Tuesday, February 28, 2012

these things

Last weekend brought lots of fun things...
- my fantastic new wall calendar from NeuYear (doubles as design art for my studio)
- adventures in pin curls yielded fro-like results
- kelly green nail polish was considered, then overlooked in favor of matte black (next time, Essie)
- solo movie of the week was The Artist, which proved to be much more engaging and beautiful than I ever imagined. The end scene was perfection.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a year in red

The other day, I realized I'd nearly missed a Very Important anniversary - the first year of my love affair with red lipstick. So, in honor of this fantastic day, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the stuff that makes me feel fancy every day. The stuff that casts a glamorous sheen over the rest of my face, and makes me feel like a lady. Cheers, Red. You're what pink wants to be when it grows up.

the six types of red lip I've sported over the past year, clockwise from upper left - 
MAC matte lipstick in Russian Red
Dior Addict lipstick in Red Carpet
Revlon ColorStay Overtime in Forever Scarlet
NARS lip pencil in Dragon Girl
Sephora cream lip stain in 01
Revlon ColorStay Ultimate in Top Tomato

Thursday, February 16, 2012

recent reads

I try to keep a running list of books to read, and my local library in LA has a great "next book" section where the librarians pull their current recommendations. It's become my go-to when I don't have a checkout in mind, and I'm starting to feel like Elaine stalking Vincent in that one Seinfeld episode... Anyhow, that's how I came across Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls, which is worth a mention. If you haven't read The Glass Castle, do it (also, where were you in 2007 when EVERYONE read it? America does love a crazy mama memoir). However, though the writing style is similarly engaging, the two books are very different. Where Castle is shocking and provocative, Horses is a familiar story, one I found myself imagining my dad telling me.
Half Broke Horses is the story of Lily Casey Smith, the grandmother of Walls (and the mother of Rose Mary, the previously mentioned crazy mama), and the type of Annie Oakley hard-ass that I dreamed of becoming as a ten year old tomboy running around the backyard in bare feet.  The book has been compared to Little House on the Prairie more than once, and for good reason, but Little House always felt like an old-fashioned fairy tale to me, a broad sketch of a story. Horses is so specifically about one unbridled woman's life that the details of the ranch and the adventures through the southwest are just supporting, rather than taking center stage. It feels like a collection of short stories told over whiskey. It's particularly interesting to analyze Lily's hooch-selling airplane-flying back-talking panache knowing how her daughter's life will turn out - the book sort of acts as prequel to Walls' family life.
Read it, and find yourself referring to the next jerk you meet as a "crumb bum" and wishing for a Scarlett O'Hara dress made of drapes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

vee dee

When your job is to draw greeting cards all day, every day sort of feels like a holiday. Dude and I are always forcing ourselves (occasionally successfully) to get in Christmas mode in July, Valentine's mode in October. So now that the biggest card-day of the year is here, it feels...anticlimactic, I suppose. But. In the spirit of this super-legitimate celebration of sweets and laaaaahhhhhhve, here's the valentine I whipped up yesterday from Dude and Chick. Now excuse me while I eat some chocolate and make some cards for Halloween.

Monday, February 13, 2012

the hermosa files

Over the last week, our lady Sami came to visit from the tundra that is Minneapolis. She (patiently) kept me company while I worked during the week, but I took off Friday so we could go out to the beach.
Though I've gotten a bit spoiled - I actually complained that it was 70 degrees out because "that's so cold" - it was a beautiful day. After a good dose of sunshine, we wandered through a great antique store in an old barn. Thrifting and antiquing in the greater LA area has been a mostly heartbreaking endeavor for me and my tiny budget, but this place was spilling over with random bargains and the type of krazy krap (that's a shop name waiting to happen) I used to find in Minnesota on the regular.

After carefully surveying the options, I snagged a pair of bright red pumps with side cutouts and heel-bows (yet to be documented). I also bid a tearful farewell to the white high heels in perfect shape that fit my right foot and squeezed my left. WHY AM I A MUTANT.
But then Sami found this Dynasty-inspired miracle, and I again had faith in the universe:

As Joan Collins would say....Offda offda (just kidding Joan! I know you read this).
We ended our day at Cafe Real, a little Mexican restaurant where you can order things like $4 nachos. And margaritas. Heaven, in a burnt-around-the-edges-forgot-to-leave-off-the-sour-cream dish.

All that ALMOST made up for the fact that I managed to plan our head-home at 5pm in traffic. On a Friday. Almost.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

flamin' hotdish

Ah, the Superbowl. I'd bet that I look forward to this ridiculous tradition more than most people outside of the football watching community. Sports have always held a special place in my heart - in my pre-art school life I played many of them - and any 'holiday' that involves food, cocktails and yelling at the TV is choice (see also: Academy Awards, the).
I mean, really. Check out this spread:
You may be wondering what that crown jewel of awesome is in the middle. Well. This year, I blazed a new culinary trail through the land of junk food - the Flamin' Hotdish. A delightful marriage of wholesome midwestern casserole and that crispy, spicy food of stoners and bad girls everywhere: Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
Here's the recipe. As with most things at this calorie count, it tastes better while inebriated.


4 boxes Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
One 12-slice pack of Kraft singles
2 large bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Prepare boxes of macaroni as directed. Divide into three sections.
In a casserole dish (I used a 10in square Corningware from my Oma - she'd be so proud) cover the bottom with crunched-up Cheetos (about 1 cup smashed).
Add the first section of macaroni, pat down evenly. Cover with half your cheese slices, then another layer of Cheetos (I smashed some, left some whole or partial). Repeat.
Cover the top with the third section of macaroni. Garnish with Cheetos.
Serve immediately.
Notes from a finely developed Flamin' hotdish palate: Cheetos get stale quicker than any ultra-processed food I have ever encountered, so invite over a bunch of your friends to avoid disgusting leftovers. The middle Cheetos get chewy and weird, which I liked, but if that's not your thing, just use the cheese for layering and add all the Cheetos on top. You can also get tricky and just cover your regular mac & cheese with Flamin' Hots, but then you don't look as fancy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

live fast // die young

ooooh MIA. GIRL. Speaking of ladies in music that are questioned in critical circles - she's certainly had her share of misses in the past few years. In fact, that interview with Lynn Hirschberg (and the subsequent MIA tweet of Hirschberg's cell phone number) brought up some very Lana-del-Rey type questions of authenticity.
BUT. Watch the video. It was filmed in Ouarzazate, Morocco, and MIA told more than one reporter that she wasn't confident she'd make it out of production with all her limbs intact. Your mind will be blown by bad-assery at the 2.05 minute mark.
And that song really grows on you. The whole insanity took me back to the beginning of college, when I first heard her music and spent hours in the studio with Arular blasting in my headphones trying to shake my butt just so.

p.s. If I was MIA, and I saw this video, I like to think I'd end up filing my nails in aviators atop a moving vehicle as well. Great minds think alike.
(thanks to Scott for his weird ability to hear about all the cool stuff first)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

queen of pretend

Lana del Rey's album BORN TO DIE has been on repeat, both in my head and on Spotify, all week. I'm torn between being a sucker for her husky voice and silly, high-school binder decoration lyrics, and contempt as a modern lady trying to...what? Something about the discourse about her around the internet has really thrown me off. I'm unable to really form a true opinion about her or her music, due to the swirling, mean-girl hate mixed with that whiff of hipster sexuality. It doesn't help that I initially saw the video for Video Games only after reading an article on Lana del Rey, fabricated 'indie' pop star. Ken Tucker got a bit philosophical in his review today on Morning Edition, but it hit the point that many writers have been trying to get a hold on - why is it that we hate her so much? She's gone through the sort of transformation that we see every day in the entertainment industry. And yes, Born to Die isn't the most high-brow music I've ever heard (Diet Mountain Dew, anyone?), and yes, it does seem to be hard to sing through those lips, but the attacks seem especially...vicious.
It seems to me that her transparency - the pre-name-change albums, the video interviews circulating from five years ago full of girlish enthusiasm, and mostly notably, that wretched SNL performance - coupled with the fact that no one enjoys being told what to like (as she seems to have been marketed specifically to those who feel above being marketed to) has created a perfect storm of online-hate. Lana del Rey seems to be trying so hard, and it's difficult to see her as anything but the pretty rich girl trying to bribe her way into coolness. She's the friend who dropped me at the first chance to smoke under the bleachers with the bad girls - Lindsay Weir minus the sympathy, plus hot pants. Although, that leaves me as Millie....
But would I have anything outside of glee for another low-voiced trash-tastic crooner if I hadn't read all this buildup? Oh, internet. You crazy.

P.S. My favorite thought-provoking review (which includes that SNL incident) can be found here.