July 31, 2007

Summer hair makeovers

Just for fun, okay, for work, Raakhee and I helped make over three ladies with problem summer hair. One of them? My sister, Joyce. Shin at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa gave her the beachy wavy hair of her dreams.

Check out the pics and tips here:

(Click on the photos for the full spread)



July 30, 2007

Weekend update

Spent all day today holed up in my apartment because of the rain outside, but on Saturday I saw the Simpsons Movie and Ratatouille (or, as Eric insists on calling it: "The rats cooking movie."), went to Patsy's with Gary, and stopped by Staples to buy a box and eco-friendly packing peanuts so I could ship a bunch of stuff to Helsinki. Dinner was a salad and brussel sprouts at Alta -- which made me super-sick (How can you get sick from a salad???).

Anyway, it's good to be back in New York, and it was a quiet weekend as far as weekends go, but now I'm itching to get out of town again. Sometimes, when it's hot and humid and everyone's out, the city feels oppressively claustrophobic in the summertime.

July 28, 2007

Black is the only black / Black is the new green

Have you heard about 'Blackle' ?

It's Google with the black screen..why?

If Google had a black screen, taking in account the huge number of page views, according to calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved. In response Google created a black version of its search engine, called Blackle, with the exact same functions as the white version, but obviously with lower energy consumption

Help spread the word… http://www.blackle.com

Try it and see!

July 26, 2007

Haute List

Haute List

July 26, 2007 -- GETTING your grubby little paws on true designer originals has never been easier - or cheaper. If you suffer from H&M syndrome - the disease wherein the rest of the world appears to be wearing your wardrobe - but don't have the bank account to splurge on couture, hit up prada.com to bid on surprisingly priced, one-of-a-kind studio prototypes.

Updated with new products every few days, the selection includes everything from dresses and shoes to handbags - at last glance, the price on a pair of nude Mary Janes reached $274, a never-before-seen sequined, feathered, wool and silk dress was going for $590, and a green crocodile handbag was closing out around $1,600.

Considering that prices on Prada shoes regularly clock in around $500, exotic leather bags near $2,000 and fancy dresses upward of $3,000, these auction prices are a total deal.

Spent a lot? Lux to be you

THINK selling your firstborn and shelling out $2,000 for a swank designer bag guarantees it will last you a lifetime? Don't be a sucker.

Before you buy, browse through "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," a soon-to-be-released exposé on the luxury fashion and accessories industry. In the book, veteran culture and fashion writer Dana Thomas (she's written for Newsweek, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker) blows the lid off how high-end fashion firms cut costs to deliver jacked-up hype and compromised quality to unsuspecting consumers.

Especially shocking? While many $1,000-plus designer bags are manufactured in China, few bear the "Made in China" label. "If they do, it is well hidden," Thomas writes. "The majority, however, carry a 'Made in Italy,' 'Made in France,' or 'Made in the U.K.' label. The brands have little tricks to get around the China label. One brand's 'Made in China' label is actually a sticker affixed to the outer package, which is ripped off later. Another has the entire bag made in China except for the handle. The bag is shipped to Italy, where the Italian-made handle is attached."

To gain access to the factories, Thomas had to sign nondisclosure agreements. Still, she says she witnessed firsthand production of items later stamped "Made in Italy." She also interviewed top designers, corporate officers as well as design-team underlings. "The only luxury designer I heard openly embrace manufacturing clothing in China was Giorgio Armani," she writes.

"Burberry's chief financial officer, Stacey Cartwright, told me at a luxury conference in Hong Kong in December 2004 that the company produced 'a small bit of luggage in China.' A day later, a source who worked with Burberry at the time told me, 'Burberry's production in China is more than experimental. It is big quantities.' "

Obsessions of the week
* Sheeps for your feet: Remember last year's insane 130-day waitlist for Uggs? Let's not have that happen to you again. Head to the brand's SoHo flagship (79 Mercer St., [212] 226-0602) and preorder fall styles till Wednesday. Take note: We hear Cameron Diaz is getting the "Caroline" in black, Gwyneth Paltrow will score the "Sandra" in chestnut and Scarlett Johansson gets the "Rosie" in black.
* Get over it: Last week, pop star and Um-bu-rella, ella, ella spokeswoman Rihanna dropped $1,000 at Replay's SoHo store (109 Prince St., [212] 673-6300) on overalls, including this $250 sexy red denim style. We also love Serfontaine's Farrah Shorts ($210 at Work in Progress, 481 Broadway, [212] 343-2726), high-waist gaucho shorts with a crisscross back.
*Be shady: Oakley Frogskins ($118) - Wayfarers for the surf and skate set - are back. The second shipment of the re-released sunglasses (they debuted in 1985) will start trickling into stores starting Monday. But if you really want to get your hands on a pair, start calling the O store in SoHo (113 Prince St., [212] 673-7700) now.
*It's Darphin, dolls: The luxury French beauty company just got a little more gorgeous with its first-ever makeup line. We especially love Blush Sensation ($40), a light powder blush, and the yummy lip balm and lip gloss ($22 each), exclusively at eluxury.com.
Bathing booty: This weekend, slithering sexpots will be hitting the beach in this Married to the MOB x KAWS rattlesnake bikini. The limited-edition $175 suits - there are only 200 total - go on sale tomorrow at Colette in Paris, Original Fake in Tokyo, and here in New York at Alife Rivington Club (158 Rivington St., [212] 375-8116) and marriedtothemob-nyc.com.

July 25, 2007

Going green

Green Girl


July 20, 2007 -- High heels, handbags, cocktails, dinner parties, first dates, office politics- as if the life of a single New York career girl wasn't already hard enough, now 20-somethings are saddled with the burgeoning stress of the eco-system's imminent demise. Ah, the noughties.

Me, I'm a fashion writer and I try to live a life based entirely on convenience -- wearing heels means car service, my cocktail of choice is the 70-calorie exercise-exempt ‘skinny bitch’ (a totally inorganic Stoli Vanilla Diet Coke palate cleansing experience) and recycling? Well, let's be honest, I'm not exactly hauling my stash of scrap paper around looking for a green bin.

That's why my editors thought it would be especially amusing to force me to think, no, live outside of the box-survive for a week living as eco-friendly as possible.

It actually turned out to be easier than I'd imagined. But I cheated. I had the helping hand of friend, green guru author and television host Danny Seo.

Day one: On the homefront:

The impending dread of living earth-friendly for a week hit home Monday morning- woke up late, running around getting ready, sticking my false lashes on with environmentally-unfriendly latex glue (I reuse my falsies, so that must count for something recycling-wise.) Desperate to cab it to work as I'm hauling a bag of fashion shoot props, no, I fight my way uptown on the F train. Instead of tossing my papers and junk mail (I get more than my fair share of press releases and new products), I start saving all my recycle-ables in a huge shopping bag.

For lunch? It's plated, not packaged, dining. And my computer gets put into deep sleep when I step away from my desk for appointments. I skip after work drinks at the midtown New York Post haunt and accept a drinks date with a cute guy closer to home (saving one taxi ride, score!). The first thing I do when I get home? I change all my light bulbs to those spirally green ones. Ok, sure it messes up the minimalist nature of the Saarinen lamp in my foyer, but it's for a good cause. Only nagging doubt? Is it really better to swap for Eco bulbs when your normal ones are still good? What about all that waste?

Danny says:

What I do in my own house is to wait for the incandescent bulbs to burn out before I replace them with a CFL. Since normal bulbs last 1/8th SHORTER than the CFLs, you can be sure they're going to burn out sooner than later.

Day two: Beauty and the beast:

Every morning since high school, I've started my day out with a Kiehls and Terax-infused shower. These days, beauty companies send me a billion different new products to try every day, so my bathroom is practically bursting at the seams. In honor of eco-week, I'm opting to use only organic and eco-friendly products. My favorites so far? Jason's organic toothpaste (replacing my imported-from-England Euthymol), Philip B. Shower gel (in lieu of whatever French-milled soap is sitting on my bath ledge), and Korres' coriander body oil, which not only makes my skin shimmer like Miami, but also repels mosquitoes. Only trouble? Now, instead of 24 products in my bathroom, I have a trillion new organic brands. Am I condemned to a life of beauty excess?

Danny says: This might be an example of quality vs. quantity. Most people I know have way too much stuff in their medicine cabinets and shower. Try to live one of those dreamy magazine layout dreams: one exquisite bottle of shampoo, a great bar of soap, maybe a salt scrub (in a pretty jar) and a conditioner. It's easy to go into Sephora and just buy everything that's designed to moisturize your eyelid or cuticle, but try to find multi-purpose. Try the organic items because the non-organic, chemical-based ones do go down the drain and take thousands of years to technically biodegrade. Not good.

Day three: Worst of the worst

Today was bad. Prepping for fashion shoots is one of the least green activities ever. Trucking clothes from designer showrooms, filing dockets for loaner items, tearing apart look books- all wasteful, all for the sake of vanity. This afternoon I popped up to Lee's art shop (by train in the rain, the worst!) and had to buy 60 Styrofoam balls to make a prop. Of course, I schlepped them back in plastic bags. Now I'm wracked with green guilt. I'm sure I'll have to take a taxi to the studio tomorrow morning, as I'll be carrying five bags of clothes and shoes. What's a fashion girl to do? Can I buy carbon-offset vouchers for my cabs?

Danny says: There's not much you can do to "offset" taxi rides. I'm a little turned off by people buying carbon offset credits; it's like a Get Out of Jail card. Because this is NYC, I would say for every guilt cab ride you take, make an effort to grab one of those pedi-cabs on the street. They are emissions-free and you're helping some starving artist at the same time.

Re: The plastic bags, you should reuse them as garbage bags. If you really don't need the Styrofoam balls, go on Freecycle.org and post a free listing in the NYC page. I am sure some art student will email you and pick them right up.

Day four: My cubicle is a dump

My cubicle is a dump. I arrive back at work after my photo shoot and I'm appalled at how much recyclable garbage I've accumulated. Papers, shopping bags, boxes, packaging, Diet Coke cans and balled up pieces of unidentified stuff everywhere. I briefly consider messengering everything home to be recycled, but imagine the look of horror on my doorman's face when he has to sign for 10 bags of trash. What's the best way to deal with recyclables when your office building doesn't recycle?

Danny says: Make taking recyclables home a daily habit. Crush aluminum cans and rinse out glass bottles. Use a lined tote bag -- like a waterproof LL Bean bag- as a carryall tote. It's lined with rubber, so any soda or sauce spills can be wiped up. A+ for effort.

Day five: Weekend's here and nothing to wear

Someone told me that I wasn't allowed to web-shop on my green week, because flying my merchandise around would be a mark against me. But a week without Internet shopping? That's a week without Yoox.com designer discounts, withdrawal symptoms from not being allowed to order from Topshop and nothing sparkly and new to look for in the mail next week. Sigh. Is online shopping really that bad for the environment? I'm in a panic. Doesn't FedEx fly regardless of whether or not I order my jumpsuits from Fred Segal?

Danny says: Choose ground shipping. It uses less fuel than overnight shipping. Companies, like UPS, have made their truck fleets so fuel-efficient they are even figuring out ways to get rid of left turns altogether. Apparently, it uses less fuel.

Post-note: after green week, which also coincidentally turned out to be one of the busiest weeks of my life, I was off on vacation to Sweden and Finland, which got me thinking: if I were thinner, would it take less gas for the airplane to get off the ground?

Danny says: Ha ha. No. A seat is a seat. And why do you ASK?

July 24, 2007

Keeping up with the Beckhams


July 24, 2007 -- HOLLYWOOD’S A-list turned out in droves Sunday night to welcome David “Goldenballs” and Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham the only way it knows how - dressed to the nines (inches, that is), teetering along the red carpet in glamazon drop-dead gorgeous breakneck heels.

“Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria footed stunning 4-inch emerald green satin Rickard Shah Icon Collection peep-toe stilettos ($625 at shopiconology.com) - a limited-edition design with 20 percent of sales benefiting the Keep a Child Alive charity - to match her flirty sunshine-yellow Gustavo Castile dress and LAI clutch.

Jada Pinkett Smith (3) took a refreshing head-to-toe Chanel turn on the red carpet in an unexpected pair of 3-inch sculpted-heel ankle booties paired with a strapless black minidress. Scientology wife Katie Holmes (1) chose Tinseltown’s favorite shoemaker Christian Louboutin’s tallest platform peep-toes (4 ½ inches) and towered over hubby Tom.

But it was guest of honor Victoria (2), who’s as famous for her out-there fashion sense as she is for her, um, singing career, who towered over all, in 5 1/2-inch Giambattista Valli platform sandals - unnaturally contorting the arch of her feet and giving a whole new meaning to “Bend It Like Beckham.”

July 20, 2007

Jacked up prices on junk food

Check out the prices on American foodstuffs in Helsinki:

Jello rings in at EUR3.50, about $5.20 a packet.


Hershey's chocolate bars are EUR2.29, about $3.40 a bar.


And the smallest size A1 Steak Sauce is a whopping EUR6.90, about $10.00!


July 18, 2007

The Depeche Mode Bar

Tallinn is full of theme restaurants and bars -- you can hardly walk down the street without seeing a gaggle of medieval wenches coming at you. Anyway.

The best theme joint in town? The Depeche Mode Bar run by the Estonian Depeche Mode Fan Club. They only play Depeche Mode music, they loop DM videos and newsclips, and even have Violator-theme carpet. Seriously. Seriously.




Tallinn is very quaint and picturesque

Pretty pretty red rooftops



I want to see the Nevsky cathedral, I say.

You mean the one that looks like onions? says Tuomas.


We had lunch/coffee/Bloody Marys at Double Coffee, a cafe chain that's only in former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc countries. The menu is insane -- it has everything from potato pancakes to sushi rolls to meat-filled crepes to breakfast sausages. Plus they give you yellow straws in your glass bottled beverages.


Welcome to the Port of Tallinn

So Tallinn today was super-nice. But maybe they ought to think about throwing some money into revamping the harbour area.


I mean, to get to the Old Town, you have to walk through this former mine field.


Super Sea Cat

So the fast boat from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia, is called the Super Sea Cat. It's awesome. Only one problem: the food on it is totally bunk. Sure, there's pizza, but it's shrimp-and-tuna pizza (???) or ham-and-unidentified-crunchy-stuff pizza.

Anna-Kaari was smart and raided the duty free nuts section. Here she is shelling pistachios on the way to Estonia.


Mall of America or Helsinki?

Dinner at Tony's Deli in Helsinki -- but I felt like I was in an American mall Italian with all its fake frescoes and stuff.



Sometimes I like to push the limits and see how much I can embarrass Tuomas in public with my wild gesticulating.

A slow day in Helsinki

Time for a picnic, says Tuomas. So Chris, Tuomas, Daniel, and I pack up the champagne and red wine in a basket (with a fringed red blanket) and park it on a big sunny patch of grass in the middle of the villa district. All big houses, water view, and us with our duty-free bubbly.


July 15, 2007

And now to break up the vacation monotony

Flashback to Gary's birthday dinner last month at Elmo in Chelsea (where Weston and I spent nearly the entire time marveling at how the man at the next table went so horribly wrong, sartorially speaking, when he chose to wear a sheer white mesh leotard to dinner. I mean, who does that, really.)


Tranny Cruise 2007

Four hours of fantastic fun in the Finnish archipelago with a bunch of clubkids and a few too many bottles of Freixenet. Huzzah!


Vesa incognito et moi.


Henrik looking pensive


Mika, Nivea's new spokesmodel.

DSCN0817Tuomas, Linda, and Henrik

DSCN0825Rami, my book illustrator, one of my favorite people in the world!

Gentlemen rip up paper bags

Tuomas tears up a paper bag for sitting on the grass during our outdoor champagne, uh, picnic.


Tuomas is dressed like a shepherd

Shepherds: the new chic


On the Silja Line

We'd heard horrible things about the Stockholm-Helsinki ferry -- everyone kind of warned us not to take it and gave us funny looks when we told them we were going to brave the high seas. But it turned out okay - mostly because we consciously decided to avoid the karaoke party and go to bed early. The shower leaked everywhere and the buffet was, uh, unpalatable. But don't we look happy here?


Last day in Stockholm

We packed up and left the Hotel Rival (owned and redesigned by Benny from ABBA) and met David and Maria at Topshop for one last runaround. Then off to lunch, then APC and Nitty Gritty, then to the Apotek to buy toothpaste and rehydrating tablets. And off to Helsinki via party ferry!


July 10, 2007

Lo is for Lynx

I always knew I was secretly Scandinavian.

See if you can spot the difference:



I couldn't get close to the real animals, so here is a simulation

Hello Mr Plastic Wolf


And don't forget the vicious cardboard cut-out bear!


Nordic beasts

Bjorn is for Bear



Elk butt


Somebody give this reindeer some Rogaine!


And now for, um, American beasts (and their prey)

Helen and her freshly killed waffle. Watch out for the rogue peacock!


Danica and her prize kill -- the biggest albino cotton candy in the world!


The Gim shows only trace signs of fear as she battles the fearsome hot dog.


Swedish teepee


Weird baby statue in a garden at Skansen


Anybody home?

Last full day in Stockholm and Helen and I head off to Skansen, this Colonial Williamsburg -esque place where people dress like it's back in the day and there's a zoo filled with Nordic Beasts. Also there are 1930s Swedish phone booths, which we found, um, endlessly entertaining.