Fun Girl-Gifts!

Posted in Frippery, Life on February 20th, 2012 by Annabelle – 3 Comments

Tea Leaf Reading Kit from Uncommon Goods.

If you’re a woman, shopping for other women usually isn’t too hard.  Even if it’s someone you’re not terribly close to, there are the standard chick gifts: scented candles, bath products, chocolates…  (I hear the process of shopping for women is an impenetrable mystery for guys, but I can’t really speak to that myself.)  Still, there are times when you get bored of picking out yet another picture frame, however gratefully received.  If you find yourself falling into the trap, here are some fun alternatives that will keep you and the woman who receives them awake.  (And if one or two of them happen to stumble their way into your place, well, quality control testing is called for, no?)  My selections after the jump.

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Valentine’s Day Gifts… for the Non-Hallmark Crowd

Posted in Frippery, Life on February 2nd, 2012 by Annabelle – 5 Comments

For the traditional set: art glass by Robert Held.

February at last!  I’m generally not a fan of February; here in the north, it is often the time for the most abysmal weather of the year, and not much to compensate for it.  However, this year I’m seeing three events to look forward to this month: a leap day (must think of something good to do with “extra” day), Jason Wu for Target (starting the 5th; I know, I’m easily excited), and Valentine’s Day.  The local Walgreens are already full of pink and red M&Ms, and all the blogs and talk shows are starting to put out their gift guides for this year’s festivities.

Permit me to add my two cents on Valentine’s day gifts.  Here are a few selections for those who are not anticipating dressing up in pink on the 14th.  I should note that if your SO is expecting dinner at Per Se and/or will be offended if there is not a card using the words “soul mate” involved, you should probably not take any of my suggestions.  I admit, I once made a boyfriend about 15 dozen pink and white M&M cookies for Valentine’s day just because I knew it would annoy him.  But my suggestions are fun all the same.

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Animal Print Identification: The Trend-Follower’s Field Guide

Posted in Frippery, Geekiness on January 11th, 2012 by Annabelle – 3 Comments

THIS is what leopard print looks like, people.

We live in the age of animal print, dear readers.  If you follow fashion, you can hardly have missed the explosion of animal and “tribal” prints that have been all over the stores for the last few years.  Leopard print remains insanely popular, but has also gotten a bad rap in horrifying 80s garments like leotards and leggings (that’s right, I hate leggings), so much so that designers have started manufacturing variations on the theme and labeling them with the name of whichever wild cat strikes their fancy.  The fact is, there are a lot of cats out there with rosettes or spots, but if you think a snow leopard’s coat looks like a serval’s, you have not been looking.

As a fashion-lover and amateur naturalist, I have to take a stand.  Here’s the truth: even if you think that “cheetah print” sounds sexier/trendier/more luxurious than “leopard print,” if your fabric has rosettes, it ain’t cheetah.  Observe the leopard at top.  Purty, isn’t he?  His so-coveted coat involves small, mostly uniform rosettes with no spots inside.  We’ve all seen the pattern a million times.  Taking that same pattern and labeling it cheetah does not make it so.  To illustrate: read more »

Rescuing Lipstick From Oblivion: An Adventure With Three Custom Color

Posted in Frippery on September 21st, 2011 by Annabelle – 4 Comments

MAC Spanish Fly, you have returned to me!

It happens to every girl sooner or later.  You find The Perfect Color.  Maybe it’s a lipstick, maybe it’s a blush, maybe it’s an eyeshadow.  It makes you look fantastic.  It may be the perfect neutral that makes you look like you’re wearing nothing but a healthy flush, or maybe it gives you the perfect smoky eye to rock at night.  Maybe it becomes your signature color.  And then it gets discontinued.  The discontinuation is always incomprehensible.  What kind of business decisions are these people making?  But there’s nothing you can do about it but curse your fate and nurse the tiny remnant of your color that you have left.

For me, that color was MAC’s Spanish Fly lipstick.  Spanish Fly was always sort of a weird color, which is what made it so difficult to find an adequate substitute.  It was a brownish red, maybe a little orangey, and with a metallic green frost.  You heard me right, green.  On paper, it sounds like the strangest color in existence, but it worked on me like a dream.  I’m not a big believer in “my lips but better” lipstick, but I don’t want to be wearing red all the time either.  Spanish Fly was the ideal compromise.

MAC discontinued some years ago, and I’ve been nursing two remaining stubby tubes ever since.  Until now.  read more »


Posted in Frippery on June 25th, 2011 by Annabelle – Be the first to comment

Haunted by a cross-body bag!


So, am I the only one who dreams about, er, shopping?  I know, it’s an appalling sign of rampant consumerism and so on, and I never did it until I moved to New York, but I do sometimes dream about shopping.  This mostly happens after I’ve been stalking some particular thing online (like the dream I had about trying on those fabulous Viktor & Rolf strappy sandals).  Occasionally, though, I’ll just dream about shopping and finding some particularly amazing thing that I am then obsessed with even when I know perfectly well that it does not exist.

A little over a  year ago, I dreamed about shopping for handbags, and I dreamed that I found a little structured fold-over Kate Spade bag in sky-blue patent leather.  I am a fan of smaller bags, a fan of structure, and a fan of patent leather, so that wasn’t exactly shocking.  Dreams can be strangely compelling, though; even after you’re awake, your mind can still be so full of the thing that was so important in the dream that you have trouble thinking about anything else.  Despite the fact that I knew perfectly well I wasn’t likely to find sky-blue patent leather in the middle of winter, I still had to look to see if that bag actually existed — and then scour Zappos and Piperlime and Endless and every other site I could lay my hands on just to see.

It didn’t exist, of course, at Kate Spade or anywhere else.  So I forgot about it and moved on.  Until this season.  Behold the bag above.  Okay, it’s not patent leather, but aside from that it’s eerily similar to the bag I dreamed about.  I can’t tell you how weird this feels.  It’s supposed to be an IMAGINARY bag!  But here it is.  I don’t really need another cross-body bag, although I do get good use out of them, but I am really having trouble turning away from this thing.  My dream bag actually materialized!  Does this mean I am fated to buy it?  I almost feel like I’d be tempting fate NOT to buy it.

The Boy says this means my dreams are prophetic.  I’m hoping that doesn’t mean the dream I had last night about living in Vegas and being an illegitimate daughter of Tom Jones is about to materialize.