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.
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 features 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.
This 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…
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.
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.)
Two large shallots
Olive oil, 1tbsp
Coconut oil, 1 tbsp
A half cup of the Mina Harissa
While 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.
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.
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.”
Hear no evil. Do not listen to ANYONE, including you.
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.
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.
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…
“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.
Greetings! It’s been a long while and a lot has happened, so instead of explaining, I’ll just jump right in.
Last year I took the first real vacation (no laptop, no phone calls) that I’ve had in years. Because I’m Daphne, I know no other way than to go big, so I splurged on a whirlwind ten days in Asia. My trip began in Bangkok, marinated in Phuket and then ended in Hong Kong. To sum up the experience in a word or two: fairy tale.
Some deets: In Bangkok, my sister and I took a private boat tour down the Chao Phraya, toured Chinatown by night and sampled a little street food (not nearly as much as we would’ve liked). Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on perspective, our time in Bangkok was packed with sightseeing so the best dining experience we had ended up being at our hotel, The Peninsula. I’m dying to go back soon, be able to take my time and get all Anthony Bourdain with it.
In Phuket, we lodged at the Trisara aka Heaven on Earth, rented a mini yacht for the day for some island hopping and partied at the newly opened Nikki Beach. We didn’t have to go far for excellent food (Poo Nim Phad Phong Ka-ri, Trisara’s curried crab was unbelievably good!), but we did manage to tear ourselves away. One of the best dining experiences was at the Siam Supper Club – good food, good wine list, hot Aussies.
Hong Kong was pure fancy schmancy. From the overwhelmingly beautiful view from the suite at the Four Seasons to Michelin-starred French truffle overload and Chinese decadence, I was just blown away. Man Mo Temple, Victoria Peak and shopping occupied us for the remainder of our time.
Planning a trip of this magnitude was labor intensive. When I decided to expand to include Hong Kong, I knew that I needed to call in reinforcements.
BONUS TIP: I know it may sound old school, but I worked with a travel agent who specialized in luxury travel.
Our agent was also a member of the Virtuoso network which afforded us complimentary amenities at some of the world’s most exclusive resorts and hotels. In addition, working with an agent gave me representation I could use to press for even more free goodies. However, even though I worked with an agent, I checked and re-checked every detail. I was able to negotiate rates and receive several free upgrades because I was armed with so much information.
I learned a lot planning this trip that will help me in the future and will hopefully help you as you plan your next sojourn.
12. Like I said, research, research, research and then research again. Leave nothing to chance. Make lists, whether written or mental, of things you’d like to do or attractions you’d like to visit. Sure, it’s your vacay and you don’t want a detailed agenda like you’re still at work. BUT, mark my words, lack of planning will only lead to possible missed opportunities and not being able to take full advantage of everything that is available. Trip Advisor is good for many things, but when you’re planning a true extravaganza, Luxe City Guides and Louis Vuitton are great resources.
11. Get help. I am aware that some people love a challenge, even during their down time. When it comes to my vacation, I am not one of those people. I am not interested in seeing if I’ll throw my back out while schlepping heavy luggage to and fro. If you’re like me, you’d rather have a lovely gentleman meet you as you step off the plane, grab your carry on, expedite you through customs, collect your checked bags, load them into a luxury vehicle, open the car door and then hand you a warm towel and a bottle of water, as he whisks you off to your destination. Firms like Abercrombie & Kent can arrange for private tour guides, valets and chauffeured cars. An agent who knows her shit, should be able to hook you up. Leave the stress at home. Just pay for the help. It’s worth every damned cent.
10. I flew Cathay for this trip and was very impressed. Business and first class are very comfortable due to a pod-like quality and fully flat seat that make you almost feel like they’re no passengers on your plane. The food was tastier than I expected and the wine list was good. The flight attendants were very attentive and only had to be told once to keep the champers a’coming. I give them a pass because they were probably unaware that one person could drink that much.
9. Leave the workout gear at home. Unless you’re one of those people who lives to shred, why fat shame yourself on your own vacation? Pack fly, but loose-fitting ‘fits. Refer to #7.
8. Mo’ massages, mo’ betta. I love a good massage and nothing says vacation more. Despite the fact that I almost missed my flight back home because I was in such a massage-induced, limp state of delirium, I am so happy that I managed to book the Jade Stone Therapy massage at The Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong. It should be a requirement before any long haul flight. I could go on and on about it because it was one of the best NORMAL massages I’ve experienced. However, I was spoiled by something I had experienced only two days before. I say something because I’m not even sure it can be called something as limiting as a massage – Trisara’s Six Hand Massage. Yeah, that happened to me and I’m not really sure humans are equipped to receive that kind of pleasure.
7. Pack more kaftans. There really isn’t much more to say about that. Just do it.
6. Take advantage of every opportunity to do anything you would normally never do. Hong Kong is such a glamorous city and because of my research I knew that I could go all out as far as fashion. In other words, I had the perfect excuse to wear my see through tee with a sequined skirt with train. No biggie.
5. There is no such thing as too many swimsuits. Bring ALL of them. Even though you will likely settle on two go-tos that you’ll mix, match and wear daily, it’s still good to have options. My sister learned the hard way that it isn’t so easy for an American body to find a suit in Thailand.
4. Stay at the Trisara as long as your wallet and free time can afford. If you don’t know Trisara, google it, make reservations and thank me later. This is where you go when you want to truly get away and be pampered. I only saw other guests when I went to the Sunday Jazz Brunch (best brunch I’ve ever experienced and I’m a brunch connoisseur) and a beach barbecue.
3. Yacht like your life depends on it. But seriously, in this part of the world, sightseeing by boat is a necessity with its floating markets and secluded beaches. If it comes down to a budget choice between a boat and something else, choose the boat. You won’t regret it. We took the Phetmanee out for the day and enjoyed a lovely breakfast, snack and lunch on board as we island hopped around the Andaman Sea.
2. Always, ALWAYS sleep with Aussie Daniel Craig lookalike who asked you to sit with him at the bar of the swanky and delish Siam Supper Club. I know. I know.
1. Use the lounge. Why sit amongst the teaming masses and their unsupervised children in hard seats? There’s a very nice room with waaaay fewer children, comfy seats and “free” liquor.
This vacation was what some would call a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list trip, but I refuse to limit myself and I don’t plan on dying any time soon. I’d much rather have more of these experiences and I will allot my money accordingly. However, as a debauchee, it’s so hard to set limits. I just can’t get enough. but I’m itching to get somewhere new. Where should I go? Got any tips for me?
If your face is cracking and there is a way to stop it from cracking, why would you continue to let it crack? That is the millennial equivalent of the if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest question. With plastic surgery being as ubiquitous as fashion people using the word ‘everything,’ I am surprised by my waffling opinion. Some days I’m down with it. Bring on the Botox! Fire up the Fraxel Laser! Other days I am flying the flag of feminism while angrily deriding all who seek to marginalize women with their limited, fantasy-based pablum.
Bring on the Botox! Fire up the Fraxel Laser!
In 2011, women underwent 8.4 million cosmetic procedures. We spent 10 billion smoothing out wrinkles, pumping up breasts and sucking out fat. See, everybody’s doing it. However, as a feminist who was raised by a feminist who was raised by a feminist who didn’t even know she was a feminist, I understand that the pressure on women to be beautiful and remain young at all costs is a tool of misogyny. However, knowing this gives me no comfort. I don’t want my nurtured need to fight the power to have me looking like the Crypt Keeper.
Men are never pressured to believe that their worth is for a large part determined by their beauty. In 2011, only 9% of cosmetic surgery patients were men. If a man is not beautiful, hey that’s ok. Just make enough money or be really good in bed or be able to fix stuff. Some woman will want you, dawg. If he can make a lot of money, the world is his oyster and nothing else matters.
Sure, she may have conquered global media, educated the kids and made a billion while doing it. But have you seen her without makeup?
Although less than model beautiful woman can and do rise in stature and esteem through their business accomplishments, the public will still try to compartmentalize and diminish. Remember all the Oprah bullshit? Sure, she may have conquered global media, educated the kids and made a billion while doing it. But have you seen her without makeup? She needs to lose weight. Oh and Stedman doesn’t want to marry her.
And still I waffle.
And still I waffle. I see the beginnings of fine lines on my forehead. Is it so wrong that I want to Botox the shit out of ‘em before they become deep furrows? I have a pleasant face. I don’t wanna a perma-scowl. I can say now that I would never get a facelift with my skin currently tight and its right place. Would I say the same thing if my chin and neck were sitting on my chest?
The thing is that our youth and beauty obsessed culture isn’t changing any time soon. I can protest against the misogyny for a month of Sundays, but will that change the fact that the visible signs of aging are the death knell? As a woman ages, she is paid less attention. You begin to not count, to be less important than, less valuable than. Who would knowingly sign on for that just to prove a point no matter how valid?
As the perspiration glistens on my skin while commuting downtown only to be greeted by indoor temperatures equivalent to those of the Arctic, I dream of fall. Because I hate summer. Yeah, I said it. Hate may seem like a strong word even though there are a few things I enjoy about summer – al fresco dining, the giddiness on the faces of city dwellers, street festivals. But none of those things make up for 90+ temps, not knowing how to dress appropriately for work and the ubiquity of flip flops.
I dream of layers, boots, hats, scarves, darker, richer colors. So as I dream, like a lot of you, I surf. No, I do not surf the waves, I surf all of my favorite fashion sites for fall clothes that inspire me whether I can afford or fit them or not. During one of these dreams, I came across a fall item of clothing that made me calculate how many meals I would need to miss to squeeeeeeze myself into it and if selling my eggs was actually a viable option.
That dreamy item of clothing is the Victoria Beckham midrise leather legging. It is perfection. It gives you the comfort and easy wear of a legging while stepping it up several notches in luxury and kickassery. And unlike other leather leggings that tend to be on the low rise side, the rise in these bad girls is high enough to be easily worn by those over 20 with several cans short of a six pack.
And since I’m dreaming, I thought of ALL the ways I would wear ‘em. A debauchee can dream can’t she?
I love First Wives Club. I love Goldie. Whenever I think about making my appointment for Botox and Fraxel, I think about this. And please don’t get me wrong. I support these injections. I’m all about the Cellulaze.