Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

November 9, 2010

What Miss Plumcake is…

Filed under: Art,Books,Boots,Food,Movies,Music,What Miss Plumcake is — Miss Plumcake @ 11:24 am

Hello my turtle doves, how’s every little thing? It’s Tuesday, the sky is blue, the Scotch is plentiful and all is right in the world so it’s time to find out What Miss Plumcake is…

ReadingNabokov’s Butterfly and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books by Rick Gekoski. Legendary rare book dealer, Man Booker Prize judge and semi-scoundrel Rick Gekoski tells the story of how his life has intertwined with several of the world’s most collectible books and literary objects J.R.R. Tolkein’s university gown (the books was published as Tolkein’s Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books in the UK) including Grahame Greene’s first edition of Lolita adorned with Nabokov’s signature hand-drawn butterflies.

WatchingSherlock. You guys. Seriously now, you NEED to watch this and do it fast because it’s available for free streaming on the PBS website until December 7. In this three-part series for BBC Wales and Masterpiece Mystery, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson are 21st century characters as gripping and real as any contemporary crime procedural. Benedict Cumberbatch (whose name I cannot help but read as Cummerbund Bandersnatch) plays the best detective this Holmes girl has ever seen or heard.

Hearing Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys. The best pop album of all time. That is all. Also, auto tune people people? THIS is how you do it.

SmellingMrs. Meyer’s Clean Day cleaning products in Geranium. Cleaning, like monogamy and parenting, is one of those things better left to people who aren’t me. I kind of morally object to having to clean up after myself. I mean, I DO it, because I can’t find a cleaning gal I like and the last one stole all my best prescription drugs, but I’m NOT happy about it. It’s hard enough to find the time to MAKE the mess, and now I’m supposed to fix it too? Why is life so cruel? Still, I find the job a little less offensive with these schmancy organic products that make Chateau Gateau smell particularly lovely.

Loving – All the new Manolo blogs! Our very own Twistie at Crafty Manolo, Glinda at Manolo for the Beauty and frequent commenter La Petite Acadienne at Manolo Jewelry. Does this mean Miss Plumcake might be expanding her Manolo Horizons too? Maaaybe.

Hating – Ice Cream. All of it. No reason, I just hate it. It’s hard milk, but not cheese and thus is of the serpent.

Wanting Jimmy Choo Crocodile Wellington Boots. There is NOTHING in that title the doesn’t make me happy. Fortunately for my bank account, there’s no way the calves would be big enough because if you think I wouldn’t spend $400 I don’t have on a pair of rain boots I don’t need because they’re CROCODILE WELLIES then you don’t know me very well.

BuyingMacaroons. I love macaroons. Not the mysteriously-trendy macarons, whose pastel allure has historically escaped me, but proper almond and coconut macaroons. I usually make my own or get them from Moonlight Bakery here in town, but if you wanted to send some to a friend, the folks at Scott’s Cakes do a fine job too.

So what about you? What do you have going on this week?

November 2, 2010

What Miss Plumcake is…

Ah Tuesday, or as I like to call it, Monday-and-a-Half, here you are again, let’s jump right in with both perfectly-shod feet and find out What Miss Plumcake is…

Reading: Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Straight out and without qualifications the best contemporary novel I’ve ever read. Usually when I read a so-called great contemporary novel, I’m less than impressed because I think “eh, I can write as well as this shmuck.” It’s not that I’m the best ink-slinger on the block, but it amazes me what gets passed off as great writing these days. With Life of Pi? I was in a slump for a week because I’ll NEVER write anything so beautiful. The plot? Piscine Molitor Patel, a young Indian boy is stranded 227 days in a lifeboat alone with a Bengal tiger. Part adventure, part character study, part spiritual exploration and part magical realism, it’s completely brilliant. Read it now.

Watching: RuPaul’s Drag U. Okay, I’m not actually watching this now, but a few weeks ago when I had access to a television but before I discovered an entire channel devoted to Proper Football I watched a few hours of a marathon of this show. Now we all know I love Miss Ru –who doesn’t do the show in drag– but what I love more is the premise: women learning how to embrace their femininity through the art of drag. Because honestly, makeovers should be fun. They shouldn’t be about feeling bad about “flaws” or fitting into some humorless mold. I spent many formative years with drag queens as mentors (THE HELL YOU SAY!) and I’m a better broad for it.

Hearing: Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem. I have a really inappropriate story about this piece and a scorching hot Dutch cellist who was one of my better Very Bad Ideas that I’m not going to tell you because I’m pretty sure my little brother reads this blog and I don’t want to traumatize him. Still, even if you don’t have a story that puts the damn in Amsterdam this is an incredible piece, especially if you love Gregorian chants and a good contemporary organ. Lord knows I do.

Smelling: Un Lys by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens. Un Lys means “A lily” and that’s exactly what you get. I can’t remember whether Andre bought it for me or if I plucked it myself but I’m always surprised by this perfume and have been wearing it layered with some dirtier juices (Cumming, Bulgari Black) recently. It’s hard to find a lily that’s pure but not cloying and for my money this is tied with Lys Méditerranée as Best Lily Ever. It’s one of the few fragrances that I’ve had someone follow me down the street to smell. Available at Barney’s or Lucky Scent or get a decant at The Perfumed Court.

Loving: Any Soldier. We all know I’m a sucker, right? Right. So when someone very special to mine heart (who is still going to get a kick in the head for pulling this on me, and don’t think I won’t do it, kiddo) volunteered me to make cookies for pretty much the ENTIRE 10th Mountain Division (okay ten people), currently stationed in Afghanistan I couldn’t really say no. I said a lot of other things, most of which aren’t suitable for print –I mean that’s a LOT of cookies– but not no. Regardless of how you feel about the war, I invite you to consider sending a soldier a little love.

Aromatics Elixir. WHY? WHY are people STILL WEARING THIS? It’s so hissy and vile. In the history of my life I have only met ONE person who doesn’t wear this but still likes it. And also, is it a RULE that you need to douse yourself with it? It smells like Burt Reynolds’ chest wig deodorizer. Urgh.

Wanting: Juniper Boots from Duo. Where were these calf-fit boots last year when I thought I would DIE if I couldn’t find a pair of jumping boots to fit my fatted calves? I bought a pair of proper riding boots that juuuust about do the trick, but I wish I’d waited and picked these up instead. They’re not cheap but I don’t even want to tell you how much custom-fit riding boots normally cost. Treat yourself. I promise, your legs will go out of fashion before these boots do.

Pre-owned Hermés scarves from Portero Luxury. It’s been a while since I’ve treated myself to a new foulard, but after giving an impromptu scarf-tying class the other night for a lady who was at a loss as to how to wear a beautiful scarf once belonging to the unforgettable Molly Ivins I’ve got the bug again. My favorite? This Hemisphaerium Coeli Boreale constellation scarf in a buttery coral. At Portero I can get a like-new scarf for well under retail and not have to worry about its authenticity.

June 14, 2010

Lazy Poll: Sadly Sans Hotness Edition

Filed under: Boots,Lazy Poll,PRADA!,Sports — Miss Plumcake @ 2:00 pm

Happy Monday my little lamb shanks, how’s every little thing?

No Monday hotness this week I’m afraid.  I think we’re all still twitterpated from the All Blacks last week.

My big news is my precious beyond words brother survived yet another ghastly surgery to remove things in his body that really shouldn’t be there and I’ve spent the weekend researching teratomae –which can have EYES and TEETH and HAIR– to find out how I might appropriately and most effectively torment him about it when he’s all healed, because that’s what big sisters are for.

In other news, I joined a fly fishing club.

“But Plumcake” you say “you don’t know how to fish for flies!”

I know! But it sounds fun! I like water, and trout, and doing fiddly things that are also kind of stabby, and I might be good at it so who knows.  Plus I finally need an excuse to weave a fishing creel AND buy those Prada hip waders I’ve been loving since 2009.

Prada Fall 2009 RTW

(just kidding, although I did love that collection, Prada can still suck it, and those waders wouldn’t fit past my ankles)

So what about you? Anything exciting going on this week?

January 19, 2010

What Miss Plumcake Is…

Filed under: Books,Boots,Cold Weather Coats and Cozies,Music,Perfume — Miss Plumcake @ 5:04 pm

Hello young lovers! How’s every little thing? Me? Oh I’m just peachy. Except I decided to do a Heavy Eye on Saturday night and I’m still excavating that stuff off my face. The downside of having eyelash extension is you really want to be careful using anything oil-based, so now when I want to do a super smoky evening-look eye it turns into a three day removal process wherein I’m full on the first day, and the next day I’m sort of Saraghina from 8 1/2 and on the third day I’m totally channeling Anna Magnani in the Rose Tattoo (how fabulous was she? SO fabulous. More importantly how hot was Burt Lancaster?)

Anyhoodle, it’s Tuesday so it’s time to find out What Miss Plumcake is…

What Miss Plumcake is...

You’ll notice I’m a little Scot-centric this week as we are coming up on the celebration of Robert Burns’ birthday, January 25th. If you’ve never been to a Burns Night, you simply MUST. No Scottish blood required –although be prepared to be asked if you’ve got any Scottish in you and when you answer no, be asked “would you like to?”– There’s singing and poetry (usually) and bagpipes and haggis (always, although they usually have vegetarian haggis which is revolting and contrary to the ways of the Lord) and everyone has a big time with the Address to a Haggis,  The Immortal Memory, The Toast to the Lassies and –my personal favorite– The Response to the Laddies.

Dress code varies, but please don’t just wear random plaid. Ladies: if you have a clan, wear a sash in your clan’s dress tartan. Gents: Bonnie Prince Charlies are ideal. But even if you don’t have a drop of the Northern blood, don’t worry just show up and have a ball.

Reading: Robert Burns, the Complete Works No house should be without.

Watching: Black Books. Surprisingly, since I’m the United Nations of failed relationships, I’ve never dated a misanthropic drunken Irish bookseller but if I did, I’d like to date this one. Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and that girl who played Dr Todd from Green Wing (Tamisin Grieg) had me laughing harder than that time my neighbor’s jack russell pulled out a “chew toy” labeled “Swedish Erotica”

Hearing: Lyrics of Gold: Songs of Robert Burns by Ed Miller. Ed Miller is a pink-faced fount of Scottish folk tunes and apparently a Really Big Deal as far as these things go, traveling all over the world to spread the Scottish word.  I’ve known Ed socially for a few years now and while the man can’t iron a shirt to save his  life (pull it together Ed!)  his albums are still very much worth having.

Smelling: Serge Lutens Bois et Musc. An exceedingly lovely light cedar with just a hint of musk, Bois et Musc isn’t the big honking juice Christopher Sheldrake usually releases for Serge Lutens. It wears very close to the skin. Bois et Musc is one of the non-exports so as with all Lutens bell jars you’ll have to pick it up at Les Salons du Palais Royal Shisheido in Paris, although you can occasionally find one on the secondary market. Decants are available at The Perfumed Court and while I don’t love it as much as the coniferous incense bomb that is Filles en Aiguilles, I couldn’t say no when a bell jar graciously found its way into my personal collection.

Loving:Early Greek Philosophy ed. Jonathan Barnes. Drop a cherry in me and call me old fashioned, but I think to be a Cultured Woman of The World you’ve got to be up on your philosophers (pictured here: my Pre-Socratic Greek Boyfriend, Pythagoras) and Barnes’ edition of selected writings of the Early Greeks is totally accessible.  I know I’m an old stick in the mud, but so much of what’s being written these days is just junk. There’s nothing wrong with an improving book, and getting back into the habit of thinking critically and logically. Now you kids put down those Pink Books and get offa my lawn!

Hating: The OTK Boot trend. Has anyone seen this employed in real life where it actually works and the woman doesn’t look like a hooker or a serious fashion victim? Because I haven’t.  I want to, but I haven’t. Also, the women who can afford to drop $2000 on a pair of over the knee boots, at least in Austin, tend to be Women of a Certain Age and I am afraid OTK boots are a young woman’s game.  As I said, I want to be wrong, but I’m not sure I am. If you’ve seen a tastefully executed OTK boot IN REAL LIFE on a non-model or celebrity personage, please submit photographic evidence. I’m dying to see it.

Wanting: Robert Burns stamps. Wah! Stupid American stamps with their stupid CROPS OF NORTH AMERICA which don’t even feature TOBACCO because it’s not like THAT crop was important to  America or anything.  Sir Walter Raleigh should slap the post office across the face for that. Why can’t we have awesome stamps like this? I’m not a philatelist (well, I tried it once in college, but I was drunk) but I shall not rest until I browbeat someone into sending me one of these wee beasties.

Buying: Tartan sash in your clan’s dress. If you know your clan’s tartan, why not buy a sash? They’re usually lightweight wool 10″ wide by 90″ long and serve beautifully as a long muffler-type scarf. Of course on Burns Nights or other times where you want your ancestral pride to show you can wear it in the traditional way but they’re awfully handy to have. Don’t know your tartan? Look it up here
I’m a MacDuff of the Fife line myself and sleep soundly at night knowing no matter how bad my press is, it’ll never be as bad as the clan matriarch, Queen Gruach or “Lady Macbeth” as the kids call her these days.

December 1, 2009

What Miss Plumcake is…

So I got some sleep and there’s no sign I’ve actually ordered a horse, which is more than a small relief.  I thought I’d give the mosaic theme a break today and treat you to a few bits o’ choreographed brill from this week’s list courtesy of Judy Garland and Rufus Wainwright.

Reading: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Conn0r. There’s no Gothic like Southern Gothic and there’s no guilt like Catholic Guilt. Besides, “no man with a good car needs to be justified”.

Watching: Summer Stock — my favorite Let’s Put on a Show musical, courtesy of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly

Hearing: Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall -in a continuing theme of Saint Judy.  He lived the dream. Bastard.

Smelling: Bvlgari Black. A weird fragrance I usually save for summer, but a fine example showing not all brilliant perfumes are expensive.  You can pick up Black for under 30 bucks online or at Ross/TJ Maxx etc. The notes in Black include black rubber and tar. Before you turn up your nose, read this review from Bois de Jasmin and then go out and try it. Originally a men’s fragrance it’s being marketed to women, too which makes me think it’s gearing up for a relaunch and corresponding price hike. If you like it, get some now.

Loving: Cows N’ Things Everyone wants to help those adorable little poor children and that’s great and all, but what about the old folks? I won’t teeter up on my soap box about the way Western culture treats its elderly, because I could go on about it and if you want to be tediously lectured there are plenty of other places to go for that. BUT Cows n’ Things is a great charity.  You can buy chicks, a beehive, a donkey ambulance OR cataract surgery (for about 20 USD!!!) for an eldery person in developing nations throughout the world.

Hating: The concept of “being good” or “being bad” at the holidays, especially when it comes to food. It’s ridiculous to see grown damn woman smile like their mischievous toddlers whispering loudly they’re “being bad” and having another sausage ball. Listen, if you need to justify to a room of people what you’re eating AND put a moral judgment on it, your problems are a lot deeper than Bisquick-based party snacks.

Wanting: chocolate-dipped spiced apricots. Partially submerge plump dried apricots in dark chocolate and let set. Drizzle pre-dipped bits with bitter sweet or white chocolate and dust with pumpkin pie spice/warm aromatic spice of your choice. Let chill. Dead easy, makes a million and are super delicious.

Buying: Ovation Finalist Pro Field Boots with extra-wide calves (check the size chart, you may have to go with men’s extra-wides)

November 24, 2009

What Miss Plumcake is…Everything’s Bigger Edition

Filed under: Books,Boots,Movies,Music,Perfume,What Miss Plumcake is — Miss Plumcake @ 1:22 pm

Yesterday marked the ten year anniversary of my move to Texas so I thought I’d celebrate by doing an All-Texan revue. It’s Tuesday so let’s fine out what Miss Plumcake is…

What Miss Plumcake is...Texas

Reading: O. Henry’s Short Stories.  William Sydney Porter was a Carolina boy by birth, but did a the best part of his writing and embezzling here in Austin, Texas.  My grandmother never read to me (unless by “read” you mean “accidentally putting her cigarette out on my arm, thereby fusing my horrible nylon sweater to the sweet delicate flesh of my forearm”) but she had a soft spot for The Ransom of Red Chief (I think she liked the torture scenes), which remains my favorite O. Henry short story.

Hearing: Lyle Lovett’s Natural Forces. I’ve had a one-sided love affair with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band for years, and it all started with this song.  He consistently puts on the best live shows I’ve seen. He’s funny, droll and is completely at home with his, uh, unusual looks. Last night’s concert went into my top five shows of all time. Even if you think you won’t like him, give Lyle a little Youtube action and let him change your mind.

Watching:Giant.  James Dean’s third and final film –it was released shortly after his death at 24– it is the definitive Texas Epic and worth a watch if only to see James Dean’s method acting play against Liz Taylor’s Tollywood traditional.

Smelling: Tauer Lonestar Memories. Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer isn’t Texan, but we might make him an honorary one after this. Lonestar Memories is a BIG scent –I have to put a teensy drop behind my knees the night before I want to wear it– but its bone-dry combination of wood smoke, brush fire and open skies make it a smart, untamed scent for men or women.

Loving: The Lance Armstrong Foundation I can’t say I just love Lance Armstrong as a person and I think those yellow rubber bands are dopey, but the LAF does great work, especially with providing support for young men like my brother who are testicular cancer survivors. He (Lance not my brother) made a surprise visit on stage last night with Lyle Lovett. To his credit he didn’t try to sing.

Hating: Well, I mean, really.

Wanting: Big obnoxious custom cowboy boots. Texans never mind a bit of vulgarity it’s “a nice splash of paprika” as Diana Vreeland would say. I own one pair of Western boots and they’re the most unassuming things on the planet, just regulation-issued brown ropers with a low heel and almond toe. They’re dead useful without being showy but secretly I yearn for a pair of enormously over-the-top boots inlaid with all sorts of craziness. You can drop a good $4000 on custom boots, and they’re truly works of art, but I’d settle for these at a mere $1800.

Buying: Bluebonnet seeds. In the spring, a few weeks after the droves of South by Southwest revelers vacate my fair city, the wildflowers bloom. In the Texas Hill Country, the roadways are just carpeted with bluebonnets. Millions and millions of the Texas state flower pop up along any place left untended, and while it is illegal to pick them, it IS every Texas woman’s birthright to trample as many as she sees fit just so she can sit daintily in a field and get her picture taken surrounded by a could of blue blossoms.

So what’s shaking in YOUR state today?

From Francesca’s Inbox: Monday “Basic Black” Edition

Filed under: Boots,From Francesca's Inbox,Gift Ideas,Holidays,Perfume,Sales,Shoes — Francesca @ 9:51 am

Hello! Here we go in alphabetical order (mostly):

Avenue and Jessica London will give you free shipping on your purchase of $60 or more with code AV91140. This code is good through December 10. Shop both stores here.

Catherines is having a Buy Two, Get One Free sale in stores and online ending today. Buy any two items, and get any third (for equal or lesser value) for free. Francesca’s Picks: Buy the sleeved, accessorize-for-the-office black dressicon (pictured) and this taffeta ruched dressicon for the office party (pictured), get the border print dressicon (pictured) for free to wear on date night with your husband.

Designer Shoes (“for women who leave a larger footprint”)will give you 25% off any shoes today with code SALESHOESNOV. And, through Monday November 30, 20% off anything on the site with code CYBERMONDAY. Their apparel does run in plus sizes.

Just My Size sale on Playtex bras is still going on.

Old Navy will give you 15% off purchases of $75, or 25% off purchases of $100, ending today, with code ONSAVE15. Also, through December 15, free shipping on any purchase of $50 or more. Click here to go straight to plus sizes.

Perfumania has posted a holiday gift guide, which allows you to shop by price or by recipient. Francesca does not normally recommend buying frangrance for anyone whose favorite scents you do not know for sure, but it could be nice for a teenage girl or for the vague acquaintance who seems to have everything. Those who read this blog often know that Francesca personally wears Light Blue and Euphoria.

Shoe Mall is selling something attractive for the edgy or biker girl: Harley Davidson brand boots.  And, order any Harley footwear and enter code SMHARLEYD in the “promo code” to receive a little collectible Harley Davidson motorcycle, while supplies last (Francescais not telling you this because she loves the Harleys, but because some of you might). Francesca’s picks: the Tiff boot, the Carlin boot.

Silhouettes is having a jeans sweepstakes. Enter here before November 30 for a chance to win any pair of Blue Couture brand jeans of your choice.

Smart Bargains is having a liquidation sale on designer brandsicon, ending today. Click here to shop by sizeicon (see the nav bar on the left). Francesca says: These are good brands at very good prices.

Chico’s has completely renovated their style and are not nearly as matronly as they used to be. Through Thursday they will give you 50% off your most expensive item if you spend $100 or more and enter code 6693.

Happy shopping! xoxo

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