Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Best v.272

Claude Monet, with his waterlilies

It's my favorite time of year, packed with art festivals and wine fests and costume parties. I have a few things I still need to knock off my fall to-do list, including drink cider and have something pumpkin spice flavored. My main fall activity so far was planting some ranunculus bulbs (pray for me that they actually come up!) and mulching. Woot for adulthood. 

Anyway, take a stroll through the best of the internet this week:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jams of the Moment

Super enjoyed the first episode of Insecure on HBO. Issa Rae is so charming, and her character's challenges (the I-just-spent-my-twenties-doing-what? crisis) is super relatable even to a white married girl like me.

I'm also loving Phoebe Robinson after listening to both of her podcasts — Two Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys — while I plug away at work. I'd like to read her new book. She seems like a girl I could split some rose with and just giggle about mansplaining, Daria and our crushes on older men.

I spent a significant amount of time hunting for the perfect nude mauve lip color and ended up with one of my favorite products around, the NYX soft matte lip cream in Cannes. I seriously love this whole line and for $6 a pop, it's not even a big hit on my wallet.

I also found a perfect deep red that is actually moisturizing and long-lasting in Shea Moisture's Red Rose lipstick. I grabbed it on a whim and it's definitely my favorite red for fall these days.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Best v.271

Freewheelin' Bob Dylan with Suze Rotolo, West Village, 1963

After an unintended hiatus (brought to you by that most dastardly deed: yardwork), I'm BACK with the hot links! While away your Sunday with these picks:

  • Fantastic pictures of "history" including sunbathing on the pyramids.
  • You can now tour every MOMA exhibition since 1929 online. 
  • James Hamblin argues for doing away with greetings and sign-offs in emails.
  • Advice for living, from the Notorious RBG, also the star of a new children's book.
  • Terri Gross's fantastic interview with Bruce Springsteen just reaffirms my love for both.
  • For my friends who are parents:
  • Why ancient statues have tiny penises.
  • Nearing 80, painter David Hockney is still busy as ever.
  • The "Frasier" conversation in this episode of "Sooo Many White Guys" is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
  • Behind the nomination of Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • I was always obsessed with Jackie Kennedy and always loved Natalie Portman, so this new biopic is a must-see for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Six-Day, Six-Year Celebration

Y'all, I am so overdue for a good life update! Life is...good! Sean and I made just about the entire past week an extended celebration of our sixth wedding anniversary, which is truly my favorite holiday of the year. I am a huge believer in not treating it like "just another day." It's a big accomplishment, and should be celebrated.

Our extended celebration kicked off with a visit to FedEx Field, because I surprised Sean with tickets to watch the Redskins play the Cleveland Browns. And thank goodness, they won. The last time we went, there was freezing rain and we lost, so I had only bad memories.

Not to be outdone, Sean had a gorgeous bouquet of lilies delivered to my office, which had every coworker Snapchatting her boyfriend hints to do the same.

We like to try to get away for our anniversary weekends when we can. If we had our way, we would spend every year in Ocracoke, but with the threat of a hurricane, we opted to spend some time in Richmond, a badass city we never seem to visit even though it's so close.

We started our visit with a lunch (and seriously, this could have been three meals) at Bombolini, a fresh pasta emporium with amazing flavors, like red wine, black pepper and squid ink. I had rosemary fettucine with chicken rose sauce and it was so good, but so much food. If we were Richmonders, I can totally imagine popping in to grab dinner to go; their freezer was stocked with fresh lasagnas and raviolis.

Unfortunately, it was pouring rain from the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew, so that ruled out so many great Richmond things to do, like check out the murals, lounge on the rocks at Belle Isle, roam around the Maymont property or check out the Lewis Ginter gardens. So we did what we always do: we went to the movies and saw The Girl on the Train. It was dark, y'all.

From there, we decided to kill some time boozin', because like many small cities these days, Richmond is home to a huge brewing and distilling scene. We went to Ardent Craft Ales, where we sampled their Sweet Potato and Sage Ale (my favorite!), "The One" Pumpkin Ale, Nelson Sauvin Saison and Stortebeker hefeweizen. They really were all delicious, and it was packed with other folks wearing parkas and Hunter wellies, so clearly, it was the place to be on Saturday.

We drove clear across town to check out Blue Bee Cider, where we split a flight. It was really impressive to see the variation in the ciders, with really unique flavors for each, including a dessert wine with a nice kick of ginger.

Bottom's up!

We finished our gastronomical tour of Richmond on Saturday with a decadent dinner at Bistro Bobette, directly across the street from our hotel in Shockoe Bottom. Sean had what I secretly wanted — bistro steak with pommes frites — and I had beef tenderloin medallions in a pepper brandy sauce with potato gratin. I could swim in that sauce, you guys.

The Berkeley is an beautiful fancy pants hotel in a fantastic location and our room was beautiful. I used travel rewards for the room, so it was doubly great because it didn't cost me anything extra! 

We finished our visit on Sunday morning with a trip to Kuba Kuba, renowned for its authentic Cuban food. I was squirming in my seat to the music the entire time. I need more Cuban and Puerto Rican food in my life.

We had empanadillas stuffed with picadillo to start and honestly, I could have just eaten 15 of these. The fried dough was perfection, and the seasoned beef inside combined with the lime sour cream drizzled on top was the perfect mix of sweet and tart and spicy.

I figured "When in faux Havana..." and ordered a Cafe con Leche with condensed milk, and that was basically warm heaven in a cup.

I had a classic Cubano with plantains...

And Sean devoured his plate of ropa viejo over rice.

And on our way out, since the sun was shining, we snagged the requisite Richmond keepsake: a mural portrait.

I can't wait to see what our seventh year brings!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fashion Review: Emmy's 2016

Last night were the Emmy's, which have traditionally been a bit of a grab bag when it comes to fashion. Sometimes, stars choose the moment to try fancy pants (we definitely saw some of that), shorter hems, funky patterns or crazy colors, which makes it an unpredictable red carpet. We saw some great turns, some bright colors, some slight missteps and some MAJOR missteps. Let's review, shall we?

Best Dressed

It was really just Sarah Paulson's night. She's been turning in rock solid work for years, most especially since the beginning of her collaborations with Ryan Murphy, and her turn as Marcia Clark was a tour de force. But then she had to do it one better and show up in Prada looking like she's hosting the most glamorous garden party you've ever been to, with the best hair and the best jewelry and the best make-up. Brava!

Priyanka Chopra began her career on the pageant circuit and her experience came in handy when she did a literal spin move to show off her gorgeous, voluminous Jason Wu gown. This is how everyone wants to look all the time, and I've been really impressed with her glamour since she started gracing red carpets last year.

Portia Doubleday is in a tough spot. She's on a critically lauded, but maybe not quite mainstream (yet) show on USA, she shares a name with an older actress who could be her doppelganger and even on her own show, she's a bit of a wet blanket. But these are all the kinds of problems that can be solved by wearing a head-turning red Armani dress, looking like Veronica Lake reincarnated and having everyone ask, Who is SHE? Smart move. Even smarter: keeping it modern with an extremely minimal makeup look. I couldn't do it, but she pulls it off.

I was swooning for Kristen Bell's princessy floral Zuhair Murad the minute she hiked up the skirt to ascend the stairs on the E! Red Carpet show. The elegant gown paired with the perfectly casual hair and simple, beautiful makeup made her look like 21st-century Grace Kelly with the daffy personality of Doris Day. So charming!

Emilia Clarke took one for the team and wore a gown I couldn't sit or stand in, for that matter, and looked flawless. Normally nudes have me kinda blah, but this Atelier Versace really is a model of outstanding craftsmanship. 

The tucks and folds on Regina King's coral/red Elizabeth Kennedy are just so elegant. She looks like a queen (or even a bit like Michelle Obama) — very regal and pretty, in a color that's absolutely perfect for her. 

Y'all know I've been having some problems with Kerry Washington on the red carpet the past few years, but this sexy mama pregnant Diana Ross look was hot fire. Who among us could ever look good in this Brandon Maxwell cutout dress? The answer is none of us.

Laverne Cox just has such amazing taste and never disappoints. I love the detail of this Naeem Khan and also, her chest was SO GOLDEN AND SPARKLY on camera, like she was starring in Goldfinger.

I really enjoyed the contrast of the very romantic floral lace print on Constance Zimmer's dress by Monique Lhullier with her 1920's-perfect sleek bob and pop of hot pink lip. I wanted her to win, partially because this would have looked stellar during her acceptance speech.

Abigail Spencer's sparkly night sky gown is what I wear in my dreams to everything. Doesn't it seem like something Katharine Hepburn would wear? Loved it.

Also, these littles from Stranger Things just slayed. I want them to stay little and adorable forever.

Battle of the Mellow Yellows

For some reason, yellow was majorly trending on the red carpet. I'm not against it; there was a time yellow was my favorite color, specifically because it's hard to pull it off. But God bless 'em, they try, and I'm going to give my first place Mellow Yellow award to Minnie Driver, for her modern yellow dress by Versace and the exact right amount of tanner.

Angela Bassett proved for the millionth time that she can pull off ANYTHING when she wore this dramatic, scene-stealing citron Christian Siriano gown, looking #flawless.

Mandy Moore, as always, looked her patented combination of twee and wan while wearing possibly the cheeriest marigold Prabal Gurung. It's a tricky color and I think she pulled it off, but perhaps only because her make-up was so on point.

Taraji P. Henson tried really hard to sell this 1990's Vera Wang bridesmaids dress like it was a high fashion choice with just-came-from-the-beach hair and make-up and I was not fooled.


Taylor Swift pioneered the Best/Worst category here, and it's reserved specifically for people who were maybe the worst, but also kind of the best. No one deserves that title more than Claire Danes, who complemented her breathtaking gold Schiaparelli gown with one of the most heinous and obvious and disturbing fake tans/bronzer catastrophes I've seen on my television since Jersey Shore was on the air. She. Be. Tripping.

Jill Soloway, creator of "Transparent," has made a name for herself by donning kooky patterned suits and platform sneaks and at this point, it's her thing and I love her for it. But this has a distinctly hipster Temple Grandin look to it that is sorta "worst" even for her. I dunno...I'm inclined to just let her do her thing.

I see where you're going here, Keri, but I'm just not able to go there with you. I know you want to be modern and edgy and sexy and cool and yet elegant and evening appropriate, but all of these things are hard to do in a hastily hemmed fancy white potato sack with curtains attached. Help me understand!


Some folks are just solidly good, like Connie Britton in this interesting Talbot Ruhof gown and great fall nails. Her hair is always majestic!

I'm a little bit bored of seeing Sofia Vergara basically wear the same Atelier Versace dress over and over and over again, but I do appreciate her flawless fall make-up.

Not totally sure why Olivia Culpo (a beauty queen who used to date Nick Jonas) snagged an invite, but I'm glad she did because I am LOVING this Zac Posen confection. I love the sparkly white sequins over nude corsetry. An attention-getting dress, for sure.

JLD continues her streak of nice, sexy and interesting black gowns, this time with a pretty halter by Carolina Herrera.

Tina busted out a bright green Oscar de la Renta dress — a new fun experiment for her! — and voluminous curls and looked like a glamorous girl ready to hit the dance floor.

Sarah Hyland got adventurous and wore a Monique Lhuillier embroidered peplum top with black cigarette pants. I don't love it and I don't hate it, but I admire the effort. It does have a certain Audrey-as-Sabrina quality I can't deny.

Tracee Ellis Ross looked like a Grecian disco diva in her Ralph Lauren that may have been pants, but I'm genuinely not sure. I prefer it not to be pants, but if it was, I'm not really sure what the point might have been? Her earrings were to-die-for.

Kirsten Dunst looked like a sexpot in Givenchy, but the 1920's-1930's sexy siren look is such well-trodden ground for her...I'd like to see her experiment a little with more modern shapes and styling.


Michelle Dockery just needs a new stylist so bad, or her stylist needs to start ignoring her input. She is consistently choosing underwhelming, ill-fitting, blah boring dresses. This Oscar de la Renta is one of her best and still, it barely registers as an exciting Emmys gown. It feels better suited to a fundraiser in Argentina.

Viola Davis was just the most recent woman to fall victim to the plight of the distracting darts pointing directly to one's nipples. Her Marchesa isn't bad, but it's not great and felt like a rare misstep for her.

Sophie Turner's romantic goth girl look was okay, but not worth writing home about. This dress felt kind of blah for such a big event. At least her ring is sparkly!

Constance Wu wore a sparkly J. Mendel disco dress, but fell victim to overstyling that made it veer toward 1970s costume rather than homage. I would have liked to see her ditch the hoop earrings and go for beachy waves to let the dress shine, rather than compete.


Anna Chlumsky began her walk down the red carpet and Ashleigh and I started shouting in the living room, "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!" Where can I even begin with this? She looks like she's made of frosting. She looks like a couture tablecloth. She looks like she's wearing a pillowcase topped with a cape made of matching sheets. She looks like she gave a seamstress a picture of Kathy Bates' cellophane dress in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and said, "Can you make this, but with my grandma's upholstery fabric?" It's so bad, on so many levels, that it's almost hard to process. Even the fit is terrible. She is enjoying one of those rare Hollywood child actor comebacks and is somehow squandering the moment with a series of progressively weirder gowns. 

This Jenny Packham gown is probably fine, but for some reason, with this styling and at this event, Ellie Kemper just looks like she's a guest star on The Brady Bunch. I need/want her to turn up the glamour and also, find a stylist who can harness her desire to play with fashion and direct that energy in the right directions. Her hair was too mature, and the dress looks like a couch from the 1970's. It isn't right!

Mr. Robot fans will recognize Stephanie Cornelliussen as the frightening wife of an even more frightening character, and it almost seemed like she was theme dressing in this goth, slightly S&M gown. I'm afraid just looking at her in that dress.

And finally, Amy Poehler inexplicably suffers from a misplaced case of fashion derring-do like Ellie Kemper, and she needs someone to focus that desire AWAY from puke green inaugural gowns from the closet of Pat Nixon. This ain't cute, Amy! It's ain't cute.