Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Accosted by an Eyebrow Evangelist

While in Chicago, my friend Lisa and I spent some excellent quality time shopping. We had stopped at Barneys to take a look at the shoes they had on offer, and while downtown, had thoughts to step into Sephora before heading out to a few excellent boutiques.

Now me, I was not blessed with eyebrows that anyone can do much of anything with. They're sparse, and I use a filler to make them look less anemic. In the past couple of weeks, my found myself running low on my usual product, and thought that I'd get a Sephora staff member to recommend something new. So I left the house that morning with bare brows, and turned to stare down the world. With my skinny, skinny bare naked brows.

While crossing through Barney's make-up section, a man who reminded me of Jonathan Antin, in all his pseudo-Euro-trashy glory, who had been applying make-up at the Nars counter, shouted at Lisa and I.

"Ladies! I'm free over here!"
"Oh, well, that's good for you", I replied.

He was insistent, "Let me do your eyes!"

I shrugged. And wandered over. He had a nice suit, and seemed passionate about setting something about my eyes that he thought was wrong, right. And, hell, I needed something for those shivering, naked eyebrows.

Turns out it was Claudio Riaz, who has been making the rounds of Barneys locations with his brush line.

Riaz' Instant Brow Brush + Nars powder eyeshadow = something magical.

Check it out - nekkid on the left, all Riaz-d up on the right.

This man gave me eyebrows for my birthday. That's not something to be taken lightly. As he turned his too-intense attention to Lisa, who was rightly horrified, as she has excellently defined brows, we scampered to the cash register, me with brush and shadow in-hand, leaving Claudio a little bit richer, and with the certainty that he had turned out a lovely pair of brows on to the world.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Birthday Weekend in Chicago

I am back from a wonderful weekend in Chicago, wherein I turned 34. I spent the weekend with my friends Lisa and Matt, and we had excellent meals, and experienced excellent shopping.

First, the meals.

Before the shopping began, Lisa and I had lunch at Karyn's, a raw food restaurant. I was delighted to find that it was just as good as NYC's Pure Food and Wine! We shared the following, and I very much wished that Karyn would put out a cook(construction?)book:


  • Crimini Mushrooms stuffed with a Nut Pate and Topped with a Light Gravy

  • Basil Scented Ravioli (wrapper made of jicama) with a Macademia Whipped CrËme Dressed with a Sun-Dried Tomato Puree
  • Taste the Riches of the Ocean with this Creamy Sea Wrap, Filled with Avocado, Crunchy Walnut Pate, Sweet Onion and Basil Wrapped in a Seaweed Crepe
That evening, Lisa, Matt and I went to Moto. We had the 5 course tasting, Matt and Een had the meat version, and I had the vegetarian. We had the same basic courses, with vegetarian proteins substituting the meats, and without meat ingredients in the purees, sauces and reductions.

  • Edible menu was a very thin, crisp cookie printed with edible ink, accompanied by a slightly salted pear gelee an pear reduction .

  • White truffle brulee with a white truffle biscuit (veg) / maple and bacon biscuit (meat)
  • Pan fried tofu (veg) / cod (meat) with soya miso puree and pan fried puffed rice
  • Crispy hash browns, hard boiled egg with spinach (both were perfect cubes) with a kind of beans I can't remember (veg) and thin slices of beef (meat)
  • Wee flourless chocolate and black tea cake, wee vanilla and lemon cake enrobed in gelee with raspberry
  • Coffee ice cream with a cup of warm almond biscotti flavoured creamy liquid. The ice cream was freeze-dried, and you dipped it in the cup of warm liquid biscotti
Although Moto definitely has that molecular gastronomy bent, the flavours on the plate would be in place with any other high end, more traditional restaurant that I've been to. Both Moto and Karyn's were absolutely amazing, and it's really hard to choose a favourite. Out of everything, though, I do think that the white truffle brulee was the champion of the day.

Between lunch and dinner, Lisa and I went to a number of shops. I took pictures of the cuteness that came home with me.

At Habit, I picked up this brass necklace.

At Renegade Handmade, I bought this Erica Weiner bronze necklace of a mouse pelvis:

And this mounted bunny head, by T&A:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Four Random Things.

1. I've given up pretending that I don't live in PeeWee's Playhouse. Resultingly, here's the latest art installation that I threw up on the wall. It serves as an excellent faux-headboard.

Images taken from Bears by Kent Rogowski and Monkey Portraits by Jill Greenberg.

2. I am very much in love with Rob and Big.

Along with Meaty and Mini-Horse, I pretty much feel like they're the happiest, bestest family on TV.

3. I've decided that I want to learn about wine. Which means that I actually have to actively drink the stuff. While spending time with friends at the MoeJoe Lounge, I asked what kind of reds they had on offer. I didn't even let him get past saying, "We have a Napa Valley red called The Prisoner" before clapping with delight and asking for a glass. Because, really, I'm at that point where (a) a funny name or label in a (b) red is reason enough to order something. But, damn, I'm glad he suggested it, because it was really, really enjoyable. So much so that I tracked down and bought a couple of bottles for myself.

Me and wine. Who knew?

4. There are rumours going around as to my possible pixie-based heritage. I take the 5th on that.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cake Balls are Go!

See what I mean?

Last week, I stumbled across this post from Bakerella, and I knew I had to get in on that shit.

Let the photo essay begin.

1. Bake cake. And yes, for the first time in years, I made a cake from a box. PS: I now live in a place where Red Velvet Cake doesn't make people go, "Whaaaaaa?"

2. Crumble cake.

3. Add cream cheese frosting (from a can! And yet, I am not ashamed. It goes with the box cake?)

4. Smush it all together.

5. Form into balls (BALLS!) and chill.

6. Coat with white chocolate. Run out of white chocolate, and melt down the chocolate chips you have squirelled away in your pantry, just for emergencies like this. Coat remaining with regular chocolate. Let cool down and harden.

7. The end.

I think next time, I'll set up the balls (BALLS!) on a rack and poor the chocolate over, as rolling started to brush off crumbs from the balls (BALLS!) into the coating. Lesson. Learned.