts if you’re sure you want to avoid the registry altogether):
A jar filled with the (dry) ingredients for one of your favorite recipes (click HERE for recipe suggestions).
A book that you think they’ll love inscribed with a note from you.
A snowglobe or Christmas ornament with special meaning to the couple.
A handwritten recipe book with a few simple recipes that they can make together.
Let's Get Moving On That Holiday Cheer Thing / Mulled Wine, My Way
Mulled wine is up there with my favorite beverages to enjoy once the weather starts to turn. And sure, it’s best drunk from a paper cup clasped between your mittened hands while you wander around a farmstand, but it’s also quite good when you’re snuggled up on a couch with a touch of a cold and ’90s movies on a steady loop. Not that I’d know anything about that.
There are lots of different ways to make it, so you can be a bit improvisational, but here’s what I do:
About 1 1/2 oz brandy (one mini bottle should do it, but you can add more to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 orange, sliced
1 tsp allspice
A few cloves (I didn’t have any laying around, so I skipped this step yesterday and it turned out delicious anyway)
Place the saucepan over very low heat, and let it warm slowly, giving it an occasional stir - you don’t want to bring it to a boil. When the pot is steaming, your mulled wine is ready! Use a ladle to serve (leaving the solids in the pot) and garnish with a cinnamon stick. And feel free to leave the wine over low heat all afternoon and let your guests serve themselves at will, but you may want to remove the orange slices after about half an hour if you do this; there’ll be plenty of flavor already, and you don’t want the oranges to absorb too much of the liquid.
P.S. Mulled wine also makes for an amazing home fragrance - when Katy and Kristen arrived yesterday there was much oohing and aahing over my kitchen’s rich, cinnamony scent.
…because I was feeling a bit achy and sick, but things quickly took a turn for the better. Why? Because besides a spot of illness, Sunday also included:
1) Amazingly delicious mulled wine (see how amazed I am by its deliciousness?). Recipe coming tomorrow.
2) A fun fun fun shoot with fantastic photog/blogger Kristen and Sugarlaws' Katy, who invited me to participate in a couple of her style posts (coming up within the next week or two).
At left, there’s me, jumping around on my rooftop. Why? Because I was suuuuper psyched to be wearing that pink ruffly thing, which may not be my usual style, but which is incredibly fun, apparently works in winter with the addition of a blazer and big accessories, and cost ten dollars at H&M. TEN DOLLARS. For a fabulous-works-year-‘round dress! Go immediately, because they will definitely sell out, if they haven’t already.