Wednesday, March 12, 2014
For the past 24 hours, I’ve been laughing over the story of a Portland, Ore., man who called 911 after his 22-lb cat went on the rampage. Lux, the cat, scratched the dude’s 7-month-old baby, so the guy kicked Lux in the rear. Lux didn’t take kindly to that and charged the whole family, leading to them taking refuge in a bedroom and calling for help. The guy warned the police that Lux had a “history of violence.”
The absolute best retelling of this tale is by one of my favorite Internet people: MichaelK of Dlisted, who wrote:
“The fluent felinese speakers out there can correct me if I’m wrong, but ‘RAAAAAARRRRRRRR!’ translates to ‘I’m the captain now!‘ in English, right?”
This story reminded me of a dog I had in high school. I’ve mentioned before that Ringo, a Shih Tzu, was a mean bastard. “The whole family was scared of him till the day he died,” I wrote.
I never elaborated, so this seems like a good time to do so. Ringo had a habit of eating rather large, normally inedible objects. One of his favorite snacks was children’s underwear. Luckily my sister and I were about 10 and 13, respectively, when this started, so our panties weren’t very large. But, still, it was more than a dog should swallow whole. If we tried to approach Ringo while he was chowing down on undies, he would go crazy and attack us, again and again. After one of the first times that he swallowed the undies whole, we brought him to the vet and explained sheepishly that Ringo had consumed children’s underwear. “Was the child in them at the time?” the vet asked dryly. We didn’t find that very humorous. (Ringo would ultimately puke up or poop out the underwear — it varied from occasion to occasion — but with great difficulty.)
Note that in the photo above, taken in our kitchen, I look a little nervous while holding the fluff ball that is Ringo. That was a damn good room to be nervous in because that’s where my sister, father and I were when Ringo appeared one day with a pair of undies he found in the laundry room or a bedroom, despite our best efforts to hide intimate apparel. He went so berzerk that we all fled to the top of the kitchen counter. From that safe place, my dad used a big umbrella with a curved handle to try to drag the undies out of Ringo’s mouth. (I don’t know how this dog simultaneously held on to the panties and snapped at us at the same time, but he managed it.) At some point my mother came home and walked into the kitchen. We all screamed, “DON’T COME IN!!!!!” I’m not sure mom has ever gotten over the vision of two tweens and a grown man held at bay by a maniacal small dog. But you know what we didn’t do? We didn’t call the fucking po-po to rescue us!
Monday, March 10, 2014
I was very pleased with the blue lipstick — Doll by Ka’Oir – that I wore to my designing friend Zang Toi’s Fall/Winter 2014 runway show last month.
Because I was happy with that one, I wasn’t planning on buying another blue lipstick, but I couldn’t resist a deeper shade by Melt Cosmetics, mainly because it was called DGAF. I figured it would go nicely with my favorite IDGAF necklace. I wore both when MrB and I went to In-N-Out Burger on a very rainy day in Los Angeles. We’ve become addicted to In-N-Out Burger.
What Wendy Wore
Jacket: Stacy Lomman Fall 2012 collection (acquired 2013)
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity (2011)
Boots: Celine (2012)
Purse: Yves Saint Laurent (2013)
Sunglasses: Prada (2013)
Jewelry: My own designs
Lip color: DGAF by Melt Cosmetics
Here’s a closer look.
I liked the feel of the lipstick and it lasts a long time, though it does transfer. An In-N-Out burger probably isn’t a fair test; even my favorite, long-wearing red — Lasting Lust — might not hold up against that.
That said, I also had transfer onto the stick when I had a lollipop later. So, if you try DGAF, be prepared to reapply after eating.
What Wendy Wore
Shoes: Opening Ceremony (2013)
I always say I would see a lot more movies if we lived in L.A. The theaters are pristine!
Sunday, March 9, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what’s been on the blog recently, including Katie Couric and lots of Oscar stuff.
- Monday, Feb. 24: Katie Couric speaks at the Columbia Daily Spectator dinner.
- Tuesday, Feb. 25: White guys on late-night television.
- Wednesday, Feb. 26: Nasty Gal stops selling a copy of my swear-ring design.
- Thursday, Feb. 27: Wait, I saw Hole in 1995?
- Friday, Feb. 28: Big companies pay big bucks to get their jewelry on the red carpet at the Oscars.
- Saturday, March 1: Wearing my Zang Toi mermaid outfit to a pre-Oscar party.
- Sunday, March 2: My best-dressed at the Oscars: Pharrell, Jared and Lupita and Actress Levan Rambin admired my new ring design at an Oscar party
- Monday, March 3: A list of all my Oscar-related posts and What I wore to Vanity Fair’s Oscar party.
- Tuesday, March 4: I missed Paul McCartney but photobombed Paula Patton.
- Wednesday, March 5: Two custom necklaces, including one for Gangsta Boo.
- Thursday, March 6: My original engagement ring and my redesign.
- Friday, March 7: Gorgeous bloggers wearing puffers.
Friday, March 7, 2014
The unusually cold and snowy winter we’ve had in New York City had me eager to do one of my Huffington Post fashion round-ups about stylish puffer (aka puffa) jackets, but it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t get as many volunteers as I would like. Maybe I’ll try again next year. There should be plenty of options — yesterday, the Wall Street Journal cited the puffer as the “most overdone trend” of the recent Fall/Winter 2014 fashion shows.
LOL WUT? “Most overdone trend” sounds so much more negative than the paragraph under it, which says that dozens of labels offered “artful takes” on the look. That seems like a good thing to me. By the way, the Christian Dior puffer dress shown in the WSJ is not the first of its kind. Junya Watanabe has been doing all sorts of amazing puffer clothes for years, including the 2009 coat/dress I featured in a December post.
I’m not sure what year this Watanabe puffer or “duvet” skirt is from, but it makes a statement.
My friend Julie’s leopard-print puffer skirt from Patricia Field — which I previously shared in that December post — is a bit more wearable.
I did find a few peeps flaunting stylish puffers. Maybe these ladies will inspire you when you’re browsing the fall collections. I personally would be happy to wear the edgy, leather puffer owned by gorgeous blogger Judith of Style Crone. The leopard-print hat adds extra style.
I’m thinking that a leather puffer could be the way to go. Anna S. of No Scrubs has one in an eye-catching shade of blue.
Amber of Butane Anvil has had a puffer by Mexx since about 2002. The floral quilting and big pointy collar make this one special.
I’m coveting the gold puffer worn by Eboni of The Fashionista Next Door. Can you believe she got it on sale for about $15?
Eboni made me want to look for more gold puffers. I’ve seen a bunch by H&M and Zara, but who wants a style that everyone has? I started looking for vintage alternatives. This one by Ralph Lauren Vintage on FarFetch costs over $1,000, so you won’t be scoring a bargain, but you’ll be warm and shiny!
This Ralph Lauren jacket on eBay looks to be identical to the FarFetch one and the “buy it now” price is $500.
If you’re on a tighter budget, there’s an intriguing black-and-gold ’80s puffer on Etsy for $44.
My favorite puffy piece today isn’t a jacket at all — it’s this padded cuff printed with trompe l’oeil pearls. It’s available at FarFetch for about $100.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I redesigned my own engagement ring years after my 2001 wedding, but I’ve never found a good picture of the original to share. Turns out I wasn’t looking in the right place, because here’s a close-up of my first setting.
As you can see, there’s nothing extraordinary about this, although the sleek, satin-finished, thick shank isn’t entirely typical either. At least it’s not the extra-skinny shank that’s so popular now because it’s supposed to make the stone look bigger. People also like prong settings because they think it makes the stone look bigger. Conventional wisdom says that the less metal you see, the bigger the stone looks. That’s why the woman who made my ring talked me out of my request for a bezel setting. She also said that I would get tired of the design that I really wanted because it wasn’t traditional enough — she thought it was more of a passing whimsy of mine, and I would be ultimately be uncomfortable being different.
Some five or six years later, I was in the jewelry business myself and needed to resize my ring. (I sprained my hand in a fall, which changed the shape of my fingers.) I started working on a simple resizing of the original band before I came to my senses and scrapped the old setting in favor of the one I wanted in the first place. The center stone is the same one I always had. I added the stones on the bezel and the shank.
Guess what? I’m not tired of this design.
I learned a valuable life lesson from the experience.
Previously, I’ve noted that designing jewelry gave me insight into romantic relationships. So it seems appropriate that an engagement ring would teach me that it’s better to follow your passion than do what someone says you “should” do. The woman I worked with on the first version of the ring was so wrong. A grown person isn’t going to get tired of something s/he truly desires — what we get tired of is something we never wanted in the first place. That applies not just to rings, but to big things like careers and spouses. Think about it! How many unhappy people do you know who, for instance, went to law school because their parents expected it? Or married a person who “looked good on paper”? Years of misery can follow when you live your life to please others.
With this realization in mind, I didn’t try to discourage my gorgeous client Lori from getting her very nontraditional dream ring.
It’s also why I tell women to let the men in their lives know if they don’t like an engagement ring. As I’ve said before, you wouldn’t let a man pick out an ugly wedding gown that you’re only going to wear once in your life — why should he hand you an ugly ring that you’re going to have to look at every day? There’s no need to be shy. Based on my years of observation (backed by years of observation of other people — mostly men — in my business), men and women think differently about rings. Women are sentimental, thinking, “But this is the ring he GAVE me so it MATTERS to him.” As for men, like I’ve said:
“The typical straight guy has no idea what to get you. He picks the safest option and hopes for the best. He’s not emotionally invested in the ring setting, only in your happiness. If you tell him that you don’t like the ring, he’ll be bummed that he guessed wrong, but ultimately relieved when you have something you love.”
You can wear a ring you hate for five, or 10, or 20 years and then come to me for an engagement-ring redesign, or you can steel yourself for a quick, awkward moment and have this all taken care of in a matter of days. Of course, if you send your man (or woman!) to me in the first place, I’ll make sure you get exactly what you want. After all, I know from personal experience how important it is. Holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com to discuss all your engagement/wedding ring needs, from totally traditional to one-of-a-kind.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I love doing custom work for gorgeous clients. My policy is that if you can describe it and pay for it, I can make it!
I did two custom necklaces recently. The first one was for a gentleman who wanted to get his entrepreneurial daughter a necklace that featured the name of her start-up company as a birthday gift. Gotta love a man who supports a lady’s business!
When I do letter or word jewelry, I normally don’t engrave. I either use individual “cut out” letters in my own special font …
… or a word cut out of the customer’s signature font, like this necklace for gorgeous rapper Gangsta Boo.
But, in this case, the company name wasn’t in a font that was conducive to that style, so I went with an engraving. Gotta be flexible when doing custom work! We made the piece special by creating it in of-the-moment 18K rose gold and using a diamond for a dot in the company’s name. Here’s the result.
I find that photos of jewelry are often misleading size-wise. Designs read much bigger or much smaller than they are in real life. Gangsta Boo’s necklace is 3 1/2″ wide, while the new necklace is only 1 5/16″. That’s why it’s very important to read the measurements on my website. If you don’t see measurements or have a question, email me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com before ordering. I’m also happy to send you a photo of a piece in my hand or being worn, in order to give you a visual of the size.
Here is another “size matters” example. In October, when I was hanging out with Gangsta Boo in New York, I wore my small, silver 666 necklace in her honor because Boo’s original rap group was the Oscar-winning Three 6 Mafia. Her new group — which reunites some of the original group members — is called Da Mafia 6ix, so there are still sixes involved.
Boo loved the necklace, but I knew she couldn’t wear a necklace with 5-millimeter pendants on stage.
A rapper has to go big or go home! I made her a special version with numbers that are 1 1/4″ high. Big difference, right?
Here’s how the necklace looks on Boo.
Much more appropriate!
You can catch Da Mafia 6ix on tour these days; I will definitely be at the New York City concert later this month. For custom designs — whether they’re your own concept or a version of one of my existing pieces — get in touch with me at the same email as above: wbjewelry at hotmail dot com. (And, of course, I do any kind of engagement/wedding jewelry, ranging from traditional to totally unique.) Note: very complicated, one-off designs are going to be more costly than something you’d find “off the rack” in a store. Read more about that here. Simple designs and easy variations on my existing pieces are less pricey.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Last night, I had the horrifying realization that my almost-husband Paul McCartney was at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday and — somehow — I didn’t see him. Best!Party!Ever! turned into Worst!Missed!Opportunity!Ever! in the blink of an eye.
I started desperately searching for information about what time Macca and his lovely wife arrived at the event, hoping that it was really late … or really early … or during the time that I was in a photo booth. Anything! Anything to explain this catastrophe! As I pored over photos and articles, guess what I found? A picture of actual-husband MrB peering over Ben Affleck’s shoulder.
That inspired me to check Getty Images for more of MrB. Here he is with Ben and Jennifer Garner (MrB says, “I prefer to think of myself as photobombing Jennifer Garner” rather than Ben Affleck.) Here he is smiling in the vicinity of Paula Patton. And here’s the jackpot photo: Both of us sneaking past Paula.
Look at me holding onto MrB’s hand for dear life! I had never worn those shoes before and the train of that velvet dress was heavy. I was sure I was going to fall — red-carpet roadkill — and I figured it would serve me right for commenting on Jennifer Lawrence’s stumbles earlier in the evening. On the bright side, if I had wiped out and died of embarrassment, it would have been a good reason for missing McCartney. “She was so close to fulfilling her decades-old dream of touching Sir Paul,” MrB would have told my parents, “but, tragically, she expired from shame right before the opportunity arose.” But, seeing as I stayed upright and lived to make it into the party, what’s my excuse?
SOMEONE PLEASE FIX THIS FOR ME AND BRING ME TO PAUL MCCARTNEY STAT! I swear I will not embarrass you or him. I’ll just calmly shake his hand, say “Nice to meet you!”
then tie him up and drag him away to my lair and that’s all. In the meantime … as kids these days say on Twitter … BRB. Crying.
Monday, March 3, 2014
I have done five Oscar-related posts since Friday. In case you missed anything, here’s a list, from oldest to newest.
- Friday: Big companies pay to put jewelry on the red carpet.
- Saturday: Dressing like a mermaid for the Weinstein Co.’s pre-Oscar party.
- Sunday: My choices for best dressed at the Oscars. Plus, Grammy-nominated singer Skylar Grey wears my latest Maneater ring to Elton John’s party (and, no, I didn’t pay her!).
- Monday: What I wore to the Vanity Fair party: Zang Toi for Fall 2013.
UPDATED TO ADD: I have JUST realized that my almost-husband Paul McCartney was at the Vanity Fair party last night and I DID NOT SEE HIM. I can’t cope. Calgon, take me away!
Monday, March 3, 2014
Every year, the Vanity Fair Oscar party is the Best!Party!Ever! Last night was no exception. We walked in right behind Paula Patton, who is quite tall and looked RADIANT without that up-to-no-good Robin Thicke by her side. I couldn’t get over her perfect skin.
Paula, Glenn Close, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck all had their turn in front of the cameras after Lady Gaga finished striking dramatic poses for the screaming photographers. (When it was Paula’s moment, I was standing immediately to the right of the person who took this picture.) I swear, I don’t know how the celebrities deal with all the flashing and yelling. I was nervous just standing there! I’m much more comfortable in a photo booth. MrB and I spotted one as soon as we got in the door and hopped right in.
After the photo booth, MrB went to fetch us Champagne. Standing alone for a moment, I heard a strangely familiar laugh and turned my head to see a jolly Kelsey Grammer greeting two men. Thanks to all those middle-of-the-night viewings of Frasier reruns, Kelsey’s voice was as recognizable to me as a relative’s would be. MrB came back with the drinks in time for me to mutter to him, “That’s Kerry Washington behind me.” She’s so petite! Somehow, I always thought she was tall but she looked to be about my height — 5’4″. She declined an offer of food from someone, exclaiming, “I had so much pizza!”
We meandered into another room to thank Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter for inviting us. After hand shakes and kisses were exchanged, I realized we were “THISCLOSE” to Gaga. She was chatting with a couple of people, but there was no crowd around her, so we waited for her to wrap up her conversation. I was preparing to tell her how much I liked her concerts when her new BFF Donatella Versace swooped in and led Gaga away by the hand. Alas! To console myself, I gawked at musician David Grohl and his gorgeous pregnant wife greeting Pink, while MrB pointed out Neil Patrick Harris to me by saying, “Look! David Spade.” One of my favorite ’90s models, Helena Christensen, was there, as were Adrien Brody and Larry David. For a while, we watched Barkhad Abdi of Captain Phillips shake hands with a parade of well-wishers while he was trying to have a smoke outside. I don’t know if he was smoking these Vanity Fair cigarettes or his own.
Tiny Kristin Chenoweth — at 4’11, she makes me and Kerry Washington look like giants — danced enthusiastically to “Le Freak” during the DJ’s extensive disco set. Spike Lee and Samuel Jackson were there. So was producer Harvey Weinstein, whom we thanked again for the previous night’s party. I desperately tried to direct MrB’s attention to Stevie Nicks, who was in conversation with Bette Midler. Bill Murray danced by on his way to the bar and by the time he passed, Stevie was posing for photos with Jared Leto, his Oscar and his family. (MrB, finally noticing Stevie, said, “Well, she’s not talking to Bette Midler.” I was like, “No, that was five minutes and one Bill Murray ago!”) After Bill Murray danced back from the bar, we strolled to the other side of the room, where we spotted Jonah Hill orbiting Leonardo DiCaprio. Back in 1994, when I used to hang out in clubs with my DJ friend, Leonardo was a skinny 19-year-old who would dance while watching his reflection in the one-way glass of the DJ booth. Whenever I see grown-up Leo, I still envision that kid.
Amy Poehler took a turn schmoozing Bette Midler for a bit, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler clowned with two medal-wearing Sochi Olympians, and Bono strolled by in his trademark shades. Rosario Dawson asked for a photo with the husband-and-wife duo who won Best Original Song for “Let It Go.” We somehow missed Best Actor winner Matthew McConaughey and Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett, but we did get to be up-close-and-personal with the awardee I was most interested in: Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong’o, who looks even more gorgeous — and much more delicate — in real life. MrB congratulated her on her win, and floated up to cloud 9 after she thanked him and beamed a smile in his direction.
I wore the purple velvet trench gown from my designing friend Zang Toi’s Fall 2013 collection.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Zang Toi (2014)
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti (MrB picked these out for me this weekend!)
Hair and makeup: Stephanie Daniel
Of course, I wore my own jewelry designs: three earrings, three necklaces, four rings and twelve bracelets.
MrB didn’t go wild with his tux like some actors did last night, but he did wear his gold bow tie.
That happy smile faded from my face right before bed, when I took everything out of my purse and realized I’d lost my driver’s license at the party. Luckily, pet-sitting friend Stacy Lomman is FedEx-ing my passport so I can get on a plane home tomorrow. I probably wasn’t in as bad a mood as the unknown person who lost a little something in 2012. As I wrote here, we went for a last drink after the Vanity Fair party and, while I was talking animatedly to MrB, a little white OB tampon flew out of my clutch (really, I normally don’t have so much trouble with clutches!). I pounced on it … then I saw another and pounced on that one too. The second tampon turned out not to be a tampon at all, and it certainly wasn’t mine. I found this little baggie snuggled up next to my lipstick the next morning.
I innocently asked MrB,”What do you think this is?” … and ran to flush it down the toilet when he confirmed my suspicions. What can I say? I’d only seen things like this in the movies!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I’ve been keeping the newest design from my signature Wendy Brandes luxury line under wraps for a long time, but, now that it’s romping around Elton John’s Oscar party, it’s time for y’all to have a look. Actress Leven Rambin Instagrammed this photo of my bull and bullfighter Maneater ring.
Leven spotted the ring on the hand of gorgeous singer Skylar Grey (whose song, “Coming Home,” is the one you were hearing in all those ads for Resurrection during the Oscar broadcast). Skylar wore the black-diamond ring with a stunning black gown by Galia Lahav. See her full outfit on the Skylar Grey News site.
More and higher-res photos of the bull and bullfighter ring will be coming soon. In the meantime, you can read about the concept behind my Maneater ring series in this 2013 (pre-bull-ring) blog post by JCK’s senior editor Jennifer Heebner.