Um, yea, #GivingTuesday

Believe it or not, this bitch tries to stay involved in the Memphis community. You see, when I spend all of my paycheck on things like leather leggings, pony hair pumps, dinners with the girls, expensive vodka and cash for bail, I am left with a 1/8 tank of gas and a shallow feeling. That is why I find great pleasure in giving back to those who are not as healthy as I am or who do not have certain resources available to them. It’s the Memphis way (or it should be).  This is my home, dammit, and if I want to feel safe and sweet living here, I have a responsibility to do something about it. Likewise, I have found that I prefer to surrounded myself with like-minded people and frequent their businesses.

We all have our favorite causes, so I am not here to preach for one or another. However, as someone who knows many retailers and restaurant owners, I do have strong opinions on with whom I will spend my cash (like I mentioned earlier: my cashflow is less of a flow and more like a self-induced draught). I know I am leaving some off, because there are many local business owners that do great things for Memphis. But the following places of worthy of your money, and I will tell you why:

Erling Jensen’s

EJ2aDelectable, yes. Pretentious, sometimes. Good-hearted owner, always. I had Erling (or his better half) make me a lasagna for a boy I care about very much. This boy is a St. Jude patient and is fighting osteosarcoma. His ALL TIME favorite food is lasagna, and as Erling specializes in French-inspired fine dining, lasagna is not his forte. But when I was casually mentioning this boy while at diner there one evening and how his birthday was approaching, Erling enlisted his wife to make her signature lasagna for me to give to him.  His wife drove the lasagna up to the restaurant for me to retrieve it, then gave me heating instructions and a hug. I may add that she doesn’t know me from Adam; she just wanted to make someone’s day bright. It of course was delicious, and an act of kindness like that will not be forgotten.

 

 

Kittie Kyle

img_7074No, I am not trying to brown nose one of my favorite local retailers: Kittie Kyle’s owner is Cindy Gambrell, and this woman is super involved. She assists with the Memphis City Beautiful campaign and about a dozen other local initiatives. However, for a recent photo shoot, I came to her with a unique request: I wanted to use Madonna Learning Center’s students as models for my fashion editorial. If you are not aware, the Madonna Learning Center is a school for children and young adults with learning disabilities. I do not think I have ever seen Cindy so excited about a shoot. She wasn’t nervous her garments would be damaged (turns out the students there are more mindful changing than many of my regular models). She wasn’t concerned that the model wouldn’t depict her clothes beautifully. In fact, she jumped on the bandwagon, knowing the concept was beautiful, and the opportunity to make a young girl squeal with delight, get glammed up, be a model for a day and then see herself in a real-life fashion spread is PRICELESS. This woman has the most unique and beautiful clothes; she also has real perspective on what is it is to be impressive. Check the fashion spread in Decemeber’s 4Memphis. 

Strano

10614346_1389688984619748_9001278096220247658_nI can not say enough kind words about Josh Steiner, the owner and Chef of Strano. This is a new Sicilian-style restaurant located on the corner of Cooper and Young. Now, we all know that new restaurants are very touch-and-go, with budget nightmares, high turnover, crazy food costs, etc. New (and old) restaurant owners will pinch a penny and cut corners, but not this dude. Nope, he buys his produce from local CSAs, and that is not only good for local economy, but great for his guests’ health. He greets EVERYONE with a smile, which is why I camp out at his bar and drain as much wine as I do. As I do eat (booze) there on the reg, Josh and I have a great rapport. He even let me and my over-served girlfriends come into his kitchen and burn sage to ward off bad ju ju (long story). But what REALLY got me is when I came to him in a fuss because I needed more food for a St. Jude function. He supplied me with a ton of pizzas, and then he sent his assistant chef out to me with them. The man gave me the boxes and some very tender words about life and loss where young people are involved. Strano is THAT PLACE to go be a regular and get that homestyle warm-and-snuggly feeling. Also, the food is incredible; just don’t go on a diet.

The Second Line

10171632_791982080840222_5335532488621607967_nForget all of the (albeit deserved) hype around Kelly English. Blah blah his food is awesome. We KNOW that. The dude is majorly talented. But he is ALSO a huge fan of being way involved in the community. When he isn’t opening a gazillion restaurants and winning awards, he is organizing HUGE events for causes like Le Bonheur. The man can guilt the biggest culinary talents in the country into coming together and showing off for one another to pull off one of my favorite local events: Le BonAppetit. But Kelly doesn’t stop there. He let me rope him into going onto televised news and challenging him for my Memphis Love Challenge (4Memphis.com/MemphisLove), and he had some great words to share about what it means to be a Memphian and to care about the community. He also is constantly supporting other local restaurants and chefs instead of being weirdly competitive (because..DUHHHH… there can be more than one bad a** restaurant in town). I have not approached him with a weird charity-minded scheme yet that he hasn’t been open to, and for that, I will always be grateful that he lives in my city.

Gibsons Donuts

untitledGibsons has made the official “Best Doughnuts in the Country” list according to half a dozen publications. However, it is owner Don DeWeese’s attitude that makes his place so popular. He remembers every face; he has something to say to every customer; he may even throw a doughnut at your head. But what you may not know is that he provides our University of Memphis athletic teams with doughnuts. I have also seen him give free doughnuts to cancer patients, the elderly, and literally a dozen charities for charitable functions. All I’m sayin’ is that the man must really be selling some serious bearclaws to afford all of the charitable giving he does. Also, his wife Rita is a literal SAINT. She sits and reads to underprivileged children on the reg because it “gives her a sense of purpose and fills her heart.” I mean this place is so on it that it makes me smile just driving by the store. Go and get your sugar high there.

Think you deserved to make this list and didn’t? That is EXACTLY why you didn’t make this list. These men and women are unsung heroes. They are known for their trade, and only through direct encounter do I know how large their hearts are. They don’t Facebook it (unless I make them for the #MemphisLoveChallenge). They LIVE kind deeds, every single day. They just truly love the city and want it to prosper as their businesses prosper. It’s like paying it forward. So go blow your cash at these places. Lawt knows that I do.

-Stephanie

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The Other Sister

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This is why Solange is the less famous sister: even on her wedding day, she dresses like an a-hole. I have to not-so-politely disagree with bloggers at Who What Wear; NO ONE THINKS SIDE SAGGY BOOB IS CUTE. Avoid avoid.

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Bitch is Back

The saying goes: “Consistency is key.” Well, whatever overachiever said that hasn’t tried editing and styling for a magazine while trying to keep up a blog. For what it’s worth, where I have lacked (and slacked) the past few months, I will make up for in spades in the weeks to come. Why? Because it’s the holidays, errbody. It is time to be rabid consumers. I live off of material consumerism and holiday madness like Amanda Bynes lives off of polyester hair and Newport Lites.

Weekend schedules are beginning to fill up quickly. Families get together for dinners; girlfriends go shopping together; old college buddies gather for brunches and parties. It is colder than a witch’s tata out there now, but that does not excuse some of the HORRIBLE things I saw this weekend whilst getting my merriment and mirth on. I feel as if it would behoove me to point out some “holiday trends” that should just die right here and now (and then a tip on how to adjust):

1: Stockings with runs in them.

This was gross in the 90s. Ask yourself: “What Would Courtney Love Do?” Then do the exact opposite. I don’t care if you do live in Midtown: damaged garments are hideous, especially at BRUNCH.

If you want interesting stockings, find some that are textured or with fun patterns like argyle. Love the 90s? Buy flannel-print outerwear and call it a day.

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Plaid jacket from McQueen

YSL

Tartan print blazer by YSL

2: Barrel Curls.

Jody Brown, one of Memphis’ premier hair stylists at Up City, can testify that looking natural is always on trend. Loose waves= pretty; pageant-style barrel curls= tragic. Don’t look like a Jessica McClintock advertisement. This isn’t your prom. Just stop.

Instead, try using your straightener to create loose and natural-looking waves. Another option? Do a fishtail braid. Don’t know how? Search them both on YouTube.com. They have great tutorials.

3: Leggings. As. Pants.

Your mirror is LYING to you if you think you look great wearing leggings a pants. You don’t look skinny. Ever. You just look too poor to buy real pants.

Want to be comfy/have the flexibility to eat like a maniac? Wear the leggings, but cover your bum in a long sweater. Places like Lori James and Lavish carry great sweaters and tunics that cover your bottom.

4: Uggs.

Barf. No more. Fact: wearing these make your legs look thicker than what they are.

Buy a pair of warm and comfy boots from a brand like Sorel or Frye. Even better: wear a cute ankle boot with cozy mid-calf or knee-high socks on. You can even layer that over leggings or stockings. Then you don’t look like you are wearing your house shoes out.

presh

presh

cozy and cute

cozy and cute

That is just a few things I have stumbled upon out in the wild streets of Memphis. I am looking very forward to see what you’ve got for me during this frigid snuggly time of year.

-Stephanie

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You Little Tart

When Tart in Memphis started their weird marketing mail-out of “hey, this is what we are trying to pull off, so mail us a check” came across my editors’ desk, I quickly dismissed this bakery/bistro as a fanciful whim of some broke midtown hippie. Months later, Tart is now here and I’m eating my French-baked words.

Ok, not to sound like a geographic broken record, but this joint is in Cooper Young. Reacting on the enthusiastic two-thumbs-up from Chef Kelly English, I swung into Tart for an early lunch today. The place already wins points because of the amazeballs shaded patio with cute retro furniture. Inside, I waddled right up to the counter (counter service) and ordered a latte. Now lemme learn you something about me: I am super persnickety about my lattes. However, this barista was pretty good, so check. Plus, the counter looked crazy good. Check plus.

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I moved outside to check emails and enjoy the beautiful weather that Memphians can only enjoy for 2 weeks between frigid rain and hellfire. Then along came Heather, part owner, to spark conversation (I was actually in work clothes and that never happens. I guess she thought I looked official.). First, I commented on how amazing the croissants look. She promptly brought me one with butter and jam. Whoa: they are “don’t-slap-momma-she’s-your-momma-so-slap-your-boyfriend” good. I mean check this pastry out:

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So I gobbled that shiz right up, then I promptly called my lunch appointment and had him meet me at Tart. But not for more carbs. They have an “After 11 AM” menu:

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While I waited, owner Heather explained to me that every month Tart will feature a select local artist or artists and basically let them turn part of the inside into their own weird artistic playground. The wall is currently occupied with some very young and modern artistic interpretation of literature and the moral implications print media has on our psyche (OK, I made that analysis up because I know zero about art and, frankly, the artists I know are batsh!t cra). However the concept is great, and it allows otherwise broke and underexposed creatives to get their work out there.

When it got time to order, I got the Niçoise salad and my bud got the Croquet Monsieur. Because I’m a food enthusiast (glutton), I also wanted to try the salmon rillette. So we got it as an appetizer. It was a great call. Everything was a perfect nod to Parisian cafe cuisine. AND they serve the menu until dinner with a $10 CORKAGE FEE. BOOOOM. Because who wouldn’t want to sit out here, eat sexy cafe food, enjoy local art, and drink your own wine? A communist, that’s who:

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Reorganize and Regroup

Memphis in May’ers everywhere have hit the proverbial brick wall: it is back to reality, sans music-ing, bbq-ing, and binge drinking excitement. If you are like me, there is a to-do list a mile long and clothes mounds stacked like a Kardashian backside ready to be organized. As I have previously mentioned, I moved to a new home in Midtown, and right in the crux of organizing my boudoir, the Grizzlies mania and Memphis in May prohibited me from doing anything but drinking beers at the forum, yelling obscenities at the opposing bench, and generally wandering around lucidly in downtown Memphis.

NOTE: Yes, I said boudoir. Every girl should have one. For you novices, this is a room completely dedicated to clothes, accessories, and other girl shiz that makes my little world go ’round. I saved this room for last, because I have more frilly garments and sparkly shoes than a Miami drag queen, and it was going to take some time and strategic planning to get ‘er done.

As it is Spring, it is also an appropriate time to be cleaning out shiz and regrouping. So I have gone in and full-force overhauled my wardrobe, accessories, and even makeup and hair products. The end result is AMAZE! I have everything in plain sight, all coordinated, and easily moved. However, I could not have done it without these helpful gadgets (and an eff-ton of vodka):

 

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Racks on Racks on Racks
Get a good Z-Rack (or clothes rack) at Target. Mine were $61.99 ea.

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MORE racks on racks on racks: I can get roughly 50 pairs of heels on this beeyotch. $79.99 at Target

This little doo-woop jewelry organizing tree is from Anthropolgie and is nearly $100. However, you can find some knock-offs at Hobby Lobby.

This little doo-woop jewelry organizing tree is from Anthropolgie and is nearly $100. However, you can find some knock-offs at Hobby Lobby.

While you're at Hobby Lobby, pick up a cork board and some push pins. I hang longer necklaces from these, and they work great.

While you’re at Hobby Lobby, pick up a cork board and some push pins. I hang longer necklaces from these, and they work great.

You just Google "animal print ottoman" and see whatcha get. They double for storage! I think cow hide print is chic. I sit on mine while I do hair and makeup in the mirror.

You just Google “animal print ottoman” and see whatcha get. They double for storage! I think cow hide print is chic. I sit on mine while I do hair and makeup in the mirror.

Got an inherited serving platter from Momma or one you never use from your wedding? Keep perfume and hair and face goo on it, Putting products on it will encourage you to put stuff in its rightful yet easily accessible place and not strewn all over your bathroom counter.

Got an inherited serving platter from Momma or one you never use from your wedding? Keep perfume and hair and face goo on it, Putting products on it will encourage you to put stuff in its rightful yet easily accessible place and not strewn all over your bathroom counter.

These are all great things to have to get yo a$% started in organizing. Time to take back that space now deemed a “Man Cave,” ladies, and construct your “Bitch’s Boudoir”.

 

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I just love the heck out of this idea: promoting the youth of tha M to read AND get the eff outside. These “Little Libraries” are speckled throughout midtown. This one in particular is on Cox close to Harbert. All are products of the homeowners who, in my opinion, are either amazing or pedophiles.

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Warm and Snuggly

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Met Gala Massacre

Despite being sick and swamped with work, I really feel it would be just wrong to ignore what happened last night at the annual Met Gala. Lest you have been under a rock for years, you know the Met Gala is the  benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and serves as an opening celebration for the institute’s annual fashion exhibit. This year’s exhibit features the work of Charles James, whose beautiful designs are revered for their structure, cutting, and old-Hollywood glamor, even nearly four decades after his death.

Traditionally, the theme for the Met Gala is whatever the exhibit features. Therefore, it would only make sense for celebrities and attendees to wear sensationalized high-structured gowns with over-the-top old-Hollywood glam tones. Alas, I am referring to the 2014 Met Gala as a Massacre because guests either killed it or should murder their stylists. Now I understand that this is a CUSTUME affair, but let me be clear in my criticisms: costumed to wow- great; costumed to shock and horror- sad. Sure, you can take a swing for the fences like SJP in her Oscar de la Renta and I will commend you (despite the trashy red signature on the train). But I fear no Beygency when I say that Beyoncé was TRAGIC in her Givenchy. You have a juicy butt and good stems, Beyoncé. I get it. I get you have a pension for all kinds of bad girl sexual innuendo. However, her disaster of a look transcends urban chic or even classic ghetto and  bee bops over to the skank side. I mean, side boob, cleavage, a*$, and thighs? Jay-Z must not have much of an imagination. I refuse to even post the photo because I miss good girl Bey.

However, let me post some who NAILED it, because of theme, glamour, or chicness.

Zac Posen dressed these ladies like a boss:

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Ditta von Teese exemplifies Hollywood glam.

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Liu Wen looks like a Cinderella-meets-Mulan princess.

And these gals rocked it in Oscar de la Renta:

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Amy Adams

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Claire Danes

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Would like more if the following occurred:
1: Pink lip
2: Taylor Swift were anyone but Taylor effing Swift

I mean, Google Charles James. Just do it. These ladies kicked that theme’s a*$.

Here are some other goodies:

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Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds in Gucci

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Emma Stone in Thakoon

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Emily Rossum in Carolina Herrera

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Hayden Panettiere in Dennis Basso

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Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa and an eff ton of Harry Winston diamonds

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Suki Waterhouse in Burberry

Those were MY favorite. And while there were other notables (Olivia Munn and Joan Smalls, for example), these women dressed for the party and look vintage glam. Sexy is NEVER looking like you tried too hard.

Now on to girls who tried too hard and embarrassed themselves royally:

Kate. Upton. Make. It. Stop.

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Kate Upton in Dolce: I have no words.

Somewhere Johnny Weir is just realizing he is missing an ice dancing costume. No worries, another wacky Olsen tried to dress herself.

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Elizabeth Olsen in Miu Miu

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Shame on you, Lupita.

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Lupita Nyong’o in Prada

The dress is blah, but the horrible Botox and filler just makes me sad. I bet V is sad, too.. her face is just too frozen to tell.

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Victoria Beckham in her own design.

W. T. F. Who invited Liza Minnelli, and why is she wrapped in orange bed linens?!

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Solange in Philip Lim

Again, I always commend risk takers. And I applaud the fact that I did not have to see Miley on a red carpet in some teddy bear or bondage garbage. However, generally speaking, I hope Met Gala 2015 provides an edgier theme that does not borderline a Jessica McClintock storefront.

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