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Archive for the ‘Things That Make Elleen Happy’ Category

I have, like many of you, been burning up Sade’s latest album, Soldier of Love. Her music is as ageless and eternally classic as she is. Really. It’s not quite fair that one person should be allowed to be so beautiful and talented. But it’s ok, because I love her.

After downloading her latest collection, I went and uploaded all my Sade CDs (yes, CDs – the last time I bought Sade music, there was no iTunes!) on the iPod so I could revel in her entire catalog. While I don’t think she’s ever released a bad track, there 10 songs – well, 11 really – that I think are truly her best. Indeed, they are among the best songs recorded by anyone, ever. So to change things up, I’m doing the Jukebox as a Top 10 list.

Sade’s Top 10 (well, 11) Tracks (according to me!):

10. Never As Good As The First Time

So cool, so funky, but still classically Sade. And aren’t the lyrics the truth?!

9. Smooth Operator

Remember the first time you heard this track? It was like nothing you’d ever heard of before, right? And then remember seeing the full-length, epic video for it on VH-1 (back when they showed such things) and thinking that this woman was possibly the coolest chic ever? Yeah, me too. Don’t let anyone tell you 80s music is all crap.

8. Kiss Of Life/By Your Side

Ok, this one’s a tie for all the same reasons. While Sade is at her best singing about longing, or pain, or hurt, or forlorn love, she can also do a simple beautiful happy love song very, very well. Both of these are examples, and I couldn’t possibly pick one over the other.

More smoothness after the jump =>

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Yaytim!I can die happy now. Yesterday, I spoke to Tim Gunn.

Now, it wasn’t exactly over lunch at the Da Silvano. It was at a shopping mall in Virginia surrounded by a couple hundred other people. Still, it was a magical moment for me.

Let me back up. I heard that Tim Gunn was coming as part of a post-New York Fashion Week event at a mall about 20 minutes outside of Washington DC. I LOVE Tim Gunn. Really. When I sit at my sewing machine, working on some garment and look at it in a conflicted way, I wish I had Tim there to say to me: “Kim, the work on the bodice of this dress is really stunning. But then we get down to the shape at the hip area and I get very woeful. You have a lot left to do…” Really. These are the things I imagine.

So although I don’t often venture that far out into suburbia for any reason, of COURSE I would go see Tim! I put on one of my own designs (I wanted to be standing in the same room as Tim Gunn while wearing something I designed and made with my own hands!) and headed out.

The trip was not without some road bumps. First, I went to the wrong mall. How was I supposed to know Tysons Shopping Center and Tysons Galleria were two different things?!

When I got to the correct venue, I was already running a bit late (Tim was supposed to come out at 1 p.m. and it was about 12:47 p.m. – barely enough time to elbow people out of the way to get a good vantage point). Then I take two steps on the beautifully waxed floor of the mall, which is quite fancier than the first, and my ankle twists and I stumble. I do not fall, luckily. But about three paces later the strap on my left Steve Madden Mary Jane went “Snap!” and off my shoe went. The strap was broken. The shoe was also impossible to walk in. Oh, this will not do in front of Tim Gunn, people!!

So I hobbled into a shoe store, grabbed the first pair of pumps I could find in chocolate brown, and begged for a pair in my size. Luckily they had it, and I did a quick switcheroo, handed the store clerk my Visa, and ran out as fast as I could. I still don’t know how much the new shoes cost. I will look later.

So I run over to where the first fashion show, hosted by Mr. Gunn, is being held and it is just about to get started. I find a spot right behind a bevy of photographers at one end of the runway and get ready. I feel the blisters already start to form from my new shoes. But it doesn’t matter, because Tim comes out!

(Yeah, no idea why the pictures look bad. Think my camera was on the wrong setting. I was too star-struck to notice). Tim was so cool, and graciously thanked all the people who came out (surprisingly, I counted only about 75 people in the VIP seating area, and maybe another 80 to 100 in the standing-only area with me. And about 50 more people gathered on the second floor to watch from above and he thanked them too!

Timcrowd

He commented on the fashions in the show, exchanged witty verbal volleys with the other host (no idea who she is – wasn’t listening), knew all the models by name, and he looked impeccable as usual! I loved his gray suit with cranberry tie. I’m convinced he was born in a perfectly-tailored suit.

Timbanter

He was even interactive during the fashion show, helping a model off with her jacket (from her reaction, this was not rehearsed) and helping her put on some blingy jewelry and pumps to take the look from day to evening.

timdress

He did the same thing with another model, wearing what was my favorite dress in the show – a hot little Juicy Couture number.

Timjuicy

At the end, he even did a Q & A with members of the audience. At first, I was too timid to raise my hand, so I just listened to the other questions. My favorite:

“Are you going to do your style show anymore?” one woman asked.

“I used to do a show, as some of you may know, called Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style on Bravo!” Tim said. “I loved doing the show. But Bravo!’s not speaking to me right now.”

Ok, I thought to myself, it’s now or never. I motioned to the microphone-wielding, well-dressed woman taking people’s questions and she motioned back that I’d be next. “We have time for just two more questions!” the blonde lady standing next to Tim said and a woman began another question. I’d be the last one!

When my turn arrived I remember Tim looking at me. I did not take a picture at this moment, but he looked a little like this:

Tim2

And I was thinking: “OhmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodOH.My.GOD!!!”

I think I asked something like this: “I’d like to know what advice you would give someone trying to open a little fashion design business as a second career.” Yes, I know it’s, like, my fourth career, but the details aren’t important.

Tim’s first words spoken to me: “You are brave!”

He was kind, truthful, blunt, and encouraging. He told me to be prepared to work about three times harder than I expected to (I already am! But glad to know it’s not just a sign that I don’t know what I’m doing!).

Then he asked me if I am actually making garments myself. I froze for a second. Did he say something to me? OMG, Tim is asking me a question!! OMG! OMG! The microphone lady was gone, so I had to shout from my vantage point of about 20 feet away that I make all of my own stuff myself.

He told me to be a good student of fashion – know what my customers want, know my competition, and know what how to select the proper price points. And at the end, he said:

“You are brave; it’s a tough, tough time in fashion,” he said. “But I commend you, and I wish you the very best of luck.”

I was so thrilled. He didn’t comment on my dress (he commented on some other people’s outfits, all positively). But I chose not to believe that he hated it and was simply following the “if you don’t have something nice to say…” rule. Because then I’d die.Just die. Not happily. But other people who talked to me afterwards (several people said to me later that day in the mall: “Oh, you’re the designer!”) and I got lots of compliments on it.

So there you have it. I got fashion design biz advice from Tim Gunn! It was one of the coolest effin’ things to happen to me. I went home, finished a dress for one client and met with two more, excited and invigorated. I’m ready to Make. It. Work!

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pryay!Are you as excited about the return of Tim, Heidi, Michael, and Nina as I am? Want my thoughts on every twist and turn of tonight’s three-and-half-hour Project Runway extravaganza as it happens? Well you’re in luck, cuz tonight I will be LIVEBLOGGING THE WHOLE THING right on this very blog!!

After all, I’m qualified to give an opinion, right? Well, not really, but that’s not stopping me. We’ll start at 8pm with the Project Runway: All Star Challenge (and I can tell you now I’m rooting for Daniel. Go Daniel!! Chloe Schmloe – you were robbed, Daniel! ROBBED!!I may root for Korto too. And Uli, but mostly Daniel. GO DANIEL! I digress…) Then the main event: The Project Runway Season 6 premiere!!! Yay!!! Then stick around for my thoughts on what could either be absolutely fabulous, or absolutely dreadful: Models of the Runway.

Just a few notes ahead of time: Please excuse my typos. There will be many. They are not a reflection of my intelligence, my sewing ability, or how seriously I take my liveblogging responsibilities. They have more to do with the fact that I’ll be tired and possibly a little tipsy.

Also feel free to chime in the comments section. Let us start a fashion dialogue. Let me know what you think about the show, the designers, Santino’s return, Christian Soriano’s absence, the ridiculous Lifetime commercials – anything! I want to bring people together in judgment.

So set your TiVos for the Real Housewives of Atlanta so you can watch that hot tranny mess another day, and join me tonight at 8pm. Make it work! Oh, and bring your own bottle of vino – I’ll need all of mine!

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It just occurred to me that I neglected to share who I chose to replace Jason Varitek on my “list!” So sorry!

I know I put it to a vote, and that y’all picked Gerard Butler. He’s a hot hottie, don’t get me wrong. But in the end, I decided on an nice yummy piece of Hamm instead.

mmmhamm

That is not the only reason I cannot wait for the new season of Mad Men, which premieres in almost three weeks. It just helps. Talk about Mmm Mmm Good.

In the meantime, you can Mad Men yourself on the AMC website. Of course, the scene I set should come as no surprise:

madmen_widescreen

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Moving sucks. I hate it. More than almost anything.

Don’t get me wrong – I love getting a new fresh start in a new place. But the sorting through of things, packing things, throwing away things, losing things, repacking things, unpacking things, not being able to find things, breaking things…it all sucks rocks. All of it. Ugh. Alas, I will be going through this process for weeks. Maybe months. Uuugh.

So it goes without saying that I need some music to get me through today’s packing nightmare. On my way home from work today, the iPod was on shuffle, and Freedom by Wham! came on. A big ol’ bag of awesomeness.

Geroge MichaelI knew what I needed. A George Michael mix. Yes, he may be better known now for doing dirty things in rest stops. Whatever, I don’t care about his personal life. I’m about the music.

I put all my George Michael and Wham! tracks on in an On-The-Go mix, put it on shuffle, and this is what came out, in its entirely. Sweet!

UPDATE: This morning I learned that somehow, 10 years ago, without my knowledge, GM made a duet of Stevie Wonder’s As with Mary J. Blige. MARY J. FRIGGIN’ BLIGE!!!! How did I not know this?!?! Oh, this must be added to the playlist:

I Want Your Sex, Parts I &II, George Michael. Oooh, remember how George had to do the disclaimer at the beginning of the video saying the song was not about casual sex? When it’s totally about casual sex? Yeah. Oh! And remember when the radio used to bleep out the word “sex” in the song? Like “I want your [bleep] is so much less suggestive? The ‘80s were a trip, man. But this song is a classic. Cuz sex is natural. Sex is good. Not everybody does it. But everybody should!

Oh, and check out George’s real-life girlfriend at the time! So you think she was a beard, or just clueless?

I Want Your Sex, Part III (A Last Request), George Michael. This is my favorite GM song of ALL TIME. Hands down. So cool. Love the trumpet solos. Super, super sexy. Best thing ever.

A Different Corner, Wham! Sappy sentimental song that I hated at the time it was out, but love now.

One More Try, George Michael. I sang the wrong lyrics for so long, that when I learned the correct ones, I couldn’t accept them. So I still sing the wrong lyrics. “And teach us better things that I don’t want to learn.” Those are my lyrics and I’m sticking to them!

Where Did Your Heart Go? Wham! I love this song – if only for the mental visual of sharing a rusty can of corn with George Michael down on the wharf. For the record, I left my heart down in Mexico. (OMG how CUTE is Andrew in this vid?!?! *Swoon*!! I loved him for years before I started crushing on George. Oh, yeah – and how did this video not make me realize that George was totally and completely gay?!? I mean, that dance during the saxophone solo!!! Hel-lo!?! I had the worst teenage gaydar on earth.)

Everything She Wants, Wham! “Ahhh-ha (Ahhh-ha) Ohhh-ho (Ohhh-ho) Ah-haaa (Ah-haa) Doo doo doo, la la la la la…”

Monkey, George Michael. The only possible good thing that could come from dating a drug addict is being able to write a kick ass song like this.

Blue, Wham! Ok song. I wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham! As much as I love ‘80s music, I have a confession to make: I hate this song. I don’t think I’ve listened to it of my own volition in 20 years. It’s on my iPod out of obligation – how can you have Wham! on your player without this song? It could come in handy at a party or something. Or when you are drunk with friends. I’m sober now, so we’re hitting the FF button…

I’m Your Man, Wham! OMG, I totally forgot about this jam! I love when my iPod surprises me. Good good, stuff. So much better than the Go-Go crap.

Hard Day, George Michael. I friggin’ love this song! “Bang! Bang! You’re dead. Couldn’t we just make love instead? Say yes cuz it’s what we do best, and I’ve had such a hard day.” Lyric writer deserves an award.

Kissing A Fool, George Michael. I like this song because it shows that GM is actually  talented vocalist. And it’s fun to sing.

Faith, George Michael. I don’t care that he plays for the other team, or that he grew to hate this video and the ripped jeans and leather jacket (he burned them in his video for Freedom ’90). He looked friggin’ hot! My crush on who George used to be will never die.

Edge of Heaven, Wham! OMG, I am finding all kinds of stuff I forgot was on my iPod. This never comes up on shuffle, which is a shame, because this song is my joint! “There’s a place for us in a dirty movie, cuz no one does it better than me and you!”

Mother’s Pride, George Michael. I played this often in the early years of the war on Iraq. So sad.

Too Funky, George Michael. Remember when he used the supermodels in his videos? Ooooh – check out the young Miss Tyra! Oh, and Beyonce dear: You think the motorcycle-inspired getup that you wear on your tour is original? Or that robotic glove thing? Um, yeah – you might want to think again, girlfriend!

Father Figure, George Michael. I find it impossible to hear this song and not sing every word out loud. Loudly.

Freedom, Wham! The song that started this playlist! Not to be confused with Freedom ’90, George’s solo hit. Completely different. Although both are awesome.

Last Christmas, Wham! I forgot about this one! It’s June, though, for goodness sakes. I gotta hit FF! Love the song though. Just gotta wait until November.

Battlestations, Wham! OMG, this song kicks ASS! “You won’t pick up the phone. Why lie to my face? (When you can buy a tape machine that gives me bullsh*t in your place!)”

Freedom ’90, George Michael. Words to live by. “All we have to see is that I don’t belong to you, and you don’t belong to me. Yeah, yeah!”

Careless Whisper, Wham! Leave it to the iPod to leave the best for last. This just wants me to get out the red strobe light, put on my neon socks and baggy sweatshirt, and slow dance with somebody in my middle school gymnasium. Because to the heart and mind ignorance is kind. There’s no comfort in the truth. Pain is all you’ll find. Classic, classic, sh*t right here. Now let the saxophone solo touch your soul.

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FLOTUS flowerThis picture just made me happy today, so I thought I’d share.

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I realized this week that my “Kick-Ass Chick” list was in dire need of an update. I mean, my favorite woman ON THE PLANET wasn’t on there! Sheesh! So I have added four names to the list. (Sorry, none if them is Beyoncé. Nope.)

mrso2Michelle Obama. HOW could she have spent a second NOT on this list, right? From now on, she is the KAC by which all other KACs are measured. I love, love, LOVE her, and I love that the whole friggin’ world loves, loves, LOVES her. She is a rock star, exemplifying how being a well-educated career woman, a devoted partner and mother, and a fashionista (budgetista even! J. Crew? Holla!) are not mutually exclusive propositions.  Behind Beside the great president is a great woman, indeed! Even the Queen of England hugged her! Cuz she kicks ASS!

katewinsletKate Winslet. From her Oscar-worthy performances, to her endearing emotional response to winning awards – even in the face of snobby criticism, I realized this year how big a fan I am of this lady. Oh, and her performance on Extras shows that she is a friggin’ riot to boot. Awesome.

tilda2Tilda Swinton. Aside from being one of my favorite character actors out there – I will see anything with her in it, even if I know nothing about the film – I love Tilda for being the most fearless fashion icon out there right now. Like I said before on this blog, she somehow manages to embrace the most avant guard side of fashion while simultaneously giving a loud “Eff you!” to it. And it works. Amazingly! I think she is stunning and awesome, and she is my fashion hero.

Bethenny Frankel. Reality television is a vehicle that bethennycan make even the most accomplished, normal, respectable person look like a lunatic. It’s all about the editing. Yet somehow, Bethenny looks like pillar of witty, well-reasoned grace on this season of the Real Housewives of New York City. Every episode leaves you wishing she were your friend and that you’d chat with her over cocktails this weekend. She’s the quintessential no-bullshitter New Yorker that everyone wishes they knew. And how she puts up with the loonies on that show, I will never know.

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