I was sick with a sore throat this weekend so didn't do much beyond lounging about while consuming cough drops and using lots of Chloraseptic for kids (I like the grape flavor). I finally decided to rent Girl with a Pearl Earring. Which I quite liked. Although now I'm so eager for more details that I've got to get my hands on a copy of the book. I just couldn't bring myself to read it when it was at the height of its popularity. Beyond movie viewing I also started reading a cooking memoir I've had my eye on for a while, Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchenby Julie Powell.
Julie & Julia began withThe Julie/Julia Project blog. Julie was nearing 30 and feeling disillusioned with the current state of her life (working as a temp in NYC, while living in Queens) when her husband suggested she consider going to culinary school. After scoffing at her husband she informed him that "If I wanted to learn to cook, I'd just cook my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking (by Julia Child)." At this point her husband recommended starting a blog to record her trek through MtAoFC. Julie began the blog in 2002 and completed it in 2004, the Julie & Julia book is the end result. This book is right up my alley combining my love for cooking memoirs and blogs. I'm only 50 pages into the book but so far so good.
So this may be only news to me. But the USPS has made it possible to create your own postage stamps. Simply to go to stamps.com and upload your chosen images. Supposedly personalized stamps were first available in 2004 but quickly canceled due to the high percentage of questionable photos that made it through the screening process (for example: the Unabombers High School yearbook picture, Lewinsky's dress, The Rosenbergs). Now there are new guidelines to prevent a repeat of the "questionable photos" incident of '04. One sheet (that's 20 stamps) will set you back $16.99. I'm thinking some cupcake stamps in honor of the 2005 International Cupcake Tour should be created.
Let me warn you that Elizabethtown is quite lengthy (almost 2 hours and 20 minutes). There were a few scenes that dragged on a bit. BUT overall I found the movie to be very sweet and funny and sad all tied up with a bow. There were two scenes that really made the movie. The first would have to be the long (I'm talking into the morning hours long) conversation between Claire (Kirsten Dunst) and Drew (Orlando Bloom). The conversation goes on so long that phone chargers had to be plugged in, baths were taken, litter boxes were cleaned, magazines read, and alcohol was consumed. It's one of those "just getting to know you" conversations that you can't stand to end. The second memorable scene would have to be the roadtrip Drew takes at the end of the movie from Kentucky back to Oregon. For the roadtrip Claire prepares "an elaborate multimedia guide complete with maps, commentary and mix CDs to give each vista its appropriate musical accompaniment." I'm such a sucker for a movie with a good roadtrip. I suppose I should also reveal that one of the main reasons I watched this movie was the fact that Paula Deen had a part in it. Paula played the role of Drew's Aunt Dora. Paula Dean is a chef from Savannah who has a show on the Food Network calledPaula's Home Cooking. I am a huge fan of Paula's. She's just so southern and snarky. I knew any project she was part of I had to watch. She was sensational, quite funny. Anyway although I liked the movie quite a bit I think I might recommend watching it on DVD for those who like to fast forward through the dull bits.
So I'm sure everyone knows that the novel The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is being made into a movie. But you might not be aware who was selected to play the roles of Miranda Priestly (the editor resembling Anna Wintour) and her assistant Andrea. The role of Miranda Priestly is played by Meryl Streep while the role of Andrea is played by Anne Hathaway! Talk about inappropriate casting. I can deal with Meryl Streep although I think someone along the lines of Candace Bergen would be more appropriate. Candace played a Vogue editor in SATC quit flawlessly in my opinion. But Anne Hathaway? I mean really. I know the character is supposed to be all "small town" but Anne Hathaway is just too apple pie for my liking. In more appropriate casting Adrian Grenier (star of Entourage) will play Nate, the boy who attempts to woo Andrea away from her boyfriend Alex.
On the plus side Patricia Field is styling the movie. So at the very least we can expect the clothing to be spectacular. Although I've heard some designers are unwilling to have their clothes appear in the movie due to their loyalty to Anna Wintour (fortunately Muccia Prada is not one of them).
On the unfortunate side I've heard rumors that the movie will deviate from the original story line in one key way. Miranda will not be portrayed as "devilish" as she was in the book. The WHOLE point of the story is that the editor is this huge you know what. We are not meant to like her.
Moving on. David Frankel has been named the writer/director of this project. He wrote and directed the movie Miami Rhapsody (starring SJP) which I quite liked. He's also directed the HBO series Entourage.
So despite the lackluster casting and deviation from the original story I know I'll be buying a ticket if only for the clothes. Look for this movie sometime in 2006.
I just finished two books that I thought worth mentioning. The first is Nasty : My Family and Other Glamorous Varmintsby the window dresser of Barneys, Simon Doonan. This is the third book by Doonan, his previous two are titled: Confessions of a Window Dresser: Tales from the Life of Fashion and Wacky Chicks : Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women. Both worth reading. Nasty is a memoir but not of the cuddly sort. Doonan was raised in Reading, England in the 1950's by a glamor-puss mother and an amateur winemaker father. Various other eccentric lodgers and mentally ill relatives resided with them. Doonan eventually left Reading for London in search of the "Beautiful People". Then ends up dressing windows in Los Angeles. Once leaving Reading he continues to encounter all sorts of oddballs and eccentrics. In the end "by finally embracing his less-than-happy memories, he discovered that "nastiness is rich. Nastiness is fun ... has texture and the power to transform." This book is a hilarious read and is accompanied by photos (bonus!).
The other book is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady written by Anita Loos. The introduction to the book was written by Candace Bushnell who proclaimed that if Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was written today it would have been titled Gentlemen Prefer Breasts. Anita Loos also wrote an introduction to the book and she mentions an interview she gave where she stated that she thought the book, if written in the 70's, would have been titled Gentlemen Prefer Gentlemen. Edith Wharton referred to the book as "the great American novel". It first appeared as a serial in Harper's Bazaar then was turned into a novel. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the diary of Lorelei Lee, a pretty young flapper originally from Little Rock. Since she has managed to get engaged to a married man, and might be hit with a scandal, Lorelei goes overseas. She cuts a gold-digging swathe through Europe, dazzling wealthy men, seeing the "Eyefull" Tower, and recording thoughts both witty and vapid." It is presented in the form of Lorelei Lee's diary, so is entirely in her unique voice and creative spelling. Quite a funny read. Was this where chick-lit originated?
Speaking of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Carol Channing made an appearance on Martha today. She's gorgeous at the age of 84. She made Halloween masks with Martha and even performed Hello Dolly. Anyway back to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Carol was the first person to perform the part of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway. I have such a fondness for Carol. I think I first became enamored with her when I heard her voice on my "Free To Be You And Me" tape. Then my adoration grew after seeing her in the movie "Thoroughly Modern Millie". I was lucky enough to see her in San Francisco a few years ago in "An Evening with Carol Channing", where she sang her trademark songs and shared all sorts of dishy stories with us about her past. She wore the tiniest of dresses and looked just stunning. She has the longest thinnest legs. In 2003 (at the age of 82) Carol Channing married her junior high sweetheart. This was her forth marriage. Shortly before reuniting with her junior high boyfriend her third marriage of 41 years ended. "In the divorce papers, poor Carol disclosed that she and her husband had only ever had sex once or twice in our 41-year marriage and that was 41 years ago. What's worse, she stuck to her wedding vowsthe whole time and didn't have sex with anyone else either! And to add insult to injury he'd funneled off her fortune and now was spending her money like--you guessed it--a "drunken sailor!" The scandal reached its anti-climax when Ms. Channing went to the press with the news that her hubby was ahomo. Somehow a camp icon with a gay husband wasn't as shocking as a 41-year dry spell." What a life this girl has lead. If you don't have a chance to see her live the very least you must do is buy a copy of Carol's book that was released in 2002 called Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts.
So on Saturday I made a visit to Cupcake Royale. This was my first stop in the 2005 International Cupcake Tour that I am participating in. Beth atJust My Cup of Tea came up with the idea and I among other people volunteered to participate. I'm reviewing Seattle's cupcake offerings. Participants include United States residents and beyond.
Cupcake Royale has two locations one in Ballard and one in Madrona. Cupcake Royale shares space with the coffee shop Verite Coffee which is also owned by the two girls who started Cupcake Royale. Luckily I'm a fan of the cupcake+coffee pairing. Owners Jody Hall and Kim Thomas promote themselves as Seattle's FIRST specialty cupcake bakery. I've only been to the Ballard location but plan to venture to Madrona soon enough. Cupcake Royale is always booming. Never have I entered the shop without there being a slight wait. Their hours are superb, during the week they are open until 10:00pm and on Saturdays you have until midnight to fulfill your cupcake cravings. Apparently the cupcake frosters at Cupcake Royale are referred to as "frosterias". Cupcake Royale has a variety of cupcakes ranging from Peppermint Paty to Dance Party with Holly Hobbie. I think I'd love these cupcakes just for their names and appearance alone. Other names include: Lemon Drop, Ultra Violet, Chocolate Bunny, Triple Threat, Vanilla Bunny, and Ballerina. Currently they are promoting their Autumn Cupcake Festival flavors (Apple Spice with Caramel Buttercream, Pumpkin with Cream Cheese Frosting and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting). They also offer baby sized cupcakes for the babies in your life. If the cupcake itself wasn't enough they also offer cupcake toppers. Which some might regard as gilding the lily, I just had to buy a handful. They also carry a variety of T-shirts and hoodies in all shapes and designs. Some include such slogans as "legalize frostitution". But back to the cupcakes. Only the freshest "Mom approved" ingredients are used at Cupcake Royale and the cupcakes are baked daily (all the dairy products are hormone free). After baking the cupcakes are hand-frosted with buttercream frosting. To go orders are placed in their bubblegum pink bakery boxes.
The wait at Cupcake Royale can be frustrating especially if you are in a hurry or haven't had your first cup of coffee. There is always much activity, people coming and going and children misbehaving. I have found the staff to be a bit short. They seemed unwilling or uninterested in answering my questions on my first visit. They apparently want people to know EXACTLY what they want to order once reaching the counter. I do understand that they want to move people through the line as quickly as possible but you can do so in a friendly manner. Plus they overcharged us by $12 on our first visit. Which was a tad annoying. The shop itself is appealing enough but it's not the type of place where I could see myself spending a leisurely few hours. There is just too much activity during the day. I'd like to make a visit later in the evening when the kids are home in bed. The cupcakes themselves are superb. The size is just right. The appearance is magazine spread worthy and they taste sensational. My favorite cupcakes would have to be Peppermint Paty (chocolate cake, peppermint frosting, chocolate sprinkes) and Dance Party with Holly Hobbie (white cake, pink frosting, rainbow sprinkles). Out of their three Autumn cupcake flavors I thought Pumpkin with Cream Cheese Frosting and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting were both delicious but Apple Spice with Caramel Buttercream was just so so. Despite Cupcake Royale's lackluster service I would HIGHLY recommend making a visit to Cupcake Royale a priority on your next trip to Seattle. They even do weddings!
Out of a possible 5 cakes, 1 being the lowest score
[The snarky girl in pink is Anna (a little girl I nannyed for in Berkeley) at her 3rd Birthday Party. The cupcake ornament is from Anthropologie.]
Saturday was spent shopping and eating in Seattle.
We first went to Ballard for cupcakes from Cupcake Royale(review to be written up soon). They're featuring their autumn cupcake festival flavors. So good (details to come soon).
We then went to Fremont where I found a Jamie Joseph pearl necklace at Essenza that I really must start saving for. Jamie Joseph is one of my favorite jewelry designers (and she's from Seattle). Currently I only have one of her pieces but I'd like to start accumulating more. Her work is incredible. But the necklace which I covet is close to $400 so I'm thinking, tax refund?
Then we went to Greenlake to check out a Seattle glass designer that I found out about via Martha Stewart. The company is called glassybaby and here is a description of their product written by the designers 12 year old son:
"A glassybaby is physically a small, colored, glass cup, candleholder, or vase. But the light of a candle coming through a glassybaby generates more; it gives warmth to a cold day, a calm token of peace in the busy world. Since 1998, Lee Rhodes has been designing, publicizing, and selling these small, extremely tough and strong cups. In 2001, she began to learn to blow these glasses, and has produced many glasses since. glassybaby are made through a multi-layered glass-blowing process and their color comes from different shaded color rods to produce a mix of opaque, translucent, and deeply colored glasses. This method creates a thick, strong piece of glass that has many functions and uses."
They are so incredible. The shop was booming on Saturday morning. Apparently the designers appearance on Martha and a recent article written up about the company in a local paper stirred up much interest. The glass cups come in a variety of seasonal colors. So currently the fall palette is being sold but they do hold over a few popular colors from seasons past. It is impossible to choose just one. These would make perfect Christmas gifts. I restrained myself from buying more than just one at this visit. The color I selected was "stained glass" and it looks sensational with and without a lit candle inside.
We decided to take a break from shopping with brunch at Cafe Campagneby theMarket. I had Oeufs en meurette (two poached eggs served on garlic croutons with pearl onions, bacon and champignons in a red wine and foie gras sauce served with pommes frîtes). So delicious. Service is a bit slow but the quality of food makes up for all that.
Then we headed toPacific Place. At Nordstrom they were having a YSL "event" featuring their Touche Eclat. I meant to only buy some mascara but was talked in purchasing Touche Eclat as well, so we'll see how I like it. I also found some Michael Kors shoes that I'm coveting but thought I should think the purchase over for a few days before committing.
The day came to an end atUniversity Village. I had to dash into the Apple store to check out the iPod Nano's in person. They're just so small and fragile looking. Not my cup of tea. AtAnthropologie I purchased a Christmas ornament (in the shape of a cupcake!). They had a whole cupcake/dessert themed display table (the picture is of a fruit tart ornament). I was so ecstatic. I'd love to do a dessert themed Christmas tree.
Before heading back to Bellingham we grabbed dinner at A La Francaise.