Friday, October 30, 2009

For The Love of Food: Halloween Edition

When you’re a kid, the best part about Halloween is the candy. As much as a costume can bring joy and excitement, the candy amassed over the course of a night becomes sacred like pirate booty. We fiercely protect our treasure against those who linger too closely, knowing all to well that some items are valued more than others. Personally chocolate bars ranked in as number one, followed closely by caramels, mini bags of chips, and random wrapped taffy goodies. Now that I’m older the thought of eating a whole bag of candy is slightly nauseating, but deep inside the inner child in me still screams with delight every time I see a jumbo bag of Halloween candy. The best part about 'trick or treating' in Canada is our unique candies, and salty snacks. Every Halloween no matter how far from home I am, I think about those chaotic nights - sweating through layers of make up, maneuvering my way to a stranger's door front, and lastly dumping my bag of candy on the basement coffee table, and going to town. Ketchup chips, Coffee Crisps, Aero Bars, Caramilks, Smarties!!! Thankfully I discovered the Lower East Side's candy haven (aka Economy Candy), but if you’re not in NYC and have a hankering for some Northern treats, Canadian Favourites can definitely satiate all your desires. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

All Hail The Queen

From a chocolate factory to a winery, Lucille Ball took viewers on thousands of adventures throughout the course of her hit show I Love Lucy. The legendary redhead's comedic chops are still unmatched to this day. We've seen some pretty amazing female comediennes grace the stage since Ball, (Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Janeane Garofalo, Lily Tomlin, and Margaret Cho come to mind) but Lucille's style and attitude are wholly unique. She was doing bits in 1951 that still resonate to this day. You can't help but laugh when you watch Lucy do her thing. This year I'm dressing up like Lucille for Halloween and I can't wait to try out my Vitameatavegamin routine!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Have You Heard?

CMJ was in full effect last week in New York City, and I was so close to avoiding it! But alas, when I got the invite to the Fader Fort, I couldn't pass it up. My boy Theophilus London was performing with his new super group Chauffeur, featuring the boyishly handsome Mark Ronson, and magical producer Sam Sparro. Like almost every Fader CMJ event I've attended, the crowd was pumped, the music was hot, and the venue was... for lack of a better word, a complete hellhole. This time around, it was held in the basement of the newly crowned king of hipsterdom, the Ace Hotel. The hotel is fabulous albeit in a strange location, but the problem here was that the event was held in the basement, and their AC was busted. So picture a literal hot box of sweating drunk bodies, accompanied by loud music and disturbingly bright lights. Standing in that room for 4 hours was my work out for the day - I was drenched. After all that, Chauffeur's set was only two songs. Yes, just two. This was probably due to the fact that they've only been together as a group for a month. Overall it was quite an experience, topped off with a nice pot of tea in the hotel lounge post-sweat. I could say I've learned my lesson, but next year if the line up is enticing you know I'll be there, sweating profusely and cursing my own stupidity. Check out Theophilus' latest single (produced by Machine Drum) below, and make sure to listen to Chauffeur's single here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Anyone Up For A Milksteak?

When the weather turns, and the temperature starts to drop in NYC, the inevitable happens: I become obsessed with certain films, records, and television shows, and nurture my obsessions in the comfort of my home. The latest show to entrap me is It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Although I had seen a few episodes two years ago, it was only with my recent conversion to DVR that I finally started watching Sunny on a regular basis - and now I'm completely addicted. The characters are utterly despicable, horrible, unsymapthetic people, with nauseating habits and disturbing behaviors - they make Larry David look like a saint. But it's their complete lack of social tact and morals, that make them so entertaining to watch; having the legendary Danny DeVito as part of the gang doesn't hurt either. I just bought season 1 & 2 so I'm excited to bunker down, and see how it all began. The video below captures the creation of one of the best rock opera incarnations of all time. I guarantee it'll get stuck in your head, but hey, then you'll be just like me singing it in the shower, on the street, and anytime I want to make myself LOL.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Video Vault

Madonna, what happened to you? Remember when you were provocative and sensual, yet still had a sense of humor? Remember when you used to make the Pope angry, and consequently make prudes everywhere scream in despair? Those days may be ancient history, but I'm glad I can still watch videos like 1995's "Human Nature" and reminisce. This video is fiercer than all of Tyra's wigs put together - the clothing, the choreography, the beat, and the lyrics themselves exude a sense of ultimate power. Like a caged animal about to break free, this track builds tension, and experiments with behavioral power dynamics rarely addressed in pop music. Madonna may have grown soft with age, but at least we can seek refuge in the Haus of Gaga. Even the material girl herself can admit that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dude, Hawaii Is Totally Sweet!

I'm lucky to say that I've been able to travel to many places throughout the world, thanks to the kindness of friends and family. Even so, the most satisfying vacation I've ever experienced took place within the United States. Hawaii is by far the most scenic, accessible, and invigorating place I've ever visited. Maui's biodiversity is incomprehensible - in a few hours you can travel from arid desert, to lush jungle, to frigid mountaintop. It's no wonder that Americans have been seeking adventure, and love in this real life paradise for decades. My interest in Hawaii was first stirred by Elvis' idealistic romper films, but I have to admit that that interest flew into overdrive once I became addicted to LOST. Hawaii truly is the perfect backdrop for the show, with its awe inspiring views, and untapped mysteries. Every time I set out on a hike while in Maui I couldn't help but whistle "The Good Shepherd" from Season 3, and this week I found the perfect fix to satiate me until LOST is back in January: Jorge Garcia's blog! Yes, Hurley from LOST has a blog, and it's called "Dispatches From The Island." It makes me love him even more. He writes about everything from going to the Emmys, to his latest Halloween costume. Jorge is just as lovable as Hurley; he even posts an address on his blog so fans can send him letters. I wonder if a couple of cases of Apollo bars would sweeten him up enough to spill some secrets from Season 6...

Photographs copyright Laura E. Marcus

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Bunch Of Phonies

1. Joan of Arctic boots by Sorel, $130;, 2. Fox Faux Fur Jacket, $170;, 3. Faux-fur Trapper Hat, $16.50;, 4. Charmer Leather Jacket by Guess by Marciano, $258;

Whether you love fur or hate it, we can all admit that it never goes out of style. From the Hollywood starlets of the silver screen, to the editors of our favorite fashion mags, fur is unwaveringly chic. Fortunately for us animal lovers, faux fur has seen a major revival in the last decade. Instead of finding scraggly looking duds that look cheaper than a Chinatown bus ride, the fake stuff is looking more fabulous than ever.

I never hid my dismay when my mother would dredge out her furs from the basement closet once Montréal winters hit hard. Even so, those furs were family heirlooms, and justifiable considering Canada's brutal winters. What's always bothered me is seeing women in Los Angeles parading around in pelts like their lives depended on it. Thankfully some designers have found the perfect solution with faux fur, and have treated their designs with exceptional care. There's nothing like being warm and toasty on a blustering New York day, so here are my pics of some of the best looking synthetics around. People who say they can't "pull it off" take heed: all you need is a little confidence and you'll be feeling like Marilyn in no time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creature Comforts: Jonah Hill Edition

I'm amazed by how long it took me to find this ridiculous video.

No explanation necessary.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And The Beat Goes On...

Yesterday I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out an amazing new exhibition displaying photographer/filmaker Robert Frank's famous 1958 book The Americans. Frank counted Walker Evans, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac amongst his friends, so I expected big things from his black and white snapshots. I was not disappointed. The Swiss born photographer's ability to move in and out of every stratus of society was unmatched. In 1955 he traveled across the country by car, visiting every nook and cranny of American society. From bikers and nomads, to politicians and bankers, Frank captured thousands of faces along the way. When looking at all of his images side by side, what struck me the most was the power he was able to evoke by capturing a split second in time. Whether it's a look of desperation, or one of rebellion, The Americans is the quintessential accompaniment for anyone who relishes in the Beat Generation, and their unique view of the world.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Killing It

While all the other teenagers at my high school were tagging the Wu Tang symbol on their lockers and kicks, I was busy crying listening to Nirvana and the Pixies. It took a while for me to warm up to hip hop, and I have to admit that The Fugees, however mainstream they became, were a part of that process. Lauryn Hill's creamy voice is haunting, and The Fugees unique take on hip hop was more accessible than the gangster rap hitting airwaves at the time. After "Killing Me Softly" began playing at every school dance, it was obvious that they had hit it big. So once you have the fans and the budget, of course the next step is to make a blockbuster video complete with explosions and helicopters. "Ready Or Not" is another classic off of their 1996 record The Score, and the video really captures the vibe of the track: dark, and moody like a stealth submarine.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Let It Fade Away

I have yet to be charmed by the iPhone, and as someone who likes doodads and trinkets that's saying a lot. I still adhere to my strict no Internet policy when it comes to phones, but if amazing apps keep coming out I may just have to break down and join the masses. Anyone who has an iPhone should take a look at photographer Chase Jarvis' newest app The Best Camera, because it caters to the photographer in all of us. I'm loving this! Now who has some extra cash lying around so I can get myself one of those sleek little gadgets? Watch the video below to get the full picture:

Via Flavorwire

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Get Your Motor Runnin'

There's nothing like the sight of a beautiful woman behind the wheel of a classic car. Unlike most of the population, I've never had a driver's license, let alone a permit. I've spent the majority of my life being "chauffeured around" by willing friends and family, but that doesn't mean I haven't entertained the idea of hopping into a sweet convertible, and burning rubber. Sure, my decision would most likely end in my demise, but if I looked as good as this Tamara de Lempicka painting, the inescapable crash would totally be worth it. This painting, entitled "Auto-Portrait (Tamara in the Green Bugatti)" was created for the cover of German fashion magazine Die Dame in 1929. De Lempicka was truly the first "woman artist to be a glamour star," and her beautiful Art Deco paintings depict many different types of autonomous women. From "The Musician" to "Saint Moritz," her work was always provocative and full of mystery. You can't help but wonder what thoughts lie behind those eyes...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eternal Beauty

Remember when actors and actresses grew old with poise and grace? Before the influx of plastic surgery Hollywood's thespians would age in the public eye - whether they liked it or not. Now it seems that even older celebrities are pulling and pinning their way to youth. That's not to say that people haven't been toying with plastic surgery for centuries. In actuality plastic surgery operations were performed by the Egyptians and Romans, but for the purposes of this post I'm focusing on more recent operations. Both Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe, were rumored to have gone under the knife, and even the gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor is said to have had a nose job in her 20s after MGM studios deemed her nose "too thick". So how is it possible that women as breathtaking as Elizabeth, Marilyn, and Natalie thought they needed improvements? Humanity's obsession with beauty is innate. Everywhere we turn we're reminded that beauty is just a step away. Just one tweak, one improvement, and it's ours. Let's hope our desires haven't blinded us from the truth, that even if we can't see our own beauty, someone out there surely will.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Have You Heard?

In college I used to go to shows all the time, ravenous for new music and a raucous good time. As I've grown older I've become less patient with all the elements that come along with a concert - the crowd overflowing with drunken buffoons, the sticky floors, and the stench of sweat aren't as sweet as they used to be. But last Saturday I braved it all to check out a killer band from Knoxville, Tennessee. Royal Bangs put on one hell of a live show, and even though they were the opening band the crowd was enthralled with them immediately. They had all the elements of bands that I love: the intricate guitar work of Les Savy Fav, the joyous synth of Blonde Redhead, and the energy and enthusiasm to pull it all off. With two records released in the past year, I hope to see a lot more from these guys in the near future. Now kick off those shoes - it's time to dance!

Friday, October 9, 2009

For The Love of Food

The idea of cracking open a creature only to slurp up its very being is utterly barbaric. But it’s that animalistic approach to shellfish that makes it so appealing. We spend so much of our life trying to be polite, and proper, especially when it comes to food, that the freedom that comes with the slurping, dunking, and lip smacking of oyster eating is absolutely liberating. Once you get over the initial repulsion of seeing a gray slimy blob sitting before you, it’s quite easy to become addicted to this decadent little creature. I can admit that I’m completely addicted, without shame or guilt. And so I present to you five oyster havens, where you can dive in face first, and think about monetary consequences afterwards.

Markt is fashioned after a classic Belgium brasserie, complete with an antique bar, a huge selection of Belgian beers, and seafood galore. What they lack in cozy atmosphere (weekends are loud and packed at this Chelsea hot spot,) they make up for in quality. Their oysters are incredibly fresh and shucked to perfection. And at only $13 for a half dozen giant briny gems, I say it’s well worth the trip.

I have yet to visit Bleeker Street’s Fish, but from the rave reviews of my fellow oyster addicts this place has the best deal in town. Apparently you can get a half dozen oysters, and a pint of refreshing beer for only $8. It sounds completely insane, and one would think the seafood quality would suffer due to the incredible price, but I’ve been assured that their oysters are just as fresh and juicy as ever.

Grand Central Oyster Bar is the legend of the bunch. There’s a certain sensation that emerges from within when sipping a cocktail, and downing some oysters in such a historic place – you feel transported through time, to a place where women always wore skirts, and men actually held doors open. All in all, it’s a classic experience with a reputation that remains in tact even after all these years.

If you find yourself in Brooklyn, I’ve been told that Walter Foods is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for some briny critters. The vibe is inherently retro, and the quality is supposed to be divine. I’m hoping I can visit the restaurant during oyster season (September – December) to sample their goods.

Lastly there’s Five Leaves, the tiny Brooklyn gem that sits precariously on a busy corner somewhere between Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Although my only visit to the restaurant was on their opening night, when they weren’t yet serving food, I’ve heard that their dishes are superb. Even if you’re just going for a quick drink, the John McCormick designed space is nautical and relaxed – a perfect beginning to a long night out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Revenge Of The Cat Lady

People who bring their dogs into stores, cafés, and restaurants are deemed 'normal', but a lady who prefers the quiet comfort of a feline is the crazy one - that just ain't right. The eternal debate over what qualifies someone as a 'cat lady' is still unresolved, but I think Miu Miu's runway show today made it a little cooler, and a lot sexier to be a cat lover. Many of her feminine designs were peppered with cat brooches, and her prints were utterly purrrrfect (I couldn't help myself!) Check out those chunky platform heels - a little bit of glam rock and a whole lot of attitude! Miuccia Prada's collection may be a cat lady's wet dream, but it also appeals to the little girl in all of us... if fashion was always this much fun wouldn't we always want to play dress up?

Via Cat Party

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The It Factor

Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit that Rachel Zoe has impeccable style. I've only recently started watching her Bravo show, and I'm completely hooked. From her visit with legendary designer Diane Von Furstenberg, to her romps through New York Fashion Week, Zoe is surprisingly endearing. Never having much interest in her, and taking the tabloid generated image of her as truth, seems to have been a mistake. After watching the show I realize there's much more to the pin thin stylist than meets the eye - she has a big heart, and her styling really is bananas. Although I can't claim to embrace much of her bohemian aesthetic, (since anything that loose and free flowing will only make a girl with curves look bigger,) I've acquired a deep appreciation for Zoe, and her quirky approach to fashion. Any woman who surrenders herself wholeheartedly to her passion deserves our admiration.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Life Is A Series Of Accidents

Throughout my time as an unemployed shmohawk, I was as healthy as can be. As I wrote from the comfort of my apartment (and sometimes my bed,) nary a sneeze escaped me. This week marks the 1st week of a new, incredibly challenging job, so of course I've been plagued by a nasty cold. On Day 1, as I sat in the conference room for my training it worked it's evil magic on me, and by the end of the day I was toast. I know that it's probably stress related, but I'm still annoyed at my body for submitting to the sickness so quickly. A friend of mine suggested I invest in a neti pot, and I flashed back to George Sibley lauding the neti pot as one of the best inventions ever created. He may have been a wee bit crazy, but he sure knows his history. So at the behest of a fictional character, I Googled to see what I could find. The following video may not have sold me on the benefits of using a neti pot, but it sure made me forget my sniffles for a few minutes. Where do they find these people!?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Design Within Reach (No, Really!)

When it comes to fashion we can't get enough patterns and color statements, but somehow once we step into the confines of our homes that love disappears. I'm not sure why color within interior design is regarded with such trepidation - when you really think about it, it's just as temporary as a brightly hued blouse, or a pair of sassy red heels. If you think you've made a terrible mistake, or you just want to try something new, it's incredibly easy to slap on some white primer and start all over again.

Jewel tones are the perfect way to liven up your space, without sacrificing a sense of light and space. Dark colors have a tendency to make a space seem smaller, but by using saturated colors in small doses like with an expertly positioned accent wall, or some choice accessories, you can create a memorable look. As you can probably tell by now, I'm very proud of my own NYC pad (pictured above,) and I did it all with some elbow grease, a keen eye for sales, and a bucket of paint. Jewel tones can take you anywhere, from the Mod meets Rococo of my apartment, to the Moroccan glow of this space. Just repeat the following mantra: I am not afraid of color, I am not afraid of color!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Video Vault: No Doubt

My love affair with music started at an early age. At the beginning I had a tryst with pop music, followed by a lengthy relationship with Oldies, that eventually lead to my discovery of 'alternative' music. By the age of 12 I had discovered Nirvana, Green Day, and Weezer, but I had yet to find a band that was truly relatable. As much as I pined over Cobain, and Cuomo, I didn't identify with their struggles. That all changed when Gwen Stefani skanked her way onto the scene with her platinum pompadour, red lipstick, and killer boots. I was completely obsessed with her because she was everything I wanted to be: a sexy albeit tough goofball, that hangs with the boys. No Doubt's songs played upon the same dynamic, with their power chords, chugging bass, and celebratory horns. At 14, I felt that Stefani sang about the same things I was grappling with, from romance and heartbreak, to the ups and downs of being a girl. The first real concert I ever attended was for their Tragic Kingdom tour, and I can still remember the excitement I felt as I watched Stefani prance, punch, and power kick her way through their set. It's hard to jump start a 14 year old girl's self-confidence, but I'm happy to say that No Doubt did that for me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mad For Plaid

1. Pretty In Plaid Handbag by Betsey Johnson, $98;, 2. Plaid Petals Skirt, $148;, 3. Ascona Shoes by Harajuku Lovers, $115;, 4. Color Wheel Shirt by BB Dakota, $55;

For twelve years of my life I was chained to plaid. Day in and day out I had to adhere to a strict uniform that consisted of a plaid skirt, a white button-down, a tie, and a blazer... yes, a blazer. We weren't allowed to wear nail polish, dye our hair 'unnatural' colors, or wear more than one ring per hand. So one would assume that I would be completely adverse to the reemergence of plaid as a fashion must have. Oddly, I'm not. There's something intrinsically unsexy about a boring tartan, but the plaids that have been popping up in collections in the past few years are anything but boring. There are many elements that may have brought plaid back. Perhaps it's the naughty school girl cliché, or the laid-back appeal of grunge? Or maybe we all just want to be as comfortable as the Brawny man? Either way, get ready for fall with one of these fabulous finds.