31 August 2007

Does This Make Computer Games Cool, or Fashion Dorky??

Remember when I wrote about LC's virtual clothing line for the Virtual Hills game? Apparently, she's not the only one with that idea....

Ever in search of the newest ways to promote their wares, labels such as Stella McCartney, Lacoste, and, more recently, H&M, are venturing out of real-world practices and reaching out to what may become greener marketing pastures — the digital lifestyle simulators of Second Life and The Sims.

Steve Lubomski, H&M's US advertising director who spearheaded the fashion retailer's collaboration with The Sims this summer, proclaims that "The virtual world is definitely the new marketing frontier."

A solution for those computer nerds who may not be so nerdy? I still find the whole Second Life phenomenon quite creepy, but obviously those designers have gotten over the heebie-jeebies and hopped on the money train. Apparently there's even a designer or three who makes her LIVING designing virtual gear. I'm just imagining trying to explain this to my 93-year-old grandmother, who used to work at a clothing manufacturer in Manhattan, which was about as far from "virtual" as you could get. I don't think she'd even believe me.

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28 August 2007

Say No to Cruggs

OH my GOD.
Take cover, fellow citizens! The locusts are coming, Vesuvius is on the verge, Florida is breaking off, and all the ozone is gone!

Because really, the only thing that the new Crocs "Mammoth" can signify is the END OF THE WORLD.

Why else would the gods allow the monstrous combination of the two worst shoe trends known to (wo)man? Whoever dreamed up the spawn of heinous molded plastic gardening clogs/clown shoes (Crocs) with possibly-more-heinous giant furry dinosaur boots (Uggs) clearly was planning my demise. Mental demise, at least. This violates all rules and makes me question the American public even more than its widespread support of Fall Out Boy.

Question, though: who's going to buy these things? The biggest fans of Uggs are dippy girls in denim miniskirts, who would never be seen wearing Crocs. The biggest Croc wearers are hippie-wannabes who probably consider Uggs too popular and too made-of-animals (though their moms back in Minnesota may own some for the wintertime). Wait--I know! The guys in the entertainment industry who wear Uggs not with miniskirts (obviously) but to show how laid-back they are whilst chilling in their beachfront pads wearing Seven jeans. They probably need something to wear when Uggs just won't do, but they still need to project that all-important blase real-dude vibe. Cruggs to the rescue?

No. No. They're just too bad. I can't deal. Time to go huddle under a desk and wait for the apocolypse.

> r r < (with thanks to TheTopCoat for the heads-up.)

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27 August 2007

Everyone is Doing It

Happy Monday!

Wanna know why I'm so happy? I can't even begin to tell you...it couldn't be because I watched a three hour cheezoid movie about Charles Manson and then walked home at midnight by myself.

Nor could it be because I was a sex sandwich (and not in a good way) last night--as both people that live on either side of me were having loud, passionate sex whilst I sat and watched Law and Order reruns with my pooch.

It might be because I need focus to do a good job with work, and these days finding inspiration and conversation about food is easy to do.

Doesn't it seem like everyone cooks these days? I remember the old days when I was a sophisticate with my knowlege of haricot vert and squid ink pasta. Now I am a dime a dozen. Never fear, I rejoice in this new found love for good food--it can only mean fabulous things for me and my belly.

The book that will tell the tale:
The United States of Arugula

This website proves that it is hard to get visits without a few recipes:

The master at writing about it:
Michael Ruhlman

Someone who makes art with it:
Aya Brackett

Someone who cooks it:
.:tt:. (hey...how'd that get in there??)

These ladies LOVE food:
Food Porn (not for the faint of heart or the under-aged, this is REAL PORN. Seriously. Don't look if you don't like porn. I HAD to look. Research. I swear. Research.)

So sit back nation, it's time empty your bowls of plastic and polyester food--there's a revolution going on.


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24 August 2007

Lark Cake Shop, A Review

Occasionally we like to have another voice of reason. This voice of reason comes from John Southern, an architect and an avid eater (that's what I said, AVID). Please sit back, relax, it's not my voice you will be hearing your head all day...


“Let them eat cake”-- According to Wikipeda, it ain’t Marie Antoinette.

Living in what I refer to as the “Silver Lake Lowlands”, any new culinary opportunity is observed with the same type of anxious optimism usually held by peoples under siege. It’s not that we don’t have options down here, it’s just most of them tend to be on the low end of the culinary totem pole. I mean, how many papusas or pho bowls can one eat before the taste buds tire and shrivel from too much salt and MSG? We also don’t have much in the way of dessert options either, which is why the addition of Lark Cake Shop on Sunset Blvd. is such a welcome treat.

Lark, owned by Colleen Standish, has established itself in a commercial strip just south of Micheltorena St. normally associated with auto-body shops and Latin American storefront churches. After eyeing their sign during construction, I found that they’d opened while I was away in Berlin. An attack of the late afternoon munchies forced me and my date to drop in one hot and steamy Wednesday afternoon.

Enough chit-chat already! On to them’ baked goodz!

Lark specializes in cupcakes, frosted cookies, and fancy cakes, all of which earn a prize in aesthetics and sugary-sweet goodness. The staff is super nice and is quick to offer up samples from the on-site bakery, which is cleverly on view through a large glass window. What gets though me are the prices. Cupcakes are currently pegged at $1.90 (tax incld.) which for the quality and size is remarkably fair. In a neighborhood that is quickly gentrifying (which means we’re going from cheap to posh in the blink of an eye) this is a welcome addition that will no doubt pull in hipster and long-time residents alike.

My date, Emily, and I each ordered a cupcake to sample the standard fare of the house. I chose the coconut-nut vanilla frosted cupcake, while she picked a delich’ chocolate-frosted dream that was surprisingly light on the taste-buds, despite its rich appearance. The coconut was crisp and the icing cool, sugary, and fresh- sweet relief on a hot summer day. I ordered an espresso to compliment my snack and it came out frothy and smooth, rather than the usual bitter and oily combo that one finds at Backdoor Bakery and Casbah. Emily, an avid baker herself, is a tough critic when it comes to baked goods, and she agreed that Lark beats the pants off other bakeries in the area, due to its homegrown taste, and reasonable prices. I couldn’t be happier with the place since it now means another “sweet” destination in a neighborhood that needs more.
The bonus is that Lark is open late- 7pm weekdays and 10pm on the weekends. This means that whether you’re on your way home from a tough day at the office, or out for a walk after dinner, Lark is going to be a constant temptation, that’s heavy on the taste buds, but light on the wallet.

Oh! I also forgot to mention that it’s next to Stark- a waxing spa, so the ladies (or the frictionless inclined gentleman) can pamper themselves with fuzzy coconut cupcakes after their “Brazilian” and lament what was lost.

Eat and Enjoy!

Lark Cake Shop
3337 West Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026. (t.323.667.2968)

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22 August 2007

Swede Chic on ShareMyLook


I stumbled on a photosharing website called ShareYourLook, which is a sort of predecessor to the kind of site I'm working on creating...anyway, my favorite posts so far are from the above-pictured girl in Sweden. I'm part Swedish and have a raging crush on the entire country (its fashion and architectural designs, its bands, its universal health care...), so our Miss "Beautifulones" here adds yet more fuel to my Svenska-ogling fire. Swedes are so cool. I've been to Stockholm once, and everyone there was light years ahead of hipsters & co. in the States. They're not all blonde, but mostly, and all have ridiculous bone structure and super cool Lee jeans (back then anyway, before they were here much), and impeccable style and black bicycles and long legs. I can tell this girl is tall like me, which makes me feel like when I someday move to Sweden and have a perfect life, I will fit in with the hordes, and all the other Swedish girls and I will live in overly-long-limbed glory.
Gosh, just look at her awesome clothes. They're not even from crazy designer stores. Just normal stores you can go to when you live in the best country ever, Sweden.

OMG, I totally own this. Same H&M suspender skirt and everything (PS--So does .:tt:.). If I go to Sweden, I can wear it and this girl and I will be BEST FRIENDS. Since obviously when I stalk her and tell her I found her on the internet and have the same outfit so I know we're destined to be together, she will totally see my point.

> r r <



Im sorry--I've been working like a fool. A fool indeed.

I wanted to share a story that you might enjoy. Because I have a sense of humor I enjoyed it, otherwise, I might have thrown the soup at them...

One day not long ago, S came home to say that she is off of sugar. "Oh bummer", says I--but I am a good little chef, and happen to know of all kinds of sugar substitutes that are natural.

"It's okay." I tell her, "You can eat Xylitol and Agave, two natural sugar-like substances that are really yummy."

So alas, Xylitol and Agave are out of stock. But eventually they are restocked and purchased and made into a yummy "healthy" version of Pinkberry.

6.30PM arrives. R comes home from work carrying a cute little bag that I note to be familiar.

"I've brought dessert...Pinkberry!"

So I'm instructed to serve up both so they can laugh at the "healthy" version and like the bowl clean of the other.

This is how I spend my days.

This ends the first reading.


1 large containter of FAGE total yogurt

juice of 1/2 Lemon

1/2 C of Sugar (or sugar substitute to taste)

1 pt Strawberries, quartered

tt Agave syrup

Mix yogurt, lemon juice and sugar in a mixer and put into an ice cream
machine and use according to directions

Once frozen top with strawberries and agave.


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16 August 2007

Short-Shorts: An Unsightly Sighting

The other night I went to Spaceland for a friend's band's show. Now, while Spaceland is pretty cool, it's cool because the bands playing there are cool rather than popular. There's a difference. Somehow, though, this friend's band turned out to be wildly popular, resulting in the longest (a.k.a. first) line I've ever seen outside Spaceland. While standing in said line, I--naturally--whiled away the minutes checking out people's outfits. This was pretty entertaining, since the crowd was very clearly not made up of regulars. Normally a bastion of hipster chic, that night the sidewalk was covered in people armed with their loudest, pseudo-punkest, Hollywood-y-est gear. Lots of spiky black hair, tats on girls, big intimidating shoes... you know. I managed to capture the best (worst) of them with my crappy cameraphone:

It's hard, with this grainy picture, to convey the utter horror of this poor misguided woman's getup. It's SO BAD. I noticed her because she was one of those girls who thinks that the more high-pitched your voice and the louder your laugh, the better chance you have with men. Her voice was very high and her laugh very loud. The second thing to sink in was that her legs were VERY long. Normally this is a desirable thing. But with this choice of mini-shorts and boots, one would need the shortest legs possible to make it look at all decent. On her, it was just cringe-inducing. I felt guilty for happening to see the very tippy-tops of her inner thighs,,,but I had no choice! Those are barely even shorts! If only you could have seen the endless gleam of her insane expanse of leg, unmissable against everyone else's clothed bodies (clothed in things that, despite silly punkishness etc., were at least suitable for late evening weather). And you know what? I take back that possibility of "looking decent" with shorter stems. No way could this very shiny, very tight shorts-&-camisole duo look decent, ever. It looks like what I wear to bed--but shinier and tighter.

What I really wonder, though, in addition to "What mind-altering drugs did she take before taking her little sister's pj's from the bin and calling it a day?", is: Were the guys at whom she was chirping actually excited by her shiny-mini-gear? Are my standards those of a certain social group, while this girl's are actually consistent with those of some Hollywood society? No, NO, I just refuse to believe that. Apart from social standards, though, has this chick caught onto some key to male desire here? Are there certain guys who see her and rejoice, rather than recoil?

God help them.

> r r <

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14 August 2007

International Dress-Up Day!

FYI: International Dress-Up Day is this Saturday, August 18.

The lovely Australian fashion/life/fun blogger Gala Darling invented
I.D.U.D., which she defines as
...an excuse to get dressed up in an excessively-frivolous manner. A theme is selected (by popular vote or by a guest), a date is designated, & the faithful begin to plot their outfits. As far as iCiNG goes, the most exciting time is in the few days after i.D.U.D. happens, when everyone sends in their photographs from the day.
The theme for this Saturday's is still undecided, but I think it's more the thought that counts. Maybe it's the day for me to finally unleash the floor-length prom dress that's been wrapped in my closet since high school. Of course, with a floor-length blonde wig, since my childhood dream was to be a princess (which obviously entails floor-length blonde hair). Oh wait, Saturday is the day I was thinking of hitting Sunset Junction, where my dearest dear friends The Pity Party and Autolux are playing alongside swoony Blonde Redhead. Well...perhaps my prom dress dress will contrast nicely with the hordes of skinny-jeaned waifs descending on Sunset. What will YOU be wearing? The pressure's on.

> r r <


11 August 2007

The Style Network: RR Gets Cable

I've always been rather proud of my resistance to TV. I never had cable as a kid, and am generally out of the loop when anyone makes references to shows past or present. Sure, I love Project Runway, Top Chef, all heinous MTV dating shows, Weeds, and, um, Pimp My Ride. But I only watch them by chance at other people's houses, and have never been able to imagine having the free time to even enjoy cable TV, were I to have it at home. That is, until this weekend. We just got some fabulous new neighbors who offered to split cable service with us, and since then I've spent at least 50% of the past two days open-mouthed in front of the television. I was already totally thrilled at the prospect of Bravo any time, and I secretly love turning on VH1 Classic while I'm around the house ("Metal Mania," anyone?), but I didn't even think about the Style Network until today.

The Style Network is the source of "Extreme Makeover" and "Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane," but a less infamous show is what held me down to the sofa for an hour this evening:"How Do I Look?" It's basically an un-extreme makeover show, rather like "What Not To Wear," in which clueless fashion victims get clued in by the fiercely stylish, yet very sweet, host (a 30ish lady of indeterminate British origin who has the lone first name Finola. Oh wait--Google informs me that she's been on General Hospital and All My Children. See, I told you I haven't been a big TV girl...). Its tagline is "Because naked is not an option," and it claims to take those in "style denial" and let two close friends and one professional stylist fix them up so passersby no longer gape in horror. For instance: tonight's episode featured a mother-daughter pair, both of whom had severe issues involving multi-colored muu-muus. They both considered bright colors the only way to express their "colorful personalities," the mom wore only Birkenstocks (she was horrified when the judges threw out her "dress Birks"), and the daughter was a 25-year-old mother of two who looked like an overgrown dorky middle-schooler who just got her braces off.

What drew me in was the premise--hello, makeovers, shopping, whoopee--but what ended up fascinating me was how deeply intertwined these women's fashion attitudes were with their feelings about themselves. Eventually, the mom ended up revealing that she never felt pretty, and wearing outrageous anti-fashion outfits was a way to hide. We began to see that thhe daughter was still following her mother's dress code because she was terrified of change, and that she had never devoted enough time to herself to develop her own identity nor a resulting style. It was really amazing to see how very closely their ways of dressing were connected to these feelings; in a way, though they appeared and felt clueless about style, to me it seemed that their isolating choices were, in fact, quite informed by mainstream fashion. I.e., in their decisions to wear the unremarkable or downright off-putting, they were rejecting what they were aware was more "normal" (and what would be, surely, much easier to find in stores than their giant smock numbers.).

It was nice to see the show letting women choose which new looks were most appealing to them, and letting the lightbulb go on as to how the new clothes projected their image. Finola says on the site, "The most satisfying thing about what I do is what I call 'when the penny drops.' It's when a woman suddenly sees herself in a way she's never thought of before, and she gets it. She's like, 'Of course this is what I'm supposed to look like.' I love that moment....And on my show, when it clicks for women--how they look and how it registers with other people and themselves--that's exciting. It's not that clothes make the man, but they can help a person understand who they are." I don't know about that, but one of my pet topics is the connection between one's mental image of oneself and how clothes are used to project that...and that's exactly what I got to revel in from 7-8 P.M.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I hear "The Fabulous Life Of..." calling my name. I do so love that narrator's insane, insane voiceovers.

> r r <


05 August 2007

The RR Report: Magic Mountain

*NOTE: I have been made aware that I made the egregious mistake of saying Valencia was in Orange County. Even I know that's not true...sorry, Valencia.
Runway Shows, Valencia-Style

When I told .:tt:. that I had a date to go to Magic Mountain, her first reaction was, "Mullets." Mullets? Yes, she said: when she'd gone a year or two back, she been surrounded--nay, swamped--by guys wearing non-ironic mullets. Needless to say, this made me totally freaking PSYCHEDDDD for Magic Mountain (in addition to the totally bitchin' coasters--"X" truly does enter a fourth dimension, for reals).

However, when we got there, I was saddened to see not a trace of mulletude. Not one. Instead, we were mostly sharing queue territory with bands of high-schoolers. Since I rarely see high school kids in my daily rounds, never mind Valencia-area high school kids, this was quite the anthropological experience for me. My coaster companion probably thought I was purposely ignoring him, when really my glazed eyes were just glued to all the gangly girls in tiny shorts and unfortunate bra choices. But it was he who asked me, "What's Hollister?" Oh, I told him, a small Abercrombie spinoff brand.* "But there are way more people in Hollister shirts than Abercrombie," he pointed out...and ye gods, he was right. Trolling around L.A., I NEVER see anyone wearing Hollister, but in Magic Mountain land, at least one out of four people between 14 and 24 was wearing a big ole HOLLISTER label across their chest. The longer we looked, the more Hollister we saw. I was really unnerved: could it be that I was that unaware of a huge trend? That my bubble of a world was that bubblicious? Frightening.
*[Note: apparently, Hollister is owned by Abercrombie, but their clothes are cheaper. Thanks, Sherrie Just, Boys' Sports Editor of the Viewmont High newspaper!]

In addition to scary numbers of logo tees, we saw an astonishing number of PLAID SHORTS. Now, I remember in high school, when Walter Neel wore a pair of plaid shorts along with his pink Ralph Lauren polo shirt as a total-overkill-prep joke. I mean, he really did wear them, but it was understood that they were funny. The thing is, I don't think all the boys and girls/men and women at Magic Mountain were displaying their finely tuned senses of irony. There were more pairs of plaid Bermudas, plaid 5-pocket shorts and unapologetic plaid booty shorts than there are senses of irony in the average population, so I have to conclude that the slick-prepster look has now been officially co-opted by Southern California as a whole. This contrasts amusingly with the very popular push-up-bra-and-too-small-shirt look.

I'm suddenly having flashes of inspiration re: possible conspiracy between Hollister and Magic Mountain. Conspiracy in that it was unbeknownst to us. Conspiracy being something involving Magic Mountain discounts upon purchases of items (esp. plaid shorts and logo tees) from Hollister. In Psych 101, I was taught that "correlation does not imply causation," but in this case, I am totally implying a causation-type situation. Note: SOMETHING TO LOOK INTO.

So, all in all, it was an educational day out in the wilds of Valencia. Not only did I fly through the air and scream a lot, but I also learned that what I would have considered a fashion anomaly--plaid butt and Hollister ta-tas--can be the norm, making me the anomaly. DEEP.

> r r <

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