Thursday, March 11, 2010

Announcing--Looks & Books

I am proud to officially announce that the blog's new home is now ready for public consumption! Looks & Books is Boston Book Bean's new and improved voice, merging fashion and books (with a few fun random bits) in one place.

If you are a subscriber, please remember to update your feed and bookmarks, and spread the word! I will see you over there. Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Birth: Rebirth

Tomorrow, Boston Book Bean celebrates its first birthday! It's been great blogging here, posting on such varied topics as my weekends, girl crushes, David Bowie, and poetry. When I first started this blog, I was unsure of what I wanted to say, so I tried to say it all. But it's time for a change--to celebrate Book Bean's birthday, she's getting a full renovation.

Stay tuned for a completely new look, new link, and new posts! I'm really excited about it and I hope you are too. I'm hoping to launch the new site next week. I will post the official announcement here.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fashion Book--Ellie Andrews

On Valentine's Day, Joe and I went to see "It Happened One Night" at BAM. I had never seen it, and didn't know anything about it, other than it starred Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, old Hollywood names that didn't mean much to me. I was delighted by what turned out to be one of the most unexpectedly funny and smart movies I've seen in a long time. Directed by Frank Capra, the same man behind "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," the film is a precursor to the modern rom-com trope of boy meets girl, boy and girl don't get along, boy and girl participate in much sassy sparring before boy and girl fall madly in love. Yes, the movie is predictable and some parts are inevitably dated, but it adds to the charm of the experience.

Claudette Colbert plays Ellie Andrews, an heiress with an overprotective father who escapes his clutches and ends up stranded and broke on a bus headed from Florida to NYC. Clark Gable plays a reporter who takes up her cause in order to get her story. What drew me to Ellie is that she is wide-eyed and naive, but she's also bravely independent and not afraid to stick up for herself.

Since I've been reading magazines and essays all week, I decided to take on a film character instead of a book character for this Fashion Book feature. Ellie wears the outfit in the screen cap above for the entire film, save for her to-die-for wedding gown in the last scene (image at the bottom of this post). Here, I re-imagine her outfit if the film were to be remade today:

New York Weekend 2/12-2/15/10

I was in New York for the long weekend and it was great to be able to spend more than a day and a half in the city for a change. Over the course of the weekend I celebrated Valentine's Day, got drinks with friends, ate massive amounts of chocolate, managed to get my coat taken from a bar (but it's being returned! faith in people=restored), did lots of shopping at Macy's and Beacon's Closet to try and find a decent replacement for missing coat (unsuccessfully), took a tour of "Love and Lust in Antiquity" at the Met, watched some Olympics, and just generally enjoyed spending quality time with the bf. Pictorial highlights below!

The prettiest, most delicious box of chocolates I've ever had--purchased from Chocolate Bar.

A bubbling skillet of Alpine mac n cheese (BACON!) at S'mac.

After the tour at the Met, we checked out the Modern Art section--this was my favorite Picasso.

There was also a hilarious and adorable exhibit on Victorian photo collage, where people used to cut out photos of their loved ones and paste them into funny scenes--a precursor to PhotoShop. I was definitely inspired to try my hand at this sometime in the future.

On Valentine's Day, Joe and I got dressed up and went to dinner and a movie. BAM was playing "It Happened One Night," with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, which was one of the most fun movies I've seen in a long time. I highly recommend checking this one out if you've never seen it.

There's nothing like being met at your bus by a handsome man holding a bouquet of flowers.

Hope you all had a lovely long weekend as well!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fashion Book--Zelda Fitzgerald

This week, I am reading The Crack-Up, a book of essays, letters, and excerpts from the notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald. As such, I've decided to do this week's fashion book feature on Zelda Fitzgerald--not a character per se, but a legend in her own right.

Zelda, Fitzgerald's wife, figures as strongly into the myth of jazz age decadence as F. Scott himself. A Southern belle, Zelda was a dancer with a firecracker personality. Tragically, she spent the last years of her life in various sanitariums, and died in a fire at Highland Hospital in 1948, nearly 8 years after her estranged husband's death in 1940.


Here's what I think Zelda would wear were she alive today:
Fashion Book--Zelda Fitzgerald

Alexander McQueen Clutch--a truly tragic loss for fashion. He will be missed!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Namesake

Kate Spade named a dress after me! Wasn't that sweet of her? I think the rule is that if the product has your name in it, it's free, right?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Boston Weekend--2/6-2/7/2010

I had a decidedly low-key weekend: I drove down to Rhode Island to see some family and friends, and also get my hair done. I also did laundry and slept a lot because I have a bugger of a cold. Luckily, my illness didn't stop me from enjoying some Super Bowl (and Puppy Bowl!!) festivities back in Boston on Sunday night. Here are some highlights from the weekend:

My hair, newly revitalized to its favorite shade of Angela Chase red. 

It pays to have friends in high places: my friend Llalan writes a beer column for Bostonist, and holds tastings every once in a while. This week, we got treated to chocolate beers--every bit as yummy as it sounds. 

We tried six different beers, but the clear favorite was this Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout--like ice cream in a bottle. Seriously. 

For the game, I headed over to Raquel's. Raquel is serious when it comes to food, so I knew there would be quite a spread. Check out these adorable penguins she made with black olives, cream cheese, and slivers of carrot! 

The spread. This doesn't even include desserts. 

What did you all do for Super Bowl Sunday?

Friday, February 5, 2010

In the trenches

There's nothing like the classic look of a nicely-cut, fitted trench. I am in the market for a new one come spring (please, get here faster!) because my cute white one that I got at Forever 21 two springs ago has seen better (and cleaner) days. Here are a few current favorites:

I love the royal blue of this Phase 8 "mac," available at John Lewis 

The Bahnhof coat at Modcloth is sophisticated and chic--love the asymmetrical buttons. 

You can usually count on Old Navy to present solid, budget-friendly jackets, especially for Spring. It's a classic, no-frills take on the trench that's easy on the wallet--can't go wrong. 

This Topshop number (spotted on Feather) is unfortunately out of stock. But aren't the polka dots and bows so much fun? 

And you can't mention trench coats without mentioning Burberry. They have cornered the market on beautiful, classic trench coats and it's a pipe dream for every classy lady to someday own one. You can pick up this basic model at Bergdorf Goodman

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fashion Book-Franny Glass

Before I learned how to read, I toted copies of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Glamour wherever I went. I called them my "fashion books" and I loved nothing more than looking through the beautiful photos. Ever since that time, both fashion and books have been among my principal passions. I do my best to meld the two--trying to be creative with my wardrobe on my meager publishing salary, but I decided to bring these two interests even closer. 

Every week from now on, I'll be putting together an outfit based on a character from the book I'm reading that week. This weekend, in honor of J.D. Salinger's passing, I re-read Franny and Zooey on the bus to New York. Franny Glass is one of my favorite characters in literature--a striking balance of naivete, thoughtfulness, and intelligence.  Here's what I think Franny might have worn on her afternoon date with her boyfriend Lane: 

Franny Glass

I Dream of Joanie

I miss Mad Men. I miss it a lot. Even though LOST is back (!!), I am still hankering for the return of Mad Men for its sharp writing, intelligent story lines, and most importantly, Joan Holloway. I can't help it. I think she's one of the most wonderful characters on television. Think about it--she plays the accordion.

Though Joan and Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays her, are two completely different people, and I'm well aware of that, I can't help but find myself admiring Christina as well. She seems so...awesome. I can't explain it. Here are a few favorite shots of her to demonstrate my point:

At the Director's Guild of America Awards--LOVE the color of that dress, and the flower is really cute.

I am in support of any actress who can make glasses look hot.

Love the print on this dress--also, curves. Thanks.

Green goddess.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Anthropologie Win

I have an announcement to make. This is what I'm wearing today:

After last week's post, my generous, thoughtful, and sweet boyfriend surprised me with the Anthropologie pencil skirt I was drooling over. It fits like a glove and I am so excited to pair it with all kinds of colors and textures! Just wanted to share my happiness with you all.

{pardon the messy chaos that is my bedroom and my poor self-portrait skills}

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reading, Writing, and Relationships

Many of you know that I moonlight as the editor of Fringe Magazine's blog. I wrote a post today about reading and its importance in romantic relationships. It's something that I think is part of a larger debate on what people look for in a significant other. Do they want a mirror of their own tastes and hobbies, or someone who can show them new and different interests?

It's not a black or white area, as far as I'm concerned, but an interesting debate nonetheless. Check out the post!

Flower Power

I love this rosette pillow in Nina Gotlieb's New York farm house--the color, shape, and idea are just gorgeous!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Cherpumple: The Craziest Dessert You've Never Heard Of

What do you get when you bake an apple pie inside a spice cake, a pumpkin pie inside a yellow cake, and a cherry pie inside of a white cake, stack them on top of each other, and then frost them with cream cheese frosting? It's called a Cherpumple and it's one giant dessert monstrosity.

Some bold and enterprising friends decided to take on this challenge to celebrate their respective birthdays this past weekend. Below, a few photos that document the beautiful insanity that is the cherpumple.

The pumpkin pie, nestled in its pan of yellow batter.

The apple pie receives its delicious spice cake bath.

The finished product. The weight of all they layers caused quite a bit of damage to the structural integrity of the dessert--a common occurrence, I fear.

The pie fillings oozed together to form a sweet and sticky taste explosion! Or some kind of explosion...

*images courtesy of Kerry Skemp, resident cherpumple extraordinaire

Friday, January 22, 2010

Apologies to Anthropologie

I have always had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder about Anthropologie. Sure, the dresses often make me swoon, and if I'm passing by a store, it's a treat to stop in and browse. However, I have never purchased anything there. Why? Because to me, the clothing is a poorly made, slightly more pretentious big sister to the hipster threads at Urban Outfitters (the two stores are owned by the same company), and nearly every item comes with a jaw-dropping price tag. This isn't to say I've never shopped at Urban (I have) and I do own one item from Anthropologie that I wear constantly--the lovely earrings at the bottom of this post that my boyfriend got me for a gift.

Cut to a couple of weeks ago when the January 2010 Anthropologie catalog turned up in my mailbox (addressed to my apartment's previous tenant). I decided to flip through, not expecting to see anything too extraordinary. Boy, was I mistaken. The catalog is chock full of lovely photographs, beautifully styled outfits, and unexpectedly wearable pieces. Here are just a few of my favorites:

If only I could pull off the jaunty scarf, skinny capris, and snappy oxfords look.

Love the innovative bodice on this one.

The SKIRT. The blouse goes gorgeously, but oh that skirt....

This is probably the dress I would get the most wear out of from the catalog--here's a closer look.

The perfect springtime ensemble. It makes me yearn for sunshine.

I wasn't the only fan of this season's catalog: Check out what A Cup of Jo and Jezebel said too!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boston Weekend 1/15-1/18

It was a great long weekend, complete with cupcakes, lazy afternoons, brunch, tapas, burgers, an open mic night, and candlepin bowling! Here are a few highlights:

Coconut cupcakes--my first attempt at making cupcakes from scratch and they turned out ok! 

Pretty cupcakes! Mint chocolate, raspberry, and coconut, all made by me and my roommate. 

The weekend wrapped up with a trip to Sacco's Bowl Haven, a candlepin bowling alley straight out of the 1950s. So charming and fun! 

Bowling shoes rule. 

Here's to this week speeding by and another weekend on the horizon! 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beef Stew!

As you know, I got a crockpot for Christmas this year. I didn't quite know where to start, so my good friend Kim came over to show me the ropes. We went marketing and got celery, potatoes, onions, and carrots, stew beef, red wine and a can of beef broth.

When we got back to the apartment, we chopped and sliced the veggies, then dredged the beef in flour.

Once the meat was dredged, we browned it in a skillet, which Kim insists is the only way to cook meat in a crock pot.

Once the meat was ready, we popped it in the pot, covered it with the veggies, and then put in two cups of red wine, a can of beef broth, some crushed garlic, and a couple of bay leaves. I cooked it on high for 6 hours--since I was in the apartment for most of that time, the smells were so delicious it was torture to wait so long!

The end result was worth the wait and as a bonus, I used the remaining veggies to make crockpot chicken soup yesterday--all I did was put a couple of frozen chicken breasts in the crock with the vegetables, equal parts chicken broth and water, and some garlic. After a little over five hours on high, I took the chicken out, shredded it, and then put it back in for another half hour of cook time. Simple, fantastically easy, and perfect for another snowy weekend.