Archive for January, 2012

Slavery Ruins Everything

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Now that I’ve learned about cocoa harvesting, I can’t buy chocolate that isn’t Fair Trade Certified.   Knowing  that everything we buy is tainted with injustice somewhere along the line is troubling. You can’t give up everything; but child slavery is a good place to draw the line.

The Ivory Coast provides 43% of the  cocoa  beans used to make the world’s chocolate. The US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor,” and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement.

In 2001, in an attempt to avoid government regulation and intense media scrutiny, major cocoa companies made a voluntary commitment (the Cocoa Industry Protocol) to certify their cocoa “child labor-free” by July 2005, but that deadline passed with little fanfare. The deadline was then extended to certify 50% of farms “child-labor free” by July 2008. The cocoa companies trumpeted a few pilot programs, but continue to purchase and reap profits from child labor cocoa.

Hershey has been the slow to implement changes and has been the subject of an email campaign. Now, they have issued a press release, announcing a $10 million investment in West Africa to improve cocoa farming but it’s not clear that this will help any actual people.


“Americans alone spend $13 billion a year on chocolate.” Ha, at least half of that comes from me, personally.

I need chocolate to live. I am not  exaggerating. Without chocolate and coffee, there would be no reason to get out of bed or even breathe. My favorite form of chocolate is Toblerone and it isn’t Fair Trade Certified. It’s owned by Kraft, which helps to diminish its appeal, somewhat. Maybe I’ll have to write to them and beg them to get on board.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Favorite chocolate?

The Eyebrow Lady

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Today I went to my favorite beauty supply shop, on a street in a wealthy community where everyone is too thin and the people sitting outside Peete’s Coffee are  talking  to their agents on their iPhones. It’s a great shop that carries every obscure brand you’ve ever heard of and the sales people leave you alone unless you want their help.

I picked out two hair products that won’t have any effect on the quality of my hair, but I enjoy the process of wasting money this way. At the counter, a woman was asking for help with her eyebrows. She was explaining that her eyebrow has a cowlick and nothing she’s tried could solve the problem.

I was fascinated. The sales person was eager to help, and obviously relished the opportunity. She suggested eyebrow gel, but the woman said that gels haven’t worked. I managed to  suppress  my urge to butt in.  Personally, I swear by Lancome eyebrow gel in Brunet. It grooms the brows nicely and makes them look nice and full.

The sales person suggested  mustache  wax to tame the problem hair. I thought this was a great idea, even though I know you can actually get eyebrow wax at Bloomingdales or somewhere. It’s probably the same stuff, right? But the woman balked at mustache wax. She changed the subject to the dark circles under her eyes but continued to  complain  about her eyebrows. They were the bane of her existence, she said bitterly.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it. “Just pull that fucker out!” I snapped helpfully. Everyone turned to look at me. The sales woman smiled and said, “You’re so funny!” the way people do when they’re shocked by your candor. The eyebrow lady whined, “No, then I’ll have a bald spot!”

Now that I was involved, I offered a barrage of solutions but the eyebrow lady shot down each one. I began to realize how agitated she was. Maybe she didn’t really want help. Now she was complaining about the concealer she’d been offered and she refused to try the moustache wax.   The sales woman turned to assist another customer and the eyebrow lady announced that she would try a department store, where “someone has the time” to give her their “complete attention.”

I realized  that  she was nuts. Not in any dramatic way, but still nuts. One of the things I love about the beauty supply store is listening to women explain what they’re looking for, in a beseeching tone that reveals their absolute belief that something will make them beautiful and happy. I find it so poignant. The belief and the hope in that beauty supply store could fill several churches.

The eyebrow lady was an anomaly that almost ruined my pleasure in wasting $42. Almost. But when she left the store, everything was restored to normal.   I was disappointed that the nail polish I wanted was discontinued: it’s called “Bring on the Bling” and I tried it on last week when my BFF was having a manicure. It was like an entire Mardis Gras in a bottle.

Thank god I can still enjoy beauty products and I’m not a crazy eyebrow lady. That is my affirmation for today.

It’s All About Amy

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I knew immediately that Jean-Paul Gaultier‘s spring 2012 couture collection was a tribute to Amy because I did the math. Behive + eyeliner+”Marilyn” stud = Amy Winehouse.

What a wonderful feast of crazy hives and mish-mash of retro vampy girly excess!

It makes me happy to know that Amy’s influence will live on. Her swagger and her vulnerability, her beautiful voice, her tiny little body supporting all that hair…she will haunt me forever. This collection is an  homage that’s right on point, as Amy liked to say of her beehive.

Lindsey Wixson is especially adorable in her purple hive and I can’t get  enough  of her.

Check out the beauty details here.

Also, did everyone see the new Karl Lagerfeld stuff at net-a porter this morning?   Horrible, right? What is he thinking?!   Please let me know if any other runway shows are worth looking at. Right now, I only have eyes for Amy.

Mood Swings

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Earlier tonight, I got my hair trimmed and felt pretty smug. I asked my husband to take a picture of me. I’m not sure whether this look says “groupie” or “hooker,” but I was pleased either way.

Hours later, I felt like this:

I saw this image on TV and said to my husband: “Look honey, there’s me.”

He didn’t know what I meant so I had to explain, “I’m a big sinking ship laying on its side and nobody knows what to do with me.”   He took the wise option of going to bed.

It’s so hard to maintain a feeling of okayness.   Know what I mean?

Nun Fashion!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Finally, you can dress like a nun without being one.

This is a big deal. If you’re like me, and I know you are, you know that Nun’s habits can’t just be found on eBay. That’s because they’re sacraments or something.   And the Nun outfits made for  Halloween  are crap.

Artist Julia Sherman has changed all that by designing a collection of beautiful habits, using silk and velvet as well as traditional wool. The pieces include a hooded shift, a beaded collar, and flannel harem pants. The collection is available at JF & Son. Prices are $188 to $489.

Sherman, who is Jewish, was originally commissioned to make the pieces by Mother Mary Magdalene, who had started a new Anglican Catholic order in Fort Worth. She had seen Sherman’s photos of the Nun dolls at The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods.

I love Nuns. I have a small collection of Nunobilia that I cherish. And nothing would make me happier than to own one of these pieces by Julia Sherman, god willing, Inshallah

Read more about her here and here.

Golden Globes 2012 Exegesis

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

God it was boring but I must uphold the tradition so here it is:

Johnny Depp has finally jumped the shark, hotness-wise, but Ewan McGregor and Colin Firth were very do-able.

Madonna tried to get back at Ricky Gervaise for making a joke about her, because she’s too important to ridicule. She also forced us to look at her breasts, only to come in second to the magnificant rack of Selma Hyak.

Madge’s arms were painfuly lean, as were Angie‘s and Michelle Pfieffer‘s. Kate Winslet‘s arms were pleasingly healthy, and her young boyfriend glowed as she gave her acceptance speech. Elton John looked furious when he lost to Madonna, Leo looked tired and sad all night, and it was worrisome to see Sasha Baraon Cohen there without Isla.

Jessica Biel must be blowing some important people, because there’s no other reason for her to  present  an award.   Julianne Moore looked pasty but her long green earrings were fabulous. Nicole Kidman wore a breathtaking dress and continued the charade of being  heterosexual  and in love with that dopey country singer.

Angelina was stunning in white silk and billowing red lips. She turned to smile at Brad each time someone said something “funny.” Jane Fonda was glowingly well-preserved and knew enough to cover her arms, but she shot some actress a death glare when the latter stepped on her gown.

There were far too many mermaid dresses. Stop it, actresses! Only Beyonce looks good in them.

Clare Dane was careful to highlight her flat chest, as always. We get it Clare, you like being flat.

Morgan Freeman was eloquent and moving when he accepted his award, as was that French guy whose father won an award in 1965. The French guy was so moving that several actors in the audience mouthed “beautiful” with tears sparking in their eyes. Another French guy was sorry for being French, but no one forgave him.

Michelle Williams looked stupid in her childish headband but was heartbreaking in her ode to her poor fatherless daughter. Kate Beckensale got the giggles on stage and looked as radiantly pretty as when I saw her in Sephora a few weeks ago.

The Worst Dress award in my opinion goes to Piper Perabo, a see-through mess that bunched up in front of her crotch.

If I had to find a theme for this year’s show, I would say it was all about the love between George Clooney and Brad Pitt, two dreamboat humanitarians who clearly relish being so much better than everyone else. When  George  comes out of the closet, the drinks are on me!

Bed, Bath & Way Beyond

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Bed, Bath & Beyond is recalling its Dual Ridge Metal Boutique tissue holders, which were found to be contaminated with radioactive material.

The contamination was first discovered in California when two packages bound for stores in Santa Clara and San Jose containing four tissue holders triggered radiation alarms at truck scales, according to a Jan. 6 report posted on the NRC website.

In the notice on its website, Bed, Bath & Beyond said the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the tissue holders do not pose a threat to anyone’s health.

No threat to anyone’s health, no no no no.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre told The Associated Press that there is little to no risk to human health, but it’s better to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Got that? It’s better to avoid radiation. You know, if possible.

because I want you to know him

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Parsing the Hate

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

If you’ve been following the Republican debates, you have been amused, nauseated, and enraged. You have probably shifted in your ranking of which candidate is the stupidest or most repugnant. It’s almost like watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: You think Camille is the biggest cunt but wait, it’s Kyle!

I hate Mitt Romney. I really fucking hate him. I can’t stand his repressed anger and his conman demeanor. The thought of Mitt  Romney  as President is horrifying.

Newt is a bastard, Perry’s a moron, Santorum is a douche, Ron Paul is nuts and Jon Huntsman is just clueless (or he wouldn’t keep reminding people that he speaks Chinese.)

I am asking because I genuinely want to know: Which contender do you hate the most, and why?

Michael Disfarmer

Friday, January 6th, 2012

The eccentric photographer known as Disfarmer (1884-1959) seemed to be a man determined to shroud himself in mystery. Born Mike Meyers, the sixth of seven children in a German immigrant family, Disfarmer rejected the Arkansas farming world and the family in which he was raised. He even claimed at one point in his life that a tornado had lifted him up from places unknown and deposited him into the Meyers family.

In time Mike expressed his discontent with his family and farming by changing his name to Disfarmer. In modern German “meier” means dairy farmer, and since he thought of himself as neither a “Meyer” nor a “farmer,” Mike Meyer became “dis”- farmer. *

I fucking love him. Even before I knew about his made-up name, I fell in love with him. The photo above just stopped me in my tracks. Unlike Diane Arbus, he doesn’t seem to be unduly drawn to the grotesque. But he does manage to create an almost alarming sense of intimacy.

Explore his work here.