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Favorite things 2011

It’s that time of year again. It’s that time when Ms. S&C and her splendid group of girlfriends compile ten of their favorite things, meet for dinner, draw names, and exchange baskets of goodies.

At this year’s basket exchange party, Ms. S&C scored a jar of pickled asparagus (perfect garnish for bloody mary’s), delicious wasabi-flavored almonds, and a slew of beauty-related items: night cream, Olivella soap, and hair removing cream (bathing suit season is right around the corner, you know).

Here’s what Ms. S&C put in her (mostly) health-and-wellness themed basket:

  1. GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha — Yes, the documented health benefits are a bit conflicting, but Ms. S&C is convinced that this fermented tea beverage — which she drinks three times a week — is great for her digestive health and her skin. (And now she wants to make her own.)
  2. Incense — Until about six months ago, Ms. S&C probably hadn’t purchased incense since college. But — as part of a new age-y streak — she is at yoga four times a week, at the acupuncturist once a month, taking daily Chinese herbs, drinking crazy fermented beverages, and lighting Champaka.
  3. Dried apricots — A perfect snack, with a handful of cashews or a spoonful of almond butter. This treat is also great when served with pork or duck (try cooking with carmelized onions). Salty+Sweet=Yummy.
  4. Cloth napkins — Ms. S&C likes to use cloth napkins for everyday use (and bright colors means that stains don’t show as much).
  5. Nude-colored lip gloss — Ms. S&C loves the dark-smokey-eyes and nude-colored nail polish and shiny nude lips look. She also likes the “Perfectly Nude” brand from Sephora.
  6. Yoga — It is hard to put yoga in a basket. So, Ms. S&C’s love of yoga came in the form of a strap this year.
  7. Dark chocolate — This is Ms. S&C’s indulgence item. She has a fondness for fancy dark chocolate, and Mast Brother’s has a special place in her heart. (So does Vosges for that matter.)
  8. Misha’s coffee — Hooray for local artisanal coffee! (And kudos to Whole Foods for carrying it.)
  9. Running/workout playlist — Ms. S&C loves making playlists (it’s a recurring item in her basket), and this year she adapted a running mix she shared awhile back.
  10. Recipes — Thomas Keller’s roast chicken and crispy kale and are (excuse my language) fucking phenomenal.

And while there wasn’t anything cocktail or shoe-related in her basket, Ms S&C’s friends definitely came through, as gin, vodka, and sparkling rose all made an appearance.

Now, of course, Ms. S&C wants to know: What favorite things would you put in your basket? Share in the comments below!

PS) You can check out Ms. S&C’s favorite things from 2009 and 2010.

posted by Ms. S&C

Academy Awards Fashion and More

For the third year in a row, Ms. S&C is live blogging the Academy Awards. Yes, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e else is doing it too. (Twitter has been abuzz with the latest updates for days now.) And no, she doesn’t have any special insider information. She is just like you. She is sitting on her couch, in ripped jeans and a tank top, drinking red wine from a box. And she can’t wait for James Franco.

Ms. S&C is live blogging the Oscars, along with everyone else.

Here we go:

Love that Kelly Osbourne just called Helen Mirren’s body “bangin.”

I think I like Scarlett Johansson’s dress. The color and the lace overlay and the messy hair are a little unexpected.

The best decision Gwyneth Paltrow could have made (at this stage of her career) was appearing on Glee (plus, she looks great tonight in that slim silvery number).

Cate Blanchett is in an unusual lavender dress. She was described by someone as a “work of art.” And I couldn’t agree more. She is absolutely gorgeous (I love the short hair) and like a breath of fresh air.

Wow, a lot of red: Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Lawrence, Penelope Cruz, Anne Hathaway. I wish I liked red more.

That ABC backstage interview with James Franco could have gone better, right?

Commercial break: Ms. S&C saw eight of the ten movies nominated for Best Picture, and she wants “The King’s Speech” to win (again, along with everyone else on the planet who has seen it).

Correction: Jennifer Hudson’s dress is apparently “tangerine,” not red. Thank you, Tim Gunn.

Loved the question by Robin Roberts, of GMA, to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban about what music they listened to on the way over. Unfortunately, the only answer we got was “mellow.”

Did you know that Melissa Leo from “The Fighter” is also John Goodman’s wife on “Treme”? She looks so different. And by different, we mean better.

Commercial break: Check out the S&C Twitter page too because we are retweeting commentary that is much better than ours. #humbled

Yay! Love an Alec Baldwin cameo anytime, anywhere.

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Salute Italia

Dear Italy,

I miss you. I miss my morning cappuccino. I miss my afternoon caffe (and those well-dressed baristas with their cute hats). I miss the grazies and the pregos. I miss al dente pasta. I miss fresh seafood. I miss your vino rosso. I miss saying vino rosso, per favore. Of course I miss your pizza. I even miss your graffiti and the crowded streets in Naples. I miss taking the train to Pompeii, to Sorrento, to Rome. I miss that nocciotella gelato I had in Amalfi.

I miss the sea view from my hotel room in Positano (I miss all the views!). I miss the sound of the waves crashing on Fornillo beach. I miss the Mediterranean air. I even miss those grueling stairs and steep climbs.

Other things I miss:

Lunch in Positano: prosecco, birra, misto di verdure (mixed vegetable platter), and usually al fresco.

This view of the Amalfi Coast. Is there anything more beautiful?

Visiting musuems like the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, in Naples.

Gelato. Did I mention the daily gelato?

I’m not sure when I’ll see you again (but, I plan on seeing you again!).

Amore,

Ms. S&C

[Update: For those of you keeping track of such things — you’re not crazy — this post *has* been updated with new pictures and slightly modified text. Nothing major (and not that we’re close), but we strive for perfection at S&C.]

Sometimes

Sometimes, under very special circumstances . . .


bare feet . . .

and cheap beer . . .

are all the shoes and cocktails this girl needs.

Miss Mojito is preparing to bid adieu to summer with a week-long family beach vacation. I plan on coming back fully rejuvenated for some fall-worthy blogging: boots, knits and cold-weather bevvies, here I come!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Apologies and promises

Ms. S&C apologizes for her intermittent blogging. She’s sorry for the lack of new content. There are the usual work-that-pays-the-mortgage excuses, and then there are a few other unrelated-but-delightful-distraction excuses (a danger of having too many hobbies) that have turned her attention elsewhere.

Despite her recent S&C blog absence, she posts updates and comments on Twitter. You can also keep up with her activities on the S&C Facebook page (which includes pictures from the “Style in the City” party and pictures from a very cool sherry-inspired fashion show she attended in the same week).

Ms. S&C promises to return to regular blogging very soon. One reason: she can’t be more excited for Top Chef DC! Eric freakin’ Ripert joins as a regular guest judge (you remember our crush on him, right?), and there will be episodes involving Speaker Pelosi, concession stands at Nationals stadium, and the C.I.A. Hooray for DC! Another reason Ms. S&C promises to blog soon: she is preparing a specialty peach bourbon cocktail for a friend’s going away party this weekend. Rest assured the S&C test kitchen is in full swing trying out new cocktail recipes.

More soon!

posted by Ms. S&C

In full bloom

Ms. S&C recently spruced up her bedroom. She purchased this Porto Metal Bed from Crate and Barrel, splurged on a memory foam mattress, and completed her new bedding set with this Chinoiserie-inspired Audrey Duvet from Pottery Barn.

This gorgeous duvet is now a source of inspiration. A little bit Asian, a little bit 18th century European, I’m in love with the pattern of birds, butterflies, and blooming trees (not too mention the soothing colors). And, with Spring almost in full bloom, there was no better time to start with a fresh new look.

With the help of Polyvore, I can now mix and match some of my favorite Spring items. Yes, bedding has been combined with platform sandals from J.Crew, a shift dress from Banana Republic, and paired with a flute of champagne. They may be completely unrelated, but this collection makes me happy. And for the time being, if you need me, you can find me in bed. In full bloomposted by Ms. S&C

Live from the Oscars…party

We’re live blogging the 82nd Academy Awards! Ms. S&C has just settled in at a friend’s Oscar party and can’t wait to check out the red carpet fashion.

 

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Demi Moore have arrived! They are two stunning brunettes. I like Maggie’s printed dress, but it seems she should have gone more glamorous since she’s a nominee.

Meryl Streep?!?! Yes, you are so classy, but you don’t seem dressed up enough? Maybe by nomination 16, it’s nothing special?

Ms. S&C is a bit disappointed. The usually reliable Kate Winslet is in a two-piece-looking-gown that looks like the two pieces don’t belong. Charlize Theron is in a dress that looks like flowers are grabbing her boobs. What’s going on on the red carpet?

I want a better look at Sarah Jessica Parker’s jeweled frock. I think it has potential. The night is redeemed! Cameron Diaz comes through with a heavily jeweled gown. Love the longer locks too.

All the supporting actress nominees look good together. I like Maggie’s dress a lot more now — tie dye is back people.

Sandra Bullock looks the best she’s looked this whole awards season. The sleek long hair, the red lips, the glistening lace dress. Well down, Sandra. You look like a leading actress Oscar winner [Update: and you are! Loved your speech.].

Thumbs down, J Lo.

You’ll either love or hate Sarah Jessica Parker’s yellow gown. Mixed reviews at this party. I’m a fan of the silver-y accessories, including the sparkly eye shadow.

Miley Cyrus wins for “most improved” look. She needs to work on her posture, but she looks a thousand times better than last year.

Now, on to the show…Ms. S&C didn’t see any of the celebrities’ shoes, didn’t have any cocktails,
but enjoys blogging about Oscar fashion even if only semi-S&C-related.

Neil Patrick Harris, that’s quite a jacket. What are you doing here? This opening is very Las Vegas. I don’t hate it.

The funny guys arrive. “Host cracked joke about Meryl Streep” is on the party bingo. Jokes falling flat is not, and there have been a few of those already.

Now, here’s when we can get a good look at these dresses…

Penelope Cruz is presenting best supporting actor, and her ruby dress looks much better under these lights. But, she’s always been on my top five girl crush list.

Tina Fey is also on my girl crush list. Her dress is not on any favorite list. Not her most flattering look.

Zoe Saldana’s dress is causing quite a stir at this party. Bottom looks like a shower puff, or something equally strange.

Queen Latifah is looking spectacular in her lavender gown.

Last year winter white was a popular choice. It is royal blue this year. Mo’nique is wearing it, and wins for best supporting actress. Or, maybe it is ruby red? That’s the color for Sigourney, Penelope and Vera.

Someone get Kristen Stewart some accessories!

Don’t love Sandra Bullock’s dress as much as I first thought, but her make-up is impeccable.

Ms. S&C is gonna have to start wrapping things up. This Oscar-watching-crowd gives this year’s show a big fail. The show was disjointed (strange tribute to horror films, the complete disaster also known as the interpretative dance segment), the two hosts had more bad jokes than good, and you know the fashion was disappointing when you poll the crowd and there’s more people on the worst dressed list than the best dressed one (and no one here can really agree on the best).

Ms. S&C’s best dressed list includes Sarah Jessica Parker, because she isn’t afraid to do something different than everyone else, and Demi Moore, because the peachy color of her well-fitted, yet flowy, gown suits her so well.

Ms. S&C’s worst offenders were easily Zoe Salanda, Charlize Theron, Tina Fey, and J Lo.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What were your favorite Oscar moments? Who did you think was divine? Who was a disaster?

posted by Ms. S&C