Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheese Magic

After a self-inflicted cheese-free June, I started thinking about the cheeses I had missed the most. Cheddars and mozarellas came to mind, of course, for their comforting and important roles in salads, sandwiches, and on pizzas. But I also longed for those stand-alone cheeses which taste like magic in more refined quantities. Two of my favourites:

Port Salut: This unbelievable semi-soft cow's milk cheese has a lovely mild, slightly tangy, almost yogurt-like flavour which goes amazingly well with fruity, young red wines. I'm told it was first made by 19th century monks in Entrammes, France who honed their cheese-making skills during times of political unrest. Despite its mild flavour, Port Salut has an insane smell, so eat quickly!

Saint André: This perfect triple creme cheese is 75% butterfat, enrobed in a fuzzy white rind. So rich is this cheese that it actually tastes metallic when paired with wine. A better choice is a nice hoppy beer to bring out the nutty flavour of the cheese. Serve with sliced pears or dried apricots and a warm baguette.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Matchy Matchy

Walking around downtown I frequently encounter groups of women who dress alike. It is not uncommon to spot a duo or trio of ladies, decked out in slight variations of each other's outfits. This is not surprising, and it is something I am also guilty of. My friends and I shop together, we shop at the same places, we are instantly drawn to a similar aesthetic. Take for example this photo of Laura and I:

Laura and I both have a penchant for wearing scarves and the (non) colour black year-round. Also, for the past four years, we have almost synchronized our haircut cycles.

I believe this phenomena is not gender specific. Let us begin with Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the new film, Inception. I am not certain who did the wardrobe styling for this movie, but the men, for the most part, look fantastic (except for DiCaprio in the latter half of the film, where he looks rather unrested and bedraggled). Gordon-Levitt in particular is polished and tailored in what seems like an attempt to dismiss his teen alien TV beginnings. These outfits seem to declare, "Yeah we match, so what? It makes it easier to solve dream capers and eliminates any potential jealousy about each other's attire, even though one of us is totally younger and better looking and the other just dates models and has gained weight."

This sort of male matching is not new. Let us go back now, to a different time. A time known for bad chunky highlights and pleather. I present to you 'N Sync, aka the origins of Justin Timberlake, aka The Panty Remover. Strangely, they have positioned Lance Bass in the front of this photo, perhaps an attempt to balance the undeniable Timberlake attraction with the least interesting member of the group, Chris Kirkpatrick (is that how you spell his name? He had a t-shirt company, which I think was as hideous as his flame jacket). This look says, "We will melt your heart with our [Justin's] sweet vocals but we are also totally edgy. This faux leather is sweltering against our skin under this hot photo lamp."

Male Matching and the hipster movement are directly correlated. I am not sure where this image is from, but it's totally weird. It says, "We wear the same size jeans. It saves us money to closet share."

Another celebrity favourite in this category is the bromance between Jake Gyllenhaal, Lance Armstrong, and Matthew McConaughey. They do their own version of GTL (Gym Tan Laundry), and they have no problem matching their outfits for all these activities. These looks say, "Yeah. Yeah. Totally."

This research is still in progress. Please email me if you have further examples of Male Matching.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blondes Have More Fun?

Evidence of a childhood obsession with being blonde:

1. Betty Cooper

I began collecting Archie Comics when I was 4 or 5. Every time my father went to the store, he would ask if I wanted to come along because he knew I couldn't wait to acquire a new issue or double digest. The rivalry between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge for the affections of Archie Andrews was gripping. Considering the number of Archies I acquired over the years, I can tell you that freckle-faced redhead could not get it together. Betty one day, Veronica the next, and sometimes that grease-ball Reggie would complicate the whole scenario. Veronica was edgy. She was spoiled and sassy. But I loved Betty. I know, I know, she was a bit of a square because she was too nice, but she had a ponytail (a very important detail to a little Asian girl with a bowl haircut)! She helped the elderly! She was proof that nice girls finish at the very least, in the middle (as long as you were still a good-looking, fresh faced blonde that never aged) and sometimes on top!

2. Nancy Drew

In the second grade I won an award for reading the most books in one year, a prize I earned by reading every Nancy Drew book in our elementary school library. Nancy was what every little girl aspired to be (that is, before we learned how to be text-messaging prosti-tots). She had a blonde bob and wore fitted, yet demure dresses. She always had a flashlight and was just so gosh darned inquisitive! In the early novels, she did not attend school or hold a proper job, subsisting on her hunger for clues and crime-solving. Nancy was also the reason why I frequently pranced around in my mother's trench coat with a notepad and pen and plastic magnifying glass.

3. Stacey, Jessica & Elizabeth

Following the Nancy years was my obsession with Sweet Valley High and, to a lesser extent, The Babysitters' Club. In the latter, I was instantly drawn to Stacey McGill and Claudia Kishi. Stacey for her long blonde hair and Laura Ashley dresses, and Claudia for all her stashed junk food (a habit I continue to this day. There are Mini Eggs in my sock drawer). I particularly felt a kinship to Stacey after she developed a misguided teen crush on her teacher, a mistake I had also made in the 4th grade. Sure, she was a bit uptight, but she was from the city, and like, totally pretty and popular. My hometown was dumpier than Stoneybrook, so the idea of being from New York seemed even more amazing.

The Babysitters' Club just filled the time in between Sweet Valley books for me. I read them all, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, that weird Sweet Valley Saga series, and even that special collection of murder mysteries. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield were my idols. They were a writer and a cheerleader living in sunny California, driving a Fiat with their plethora of friends and boyfriends. Oh, and their dad's name was Ned. That's pretty perfect. I also watched the brief SVH television series staring Brittany and Cynthia Daniels, the Double Mint twins. The show was awful, but I could not help tuning in to this blonde twosome's escapades. Unfortunately, the original books have modernized the Wakefield twins, and they are now perfect size 4 bloggers who drive a Jeep Cherokee. Despite this, I am still eagerly anticipating the Diablo Cody screenplay for a new Sweet Valley movie. Maybe Justin Bieber will play Todd?

5. My Girl

Two blondes. Coming of age. Bee sting. No need for further details, you all understand.

6. Jen

This is a tenuous one. I am not sure it counts, really. But it might indicate my bias towards blondes. I only watched Dawson's Creek for 2 seasons, and it was kind of awful. But in the celibate love triangle between Dawson, Jen, and Joey, I was more on Team Jen than that annoying Katie Holmes, even though everyone else fell for her over-the-top tomboy girl-next-door shoulder acting. Jen, like Stacey McGill, was from the big city, and she was a bit easy. Sounds like a lot more fun than smelling like a fishy creek girl.

Actually, I think this just indicates how much I hate Katie Holmes. No points for Jen, I kind of dislike her too. She may have been the beginning of my move away from blonde obsession, a shift that has culminated in my current vehement distaste for Betty Draper.

7. The Curveball

Despite this movement away from blonde support, a strong player on the pro-blonde team is still Alexander Skarsgard.

Oh yes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

See It: Wild Combination

I recently had the pleasure of watching this lovely, heartbreaking documentary about American singer-songwriter-cellist and unlikely disco genius Arthur Russell. Great interviews with Ernie Brooks, Allen Ginsberg and Phillip Glass; a truly fascinating snapshot of the avant-garde music scene in 1970s New York and the low-profile figure at its centre.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hi, my name is Mel

You may know my jerk face from Braveheart (where I wear a kilt) and What Women Want (where I pushed past my misogynistic and verbally and physically abusive self to get in touch with my feminine side). I didn't used to be a total racist weirdo, I mean, I might be a borderline alcoholic but for god's sake, I was in Hamlet. I played a prince!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We are in the middle of a glorious heat wave right now, and as much as I want to write about my intense addiction to this season of True Blood, new bicycle options, and popsicle molds, all I want to do is stare into space while an oscillating fan blows warm air in my direction. Two nights ago I sat on an honest to goodness beach and it didn't rain. We drank San Pellegrino, got sand in between our toes, and watched overweight children eat Sun Chips while making sandcastles. One delightful pudgy fellow exclaimed, "This is going to be an EPIC SUCCESS." You got that right, kiddo.

Friday, July 2, 2010

See It: Herb & Dorothy

A wonderful documentary about the meaningful, inspired role collectors can and should play in the art world.

Style Icons: Michael Hutchence

Good coats, good perms: Prague, c. 1988.