Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Fresh Start and Some Seriously Adorable Sweets

Since my last post in this space dates from September 2012, many of you no doubt thought I'd dropped off the blog-earth.Well, not really - I have been posting on my professional blog quite a bit, so my writing energy was needed there. Also, 2013 was a very difficult year for me as a performer, so I wasn't much inspired to write. These days, I'm trying to find new people to work with and fresh ways to challenge myself both on and offstage (hello, roller skating lessons!) I took up quad skating last year after a hiatus of nearly three decades and absolutely love it. Great fun, nice people, and very beneficial for the waistline.That last bit is especially pertinent to this post, since its real topic is not lazy blogging or diva drama, but... SWEETS!

I don't bake much, nor do I often order dessert in restaurants. Don't often have time for the former and can't generally afford the calories that come with it or the latter. However, Valentine's Day is coming, and yesterday, the new Dean and Deluca catalog (better known in our house as Food Porn) showed up in our mailbox, packed with sugary treats that look tempting enough to warrant a few extra revolutions around the rink.

If your sweetheart is a chocolate-loving bibliophile, how about this cake?

             
Or perhaps lingerie-inspired cookies would better set the V-day mood? These are flavored with cinnamon, anise, and orange. Yes, please.

  
If you'll be flying solo on February 14th, these "Breakup Box" whoopie pies might help ease the pain. Might I suggest sharing them with a good friend and a bottle of bubbly? Both are excellent at lifting one's spirits!

J and I will be staying in this Valentine's Day, feasting on lobster, wine, and perhaps Option 1 or Option 2 from the list above. A hint may or may not have already been dropped. Whatever you're doing that night, I hope it's great fun and wish you a sweet, happy 2014!    
   

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mural on Coney Island


Mural on Coney Island, originally uploaded by retrogemkitty7.
I'm back! Actually, I never left; have just been sorely neglecting my blog once again. We've had a very busy summer of performing, visiting friends in NY, & working. J took this picture of me during our August NY trip - we hadn't been to Coney Island in ages & were a little concerned about how the place might look post-renovation. Were we riding the subway for an hour only to find ourselves in a corporate-looking theme park? Although we were very disappointed to see that the wonderful Astroland entrance (complete with fabulous 50's faux rocketship) is gone, for the most part, the boardwalk & amusement areas still have a funky retro feel. The beach was packed with people of all ages, races, styles - hip-hop, preppy, vintage, you name it. We people-watched, listened to live music, ate a decadent lunch at Nathan's, & rode the Cyclone & the Wonder Wheel before making our way back to Manhattan. It's great when places, like people, can change & evolve without losing their spirit. Happy end of summer, all.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Do not adjust your monitor. I'm wearing pants.

I rarely don pants, jeans, slacks, or anything of the sort. That's partly because I often find them unflattering, but also due to the fact that they've become almost mandatory apparel for the 21st-century female & any form of mindless "groupthink", sartorial or otherwise, grates on my nerves.

That said, I've been drawn to the colored denim trend since I first started seeing it last year. J & I were at dinner in Hampden one night & an impossibly thin young woman (think Audrey Hepburn, but blond) passed by the restaurant window wearing bright red skinnies, a simple black top, & black ballet flats. She looked fabulous & I wished I could find a pair of bright jeans that would flatter my older, non-size-0 body. After a good bit of searching & a few dressing room mirror incidents that left me needing a stiff drink (H&M, how could you?!?!?) I found not one, but two pairs of bright jeans I adore.

The ones in this pic are Calvin Klein, from Marshalls - really. They're surprisingly curve-friendly & don't make me feel as if I've stolen my teenage niece's pants. I grabbed a Velvet Heart pair in purple at Century 21 during our recent visit to NY & am still trying to figure out how to style them so I don't appear to be in Ravens fan gear (does someone perhaps own one black sweater too many?) If & when I figure it out, I may post a pic. 'Til then, I dare you to think beyond blue, denim-wise, & have some fun!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Green. Gorgeous. Mine.


Green. Gorgeous. Mine., originally uploaded by retrogemkitty7.

J & I took a trip to New York last weekend, mostly to see Verdi's "Ernani" at the Metropolitan Opera, but also to shop, eat, drink wine, & generally enjoy one of our favorite places in the US. We left on an obscenely early Friday morning train - what crazy person booked us on Amtrak at 6:13AM? - oh, wait, I did. Over the course of three days, we visited a number of our favorite shopping haunts, including La Boutique Resale, Century 21, the Garage Flea Market, & The Showplace. I scored some amazing deals & am going to be on a shoplite for some time!

Here's my best find of the whole trip: an emerald green Ferragamo bag, in near-pristine condition. I scored this for less than one would pay for a lower-end Coach bag at the mall. Not that Coach's designs haven't improved over the years - many of them have - but I think you know what I'm saying, price-wise. Given that this beauty is my favorite color & was made by a design house for which I have great respect, J knew it was going home with us the minute I spotted it.

The opera was fabulous, even though it's early Verdi, & it was great fun to catch up with several of our New York friends, one of whom sings in the Met chorus. (Her SO also does, but the poor guy was under the weather during our visit, so we didn't get to hang out with him.) Food-and-drinks-wise, we indulged at places we've loved for some time: I Coppi, the Campbell Apartment, Maison du Chocolat, & Bagel Boss. We also discovered new delights at Eataly & Shalal.

So, here we are, back home. Our feet have recovered - good thing, as I still have to work off some of that amazing food! - & we're already plotting our next trip to the city

Va va vroom: Prada, Spring 2012 Hot Rod Flame Shoe

Dammit, Miuccia. You've done it again. By "it", I mean you've come up with a collection that is filled with the retro references that are so near & dear to my heart, but also tweaked them in a wonderfully irreverent way so that not one item is too serious or precious. I would happily welcome any number of your Spring 2012 pieces into my wardrobe, especially the shoes, but with prices well into the four figures, that's not happening anytime soon. Since I don't give a damn (or perhaps a stronger word or two) about wearing "last year's" stuff, I can only hope a pair of these babies will eventually make it onto the shelves of one of my favorite Upper East Side consignment stores. Size 6.5, please.

I'm a gym rat & general exercise nut, & this Wednesday, my Spin class was led by a sub for the sub. To put it mildly, her workout was a disaster. She didn't seem to know the vocabulary of Spinning, which is quite specific, & as such, she called out almost no cues when it was time for us to switch moves. We basically had to watch her & guess what we were supposed to do next. Most of her in-class chatter centered around a fake travelogue, during which she mentioned that "we'd like to stop at McDonald's, but we're not going to." She also engaged in a a few moves that are known to be unsafe, such as doing push-ups on the handlebars of the bike. The kicker (so to speak) for me came during our cool-down stretches, when she launched into a lecture/rant about the evils of high heels. Out of the blue. This from a woman who was touting fast food a few minutes earlier? Maybe Morgan Spurlock should have made a documentary about superspiked footwear rather than supersized meals. Obviously, I got quite annoyed at this point, sprayed down my bike, & went downstairs to spend some quality time on the elliptical.

At age 42, I am well aware that high heels are not necessarily good for one's feet. I don't wear them every day or on occasions that will require a great deal of walking or standing (all-day shopping trips in NY, museum jaunts in Italy, etc.) I do, however, intend to wear them on special occasions or just when the mood strikes - as long as my body will tolerate them, of course. Snotty as this woman was, I do have to feel a bit sorry for her; she's aesthetically challenged (she also admitted to not caring much for music - of any kind!) I also can't wait for our regular Spin instructor to come back.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For once, big business does the right thing

I'm not accustomed to hearing that a huge corporation has done something positive for equality or human rights, yet that's exactly the sort of news I found posted all over Facebook today. It seems JCPenney has decided to defy the wishes of One Million Moms (was the name 40,000 Bigots already taken?) & retain Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. I didn't shop at JCPenney for a long time, but found several cute pieces of clothing there last year, & this recent news sent me directly to their website after work today.

As one who works outside the home, I don't often catch Ms. DeGeneres' show unless I have taken the day off to get a mani/pedi in preparation for a vacation or other special event. In the broadcasts I have seen, Ms. DeGeneres has come across as a talented, engaging, funny host & interviewer. Sexuality aside, she's damn good at her job & has every right to a hugely successful career. With regard to her orientation, I am a longtime supporter of GLBT rights, including marriage equality, so between this incident & California's rejection of Proposition 8, I'm feeling a bit more optimistic this week. Thanks, JCPenney & California, for doing the right thing. May other companies & states follow suit, soon.

Now, off to check out that cute polka dot dress I saw on the JCPenney website earlier...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Men do make passes at retro divas who wear glasses.

I've needed reading glasses since middle school, mostly due to astigmatism. If I read or surf the 'net for long without them, I will get a blinding headache - literally. Since 2007, I've basically needed the things all the time to avoid that fate, although I'm still able to go onstage (I do theater, opera, & cabaret performances) or attend a dressy event for a few hours sans specs. If that changes as I age, I will seriously consider Lasik. Some friends have urged me to get contacts, but the idea of sticking little things in my eyes every day makes me queasy. Sounds silly coming from someone with two tattoos, but it's true!

Glasses can be horribly expensive, which is one reason I've held off on replacing my beloved Bellagios (the rhinestone-trimmed frames I'm wearing in many of my posts.) At $250 for a complete pair, they're hardly at the highest eyewear price point - I understand frames alone can cost $1500 or more if one is wealthy & a bit insane - but I've just been finding other things to spend my money on lately (more vintage dresses from eBay & Etsy. Oops.) Still, as it had been two years since my last eye exam, I recently dragged myself to the optometrist, knowing full well that I'd end up ordering new glasses even if my vision hadn't changed substantially, which it hasn't - hooray!

While the Bellagios were on order, I found the fabulous cat-eye specs I'm wearing in this pic on eyebuydirect. I'd taken care to obtain a copy pf my prescription from the optometrist's office, & with that at hand, I was able to order these babies for $49.95, lenses & all. They fit well, do their job, medically speaking, & I absolutely love how they look! I am finding that the over-the-top shape works best with simpler silhouettes, so my more outrageous outfits may still call for the (new) Bellagios, which have arrived & are also wonderful. I love having a wardrobe in which blinged-out eyewear can pass for subtle.