"On the chest of a barmaid in Sale - Were tattooed the prices of ale" - unknown

I’m going to quickly pass over my personal reasons for not having a tattoo (that of my complete and utter cowardice when it comes to pain coupled with an extremely indecisive nature) and pass on to the reasons that Dame Helen Mirren gave recently for both getting, and regretting, a tattoo.

"It was a very, very long time ago, when only sailors and Hell's Angels were tattooed, honestly, and prisoners and I decided to get a tattoo because it was the most shocking thing I could think of doing," she explained.

"And now I'm utterly disgusted and shocked because it's become completely mainstream, which is unacceptable to me."

You have to wonder how much more repugnant Dame Helen will find Chanel’s temporary tattoos when they hit stores, and various body parts, mid-February. It’s not just the price; though $78 for something so fleeting is a little gasp inducing. It’s not the memory of the temporary tattoos that we wore as children; usually accompanying some form of candy and lasting for all of five minutes before the pattern blurred and was indecipherable. It’s that the application of these transient tats turns the wearer into a walking billboard...they will, quite literally, have been 'branded'.


"Like most of those who study history, Napoleon III learned from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones." - A. J. P. Taylor

Considering my past history with shoes from Topshop...love them...buy them...never actually wear them...I've decided to admire these nude, laser cut leather, Alaia-ish numbers from afar. I don't want to jinx myself on this but could it be that (gasp) I'm finally learning from my mistakes?


"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." - George Orwell

I don't know why Louis Vuitton scarves should bring out my inner five year old...a few years ago it was Takashi Murakami's panda that caught my fancy...and now I'm ogling their Animania scarf (and its attendant squirrels, birds, and bunnies) like a demented pre-schooler.

Thankfully reason (in the shape of lack of fund-age) is beating any "Aw, look at the pretty bunnies" thoughts into submission.


"If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest shopping center in the world?" - Richard M. Nixon

Though I know, deep in my heart, that it should be viewed with the same healthy dose of skepticism as any pseudo scientific research that comes out in favor of those who funded it, I can’t help but hope that there is something to the results of a recent study commissioned by British department store chain, Debenhams.

The unnamed boffins behind the research have concluded that the average woman walks 154 miles every year while she hunts for bargains, and manages to burn 48,000 calories whilst doing so. Buying is better than window shopping (we’re talking physically, not its effects on your bank account) as the study also concludes that carrying heavy bags can be as effective as hiking or weight lifting.

And lest you think that we’re just talking cardio here Debenhams spokeswoman, Ruth Attridge, lets us know that “As well as walking, there are stretching benefits gained while reaching for that must-have pair of shoes”.

Of course, this is no help whatsoever to those of us who have moved from the world of brick and mortar shopping to that of the virtual world...unless the Wii has a shopping game that I'm unaware of...


A little bit of this! A little bit of that!

If you're not familiar with the original, this bongo-overlaid version of FatBoy Slims' mix of Deeds Plus Thoughts 'The World Is Made Up Of This And That' may be a little disorienting...but today is a bit of a mish mash of patterns and textures...and I never could resist a good bongo/dance mix.

Striped sweater - APC, tweed skirt - Marni, cashmere/lace scarf - compiled by me, Mary Janes - Gentle Souls


"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." - Henry Van Dyke

At this point I've karaoke'd in numerous seedy, and generally depressing, bars...on a ship midway across the Atlantic...and in front of a few hundred people at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival...I confess, I'm addicted to forcing people to listen to my terrible singing. Which is why I think I need to get a copy of APC's karaoke dvd...think of the blissfully awful havoc I could wreak with Police and Thieves, Sheena is a Punk Rocker, or (God help me) Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love.

If things get too bad anyone left in the room can just focus on the accompanying images...filmed off the coast of Greenland from the prow of the 'Tara', a boat specially constructed for polar exploration.


Home is the sailor, home from the sea

"The allurement that women hold out to men is precisely the allurement that Cape Hatteras holds out to sailors: they are enormously dangerous and hence enormously fascinating" - Henry Louis Mencken

Striped top - Dover Street Market, dress - Isabel Marant, boots - Frye


"Everything comes to those who wait...except a cat." - Mario Andretti

I realize that it's a little late to be discussing calendars...unless, like me, you've moved all of your actual appointment info into an electronic format and only really buy the paper versions to gaze upon the pretty pictures as the months go by.

If you too fall under the category of "folks who decorate with calendars" might I suggest this limited edition one from United Bamboo (a portion of the proceeds from which go to support KittyKind, a no-kill cat shelter in NYC)? Though all of the cats are clothed in miniature versions of U.B.'s spring collection Misses January and September steal the show as far as I'm concerned...


Nerd or dork?

"People think our team is a bunch of academic nerds and freaks. I prefer the term dork because you can be a dork and be a little bit cool as opposed to being a complete nerd where it's all books and studying." - Ian Johnson

Today is...completely un-apologetically...dork day...or, to be precise, dork travel day. The Hebden essentials have once more been crushed into a small carry on bag and are winging their way to Motor City...Detroit.

Plaid shirt - Old Navy, sweater - Katherine Hamnett, pants - Prada, jacket - APC, boots - Frye, vintage necklace


"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter" - Sam Spade

Wilmer Cook: Keep on riding me and they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter, eh?

- The Maltese Falcon

Except this isn't "a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels"...nor was it sent by the Knight Templars of Malta to pay tribute to Charles V of Spain in 1539...and Peter Lorre isn't in the immediate vicinity. What this is though, is a Maltese Cross necklace...so, by association of ideas you get a little Dashiell Hammett...well, that and no Maltese Cross quotes came to mind.

Ah, yes...the actual point of this post...another vintage bargain (I'm having a good week)...the cross, a crown, a rather Roman looking gent on a coin, and a touch of sparkle...what more does a girl need?


"One swallow does not make a spring, nor does one fine day" - Aristotle

As I live somewhere that doesn't really have a Fall...well, not a 'proper' Fall...only a few days of blissful, 'just right', crunching through the fallen leaves when you walk weather...not the weeks of it that would be my ideal...

As someone in this situation, the words "pre-Fall" irk me a little...even when the clothes are jaw-droppingly beautiful (as is the case below, courtesy of Givenchy)...there's always that underlying thought that when they arrive in stores it will still be hot and humid...and that Fall will arrive and depart before you can say "pass me a cardigan". Much better to look upon them as inspiration for the next few months...


The world according to Joe...

One winters night so cold and black
When wandering down the beaten track.
Trying to catch up with her past
She found she was going nowhere fast.
She happened upon a broken heart
In hundreds of pieces, torn apart.
She collected the pieces she could find,
But didn't know there was one she'd left behind.
She continued home with them in her pocket,
Found a box with a key so she could lock it.
She buried the box as deep as could be,
And it grew into a weeping willow tree.
However hard she tried to stem his tears
She couldn't wipe away the willow's tears,
And finding herself at the end of her tether
Returned to the place she'd found her treasure.
She found a rose bush growing there,
And picked a rose with utmost care.
She gave him this gift upon the morrow,
He took the rose and rose above his sorrow.

Possibly the greatest use of poetry in advertising (at least to me, maladjusted romantic that I am)...courtesy of Joseph, circa 1988-ish...and the fitting companion to a sweater of the same date.

Argyle sweater - Joseph, leather skirt - Zara, rubber riding boots, trench - H&M


"...to knock at every alien door..."

"The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and he has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end." - Rabindranath Tagore

To continue on in today's Marni-related theme...and, come to think of it, to feed my current preoccupation with cartoon characters with envious wardrobes...Consuelo Castiglioni has collaborated, once again, with British video artist Rohan Wadham on a video for her Spring/Summer collection.

And here, in case you missed it, is their previous collaboration for Fall/Winter '09. Personally I prefer this video...it's starker...more hauntingly beautiful...the female alien's outfit more envy-inducing...


"While money doesn't buy love, it puts you in a great bargaining position" - Christopher Marlowe

Though I've picked up a couple of vintage items recently they've been of the "bought from a dealer who knew what they had and charged accordingly" variety. All well and good but it does make you wonder if you'll ever happen across an honest-to-goodness bargain ever again (a bit melodramatic but you know what I mean).

Then you find a Marni skirt...cashmere blend tweed...with leather outlining the over-sized pockets...for $32...and your faith is restored...


"Cette bouche qui croque les chips..."

As you know I'm not what you could call a make-up girl...aside from nail polish, my arsenal consists of powder and lip gloss...lipstick is the stuff that 'fancy', 'ladylike' days are made of...while eyeshadow, whether it's the fault of my application skills or the shape of my face, makes me look like the victim of an assault.
The lipstick from Nars' spring collection, however, may force me to attempt to be ladylike a little more often...inspired by Catherine Deneuve's character in La Chamade the subtle pink looks like it would add a certain amount of polish, without causing the wearer (i.e. me) to appear oppressively 'made-up'.


"If God had to give a woman wrinkles, He might at least have put them on the soles of her feet" - Ninon de Lenclos

"Oh" they say, "you don't want to buy anything made from linen...it get terrible wrinkles". "Oh yeah?" says I..."you haven't seen wrinkles until you've cast your eyes on the creases that can appear on suede". For the heavy suede of this vintage dress...in addition to demanding paranoia whenever liquids are in its vicinity...has developed heavy creasing down the sides of the sleeves and down its center where, I can only assume, it was folded. I am walking origami...but, in an odd way, I like it...

Sweater and scarf - APC, suede dress - vintage Kenzo, boots - Russell & Bromley


"Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind." - Plato

Considering that studs have, by this point, been added to virtually every article of clothing in our wardrobes it was somewhat inevitable that they would move into our gym lockers as well (I say this theoretically, you understand...as someone who has managed to avoid the majority of studded handbags, shoes, coats, tops, dresses, etc, etc, etc currently on the market...and whose non-sporty soul hasn't been near a gym locker in years).

In their typically tongue-in-cheek way, Atypyk has come to the rescue...with a sweat wristband. Of course, this raises the issue of having to remember not to use it to wipe the sweat from your brow...unless you fancy a trip to the emergency room, that is.


An ode to P.G. Wodehouse

"The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?" - Bertie Wooster

Zip sweater - APC, shorts - vintage Ralph Lauren, boots - Frye, buddha necklace - vintage from the 1930's, cape - APC


"He who wants a rose must respect the thorn." - Persian Proverb

It was somewhat akin to going out for a bunch of bananas and coming home with a pet iguana...at least that was the way it seemed...a simple click to look at Agent Provocateur's latest lingerie collection ended up with me ogling a black multi-chain necklace flecked with golden thorns...unexpected, yet intriguing.


"I feel like a rag doll, people throwing me around. I don't know what's going to happen next." - Lisa Banks

On a random stroll through etsy I came across PlasterDoll. I know nothing about her...except she's from Kuala Lumpur...is obviously as big a klutz as I am...but has a much better wardrobe. Not that I'm jealous of an illustration...oh, dear me no...perish the thought...well, maybe just a little...

Proenza Schouler


Charles Anastase

Miu Miu


"Let's get down to brass tacks. How much for the ape?" - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

As I (briefly) touched down in Reno a week or so ago I realized that my knowledge of the city was based on some pulp fiction paperbacks from the 1950's...Charlie Chan in Reno, from 1939 (a movie which I view with an almost child-with-a-Barney-video like devotional repetition)...and a cop show parody.

At best, I had an off-kilter viewpoint...at worst, I was at least 60 years out of date.

Certain cities affect people that way...there's a determination to view them with an air of nostalgia which is mind-boggling to locals. Case in point, I swear that there are still some first-time visitors to London who anticipate being enveloped in fog so thick that even Sherlock Holmes would get lost in it...who envision being accosted on street corners by urchins selling matches and whelks...and who practice saying "cor blimey guv'nor" on the flight over.

I bring all this up ("At last, a point!" you cry) because it looks like I'll be spending a few days in Las Vegas at the beginning of February and I realized that I desperately need to modernize my expectations...Frank and the rest of the Pack will not be serenading me in some darkened nightspot...and all of the hotels that I know from old tv shows and movies have been knocked down. I need help. Does anyone have any suggestions for a first time visitor to city...someone who has a longing for a past long gone?


"There was a castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair." - John Bunyan

Much as I loved the image below (from Pringle's spring/summer ad campaign, shot by Ryan McGinley and featuring Tilda Swinton)...

...watching the accompanying video really sealed the deal. The strikingly beautiful Tilda...running through woods...and climbing castle walls...a tomboy in satin...doing wonders for the Scottish tourist industry...and showing us (albeit slightly whimsically) that "jeans and a t-shirt" or "sweatpants" (slogan on ass, optional) are not the be-all-and-end-all for life's fun, yet grubby, endeavors.


Deep into that darkness peering...

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Lenore!'"

- Edgar Allan Poe

Tweed coat - Acne, sweater dress - Vince, leggings - American Apparel, boots - Frye, felt and jet neckpiece - made by me


"Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once." - unknown

Normally I regard coin purses as one of those items designed to instill a sort of frustrated madness in their user...because it's impossible (at least from my perspective) to receive coins and notes in change...and place them into two separate receptacles (wallet and coin purse)...in a timely manner. Instead, I'm left fumbling at the counter...and incurring the wrath of those waiting in line behind me.

Which means that, thanks to my current fascination with origami, I'm intrigued by the idea of Acne's fold-up coin purse...yet realize that I lack the manual dexterity to use it.


Tangled up in blue...

"We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue." - Bob Dylan

After a run of 18 hour work days...followed by a commute home involving a 6 hour plane trip...I'm so tired that my mind is, indeed, tangled up. I'm afraid that posts for the next couple of days may veer into "short on words, long on images" territory...

Coat - See by Chloe, scarf - APC, sweater - Nicole Farhi, jeans - Joe's, hi-tops - Converse


"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." - Rabindranath Tagore

I've been coming across quite a lot of overly tacky skull usage recently...most recently Alexander McQueen's metal and Swarovski ring, a shudderingly awful bit of bling which manages to mesh a cheap look with a very expensive price tag (aka the worst of both worlds)...so it was refreshing to find something to satisfy my skull fetish that was both witty and inexpensive, courtesy of Threadless t-shirts.


"The earth laughs in flowers." - E. E. Cummings

Continuing on the theme of "jazzing up the bleakness of mid-winter"...a few of these lusciously lurid chiffon flower pins should chase away the gloom...and add yet another DIY project to my ever-expanding to do list...


"Gray skies are gonna clear up...Put on a happy face" - Bye Bye Birdie

I generally find that a couple of weeks into the new year can be classified as the bleak period...a sufficient amount of time has passed since the removal of the Christmas decorations, and you begin to suffer fairy light and tinsel related withdrawl symptoms...the weather's cold and dreary...and you know that there are a couple of months to go before any of spring's green lushness will start to makes its presence felt. In other words...the world seems to be a grey, dank, slightly depressing place...in desperate need of a little color and whimsy...like one of these Danish mobiles (made by the same family since 1954).


"I always give 100% at work:...

13% Monday

22% Tuesday

26% Wednesday

35% Thursday

4% Friday"

Plaid shirt - Old Navy, dress - Isabel Marant, boots - Frye, scarf - pieced together by me


We cannot cage the minute...

"The sunlight in the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold" - Louis MacNeice

This ring definitely falls under the heading of 'wishlist item'...as there are numerous things that I should be investing in (most of them practical, yet boring, and home related)...before even starting to consider black diamond encrusted golden finger cages...however much the latter may call out to me...like a particularly luxurious, delicate yet tough, siren trying to lure me onto the rocks...


"What do you call beautiful? A tree. You'll look like a tree." - Dick Avery

The first outing for my linen dress since it made its way across the Atlantic...and I feel a little like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (when she was working in the bookstore, I hasten to add, not when she was striking poses for Fred Astaire)...

Linen dress - VDC, striped sweater - J Crew, flats - Coach, keffiyah scarf - Harald


"Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision."

To paraphrase Lady Bracknell, "To encounter one movie/high-end jewelry collaboration may be regarded as a misfortune; to encounter two is to identify an irritating new form of marketing." Though I admit I was attracted to several of the pieces that Pamela Love created as tie-ins for Spike Jonze's adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are"...the news of a similar coupling...this time it's Tom Binns being 'inspired by' Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland...fills me with dread.

This kind of thing is all well and good when you're ten...the "jewelry" is made of plastic...and you're contemplating blowing your pocket money on a soon-to-be-broken-or-lost impulse purchase. It's a whole different kettle of fish when you're an adult...and considering spending $1,500 on a necklace decorated with broken teacups (no news on whether a snoring dormouse is lurking nearby).


"Living up to ideals is like doing everyday work with your Sunday clothes on." - Edgar Watson Howe

Striped top - Dover Street Market, linen dress - Anthropologie, cardigan - Fred Perry, boots - Frye


If at first you don't succeed...buy a bigger bottle of ink, and try again

I know I've been mentioning craft projects a lot recently...I think cabin fever may be turning me into the anti-Martha (Stewart, that is)...thankfully Mr. Heb has been similarly afflicted so it's not a case of us becoming (yet another) divorce statistic which can be attributed to crafting.

Actually, his skills are so far outpacing mine that I can only stand back in awe...hand printed and bound notebooks affecting some girls that way. Well, awe and special request mode...requests like "could you add a couple of sheets of waxed paper in there so that I could also use it for photos and have a kind of notebook/album hybrid?"

Of course, a booklet this special deserves something a little more exciting than a plastic pen...which is why I am going to (once again) try to use the fountain pen I inherited from my mother...previous attempts have ended up looking like a small creature had dipped itself in ink and then crawled its way across the paper...but I remember the elegance of all my mother's written communications and am determined to try again...


"When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it; the deer hears it, and the bear smells it." - First Nations proverb

There used to be a certain type of bric-a-brac or antique store in the UK that courted disaster by placing small...breakable...and usually relatively expensive...stuff on every available flat surface. Visiting said store would be like walking through a minefield...one false move and "crash"...you'd be pulling out your wallet to pay for a broken figurine portraying two small children gazing, insipidly, into space...because, and here's the rub...every single one of these stores would contain (in addition to the aforementioned pottery) a small sign with the following written on it...

"Lovely to look at,
Delightful to hold.
But if you break me,
Consider me sold."

Not, perhaps, the greatest poetry in the world...but it got the point across regarding liability for accidental damages. I couldn't help being reminded of it as I sat admiring these porcelain bears in a glass dome. They're undeniably lovely...and would provide fodder for countless conversations of the "what exactly are they doing?" variety...my personal guess, Bear A is telling Bear B a dirty joke but is having to whisper so that Great Aunt Bear isn't offended...but I know that, if I bought them, either Mr. Heb or I would rise to the klutz challenge and break them before you could say "Goldilocks".


"Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing. It stems from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what can and cannot be done" - J. Fenton

I'm not sure why any packages I've received from overseas recently have arrived with such blinding speed but I'm not going to complain...especially as the most recent one contained the lace from Hong Kong that I was going to use for my tribute to an $1,100 scarf.

To refresh your memory, I fell for the oatmeal and black...cashmere and lace...of the original but (unsurprisingly) balked at the price tag.

Cue the search for materials...the pause while mailmen from various parts of the globe did their thing...and the half hour or so it took to attach object A (lace) onto object B (cashmere scarf)...and the end result (resulting in a "fashion math" saving of well over a thousand dollars).


"Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance." - unknown

I think I may be part terrier...it's the only explanation for the urge that comes over me to go for a 4 or 5 mile trek whenever a snow storm blows up...right about the time when saner folks are curled up inside. Still, if I stayed inside just think what I'd miss...

Sweater - vintage Joseph, scarf - handmade gift, coat - vintage Emporio Armani, jeans - Levis, wellies - Hunter

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