Kaftans, always

My lovely and talented friend, Sandria, recently alerted me to Veronique Hyland’s NY Mag article, “How to Get Your Body Caftan-Ready for Summer.” Although I disagree with the author about a few points, mainly that wearing a kaftan means you can skip your bra and neglect basic hygiene. WTF. I do agree with her enthusiasm for kaftans and her desire to extol their virtues.

Here are a few of my own tips for wearing kaftans and some amazing ones that you can buy right now.

  • Kaftans are the true definition of GLAAAAM-OOOUUUURRR. They are not shlub wear.  They are not for the tired. Find a muumuu for that foolishness. If your breasts are natural and you will go OUTSIDE wearing your kaftans, always, ALWAYS wear a bra. If you normally shave, keep it up.
  • When it comes to kaftans, as you might guess, I lean toward the fancy. Silk for breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, etc. Cotton for more active daytime activities.
  • Go ahead and splurge on a designer kaftan. You’ll have it, and actually be able to WEAR it, for years.

Post beach romp.

LemLem $340

LemLem kaftanMissoni Mare $1010

Missoni Mare kaftan

TWO $370

Long Peach Kaftan with Fringe TWO


Garden party, cute & flirty kaftan realness.

The Row $1636

If you can pull off this color, this is a very versatile, enter-level choice. With the right accessories, it can be avery chic lil’ number.

The Row Kaftan Bergdorf


Day drinkin’ and ready for whatever.

ASA Kaftan $245

I ignored at first because she didn’t offer silk kaftans. She’s seen the light.


ASA Kaftan front

Cavalli $1700

Cavalli is the king of kaftans.

Roberto Cavalli kaftan


Evening stuntin’.

Camilla $600

This one’s a chameleon. Camilla is the best about giving you options.

camilla_220316_1616-1

Camilla $570

Camilla Kaftan Bergdorf

 

As you can see, there is a kaftan for every occasion, personality and style. Pace yourself while shopping. Kaftan addiction is real. You’ve been warned. dd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Wishes, Ciara & Russ! I’m Still Smiling

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Last Minute Luxe: Valentine’s Day Gift Flip

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Holiday Sanity in Five

Holiday Sanity in Five

Holiday Sanity in Five

The holidays haven’t always been happy for me. It’s the stress, man! My wallet and I are pulled in so many directions. Thanksgiving groceries. Décor. Cleaning service. Number one daughter’s birthday (and you know children are never inexpensive no matter how old). Christmas gifts. Tree. Ornaments. And lest I forget, I have to purchase plane tickets for myself, my daughter…and my dog. See what I mean? Stress, man!

I know you can’t combat it by saying “f@#$ this” and sit on your ass sipping Bailey’s until January 4, but there are definite ways you can significantly reduce stress and its SOB cousins—headache, anxiety attacks and back pain. I tried all of them and they really work. It all begins with an attitude adjustment.

  1. Focus on the reason for the season. No, seriously. Hear me out. Thanksgiving is a holiday developed for us to give thanks for our blessings. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. That’s it. Nothing more. Nowhere in those two descriptions is the crafting of the perfect tablescape or getting your kid’s teacher a gift that puts all other parents’ gifts to shame. Have you ever really shed a tear (thug or otherwise) because you didn’t get a scarf from your Aunt Sylvia? I doubt it and if the recipients/guests/whomever don’t give a damn just like you didn’t, why should you as the giver? Tell somebody you love ‘em. Go to church and bring someone with you. Volunteer your time. Change your focus and get your merry back.
  2. Between November 1 and January 3, plan some out-of-the-home activities that are purely for your enjoyment. It can’t be a service project, a “required” holiday party or involve people under 21. This Thanksgiving Eve, I went to City Winery for a performance by Musiq Soulchild. It was only a couple of hours away from the kitchen but it felt like I was miles away. I’m not a super fan but I love live music and I felt the weight lifting off my shoulders as he sang some of his old hits and transported me to back in the day. Whether it is a concert, ice-skating at the park or a night at the movies, do something selfishly fun outside.
  3. If you work a corporate gig, under no circumstances should you use your vacation time for the holidays. Work straight through and schedule off time after the holidays when all of the relatives are gone. While everyone else is back at the grind on Monday, you’ll be walking through your house buck naked and fancy free. But how do I get everything cooked/bought/done? Go back and read number one. Anything that can’t be cooked or picked up the week before, after work or before a reasonable bedtime, doesn’t need to be. I stuck by this rule this Thanksgiving, despite my propensity to always do way too much. My blood pressure thanks me.
  4. Take care of yourself. Get a massage or mani/pedi. Gift yourself some lash extensions. You don’t have a lot of cash? Take a bath with pretty, smell goods at least twice a month then. Give yourself a facial while listening to the music you like. Actually read your fashion magazines that are collecting dust. Self-care is how you ensure that you are around to take care of others. Find a way.
  5. Say no. I know it’s popular nowadays to say yes. I love Shonda Rhimes and I get it, but I would adjust her Year of Yes to Ten Months of Yes. “Say yes” January through October and then “shout no” for November throughout December. No, I can’t make it to your party. No, I’m not buying everyone with a pulse a gift. No, I’m not cooking a turkey, a ham, a duck and lamb chops. No, no, no. Say yes to self-care. Say yes to your sanity. Say yes to your savings account.

Implement these tips and watch your holiday cheer return. That usual harried pace will be transformed into a very zen stroll. Last, but never least, champagne!

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Farewell, old friend. I go with Champagne now.

Drunk in Love with ChampagneThere comes a time in every woman’s life when she realizes that everything that’s good ain’t good for her. For me, that time came not so long ago. On a cold Thursday night, I met my girlfriend at our local watering hole as I often do. I ordered and consumed my two vodka neat cocktails. That’s it. I had only two cocktails. I woke up Friday morning so sick that I almost thought of missing my 9 a.m. conference call. I didn’t miss my call (because I’m a straight G and G’s don’t participate in that weak shit) and suffered through the day convinced that this was some sort of aberration. Maybe I was just coming down with something anyway. Maybe I didn’t eat enough. I’ll do better next time.

Next time came a week or two later and I had exactly two cocktails at a different, snazzier spot. This time I rolled with one of my absolute faves, the Sazerac. I could tell by a few sips into the second one that I was in trouble. How could I have possibly gotten this drunk from two drinks without being roofied? I woke up at 2 a.m. unable to open my eyes and once I could, my eyes wouldn’t focus. I was down for three days this time. THREE DAYS. I have entirely too much going on to waste three whole days popping Advil and hanging near my toilet.

But, as you can imagine, what I was coming to realize was very difficult for me to accept. I tried one last time, but this time I couldn’t even bear to try liquor again. I just stuck with champagne and guess what? I woke up the next day as fresh as a freakin’ flower. I tried again a few days later with just wine. Again, I felt great the next day.

Champagne Line UpHallelujah! All was not lost.  It’s not all alcoholic beverages; it’s just the hard stuff. I love champagne anyway! I always make an effort to try different bottles. I even buy it by the case just for everyday consumption sometimes. (Note to self: Time to make a Binny’s run to re-up.) Right now, I’m really digging Bollinger La Grande Annee to keep around the house.

So instead of mournfully humming Lisa Fischer’s “How Can I Ease the Pain,”  I will focus on all of the good things and look back on my boozier cocktails with love. Besides, I can always switch it up sometimes by building my repertoire of champagne cocktails. Naturally, I’ve already perfected a few.

Some tips:

When I go all mixologist on my champagne, I tend to stick to inexpensive to mid-range champagne. Why waste the really expensive stuff? Also most recipes are at least 75% champagne. With the lowered alcohol content, there’s no way I’m mixing any more than that.

The Good Life

This is by far my go-to champagne cocktail. Something about it makes me want to celebrate.

Ingredients:

  • Champagne
  • Peach bitters (I prefer Fee Brothers)
  • Peach liqueur
  • Lemon peel garnish

This is a quick and easy one. Just shake a few drops of peach bitters into your champagne, splash in a little liqeur and garnish with lemon peel. P.S. I used to add a touch of vodka to this one. I can’t now, but by all means.

South of France

South of France

I got this one from Mastro’s (best bone marrow ever, but I digress). I make this one a LOT. Using liqeurs to bring the flavor actually ups the alcohol content (but not so much that I get all loopy) giving more bang for the buck without watering it down like juices would.

Ingredients:

  • Champagne
  • Esprit de June Liquer
  • Combier Créme de Pamplemousse
  • Lemon twist

Fill your glass with champagne and splashes of both liqeurs. Drop in a lemon twist for garnish. I try to curl the peel to the best of my ability when I’m feeling extra.

 

Kir Impérial

We go waaaay back. I’ve been fancy for a long time.

Ingredients:

  • Champagne
  • Chambord
  • Lemon bitters

Add a couple of drops of the bitters to your champagne flute. Fill the flute with your favorite champagne and top off with Chambord.

 

D’Sizzle

I love this one when I have time to prepare my sugar cubes and I’m feeling extra sweet, but spicy.

Ingredients:

  • Champagne
  • Sugar cubes soaked with a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Fresh jalapeno ring

Dash each sugar cube with a couple of drops of bitters, drop in the glass and fill ‘er up with champagne. Add the jalapeno ring. Yeah.

 

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Beauty Tips for the Action-Challenged aka Lazy

Some girls come home after a raucous happy hour and still manage to remove their contact lenses and make up. Some of them set aside time every night, no matter what, to pumice their feet, Bed makeup2apply moisturizer and cover their tootsies with cotton socks.  Some of them even polish their nails to match their ensemble, which they already laid out, for the next day.

I am not her. She is not me. I’ve come to terms with it and use these tricks to preserve my pretty despite my lazy.

  1. Makeup remover wipes e’rywhere. Near the front door, in the trinket box next to the sofa,  at the desk, under pillows… Some disagree and I get it. A lot of days, when I’m able to go home directly after work and remain sober all night, I do the whole skin care regimen thing. I cleanse, exfoliate, tone, apply serum and moisturize. I do the damned thing. But sometimes I just want to remove the bra and fall into bed. Something has to be better than nothing and I’m OK with that.
  2. Get over it and get your entire body waxed. Or lasered. Why contort yourself weekly (or daily for the truly Sasquatch) and waste ten minutes of chill time for hairlessness?
  3. Gel manis, of course. Yeah, they destroy your nails. And?
  4. Amopé Pedi Perfect. You can condense half an hour of foot Amope2filing and pumicing to 10 minutes or less. The motorized file allows you to have silky smooth heels with little to no elbow grease.
  5. Store any nighttime hair needs beneath your sleep pillow. I’m talking bonnets, scarves, scrunchies, maybe even a brush or comb. Please note: I suggested a brush OR a comb. Having both beneath your pillow is pushing it. And definitely don’t put product under there. Your bed’s not an Aveda Salon. There should be some limits to your laziness.

Let me know some of your lazy girl beauty hacks. Believe me. They’ll be greatly appreciated.

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First Class Plate: Moroccan Harissa Chicken and Chickpeas

I want to go everywhere and I like to eat, so it only stands to reason that I am fascinated by cuisine du monde. A good way of getting there without traveling is by visiting a restaurant that featuresPlated Harissa food from whatever locale piques your interest. Thankfully I live in Chicago where its rich restaurant tradition makes it the perfect place to experiment with just about anything. If you can eat it, you’ll probably find it here. I try new places often and I keep a running list in my head of all the new restos I want to try. It’s hard too because there’s a handful or more of new places opening every damned week! And I love it.

But if you’re adventurous like I am, you can try to recreate an international dish at home. You’ll not only gain the experience, but you’ll be able to personalize the dish to your liking which is what all home cooks do the world over.

As the Queen of Impulse Buyers, my pantry is more likely to be stocked with smoked paprika and garam masala than ketchup or milk. Whipping up an impromptu international meal is no biggie for me. If you have more self control than I do, you’ll probably need to run to your nearest market to pick up a few things because today we will journey to Morocco!

Morocco is at the top of my places to visit, so naturally I had some of the ingredients to create my take on a Moroccan Harissa recipe. Harissa is Tunisian in origin, but is now a part of Moroccan cuisine. This condiment combines some of my favorite things – peppers, mo’ peppers, cumin and garlic.

Prep HarissaThis was my first foray into Moroccan cooking so I decided to go with a store-bought version, Mina Harissa. I found it at Mecca aka Whole Foods. Here we go…

Ingredients

  • Three boneless, skinless and organic chicken thighs
  • Fage yogurt. About a half cup (I use 2%)
  • Salt (To taste. I used smoked salt. It gives e’rythang such a lovely flavor.)
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Garlic powder, 1 tsp.
  • Onion powder, 1 tsp.
  • Cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. ( I brings the heat.)
  • A couple tablespoons of Mina Harissa (Spicy, of course.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, season the chicken with the salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder. Place the yogurt, Harissa and seasoned chicken in a large Ziploc bag. Make sure the chicken thighs are completely covered by yogurt. Remove the air from the bag as much as possible. Seal the bag and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. I left mine in for around an hour and a half.

Chicken Harissa

Mo’ Ingredients

  • Cumin, 1 tsp.
  • One 16 oz. can of organic chickpeas (Next time I will use two cans. Not enough peas for me. You be the judge.)
  • Five garlic cloves (I obviously have a thing with garlic.)
  • One lemon
  • Two large shallots
  • Olive oil, 1tbsp
  • Coconut oil, 1 tbsp
  • One tomato
  • A half cup of the Mina Harissa

Harissa sans ChickenWhile the chicken is marinating, thinly slice the garlic and coarsely chop the shallots. Seed the tomato and then throw it in your Vitamix or food processor until it’s a slightly chunky puree. Cut lemon into wedges. Set it all aside.After oven Harissa

In a large, dry frying pan (I prefer cast iron) on medium heat, sprinkle in the cumin and sauté for two or three minutes to release the flavor. Add coconut and olive oils. While the coconut oil is melting, remove the chicken thighs from the fridge, brown on both sides and then remove from the pan.

Sauté the garlic slices in the same pan. Cook for three minutes and then add shallots. When the shallots begin to soften, add the tomato, Harissa, chickpeas and chicken broth. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste and then nestle the chicken into the pan. Cook on top of the stove for three to five minutes, squeeze half of the lemon over the top and then pop the entire skillet into the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
Voila! First class ticket to Morocco! This dish was absodelish. Try it yourself and let me know what you think.

 

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Hubris Heavyweight: Tidal and Jay Z

ITidal have absolutely no problem with anyone acquiring more money. As a matter of fact, I applaud it. This IS America, Jack. What I DO have a problem with is the disingenuous way the new streaming platform, Tidal, was promoted.

The splashy video was cute and I expect nothing less from elite performers. These people don’t sell out arenas for nothing. But to act as if it was some sort of social media demonstration akin to Mike Brown’s or Trayvon Martin’s  is disgusting and utterly ridiculous. “Show you are a part of the movement by turning your profile pic blue.” “Together, we can turn the tide and make music history.” GTFOHWTBS.

What movement? Is wanting to get paid more.a movement? Well hell, I can get behind that. Just call it what it is. Don’t play the role of charity case to a country of working poor and paycheck-to-paycheckers.  Make history? Where’s the historical value in this? The day a group of celebrities were on each other’s dicks so hard that they thought they could trick a world full of people, whose incomes are a fraction of theirs, to feel sorry enough for them to buy a $20/month music service?

Tidal’s spokesperson, Jay Z (why?), has even upped the ante when questioned about the backlash. His arrogant comparison to Apple and Steve jobs is not only silly; it is insulting to my intelligence. It is true that Apple holds press conferences to unveil new products. It is true that the Cult of Apple oooohs, aaaahs and then scrambles to buy the next shiny, new thing.  And no, we never questioned Steve Job’s income.

However, Jay Z left a few things out. We ooooh and aaaah because Apple innovates. We admire that yet again those crafty programmers have developed a product that enriches our lives in a new way. (I want an Apple watch sooooooo baaaaaad. Anyhoo.) What’s innovative about a Spotify that’s owned by music artists? Why should I or anyone care?

Apple keeps it real. They reveal the Apple watch, tell you what it does and what the price is. Apple doesn’t give me a sob story about how I should buy the new iPhone because the members of the board just aren’t making enough money. Apple doesn’t tell us anything about the plight of the company’s ownership. Why? Because they know that we don’t care.

The sad thing is that all of this could have been avoided if Jay Z had used his own Apple example. By simply introducing Tidal, its benefits (if there are any) and the price, we would have been forced to either buy or balk. No biggie.

So thank you, Tidal and Jay Z. You are daphne debauchee’s first Hubris Heavyweights. The hubris gods are smiling on you, but they sent me to tell you to fire your PR firm with the quickness.

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A Successful Relationship in Four Easy Steps

Relationship advice springs eternal. Almost anyone (well, actually any man) has a platform from which to pontificate. Most of this advice is aimed at teaching women how to behave in order to garner the attention of a worthy mate (surprise, surprise). This strategy of dropping unwelcome counsel into women’s laps like an unwanted dick pic has launched careers and built multi-media fortunes.

As I surveyed the landscape, I realized that I’ve got shit to say and I want some money too. So, I am jumping into the fray and offering my own gems. I’m dropping this science on you because I couldn’t possibly be any less qualified than let’s say…a couple of comedians.

My philosophy is based upon the age-old tenets of “hear, see, and speak no evil” with one important addition – “think no evil.”

  1. Hear no evil. Do not listen to ANYONE, including you.
  2. See no evil. Why waste your time trying to unlock his iPhone? Stalk his social media? For what? Summer is fast approaching. Your time will be better spent pinning that hot, new pair of Brian Atwood sandals.
  3. Speak no evil. Don’t argue with your man about what you’ve heard from this one or that one. Don’t say a thing about that girl’s comment on his Instagram post. If you feel yourself needing to speak, go back and refer to #1 and #2.
  4. Think no evil. This is by far the most important of all the commandments. If you allow your mind to be as empty as the size 9½ rack at the Nordstrom shoe sale, you have absolutely NO material to use to break #1, #2 or #3. Mental laziness saves relationships.

Before you start with all your judgment and questions, like…

dd-infographic-3-30-15-699x654“This is ridiculous!”

“I have my own mind!”

“Does she know about the prevalence of STDs?”

“This is America! I have freedom of speech!”

“Is she even in a relationship?”

 

You should take a long, introspective look back at your own dating and relationship history. Where has all that sight, sound, speech and thought really gotten you? It didn’t stop him from cheating. It didn’t save the relationship. Did it?

Most women can think of at least 20 things that they can do right now with the time spent obsessing over some perceived wrong. Notice that I didn’t say productive things. Being productive is irrelevant. I’m just saying that I’d rather go old school and contemplate my navel or maybe peruse coveteur.com ad nauseum before I waste a single second of my precious life wondering if my sig O is cheating. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. But you know what? If you weren’t so busy seeing, hearing, speaking and thinking, you wouldn’t even know or care.

My friend and I were chatting one day about men and cheating and relationships and whatnot. Of course, I blessed her with my keys to relationship success.

Friend:   I’m the opposite. If I think I know something, I need to try my best confirm it and prove I’m not crazy.

Me:    (with a knowing, supportive smile) But if you’re not thinking, you know nothing and thereby have nothing to prove.”

I already know I’m not crazy. There’s nothing to prove.

Let me know what you think. If I disagree, I’ll let you know. 😉 dd.

 

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I drink because I’m a sensitive and highly strung person.

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IMG_7051Sorrel Juice with OverproofIMG_6842IMG_4106

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