Some Saturday notes

The Tailor and the Giant, by James Kruss

The Tailor and the Giant (by James Kruss and Edith Witt) was one of my favorites growing up.

1. Do you find it hard to meditate regularly, or at all? That’s fine, says Adam Grant.

2. The German movie Phoenix is just great–see it if you get the chance. It has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. (I’m normally a scaredy cat about thrillers, but this one strikes the perfect balance of suspense, melancholy, and history.)

3. This Target boho blouse just nails it–pretty embroidery without being too peasanty. I am wearing it now.

4. During a Q&A at Town Hall the other night, Steven Pinker responded that he’s pro-Oxford Comma and the audience started cheering. (Who can’t love Seattle?)

5. I had no idea Chuck Palahniuk is irrepressibly hilarious until I heard this Live Wire interview.

6. Palace journeys continue: It’s almost time to head over here, hurrah!

 

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Alexa Chung on English beauty

Alexa Chung out on the town

Are London nightclubs really like this? They look so merry!

In an ongoing effort to punch up my wardrobe, I’ve recently found myself browsing through a ton of fashion blogs. My favorites? Always the Brits! Which can be problematic when you remember that international shipping rates exist.

In a recent Into the Gloss interview, Alexa Chung called out what I might love most about English beauty–its naturalness:

The culture in England is such that it’s really not cool to look like you’ve tried so hard. If someone’s gone to the spa to get their nails done, you’re like, ‘Oh rate yourself!’ which is saying, like, ‘Ooh you’re fancy!’ It’s seen as very self-indulgent. Though, in America, if you’re pampering yourself and getting the blowout and the rest of it, you’re seen as doing really well and it’s celebrated. In England, it’s the opposite—it’s very embarrassing to seem like you’re lording it up over people. It’s just not about being ‘done.’ We’re into being clean, just not looking like you’ve made too much of an effort.

Here, here. Also, this explains all the better Kate and Hugh’s steady bronzing as the 90s have receded.

Good Stuff – March

Hohensalzburg Castle, Austrai

I’ve be heading to Salzburg, Austria, in just a few weeks. So, I’ve been up to my ears in guide books, luggage shopping, and German websites that I can’t technically read.

1. Becoming a Seattleite has above all else taught me how to gawk at real estate. (See picture above.) This best-of slideshow on HGTV FrontDoor’s site is the perfect place to go for real-estate bingeing.

2. I’ve lived in Lower Queen Anne for almost 5 years now, but only just learned (thanks to friends Engel and Iliana) that Blue Water Taco Grill is not only adequate, but amazing. I’ve been getting the grilled tilapia burrito bowl. YUM.

3. It isn’t much of a secret that I’m not big into makeup–that stuff gets expensive! That said, the stylish, airy website Into the Gloss has been a huge help these last few months for all things beauty, many things wellness, and the occasional thing makeup.

4. I had never cooked with a plantain ever until reading about their benefits on Purely Twins. So glad I did! Plantains have become a staple in my kitchen these last couple weeks and their versatility comes in especially handy when you’re searching for meal inspiration. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple years now, and am always impressed by their posts’ upbeat tone and usefulness.

A backpack for the ladies

Patagonia Violeta Backpack

Back to the future.

When you tell someone you’re a consultant, it means different things to different people. Some think “contractor”–there’s a difference there that isn’t worth getting into–while others assume it’s much more specialized than in real life. In my mind, there’s one constant that has come to define how I see the occupation: Consulting means carrying a laptop around to a ridiculous number of places.

Sadly, this observation hasn’t granted me a reprieve from hauling my laptop to these places. And laptop bags, sleek though they may be, somehow can’t change the fact that I’m 5′ 3″ and lacking swimmer’s shoulders.

So, I’ve been very pleased lately to tote around the Violeta backpack from Patagonia. Not only is the backpack made for women ergonomically, but it has super-smart compartments that cover my venture-to-different-offices needs.

Last but not least, who isn’t wearing Patagonia these days?

The Queen of Versailles

Lauren Greenfield Spotlight – “The Queen of Versailles” from Joe LaMattina on Vimeo.

In case you’re on the fence about it, I recently saw The Queen of Versailles and thoroughly enjoyed the documentary. Your first reflex may be to pigeonhole Jacqueline Siegel as a trophy wife, but you then discover she’s actually a very intelligent and unpretentious woman (who likes to spend a lot). Some documentaries try to elicit moral disgust from the audience; this film is a success in part because it isn’t that kind of documentary.

While I streamed the movie from Amazon, it’s also available for $3.99 streaming on YouTube.

MNG by Mango puts spring in your Fall

Red blouse - MNG by Mango

$35

Neiman Marcus? More like “Neiman Whatsit.” Zing!

During a quick walk-through of my local JC Penney this weekend, I got excited to spot not just one, but a several fall pieces I liked. While a few different lines caught my attention, MNG by Mango® gets bonus points for touting clean lines and lively colors in a season when it’s all too easy to be drab.

The garments show care even in the details: You may not see them up close in the picture, but the lovely red blouse above includes gold-trimmed red diamond buttons.

While slightly lower key, I like to think of this as a “HBIC” cardigan:

Beige cardigan - MNG by Mango

$25

This green always looks perfect with gold hoops:

Green drape top - MNG by Mango

$30

Oh, and Liz Claiborne petite animal prints? I went there.