New York in the Spring (and a great book for the plane)

Marni and I are heading to the city tomorrow for a girls’ weekend and photo booth spree. I’ve never seen New York in the spring. I want to go to the flower market and buy lilies of the valley in homage to Nora Ephron and You’ve Got Mail. (Best New York movie ever, to me.) Helpfully, the city also publishes a guide to monthly blooms. We have big plans for walking, experimental theater, sophisticated art shows, and window-shopping.

Follow our adventures on Instagram, if you’d like (@JaimeeRoseStyle). Here’s what’s going in my carry-on:

Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings is the big, buzzy book of the moment, and I’m biting. It’s about being a teenager at summer camp. I love living in books that remind me of being a teenager in the summer.

Have you ever been to New York in the spring? What was your favorite moment?

By |2013-04-03T08:19:42-07:00April 3rd, 2013|Style|0 Comments

Four Good Things to Read (and Nora Ephron’s pineapple milkshake)

1. I inhaled Jacob Bernstein’s piece in The New York Times last week about his mother, Nora Ephron, heroine without peer. Mr. Bernstein, she would have been so proud. My favorite part of the story:

Another thing she requested was a pineapple milkshake, so Max brought one from Emack and Bolio’s, made from fresh pineapple. But as far as my mother was concerned, a milkshake is one thing that’s actually better with crushed pineapple. Dole.

“When I get out of the hospital, I’m going to go home and I’m going to make a pineapple milkshake with crushed pineapple, pineapple juice and vanilla ice cream, and I’m going to drink it and I’m going to die,” she said, savoring the last word. “It’s going to be great.”

Read his story here.

2. And if you went on a Nora shopping spree after her death, as I did, only to find out-of-print titles, two classics have been reprinted in a single tome. Find it here.

3. In the new Vanity Fair, Craig Brown writes a little skewered ode to Downton Abbey that I loved particularly for the  spot-on dialogue he offers for each of the characters that have invaded our lives. (And after that season finale, I’m never watching it again. Perhaps.)  Vanity Fair’s Downton trading cards are here.

4. Ann Leary’s The Good House just moved to the top of my nightstand pile and boasts the best name of a character this year: Hildy Good, who is a New England real estate agent-alcoholic-witch. I’ve heard that reading it requires a couple bottles of wine and perhaps a housekeeper to come later. (Hildy quote:”Alcoholics, hoarders, binge eaters, addicts, sexual deviants, philanderers, depressives — you name it, I can see it all in the worn edges of their nests.”)

Have you read anything good lately?

 

By |2013-03-12T05:41:45-07:00March 12th, 2013|Stories|0 Comments

Writing is the worst job in the world, Junot Diaz.

Writing is self-taunting, mind-aching, perfection-added punishment. It doesn’t pay well. It ruins your sleep, weekends, manicures. Also, all of the writers I know are at least 11 percent insane.

Junot Diaz is one of the best writers to come along in the last couple of decades. He has a Pulitzer, and his new book, This is How You Lose Her,  was shortlisted last week for the National Book Award. I hate him, because I want to be him. (Also, most writers hate each other at least half the time.)

The New York Times Magazine interviewed him for its Inspiration issue. It helped and entertained me immensely to read about the battles of a master. (Also, the book is coming home with me from City Lights in San Francisco. I’m just starting it, but I’m pre-ordained to adore.)

NYT: How did the writing go?

Diaz: Miserable. Miserable. The stories just wouldn’t come.

Did any of the stories come easily? “Miss Lora” was the absolute easiest. I tried to write the first page maybe a dozen times in the last decade, and I would never get past that, so I never wrestled with it too much. And then one day it just hit, beginning to end.

That must have been a good day. It was the only good day I had in this whole book. The thing is, you try your best, and what else you got? You try your best, really, that’s all you can do. And for me, my best happens really so rarely. I was so always heartened by people like Michael Chabon who write so well and seem to write so fast. Edwidge Danticat writes really well and really fast. I was always heartened by them. I keep thinking one day it’ll happen. It might.

Find the entire interview here. In the printed version that came to my doorstep, there were curse words. I appreciated that particularly.

By |2012-10-16T05:35:11-07:00October 16th, 2012|Stories|1 Comment

Patriotic and classic books that will make you feel smart and look pretty

I am always excited to find a beautifully bound series of classic books to read and love first,  and then admire forevermore. My decorating clients all come to believe in my doctrine: books make a house feel like a home. They also make the place personal and tell your story. (And yes, I am a journalist, and a stylist, and a decorator, and little frazzled these days.)

Two new discoveries from a recent spin through Barnes & Noble:

These black-and-white paperback versions of America’s founding papers are new from Penguin, just in time for election season. The series of six includes the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Lincoln’s Speeches and Supreme Court Decisions. About $10 each at Barnes & Noble.

Wouldn’t that be a fantastic presence in a home with kids learning about our country?

Also, the covers are letterpressed. Yes. Penguin knows women today.

Second discovery: Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets — tiny little books in bright colors and gorgeous cloth underneath. Kipling, Dickinson, Frost, Keats, Browning — all present here.

And Rainer Maria Rilke, of course — who penned one of my favorite lines, as a reporter and lover of confidences: “I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”

I brought home a few mini volumes in gray for my house:

Pretty, aren’t they? $10 to $12 each.

P.S. I’m sure you already know about the famous brightly-hued Penguin Classics series designed by Coralie Bickford Smith (seen below), but I love particularly her series titled “The F. Scott Fitzgeralds.” I love him to distraction.

P.P.S. Did you know his name was really Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald? Indeed.

By |2012-10-04T08:05:58-07:00October 4th, 2012|Style|0 Comments

A Party at Prada, and three weekend ideas (free cake!)

Prada Scottsdale hosted a chic soiree last night to celebrate its opening and the return of the Valley’s shopping weather. The invitations were gold-rimmed, the waiters were all male models, and even Larry Fitzgerald turned up. I went full-scale-delusional-autumnal-outfit: tights, boots, a dress, and a silk blouse. That’s hot, my friends, in the least lovely way possible. Also: I’m so sorry I didn’t take a photo of the waiters. (Yum, with apologies to my fiance.) Here’s a peek inside the very pretty-peopled party,  and keep reading for a new restaurant and book to try — plus free Tammie Coe cake today:

I had big eyes for the Prada jewelry collection. And the furs.

I’ve been stalking these sunglasses for months. They make me feel like Audrey Hepburn standing on Fifth Avenue with coffee and a croissant. Ah, the stories we let the movies tell us about ourselves.

My friend Britony, in the best necklace of the night.

Above: great shoe-watching. Below: the stylish girls of The Agency AZ — Margaret Merritt, right, Ginger Murphy, at left, and local Kelly Mittendorf, the worldwide face of Prada, in the center. Kelly just flew back from London fashion week. Ahem.

Ginger has a fantastic fashion blog and is a dear friend. It was her idea to take the above photos of shoes – thanks, pony!

I love this studded, beaded collar SO much.

Prada’s new boxes are baby pink and gold.  I want enough to fill my entire closet.

Sales from the evening benefitted Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Puddinn’ took the opportunity to see about a new handbag and some smoking slippers that I am going to steal from her closet in the night.

The store is now open in Scottsdale Fashion Square. Go and say hello – but do not take the last pair of my sunglasses, OK? And now to the weekend …

WEEKEND IDEA No. 1

Local birthday cake goddess Tammie Coe is having her own birthday on Tuesday. To celebrate, she’s giving out free birthday cake to everyone else today — and this isn’t just any other cake, my friends. It’s Tammie’s crack cake, which she says is her “most favorite dessert of all time . . . It is a flourless chocolate cake with a chocolate custard that tastes like ice cream.”

The first time I tried it, my eyes rolled back in my head and I said naughty words. Get your free cake today at both Tammie Coe locations: the studio on 40th Street and Campbell in Arcadia and the cafe on 7th Avenue and Roosevelt downtown.

WEEKEND IDEA NO. 2

I’m a chef stalker, and Matt Carter is one of my most beloved targets. He’s the man behind The Mission and Zinc Bistro. His latest just opened this week: The House, a brasserie in Old Town Scottsdale with Mediterranean overtones that is just so pretty. I’m excited to try roasted Jidori chicken, wood grilled crab legs, butterscotch pudding (yessss) and caramel apple upside down cake. Sit outside – because tomorrow is the FIRST DAY OF FALL!

WEEKEND IDEA NO. 3

I’m an Ian McEwan fan, and his new novel Sweet Tooth is reputed to be among his best. It’s also about readers, and words, and I’m besotted already because I stumbled onto this quote from the book in a review:

“My mother told me she would never forgive me and she would never forgive herself if I went off to read English and became no more than a slightly better housewife than she was.”

The book follows the story of Serena, a student at Cambridge in the ’70s who joins a spy operation and falls in love with a writer, seduced by his words.

I’ll be spending Sunday in virtual London, in love.


By |2012-09-21T08:16:46-07:00September 21st, 2012|Style|0 Comments

Book love: J.R. Moehringer’s Sutton

I read the last line of my friend J.R. Moehringer’s new book Sutton while seated next to him, after dinner, piles of copied pages from Kinko’s in our hands. He’d been saving the last bit, he said, because he wanted to watch me read it. And so I turned his pages in my lap, and when I got to the last sentence, my  hand flew up to my chest. I looked up at him, mouth open, eyes wet. I looked back down, read it three more times, as slow as I could.

And then I think I hit him.

It’s been since The Great Gatsby days of college since I’ve finished a book and found a sentence that made every page before it click together like an arrow aimed straight for my heart — a message that changed the way I think about love.

I hit my friend J.R. because it just wasn’t fair, his book was already brilliant enough. And he’s had a Pulitzer already. And a best-selling memoir, The Tender Bar. And it’s tough to be friends with someone like that, who also happens to be my favorite person to talk to, about anything.

Sutton is a historical novel  about one of the greatest bank robbers of all time, Willie Sutton, and it’s set in New York back in the ’20s, when men wore suits on the street just because they could. Willie was a writer, a romantic, and a bank robber who could steal, but never kill. It’s also a book about American heroes and evil banks, rose gardens and satin shoes, and burying little sacks of money in Central Park. But mostly it is about love.

J.R.’s parade of praise has begun. Amazon says the book rivals The Shawshank Redemption. This week,  Sutton was featured in The New York Times in a story about the literary heavyweights of the fall season.  And I’ve had that last sentence dancing around in my head since the night I read it.  I think about it every time I look up and see the moon.

Sutton hits shelves Sept. 25, and if you pre-order it now, maybe it will even come early. Send me a note when you’ve finished — because then, you’ll know.

J.R., above, and Sutton in the New York Times, below. I like seeing my friend J.R. in the company of Tom Wolfe, Junot Diaz and Ian McEwan. That’s where he belongs.

 

By |2012-09-06T08:06:34-07:00September 6th, 2012|Stories|0 Comments

Rainy Friday leather jacket bliss

I woke to rain this morning– rain on the metal roof of our modern, boxy house. Yes, just like the Norah Jones song. It is a calm, constant sound that wants you to nestle back in against the pillows. I stayed in bed with my eyes closed for awhile and listened.

Then I came downstairs and thought about autumn — about leathery, warm things. I’ve been wanting them around me as harbingers of fall. It’s coming, and today it seems just on the brink. Here are the autumnal suggestions that I’m enjoying at home:

Above: my favorite leather jacket, an outdoor fireplace, and a view of Lake Tahoe earlier this summer. (Do you ever visit Tahoe? I love the patio at the Hyatt in Incline Village — and that it’s chilly enough in summer to reach for a jacket at night.)

I brought home this white leather biker jacket from Zara, South Coast Plaza. It was on sale, but their new biker jacket offerings are plentiful online. (Biker jacket: autumn must-have.) Also: unpacking leather jackets so they don’t become wrinkled messes — a Jaimee “Must Do.”

These collected books from my summertime wanderings suggest nestling by an indoor fireplace with cocoa and beautiful words. I brought Poems of the Sea home from the Hotel Del Coronado. The  vintage volume of Keats poems is from Powell’s Books in Portland, and the Webster’s Pictorial Dictionary was discovered during a fall trip to New York City with Marni.

School supplies: brass and horn-rimmed scissors from Lucca Great Finds in Seattle — an incredible Ballard-area shop that you have to visit if you’re ever in town. The gray-striped pencils are from the $1 bin at Michaels. The notebook is an old souvenir from Venice, Italy.

I discovered these vintage brass letters at Maison Luxe in Seattle — another destination shop. To me, the “IQ” suggests autumnal learning. It is also why I fell in love with Tyson, a smartypants anthropology major who wanted to read Emerson together on our second date.

Don’t you want to be going to college back east, in Connecticut, to a place where Ivy drapes off the columns of the library? Don’t you want to live in an episode of Gilmore Girls? Yes, me too.

Happy autumnal dreaming. What are you doing at home to celebrate the approach of the season? I really do love to hear your ideas.

 

 

 

 

By |2012-08-17T07:59:58-07:00August 17th, 2012|Style|0 Comments

Three Beach Books

I went on a seaside reading spree, which is surely the best kind. To me, a beach book requires two things: smart writing, so I feel as if I’m accomplishing something, and a plot so engrossing that I can’t stop, not even to go for ice cream. I have three new recruits to suggest for nightstands and beach bags alike.

(Tyson, reading in Coronado.)

First discovery: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which I picked up because it hit the top of the best-seller list, and then bought because I turned it over to find that my friend had blurbed the book on back.

I held my friend accountable for my purchase. “Nothing not to like,” he promised.

OK, I said.

Then, I read it in two days.

This book goes down easy, friends, a murder-mystery-modern-marriage-media thriller. It’s perfect beach fare. Also, Reese Witherspoon is already producing the adaptation.

Secondly, Three Junes is a book that’s been around awhile, and I feel sheepish for ignoring it this long. The thing won the National Book Award, and I dogeared page after page after page of sentences I want to memorize. And, it keeps you in it, all day long. The book follows a family across the years, checking in for three separate months of June. The last one ends in the Hamptons. This helps. I got mad at my poor fiance for talking to me while I read the last three pages. Yes, it’s that good.

Lastly, I finally finished Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table, after dragging it around for months. It’s been rained on, walked on, left in the sprinklers and filled with sand. Another sign of a good beach book: how bedraggled the thing looks at the end.

 

This book’s been through it all. It was as gorgeous as you’d expect from Ondaatje, who also wrote The English Patient. It’s set on a ship — a trio of boys crossing from Sri Lanka to London — and it’s about love, and comings-of-age, and hiding in rowboats at night. I adored it.

Tyson is reading The Catcher in the Rye, which he somehow missed in high school. “It’s really good,” he marveled aloud. And yes, it is. Now, he’s reading The Great Gatsby. I’m jealous that he gets to discover these treasures for the first time as an adult, but I have some stern words for his English teachers.

Now, I’ve started The Witches of Eastwick, commencing a John Updike spree, but I need more summer books for my stack. Can you recommend anything you’ve read and loved? I’d be grateful!

 

By |2012-08-01T06:56:07-07:00August 1st, 2012|Stories|0 Comments

Slip a fable under the tree, for me…

I like to give books for Christmas: tokens of adventure, learning, beauty, romance — all the loveliness of the world.

Hemingway: “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. ”

(The weather: tres important.)

I also like to get books for Christmas and usually spend the whole of Christmas afternoon lost in sentences and narrative and words. Some of my favorite volumes for sharing:

Let’s Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By. There are odes within to cuckoo clocks, bed curtains, and calling cards. I love my cuckoo clock.

Speaking of cuckoo clocks, I could have another. These are $68, SF Museum of Modern Art. I love the raw wood version. It comes in white here.

The clothbound Penguin Classics above are well-praised and loved already, but what I love is giving my friend Christina a few new volumes each year. We are building her collection.

 

Pictorial Webster’s is beautiful, and there are frame-worthy flashcards available now to match.

 

 

boxed set of J.D. Salinger‘s work — on my wishlist. It includes one of my favorite sentences:

“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a dam*n if she’s late?  Nobody. ”

 

Attracted just by the cover — but it’s also one of the best books of 2011: The Lover’s Dictionary, by David Levithan.

I forgot to tell you about the Crack Pie I had in New York at Momofuku’s Milk Bar. It is butter pie, people. BUTTER PIE. This cookbook has the cult-worshipped recipe, along with others worthy of extreme caloric sin.

For kids: I found this at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and went mad for it. There is a real hole through the entire book, which becomes so fun — the kind of book that also becomes a memory. Herve Tullet’s books are a good place to start..

And Ed Ruscha’s They Called Her Styrene — which is art and words and paint and modern West Coast culture by a modern-day artist who fascinates me.

I asked for this the minute I saw it:

Who doesn’t love maps? This is a gorgeously illustrated tome about mapmaking and the lore of the trail.

And lastly, because I love him so:

P.S. You can now comment below with your Facebook ID. A holiday miracle! It’s been too lonely around here for too long. Tell me about your standby gifts. I have a non-reading friend who is puzzling me.

By |2011-12-13T12:01:08-07:00December 13th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Words and letters and things I’m reading

Yesterday, at work, I received a nine-page letter from a prisoner. John McCain was carbon copied. These things happen  when you work at a newspaper.

My friend JR brought me The Submission for my birthday. He wrapped it in Vanity Fair covers that he patched together himself. That’s a good friend — a writer friend. (And, thus far, a gorgeous book, too. Add it to your nightstand.)

The Bergdorf Goodman Christmas windows have been unveiled in New York. I wish I was there to see them. The paper window is, of course, my favorite. Read about it on the BG blog, where you can see all the photos, too.

My friend (and Republic columnist) Ed Montini brought me his copy of A River Runs Through It after we had a talk about how writing is SOOOO hard. Here is Montini’s favorite paragraph:

“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things — trout as well as eternal salvation — come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”

Next, I am going to read this, hopefully by the light of the Christmas tree — which is my weekend goal.

By |2011-11-30T12:17:16-07:00November 30th, 2011|Style|0 Comments
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