Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Let Me Eat Cake

This summer I dined almost exclusively on cake.

My whole family (all five of us humans plus our golden retriever) had a summer birthday, so we went from cake to cake to cake.

There were ice cream cakes, failed homemade red-velvet cakes (we forgot the baking soda, hence the ice cream cake), make-up-for-it triple-layer-with-peach-filling by fancy decorator cakes, ridiculously good strawberry shortcake in New Jersey, chocolate cakes, carrot cakes, fruit-custard-tarts-masquerading-as-cakes cakes, and I suppose a cupcake or two for good measure.

My summer birthday triple-layer cake was frosted like this one.
 They were all delicious and I felt like Marie Antoinette via Sofia Coppola's cinematic vision--all blue and pink pastel in both mind and body.

But wait!  My very favourite cake of all time was served some four decades ago.  Purchased at Enterprise Bakery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island,this special cake marked Miss Antoinette (err--Miss C's) first birthday.  And the photo (far above) is even all blue and pink pastel.

From New York's Cupcake Cafe, *way* before those Magnolia upstarts.

A good cup of Tim Hortons' coffee to top it off? What's that you say? *Who* bought Tim?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beyonce, Michaela, and Anna's First Vogue UPDATED!

I tuned in to the VMAs late, late, late last night, just in time to catch the last act, 20-some minutes of Beyonce singing and dancing.

My major takeaway from the performance was that Beyonce's bejeweled bodysuit and flowy locks reminded me so much of Michaela in LaCroix on Anna Wintour's first American Vogue.

I loved that jacket and would happily wear the 2014 bodysuit too. (Wasn't I just blogging about Donna Karan's Five Easy Pieces, the foundation of which is a bodysuit?)

Oh, alright, alright, alright (conjuring Mssr. McConaughey). It seems that Vogue has this cover on its mind too.  The day after I posted my "separated at birth" pair,* ran a photo and story of the "offspring du jour," RHOBH daughter Gigi Hadid, in an homage to Michaela.

Great minds and all that.  But didn't Vogue once tell me I was "too intellectual" to work there? I guess someone's either dumbing down or someone's smartening up. Wait--am I complimenting myself here?

*or "separated at girth" pair, recalling all the fuss over gorgeous Michaela's unflat tummy. Sigh.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Dressing Gown" Isn't Dressing Down

Saturday I woke up feeling ill--a persistent cold had turned in to something worse, and so I spent a feverish few more hours zooming in and out of sleep before physically rising.

But Saturday was a big day chez nous, with both parents called into service, so I rallied and made two 75-minute round trips to transfer one child to/from a party. That evening, just I was ready to call it a night, another child needed a physician visit--pronto--so I made that 75-minute round trip again, also spending time in an urgent-care clinic (all is just fine, but I'm glad we went).

Today, then, on Sunday, I tagged Mr. C for a morning activity with our youngest so I could sleep. And when I did wake up, I decided that today would be an excellent day to spend swanning about in my dressing gown. All. Day. Long.

I adore my dressing gown.  It's made from a variety of Liberty prints and was part of a collaboration that Liberty had with Saks well over a decade ago.  It "sort of" resembles the gown in the top picture (from 13Threads via Etsy) and makes me feel like I am a walking Bloomsbury painting.

But as my dressing gown is 10-13 years old, it will need to be replaced eventually.  I'd've bought that one from 13Threads, but it's sold out.  My heart started to flutter when I was one on Purl Soho's website, but should have realized that the gown was simply an example of what one could make from a pattern.  I like to make quilts but I do not like to make clothes.  So I guess I have a quest.

I also adore the term "dressing gown."  It's ever so more romantic than the functional "bathrobe" or the frumpy "housecoat." These terms tend to be used interchangeably these days, so I choose the former. Do any gentle readers have a dressing gown that they love? When/why do you wear it?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cloning Klum's Style: Project Runway's Impossible Task?

Last night to wind down I watched most of the Project Runway episode wherein designers were tasked with making a red-carpet look for Heidi Klum to wear at the upcoming Emmys. Ms. Klum would be one of the judges selecting the dress.

This is, I believe, an impossible task, because I have always thought that Heidi Klum has really bad personal taste. 

But wait!  I want to invoke Diana Vreeland here, who once said (and I paraphrase) that it's better to have bad taste than no taste. 

One of the three top looks represented bad taste, thought I.  It was Amanda's gown, with a bodice covered in some sort of ric-rac-y beaded trim stuff that looked stiff.  Zac Posen was having none of it, though he did think that the back of the dress echoed Geoffrey Beene in a favorable manner.

Another top three look was in quite good taste.  Kini's black gown with curved beaded inlay was elegant and lovely. It didn't win.

The third gown--and the winning look--was somewhere in between. One could say that Sean's layered ombre fringe gown was on the edge of bad taste, and so I shall. 

So what do gentle readers think?  Does the fringe dress represent a foray into good taste or is it an example of Ms. Klum being consistently bad?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Travels in Color

This summer in New York I returned home with two purchases from two different shops that surprised me at the time. Only now, when I open them up, do I see what they have in common.  It's all about color and whimsy. 

The first is a (child's?) notebook from Lapin & Me, which I bought in Soho from the children's department of an otherwise grown-up boutique.Was I drawn to the ears (see my avatar)? Peut etre. It was the color that hooked me, as these shades of sherbet pink and aqua-blue were too delicious to pass up.

Second on my curiosity list is fabric from Liberty (found at Purl). On one hand, Liberty fabric is a no-brainer, as any gentle reader knows.  I adore the florals and have made many a quilt and bunting from them.  But this print, called "The Isle of Wight," is novelty, not floral, so, again, it's the color--pale aqua with a hunt of mauve-y-pink--that catches my eye.

And I would write in my book and sew with my fabric while staying here, one to add to my list of (little) pink houses:

The Isle of Wight is, generally speaking, a patchwork quilt on its own. It reminds me of an aerial view of Prince Edward Island, except with white cliffs instead of red. Here are some images to travel with via color.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Of Capsules, Time, Wardrobe, and Other

Today my children begin school, but for my eldest the day day is even more special, as it marks the beginning of not only high school but of a uniform-free wardrobe.

Here's a time-capsule type of memory: my experience was the reverse. In Grade 10 (which marked the beginning of high school in Canada) I moved to a uniform, complete with hand-tied necktie.  It was soooo easy.

Because before that, I remember spending an enormous amount of time choosing my outfit for the following day--trying on item after item, accepting and rejecting looks over and over again.  My uniform was a capsule wardrobe, if you will: five easy pieces before Bob Rafelson TMed the concept.  (Or maybe it was Donna Karan's seven easy pieces, also TMed. Note those iconic bodysuits, above.  I had a couple.)

One dress, many ways.

No matter--the limited choice was, as noted above, easy.

Today I still follow that capsule concept: I have little clothing, but clothes I really like.  Dresses are key, because they're easier than easy.  But with the advent of high school and its style challenges?  I may need another sort of capsule.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Just Fryed"

The above phrase was quite common when I was growing up, used in a number of contexts--"fried" could mean "exhausted," from excessive intellectual or physical work, or it might refer to other kinds of excesses.

I was feeling "fried" last night, due to a combination of things: returning home from a four-week vacation with a miserable cold; trying to sort out my three children's school and extra-curricular activities; getting ready for my own school year; encountering 84+ degree days while living in a historic house without super-duper modern central air.

One of my children is entering Grade 7, and her preparations reminded me of another kind of "Fried"--the emergence of the highly desirable Frye Campus Boots when I was in my Grade 7.  I remember the girls who had them with the western stitching; they'd roll up their wide-leg jeans and wear them as a sort of culotte over the boots; other times they'd tuck them in and gently balloon the pants over the rim.  I LOVED that look and desperately wanted a pair. 

 But my parents denied me the boots, probably thinking that the price tag was too high for a tween with growing feet. (In turn I just denied my Grade 7 girl a pair of Coach wedge booties for a similar reason, plus the high heel.)  So I eventually bought, on sale, a "sort-of" Frye boot that was perfectly attractive, but had a zip up the side. Still, I culotted and ballooned with the best of them and made those boots my own.

While in Soho this summer, Mr. C and I ventured into the Frye store and these boots caught my eye once again.  Because they were the pair that got away? Because they represent the remembrance of things past? Or because they'd be perfect for fall and beyond?

I'm still my parents' daughter, though, and would find it difficult to buy something on a nostalgic lark.  But I am asking myself whether I'd like to get Fryed this fall.