Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Self Help Shelf – three books to consider when you're down

November's been a bit of a rough month. A bit down in the dumps, a bit overwhelmed easily, a bit antisocial. Maybe I'm still coming down from Disney. Maybe I'm just not dealing well with these early dark evenings. But it happens, and it's fine. It's just part of the highs and lows of life.

But it's probably why I've been reading so many "self help" books lately. I say "self help" instead of just self help because I'm not entirely comfortable with this category of reading. It feels too Oprah or New Age-y or something. But I'm a big believer that the unexamined life is not worth living, so I think gaining some perspective, seeing a new take on the things you're feeling is never a bad thing. So I've been reading a lot of non-fiction.

Maybe if you're feeling similarly blue, you can queue up these books in your library holds list too.

My boyfriend was pretty horrified to come home from a NYC jaunt to find me reading Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson. But he shouldn't have been—this book is helpful for any relationship, not just for unhappy couples.

Every relationship, whether it be with your partner, family members, friends or coworkers, needs give and take, and this book helps navigate the strategies to smooth that tension. It shows you why splitting things (like chores) down the middle can cause more friction than less, using the economic principle of comparative advantage. It shows why bartering can be an effective motivator for easing destructive patterns. And it does this with a thorough and good-humoured explanation of the economics at work, and three examples from real couples to illustrate good solutions.

I originally picked up this book because while my relationship is ticking along pretty nicely, we have hiccups like everyone. My goal was to recognize the warning signs and to have some resolution tactics in place for when problems inevitably crop up. What I found instead was a new perspective on how to evaluate the difficulties faced in every relationship, and how looking at the situation with some objectivity can help create a happier, better solution for all parties involved. It's one of those books I might end up buying even though I borrowed it to read, because I think it'll be helpful for reference when I'm facing an issue.

I've been curious to read some Eckhart Tolle for a while, so I put A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose in my queue a couple weeks ago and forgot about it until my library hold notice came through.

You get a strange sense reading this book—the voice is drowsy, somewhat clinical, a little too distant. There's a lot of circular speaking and then bam, a big idea distilled neatly into a paragraph. It feels what I'd imagine drinking the Kool-Aid of a calm, charismatic cult leader would feel like—I found myself being drawn to read it even though I knew it was boring. And say! That's kinda what this is.

Much of A New Earth is about the ego and how it causes suffering, which yeah, he sold me on. I believe we base our identity on thoughts. I believe that consumerism and unhealthy habits ramp up when we are feeling most vulnerable. I believe that our easily offended ego is responsible for a lot of social anxiety and self-loathing. I believe it. What makes me uncomfortable is the idea of striving for ego death, which much of this book seems to be lauding. I think desire can be a really good thing, especially as a creative person. I think taking pride in yourself and pushing yourself to try harder when you're disappointed can be good in small doses. I think the absence of the ego sounds really deadened and numb.

So I took this one with a heap of salt. Keep your ego in check, but don't kill it entirely. Be aware of its power and how much unhappiness it can cause, but only so you can get to a happy point again. Sure, you may be more at peace with a dead ego, but whatever—I'd rather have peace when I'm dead.*

I'm actually still in the middle of this last read, but it's probably the most effective so far. Called The How of Happiness, author Sonja Lyubomirsky uses scientific studies and insights to explain how to cultivate more happiness in your life. The core of her theory is the 40 percent of happiness that is affected by behaviour.

So, used to blaming your unhappiness on your job? Your singledom? Your lack of finances? Your situation only accounts for 10 percent of your total happiness. Your upbringing, inherited traits and any chemical imbalances account for 50 percent (your set happiness point). The only thing you can truly effect is that remaining 40, behavioural percent, and Lyubomirsky suggests 12 activities that are proven to be a) the habits of naturally happier people and b) effective when adopted by the less smile endowed. She even has all kinds of quizzes to figure out how you're truly feeling, what methods are best for you, and how to track your progress.

The changes aren't huge—things like have gratitude in your everyday, dedicate time to "flow" activities (the ones you lose yourself in)—but her dedication to finding the strategies that best suit you is admirable. Keeping a gratitude journal isn't something I'd likely maintain (or even start—that just reeks of sentimentality to me), and she admits as such. She admits that all tactics won't work for everyone (and even quotes that exact reaction as her own!), and I like that. The activities I'll be trying are making time for "flow" activities, avoiding overthinking, and developing strategies for coping.

So there you have it. Three books, three different approaches to problem-solving when life gets you down. Have you guys read any of these? Have any book recommendation you think I might enjoy?

*Note: this review was obviously written by Amanda's ego.

Monday, November 28, 2011

5 Quick Tips to Brighten Your Monday

Happy Monday morning, friends. If you didn't notice, Amanda has been posting solo the past little while, because I've had to deal with some annoying shit with our apartment (which I promise I'll tell you about when I've separated myself a bit more from the situation). But I'm back in full swing, and ready to share with you the 5 things that are making my Monday morning not a total drag.

1. This Queen music video. I want this like once a day, mostly in the morning, and it lifts my spirits. It helps if you dance along to it, seriously.

2. The possibility of W.E. being good. It looks beautiful, and despite the more modern day aspect that we could probably all do without, could be a real winner. Yes, even though it's from Madonna. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

3. The Woody Allen documentary on PBS (or that you can download illegally, like I plan to do). Amanda saw part I and said that it's incredible.

4. This packing list, compiled by Joan Didion in her busiest reporting days, of the essentials she would need if she had to fly out the door and stay out for a few days. It seems so simple doesn't it?

5. These beautiful calendars made by Geoff and Anabela of Fieldguided. These have become annual must-haves for me.

So cheer up! It's only 5 more days until the weekend.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I just can't help myself, the list of things to make grows ever longer. For Christmas, may I have another set of hands please?

These Paint Pail Mittens from the Purl Bee are so cute I could puke.

After making one to give away, Park & Cube has inspired me to make more of these bow know scarves. Fine gauge, super soft yarn and a larger size? Yes please. (This is the pattern I originally used.)

via Maiya Mayhem

I've never handpainted yarn before but I've always been curious to try. This method is so smart – mix up your dye (aka Kool-Aid) and freeze in an ice cube tray, and simply let 'em melt. Brilliant, and easy enough that I might actually get to this sometime soon.
(On a very much related note, any Canadians/Torontonians have a good source for Kool-Aid with no sugar added? I've heard it's difficult to find.)

via The Pioneer Woman

Americans, please stop making me so hungry for turkey. It's not fair, you know? I could eat only this panini from The Pioneer Woman using leftover turkey and cranberry sauce 4 daze.

via Hungry Girl Por Vida

I'll probably end up making these herbed turkey burgers with cranberry sauce and goat cheese instead to satisfy my craving (though I won't be making the buns. Seriously, who bakes the buns?)

via Steamy Kitchen

I'm really excited for this pan-fried pumpkin gnocci for a few reasons: 1. it features a brown butter and sage sauce, 2. the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find, 3. the instructions look really doable. God, Steamy Kitchen, you make it look so easy.

Here's hoping for a wonderful weekend, filled with making good stuff,
meeting good folk, eating good foods.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

American Horror Story or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

American Horror Story is not a perfect show. Far from it. I don't even think it's a good show. But I'll be damned if I'm not hooked.

I was honestly not expecting it. After all, this is a show from the creators a Glee, a show that was fun for a few weeks until every episode ended in a cliched lesson about acceptance or tolerance, wrapped up in a saccharine musical number. Remember back in the days when we all though it was going to be Freaks & Geeks meets Election with the occasional pop number? Sigh.


Anyway, the conceit of AHS is that the Harmon family (Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, their teenaged daughter, Taissa Farmiga, and their Mogwai dog) move to LA to start anew after she has a miscarriage and he has an affair. They move into a gorgeous Victorian with a darkly colorful past (don't they all?), and meet a few other characters with histories entangled in the house – the neighbours, Jessica Lange and her daughter with Downs Syndrome, Jamie Brewer; the troubled teenaged boy, Evan Peters; the housekeeper, Frances Conroy; the man with the burned face, Denis O'Hare. Cue mayhem.

AHS suffers from a lot of things. It suffers from terrible writing, with some pretty sexist ideas and a boring, thickskulled couple at its core. It suffers from an over-reliance on referencing the horror movies before it, with all the subtlety of a kid begging for a gold star. It's all over the place and moves too fast. Dylan McDermott sucks.


But when it gets it, it nails it. The scares are played straight (unlike the campiness of a show like True Blood) and can be genuinely unnerving – the second episode, "Home Invasion", scared the hell out of me with its sense of malice and unease. They don't always go for the easy jump scares either, drawing reference to modern American horrors like Columbine with an unexpected degree of both sympathy and terror. I had a hard time getting to sleep after marathoning the first four episodes, half expecting the black latex gimp to appear in the doorway. Even the grinding sounds of the title sequence are really unsettling.

The most refreshing thing about it is how I can never predict what's going to happen in a given episode. It's so batshit insane, with such a crazy mishmash of horror tropes, that every episode is a crapshoot. Is someone going to get an axe to the gut? Are we going to see that clawed thing in the basement again? Is the gimp going bang Mrs. Coach? Who the fuck knows, but I'm so there.

Plus, there's something really great about how this show loves to skirt the edge of good taste. So many, too many shows feel so sanitized, so whitewashed by network cronies that all the punch is taken out. We are ADULTS, people. This show has already had: someone frankensteining their child; a mother being deeply, unspeakably cruel to her disabled daughter; a woman romancing herself with a little masterbation; a few rapes; an abortion treated without judgement; a woman having her boob eaten off by her kid; lots of babies in jars. And we're only at episode 7! Hurrah!


And the actors are actually really good, for the most part. Connie Britton's part only works because she's the one playing it – in a lesser actress's hands, she would become the shrill, one-note shrew wife that's written. Jessica Lange is magnificent, all plotting poise and sinister graciousness, and so multi-dimensional and capable of anything, she almost feels part of a different show. The most realistic relationship is actually between the two teenagers, who would normally be the most insufferable, but I think that's mostly due to Taissa Farmiga's believability – she's often given the least motivation for her actions, but somehow, she sells it, and has become the audience's most relatable character to boot. And I LOVE the character of Moira, how her dual appearances lend every scene she's in with a dark charge of instability. (Actually, the strength of its actresses really carries this show – it's too bad the writers seem to want to centre their storylines on being screwed over by men.)

The best comparison I've heard (I think via The AV Club) is that it's a cross between The Amityville Horror and Lost, which is pretty apt, especially considering how the house really is the star (like Lost's Island was). The plot lines dedicated to the house's history are usually where the show starts really clicking along organically, and fans of stories with elaborate mythologies (again, like Lost or even Twin Peaks) will enjoy trying to piece together what's happening.

Really, I can't believe a show like this hasn't been done before – the best horror films are ones where the information is parcelled out slowly, building tension and a prickling sense of the rug being pulled out from under you – a perfect format for TV. Now, granted, this one is moving much quicker than that (they've been trying to sell the house since episode three), but at this point, I don't want them to move any slower. I want them to keep piling on the crazy and light it on fire. I want this to be a twisted funhouse of a haunted house. Sure, it won't last long that way (and it's renewed for a second season), but really, watching it get set to detonate is too much fun.


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: November Luxe Box

And just like that, it's time for my second Luxe Box. I really enjoy receiving these – it's such a lovely little surprise to come home to, and they're so well-executed. It's a nice little indulgence for myself, living like a beauty editor for just a day per month.

Let's look at the goods.

A large sample vial of Lise Watier Plumpissimo Le Gloss. The colour I got was "Nude," a pale rose with gold shimmer. I liked that it had a brush applicator but found it picked up too much product. I'm not a regular lipgloss wearer, and this had many of the characteristics I dislike about gloss – it felt goopy, thick, and overly flavoured. I felt like a Kardashian with it on. It might grow on me if I'm careful to apply less, or maybe I'll just give mine to Laura, who dug it as a nineties throwback.

Two samples of Paco Rabanne perfume: Black XS and Black XS for Her. I really like receiving perfume samples since I'm currently looking for a new scent. The bottles these came in had their highs and lows – nice heavy metal with little bag clasps, but the packaging looked tacky. The men's bottle has a fliptop like a Zippo lighter, which I really liked, and smells clean and woodsy, with hints of lemon, cinnamon and amber.

The women's scent is a dark fruity floral, heavy on the rose and patchouli. It's a little bit spicy and a little gourmand, with vanilla and cocoa notes. I'm digging it right now, but it does smell a bit young to me. Not one I'll purchase in full size, but I'm glad to hang out with it for a little while.

I'm actually really surprised they didn't send out the latest Paco Rabanne scents, 1 Million and Lady Million, if only because I've seen them promoting those pretty heavily on fragrance shelves.

I received a little pot of Lise Watier Couleur Folle Mineral Loose Powder Eyeshadow in "Folie Soleil", a shimmery yellow gold. I've been needing a replacement for my go-to gold shadow, so I was happy to receive this. Typical loose eyeshadow application – it tends to fall all over the place so I probably wouldn't choose it, but it looks like pretty pollen and I'm not overly picky. Because of the messiness, I wouldn't recommend this to people who like a precise application (or you can wet it, I think? I don't know from experience, so you tell me). Check out what it looks like on me, smudged on with my finger.

I LOVED the packaging for this Benefit B. Right Moisture Prep Toning Lotion – the glass is thick and the colour palette is reminiscent of shells and the beach, so I'm more than okay with adding this to my shelf. I used it before using my usual Weleda Almond Lotion and I noticed the moisturizer sunk in quicker. I don't know if it would be worth buying a full sized version, but it's a nice little treat and I'll enjoy using up the bottle.

Despite how much I love tea, I've despised Teaopia for a while because I hate their branding SO MUCH. It's just so awful – tacky tribal tattoo-inspired packaging and a garish black and orange colour scheme. I think they even use the dreaded Papyrus. I keep seeing new locations pop up whenever I turn my back though, so it's obviously working for some tea drinkers.

Though, this little sample tin of their Cactus Fig green tea blend isn't as ugly as it could be, and it's actually a pretty big sample – I'd imagine enough to make at least 5 cups of tea. Loose Button also included 3 paper sleeves in case you don't own an infuser. It's a mixture of organic Sencha green tea, aloe vera, fig pieces, sandalwood and orange flowers, and does, as promised, taste earthy and sweet all at once. It's a very nice green tea, but seeing as I'm more of a black and rooibos drinker, this small tin will likely last me all winter.

I also received a card for 20% off my next Teaopia purchase, which, holla at me if you want my code – my heart belongs with Davids.

I received Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex as an extra this month, with a little card stating I'd be contacted by Olay to provide them with feedback directly. Sure, Olay! I can't believe more companies aren't doing this, asking us obviously willing folk to be their guinea pigs.

This stuff absorbed quickly and left my face feeling very smooth. It really smells like conditioner to me, which isn't a bad thing, but was a little unexpected. I can't speak to its effect on wrinkles, but my skin overall feels very nice. I think this is a smaller sample than I'm used to receiving in the Luxe Box, even considering other products from Olay. I don't think this'll last me long, but I'll enjoy it for now.

Overall, this box had a lot of stuff in it, but it didn't feel as satisfying as October's did. I guess a lot of the products weren't particularly suited to my tastes. Such is the nature of the Luxe Box, I guess – you win some, you lose some. I saw other people received full sized Essie nail polishes (I know Laura did, that lucky duck) and another friend received a Moroccan Oil styling cream. Hopefully I'll have better luck next month.

As for the samples from my October Luxe Box, I'm still in total love with the Moroccanoil, which I use probably once a week, just to run through my damp ends when they're feeling dry. I use the Olay Pro-X eye cream when I remember to and do notice less undereye darkness, and I use the bronzer and Chloe perfume a couple times a week.

If you're interested in signing up for a Luxe Box,
I'd very much appreciate if you'd use my referral code.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life of Late, the Second

Alas, I am busy as a bee today, so I've got a few recommends to tide you over.

Rebecca Coriam: Lost at Sea is the story of how one young woman (and over 171 people like her) have disappeared off cruise ships in the past eleven years. Coriam was a crew member on a Disney ship, and details about her probable death have been obscured by the company, the lack of investigation and the nature of international waters. Food for thought – especially those statistics on the higher instance of sexual assault aboard cruise ships. Thanks to Karen for the tipoff.

via Vanessa Jackman
I've been wearing my hair like these backstage Tory Burch SS 2012 models for the past few days. Perfect for hair that's a day or two dirty – you just use a bit of hairspray and backteasing just near the middle of your head, smooth the strands overtop and tighten your hair elastic at the sides. Easy peasy and perfectly polished. Many more photos available at Vanessa Jackman's ever lovely website.

via Rebecca Like Nails
One of my goals for this weekend is to try this pretty watercolour nail tutorial. I can see it being very lovely with a palette akin to Starry Night or maybe one of these beautiful paintings by Michael Cina. Plus it looks way easier than the marbling technique that I never had enough patience to try.

via Closet Cooking
Speaking of plans for this weekend, I'm about to eat my face off. Tomorrow I have plans to make these mexican baked eggs, and later I'm probably going to indulge in a pot of this french onion soup and this roasted beet salad. It's going to be a magnificent symphony of food.
via Smitten Kitchen

I've had to take a break from knitting as my tendonitis has flared up again, and it couldn't be more poorly timed. It's the holiday season! The time to be making cozy, soft, cushiony, knit-with-love goodies! So, aside from babying my arm in alternating hot and ice baths, I've been planning what's next on my needles. In my dream world, that includes these goodies (all with patterns!)
Gina's Brioche Cowl via The Purl Bee
Marian via Ravelry
Short Row Sweater via The Purl Bee
Crocheted Chunky Circle Scarf via People Webs
Love Socks via Ravelry

Laura and I are going to see Melancholia and I'm megapsyched. Sure, it's going to be depressing, but it's also supposed to be sumptuous and gorgeous. We can soothe our rattled nerves at the Grace Kelly exhibit we're also checking out. Baby's first Lars Von Trier!

I'm about to start an extra long weekend, and I just can't wait for it (tomorrow!).
Have a great weekend guys, and I hope it's filled with lots of the good stuff.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Easy Morning Muffins

Mornings are always stressful when you work 9 to 5 (or 10 to 5... or freelance from your bed), and eating breakfast isn't always a top priority. I thought I'd share with you a little trick I've got up my sleeve that allows me to sleep in a little most mornings and still have a bite before I fly out the door.

I am totally disabled when it comes to baking, but these are easy, fast, delicious, and healthy—so they'll start your day off right.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Muffins
A 100% Laura Kathleen original recipe

Make a batch of these babies for the week. Stick 'em in the freezer and toast one or two in the morning. You can spread some butter or jam on them or just eat them as is while you are running for the streetcar.

1. Preheat your oven to 325.

2. Select three or four or your brownest, most overripe bananas and mash them with a fork.

You'll want the mashed bananas to look like this. Make sure you leave some chunks in there.

3. Melt about half a cup of butter. This is never glamorous. Do whatever you have to do to get that butter into liquid form.

4. Take all these ingredients—that's 1 cup of sugar, 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and vanilla, and one egg—and mix them together with the bananas. Chocolate chips are another welcome addition.

The mixture should look like this.

5. Grease a muffin tin, fill 'em up, and put the delicious mixture into the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, but keep an eye on them.

6. Tell your boyfriend that the only way he is allowed to eat any is if he cleans up and does the dishes. There are usually a lot of dishes and a big mess involved when I make these muffins.

7. When the muffins are done you'll be able to tell because the smell will be so overwhelming that you can't wait anymore. You'll also be able to stick a fork in and have it be fairly clean when it comes out. I like my muffins a little more gooey than that, though.

8. Eat one of those bad boys right away. They are so tasty when first out of the oven. Freeze the rest and look forward to getting up every morning so you can have another.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gift Guide: Dream On

If you know me, you know I love my bed.

In university, I used to entertain guests in my bed (not in THAT way, guttermind). I am willing to sacrifice the precious few hours of sleep I get for like, maybe five things, tops. If I don't have to leave the house again upon returning after work, I change into pajamas as soon as I walk in the door. There is nothing – NOTHING – I would rather do in this world than sleep late every day and spend a few leisurely hours reading, or maybe marathoning my latest TV show addiction from under the covers. If I could work from bed on the daily, why, I might even start believing in a god.


Are you like this? Do you have a friend or family member like this? Because I am telling you now, as a PSA, unless you had a really stellar, personal gift idea for them, the best possible present a bed-lover could get is something to improve their bed experience.

It's so obvious, isn't it? I don't know why everyone doesn't just give bed-improving gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people. They're unisex and available for every age group. We all have to sleep every day. And the best presents are ones you wouldn't get for yourself, but that improve your life somehow. Why aren't we trying to give the gift of a good night's sleep to everyone?

SO, here it goes: my top three picks for gifting the bed-lover (aka. EVERYONE) in your life.

1. Sweet sleepwear
Everyone could use another pair of jammies. You can really never have too many. You're just replacing some old moth-eaten college shirt in their PJ rotation, and if they're not willing to retire ol' holey, the new one will become their go-to set when guests stay over. See? You're doing them a good too! Pay it forward!

A knowledge of your giftee's preferences in sleepwear will definitely help, but if you're at a loss, just go for a classically styled set in a soft cotton. I'd advise avoiding flannel for guys full stop, but hey, if you know a dude who's always cold, go for it. This pair from LL Bean is made of the same oxford cloth as their button downs, which I can say from experience feels AMAZING. A nice choice for anyone of any gender.

LL Bean, $59

If you're looking to splurge on your girlfriend or your bestie, I know few women who would turn down a silk nightshirt as glorious as this one.

Victoria's Secret, $98

I don't know if you knew this about me, but I'm the oldest bitch on the block. I've been lusting over this sexless monstrosity for about two years now. I haven't ordered it myself because, whoa, sorry boyfriend, you're about to get man repelled to the max. But it is my totally serious dream to go to bed looking FLDS and swathed in flannel goodness. Actually, no, don't get this for me, because I might be tempted to wear it all day, every day. Perfect for me and for your grandma.

LL Bean, $50

2. A good pillow
Does anyone actually spend money on pillows? All the ones I have are ratty, flattened, rectangular pancakes that I try in vain to fluff. Yet I can't bring myself to buy even just one really good pillow because I would rather spend my limited funds on take-out and nail polish (what a fool am I). I suspect I am not alone.

Buy someone just one good pillow. Just one! That's all they need! They can use the pancakes to supplement it for height. Seriously, you will have a lifelong blood brother if you do this for someone. It does help if you know how someone sleeps, but no one is going to turn down an awesome pillow, regardless of how it matches their style. You can even probably find some great deals on them in department stores right now, so you're looking at the $20+ range in gifts. Choose your level of generosity.

And to completely do a 180 on that advice, there's only one kind of pillow on my wish list: a contoured memory foam pillow. They're usually around $50, but my, are they ever worth more than that.


I remember, back in my university days, my homegirl G and her girlfriend had one of these, and we would all take turns being able to use it while we hung out. I was the lowest man on the totem pole, with really no claim to the pillow except the stellar company I provide, and boy, did I feel the love whenever that pillow would get passed my way. I still dream about it, and that was six years ago (six??). I don't know a single person who doesn't like sleeping on these. I don't think those people exist.

Also, if you suffer from any kind of neck/back pain, this provides excellent support and relief. I currently have a rolled up towel in my pillowcase now to provide me with neck support, so this would improve my life as a mega health benefit. Just sayin'.

3. Slippers
The premise behind these items is simple: bring your bed with you, wherever you go. Fuzzy slippers keep your tootsies toasty and magically keep you warm all over, like you're wrapped in a duvet. Again, department stores are your friend in terms of great buys at this time of year, although you can find some really beautiful handcrafted slippers fairly easily.

If you're crafty/a knitter, you can even make them yourself! I'm partial to this felted pair by French Press Knits (the Yarn Harlot's a fan too).

French Press Pattern, $8

I have a pair I bought at the One of a Kind Show a couple years ago from Hides in Hand – they are hand washable deerskin, and I just love them to bits. I have an unlined pair which is great because I can wear them year-round, and I just add a pair of thick socks in the winter for extra warmth.

If you're looking for a super fuzzy and warm pair, these ones from LL Bean look and sound amazing for about the same price (so many five star reviews!).
LL Bean, $59

This is just the tip of the iceberg, friends: robes, throws, accent pillows...all welcome additions to a well stocked boudoir. Everyone's just going to hibernate all winter anyway – make it a little easier for them, and when it comes time for making plans again come April, they'll remember the love and warmth you bestowed upon them.

PS. don't read the comments on this thread if you ever want to sleep again, BTW.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Golden Girls Fashion pt. 2

In the second part of my Golden Girls–themed series (here's the first!) I'm bringing another Golden Girl into the present day of fashion. This time I'd like to style Blanche, the southern Belle, who is without a doubt the most brave and charismatic of the bunch when it comes to putting together a look.

Blanche and Nina Ricci: 

Blanche can get a bad reputation sometimes—it's easy to label her as self-obsessed, conceited, and narcissistic. What we should be noticing about her, however, is that despite her age she still feels comfortable in her own skin. I see Nina Ricci's Spring collection as a little bit lady-like, a little bit exhibitionist, and all self-confidence. This skirt hugs in all the right places but still has a bit of flare on the bottom—it's important to Blanche to have movement in a skirt—and though I'm sure she knows that women of a certain age should not be wearing belly-bearing tops, she would love the idea of a bra top under a satin jacket.

Though Blanche in a virginal all white outfit is almost laughable, she'd be able to pull off this outfit and hold her head up high white Dorothy and Sophia make fun. With a white pointed-toe heel, a knee-length pencil-ish skirt, and a extra layer covering the sheer-white top that that she would wear as a negligee, this is a special-occasion outfit that would look fantastic with her trademark bright lipstick . I love the touch of the little tiara on top, which is perfect for Blanche. We know as well as she does that she is a princess.

Blanche would love this little party number. A repeat from earlier with the blue and with the satin, this time the satin is ruched and has a little extra emphasis on the hips, a trait she likes to show off when she slinks across a room. The bejewelled harness-like top is perfect for a woman who likes to show off her d├ęcolletage, and the bow flirts just a little with menswear. Blanche attends many fundraiser dinners and award ceremonies, and this would be the perfect dress to sip champagne and cut a rug with her latest beau (or to sneak off with the much-younger waiter).

This is one of my favourites outfits for Blanche. I like to think of it as a very chic walk of shame. The sunglasses are necessary for her hangover, and the jacket, which the night before was used as outwear, is the only part of her outfit that she could locate on the motel foor while she scrambled to escape while her date was in the shower. Ricci's playful collection encapsulates Blanche's intentionally sexy style, and pairing it with a lot of rouge and perfume, she'd want to take the whole collection home.

Check back soon for the next instalment!

All pictures (except of Rue McClanahan) from