Au Revoir...for now

Sadly the time has come for me to deactivate my Facebook account, take Ebay off the homepage and stop blogging until after September 26. With the LSATs looming in the near future I am cutting myself off so I can focus clearly for the exam. As much as I'd love to be wining, dining and dressing up, my schedule consists much more of studying, sleeping and drinking lots of coffee. If I have a moment I will try to post but until then, au revoir! Wish me luck!


Mad about the Early Sixties

Now don't get me wrong, the late sixties own my heart for their political ideals, music, openness and bohemian creativity. Not to mention some seriously amazing examples of breaking down fashion boundaries that had never been seen before. But since I started watching, no make that inhaling, episodes of Mad Men I have made some realizations about my own personal fashion ethic. The women during this time period took certain things very seriously, and rightfully so. Here are my fashion revelations based on some seriously feminine ladies of the era.

1.) Wear clothes that fit YOU. It doesn't matter if you are wearing what's 'in' if it doesn't suit your shape. Emphasize your best attributes and the confidence it builds will do the rest.
2.) Take your measurements. Do you have a high waist? Long torso? Narrow hips? All of these matter when it comes to flattering your figure.
3.) Being ultra skinny is not always the most attractive body type. As my mother has said, "Only a dog wants a bone." Curves are sexy, the hourglass figure was not a passing trend. Accentuate your assets so to speak.
4.) Leave something to the imagination. Plunging necklines and miniskirts get attention, fitted pencil skirts and feminine blouses commit you to memory.
5.) Red. Lipstick. Wear it will a neutral face palate.
6.) Spend some time on your hair. Of course au natural can be very beautiful, but once in a while polish your look. Whether its defined curls, smooth and pulled back, side swept bangs or a demure headband, a finished look is very refined.
7.) Don't over accessorize. In this day and age it seems everyone is wearing bangles up to their elbows, purses the size of a suitcase, layered necklaces...all at once! Rather, once in a while try going the other direction. A ladylike watch, simple clutch and classic pumps can be equally as chic.
8.) Add some flounce to your step. The full skirts with drawn in waists flatter ladies' figures in such a simple way.
9.) Pale is pretty. Yes, I know coming from me this may seem like a stretch, but seriously, pale flawless skin is ethereal when done right. Put the bronzer away, even just for the night!
10.) Structured lingerie. I'm not saying go out and buy yourself a girdle, in fact I am saying please do not! But slips, nighties and other satiny, lacy items should not be saved for special occasions.

Women have come a long way. Thank goodness! But that doesn't mean we have to sparsely adorn ourselves with the lady like items. Women today may have broken the glass ceiling, but maybe that means we don't have to break the glass slipper, too.




I apologize for my lack of posting in the last week but my life has grown very full recently. Benjamin is back from Copenhagen! And when I'm not with him, I'm studying for these pesky LSATs. I promised myself the last time the letters S-A-T would enter my vocabulary, let alone my reality was circa 2004. But here I am, practicing. So needless to say my absence is unfortunately due to a lack of my raisons d'etre, unless I decide to add infinite amounts of logic to the list. Then I can pose inane logical dilemmas and ask you to find the assumption. Then you will all cease to read my blog ever again. Not a chain of events I am hoping to replicate!

However, my time at the Montclair Public Library has encouraged me to borrow DVDs. After receiving my shiny new key chain friendly library card, I wandered into the film section and was pleasantly surprised by the collection of French films and old Hollywood classics. After going back and forth between The Red Balloon and Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, I spotted Petulia.

Last night, Ben and I watched it with a mixture of what the heck is going on here and how amazing are these scenes from 1960s San Francisco. The jigsaw puzzle effect was in fact puzzling, while making what could have been a cliche plot much, much more intriguing. Further, Petulia, a socialite originally from England, had the most fabulous early 1960s outfits. Her little white heels and pastel swing dresses with big bouffants and bangs made me want to drink mai tais at a Formica counter. The portrayal of hippy culture in the film was less than flattering at times but conveyed its vibrancy and ubiquity, I would have liked to see more. I guess my obsession with psychedelic art from the Summer of Love has made a lasting impression on me. A confusing, yet well crafted film with lots of interesting imagery made this a worthwhile watch.


Aux Paris..

I am missing Paris so much today it is intolerable! What I wouldn't give to walk around the corner to my favorite boulangerie, pick up a baguette and some brie at the fromagerie and sit down in the park and people watch. I'm not sure if listening to this song helps or makes it worse, the video is not the best but the song puts me in a Parisian state of mind..


When in Nice...

The winding, narrow streets of Nice were laden with small places to eat with black chalk board signs every few feet. One dish that was ubiquitous was the Nicoise Tuna Salad. The simple, peasant dish most likely originated from the housewives of Nice. Julia Child made this salad a widespread classic and controversially, although I think beneficially, added lettuce and potatoes. The dish is full of flavor from the tuna itself, as well as a variety of herbs found in the region that really add to the integrity of the vegetables. Today, Americans tend to enjoy this salad with seared Ahi tuna. While I prefer it with Ahi, it can also be delightful with regular canned light tuna. I have made this salad for my family a couple of times this summer and it is always refreshing, flavorful and reminds me of my time in Nice.
1/2 pound red potatoes
1/4 pound haricots verts
2 Ahi Tuna steaks or 1 can of solid white albacore tuna
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 rosemary sprgs
1 large head of Bibb lettuce
2 teaspoons chopped parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon leaves
1/2 pound tomatoes
1/3 cup Nicoise olives halved and seeded
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced

Bring 2 medium pots of salted water to boil. Add potatoes to 1 pot and blanch until tender (5-6 minutes). Drain in a collander and pat try, set aside. Add green beans to other pot and blanch until tender (4-5 minutes). Drain in colander and pat dry.

If using Ahi tuna, cut into 4 equal portions, season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the rosemary sprigs and tuna, sear over high heat about 30 seconds per side. Remove from pan and dice tuna into 1 inch pieces.
If using canned, simply shop into smaller pieces and set aside.

Tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces and combine with parsley and tarragon, toss with dressing to coat, salt and pepper as needed. Toss the potatoes and green beans in 1/4 cup of dressing. Add vegetables, eggs and tuna and serve.

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a medium bowl mash, salt, pepper and garlic. Add lemon juice and mustard, whisk well. Add oil in a steady stream while whisking. Add shallots, capers and Worcestershire, whisk. Adjust seasoning to taste. Make before salad and refrigerate until ready to use.


Bohemian Bourgeois

If fashion is a culmination of the times and we are wearing generations of ideas, then shouldn't our wardrobes be a reflection of the building blocks that have enabled designers to reach where they are today? Lately I have been dreaming of vintage Chanel sailor sweaters, Dior blazers, Diane von Furstenburg wrap dresses, Lanvin trousers, Balmain cocktail dresses, Pucci head scarves, Missoni belted sweaters, Tods flats...oh the list goes on. If offered pieces from their Fall 09 collections, I would not refuse, but to be honest I would prefer pieces from through out the decades. Each of these designers has pieces that they envisioned and crafted into idyllic silhouettes like Plato's ideal forms. As in the most perfect ballet flats, or the most form fitting pencil skirt. These visions have been crafted carefully and the pieces have been perfected by generations of designers. Personally, I'll take the originals any day. There is a name for this, coined by the New York Times in 2005 as "Bohemian Bourgeois", it is an eclectic combination of vintage designer and new in a way that rejects the capitalist materialism of the the current 21st century while embracing that of the 20th. Whether this is logical or simply an excuse for the trustafarians of my generation to excuse their desire for designer pieces, I love the look. The look I am envisioning is not the bag lady chic made famous by the Olsen ladies in their NYU days, it is more of a Sienna Miller meets Kate Moss with a Parisian socialite twist. Think yachting on the Riviera in the 1960s meets Ivy League university in the 1980s. There is something so marvelous about modern vintage mixed with key basics from the current season. Picture an Elizabeth and James white T-shirt, with a 1980s gold and white woven Chanel jacket, Kova and T leather leggings and knee high gladiator sandals with a Bottega Venetta envelope clutch....ooh lala! While these vintage pieces can be pricey, you might be surprised at what you can find if you look hard enough, and designer is relative. These key pieces are a life long effort on my part, there is no instant gratification in collecting such a wardrobe!
Here are just a few items I would LOVE to see in my closet...
1970s Emilio Pucci Caftan robe dress
Vintage Chanel Silk and Wool cardigan
Christian Dior 1980s Collegiate double-breasted blazer
1960s Emilio Pucci Velvet Full-length maxi skirt
1980s Gucci black leather riding boots
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent red suede booties


The most beautiful sound on earth

Yes, I may be dabbling lightly in the pool of self pity. Je suis malade au cours de l'été. When I need to close my eyes and forget my troubles for the moment, I listen to David Oistrakh play Claire de lune recorded in Paris, 1962, with Frida Bauer on piano. Close your eyes and enjoy.


The Hepburn cure

On top of some serious stress from the LSAT, (Trying to get into Columbia Law is eating away at my soul...), I woke up this morning feeling like my brain had been cooked in a frying pan and covered in goosebumps. The flu in August? Not possible. I simply have too much studying to do to entertain such negative thoughts. About 15 pages into my logical reasoning practice questions, my temples throbbing overtook my capacity for logical..anything. Goodness this is going to be a rough couple months of studying, I thought to myself. Finally, I succumbed to the feverish headache that I had been plaguing me all day long. After a bout of hysterics...why now?! why when I have the most important test of my life to be studying for!? Next, the anger at my body betraying me on such short notice; otherwise I could have ingested some Vitamin C and Echinacea. Germs can be so inconsiderate that way. So I swathed myself in terry cloth and blankets and laid down on the lime green velvet couch of my parents living room to watch something cheerful and non-LSAT panic inducing. And there she was, like an old friend. Audrey Hepburn in that amazing black dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy for the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Shoes in the fridge, crawling along the fire escape in her bathrobe, only Audrey could bring me this much joy in my feverish, anxious state.

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul Varjak: Sure.
Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!


Dog Days of summer

After my first practice LSAT this morning I was in desperate need of some sun soaked fun. Luckily, the weather decided to cooperate and provide us with a much needed summer day. The afternoon sun glowed and my concerns about test scores were put at bay for the afternoon as I read The New York Times magazine and watched my pup frolic about. Because I, like every other dog owner without children, take excessive amounts of pictures of the sweet pup, I am posting them for you to (hopefully) enjoy.