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23

Nov

A Sunday in iPhone Photos

Paul and I took advantage of the sunny fall Sunday, loaded our pups Bailey and Lola into the car, and headed for Huntington Beach Central Park.

We stopped first for NY Style bagels at Bagelmania in Huntington Beach—now my destination for perfect bagels in an adorable setting, with colorful old school sodas, and the best service—and then parked at the Park Bench Cafe adjacent to the park. Because HB Central Park is such a popular spot for dogs and the people who love them, the Park Bench Cafe offers both a human and canine menu, which can be enjoyed al fresco at one of their many picnic tables. We spent two hours walking through the park, where we met ducks, a baby Beagle named Zoe, and discovered that Southern California really does have seasons.

And although we were still full from breakfast, we picked up dessert for our tired puppies on the way out.

20

Nov

Red Shoe Diaries

I spent last week/end in Las Vegas, celebrating my in-laws’ 35th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely time, adored our hotels (reviews and photos coming, soon) and even managed to catch a show: Cirque du Soleil’s Le Reve, which was phenomenal. My MIL and I sat next to each other so we could have someone to squeal to, but were both so breathtaken, I could only blindly bat her arm a few times, eyes jumping around the stage. I may have managed a squeak or two, but really can’t be sure. I also may have bruised her with those aimless hand swats, but am double crossing my fingers that this isn’t the case—I have beyond lucked out in the in-law department.

Since it was fabulous Las Vegas and all, we gussied ourselves up, and I debuted my new vintage (oxymoron, I know) dangly costume diamond earrings. I matched them with a blue dress from F21—you’d never guess—and perfect red pumps from Miss Sixty. The perfection of my shoe selection became even more apparent during the show; there is a magical number during which a dozen water acrobats perform a peppy dance number fully submerged, save for their red heels flashing in the air.

My shoes have been dying to do the same ever since, and although I fear they’ll never reach such heights of stardom and glamour, the least I can do is post a photo of them. The images are a bit blurry, I realize, but a promise is a promise.

Miranda Marie Valentine

18

Nov

Here it is, my Holy Grail: personification via footwear.
Some people aspire to be captured forever by way of bronze—their raised, tarnished fists nobly providing a perch for pigeons and the occasional squirrel, in city parks ‘round the world.
Others prefer to have entire buildings erected in their name, brick and mortar with shiny black tiles quipping “so and so. so and so. so and so” every time heels click down their very own halls.
Me? I just want to be the heels. Not any old heels, mind you. Those heels, up there, in the picture.
They are dangerously high, purple suede heels with a red sole, just like God and Christian Louboutin intended. They are breathtakingly, perfectly me: slightly impractical, colorful, and not meant for long distance walking and/or running.
Perhaps when I kick the proverbial bucket, Mr. Louboutin’s team will be kind enough to issue a shoe just like this one, in my name.
I like suede better than bronze, anyday.

Here it is, my Holy Grail: personification via footwear.

Some people aspire to be captured forever by way of bronze—their raised, tarnished fists nobly providing a perch for pigeons and the occasional squirrel, in city parks ‘round the world.

Others prefer to have entire buildings erected in their name, brick and mortar with shiny black tiles quipping “so and so. so and so. so and so” every time heels click down their very own halls.

Me? I just want to be the heels. Not any old heels, mind you. Those heels, up there, in the picture.

They are dangerously high, purple suede heels with a red sole, just like God and Christian Louboutin intended. They are breathtakingly, perfectly me: slightly impractical, colorful, and not meant for long distance walking and/or running.

Perhaps when I kick the proverbial bucket, Mr. Louboutin’s team will be kind enough to issue a shoe just like this one, in my name.

I like suede better than bronze, anyday.

16

Nov

35 plays

My dear friend Bradley Keys, hip hop artist extraordinaire, is kind enough to put together playlists for his lucky friends, of the best and brightest new music getting proper play on the music blogs of the moment.

He knows how much I love that T.I. song “Whatever You Like” so imagine my delight when a cover by the honey-voiced Anya Marina was listed.

It. Is. Amazing. And, when sung all fabulous French lounge-y (read: the lyrics are sung much too slow to be ignored), it sounds a bit raunchy, I’ll admit. But, I love her version even better than the original.

(An aside: My love for hip hop, and often, like, seriously hard core rap songs has baffled my friends for years. It’s the beat, I explain, it’s the music. Coming from someone who counts Mozart among her favorite musicians, it’s puzzling, for sure).

A Project All About Shoes? Sign Me Up.

So, I finally got around to setting up a Flickr account, because all the kids are doing it, and my husband Paul has sworn it will improve my quality of life by, oh, 3%. At least.

Last night I uploaded a few blog photos, and lo and behold: upon waking, I had very sweet Flickr comments waiting on my screen.

While people saying nice things about you never, ever, ever gets old, I was most intrigued by an offer to upload the Jeffery Campbell shoe shot I posted here awhile back, to this website: FootEarth.com, where they are…well, they say it best on one of the spiffiest sites I’ve ever seen, so I’ll let them do the honors:

12

Nov

Thankfully, there are some sweets that are so lovely, in all of their sugar-spun, coconut-like-confetti glory, that you can be more than satisfied by simply gazing at them.
To take a bite would interrupt the perfection, wouldn’t it? That’s what I told myself the other morning anyhow, after spotting this gorgeous dream cake, and realizing that even my body couldn’t handle such a sugar shock before 9am.

Thankfully, there are some sweets that are so lovely, in all of their sugar-spun, coconut-like-confetti glory, that you can be more than satisfied by simply gazing at them.

To take a bite would interrupt the perfection, wouldn’t it? That’s what I told myself the other morning anyhow, after spotting this gorgeous dream cake, and realizing that even my body couldn’t handle such a sugar shock before 9am.

11

Nov

Isn’t this image stunning? It was taken by my fashion photography idol Bill Cunningham of NY Times “On the Street” fame.
Although this photograph was used in a compilation about the daring, we-mean-serious-business boot trend in sweet Paris at the moment (there have been murmurs stateside, too) what I found so arresting was the trench coat.
Clarification: not the trench coat, but how it’s being worn. Because there is no doubt that this chic, smiling for Bill, Parisienne is wearing that trench—it isn’t wearing her, not even by an inch.
And of course, one can’t help but appreciate the fact that this lovely, tailored piece—whose predecessors were created merely to keep raindrops at bay—is so stunning, it requires its own protection.

Isn’t this image stunning? It was taken by my fashion photography idol Bill Cunningham of NY Times “On the Street” fame.

Although this photograph was used in a compilation about the daring, we-mean-serious-business boot trend in sweet Paris at the moment (there have been murmurs stateside, too) what I found so arresting was the trench coat.

Clarification: not the trench coat, but how it’s being worn. Because there is no doubt that this chic, smiling for Bill, Parisienne is wearing that trench—it isn’t wearing her, not even by an inch.

And of course, one can’t help but appreciate the fact that this lovely, tailored piece—whose predecessors were created merely to keep raindrops at bay—is so stunning, it requires its own protection.

08

Nov

Hair Miracle? Here's Hoping.

Have I told you the tale about my poor, fried mane? How after going blonde this summer, for the first time ever (blondes might just have more fun, after all) I ponied up the big bucks to have a keratin treatment, also known as the Brazilian Blowout, and soothe my poor, processed hair follicles?

Well.

The Brazilian Blowout essentially toutes itself as the America of hair products; give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses of hair, longing to be free from damage and frizz, and lack of shine, it coos. My stylist told me that after the treatment, I wouldn’t have to blow dry my hair, ever again—or, until the treatment wore off anyway, which was an average of three months. As someone who has unruly half-straight, half-wavy hair, blow drying has been my only savior. Sea salt sprays, suggestions of “oh, just twist and rub a little product at the ends—so easy!” and other “tricks” have left my hair matted, frizzy, and far, far from anything remotely sleek.

So, after hearing my stylist gush, and googling Brazilian Blowouts (Nicole Richie is a fan), I decided to go for it, and plunk down far too much money than is wise for my dream hair.

Well.

While rinsing out the treatment, my usually chatty stylist became very, very quiet.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Just a second—I’ll be right back. I need to check something." A phrase you never, ever want to hear your doctor, dentist, or stylist utter.

Long story short: soon three stylists, including the salon’s owner, were crowded around my now towel dried head, frowning. This has never happened before, they exclaimed. They called the Brazilian Blowout manufacturer, and they had never heard of this happening, either. Lucky me.

What happened was this: either the product or the extra hot flat iron used to seal the product in proved to be too much for my over-processed hair, and it was fried. And by fried I mean absolutely, positively ruined. Large patches of hair were curled into sad nests of frizzy doll hair. It was obscene. Apologizing profusely, they sent me home with a gentle flat iron and a bag of products they hoped would help to mask the damage, and didn’t charge me for the treatment. Obviously.

There was nothing to do but wear my hair up, and I have become incredibly creative with bobby pins over these past six months.

Since my hair can’t handle regular color, I have been using temporary at-home color, and crossing my fingers. The results have left much to be desired; flat, boring color that fades super fast.

I decided to take to the internet in search of a solution, and stumbled upon these glazes by John Freida. Oodles of magazines sing their praises, and so I think I’ll give them a shot. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you? And maybe a toe or two, too.

XO Miranda

07

Nov

600 Thread Count Sheets On Sale? Yes, Please.

So, I have become minorly obsessed with Nate Berkus, since seeing an interior design spread he did in Glamour magazine, using items for his own line. It was, in a word: perfection.

The only place to get your hands on his wares is HSN.com, which was easy enough. The only thing I was miffed by was the shipping charges; each pillow I ordered cost an additional $5-8 in shipping and handling, as did the sheets. Oh, the sheets. The amazing sheets.

I ordered these 600 thread count puppies, not realizing how much they would change my life. Do you know how important it is that your bed be a haven? A wonderful, silky smooth haven of yumminess?

Well, you will once you cover your bed in these. There’s no turning back. And, at around $65 (including the sheets AND the pillowcases, which I was very pleased about), Mr. Interior Design Adonis has made it possible.

06

Nov

Oh, great. See this? This is the nutritional content of the only thing that I have been mildly interested in consuming these past few days while marooned on my couch, sneezing and coughing incessantly.
To my credit, I have been adding in a daily vitamin boost, an immunity boost, and a super 3G boost (it sounded fancy), but still—108 g of sugar? Almost 800 calories? Did I mention that I had two of these yesterday?
Leave it to me to pick the least healthy item at Jamba Juice. It’s just like my uncanny ability to always be drawn to the most expensive item in a magazine spread. I’m like a bloodhound for things that are bad for your thighs and wallet.

Oh, great. See this? This is the nutritional content of the only thing that I have been mildly interested in consuming these past few days while marooned on my couch, sneezing and coughing incessantly.

To my credit, I have been adding in a daily vitamin boost, an immunity boost, and a super 3G boost (it sounded fancy), but still—108 g of sugar? Almost 800 calories? Did I mention that I had two of these yesterday?

Leave it to me to pick the least healthy item at Jamba Juice. It’s just like my uncanny ability to always be drawn to the most expensive item in a magazine spread. I’m like a bloodhound for things that are bad for your thighs and wallet.

05

Nov

Hey! Did You Know It's National Novel Writing Month?

For 30 days and 30 nights, seasoned writers and newbies alike will join together in the pursuit of writing their novel. 1 month, 1 novel.

I’m in. Are you?

04

Nov

Although Newman’s Own microwave popcorn is perfectly delicious sans accoutrement, there are times when I like to spice things up, and a bit of fresh ground pepper and sea salt does the trick.

Although Newman’s Own microwave popcorn is perfectly delicious sans accoutrement, there are times when I like to spice things up, and a bit of fresh ground pepper and sea salt does the trick.

Alice in Wonderland

Ok. So, I didn’t exactly provide you with moment-by-moment Phish fashion coverage, as promised. Frankly, I was distracted. Not just by the surprising amount of edgy looks, fringy boots, and hair strand-thin metallic headbands worn high on the forehead (they were a revelation), but by the experience itself. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, but was in a meticulously cared for polo field, surrounded by vegetarian food vendors as far as the eye could see, rather than a rabbit hole. Did you know that when thousands of glow sticks sail above your head simultaneously, it looks like fireworks? Amazing.

Now, about the fashion. Although I neglected to snap photos of all the goodness I was seeing, I was fortunate enough to be traveling with some of the most inspired, fun dressers I know: my friends.

Natalie’s shimmery bronze Nike high tops were a highly coveted item by all, and looked even better next to Leanne’s shiny blues:

Halloween was amazing, and the costumes were terribly clever. Taryn and Leanne went as My Little Ponies, and pieced together their costumes from wig shops, random stores, and the shiny leotard mothership: American Apparel. They even carried along matching combs, so people could comb their hair and tails. Genius, and adorable:

Yours truly went as a peacock, and used a shimmery vintage blue dress as my base, then added on a homemade tail made with a ribbon, glue gun, and peacock feathers. I found a perfectly jaunty hair comb with feathers galore, and added little fingerless lace gloves:

30

Oct

Phish Out of Water Outfit 1: it’s the first day of the festival, and I’m ready. Sparkly Toms? Check. Giant faux amethyst ring? Check. Looking forward to the upcoming Phish fashion!

Phish Out of Water Outfit 1: it’s the first day of the festival, and I’m ready. Sparkly Toms? Check. Giant faux amethyst ring? Check. Looking forward to the upcoming Phish fashion!

29

Oct

And, we’re off. My husband and I are heading to Palm Springs for the weekend. We are…wait for it…going to a three day Phish festival. For those of you who know me well, jaws off the floor, please. I know, it’s shocking. However, we’ve rented a house with a pool, so no camping will be had. Paul is a huge fan, as are a group of our friends, who like Paul, never struck me as fans. But, everyone says there is something to it, and I plan to investigate, and by investigate I mean be the Bill Cunningham of the desert. Keep your eyes out for fashion shots galore.

And, we’re off. My husband and I are heading to Palm Springs for the weekend. We are…wait for it…going to a three day Phish festival. For those of you who know me well, jaws off the floor, please. I know, it’s shocking. However, we’ve rented a house with a pool, so no camping will be had. Paul is a huge fan, as are a group of our friends, who like Paul, never struck me as fans. But, everyone says there is something to it, and I plan to investigate, and by investigate I mean be the Bill Cunningham of the desert. Keep your eyes out for fashion shots galore.