"The power of philosophy floats through my head, Light like a feather, Heavy as Led" - Bob Marley

There is the luggage that you pick up and think, "My God...how can it be this heavy when it's completely empty? By the time I've thrown a couple of t-shirts and a toothbrush into its murky depths I won't be able to lift the darned thing."

Then there are the bags that are deceptively light in the store yet, once packed, transform into unwieldy clunkers that require a week's worth of pre-trip exercise to enable you to lug them around.

Then there are the too good to be true...I bet Tinkerbell had a bag this light when she flitted around with Peter Pan...variety...like the bag below which tips the scale at a mere 135g.


Something that seems like a dubious claim until you realize that they are made of that brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers that we all know and love...Tyvek. All the Tyvek-y pros are there...the bags are waterproof, tearproof, and 100% recyclable...and the cons (a passing resemblance to an extremely large Air Mail envelope) have been mitigated by the shiny, silkscreen printed, colors. A rare mix of the durable, the practical, and the aesthetically pleasing...


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." - Plato

One coin...two sides. A nice way of bringing up the topic of marketing...or rather how the high-quality, artsy photography of one site can cause you to think twice about an item which, on its mother-site, you would recoil from while terms like "crunchy granola" and "hippie sailor sandals" skipped through your mind.

Exhibit A, the Ghurkee sandal...if one is shopping at Opening Ceremony...


And Exhibit B, the same shoe from Gurkee's own website...


The saving...all eight dollars and five cents of it...is somewhat mitigated (in my mind, at least) by the orthopedic/Jesus sandal vibe coming from Exhibit B.


Mind le Gap

That the Gap is having a little bit of a "quintessential French girl" moment is something that I discovered only after the gingham sleep shorts in the window had lured me inside...



Cute fabric...covered buttons...ribbon tie...and 30% off...it would have been churlish to leave them behind. Of course, once inside the store, the need to 'browse' took over...which is when I found the q.F.g.

The q.F.g. would, of course, wear Repetto's...but as I have tried, and failed, to convince myself that any ballet flats can be worth $250...I was more than happy to find this Repetto-esque (and surprisingly comfortable) black leather pair for under $40. They won't last forever, but if they make it through the summer I'll be content.


By this point I could have stopped my browsing-slash-unpremeditated-shopping and been more than happy but the q.F.g. felt that the summer would would be much improved with a nautically striped skirt. Which, although it is yet another item of striped clothing in my closet, is 'new' in that it's a skirt and not yet another t-shirt or top...


Satisfied, if a little poorer, the q.F.g. and I are now going to relax with a little red wine and cheese...


"The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began...

...Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say." - J.R.R. Tolkien

It may be shallow. Heck, who am I kidding? It is shallow...but an outing for life's necessities (sparkling water, Morbier cheese, and toilet paper) is much more enjoyable when I'm lugging everything around in the bottomless depths of the bag that mother bought in Paris many years ago...

Jacket - Belstaff, scarf - Urban Outfitters, corduroy jodphurs - Maria Cornejo, suede Chelsea boots - Frye, shopping bag - Ralph Lauren, scorpion ring - vintage, bracelet - Cost Plus


"An effective way to deal with predators is to taste terrible" - unknown

Having ranted against impracticality a couple of days ago I probably shouldn't be coveting bronze predator 'rings'...possibly the most impractical, yet beautiful, things I've laid eyes on in a while. I'm not going to even start to enumerate the list of things that you couldn't do wearing these beauties...instead I'm going to focus on the things you could do better...um...give me a second...um...well...your come-hither-beckoning-finger-wiggle will be much improved...



"I love the word 'juxtapose,' ...

...I like balancing words together like cruel and gentle, sad and beautiful. Life is not all black and white -- it's shaded." - Charlie Sexton


Cardigan - Fred Perry, polo shirt - American Apparel, plaid skirt - Zucca, leopard scarf - APC, Chelsea boots - Frye


"New York: the only city where people make radio requests like "This is for Tina - I'm sorry I stabbed you"" - Carol Leifer

On the road again...not to New York...but I haven't found too many songs about Minneapolis...and Gil Scott-Heron's 'New York Is Killing Me' (on constant rotation) is currently keeping me sane in airport lounges.


"...blanketed with anonymity and foul air"

"Between a quarter and a third of Los Angeles's land area is now monopolized by the automobile and its needs-by freeways, highways, garages, gas stations, car lots, parking lots. And all of it is blanketed with anonymity and foul air." - Alistair Cooke

Normally, when I hear the word ‘Freeway’, my mind is inexorably drawn towards thoughts of the canine companion of Jonathan and Jennifer (aka ‘The Harts’ of Hart to Hart fame). A leap of association that has less to do with the machinations of the human mind than an unhealthy obsession with 80’s television.

But now thanks to Alex Israel, an artist and writer living in Los Angeles (and the founder of Freeway Eyewear), my brain can make new mental leaps in the direction of sunglasses. Launched this Spring, Freeway’s styles are named after the roadways in and around Los Angeles; allowing the wearer to choose from 1–Pacific Coast Highway, 10–Santa Monica Freeway, Interstate 15, 101–King's Highway (or El Camino Real), 110–Harbor Freeway, or 405–San Diego Freeway.Photobucket

In Mr. Israel’s words, these glasses "are made for international shipping magnates, lithe gamines, American gigolos, blonde bombshells, ladies-who-lunch, country-club tennis pros, martyred grunge rockers, post-modern architects, Bat-Mitzvah tutors, out-of-work actors, psychic friends and you; Seeing is believing."


I am, sadly, neither a lithe gamine nor a lady who lunches on anything more exciting (in the general run of things) than a sandwich; none of which is going to stop me from agonizing over which of these particular paths I wish to take.



"The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom...for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough." - William Blake

Sometimes you can look at something crazily over-priced and...thanks to a lot of cost-per-wear math and rationalization...you can justify it (at least in your own mind). Other times you look at something and think that the only person who'd actually part with the funds necessary to call it their own has more money than sense. Case in point this (admittedly cute) bike basket from Kate Spade...the straw basket, patent leather cover, and floral lining are all lovely...but the 14-karat light gold plated hardware and $325 price tag beg the question of who is going to buy it? Surely no urban cyclist, who has enough problems with thieves stealing seats and wheels at the best of times...



"A bad compromise is better than a successful suit" - Spanish proverb

Though I vaguely feel like I shrank in the wash...or mugged a 13 year old school boy...every time I wear them...I'm rather fond of these pants. It must be the fabric...waxed cotton often affecting me that way. Plus, they afford me the option of an "almost suit"...

Wool jacket - Jaeger, plaid shirt - Zara, waxed cotton pants - H Chalayan, glitter flats - Me Too, badge - APC



"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing" - unknown

Lord Byron once said, “It was one of the deadliest and heaviest feelings of my life to feel that I was no longer a boy. From that moment I began to grow old in my own esteem”. Personally I’ve long maintained that a childish love of cartoons can stay the signs of aging in a far superior manner to the daily application of SPF15 (though the effects are slightly mitigated when you are discovered chortling...by a client...in an airport lounge...to the antics of Scooby Doo).


Spanish Elle was obviously in a similarly Peter Pan frame of mind for their April issue. For contained within its pages, thanks to freelance Disney artist Ulrich Schröder, are Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, John Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana, Donnatella Versace, and others...all, in comic form. Lagerfeld manages to get past the three little pigs with nary a huff or a puff, John Galliano enchants Captain Hook and Peter Pan, and Alber Elbaz creates a ruffled, red ensemble for an obviously enchanted Minnie Mouse.


There may not be a fountain of youth but there may potentially be a ‘mildly regressive comic strip of fewer grey hairs and the occasional missing wrinkle”.



"By means of steam one can go from California to Japan in eighteen days." - Townsend Harris


For the longest time I was a frightened flyer...a manic gripper of armrests (I still blush at the memory of a particularly stressful take-off when I failed to notice that the stranger next to me had laid claim to the armrest...until, that is, we were safely in the air and I realized that my fingernails had gouged divots out of the back of his hand)...a nervous wreck for several days before and after any air travel.

Then I got a job where I found myself in the air several times a month...and one day...as I was watching the cloud formations...the mountains, the deserts, and the farm land far below...the anxiety dissipated. Admittedly it wasn't just a zen-like love of nature...a selection of movies on my iTouch helped as well...but, for a chocolate-box-feel-good-moment, I've found that few things beat the ever-so-fleeting-yet-momentarily-perfect combination of cloud, land, sky, and sun.

Of course, palm trees and over-sized fireplaces at your destination also help to instill a certain sense of peace...



"We ape, we mimic, we mock. We act." - Sir Laurence Olivier

Purchases of 'almost identical' shoes can be rationalized on a few occasions...say when it's a pair of black ballet flats which differ (ever so slightly) from the host of other b.b.f.s littering the bottom of your closet. It's more difficult (for me at least) when the footwear in question is another pair of Minnetonka Moccasins...yes, this pair are a rather dreamy sage grey which would work well with dark denim or the taupe-y shades that I can't seem to stop buying at the moment...but do I need another pair? Sadly, the answer is no...



"A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." - Mae West

PhotobucketIt's time to strike yourself in the head and emit a Homer-esque "d'uh"...cartoon character rather than ancient Greek epic poet...when you come to the realization that you successfully managed to figure out a footwear conundrum in your teens and then repressed it in the intervening years...deciding to spend your time searching for other shoes to fill the self-inflicted void.

Case in point...my annual search for summer shoes that are comfortable enough to walk around town in yet not blindingly ugly...could have been solved by falling back on the espadrilles that I wore as a teen. All together now..."D'UH!"


"Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered -- either by themselves or by others." - Mark Twain


Between Mark Twain and the bag there's really very little left to say...


"Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels." - Goya

I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince myself that Sigerson Morrison's sandal bootie...sanootie...boodal...whatever you want to call it...would be infinitely more practical than a sandal this summer. I ran through the mental checklist. Still possible for inner klutz to stub toes on any hard surface in the near vicinity...check. Still possible for every pebble and small stone within a 5 mile radius to find its way inside my shoe...check. Still horribly impractical given that a "short walk" for Mr. Heb and myself generally turns into a 10 mile death march...check. Still kind of want them despite all of that...and their ridiculous failed-experiment-of-Dr. Moreau quality...double check.

A couple of aspirin and the fever should pass...


"He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words." - Elbert Hubbard

I've always rather liked the Victorian calling card concept......whiskered gents...and their corseted ladies...visiting friends...and leaving a card to commemorate the fact...and gently remind them that a reciprocal visit was now in order...as detailed in this extract from the book Decorum, published in 1877, "Visitors should furnish themselves with cards. Gentlemen ought simply to put their cards into their pocket, but ladies may carry them in a small elegant portfolio, called a card-case. This they can hold in their hand and it will contribute essentially (with an elegant handkerchief of embroidered cambric) to give an air of good taste."

With the updated version...All Occasions Cards...available from Brooklyn based design trio You And Me The Royal We...your bases are covered...from "thank you"...to "sorry"...to "fuck you"...you can make your feelings perfectly clear, without a word being spoken. How wonderfully, passive-aggressively, early 20th century.


"Psychoanalysis: a rabbit that was swallowed by a boa constrictor that just wanted to see what it was like in there" - Karl Kraus

I realize that, by this stage, everyone is probably "over" rabbit ears (assuming, that is, that they were even "into" them in the first place) but Benoît Missolin's structured silhouettes...in glass or metal thread...were so charming (even understated, if large rabbit ears could ever be deemed as such) that I couldn't resist posting a couple of images...




We come back laden from our quest...

"We search the world for truth;
We cull the good, the pure, the beautiful,
From all old flower fields of the soul;
And weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest,
To find that all the sages said,
Is in the Book our mothers read" - John Greenleaf Whittier

I like to think...when I'm feeling particularly upbeat...that through this mass of incoherent ramblings I am, on occasion, adding another piece to the puzzle of my personal style. And that despite all the bright, shiny, limited edition things that try to grab my attention (and money) this blog enables me to get a clearer idea of what I actually want (on a long-term basis) as opposed to want (in the manner of a child reaching for a shiny balloon).

Sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't. Often I write about things and find that, after I've written out my desires, they're diminished. Other times the written word makes the longing stronger...generally a sign that something is for keeps. So it was with the canvas and leather work bag...one of those deep-seated desires because it made so much long-term sense. Yes, I could have bought a nylon backpack and lugged everything around...or I could have used my "winter" work bag (so called because, no matter how lovely, just looking at flannel makes me feel hot once the warmer weather arrives)...but if you have to tote your life, and several pounds of electronic gadgets, around with you on a daily basis shouldn't it be a pleasurable experience (from a practical, tactile, and visual perspective)?

As you may have guessed by this point...I found my bag (now sold out in the brown leather online). Obscenely large...thick hemp and linen instead of canvas...with rich, yet durable, leather on the base and detailing. Able to be thrown over my shoulder...or carried by hand. A handbag and, in a pinch, a weekend bag as well. And something that I can see myself using for years to come...






"Kissing a man with a beard is a lot like going to a picnic. You don't mind going through a little bush to get there!" - Minnie Pearl

It's a little hard to explain to friends that your first thought...upon catching sight of some gingham picnic plates...is not along the lines of how much cheerier your summer picnics would be if your sandwiches were piled upon them...and, instead, is more of the "how very Christopher Kane S/S 2010" variety.

Having said that, they are a darned sight more interesting that the rather bland plastic platters currently residing in my picnic basket...


"Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail."

I always seem to fall prey to enticingly packaged wonder-goops in the Spring and Fall...weakened, as I am at those times, by the effects of harsh winter winds or the sneaky UV rays which managed to get past my layers of SPF...there's a general feeling in my subconscious that, with the application of wonder-goop X, some of the damage could be reversed.

A good portion of this is, of course, in the mind...but, as long as the mind stays on the reasonably priced cliffs and doesn't take a nose-dive into the abyss of $200 min-pots of goop...it's a relatively harmless pastime that does, on occasion, show results.

This season's w-g is Kiehl's Ltd. Edition Açaí Damage-Protecting Toning Mist. Acai...aka the Brazilian "super berry"...aka one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants...aka an ingredient that I don't enjoy the taste of (despite the best attempts of companies who seem to be adding it to every food or beverage with the word 'health' in the title) but am more than willing to spritz on my face. According to the blurb, the mist will (with daily use) help protect cells from the destructive effects of oxidation, improve the look of radiance and rejuvenation to skin, tighten pores, and clarify and balance skin’s texture.

While I haven't been using it long enough to substantiate any of these claims I can say that it smells lovely...causes the skin to tingle in a most satisfying manner...and scratches my wonder-goop itch for this season.


* Today's quote is by Robert Motherwell


It's a crewel, crewel summer...

I'm going to blame the horrifically bad Bananarama pun above on the cough medicine that I am downing to try and beat the spring cold that I managed to catch. Why is is that warm weather colds are so much more depressing than their cold weather brethren?

Brown top - Max Studio, v-neck - Club Monaco, cardigan - J Crew, crewelwork skirt - Nicole Farhi, suede Chelsea boots - Frye, bag - Miu Miu



"Am not I - - A fly like thee? Or art not thou - - A man like me?" - William Blake

I'd love this little number from Paul Smith purely because it gave me the rare opportunity to work "fly pin tie pin" into a sentence...the fact that it's also adorable is pure gravy. Though it's not technically a tie pin...it could be that...or a kilt pin...a very fancy diaper closer...or a myriad of other things more decorative than useful...Photobucket


"And she said dark is not the opposite of light, It's the absence of light..."

"A butterfly floats on the breeze of a sun lit day
As I feel this reality gently fade away
Riding on a thought to see where it's from
Gliding through a memory of a time yet to come
Smoke paints the air
Swirling images through my mind
Like a whirlpool spin beginning to unwind
And I stand at the edge cautiously awaiting
As time slips by
Carefully navigating by the stars in the sky
And I sit
And I think to myself
And on the horizon the sun light begins to climb
And it seems like it's been so long since he shined
But I'm sure it was only yesterday
A cold chill of fear cut through me
I felt my heart contract
To my mind I brought the image of light
And I expanded out of it
My fear was just a shadow
And then I voice spoke in my head
And she said dark is not the opposite of light
It's the absence of light
And I thought to myself
She knows what she's talking about
And for a moment I know
What it was all about."

Beastie Boys - Namaste


The weekend...the park...the pub...the realization that my new-ish camera has a black and white setting...and the accompanying lesson that reading the manuals and instruction booklets that accompany these things is probably a good idea.




"Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!" - Lord of the Rings

Despite my fixation with bad 70's television...as evinced by the Fantasy Island and Charlie's Angels dvds lurking in a drawer...I've never seen the particular episode of Love Boat whose credits I found on YouTube...though the mind does boggle at the sort of fashionable fun that Geoffrey Beene, Bob Mackie, Gloria Vanderbilt, and a determined-to-look-suave-rather-than-grin-at-the-camera-like-everyone-else Halston could have on the high seas.

Of course, all of this forms part of one of my usual nonsensical tangents...by which a rope-y love ring leads to thoughts of sailors and romance...which of course leads to Captain Stubing, Doctor Bricker, and Julie the Cruise Director.


"A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing." - Emo Philips

A lazy day...and tickets for a boxing match this evening. My first time seeing it live and my only reference (apart from television) is the 1941 movie, Shadow of the Thin Man..."Hey, look at the dame in the screwy hat!" I fear I am doomed to be disappointed...

Plaid shirt - Zara, skirt - Alice Ritter, glitter flats - Me Too, vintage wire bracelet


"We are all brothers under the skin - and I, for one, would be willing to skin humanity to prove it" - Ayn Rand

For all the time that I spend on my laptop I've never actually done much (unless you count the sticky dots that I added in a fit of boredom) in the way of embellishing it...which is odd considering that I'll add crap...I mean thoughtfully purchased and deeply meaningful ephemera...no, I admit it, I mean crap...to most inanimate objects and flat surfaces.

Some of the fruits of the collaboration between Urban Outfitters and Society6 (a global collective of artists) though are making me wonder if it isn't time to peel off the paper dots and replace them with something a little jazzier.


"Who ever said that pleasure wasn't functional?" - Charles Eames

It has to be said...there are a lot of visually utilitarian bags out there (for, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the mix of leather and canvas makes me think 'hard-working, functional, utility')...that are completely useless. Useless because they fail to meet at least one of the three prerequisites that I require from a bag which I'm going to use for work and travel...
  1. It must be large enough to hold a laptop, camera, iTouch, all the assorted cables and peripherals that allow the aforementioned technology to work, notebooks, wallet, phone, a vintage pulp fiction novel...and all the other odds and sods that are necessary on a daily basis.
  2. It must be well constructed...it will be jammed under airplane seats...thrown down in frustration onto airport floors after I've walked a few miles from gate A to ZZZZ lugging it and a bag of clothes...and generally mistreated.
  3. It must...and here's the major issue that I'm having at the moment as I browse round various website...it must close. Almost every bag I've found is either wide open (with one small inner pocket, large enough to hold your keys and not much else)...or "fastened" by one small magnet or button. Apart from the risk of your bag falling over and your belonging flying hither and thither...does no one worry about pickpockets anymore? I may just be a paranoid little Scot but isn't a gaping bag pretty much an open invitation for someone to grab your wallet?

And that's how things stand...I'm being taunted by bags that are visually appealing yet ineffectual. Am I really asking for so much?


From top to bottom: Balenciaga large Sunday tote, Makr's natural canvas tote with undyed Horse Front (HF) leather straps, canvas and leather tote - handmade in Japan, Banana Republic's leather and linen tote


"Symbolism is no mere idle fancy or corrupt egerneration: it is inherent in the very texture of human life" - Alfred North Whitehead

What fun would spring be without the reversion to almost freezing temperatures just at the moment when your body has started to acclimatize itself to the unexpected warmth?

Just the day for layers...and textures...corduroy...and suede...

Pleather jacket - H&M, sweatshirt - APC, cashmere and lace scarf, corduroy jodphurs - Maria Cornejo, boots - Russell & Bromley, suede clutch - Mulberry


"Love is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important." - Lisa Hoffman

It's been a while since I've posted any recipes but I made what I'm going to call 3.14159265ella...and, as it turned out rather well, I thought I'd add another thrilling installment to the food and drink portion of this blog. The reason for the name change is not just to protect the innocent...but to indicate that this is by no means supposed to be an authentic paella...purely something that satisfies the craving for paella whilst being simple (and fast) to prepare.

The ingredients...

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 of a pound)
  • Chorizo
  • A red pepper
  • A red onion
  • A small can of peas (I buy the kind with no added salt)
  • Olive oil
  • One bag of Vigo saffron yellow rice


The directions...
  • Prepare the rice according to the directions on the back of the bag (this will take about 25 minutes - precisely the amount of time you need to take care of everything else)
  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan on medium/high heat
  • Add some diced red onion and saute until soft
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan...continue cooking for about 5 minutes
  • While the chicken is cooking, cut some chorizo into small cubes...I use about 1.5 inches of sausage (a slightly unfortunate turn of phrase but the best way I could describe the amount)
  • Add the chorizo to the pan
  • Add some diced red pepper to the pan
  • A couple of minutes before the rice is ready, drain the can of peas and add them to the mix
  • When the rice is cooked, add it to the pan containing the other ingredients and stir over the heat for a few minutes

And that's it...buen apetito!



"Howard Hughes was able to afford the luxury of madness, like a man who not only thinks he is Napoleon but hires an army to prove it" - Ted Morgan

Old Navy is one of those stores where you need plenty of time...a willingness to plow through piles of ill-fitting pants and vaguely maternity-esque dresses and tops...the ability to disregard boundaries and cross over the aisles into the menswear department...and then, when you least expect it, you find something that you know you will wear into the ground.

Like...this army green linen shirt...the bastard child of Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin and Balmain in Paris Vogue...hovering around the $20 mark...and something that I can see becoming a summer staple.


"Singest of summer in full-throated ease..."

"Thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease." - John Keats

You could blame it on the "Celine effect"...yet every spring for the last few years, right around this time, I've felt a craving for a summer wardrobe that was more simplistic...because, isn't that what summer should be? The sand under your feet...grass too, after a picnic...but nothing forced...everything simple and at ease.

You could also blame it on Mr. Heb's bookbinding bag...utilitarian, but incredibly heavy even when empty...from Klein Tools...


...but I find myself consumed by a yearning for a new bag. Canvas...or linen...and leather...screaming of summer (in a subtle way).

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