Category Archives: Life & Style

The Way the Cookie Crumbled (The Macaron Edition)

Pierre Herme Macarons

Before Blair Waldorf introduced every Gossip Girl fan to this French confection, a small patisserie on Queen St in Toronto called Nadège gave me my own introduction. I’ll have to discuss my favorite Canadian French Patisserie in more detail some other time, because it definitely deserves a post of its own. Known to some as a macaroon, known to the French as a macaron, the egg white, almond paste cookie sandwich is among my favorite of French things (others include the men, fashion, and the Seine).

“[Pierre Hermé] A genius beyond measure”

Upon my recent birthday trip to Paris I was on a mission to enjoy Blair Waldorf’s favorite version of these cookies. After all, if it’s good enough for Blair, it’s good enough for me. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. I’d heard wonderful things about Ladurée, but I’d somehow managed to spoil it for myself by visiting Pierre Hermé first. A genius beyond measure with particularly posh store fronts, Pierre Hermé and his desserts are the delightful sort of thing dreams are made of. As the servers picked up their PH monogrammed tongs and carefully placed each macaron into the bag, I had no idea what I was about to experience. I’d happily pack on twenty pounds if they were gained consuming his mogador macarons, a passion fruit and chocolate cookie that is beyond incredible.

The very next day, I ventured to Ladurée, expecting the same sort of wonderful experience I’d received at PH. Sadly, this was not the case. The server violently crammed the beautiful, and let me remind you delicate, cookies into a bag. Stunned, I watched the cookies crumble, not entirely, but enough to detract from this new favorite experience of mine. My sister and I returned to our hotel room and propped ourselves up on our beds, ready to devour these macarons, Blair’s favorite, in the same manner we had the day before. we inspected the coconut cookies, although cracked still delicious looking, we took our now ritualized first bite in unison. I don’t know why it wasn’t as magical, but the coconut filling was too sweet and the cookie itself not as perfect.

I think it was then I realized that Pierre Hermé had likely ruined all other macarons for me. So much so that I’m still nursing the box I brought home, contemplating if I should only eat half a cookie.

Pick of the Week: 24.10.11

Pick of the Week: 24.10.11

Beer Bottle Glasses – Corona; CoolMaterial.com, $33.00

My beer of choice isn’t Corona, but I love these glasses. The recycled bottles sort of remind me of my childhood in this odd way, not that it was spent drinking beer. They remind me of piling up glass bottles once filled with soda from a party, only to drop them off at a depot where I wondered who’d get them next. Instead of recycling the bottles for reuse, these glasses reclaim them in a cool and useful way, instead of perpetuating the hand me down process.

My Fall Essentials

My Fall Essentials

If I had any doubt that fall was here, this week erased all hope that sweaters and jackets were to become a permanent fixture in my wardrobe for the next several months. I’ll admit I’m looking forward to the leaves changing, and the dip in temperature does give me the chance to pick out my fall essentials.

[1] Everyone knows about the infamous leather jacket search – it takes you forever to find that perfect leather jacket. Thankfully a couple years ago, I unearthed mine, and I’ll forever be loyal to Michael Kors and his leather jackets for this reason. The unbelievably soft leather alone could make you invest in one of these, but the fit has me transfixed with it, making it my number one fall essential.

[2] I’ve got this newly developed habit of painting all of my nails on each finger the same color, with the exception of my ring finger. I love the hue of this Blue Boy Chanel polish and I have every intention of contrasting it with one big apple red nail on each hand. The lacquer is like a cross between the night and daytime sky, and my perfect go to shade for fall.

[3] Sweaters keep you warm when the weather isn’t on your side, but that doesn’t mean they get to be ugly. The dull knit red sweater from Weekday has a vintage quality that’s the perfect piece to build a color blocked ensemble around. It has just the right amount of slouch and it’s the perfect weight in knit, buying it in a few shades will get you through the fall and winter no problem.

[4] Come rain, snow, or sleet, a girl needs a bag she can tote around more than just a pair of sunglasses in. This cross-body bag from Fossil has a masculine air about it that makes it even more alluring when complimented by an ultra-feminine frock.

[5] Let’s get one thing straight, Palmer’s cocoa butter swivel sticks are the best thing since sliced bread, or whatever the best thing after that really was. It doesn’t matter what season it is, this stick is a girl’s best friend. From super soft lips to soothing dry skin, there’s nothing this jumbo sized lip balm looking tube can’t make right.

[6] I have an obsession with sea foam green skinny jeans, something about them is just plain hypnotic. I’ve owned a pair for longer than I can remember and from the moment I slip them on I’m a more alive version of myself (yeah I know that sounds silly, but they do something for me that no other piece in my wardrobe can).

[7] Fall means saying goodbye to flip flops and sandals, and what better way to say goodbye than to trade up to a pair of Frye Boots. From leggings to dresses, a pair of boots are the quintessential fall and winter favorite, and there’s no wonder why, they instantly autumn-ize ensembles with minimal effort.

For the Love of the Bottomless Brunch: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

I love to eat (and drink), it’s just that simple. Nestled in Alphabet City is a New York City treasure, Yerba Buena, named after a herb in the mint family with a weekend brunch any self respecting brunchaholic will love.

Yerba Buena

When I moseyed my way on over to Yerba Buena, the delectable plate of huevos rancheros and the glass-never-empty mimosas (jalepeño bloody Marys or bellinis) seemed to have just been waiting for me. The posh space with its dim lighting and exceedingly attentive staff was utter perfection. It’s safe to say Yerba Buena has perfected my favorite weekend past-time, and with Mexican hot chocolate and mini churros on the menu to add to the scrumptious brunch offerings, I’m planning to become a frequent bruncher. In the words of Rachel Ray – “Yummo!”

Yerba Buena
23 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 529-2919
YBNYC.com

Pick of the Week: 13.06.11

Pick of the Week: 13.06.11

Quad Shelving Unit by Nauris Kalinauskas; Gnr8.biz – $999.00

I’ve wanted to build one of these bookshelves for so long it doesn’t even make sense for me to estimate. I’d build one myself but I’m quite sure I’m not as adept at getting right angles right with a nail and a hammer as I’d like to be. The quad shelving unit definitely deserves a place in my humble abode, especially with all the piles of magazines and books I refuse to trash, trade or pass along to someone else. The slightly off kilter way of stacking your prized literary possessions makes a bookworm like me swoon. If your book collection is lacking in volume, it’s just darn pretty to look at, and there are so many other things you can put on it.

Sound Off: Rihanna Man Down

Rihanna Man Down
On some level I expect myself to champion Rihanna’s fight against domestic violence, but there’s something about her that just throws me off.
I’m not a huge fan of hers, but if it’s one song I did like on the Loud album, it was ‘Man Down.’ Perhaps it’s simply because she actually sounds like someone from the Caribbean in it, but whatever my reasons for liking the song, the video’s launch this past week has caused quite a stir. Critics have slammed it as being too violent, and have accused Rihanna of teaching women the wrong way to deal with domestic violence.
But who decided that Rihanna was supposed to be a good example of what to do in a bad relationship? If the media hadn’t swarmed all over the Chris Brown fiasco, it’s almost certain that she would have stayed with him. And unfortunately for most women, they don’t have the luxury of the media pointing out their mistakes and magnifying it tenfold. It’s becoming clear that Rihanna is a woman suffering emotionally and with her star power growing all the more as a result of her tragedy, she’s been given a platform to talk about her feelings, although the question being asked is, is her message safe.
To give you a little recap: the video starts out with Rihanna shooting a man in the middle of what the song calls “central station,” later it’s revealed that Rihanna was raped by the same man the day before. For all its notes of revenge, I was slightly taken aback because it certainly wasn’t what I was picturing when I belted out the refrain ‘rum puh puh pum mi seh one man down.’ And now that I ask myself what it was that I expected, I really can’t answer decisively.
With all the rage, resentment and revenge that Rihanna exhibits in ‘Man Down,’ the question isn’t whether or not the video was in poor taste as critics claim. The question should be whether or not Rihanna’s battles with domestic violence have marred her in a way that requires professional help or if she‘s milking the Chris Brown fiasco for all its worth.
I’m sure there’ll be some people that ask me how I can possibly ask the question of whether this woman is milking it, but it’s a fair analysis. I can’t seem to remember much of Rihanna’s career before that fateful Grammy night in 2009. Since then Rihanna has experienced the sort of media attention that some stars can only dream of, but she surely wouldn’t be the woman that everyone interviews about the same questions over and over again if that night never happened. It’s not for me to decide whether she’s been eternally marked by that incident or not, but ponder this: if we removed dating Chris Brown from Rihanna’s career resume, what would we ask her in interviews?
I certainly hope no one takes the video seriously enough to imply that she may take a gun and shoot Chris Brown. I’m no psychiatrist, and what little I remember from my first year psychology classes isn’t enough to make me an expert, but watching Rihanna unfold only puzzles me more. As a woman who has known many women who have experienced domestic violence and seen how it can push them to become totally unhinged, if Rihanna isn’t using domestic violence for all its worth, she’s on the brink of her own unhinging. She’s not a role model, she’s a woman who has been forced to live out this sordid tale and deal with her inner turmoil in the public eye.
Take a look at the video yourself and let me know what you think in the comments:

Creative Corner: Nick Gentry

Perhaps I’m a little bit of a tech nerd, but I find this ingenious use of floppy disks to be art I’d like to have in my house. Maybe I’d better save this for my computer room or office, because it’s too nerdy cool for almost anywhere else. The generation after me will never really know the ‘pleasure’ of using a floppy disk that happened to erase all of my files because I accidentally moved the sliding silver thing. I can remember playing games on my computer that required these odd square anomalies, and I never thought I’d find them the least bit attractive. This is a use for floppy disks I can get behind, and we can all thank the genius of Nick Gentry. The British artists paintings take shape on an original sort of canvas. He’s also used VHS, polaroids, and cassettes. Putting to use all of the things I’ll probably never use again, regrettably.

Check out his YouTube channel for more video’s like this one: