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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I will never understand tunics.

Sitting here watching the most excellent premiere of Dirty Sexy Money and eating garlic baked fries in a post-gym stupor, I finally came to terms with the fact that not only will I never look good in a flowy-schmowy, tunic-length girlie top but that I will never understand the whole concept.

I mean, sure, that's a cute color and everything, but what is the attraction, ladies? Why the low-cut boobie-showing with the flowy, waist-covering bounty of fabric below? Sure, if you've got 'em, flaunt 'em but you still look slutty in my book. The top may make your waist look long--too long, who wants a waist that goes down to their thighs? you are weird.--but I find that women who are well-proportioned look the best when wearing well-proportioned clothing. Oh, yes.

Ladies, ladies, ladies. If you are shapeful enough to pull off the tiny boobie-part, why hide your glorious other lady-parts? And for God's sake, I hope you're wearing pants with these tops, because we are not in ancient Rome. (Sidebar: put away those gladiator sandals, they are gross.) Don't get me started about the low-cut EMPIRE-WAIST BABY-DOLL tops that abound in stores lately, what are you, a skanky infant whore? Boooo.

Booo, I say. But maybe all this anti-tunic-length-top venting is because I am rather shapeless on top. I have great gams (as Miss Skinny Minnie Jeanne told me once, and I was like IT'S SO TRUE, LOOK AT THESE LEGS, BITCHES), with a torso in progress. It's taken me several years, but I have learned that I look SUPER-SMOKIN' HOT in more structured tops, like blouses with seams and tailoring and buttons and gorgeous little things. See, how comfortable am I with my body shape?

That said, here's a tunic-length sweater I'd wear if I had no other choice--CHECK OUT THE SWEET SLEEVES. Another link for you all to check out, even if it seems a little sketchy: MyShape.com, it's supposed to teach you how to dress for your body shape--always useful, right?

Images from forever21.com and bluefly.com.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spiced Tea Financiers for Fall

Finally, after a long, hot summer in Japan, I am back home and in the baking mood. Unfortunately, being the lazy baker that I am, I found my larders bare of sugar, and my neighbors seemed to be in no mood to lend me a cup or two. Sugar, people! It's the kind of essential item that I still couldn't justify a run to the grocery store for, especially at ten at night--what kind of girl is going to Safeway for granulated sugar on a Wednesday night? Really.

So, having splurged on a bagful of adorably tiny decorative baking cups in Tokyo, I set out in search of a recipe that used powdered sugar and honey instead of normal ol' granulated. Strangely enough, a French gardening website proved fruitful in its recipe for Madeleines à l'anise et au miel, or honey-anise madeleines.

God, I love madeleines. They are the perfect combination of crunchy and pillowy soft with a touch of grain on the palate that is perfectly balanced by a hot cup of tea. You can find them at gourmet grocery stores and bakeries in baggies, in lemon, chocolate, or plain flavors, but if you're me they need a little oomph. A little spice. I'd had Earl Grey flavored madeleines in Japan, tried and failed to make matcha madeleines, so why not combine the greatest yum factors into a single, delicious little morsel?

Out of the cupboard came a baggie of Indian cardamom tea I'd pulverized in the food processor, some of the last remains of a bag of almond meal, and nutmeg for the following recipe:
100g unsalted butter
100g powdered sugar
45g flour
55g almond meal
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp finely ground flavored black tea leaves
dash ground nutmeg, cinnamon, or other spice as desired
3 egg whites
3 tbsp honey

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until slightly bubbly. Your butter might have a sort of white scum on the surface, don't worry about it. Allow to cool while preparing other ingredients.
2. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, almond meal, salt, tea, and spice in a medium bowl. Mix well.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg whites for a few minutes until frothy. The frothier the better, but don't go overboard, you want the color of the froth to stay a light yellow color--don't make a meringue.
4. Stir the egg whites into the dry ingredients. Some dry bits will remain unincorporated. Strain the melted butter into the mixture and stir remaining honey well until smooth and sticky. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spoon or pipe batter into baking cups or a buttered, floured madeleine pan until halfway full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are browned and a tester comes out clean.

Mine came out with crunchy browned corners where the batter stuck into the star-corners, brown at the base but fluffy and moist in the center. The tea wasn't ground well enough, maybe, or my almond meal was a little clumpy but the mouthfeel wasn't as smooth as I would want. Ah, well. Oh, one note--mine are technically neither madeleines nor financiers since I used cups and not the traditional baking pans for either of those. I just like calling things "financiers." Enjoy!

Friday, September 07, 2007

You better work!

I would like to apologize from all three of us on the total lack-of-updating around here. I've been working at a new job and traveling, and I'm just about to take off to Japan, just after Karen's left, and so things are in that pre-big trip craziness I've already had twice this year.

But because I've been working, I've actually been wearing a full face of make-up every day. Craziness! The thing I've learned, though, is that because I'm forever eating or drinking (I get to the office at 8 am every day, so hello caffeine!), I've been leaving off the lip gloss. However, I've been wearing a lot more eyeshadow. Really!

For work, it's generally a good idea to keep the entire look, including shadows, subtle, but because I've got glasses, I can get away with some color on my eyes. And because I've got hazel eyes, I've been playing more with pinks and purples, as well as some greens. The eyeshadows I've been reaching for are:

- MAC eyeshadows in Shroom (a classic staple of pretty much any MAC addict; soft golden taupe), Jete (from last year's Danse collection and still available on maccosmetics.com; a great not-too-frosty gold-coral to go with green/hazel eyes), and Mercurial (mineralized eyeshadow from Flashtronic; a combination of purple, chestnut, and gold -- light enough for work, but easy to build up with an additional purple shadow). What can I say? I am a MAC fan.
- Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow in Scratch. I now own three UD Deluxe eyeshadows, and this is the least dramatic of the three. I walked around Sephora comparing shimmery pink eyeshadows, including several cream shadows, and this was the one I decided to take home. In fact, I am wearing it today!
- CARGO duo eyeshadow in Oregon. The lighter shade is a great olive khaki color that manages to not be too matchy-matchy with my eyes -- I got highlights again, which makes my eyes much more gold than green, so I've been reaching for pink and purple shadows to balance and make my eyes more green. I bought this ages ago, saying, "Oh, it's named Oregon, I have to have it!" and I'd yet to wear it until I brought it to my latest trip to (surprise) Oregon. I love it. While I haven't worn the darker shade yet, it would be great for the color-smoked eye look that's in for fall.
- Benefit cream shadow in Skinny Jeans. Easy for a soft smoky eye that's work-friendly.

Sephora is currently offering a "Perfect Face" kit by Stila that features Kitten, their classic gold-pink eyeshadow; while I found it a bit too shimmery for my liking, it's a well-beloved favorite of many. It's a good starter kit for "the office face", I think, and when you're wearing make-up every day, it's always good to have both a jumping point to build off of as well as something you can rely on when crunched for time.

Take it from me, a non-morning person who's got her face on by 7:30 am every day now -- make friends with eyeshadow. And don't forget your Urban Decay Primer Potion! While the office day can go by quickly or drag on forever, you don't want to lose your eyeshadow before lunch.

images from sephora.com

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