Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #41: Observe

As the new year starts, entertain your inner voyeur:

As NYC social columnist Jeannette Walls is being driven to a swanky function, she spys her homeless mother dumpster diving. Curiosity piqued? Walls' memoir of growing up as a terribly functional and level-headed child with terribly dysfunctional fantasy-land parents, The Glass Castle is riveting family reading. Or reading about a family, rather. Highly recommended.

Postsecret is an online community art project, featuring homemade postcards with the oft-unspoken secrets. Apparantly the exhibition will end soon (a new book is out) so take a look while you can.

If you can get yourself in the mood to see a really powerful, albeit incredibly depressing film, seek out Down to the Bone, which has recently been playing at SF's Roxie Theater. An incredible performance by Vera Farmiga as a young mother trying to kick a coke habit in gray upstate New York.

Found Magazine - at your local good mag stand.

I'm often compelled to buy books just for the inscriptions inside - how could they have gotten rid of this, you say? Similar instinct to finding old photo albums in thrift stores. Dedicated to the One I Love posts some found inscriptions, with commentary.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #40: December

Sweet offerings: Food bloggers are offering up the goods for A Menu for Hope. For a $5 donation to support the Kashmir earthquake victims, you can bid on a pretty stellar line-up of goodies (from "meet your fave food blogger for ice cream"-style opportunities to food baskets to food photography lessons.) Ends on December 23 so get your bids in if you see something you like!

Cute Overload: No explanation needed really. (thanks Katey!)

Appliances that make things cute: Sandwiches with a Hello Kitty face or toast with a "Pop Art" symbol.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #39: Lists

As the year comes to a close, everyone seems to like to pull out their pencils and start making lists, lists of goals for next year, lists of books to read or re-read, lists of presents to buy, treats to bake, etc. Lists, lists, lists. If you're tired of writing your own, here are some lists of eclectic origin to inspire you:

A list of the 50 Greatest Independent Films, by British film magazine Empire.

Post-cookie gorge, check out this list of truly good-for-you recipes from The World's Healthiest Foods website. Use the recipe assistant to make sure you're getting all those nutrients lacking in the cookies.

A most excellent list from Chowhound of food-related books. Less cookbooks, more great regional cuisine titles, food reference guides, etc.

No, books aren't a prescription for solving social ills, but if you would like to form a themed book group with a "social conscience," as Arthur I. Blaustein describes in his piece "The Reading Cure," you will appreciate both the commentary and annotated list of books to start with here, from Mother Jones.

A bibliography (very fancy list) of crime fiction set in the Bay Area, thanks to UC Berkeley librarian Randal Brandt.

Not quite a list, but a clump of KCRW podcasts. I'm addicted to "Good Food," and "The Business" (entertainment, that is) has been highly recommended to me.

And finally, a refreshing "Not-To-Do" list from 52 Projects, an inspiring site dedicated to "project ideas, projects to create, projects to check out, and projects to participate in. DIY projects, homemade projects, writing projects, photo projects, projects, projects, projects... And more projects.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #38: Warm

Time to snuggle up. Sustain yourself with:

An Elizabeth Noble novel. Noble writes witty, warm, satisfying, chunky British novels about women's friendships. So far she's come out with The Reading Group (available) and The Friendship Test (out in January) and I loved them both.

The first season of Project Runway, recently release on DVD. If you didn't catch this on Bravo, you will have the joy of watching it basically straight through, as Josh and I did. The "characters" on this reality fashion design show are fabulous and some of the competitions are truly challenging. And lots of cat-fights!

A stunningly pretty rib-knit cashmere throw from Garnet Hill in buttercup or apple green. (No, haven't bought myself one of these yet...will when I can!).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #37: Easier

Save some time, keep it simple. Try these tools to make life a little bit less complicated.

It's lovely to be able to do banking and bill-paying online, but you still have to call annoying run-around phone systems every once in awhile. Software entrepreneur Paul English has put together the IVR Cheat Sheet so that you can immediately type in the right code to bypass the automated lady and the elevator music and get directly to a human being. Thanks Paul!

If you take full advantage of the fabulous joys of your local library(s), you may occasionally owe late fees, have books on hold so long that they are taken off hold, or experience other annoyances that detract from your experience. Library Elf lets you keep track of your borrowings, your due dates, and your holds on one page. You can also sign up for email or RSS updates related to upcoming dues dates etc. Pretty neat, if you're the kind of person who can benefit from this. Save those fines!

Search multiple sites and find the top-rated recipes with recipe search engine FoodieView. Nice selection of categories, including celebrity chefs, single ingredients, and holidays.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #36: Gift

If you're not my friend Peggy, who told me a few weeks back that she was long done shopping and wrapping all her holiday presents, maybe something here would be nice for the sweet folks on your list?

Donna Hay rocks. My friend Katey turned me onto this "Australian Martha Stewart" (crass but true) - she's got numerous gloriously photographed cookbooks and a beautiful magazine, if you can find and afford it. I absolutely love that every recipe comes with a photo - makes all the difference.

Is it wrong to collect silicone rolling pins if they come in amazing colors?

Just about the cutest kitchen-themed ornaments ever. Really- take a look. Everyone should have a Kitchen Aid Mixer ornament. And the utensils to go with it!

New York is enjoying the cupcake retail boom, and looks like chocolate is getting its own stores too - these Chocolate Bar NYC shirts are great.

A Cat & Mouse Cheeseboard!

Gorgeous Chocolate-Covered Oreos: for the person who likes to eat his or her gifts.

Someone you know still eating Cup O'Noodles? Help them enjoy them in style with these classy bowls.

A copy of Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger - one of the best childhood & food memoirs I've read, by British cookbook author Nigel Slater.

And for the kiddies, how about stuffed My Paper Crane plush treats - a strawberry sprinkle donut pillow or quart of Egg Nog?

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #35: Think

During my second year of college, my 6 female roommates took to calling me "Switzerland" because, for better or worse, I was horrible at taking sides. In my defense, most of these particular debates swirled around whether I believed X or Y was telling the truth in the Great Cereal Thief situation, but it is true that in many cases, I see things as very gray, not black or white, and sometimes this bugs people because it makes me a horrible debater (but a much better negotiator).

Here, then, are three items that have stirred up my brain recently, inspired me to think about all the many fences out there and all the sides to pick from:

Brain Child - No, I'm not in the target "thinking mother" demographic, but I read this smarty-pants literary and cultural magazine cover to cover. If you're interested in women, controversial concepts of "women's work," parenting & lifestyle issues, kids, or quality writing about compelling world issues that affect more than just moms, check out this publication. Great short stories too.

Nextbook- This "gateway to Jewish literature, culture, & ideas" could serve as a model for other cultural websites - what a wealth of articles, interviews, podcasts, and, especially, book features and lists. I recently read Myla Goldberg's books Wickett's Remedy (and have also been reading a lot of bad reviews of Bee Season, the new movie based on her first book) so I was curious to listen to the recent podcast interview with her. In it, she says she doesn't consider herself a "Jewish writer," choosing to right about Irish Catholics in Boston almost specifically to show that she doesn't just write "Jewish" books. Writers and identity politics are forever entwined (is he a "writer" or a "gay writer"? etc.), so I was interested to hear her take on the subject.

Everything Bad is Good for You - I am very much in the target market here: I'll happily entertain anyone who wants to prove to me that my consumption of reality TV is actually expanding my mental capacity. Steven Johnson believes that video games, modern-day television, internet use, IM, and all those other great things that "society" believes are killing the culture, are actually making us smarter in some capacities. The process of weeding through the increasing complexity of narrative structures in television, the video game experience of probing situations and problem solving...these should not be compared apples-to-apples with reading "good" literature, but should be looked at compared to the more simplistic popular culture of old. When done so, Johnson aims to prove, we can see less good vs. evil, and more of a widening of prospective positive experiences. An interesting read.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #34: True

Stranger than fiction? Maybe.

Nobody Knows - Four Japanese children abandoned by their mother, forced by the memory of her rules to stay inside a tiny apartment, only the eldest son "allowed" out, to spend down the small amount of money she has left them. By no stretch of the imagination is this a light movie, but children are children - they are lovely and innocent and resilient. Highly recommended and based on a true story.

Jesus Land - Continuing the themes of survival at the hands of neglectful parents, this recently-published memoir by Bay Area writer Julia Scheeres, tells of her childhood and adolescence, growing up in rural Indiana as a white girl with two adopted black brothers,a missionary wannabe mother, and an abusive doctor father, and her eventual banishment to a Dominican Republic reform school with her beloved brother David. I picked up this galley at ALA, had started it a few times, and when I finally got hooked in, finished it in a single day. Entirely compelling for being so unvarnished and so relatable.

Dispatches from a Public Librarian - Getting too heavy here? Take a laugh break with this ongoing McSweeney's online feature. Scott Douglas works at a public library "nestled cozily between Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm in Orange County, California," and tells stories about the craziness of public librarianship that more often than not induce cringing or chuckling - sometimes both. There are 20 here to start with, and he updates every month or so.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #33: Custom

You pick the fabric. You pick the color. You make the choice. Options are great.

Queen Bee Creations - The wallet that gets more positive reactions than anything I've ever owned. This handmade beauty has six plastic sleeves so you can really keep track of how many credit cards you shouldn't have. Pick your logo (cupcake? birdie? mix tape?), your leather color, and it'll arrive wrapped up like a special present just for you.

Aaron Sciandra's Brooklyn Bags - You'll see immediately the cutest bag ever here. Right? The Ella the Elephant bag. Pick your own fabric.

Miz Mooz - These shoes may not be custom-made, but most of the limited number of styles come in about 5 or 6 colors, of which you'll want to own 4 or 5. Miz Mooz shoes are so comfortable, no evil break-in period, and really light on the foot. I've found them at all the Shoe Biz stores in SF.

And finally, if you feel like springing for some extra-special holiday cards, Paper Source has great-looking letter-press custom cards this year. If those are beyond your means, plan to send gorgeous "custom" Victorian e-cards, available for free from Susanna's Loft.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #32: Taste

Chow Magazine has been on my radar for a few months now. But I could never spot it on the shelves at my "everyday" bookstores, and I wasn't ready to pony up almost $20 for a subscription without taking a look. Well, I finally found it at Green Apple (of course) and I'm mightily impressed. Sure, I flip through Bon Appetit, Gourmet, etc., but I don't really relate. Chow - it inspired my husband to make salsa in less than one day. Not just any salsa, but the mystery salsa from Papalote, which the writer "reverse engineered," after being denied the recipe by the owners (with good reason - it's a nice secret recipe).

Chow is already one of those battered, splattered cooking mags that will stay in the collection forever. The mag has a great layout, really workable recipes, and is especially fun if you live in SF, but great even if you don't.

Looks like we're on a chili roll here - Mary's story of consuming the infamous habanero hamburger in her fun food blog Mary Ladd's Food Finds is at once excrutiating and hilarious - isn't that the best kind of story? She also sniffs out great restaurants, offers up recipes, and shares good deals on cookware. And she always mentions the restaurant's cleanliness, which I have realized I totally appreciate.

What? Your mom didn't make you super-creative, gorgeous bento boxes for lunch everyday when you were growing up? We all probably missed out on this, so live vicariously through Bento Moblog. If you like to look at food you will spend hours here. And your sad, damp little sandwich will just not compare.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #31: Kids

I've been buying eeBoo products for a few months now without realizing:

A. It's a kid's toy company. Oops. I thought it was a hipster adult company (Anthropologie suckers me again).
B. I should have visited their website long ago so I could admire ALL their vintage-inspired goodies..

Candy dominos, Storefront Bingo, a really sweet Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and on and on. Plus, to buy from the site you have to "Click Pie to Buy," and, yes, it's a big pie.

If you want to dress the babies in your life fabulously, but aren't into the whole "mini Che or Bob Marley t-shirt look," check out Orange Cupcake. Awwww, little orange cupcakes, chocolate motorcycles, strawberry boots. Pretty darn cute. And despite what women at my gym seem to think, only babies can really work having "Cupcake" printed across their butts.

If you want to support a former graduate of my illustrious high school, or maybe just check out this nifty idea, take a peek at LittleMissMatched, a sock company that sells polka dotted, striped, and otherwise cutesy-cute socks in odd-numbered packs. Missmatched is expanding to iPod holders, pajamas, gloves, and more. You can buy direct from the site or find a store near you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #30: Treat

If stuffing your face with candy corn or "autumn mix" is not satisfying enough for you this month, here a few other ways to treat yourself , ranging from free to not:

Jewelry! I saw Josie Adele's Fluidance jewelry at a Landor Associates art show when I was interning there last year. Gorgeous, clean lines. Substantial but not heavy or "too" dramatic. I'm partial to the Sterling Sculpture collection.

Furniture! Josh and I just became adults - we bought our first non-Craigslist, non-garage sale couch. And matching chair! Shopping at EQ3 was a blast. Basically I just wanted to move into the store, but I don't know if they would have liked that. Our sales guy was really nice though, so maybe he wouldn't have minded. Not only do they have the big pieces, but also awesome pillows, vases, little tables, bedding, and more. And locations around the country and Canada.

Cleanliness! Method, your packaging is so cool. And your hand wash is so yummy, pink grapefruit, pomegranate, lemongrass...when have you ever wanted a collection of hand wash before?

Pictures! Flickr Postcard Browser - this is a fun one. Type in a "tag" - pick a word - kitten, cake, flower, whatever, and see what comes up. An inspired alternative to Google image searches.

Laughs! I could just envy her for winning a Red Bicyclette contest including a trip to Provence (and spending money) just in time for her honeymoon, but since my friend Josie is telling the tales of her blissful month (chased by donkeys! forced to eat cuttlefish!), I can only be ecstatic that she's sharing the stories. Check out her blog: The Chicken Contests.

Treat yourself!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #29: Read

Five books I wish I hadn't read before, so that I could read them again for the first time. Also, books I like to recommend to people:

The Anxiety of Everyday Objects by Aurelie Sheehan

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg (full disclosure - I haven't finished this yet, and I'm trying to go slowly, but it's hard because I'm enjoying it so much. Testing my limited powers of book savoring...)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #28: Item

Sometimes you just wanna scroll. Not too many bells and whistles, just interesting articles, product reviews, and, of course, pretty things.

Arts & Letters Daily has the look of a newspaper and the content of a hundred newspapers. You will find something to read here no matter what you're interested in. Promise. A great site for those moments when you are so sick of sitting in front of a computer and yet, you must sit there for awhile longer.

Shopping blog Mighty Goods has its style down pat. Photo of the item (99% of which I go, yeah, that is very cool, I do want that), a short, pithy description, and a direct link to buy. Done. Shopping fix satisfied.

Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired, has his Cool Tools, the geekier version of Mighty Goods.

And India Romeo, while not serving the same scroll-happy purpose of the last three, is just full of so many gorgeous handmade "lovely things for lovely people" that I must share. These bird mobiles are my fave - sure you could make your own, but she already made them for you!

Shop well.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #27: Recommend

I subscribe to a monthly Trend Watching newsletter that excels at creating new marketing buzz-words. My fave thus far has been "Twinsumer," which they descibe as "taste 'twins': fellow consumers somewhere in the world who think, react, enjoy and consume the way they do." I get this - it's really what blogs are all about, helping us find people "like us" who are weeding through what's out there and can help us narrow in on what we like and want.

A few blogs I've been devouring recently, in search of my perfect twinsumer:

Design Sponge - stellar taste, lots of unique home products recommended

San Francisco Gourmet - fascinatingly anal reviews of restaurants, restaurant reviewers, and more

LJCFYI - always cute, always fun

My Little Mochi - May be TOO cute for some - beware.

Also,, which is part high school yearbook, part review site, is quite entertaining- much more personality and spark than - especially if you like to put a face (or kitten face or pretty image) with a review. A handy source of lists (best SF brunch, good romantic restaurants, etc.)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #26: Book

OK, I will now let you all know (again for some - way too much for others) that I am currently working on a very cool program called One City One Book: San Francisco Reads, which is our readerly city's first attempt at a citywide book club, following in the well-shaped footsteps of Seattle, Chicago, and other cities.

If you're from these parts, please do me the honors of reading China Boy, taking part in a discussion or walking tour, and checking out "my" list of novels set in San Francisco - I was surprised that this wasn't all ready for me to use somewhere in Google-land - I had to put it together myself, with help from my librarian-friends of course.

Let me also put a plug in for the upcoming Big Book Sale, put on by the Friends of the SFPL. If you've never been to this, it's joyous madness. If you have, you already know what I'm talking about and I'll see ya there at the end of the month.

And finally, a recent read, The Myth of You and Me. Friendship lost novel meets literary mystery - I loved it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #25: Catchy

Free galleys? Sign me up, right? Check out HarperCollins' First Look program. You can fill out a basic form, select the categories you are generally interested in, and enter into drawings for free galleys. Sure it's a process, but I think it's a very smart way for the publisher to reach out and let readers have the early peek and get word-of-mouth excitement and buzz going.

Love her or hate her, Rachael Ray's $40 a Day concept is a catchy one. Becks & Posh, a Bay Area food blogger asked other food bloggers to come up with $40 a Day plans for their cities, and the posts are great reading. Don't you want to know what you'd be eating in Knoxville, TN for $40?

Finally, after two wonderful friends both RAVED about Crossing to Safety, I picked it up and have been sneaking it in at every spare moment. While I tend towards staying relentlessly "current" (as in, very recently published) in my reading, this 1987 Wallace Stegner novel is lovely, poignant, and obsessively readable. Except now I'm at the point where it's almost over, and I just know the end will make me cry. I hate finishing good books.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #24: Paper

If you are a paper addict like I am, you may enjoy the following:

  • SEI - Holy cuteness! That Fruit Stand paper is outstanding. Note also these incredible fruit tags. Must. Place. Order. Soon.
  • Paper Source - I can testify to their wedding invite packages, paper flower kits, and all-around amazing stock of goods. Order online or visit one of their locations.
  • All Wrapped Up! Groovy Gift Wrap of the 1960s - People are always stealing my Chronicle Books ideas! But pop culture never dies...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #23: Three

Three favorite stores in San Francisco where I can always find something adorable and fun for less than $10:

Heartfelt: A reason to make your way up to Bernal Heights, if the great views from the hill-top aren't enough.

Cliff's Variety: A classic, though I always forget they are closed on Sundays and get bummed. Get your lightbulbs, your wrapping paper, and your birthday gifts.

Wishbone: The best selection of cards. Great scarves and jewelry, retro candy. Fun, fun, fun.

Three favorite movies I've seen recently:

March of the Penguins: Even my dentist and I bonded over this movie.

Broken Flowers: Bill Murray and Jim Jarmusch. But really, it's all about Sharon Stone and the teen who plays her daughter. Brilliant!

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring: A Korean film about a young man and an old monk who live on a floating temple. Lovely, subtle, passionate.

Three websites I've been enjoying:

101 Cookbooks: Tons to explore, and recently added discussion forums.

Wikipedia: Trying to figure out how to explain what a podcast is? Still not quite clear on what wikis are? Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia created by the people, for the people. Even you can edit it - share what you know!

Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch: Fabulous for a quick hit of pop culture. Updated constantly.


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #22: Design

Josh was recently reading a biography of Frank Llloyd Wright - architecture and design are nice fantasies for us - we both drool over Dwell magazine monthly. The spare modernist look is quite the extreme fantasy though, given that we like our stuff, the kind of stuff that never appears in any of those photos. Storage! Storage! Anyway, I found this cool Architect Studio 3D site from the FLW Preservation Trust where you can build a house with "Frank" as your guide - try it out - very addictive.

After you design the house you will want to furnish it, and I think Velocity Art and Design will do just fine. (Hey, why don't they make these squirrel shirts in adult sizes?) Kitty freaks, look how cool this is...

Finally, you'll need some hip photos for the wall. I was recently in Chicago (highly recommend the architectural boat tour) and Terry Evans "Revealing Chicago: An Aerial Portrait" show was on display in Millenium Park. The website is really well-done, and though it doesn't look like prints are available for purchase currently, they would work really nicely in our sleek new house. Hey Terry, come shoot aerial San Francisco??

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #21: Art

I'm hoping to wrangle up a trip to LA before this show closes. Margaret Kilgallan's art has a very folk-art meld of text and image - really big and bold and, I think, strong and lovely. Almost like textual quilts. Incredibly sadly, she died of ovarian cancer at 33 leaving behind a husband and infant daughter - while this doesn't change her art, it may change the eyes you see it through -does for me at least. She lived in San Francisco, and, I believe, used to work at the SF Public Library in book preservation.

Princeton University Library has made available a great new resource for anyone interested in book printing and design - Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders, and Book Designers. You can explore by name, date, occupation, or just browse a thumbnail gallery. Quite inspiring - read about Emily Faithfull, who in the 19th century hired both men and women to set type, and was met with "enormous hostility from the printer's union, supposedly on moral grounds. Presses were sabotaged and ink poured on the women's chairs."

And check out current craftster Sew Darn Cute for some remarkably reasonable vintage-fabric homemade baby quilts. Yes, yes, so darn cute.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #20: Cake

Now that Julie of Julie/Julia Project fame, whose blog about cooking all of Julia Childs' recipes I reads obsessively last year, has gone and gotten herself a nice book deal, I'm checking out a few other food bloggers and bakers.

52 Cupcakes is a nice gimmicky blog from a woman who has given herself the "challenge" of cooking a different kind of cupcake every week, and now she's getting around to posting the recipes, though really, it's all about the photos.

The Girl who Ate Everything has a decadent time chowing down with great shots too - and have you seen the ever-entertaining Airline Meals? Well organized, collaborative - what more could you ask for in a kitsch site?

Finally, if it's all about "pretty" for you, with a nice dose of high quality ingredients, check out Miette Patisserie at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, particularly their cake stands (but pricey pricey!) and small lemon cookies.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #19: Product

I drooled over the Benefit catalog for years, but only finally have learned the joys of their stuff after a holiday gift from my guy. Bad, bad move, as now I'm pretty much addicted to a few items, like the Fantasy Mint Wash (which reminds me of my absolute favorite cheap chocolate drugstore candy, the Mint Dream) and Do It Daily, a super simple, not-too-sticky facial moisturizer with SPF.

Also, a wedding make-up *find* is Pout lip products available at Sephora - the gloss is very yummy, and the fishnet print packaging is mighty fine.

And, in the interests of supporting a store I've been shopping at since I was a kid, I encourage everyone to seek out teeny-tiny Common Scents on 24th Street in Noe Valley. Around since at least the very early 80s, Common Scents has my absolute favorite bubble bath flavors - Apricot, Blackberry-Hibiscus, and more. And they package it and themselves in sweet little plastic bottles that you can get refilled. AND they also have a great selection of Kiehl's, candles, make-up bags, soap holders, and more. Check it out.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #18: Emotion

So you wanna...have a good cry. It happens. You're overwhelmed or stressed or maybe insanely happy and you know a good cry would be cleansing and wonderful, but you need a spark to get you there.

Or maybe not a cry, but just that feeling, of being alive, connecting - can you find it in a reality show? Probably not, but other media just might work...


A few weeks ago, my friend Julie said "You are going to LOVE this movie." And she was more than right. Me and You and Everyone We Know is getting insane press, quickly moving from indie needing press, to indie getting so much press people might not consider it "indie" enough any more. But see it. Miranda July, the writer/director/performance artist whose credentials at such a young age will make anyone weep, has crafted an artist's movie, about love and loneliness and growing up that just connects. She also has a blog about the film's aftermath.


OK, watching a baby's birth may not appeal to everyone, but trust me on this one. "Welcome Jude Roman Fairbanks" is an amazing creation by his media designer father. It is NOT too graphic to watch at work, but you may tear up, so I'd save it for home. And be absolutely sure to have the sound on (Flaming Lips, etc.)


Mary and O'Neil by Justin Cronin - a perfect lazy hammock read. Time to set up a hammock in my apartment. A set of interlinked stories that I absolutely loved.


Do you get enough poetry in your life? If not, subscribe to The Writer's Almanac Daily e-newsletter from Garrison Keillor. I'm not a natural-born poetry lover, but I've been so impressed (and touched!) by many of the contemporary picks, and also enjoy finding out about literary history and birthdays - it's like a great five-minute English class every morning.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #17: Tips

Back from all the amazement of a super-sweet wedding and the dessert treat of ten days in Kaua'i. As I gather myself back together, here are some goodies for you:

To feel inspired: 43 Things

To think about new ways to search for information and to store your favorites: A9

To force yourself to keep (or start?) writing (well, if you're still in your twenties):
Random House Twentysomething Writers Contest

To find that new job without checking a million sites (terrible name, great site): Indeed

To enjoy someone's amazing creativity and sweet style: My Paper Crane

Friday, May 20, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #16: Summer

I'm a pretty constant reader. There's always one book or another splayed on my bedside table, but, more often than not, during busy school or other mentally-taxing times, that book will be pretty soft-serve and simple (hence my recent consumption of The Ivy Chronicles - hey! I found it at Goodwill!).

So my beachy, summertime reads are usually the deeper tomes, that would seem to make more sense during dark winter nights. My last beach time with a friend in Florida found me deeply engaged in
Atonement, if that gives you a sense of what I mean here.

So for my upcoming beach time, I've got the following list going (always in progress and subject to change, especially since I find the book stalls in airports tremendously appealing for some random reason):

A Seahorse Year ~ Stacey D'Erasmo (set in San Francisco and I enjoyed her book Tea)

The Child in Time ~ Ian McEwan (he worked last time)

Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times ~ ed. by Kevin Smokler ( a buddy of mine & I've already cackled out loud at one piece)

Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey ~ Holley Bishop (well, I love honey, but I must confess I was totally seduced by the cover)

Crossing California ~ Adam Langer (looks like a good, solid novel & I'm going to Chicago--where the book is set--for the first time later in June)

And I also sit, toe-tapping and anxious, waiting for some of my favorite authors (Charles Baxter, A.M. Homes) to write a little faster and give me more gems to read.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #15: Bite

The new online food mag Saucy, from Bookslut's Jessa Crispin, features some lovely and totally right-on features, including this touching article from Colleen Mondor, the mother of a recently diagnosed diabetic, whose foodie sensibilities must now mold themselves to serve more important criteria. Saucy also compiles an eminently browseable collection of food links and recent articles.

I thought the Accidental Scientist's
Science of Cooking site from San Francisco's Exploratorium would be totally kid-oriented, but it has some really funky info, including how to make rock candy (cool!), a brief history of ketchup, and a wonderfully geeky food discussion board with topics like "Failed marmalade - Can it be salvaged??"

As a food lover who needs to do a little research before settling on the best birthday-splurge restaurants, I usually end up at
Chowhound, which has recently published food guides to the SF Bay Area and the NY area. Talk about passionate. These discussion boards can get a bit feisty as debates rage on about whether Limon is all it's cracked up to be, or if San Francisco has any good pizza AT ALL, but this is a great site for figuring out what the best picks are on unfamiliar menus.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #14: Contact

I want to share my stash of free e-card links. At some point a few years back, all the sites I used starting charging for all but the ugliest Garfield and bad flash animation cards. So, here are three that I use and I'd love to hear about more from you:

Chronicle Books makes almost all of their high-design images available to send as e-cards. Smart marketing and publicity folks! Bust Magazine also has kitsch fun postcards and SFGate has a stylish variety with Bay Area flavor.

And you can't send them, but the
Tacky Postcard Archive is very good browsing and some sneaky commentary. Nancy Reagan on Mr. T's lap? Who knew.

If you enjoy vintage postcards, particularly those thick card-stock, tacky ones you often find in little piles at yard sales, check out the tour of the USA in vintage postcards and the Vintage Vegas Postcard Museum (the site also has some cool vintage matchbooks).

Monday, April 25, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #13: Chick

Does anyone else have conflicting feelings about the term "chick flick"? I've always worked at video stores to supplement my student loans during school, and when I worked at a store in the Castro and guys would ask for help picking a chick flick to watch with their boyfriend, the request was always delivered with enough kitsch *wink* that I was usually charmed. In Noe Valley, the request was usually either "anything but a chick flick"- from a guy - or "my husband's out of town so I need a chick flick"- from a woman, neither of which charmed me as much, and which made making a recommendation a bit more difficult.

I love complex movies about girls and women, so here is my personal take on the some of the best highly non-traditional "chick flicks" out there:

The Professional: Natalie Portman's relationship with a big-hearted assassin forms the center of this movie that is sometimes bloody, sometimes terrifying, but always wonderful.

Mostly Martha: A German film about a woman chef and her life and loves - some of the best shrink visit scenes ever.

Walking & Talking: With Catherine Keener (always amazing) and Anne Heche (pre-Fresno freakout), this friendship flick is directed by Nicole Holofcener, who also directed Lovely & Amazing. She really nails the complexities of old friends as their relationship continually reshapes itself to accommodate new loves.

Tumbleweeds: A lovely mother-daughter road-trip movie that avoids most of the predictable cheese and feels authentic and real.

Freeway: If you think Reese Witherspoon is all blonde hair and bubblegum you are so, so wrong. This movie played at the Roxie theater in SF for months and months in 1997 and became a raging cult favorite. In a perverse take on Little Red Ridinghood, Reese battles through to find grandma, and stars with an incredible, and incredibly twisted cast, including Brooke Shields, Kiefer Sutherland, and Amanda Plummer.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #12: Buy

If Spring brings out your intense desire for new shoes, fresh sheets, and sweet gems, check out these distinctive online stores.

Zappos has a ridiculous selection of shoe brands, including dollhouse, Irregular Choice, and Chinese Laundry. AND they offer free shipping and free returns within 365 days (on unworn shoes). AND they have a feature that allows you to store your "Favorites" so that you can not only compare the shoes to each other, but come back and make your decisions later. Lots of sales, lots of personal reviews, searchable by style/size/color and more.

The Company Store offers a welcome antidote to the oatmealy, cream-colored, pastel, boring boring sheets available in so many department stores, as does Dwell Shop. Dwell's sets are more sophisticated and "subtle, " while The Company Store bursts with polka dots, stripes, flowers, and utter cuteness. CS also offers "jersey knit" aka t-shirt material bedding, which is super comforting and soft.

Plain Mabel brings together jewelry, accessories, and other goods from dozens of indie artists and crafters. New items are updated often, and current goodies include oilcloth totes, handmade knitting needle cases, and fuzzy guitar straps. Uncommon Goods claims to offer "anything but ordinary"; drinking game checkers fits the bill, as do their fabulous glassware and completely adorable juice and milk container covers.

And finally, end the week with
Hello Kitty's Psychological test, even more perceptive, in that wonderfully inaccurate translation way then BBC's Sex ID test.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #11: Join

Really now, sometimes it should be about having some fun, even when you can't control it all.

Do you work for an organization that likes to encourage "out of the box" thinking, or the importance of "leveraging," but only after the appropriate amount of "right-sizing" has resulted in all your good friends being laid off? Business Buzzword Bingo offers a slim ray of light amidst the lingo. Happily, the terms seem as appropriate to non-profit meetings as to the corporate sort. Play on!

Do you feel like sometimes, maybe once in awhile, like every four years, your vote doesn't really have an impact? Well, now Ben and Jerry's offers you the opportunity to turn that sad feeling upside down. Vote to bring back your favorite ice cream flavor from the graveyard! I didn't even KNOW there had been a Coconut Cream Pie Low-Fat Ice Cream. But I do have intense memories of White Russian...

And riffing just a bit more on baby names, the Baby Name Wizard's Name Voyager site is way too cool. Curious whether old-fashioned girl's names are really trendy around the nation, or just in your hipster SF neighborhood? Looking for the most popular names from the 1910s (Myrtle, Ophelia)? Of course you'll look your own name up, but beware the ticking clock if you get trapped looking up all your friends' and distant relatives' too.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #10: Chill

The rain, the rain. And for some of you the snow, the snow. It's inspiring lots of "those days," where all you want to do is snuggle in and be entertained. So here's a recipe to make it good.

First, the consumables:

Make yourself some chocolate chip, dried apricot, nut cookies, recommended by Loobylu. Or have someone make them for you. These are ridiculously tasty, especially with regular chips or a mix of white and regular.

Tea is good too, and Mighty Leaf tea comes in little fabric pouches so you will feel your tea is extra-special. And don't ruin it with a tacky teapot. Go for a Bee House teapot in Carrot or Kiwi colors. These Japanese beauties are super-styling.

And on to the readables:

I've been suffering the painful inability to get invested in novels, until I was recently snared by Meg Wolitzer's new novel The Position. Wolitzer follows the lives of four siblings whose lives were forever molded by their encounter with the sex book their parents wrote in the 1970s.

You'll need some magazines too. Topic Magazine has a specific theme for each issue (Food, Family, etc.) and features funky photography, short stories, and personal essays. Topic looks high-design but it reads real-life.

And for watchables:

Julia Roberts? Tom Cruise? Do they really draw you to the theater? Yeah, right. Hope Davis, though. She's a box-office draw for the indie sort, and if you haven't seen some of her movies, get thee to the Netflix page or the video store for Next Stop Wonderland, American Splendor, The Daytrippers, or The Secret Lives of Dentists. Hope, you kinda feel like you can call her Hope cause she seems like she'd be cool to hang out with, invokes instant empathy in all her fabulous, no-frills roles.

And take care.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #9: Tasty

Given that I am in the final few days of writing my monster let-me-graduate-please papers, today is all about "simple pleasures" (I know a few of you will be able to laugh at that).

Here, then, some websites that just make me happy. And they are all about food:

* Claire Crespo has the enviable job of publishing cookbooks that are really more photography books of food made to look like other things. Her website is just total "flash" fun (be sure to have the sound on).

* Cowgirl Creamery, local cheesemakers, have a really sweet site and (heart aflutter) a "Library of Cheese."

* It will give you tremendous pleasure to read about the items that go into Zingerman's gift baskets. They also have a catalog you can subscribe to for free that is some of the best reading around, if you like rapturous descriptions of olive oils, honeys, breads, cheeses...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #8: Thinkers

This week, a couple of items to make you go hhmmmmmm - errr?

Cosmo sex quizzes could be written by monkeys. Hey, I love monkeys, but if I can figure out by the second question that picking all "B" answers will make me seem really outgoing, then it's not really worth the time. Enter the
BBC's Brain Sex ID quiz - take about 20 minutes, includes word questions, visual and perception challenges and more, and then the computer will tell you if your brain is primarily male or female. Or hermaphroditic. Fascinating.

Want to make real money bets about the future of the written word, computer intelligence, or the next presidential race? If you want to both stretch your mind, and see what some of our current "great minds" predict will happen over the next decades and centuries, check out
Long Bets, which describes itself as a "public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #7: Household

Utilitarian household items are becoming totally glam.


* Hello
glitter spatulas.

* Hot little

Friday, March 11, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #6: Smirk

SHOCKING though it may seem, I was a very, very, very sarcastic teenager. Though surviving in the working, and social, world has required tempering that a bit, I still enjoy a really wicked website. I imagine some of you who embrace the juicy side of pop culture will take as much gleeful pleasure from these sites, but if your sensibilities are tender, you might not laugh as much.

The ladies at
Go Fug Yourself write ravaging commentary about fugly-dressed celebrities. Endlessly funny, especially the B. Spears section. Oh, Britney.

Diana Goodman, who also makes some funky crafts, comments on postings to baby name websites at
Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing. If you wonder about why people name their children after liquor and cars, this is a good site for you.

And to wash it all, down,
Television Without Pity is the site to visit when you want to pretend you don't care about "bad" TV, but still want to know what's going on. Or maybe you fully 'fess up to watching bad TV but, tragically, had to miss an episode of, say, America's Next Top Model. Funny, funny writers, and they also cover "good" shows like, mmmm, Lost and Alias.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #5: Flicks and Reads

Sometimes the perfect movie or book recommendation comes at the exact right moment. Other times, you can flounder for awhile, starting and stopping books you hate, watching boring and/or just terrible films. While a personal recommendation from someone whose taste you trust is best, here are a few of the cool tools available for finding ideas when your other sources run dry.


Rotten Tomatoes compiles movie (and video game) previews and reviews, and then ranks films as either *fresh* or *rotten* tomatoes. Their movie database features more than 100,000 films and the site has a really good look too,

Google (ah, google) has recently added a movie search tool, so if you vaguely remember something about a film, but not the name or any of the actors, you now have the best shot of finding the movie (and compiled reviews, links to theaters in your area, etc. etc.) Just type, for example, "movie: french kids" (or whatever you remember, even a quote) and see what comes up.

Netflix has also added a new *Friends* tool for members, so that you and all your special friends can see how each other ranks different movies. You can also store suggestions for each other.


Boldtype used to be a Random House newsletter but has been (thankfully) taken over by the ever-cool Flavorpill. They send out a really good monthly e-newsletter full of current book recommendations, each of which has a quick synopsis, a review, and a bunch of related links.

Books We Like describes itself as "collective intelligence and activist e-commerce." People recommend books, and assign tags/keywords, so that you can browse by topic or recommender, and everything grows organically as more people come to the table. If you join in, you can also store a reading list.

As for my personal recommendations, I'm raving about
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, a mysterious, and very smart novel that weaves together a few sneaky story lines: perfect for cold nights. Also, a new-on-DVD documentary My Architect: A Son's Journey about a man trying to discover the real story of his father, architect Louis Kahn, who died when he was 11 years old.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #4: Kiss and Read

Finally, some true love goes out to our namesake topics, lipstick and magazines. What would I do without you my friends, my little pick-me-ups?


At 27, I might be old enough to claim MAC's Paramount as my signature color, but I don't want to get stuck in a rut. Without a doubt, Mac
lipsticks are some of the best. Once you buy a $15-20 quality lipstick, you won't turn back, and unlike some of the truly frightening and intimidating make-up counter people out there, MAC seems to hire a nicer breed.

For gloss,
check out Lip Medic. I was recently looking for a coconut-banana flavor I used to be able to find at my neighborhood hippie bath store. On Lip Medic, you can search by flavor and find some truly cool glosses. Who knew there were more than 5 banana-flavored glosses? They also have a gloss/balm of the month, which would be a nice gift for that specific special someone.


Never, ever subscribe to a magazine without doing a little price research. Net Magazines has a 5 for $30 subscription package which I used to rave about, but they've lost some of the cooler titles. Still worth a visit. I recently subscribed to a few titles through Shopper Values. First you become a member (ummm, enter your name and email, and unclick all the spam), then you can find Budget Living for $5 a year, and Dwell Magazine for less than $10. Also, if you're looking for a particular title, always search eBay. Magazines obviously benefit by having high subscriber numbers, so these wholesalers can sell subscriptions really cheaply.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #3: Brain Break

Whether you are a jammie-wearing freelancer, a drowning student, or an office-bound corporate kid, there's always that moment during the day (for me it's 3pm), when a brain break is absolutely required. I'm a huge proponent of breaks of all kinds in fact, and when going out for leisurely cuppa tea is not an option, sometimes visiting a website that you haven't visited ten million times before is the best you can do. Here are a few sites that do it for me, starting at brain "lite" and moving a little deeper:

* Ferry Halim's
Orisinal features some of the most charming and original computer games. Catch an egg in a floating basket! Make the kitties move and stop moving! Bubble bees! Really though, these are so beautiful created and a great way to chill out for 3 minutes - check them out. (*Hidden treasure - under "Misc," second box offer is a link to a "Make You Own Flower Bouquet" e-card. Absolutely free and totally sweet)

10x10 is updated every hour with words and photos culled from international news sources to create, as the site describes, a "snapshot of our world." Reading about how the site works is fascinating; seeing the final resort change over time, even more so.

Identity Theory has some of the best author interviews, as well as a bunch of smarties, funny writers, serious writers and others talking about literature, culture, life, and a little bit of everything else. A great browsing site...and they are currently looking for people who want to blog about the books they're reading.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #2: Write Me

I would like to be a better, and more consistent, letter-writer. As a little girl, I had penpals in Pittsfield, MA, and Finland. I received long letters written in crayon and Finnish chocolate and Christmas ornaments. Now, I have one penpal who is owed a woefully late response (sorry J!). My dirty little secret is that I have tons of beautiful cards. I buy them, get attached to them, and then can't let go of them. Ridiculous!

So, my next plan of attack is stationary and card SETS. This way, I can always save just a little bit.

Here are some options I'm eyeing:

Jack and Lulu note-sets available online at Fred Flare - sweet, simple stripes and dots

One Creative Girl - adorable fabric-patterned cards

Snow & Graham - sweet, sweet letter-press cards. Not available online, but in mass quantities at expensive stores in Hayes Valley!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #1: Cuties

Sushi is probably on the outs as far as In Style trendy goes, but I really don't care. Real sushi is delicious, and as artistic inspiration, it has limitless potential. I'd seen sushi erasers, bags, even knit sushi, but this is the most beautiful sushi candy I have ever seen. I've never tasted it, so I can't vouch for the flavor, but for now it's good enough as eye candy.

* Find the goods:
Kooki Sushi

While homeownership is not in my imminent future, I can still entertain myself with dreams about appliances. I hadn't really had any yet, but Big Chill Fridge is breaking me in. Green Apple, Pink Lemonade, Buttercup Yellow. No I'm not talking about nail polish or lip gloss. We are talking the most drool-worthy refrigerators you have over seen. If you buy one, lemme know so I can come over and touch it

* Find the goods:
Big Chill Fridge

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Lipstick & Magazines #0: Sampling

I used to save up my $ and buy grab bags from the Hello Kitty store in downtown SF, big paper sacks, bulging with Sanrio stuff, stapled up. The excitement was almost too much to bear. I would always try to peek inside to get the best one, but I think they were onto my game. The staples were pretty close together.

Home of the Sampler is taking an idea we all love (small, free things) and throwing in that delectable element of surprise. Marie in Berkeley, CA, who runs the site, is now offering a sort of clearinghouse for crafty people and those who love their goods. Subscriptions for sampler bags are full at the moment but will be opening up for the March sampler on Monday, January 31 at 11am. Feast your eyes on the treats that were sent out over the past few months and let the anticipation begin. And if you're a nifty craftster yourself, becoming a contributor is the perfect opportunity for spreading your wares to people all around the world.