"We should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" - Friedrich Nietzsche

The problem with false economies is that they're just that...things that seem prudent at the time...yet come back, when you least expect it, pointing fingers and saying "I told you so". Case in point, for quite some time now it's been apparent that a void existed in my life...a gap that could only be filled by a laptop bag that would hold all of my tech gear and (important point) be able to be carried...lifted...and schlepped through an airport without causing an injury.

False economy (that little swine) caused me to buy bags that were (in no particular order)...pretty...vaguely practical...great for the weekend/bad for the laptop...massively over-sized...black. None of which, sadly, fulfilled my requirements. A while ago I found a bag that I thought would meet all my needs but f.e. (that little swine) convinced me that it was too expensive. And so, "economy" set in...and I bought all of the other bags that were (to quote the immortal Goldilocks) "almost right".

A week or so ago...in the battle of Heb vs false economy...I found myself faced, once again, by the-bag-that-was-perfect-yet-too-expensive. This time, false economy was caught unawares by a nifty uppercut, and hit the ground.

Yes, Louis Vuitton's icare is...expensive. But...it's practical...everything fits...I'm not in pain five seconds after I pick it up...and...it will last forever. Am I rationalizing? Yes...because I do feel a little guilty about this purchase. Have I learned my lesson...that false economies cost more in the long run...I'd have to say yes to that as well.



"We traveled literally over 10,000 miles by car...looking at places" - Rick Hoffman





"He could raise dry land from the rivers, and turn the deserts into bottomless oceans. He could appoint a worm as king, and reduce an army to ashes." - Sri Guru Granth Sahib

A drought in posting...such as the one that is currently blighting this blog...can usually be attributed to excessive quantities of work...or travel...or work-related travel. All of which are a blessing in the majority of respects but do have the unwelcome side-effect of causing the skin on my face to resemble the desert...beige, arid, and kind of scrubby.


Usually I'd fight these symptoms with extra-large sunglasses (working under the theory that if you can't see the dark lines under my eyes, they don't exist)...and the sort of quixotic hopefulness that characterized the beauty-outlook of ladies a few hundred years ago...when they ran to the mirror, hoping that the day would find them "in good face." Luck...and anything vaguely resembling the sort of sunshine that would necessitate eye protection...having run out, I needed a different solution.

One that I found, completely by accident, when I stumbled across a Clarins spa...and decided to try their Moisture Replenisher facial. Forget the fact that I spent the rest of the day enveloped in a herbal/floral mist...or that I was so relaxed during the facial that I almost nodded off...or any of the other random elements that I found so enjoyable...at the conclusion my skin actually looked healthy, well-rested, and non-abused. Even...gasp...dewy.

Sadly, there aren't too many Clarins' spas in the US; but if you do find yourself near one I strongly encourage you to treat your skin to a little pampering...dewy-ness, and not having to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day, being worth its weight in gold.


"Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time." - Winston Churchill

Item of lust...a 1950's triple link chain bracelet made from 18k gold.


Item of reality...a rectangular stretch bracelet from Topshop.




"Fake Tales of San Francisco...Echo through the room" - Arctic Monkeys

Or...to be completely accurate...San Francisco and Sausalito...







"The sun has gone to bed and so must I" - Gretl, The Sound of Music


Summer...though not officially over…has been given the obligatory handshake and accompanying verbal brush-off “it’s been fun, let’s make plans to get together next year” that is Labor Day. So far I’ve managed to consume the obligatory Labor Day BBQ…and take part in that other great seasonal activity, the "3-day additional sale markdown" during which all the items that you’ve lusted over during the summer have been reduced to the extent that the only remaining obstacle standing between you and them is the question of whether they have any sort of longevity through fall and winter or are the sort of one-season pariah that you can count yourself lucky to have avoided.

Falling under the category of "objects of lust that have finally been reduced to a sum that doesn't give me palpitations" are these "Roy Orbison" sunglasses. Part of the collection that Rodarte did for Opening Ceremony they fulfill the craving for taupe-y framed sunnies that has been with me for most of the summer yet have a timeless quality that makes me think that I won't regret this final summer fling.


"Chintz, it could rightly be said, is the basic black dress of the English-style interior" - Suzanne Slesin

As a testament to the fact that my craft projects are taking so long that I almost forget having started them, the seemingly simple task of making a few lavender bags is a pretty reliable barometer. Time from first whiff of fresh lavender in the aisle of my local grocery store to having a small stack of shabby chic bags to pepper about my closet and lingerie drawers...about 6 weeks. In which time I could probably have grown the lavender, not just dried and packaged it.


On the upside, I now have a legitimate reason to hoard fabric scraps...my previous claims that they would "be useful some day" falling on deaf ears...



"Adorned with cape, with tricorn, saintly soul singing in librarian tones an enameled song that coolly celebrates her chewing-gum enthusiasms" - Truman Capote

Mid-August...seems about the right time to redouble my bitching regarding the heat, humidity, and general sticky-icky-ness that is becoming more insufferable every day (I know, I know...I'm a grouch...and I'll be regretting my words during those long, cold, winter nights...but...right now...with the thermometer in the 90's...I'm feeling snarky). Today's bout of Scrooge-ish bah-humbug-ness came about after catching sight of what I can only refer to as "hot 70's librarian boots" from Stella McCartney...



"And one day God might come on back...With a summer tan and a Cadillac" - Christine Anderson

At the beginning of every summer...in that epicenter of the storm...my "mind's eye"...I imagine a season of outfits in which I will be crisp and cool...calm in the heat and humidity. The fact that, as each summer draws to a close, I feel bedraggled...sweaty...and longing for the comforting cocoon of sweater and coat...does not lessen my madness.

Especially when I come across pictures such as this...Camille Bidault Waddington...at her summer home in France. Relaxed, yet polished. The seemingly "effortless" outfit that is so blindingly difficult to attain.



"The mark of our time is its revulsion against imposed patterns" - Marshall McLuhan

Two words that you don’t want to find staring up at you from your inbox (especially when, pressed for time , you’re just trying to find anything urgent that you have to take care of)...”statement” and “pants”.

Separately, perfectly fine words...combined, they strike fear into the hearts of man (well, this woman at least) and trigger the inevitable thoughts of the “objects will appear larger than in real life” variety in relation to the posterior region.


"A new gadget that lasts only five minutes is worth more than an immortal work that bores everyone" - Francis Picabia

Like me, you may have had a yen to jump on the sonic skincare bandwagon and buy Olay's very wallet-friendly cleansing system...wanting, for once, to be frugal. Like me, you may have found this to be a frustrating and virtually impossible mission as no drug store seems to have them stocked on the shelves (the space is there for them, just no product...my personal theory is that they are delivered in the dead of night and sold by pushers by the back door of the store). Alright, I could have ordered one online...but, illogically, I considered it a drug store purchase and was not going to admit myself defeated by my inability to find it in an actual bricks-and-mortar drug store.

Friends, I admitted defeat.

Not to the point where I bought Olay's $26 version online...or where I broke down and ordered Clarisonic's $200 version that I knew (in my heart of hearts) was the one that I really wanted. No, I went for the mid-range NutraSonic Face Brush Skin Care System for $86. Yes, it's a strange kind of retro blue...and no, it doesn't have a timed shut-off like it's more expensive cousin...but (after a couple of weeks use at home and in hotels) I can say that I wouldn't give it up without a fight. Skin is smoother (I'd use the "baby's bottom" analogy but, never having touched an infant's derriere I'm unable to accurately make a comparison)...pore's are smaller...and (let's be honest) less grubby looking. And, as I have a five-year old's love of pushing buttons, it's made my morning post-wake-up routine a lot more fun.



"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." - Sam Keen

Summer, or so they say, is a time for laziness...I find this especially true when faced with the prospect of working on a day when the temperatures are in the mid-90's with depressingly high humidity. Time for cotton shirts folded into origami pleats...golden knots...and multi-layered skirts. Relaxed, yet crisp.

Summer origami


"Apparent failure may hold in its rough shell the germs of a success that will blossom in time, and bear fruit throughout eternity" - unknown

Number two in the series...things to do with fruit when you can't face another piece in regular fruit form...and have no intention of dying of heat stroke by turning on the oven. That's right, it's mousse time.

Even better than the actual mousse...not bad...bit too jelly-ish...definitely a "work in progress"...was the fact that it enabled me to use a Victorian jelly mould that I've owned for years, but never actually cooked with.

Summer...strawberries...and sea shells...what more could you ask for? Apart from an end to the heat wave, that is.


"If life is a bowl of cherries, then what am I doing in the pits?" - Erma Bombeck

When life hands you lemons (according to those pesky do-gooders), you make lemonade.  When life hands you temperatures over 100 degrees...and a fridge full of fruit...you spend some time curled up in a ball under a cold shower, rocking back-and-forth.  Once you're done with that...you make cherry granita.


2 pounds sweet cherries (I used Rainier because that's what was in my fridge)
1/4 cup sugar
grated zest and juice of 1/2 large orange
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (actual almond extract if possible, not the fake stuff)
pinch salt
1 cup water


Pit the cherries; if you have a cherry pitter, you're luckier than I am. If you don’t have a pitter, use a paring knife to cut the cherries in half, pull out the pits, and put the cherries in a bowl (all steps to be done while loudly cursing your lack of pitter). Combine the cherries with the sugar, orange zest, orange juice, almond extract, and salt in the large bowl. Stir well, then set aside for 1 hour to macerate (e.g., "stew in their own juices"...that'll teach the pit wielding swine!)

While the cherries stand, clear a place in your freezer to fit the dish you are going to freeze this in, such as a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Put the macerated cherry mixture and water in a blender and puree. Pour into a flat, shallow, freezer-safe container (such as a glass 9x13-inch baking or storage dish) that is large enough so the mixture is not more than one inch deep. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and place in the freezer. When the mixture begins to get icy (about 1 hour), stir, breaking up the ice crystals with a fork. Return to the freezer. Repeat this step two more times, then let mixture freeze solid for at least 3 hours or up to a day.

Sit in front of air-conditioning and apply spoon to granita. Insert into mouth. Repeat.


"It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right" - Moliere


Well, as long as we've got that sorted out...


"The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows..." - William Cullen Bryant

You know that you're a city girl...with a country background...when the sight of bunches of lavender for sale in your local grocery store causes you to stand squealing with glee in aisle seven. For, as every CG with a CB knows, fresh lavender means that (after a little prep work) her closet can be showered with fabric sachets of dried lavender (a much more pleasing scent than any man-made variety).

Step one...getting grubby little hands on fresh lavender


Step two...removing lavender from stems and laying out to dry (a much more fiddly, time-consuming task than it sounds)

Step three...finding the fabric (and time) to make the "bags"...


"“Burn the pen, and burn the ink; burn the paper as well. Burn the writer who writes in the love of duality." - Sri Guru Granth Sahib

If...big if...stupendous if...the sort of if that is usually followed by "I was rich/royal/insert something that's never going to happen here. "If", I say...Phoebe Philo were to design a notebook, I could see it looking something like this. Graphic...utilitarian...a chic-er way to keep notes (for those of us who are hopelessly old-fashioned and actually enjoy setting pen to paper).




"The first piece of luggage out of the chute doesn't belong to anyone, ever" - unknown

I realize that there's a certain amount of despair-inducing angst involved with determining which black bag is your black bag on the airport carousel...the later in the day...the more you long for sleep...the greater the feeling that you will never see your bag again.

But...no matter how much you feel that you and your baggage will never be reunited...to skip off into the sunset together in search of a cab...it's impossible to rationalize a $40 luggage tag. Well, for me. Jet-setting heiresses would probably regard it as a bargain. Of course, they'd probably be flying on a private jet...and therefore would avoid the game of "is that my bag?" anyway...


"Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd." - William Shakespeare


After a few weeks of, admittedly rather unscientific study, I think I can claim that the only reason to cough up the sum required to buy US Vogue, Elle, or Bazaar is the question (to bastardize the bard) of...

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (e.g., risk your iPhone running out of battery mid-air because your flight is delayed and all your fellow travelers are hogging the power outlets)
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles (and, in desperation, buy a copy of one of the aforementioned trio in order to pass the time)

After being trapped in Newark airport with the August issue of Vogue...I'm leaning towards a third option...alternating between blankly staring at a wall and hazarding bizarre guesses as to the lives of my fellow wanderers. An "Age Issue"...again. Sarah Jessica Parker...again. A disturbing number of articles and ads for plastic surgery...alright there was one page celebrating 63 year old Linda Rodin but, apart from that, I found it impossible to walk away from the magazine without the sensation that devoid of laser eyelifts, surgical jawlifts, or earlobe tucks (seriously?) our lives are doomed.

Next trip...despite the additional weight it adds to my (already insanely heavy) bag...I'm packing a book.  Preferably beauty-based...and vintage...from a time when potions and lotions were fine...but you could be beautiful, at any age, without having a "lobelift".


"Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out." - Jack Handy

Life being a tad hectic at the moment, shopping...as a purposeful activity as opposed to a pleasurable pursuit...is limited to rapid-fire online forays...generally at obscure hours of the day. The latest 2am buy...this little number from Barneys own label. With heavy-duty, furnishing fabric-esque cotton...and leather trim...it hits all the buttons ("classic-with-a-twist" and "yet another fabric and leather item in my closet" being the main ones).

The only niggly annoyance is that the industrial strength zipper (after being worn a couple of times and loosened up) shows a marked tendency to respond to the effects of gravity and un-zip...a small hook-and-eye closure at the top would have solved the problem but is lacking (at least until I have enough spare time to sew one on).



"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards." - Benjamin Franklin

I realize that a good portion of the American-based population are at the beach today...laying in the sand...nibbling on mildly inedible (and overly grilled) bits of meat...and anticipating a ballistic barrage of fireworks once the sun goes down. I wish them well (from an air-conditioned apartment)...and hope that none of the female population are greeted by a man wearing these...

Hundreds of nauseatingly bad pick-up lines come to mind..."I have my eye on you"..."I'll be seeing you"...or "Here's looking at you kid"...scratching only the sandy surface...


"Solitude is independence." - Hermann Hesse

Not quite Independence Day...and a not very patriotic outfit (limited stripes and no stars)...but a comfortable option for a (currently rather rare) work-free day...spent, I'm sorry to say, trying to cross some things off my depressingly long  "to do" list.

Day Before Independence Day


"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!"


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