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Friday, January 28, 2011

Agyness Backstage at Alexander Wang Spring '11

Ahhhh, she is so amazing. My #1 icon, pretty in white.

English Garden Party

Warm Stick Toffee Cake
(Photo by Kirk Mckoy/Los Angeles Times) 

Prepping for spring involves coming up with new party ideas. It's just about February 1, so let's get crack-a-lacking.

Therefore, may I impart some wisdom? Pick a designer, choose a recipe, and get to work...you'll become a hostess with the mostess in no time, solidifying an A+ outfit and planning a carefully thought-out menu.

I definitely want to throw some sort of garden party, an English garden party, spiffied up with a novel, citrus theme. My good friend, party planner Samantha Scott, brought one her colorful affair's to life with fragrant orange, lime, and lemon centerpieces, topping it off with a touch of glamorous rusticity. Using burlap tablecloths and antique chalkboard menus, Scott created a warm, inviting atmosphere where guests sipped cocktails and lingered for hours.

I'm done hosting bridal showers for the time being so I'll have to come up with some other occasion. In the meantime, I'll be dreaming up ways to gather funds to buy an Erdem dress and baking away to perfect Westside Tavern's Warm Sticky Toffee Cake, a heavenly combination of carmel gooie-ness and dense cake.

As for Erdem; the british designer's spellbinding spring/summer collection paves the way for the print craze we're about to embark on. Floral patterns, lace, chiffon in modernistic silhouettes--thank you to the fashion gods from above!


(Photos by Erdem) 

(Photos by Samantha Scott Events) 
THE MAIN DISH  (Pictured above)

Warm Sticky Toffee Cake
Recipe from Los Angeles Times 
Total time: About 2 hours
Servings: 6 to 12

Note: Adapted from Westside Tavern

A. English toffee sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1 ½ sticks plus 1 tablespoon) butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the cream, butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat. Blend the mixture using an immersion blender until thickened and emulsified. Alternatively, the mixture can be blended in batches using a standard blender (be careful as the mixture is very hot). This makes 4 cups sauce.

B. Toffee cake and assembly
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, plus extra for buttering the ramekins
Sugar for dusting the ramekins

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
3/4 cup plus 2 ½ teaspoons (3.4 ounces) flour

Pinch salt
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dates
Hot prepared toffee sauce
Whipped mascarpone cream, cream or ice cream

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with butter, and dust with sugar. In a saucepan, whisk the baking soda into the boiling water.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until fully incorporated.
4. To the butter mixture, add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Over low speed, slowly and gently add the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl to make sure the batter is fully mixed.
6. Over low speed, slowly stream the hot water into the batter. Add the dates and continue mixing over low speed until the batter thickens. This makes about 2 cups batter.
7. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. Bake until the cakes are a dark, caramel color, about 45 minutes.
8. Remove the ramekins and cool the cakes for 5 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the hot toffee sauce onto the cakes until they seem saturated (extra sauce will pool at the bottom, this can be gathered for additional glazing and serving), then glaze the cakes a second time with the sauce.
9. Set the cakes aside for about 30 minutes to set up and cool. The cakes can be made a few hours in advance and held on a baking sheet, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.
10. To serve, cover each cake with one-fourth cup warm toffee sauce. Serve with a generousquenelle or dollop of mascarpone cream or whipped cream, or scoop of ice cream.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Diane Kruger Does Paris

(Photo via Elle.UK)
So I promise something food related will make it back to my blog A.S.A.P., but I just had to share the beautiful Diane Kruger's wardrobe from Paris Fashion Week (AKA "fash-land" as Grazia Daily puts it...love that term) with you all.

She is simply the most marvelous female, exuding class and valid style. Her delicate features make her look as if she is a porcelain doll dressed in couture. No wonder Karl loves her so much.

Chanel is her thing, but she certainly looks amazing in everything else she puts on, flawlessly pulling off all colors--everything from nude to black. She's another select fashion icon to add to my list.

In Chanel
(Photo via Grazia Daily) 
In Gucci
(Photo via Hollywoodlife.com)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let's Go to the Chapel with Joan Harris

Ladies, wedding season is upon us and I know many of you, including myself, kickoff the marriage mayhem in February and March. As a guest, buying a gift is a cinch thanks to the all-mighty registry. But what about an outfit? This is the true challenge us girls are perpetually faced with.

Enter Joan Harris (if you're not already familiar, Joan is the strikingly beautiful and voluptuous character on "Mad Men"). Her impeccable, Parisian-influenced wardrobe has become inspiration to many designers, such as John Galliano, who wish to capture the 50' and 60's by utilizing full skirts, pin-up silhouettes, cloches, and colors other than black. We can thank Joan for brining fur and red lips back; two amazing additions one should never go to a black tie or black tie optional wedding without.

I don't know about you, but after watching several seasons of "Mad Men" and gawking at looks from Christian Dior's spring 2011 couture show, which is pictured above and below (soooo in love), I'm decking myself out in head-to-toe glamour. I'll be stowing the bandaged Herve Legers for Vegas, as it's all about becoming a classy lady when "going to the chapel."

(All Photos from Nymag.com)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Closet Voyeur

John Gerhardt's collection of dress shoes
For all of you (I'm included in this) who get hot and bothered when bloggers get personal by snapping interior photos of their closets--which always seem to be overflowing with oodles of Hermes scarves, fist-size jewels and Louboutins galore--you're about to have a fashion murmur (I'm included in this too).

I do find this kind of entertainment a bit painful for people like myself who have to grow their closets slow and steady like a friggin Chia Pet but sooooo worth it.

While reading my daily NY Mag Fashion Alert newsletter, I read about a new Website that launched today, The Coveted. The site provides us readers with an uncanny look inside some very important people's closets. By important, I mean the untouchables who work in the world of fashion editorial, styling, and beyond, including Keith Pollock, Editorial Director of Elle.com New York and Mary Kate Stein Miller, Fashion Market Director for Teen Vogue.

Not only do we get a glimpse at the dreamy goods, we get an explanation of them, the history behind them and a description of the art pieces that get proudly displayed with them. After all, closets for "these" folks are like odes to their knack for style; function isn't the only purpose.

Let the drooling begin. Enjoy!

Keith Pollack's sunglasses collection: note those vintage Chanel's
Fiona Green's Balenciaga booties: note the chains and glosses next door
Mona Sharf's pieces from the spring 2007 LV Love collection: note that scarf
John Gerhardt's Lanvin shirts: note the Chris Nicholls photo and the Shepard Fairey lady
Mary Kate Steinmiller's array of minis: note the fantastic feather Tracy Feith print
Joanna Hillman's jewelry display: note those jeweled Miu Miu's

(All photos from Nymag.com)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Curing the Moving Blues

So my lack of posting has been due to the fact that we are moving apartments this weekend. The task of packing up, cleaning out, and organizing three floors of stuff has taken a serious toll on my sanity; if I ever had any to begin with. 

Sure, the new pad is just down the street, but bubble wrapping and trash bagging has become the bane of my existence. Once Saturday comes and goes, I'll be a brighter, better me. But until then, here's what's been fueling me.

Fun New Accent Pieces (to buy at some point):

These multi-patterned chairs would fare well in a minimalistic apartment, contributing just the right amount of pop and pizazz. $198 at Anthropologie starting tomorrow.
(Photo from bonappetit.com)
A good bottle of red: 

Even though I'm a self-declared wine snob, I admit a good bottle doesn't have to be expensive. It does however have to challenge my palate. 

California blends have been fulfilling that requirement lately, and therefore I'd like to recommend Bogle's 2007 Phantom. An exceptional marriage of berries and black pepper, the Petite Syrah, Zinfandel and Mourvèdre balance is so pleasing and drinkable that I might be tempted to choose it as my hydration method on the big day. 

(Photo by Bogle) 
Armani's brilliant decision to replace Christiano Rinaldo with Rafael Nadal in their new denim AND UNDERWEAR ads: 

Is it hot in here? Did I mention I want to go back to my teenage years so I can blow up this photo and tape it on my wall? Yowzers. 

(Photo from nymag.com)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Go Gadget Go!

Inspector Gadget and a look from Missoni's fall 2011 menswear collection
(Photos via loyalkng.com and nymag.com)
80's cartoon legend Inspector Gadget seemed to be present on the runway during Milan Fashion Week. Several of the Fall 2011 menswear collections debuted with long coats, heavy caps and hearty knits hiding many a chizzled male model underneath. 

The Missoni sisters seem to be all for the mysterious, detective trend, as they put they're men on display with long shaggy locks and facial hair galore; a look I'm not quite into but one that is rampant in the hipster marketplace. Emporio Armani played with ankle length trench coats--a trend I am into. 

Gents: prepare to go undercover. You better start mastering the art of layering now. Good luck. 

(Emporio Armani) 
(Emporio Armani) 
(Burberry Prorsum)
All photos from nymag.com

Friday, January 14, 2011


(Model Constance Jablonski)
Today, I'm sharing some amazing makeup ideas from my new favorite blog, Into the Gloss. Profiling an unlimited amount of females in the fashion and beauty industry--from big name models, to editorial mavens, to random fashion students on the streets of Paris--this blog might just have to become a morning ritual of mine. While rubbing the sleep from eyes, I'll type the Web address into my browser to get some inspiration for the day.

ITG founder/makeup artist/photographer/writer/blogger not only photographs her subjects, but peers into many of their bathroom cabinets, retrieving ideas of what regimens and products these beautiful women live by.

I might be behind the times and you might already know about this incredible source, but it's just brilliant!
(Model Hannah Holman) 
(Fashion Stylist/Beauty Entrepreneur Linda Rodin) 
(Model Bambi Northwood-Blyth) 
(Model Sasha Pivovarova backstage at Galliano Spring 2011) 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rejoining The Real World

An island style vacation comes with a huge drawback. Upon returning home, you feel unlike yourself for a few days until reality, out of nowhere, grabs hold.

Without warning, you snap out of your tropical coma, suddenly remembering what road rage is. You bite into a piece of fruit, thinking it's going to be of the perfect texture and ripeness, but it's not. It's mushy and sour--not like the papayas you grazed on just days ago, which were firm and sweet.

I did the dishes in an out-of-body daze last night. And doing the laundry seems therapeutic. Something's severely wrong with me. I must have taken in way too much sun.

If there is anything that's going bring me back to reality it's these two reasons!

1) Rachel Zoe's fall 2011 collection which debuted this week!

(Pics from WWD)
2) My new position blogging for Haute Living Los Angeles! Follow it here!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blame It on Rio

I'm finally getting  that tropical trip I've been hoping, wishing and praying for. But what to pack? I tend to look to an era for inspiration so I remain focused and prevent over packing, a genetic curse I inherited from my mother.

This time, I choose one of my favorite movies of all time, Blame It on Rio, which captures the essence of casual resort wear in the early 80's. I'm trying to go for Michelle Johnson's effortless bombshell look (Demi doesn't dress to shabby either).

My husband and I watched it late last night, as he had never seen it. Even though he got a kick out of Michael Caine's youthful appearance and gargantuan spectacles, he thought it a bit inappropriate. To find out why, you'll have to go rent it. Hint...Lolita.

So wish me Bon Voyage as I cram our suitcase with white linen trousers, silky blouses, vintage tanks and espadrilles. Oh and did I mention I'm not bringing one heating device for my hair? It's getting a vacation too. But hey, disheveled and natural waves were in back then.

(Photo via fridaymoviez.com)

(Other Photos via mrpeelsardineliqueur.blogspot.com)