"I have discovered that most of the beauties of travel are due to the strange hours we keep to see them..." - William Carlos Williams

A quick missive about a couple of new travel beauty bag essentials that are (I hope) ensuring that I look a little less bedraggled...tired...and jet-lagged...than I would otherwise appear. They're both "drugstore luxe"...more expensive than the majority of products they share shelf space with...yet less expensive than a number of department store options.


First up, Vichy's Aqualia AntiOx Anti-Fatigue Ice-Effect Eye Stick...which feels like it came out of the fridge, even when it has been dragged out of an 80 degree suitcase...reduces puffiness...and generally makes me feel like my eyes are wide open (as opposed to blearily semi-closed).

Travel essential number two...Neutrogena's Revitalizing Lip Balm in Petal Glow (the sort of dusky pink that is universally flattering)...designed to "instantly moisturize lips, leaving them looking fuller and more defined" and "improve lips' texture"...it also has an SPF of 20, thereby making me feel like I am doing something beneficial.

Two pros...fighting a plethora of travel-induced cons...


"A few clowns short of a circus..." - unknown

The next best thing to skull art...at least to my mind...is marginally disturbing clown art. At first, the mind is uncontrollably drawn towards thoughts of the paintings on velvet that you find at flea markets...more in-depth consideration leads one to the jaded, yet slightly bon vivant, traveler in Sean Landers' "Around the World Alone"...



"Let them eat cake..." - Marie Antoinette

I never thought I'd side with Mrs. Louis XVI on this one but...who needs birthday cake...when homemade birthday fudgsicles are resting in the freezer? Not I...home long enough to make (and consume a couple of) said fudgsicles before boarding another plane...


Recipe for "Happy Birthday to Me Icy-Fudgey-Slabs-of-Goodness"...

2x3 oz packages chocolate pudding mix (this recipe uses the kind of pudding mix that is cooked on the stove-top, not instant)
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from stove and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Pour mixture into plastic cups or popsicle molds (like the ones I got from Crate & Barrel) and freeze until solid.

Note: If the sugar is not added, the fudgsicles will have large ice crystals and won't be smooth.


"Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it." - Vladimir Nabokov


Flight number one - finds yours truly seated next to a gentleman chewing clove gum...I think...whatever it was, it emanated from his mouth and reminded me of mothballs.

Flight number two - finds a slightly sleepier version of yours truly...seated next to a different gentleman...this example, emitting a lemon-y odor...cause unknown...could have been hand soap, moisturizer, or deodorant...but was infinitely preferable to bachelor #1.

Cab from airport - cab driver had bathed in the sort of overly pungent aftershave that suggests the wearer is trying (and failing) to mask one smell with another.

My nose is feeling decidedly abused...



"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite" - George Washington

Even though I can wear (essentially) whatever I want for work I find the idea of a "uniform"...pieces that will easily slot together when I cram them into a suitcase...yet allow me to feel vaguely pulled together...a very alluring concept indeed.

The latest addition to my work wardrobe is this color-blocked sweater from Marni...men's, on sale at Mr. Porter...something that I am more than happy to steal from the boys...strangely colorful and subdued at one and the same time...

Work uniform?


"You're so tired you cannot sleep...counting meals instead of sheep" - Stromae

Oh God...I'm a bad little blogger...but duty (or should I say work) calls...and, for the next month, I'll be spending more time in hotels and airport lounges than my own bed. Which means...sporadic posting...incomprehensible musings on travel and cloud formations...and occasional outfit outings.

Bear with me...July should find me back on a much more even keel.


"Life is filigree work. What is written clearly is not worth much, it's the transparency that counts." - Louis Ferdinand Celine

What, it has to be asked, would a week of nest-feathering posts be without the odd skull? The answer...a mere travesty (at least in my humble opinion). Which is why I'm adding this filigree porcelain money box to the mix...though, truth be told, it's much too beautiful to be crammed full of mere dimes and quarters...doomed to suffer a crack on the cranium.



"A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy" - Albert Einstein

Anyone fortunate enough to have gone strawberry picking will have probably come away with three valuable lessons...

  1. A strawberry...straight from the plant to your mouth...is infinitely more flavorful than one found in any supermarket
  2. The amount of back-breaking bending that is needed to pick even the most meager amount of berries is truly depressing (and rather painful)
  3. The cardboard containers which house your fruit are practical...pleasingly functional...yet destined to be stained by berry juice and thrown in the trash as soon as you get home
The first two lessons cannot be amended...freshly picked fruit will always be the most delicious...and an hour or two of toe-touching will generally cause anguish...lesson three, however, can be circumvented if one uses china farmer's baskets. Impractical in the field, perhaps...yet infinitely pleasing in the kitchen.



Ask Alice...

"There’s certainly too much pepper in that soup!" Alice said to herself, as well as she could for sneezing.

There was certainly too much of it in the air. Even the Duchess sneezed occasionally; and as for the baby, it was sneezing and howling alternately without a moment’s pause. The only two creatures in the kitchen, that did not sneeze, were the cook, and a large cat, which was lying on the hearth and grinning from ear to ear.

- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Of course...to avoid over-peppering (of soup, cook, or cat)...a classic French wooden pepper mill would probably help matters...Photobucket


"Grandeur . . . consists in form, and not in size: and to the eye of the philosopher, the curve drawn on a paper two inches long, is just as magnificent, just as symbolic of divine mysteries and melodies, as when embodied in the span of some cathedral roof." - Charles Kingsley

The colder months, at least in my tiny little mind, are the time when one settles down for a little nest feathering...contemplating the delights of cushion cover A...the aroma of candle B...or the slumber inducing qualities of cashmere throw C (aka, the creature comfort computations). Perversely, this year, my body clock is running fast...and I find myself alternately longing for the air conditioner and trips to look at household fripperies.

Cue interior decor porn...and proof that even the smallest space can be a home (as opposed to a austere "space"). A "house"...in Paris...whose footprint is a hard to believe 19' wide by 6.5' deep (insert chat swinging joke here). An article on the house...its inhabitor/designer...and more photographs...can be found here...








"Lazy people are always wanting to do something" - Marquis de Vauvenargues

Lazy Sunday...actually, amend that to "theoretically lazy Sunday that was buried beneath a landslide of chores and to-do lists"...


"A man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales resistance" - C.S. Lewis


When it comes to sale shopping my purchases tend to fall into one of two categories...the entirely luck-based..."oh, my God...I never knew this existed...but now I have to have it in my life...and...it's on sale!"...to what I'm going to label "To the batmobile, Robin!".  Category number two is generally something that I spotted at full price...fell in love with...admitted to myself, with regret, was over-priced (or, worth it, but just too darned expensive)...and then proceeded to monitor its progress with the same beady eye that Batman would have given The Joker if he ran into him at the pub.

Case in point, this very restrained (yet summer-y) little tote...hemp, leather, linen...beautiful, vaguely practical, yet too damned expensive. Until, that is, summer sale met gift card...and then...in the words of the mighty Bat..."Bam! Kapow!"



"Euclid alone...Has looked on Beauty bare, Fortunate they...Who, though once only and then but far away,...Have heard her massive sandal set on stone" - Edna St. Vincent Millay

[Internal monologue] "Ooh...leather...leopard...studs...entirely summer friendly..."

[Voice of realism] "You have a couple of pairs of perfectly delightful sandals that you rarely wear...you idiot"

Hmmm...guess I'll just ponder their beauty from afar then...



"We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics." - Bill Vaughn

In the summer of my dreams™...a carefree place...where it's possible to cycle in a skirt without flashing the local populace...remain sweat, I mean perspiration, free on even the hottest days...and take your time over an ice cream cone, undisturbed by paranoia over where its drippy residue will end up...the most perfect days usually include a lavish little picnic, packed into a "proper" wicker basket.

Then reality...and reminiscences...intrude. The picnics of my teens...at which my mother felt that outdoor dining could not be fully enjoyed unless most of the kitchen and dining room had been crammed into a suitcase-sized basket...and lugged half way across a field by her off-spring (i.e., yours truly). Try as I might to enjoy the fireworks...classical music...or jugglers...that were at the end of such rambles it was difficult to remain aloof to the fact that the *$%*@# basket had to be carried back to the car at the end of it (lightened by food, it's true, but still containing enough pointless impedimenta to tax the muscles).

Perhaps a better idea would be to pay homage to the concept of the SomD™...by dint of the indoor picnic. Air conditioning...easy access to fridge and pantry for chilled white wine or the odds and sods that invariably get left behind when one ventures into the wilderness...an homage to the pic-k-er-nic basket courtesy of wicker lampshades...heck, if I had a bigger apartment I'd be tempted to try indoor cycling.



"Of all the lessons in life that I've learned the hard way, the ones involving frontal nudity and hot bacon grease seem to be the most enduring..." - unknown

Not much to add really...except that this beef jerky 2.55 is not a follow up to last year's yeti boots (though it would be rather fitting) and is, instead, the work of design student Nancy Wu. If you nab one it's probably best to accessorize with the aforementioned yeti ensemble...and a dab of Chanel Number (K)9 behind each ear...


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