"Writer-director Francis Veber's clever comedy shadows a group of French intellectuals who gather each Wednesday night for a dinner game, in which the challenge is to bring along the most idiotic guest."
December 31, 2009
Do a solid for someone (or yourself) this winter. This season’s best fragrances come in the prettiest packages — for wearing or just showing off. Besides being pretty, solid perfumes won’t leak or spill. Here are our new favorites:
* Juicy Couture "Viva La Juicy" gold compact, $55 at Bloomingdale’s
* Leslie Blodgett "Bare Skin" pocket-watch perfume case, $35 at Sephora
* Bond No. 9 "Nuits de Noho" token-case perfume, $98 at Bond No. 9 (9 Bond St., or bondno9.com)
* Michael Kors "Very Hollywood" ring, $40 at Bloomingdale’s
* Estee Lauder "Beautiful" year of the tiger solid, $89 at Lord & Taylor
* Harajuku Lovers "G" solid perfume, $18 at Sephora
* Estee Lauder "Pleasures" glimmering takeout perfume solid, $89 at Lord and Taylor
* Kat Von D gun-metal ring with both "Saint" and "Sinner" perfume solids, $30 at Sephora
December 28, 2009
December 27, 2009
December 25, 2009
Technological innovations, shmechnological shminnovations. I still haven't been able to bring myself to throw out all my mix tapes and cassette albums from the 80s and 90s, even though I haven't had anything in years on which I was actually able to play a cassette. Not for want of trying -- I've tried finding a cassette component for my Tivoli system. Yeah, not so much. Once I went to Circuit City asking for a cassette player. The 15-year old salesperson working there didn't even know what I was talking about. "You know, those plastic things with a ribbon inside that you can record stuff on?" He thought I was crazy.
Here's a photo of a bunch of bootleg cassettes I picked up in Cairo in 1999 -- a bunch of super-amazing (and super-90s) mixes -- that have been languishing in my Case Logic cassette organizer for ten years!
Anyway, the good news is that my sister and I went to her old apartment today to pick up some stuff for her new place, and she has a mini Sony boombox that has a cassette player built in! So I brought it home and now I'm listening to a remix of "Cherish" by someone named Pappa Bear -- courtesy of El Sharq's Countdown Music series MTV Vol. 8, which I picked up on a street corner in Zamalek.
Words cannot adequately describe how excited I am about listening to all these tapes tonight. Now, if I could only find my high school mix tapes...
Now I am listening to Ultimate Kaos' "Casanova." Amaaaaaazing.
December 23, 2009
December 22, 2009
December 21, 2009
I met Jen Bilik on the last day I was at the Biggest Loser Resort in Utah. She is very cool -- runs a business called Knock Knock Stuff, which sells funny, useful products with jaded and witty (and sometimes passive aggressive) statements emblazoned on them.
Anyway, I love her blog, which I first found when doing research about the Biggest Loser Resort. Jen spent ten weeks there total (and worked much harder than my wussy 1 week of whinging and wheezing), and I've been looking forward to reading her summary (she left about a week ago). The summary blog entry is great.
One of the things I really empathize with is her superwoman mono-focus abilities -- she can put her mind to anything and succeed, as long as it's just one thing. "My kryptonite is balance," she says. I totally get that.
Anyway, check it out if you like. Congratulations Jen on losing over 40 pounds!
December 20, 2009
Growing up, I never wanted to be a writer. Until I was about 19, I thought I would be a doctor. Too bad science isn't my strong suit. So I kind of took a roundabout path of getting to this point -- I love fashion, I enjoy working in media. And as for writing, it feels liberating to me. I'm just at the beginning of my writing career -- people do this years and years, entire lifetimes -- and what I'm realizing is that writing isn't just a job. Once you're a writer, you'll always be one, whether you like it or not.
December 18, 2009
December 14, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 10, 2009
December 7, 2009
December 6, 2009
December 5, 2009
December 4, 2009
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1. I like hiking. A lot.
2. I like being outdoors in the middle of nowhere. With a trustworthy guide.
3. In order to reach my goal weight by June 2010, I need to create a 1,000 calorie deficit each day until June 2010. I don't know how this is going to work out.
4. Consuming 1200 calories a day is plenty -- when done right.
5. Taking Ibuprofen no longer makes me curl up in fetal position.
6. I thought I liked step aerobics, but I don't. My fond memories of 90s step must be cloudy.
7. Calgel manicures last through anything. Mine are still perfect!
8. Adidas trailrunners are my new favorite shoes.
9. I learned how to use a Camelbak pack.
10. The Golden Spoon makes delicious froyo.
I have my final weigh-in tomorrow morning at 6:40 a.m., before our final 9-mile hike. I craftily scheduled it in the morning because, well, you're lightest in the morning before you consume water and food. Let's see how this goes.
On the schedule for tomorrow: Exit weigh-in, breakfast, 9 mile hike (uphill for the first half, eek), swimming, lunch, visitng Coyote Gulch (an artisan community down the road from The Biggest Loser Resort), packing, getting on a shuttle back to Vegas, trying desperately not to eat anything at the airport, getting on a plane back to New York (red-eye, sigh). Then hitting the ground running back in the city -- so much to do on Sunday.
My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks so I'm going to be making myself some 32-year-old resolutions. Lifestyle change here I come -- if anything, I just want to prove to myself that I can do it. The question that keeps plaguing me, though, is -- How long can I go without eating fried food? Hm. We shall see.
This is what happened:
December 3, 2009
Instead of hiking today, I left campus and met up with Heber Holm of Polygamy Tours (yes, click on that, it is a real company) and he drove me (in a Cadillac Escalade, woooohoo) to Hildale, Colorado City and Centennial Park, three strongholds of polygamy that line the Utah-Arizona border.
It was amazing.
Caption: The old meeting house for religious service, which has, since Warren Jeff's imprisonment, been used almost exclusively for funerals. Holm told me that when media is able to take photos of a parade of FLDS women walking down the street in this community, it's often because they're walking from the funeral service to the cemetary, which is just up the road on the left.
Not only was the scenery truly spectacular -- the communities border on the edge of Zion National Park -- but the towns were totally jawdroppingly fascinating. I took a bunch of pictures of buildings (and only managed to sneak a few of people -- it was the middle of the day, most kids were in school and there were some women driving around) -- notably Holm's family homestead, their school (in his generation alone, he had 67 brothers and sisters from 11 sister-wives -- all one father), and their family gymnasium. And by "school" and "gymnasium" I mean School and Gymnasium. Like high-school style. Just for his family. Holm told me that most large families will run their own home school. Makes sense, I guess, financially.
Caption: The Holm Family gymnasium.
Touring the area with Polygamy Tours was an unparalleled cultural experience -- most of all because Mr. Holm grew up in the FLDS (that's high-hair, prairie-dress-wearing, polygamist sect to you) community and left of his own volition at the age of 16, whereupon he moved to St. George, Utah, about an hour away. A few of his brothers also left the FLDS, including Richard, with whom Heber founded the tour company. Richard Holm had been a practicing polygamist and the FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs exiled him and repatriated two of his wives.
Caption: This is the cafe and location in Canaan, just outside Hildale, where Carolyn Jessop was picked up by car after escaping from the FLDS community.
The brothers can provide an incredible amount of insight into the FLDS community -- more than any media story, tv show or documentary can show. Holm was totally candid and answered every question I asked.
Caption: A girl in Colorado City, Arizona.
A few miles down the road from Colorado City is Centennial Park -- a polygamist community far more progressive than the FLDS whose faith is called "The Work of Jesus Christ." They're a break-off group from the FLDS and allow a lot more freedom for its community members -- the women don't wear prairie dresses, for example (though they still do dress conservatively, wearing longer skirts, etc.), and the children are allowed to play sports and families have access to television and entertainment. The Work of Jesus Christ Prophet (leader) is John Timpson, who (and this was like a celebrity sighting for me at this point) was at the Merry Wives Cafe in Centennial Park at the same time we had lunch there!
Caption: The Work of Jesus Christ Prophet John Timpson's house (still under construction) in Centennial Park, Arizona.
I've never been in the same room as a polygamist prophet before.
Polygamy Tours rocks, Heber Holm rocks, and if I come back to the region, I'd for sure take the tour again, no question about it. Highly recommended.
Back in 2007 or thereabouts, around when Carolyn Jessop's book was released, I did a lot of research on the FLDS. It's a fascinating (and a little frightening) culture. I interviewed Carolyn Jessop once about the very particular hairstyles and dresses the FLDS women wear -- she told me that Skechers is their preferred brand of footwear, something I find highly amusing.
Anyway, I am beyond excited to check out Colorado City for myself. Am actually heading out there with an ex-FLDS member.
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