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i have things to say

presite-castWe know now, of course, that it’s Amanda Valentine filling up that mysterious spot!!

Throughout its history, I’ve not once blogged about Project Runway. Not because I don’t adore the show, I’ve watched each episode of every season religiously for the past 12 years (wow, it’s been that long). I simply feel there are already so many bloggers covering the show (and doing it brilliantly, might I add) that I don’t fancy being a teeny, nondescript drop in the ocean. However, the recent fiasco surrounding Korina Emmerich’s departure from Season 13 has kicked the rock under which I’d been happily living and prompted me into hitching a ride on the bandwagon.

Losing graciously.

Does the spirit of sportsmanship truly exist? Or is it simply an act put on for show by those who fail to win the coveted top prize? Saying the right words, outwardly demonstrating politically correct expressions while boiling on the inside? Throwing tantrums and mentally yelling, “It’s not fair! It’s not fair! IT’S NOT FAIR!!”

 

{  Win With Class, Lose With Dignity  }

 

Let’s talk a little about sportsmanship. What it entails. Theoretically, it is the demonstration of fairness, self-control, courage and persistence. Treating others with respect and professional courtesy. A good winner does not gloat; a sporting loser concedes defeat graciously. Conversely, a bad winner openly rubs his victory in his opponent’s face whereas a sore loser does not take defeat with class, and (generally) acts out in some fashion to express disappointment.

Was it fair to crucify Korina for expressing what most of us would more than likely feel and think were we in the same boat? Was it truly because of what she said or simply because (‘fess up) Korina has made it a little difficult for us to like her? Let’s face it, she’s bitchy and has been trash talking the other contestants from day one, but that’s hardly virgin territory for the reality show, now well into its 13th instalment. And while we’re being honest, I do feel that Mean-a Nina Garcia had it in for Korina from the very beginning because she wasn’t afraid to defend her designs, to speak her mind.

Given the premise upon which the competition was taped – minimal sleep, maximum stress, living and working arrangements that weren’t conducive – given all that, I feel certain even Mother Teresa would’ve turned into quite the shrew.

From a purely creative standpoint, I concur that Ms Glover is nowhere near Korina’s calibre although she was decidedly nicer which made it all that much easier for most of us to be in Camp Char. That said, being Miss Congeniality should have nothing to do with one’s longevity in a competition like Project Runway wherein talent (supposedly) rules. And while I adore Tim Gunn and live for the day when he becomes my Fairy Godmother, I’m shocked to see the level of preferential treatment extended towards Char – not only did he use the coveted Tim Gunn Save on her (a total waste, it should’ve gone to Emily Payne), he saved her again when it came to the Find Your Street Muse Challenge. Do the words, “Let’s give Char ten extra minutes” ring any bells? That would make us seethe too if we were in a competition with her.

korina(L to R – Char, Korina) Placed side by side, it’s clear who the more talented of the two is.

At this point, I feel compelled to put something on record about designers who are bestowed the Tim Gunn Save. Remember Justin LeBlanc of the Foaming Vagina Dress fame?

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Justin and his losing look

Does anyone else detect a pattern here? That the producers wished to avoid, at all costs, eliminating and sending home a designer who’d been given the Tim Gunn Save? That they would do whatever was necessary to help the designer make it to Fashion Week? The very same thing happened with Justin LeBlanc. When it came to Korina, post show editing ensured that we, the viewers, weren’t privy to everything that was said (I’m confident there were some words exchanged, or implied, to the effect of openly questioning the judges’ integrity). That left us with footage showcasing Korina in the harshest light possible, verbally assaulting Char, and being an all around bitch. In reality, she was struggling to come to terms with the fact that Project Runway wasn’t really all about talent. And that must have been a very bitter pill to swallow.

As it is for me, an aficionado, who used to believe in the integrity of the show and its judging process.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the entire debacle.

 

Love, Sheela

How-to-Fashion-a-Scarf-for-Many-Occasions-848x300Be it for academic purposes or to create a fashion statement (think Whovian), or to visibly pledge one’s allegiance to a specific school or club. Or perhaps it’s coverage in the name of modesty, a religious requirement maybe. No matter the agenda, there’s little doubt that scarves have, for better or for worse, left indelible marks on our wardrobes. Growing up, I loved sporting a jaunty little Pan Am Scarf Knot. When the desire for something flamboyant arose, a Double Wrap Neck Knot. And when it was a wee bit nippy, the Muffler. Of course, that was way back when I hadn’t yet developed a violent aversion to anything touching my neck, like I do today.

No matter, I continue to adore scarves from afar. Relishing how, when executed correctly, they exude that effortless Grace Kelly vibe, channeling the Audrey Hepburn look with panache. So classic. So elegant.

gracekellyaudreyhepburnFrom a contemporary perspective, these ladies and gents cut quite the stylish profile with their individual, ahem, twists.

Montage2(L to R) Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb, Keiko Lynn and Jane of Sea Of Shoes

Montage01(L to R) Gian Maria, Aram and Alex M

Montage3(L to R) Killy of Moon Magik, Ellie of Strut In Her Style and Diana of Zhours

On a sidenote, is it not FANTABULOUS how many male bloggers there are now? I’m a huge fan of showing there’s more to sartorial life than the same ole plain tee + distressed denims.

Back to scarf speak, are you part of the sorority?

 

Love, (scarfless) Sheela

We interrupt our regular broadcast to bring you this spectacular showcase for the fingers.il_fullxfull.501090410_5gz9

The Conquer Ring in Black $20

il_fullxfull.394890149_t7bzMatte Silver Birthstone Ring $140

il_fullxfull.606753258_6up4Opposites Attract Wooden Ring Set $280

il_fullxfull.566715498_c3foOctopus Tentacle Ring $37

il_fullxfull.486503995_j1k0Rose Gold Fox Ring $9

il_fullxfull.536446823_m1ohStacking Gold Rings $223

il_fullxfull.465966171_f3qxGap Ring $69

il_fullxfull.659749123_4zoiOrganic Gold & Silver Ring $114

I rarely wear jewellery but when I do, it’s the more the merrier for my fingers, and these fit the bill, perfectly. All puns intended. Happy Columbus Day!!

Love, Sheela

For the record, I find lip stains and lip glosses rather intimidating, frightening even. I can’t quite put a finger on it but I am a little afraid. Lipsticks? Regular lipsticks? Those are alright. I can deal.

Wikipedia defines lip stains as cosmetic products that colour by virtue of (duh) staining. As being drying and non conducive for use during Winter. Red flag moment. A blob of colour, smudged upon my mouth. A harsh blob of colour, no less. Virtually impossible to remove (I know, I’ve succumbed to their wily ways in the past and purchased several), leaving one with a post-apocalyptic victim look. Lip stains are like the Teflon of lippies. Not very attractive at all, is it?

I know the fear is not all that irrational but then again,

aren’t phobias founded on a complete absence of logic or rational thought?

That and the fact that I really do believe lip stains and I aren’t destined to bond. Really, really.

I begin my case by explaining how I’m not your traditional Asian female whose porcelain complexion provides the perfect foil for any colour imaginable. On any given day, my skin leans towards olive hues. As such, what looks heavenly on the paler members of my kind, well, vanishes, with nary a trace, on me. Nor am I sufficiently tanned to showcase jewel hues without resembling Grace Jones on a bad day out.

stained-pink-lipstick{ no porcelain doll am I }

And then there are lip glosses. Beasts in their own right.

The promise of a picture perfect pout. The allure of lips so soft, so moist, that to kiss them would be to kiss heaven itself. But it is that very same luscious, moisture-kissed look which proved the catalyst to my downfall.

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{ pucker up }

Think glossy red. Think sporadic, strong gusts of wind. Let’s now add very long hair into the mix. A tragedy just waiting to happen. Yes, I had bloody lines streaking across my face, and that wasn’t even the worse part of it. Being utterly oblivious to the state of things, I continued to traipse around town, all day. Shopping, eating, more shopping. Never realising I resembled a cage fighter who’d taken quite the beating. Sigh.

I suppose I could surmise that as the defining moment.

The moment when I understood how this shiny concoction and I would never become best friends, not even in the name of come-hither lips.

I must confess though, given the glossy wave of offerings cosmetic giants have been putting out, I am tempted. Sorely tempted to give our relationship another go. Perhaps sufficient time has passed, allowing us to set differences aside and try again. I don’t know. I don’t know.

logo lips2Would you kiss and make up?

 

Love, Sheela

Noticed how I named this post, “Sweater Weather”? In deference to the fact that Houston does not have a sweater-friendly climate. It just doesn’t. But but but, if it did?  These would be on my list of absolute must-have sweaters. Yes, indeed.

473923_in_xlSonia by Sonia Rykiel, Intarsia Sweater $335453525_in_xlMaison Martin Margiela, Open Knit Sweater $870

472033_in_xlMarkus Lupfer, Hook A Duck Sweater $375

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Karl Lagerfeld, Nora Sweater $395

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Reed Krakoff, Leather Paneled Cashmere Sweater $1,290456943_in_xlMoschino, Silk Appliquéd Wool Sweater $925

Is it sweater weather where you are? Or is the air-conditioner still a-cranking despite it already being October?

 

Love, Sheela

The concept of free writing used to scare me. Quite a lot. But after several attempts (here and here), I’ve come to realise that it’s really quite the best way to write. So spontaneous. I never have any idea what I’ll come up with and that’s the beauty of the entire process. Like right now. I’m typing as I’m waiting for the chicken to roast. My mini bread puddings are already on the table. Thank the lord they didn’t burn. I’ve never made savoury bread pudding before, let alone mini ones.

image{ inserted three hours later } These mini savoury bread puddings were born out of the desire to finish a very stale loaf of Whole Wheat Bread and an equally lacklustre bag of frozen Spinach which had been cooked in the skillet once. Spinach which had seen better days, let’s just say. I cooked it with shallots and Andouille sausages, with generous sprinklings of Ground Chipotle Powder. Mixed that with the cubed bread, 4 eggs, some milk and some heavy cream. And a little bit of freshly chopped Basil to lighten things up. I’ll share the recipe tomorrow. Or sometime. I hate taking pictures at night. These look so nasty but they taste yummy, I swear.

And now I’m stumped.

How’s that for irony?

Oh, right, my knee. Let’s talk about my knee for a wee bit.

Well, the last few days have been blurry.

I developed an allergic reaction to the painkillers prescribed post surgery. I also became incredibly ill due to anesthesia. Suffice to say that for the most part, last week had me fairly comatose. Now, I’m not doped up anymore and am feeling a lot better. The knee continues to hurts though. Sometimes, a lot. It’s still swollen and impossible to bend. I can’t stand/walk for very long without having to sit down and rest because it aches. It tires easily. My surgeon tells me that’s normal. Expected. And that I’m very much on track. Next week, I start physiotherapy for both my knee as well as my shoulder. No, I didn’t have surgery done on my shoulder but the rotator cuff is very inflamed and needs help.

Can you imagine me with wounded shoulder, wounded knee, both on the right side? Marionette much.

Oven beeping. Incessantly.

I’m guessing that, at this juncture, I’ve sinned against the gods of clocked prose. I should feel sorry but I would’ve felt a lot more woebegone had I ignored the desperate plea of the oven and allowed the fowl within to become scorched. I shall attempt another bout of timed writing (more…)

shutterstock_209659855Hello beautiful world. Hello beautiful people :)

Another long week which makes me even more thrilled with the prospect of a 3-day weekend.  Bliss. I’m running behind on practically everything so this is going to be short on words but packed with cool stuff for you to explore :)

I didn’t think it’d be possible but I’m quite taken by Ree. She makes me laugh. And her recipes are, well, rootin’ tootin’ good.

No matter how smart the world becomes, there are still so many misconceptions surrounding gay and being gay. This is a wonderful, you-must-read-now piece on gay women, the stereotyping they’ve encountered and how they deal. Go on, read it.

Nom nom chocolate.

Apple flirts ever more with fashion.

Grow up, woman.

Do we really need another tome on street style? What do you think?

So, you know how drinking juice right after brushing your teeth is truly gross-gusting? Did you ever pause to wonder why?

The wacky genius of Warhol.

Lather up.

And this is on my must-try list for the weekend.

 

What are your plans?

Love, Sheela

 

Here’s one we’ve all encountered – bananas ripening before our very eyes. Right? Don’t you hate it when that happens? Yes and no. Yes because no one enjoys fending off microscopic fruit bugs doing the nasty with this yellow Parthenocarpic. No because that means Banana Bread is en route.

Did you know that Bananas are technically berries?

I digress.

So, yeah, I love it when bananas ripen at the speed of light because that’s when I get to make Banana Walnut Bread. I prefer chopped Walnuts in mine but really, you can incorporate just about any nut lying around in the kitchen.  Husbands and children exempted, ‘kay?

shutterstock_135803411BANANA WALNUT BREAD

Yields 2 8×4′ loaves

Prep time is around 10 minutes

Cook time 35 to 40 minutes

Total 50 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour (I use King Arthur’s European Style Flour so the crust gets a little crunchy even as the inside remains soft and moist)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

4-6 medium ripe bananas, mashed (we eat a lot of Del Monte Organic Bananas)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Mazola oil (or any vegetable oil)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (again, you can adjust quantity and type of nut)

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  We’re using the centre rack. Grease the loaf pans generously with non salted butter and set them aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine mushed-up bananas with sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix well on Medium speed. It might look as though the ingredients have separated but they haven’t. Add flour mixture and mix on Low until completely blended. At this point, the mixture will resemble batter (insert sigh of relief, like I did). Stir in the nuts.

Divide batter equally into the loaf pans.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and dry. Should the tops of the loaves darken before they’re baked through, remove from the oven, cover with foil and return them to the oven for the remaining duration of the bake time.

Let the Banana Walnut Bread Loaves stand for 10 minutes prior to serving. I like wolfing mine down with a tisane. If you want a slightly different flavour profile, you can add lemon or orange zest (or several tablespoons of the juice) into the batter. My daughter often begs me to include Dark Choc Chips so there’s another version right there. Adapted from the amazing Browneyed Baker.

It’s October and so much of the year has already gone by. Too many wasted moments. Too many dashes out of the door. Too many hugs not given. Too many words left unspoken. And far too many special moments that should have been savoured, I’ve let slip by.

So here’s what I’m doing right here, right now.

I’m setting aside time to be thankful.

thanksss

I am thankful for still having a head of hair. After over two years of fighting elevated IGEs of close to 5,200 wherein Prednisone was my only friend, I’ve lost almost half of my hair. And what’s left is incredibly weak. But I am thankful. *

I am thankful to live in a country wherein the freedom to be Catholic exists. Not all of us are as blessed. Being from a Muslim country, I have sadly borne witness to this on a personal level, numerous times.

I am thankful for the kisses my daughter gives me each morning before she heads off to boot camp aka high school. I dread the day when university beckons, and I am no longer able to reach out, hug her, tell her I love her. Be physically there for her.

I am thankful to have been nurtured in an environment wherein hugs and physical demonstrations of love were always encouraged.

In turn, I am able to pass that on to my family.

I am thankful for my first job abroad. Alone for the very time in my life, with very little money, there were days when dinner was a slice of  bread and nothing more. That time changed me. It made me street smart. It made strong.

I am thankful for being afraid every now and again. Fear forces me to look within myself. To understand what’s going on. Why I acted the way I did. And come out of it, aware. Without fear, I would never venture beyond self-imposed boundaries.

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I am thankful for all the horrid and not so nice people whom I have met. Because of the way you talk, act, and think, I know exactly what sort of person I do not ever want to be.

I am thankful for each and every single dysfunctional relationship in my past. Without experiencing them then, I would never have learned to recognise the glint of real gold today. I would still be placing superficiality and material things on a pedestal.

I am so thankful for my husband.

He is the crunch to my bacon.

He is the sweet to my Milo.

He is my everything.

I am thankful for today.

I am thankful for being alive.

I am thankful for being me.

 

What are you thankful for?

Love, Sheela

* In August 2012, I was diagnosed with a condition wherein my body believes it’s under siege all the time and retaliates by over-producing histamine. That, in turn, leads to rash all over my body, including my face. Many nights I sleep with ice packs. In addition to chronic oral medication, I’m also currently undergoing Xolair injections fortnightly to try and temper the situation. For a while, the therapy worked but lately, it appears to have lost efficacy, so I’m investigating further options. Wish me luck :)

Indeed, they do.

Here, in Houston, we’re barely (if ever) presented with style loopholes that necessitate creative layering. Opportunities to wear a scarf or sweater or boots are about as rare as the Hermès Diamond Crocodile Birkin. You can imagine how a coat wouldn’t fit here. I could buck the norm and go big but visions of sweat necklaces doting my décolletage forbid me to venture further. As such, living vicariously through the layering adventures of others is, well, du jour.

Hypothetically speaking, given the right temperature and circumstance, I crave coats in almost every shape and form. My love is lavished equally on architectural lines, baroque notes, whimsy and outright flamboyant. I ask only for spectacular design and zero itch factor.

Presenting a parade of what I would wear in a flash.il_fullxfull.566536035_97r4This, this, THIS is it. This cuts across predictable waves of Blacks and Greys and Navies like the Northern Lights streaking across the night sky. A masterpiece from Malam.

il_fullxfull.507581881_6b1j

A playful plaid piece is never displaced when it starts getting nippy. Those waves around the hips? Less peplum-ballooning, more shape-flattering. I’m reminded of a stylish swashbuckler and that rocks. Full details here.il_fullxfull.646139232_agy0

For many chic women, reworking staples to be season-ready is Style 101. I can so see this classic piece transcending the phrase “must-have” with absolute ease and panache. Wool with weather. Scrumpdelicious.il_fullxfull.642714441_hoyhSpeak (easy) volumes with this oh so versatile piece. It’s a coat. It’s a cape. It’s a cardigan. It’s a poncho. It’s practically everything, and meets so many of my warm weather criteria that I’m ready to strut in Slate.il_fullxfull.617161876_19qvTrust an Italian to create something so graphic and bold without forsaking femininity. I covet this. I covet it so.

What’s on your wool agenda for this year?

 

Love, Sheela

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