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...