Friday, August 28, 2009

A Delicious Dessert

Fruit Kabobs with Balsamic Glaze (from Whole Foods Market)

This isn't healthy and is incredibly indulgent, but is definitely delicious!

Balsamic Glaze:

1/2 C. Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 C. Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. fresh mint or basil leaves
1/2 tsp. salt

Fruit kabobs:

1/2 honeydew, cut into 1" wedges
4 firm peaches or plums, cut in 4 wedges
1/2 ripe pineapple, peeled and cored and cut into 1" pieces

Preheat grill. To make glaze: gently boil the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes to reduce. Watch carefully to make sure vinegar doesn't scorch. In a small bowl, combine the reduced vinegar with the butter, honey, mint/basil, and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Set aside.

Thread fruit onto skewers and brush lightly with the balsamic glaze. When fire is mediu-hot, grill fruit in batches on a lightly oiled grill rack, turning one, until browned and slightly softened, about 5 minutes total. Serve fruit on skewers with additional glaze on the side. Vanilla ice cream optional.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Francky L'Official

I'm calling it now. Francky L'Official is the new, younger version of the great Frédéric Fekkai. His fresh look, creative ideas, and innovative designs are perfect for any person, event, or occasion.
Early in his career, Francky L'Official joined renown coiffure Jacques Dessange as Artistic Director of his Paris Salons. Educating Dessange stylists throughout the city, Francky made a name for himself developing creative teams of stylists to take part in the conception and creative design of fashion events. After overseeing many fashion shows, Francky was awarded the prestigious Mondial Hair Show award.

A growing demand for Francky's expertise brought him around the world and after many years of experience he found himself in New York. During the Fall of 2005, Francky established himself at Salon a Deux, which he lent his name to soon after. As Artistic Director of Francky L'Official Salon, he brings his creativity and inspiration to New York's fashion world adding his own style.

Several years after arriving in New York, Francky has begun to make a name for himself. And with a product line due to be launched, Francky is poised to become a mainstay in New York for years to come.

Hair is always an incredibly important part of fashion and style. So I asked Francky to weigh in on the subject.

Thirsty.Threads - Who encouraged you to get into the salon/hair industry?

Francky L'Official - Nobody… I studied medicine for 2 years and wasn’t happy so I decided to follow my instincts and do something creative. I first tried makeup but my heart wasn’t in it so I then tried hair and instantly fell in love with my career .

Thirsty.Threads - Where do you seek creativity and inspiration?

Francky L'Official - My inspiration comes from looking at every day people on the street. I love to sit outside of cafes and watch people. My best ideas have been inspired by real people - not models.

Thirsty.Threads - Which city has the most creative and best overall hair?

Francky L'Official - Paris, London and Italy. Peoples in those cities are very creative and are not afraid to take risks.
Thirsty.Threads - What styles and trends do you see for the upcoming fall/winter seasons?

Francky L'Official - Wavy hair with extreme volume " le pouffant ".

Thirsty.Threads - Who is your favorite celebrity to style? Who would you like to work with in the future?

Francky L'Official - I have really enjoyed working with Kate Beckinsale and Bethenny Frankel because they are so much fun. I would love to work with Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron in the future. I think they have fantastic style.

Thirsty.Threads - What tips can you give the every day person for having healthier, more luxurious hair?

Francky L'Official - Don't wash your hair every day. You should only wash every 2 or 3 days. Also, apply a mask to your hair once a week and leave it on overnight.

Thirsty.Threads - What can we expect from your product collection?

Francky L'Official - Because of the natural ingredients in every product, my line will not only leave your hair feeling and looking healthy, it will actually BE healthy, unlike all of the other products out there that have nothing but chemicals in them. It also smells better than anything else out there right now.

Of course, Francky is in high demand. Book an appointment well in advance. It's worth every penny.

1117 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10028

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cole, Rood & Haan

Cole Haan is releasing a new collection of shoes and small leather goods under the "Cole, Rood & Haan" name beginning this month. Originally selected to appear in just two CH stores and through the company's online site, the collections will have a definitively vintage, edgy characteristic. I'm so excited to see the younger, trendier, more interesting collections presented. With emphasis on style, quality, and design, I'm sure they'll all be stellar. And from what I hear, they're incredibly comfortable, too.

I'm imagining a John Varvatos meets John Lobb at a Chicago jazz club in the 1920s, picks up a trunk of shoes, flashforward to 2009, reworks those vintage shoes with a modern twist, and BAM - Cole, Rood & Haan.
Here are some photographs I've found this far. And rest assured, as soon as I own a pair, I'll post my photographs as well.

UPDATE: Just learned the collection will be first sold exclusively at Cole Haan's NYC Columbus Circle location and Bridgeport Village, just minutes from Portland, Oregon, and of course online.

I die for Rachel Zoe

Rachel Zoe's second season started this evening. And I must say. That bitch is amazing. Fashion forward. Unforgiving. Addicted to working for the perfect look. Passionate. Persuasive.

When looking at Cameron Diaz, whom she styled in head to toe Chanel, at the Golden Globe Awards, she said, "That dress was like in my womb for 9 months and I birthed it myself at the Golden Globes!"

And it's true. Who else can say that they asked Mr. Lagerfeld to alter one of his creations?!

From red carpet dressing to design collaborations, advertising campaigns to editorial shoots and runway shows, stylist Rachel Zoe is the go-to force among “It” starlets, fashion houses, beauty firms and magazine editors looking for a dose of effortlessly chic style. Zoe’s strength lies in a commitment to bringing out the best in the individual women she works with, including many of Hollywood’s A-list leading ladies.

Zoe’s own signature look – bronzed, sexy and wrapped up in Seventies-tinged laidback glamour – has rubbed off on well-known women and a few fashion collections alike. The Los Angeles Times noted the obvious influence of Zoe’s signature style on the runways, designers across the globe rely on Zoe for her fine tuned eye and Women’s Wear Daily traced Hollywood’s new look to Zoe’s own style.

October 2007 marked the launch of Zoe’s first tome, “Style A to Zoe” by Grand Central Publishing, a stylebook filled with insightful tips and observations by Zoe, her designer friends and star clients. The book encompasses everything glamour when it comes to home décor, jet setting, entertaining and, of course, getting dressed. “Style A to Zoe” was released in paperback domestically in September 2008 with Russian and Korean language editions to follow internationally. It was also included in the very prestigious, New York Times Best Seller List.
Zoe is continuing her mission to make fashion attainable with a full line of affordable accessories and faux fur that will debut on QVC this fall. The line encompasses jewelry, bags, shoes, hats, scarves, sunglasses, and faux fur.

She’s also entering her fourth year as a contributing editor and consultant for, Gap Inc.’s online shoe and handbag destination.

Rachel has been on countless “most influential” lists from virtually every domestic and international fashion and financial publication. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious industry awards including The Fashion Group International’s 2006 Fashion Oracle Award, the Accessories Council 2006 Fashion Influencer Ace Award and Hollywood Life Magazine’s 2006 Star Stylist Award. also named Zoe one of the “10 Most Influential Women of 2006.”
Rachel is continuing to expand her business endeavors with the second season of “The Rachel Zoe Project,” which will be premiering August 24th on Bravo.

Zoe and her husband, venture capitalist and new-media entrepreneur Rodger Berman, reside in Los Angeles.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Skinny Girl and her Margarita!

I love Bethenny Frankel. Maybe you've read her best-selling book, Naturally Thin. Maybe you've laughed at her witty comments and entertaining mannerisms on The Real Housewives of New York. Maybe you've read one of her many articles from The New York Times, The New York Post, or People Magazine. Maybe you've seen her at a famous horse racetrack. Or maybe you don't know her at all.

Regardless, you should! She might be a skinny, fashion loving, good time havin' New Yorker, but she knows how to make a drink!

The Skinnygirl™ Margarita On the Rocks
What you'll need:

2 oz of Clear Premium Tequila (count 1, 2 while you pour, no need for measuring)
Tiny splash of Orange Liquor
Juice of 4 Fresh Lime Wedges

Combine all ingredients over a glass of ice and garnish with a lime wedge

Makes one serving

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Plenty of Plaid in Paris!

This fall/winter, I'm loving plaid. Micro plaid replaces the multistripe oxford under a suit for the office. Wool, tartan plaid skirts spice up the evening. Woven plaid purses and totes bring elegance without opulence. Even Burberry has updated their iconic check pattern with the most amazing giant sized scarves in the smokiest grays and purples.

St. John Knits has a beautiful interpretation of plaid this season with elegant knit shells, blouses, and skirts. Very chic. Etro, king of all things patterned, brings plaid in a bold, expected manner. Marc Jacobs has plaid wraps; Theory has plaid tunics; Chole has playful plaid trenches.

For men, we see a plethora of plaid shirts - from the very casual button front in madras, to the very formal plaid tuxedo shirt. From Michael Kors' plaid track jacket to Gucci's plaid dress shirt to a surprisingly subtle Etro tonal plaid jacket, we see plaid everywhere.

With every trend and seasonal style, be sure to make it your own. You don't want to try too hard, you don't want to get lost.

Some plaid looks I love:



Cole Haan

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wheatgrass Shots

Being healthy is always en vogue. Making healthier decisions regarding food, exercise, and your overall well being can be easy, when you have a little bit of information. For example, as disgusting as it tastes, I try to have a wheatgrass shot a few times per week (usually 3-4 total). My fabulous Whole Foods Market has a juice bar, and I conveniently get my healthy dose whenever I'm picking up my favourite organic produce and healthy snacks.

Everyone's heard about all of the great benefits of wheatgrass, but what are they specifically? One of the best things about wheatgrass juice is that it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream and gives you immediate energy!

Wheatgrass is an energizer . The vitality obtained from wheatgrass juice is remarkable. Two ounces of fresh juice equals 3 pounds of organic vegetables in vitamins and minerals, or the equivalent of two cups of coffee. All you need to do to feel the amazing benefits of wheatgrass juice is drink two ounces of it! You'll feel refreshed and energized throughout the day.

Wheatgrass juice is nutritious . Wheatgrass juice contains most of the vitamins and minerals needed for human maintenance. It is a whole meal and a complete protein with about 30 enzymes and is approximately 70% crude chlorophyll. Wheatgrass is also an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulphur, cobalt, and zinc.

Wheatgrass juice is a body builder. It is very high in enzymes and chlorophyll. It contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is an important body builder. The chlorophyll molecule closely resembles that of the hemin molecule, the pigment that combines with protein to form hemoglobin. The major difference is the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium as its central atom, and hemin contains iron. The molecular structure of these two substances is almost identical in all other respects. It builds the blood. Wheatgrass juice has been proven to build red blood cells quickly after ingestion. It normalizes high blood pressure and stimulates healthy tissue cell growth.

Wheatgrass cleanses the body. The many detergent factors of wheatgrass juice will drain the lymph system, which carries away many toxins from body cells. When an imbalance exists--sore tendons and joints, degenerative disease, etc--there is a natural build-up of mucous in the lymph in that area. Wheatgrass juice will break down the mucous and allow it to drain. Wheatgrass is a powerful cleanser and may start an immediate reaction with toxins and mucus in the stomach and thus may cause nausea. Chlorophyll will bring toxins stored away in cells or fatty tissues into the bloodstream. Start with a 1-ounce serving and work up. Drink on an empty stomach. Keep refrigerated and drink the same day.

Wheatgrass juice is a wonderful aid in weight control. The starch of the wheat berry is stored energy which when converted to simpler sugars is a quick energy source. It is especially good for athletes because it is a juice and assimilated in 20 minutes. Wheatgrass picks up 92 of the 102 minerals in the soil and contains all vitamins science has isolated. Because one ounce of juice equals two pounds of produce nutritionally, it naturally shuts off the appestat in the brain. It helps in weight control. The nutritional value of wheatgrass Juice is so high that many people don't feel those "cravings" that lead to overeating.

Wheatgrass juice helps stop the growth and development of unfriendly bacteria. It acts to produce an unfavorable environment for bacterial growth, rather than by any direct action upon the bacteria themselves. Water-soluble chlorophyll inhibits the action of proteolytic bacteria (which break down protein into simpler substances) and enzymes.

Wheatgrass juice, which is high in beta-carotene, can contribute to a reduction in the risk of developing some kinds of cancer. Dr. Chiu-nan Lai, Ph.D., at the University of Texas Cancer Center, Dept. of Biology in Houston, Texas has determined through using the Ames Bacterial Mutagenicity Test that chlorophyll is the active factor in wheat sprout extracts, which inhibits the metabolic activity of carcinogens. A 20-year study of 20,000 telephone company workers has found that a natural ingredient in carrots and leafy green vegetables significantly reduced the risk of lung cancer in cigarette smokers. They determined that a diet high in beta-carotene negated the bad effects of 30 years of smoking. The National Cancer Institute reports that 19 of 21 studies over the years have indicated diets high in beta-carotene contribute to at least a 40% risk reduction in developing some kinds of cancer.

Chlorophyll, found in Wheatgrass juice helps in rebuilding the blood stream and reducing Anemia. Studies on various animals have shown chlorophyll to be free of any toxic reaction. The red cell count has returned to normal within 4 to 5 days of the administration of chlorophyll, even in those animals that were known to be extremely anemic or low in red blood cell count.
When chlorophyll is taken internally (wheatgrass juice), it reduces or eliminates body and breath odors. Studies show that it is effective in neutralizing odors in the mouth from food, beverages, tobacco, and metabolic changes (halitosis). It also effectively neutralized odors from perspiration due to physical exercise, nervousness, menstrual odors, etc.

Chlorophyll is beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases and first and second degree burns. The bland soothing effect of chlorophyll (wheatgrass) ointments are very beneficial to the treatment of various skin diseases involving the outer and underlying layers of the skin. For first and second-degree burns, the use of chlorophyll has been established as an outstanding aid. Sunburn can also be alleviated by the use of chlorophyll ointment at the time of exposure. This can reduce discomfort, and possibly infection, to a minimum. Applied after severe sunburn, it has the same gratifying results as on regular burns. The same can be said of X-ray burns. Chlorophyll can also reduce or eliminate foul odor associated with burns. Instead of using ointments, you can drink wheatgrass juice for all of the benefits of chlorophyll.

Wheatgrass can help to eliminate dangerous chemicals in fluoridated water and found on fruits and vegetables. One ounce of wheatgrass in a gallon of fluoridated water can turn the fluorine into harmless calcium-phosphate-fluoride compound. Used in wash water it adds softness to the face and hands. In the bath, it is most soothing. It stops bleeding, itching, and helps sores and pimples to heal. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contaminated by sprays were thoroughly cleaned and the negative food transformed by wash water with a wisp of wheatgrass placed in the water.

Chlorophyll is effective in clearing up your Sinuses. Chlorophyll packs inserted into the sinuses had a drying effect, clearing up congestion, and gave immediate relief. Congested head colds were cleared up within 24 hours. Regularly drinking wheatgrass juice can help eliminate and fight off colds!

Taking a few healthy steps now makes for a longer, happier life. Consider the alternatives. Make better decisions now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dior Fall 2009 shoe, Free Origins Lip Gloss

Loving. This. Shoe.

Christian Dior's Drape Bootie
• Black calf suede with tonal snake-embossed leather trim.
• Goldtone hardware.
• Knotted, draped front.
• Zip back.
• 3 1/2" goldtone stiletto heel.
• Made in Italy.


And on another note - with every order at, receive a complimentary full-sized lip colour. Offer valid through 18 August. Click here for all the details.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Designer Roses?

For those of you who don't know, my Mother died in April 2007. The day she was diagnosed with terminal brain and lung cancers, I put in my notice at Christian Dior, packed up my house, and moved in to my parents house to help take care of Mom, be there to help Dad, and to help be the glue to all of the relationships that my Mom kept together. Not that our family and friends weren't close before, but her being sick really brought us even closer together.

While I was home taking care of her during the day, I needed things to keep me busy. I've always been relatively active, and I knew I had to stay busy with other things to keep my sanity. So, I began taking care of Mom's roses. You see, we live right on the water, so our soil is very nourishing and plentiful. We have two gardens, one on each side of the house in the back yard. One of English tea roses, and one of hybrid roses - 13 bushes in total. Each morning, after Mom had her medicine and breakfast and was taking one of her many daily naps, I'd go out into the yard to tend her roses. Every day, I'd trim any brown spots or unhealthy leaves, individually water each bush, fertilize and treat each bush on a regular schedule. Whenever there were rose blooms, I'd cut them and bring them inside to her. I'd have her smell the roses, and tell her how great her rose bushes were doing. I knew it made her happy, not only because she'd say so, but because she'd smile and light up when I brought in a freshly cut rose.

Flowers have always been a huge part of my Mom's life. She was a wonderful gardener, and loved receiving flowers. My Dad would often bring her flowers home from the supermarket. Just because. When I moved away to college and work, I used to send her the most amazing bouquets of flowers from B.Brooks. (And subsequently, now when I send flowers to other women in my life, from B.Brooks of course, I always get this sensation like Mom is with me even more than normal.)

When I moved away to college, Mom's first birthday while since I had been out of the house fell on a Sunday. Church is very important to our family. So, I woke up very early that Sunday, drove to the florist, had an arrangement made of beautiful flowers, carnations, and Calla lilies, and made the 2 hour drive to our church, where I surprised Mom with flowers. I'll never forget the look of excitement and surprise on her face, as I walked in with the bouquet of flowers.

Before my Mom died, we all had the most meaningful conversations with her -about anything and everything. One time, my parents were talking about heaven. Mom knew she was going to heaven. Dad asked her how she was so sure. And Mom said, "When I get there, I'll let you know." Well, the day after Mom died, Dad went for a very routine bicycle ride. But something more than just routine happened. There, in the bike lane, was a pink silk rose. Dad stopped, picked up the rose, and knew. Mom was where she was supposed to be. She made it.

Every year on her birthday and the anniversary of her move to heaven, I've planted new roses for her. The first anniversary, I bought two roses bushes for her gardens. I didn't know what kind they were - but they looked healthy and I wanted them. When I got home and planted the bushes, I realized they were Christian Dior roses. Since then, I've also planted a beautiful antique rose bush.

Whenever I work in Mom's roses, I don't just think of her, I'm with her. It's not a weird sensation. But it's very different. And no matter where I am in life, whether I'm in her gardens at our family home, or if I'm in a garden somewhere else, I know that she's with me. The day is never too important, too hectic, or too stressful to stop. Smell the roses. And be thankful for the day.

And yes, even my roses are designer. Just stop and smell the Christian Dior roses!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

what I'm loving right now

-- military inspiration

-- big sweaters (turtlenecks, cardigans, shawl collars)

-- fitted vneck sweater

-- boots, boots, boots

-- purple, navy, gray, white, red

-- bracelets

-- tone on tone colour

-- animal prints

-- rocker chic and motorcycle jackets

-- metallics

-- modern fitting, classic inspired trench coats

-- perfect, premium denim

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bahamian Magic Hands

I must tell you. Normally, I'd never associate a "relaxing and rejuvenating spa experience" with a "shopping center". But, after the experience I had at The Backrub Store at the Cordova Mall in Pensacola, Florida, my views just might be changed. And it's all thanks to Janet and her amazing hands and talents.

When I was visiting a fraternity brother for a few days, we were completing all the errands and tasks he wanted to finish before heading back to Asia. While we were on the quest for finding new prescription glasses for him, we stopped into The Backrub Store. Having worked for Origins for a handful of years, I recognized the store by it's Aveda retail space. (For those of you who don't know, Origins and Aveda are sister companies under the Estee Lauder umbrella of beauty brands.) My fraternity brother's skin was peeling from an unplanned sunburn, and he wasn't thrilled about the concept of sitting for 18+ hours on a plane with an itchy back, so an exfoliating treatment was in order. And as for me, who doesn't love a good sports massage?! So, we booked our appointments for that day. I was only slightly entertained/taken aback when the receptionist asked if my brother and I were "a couple", but that's another story.

When we returned for the appointment, I knew I was in for something good. Janet, my masseuse, had this instant aura that was very apparent. Calming, relaxing, and incredibly compassionate, Janet's zest for life and total wellness are unique and perfectly suited. Professional, poised, and perfect, the massage was amazing. From the foot exfoliating treatment before, to her closing remarks in the retail area, Janet is the woman for all of your relaxation needs.

I'm not sure how many of you will ever be in Florida's panhandle region. But if you are, you must call Janet. Her Bahamian Magic Hands are sure to win you over. And yes, you can get a relaxing massage in a spa-like environment. Even in a shopping mall.

PS - on a completely unrelated subject - I can't get enough of these Korean pop superstars. Here's their English video, and here's the original Korean version.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Military Fashions

It's been an incredible week so far. One of my awesome fraternity brothers and friends has been stationed at a US Army base in South Korea for several months, and was home in Pensacola, Florida for a short visit. I wanted to show him how much I appreciate his friendship and let him know that our friends support him as well, so I made the 7ish hour drive to see him for a few days before he returned to the Orient. Needless to say, we had a great time, and of course snuck in some amazing shopping time as well.

You see, I'm much more supportive of the concepts of Military than the average citizen. My Father is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and served a couple decades as an officer. In the '70s, he was a flight instructor. One of the planes he flew (not just the model type, but the actual plane) is currently in the National Museum of Naval Aviation. So of course, I had to make a special trip to the museum and visit "my Dad's plane".

Above, my fraternity brother stands in front of "my Dad's plane". He'll probably be either slightly embarrassed, slightly upset, or slightly nonchalant that I'm including his photograph and highlighting his fashion sense, but I must commend him for several concepts so perfectly demonstrated. First, notice the casual elegance of the shirt: sleeves, casually rolled up and suitable for the hot, humid Florida summer weather; a few buttons undone, allowing for the perfect, relaxed fit; and of course, breathable cotton fabric to naturally keep the body cool and fresh. Khaki shorts, complimenting the blue shirt, fall a few inches above the knee - not too baggy, not too tight either. We've seen this trend of a more tailored short for men in magazines and runways for several months now, but it's even more comforting and realistic to see a trend so flawlessly executed without being pretentious or not genuine. It also helps the look that he has great calves!

While in Pensacola, I had lunch with a very close friend of mine. A few years older than I, growing up I always looked up to what J was doing. Accomplished scholastically and professionally, charismatic, and a multi talented athlete, J had a very distinct fashion sense as well. Now an officer in the US Navy's Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, I couldn't be more proud of my friend.

In just two days, I saw a plane that my Father flew as a flight instructor, spent an amazing time reconnecting with a fraternity brother who is serving as an Officer in the US Army and currently located at one of the northern most US bases in South Korea (North Korea just scares and depresses me, to be honest), and had lunch with another great friend who defends and provides legal and policy advice for the US Navy.

I know most people in the fashion industry aren't in tune with their country's military. Especially as a young person, we often are disconnected with war, serving in foreign lands, and sacrificing for freedom and protection. But spending time with actual people, especially friends, really brings the mission of military close to home.

Throughout the history of fashion, military has always been a huge influence. From Burberry's famous trench coats, to epaulets on John Varvatos' shirts, I love incorporating a military aesthetic into my everyday. Maybe it's because I'm nostalgic for my childhood and the fact that I associate family and military often together, or maybe it's my way of honouring those who have or currently serve.

And Spring 2010, I know the colour of choice will be "army" or loden green. Let freedom ring!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The last-minute summer slim-down

It's never too late to get in shape. The healthier you become now, the better your life will be. Here's a great guide from August's US edition of Detail Magazine. Some of the tips might seem a little outlandish - like having abs "spray tanned" on to your body, or trimming your chest hair to different lengths. But many of the other tips are very easy and successful to jump starting your healthy appearance, and ultimately, your healthier lifestyle. After all, being healthy is always en vogue!

How to lose weight—or at least look like you have—by next weekend

By Yaran Noti and Katie Hintz

1. Create an optical illusion

Doing crunches and push-ups is one way of getting ripped, but why not let $75 clippers and a mirror do the trick instead? Some judicious grooming can give you the appearance of having spent the past few months at the gym. "For accentuating the chest and de-emphasizing the torso, clip the torso hair shorter and leave the chest hair a little longer,' says Craig P. Wern, a New York–based professional groomer. This will sharpen the line under your pecs and create a faux-natural contrast. Also, leaving a thin line of hair down the center of your body may give the illusion of some ab definition. For the less hirsute, it may be easier to have your six-pack painted on: Spray-tan experts can airbrush the appearance of defined abs, chiseled arms, and solid pecs. The color will last up to a week—although swimming-pool chlorine will eat away at it. Another downside is that airbrushed abs will work only if you've already shed most of your excess flab. "Putting it on a chunky guy won't do anything, but on somebody with some definition, it can really make his muscles look bigger," says Jeff Bozz, cofounder and owner of Sunset Tan in Los Angeles.

2. Dress Right

Simple styling tricks can make your trunk look slimmer and your shoulders look quarterback-broad. "Tuck your shirt in," says Tim Gunn, chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne, Inc. "An untucked shirt's silhouette makes you appear to have more volume. Stay away from cuffed pants—they make you look shorter and squatter. And any garment with the word cargo before it adds undesired volume." If worse comes to worst, there's always shapewear—a.k.a. a man girdle. Brands like 2(x)ist offer underwear with a six-inch band that will mask your spare tire—albeit temporarily. "Shapewear is a marvelous solution for tucking in the otherwise untuckable," Gunn says. "Just make sure that the undergarment comes up to the bottom of your rib cage—otherwise it will just push the bubble upwards and outwards."

3. Control Your Calories

A short-term crash diet comes down to simple math. You need to burn about 3,500 calories to shed one pound, so if you have two weeks and want to drop 10 pounds, you're going to have to find 35,000 calories to eliminate (2,500 per day). A low-calorie, low-sodium diet of brown rice, quinoa, kale, Brussels sprouts, and baked tofu should drop a pound here and there, but a severe regimen may be the only way to shed significant weight. Starvation diets don't work in the long run—and detox routines are not designed for weight loss—but, according to Peter Glickman, the guy behind, the average man loses 16 pounds in 10 days on the plan, proving that you'll lose weight if you don't eat. "You can eat basically nothing for a week and lose five pounds," says New York nutritionist Charles Passler. "But you'll lose extra water and muscle mass, not fat." It's not going to be easy, but, while you're suffering, keep your eyes on the prize—it's only a few days before you can pig out at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

4. Jump to It

A jump rope burns more calories than a treadmill and works your entire body. Michael Olajide Jr., a former WBC Inter-continental Middleweight Champion and cofounder of Aerospace High Performance Center in New York, suggests hitting the rope twice a day for at least three minutes each time. Running stairs, hiking, and sprinting bring similarly speedy results, says L.A.-based Equinox trainer Michael Carson. "You should always be engaging your core and the large muscles of your hips, glutes, and thighs," he says. "These areas will maximize calorie burn."

5. Train Like Tom Brady

For a quick overhaul, it's best to work several major muscle groups at the same time, Carson says. Lunges, squats, and balance exercises are ideal, especially when you focus on form and duration rather than speed. If you have time to target only one body part, make it your shoulders. "They build very fast and can give you a tapered-waist effect, which makes you look better in a shirt or suit," Carson says. Just remember to rest for a day between workouts to give your muscles time to recover and build

6. Go Easy with the Scissors

A haircut before your trip isn't just about looking clean-cut—it can make your face appear slimmer if you don't take too much off. Curly or straight, side-parted or spiked up, hair type and style matter less than making sure you don't whip out the clippers and give yourself Buddha cheeks with a buzz cut. "Don't get your hair cut too short," says Beverly Hills stylist Ryan Crupi. "Creating height on the crown of the head and length over the nape of the neck creates an egg-shape look that thins the face." But for guys who are losing their hair, leaving it longer will make it look more meager, so the choice is yours—you can look thinner, but you'll also look balder.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

About to go Postal

I don't know why, but the postal service has been on my mind lately. Here are a few of them, in no particular order:

a) I love my postal delivery guy. He always smiles and waves as he drives his little truck past our house. Maybe it's because I'm one of the few people who is actually home when the mail is being delivered, and I happily await his arrival. I love getting mail. Maybe it's all the catalogues and sales fliers and thank you notes for being the best client at store X. Who knows, but I love mail.

b) There are the most random people who work at my neighbourhood postal office. There's the angry Asian guy who always looks like every customer is interrupting his terribly mundane and miserable life. And the bigger football player type guy who has one eye that shoots one way and another eye that shoots straight forward. This is terrible - but I never know which eye to look at, so I keep "eye contact" with the bridge of his nose to play it safe. Then there's Miss Phyllis - she's my favourite postal lady. She always smiles and laughs when I see her. Maybe it's because I'm in a good mood when I go there to mail off my packages or buy my stamps, or because I'm in a good mood, or because I actually care and ask how her day is. Who knows, but I love Miss Phyllis and always pray that I luckily get her as my postal agent.

c) I absolutely hate when magazines stuff those stupid subscription cards into the pages of my periodicals. Several years ago on National Public Radio or something, my Dad and I heard about "The Great Credit Rebellion", where you were encouraged to send back those business reply mail envelopes from credit card solicitations stuffed full of other junk mail. This way the credit card company had to pay an increased rate for your envelope of junk, and they got the hint as to what you thought about their unsolicited solicitations. Not only do I do that, but I also send back the handful of subscription renewal postcards from my magazines - blank - every single time. I look at it like I'm giving extra work and support to my postal service, and I'm sending a message to my magazine companies. I can understand having a page of attached subscription cards that don't fall out - you know, so when I do recycle my magazines to friends and family, if they choose to have their own subscription, they could just rip a card out and send off for their subscription. But those stupid cards - no bueno.

d) when I was in middle school, one of my friends Christopher used to always wear a Post Office baseball cap. I thought it was kind of dumb. And I don't know why I still remember - but I do.

e) finally, I think it's a little ridiculous that, in 2006, the postal service was making a huge profit, and now, in 2009, they're magically in a huge debt. I've heard the idea that mail will no longer be delivered on Saturdays. Or the rate to mail letters and packages is going to go up, yet again. I'm not happy about that.

I faithfully use the postal service, even when it's more convenient to stop by my neighbourhood FedEx Office store and just drop off a package - I go to the postal office. I dutifully buy stamps, and send more than my fair share of Hallmark cards to friends and family. I do not want the rates to go up, and I better still get mail on Saturdays. After all, there might be something in a new catalogue that I just have to have and must order straightaway. Maybe I'm just a little too old school - but I much prefer shopping from a real catalogue than ordering online. Maybe it's the human interaction I get from my brief conversations on the telephone with the phone order department, which you obviously don't get when you shop online. But regardless, I like it. And for that, I can not apologize. So my friend, do your part. Send a card to Grandma. Mail a check to American Express. Order a new magazine subscription. And support your local postal service.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tokyo's best shoping - Omotesandō 表参道

Omotesandō (表参道) is an avenue, subway station and neighborhood in the Minato and Shibuya wards in Tokyo stretching from Harajuku station, the foot of the famous Talesjota Street, to Aoyama-dori where Omotesandō station can be found. Zelkova trees line both sides of the avenue. Around 100,000 cars drive down the main street daily.

Omotesandō was originally created as the frontal (表, Omote) approach (参道, Sandō) to the Meiji Shrine, when the Shrine was dedicated in the Taishō era.

My favourite part of Omotesandō is the shopping! From the multilevel flagship Dior store, to Chanel, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton's largest store filling five entire floors of monogrammed goodness, to more affordable Gap, Zara, and others. And as if I didn't love Zara enough - in the very same building is a massive Gold's Gym! Omotesandō is also home to the famous Japanese toy store Kiddyland and the fabulous Takashimaya department store. The avenue is definitely like Paris's Champs-Elysees or Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive. Dotted with trendy cafes, delicious eateries, and the most exciting people watching ever! Keep your eyes out for the traditionally entertaining Harajuku girls!

Plan on spending a few days in this fabulous shopping district - so much culture, fashion, and style to soak in! Tokyo might just be one of my favourite cities ever. Always en vogue!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

cut your nails!

Ok. I must tell you a story. I just went to an office supply store to buy some school supplies I was donating to my neighbourhood elementary school. While I was filling my cart with crayons, markers, glue, scissors, and other crafty and educational necessities, I saw the most disgusting thing I've seen in a while. A "gentleman" was reaching into the same bin full of glue sticks as I was, and as I glanced over at his hand, I noticed the longest, dirtiest fingernails I've seen in quite some time. I mean: absolutely positively without a doubt disgusting.

Now, I could understand the rationale of dudes having long, thick claw like nails if we still lived in jungles and hunted animals and gathered wild nuts and berries. The ability to instinctively protect yourself with razor sharp nails from primal animals and wild cats would be understandable. But we were hunting SCHOOL SUPPLIES, not protecting ourselves from wild beasts.

And, to top it off, said "gentleman" with hawks talons for hands also wore sandals - exposing the most primitive, fungus tainted toes I've seen. For the love of God, people! If the nails on your toes are long, discoloured, fungus ridden, or anything other than healthy and well kept - KEEP YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS ON! No one wants to see, smell, or worst of all, accidentally get touched by such disgusting excuses for toe nails.

Maybe he was going to audition as some side show freak at the local carnival. I don't care what his motive or rationale was - it was disgusting and uncalled for.

So, my friends, listen to me. And listen clearly. Whether man or woman, young or old, stylish or tacky, do us all a favour - maintain your hands and feet. Whether you opt for the professional manicure/pedicure, or choose to exfoliate, moisturize, and trim nails and cuticles at home - you've got to put your best foot forward.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a look I love

I really love the look of wearing multiple bracelets. And I love, even more, the concept of mixing and matching textures, materials, price ranges, and designers. So when the opportunity comes to do both, it's a match made in heaven.

Here's a picture I found from GQ's sartorialist:

Maybe it's the guy's sculpted hair, perfectly tied tie and artfully folded pocket square, or his expert pairing of colours and patterns, but I'm especially loving the bracelets. The mixture of yarn, precious and not so precious metals, and colours is amazing. It's the perfect mix of whimsical style with classically tailored appeal.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

fashion + cocktails + Seattle = M+O!

For everyone in or near Seattle, Washington (or those of you who're planning to really live the thirsty.threads lifestyle and are jet setting to the Pacific Northwest), Martin + Osa is hosting a cocktail party at their Bellevue location on Thursday, 6 August from 5-8 in the evening. Guests will receive an exclusive 30% off all purchases, enjoy complimentary appetizers and cocktails, and shop to the sounds of a live DJ. Be there, or be (Bellevue) Square!