Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shear Genius Season 3 is Here!

The second season of Shear Genius concluded in August of 2008 - why did Bravo made us wait so long for season 3? In any case, the new season starts Wednesday, February 3 at 10/9 c, and I will once again endeavor to recap it here.

There's some bad news and some good news. The bad news first: the incomprehensible Rene Fris will not be returning as "the mentor." The good news: crybaby Jonathan Antin will be a regular judge! There's some neutral news too: Jaclyn Smith has been replaced by Matthew McConaughey's babymama, Camilla Alves. yawn.

Here are a couple of previews to whet your appetite.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Start 'Em Off Wrong

As a blogger, I get all sorts of e-mailings from various PR firms promoting their wares. If I think the product is cute or interesting, I'll mention it here, otherwise, I'll ignore it. But this I couldn't ignore because it's just plain wrong. Click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading.

A leather bikini for a little girl. That's right - show them how to be cheap sluts at an early age. Maybe you'll attract a nice 45-year-old boyfriend for them too. Freaking idiots! Don't you people think? Sexualizing a young child is *not* cute, sweet, or appropriate.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Part 3

And still more from the red carpet....

Modern Family's Sofia Vergara wore Carolina Herrera. While I like the shape of the dress and the styling, I hate the red-into-burgundy color scheme. Ms Vergara could definitely rock an all-red gown.

Patricia Arquette is once again a hot mess in this disco Grinch costume.

I'm torn about Samantha Harris' blue and gold number. Part of me thinks it's gorgeous, but another part thinks that with the hair down and big jewelry, it's too much. Borderline tacky. What do you think?

Kate Hudson wore Emilio Pucci. The way she poses for the camera leads me to believe that she thinks she's completely fabulous. I have to disagree. She's a big nothing, but the dress is nice. Would love to see it on someone else.

I love the bodice on Jenna Fischer's fairly simple violet gown. A gorgeous color.

Helen Mirren is one hot mama. Whew!

Anna Paquin is wearing Alexander McQueen and rocking it. Maybe a little casual-looking for an awards show, but I still think of her as a little girl.

This hideous rag on Toni Collette is by Rafael Cennamo. The skirt looks like old dirty petticoats and is completely incongruous with the gilded bodice. Awful.

Tina Fey went short again this time, but with a less-funky, more elegant, purple Ferragamo cocktail dress. I approve.

Sigourney Weaver looks like hell in a shapeless, asymmetrical black bag. She can do so much better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Part 2

More from the red carpet....

Penelope Cruz is looking uncharacteristically subdued in a short L'Wren Scott number in her favorite color, black. I like that she didn't feel the need to wear lace, trains, mantillas, and the usual details that she favors which scream, "I'm from Spain!"

Mariska Hargitay chose a pink Vera Wang. It's a pretty color, but I think she looks a bit sloppy.

Kate Flannery's character on The Office is frumpy, but when the actress gets dressed up, she's anything but. Love the color of her gown. Hate her posture.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus wore a Dolce and Gabbana gown that both showed off her curves and was unflattering at the same time. Ok, not unflattering. Ugly.

Joan Allen (or her stylist) must have missed her meds that morning.

Jessalyn Gilsig, from Glee, looked gorgeous in her purple gown. So flattering.

Sandra Bullock wore a simple black Alexander McQueen gown with blue beading. I'm torn. While it's elegant and graceful and her hair and makeup is perfect, the blue reminds me just a leetle bit of a clown's ruff....

Meryl Streep wore her mother's sofa to the party. Perhaps this Balanciaga gown would be more attractive in a solid color.

Marion Cotillard in Elie Saab Couture. Everyone seems to love this dress. I hate it. I don't like the square shoulder, the popcorn-like texture on the fabric, and the feathery pubes. And I feel the shoes are too much for the dress.

For the Golden Globes, Glee's Lea Michelle channeled Penelope Cruz. For the SAGs, she tries Jennifer Lopez with this plunging Malandrino. It's a nice color for her, but the lack of cleavage is a little odd. At least she's not falling out all over the place like the usually inappropriate Mariah Carey.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Part 1

Oh, how I love awards season! So many celebrities looking glamorous - or like hell!

The Screen Actors Guild held their annual awards ceremony over the weekend and lots of folks came out to play. Mercifully, it didn't rain on their parade this time.

Jane Lynch likes the full-skirted satin gown. This time she is resplendent in royal blue Ali Rahimi. So nice to see a lesbian who enjoys being a girl.

Jane Krakowski was one of many who went with a one-shouldered gown, this one by Alberta Ferretti. She's looking very old-time glamorous, but I don't like the way the dress fits across the boobs - it's asymmetrically awkward.

Edie Falco went for easy breezy in a strapless muumuu by Bottega Veneta. Actually - I like it.

Drew Barrymore has been hitting it out of the park recently, until now. The tiered skirt of her Monique Lhuillier gown is not flattering, and I will always hate the no-lipstick look.

I don't get the boob drapery on Dianna Agron's architectural Gorges Chakra gown, but I do like that she wore bold lipstick.

Diane Kruger looks smashing and every inch a star in mustard-colored Jason Wu. Probably the best look of the night.

Deborah Ann Woll looks to be wearing Gunne Sax, circa 1979....

Now that's the way to be sexy - by covering up the girls (we all know they're there). Christina Hendricks wore a simple but elegant Carolina Herrera.

Christina Applegate's Roberto Cavalli evokes ethereal beauty. Stunning.

I'm not sure what to make of Betty White's gown. I don't like the weird bright blue parts, but the rest of it is great for her.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sofia Shows Off

Seventy-freakin'-five-year-old Sofia Lauren still has it, baby. (Still has her bi-color tinted sunglasses from the 70s, too.)

More on the SAG Awards Red Carpet to come!


Friday, January 22, 2010

L'Artisan Parfumeur Al Oudh

Notes: cumin, cardamom, pink pepper, date, rose, neroli, incense, saffron, leather note, oud, Atlas cedar, castoreum, civet, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, vanilla and tonka bean

Even though "cumin" is the first note listed, and it is indeed present in L'Artisan Parfumeur's newest, Al Oudh, it's pretty subtle. It smells more of food than of sweat and is balanced by the more prickly and camphorescent notes that accompany it - incense, cardamom, saffron, and leather.

Wait...I spoke too soon. While the cumin is subtle, it's omnipresent. As the scent dries down, it merges with the civet and castoreum to form a stinking miasma of armpit more animalistic funk, all in an incense haze. At one point, the scent was frankincense and armpit. Later on I could detect some sweet warmth from vanilla and myrrh but purely as background notes.

But what about the oud? I wondered that myself. For a scent that has "oudh" in the name, it certainly doesn't smell much like that particular ingredient. Sometimes I think I can detect it, if I hold my nostril at a particular angle to the hand on which I applied the juice. Talk about subtle.

I might make it sound like Al Oudh is a stink-fest. But as far as body odor-esque fragrances is concerned, this isn't so bad. It's somewhat tame, actually. It smells far better than the fat swarthy man with a briefcase we once encountered at the airport (an olfactory terrorist of the highest degree). It's not anything I would wear, but the more adventurous among us may like Al Oudh very much.

Sample obtained from

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Part 2

Not everyone on the red carpet looked good, of course. There weren't too many horrible missteps, but some looks were worth mentioning.

Lea Michelle (in Oscar de la Renta) obviously thinks she's Penelope Cruz at the Oscars. Too much dress for such a tiny person.

Sofia Vergara wore Carolina Herrera. While the colors are interesting, the dress is otherwise as boring as a pile of rumpled bedsheets, as is her hair and makeup.

Patricia Arquette is not the type to ever make a best-dressed list. This monstrosity is just an affirmation.

While I can appreciate the antique styling (Regency, perhaps) of Julianne Moore's Balenciaga gown, it might have worked better in a fabric other than polyester doubleknit.

Christina Hendricks in Christian Siriano. Maybe she thought the ruffle would take the attention off her porn-star rack? Didn't work. And the color is too pale for her porcelain skin. (The original version of this dress looked like this, which would have looked smashing on Ms Hendricks.)

Ah...Jessica Lange is finally old. At least that's what this matronly frock is saying.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Perfume + Food

Something for foodies as well as fragrance aficionados:


Cutting-edge Event with Top Chefs and Perfumer Mandy Aftel Explores Aroma
and Essential Oils in Cooking and Cocktails at Astor Center NYC November 12-13

The Alchemy of Taste and Smell
Astor Center, New York City
November 12-13, 2010


Cooking is alchemy: the art of transforming raw materials into a perfected form. Cooking fuses taste and smell, emotion and memory, culture and nature. The work of chefs today is much discussed, but the process by which new dishes and flavor combinations are created remains mysterious. This event will explore creativity in cooking, the composite nature of flavors and the importance of aroma in food and drink.

The event starts Friday night, with a cocktail making demonstration, followed by a reception and cocktail party that will feature creative cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Saturday will have demonstrations and talks, followed by a meal.

Seven chefs will collaborate on the dinner on Saturday night. The seven-course meal (one course by each chef) will be experimental in nature, exploring new flavor combinations and making explicit the connection between what we smell and what we taste. For instance, a cucumber/melon salad served on a plate scented with mint essence, as a sensory sleight of hand where by the end of the dish the diner thinks that they have eaten the herb, even though they have only smelled it. Mandy Aftel will collaborate on the dinners. The dishes would be accompanied by appropriate wines.

For tickets, go to


Mandy Aftel (Owner, Aftelier Perfumes; Author)

Dave Arnold (Director of Culinary Technology, FCI)

David Chang (Chef/Owner, Momofuku, ** Michelin Stars for Ko, World’s 50 Best Restaurants #26 for Ssäm Bar)

Bill Corbett (Pastry Chef, Coi)

Wylie Dufresne (Chef/Owner WD-50, * Michelin Star, World’s 50 Best Restaurants #45)

Nils Noren (Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts at The International Culinary Center)

Johnny Iuzzini (Pastry Chef, Jean-Georges, *** Michelin Stars)

Harold McGee (Author and NY Times Columnist)

George Mendes (Chef/Owner, Aldea)

Daniel Patterson (Chef/Owner Coi, ** Michelin Stars)

Audrey Saunders (Mixologist, Owner Pegu Club)

Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa (Chefs and Authors, Ideas In Food)


Friday Night, November 12

5:00PM Demonstration - Dave Arnold and Audrey Saunders Using Aroma in
Cocktails (The Study, up to 36 people) $55

Dave Arnold and Audrey Saunders will demonstrate how they use aroma in cocktails, including distillations, essential oils and infusions.

7:00-10:00PM Opening Party (The Lounge and The Gallery, up to 250 people) $95

Creative cocktails by Dave Arnold and Audrey Saunders

Participating Chefs: David Chang, Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, Daniel Patterson, Nils Noren, Bill Corbett

The party will feature stations spread throughout the two rooms, with chefs and mixologists on display, making food and cocktails. There will be some passed food as well, and white and red wines will also be served.

Saturday Day, November 13

11:30PM Demonstration- David Chang, Wylie Dufresne New Flavor Combinations (The Study, up to 36 people) $55

Chang and Dufresne will demonstrate some of the dishes that illustrate the strikingly original approach for which they have become famous.

1:00PM Harold McGee Thinking about Flavor (The Gallery, up to 100 people) $45

McGee will outline the chemical and biological nature of flavor. He will describe the molecules that stimulate our senses of taste and smell, how taste and smell work together to create the perception of flavor, and how that perception is influenced by past experience and by context.

2:30PM Demonstration - Daniel Patterson and Johnny Iuzzini Flavor and Aroma (The Study, up to 36 people) $55

Patterson and Iuzzini will demonstrate dishes that focus on the interaction between taste and smell. They will each make dishes starting from the same flavor combinations, demonstrating a range of styles and techniques.

3:45PM Panel Discussion Creativity and Flavor (The Gallery, up to 100 people) $35

Five leading chefs will discuss the process by which they create new dishes. The discussion will include the role of ingredients and technique, and how childhood memories and historical and cultural contexts influence the chefs. Moderated by Harold McGee.

5:00PM Mandy Aftel Creating with Aromas (The Study, up to 36 people) $35

Aftel will demonstrate the process of how she creates with scent --- showing you how to orchestrate the interactions between pure and natural essences when blending a flavor or fragrance. The design concepts include register (top, middle, base), relative intensity, evolution, locking, and burying. This architecture of aroma will be illustrated graphically by smelling some unexpected combinations, over a range of concentration ratios. The goal is to produce beautiful and innovative aromas.

Saturday Night, November 13

7:00PM Dinner. The Lounge (40 people) $300

David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, George Mendes, Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, Nils Noren, Daniel Patterson, Bill Corbett. The chefs will each make one dish. Some of the dishes are in collaboration with perfumer Mandy Aftel using her essential oils. The price includes beverage and service.

The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Part 1

The Golden Globes is always a good place to check out the latest in evening wear (the words "evening wear" always make me think of the old Wendy's commercial). While celebs dress to the nines (maybe even the tens) for the Oscars, GG dress tends to be a bit more subdued, maybe at a level of seven or eight.

As usual, black was a hot color, and those darn unflattering nudes were all over the place as well. But a small selection of smart women stood out from the crowd in brights and purples.

Mellody Hobson (with George Lucas) bucked all trends and wore this fabulous frock that looks inspired by Egyptian tomb paintings.

Jane Lynch didn't wear her customary Sue Sylvester sweats, but instead looked gorgeous in this Ali Rahimi gown.

Ginnifer Goodwin wore a bright blue Vionnet cocktail dress that may have seemed a little casual amongst the throng of gowns, but she didn't have to drag her hem in the wet, and she looked terrific.

Sandra Bullock wore an eye-popping purple Bottega Veneta. What a stunning color! Although the dress doesn't particularly excite me, it works for her.

Fergie in Elie Saab. The dress is lovely, a bit 70s-retro, but I wish she would do something with her hair.

Diane Kruger's fashion sense doesn't always work for me, but she looks terrific in this Christian Lacroix couture gown. Ok, maybe I'm not seeing her at all...I just love the gown.

Lauren Graham also wore shocking pink. Can't lose her in a crowd.

I loved Felicity Huffman's gown, even if it was nude. The trim on the straps and bodice was enough to make a distinct separation between where her body ended and the dress started.

Kristen Bell is a tiny girl, and her Jasmine di Milo cocktail dress was the perfect, non-overwhelming, look for her.

I have mixed emotions about Dianna Agron's Reem Acra gown. While she's lovely and it's beautiful, I'm not sure if dove gray is the right (non) color for her.

Chloe Sevigny is always hailed as some sort of fashion icon for some strange reason. Maybe people are afraid to tell her she usually looks like a clown? But she did something right with this floaty, ruffly Valentino.

Heidi Samuel looks positively modest in her Roberto Cavalli gown, which is not short, sparkly, and cheap-looking. She could have done a lot better with the hair though.

And finally, we have Tina Fey in Zac Posen. I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it. What do you think?


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