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.