Friday, March 30, 2012

Feeling Lucky?

I hope you are!  The Mega Millions jackpot is at just over half a billion dollars!  For the first time in my life, I bought lottery tickets.  It feels so silly, but everyone is talking about it.  So good luck to you all.  I'll try to share my winnings. :)

Image via Kate Spade Tumblr

I love the Friends episode where they pool their money and buy lottery tickets (or so everyone thinks, MONICA).

If I won, I think I'd go on that trip to Greece I've been dreaming about.  What would your first purchase be?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Matilda on the Stage!

Roald Dahls Matilda.jpg
Illustration by Quentin Blake, image via here

When I was a kid, my favorite author was Roald Dahl, and my favorite of all of his books was Matilda, about a brilliant little girl with horrible parents who has magical powers that she uses to help people.  And saying that it was my favorite book is no small statement: while other kids played House or things like that, I used to make my brother play Library, and we would label all of the books with a number and letter that corresponded to information cards in a card catalog.  (Clearly, I took Mindy's advice about how being a nerd as a kid is the way to be.)  It's still set up at my parents' house.

I say this by way of backstory so that you can understand how excited I was to find out that Matilda is a musical!  And, you know, to try to connect with other kids who played Library.  Although Matilda is currently playing in London, Elizabeth Street reports that it is in fact coming to Broadway.  I can't wait to see it someday.
Matilda The Musical
Image via The Guardian

Kerry Ingram as Matilda in the RSC's production.
Image via The Telegraph

Kerry Ingram ( Matilda ) Bertie Carvel ( Miss Trunchbowl ) Lauren Ward ( Miss Honey )
Image via The Telegraph

Just thinking of their names evokes these characters: the dishonest Mr. Wormwood, evil Miss Trunchbull, and the sweet Miss Honey.  Those might be even more perfect than "Betty Draper."

In the meantime, I am going to New York City in mid-May and would love to see a few shows while I am there.  Any suggestions?

For Chicagoans, The Book of Mormon is coming to town in December!  You can get tickets here.  I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Here's a Loaded Question.

Image via here

We talked about Vogue yesterday, and this month's magazine has a controversial article that's getting a lot of attention: the author's seven-year-old daughter was diagnosed as obese, and the article details the year of trying to get this young girl's weight under control.  While the article isn't available on Vogue's web site, it's heavily excerpted in this article on Jezebel (caution: there's some, ahem, salty language here), and oh my, is it a loaded one.  

There are a million things about raising kids that make me absolutely terrified of having them someday: making sure they don't end up on drugs, teaching them about Stranger Danger, hoping that they have good manners and decent social skills.  Navigating when and how they are allowed to use Facebook keeps me awake at night and I don’t even have kids.  And that's on top of worrying about their physical health, concerns that could fill volumes.  Childhood obesity is a serious health matter that has to be addressed, but trying to put your child on a diet to get him or her to a healthy weight sounds like it is simply fraught with the worst of both physical and social issues.  So what's a parent to do?

For Dara-Lynn Weiss, author of the Vogue article, she put her daughter on what sounds like a pretty strict diet, based on a sort of Weight-Watchers-Points-For-Kids idea called the "Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right" program.  Interestingly, according to Jezebel, the doctor mentioned in the story was only consulted for a few months, and many of Weiss' methods, like confronting her daughter in public about how she wasn't supposed to eat certain foods, were not things that the doctor endorsed.  And lots of the coverage about the article has highlighted the fact that Weiss is very open about her own struggles with food and her relationship with eating, and how she is projecting her own issues onto her daughter.    

The diet itself seems to have worked, in the sense that her daughter lost sixteen pounds and grew two inches, a feat celebrated "with the purchase of many new dresses" and a trip to the salon for a feather hair extension, but I found myself questioning at what cost.  Weiss herself writes that her daughter "[i]ncredibly...has not yet exhibited symptoms of intense psychological damage."  That sounds really, really bad, doesn't it?        

Image via here by Garance Dore
Weiss also said that in order to keep her daughter from feeling "stigmatized, I forced her skinny little brother . . . to come with us to all the appointments."  Doesn’t that beg the question why, if she didn't want her daughter to feel stigmatized, did she publish this article in Vogue, with no regard whatsoever for her daughter's or her family's privacy?  But I suppose that at the same time, if the stigma is to be removed, there shouldn't be a need for secrecy or anonymity, and that sharing this story, warts and all, was the brave thing to do.  And as Garance writes, "You talk about [food] all the time…In a very casual manner. Sharing the best macrobiotic recipes, new revolutionary diets, and the best fat-burning teas. But no one really talks about the more alarming side of these rather obsessive behaviors."  So shouldn't we be talking about this, in frank, open, and honest terms? 

Isn't cake part of being a kid?
Image via here by Nicole Hill Gerulat.
I think the answer to that question is definitely "yes."  This is important, and there must be scores of parents out there dealing with this issue.  It's easy to say in the abstract that kids should eat right and make good choices.  But how are you supposed to react if your child is obese and you're at a birthday party and she wants to eat a slice of cake?  Isn't that part of being a kid?  Or is that outlook how child obesity has gotten to be such a problem?  

But am I the only one who, after reading the article, was left with an overwhelming sense of "this poor little kid?”  Having to deal with this at such a young age seems like it would be hard enough.  Having your struggle – and your mom’s characterizations of how “exhausting” and “grating” it was to “have someone constantly complain of being hungry” – published in a fashion magazine seems like it’s in its own league of hard.

The real question is, what do you think?  Are people getting too worked up and ignoring the fact that childhood obesity is a huge problem?  Should we cut Weiss some slack for dealing openly and honestly with such a hot button issue?  Or are there real problems with the way that she went about handling it? 
Should we ever question how parents raise their own children?

Image by Tall and Salty

PS: Am I the only one who wonders what Vogue could possibly have been thinking when it ran a Harry Winston ad featuring a very svelte model dressed as a bride (with, yes, a very beautiful engagement ring) holding a giant piece of cake in her hand on the page opposite this article? Ouch.  How did no one catch that? 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Warm and Sleek

After a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather, Chicago is back to being chilly.  I won't go so far as to say that all is now right with the world, but this does feel a bit more normal.  There was something just weird about crash landing into July when it is, in fact, March.  In the meantime, until it warms up again, I want to look like these ladies: tailored and sleek, but not at all stuffy.

Image via Vanessa Jackman

Image via People

Image via Streetpeeper 
(I have a soft spot in my heart for this girl: they titled her photo "Mommy Long Legs."  Meanies!) 

Image via

This last photo is of Claiborne Swanson Frank, a Vogue Contributing Photographer (obviously a far less glamorous job than being a lawyer).  This was the first photo in her Five Days, Five Looks, One Girl feature on, which features a different Vogue staff member and what she wears each day of the work week.  It's fascinating to see what these girls wear to work!  I highly recommend checking out the archive.

Ms. Swanson Frank has a new book, American Beauty, which appears to be full of gorgeous pictures of American women doing quintessentially American things like posing on vintage cars, in gardens, and at home with their dogs (take a peek inside herehere and here).  I jest because the book really does look beautiful and would be a lovely addition to any coffee table (yours or a friend's -- this would make a really nice gift).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Have a lovely weekend!

Image via here

It's Friday!  What are your plans for the weekend?  My parents are visiting and I'm excited to see them.  We're going to Chicago q for dinner tomorrow night, which is delicious, and I say that not even liking barbecue. 

After they leave on Sunday, I'm going to see The Hunger Games.  I have fantasized for months about this moment: me, my vat of Diet Coke, and Katniss on the big screen.  I only wish I was kidding. 

After that, I've got a Mad Men premiere party to attend.  (Comfortable pants are clearly called for on Sunday -- I have a lot of watching things to do.)  I can't wait to find out what shenanigans are happening at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

Finally, I've also got plans to bake this banana bread for a friend who just had twins, and to visit this cool new men's shop.  What are you up to?  Hopefully you'll have some time to relax and enjoy the following:

I hope you are as psyched for Mad Men as I am.  Here are some tips on having a premiere party, and here is a hilarious look at the guy everyone loves to hate

The Filene's Basement Running of the Brides sale is gone.  This looks like a much more elegant replacement.

Would you ever pay for a styling package to have someone take a look at your closet with a fresh eye?  It sounds intriguing.

Furbish is having a spring sale.  I want this python tray very, very badly.  You?

And let's close out the week stream-of-consciousness-style, just because:

Does your dog or cat have a trendy name?

Speaking of dogs, this photo montage of the characters of Downton Abbey as dogs might make you pee in your pants.

Speaking of peeing, you should probably read this.  And discuss with your ladyfriends, should you be going to brunch this weekend.  My friends are fascinated by this topic.

Speaking of things that my friends (and yours) are probably a little bit too interested in, this collection of mini-street-style-stars is probably the cutest thing you will see this week.

And finally, speaking of ____est things you'll see all week, this article about a 35-year-old taking the SAT will probably be one of the funniest things you'll see all week (okay, that one was a stretch.  Sorry!) (via Go Fug Yourself).

Have a great weekend!

Pile On

I like to wear more than one necklace at a time.  There are lots of fun tutorials out there on how to artfully layer (this one from the Glitter Guide is helpful), but I'm more a fan of the throwing things on and playing until I think everything looks all right method.

Via Atlantic-Pacific
 Blair* of Atlantic-Pacific has amazing personal style (I mean really, the things that this girl can pull off) and she is a master of wearing tons of jewelry and necklaces at the same time and making it work. 

Via Atlantic-Pacific
For the rest of us, here's my advice: get a set of necklace extenders.  They're lengths of chain with a clasp on one end and a circle opening on the other that attach to the back of your necklaces.  They let you adjust the length to your liking and they are a super cheap way to make the jewelry you already own more versatile. 

Do you have any little tricks or devices to share?  Do tell.

* Tell me there are others out there who only hear the name "Blair" as "Mees Blair," in Dorota's voice from Gossip GirlI sort of love her.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dream a Little Dream

When I feel down, I fantasize about fabulous trips that I want to take.  (What, you don't look at vacation porn?  For shame.)  We went on an eighteen-day trip to Italy last fall and it was hands-down the best eighteen consecutive days of my life.  There is something so, so luxurious about that much time away.  While it will likely be many moons before that kind of trip takes place again (although it's my goal to make sure that it's not a once-in-a-lifetime experience!), it's fun to pretend.  Lately I've been preoccupied with fantasizing about Greece.

Our good friends went to Greece on their honeymoon and they keep telling us we have to go.  It sounds divine and it looks a lot like Positano, one of our favorite places in Italy.  Good food + good beach = happiness.

Via here

Via here

Via here

I think this is my new happy place. 

Via here

And we have been before, but I still want to go back to London and Paris.  My number one travel tip if you're going to these two cities: take the Chunnel!  We flew from London to Paris and it was a (rather expensive) waste of a day, due in no small part to the fact that I had to shuffle my luggage around at Heathrow to meet the baggage weight requirements, resulting in an extra bag that I FORGOT AT BAGGAGE CLAIM in Paris.  I remembered it when we were halfway into the city from Charles de Gaulle, and then we had to turn around on the train.  The waste of a day was terrible, but I think the sheer embarrassment of having to say "j'ai oubliĆ© mes bagages" in my hideous French to all of the French airport personnel was almost worse.  Baggage snafus aside, they are amazing cities.  

Pack your bags!  Where are we heading?

Lullabies for Rock Stars

Jason Mraz's music makes me feel like falling asleep on a beach.  So perhaps it's unsurprising that some of his most popular songs have been turned into music for putting babies to sleep.  Whether you have a baby or, like me, just know people who do, check out this very soothing new album, Lullaby Versions of Jason Mraz

Lullaby Versions of Jason Mraz

Twinkle Twinkle Little Rockstar has a whole catalog of lullabied-adult music available here.  Don't panic, they do have the Twilight Breaking Dawn Soundtrack.  I've been making the baby shower rounds lately and I'd love to give this as a fun gift (when, you know, this book just isn't appropriate.  Although this recording of Samuel L. Jackson reading it is ALWAYS excellent, although probably not okay for babies).  What's your go-to baby shower gift?   

You can get the album on iTunes or Amazon

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Things

Happy second day of spring!  It feels like full-blown summer here in Chicago (I'm not kidding: it was warmer outside last night than some of the days we get in July and August).  I hope it's warm wherever you are* so you can join me in wanting the following spring items.
J. Crew Talitha Blouse in Vintage Berry (Oh, how I wish you came in tall.  Although I did try this on in the store, and since the sleeves are supposed to have a little puff/gather at the wrist, they have a bit more length than some other J. Crew blouses.  The body was nice and long as well).  You can see Joy modeling it here.  Isn't her necklace perfect with this top?

Talitha blouse
Available here

Cole Haan Skylar oxfords in pink.  I love these, but I'm not sure I can pull them off just yet.  Any suggestions?

Image via here, available here

Asos lace scallop edge shorts.  At first I was drawn to the minty green color, but I think the navy calms down the lace! and minishorts! and scallops! aspect, don't you?

Available here

I have these New Wayfarer sunglasses, which are a bit slimmer and less angled (and thus, less hipster) than the classic Wayfarers, but these Kate Spades caught my eye when I was at Nordstrom picking up a new shirt for my favorite lawyer last week.  (PS: When I took the train to work every day, I hardly ever drove, so I never spent the money to get polarized lenses.  They take away a lot of glare that you can get on your windshield when you're driving.  Now that I drive, I'm glad I spent a little more to get the polarized option, but if I was still an El rider, I'd be fine without.) 

kate spade new york 'gayla' oversized polarized sunglasses
Available here

Topshop Denim Shirt (in tall; available in regular and petite too).  A year-round staple.   

Available here

Ivanka Trump Liorah Slingback.  Ivanka does the perfect slim not-quite-kitten-but-not-too-high-heel, at a really good price point.  (Thanks, Ivanka!)  I have these in black, but the coral would be pretty for spring work outfits.

Ivanka Trump 'Liorah' Pump
Available here

Stila Lip Glaze in Raspberry looks scary bright in the tube, but it goes on as a pretty pink that isn't too much.  I know the next big thing is a bright shocking pink, but I just can't.  If you're afraid of it too, this is for you!

Stila Lip Glaze Gloss .08 fl oz (2.4 ml)
Available here

Joe's Jeans The Skinny in nectar.  My St. Patrick's Day crazypants were super comfortable and I'm kind of in love with them.  I scoured the interwebs for a longer-inseam (lower-priced) pair of bright green pants, but most colored denim is cut to hit at the ankle or higher.  These were the longest green pair I could find and they have a 34-inch inseam.  I clearly don't need another pair of the same pants, but I'm sure you do, right?  This color would look lovely for spring and summer (they're pretty lightweight). 

Available here

And BONUS PANTS: these Urban Outfitters BDG Cigarette pants have a 34-inch inseam and come in this mint color that all the fashion blogs are dying over.  For $58!  I may or may not be ordering these.

Image from here, available here

 Happy spring shopping!

*If it's cold, I recommend the North Face "sleeping bag" coat and Sorel Joan of Arctic boots.  I really, really hope you don't need them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Try This at Home (Seriously. DO NOT.)

Well this is pretty amazing.

Photographer Rachel Hulin's Flying Baby series shows babies seemingly flying.  What's your favorite?  The one over the kitchen sink keeps making me laugh out loud.  

Leather Tassels for All

Given my day job as a lawyer, I like to try dabbling in crafts and the creative when I can.  Emphasis on the word "try," because as often as not, my exploits end in failure.  Which is okay: every so often, when the result of my sweating, gluing things to my fingers, and getting glitter all over my dog works out (that's happened far more often than I care to admit, thanks), it feels great!  But why isn't there a blog called Real Girls Making Things?  One that shows the cursing, mistakes, and inevitable pile of rejects going in the trash that really goes into making stuff yourself?  (As my friend Kate says, "why are these girls always looking cute and not sweating with their hair falling out of a ponytail??")  I'll be highlighting/confessing some of my very-real-and-not-very-skilled efforts here, but in the meantime, let's take a look at something that you can attempt if you feel brave (good for you!) or just buy if you aren't feeling up to it (kudos to you too!).

Matchbook Mag's Daily Spark highlighted these leather tassel keychains from Russell + Hazel today.  They are $30 and awfully cute (not to mention handy with that toggle clasp if you use it -- I just know I would end up tossing this in my purse as per usual, but perhaps you have more discipline than I do).

Image via here

But the remarkably handy Jenny from Little Green Notebook has a step-by-step tutorial on how to make these.  She says that they only cost $10 and take 15 minutes to make.  (I'm skeptical here: if it took her ten minutes, it's pretty safe to say it'll be more like an hour for me.)  And hers look pretty darn good too -- and could be customized with whatever colors you fancy.

Image via here

So what's your vote?  To me, DIY attempts all come with their own calculus that looks something like this:

time, cost, and effort that you would expend on the project 
(including acquiring all the components or tools that you would need)
how much fun you'll have making it
how proud you'll be to have accomplished it

is greater than or less than 

cost of the already made thing
ease of pushing a button and having it delivered to your house  

This seems like something that involves a fair amount of stuff to track down or buy, which gives me pause, and the ready-made item isn't terribly costly.  But Jenny also suggests having a get-together with friends (they were watching the Bachelor finale!) and putting these together, which sounds like a fun little gathering.  There's something fun about attempting to be crafty with your friends, who, if they are like mine, are excellent sports about these things.  I could be persuaded.  What's your vote?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Have a lovely weekend!

Image via This is Glamorous, originally from here


Happy Friday!  What are you up to this fine weekend?  I, like many people in Chicago, will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day tomorrow by having green cocktails way too early for polite society, but enjoying it nonetheless -- especially because we're enjoying delightfully unseasonably warm weather!  I started knitting this scarf in green a few weeks ago, but it looks like I won't need it (good thing, because it's taking me forever and I'm nowhere near finished).  I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and here are some links for enjoying from your couch.

I'll be wearing these crazypants tomorrow.  But they're not really that crazy, are they?  (Maybe on a regular girl.  On these long legs...that is a LOT of green.  Maybe I should stop posing questions that I know the answer to already.)

As if that's not enough, I'll be sporting this springy green nail polish too!

I love March Madness, but I might enjoy Fug Madness just as much.  These girls are the best.

Ouch, Nike.

Why would you do this with something so delicious?

These emails and texts from real moms made me cry actual tears of laughter. 

The warm weather makes me want this bike.  (And a delicious coffee from the sunny, fun shop it lives in.)

Super comfy spring shoes.

The Diane von Furstenberg collection for GapKids is adorable.  I love the rompers!

I might need to try my hand at making one of these needlepoint glasses cases.

I am clearly late to this party, but this album is excellent.  Shake it Out and enjoy the weekend!  (Caution: weird music video.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy March

Welcome to March!  I love the first day of a new month because I get to see my new calendar page.  I have been a devotee to Snow & Graham's large wall calendar for years, and I'm always excited to see the new month's design. 

March's page, via my Instagram
The full calendar is gorgeous and the perfect thing to liven up a boring office.  The designs reference the month's events without being too literal.

Snow and Graham 2012 wall calendar
via here
Snow & Graham has a full line of cards, gifts, wrapping paper, and other beautiful things.  And they're a Chicago company!  Check them out online or at a number of shops (my favorite place is Greer, a beautiful paper shop full of gorgeous odds and ends you never knew you wanted, but find that you have to have). 
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