Challah is without question the best bread or Shana Tova Darlings!

Darlings,

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Well first and most importantly, I love bread. This is a trait I share with Oprah. Like being a mogul and really loving books and gifts and best friends, we are on the same page about bread. My personal favorite breads are sourdough and challah. I’m not entirely sure which bread is Oprah’s favorite, but apparently the two below items have the least amount of weight watchers points. Originally this was my criteria to determine Oprah’s favorite bread, but after seeing the options, I really and truly hope Oprah doesn’t LOVE either of them. So although we have a lot in common, Oprah and I, there’s still many mysteries of Ms. Winfrey that I have my whole life to seek truths on.

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It’s almost the new year for us in the tribe. I gotta say – living out here with no friends or family to celebrate with and cook for is deeply upsetting and unsettling, especially in times like these. So I wanted to share a challah recipe with you – so that perhaps at your table  tonight or tomorrow, we might exchange L’Shana Tovas over brisket, apple cake and gefilte fish. (Darlings, remember when I made my own? {also, can you believe how far iphone photography has come in 6 years!??!})

So the photos here is not of a round challah, but here is a great tutorial on braiding round challahs if the mood should strike.

One more thing – The new year, Jewish or not, is a time for us to reflect upon our lives – to repent for our sins but also to consider ourselves and what makes us the best self for our community. I am never more of my best self, darlings, then when I am writing to you or cooking for you. And I think that you deserve better after all these years than some shoddy iphone photos. So I finally broke down and bought a real camera, so I can take care and create real photos to share with you. I’m also hoping that it will give me motivation to share more of my creations with you over the coming year. The other thing is that yesterday one of my oldest friends asked me for a holiday menu and I thought why haven’t I been writing holiday menus on the blog? So I think that’s something to look forward to in this coming year.

 

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I think I need a “Shalom, Y’all” mug. So trashy, but so good. 

My Challah

Ingredients

3 tsp. fast acting yeast

1/8 C. Warm Water

3/4 c. plus 2 tsp sugar

2 eggs, beaten

6 C. Flour

1 Tsp. Salt

1/2 C. Vegetable Oil, plus more for greasing

2 egg yolks, beaten

Method

  1. In a small  bowl, combine the yeast, water and 2 tsp sugar. Let it sit about 10 minutes until the water begins to foam. Seriously. Wait for it to foam, if you don’t, you will get all the way to the end of step 4, an hour and a a half in and realize you aren’t getting any challah anytime soon.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with a dough hook attachment), combine your 2 whole beaten eggs, your sugar, your vegetable oil and your yeast mixture.
  3. While the dough hook is running, little by little, add your  salt and flour. Continue to mix until a sticky ball forms.
  4. Grease a large bowl from top to bottom on the interior and move your dough ball to it. Cover it with a damp cloth or a piece of cling wrap and leave it in a warm space for about an hour, until the ball doubles in size.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, Pull the ball apart into three balls of the same size.
  6. On a floured surface, roll each of these balls out into a long rope.
  7. You will now braid your challah:
    1. Pinch the ends of the ropes together and braid the challah like you would braid your hair, left over center, right over center, until the left becomes the right and the right becomes the left and the center continually changes (kind of like life)

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8. Place your braided challah on a sheet pan, cover with a damp towel and again, place in a warm environment for an hour until it rises.

9. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

10. When your challah has risen, brush the top with your egg yolks and bake for about 40 minutes. It is done when golden brown on the top.

11. You can add raisins to the dough, or seeds to the top. I might just do that for today’s challah!

Shana Tova to all, may your new year be full of peace, health and happiness. And please be kind to each other (unless you’re talking about a red carpet dress, then by all means…go to town)

xoxo

lcf

 

 

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Emmys 2017 or Is it Halloween already?

Darlings,

I must say that this years emmy red carpet was full of exciting looks and lots of people really and truly doing their own thing which I applaud.

Before we get into the sass that will ultimately unravel here, I want to point out two things.

First of all, I wanted to point out the blue ribbon that so many people were wearing as an accessory last night. The blue ribbon is for the ACLU – an organization that needs us right now just like we need them. If you are so inclined, please donate. Because it’s important and because no person should be afraid of the sheer act of leaving their house in the morning.

Also, because this is my blog and I get to write whatever I want – remember the red ribbons people used to wear to award shows? HIV research still isn’t done, there isn’t a cure and while people aren’t necessarily dying from the disease anymore, there is still so much to learn about it, so much education to be done to get rid of the stigma and there’s got to be a way to find a cure.

Second of all. Can you please handle Lena Waithe’s speech?

 

 

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“I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different, those are our superpowers — every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.”

If you haven’t seen the whole thing, watch here. This, darlings, is what the world needs more of. #fucktrump

All that being said, there are still some things that I would’ve liked to see changed on the red carpet. But there are also some looks that I could get enough of. Let’s start somewhere in the middle.

Well, let me start by saying I keep seeing memes like these online:

 

And I don’t know who these people are…well, I know one of them…but I don’t understand them. Because, darlings, I’m like Summer! Bain de Soleil! Rose! Salt Water! Beach Hair! Bronzer! I think this debate is a fundamental difference in values. I would say that the following ladies and I may differ on our feelings on this debate. Because as much as I love Halloween, may I introduce to you…

 

Category 1: The Sexy Witches of the Red Carpet

 

First of all, let me say that I love all of these ladies. And I don’t mind any of these dresses. BUT can we all agree that they are all a little witch like? Do you think that the stylists coalition (I just made that up, fairly certain it does not actually exist) got together and said – each of us has to put a sexy witch on the red carpet this year because we CANT WAIT FOR HALLOWEEN? I say if the stylists are so eager to dress their clients for Halloween, make the Emmy’s a halloween party – everyone can come dressed as their favorite TV character. Darlings, I think this is a fabulous idea. And in case you were wondering, I would come dressed as Karen Walker every time. (especially if I could walk the red carpet with her real life husband).

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(just saying)

Next I’d like to talk about one of my personal favorite categories:

Category 2: The Barbies hit the red carpet

 

Darlings, what can I say? Even though as I get older my personal desire to wear beautiful fancy dresses gets less and less (or maybe it’s because they don’t make them in my size), I will never tire of seeing a fabulous couture dress on the red carpet. And darlings, I’m not talking about a ball gown for a ball gowns sake, nor am I talking about a dress that is made of a lot of really cheap fabric. I’m talking about dresses that were made for nights like these. For women to dress up like they imagined they might have when they were little girls. This is not an easy look to pull off. In order to not look like said little girl, you’ve gotta know how to style it correctly. And darlings, I think the women above really did an excellent job. Except for Ms. Moore, whom I’m always on the fence about. This Carolina Herrera situation really is giving me a run for my money. I keep flip flopping on it – do I love, do I hate it? And in the end, I think I love it, but I know I love her hair and makeup and I have to admit, I cry every week watching This is Us, so there’s gotta be merit in that too.

Sofia Vergara is almost too easy. Do you think she sleeps in dresses like this? I do. But I love the textural detail in the bodice and I have to applaud her for wearing an entirely white gown (especially after labor day). I imagine she is a woman who says “Beauty is pain,” more often than not.

Thandi is always a dream, but this dress feels like it stepped right out of Jason Wu’s vision of what “A Midsummer’s nights Dream” might look like on the red carpet. I’m not usually a sucker for pastel and sparkles, but this is over the top. She’s stunning and she brought her mom as a date, so how fabulous is that?

And, Padma. In my book, Padma can do very little wrong. And tonight is no different. She has to be one of my favorites. With her fantastically disheveled new lob, this incredible fuchsia Christian Siriano number and incredibly restrained accessories, she really let her presence speak for itself.

The next category, to me, is a dream. Because darlings, as you know, the only thing I like better than a suit on a woman on the red carpet are feathers.

Category 3: A flock of Seagulls

 

Traci Ellis Ross, Zoe Kravitz and Priyanka Chopra are all in my top ten favorite looks of the night. I’m fine with Laura Dern’s dress, but am not over the moon about it.

Can we talk TER for one second? Because we’re essentially getting everything for which I live in one dress. Sparkles, Long Sleeves, Feathers and a BELT? Superb indeed. This is a spawn of Diana Ross if I have ever seen one. One day, I’d like to put that dress on and stand in front of the mirror with a brush. Just for a few minutes – darlings, can any of you make that happen?

Zoe Kravitz in Ombre feathers. I just don’t think I have to say more than that.

Next up, let’s discuss my personal favorite category.

Category 4: The Little Black Dress that is not little.

 

I would argue that most women look best at a formal occasion in black (well, I would argue that most people, for most occasions look best in black). And there were a good amount of black dresses on the red carpet this year, but what struck me about the five above was just how insanely different they were in silhouette and personality. I will also readily admit that there is a bit of overlap in this category and the “Sexy Witches of the Red Carpet” category. Jane Krakowski and Robin Wright are both giving their finest versions of Elvira, and I am here for both of them. Two of my favored elements of a dress – sequins and a plunging neckline. The only way these two could have been better is if they both came wearing a black sequined dress with a plunging neckline. But, I’ll take what I can get.

Judith Light, as usual is incredible – today giving us her best Angie leg shot. Also, as a reminder, my mother was in the Judith Light fan club when she was younger. If I fail to mention this any time I mention Judith Light, I get an ear full. So next time you see my mom ask her about the Judith Light fan club of the 70s. I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to talk you through her experience.

Darlings, now for some unhappy news before we get to my favorites of the evening.

Both of these women make me laugh so hard. But darlings. what in the world?!

Debra’s is an age old case of too much dress. There is just too much there. It’s too shiny, it’s too big. Her hair is all over the place and the statement bracelets on both wrists just puts it right on over the edge for me. I wish she had consulted Will before leaving the house tonight.

And Rashida’s dress is the wrong silhouette, the wrong color and the top of the dress feels like it would be completely unflattering on anyone. I’m having a hard time understanding the thought process behind this.

These dresses don’t make me love these ladies any less. I just felt like I needed to say my peace.

And finally, may I bring you my favorites of the evening.

First of all, Jessica Biel was giving me some significant Biana Jagger feels in this dress. Her hair was spot on, her makeup too and there is nothing that I would have like to see more. Although, if at all possible, next year if Jessica and Traci Ellis Ross wanted to show up in gowns akin to this year on a white horse together, I would be OK with it.

I don’t know why I love Kathryn  Hahn’s dress because really historically I shouldn’t. But I do. Maybe KH just has a old over me. I love the bold dots, the simple silhouette and the really clean lies of the whole look. This look makes sense to me for her, and I love it.

Evan Rachel Wood always brings it with the suits. ALWAYS. This year might be the best yet. And I know I say it every year, but this might be the year that I am convinced to live on chicken breast and broccoli alone so that I might one day put myself into an entirely white, wide legged, high waisted tuxedo. In fact, next time we’re out drinking tequila and eating fried potato products, please remind me of this.

I can’t guarantee that this won’t happen, but I promise I’ll try to remember this blog post:

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And finally you have Jeffrey Dean Morgan up there. Because he is God’s gift to the earth and because he is wearing a velvet suit. His date/wife/whatever is wearing a terrible orange dress from the Junior’s section at Nordstrom, but that is neither here nor there.

Darlings, I have to go to work. So this is what I have for you in review of the Emmy’s red carpet this year. I’m sorry it’s not as funny as usual, I’m trying to be nicer in general. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Thanks for listening and don’t forget to say a prayer to the patron saint of Stanley Tucci on the way out.

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Love ya Stans.

Love you darlings.

xoxo LCF

 

 

All red carpet photos credited to: Getty Images

RIP Little Petes or why discontent is the new comfortable.

Full Disclosure: I started writing this as a eulogy to Little Pete’s, the Philadelphia institution that sustained me through many debaucherous nights out through high school, in my twenties and one sweet, sweet time in my 30s.

Little Pete’s closed this weekend after 4 decades of service to the city. It was open at all hours, always with a delightful demeanor, even when they probably didn’t need to. My off the menu request was always granted (a pizza bagel) and the idea that I ever thought a strawberry shake was a good idea at 3am after hours of drinking beers was never questioned.

It is truly a loss to the city and is indicative in a lot of ways of the change the city is going through. It will always have character, more-so than most other cities, but I fear that with losing establishments like this one, which will be replaced with a boutique hotel, we are becoming more normal. Less unusual, less definable and more sensible. Philadelphia’s never been a sensible city (see: Eagles Fans) and I hope it never becomes one.

Driven by a chance live encounter with another Philly institution, The Roots, in writing the eulogy, I was confronted with another distinct Philadelphia memory, one that has stayed with me for close to two decades and one that is something that could only really happen in Philadelphia. So apologies in advance for the self involved essay that follows. I miss home and to get some of my discomfort out on paper created a bit of catharsis.

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Darlings,

 

Lately, every time I close my eyes, I see Philadelphia.

 

I remember the first time I ever saw the Roots live. I was 14, my friends were older. I was a little bit stoned (Which when I was 14 felt completely acceptable, but as an adult, can’t believe that I even knew what pot was when I was 14). I remember the rush. I remember the sweaty smell of patchouli, pot, stale beer. I remember the vibrations of the floor at the Trocadero. And most of all, I remember for the first time in my adolescent life, being able to transcend my own self awareness, my own self critique and just be able to be. I have a visceral memory of that night. I remember being timid at first, the way I felt like my feet were glued to the floor, like everyone around me was moving to this glorious music and I couldn’t find the beat. I felt awkward and uncomfortable – like everyone was watching ME. Which is a truly juvenile thing to think and do and feel. There’s this incredible group of musicians on stage, thousands of people in the audience and I’m worried that people are looking at me? Watching my stiff shoulders and sticky feet? No way. And I have no idea why or how at 14, that realization clicked in the moment. But it did. All of a sudden, I focused my energies outside of myself and onto the world  around me. I think that’s hard for me to do if I’m being completely honest. But that night, at 14, I found it. I found it, I found the rhythm and I found sheer and pure happiness, fleeting as it was.

For years before that I took dancing pretty seriously. In the same way that I wanted to get good grades and be pretty to make people proud of me, I wanted to be a good dancer. I wanted to excel, I wanted to be at the top of my class. Of course, ballet would never be something that I was good at. Because there are so many rules in ballet. So much adherence to someone else’s ideals and ideas. And I’m no good at rules, at authority, at trusting what someone else decided to be true and right. And of course, when I was younger, I didn’t know that those were the feelings I had. What I knew is that when I was standing at that bar, I was at a distinct disadvantage from the girls standing behind me and in front of me. My belly protruded, forming weird lines in my blue leotard, my thighs, while strong, didn’t look as graceful as my peers. Even before we started to move, I had to take heed of my own body and fix it. Part of the art of the dance was me fixing my body before movement. Somehow, even as a kid, I think I knew that needing to make such a significant change to who I was, to what I looked like, would preclude me from ever finding real happiness or success in the studio. Which was a shame because to this day, I can think of little that brings me more joy than the beautiful art of classical ballet.

I tried other forms of dance, which did indeed bring me more happiness than ballet. West African for example. My aunt introduced me to this incredible form of movement when I was living with her one summer attending ballet camp in New Hampshire. It was a break on Tuesday nights- we drove into Cambridge, walked up a thousand stairs to a building that seemed like a never-ending warehouse of dance studios. It smelled like rosin, sweat, dirty feet and bad popurri. I think any dance studio worth it’s weight smells like a mixture of these things – something completely sour to anyone with an emotional connection to it. It was a magical place. There were live drummers, there were so many dancers. The dancing was opposite anything I had ever been taught – it was about engaging with the earth and the sky, the elements. There was no talk of lengthening, or any real mention of one’s own body at all. It was more about the culmination of body and earth and what happens when a group of people get together to enjoy both. Somehow when I was a kid, I thought that because there were less rules, less scrutiny, less of a physical ideal, that I couldn’t like it more than I liked ballet. That to leave ballet and engage in dance that was intended to bring people joy would almost be cheating. That if I couldn’t be very good at the most scrutinized form of dance, why should I want to be good at any of it? And I will say, thinking back on it now, I still felt uncomfortable in my body. That the way I looked still was a hindrance to how I could be or how well I could dance. I loved to dance, but I didn’t want to look at myself while I danced, nor did I want people to look at me.

So I think, for a while, I thought that when I danced, people were looking at me, judging me, talking about my belly. Or at least, I was judging myself. I mean, I’m 31 years old and am still convinced that people are basing their first impression of me as I dance through life by the way my belly protrudes.

So that night, at 14, the first time my own self critique seemed to take a nap, I remember the music and I remember the movements and I remember the smells. And mostly, I remember moving and smiling and becoming aware of my surroundings enough to realize that no-one was looking at me. That I was just normal and that was OK. That there were people in this world who wouldn’t judge me for just moving through life the way that I am, the way that I was.

It’s easy at 14 to have a moment of resolution, especially when stoned. It’s harder to live that resolution. And I certainly wasn’t able to hold on to the idea that people weren’t judging me for the way I looked from that night. If I told you that I’ve been able to embrace myself in that total of a way since I was 14, I would be a prodigy. And it’s been uncomfortable lately. I’m a stranger in a strange land. My knees hurt, my hips are stiff and my heart is constantly racing. I fear judgment, I fear failure and I fear losing the elasticity in my skin. I am 31 and I am still standing at the barre in the studio just trying to fix my body before I can even use it. I am fairly certain that I am incapable of  ever walking this earth totally in agreement with who I am. Living in a state of constant disagreement – It’s fucking hard.

But within the disagreement, there are moments of contentment and moments of sheer bliss.

Last night, I was 14 again. I was 3,000 miles away from the first time I felt the Root’s live vibrations. I was in a crowd probably 10x the size. But there was a comfort in feeling like I was home. The smells were different, the people were different, but the energy and the tracks that faded from one into the other, The Roots becoming the greatest jam band of all time, created a space for me in the universe. I felt like I could breathe. I felt like I could dance. I felt like I could move in any way I wanted without being judged. I don’t know if it’s because The Roots are from home or if it’s because I do have such amazing memories of growing up with their music live in front of me, or if it’s because I just needed something that felt normal. Maybe a mix of all of those things. But for me, the memory is now how bliss can sometimes transcend these moments. That maybe it’s more up to me than I originally thought to capture and replenish these pieces of bliss when I’m not able to be face to face with the things that make me comfortable. And that maybe when I can’t replenish, that’s really what life is. A constant stream of discomfort, of discontentment, of fixing yourself before you even start, that ultimately produces little moments of joy but makes you find the bearability in all the rest.

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xoxo lcf

 

 

I cannot find color in a beige box or where is my creative energy?

Darlings,

Lately I feel strangled by my lack of creativity. Back in Maine, I was working a lot, but I came home almost every night and made a meal that I could have served to any guest that popped by with pleasure and delight. That was my outlet in Maine.

Here, I cook – but the express, the feeling of craft has left me. I cook, I am not cooking. I am trying to get to the crux of the matter – perhaps it’s because there won’t be someone knocking on the door at any given moment to say hello and drop in for a quick glass of wine and stay for dinner. Maybe it’s because I am depressed by the kitchen with which I have to work – which is not to say that I’m blaming it for my inability to feel good about what comes out of it, just that it could be a factor in what I have come to call “passive cooking,” cooking without action, without passion – being able to do what you are doing with your eyes closed.

As I work through this inability to present craft and ingenuity in the kitchen (which darlings, is more frustrating than I can really articulate), I want to see if the universe is asking me to switch mediums, or rather to revert back to a medium. Maybe the universe is asking me to write more. And I’m not just talking about here – although, as I always do, would like to try to write here more often – I’m talking about writing. Setting time aside every day to put something on paper – to open up my world a little bit more and to engage with myself.

For me, it’s always easier to stay on top of writing when I am actively reading as well. I have to admit that I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I used to in this the age of endless good content and the need to be able to reference anything within the pop culture zeitgeist at the drop of a hat. But I have to start again and perhaps categorize time better in my life. Schedule my off time like it is on time? Do you do that? An hour in the morning to write, an hour after work to sweat, an hour after that to decompress, an hour after that to read? But it is so much easier said than done to follow a self imposed structure when all you want to do after a 10/12 hour day is go home and watch re-runs of the office. But maybe it’s time to start being more disciplined. Stay tuned to see how that turns out, darlings.

 

In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you some of the books that are on my bedside table (or are in the ether getting to me via drone or something) that I am eager to begin reading.

 

“Out of Line” by Barabara Lynch is on pre-order, but I am dying to get my hands on it. Darlings, there are few genres I love more than culinary memoirs, but I especially love culinary memoirs written by women. I find that as someone who has worked for the majority of her professional career in a male dominated industry, there is something (#unpopularopinion) refreshing about the way women in a kitchen are able to let things roll off their backs, engage in often crude discourse with their male colleagues and get shit done. In order to be present, you have to stand up and I guess, not care so much about boob jokes, it’s all anatomy after all, right? Anyway, Barbara Lynch is a force in the culinary scene – I remember walking by No.9 Park on my way to class every day in college just dreaming of the day that someone would take me there (I’ve been to a lot of great restaurants, but still have yet to dine here!) She’s a James Beard winning, hospitality group owning, at risk children helping badass and I can’t wait to read her memoir about all of it.

I have such high hopes for “South and West” by Joan Didion. Didion pushes my buttons. To me – her ability to write about how culture and grief dance with one another is one of the greatest talents in the world. She constantly pulls you in from page one to the world seen through her eyes. This “notebook” promises to be no less sardonic than all of her other work – full of interviews and overheards as she travels through the deep south, and onward to the west coast where she takes great interest in the Patty Hearst trial. I’ll report back on this one, darlings.

I heard an interview with Ayelet Waldman, author of “A Really Good Day,” on NPR and was struck by how much this idea of “microdosing” changed her life. I’ve never really been one for psychedelics myself, darlings – there was a man in Rittenhouse Square who thought he was Jesus and would rap the bible, and the lore was that he just never came back from a trip – but this book  (and just the state of the state) could quite possibly change that. As someone who has endured emotional instability (read: I’m an entitled Jewish girl and nothing is ever as good as it could or should be) for her entire life, the idea that someone, a public defender no less, would go to the extreme of assessing the potential therapeutic properties of LSD through a self imposed experiment to help quash some of these imbalances seems like a crazy idea, but a good one if you’ve got the time and desire. I guess I’m just into the idea of making the idea of talking about the good qualities of drugs a normal conversation. Open up the doors to a new world, remember the past, but engage in what could be, and all of that.

Darlings, you know I love ettiquette books – but I left most of mine in the basement of the craftsman we left behind in Maine. Sometimes on Sunday mornings, all I want to do is flip through an etiquette book (see: need a more rigorous Sunday schedule above), and this as a new edition might do the trick. In “Table Manners,” Jeremiah Tower talks about the prevailing presence of technology at the table and how to handle it. Although my emotions around it are jumbled – at a weekday lunch, I will check my email no less than 20 times, at a weekend brunch, perhaps I’ll put my phone away all together – I appreciate that people are still taking the time to think on these things.

I recently finished “When we Rise,” by Cleve Jones. This one deserves it’s own blog space for a review, but here’s what I’ll leave you with: You and I need to be good to our neighbors, to treat human beings as equals and to stop caring about what goes on inside someone else’s house. Let them love who they love, let them light candles on their sabbath, let them say the prayers they want to. We will never have peace until we can live and let live. Jones memoir traces his life in the movement, and I dare you to read this without shedding a tear every 5 pages. How far we’ve come and how much is at stake.

I have no idea what I’m getting myself into with “Valley Fever” by Katherine Taylor. All I know is that it’s a coming of age piece about a woman who returns home. Her home happens to be the Central Coast, out here. I love reading about women who return home, because I can’t wait to do the same, someday.

 

Darlings, what are you reading? What is inspiring you? Tell me.

xoxo lcf

 

 

Self Titled or It’s been 25 years since a little band from Anaheim changed everything.

Good Morning Darlings,

 

Let me paint you a picture. The year is 1992.

We live in a beautiful house on a tree lined street in the best city on earth. My grandparents live next door, my parents are still married and I have a two year old baby sister who is completely annoying and completely adorable at the same time. My mom walks me to school every morning and our babysitter picks me up in the afternoon. My general interests include swimming, arts and crafts, playing with scarves and eating (always eating).

I was working on my fledging modeling career (I was way ahead of the #effyourbeautystandards trend – look at that belly. Still my signature, darlings) and was dressing up as cat/princess/ballerina on the regular because even as a 6 year old, I had a hard time making decisions. I can guarantee you that the majority of my wardrobe consisted of Looney Toons t-shirts or matching turtlenecks and leggings with laced up booties or chuck taylors. When I say it out loud right now, it feels like I would fit right in at Coachella. As a 6 year old.

In 1992, the majority of my music listening time was spent with the following albums:

I mean, I loved these albums. The two latter albums were on vinyl and I distinctly remember dancing around the living room pretending to be a jellicle cat or a ahem, woman of the night, I suppose? I’m sure my parents suffered many a 6 year old LCF attempts at cooking to the soundtrack of this year. Bless them for it.

Thats’s what was going on on Van Pelt Street in 1992.

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But let’s take a trip all the way across the country to the West Coast. There was something brewing there that would not only permanently effect my the way I listen to music, but also have an incredible influence on me. In general.

The place is Anaheim, California.

25 years ago!!!!!!!

Stefani (x2). Kanal. Dumont. Young.

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So let’s make one thing clear. In 1992, I was not some wunderkind with an ear for underground music discovery. I like every other millennial woman discovered the cool sounds of Gwen and the boys in 1996 with the release of  Tragic Kingdom. But we all know how good Tragic Kingdom was. The beauty of Tragic Kingdom was that it forced me (as a 10 year old) to go search for more. I heard something in that album that I had never heard before. In Tragic Kingdom, I heard some kind of menagerie of sound – something that I would come to realize was a mishmosh of ska, new wave, pure pop and something else – something wildly empowering.

When I first heard Self Titled, I must have been about 11 or 12. The formative years of musical growth, the time that you either begin to define yourself as normal or not. To define yourself as the masses or define yourself on the fringe. I think the album was a part of wanting to define myself through the fringes. I had never heard anything like this before. I have great parents with great musical tastes – through them, I have an appreciation for everything from folk to broadway to disco to soul to true blue rock and roll. But they are from the east coast. How could they possibly know from ska?

I actually remember the feeling of the first time I heard No Doubt. All I wanted was more of it. 

 

 

Something that I realize looking back on those early years of listening to ND is that Gwen is a force. Perhaps subconsciously as a young girl, I could hear how much stronger she came across than any other females on the radio. I mean, when I first heard ND, it was in a sea of girl groups and boy groups and weird pop solo acts. It was “Now, That’s what I call Music” hey day. And here was a girl. Standing in front of a group of incredibly handsome and weird and wonderful men and leading them in a sound that was just so different from what America was listening to. And now you can read stuff all around the internet about how Gwen wasn’t a good role model, about how her red lips were too schticky, about how she played the victim. I disagree, darlings. As another strong female once mused “Like lipstick is a sign of my declining mind.”

To me, Gwen is, was and always will be an idol. I mean, she took a breakup and turned it into an album that has sold like 16 million copies. I’m still waiting to turn my first breakup into a million dollar story.  She is my idea of a feminist. But darlings, as much as I love Gwen – it’s not all about Gwen. It never has been. No Doubt is only as good as the sum of it’s parts and while Gwen’s voice is maybe the most distinguishable feature, it would be nothing without Adrian’s drama infused rhythm, Tom’s cool and collected melody making and Tony’s killer bass pickups. But do I really like the idea of a lady band leader? you bet I do.

In self titled, ND gives us ska-pop at it’s finest. It reminds us that life is a treat, and that maybe we shouldn’t take it so seriously all the time. I mean from a historical perspective, it came out when all you older Americans were listening to Nirvana and wearing bad flannel. Apparently no-one had time for the ridiculously important bass lines, synth breaks and Sax cuts that self titled has to offer because they were too busy cutting holes in their jeans and figuring out how to get backstage to be best friends or lovers with Scott Weiland (RIP).

When I listen to it now, it reminds me of the moment that I realized I’d much rather be a Rude Girl than a Spice Girl. And I appreciate it for giving me that option. We all know that Gwen is beautiful, but back then she didn’t look like anyone else and I think that for someone who will never be the prettiest girl in the room, she made me feel like there was a place for me.

And honestly, the most important thing about this album for me is that it opened up the door to the music that would help define my adolescence and the music that helped create bonds and relationships with some of the best people in my life. When I feel shitty, I listen to this album because it makes me want to move, because it makes me feel empowered, because it reminds me of the first time I heard No Doubt – of that feeling that I wanted more of and it makes me want to take that incredible, indescribable energy and put it into something real and meaningful. It makes me want to write, to cook, to paint, to love. I love that this album still does all of these things for me.

When I hear newer No Doubt tracks, I have to say, they don’t give me that feeling that I first had when I heard Tragic Kingdom or Self Titled, but you can hear flashes of what was and I get it – they’ve grown up. The landscape has changed. Their influence has changed – they’ve become the influencer.

What I’m realizing is that we can’t all be lost boys. We can’t stay 16 forever. BUT it’s important to carry a piece of your 16 year old self with you. I just turned 31, darlings, which is a weird year for me because it’s the age my mom had me. In some ways I feel like I should be much more grown up than I am. In other ways, I feel like it’s OK to take my time. I certainly don’t have crazy hair anymore, nor do most of my outfits come in the form of band merch, and I try with every ounce of my being to cover up the nautical stars on my back – but I gotta say there are certain things that as I get older I find myself not willing to give up. I’d be hard pressed to take a job that asked me to take out my nose ring or stop wearing Vans to work. Little pieces of your past are important to keep close.

When does the influenced become the Influencer? Who can really say? All I know is that I will never be able to shake that feeling from when I heard ND for the first time. And it’s kind of like the smell of the ocean – you can’t beckon it, but when it comes to you, everything is better.

Almost every year for my birthday I get a new pair of vans, it’s just kind of a thing. And this year, I’ve been feeling especially inclined to embrace my own eccentricities. So I got a new pair of classic checkerboards. And I intend to wear them with as much seriousness as I did when I got my first pair at 16.

So darlings, thank you for listening to me go on and on and on and on about music and feelings and NO DOUBT!

xoxo lcf

ps – if you had any doubt about how I really feel about No Doubt, I’d just like to remind you that I’ve got a permanent reminder.

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pps – those are Starting Line gym shorts.

ppps – those lyrics are from this song:

 

 

It only takes one letter to go from sad to SAG or why I had to take a sequin break.

 

Darlings,

I’m not even going to make a statement about the state of this country, because this is not a blog about awful, horrible, no good, terrible, very bad, vile, disgusting, putrid, vomit inducing things. It’s about things that I love. And under that category I wouldn’t file he who shall not be named, number 45 or any of the petulant, xenophobic, contradicting douchebags that stand around him. What I will say is be kind to your neighbor and remember empathy (unless you are talking to someone at your student loan lender, then go ahead – let them have it.)

Anyway, darlings – on to some great news. The SAG red carpet looks like it was a blast. A bright, sequined blast.

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First of all, can we talk about these two? I mean, they are the more accessible Barry and Joe. The space between these two is full of inside jokes, fabulous Saturdays and sequins. I’m in total love with Busy’s purple camo sequins and half sleeves. And I guess this red carpet season is the season of the gratuitous neck wrap for Michelle? I don’t hate this one as much as the globes, but darlings, still.

And the best part of their friendship?

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They met on the set of my personal favorite show, Dawsons Creek. Are you shocked, darlings? It may be a horrible show, but it will always be my favorite. And for the record, #teamDawson here. Capital D.

 

In other #squadgoal news, while I am not entirely moved by any of these dresses, I feel like what I would love to do is put on a long black dress, get my hair blown out and sit in the corner of an after-party and giggle at everyone else while sharing a discrete vape pen and then going to get burgers afterward with these gals.

 

But enough exploring of my social destiny, you certainly didn’t come here for that. Let’s move on to some of the greatest things I have ever seen.

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Thandie Newton is wearing Schiaparelli. This is another one of those dresses that I literally dreamed of as a child. In fact, my reaction to this dress was entirely visceral – My grandparents living room was (and still is) a special place to me. There was a chest of small drawers, just my height – containing paper dolls, barbies and lots and lots of scarves. I can smell the scarves still. And I used to love that chest of drawers because it was full of beauty and exciting things – trinkets that made me so happy. In addition, my grandma still has an incredible black horse cut out hanging in her living room. It’s the first thing I think of when I think of that house. This dress immediately reminded me of the fantasy of the scarves and the clarity of the horse.

The point being, darlings, that this dress is a perfect piece of beauty that goes from being fantastical to Hitchcockian in just a few feet. And I really want it. Although I could do without the Jetsons collar, but it is Schiaparelli after all, so I’ll leave my judgement at the door.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Sarah Paulson.

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If Thandie Newton’s dress is the dress of my childhood dreams, this dress is the dress of my adult dreams. A black column dress with a white caped jacket? I mean, darlings, I have this outfit, but it doesn’t look as good on me as it does on Ms. Paulson. She is so understated, a characteristic I’ve never been able to attain, and so grand. Her new brown hair paired with the cheekbones of steel makes her look serious, yet conniving, and that’s how I’d like to singularly view her from now on.

I don’t have much to say about the look, except for – look at it. Wouldn’t you like people to look at you like you just looked at Sarah Paulson? Yep. I thought so.

And now in the grand tradition of this blog, let’s talk about ladies in pants on the red carpet.

ERW has redeemed herself here. In a navy blue, double-breasted, wide lapeled suit, she has redeemed herself. This is decidedly sleek and not at all costumed like the last attempt she made. It is strong and sexy and again, darlings, I am more than a little jealous that she can wear a double breasted jacket and not look like a large square.

Now, Clea Duvall, I don’t love her suit. What I will say is that I love Clea Duvall and I would expect no less from her than to wear something kind of awkward and just almost really good on the red carpet. I do love her shoes and her one cheeked smile and the fact that she was the “weird one” in just about every single one of my favorite movies from the 90s.

 

Michael Scott once said, “there is no way of knowing what goes on inside the tigers head,” and I can’t think of a better time to use it than right now to describe one Nicole Kidman.

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Now darlings, usually Nicole and I are polarized in our eccentricities. But this time, we’ve met in the middle. This incredible Gucci dress has left me awestruck. In fact, there is nothing that I would rather put on my body right now. Even after a very large dinner and an unwavering desire to never leave my couch again. The feathered epaulettes create a ferocity that is softened just enough by the sheer lapel. And, darlings, I’ve never met a kelly green sequin that I didn’t love. I can imagine this dress, worn to shreds (because who would ever want to take it off) as the costume for an avian Grisabella. And that’s an image I never want to shake.

I could have done without the ruffles at the bottom, but due to the impossibility of Nicole Kidman wearing anything that I like, let alone love, is shocking, so I won’t give any demerits for the ruffles this time.

I always love Lily Tomlin.

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And tonight she looks like she is wearing the costume for River Dance on Ice. That’s all I’m going to say about that, darlings and it is up to you to determine the sentiment.

Darlings, it’s not secret that I am entirely scared of getting older. Of losing skin elasticity, of varicose veins and of root canals. Yes, very vain, but you already knew that! But I have to tell you. One thing that excites me is the continual growth of personal style. There are a few women who exemplify the comprehensive ascend of their personal style. One of them is Glenn Close. She shows up a lot here for knowing who she is and loving it. There is no one who looks better in Zac Posen than Glenn Close. No one.

And then there’s Judith.

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I might be biased. My mom was a member of the Judith Light fan club (something she always gets angry at me for omitting when I talk about Judith), so it might just be in my blood. But darlings, I don’t think this is subjective. You take a look at the look above and tell me that wether it’s the dress, or the attitude or the diamonds (darlings, it’s certainly not the shoes), there’s not something entirely special there.

And that’s it. Darlings, my wit feels weak lately, so I hope you’ll forgive the lack of snark and lowered sass. It’ll be back, I can only hope.

In the meantime, be kind, be curious and say thank you.

xoxo

lcf

Fried Cauliflower or Today we rise.

Darlings,

You know that my tendency for sentimentality is truly one of my greatest faults. I have a hard time living in the present, or at least, appreciating the present, and instead default to romanticizing the past (news flash LCF: the past used to be the present you loathed so deeply) or visualizing the future ( I have a harder time with this one, darlings). And the present present tense is really no different.

I tried to convince myself for the first couple of weeks that I was here that it was no big deal, that I could adapt, to thrive, to enjoy every moment of the fog covered mountains, the tasting rooms and the slower, well, much slower, pace of life.

Darlings, I have failed. Now, we have only been here for just about 2 months, and I imagine I will get into the swing of things at some point, but for the time being, I do miss the east coast. Most specifically, I miss the pace of the east coast. I mean, with ONE person in front of me in a coffee shop, it still takes ten minutes to get a cup of black coffee. I just cannot.

But I am trying. I promise I am. But sometimes I need something familiar to help with it. And for whatever reason I have been dreaming in Maoz lately. Well, when I’m not having horrific Holocaust dreams (it’s a real thing, darlings, and we’re marching today to make sure it never happens again), I’m having Maoz dreams.

I dream less of the falafel and more of the fantastic salad bar that defined the Chipotle effect well before Chipotle was even on the scene. You could make your falafel taste like anything you could ever want.

 

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Picture courtesy of Serious Eats

Pickles. and beets. and israeli salad. and tabbouleh. and carrots. and cabbage. 

Darlings – Mezze is my favourite meal of the day.

But the best part of that the bar? The fried cauliflower.

The fried cauliflower.

But there are no maoz’s out where we are. Darlings, although we live in wine country, it’s not exactly what you would call a cultural mecca. Mostly, we have Carl’s Jr. and Jack in the Box. It seems that I always end up living somewhere without a large Middle Eastern or even just Jewish contingency and have to scrape by in my own kitchen. I have promised myself that the next place we move will in fact be a cultural mecca. Darlings, I am a city mouse by nature.

So there I was. A school night, no desire to drive an hour into San Francisco, and a head of cauliflower in my kitchen. And I did what any self loving Jew would. (easiest recipe in the world ahead) I hacked that head of cauliflower up, drenched it in good olive oil, Za’atar and Salt and threw it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes – I needed to get it soft and decadent. And then I threw it on the fire at high high heat, to get some crunch on the outside of the luscious decadence. I dusted it with some more salt, a little smoked paprika and some sesame seeds. Just because. And then I ate it with yoghurt and dill and more good olive oil. And then I added some peanuts to that mix. (Darlings, I’m not pregnant, I promise)

And it was incredibly enjoyable. And for a moment, I felt like I was ten years back. In Philadelphia, walking down Walnut Street eating Maoz, with my ipod shuffle blasting Dashboard Confessional, with whom I will leave you on this day of revolution.

 

 

Darlings, if you are marching today, a few things:

First, I thank you because of my Jewish heritage, my planned parenthood usage, my pansexuality, my foreign husband, our friends of every shape, size, color and sexuality of the rainbow. I thank you for realizing that Rights are Rights are Rights are Rights and that to deny any decent human being those rights is to create a world of destruction and hate. SO march on. Donate. Engage. I know I will.

Secondly, be careful. Protect yourselves. Wear comfortable shoes. Pee when you can. Drink water when you can. And most importantly – don’t let the bastards grind you down.

With love, and warmth and gratitude to all on this day of revolution (and well, cauliflower).

xoxo

lcf

Apparently The Red Carpet reminded me of every cable Wedding show or why Kathryn Hahn is still my favorite.

Darlings,

Tonight of course, was the night of the Golden Globes. And I have to say – for the first time in a while, the red carpet did not disappoint. In fact, in order to keep this post to a civilized length, I really had to edit, at which, darlings, you know I am no good.

I know I haven’t done this in quite some time, but darlings, first things first. I just could not let this particular crime go unpunished.

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For me, this dress evokes hints of both Mama Rose and Mrs. Hannigan with just a touch of Nomi Malone. (If you can’t place these references, darlings, you may want to just stop reading now. It is unlikely anything else will make more sense.) This dress feels like one of those dresses on Say Yes to the Dress that makes every single home viewer cringe. The “naked” dresses that you know instantaneously that the bride will regret wearing almost immediately. The ones that are see-through – they are lingerie with a long skirt. This is like that, but for a Pirate themed wedding.

And I can’t even begin to talk about the sleeves.They feel someone derived great inspiration from watching the Princess Bride on cable with an overzealous media buy from Office Max. You can see it right now – someone came into the design studio and said “Prince Humperdink sleeves run through a paper shredder: GO.”

Also those spaghetti straps look awful close to a a pretty significant nip slip situation – I’m nervous for Nicole. Really and truly nervous.

Ok – now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s get to the good stuff. I’m going to start with a few that may seem outside of the norm for my usual likes.

ANIMAL PRINT. 

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Keri Russel in J. Mendel 

I’m going to start by saying that ever since Felicity cut her hair in the second season, I haven’t been 100% on board with anything Keri Russel’s done fashion wise. And I mean, the hair and the accessories (except Matthew Rhys, what a hunk of a Welshman) here I could live without. What I will say is that this dress is an incredible feat of fancy. It has all of the right ingredients – cheetah print, flouncy layers, a plunging neckline and a CAPE! And honestly, you can just see the glow on Keri’s face now that she has found the one and isn’t chasing after a Ben or having to deal with a Noel.

Although darlings, I’d absolutely deal with this Noel.

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Either way, I finally feel like Keri is giving me something to work with. Although now that I am looking at this with fresh eyes, I feel like it might have something to do with the fact that it looks so much like this animal print dress that Gwen wore way back when she was still with Gavin, before she was going to marry a Trump supporter and when all seemed right in the world.

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This incredible maternity look in fact brings me to my next fave:

COLOR, SPECIFICALLY YELLOW. 

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Natalie Portman in Prada. photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images 

Darlings, when was the last time I liked anything in color? Mostly, I just find it to be completely unnecessary and so even I am shocked by the fact that I like this dress. And honestly, I think that it may only be because Natalie Portman wears it so well. Or because she’s chosen such a traditional maternity gown. Or because this dress is completely evocative of the era of “Jackie,” the film for which Portman was nominated. It takes a strong woman to look good in yellow with an empire waist.

I will say that the beading on this feels like it was trying a little too hard to be tasteful, but to me just ended up looking like a sample of “bling #4” from that Boston wedding dress designer that does all of the weddings on “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” I’m not saying it looks like one of those dresses – I’m saying it looks like some of the warehouse samples ended up on this dress.

So maybe what I’m actually saying is that I don’t really love this dress, but  I do love Natalie Portman and am completely jealous that she can wear a schmata like this and still look completely and effortlessly unbelievable.

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Emma Stone in Valentino. photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

I would be lying if I said this dress didn’t remind me completely of She-Ra Princess of Power – if she were a Rockette. I think that I dreamt of this dress as a six year old – I mean it would be the only thing that could possibly work for riding off into the sunset with Ken on the back of a My Little Pony. But somehow it has translated into being the perfect thing for Miss Stone to wear to accept an award for “La La Land,” (which I still haven’t seen and am DYING t0).

Her face is a flawless piece of art as well, and darlings, I just can’t stop looking at this whole look. In fact, if I were to lose 50 pounds and have a second wedding, this is what I would wear. But I would also wear ALL OF THE DIAMONDS.

Darlings, you know what I always say – if you are going to sparkle. SPARKLE.

I’ve never said that before, but I’m going to start saying it all the time to take the place of “Go Big or Go Home.” I hope you’ll join me.

#TeamJess

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Milo Ventimiglia

JUST KIDDING.Darlings, you know I am always and forever #TeamLogan. But he didn’t show up on the red carpet in a dashing navy suit with a collared black lapel and a mustache that I am both appalled and slightly turned on by. His bowtie is tied poorly and I wish he hadn’t worn shiny shoes. But that’s Jess for you – a pseudo-intellectual with little time left to learn how to dress himself.

MANDY MOORE, In general. 

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Mandy Moore in Naaem Kahn

Darlings – I have a thing with Mandy Moore. I have a thing with the over activity of her mouth in any part she plays – like she is learning how to enunciate in high school theater as opposed to a narrow lens frame. Does that stop me from watching “A Walk to Remember” any time it comes on TV? Nope. Does that stop me from having the “Center Stage” soundtrack in my iTunes? Heavens no. So what I mean to say is that her over enunciation bothers me, but unlike some people with annoying quirks, I can still truly appreciate the wonder that is Mandy Moore (I mean, guys, she was great in Saved.) And this dress is a wonder of the world (although I could have done without the beaded waistband from David’s Bridal). I mean. It’s a navy blue caped gown. This is esentially the things my dreams are made of. And I love the deep deep V. I’d like to meet whoever did her boob makeup so I can get a lesson in golden glow contouring because darlings, it’s never just about the dress. It’s about the whole look.

WHITE 

Darlings, a white dress is both a terrible thing to waste and an incredibly difficult thing to pull off. These three ladies pretty much killed it in their winter whites.

Issa Rae drove me wild in this Christian Siriano gown. It has all the trappings of something that I would love the most like long sleeves, a beaded Halston-esque pattern and simplicity. But on top of that darlings, it has a mock turtleneck. If you can rock a gown with a mock turtleneck, you are A OK in my book.

Thandie Newton doesn’t age. period. I mean, look at her in this dress. It’s so simple, but so engrossing AND it takes some commitment because you have to stand up ballerina straight all night to keep it from falling down. One glass of bubbles for me and this would take me too close into Nicole territory.

Now, I can’t decide if I think Drew looks like a hot mess, or if she is just doing what she does. I think that she looks like the perfect mix of Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights and Kiernan Shipka, which I know is an odd duo, but you got to give it to her, she can really pull anything off. I love the caped sleeves and the bare shoulders, although I would have liked some extra bling in that deep V of hers.

WOMEN IN SUITS. 

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773ea) Octavia Spencer 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 08 Jan 2017

 

Listen, I know Evan Rachel Wood is getting a ton of buzz about her Dietrich-like situation on the red carpet last night, about how she wants girls to know that you don’t HAVE to wear a dress if you don’t want to. But she is also a size 2 with an agular face and the hairdo of the moment. I want to tell Evan Rachel Wood that most women don’t look like her and therefore, need not listen to her self congratulatory manifesto on gender politics on the red carpet.

Who I do want to listen to is Octavia Spencer. I want to listen to her tell me all about her velvet shoes and her matching pedicure and her tuxedo pant and her wide lapel. And I want her to tell me all about her love for Navy and how we are going to be best friends forever and ever while we bond over our gap teeth. And then I want her to share her secrets about her smoky eye and silky hair and then I want to drink a bottle of wine with her and ride around LA in a limo flailing outside of the moon roof. But I want her to keep her shoes on because God Forbid those got sacrificed to the LA night.

What a class act.

Which brings me around to my second favorite of the night.

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Kathryn Hahn knows how to do a red carpet. From the satin bra, to the just right amount of poolage on the pants to the alternatively blinged right hand to the fresh face and the bangs. I have zero negative things to say about this. She’s a real person with great style and all I want to do is share a martini with her and gossip about things.  Kathryn Hahn, you are a goddess, never change.

And darlings, my favorite?

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Here is what I’ll say about this. If I owned this dress, I would never take it off (of my left thigh because that’s where it would fit). This whole situation from the lake of sequins to the velvet clutch to the MOST PERFECT SMOKY EYE EVER just really does it for me this year. This is what I imagine Barbra wearing as the curtains go up at Carnegie Hall. Look at me, New York, I am here and I am a perfect and don’t you dare to try to rain on my parade.

That’s it for now darlings.

xoxo

lcf

 

Embracing Vulnerability or I wrote something else.

Darlings,

Once upon a time through a program at my old job (http://freebeerandfiction.com/ where I believe there is a live reading of this…) I was implored to write a short story of 20 minutes or less. Darlings, it was hard – I’m used to reactive writing, not proactive writing. If you put something in front of me (a horrid dress, a leg of lamb, etc.) I’m happy to react. But to start something from absolute scratch, well that’s really really tough.

And I wasn’t sure that I loved it – but I’m realizing now, that not everything single thing you do has to define you. My darling friend Jesse said to me the other day, “For the past five years you have been defined by your incredibly stressful job and the successes it has brought you. Now YOU get to figure out what defines the next five.”

That was a big thing for me to hear. It’s true, the past few years have been a whirlwind of planes, trains and automobiles, of stress pimples, of big wins and bigger losses, of too many martinis and meat sweats (and too little real sweat). And I wouldn’t trade it for the world (I mean, aside from the extra 20, err 25ish pounds). But I made the decision to make a change. A BIG change. To move entirely out of any comfort zone I’ve ever known. And for the past three weeks, I have been really hard on myself – doing that thing I do when I feel like I have to be the best at everything the moment I decide I want to do it. But that conversation with a friend really made me realize that I had to do something that has never been comfortable to me – I needed to embrace vulnerability – to embrace the unknown, the uncomfortable AND even the failures. My mom constantly reminds me that I have never been good at doing this (the irony of not being good at being bad is not something that is lost on me) and might remind me every week for the rest of my days that when I got a “B” in handwriting in second grade, I cried for two weeks. (Darlings, I will go to my grave contesting that grade – and if I had the vocabulary then that I have now, I am certain it would have been amended ON. THE. SPOT.)

So here you go. A nose-dive into vulnerability. A story that I wrote. You might like it, you might not. But I wanted to share it regardless, I am a millennial after all.

Open to all feedback  – constructive, of course – again, millennial and all of that.

xoxo

lcf

Ansiar

LC Fox

Almost every second and forth Thursday of the month,

Jill prepared a Tortilla Espanola for her small family.

Tortilla Espanola was a dish made of olive oil, potatoe,

onion and egg. Sure, it was technically just an omelet

but it felt better than saying “eggs for dinner.” Really, it

was just the cheapest way to feed her family without

feeling poor.

And they weren’t. They weren’t poor. “There are people

who can’t find $400,” she had to remind herself

constantly, citing an article from the Atlantic, “surely

real poor people don’t even read The Atlantic.” Even

still, moving money around had become only sport she

had ever considered herself even remotely good at.

And somehow on every Thursday before the Friday Jill

got paid they were on the verge of zero. Too much gas,

an extra pint of Talenti at a supplemental grocery shop,

maybe Jill’s polish change (a necessity in her book) – any

slight extravagance on that Wednesday or Thursday

would put them over the edge, requiring a $35

withdrawal from their comfortably meager savings

account to cover the damn bank fees.

Jill’s small family consisted of herself (a large expense in

and of itself), her husband Stuart (an adjunct History

professor best categorized by crooked teeth and a heart

of gold) and their 6 year old daughter, Maude.

Maude was a mistake conceived just days after Jill’s

27th birthday. Jill had no intention of following through

with it (following through wasn’t her strong suit to

begin with), but Stuart, the self proclaimed eternal

atheist, was suddenly struck with guilt that Jill

continued to refer to as a long lasting symptom of gas.

So they had Maude, who they both loved more and more

by the moment, but whose

subsidizedinpartbythegrandparents private school and

daily arts classes also contributed greatly to the need

for a Thursday night Tortilla Espanola.

Jill certainly wasn’t unhappy with her circumstances.

But as clichéd as it was, she often wondered to herself if

there really was nothing more than this. Was this

muted, chronic love that she felt about her

surroundings really the love of her life? As she opened

the produce bin in the fridge, Jill was suddenly stricken

by the way something as ethereal as the concept of love

could change so drastically in just a decade.

The Thursday night tortilla reminded Jill of a time before

she realized you could be poor without being poor and so

resentful of the small moments in life that forbode the big

great ones she always imagined, from arriving.

Heat 1 ½ cups olive oil, doesn’t have to be the good

stuff, but shouldn’t be bad either, in a skillet, until

you know, sizzling.

In her younger years, Jill had been known to fall in love

quite easily.

Jill had fallen in love with the tortilla in Barcelona. In

Jill’s Barcelona, it was easy to fall in love, easy to

embrace those small moments that somehow turned

into big ones.

Despite going to an expensive, private college in New

England, Jill never studied abroad. Her mother joked

that she instead dated abroad, that foreign men

appreciated the strange beauty of her face – something

that had always been lost on American men.

On her 21st birthday she had met and become enamored

with one of these said men. Through the goggles that

only truly exist on a 21st birthday, she saw him as a

young Javier Bardem. In reality, he was probably more

of a young Boutros Boutros Ghali. He was a Spanish

architect on a “break” from real life at the tourist trap

they called a bar – the kind that serves free flaming cake

shots when you have a milestone birthday. Jill would

later come to realize that architects don’t really take

breaks from real life – they have extra-marital affairs or

kill themselves, but they certainly don’t just take breaks.

But back then, during her first foray into legal adulting,

she could still rationalize an accent ridden stranger on a

break from real life. They had a whirlwind affair which

resulted for Jill in a “renewed” interest in Gaudi and

chest hair and a credit card charge of $796 (which at

21.99% APR would stay with her into her 30s) to pay

for the flight to Barcelona where she would stay for a

month, promising to her professors to write a thought

piece on you know, Catalunian culture and the like.

The Thursday night tortilla reminded Jill of the

excitement of being a peregrine woman, kept and

admired.

Slice A pound and a half of Potatoes into 1/8 inch

slices and 2 sweet onions into ¼ inch rounds. Salt

dramatically.

Those first nights were a blur. Wine cheaper than water.

Beautiful women without makeup. And the jamon. Oh

man, the jamon.

After an especially spectacular night in the second floor

flat just blocks away from Las Ramblas (one that

resulted in cheers from the street due to an open

terrace door), the Spaniard put on a pair of white briefs,

lit a Galuoise and walked into the kitchen where 4

perfect russet potatoes seemingly appeared out of

nowhere. Jill followed closely behind understanding

what a cliché she looked like in his linen shirt and little

else (those legs spent an obscene amount of time at the

university gym, there was little point in hiding them).

With his cigarette firmly between his pillowly lips, the

spainard poured her a glass of table wine (which she

couldn’t believe was cheaper than Evian) and came

around from behind her like her highschool boyfriend

did when he was trying to teach her to hit a golf ball.

Instead of something as pedestrian as a golf club, this

time her arm was embraced and guided in a wave like

motion. “The knife must never leave the board,” the

Spaniard said, “the slices need to be seis y media

cenimetres exactly.” Jill loved it when he slipped back

into his theta filled Spanish. There was nothing more

distinguished than a man who could move so

seamlessly between languages – a citizen of the world.

The Thursday night tortilla reminded Jill of the

excitement of being a clear skinned, self proclaimed

intellectual who wasn’t afraid of anything.

Poach the potatoes and onions in the olive oil until

just golden brown. Take your eyes off the pan just

long enough to beat a dozen eggs.

Most days Jill was awoken by Lucia, the housekeeper

that the Spaniards mother employed to ensure that her

precious son kept his (gifted) home in tip top shape for

business dinners, and the like.

Lucia had an un-categorical tuft of coarse black hair and

an eyebrow that seemingly raised itself. She had worked

for the family since she was a beautiful young woman

with a body flattered by the severe lines of the

professions uniform. Needless to say between the

flowery Spanish that seemed to make a mockery of her

heritage and inability to sleep with the sheets in tact,

Lucia was none too fond of Jill.

But Jill was taught to not be ashamed of anything she

loved and for the moment that included the Spainard. So

she got up every morning, put on one less item of

clothing than Lucia would deem anywhere near

appropriate and swayed into the kitchen where she

would pour a cup of coffee and pick up the note.

In Spain, they keep their eggs at room temperature. Jill

always thought that the bowl of eggs in the kitchen

(shades of blue and brown before Martha introduced

them to America) were some of the most precious,

speckled gems that the universe could produce.

Lifeblood, literally. She would stare at them before she

opened the note that the Spainard left her without fail,

day after day, before he left for work.

Their subject matter ebbed and flowed – from how

beautiful her mouth looked while she slept to wanting

to eat her brain because her intelligence was so

appetizing (Jill was never sure if this one was meant to

be taken literally or if it was just a bad translation) to

suggesting they hop on the tourist double decker so that

she could see Sagrada Familia from a different vantage

point.

The fact that he would get on a double decker tourist

bus for her made Jill more appreciative of him as a man,

but doubtful of his potential as a long term mate.

And then she would take the note out to the terrace,

read it again, breathe deep and stare out at the rest of

the world, an Eva Peron in her own mind.

The Thursday Night Tortilla reminded Jill that the exotic

quickly becomes everyday.

Strain the olive oil from the potatoes and onions,

turn heat down, and add the beaten eggs to the pan.

Wait.

When Lucia’s route began to interfere with Jills in the

morning, Jill would take a final sip on the terrace and

walk down to the sweet café around the corner from the

2nd floor flat. The barkeep there, Ignasi, loved her

broken Spanish, full lashes and crooked nose. But he

loved her deep pockets more and Jill was OK with that.

At 21, there could be nothing more glamorous or

sophisticated than a woman with a notebook,

sunglasses and an uncanny ability to know the exact

right time to switch from coffee to wine without ever

looking at a clock. So yes, Jill always thought the ability

to feel like the best version of herself was worth a few

extra euros.

Day after day, while the Spaniard was at work, Jill would

sit at the same caned table, always on the verge of

falling apart, open her notebook and put pen to paper

for about 12 minutes while she sipped her first café au

lait of the day.

Between minute 13 and 20, someone interesting

looking would walk in and she would engage in a

conversation lasting somewhere between one minute –

“Hola” “Hola” and hours. Although conversation with

the Spaniard was never dull, she was constanly looking

for more depth, more opportunity. This was not unusual

for Jill. She readily admitted that her life was just a

constant state of yearning – for her next meal, her next

book, her next kiss. Nothing was ever as it was because

the next thing would always be that much better.

The Thursday Night Tortilla reminded Jill that good

things happen in the small moments (or so says her

shrink).

Carefully (or dramatically) Flip the tortilla onto a

large plate, and slide back into the pan, raw side

down to cook through.

On a very sunny morning, Jill awoke not to the feeling of

Lucia’s disapproving stare, but instead to the very real

sounds of the Spainard on the phone with his mother,

which she was only able to discern due to his constant

pleading, “madre, madre, no entiendes.”

“Me rindo,” was the last thing she could make out and

instead of letting on that she knew exactly what was

going on, she resumed business as usual. She knew this

would be her last day as a kept woman gazing at

multidimensional eggs by day and charming barkeeps

by night. She paid at least that much attention in

Spanish class.

She poured herself a cup of coffee, comfortably covered

in the cotton caftan that had accompanied yesterdays

note and alternated her gaze from the eggs to the

freckles on his nose that kind of melted into his dark

skin.

They had likely been their own entities once upon a

time, but after years taking sunkissed, adventure filled

breaks from real life, they’d all kind of blended together

to make a muddled mess.

As he hung up the phone, the Spaniard looked like a

defeated soldier coming home from war. “My mother!”

he kept repeating. Finally, Jill looked at him, at the eggs

and back at him. She rose from her chair, removed the

cotton caftan and summoned him, his bruised ego and

all of his grief to the sundrenched bedroom where they

had one more adventure together before she got up,

gathered her things and used his (well, his mother’s)

credit card to change and upgrade her ticket home.

The Thursday Night Tortilla reminded Jill that the sum is

always greater than it’s parts.

Slide the tortilla from the pan carefully to a cutting

board, slice and enjoy hot, cold or room

temperature. Serve with everything or nothing.

Jill looked up from slicing the tortilla, the one she would

serve tonight with frozen peas for Maude and glasses of

3 buck chuck for her and Stu. She hadn’t thought about

the Spainard since she found a box of his notes a few

years ago during a move. Their lust had truly been but a

freckle in time.

She had met Stu just months after she had left the

terrace lined flat in Barcelona and was taken with his

real intelligence, his ability to say no to his mother and

the freckles that spread independently across his nose,

like tiny sovereign nations. And today, even with the

gassy guilt, eggs for dinner, and chronic love in place of

adventurous lust – here she was, yearning for not much

more than tomorrow’s paycheck.

End.

 

As a Critic, I had but two choices on the Red Carpet last night or why the oldies are always the goodies

 

 

Darlings,

The Critics Choice awards were last night. I was at my office Christmas party, so unfortunately no real time reviewing for me.

And let’s be honest, darlings, when was the last time I was overly impressed by any red carpet? Last nights was not much different. But as per the last few red carpets, I am going to keep my darkest of snark to myself and instead focus on the few inspired looks.

There were two standouts for me last night. I know you’re going to judge me, so I’m not even going to ask you not to judge me.

johntravolta_getty
Photo: Getty Images

So darlings, if you know me at all, you won’t be surprised by this. The first John in my life has had quite a year. It’s like 1994 all over again. 1994 of course, being the year that John Travolta made his comeback and the year that, as an 8 year old, I hated my parents for not allowing me to watch “Pulp Fiction,” the movie that furnished his comeback – Although my dad did let us listen to the soundtrack all the way through and I did end up memorizing all of the interludes. Darlings, I think I would find it darling if an 8 year old gap toothed girl could repeat all of Samuel L. Jackson’s expletive laden monologues. Precocious. Certainly. And then 22 years later, that same precocious gap-toothed child might go on to demand a $5 milkshake any time she’d have too much to drink. But it’s a good thing my parents wouldn’t let me watch it for context.

royale_cheese_pulp__fiction

Anyway, I digress, John Travolta has had a great year in spite of all the terrible media Scientology has gotten. He was a part of one of the greatest casts I’ve ever really witnessed. “The People v. OJ Simpson,” was an incredible production. Not to be missed. And even if John Travolta hadn’t been in it, I would have loved it. But I loved it even more because John Travolta was in it. Because the 5 year old in me who woke up extra early to watch “Grease” before school every day and the 9 year old who probably didn’t truly understand the thematic of “Saturday Night Fever,” and the 10 year old who fell in love with a trench coat wearing arch angel who ate a whole heck of a lot of white sugar (even for the 90s) and the 11 year old who was introduced to Vinny Barbarino – one of the greatest fictional characters ever – because that person appreciates a comeback story.

And darlings, he’s wearing a burgundy velvet jacket with wide lapels. If we were married, I would certainly steal that from his closet. It’s bold and ballsy. And darlings, #sorrynotsorry, I still find him incredibly, incredibly handsome.

So say what you will about John Travolta, but I refuse to listen.

judithlight_gety

I mean, darlings. You know that I also happen to love Judith Light. I guess it’s hereditary because so does my mother. Nobody wears a white pantsuit better than Judith Light. And even though my mom thinks that she overdoes the “Bubbie factor” on Transparent, I think she’s a perfect Jewish grandmother. But darlings, this dress. Let’s talk about it.

It’s maybe black, maybe navy, maybe charcoal. So basically my favorite color palette.

It’s sequined.

It’s sequined. and it’s half sleeved.

It’s sequined. and it’s half sleeved. and it’s a turtleneck.

It’s sequined. and it’s half sleeved. and it’s a turtleneck. and it’s like just a little too long.

and I love it.

In my dreams, I have a one woman show. And one of my outfits (I would change outfits like Nathan Lane as Albert Goldman as Starina in The Birdcage) would be this dress. And I would be about 8 inches taller than I am actually.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search q=nathan+lane+birdcage+starina&view=detail&mid=3FBB1C706FD9253283043FBB1C706FD925328304&FORM=VIRE

And I would half talk, half sing and laugh from my sternum. People would throw red roses at the stage and I would throw them back, because I hate red roses. It would just be a part of the schtick. I would probably do re-imagined versions of songs like “A Lover’s Concerto,” “50 ways to leave your lover” and “Xanadu.”

Did you need to know that? No. But I felt like I wanted to tell you.

So thank you Judith Light for allowing me to have a Wayne’s World-esque dream sequence while sitting in my beige carpeted living room watching Top Chef re-runs on my ipad.

Now darlings. Those two were really the only two that I felt the need to shout out. What I will say is that there were a lot of people that were in outfits that I am jealous that I am not tall or thin enough to wear. Outfits that were I to lose 60 pounds, I would probably wear on the regular. So let’s take a look at those guys. Maybe they will give me the willpower to stop eating cheese. But probably not. Because some people are lactose intolerant and literally cannot eat cheese, so I feel like I should be grateful and really embrace my lactose tolerance as much as possible, for some are not as fortunate as I. (I’m looking at you, Jesse)

 

So let’s get one thing out of the way. I have turned into my mother. I looked into my new closet the other day, and 92% of it is black. So not entirely shocking that all of these on my wishlist are black.

annaelisabeteberstein
Photo: Getty Images

 

So let’s start with Hugh Grant’s lady (girlfriend? wife?) Side note: If I were dating Hugh Grant, I would make him do this every morning.

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Side note to the side note: I think that most everything that I do in life needs a side note. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Anyway, back to Mrs. Grant. I envy many things about this outfit, but full disclosure, I do not envy the shoes. I think these shoes belong on someone waiting in line at Tao in a bandage dress smoking Marlboro Ultra Lights and wearing bad foundation. Go ahead, picture it. Visceral, right? Darlings, I will never. ever. have a waist that allows me to wear a double breasted jacket, let alone a double breasted jacket moonlighting as a dress. I mean that dress wouldn’t have fit me minutes out of the womb. Which is probably why  I love it so much. Because I can’t have it. Additionally, I am jealous that this woman can go onto the red carpet with apparently no makeup on. Ok, maybe Mrs. Grant. YOU WIN. Even if Hugh doesn’t do the crab dance every morning. YOU WIN.

evanrachelwood_altuzarra_getty
Photo: Getty Images

 

And then we go to Evan Rachel Wood (the former Mrs. Manson). Listen. It’s no surprise that I love a tux on a woman. And as a short, stubby make of a woman, I can’t pull it off. And there is nothing that makes me more upset when I am getting ready for a black tie event than the fact that I can’t wear a tux. Darlings, I’m note sure when it happened, but I have begun to reject dresses as a thing to have to wear to fancy parties. Heels, sure. Red lips, absolutely. But I want to wear pants. And I want to wear a tux. And I’m jealous that ERW can do both. AND ALSO HAVE THE HAIRCUT THAT I WANT BUT DON’T HAVE THE ANGLES FOR. Thanks Parents (no angles and no pulp fiction, I tell you, it was a tough life growing up).

ritawilson_gettty
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And finally, Rita Wilson. I mean. She’s wearing a velvet wrap dress with hair that my lioness could only ever dream of becoming. Darlings, there are tassels, there’s a wrist full of diamonds. And honestly, who cares about the Critics Choice Awards, 54 should have opened it’s doors for one night only to welcome this diva in with open arms.

And that’s all she wrote my darlings. 1300 words later. I appreciate it if you’ve stuck it out.

xoxo

lcf