Friday, November 30, 2007
Catherine Tate Returns
Catherine Tate, one of Britain’s hottest comedy talents is back with a U.S. premiere season of her award-winning sketch show. Winner of a Banff Rockie award and nominated for an International Emmy®, The Catherine Tate Show has become a huge hit in the UK, with catchphrases, “Am I bovvered?” and “how very dare you”, influencing popular culture and every day speech in Britain. The Catherine Tate Show - season three premieres Friday, December 28 at 9:20p.m. ET/PT.
The ‘Queen of Catchphrase’ morphs through ages, sexes, accents and wigs to introduce a collection of toe-curling new characters in season three.
Parodied to the extreme, the new personalities include Laura Powers – a bungled spy, called in to assist the U.S. Government in a spoof of 24, Ma Willow – the overbearing owner of a rooming house in the ‘50s who appears in a parody of Life on Mars*, Helen "I can do that" Marsh – who’s eager to please, but hopeless at everything and Kathleen Leary – a chain smoking, hard faced Northern Irish woman who’s fiercely proud of her gay son.
They join old favorites Lauren - the “Am I bovvered?” teenage nightmare who would rather be right than happy, Cockney Nan - the opinionated, hard-to-please grandmother who’s a mine of misinformation and Derek Faye - who gets furious if anyone suggests he’s gay and coined the phrases “Who, dear? Me, dear? Gay, dear? No, dear” and “how very dare you?”
As well as program awards, Catherine Tate has won numerous awards for her own performance including a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Newcomer and two Royal Television Society awards for Best Network Newcomer and Best Comedy Performance. She is currently filming for series four of Doctor Who in which she appears as the doctor’s newest companion, Donna Noble.
Custom Lyric Culture for HSM Star
Ashley Tisdale made an appearance on MTV’s TRL yesterday wearing a custom-made denim corset by Lyric Culture. The High School Musical starlet could be seen wearing a premium denim strapless corset with hand-applied multicolored Swarovski crystals and black leather corset laces up the back.
Lyric Culture is a music driven premium apparel line involving lyrical content on jeans, denim wear, leather and accessories. Each item in the collection reflects the personality, style and flare of the artist and song through its design. Lyric Culture fuses high fashion and music in a groundbreaking way, allowing the wearer to express themselves through the words of a classic song -- a modern twist to wearing your heart on your sleeve (and pant leg)! Visit www.LyricCulture.com.
(AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Who doesn’t enjoy the lovely scent of a mood-making candle? And if you can buy that candle for a good cause, all the better.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is pleased to announce a partnership with Robin Coe-Hutshing, creator of BURN, to launch a limited edition candle to benefit the CFDA’s Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) initiative. BURN will contribute all net profits of sales of the Burn Fresh SUGAR CANE BEACH Candle to FTBC. The candles will be available at Intermix stores nationwide, and online at Intermixonline.com.
“Breast cancer is something that has touched my friends and family personally, so I was eager for an opportunity to support this effort,” said Robin Coe-Hutshing.
“Whether it is for men or women, for gifts or personal purchases, these candles are great way to support FTBC. And with the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect way to give and get,” said Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA.
The product of years of obsession, Robin Coe-Hutshing and Jennifer Coe-Bakewell launched BURN Candles in 2003. An exercise in joining the perfumer’s art to an architectural dictum of simplicity and elegant form, BURN represents a luxurious departure from all other forays into candle making.
BURN shows the handiwork of the artisanal perfumer. Each fragrance is composed of a multitude of notes at the base, top and heart. They are-in fact-eau de parfums that are intended to scent your space as subtly, seductively and complexly as any fragrance you could ever wear.
The limited-edition BURN Fresh Sugar Cane Beach Candle, was developed exclusively for FTBC. It conjures a secret "locals only" tropical island beach at the edge of a sugar sane field and has addictive notes of fresh green sugar cane, lychee fruit, tropical mango, Tahitian vanilla bean, lemon peel & flower and papaya nectar. The retail price is $35.
About Cfda Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) began in 1994 as the U.S. fashion industry's response to breast cancer - a widely recognized effort that raises public awareness and funds to support breast cancer research, education, screening and patient care. Inspired by Ralph Lauren in memory of his late friend Nina Hyde, The Washington Post columnist who died of breast cancer, the campaign became an ongoing initiative of the CFDA Foundations - the philanthropic division of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which represents over 270 of America's leading fashion designers. Since its launch, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer has become the worldwide fashion community's singular and most successful response to breast cancer - an issue of vital importance to its primary consumers: Women.
The BURN FTBC candle will be debuting at Intermix stores nationwide and online at Intermixonline.com.
Intermix’s merchandising philosophy has won many loyal supporters. Merchandising according to look and lifestyle, never by brand or category, Intermix has found a unique way to appeal to fashionable women throughout the country. Intermix founders Khajak and Haro Keledjian started this concept fourteen years ago in New York City. Customers will find designer collections, luxury handbags, jewelry, footwear, denim and contemporary pieces from designers such as Catherine Malandrino, Stella McCartney, Herve Leger, Matthew Williamson, Michael Kors, Missoni, Jay Godfrey, Proenza Schouler, Yigal and Zac Posen.
About Robin Coe-Hutshing
Robin Coe-Hutshing showed an affinity for the world of fragrance and cosmetics early in childhood. While others played house, she played chemist gathering and pressing local flora into fragrant concoctions and mud baths while regularly plundering and sabotaging her mother’s pristine vanity.
After attending Reed College and the Fashion Institute of Technology she began her career as a Buyer at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
Robin moved to California to work in Visual Merchandising for Macy’s West. A chance meeting with retail innovator Fred Segal presented the fortuitous opportunity to lease counter space within Fred Segal Santa Monica. Literally overnight, she and her sister Jennifer presented a plan for an innovative fragrance and cosmetics store. They opened STUDIO in November 1984.
Today, STUDIO has grown from that original counter to an over 4,000 square feet emporium of beauty products from all over the world. It has served as the launching pad for many of today’s most successful beauty companies.
As Creative Director, Robin spends much of her time researching new products and formulations. Using STUDIO at Fred Segal as a laboratory for forecasting climate and direction of the market, Robin serves as a keynote speaker, panelist and consultant to a variety of businesses and publications.
In 2003, Robin was recognized by her peers, and the industry at large when she received the Achiever Award presented by Cosmetic Executive Women.
Robin has worked as a consultant to a variety of niche and luxury brands and was instrumental in the development of the Stila brand- as the creator of all of their fragrances and fragrant ancillaries.
As usual, she is currently at work creating a variety of new products and brands, including expansion plans and additions to her own brands: Memoire Liquide Bespoke Perfumery, and BURN.
Robin lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband, Joe, a multi- Oscar winning feature film editor and their frequently shampooed standard poodle, Billie.
Get the Red Out!
Mario Badescu Anti Redness Kit
Includes: Cream Soap, Calma Mask, Control Cream,like to renew the JTB World Guide discount that we did last year. Please let me know, the deadline is coming up
Our three most coveted skin calming products are now available as a kit to soothe and calm the most sensitive, red, flakey and irritated skins.
Used for decades by our loyal customers and the estheticians in our New York City salon alike, these are the go to products for sensitive skin:
Cream Soap: Gentle creamy cleanser gently washes away dirt, and light makeup leaving the skin clean and comfortable- never dry and tight.
Control Cream: Rich but never oily this protective cream contains 2 of nature’s most healing botanicals, Seaweed and Balsam Peru . Apply to entire face day and/ or night or just to red, irritated areas. The effectiveness of this cream has earned it a true cult following.
Calma Mask: This one of a kind mask helps to deep clean and tighten pores with white clay (kaolin) and calm with calamine and zinc oxide.
All Mario Badescu products can be purchased online at www.Mariobadescu.com
Mail Order number is 1 (800) BADESCU
Mario Badescu Skin Care is available at Fred Segal Beauty (CA), Henri Bendel (NY), select Nordstrom and other specialty shops across the USA. Available at Mills Brothers in Nova Scotia, Harvey Nichols in London, and Seibu in Hong Kong.
The Dukes Visit Graham Norton
Graham Norton examines his fascination with America’s deep south as he features guests Catherine Bach, John Schneider and Tom Wopat who played the iconic Bo, Luke, Daisy in the early 80s TV favorite, The Dukes of Hazzard. Also “guesting:” the General Lee (of course you remember the General Lee was their flamboyant car). The Dukes episode of The Graham Norton Show airs Saturday, December 1. Norton describes his special relationship to The Dukes of Hazzard, the fashion of the Dukes, and the fact that Bo and Luke would find any excuse to take off their shirts. The General Lee has moved to Britian, and the British owner of the car in the studio is also part of the show, his last name? Duke, of course. www.bbcamerica.com
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Cusack and Lipton: Talk
James Lipton, host of "Inside The Actors Studio," sits down with actor John Cusack on Monday, December 3 at 8 PM ET/PT.
John Cusack: Inside The Actors Studio: Host James Lipton gets up close and personal with Golden Globe nominated and renowned actor John Cusack on Bravo's 13- time Emmy-nominated series "Inside The Actors Studio" on Monday, December 3 at 8 PM ET/PT. The usually private actor opens up to Lipton about growing up in Chicago, his friendship with "Entourage" star Jeremy Piven, and why he almost didn't take the role of Lloyd Dobler in the 1989 hit "Say Anything." Cusack, who has a career spanning over two decades, takes the audience on an intimate ride through his history of films, including his role in front of and behind the camera in "High Fidelity" and his upcoming project with Hilary Duff, "War, Inc." Check out James Lipton's blog at www.BravoTV.com.
Palestinian Christians caught in the crosshairs of a growing Islamic fundamentalism pray at Saint Catherine's Church in Bethlehem in Explorer: Last Christians of Bethlehem
A Different Kind of “Holiday” Viewing
Premieres... on National Geographic Channel
“The Missing Years of Jesus”
Monday, December 17, at 9:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
Between the ages of 12 and 30, the life of Jesus Christ is unaccounted for — nearly two decades missing from the man at the core of the Christian religion. Today, scholars are beginning to form a clearer picture of the Missing Years by re-examining stories in the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and connecting them with new archeological discoveries. A narrative rich in details and subtle clues begins to emerge. What was his family life like? Was he educated or bilingual? Where might he have worked? And what hot-button cultural and political issues may have influenced him? Go back to Nazareth in 6 A.D. to learn more about the blue-collar village, its oppressed inhabitants and abusive Roman rulers to see how it helped shape Jesus’ rebellious personality and radical beliefs in The Missing Years of Jesus.
“Decoding Bible Relics”
Tuesday, December 18, at 9:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
In recent years, extraordinary finds have been made in the Holy Land about the legendary Temple of Solomon and the burial of Jesus. Now, Decoding Bible Relics distinguishes authentic artifact from sophisticated fake. See how a tiny four-centimeter ivory pomegranate, thought to be the ornamental tip of a priest’s ceremonial staff, becomes a revolutionary discovery — the first physical proof that King Solomon’s temple existed. But is the engraved Aramaic text genuine? And who is the owner and where did it come from? Then, investigate a shiny black stone with ancient writing known as the Jehoash Tablet that seems to confirm events described in the New Testament. Is it a priceless artifact? Or a hoax? And finally, go to the tomb of Jesus’ family that received worldwide publicity and widespread skepticism from the scientific community.
“Lost Warrior Kingdom”
Tuesday, December 18, at 10:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
When the dark warriors of Hattusha stormed the city of Babylon, their mission was to found the greatest empire the world had ever seen. They succeeded, but the vast empire they created simply disappeared. For 3,000 years, all trace of them was lost from the history books and even legend, until recently when fragments from this lost world began to emerge. These new clues opened up a world of mysteries and secret codes. A fortress city, built to last forever, an unstoppable war machine and a mighty empire, even greater than that of Egypt. Lost Warrior Kingdom is the story of how a civilization, built to last forever, could simply vanish from history.
“Explorer: Last Christians of Bethlehem”
Wednesday, December 19, at 8:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
The Church of the Nativity in the heart of Bethlehem marks one of Christianity's most sacred sites: the birthplace of Christ. For centuries, it was one of the most fought-over holy places, seized and defended by a succession of armies — including Muslim and Crusader forces. Explorer takes us inside Bethlehem, the famous epicenter of Christendom, to show us that the city is still a place of passions interrupted. Follow the event that polarized the world, when heavily armed Muslim extremists broke into the Church of the Nativity in 2002 and instigated a deadly standoff began between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers. Years later, in the wake of the siege, tourists and worshippers to the church are few, and Christian residents are caught in the crosshairs of a growing Islamic fundamentalism and the entrenched Israeli fortress that surrounds it. Hear the fervid, revealing stories from those at the center of a changing, divided city.
Klum in Malandrino
On the November 21st episode, Heidi Klum hosted Project Runway while wearing a dress by Catherine Malandrino. Klum wore a black studded silk jersey dress from the Fall/Winter 2007 Collection. The dress is currently available at www.saksfifthavenue.com New York fashion designer Catherine Malandrino currently designs two separate lines. Malandrino is the designer collection and Catherine Malandrino is the contemporary line.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Paulina Joins ANTM
International supermodel Paulina Porizkova has joined The CW’s America’s Next Top Model cycle 10 as a new panel judge, where she will conduct regular weekly evaluations of top model participants.
“We are thrilled to have Paulina as a part of this cycle’s judging panel. The show and participants will benefit a great deal from her vast modeling knowledge and expertise,” said Ken Mok, Executive Producer of America’s Next Top Model .
Twiggy, who has been a part of America’s Next Top Model since cycle 5 is leaving due to scheduling conflicts. “We would like to thank Twiggy for her great contributions to the show. Having an icon like Twiggy lend us her considerable expertise has elevated our show to a whole new level. We wish her well in her endeavors and hope to collaborate with her in future cycles of ANTM as well as other projects.”
Porizkova was chosen twice by People magazine as one of the Fifty Most Beautiful People in the world, in 1990 and 1992. Harper’s Bazaar magazine named her one of its ten most beautiful women in 1992. American Photo magazine in its first issue declared her to be the model of the 1980s. Porizkova has graced the covers of hundreds of magazines worldwide for more than two decades, including appearances on Vogue, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. She began modeling at the age of 15 and quickly rose to the top of her profession.
In addition, Porizkova has a long list of film credits including “Her Alibi,” opposite Tom Selleck, “Arizona Dreams,” opposite Johnny Depp, “People I Know,” opposite Al Pacino, “Second Best,” with Joe Pantoliano, the independent comedy “Knots,” with John Stamos, and many others. Porizkova was recently seen on “Dancing With The Stars” and wrote a novel entitled “A Model Summer” for Hyperion books. Porizkova is represented by management company One Entertainment and attorney Peter Thall.
The judging panel for cycle 10 will again be led by Tyra Banks and will also include runway expert J. Alexander and renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker.
Image: with her family, husband Ric Ocasek and their two sons, Jonathan Raven and Oliver Orion (she also has three stepsons from Ocasek's first marriage to Suzanne). She and the former lead singer of The Cars married in 1989.
Fusion by Ezekiel
Award-winning designer. Ezekiel Safdie originally from Argentina, has created Fusion by Ezekiel. Safdie’s jewelry design began only at six years of age. He is now a winner of several American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards, as well as the Manufacturing Jewelers Supply of America Vision Award, as well as “Best of the Best” from the Robb Report. Fusion was created in 2007 with platinum, gold, palladium and diamonds, all tailored to a younger generation’s nuptial and fashion needs. www.fusion-es.com
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"Jesse Dress", stretch linen, in fireglow, retails at $108
- "Gather Round Jacket", ruched sleeves in poplin, in white, retails at $115
- "Classic Men's Cargos", stretch twill, in earth, retails at $120
XCVI features interchangeable cotton outfits. Each item is available in over 30 colors.
Itching to expand her horizons beyond theater direction and acting, Gita Zeltzer began conceptualizing XCVI in the mid 1990's. She was influenced by the multi-layered and multi-ethnic cultural feel of Los Angeles, and she saw the "urban chaos" as a muse. Gita was inspired by the spirit of what others considered "everyday." In creating XCVI, she discovered that contemporary fashion was a new and dynamic space for her artistic expression.
In 1996 (or XCVI, in roman numerals) Gita, her son and her husband introduced the first season of XCVI from a storefront on Melrose.
Gita, together with designer Lilia Gorodonitski, manifested a shared vision: to develop wearable, moveable, breathable clothing for women who believe in style, but also believe in comfort. Today, XCVI is a cut-to-order operation, and works with retailers all over the United States. This past spring, XCVI was the top selling vendor in Nordstrom stores nationwide.
Blue Light Special: iWHITE Teeth Whitening Kit
Come on baby, light my smile. iWHITE at-home teeth whitening uses neon blue Electroluminescent energy and light. This patented system includes a lighted mouth tray and disposable whitening gel foam strips.
Activated by a button, the blue light on the mouth tray activates the gel foam strips, and the neon Electroluminescent energy is directed through the molecules of matter of the whitening gel. The EL technology embedded in the iWHITE tray is powered by a 3-volt battery that pulses the light into the whitening foam strips—the catalyst that creates a brilliant beam. (Didn’t think a chemistry lesson was required for a movie star smile; but hey, the results don’t lie through their teeth and that’s a scientific fact.)
iWHITE incorporates this activating light and a never-before-seen foam strip application to deliver the fastest and most effective results possible (unlike other take-home products that rely solely on hydrogen peroxide and tooth contact time).
Clinical tests show little or zero sensitivity. Two reasons: time and pressure. Contact time on the teeth is short. iWHITE is used for 20 minutes per day for five consecutive days. Also, the pressure from the tray onto the foam strip creates a customized impression on the teeth—the whitening solution has no place to go, but directly onto the teeth. This eliminates excess solution from spreading onto the gums (which causes teeth to become sensitive).
Basic iWHITE Teeth Whitening Kit
* Retails for $44.99
* Universal mouth tray with blue EL light (battery included)
* 10 disposable whitening foam strips
* Place foam strip on tray and activate light
* Leave tray in mouth for 20 minutes
* 5 day treatment
Time to tune in, turn on, and iWHITE. www.iwhite.be
Monday, November 26, 2007
Just Say Serum
We’re very tactile – we love textures, and in terms of skin care, we especially like a good serum. Some are more watery or light than others, and our favorites have more consistency, substance.
We’ve tried all the ones we’ve profiled here and can recommend them, based on what your needs are. We’ve included the company’s descriptions.
Kate Somerville Skin Care Experts Quench Hydrating Serum
Anti-Aging/Normal to Dry Kate’s #1 selling product that her clients can’t live without! Hydration is essential for healthy skin – but it’s often overlooked. This superior hydrating complex locks in water so your skin stays quenched 24/7. Achieve unparalleled hydration & a gorgeous, dewy complexion with this red-carpet favorite.
1 oz Quench Hydrating Serum $60
BeansTalk Note: We love our Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Serum, it's light and lovely, but with a substantial texture. It makes your skin really glow, and it's magically not at all greasy. And we’ve used it long enough to completely recommend its efficacy. If you’re lucky enough
Mamaku Night Serum by Fresh
A breakthrough formula that optimizes and encourages the skin's self-regenerative abilities. What it is formulated to do: During the night, skin becomes warmer, water loss increases, cell division occurs, and the skin is most permeable to vital nutrients and active ingredients. Mamaku Night Serum utilizes the skin's circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock that influences how the skin functions) to immediately plump, firm, smooth, and make skin more radiant. What else you need to know: Because it encourages cellular turnover during the night, exfoliating your skin in the morning will enhance the glowing results. In the morning, fresher, healthier, more radiant skin cells are revealed. (Mamaku: From the Mamaku Tree Fern, native to New Zealand, helps speed up skin cell turnover during the night and has strong firming and soothing capabilities. -Hydro Patches: Form a protective layer over the skin's surface to prevent water loss and continually hydrate throughout the night. -AVRC (Fresh's proprietary delivery system of Vitamins A,C, and E), Borage Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, and White tea: powerful antioxidants that help prevent and repair free radical damage. -Lotus Flower and Everlasting Wax: effective anti-inflammatories which help reduce cellular damage.) 1 oz $85
BeansTalk Note: We weren’t very familiar with the brand Fresh, but were introduced to it by a friendly, attentive Sephora rep at the Manhattan Beach shop. It has a nice, albeit lighter texture and is the color of buttermilk. It smells sensational. Despite the claim that it exfoliates overnight (and you’re supposed to wake up to a relatively new(ish) face, we can’t necessarily vouch for it. We like the idea of what the product is created from, the Mamaku Tree Fern in New Zealand. We must confess we like the idea of this serum and it’s light, almost non-existent scent and can recommend it based on that, but not really on the above claims.
Sonya Dakar Retinol Renewal SerumTM
Intense Repair of Signs of Aging and Scarred Skin
Benefits: Exfoliates damaged skin to reveal soft smooth skin
Helps reverse the signs of aging Improves skin's quality & appearance Key Ingredients: Retinol ARDSTTM (Advanced Retinol Delivery System) This retinol super-serum fights fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, discoloration and enlarged pores by exfoliating dry, scarred and damaged skin while expediting cell turnover. Our exclusive Advanced Retinol Delivery System technology prevents retinol breakdown due to sun exposure, allowing maximum absorption. To Use: Apply 2-3 drops to entire face. Be sure to use with sun screen during the day! $120 for 1 oz.
BeansTalk Note: Sonya Dakar has several skin treatments with great textures. For years, we’ve used the Omega-3 for Irritation (we have sensitive skin, we’re delicate like a flower petal, even though we have metaphorical skin of rhino) and love it. Dakar’s Hydrosoft is a very lightweight lotion that is one of their best sellers, and it sits nicely on top of this new (at least to us) Retinol Renewal System. We began what has evolved into a serum examination with a look at pore minimizers and our friends at Sonya Dakar suggested the Retinol Renewal System. We’re very pleased with the results and love the feel of the serum on our face.
kaplanMD Perfecting Serum
A rich treatment concentrate, clinically-proven by independent lab results, to lift and firms skin up to 60% in as little as two weeks.
Patented skin brighteners balance uneven skin tone, while a complex of peptides and antioxidants improve skin elasticity and visibly reduce expression lines. An amazing 50% concentration of Hyaluronic Acid provides exceptional efficacy, skin plumping and a remarkably silky after-feel. Directions for Use: An extremely concentrated formula - after cleansing and toning, apply pea-sized to skin. For maximum efficacy, apply before Day or Night Cream. Can also be used as a make-up primer for smooth, flawless foundation application.
1.3 oz. $295
From BeansTalk: We know, this is not an inexpensive serum, but it’s lovely to put on and you only need an extremely small amount to cover your face. It also goes under your day or night cream. We haven’t tried the kaplanMD day or night cream, but based on the serum, it’s probably a great set. We love a matched set, our shampoo is the same brand as our conditioner. If you have the coin kaplanMD, you’ll no doubt be happy with the results.
Mirren Dressed Like a Queen
Actress and presenter Helen Mirren poses at the 16th annual BAFTA/LA Cunard Britannia awards in Los Angeles November 1, 2007. The awards are given out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA) to outstanding talents in the entertainment industry. Mirren wore a gown by Tadashi Shoji. The legendary actress shined in a pearl silk jersey gown with ruched bodice and draped front hot off the runway from Tadashi Shoji’s Spring 2008 collection. Helen added some sparkle to her look with with a pair of Mikimoto 9mm and 12mm White South Sea dangling pearl earrings with 1.19ct diamonds set in platinum, two Pearls in Motion 7-7.5mm Akoya pearl bracelets with 1.46ct diamonds set in 18k white gold, and a Pearls in Motion necklace with 7.5-8mm Akoya pearls with 1.16 ct diamonds set in white gold. She carried a pearl-colored gown with Mary Norton’s SCEPTRE (a clutch truly fit for The Queen) – a silver metal clutch encrusted on both sides with Swarovski crystals and pearls in a diamond pattern. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
There is little we dislike more than static – in our hair or on our fingertips. Check this out….
Wash Away Hair Static & Frizz Pitch
If your hair is misbehaving, instead of trying harsh chemical treatments, the right shampoo and conditioner can take your locks from that “just stuck my finger in a socket” look to a shiny and manageable mane.
With products from Linden Leaves and Portico SPA, wash away frizz and static in just one shower.
Rosemary and Cypress Shampoo features a fragrant blend of smoothing glycerin, scalp-balancing cypress, and nourishing, shine enhancing rosemary oil.
Availability: www.lindenleavesusa.com, MSRP: $21.95
Balm Mint and Tangerine Conditioner features essential oil of tangerine to smooth and shine, and nourishing balm mint.
Availability: www.lindenleavesusa.com, MSRP: $21.95
Clarifying Shampoo includes anti-frizzing glycol, volume-enhancing wheat protein, strengthening pro vitamin b, and conditioning birch bark and ivy.
Availability: www.porticospa.com MSRP: $14.00
Moisture Rich Conditioner is formulated with softening marshmallow, calming birch bark, and strengthening pro-vitamin b.
Availability: www.porticospa.com MSRP: $14.00
Scents Available: Lavender + Citrus, Lemon Verbena, Eucalyptus, White Ginger
Idol's Carrie Underwood Strikes Fashion Notes
Country music’s rising superstar, Carrie Underwood completed her red carpet look for the American Music Awards with Mary Norton’s Sceptre – a silver metal clutch with Swarovski crystals and pearls in a diamond pattern. Underwood attended the premiere of Enchanted in a dress by Donna Baxter for Elsie Katz Couture. The singer, who performs a song in the film, looked stunning in a single shoulder cocktail dress of peony satin organza cascades with baby sequins and hand-formed blossoms from Elsie Katz Couture’s Spring/Summer 2008 Collection. Underwood completed her look with a sparkling clear crystal oval shaped ALCAZAR clutch by Daniel Swarovski Paris.
Carrie Underwood arrives at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini) Singer Carrie Underwood poses on the press line at the world premiere of 'Enchanted' at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens accessorized her glittery gold frock, also at the AMAs with Mary Norton’s Cornwall – a glitter painted python minaudiere with quartz stones.
Monday, November 19, 2007
La La Land Launches
The La La Land Launch on 16 November featured a bevy of pop stars. Here’s a look at who was in Santa Monica to celebrate, thanks to our friend Matt Meyerson of plopculture.blogspot.com
1) Cisco Adler showing up with new protégé Lisa D’Amato from Top Model who did an interesting impromptu performance during Cisco and Shwayze’s set. Check here for the footgage: http://plopculture.blogspot.com/2007/11/lisa-damato-rips-it-up-at-la-la-land.html
2) Jason “Wee Man” Acuna rolling up to the red carpet hands full of signed items he donated to the store to sell to benefit Children’s Hospital LA.
3) Chris “Big Black” Boykin showed up with a posse of guys equally as big, spotted checking out his own signature BB line that was on the shelves at La La Land.
4) Heidi Montag with CEO of Anchor Blue announcing an inked deal for her to do her own line of apparel and accs. for the retail chain.
5) Heidi and Spencer Pratt reuniting with old friend Jesse Billauer (paralyzed surfer and founder of LifeRollsOn.org) on the red carpet and posing for pics.
6) Perez Hilton staying the duration of the party and having a blast shooting footage, taking pics and sipping on Fiji Water.
7) Alison Becker talking to Daniel Ballard, partner of t-shirt line Local Celebrity which is often supplied to her show, The F List.
8) MMA Legend and host of the IFL, Bas Rutten dancing with his young daughters to Cisco and Shwayze’s live set.
9) Actor Andrew Keegan talking with Jesse Billauer over a few Speakeasy Beers about their 2005 Rip Curl Malibu Pro Celebrity Surf Bout team victory. Oh the glory days!!!
10) Olympic Swimmer and Model Amanda Beard staying just long enough to get her picture taken on the carpet.
11) Music video director Paul “Coy” Allen taking advantage of the 40% off friends and family offer that night and picking up a few tees for himself.
Beyonce, Ashanti and Christina Applegate sparkled in Platinum jewelry at the “2007 American Music Awards” in Los Angeles on November 18th.
Beyonce selected Platinum, diamond and sapphire earrings + bangles, and a Platinum cocktail ring valued at $1.3 million dollars by Lorraine Schwartz.
Ashanti also wore a pair of Platinum and diamond earrings, a Platinum and multi-colored diamond mesh bracelet and a cocktail ring by Lorraine Schwartz.
Presenter Applegate wore a Platinum ball bracelet, leaf earrings and a Platinum flower ring by Neil Lane.
Christina Applegate arrives at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Singer Ashanti arrives at the 2007 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 18, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
The Must-See Unseen
BeansTalk Received This From Our Friend, Uber-stylist/Actor Phillip Bloch The Unseen Premiering on Starz Network November 2007
See our gorgeous friend completely transform himself through amazing acting!
Independent Spirit Award™ Nominee Lisa France, steps behind the camera again by directing an extraordinary Gothic drama on a shoestring budget all while harvesting breakout performances, most notably by newcomer Phillip Bloch.
While “The Unseen” does have tones of racism, it’s primary focus is on how severe and dramatic silencing a horrible crime can destroy trust and love amongst friends and family.
As third time writer/director, France began to cast the film it was important that each actor be truly committed to this independent film. It was an integral part of this movie making experience that each actor truly understand the life experiences of their character from the heights of happiness to the depths of despair and pain, thus is what inspired this extraordinary ensemble cast including Gale Harold, Steve Harris, Judah Friedlander, Catherine Dent, Michele Clunie and introducing Phillip Bloch.
Her choice of world-renowned celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch to play a blind, abused, shut-in was not a forgone conclusion or an easy decision. Still, after four months of intensive blind training at the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired, it became evident that chosing Bloch was the only choice for the leading role of Sammy. In this breakout performance, Phillip Bloch has stolen the hearts and imaginations of film festival audiences across the country.
It was also clear to France that this movie must be shot on location in the deep South, in the small town of Haralson. The town and its surroundings were not just a location, but a character with a personality and role in the story
France’s knowledge of each character, story and ability to pull performance from actors, has allowed audiences to experience the ultimate shock any parent would feel upon discovering a secret eating away at the innocence of their child. Although a tough subject to tackle, much like in “Anne B. Real,” France was sensitive to how to deal with the violence and pain by carefully using the lens in a creative style to only reveal what what was necessary, while still conveying the dramatic truth.
In “The Unseen,” France poignantly deals with the aftermath of this inexplicable crime and strong subject matter in a tasteful and touching script. The crime that goes “unseen” becomes a governing force in the lives of each character. Thematically, the film centers on how the unseen things in life can create massive conflict, pain, misunderstanding and loss if they are never spoken and then in return forgiven.
Viewing Schedule: The Unseen
Thursday, November 1 Starz InBlack (East) 4:30 PM ET/11:50 PM ET
Tuesday, Nov 13 Starz InBlack (East) 4:20 PM ET
Wednesday, Nov 14 Starz InBlack (East) 12:15 AM ET
Monday, Nov. 26 Starz InBlack (East) 4:20AM ET
Tuesday, Nov. 27 Starz InBlack (East) 12:30 AM ET
Thursday, Nov. 29 Starz InBlack (East) 2:00 AM ET
Actress Julianne Moore arrives for a Cinema Society screening of the film "I'm Not There" in New York November 13, 2007. She wore a cape by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin. Julianne selected to wear a black tiered wool snap cape from the Fall 2007 collection.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES)
Life On Mars: Second Season
We are so happy this series is back. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out, it's great.
John Simm returns as time-travelling detective, Sam Tyler, who, after a near fatal car crash in present day, wakes up dazed, confused and in 1973. Freaked out by his new and outdated surroundings, Sam tries to return to the present. Has he gone crazy, in a coma or travelled back in time? Winner of an International Emmy®, BAFTA and RTS Award, Life on Mars is the latest critically-acclaimed U.K. drama slated for a U.S. pilot, in this case by David E. Kelley for ABC. SPECIAL TWO-HOUR PREMIERE: Life on Mars, season two, premieres Tuesday, December 11, 8:00 p.m. ET/PT
In season one, while pursuing a gangland killer, Sam confronted deeply repressed memories of his murderous father. He managed to free himself from the guilt and fears of his childhood, but somehow still remained trapped in 1973 with diminishing hopes that he’d return to his former life.
Season two sees Sam clearly established in the upper echelons of Manchester’s Police force but, it’s still the ‘70s, so he’s still at odds with his chain-smoking, bigoted, technologically-backward and corrupt boss, Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). With classic music from David Bowie, Santana, T Rex, ELO, Roxy Music and Thin Lizzy, a guest role by Hustle’s Marc Warren and an episode written by the creator of Torchwood, Chris Chibnall, the finale season promises a thrilling finish and, finally, the fans will learn the truth about Sam Tyler and how he came to be stuck in 1973.
Gene’s maverick methods of policing continue and his desire to rid Manchester of criminal scum is stronger than ever, now that his mentor, Superintendent Woolf (Kevin McNally, Pirates of the Caribbean), is back at the precinct. However, Sam is astonished to find that his own mentor and inspiration from present day, Chief Inspector Glenn Fletcher (Emmet Brown, Outlaws) has also joined the team – although he’s just a fresh-faced, new recruit in 1973, dealing with the extra pressure of the racist attitudes of his new colleagues. Marc Warren guest stars as Tony Crane - another ghost from Sam’s ‘future past’ – who’s a sleazy casino owner with a line in counterfeit cash. When Sam realizes the danger Crane’s girlfriend, Eve (Yasmin Bannerman), will face in the future, he tries to put him away in a style that’s more old-school than what he’d usually recommend.
As Sam continues to use his knowledge and the techniques of the future to solve crimes in the past, each case offers some key to the mystery of his life. And, as the series draws to a close, the messages and visions Sam habitually perceives start to link up, pointing in one direction. Perhaps the voices he hears aren’t those of doctors by his comatose form in modern day. Perhaps Sam’s journey has murkier origins than he imagined. Certainly, its destination will chill Sam to the core.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
THE “2007 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS” ANNOUNCES WINNERS
Awards Handed Out At the Star Studded Ceremony Broadcast Live on ABC
Beyoncé Honored With International Artist Award of Excellence
LOS ANGELES, CA – November 18, 2007 – The American Music Awards tonight announced winners of the “2007 American Music Awards” during a live event televised on ABC. For the first time in AMA history winners were selected by the public via online voting.
Host Jimmy Kimmel and celebrity presenters such as Carrie Underwood, Usher, Kid Rock, Christina Applegate, Ashanti, Natasha Bedingfield, Miley Cyrus, James Blunt, Helio Castroneves, Akon, Amanda Bynes, Justin Chambers, Jennie Garth, Josh Groban, Tony Hawk, High School Musical stars Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale, Snoop Dogg, Ryan Seacrest, Mel B., Jordin Sparks, Taylor Swift, Blair Underwood, Matt Dallas, Solange Knowles, Kellie Pickler, Fabolous, Chyler Leigh, Gene Simmons, Slash, Kirk Franklin, Lyfe Jennings, Scott Weiland and Sean Kingston handed out awards for the best of Pop/Rock, Country, Soul/Rhythm & Blues, Rap/Hip Hop, Latin, Alternative, Adult Contemporary and Contemporary Inspirational, and Soundtrack. International superstar Beyoncé was also honored with the “International Artist Award of Excellence” for her tireless efforts to bring music to the global community.
The “2007 American Music Awards” ceremony featured scores of special live performances including a very special performance by Beyoncé and country sensation Sugarland. Other highlights included a performance by Rihanna featuring Ne-Yo, a medley of a new and a classical hit by legendary rock group Duran Duran, as well as scintillating performances by Mary J. Blige, Maroon 5, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Avril Lavigne, Queen Latifah, Chris Brown (featuring by T-Pain), Celine Dion, Fergie, Daughtry, Soulja Boy, Rascal Flatts, Jonas Brothers, Nicole Scherzinger and will.i.am.
The “2007 American Music Awards” recognized Beyoncé with the “International Artist Award of Excellence,” which recognizes those artists whose popularity and impact cross national boundaries and is only given when there is a deserving recipient who is worthy of recognition for their accomplishments.
Past “International Artist Award of Excellence” winners include Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, the Bee Gees and Aerosmith.
The “2007 American Music Awards” were produced by Larry Klein with Louis J. Horvitz directing. Writers were Barry Adelman and Fred Bronson. Executive in Charge of Production is Bob Bardo. Associate Producer is Don Harary.
WINNERS OF THE “2007 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS:”
Favorite Male Artist: Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Artist: Fergie
Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Nickelback
Favorite Album: Daughtry / Daughtry
Favorite Male Artist: Tim McGraw
Favorite Female Artist: Carrie Underwood
Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Rascal Flatts
Favorite Album: Carrie Underwood / Some Hearts
SOUL/RHYTHM & BLUES
Favorite Male Artist: Akon
Favorite Female Artist: Rihanna
Favorite Album: Justin Timberlake / FutureSex/LoveSounds
Favorite Band, Duo or Group: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Favorite Male Artist: T.I.
Favorite Album: T.I. / T.I. vs. T.I.P.
Favorite Artist: Daughtry
Favorite Artist: Jennifer Lopez
ALTERNATIVE ROCK MUSIC
Favorite Artist: Linkin Park
Favorite Artist: Casting Crowns
Favorite Album: High Musical 2
FAVORITE BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST (ALL GENRES)
INTERNATIONAL STAR OF THE YEAR
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2007
The Spice Girls perform at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2007 in Hollywood, November 15, 2007 (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
Heidi Klum models at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Hollywood, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Lisa Rose)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
We thought we'd put this up, but apparently didn't upload it - so here it is it embodies our current intolerant state. We love it.
Lela Lee is SO Our Hero
We just love the purple "Annoy" one. We already got the "You Speak English So Well!" "I was born here, dumbass!" but we'd love to get the "Annoy" one. We also love the "I Hate People" bag in the previous entry. www.angrylittlegirls.com Find the little girl who is you.
What Not To Hair
10 Helpful Tips for Hair Replacement and Extensions from Hair Art Inc.
Hair Piece Don'ts
(note: That is the back of Britney Spears' head -- she is probably the best public don't)
* Research the type of hair used in your hair piece. Unless its high quality real European hair (the only kind used by Hair Art), chances are your hair-piece could look fake.
* To maintain the most natural looking tresses, avoid the temptation to give your new hair piece any highlights.
* Dont use a hair piece to totally change your look. If your natural hair is visibly straight, dont curly
* Dont get sloppy when attaching your hair piece. Follow your natural hairline so that your hair piece isnt worn in the wrong place!
* If ever there was a time to get A-list treatment, this is it. Dont trust just anyone with something as important as your hair, go to the most experienced professionals go to Hair Art.
* If its long luscious hair extensions you desire, go for it! But dont get carried away, keep your extensions lengthy yet chic.
* If youre going for a youthful, natural look, avoid colored hair extensions. Try shades that will enhance your natural hair color.
* Be cautious of pulling your hair up in styles that will reveal your hair extensions. No one needs to know your secret to gorgeous hair!
* You wont fool anyone if your hair extensions are coarse and waxy looking. For the best results make sure that high quality, real hair is used for your hair extensions.
* Hair extensions are a fun way to try new things and experiment with new looks. However, adding curly extensions to straight hair may look a bit artificial and vice versa. Stick with your natural texture.
Hair Art locations in Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Anaheim. For more information contact Jackie Yu at 310-217-8900 or visit www.hairartinc.com
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Talk about your locks of love. Despite our already deep plunge into middle age, we have held onto our longer-than-it-should-be hair. Each week we find a grey hair (which we pull). We are well aware that we’ll soon have to opt for the mature woman’s curse: coloring our hair.
But until then, we’re thankful for products. Products that shampoo, condition, moisturize, detangle and shine. And products, that allegedly work from the inside out.
On our jaunt to the Manhattan Beach Sephora (see archive), we bought Phytophanere Dietary Supplement - Hair & Nails. We were more than a little taken aback at the $50 price tag, and really, we weren’t influenced by the claim that Jennifer Anniston took eight caps daily and her hair grew like crazy.
We’ve been taking them for almost three weeks now and our hairs are very shiny and look healthy. So we can recommend it. Or at least, the ingredients. We think we may have to put together our own hair concoction of the oils, etc. in them, and it probably will be cheaper (although that’s a lot of caps.)
Phytophanere Dietary Supplement - Hair & Nails
Phytophanere is a dietary supplement for lifeless hair and weak, brittle nails. Super nutrients like carotene, wheat germ oil, and brewer's yeast nourish, protect, and help maintain healthy hair and build strong nails.
Carrot Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Fish Oil, Brewers Yeast.
In doing a little bit of web research, there are other hair supplements. In fact there are a whole bunch of them. We cannot vouch for any of them. And you should probably be careful in what you injest. Many are various forms of multi-vitamins. The ingredients of the above are oils and they seem to work.
Anyway, as for other available supplements , they include:
Nioxin Intensive Therapy Recharging Complex $20 for 30 caps.
Super Hair Energizers $13.95 for 60.
GNC Biotech™ Corporation Shen Min® Hair Nutrient $34.99 for 60
Oh Mysterious Mummy!
More than a thousand years before any known contact between East and West, hundreds of mummies, many with blue eyes and light hair, were buried in a Chinese desert. It’s a discovery that could substantially rewrite the history of contact between East and West and challenge the assumption that China developed largely in isolation. On Sunday, December 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel’s Explorer: China’s Secret Mummies goes on a unique forensic journey to determine who these people were and where they came from.
The Tarim Basin in western China is an arid, forbidding landscape long thought to be one of the natural barriers that enabled the East to develop separately from the West. But a remarkable archaeological find by a Chinese expedition in 1978 — a series of mummies, many with Caucasian features — called into question theories about East/West migration. The mummies remained in a regional museum, all but hidden for a decade, until Victor Mair, an expert on ancient Chinese texts, chanced upon them and realized their importance. Examining their clothes and the artifacts buried near them provided some clues about their origin. It wasn’t until earlier this year that Spencer Wells, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and director of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, went on a mission to use advanced DNA-analyzing technology to decode the mummies’ genetic identities.
The desert conditions of the Tarim Basin provided natural mummification, which helped prevent rotting and disintegration. China’s Secret Mummies helps put the significance of these mummies into perspective. The wool cloth, for example, demonstrated that sheep-herding, which originated in the Fertile Crescent, had progressed eastward. And bronze implements buried in the same vicinity as the mummies raised tantalizing possibilities that these people introduced bronze to the Chinese.
But where did these people come from? The weave in many of their garments, recognizable as plaid, suggested a European origin, but definitive answers were elusive. While the physical evidence provided many clues, it raised as many questions as it answered. The investigation then looked to DNA analysis, which offered more promise of determining the origin of these enigmatic mummies.
Earlier this year the Chinese government allowed Wells and other scientists a limited opportunity to examine the mummies, with the hope of finding useable DNA samples. China’s Secret Mummies details the scientists’ efforts to locate DNA samples within leathery inner tissue that had not degraded over the millennia. The scientists were ultimately able to extract enough material to yield some intriguing results. The genetic trial suggested that far from being an isolated outpost, this section of the Tarim Basin was constantly inhabited for some 1,700 years until around 300 B.C. Preliminary results also hinted that these people came from all over the map: Europe, Mesopotamia, India and elsewhere. Overall, such findings bolster the idea that China did not develop in complete isolation from the rest of the world, and that, indeed, outsiders might have impacted its development.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
We Adore Red Velvet Cake and Cupcakes
It's not a new discovery. We've loved them for long time. Today, someone mentioned them (at our day job) and it got us thinking about them. How much cocoa do you put in yours? Do you use red food coloring (traditional), beets (more traditional), or cherries (more experimental, for those who don't want to use food coloring.
We found this great, informative article in the venerable New York Times -- the only thing is that the suggestions to sample are all in NYC. But we have our own favorites, here in Los Angeles.
There's the trendy standard, Sprinkles (http://www.sprinklescupcakes.com) which has locations in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Dallas and Phoenix. Red Velvet Cupcakes are $3.25 each, $36 a dozen. Toast (toastbakerycafe.net/)8221 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA, Phone No. (323) 655-5018 Fax No. (323) 655-5078, Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cupcakes at Toast are $1.95 each and they are yummy. They're smaller than Sprinkles, but very tasty. My favorite right now is Hotcakes Bakes (hotcakesbakes.com; email@example.com . They're located in Mar Vista at 4119 South Centinela (@ the corner of Washington Blvd) Los Angeles, CA 900066
Phone: (310) 397-2324. Cupcakes are $2.50 each (and btw, the coconut cupcakes are fantastic, too).
From New York Times:
So Naughty, So Nice
IT’S a cake that can stop traffic. The layers are an improbable red that can vary from a fluorescent pink to a dark ruddy mahogany. The color, often enhanced by buckets of food coloring, becomes even more eye-catching set against clouds of snowy icing, like a slash of glossy lipstick framed by platinum blond curls. Even the name has a vampy allure: red velvet.
“It’s the Dolly Parton of cakes: a little bit tacky, but you love her,” said Angie Mosier, a food writer in Atlanta and a board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
But no matter how you slice it — or bake it — red velvet cake is suddenly all the rage. Every new bakery seems to sell a version. Established ones are adding the cake to their repertory, and those that have always made it are hard pressed to keep up with the demand. In New York City, more than 20 bakeries now sell red velvet cake or cupcakes, threatening to end the long reign of the city’s traditional favorites, cheese cake and dark chocolate blackout.
“Red velvet is beautiful and fun,” said Amy Scherber, the owner of Amy’s Bread. “I started making it five or six years ago, and at that time you couldn’t get it in many places besides Magnolia. Now it’s very popular.” Magnolia, the Greenwich Village bakery, specializes in Southern baked goods, and red velvet has been its most popular cake from the day it opened about 10 years ago. Since then, Magnolia has inspired a variety of spinoffs and imitators, and they all do a heavy traffic in red velvet.
Some bakers and food historians attribute the cake’s rise in popularity to its role in the 1989 film “Steel Magnolias,” where it appeared in the shape of an armadillo, with gray icing. The cake, if not the armadillo, had staying power.
More recently, the cake scored a public-relations coup of sorts when the singer Jessica Simpson served a towering hexagonal version at her wedding to Nick Lachey in 2002. It was made by Sam Godfrey, owner of the bakery Perfect Endings in Napa, Calif., who said he included a red velvet sample among the cakes he gave Ms. Simpson “because she’s from Texas.” He wasn’t prepared for her reaction. “When she chose it I was dumbstruck,” he said. “Then she talked about it all over television.”
But is this American oddity more than just a pretty face? To find out, the Dining section recently conducted a tasting of red velvet cakes that were either baked in New York City or are available by mail order. Many were disappointingly bland, but two won unanimous approval.
The best were moist and tender, not too sweet, like yellow cake with an extra wink of flavor. The layers were in harmony with an alluringly rich fluff of soft cream-cheese or butter-cream icing, not a gummy or sugary plaster. The winning cakes and cupcakes did not taste strongly of chocolate, an essential ingredient, some say, in the classic version of the cake. But cocoa had a noticeable presence in them.
Though the consensus is that red velvet, like many layer cakes, is from the South, it is certainly not in every cookbook about Southern food. No definitive information exists on exactly where it came from, how it should be made or why it is red. In fact, red velvet cake has produced almost as many theories and controversies as recipes.
One early story links it to New York. In their new “Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook” (Bulfinch Press, 2006), John Doherty and John Harrisson say that the cake, which they call a Southern dessert, became a signature at the hotel in the 1920s. (It is also the subject of an urban legend: a woman at the Waldorf was supposedly so taken with it that she asked for the recipe — for which she was charged $100 or more. In revenge, she passed it along to everyone she knew. The tale, like a similar one about a cookie recipe from Neiman Marcus, has been debunked.)
Mr. Doherty, the Waldorf’s executive chef, said the hotel still gets many requests for red velvet, so it is offered on the room service menu and in Oscar’s American Brasserie. “It’s not my favorite cake,” he said. “I can’t bear the thought of all that food coloring.” He uses beets in his version.
Some other chefs, including Adam Perry Lang of Daisy May’s BBQ USA, are also as unlikely to pour food coloring into a batter as to put maraschino cherries on a baked ham. Mr. Lang worked on his recipe with Johnny Iuzzini, the pastry chef at Jean Georges, and came up with a cake that was rated one of the best in the Dining section’s blind tasting. He also uses beets, but with redder results than Mr. Doherty.
Perfect Endings bakes the excellent red velvet cake that Williams-Sonoma featured in its catalog for the first time at Christmas. Mr. Godfrey said he uses a recipe he learned to bake with his grandmother, a native of Little Rock, Ark. “But for the bakery I couldn’t bring myself to offer a cake using red food coloring,” he said. “I tried cherries and beets, but it wasn’t right. Then I decided to honor my grandmother, so I went ahead with the food coloring.”
Carl S. Redding, who serves red velvet cake at Amy Ruth’s, his restaurant in Harlem, said that many places do not make it properly. “There are people who just dump red food coloring into a yellow cake batter, but it has to have cocoa,” he said.
Craig Claiborne, a Mississippi native who was a food editor and restaurant critic for The New York Times, included a red velvet recipe with no cocoa in “Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking” (Times Books, 1987). But to most authorities, some cocoa is essential.
Combined with some other traditional layer cake ingredients, cocoa takes on a red tinge. As Harold McGee, the author of two books on the science of cooking and a columnist for the Dining section, explained, cocoa contains anthocyanin, a red pigment found in foods like red cabbage. “When you cook foods like this with acid, the more red these pigments look,” he said. “Red cabbage stays redder and will not turn blue if there is vinegar in the cooking water.”
In cakes, an acid like buttermilk or vinegar may be used to activate baking soda, a common leavening. The reddish tint produced by the acid and the cocoa might explain why some chocolate cakes are called devil’s food, a theory that was held by James Beard. Home bakers in the South may have decided to exaggerate cocoa’s natural hue with food coloring and — Eureka! — they had red velvet.
Another theory is that home cooks started adding red food coloring after Dutch process cocoa became widely used. (The Dutch process makes cocoa easier to dissolve by adding an alkalizing agent like potassium carbonate, decreasing the acidity in the batter and muting the redness.)
Most recipes for red velvet cake call for cocoa in amounts ranging from an insignificant teaspoon to a serious half-cup, like the one by Elisa Strauss, who bakes cakes to order on the Upper West Side and whose “Confetti Cakes Cookbook” is to be published this spring by Little, Brown.
The more cocoa in the cake, the more red food coloring is needed to override the brown. But home bakers should be aware that using a lot of red food coloring, as in the unapologetic amount in the recipe given here, carries the risk of thoroughly spattering the kitchen. And there is a limit to how much cocoa can be used effectively.
“The cake is neither chocolate nor vanilla,” said Lisa Hall, an owner of Kitchenette, a cafe and bakery that makes red velvet cakes and cupcakes at its locations in TriBeCa and on the Upper West Side. “It’s Southern and moist and comfort food. People love it, and I don’t understand why.”
Reds That Give a Glow
Reporters and editors from the Dining section held a blind tasting of red velvet cakes from 19 bakeries and takeout shops. All liked the cakes from these two places:
DAISY MAY’S BBQ USA 623 11th Avenue (46th Street), (212) 977-1500. Simple, moist, dark red cupcakes with a hint of chocolate and icing that was not too sweet; $4 each.
MAKE MY CAKE 121A St. Nicholas Avenue (116th Street), (212) 932-0833; 2380 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (139th Street), (212) 234-2344. Dark red two-layer cake with decided chocolate overtones and a straightforward cream cheese icing, perhaps a classic. Slices $4. Whole cakes are available in six round or four square sizes ($40 to $255). Cupcakes are $2.75.
A majority of tasters also liked these:
BETTY BAKERY 448 Atlantic Avenue (Nevins Street), Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, (718) 237-2271. Deep red three-layer cake was not too sweet, with a touch of chocolate and rich icing that one taster found a little gritty. Slices $3.75; whole cakes are available in three sizes, from four inches ($12) to eight inches ($24); cupcakes $2.25. Larger cakes can also be ordered.
BILLY’S BAKERY 184 Ninth Avenue (21st Street), (212) 647-9956. Some tasters thought the three bright-red cake layers were bland, but all agreed that the butter cream was very good. Slices $4,50; whole nine-inch cake $44; cupcakes $2.25.
MAGNOLIA BAKERY 401 Bleecker Street (West 11th Street), (212) 462-2572. Stunning red cake with tender texture, a fleeting cocoa flavor and bright white icing. Slices $4.25; whole three-layer cakes are available in two sizes, six inches ($25) and nine inches ($45); cupcakes $2.50.
Not included in the blind tasting but well liked was the cake from WILLIAMS-SONOMA ($65 from 800-541-2233 or williams-sonoma.com), which also sells excellent red velvet cupcake mix ($14) in its stores.
Correction: February 21, 2007
An article last Wednesday about red velvet cake referred incorrectly to a recipe for the cake in “