Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Happy Halloween!

The Chairman of the Board is Robin Hood and most of the BeansTalk staff will be his Merry Men and Women and Chien!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a celebration of? And how did this peculiar custom originate? Is it, as some claim, a kind of demon worship? Or is it just a harmless vestige of some ancient pagan ritual?

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New year.

One story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was not to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes could relight their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was kept burning in the Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.

Some accounts tell of how the Celts would burn someone at the stake who was thought to have already been possessed, as sort of a lesson to the spirits. Other accounts of Celtic history debunk these stories as myth.

The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own. But in the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree.

According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally. But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

So, although some cults may have adopted Halloween as their favorite "holiday," the day itself did not grow out of evil practices. It grew out of the rituals of Celts celebrating a new year, and out of Medieval prayer rituals of Europeans. And today, even many churches have Halloween parties or pumpkin carving events for the kids. After all, the day itself is only as evil as one cares to make it.

© 1995-2002 by Jerry Wilson (from http://www.wilstar.com/holidays/hallown.htm)

Which Witch?


Should You Add These 8 Pieces To Your Closet This Season?

If you’re a BeansTalk regular, you know that we love Lucky Magazine. Maybe it’s because we’ve never worked for them and all girly fan-like over them, but it’s such a well-organized magazine, with the requisite photos and just enough info. They listed “The Eight Most Important pieces to add this season.”

The pieces Lucky shows are super way out of our budget (the long dress, for eg. Is $700; the retro suit $650, etc.) We’ve borrowed their ideas, but added our own suggestion (we’ve tried to stick to the affordable range, instead of the splurge/steal we profiled last week).

Corset. Lucky calls it utilitarian, but fiercely sexy. They show it over a long-sleeved top or turtleneck. Here’s our pick from Forever 21:

Embroidered Corset This embroidered spaghetti strap corset is what everyone's looking for. Features front hook closure, underwire cups with slight ruched detail, lace trim on bust and back line, ribbon waist tie, 50% polyester, 45% cotton, 5% spandex, hand wash cold, lay flat to dry, Imported ProductCode: 2030984649 List Price: $22.80

2. Sack Dress: They say: effortless, flaw-concealing, glamorous with platform heels and matte black tights.

We couldn’t find a version at Forever 21, but we did find this at Nordstrom.com: BB Dakota 'Inari' Shift Dress Clean-cut silhouette in flowing crinkled chiffon, topped with tonal velvet straps and bust. Approx. length from shoulder: 38". Lined. Polyester; machine wash. By BB Dakota; imported. BP. Item # 122090 price: $38.00

3. Retro Skirt Suit: They say curvy details, gathered waist on the jacket, high waist for the skirt. We say, go to Forever 21, and if these blacks match, you’ve got a great skirt suit for little $$

Foxy Jacket: Look like a fox in this stylish jacket! This v neck collar jacket features front faux flap pockets, front 3 button closure, and button accents on sleeves, 62% polyester, 34% rayon, 4% spandex, dry clean only, USA ProductCode: 2032947513 List Price: $29.80

Knee Length Skirt This attractive knee length classic is sure to be a favorite in no time! Back zipper closure, 23'' length, 6.5'' rear slit, 70% polyester, 24% rayon, 6% spandex, hand wash cold, line dry, USA ProductCode: 2032917714 List Price: $15.80

4. Long Dress: Lucky says it’s one of those shapes that makes you seem taller and leaner, they call it very Ali McGraw. Wear it with a stacked-heel boot and a super long scarf. We actually didn't find a lot of examples of it, although we suspect they're out there. We found this on sale at Bloomingdales.com. Winter-fyi it with a long-sleeved t-shirt and leggings.

Lynn Ritchie Crinkle Pleated Dress - Brown/Turquoise
Drop waist dress in crinkled silk habutai, fully lined. Pleated skirt with ruffle hem. This lightweight fabric packs easily and always looks great. Hand wash. Pulls on overhead. Catalog Item Number: 58717 Brown/Turquoise (20) or solid Black (09) 100% Silk Hand wash Misses' XS (2-4), S (6-8), M (8-10), L (10-12), XL (14-16). Imported Orig. $149.00 Now $59.99

5. The Peplum Jacket, “structure of a coat with the polish of a dress, spot-on counterpart to the season’s ultra-skinny pants and leggings.” They showed a very cool coat, but it was a Miu Miu that retails for $1,135.

This black jacket is very similar in style/effect…Wool Blend Coat Warm and cozy lightweight wool blend coat with velvet accented collars and buttons, 40% wool, 30% acrylic, 30% polyester, dry clean only, Imported... Forever21.com ProductCode: 2030982714 List Price: $49.80

Still expensive, but half the price of the original suggestion, Nanette Lepore Belted Coat: Camel, seen on model. Dog's ear collar; button front. Belted waist with frog closure( see it above). Side flap pockets with frog closures. Pleated sides. Long sleeves with belted cuffs. 44% polyacrylic, 28% polyamide, 20% virgin wool, 8% rayon. $540. NeimanMarcus.com

5. Addendum...Just so you can see what we’re talking about, here’s the original coat Lucky recommended Miu Miu Wool blend military coat $1135. It actually looked better on Lucky’s pages, on a model than it does here. At any rate…Dark green wool blend single-breasted military style coat with epaulettes on shoulder, a ruffle edged pleated seam at hip, a full skirt and three quarter length sleeves. Miu Miu coat has two button fastening patch pockets on chest, two button fastening flap pockets on skirt, a button fastening pleat on back and button fastenings on front.

6. Velvet Trousers. The way Lucky suggests: worn casually, almost like jeans, with a relaxed sweater and heels; decadently cool.”

While they’re still a little out of our own personal price range, these are more affordable than the Philiosophy Di Alberta Ferretti, $300: From Nordstrom.com … 7 For All Mankind® Bootcut Velvet Pants Woven velvet shapes a classic low-rise style, branded with tonal back-pocket embroidery. Zip fly with button closure. Five-pocket style. Approx. inseam: 35". Approx. rise: front 8"; back 12 1/2". Cotton/Lycra® spandex; machine wash. By 7 For All Mankind®; made in the USA of imported fabric. t.b.d. item # 64096 $176.00

7. Band-waist full skirt. They say it’s subtle volume and 60s-style chic, plays up the waist and great with something trim on top. We couldn’t find much of this style. The one they ran is a wool skirt by Alex Gaines for $395. We found one by Yves St. Laurent for $1k plus. We did find this, on Forever21.com

Banter Godet Skirt Charming knee length woven godet skirt with colorful graphic banter, ruched at the waist, 23'' length, side zipper closure, machine wash cold, tumble dry low, Imported.. ProductCode: 2031674670 List Price: $27.80

8. The final piece of the must-have puzzle is a Swingy Knit Top (sleek and fitted at the shoulder, flowy frm the chest down, this sweet little layering piece makes simple separates look totally new). They used Alexander Wang’s Cashmere Tank ($300) as an example.

From Forever 21: Spotted and Stripe Tunic Stylish spotted and strip tunic is great for any occasion! Gathered at the neckline, ruched below the bust, stripe patch pockets, 95% cotton, 5% spandex, hand wash cold, tumble dry low, USA. ProductCode: 2032687836 List Price: $17.80

Striped Knit Tunic Soft and stylish round neck knit tunic with oversized pockets and inverted stitching, 23'' side seam, 49% polyester, 49% rayon, 2% spandex, hand wash cold, hang dry, USA. ProductCode: 2032368174 List Price: $22.80

Nourishment for Your Mind and Skin: Avance

Ever wondered what products the aesthetic learning institutions use as they train future spa professionals? It is very possible that your favorite facialist or masseuse has used a line of skin care products called Avance while in training. The Academy of Aesthetics and Wellness, located in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, serves as the educational facility to one of BeansTalk’s new favorite spa lines – Avance.

Avance is an eduation-driven company that offers highly evolved curative spa systems and whose philosophy is to promote beauty through wellness. (Already we at BeansTalk are on board – who can deny the total mind/body health connection?) The spa system includes skin care, body care, and nutritional supplements, all of which are derived from elements from the earth and sea.

Their website explains: Drawing upon the curative power of land and sea plants, Avance is a complete beauty and wellness system that treats aesthetic conditions from the inside of the body out. While healing the skin, body and mind is an important element of Avance, conveying the message and methodology of wellness is equally important. Through education, Avance passes its philosophy and knowledge on to spa owners, estheticians and therapists throughout the industry granting them the power to serve as modern day wellness centers.

BeansTalk picked two items from their extensive spa line to feature for our readers as after bath or shower companions suitable for fall weather. They are the Azulen Day Crème, a rich day crème that locks in moisture, and the Essence of Algae, an after bath, before moisturizing body mist that feeds the skin.

We love the Azulen Day Crème because we found that it provides a protective barrier against makeup absorption, protects the delicate skin around the eyes, hydrates and soothes skin surface, while diminishing fine lines and puffiness. The key ingredients are:
Azulen Flower – Egyptian Blue Chamomile that calms and soothes
Seaweed Extract – purifies
Humectants – add moisture
Chamomile Oil – calms and soothes
We recommend this product as a daytime treatment for normal, sensitive or dry skin. The crème retails for about $33.00 for a 2 oz. bottle. ( We know it is a splurge, but you know you are worth it!)

We also highly recommend, for all skin types, the Essence of Algae. We are natives of beach communities here in LA and anything that reminds of natural ocean smells immediately affects the pleasure centers of our brains. We would use this body mist just so that we could “go home” again for a little while. In addition the mist infuses skin with marine minerals that hydrate, removes dead cells and calluses, and leaves skin soft and vibrant. Key ingredient – seaweed extract. The mist retails for about $31.00 for a 6 oz. bottle. Again, go for it.

Avancé products are available at www.avanceskincare.com or call 800.777.SKIN

-Andrea Goodwin, BeansTalk Associate Editor
Sparkling Stone

Actress Sharon Stone arrives at the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006. Stone wore Platinum jewelry by Neil Lane: a pair of ultra-long Platinum, diamond and ruby earrings, and a wide Platinum and diamond bangle. Stone wore a David Meister evening gown, a mocha metallic silk lame halter-style evening gown. We just watched the A&E Biography on Stone, and it was fascinating in that it actually revealed very little about her. That means that it was done with total cooperation (translate: she allowed herself to be interviewed on camera, which means she probably had say in editing and final cut). You did get glimpses of the fact that she seems pretty much of a whack job. Her sister, Kelly, spoke quite a bit about her and came off much, much nicer than she is person (which we have found her not to be). Stone is reputedly very smart. And she tells you that she always had her nose in a book. She’s also a tremendous humanitarian. Kelly will tell you, and so will Sharon herself. Stone carried Mary Norton's "Golden Globe" handbag, with white feathers and caviar beading. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Secrets of Discount Shopping

It’s been a long time since we shopped traditional retail. Still, we like to fancy ourselves fashionable (as long as it’s comfortable). So we have to be creative. And the way we’ve been doing that for a decade is because of
Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. And, occasionally, Loehmann’s

In terms of levels, Ross generally is considered “lower-rent,” but they’re also everywhere, or seemingly so. For the tenacious shopper (which we consider ourselves), you can find surprisingly good bargains. Like Birkenstocks? They often have them there, as well as Clark’s, Franco Sartos, Nine West.

In terms of clothes, the challenge is to find sets, coordinated outfits (those intended to be so), and truly good deals. We’re proudest of the jeans and cords we’ve gotten there. They retailed at Saks Fifth Avenue for between $115 and $165, and we got a pair of jeans there for $13, we also recently got some
Bella Elemento awesome velour-y cords for only $12.99 (in khaki and brown). They’re our favorite pants now. We have a couple of pairs of Bella Dahl, but they’re a little low-waisted to be the best. We got those at Ross, too.

So, the word is: they don’t only have jeans by Paris Blues, Tyte, Angels. They also have Levis for about $14.99, too.

At Loehman’s we got a couple of pairs of Bella Elemento for about $11 (seen in the image above). That’s right. They were at Loehman’s, which already has low prices, they were marked down and then there was an additional percentage taken off.

TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are closely related although we think that TJ Maxx is supposed to have a slightly higher-level product line.

We got several Root Travel Tins at Ross the other day. The retail for $8.40 each and we paid only $1.99 AND we got some holiday scents! It was a great deal.

We’ve been collecting red Cuisinart and KitchenAid (seen here, above) kitchen utensils at Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s and have gotten great deals. It’s not as easy, say, as going to Macy’s and grabbing everything, but it’s more than half as much $$. So it’s been worth it.

If you want linens, you can find a good deal. Of course, we are super picky about ours, but have been lucky finding, 400-thread-count all cotton in patterns and colors we like. Usually when you’re bargain shopping, it’s hard to find a combination of all. But we only buy when all the criterion we require are filled. The same goes for what we require for nightgowns (cotton knit, with wide weave, mid-calf, short fluttery sleeve, and, if it’s empire-cut, all the better).

This kind of shopping isn’t for everyone, we admit. You have to be tenacious, willing to go in often (and be willing to walk out with nothing), and deal with the store’s clientele. That’s to say, get a thick skin, hold your breath when you have to squeeze past folks and be monofocal: get your deal!

What’s New: C29 Skincare

Although BeansTalk wishes we had started taking care of our skin much much earlier, we are grateful to the folks over at Elizabeth Grant for helping us make up for the sins of our past and slow down the aging process. For the times of the month when our pocketbooks will not allow for us to splurge on expensive skin care products, Elizabeth Grant recently launched a new and innovative skincare and spa line called C29. Because we are big fans of Elizabeth Grant we couldn’t wait to try it.

C29 products are made up of copper peptides gently infused in a solution natural extracts and vitamins that deeply penetrate the skin making it appear more vibrant, firm and smooth looking. This botanical elixir stimulates collagen and improves the overall health and hydration of the skin.

Their research indicates that: C29 Skincare helps to stimulate the production of collagen diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, stimulates elastin helping to make the skin appear firmer, and helps to thicken the dermis making it younger looking.

More about their Swiss Formula:

The name C29 is a reference to the remarkable list of ingredients in the line. The C stands for copper, of course. Copper activates the natural repair and remodeling process that rebuilds and renews your skin, and helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

The other 29 are really interesting. Should we eat them? Make tea? Or put them on our skin?

They are:

Japanese Green Tea -- anti-oxidant

Allantolin -- speeds up cell regeneration

Aloe Vera -- hydrates, repairs

Chamomile -- soothing, healing

Marula -- hydrating, reduces, skin redness

Shea -- age defying

Mushroom -- skin firming, reduces pores, hydrates, reduces fine lines

Boabab -- tones, firms, moisturizes

Algae -- anti-oxidant, anti-aging

Red Clover -- collagen producer

Pikea Robusta -- promotes skin healing

Vitamin A -- essential for cell repair, anti-oxidant

Vitamin B -- evens out skin tone, hydrator

Vitamin C -- repairs lines, strong vitamin for skin

Vitamin D -- promotes cell growth

Vitamin E -- reduces UV-induced skin damage, skin repairer

Sage -- soothing, healing

Arnica -- healing

Silicon -- strengthens nails, skin

Zinc -- fights skin problems, skin healer, anti-aging

Iron -- with Vitamin C and copper, all three are important for synthesis of collagen – key to skin structure

Magnesium skin healer, anti-aging

Oxido Reductasa -- healing

Soy -- hydrator, estrogen-like effect

Rice Bran -- softens and moisturizes skin

Siberian Ginseng -- rejuvenates, enlivening

Honey -- moisturizes, helps with acne

Mandarin -- calms and moisturizes

Brazil Nut -- moisturizes

Our Favorites:

A big determiner of whether or not we regularly use a skin product or not is the fragrance. Beanstalk’s new favorite scent is Gingery Mint. It smells yummy and fresh, is subtle, and elevates your mood.

For starters try the C29 Gingery Mint Refreshing Body Buffer. This refreshing exfoliator gently buffs the skin, leaving it soft, smooth and glowing. $19.99

A new staple to our manicure routine is the C29 Gingery Mint Hand Cream. We bring it with us to the manicure salon, to have Gina, our favorite “rubber” work it into to our hands and forearms. After the manicure we slip our wedding rings right back on, knowing that it will not make them greasy. $12.99

Don’t forget about about the C29 Gingery Mint -Cuticle Cream. This cream helps to strengthen the base of the nail to encourage the nail growth. Swiss formulation Cuticle Cream contains Soy Oil - known for its highly moisturizing and anti-aging properties and Vitamin E and Vitamin A. Daily use softens and conditions our cuticles too. $12.99

The C29 range of skincare includes products to care for your body from head to toe. Eye Lash Conditioner, Green Tea Facial Exfoliator, Body Soufflé, Cuticle Cream, and Foot Scrubs are just a few of the ways to treat yourself with C29.

The skincare line may be purchased on the company website www.c29skincare.com and will soon be available across the country through spa consultants.

--Andrea Goodwin, BeansTalk Associate Editor
He Blinds You With Science!
Thomas Dolby on Tour

(BeansTalk thinks that Thomas Dolby and "Good Eats" Alton Brown were separated at birth).
If you’re wondering what Thomas Dolby has done in the two decades since he cunningly fused pop and electronic music, the answer is in the palm of your hand. Twelve years ago Dolby left music and proceeded to develop the Beatnik software technology used in two-thirds of the world’s cell phones. Unlike many performers who return to the stage, he doesn’t need to do it for the money. Pumped up by new technologies and changing business models in the music industry, and re-invigorated by reaction to his initial tour dates earlier this year, Dolby is writing his first album of new music since the early ‘90s.

But before we partake of the new, Dolby will take us on a guided tour of the old with a fall
U.S. tour (co-billed with fellow electronic pioneer BT) and a live retrospective CD and DVD. Both are titled The Sole Inhabitant and will be issued independently on November 21 on Dolby’s own label and web site, and via CD Baby and iTunes. The album contains live versions of classic songs including “She Blinded Me With Science,” one of the very first MTV-driven hits, and “Hyperactive,” as well as a chance to revisit great songs from the era that weren’t seen on MTV. It’s important, after all, to remember that his pop fame during the “Science” era was the exception, not the rule. “I’ve had people come up to me after the shows and say ‘oh I really like the new ones’… [but] I’m not playing any new ones!” he says.

“In some ways all that chart success was orthogonal to what I was really trying to do, which was develop the textures and rhythms of electronic music into a palette that a genuine songwriter could build stories upon. I’d like the DVD and CD to re-establish my credentials as an artist before I move into the next chapter. I have new songs ready to start work on as soon as I’ve closed the loop and reconnected with the core fan base,” he says.

‘An Evening With BT and Thomas Dolby’ is a special North American concert series this November and December. BT will perform music from his newest release, This Binary Universe, a groundbreaking two-disc CD /DVD that fuses seven unique tracks composed in 5.1-channel surround sound with stunning animations by some of today's finest computer artists and animators in a set that will include two other notable musicians, Ben Grossman and Scott Pagano. BT recently performed this show at the Hollywood Bowl. Conversely, Dolby will perform an intriguing blend of today's state of the art computer music with vintage 1940s oscilloscopes and ex-Royal Navy field test equipment. The pair plan to jam together for encore numbers.

Dolby feels that time has put his influence into perspective. “Though people tend to associate me with the ‘80s, I feel my roots are really in the late ‘70s and the electronic underground in
London. Bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and Clock DVA were playing small clubs around Europe in parallel to the punk movement, and many remained anonymous, only a few making it into the mainstream pop limelight during the ‘80s – Soft Cell, Human League and Ultravox. There were so few of us doing it back then that it’s no surprise we get cited as influences when modern electronica acts are interviewed, but the legacy of that period is clearly very important.”

The Sole Inhabitant is Dolby’s first consumer product since 1992’s Gate to the Mind’s Eye, an audio disc complemented by a laser disc with accompanying animation. In that time, he hasn’t approached a single record company, determined instead to harness the technology and distribution options available to indie artists today.

The audio CD was recorded live at Martyrs in
Chicago, while the DVD was filmed at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA. Dolby felt these were two of his best concerts of the year. Added to the DVD will be a sit-down interview/chat in which Dolby discusses his past and present careers and the stories behind the songs. The first batch of copies will be autographed by Dolby.

Dolby has always maintained a loyal core of fans who were galvanized by tour dates earlier this year. Dolby intends to involve his fans in the birthing of the record, blogging frequently at his web site (www.thomasdolby.com ) and posting reviews from shows along the tour route.

Early 2006 tour dates received high praise from critics. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “The audience seemed mesmerized by Dolby’s compositional and musical dexterity…Far from coming off as strictly a nostalgia act, the evening unfolded as a celebration of his past accomplishments and a harbinger for his future as a revitalized performer.” The Orange County Register added, “Most people’s knowledge of Dolby begins and ends with ‘She Blinded Me With Science,’ a sly slice of synth-funk from a superior album (The Golden Age of Wireless) whose variety and depth went far beyond its artificial surface. Indeed, for those who sought him out — certainly for scores of electronica acts who routinely cite him as an influence — Dolby was one-of-a-kind, a do-it-yourself electro wizard whose work conjured warmth and soul from machines whose output in other hands was pure digital chill.” The Washington Post summed it up: “When he whooshed into ‘Europa and the Pirate Twins,’ Dolby sounded startlingly relevant, no easy trick for a talented artist whose entire career is usually unfairly surmised in a single, shouted phrase.”

Dolby's solo set features him onstage with a bank of high-tech computers, a collection of vintage oscilloscopes and signal generators, a military headcam and antique radio operator earphones strapped to his head. Live visuals performed by renowned video artist Johnny DeKam allow the audience to experience the world through Dolby's eyes. Audiences may be surprised at first to hear a darker side of Dolby, but of course he plays the hits as well.

The tour is still in the booking stages, but many dates have been announced:

Thomas Dolby dates

October 28 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Cow Palace
November 15 CERRITOS, CA Cerritos Center

‘An Evening With BT and Thomas Dolby’ dates

November 28 SAN DIEGO, CA (SOLANA BEACH) Belly Up
November 29 ANAHEIM, CA House of Blues
November 30 TUCSON, AZ Rialto Theatre
December 1 ALBUQUERQUE, NM El Ray Theatre
December 2 ASPEN, CO Belly UP
December 3 DENVER,CO Gothic Theatre
December 6 AUSTIN, TX Elysium
December 7 DALLAS, TX Granada Theatre
December 8 HOUSTON, TX Warehouse Live
December 15 FT. LAUDERDALE, FL Revolution
December 16 ORLANDO, FL House of Blues
December 17 TAMPA, FL State Theatre
December 19 NORFOLK, VA The Norva
December 20 BALTIMORE, MD Recher Theatre
December 21 PHILADELPHIA, PA World Cafe Live
December 22 NEW YORK, NY TBA

Absolutely Andie

Actress Andie MacDowell arrives for the taping of the Country Music Television special 'CMT Giants' in Hollywood, California October 26, 2006. The special honored Reba McEntire for her career which featured many female country music stars singing McEntire's hit songs. MacDowell wore a gown by Kevan Hall, a chocolate brown silk charmeuse draped front gown with daring front slit and fishtail train from the designer’s Fall 2006 collection. To complete her look, she carried a gold pearl mesh Gourmand clutch by Daniel Swarovski Paris.REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

Livey LeAnn

Country Music singer LeAnn Rimes performs a song Reba McEntire wrote about her father, 'The Greatest Man I Never Knew' at the taping of the Country Music Television special 'CMT Giants' in Hollywood, California October 26, 2006. The special honored McEntire for her career which featured many female country music stars singing McEntire's hit songs. The show is scheduled to air on Saturday, November 18, 2006. Rimes wore a gown by Monique Lhuillier, a smokey metallic lavender re-embroidered lace sheath gown with smoke velvet ribbon belt from the designer’s Fall 2006 collection. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

Marvelous Melissa

Melissa Peterman arrives at Country Music Television's CMT Giants honoring Reba McEntire in
Hollywood, Calif. on Thursday, October 26, 2006. Peterman wore a gown by Pamella Roland, a sapphire blue ombre chiffon one shoulder gown. She completed her look with a silver oval shaped Onasis clutch accented with sapphire blue stones by Mary Norton. BeansTalk has met Peterman and she’s darling, btw! (Fashion Wire Daily/Maria Ramirez)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Glam Cane

We have always loved the 1940s look, especially when we were thin and could pull it off. In fact, our undergraduate graduation shoes WAY back in the day were new old stock, authentic 1940s open-toed navy leather pumps with a gloriously chunky heel. Sigh. They were gorgeous. They were the perfect accent to our Jane Schauffhausen (sp?) dress, which were a favorite in our youthful innocence.

Stuart Weitzman is introducing a couple of styles reminiscent of our favorite era. Straw and raffia’s fresh look is modernized in clutch and platform pumps. The platform pumps come in both natural and dark (we love the latter, to go with all our brown shoes). Stuart Weitzman, let us tell you, knows how to make a great platform. We have several pairs acquired throughout the years and they’re the most comfortable (if you’re going to be 3.5 to 4.5 inches up there) platform shoes. We usually need some kind of strap or buckle to hold our heel in, but we love the look. Check out their site for more beauties. www.stuartweitzman.com

* Platforms available exclusively at SCOOP NYC

Marvelous Ming

Actress Ming-Na arrives at the Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party Monday, Oct. 23, 2006, in Los Angeles Lisa Edelstein and Ming-Na both chose to wear Pamella Roland for their stroll down the red carpet. Edelstein, who stars on the hit drama House, looked elegant in a jet black crepe tuxedo jacket with bow at waist and jet black crepe pants. Ming-Na, who stars on the new show Vanished, selected a beautiful coral print silk halter dress with ruched waist paired with a Daniel Swarovski gold crystal Gourmand clutch. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Get Your Boheme Funk On

Who doesn’t love something of beautiful quality? Of course, you pay the price. But if you have the coin or want to splurge and you’re a little bit hippie dippy, check out Calleen Cordero.

Calleen Cordero footwear, bags and belts, handcrafted in California, uses the finest quality materials and commissions local craftsmen to contribute all studwork and artistry. Her glamorously casual designs feature hand-sculpted wooden bottoms and molded leather soles. Cordero's work also displays a love of combining the unexpected. The shoes average about $400, boots $600.

Casimo Heel Italian leather heel with 3 1/4" hand sculpted wood heel. Features brass studded hardware and a sculpted orthopedic foam insole. Handmade in North Hollywood, CA. Quantities Limited. $410.00

Laurel Boot Italian Leather lace up boot. Featuring a 3" wood heel with hand sculpted orthopedic foam insoles. Handmade in North Hollywood, CA. Quantities Limited. $675.00

Mariposa Bag Italian leather handbag with butterfly detail in aged brass or nickel studded hardware. 11"x11"x3" with 2 interior pockets, one 3"x3" zippered and one smaller open pocket. Handmade in North Hollywood, CA. Quantities Limited. Available in Brown Camel, Lux Black or Camel. $527.00 (seen right)


Calleen Cordero
7384 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Must See TV: 30 Rock

Last night, 30 Rock completely redeemed itself. This episode got away from what was dragging it down – too much Tracy Morgan and Jane Kracowski’s overacting. Focusing on Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon and Alec Baldwin’s Jack, it was completely brilliant and funny. Remember, it’s on Wednesday nights and is hilarious. NBC. (Photo is from original pilot when Fey friend Rachel Dratch was in the Jenna role; Krakowcski replaced her))

From Yahoo

Based more-than-loosely on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans at "Saturday Night Live," "30 Rock" centers around young comedy writer Liz Lemon. She's currently "living the dream," working as the head writer for a live sketch-comedy show in New York City. Hijinks ensue when the network's new president asks Liz to hire an unpredictable movie star named Tracy Jordan to join the cast. Can Liz manage all the egos involved whilst still trying to chase her own dream?

The series is executive-produced by Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey, JoAnn Alfano, Marci Klein and David Miner. Before the series debuted, Rachel Dratch's (series creator/star Tina Fey's former "SNL" cohort) role was diminished due to the introduction of an "ingenue" played by Jane Krakowski ("Ally McBeal").

Dratch now actually plays a variety of small bit parts -- and is wonderful in whatever she does. More Dratch. Keep that Fey and Baldwin comin'!
Winsome Winslet

We love her! British actress Kate Winslet arrives at the Times BFI 50th London Film Festival Gala Screening of her new film Little Children in London Wednesday October 25, 2006. Winslet, who has famouly large feet, wore shoes by Rickard Shah. She posed on the red carpet in a glamorous black and white beaded gown with side slit, showing off her Rickard Shah “Amber” heels - vintage-inspired black satin strappy sling back heels, featuring intricate pleating and woven detail. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In Other Fashion News:

Dominique Swain made an appearance on the red carpet at the premiere of VH1’s Totally Awesome in a cocktail dress by Donna Baxter for Elsie Katz Couture. The blonde ingénue wore a black silk chiffon draped cocktail dress with pink duchesse satin liner, ribbon trim and bow back, paired with Swarovski’s pink crystal “Kiosque” handbag.
Verily Virginia

Actress Virginia Madsen poses before the start of the Kevan Hall fashion show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in
Culver City, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006. Madsen carries a handbag by Mary Norton, designer of red carpet favorite MOO ROO. At the Kevan Hall fashion show, Madsen chose “ZOE” - a small origami folded clutch in silver brocade with magnetic closure and embellished with metallic hand-embroidery of silver and white pearls.

Other starlets carried Mary Norton Bags:

Lindsay Sloane
of Bring it On attended the Elsie Katz Couture fashion show, also carrying a “ZOE” clutch - this version in black calfskin with a Swarovski crystal encrusted hurricane jewel. Ashley Benson of Days of Our Lives accessorized her cream satin cocktail dress at Tuesday’s Dina Bar-El show with Mary Norton’s “TYCOON” platinum leather rectangular minaudiere with faceted Swarovski crystal stones. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Wily Will

Actor Will Ferrell arrives at the BFI London Film Festival Gala Screening of "Stranger Than Fiction" at the Odeon Cinema,
Leicester Square on October 20, 2006 in London, England. Ferrell wore a hand-made Royal Blue suit by Domenico Vacca. The suit was made of super 150-wool.His white-cotton shirt, nine- fold tie and brown lace-up shoes are all part of Domenico Vacca’s hand-made ready to wear and custom collection. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

BeansTalk At-Home Tip No. 1

SpaceBags SUX
But PackMate Roxs

Not all storage compression bags are created equally.

Imagine our annoyance when we inadvertently ordered SpaceBags instead of our favorite, PackMate. Even the Samsonite Compression Bags are superior to SpaceBags. Our beef with SpaceBags is on several levels.

First off, they have an awful website that doesn’t allow you to check your order, it simply goes through. We were trying to order three sets of a special they have on their (awful) website.

As we were checking out, “special offers” popped up. We chose one of the options. We also made the horrific mistake of spending big bucks to ship them quickly. When the order came through, only the one set $12 special was on the list, yet we were charged $16 expedited shipping (of course, that part went through).

An immediate call, an email and even a snail-mail letter went unanswered. Actually, the call resulted in a woman who sighed impatiently and repeatedly and kept saying it took 24 hours for orders to go through. She made ABSOLUTELY no effort to rectify the situation. The subsequent email was answered the next day, saying they needed 48-hours to check orders. Eventually, the bags arrived, and nothing was ever resolved. They Sux.

Now onto the bags themselves. Say you’re even given the bags and don't have to deal with the ordeal of ordering them. They still sux. Big Time. For one thing, there isn’t a vent at the bottom when you roll the bags to compress. The ziplock feature at top never works and continually pops open. The vacuum ones are even more of a joke. Literally one use and the ziplock portion tore off from the top. They never compress like you see on television, even if you do use a good vacuum.

BeansTalk advice: DON’T EVER ORDER SPACEBAGS, SpaceBags, Space Bags or whatever they call themselves.

Despair not, if you really want compression storage bags – we love love love them and our linen closet, with all our prized quilts is full of them. BUT we use Pack-Mate. They’re completely worth it, and can be reused repeatedly, come in a variety of sizes and work like a dream. Check out their website for more info.

Here’s some scoop from their site: www.packmate.com

Simply roll your clothes inside these patented, reusable travel bags to create up to 75% more packing space. As you roll, air escapes through the one-way valve, greatly reducing the volume of bulky garments or linens. PackMate bags are airtight and waterproof. Ideal for dirty laundry - odors can't penetrate.

PackMate Travel Products

Do I need a vacuum to remove air from the PackMate Travel Bags?
No, the PackMate Bags are the original “pack, zip, roll and go”. They require no vacuum. You simply roll the air out of our exclusive, patented one-way valve to create up to 75% more space in your suitcase or backpack.

What about other space-making bags that don’t have valves?
Bags without valves will limit the amount of air that can be rolled out. If you roll out too much air, you risk blowing open the zipper. The PackMate, with our patented one-way valve, allows you to remove all of the air from the zipper end of the bag, shrinking the bulk to greatly increase your packing space.

What is the best way to compress items in the PackMate?
Simply fold the items to the approximate size of the bag. Place the items in the PackMate and roll the trapped air out from the valve end of the bag. After one roll, turn the bag over and roll again. This method literally shrinks your bulky items by removing the air to triple the available packing space.

Are the PackMate bags reusable? Will they wear out?
PackMate is triple laminated with bi-axle nylon. The ultra-tough construction is resistant to tears or punctures. There are no mechanical parts to wear out. PackMate bags can be reused hundreds of times.

Can I wash the PackMate?
Yes, wash in mild detergent and line dry. If dust or sand gets in the valve, run water through the valve to remove any dirt.

Will air ever return to the PackMate?
After repeated use, the zipper may cause some leakage of air. This is normal with most zipper products; the bag is not damaged. Simply roll the air out of the bag and it will compress and create space as needed.

Can food be stored in the bag?
This is not the intended use of the bag and we do not recommend it.

Can I keep my clothes wrinkle-free in the PackMate?
When clothes are folded and placed neatly in the bag, they will compress neatly. You will discover for yourself many ways to prevent wrinkling the more you use the bag.

What is the difference between the original PackMate Travel and Storage Bag and the PackMate Outdoor/Sport bag?
The original PackMate Travel and Storage bags are made for use in luggage and home storage. They are durable, puncture resistant and reusable. The new PackMate Outdoor/Sport bag is designed specifically for use in extreme conditions. Made from ultra-durable Nylo-Web mesh with permanent built-in locking sealer. These bags are virtually tear proof and ideal for the outdoor sportsperson. www.packmate.com

Yoga Army

Here’s a company that’s easy to find on the net because it’s a wholly original name. We love the tank tops and in fact, got ourselves a low-rent version of their skull tank last night.

We received this info: Yoga Army - The new hot boutique brand made from highest quality domestic fabrics. 100% Cotton, leather appliqué, silk embroidery, as well as hand stitched details. Made with extreme passion and care, there is no item that will make you feel more special than a piece from Yoga Army.

And since we liked the tanks, we thought we’d do a tiny bit of research and pass this on.

From the Daily Southtown Newspaper: Sandy Wee, a designer for the boutique brand Yoga Army, is not surprised that what's old is new again "During the '90s, we had fashion from the '70s -- sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, long hair and tight jeans," Wee said. "And now we have fashions from the '80s."

The woman shown in the Yoga Army dress here is an actress named April Scott (don’t feel bad you don’t know who she is, because we didn’t). She’s seen at the opening of the Las Vegas Playboy Club a few days ago. The dress retails for $139.

You can buy Yoga Army on line at rock-rebel.com.


CW Fares Well on Tuesday Night

“Gilmore Girls” And “Veronica Mars” Combine For The CW’s Best Tuesday In Viewers And Adults 18-49“Gilmore Girls” Ranks Second in Women 18-34 Four Weeks in A Row“Veronica Mars” Reaches Season Highs in Adults 18-34 and Adults 18-49; Scores Second Best Performance in Series History in Both Demos “Veronica” Retains 86% of “Gilmore” Audience in Adults 18-34

October 25, 2006 (Burbank, CA) – “Gilmore Girls” and “Veronica Mars” combined to give The CW’s its most watched Tuesday to date (4.03mil) and best Tuesday in adults 18-49 (1.8/5) and women 18-49 (2.5/6-tie), according to Live Plus Same Day Nielsen ratings for Tuesday, Oct. 24.

For the fourth week in a row, “Gilmore Girls” ranked second in the hour with its target demo of women 18-34 (3.2/9), behind only “Dancing With The Stars.” “Gilmore Girls” was third from 8:00-9:00PM among women 18-49 (3.1/8).

“Veronica Mars” climbed to new season highs in The CW’s target demo of adults 18-34 (1.8/5) and adults 18-49 (1.9/5). These also mark the second best ratings EVER for “Veronica Mars” in adults 18-34 (tie) and adults 18-49. “Veronica” matched its season best ratings in women 18-34 (2.3/6) and women 18-49 (1.9/5).

“Veronica Mars” improved over last week in all key demos, including 6% in adults 18-34, 5% in women 18-34 (2.3/6), 7% in adults 18-49, 6% in women 18-49 (1.9/5) and 7% in viewers (3.3mil).

“Veronica Mars” retained 86% of “Gilmore Girls” audience in adults 18-34.

The combination of “Gilmore Girls” and “Veronica Mars” represents a vast improvement over UPN’s Tuesday a year ago (10/25/05), with double digit gains of 67% in adults 18-34 (2.0/6), 65% in women 18-34 (2.8/7), 50% in adults 18-49 (1.8/5), 56% in women 18-49 (2.5/6) and 55% in viewers (4.03mil).

Live in NYC? Love Domestics?

Here's a sale for you! Click on the image to enlarge
How Well Do You Know Yourself?

Know the kind of information that can truly prove invaluable.

Real Simple featured a great article this month:

Know Thyself: 26 Facts to Know About Yourself

We’ve condensed it for you.

Your estimated Ideal Caloric Intake (or as we like to call it, ICI)

Your Weight
Divided by 2.2
Multiplied by 30

Your clothing measurements (measure, or have your tailor measure your neck, chest, bust, arm length, waist, hips, and inseam.)

Your blood type

Your skin type (run your finger down your nose at noon; greasy means you have oily skin; dry means you have dry skin; or see a dermatologist)

Your Emergency Numbers/Contacts (partner’s office and phone, family doctor, pediatrician, kids’ school, veterinarian, local police, emergency room, a few close relatives and friends) Post copies on the fridge, by the phone, in your wallet/PDA or planner

Details of Your Will

Location of Your Parents' Wills

Your Health-Insurance Details

Your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels

Which Tax Form is For You

If you stand to inherit money from a deceased relative (If you don’t claim it, the state does. Search online for “unclaimed funds”)

Your ring size

Your allergies

Your genetic vulnerabilities

Your license-plate number

Your credit score

Real Simple Calls the Following Eight Things That Are Handy (Or Just Fun) To Know

Three ways to beat a bad mood

Your never-rail lip color

Your personality type (www.myersbriggs.org)

Your greatest strengths and weaknesses

How to give good directions to your home

What Time You Were Born

Your Partner’s Shirt and Pant Size

The names of the trees in your yard

Your Mother-in-Law’s favorite flower

Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge

Five Finalists Perform on TBS Special Hosted by Comedian George Lopez TBS teams with MySpace for Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge
The online comedy competition invites amateur or rising comics to submit video samples of their work through the MySpace profile at http://myspace.com/StandUpOrSitDown.

Beginning this week, MySpace users have the opportunity to vote for the top finalists, five of whom will then be invited to perform in a one-hour special hosted by comedian George Lopez and filmed at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. The special will premiere on TBS on Friday, November 17, 2006 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).

Following the TV special, viewers can return to MySpace to vote for their favorite comedian, with the winner being announced live on TBS during a break in the network’s simulcast of the Comic Relief 2006 special Saturday, Nov. 18. The winning comedian will receive $50,000, a development deal and other prizes.

Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge invited fresh comic talents to submit videos, up to five minutes in length, of their funniest material for the qualifying round, which ended October 11, 2006. Fifteen qualifying-round winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from MySpace and The Improv comedy clubs.

From October 23 through October 30, MySpace visitors can watch the 15 qualifying-round winners on the contest profile page on MySpace and choose 10 favorites to continue on to the semi-finals. Those 10 semi-finalists will perform live at The Improv comedy club in Los Angeles, with their performances featured on MySpace. From Nov. 7-12, MySpace visitors will be able to view their performances and vote to choose the five finalists.

Once selected, the five finalists will be flown to The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, where they will perform Thursday, Nov. 16, in front of a live audience for a one-hour TBS special, hosted by comedian George Lopez, to air the next night. Following the telecast, viewers will be invited to go to MySpace to vote for their favorite.

The winner of the Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge competition will be announced during a break in TBS’s telecast of Comic Relief 2006, which the network is simulcasting with HBO. The winner will take home $50,000, a development deal and other prizes.

To be presented from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as part of the second annual edition of The Comedy Festival, Comic Relief 2006 will be hosted by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams. In addition to announcing the winner of Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge competition during Comic Relief 2006, TBS will also present a short video clip of the winner’s performance from the competition.

Stand Up Or Sit Down Comedy Challenge and Comic Relief 2006 are part of HBO and AEG LIVE’s The Comedy Festival, taking place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Tuesday, Nov. 14-Saturday, Nov. 18. The mission of The Comedy Festival is to bring together the biggest stars and cutting-edge comedy talent in a broad range of programming, from star-level performances and special events to stand-up, sketch comedy and film.