“There is a dark invisible workmanship - that reconciles discordant elements - and makes them move in one society” - William Wordsworth

It's strange how you find yourself changing...I used to love wondering around a good old bricks 'n mortar store but more and more my inner curmudgeon is pushing me towards the...increasingly alluring...online shopping experience.

Case in point, a spur-of-the-moment venture into Barneys yesterday...part of an on-going quest to find some dark denim jeans for Mr. Heb (6'7"...won't shop online unless 100% sure size is correct). Ever wondered what kind of outfit gets you a virtually non-existent level of service at Barneys? Allow me to answer that...


I'm not sure if it was the sheer density of pattern...or the fact that my hair was decidedly un-kempt...or maybe they just didn't like brown...but an expedition to locate some APC jeans for Mr. Heb turned into a self-service experience. In a department with (optimistically) six other people in it, no one said hello. After finding the APC area...the jeans...and the size...we then showed ourselves to the changing rooms...where someone finally appeared and asked Mr. Heb is he wanted to try something on.

Now, while I don't enjoy a constant barrage of "can I help you?" or "that would look so cute on you" (especially in reference to something that I wouldn't be caught dead in)...I do like some assurance that I'm not completely invisible. Oh, wait...I wasn't completely invisible...I did get a very dirty look when I sat on a chair outside the changing rooms. Yes, I know they're the men's changing rooms...and, yes, I know that I am a woman...but only in certain parts of America am I treated like a perverted leper for taking a seat. It could just be that instead of obtaining a thrill from the fact that a strange man is getting changed (behind closed doors) several feet away I am waiting for the man I came into the store with to try on a pair of pants and ask the inevitable "does my bum look big in this?" question.

I'd love to say at this point that we removed ourselves from the store without making a purchase. However, Mr. Heb's jeans quest has been going on for some time now...the APC jeans fitted perfectly...and it would have been a case of "cutting off nose to spite face" not to have bought them. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to browse around a few virtual boutiques...


“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.” - Kahlil

As you may have surmised from my Christmas puzzle, satchels have been on my mind recently. Specifically Proenza Schouler's PS1 bag but, on a broader scale, satchels in general...old school, carry a multitude of belongings, toss over shoulder and go...satchels. Though the PS1's charms were undeniable...smooth suede, gleaming python...so were the cons...ok, I admit the cons were mainly price-related...though I was hoping for slightly more space in "my" satchel.

Then, as I was roaming around Matches sale section, I came across Paris based label Tila March's suede satchel...roomier than the PS1...a little more rugged (so I won't be worried about manhandling it, even though it is made of suede)...and generally evoking the kind of get-up-and-go feeling that I was hoping for (I have a bad case of wanderlust at the moment...I want to throw some things into a bag and hit the road).

"And that" she said, fearing that she would incur the wrath of the Gods, "is the last of my sales purchases for the foreseeable future".


“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” - Oscar Wilde

Yesterday's (tongue-in-cheek) post about an excessively expensive handbag got me thinking about life during an economic downturn. What we wear, after all, generally reflects our personal wealth (either "real" or virtual wealth, i.e. thanks to Messrs Mastercard and Visa). Oh, I know that rich people "dress down" or " go boho" but it's really not fooling anyone if you mix Target and Givenchy...this isn't a case of the lowest common denominator...quite the reverse...you're buying the Tar-jay (Old Navy, H&M, Zara) because it works with the overall look, not for economic reasons.

But, what to do during a recession?
  1. Purposefully dress down (in an attempt to inspire a feeling of camaraderie)
  2. Wear your best (to inspire a general feeling of well-being...the "brave little woman dressing well in the face of adversity")
  3. Carry on regardless (also the title of a "Carry On" movie) and wear whatever you would have worn had an economic downturn not taken place
The question...given the current financial climate...do you feel guilty wearing your best...or merely "you"? I can say that, personally, I wear what I would usually wear but have vague feelings of disquiet when I consider the cost...


"Locked in each human skull is a little world all its own." - Robert Tusker

Sunday evening...glass of chilled dry white wine close at hand...some home-popped popcorn (no microwave...just vegetable oil, freshly ground black pepper, and a little salt) also in the vicinity...is the perfect time for a little "let's pretend I'm insanely rich" window shopping.

Tonight's item of lust...Lucien Pellat-Finet's crocodile clutch with appliquéd skull. I'm not going to mention the price...I am, after all, a pretend millionaire, made wealthy thanks to numerous Monopoly victories...suffice to say, if you're curious take a deep breath before clicking on the link.

I have to say though, the clutch (over-looking the price) is perfection...in a kind of stealth wealth...ironic luxe...rich punk way...also over-looking the fact that a clutch is the easiest kind of bag for purse snatchers to snatch, though what is more rich punk than fighting a bag thief for your crocodile handbag?


“Just living is not enough... One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” - Hans Christian Andersen

I really shouldn't like this over-sized floral blouse from See by Chloe...it's frighteningly close to the floral wallpaper which covered our home and caused many a childhood nightmare...yet I can't help myself. I keep having visions of myself wandering through a meadow...wearing wide-legged pants...the floral blouse...blowing the seeds off a dandelion head...and acting like the Timotei girl (though without the obsessive compulsive hair washing and constant thrashing around of my head...oh, we all admired her hair, but I bet she had whiplash after 5 minutes).Photobucket


Give me a C...give me a U....now, where did I put the B?

I should start by saying that it is a rare day when a blogging-related freebie hits the Hebden household...which is partly due to the offers I get (not only do I never wear sweatpants but the thought of sweatpants with slogans or cartoon characters on their posterior makes me break out in a cold sweat...as this is the case the offer of free sweatpants, featuring the aforementioned ass-slogan, are not going to tempt me)...and partly due to the fact that I want my posts to be honest (if I say I like something it's because, surprise, I actually like it). Having said that, I recently accepted the offer of a gift card to check out Marshall's Cube...a new-ish section of the store that features, to quote their site, "the styles and brands you luv at prices the malls can't touch - together at last in one super-hot boutique".

So, armed with my gift card, I dragged Mr. Heb off to the largest Marshall's in our area and...couldn't find a thing. Actually, once inside the store we couldn't find the Cube itself...which is bad as Mr. Heb is over 6'7" and can usually be counted on to spot anything. However, we persevered and finally spotted a large "U" on top of a display stand...once we'd shuffled a few feet over we noticed a "C" and "B" mounted on similar stands...our powers of deduction being almost Holmesian, we concluded that the "E" must have been loitering around somewhere in the vicinity. We had arrived...only to be faced by a sea of teen clothing or, as Mr. Heb put it, "they do know you're out of high school, right?"...we retired defeated.

Working under the maxim "if at first you don't succeed...", I decided to try a slightly smaller store. And, with the perverse timing that I am known for, selected Christmas Eve as a good time to try the experiment. Every other store I had gone into that afternoon had been silent as the grave so I thought, why not? Allow me to tell you...it turns out every other store was quiet because everyone was buying last-minute gifts at Marshalls. But I don't scare easily...plus, I knew how to find the Cube area this time. I reconnoitered the racks...found more teen clothing...dug around a bit more...and came across a blue and grey striped top which had potential to morph into (my version of) the Rachel Comey top I mentioned a few days ago. More searching, in Marshall's regular racks this time, yielded a man's plaid shirt...way too large but just the colors that I've been looking for...a lot of work without a sewing machine but I think I can hack away at it to create a shrunken version.


All of which leads to the inevitable question, "will I be going back?" If I were a teen, definitely...as this isn't the case, possibly, as the store has the potential for "finds"...and DIY supplies...oh, and Jelly Bellys near the cash register.


"My recipe for life is not being afraid of myself, afraid of what I think or of my opinions." - Eartha Kitt

Not the happiest post for Boxing Day...or "the day after Christmas" for non-Brits...but when my Yahoo page notified me that Eartha Kitt had died (FYI Yahoo folks, this is a piece of news that should not have been placed next to "How to make Twinkies at home")...I had to post something.

Sadly not the best rendition of "I want to be evil"...my favorite Kitt song...instead, a version made slightly creepy by hair bows, a stuffed tiger, and severely limited camera angles (which I suppose makes it an average day here in Hebdenville).

And to close? A few more words to live by from Ms. Kitt..."I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma."


“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.” - Lewis Carroll

Two things that mean Christmas (to me, at least)...tradition; a sense of continuity...and games; once the gifts have been opened (if you're having gifts) nothing beats a nice, ruthless games of Monopoly. "Good will to all men" just isn't as fun as building a hotel on every location and becoming a gazillionaire while your nearest and dearest come up with strange bargain pleas to pay the exorbitant rent that you're demanding..."look, I'll give you $500 of Monopoly money...a back rub...and I'll wash the dishes for a week".

Last year, to fulfill my passion for puzzles I created a fashuku (aka fashion Soduku) game. This year's festive frolic is a jigsaw puzzle featuring Proenza Schouler's PS1 bags...which inspire a deep lust in me in either black python or pale suede. However, as the python is too expensive...and the suede too pale for everyday use...I will stick with my puzzle for the time being.

To play, click on the image to open it full-size...print it...cut it out (preferably before you have too much eggnog)...and then re-assemble.


Because nothing says Christmas like a spray-painted elf...



Knit one, purl two, cast off...a Christmas PSA

Another day, another undesirable Christmas gift...this time seasonally (in)appropriate knitwear, aka the ugly Christmas sweater. Anthropologists have yet to agree on when the u.c.s. first made its appearance but it's now, sadly, a festive staple...causing puzzlement and dismay to anyone who receives one...and prompting the eternal question, "why me?".

The obvious option upon receiving an u.c.s. is to immediately re-gift it to whoever offended you most during the previous year...all I can say is, if someone hurt you that badly, fire away...hit them with angora tinsel and woolen snowmen from twenty paces. If, however, you're a compassionate soul who doesn't want to make others suffer might I suggest the following alternatives...

  1. Turn the knitted nightmare into a tree skirt or festive bucket cover for your Christmas tree...what didn't work on you may look great on a 6' spruce.
  2. Unpick the sweater at the seams, throw away the sleeves, and use the elements of the sweater's body to make a tea cosy (after all, the u.c.s. was designed to keep something warm...if it's not you it might as well be your teapot).



“The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.” - Sun Tzu

One of the things that I enjoy most about the blogosphere is the exchange of ideas...the way that you can watch things sweep, like a wave, across the virtual sea...changing and morphing as they go. How one person's words can get you thinking...

When I read The Search For Chic's post about her new suede trousers...well, new for her...beautifully tailored from an existing pair she bought on eBay...it caused me to, once again, try to decide what should be done with a pair of trousers that I inherited from my mother and which are currently hanging in my closet, taking up space but contributing very little. Actually "trousers" is a misnomer...these are gauchos...whose legs consist of so much fabric that they look like a skirt from virtually every angle. This excess of fabric...and their slightly dowdy mid-calf length...means that they're not the most flattering trousers on the planet. They are, however, made of the most butter-y soft suede that I have ever encountered...which almost begs to be re-worked into a pair of (flattering) pants...or a skirt...or potentially both thanks to the sheer volume of fabric available.

What has caused me to veer away from this course of action thus far is that these particular gauchos were designed by Nigel Preston for his label Maxfield Parrish...though his name is not particularly well know he was the designer in his field (sheepskin, suede and leather) for 30 years. To quote his obituary in The Independent (Preston died earlier this year), "where Preston led, Hermès and Gucci followed...it was Preston who first rescued leather from its slick and tough biker-boy, rock'n'roll image, moulding it to the ebb and flow of the body as if it were silk..."

Hence my dilemma...do I take my chances and find a tailor...attempt to work the gauchos into my existing wardrobe...put them on eBay? So many options and me, a dithering mass of indecision...



Rubbing salt in the wound...a Christmas PSA

We all receive gifts that are...well...thoughtful...yet not something that we actually want. Elderly relatives, business acquaintances, and various other people that we either see rarely or who know very little about our tastes...all have the potential to give you something that upholds the dogma "'tis better to give than to receive".

Hence a few festive Public Service Announcement...otherwise known as "alternate uses for unwanted gifts".

First up, bath salts. A great gift if you happen to like the scent, otherwise dead wood in your re-gifting closet. PSA says, "why not use them to de-ice your walkway?" Not only will you be the only person on your block with a tie-dyed patch of ice and snow outside your front door but any visitors to your abode will be wafted in on a cloud of scent.

Stay tuned for more PSAs during the coming week...


“I often think that a slightly exposed shoulder emerging from a long satin nightgown packed more sex than two naked bodies in bed” - Bette Davis

I'm attempting to pay more attention to detail...as I recognize the tendency within myself to veer towards the blazingly obvious rather than the elusively subtle. Hence my interest in the Simone Shailes sweater (which, from a distance could just be another navy turtleneck) and the Pamela Love cuff (the detail work on which gives me a tactile thrill whenever I wear it).

In this restrained (yet admittedly lush) vein I find myself drawn towards the shoulders on Rachel Comey's detached-sleeve tees. I'm not a fan of upper arms...not that mine are particularly abhorrent, I just burn so easily that during the warmer months I prefer more coverage versus less...but a flash of shoulder...a hint of skin...is different...subtle, and an upgrade from "yet another tee".

And, I believe, a good candidate for a "DIY homage to..." version; once I locate the right tee to dismember.



Stingray! Stingray!

I admit the link is tenuous...yet another of the Anderson's supermarionation classics and a cartilaginous marine fish (thank you Wikipedia)...but having recently come across two very desirable accessories made from stingray (the fish, not dismembered doll parts) I felt some kind of fanfare was in order...and what better than a rousing chorus of "Stingray! Stingray!"?

Both the cuffs and the bag are by Made Her Think...a New York based jeweler that I mentioned previously when I snagged her golden winged bolo necklace...and exude the whole ladylike punk aesthetic that I am so fond of. Sadly the bag is out of my price range (for the moment, at least)...a cuff, on the other hand, is a definite possibility...



“Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love.” - George Bernard Shaw

As I mentioned before, we here in the Hebden household aren't doing gifts this Christmas...which makes the season remarkably carefree...no stress over finding the "perfect" gift...but does seem to be having a strange side-effect...in that I find myself searching websites to find the most bizarre gifts available. You'd think I'd be transfixed by the beauty of the season...instead I'm on a virtual scavenger hunt for things that I'd hate to actually receive but, as an observer, am drawn to like roadkill on the highway.

A perfect example...this colored toilet paper from The Conran Store...in "vibrant red or orange" and "chic black"...their phrasing, not mine (of all the words I could think of to describe black t.p. 'chic' would not be one of them). Though it's definitely...um...useful...I can't imagine either giving this as a gift...or receiving it...I mean, what do you say when someone gives you toilet paper for Christmas?



"I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes." - Yves Saint Laurent"

It's incredibly difficult (for me, at least) to shop for t-shirts...aka "summer staples"...when there's the potential for a foot of snow in the next twenty-four hours...but as soon as I saw this RIP YSL shirt I knew I had to pick it up while I had the chance...or risk it being one of those times where, as soon as the appropriate season rolls around, all of the interesting seasonally-appropriate clothing which was loitering on my wish list is suddenly unavailable.

I'll admit, it's in questionable taste...but sometimes there's a collision between bad taste and good and instead of the result being the predictable train wreck you get something that, for whatever reason, is really rather appealing. And, to me, this shirt falls under that category...the tackiness is restrained...refined...yet 100% in evidence...the best of both worlds.


“Don't hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them.” - Evelyn Waugh

Considering that the compilers of gift lists have long loved "the man who has everything" and his companion "the woman who has everything" it seems fitting that they have procreated to create "the child who has everything". Granted "the child" is going to be a blasé little bugger who's going to pass out from ennui before they hit puberty but, in the meantime, Barneys has them covered for Christmas.

My favorite item from Barneys gift options...something that works for every member of the "has everything" family...a 14k gold plated Slinky. One of those items which, even though you can take a step back and admit is over-priced and completely unnecessary, would nonetheless be lovely to find in your Christmas stocking...lovely and (say it with me) sliiiiiinky.Photobucket


Space...the final frontier?

It's bitterly cold...with the appropriate amount of snow for the run up to Christmas...which means it's perfect weather for sitting inside watching the snow fall outside...and for watching vintage television treats that are so bad they've boomeranged back into the good category.

Shows like...Space 1999...a British sci-fi show from the 70's produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (who were better known for their series' featuring puppets...Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and others of that ilk)...starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (whose acting in Space managed to be more wooden than any puppet ever was)...and featuring "moon city uniforms" by Rudi Gernreich (inventor of the first topless swimsuit, the first designer to use vinyl and plastic in clothes, and guest star on the original Batman).Photobucket

Unfortunately, for vintage clothing fans, the inhabitants of moon city wear outfits that are so asexual and unappealing...we're talking a lot of taupe, belts which give even the most slender cast member a paunch, and flares...that it's easy to forget that Gernreich designed pieces that are still immensely desirable today...like this stripe/dot dress with matching socks that I just came across on Vagabond NYC's site. It's sweet, enduringly modern, cozy...and $1,248...which means I'll be sticking with over-acting in space.



The one...undone...by allergies

She knows
Of those
Who do not care
For paws
And claws
And feline hair.
For kicks
She licks
The very one
Who tries
To rise
And deftly shun
The purr,
The fur,
The whiskered face
Of that
Darn cat
Who seeks a place
To nap:
That lap
She likes the best
Is there -
Right square
Upon the guest
Who blows
His nose
And starts to sneeze...
The one
By allergies!

Mr. Heb has an unfortunate allergy to pet dander...so no cats or dogs in the Hebden household (he also has an even more unfortunate allergy to flower pollen...so no bunches of flowers for yours truly...not that I'm bitter, oh dear me, no...after all, nothing is more romantic than a leafy shrub or prickly cactus). An allergy-free solution for the festive season...unless a bout of xmasdecoritis hits...are these cat and dog baubles...which manage to avoid the cloyingly cutesie and are, instead, an adorably freaky addition to any Christmas tree.



“If some sissy chick tried to kick my ass I would say hey, missy, go knit me a sweater before I slap you in the face!” - Eric Cartman

I had to do an update post as my Simone Shailes sweater arrived and I am, quite frankly, thrilled. I'd managed to get myself into the mindset that this was going to be one of those items that I ordered and then regretted deeply and spent time and yet more money returning...what with the quality of Topshop items sometimes being a little iffy (cough...Kate Moss collection...cough) and the sizing often having a under-sized teenager in mind as opposed to a full-grown adult.

But this is...perfect. Nice quality wool...a good fit (if anything, it's a little loose in some areas AND the sleeves are actually long enough to come down to my knuckles...a severe rarity when one is 5'11")...with the updated classic vibe that I was hoping for and assuming I wouldn't get. I may wear this all winter.

The only "issue"...actually, it's more of a question to ponder than an issue...is why the package containing the sweater was sent from the UK. As Topshop now has a "US website"...and, when it opens, will have a store in New York...I assumed that packages would come from this side of the pond. I mean, this could be the only time that I have ordered from a US website and have the potential of being hit by customs charges. Has anyone else experienced this...or was the sweater some kind of oddity that TS, in its wisdom, decided no one in the US would buy?



Burn baby! Burn!

I'm not sure why I have such a passion for the inessentials of life...it probably reveals something deeply disturbing about my personality. And, of course, it raises the question of what an "inessential" truly is...as it's possible to rationalize even the most bizarre purchases (trust me on this, I am a grand master of the art of rationalization). On occasion though even I have to admit defeat, like when I came across this boarskin matchbook cover. It's a gorgeously luxurious piece of packaging for such a drearily basic item but unless you're a smoker (or a pyromaniac) there are very few reasons to carry a book of matches around with you.

And I'm not going to advocate smoking purely on an accessory basis...though I will admit that my own brief fling with nicotine was due to a pack of Gauloise and a quirky little click-top lighter from Kookai inscribed with a French slogan (luckily I was the most awkward smoker in the history of mankind so it was a short-lived passion). Which leaves me, justification wise, with the many forms of pyromancy, like...

  • Alomancy, divination by salt, one type of which involves casting salt into a fire.
  • Botanomancy, divination by burning plants.
  • Capnomancy, divination by smoke; light, thin smoke that rose straight up was a good omen; otherwise, a bad one.
  • Causinomancy, divination by burning (non-specific as to the object burned).
  • Daphnomancy (also, Empyromancy), divination by burning laurel leaves.
  • Osteomancy, divination using bones, one type of which involves heating to produce cracks.
  • Plastromancy, divination using turtle plastrons; in China, this was done by heating pits carved into them.
  • Scapulimancy, divination by scapulae; in Asia and North America, this was done pyromantically.
  • Sideromancy, divination by burning straw.

At this point, my friends, I realize that I have traveled a little too far down Rationalization Road...I must turn around and run back to sanity, now!



“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.” - Tom Robbins

Yesterday the following message hit my inbox...


Now, don't get me wrong, had I been in New York yesterday I would have gone to view the discount carnage...and...possibly...maybe...bought something...BUT...an email like this does tend to make me wonder how designer brands hope to regain their original pricing structure once the economy recovers? After all, once you know how low they can (and will) go why would you pay the (normal) exorbitant prices? It's like catching a glimpse behind the scenes of a magic show then still being amazed when the woman gets sawed in half...you've seen the hidden strings and mirrors...the emperor's new clothes don't exist...and even if they did, how much would they cost?


“Poetry and consumption are the most flattering of diseases” - William Shenstone

I'm not sure why I get excited when I see pictures from upcoming H&M collections...it can't be that I have any hopes of actually purchasing/wearing any of the looks that I ogle as my local H&M invariably never stocks any of the pieces.

It must be the eternal optimist in me (quite frankly I would have thought that she'd have died of loneliness, boredom, and insecurity years ago but she's still going strong...believing in faeries at the bottom of the garden and that clothes from advertisements will magically appear on the sales racks at some point).

Even odder than this blinding optimism is the fact that these are, in H&M's own words, "pretty watercolour shades"...something which I, as a pale skin person, usually avoid like the plague as they make me look like I've got consumption...like some 17th century maiden hacking away genteelly into her lace hankie.

And yet, despite all this, there is something very alluring about H&M's spring offerings...all those ruffles and flounces and girlish florals warm the cockles of my pale little heart. Who knows, maybe the ruffled bag will make its way to my locale...darn, there goes that eternal optimism again...


“I would rather go to bed with Lillian Russell stark naked than Ulysses S. Grant in full military regalia.” - Mark Twain

I was beginning to think that my virtual collection of Karl Lagerfeld impedimenta might have hit a similarly virtual wall as it's been quite a while since I've come across any new foibles emblazoned with the Kaiser's likeness. But ask and ye shall receive...though, with this particular item, it's like asking for a toy car and being hit by a Mac truck. Ladies and gents, without further ado, I give you the uncle Karl nude shirt courtesy of House of Holland.

I know that it's de rigeur for designers to take it all off at the moment...as shown by Marc Jacobs in Harper’s Bazaar wearing a smile and very little else...but, really, does the world need naked Karl? And, now that we have him, will anyone be wearing him next summer? "Not I", said the sparrow.



“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” - Albert Einstein

As I've done pretty darned well in the sales thus far...and have spent all my spare pennies...it's time to play the "that's a good discount, what would I buy if I was going to splurge?" game.

Today's contestant is J Crew...thanks to their 30% off if you spend $200 offer. And the answer to the burning TAGDWWIBIIWGTS question...these python ballet flats. Classic, yet slightly funky, and the kind of luxe basic that makes even the most generic outfit look a little more special. I imagine Holly Golightly slipping into a pair of these when she had to run errands...


“Chocolate, men, coffee - some things are better rich” - unknown

If, like me, you enjoy the (more than occasional) mocha...and if, also like me, you realize that one too many of the aforementioned mocha and none of your skirts will fit...fret not, I think I have a solution. On a recent trip to Whole Foods Mr. Heb expressed a desire for hot chocolate...obviously he wanted to channel one of those fifties tv shows where the host sits round in a v-necked cardigan, slippers, and cravat with an avuncular expression sipping a hot beverage whilst the snow falls and he sings Christmas songs...either that, or he was thirsty.

Either way, I refuse to buy sachets of h.c. (they're usually too sweet and slightly...off...versus "real" h.c. that is) so I bought a tin of Dagoba organic hot chocolate...made with OG evaporated cane juice, OG 100% cacao powder, and OG unsweetened cacao chunks. Today, thanks to a fit of boredom, I discovered that a tablespoon or so of Dagoba's h.c. in a cup of strong-ish black coffee creates a very tasty mocha-substitute. It's not as sweet as some coffee shop versions...it's definitely an R-rated, adult mocha...but considering that a grande, no-whip, mocha from Starbucks weighs in at about 300 calories and this is probably about 40 it's a way to have your cake and eat it...or at least, have your drink and zip up your skirts.Photobucket


A tale of two...online retailers

As P.G. Wodehouse used to point out, it’s imperative that you introduce the characters before you go into the narrative; otherwise your readers are left wading around in a morass of confusion. So, in that spirit, let me introduce online store A...an independent boutique, stocked with an interesting array of designers and well-chosen pieces that are highlighted by the styling; styling so good that almost every item inspires a pang of longing and even lesser articles encourage a second look. Online store B is a behemoth, with a mass of logo-emblazoned designer goods on offer and styling so uninspired that even the most lust-worthy items appear slightly lack luster.

Both stores were selling Acne’s Flaunt print skirt, with a retail price of $399. At that point the similarity ended as store A’s image of the skirt caused me to add it to my mental wish list while the photograph on site B didn’t even raise a flicker of interest. Until, that is, the sales started. Store A, as makes financial sense for this kind of retailer, is holding off on putting the skirt on sale and will, from past experience, only reduce by a marginal amount when the time comes. Store B, on the other hand, started the reductions at 40%. A further discount over the weekend slashed an additional 25% off the reduced price and offered free shipping.Photobucket

Obviously I did what anyone else would do and snapped up the bargain that store B offered. I do, however, feel a sense of guilt. Without store A’s presentation and styling I probably wouldn’t have been tempted to buy the skirt and in the current financial climate I hate to think of smaller boutiques with vision losing revenue to online megalomalls. However, as I am neither a millionaire nor a philanthropist, I need to live with my guilt...well, that and my new skirt.


"Bearing gifts we travel afar..."

Mr. Heb and I have decided that, this year, we're going to try a gift-free Christmas. There'll still be food...and drink...and decorations aplenty...but there will be a Scrooge like absence of gifts. We decided upon this course of action last year when we realized that Christmas had become a little too commercial...and instead of trading gifts it merely felt like we were trading checks.

Which was all very well and good and virtuous from January through November but now I can't help but wonder what Christmas morning will be like with nothing under the tree...a feeling which probably comes from watching too many cautionary cartoons as a child...where Christmas was canceled and misery overtook the land.

Perhaps I should purchase a precautionary gift...a "break now in case of emergency gift"...an "I need to rip something utterly useless open right now" gift...like this inflatable fruitcake...inexpensive, seasonal, and providing a sense of achievement once you get it blown up. Perfect.


"Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

As I mentioned earlier in the week the first of the festive frolics (aka seasonal shindigs...aka Christmas parties) is about to hit and I am (once again) filled with trepidation over what to wear. Well, the party is almost upon me...as are several of inches of snow...temperatures below freezing...and the beginnings of a cold. So, in addition to everything else, I now require a certain degree of warmth...and footwear that can withstand the elements.

Which gives me three potential contenders. Outfit #1, a navy and blue Heimstone dress paired with some boots from J Crew which I've cuffed...I'm nicknaming this one "Puss in Boots". Outfit #2, a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress and a thin turtleneck...the code name for this one is "The Statue of Liberty wears her thermals". And outfit #3, a See by Chloe dress with a lace bib and my Heimstone perfecto jacket...otherwise known as "Biker Girl".


Given the (rather exacting) criteria which I have for this evening, which would you choose?


Oh, you stud!

Although I can safely say that after my recent talon cuff splurge I am not in the market for any jewelry at the moment I couldn't resist mentioning these antique jet and gold stud earrings. More claws I'm afraid...I seem to have a definite animal fetish going at the moment...but these are so restrained, yet luxe, that I couldn't resist.Photobucket


“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.” - Doug Horton

Confession...I am a jigsaw puzzle addict. I'm not quite sure why I find that such a shameful thing to admit to...I'll readily confess to my non-athleticism but somehow a love of "the jiggy" suggests a lack of activity that's positively octogenarian. Nevertheless, addict I am. And, as such, I'm always on the lookout for jiggies with designs that aren't quite so nauseatingly twee as the majority...Chocolate box lid-style landscapes and pictures of kittens are all well and good but I want a jiggy with a little something extra.

Unfortunately, in the case of this limited-edition Steven Meisel puzzle, the "extra" is the cost...all $750 of it. At seventy-five cents a piece my normal concern over losing a bit would be blown out of all proportion...


"...other times I just want to jump into a paper bag..."

“Sometimes I want to clean up my desk and go out and say, respect me, I'm a respectable grown-up, and other times I just want to jump into a paper bag and shake and bake myself to death” - Wendy Wasserstein

As I read the Wall Street Journal article I realized that here was yet another nerdy hobby that I could associate myself with...shopping bag collecting. In a way, it's a relief...it's always good to know that there are others like you (though I won't be joining the flickr group).

I can honestly say that I have hoarded "the paper"...or, for that matter, "the plastic"...since I was a teenager. I remember storing my bags by hanging them on a hat stand...overlapping so that nothing could be seen of the stand, or most of the underlying bags. It was a dust-trap...it was, most certainly, a fire hazard...and it looked disturbingly like the bogey-man if you woke up in the middle of the night and happened to look that way...but it was also, in its own way, a way of holding onto memories...

A Joseph bag with one of Pamela Hanson's seductive yet strong women moodily staring out from its one dimensional depths would recall a trip to London (and probably the purchase of an over-sized sweater)...Katherine Hamnett's austere yet comforting brown paper bags (another trip to London, another memory...walking across the glass bridge in her Norman Foster designed Brompton Road store to reach the austere wasteland behind).

Thanks to various moves these bags only exist for me now in memory...and thanks to Mr. Heb and his love of "de-cluttering" a similar collection will not begin again...though there are a few bags sneakily stored in a drawer somewhere...


"Because I take care of my body, it doesn't look like the body of a woman of my years." - Gloria Swanson

I suppose it's fitting that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the only US venue for the exhibition of Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008 however I have no plans to be in LA before March 1st (when the exhibition moves on) so I feel slightly miffed. If only because I would dearly like to see Edward Steichen's "A Much Screened Lady — Gloria Swanson" in the...um...flesh (so to speak).

This one photograph encapsulates why I watch so many "old" movies (and am so vague when it comes to current releases)...though she's not classically beautiful her eyes are mesmerizing...she grabs your attention and won't let go.

From now on I feel like I only want to be photographed in black and white...and preferably behind a curtain of lace.


“When the itch is inside the boot, scratching outside provides little consolation” - Chinese proverb

As I was (virtually) wandering around Urban Outfitters I came across these boots and thought "oh my gosh, those look exactly like the LD Tuttle Nebula boots I have been lusting over (while at the same time realizing they are logistically impossible) for quite some time now".

Then I clicked through for more detail and discovered that they are...well, almost. Colonial Madness (and what Brit can resist that name?) is a collaboration between UO and LD. And while I still cannot imagine being able to negotiate a four and three quarter inch heel...or the accompanying quarter inch platform...I love a bargain (and hope someone takes advantage of it and buys these puppies...pronto).


It's lonely out in space...

Must...stop...visiting...YouTube...William...Shatner...singing...Rocket Man...can't...stand...the...pain...

It began innocently enough, I'd spotted an incredible cardboard rocket playhouse and wanted to find a recording of Rocket Man to go with it in a post...then I was hit by the power of Shatner. What can I say? Apart from...people complain about the entertainment value of awards shows now...imagine being at the 1978 Sci-Fi Awards and being faced with this...it's like one of those ritual suicides you hear about...seppuku by song.

And now, my playhouse is tainted...which is just as well because I'd never manage to cram myself into a 5' high cardboard rocket. Well, not with any level of comfort.



The witch or the bitch?

“A witch and a bitch always dress up for each other, because otherwise the witch would upstage the bitch, or the bitch would upstage the witch, and the result would be havoc” - Tennessee Williams

The party season is upon us...a fact that brings me both joy and misery...I love a good shindig but loathe small-talk. There's also an additional, depressing, point...when it comes to outfits...I'm not really a "dress-up" kind of girl. By that I mean that although I own sparkly things...and (faux) fur wraps...and (probably too dressy for daytime) dresses...I always feel like I have nothing to wear when it comes to parties. Or, to be more accurate, I generally feel like party dressing never reflects "me"...there's always a slight discomfort, like I'm playing dress-up.

So, with the first holiday party of the season just around the corner, my goal is to put together something vaguely festive yet reflective of my personal style...

I like the image that I found of China Chow...a luxe t-shirt and an ethereal skirt...you feel the personality behind the clothing. Obviously I need to raid my closet and play dress-up...hopefully I'll have some time before this weekend.

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