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When Mollie McKenzie isn’t writing, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and dystopian romances as well as watching Bollywood and classic black-and-white movies.


may 2013

Breana Powell is a Southern California native. Besides writing and filmmaking, she enjoys photography, fashion, and makeup and covers of all of these things on her blog, “The Life of Breana.” Najee Omar is a performance poet from Brooklyn. He has read works on stages across New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He was awarded the 2012 Poet-in-Paris fellowship and is currently a Poet-in-Residence with the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Maria Eubanks is a graphic and layout designer with a passion for all things lifestyle-related. Fashion, culture, art, and music light her fire.

Alexander Herman is a Los Angeles-based photographer and has worked on numerous projects with the Tastevin team. He shot the “Tides of Crimson” shoot but has yet to see a real-life mermaid. Jenna Anderson is an avid wanderer who collects stories. She’s conquered Half Dome, braved the Russian winter, and survived being stranded on an island for a week and a half. Jenna loves to read stories so much that she decided to do it fulltime. She currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. 2

Tastevin Magazine May 2013

Brandon Gamble is an architechture graduate turned graphic and furniture designer. He hails from the midwest and currently lives in New York.

Lindy Tolbert was born and raised in Newport Beach. She currently moonlights as a technical writer at a cancer research firm while pursuing her dream of being Lara Croft, tomb raider. And if that doesn’t work out, being a novelist would be pretty fantastic too.

Trevor Smith has always been creative, whether that means drawing animals in preschool, creating comic books in high school, or making films in college. He resides in Los Angeles, working as a freelance camera assistant on a variety of productions from television shows to commercials to music videos.

from the desk of the


I waited until the day before the launch to write this—and for no real reason except that I don’t know how to put into words how ECSTATIC I am to finally present Tastevin. This magazine has truly been a labor of love and could never ever ever ever have come into being without the help of my awesome team, especially our creative director, Brandon Gamble. He has cried as many bloody love tears over this project as I have—if not more! I’ve been reading magazines for years and years, starting at my thirteenth birthday party when my older cousins bought me subscriptions to a few teeny bopper magazines. You know the type—the black and white pages inserted between color photos and everything. A few years and many (color) subscriptions later, I moved on and up to women’s interest publications, and my mom got crap from concerned relatives for letting me read Cosmopolitan at such a young age (I didn’t think I was so young, but what did I know). I love that she let me read everything! I found love between those glossy pages. It was so fresh to me that we were all connected in this fantasy of fashion and beauty and art. For my younger self, magazines really represented the American Dream. They showed how I could be whoever and whatever I wanted to be. They’re all about having a chance to participate in who we present ourselves as—and what’s more American than that?

Fast forward some more years—and a stint working for Allure—and I’m here as the editorial head of Tastevin, the fashion and lifestyle tasting menu. I know there is a LOT of online information in regards to fashion and beauty, so the idea here was to really pare everything down and just offer a sampling. We want to give readers (you!) honest, quality suggestions based on real trial and error, whether that means we wear different mascara on each eye or completely overhaul our bookshelf at home or force our girlfriends and boyfriends to try out new clothes and shoes. We want to bring a personal touch, so every month you’ll get stories about people’s intimate life experiences [“Why Seven Really Is a Magical Number” page 25], some fashion and beauty pairings, and even some literature and poetry [“Tides of Crimson” page 68 and “Harlem Carnival of Curls” page 28]. We were inspired by the tastevin, the little cup that sommeliers use to taste wine. We’re dedicated to tasting things on your behalf so that we can suggest tried-and-true pairings: from fashion to beauty to art—all for you! So here you go, Tasties, the inaugural issue of Tastevin—a little taste of the noisy world out there.

On Set

When Tastevin made the trek from our Manhattan offices to sunny Coney Island, we enjoyed a day of retro carnival rides, cotton candy, and—oh yeah, we did a fashion shoot! Here are some of my behind-the-scenes photos from the Great-Gatsby-inspired day. Check out the final photos on page 60!

Our models Liz and Rickie were supposed to be on a highbrow Coney Island date that was going better for Liz’s character than Rickie’s. I think you can tell since he’s distracted by me taking a photo!


I loved this blue wall the moment that I saw it. The operators at the neighboring carnival ride were as captivated by Liz as we were. They couldn’t take their eyes off of our shoot!

Tastevin Magazine May 2013

We started off the day with a spin on Deno’s Wonder Wheel. It was totally retro and super fun!

What’s Rickie reading? The Great Gatsby, of course!


My Brush with Beauty


Breana Powell experiments with the best brush to use when fighting on the foundation front. I am an unfortunate victim of the Brush Battle. I’ve bought many a paddle foundation brush, only to have the top unglue itself from the handle. I’ve had bristles shed in my foundation and brush lines streaking my face, even with the most careful effort. I’ve tried everything from drugstore brands to designer collections. And while those brushes were decent, I needed more. If you don’t want your foundation to scream “cake face,” the search for the perfect applicator is crucial. I gave up on my relationship with paddle brushes and opted to find a flat-top foundation brush because I knew the shape would hold up better (no more broken handles!) and give me a better makeup finish (no more lines!). While perusing the Target aisles, I found the gem—Sonia Kashuk’s Kashuk Tools Flat Top Multipurpose Brush No4. The brush, sold both in stores and online, was designed by celebrity makeup artist Sonia Kashuk specifically for applying liquid foundations or crème blushes. Priced at a little over $15, the brush is a steal, worth twice as

much based on its quality. The fibers of the brush are incredibly soft, yet are still firmly packed together for ultimate application control. It can cover large areas of the face but is also great for reaching smaller ones, such as those crucial spots under the eyes. When I apply makeup with the brush, I either use circular motions to blend, or I stipple it onto the skin first, and then blend it in. The brush’s handle is easy to grip, so both methods effectively give me a flawless, airbrushed look. As a result of the brush’s easy functionality, I have cut down my morning routine by at least five minutes, and what girl doesn’t want that? For my first flat top brush, I’d say this is a win.

Kiss and Makeup

Tastevin Magazine

When did you realize you wanted to be a makeup artist? My mom has been in the Brandi Tsujimoto industry working for Shiseido for as long as I can remember, so I grew up around makeup and cosmetics. It didn’t really occur to me that I wanted to start getting into the cosmetics world myself until I was about 19. I’ve always


Tastevin Magazine May 2013

been more on the creative side, and since I loved makeup, I thought it would be great to work in the industry. I love that makeup can empower women to look their best by simply enhancing their best features. Where did you learn your craft? Working in cosmetics, you tend to receive training from the specific brands you work for. Though there is training based on each specific product and each specific brand, makeup is still makeup. You tend to pick up different tips and tricks over the years. I’ve worked for four different lines, and I’ve been trained by two different celebrity makeup artists and various national artists. Every artist has their own unique style, and there is always something TM BT



akeup has the power to completely transform your look—but it’s not always a transformation for the better. That’s why we turn to talented makeup experts to help us look our very best. Rosie Ryan sat down with makeup artist Brandi Tsujimoto to take a peek at the inner workings of the cosmetic mastermind.

new to learn every day in this industry. Handson experience and working with people is the best kind of training. What is your trademark style? I really like to enhance features as opposed to doing the typical dark smoky eyes. Don’t get me wrong though, I also love to do fun and artistic “going out” makeup. But I really enjoy creating soft, fresh looks—anything to brighten the face! TM BT

What have you learned working in the beauty industry? BT The most important thing I’ve learned is that you’re never done learning. I would never say I know absolutely everything there is to know about makeup. Every brand is different and every artist has amazing techniques and tricks that I can learn from. The industry is consistently evolving and changing, so there is always the opportunity to grow as an artist. TM

minators. Makeup brands are always coming up with new ways to enhance a bronzing glow. TM What would you say is the best thing about being a makeup artist? BT The connections I make with the clients I get to work with every day. As an artist, I meet so many different people with so many different lifestyles. It’s interesting to see how unique people really are. Whether they are the type to spend five minutes [getting ready] in the morning or the type that spends an hour perfecting their look, everyone wants help deciding how to make their morning makeup routine successful. I love teaching people how to be their own makeup artist.

TM What’s one tool that you think every woman should have? BT It is really hard to just choose one! But I would say a finishing brush [with] synthetic hairs on top and natural hairs on the bottom. It’s a must-have for every woman because it gives you a soft airbrushed look with any product. You can use them with powders, liquid foundation, bronzers, even blush.

What’s your favorite product to work with right now? BT I have to say, since BB creams are all the rage right now, that I love using Trish McEvoys Instant Solutions’ Beauty Balm SPF 35. If you use that finishing brush I mentioned, it gives you amazing coverage and hydration, controls oil, and primes as well. TM

What kind of makeup trends can we expect to see expect this season? BT I’m expecting a lot of corals and bright lips and many more choices of bronzers and illuTM


Momma Knows Best y mother is a well of wisdom and good ideas. Example number one: when I was in middle school—smack dab in those awkward years of puberty— she took me to a dermatologist. I resisted, of course, because I disliked seeing doctors (still do), but I have to admit—she was right. I love going to my dermatologist appointments. My dermatologist has made my skincare routine a breeze for me. In that first meeting, my doctor prescribed a topical cream and oral medication for me to take. Eight years later, I haven’t really diverged from this, and my skin has looked good. Sure, sometimes there’s been a bad month or two in regards to breakouts, but my skincare routine always kept it under control. It’s a doctor-approved regimen that I don’t have to overthink in the mornings, or lazily overlook at night. My doctor prescribed the oral pills Bactrim, an antibiotic that treats acne and other bacterial infections, as well as the topi-

cal cream BenzaClin. BenzaClin combines the power of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin to reduce propionibacterium acnes, commonly known as P. acnes. When you have an acne breakout, it’s usually because the P. acnes’ growth has gone unchecked. While these medications have worked great for me, it took a while for my derm to tinker with medicine and dosages to find the perfect combination for my skin—and without unwanted side effects. So don’t just try to pick up some BenzaClin for yourself. See your own dermatologist! Because skin medications are so helpful, my morning routine may be laughably boring. The first thing I do is wash my face with cold water. I apply the BenzaClin, mainly to areas where I can feel a few pimples threatening to grow. Then I put on sunscreen and my foundation. For years, I’ve used CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless foundation. I love the way it makes my skin look dewy and fresh. I take the Bactrim pill in the afternoon. To cap off my routine at the end of the day, I make sure to take off all my makeup. This is such a key step—if you forget to take your makeup off, you’re just letting all those bacteria and germs pack into your pores. I then wash my face with cold water and apply the BenzaClin one more time. My routine has never steered me wrong. Skincare is definitely a facet of my beauty routine that’s been made easier because of a dermatologist. For that, I’m eternally grateful to my mom. She definitely knew what she was talking about, especially because she still goes to see the dermatologist. She uses a prescription Retin-A cream to keep her face smooth and wrinkle-free. Regardless of acne, wrinkles, or other skin issues, or whether you’re a teen or mother of four, going to a dermatologist can always be handy. Believe me. It’s reassuring to know someone’s got your back—and your skin.



By Becca Kantor

Out, damn’d spot! Out, I say!

By Caroline A. Wong

Formulated to diminish dark spots and prevent future pigmentation, Shiseido’s White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum was created to enhance clarity and even skin tone in ten days. Ten days! Take it from a girl who wears foundation to do laundry: ten days is big news. While I haven’t started worrying about age spots just yet, I do have enough dark spots from acne scarring to shy away from going out in public without makeup. So when I finally got the chance to try Shiseido’s spot targeting serum, I uncapped that space-age-looking capsule and pumped away with all the clear-skin hope in the world. The serum contains yomogi and angelica root extract to accelerate cell turnover, but I had to learn the hard way that the road to beauty doesn’t always look—or smell—pretty. The thin serum has a watereddown milk appearance and smells strongly of alcohol, giving it a very clinical feeling. With a ten-days mantra in my head, I dutifully shook the futuristic bottle applied the serum before slathering on my usual sunscreen and foundation.


If you want fast results, visit a dermatologist or cosmologist. But if you want a simple, at-home remedy, I would start with one bottle of the Shiseido serum to kick-start lightening of dark spots; then I’d switch to a cheaper formula. 30 ml (1oz.) $125

But after ten days, I can’t say that there was a remarkable difference. I kept with it, continuing the twice-daily regimen for another three weeks. After that, I could see an overall brightening of my skin and a reduction in the visibility of my lighter scars. So while the ten-day claim was a letdown, there was indeed an eventual improvement. And just having that luxurious, futuristic bottle on my vanity makes it all worth it.

Krav Ma-wha? The self-defense martial art that’s taken at least one girl for a crazy ride.


threw my first punch in August of 2012. I wouldn’t have been surprised, however, if the force of it registered in the negatives. Regardless, it was kind of exciting, as was the one after it and the hundreds I’ve thrown since then. No, I’m not a boxer and I’m not a crazy ex-girlfriend. I practice Krav Maga. I like to think of myself as a pretty athletic person, though never tough. I’ve tried a lot of sports and am pretty opened minded about new ones, even those that are well beyond my skill level (We don’t talk about that random year I joined the rowing team). In spite of all my “worldly” sporting experience, signing up for Krav Maga lessons was unlike anything I’d ever done before. Krav Maga—meaning “contact combat” in Hebrew—is the combat training regimen that the famously fierce Israeli Defense Forces are taught. It was developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld as a means to help Jewish peo-

by Emily Van Guilder ple defend against belligerent fascist groups in the mid 1930s. Krav is famous for incorporating aspects from a number of other martial arts as well as for its focus on dealing with real-world situations and efficiency in counter-attacks. It’s for these reasons that Krav Maga is an ideal choice for anyone wanting to learn self-defense. Some people have asked me if students are ever taught moves that could kill someone in a fight. The answer to that depends on which students you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the people Lichtenfeld originally trained, I’d be pretty confident in saying absolutely yes. They were trained specifically for combat in violent situations. In regards to my training, however, the answer is a definite no. We are not in a hand-combat war situation. That said, in the hands of a black belt, the skills and moves I learn in class would be sufficient to kill. But we’re not being trained to kill. We’re just learning how to defend ourselves if our lives

12 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

are threatened. As a result, Krav instructors place very little emphasis on the aesthetics of fighting, unless, of course, you consider taking down a 200-pound man in under five seconds a beautiful thing. The main goals are efficiency, proper form, and speed. As a student, you learn these rules from the start. I think I did a bit of a double take when, on the first day, my instructor said, “Okay, so now we learn how to get out of chokeholds.” This training method compels you to advance much faster than you would in other martial arts where you might spend months breaking wood blocks and making cool hand gestures before you get to the main entrée of the class. It is, of course, very important


to perfect your form so as to maximize the efficacy of your defenses. However, you don’t have to be at that level of perfection before you’re taught how to do a roundhouse kick or how to actively protect yourself from a knife attack. Even if you’re terrible in the beginning—and you probably will be, if my experience is any indicator—it’s better to learn anything and everything that might help you get out of a dangerous situation, even if you think you look a little stupid grappling with someone in a studio. Appearances aside, I was shocked at how quickly I gained confidence and strength in my abilities. I had originally planned on only taking classes for a month, but I was so exhilarated to see

such fast improvement that I just couldn’t stop. It only took four months before I was able to test for my yellow belt, and I hope to go for my orange next month. While Krav does have the traditional belt system of martial arts, students basically wear any workout clothes they want. There’s no real formal dress code, no white gi, but it is preferable to wear shirts with sleeves so, in training, you can grab shirt instead of skin. Participating in Krav Maga has definitely proven to be one of the more “different” hobbies I have. It’s not only been a fantastic source of exercise but has also helped me, as a young woman, feel incredibly empowered. I sincerely hope I never get into a fight—especially if my incredibly low tolerance for pain has any say in it—but if I do, I feel confident that Krav has given me my best chance to get out of it. I know we damsels in distress are supposed to find the image of being rescued or protected by Prince Charming as incredibly romantic and ideal, but I’ve come to realize it’s a lot more fun to be the one who kicks ass.



In order from novice to master:


(Some studios forgo this level, simply allowing beginners to just experience things)


ORANGE GREEN BLUE BROWN BLACK Once you reach black belt, you can still advance by degrees. The highest rank is the level of the current world leader of Krav Maga, Eyal Yanilov, who is a black belt expert level eight. Yanilov was one of Lichtenfeld’s students.


14 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

Behind the Seams What it takes to run a fashion business according to La Lune & Moon co-founder Jessica Kim 16 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

by Rosie Ryan


o say that a lot of work goes in to launching a clothing line would be an understatement. To succeed in such a fast-paced industry takes blood, sweat and tears—all without getting any of that on the clothes, of course. But what really makes a truly remarkable clothing collection is the team of people behind the scenes making everything seem effortless. West Coast Editor Rosie Ryan sat down with Jessica Kim, the CEO and co-founder of Los Angeles-based La Lune & Moon, to find out just what goes into breaking into the world of fashion. Tastevin Magazine What inspired you to start

La Lune & Moon?

Jessica Kim Our story is very simple. It’s based

on our love for fashion and determination. It started with a small idea of starting an online boutique [and] curating a collection of clothes that represents today’s everyday girl, a girl that is able to express herself through the clothes that she wears. We’re always asked how we startied, and, to be honest, though there are details [that went into every step of] our venture, it all sort of just fell into place. I really believe that we’re able to pull this off because of our innate passion and our entrepreneurial spirits. Though I say it’s simple, it was not easy and it never really gets easier. But the love of it continues to push us to develop and grow La Lune & Moon into something bigger. It’s really an exciting journey. We just celebrated our one year anniversary last month!

How did you get started? I actually went to school to at University of California, Irvine [to study] International Studies and Business Management. I had dreams of becoming a fashion designer in high school, but the lack of support from my parents [made me] study something else. To be honest, my parents were very reluctant to have me going after [a career in] fashion rather than choosing a “typical” job, such as becoming a doctor or lawyer. So I graduated with this [business]



degree, but my interest in fashion still existed. I [landed] a job as an assistant designer in downtown Los Angeles [before] developing La Lune & Moon. Ultimately, my parents love me and support me in every decision, and I respected their thoughts and guidance. Having the supportive parents that I have, who encourage me to take risks and live large, has really helped in starting La Lune & Moon.

What’s a typical day of work like for you? There is a whole lot of hustle and bustle and long days. There are a lot of little details to pay attention to. We’re constantly thinking about how to develop [the website] and make it better. I love to remind myself that big things happen with small beginnings. And as we work towards [our] goals, we’ll end up where we need to. TM JK

How would you describe La Lune and Moon’s aesthetic? JK La Lune & Moon is simple and refreshing. We believe there is so much beauty in the simplicity of things and want to keep our online boutique the same way. Sometimes when you overdo things, it can turn into messy clutter. We want La Lune & Moon to remain simple and effortless. TM

Jessica’s Five Details Every Woman Should Have in Her Fashion Closet I Florals IV Neon Details II Polka dots V Black & White III Stripes

Check out cute summer pieces from La Lune & Moon in our featured Great Gatsby-inspired photo shoot on page 60!

Five to Fab

Accessories editor Adriane Carranza shows you the shoe basics you need to be chic for every situation


The Basic Ballet A chic and comfortable ballet is a girl’s best friend and can be easily worn to work, on a day off, or on a casual date night. My go-to ballet are a bronze Jimmy Choo pair that quickly add a pop of color and sparkle to any . If you are looking for quality at a less-than-designer price, go for a classic leather lat from J.Crew, which offers an assortment of seasonal styles and colors. In the ballet world, there are so many options available, but it is best to stick with higher qualqual ity lats since they’re so classic and versatile to wear.

The Timeless Black Pump Summertime Sandal As a Southern California girl, I have learned the importance of having a reliable and simple sandal. For a more feminine look, I would recommend a Pedro Garcia wedge. They’re comfortable enough to last all day, and the comfort and quality can’t be beat. For a more casual look, go for the classic by Rainbow. It’s a SoCal staple! Whatever your style need, pick sandals that are comfortable and versatile. e.

Whether you wear it to work or on a night out, a good black pump will keep you looking chic at all times. Choose a style that’s professional enough for the and sexy enough for a night out. My pick is the Jimmy Choo Abel. This pointed-toe showstopper is not easy on your bank account, but it is a worthy investment. If you get a high quality product, you can always have it repaired to last longer, and that’s a lot more economical than purchasing ancal tha trendy pump! other cheap tren


orn and raised in a small suburb outside Los Angeles, I grew up only a few miles from that city of effortlessly chic Hollywood style. I always thought that I one day I would learn to have the fashionable Californian ease that LA women embody so well. And while it might have taken a few years, I got there and I want to help you get there too! In college, I spent a year sharing a one-bedroom apartment with our editor-in-chief, Caroline. After watching countless episodes of Sex and the City while cramming for college midterms, we were, of course, both infected with Carrie’s shoe obsession. As a born shopaholic, however, I turned my shoe love into a shoe fetish, always searching for the next pair of shoes to add to my closet. Our living situation r it. The bedroom door was half-blocked by a wardrobe and the “side table” in the living room was actuwith ally a large plastic tub off-season shoes. Years later, I’ve amassed quite the shoe closet. All frills aside, however, I’ve realized that to build a “grown-up” shoe closet, you need to start with ive basics. These Top-Five are my go-to items that I can’t live without. No matter what situation you might face, having these Five will help you be shoe-ready at a moment’s notice!

18 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

Tennis Shoes

Take-Me-to-the-Back Heels

Whether you’re a gym bunny or not, a comfortable and fun pair of tennies is a must. A good pair should offer support and comfort, and I found my sole mate in the Nike FreeRun collection. I love the fact that these are lightweight and come in so many different colors. These are the best for the gym or for running errands. The best advice I have for picking a pair of tennis shoes is to try on a lot. Pick one that’s comfortable but also that its your fashion style and lifestyle.

Sexy sex sex. For a girls’ night out or a hot date night (or a girls’ night out that turns into a hot date night), a girl has to have the right heel to make her feel c and sexy. I am a repeat offender in my fushia Miu Miu glitter platform pumps. They’re a bold statement and add ve inches, but as they say, the higher the hell, the closer to heaven. But please beware: you want to feel good in your shoes, so break those bad boys in before you break your ankle going after a bad boy!

Every girl has those days when they look at their closet and think, “I have nothing to wear.” We’ve all been there! But, by equipping your shoe closet with these ve basics, you can rest assured that at least you will have a shoe for every situation. Remember to keep true to your style becausee that’s when you’ll feel the most ost t. Now, comfortable and n! let the shoe shopping begin!

Sticky Shoe-tuations Heels slipping out: There is nothing worse than your heels slipping out of a pair of shoes. Stock up on heel grips so you don’t look silly when you rock those heels! Slippery soles: Shoe grips are affordable options that adhere to the bottom of your soles, adding a bit of traction to prevent you from face-planting in the club. Worn-out soles: If the soles on your favorite pair start showing just how much you wear them, take them to a trusty cobbler. I like to have the cobbler add a new leather sole with rubber over it to make them last longer. Narrow shoes: Pointed-toe heels can cramp wide feet. If your toes need a little stretch after a long day, slip on yoga toes or those little foam toe dividers in pedicure sets, and you’ll be on the road to recovery. Sore feet: If your feet need a little extra tender loving care, treat yourself to t pedicure or soak your feet in some a pedicu hot water w with bath salts.



iterary ust

ARRANGEMENT: One of the easiest ways to spruce up your bookcase is to adjust how the books are arranged. It’s very typical to see books shelved upright like in a bookstore, but what sets a well-designed bookshelf apart is a mix of upright and sideways titles. Try laying your tomes on their backs and stacking them on top of each other. That way, the books aren’t just there for reading; they’re also there for art. They almost become sculptures.

Brandon Gamble shares easy steps to make your bookcase the object of desire

SCULPTURES: Speaking of sculptures, it’s a good idea to throw in a few small sculptures and art pieces. They can be very cheap, like from a flea market or even from Target. Pieces like the gold skull or the red Chinese fu dogs really add dimension to a bookcase. It’s no longer just a piece of furniture storing some books—it’s a display case.


VARIETY: Mix it up a little bit. Don’t only put books on your shelves. If your bookcase isn’t divided into separate sections like this one, you can still set aside entire shelves for something other than books. Some people do this with photo frames, and while pictures are important and personal, it’s a really typical arrangement and can look a little sloppy. I opted for stacked bottles of wine. This really depends on the placement of your shelves (you don’t want that wine going bad in direct sunlight), but you can always try something like mirrored vases to make a statement. A grouping of vases collected from travels around the world can be a really great conversation starter. I know someone who set aside two whole bookcases just to show off her dozens of pairs of heels. You can really rethink a bookcase to personalize the space.

Ultimately, it’s about highlighting both your books and your home. You want to arrange your bookshelf in a way where you’re showcasing your design personality while also housing some of your important literary finds. So if a shoe display isn’t you, don’t do it. Just incorporate little things here and there so your guests can learn about you—and not just because of what you read.

e d a M 22 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

Emily Van Guilder helps you personalize your home with these easy instructions to make a chic print-to-canvas transfer.


ne of the latest trends I see in home décor is canvas prints. They’re in high-end stores, retail chains, and even street markets. But luckily, you don’t have to shell out a lot for a canvas print if you personalize your own! I have two go-to methods for canvas prints: a photo-to-canvas transfer using a gel medium or decoupage using Mod Podge. Although the gel medium method is much harder, you’re actually transferring the pigments of your photo to the canvas so it retains its canvas texture and looks more like a painting. The Mod Podge way is quicker, but up close, you can tell it’s more crafty. I love using both methods, and it’s a great way to add something personal to your home or to give to friends.


Canvas: Michaels is a great place to go because they always have coupons on their site. LASER printing of photo: It has to be laser, not an ink-jet printing or glossy magazine pages. If you don’t have a laser printer, just go to any photo center and specify that you want a laser printing. Both color and black/white work. Sponge brush Gel medium: I use Liquitex Ultra Matte Gel, which can usually be found in most arts and crafts stores.





Apply heavy layer of gel medium to canvas. Carefully, place picture face down onto canvas. You will create a mirror image of your picture, so if you’re creating a print with writing on it, make sure to reverse the photo on a computer before you start. Smooth out any and all bubbles as best you can. III Let dry for at least 8-10 hours so that the gel fully picks up all the pigments from the picture. I usually wait overnight. IV The next morning, completely soak the canvas. You can use a spray bottle or really wet rag.

II 23

I recommend against sticking it straight under the faucet. V Start peeling away the paper. The first layer is the easiest and will sometimes come off in long sheets. You’ll notice there’s still a thin film of fuzzy paper on your canvas, so you have to carefully rub that off with your fingers. Make sure to keep the canvas damp the whole time. VI Once all the paper fuzz is gone, apply one more layer of gel medium on top to seal it in.


Canvas Glossy photo print of same dimensions: You can use an ink-jet print or magazine pages for this method. Sponge brush Mod Podge, found at any arts and crafts store




Apply thick layer of Mod Podge to the canvas. Place photo face up on canvas and work out any bubbles. III Let dry for at least 2 hours. IV Apply 2 more layers of Mod Podge on top of your canvas, waiting between each coat. I like to play around with my brush strokes on these top layers to make my canvas look like a painting. V Let dry, and then you’re finished!

Done! 24 Tastevin Magazine May 2013






Really Is A Magical Number

s I write these words to you, I am in the middle of a staring contest with a large cup of black Americano coffee. I have seen a lot of him this past month, and I’m happy to tell you that we stand before you today not at war, but in the midst of something at least partially resembling friendship. To explain this, I would have to go back to the beginning. But we’ll probably take a detour with a couple pit stops and arrive well before then anyway. When I say it’s a black Americano, I want to highlight the significance of this vital truth. I am drinking a cup of coffee that is just what it proclaims to be: coffee. No milk. No sweetener of any kind. No whipped cream in a very fancy curly-Q swirled on top. Yes, I am aware that you are probably well aware what “black” means, but I need to explain what it means for me. Earlier this year, a typical cup of coffee for me was a White Caramel Mocha with chocolate sprinkles. “Do you want cream on top?” You bet your size 10 jeans and annual gym membership I do!

By Jenna Anderson

But starting on February 1st, I cut out all milk and unnatural sugars from my diet. I mean, completely. I have also cut out any beverage that does not rhyme with schmoffee, schmea, and schmater. It’s probably easier to tell you what I’ve left in my diet, rather than what I’ve taken out. I can sum up my recent, strange and unusual eating habits in seven words exactly: Chicken. Bread. Tomatoes. Spinach. Cucumbers. Apples. Strawberries. That’s it. I’m serious. I’m also usually excessively silly, imaginative to the point of whimsy, detail-oriented, a poor public speaker, and a perpetual work in progress with a strong penchant for hyperbole. But today especially, I’m serious. I am also fifteen pounds lighter than I was on January 31st. That’s not why I did it, of course. But you know I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t currently enjoying the flat tummy and lighter stride on the way to class. It’s amazing the things we let weigh us down. So why did I do the diet? It’s basically 25

because—amongst my many shortcomings and feelings of inadequacy—I am a really good friend. In the middle of January, I received a tardy but very much appreciated Christmas gift from a dear friend from home. On the card was a note that still hangs up on my corkboard. It reads, “I’ll be reading this in the New Year and like the idea that these words can make us closer than we are. I miss you sweet friend. May your heart be light.” I tore open the packaging and discovered Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. For seven months,

I can sum up my recent eating habits in 7 words exactly: chicken, bread, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, apples, strawberries.

Jen and her husband decided to cut out things from their pretty little life in Austin, Texas… things they realized they had an over-abundance of. Things many people in other corners of the world lived without. Choice in food. Choice in clothing. Choice in media/entertainment. At its core, Seven the book focuses on the plentiful options that wealthy countries and lifestyles possess, and takes a look at what happens when a family decides to strip itself of that luxury. Each month, the Hatmakers limited their selection of a certain thing to seven items. Month One was food. I can’t tell you why I decided to jump into this scheme with both feet and guns blazing. Maybe I was a little bored, maybe I was missing a bit of home, or maybe my competitive nature turned inwards and wanted to extinguish the voice that said, “You can’t do this.” Whatever the recipe of reasons may be, I rose to the challenge. And I learned some interesting things along the way. Rather cheekily, I distilled these lessons into seven main points. You can find them below. 26 Tastevin Magazine May 2013


I am in a relationship with food. Not only do I spend quality time with food multiple times a day, but I think about food when it’s not around. I fantasize about food and rehearse scenarios in my head of what certain foods will taste like. When I have a bad day, it is food that I come home to. It welcomes me with open arms. It’s dependable. It’s something I can control.


This relationship has got to change, or it will be the death of me. This is not the hyperbole talking. It is true, I do not currently suffer from obesity, nor have I ever at any point in my life. If you asked me a month ago I would probably have said I lead a healthy lifestyle. I run, I go to the gym, I see friends (real ones, not the kind that give you calories), I am constantly looking for new things to learn and see and do. But I also see my family members and their eating habits, and the innocent diversions I undertake as a twenty-something have drastic consequences when I become a forty or fifty-something. I don’t have a degree in nutrition, and the amount of information I have neglected to retain from high school anatomy would shock you, but I do know that eating high-fat foods and deep-fried desserts becomes the bandaid underneath which my caffeine-ridden life is tearing at the seams. And that may be the hyperbole talking, but it is true enough to cause me great concern.


Change is hard. When you do something at least three times a day and have been doing so for your entire life, habits form. I am so glad I did not do this diet anywhere near my hometown, where my favorite restaurants and fast-food joints would have taunted me mercilessly. Those temptations were an entire ocean and country away from me, so I had to resort to creeping on websites and staring at pictures of food from my past. Which I did. Many, many

times. I’m serious, you guys. It got desperate.


Bread is not just bread. We (I) consume so much of it daily—it’s in our sandwiches , next to our eggs at breakfast, decorating our pasta dishes at dinnertime. But let me tell you something—I knew a lot more about my other six food items at the start of this diet than I did about bread. I didn’t need to check the ingredients list on my pack of strawberries or bag of spinach when shopping at the store. Even my chicken, cagefree and corn-fed as it may be… at the end of the day, it was chicken. I can’t pronounce some of the ingredients on the bottom of my bread bag. And if that doesn’t worry me, it should.


Changing your diet is a great way to find out who your real friends are. Not surprisingly, my social life took a pretty big hit this past month. I realized that I usually meet so many friends for meals or a coffee. I’m sure I could probably count the number of times I had friends say “when you’re off your diet, let’s…” or “in March, we should try…”, but I frankly don’t want to. Because the truth is, those friends were words in an occasional text message or Facebook post this past month. The friends who I actually saw were the ones who ate with me. I even had one of my flat-mates offer to cook a meal for me using only my seven ingredients. Now that one, she’s a keeper. I don’t mean to shame or blame the volunteers in my social life’s disappearing act, but I do think there is something important to be unearthed here. Not only did I realize I have a relationship with food, but my relationship with food (which I thought I controlled!) has a tight grip on my relationships with other people. Silly me.


a coveted spot on my seven list – a spot that could have been filled by pancakes, syrup, butter, cheese… focus Jenna focus. It killed me (hyperbole again) when I started to research how many children in how many third-world countries would be excited just to look at a cucumber. Just to take a quick bite, to understand what it tasted like. Even in my “restrictive” diet, I could eat as much of those foods as I wanted in a given day. Even by sipping from a smaller glass, my cup overflowed.


Choice is overrated. I thought I would hate eating from home and planning my meals out in advance, but I didn’t. In fact, what I discovered was that the time and energy I had previously devoted to thinking about food could be put towards other, infinitely better things. Like my dissertation on patterns of speech in the novels of Jane Austen and George Eliot. Like the girls who live on my floor and how I can love them better. Like what I want my life to look like after March 1st. As for this cup of black Americano coffee, he’s almost gone, and it’s been a wild ride. I’m not going to ask him to move in anytime soon, but I never would have tried him if not for Seven. And I kind of like him. And that’s something.

I complain a lot. Mostly about cucumbers. I didn’t like them very much before the diet, and I certainly resented them when they were taking


Harlem Carnival of Curls Najee Omar

your hair is the wild fire of the earth untamed desires of the scalp from the trumpet’s mouth your curls scat ba-ba-de-do-bop-bam speak in Aztec tongues in Louis Armstrong hums stampeding along the winds with every swoosh of your head

your hair is the percussion of life rhythm section of soul stressed and unstressed beats without relaxation those crooked kinks birth red-light-district sparks, your fro is forbidden shimmers of maroon hiding in that black sea of pearls that Harlem Carnival of curls that honk horns and blast boom box beating with every nod of the head

that black and brown confetti of naps is your coiled crown majestic headpiece the diamond chandelier of your Queendom I bow down to the spiral staircase sprouting from your dome the giant stack of piano keys musical steps that harmonize with my touch I long to play the instrument of your head to hear the roars of an uprising from the pounding of keys or the banging of congas or the smashing of cymbals

I live for the melodic revolution in that safari of locks you swing with such sass dream of dancing inside the African textured jewelry box of swimming in that waterfall of natural oils of moonwalking along the glimmers of light that spread themselves against your sideburns of break dancing on split ends that call for spinning heads and pop-locks I can’t help but pounce as they bounce your hair flapping in the wind like an eagle conjuring thunder to the sky return her to the wild and set that tender beast free

28 Tastevin Magazine May 2013



By Mollie McKenzie

oy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Everything is rainbows and buttercups. Then conflict ensues. Boy and girl break up. A big gesture is made. Boy and girl live happily every after. This is the typical formula for what over time has come to be known as the Chick Flick. Most guys say they hate them, and if most girls are being honest, they can’t live without them. On a practical level, we know that most of the time they’re full of crap, that no Ryan Gosling is going to build us our dream house (even if we’re Eva Mendes) and no Cary Grant is waiting for us at the top of the Empire State building (we’re afraid of heights anyway). And yet we continue to indulge ourselves. So let’s argue for one moment that we actually do believe in chick flicks, that we’ve allowed them to sink in our brains and float around affecting our perceptions of reality. What does that really mean for us?

Life begins when you meet a boy

Chick flicks are designed to emphasize that the most important part of women’s lives are when they meet a guy. Urban Dictionary calls it a meet-cute, a “scenario in which two individuals are brought together in some unlikely, zany, destined-to-fall-in-love-andbe-together-forever sort of way.” Sometimes this means a really awkward scenario, only cute because it is just so damn embarrassing. In The Notebook, Noah (yeah, we secretly do really love Ryan Gosling) jumps on a moving Ferris wheel and begs Allie (Rachel McAdams) to go on a date with him. Spoiler alert:

30 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

she agrees when he threatens to jump off the Ferris wheel. Yeah, totally romantic…because every girl wants to be forced into dating a manipulative lunatic with no regard for his own or anyone else’s safety. I guess it helps if you’re Ryan Gosling. Seriously, this guy! Then there’s the reverse situation with, oddly enough, the same outcome. We have a suicidal Rose (Kate Winslet) in Titanic, ready to jump into the ocean until Jack chats her up and convinces her otherwise. Here, we have a very clear example of the traditional damsel in distress. Jack literally saves her life, and her new chapter—the one where she really lives—begins. A meet-cute is as its name suggests— very cute—but it’s also incredibly misleading. It tells us our life begins when we meet our romantic partner. Women characters are often depicted as passive and easily controlled until a man finds or saves them, hence Allie’s forced date and Rose’s arranged marriage-to-be that drove her to consider killing herself. Of course, this stems from tradition. The guy is typically the one who asks the girl out. The guy is the one who proposes to the girl. But hey, it’s the 21st century! You don’t need to wait for you prince charming. Go find him! In the wise words of Carrie Bradshaw (whom, we will note, was also a damsel-in-distress à la season six), “Maybe [you] just need to run free until [you] find someone as wild to run with [you.]”

When your life begins, it will be with Mr. Darcy

Tall. Dark. Handsome. That’s the physical description of most romantic male leads in chick flicks. Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind,

Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth (and The Phantom of the Opera—because, let’s face it, his Phantom was so much cooler than Raoul), and the archetype of them all, Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Ever since Austen first published her novel in 1813, women have been obsessed with Mr. Darcy, myself included. Initially, he’s aloof and prideful, but later, you realize he’s just shy and a little socially awkward, that he’s actually really sweet and thoughtful. Not to mention he’s extremely rich! Yes, I’m totally smitten. There’s never been a more lethal combination, and there’s never been a male character so imitated and replicated in film and literature. Probably the best example that shows how chick flicks have made us become obsessed with Mr. Darcy is Lost in Austen, a 2008 British television miniseries first broadcast by the ITV network. In the series, an ordinary, 21st-century woman, Amanda Price, is so infatuated with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy that she magically enters a portal and swaps places with Elizabeth. Of course, she gets together with Darcy but not before she makes him jump into a lake so his wet white shirt clings to his finely chiseled chest. Amanda has to have her fantasy of Mr. Darcy fulfilled before she can accept her real-life Mr. Darcy stand-in. In that same vein, we sometimes look for a romantic partner to fulfill our fantasies because that’s how we’ve been told we can have that magical, life-changing adventure. That said, we don’t need to react against chick flicks by lowering the standards of what we look for in a partner. Everyone should have high standards and stick with them, just make sure they’re real standards, not fantasies.

of our life revolves around our girl friends (yay, estrogen!). For example, take Mean Girls, where Cady (Lindsay Lohan in her golden days) joins the catty and manipulative clique, “The Plastics.” Just like Cady, girls often compete for the title of Alpha Female and for power in a group of friends whether it’s a formal rivalry or something more unspoken. Chick flicks tell us to take cues from others about how to think, look, and act. “Ordinary” just doesn’t cut it anymore; we have to find some kind of role to play. Take Grease for example. Rizzo (Stockard Channing) mocks Sandy (Olivia Newton-John)—in song!— and, in Clueless, Tai (Brittany Murphy) makes fun of Cher (Alicia Silverstone) for still being a virgin. It’s often moments like this that prompt the heroine to make drastic changes. Goodgirl Sandy took a turn for the sexy—becoming a leather-pant and red-wedge clad woman— but still turned to her girl friend Frenchy (Didi Conn) for assistance. Chick flicks reveal the influence that we have on those in our sisterhoods, whether for good or bad. It’s a truth universally acknowledged. No matter how many destructive qualities I find in them, no matter how formulaic they might be, I still can’t help but love chick flicks. They help us appreciate our defiant womanhood— our femininity, our girly-ness. They bring us together. Some of my favorite nights in college were spent munching on popcorn and watching Gilmore Girls or Pride and Prejudice (both the 1995 and 2005 versions) with my roommates. Chick flicks tell us that girlfriends are always there for each other, and this is undeniably true.

Solidarity in sisterhood… for better or worse

Sorry, men, but it’s not always about you. We are not always thinking about you, worrying about what you think, and wondering when we will meet the one. In fact, a lot


The young musician taking Nashville by storm

I Fight and I Write


Lindy Tolbert sat down with Nashville’s hottest young singer-songwriter, Jay Denton. This Southern gentleman will win over your heart—trust us! Jay Denton, 26, is a pretty relaxed guy. Or, at least, that’s the impression you get when you first hear him. Typically clad in what he calls “Levi’s store fashion”— boots, jeans, denim jackets, and button-up shirts— the Texas native speaks with a friendly Southern drawl. But behind all of the laughter and welcoming manners is a man on a mission. Denton was born and raised in Texas. Growing up in a musical household, he picked up pop rock guitar in the fourth grade. A neighbor tried teaching him classical guitar, but he hated it. “My real love for the guitar began when I gave up trying to learn classical guitar and started looking up tabs online to learn Blink-182 songs,” Denton laughs. But the guitar alone wasn’t enough to satiate his ravenous desire to play and create music. He soon wrangled other instruments into his submission. “I can write [music for] mandolin, keyboard, and cajon. The cajon I learned because I used the play the djembe drum in high school. I liked African-style percussion, and [the cajon] is in the same family of instruments.” His has a wide range of musical experience that has informed his sound, but Denton finds it hard to put into exact words. “It’s hard to describe. It’s like if the pop rock [genre] and the southern singer-songwriter [genre] had a lovechild… I love Matchbox Twenty, Dispatch, Michelle Branch, Semisonic, Gavin DeGraw, and Third Eye Blind. But then I also like rap, punk rock, and Creed. It gets kind of all over the place.” Denton is certainly a star on the rise, set to release an EP of songs this month. Orig-

inally part of a country rock duo called Jessie and Jay, Denton took to the road with his music partner after graduating from the University of Southern California. Though he didn’t perform often in college—and when he did, it was mostly for charity benefit events—he knew being a musician was what he wanted to do. “I love the feeling you get when you write and perform.” Denton knows what he wants, and if that’s not enough to make you swoon, then his resilience will surely get you. In a stroke of luck and strategy, Denton and his music partner were picked up in early 2010 to play NASCAR veteran charity events. But when the company that hired the duo went under, they didn’t let that stop them. “We were stranded in Texas,” Denton explains. “But rather than stay there, I moved to Nashville.” He still performs, but now he writes more than he plays. “I write compulsively. I write every day. I’m still creating music, writing with other writers and working with producers to get out this EP in May.” For Denton, music is ubiquitous, even during his workout sessions. “I practice Krav Maga [Read more about the Israeli fighting style on page 12]. I’ve really gotten into it as an instructor… While the guys are sparring, I’ll make them listen to Creed. They love me for it. Well, they might hate me behind my back. I don’t know.” He laughs his catchy Nashville laugh. “It’s a good release. I always tell people, ‘I fight and I write.’ It’s really strange to fight and then come home and write calm music, but that’s how it works out.” Whether he’s fighting or writing, Nashville has become his new home. “It took a long 33

time to adjust,” Denton admits. “[The transition from] Texas to California was easy because I loved the beach and I loved volleyball. But there are lots of rocks and rain in Nashville, and it was hard to be away from my friends and my community. It took about a year to get used to it, but I really am in love with the city now.” Nashville is a major hub for all genres in the music industry, and Denton thinks he’s in exactly the right place to make a difference. “The music scene here is huge. The percentage of musicians is outstanding. It’s a small town, but we really have the best musicians. There is a huge epicenter of musical talent out here. It’s unbelievable.”

“I write compulsively. I write every day. I’m still creating music, writing with other writers and working with producers”

Denton’s humility almost outshines his own talent. “No matter how good you are, there’s someone sitting at the same restaurant who’s better than you. Multimillionaires in the industry go to the same dive bars as everyone else.” He’s a musician, a writer, a fighter, and a genuinely good guy. Really, how could you not fall in love with Denton? The new television show Nashville has definitely given its namesake a chance to shine, and Denton thinks it’s a great opportunity to showcase the town he knows and loves. “I love [the show]. I have no idea if I love it because it’s the city I live in and it’s good to see some of the places I know, but I do love it. I like some of the songs. The show shows a part of the city that people never get to see—the songs, the writing. I think the show does that in a way that’s pretty cool. It is about a very small slice of Nashville; it’s certainly not everyone’s experience. But it’s 34 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

great for the city to get more spotlight as to what’s really going on here.” The show has certainly brought light to the fashion scene in Nashville. “People still wear the country-type stuff, but we have a growing hipster community. There [are] lots of low-cut v-necks and skinny jeans tucked into vintage shoes. East Nashville is home to many independent musicians, mostly the non-country artists—indie rockers, Americana, singersongwriters. The one way to tell a musician is by the shoes. Are they ‘regular’ shoes or are they wearing lace-up boots or Converse? Do they tuck their jeans into their shoes? Then that’s a musician.” All fashion talk aside, Denton doesn’t try to compete as far as theatrics go. “I don’t wear show make up and I haven’t done foundation for the stage. Someone recommended I get lowlights because my hair is very light blonde and I might get washed out. But my hair color is my hair color and I’m going to stick with it.” And if his independence isn’t enough, he has a heart to match. “Really though, my biggest passion is connecting artists with justice issues involving kids in the developing world. In August, I went to South Sudan to visit an orphanage with Sam Childers [the missionary portrayed in the movie The Machine Gun Preacher] and we’ve become close friends. I taught kids how to play the guitar and wrote an EP of the songs written for the kids and sent the proceeds back [to the orphanage]… My dream is to create a network of artists— musicians, filmmakers, screenwriters, actors—to tell a story and be the bridge between the western world and children experiencing trauma in East Africa. I want to focus on rescue work of child soldiers and other kids enslaved by the sex trade in Africa, southern Asia, and southeastern Europe by connecting artists to the story of the developing world and to bring it to the developed world.” Jay Denton wants to find a “peaceful and viable way” to make a difference. We’d say he’s definitely made a great start.

Aria Tastevin Magazine Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Susan Segal I used to write all the time. I started a million novels, and I wrote a lot of poetry. There came a point when people started telling me I should be a writer, so probably around middle school when you pretty much want to do the opposite of what everyone tells you should do, I decided I didn’t want to be a writer, because that’s what everyone told me I should be. I didn’t come back to writing until I was in my late 20s.

You majored in theater, didn’t you? SS My undergraduate degree is in drama. I did some local theater work when I first got out of college and then realized I wasn’t cut out for the life of an actress. So I gave that up and worked in advertising for a number of years.



TM In drama, you do a lot of analyzing and character development like in writing. SS There is no question that the training that I had in acting definitely informed my writing later. Even the character exercises I give to [my

Mollie McKenzie sits down with Susan Segal, author of the highly praised novel Aria,now available on the Nook and Kindle. Segal discusses her beginnings in acting, her morbid fascination with grief, and what it’s like to be a writer in Hollywood.

English and writing students] are the kind of thing we did as actors too. You [have] to know things about your character that might never actually show up on page but give a sense of three-dimensionality to your characters.

What do you think is the hardest part of writing? SS The hardest aspect is looking at the blank page when you’re just getting started [and] having faith that whatever it is you’re starting will turn into something that’s worth finishing. But I think the most rewarding thing— now this is going to sound weird—is when I read something I’ve written and I can’t remember having written it. And by that I mean that I think it’s good and I think it’s powerful and I think it’s resonates. It means that it was written at a point when I stopped thinking and just started what I call “channeling,” and it just kind of came out and I don’t quite remember how. I love reading passages in my own writing and thinking, “When did I write that?” I know what that feeling feels like, and it’s very rare when I’m writing, but when it happens, it is truly TM

what you live for as a writer.

Do you prefer to write about things with which you’re familiar? SS I feel like I can’t really write about things I don’t know. I sort of lose interest when I try to write something that completely has nothing to do with me—which is not to say that anything I’ve written has ever happened to me. [At the start of Aria, the narrator, Eve Miller, has lost her family in a sailing accident.] I’ve never sailed the world. I’ve never had two children, and I’ve never lost two children. But the emotional truth is still there. I wanted to write about losing people who matter to you because that has happened to me. I actually think that writers TM


who write powerful works are somehow accessing their own experiences even if the events in the novel are not their [own].

ful that life would go on after something that horrible had happened to me. I have had many people who have come up to me at readings, people who have lost someone, and TM You’re a mother. How did say that they really feel that I that affect you in writing Eve? got it right. SS I literally finished the novel when I found out I was TM What do you think sets pregnant. I did not have a Aria apart from other novels? child when I wrote this book. SS One is that people sort And I can tell you that had I of say very timidly if I’m behad a child, I probably would ing interviewed, they say, ‘You not have been able to write know Eve is sort of a little it. For it to feel authentic, I difficult in the beginning’ or needed to become Eve and go deep inside myself to explore what it would be like to be a What surprised me woman who had lost her chilabout my character dren, and while they were still was how angry, hypothetical children, I could nasty, and unaccess that in myself. But I pleasant she was. would not want to take myself to a place where I could imagine this happening to an ac- ‘Sometimes I didn’t feel very tual child that I had, especially sympathetic towards her,’ and when he would have been a I quickly go, ‘Yeah, she’s a kind baby, when he would seem so of a bitch in the beginning. vulnerable to me anyway. Let’s admit it.’ People are sort of afraid, even in fiction, to TM Eve’s grief and guilt are say she’s not likeable because really raw and real. What was she’s had this really horrible it like to discover her voice thing happened to her. I like and character? that idea that she doesn’t fit SS What surprised me about a stereotype of what we think Eve was how angry, nasty, and of as a victim of tragedy. The unpleasant she was. If you other thing that I think is funhad said to me, ‘what do you ny is that most of the men that think a woman who had lost I know read the book because her family would do,’ well I their wives or their girlfriends thought she would be very sad gave it to them. They read it and easy to pity and to sym- kind of holding their noses pathize with. But when I took thinking it was chick lit, but myself to that place, I thought they end up liking it and reI would be just wildly resent- ally being moved by it, telling

me how surprised they were. And this is funny because I think [Aria] does appear to be women’s fiction but men seem to enjoy it.

The struggle with fame is also a theme in your novel, and you live in the heart of Hollywood culture. How do you think fame influences a writer’s life? SS Writers are having to become increasingly involved in the promotion of our own work to the extent that it can interfere with our [writing]. Here I am promoting this book, but when it first came out, there was no such thing as Facebook. And here I am promoting it again and doing more promotion than my publisher ever did because I’m expected to do that now. The idea that we have to become very recognizable as people, and not as the work, in order to sell our work and get read is a huge issue for all writers. I was writing [Aria] and I’m thinking about all of these artists I know who are so gifted but can’t get a break, [but other] people who have demonstrated zero accomplishments are getting deals and contracts for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I thought, ‘This is so America and there is seriously something wrong with America.’ I wanted to address that aspect of [fame], and of art also. It came out naturally in [the novel’s story]. TM

Susan Segal’s collection of linked short stories, All I Want, is scheduled for publication within the year. Learn more about Aria and her other writing work at www.susansegal.info.


or those on the health-conscious foodies’ bandwagon, it’s refreshing to hear about a group of culinary innovators like those of Ghetto Gastro. Founder Jon Gray started Ghetto Gastro hoping to fuel the future of food and strip away the pretentious stigma of fine dining, providing in its stead a raw, uncut experience. Ghetto Gastro even initiated a New York Fashion Week event—“Waffles and Models”—hosted by model Chloe Norgaard at the Le Baron club in New York’s Chinatown, where the chefs offered daring waffle inventions along with wasabi-crusted chicken and other surprising creations. Gray talks the hottest new trend in culinary experiences—Ghetto Gastro.

Tastevin Magazine What inspired the start of Ghetto Gastro? John Gray I’ve always had a love for food, and I just wanted to figure out how to base my professional life around that. Since I’m not trained as a chef, I’ve had to be creative about how to do it. And I’ve been blessed. [Ghetto Gastro] has really evolved.

Why do you own thing instead of going to culinary school? I’ve always been an entrepreneur. My mother’s been to culinary school and what have you, but I’ve always been a self-starter, just trying to get it done and learn on the job. I knew I had these talented chefs who have been through school or have had extensive restaurant experience. I felt like I could use my talents somewhere new, coming up with creative concepts. I felt like I could bring more to the table that way. TM JG

And how does your relationship to fashion relate to food? I had two lines. I used to design a t-shirt line called Jon Gray. It was avant garde street wear. We did a lot of orTM JG

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ganic fabrics. I was eco-conscious with it. I also had a different brand called Mottainai that was made in New York. We used Japanese denim, real luxury finishing, Italian buttons, suede patches. We retailed that Bergdorf Goodman, Jeffrey, Harvey Nichols, Stanley Korshak, top-end retail. But I was doing the fashion thing for four or five years and I just got exhausted with the noncreative aspects of running a fashion business. That’s how I got over to food. I’m still involved with a brand called Cotton is Crack. I feel like it all relates because it’s all creative. People need to wear clothes and people need to eat food. They’re definitely necessities, so why not do them all?

TM How did you come up with the idea for “Waffles and Models”? JG Waffles and Models came about when I was at Art Basel. I liked how those young, cool kids interacted in the strip club. I was like, “What’s missing here is food.” I grew up in the Bronx so I was going to strip clubs before I was going to regular clubs, so I thought why not bring together all the things I like and see how people interact in that environment. I wanted to bring the


Caroline A. Wong sat with Ghetto Gastro founder Jon Gray to talk waffles, models, and how to revolutionize our relationship with food.

strip club environment to a high-end nightlife status like at Le Baron and do it all with food. I just thought, “Waffles and models!” Who doesn’t love chickens and waffles? We just did a spin on it.

Tell us about Ghetto Gastro’s supper clubs. We wanted to do something that everybody wasn’t doing, but also, all of the guys I work with have jobs, so opening a restaurant wasn’t really on our agenda. [Supper Club is] more like a lifestyle; it’s really conceptual. We just have fun with the food, do what we want to do. We do pop-up themed dinners. We don’t have the time or the resources [for a traditional restaurant] so we do pop-up things. I like to say we do pop-up culinary experiences. It’s very nontraditional. TM JG

customers is we just get the best ingredients. We go to the farmer’s market and use the vegetables when they’re at their peak and you get the most nutrients. We try to strip things down. We don’t add cream to the recipe or fat or butter. If it’s really necessary, we might put some in, but we don’t overdo it. We try to keep everything light and fresh.

What do you usually serve to your customers? JG It’s a New York-centric menu. We like to do dishes that we grew up with, using Caribbean influences, Latin influences, Indian, Asian. One thing about New York cuisine is that it’s such an amalgamation of so many different cultures, really the melting pot. We’ve been exposed to so many different types of food since we were children so we’re all about doing that food in a new way. TM

What are some of your other favorite Ghetto Gastro projects? JG Once a month, we do Freestyle Friday. That’s when we go to the farmer’s market or Whole Foods and buy what’s on sale. We have our friends over. There’s always a lot of wine and libations flowing, and we’re just in the kitchen freestyling and cooking our dishes. Some dishes that we’ve actually been using for our catering gigs have spawned from these Freestyle Fridays. TM

Would a more traditional restaurant space ever be Ghetto Gastro’s future? JG I like the concept of travel, so we might do a more traditional restaurant pop-up where we open up a space for three or six months but then we move on to the next [city]. I like the idea of moving and traveling. I think variety is the spice of life. I don’t want to be stuck in a spot fourteen hours a day and end up hating a job because it’s not fun anymore. TM

How is Ghetto Gastro dedicated to healthy eating? We just like to use natural and fresh ingredients. I’m a pescatarian [a vegetarian that also eats fish]. I’ve always been into organic, healthy food. What we do for the TM JG

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who wants to start eating healthy? JG Focus on the ingredients you TM


To get in touch in Ghetto Gastro: follow @GhettoGastro on Twitter email howl@GhettoGastro.com

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buy. Rather than buying canned peaches, buy the real peach. Just make sure you’re having a balanced diet and that you’re eating at the right time of the day. Try having four to six small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going rather than not eating at all or eating one big meal and having it sit. Buying good food is more expensive, but it’ll save you money on doctor’s bills in the future. It’s a part of your wellbeing.

The Ghetto Gastro team create snacks at their New York Fashion Week event, Waffles and Models.

Dining Italia Style Share your Where Since high school, I have had a fascination (well, some would call obsession) with Italy. I asked to see an Italian opera for my sweet sixteen; I majored in Italian in college; and I’m a stickler when it comes to pronouncing bruschetta. For the record, it’s broo-SKE-tah, not broo-SHET-tah. I finally made it to Italy one summer, traveling to over 40 different cities from the foot of the mountains to the tip of the boot. In my opinione, if you want to experience Italy, you should do so through the food. I definitely made a couple of dining no-nos during my first trip to Italia, but with these tips, you can avoid those infamous Italian glares!


Since water is free in American restaurants, you might assume it would be the same in Italy. So

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when I ordered a bottle, I certainly didn’t expect to be charged a euro. There is no free tap water; it will only come bottled as naturale—flat water—or frizzante/gassata—gassy/bubbly water. Both types of water will usually be the same price, but I tend to order frizzante because you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. If you think that paying for water is too much outside of the dining room, you should be able to get a cup of water for free at a bar or a café. In big northern cities such as Roma, feel free to drink the potable water pouring out of pretty drinking fountains. You can fill up your water bottle or block the end of the spout with your hand and the water will shoot out from a hole on the top like a regular drinking fountain. I would suggest filling up your water bottles for the day, but make sure you put it away during dinner and just pay a little extra for that bottle of frizzante at the restaurant.


By Amanda Chi



When dining in a restaurant or in someone’s home, your menu will consist of:

There should only be one utensil to use when eating pasta and that’s your fork. I was traveling with a Spaniard who was raised to eat with a utensil in each hand—that is, until our well-traveled companion scolded him for cutting his pasta. You shouldn’t be cutting your pasta with a knife, twirling it onto a spoon, or slurping it. Twirl it on your plate with just your fork and take a big bite!

Antipasti—cured meats, cheeses and small

things to nibble on Primi—pasta Secondi—meats Contorni—veggies Formaggi—cheese Frutta—fruit Dolce—dessert E’ poi un caffè—and then a coffee

I had the pleasure of traveling as a student (read as: having a strict budget) and tried my best to eat “supermarket meals,” which consist of a piece of bread, slices of cheese and meats, and a fruit. But if you want to splurge and have a proper meal on a student budget, I would suggest ordering just a pasta. It’s filling and cheaper than a secondi. And if you also crave more authentic restaurants, definitely stay clear of the restaurants in main piazzas with menus in five different languages.


Un caffè

I love coffee, and I love espresso. They’re small, they’re convenient, and they pack a punch! Italian coffees are espresso-based, and since they can be a bit strong for people, there is the option of ordering an Americano. Italians, however, see it as drinking a watered-down coffee, which, technically, it is. When ordering a coffee with dinner, always order after the meal and try not to order a cappuccino. It’s a breakfast drink! But if you simply must order something cappuccino-like after breakfast hours, order a

I tended to eat dinner later in the evening around eight, so I got fairly hungry and would almost attack that bread set down in front of me. But trust me on this when I say don’t eat all the bread first. Sure, take a little bit, but don’t empty the basket. And don’t eat it with the pasta. It’s enough starch as it is! Save it for your secondi. And when you do get to secondi, don’t scoop the sauce and clear your plate with the bread. Simply try dipping it. Instead of serving butter, Italians will give you the traditional olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping so there’s your alternative to sauce-scooping. And if you get an idea to sprinkle some parmesan into the olive oil and balsamic mix, just don’t do it. 43

caffè normale in the afternoon. One lesson learned about coffee in Italia is never order a latte. While my Italian professor stood in line at a Roman bar to order un caffè, the American woman standing in front of her asked the barista for a latte. The barista stared at her, asking, “Are you absolutely sure about your choice of drink?” She was very adamant about a latte. Next thing she knew, she was holding a glass of milk!

Il conto

The first time I ate at a sit-down restaurant, I waited fifteen minutes after my dessert for the bill. My mistake. If you want your bill, you’re going to have to ask for it. All you have to say to your waiter is il conto per favore. If you don’t ask, it will not come. Lesson learned! One thing that’s tricky in foreign countries is the tipping. The average American tip is 15-20%, but Europe does not have the same tipping standards. There is no gratuity for parties of six or more, and no health tax in addition to state tax. In Italy, some restaurants will have a cover charge, a coperta, and all those extra charges are included in the price you see on the menu. If there’s a coperta, feel free to add an extra euro or two if service was reeeeeaally good. If there isn’t a coperta, however, simply tip two or three euros or else you’ll be seen as “those silly Americans throwing their money away.”


When it comes to food, eat it all at the table or leave it there. You shouldn’t be taking it home. I personally think you can get away with it at touristy restaurants, but generally you’ll want to make sure you eat it all. An Italian grandmother would say, “Don’t take food for granted! Remember the war?” And a waiter wouldn’t judge you for clearing the plate; it’s culturally polite to finish your food. 44 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

Fast-food Other than the McDonalds that invade foreign countries, there are no fast food chains in Italy. The fastest food you should get is at an Autogrill where you can buy un panino and SIT DOWN. Really try and savor your food and your time. This is probably why Italians have fourhour siestas in the middle of the day… It wasn’t until the end of my trip did I fully appreciate the customs that came along with the cuisine. Dining with Italians, respecting their etiquettes, and appreciating the variety (and amount) of food gave my trip a more immersive feeling. I tried not to act too touristy, but take it from someone who has accidentally left a 15% tip and eaten all the bread before dinner, you are still a visitor, and whatever you do will be a great story. There’s no food police watching your every move, so if you use a spoon with your pasta or take a doggie bag home, the most you’ll get is a glare. Don’t be afraid to try new things and have a meal with some locals because it certainly made my experience more memorable. Ciao for now!

Share your Wear

We hit the streets of New York to find the Big Apple of our fashion eye Photographed by Caroline A. Wong

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Caroline A. Wong investigates the tumultuous world of designer collaborations. This month, she takes a critical look at the staying power of Georgina Chapman’s Pearl for JC Penney, Prabal Gurung’s Love for Target, and Rachel Zoe for ShoeDazzle.

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’ll admit it. I’m a label whore. Well, to give myself some credit, I do mix high-low pieces. But I’m totally that girl on the subway who will deliberately-butseemingly-nonchalantly turn out her handbag so that fellow train-riders can’t miss the little designer nameplate. I’m also totally that girl whose paycheck does not support her lifestyle and whose mother has suggested she marry a rich prince. So you understand my joy—my lust, my love—when it comes to designer collaborations. The thrill of a designer name with a supermarket-steal price tag? I’m all over it like frosting on red velvet cake! But even with the low cost, are these items really worth it? As much as I love trying to be that shi-shi girl—unattainably sophisticated in every way—I also love saving money. I have special oc-

casions for which I’m saving up (returning to London, for example), and I’m well aware that social security for my generation is as real as the Loch Ness Monster. It’s not worth it to blow my hard-earned cash on designer items unless they’re real, quality pieces. I’m sure you feel the same—so I did the ground work for all of us! Check it out…


Pearl by Georgina Chapman of Marchesa for JC Penney

First off, let’s address that name. The “Pearl” part throws me. Yes, it’s named after Georgina’s daughter, India Pearl, but it’s still a little too precious for my taste and gives the line this underlying junior tone inconsistent with the Marchesa brand. Georgina told People, “The girl wearing this collection is a fun, confident woman who wants to throw on a glamorous dress and enjoy a night out. I created this collection for any occasion—ranging from holiday parties, prom, and black-tie events to summer parties or casual events.” Prom? So maybe there is a junior aspect to this new line. Regardless, I still rushed over to the Herald Square JC Penney location to snatch up the looks that were a little more “grown up.” A part of me expected clawing crowds of fashionable women à la last February’s Jason Wu for Target collection which sold out in a matter of hours. But the JC Penney dressing rooms were fairly empty. I took my time trying on a range of pieces, from the magnificent tiered-cake organza gown to the possiblyscandalous peplum bustier. When the collection’s preview photos were first released, I’d fallen in love with the white-to-pink ombre, ruched strapless dress and had been really excited to try it on. Sadly, in the store, the sizing quality control was not up to par. The dress clung in the wrong places, even when I tried multiple sizes. It was just not a flattering piece, as cute as it looks online. I also had high hopes for the cute black

Right: Jacket, Pearl by Georgina Chapman for JC Penney, $70. Bodysuit, H&M, $10. Pants, H&M &DENIM, $30. Boots, Pour La Victoire, $300. Purse, Marc by Marc Jacobs, $300.

bolero covered in rosettes. Unfortunately, the bolero shipment at the Herald Square location seemed to have been sat upon by a large elephant—the poor rosettes were squashed and wilted. I’m guessing this was a result of cheap materials combined with shipment issues, but that should have been a consideration prior to production. The same was true of the little black dresses with the ruffled shoulders and peplums—especially unfortunate since those pieces would have been the most desirable, versatile options had they been of higher

quality. Sigh. This is a problem I see with a lot of designer collaborations. I ultimately left with a black lace peplum jacket with matching shorts. As separates, they would complement other pieces from my wardrobe and could work for any season. The jacket is distinctive enough to make a statement but not so daring that I would limit how many times I wear it. And the shorts are super cute—perfect over tights for a winter cocktail party or with heeled sandals for the spring and summer. Georgina plans to release fifteen new pieces every month so there are definitely some online pieces on clearance. But I’d steer clear of that rose appliqué dress!

Love by Prabal Gurung for Target

Prabal Gurung isn’t the only one with a lot of love for Target. I’m usually a huge fan of their designer collaborations, and their latest iteration with Prabal has me all in a tizzy. Prabal has called Target’s collaborations a “rite of passage for young designers,” although he certainly already has a lot of runway cred. The designer originally trained with Donna Karan and Bill Blass, not to mention he is often considered the apple of Anna Wintour’s eye (and who doesn’t want to be on Anna’s radar?). His label was launched just over four years ago. His “Love” collection for Target was inspired by the story of a girl’s progression through love—from those first butterflies to meeting the parents—and even named his coveted prints for the collection after those stages of love. Prabal says, “I believe collaborations [allow] you to reach a wider audience. For me, it is an exciting challenge to interpret my aesthetic into a mass-produced product.” Mass-produced or not, this line had a lot of attention before it ever hit the racks. Prabal’s celebrity muse Zoe Saldana was photographed in a top from the line long before I got my hands on any of the goods. The demand for this collaboration’s release was definitely 50 Tastevin Magazine May 2013

Blazer, Zara, $100. Tank, H&M, $10. Skirt, Love by Prabal Gurung for Target, $30. Sunglasses, Kate Spade, $160. Clutch, Gap, $30. Wedges, Aldo, $80.

at the level that I expected—with much more attention than Georgina’s collection for JC Penney—probably because the force behind Target and their existing reputation for quality collaborations has given them more wiggle room to produce goods that Prabal’s existing customers would also buy (I don’t think Marchesa shoppers would be caught with their stilettos in a JC Penney). I chose the skirt in the “Meet the Parents” print. The modest length and color palette definitely makes it appropriate for meet-

ing the parents or summer tea parties. I love that it’s work appropriate but still fun. It’s a multifaceted print, yet it’s much less flashy than his “First Date” print, which I probably wouldn’t wear on a first date because it’s so bold and man-repeller-esque. One thing I love in particular about this collection is that it features enough pieces to create a whole outfit. The looks are even styled both on Target’s site and in the lookbook. Like Georgina’s “Pearl,” Prabal’s collection also has clearance pieces available on Target’s website now. While you may be thinking that for future releases you’ll just wait until the items go on sale, I’d urge you to do otherwise. My experience with Target collaborations thus far—and Prabal’s line is no exception—is that they’re worth the price, the trek, the campingout…they’re worth whatever you have to do to get the pieces. Not to mention, those perfect wedge sandals I wanted that totally sold out. So don’t risk it. Just think how you’re getting a great, quality deal on designer pieces!

collaboration. The tricky thing here is knowing exactly how much involvement Rachel really has with the brand. Does she design anything? Is she just a face, a name? She has described her participation with ShoeDazzle, saying, “Every woman knows the feeling when she puts on something that makes her feel sexy and glamorous… I am here to help you take your personal style to the next level, every day.” Maybe she’ll be more involved with ShoeDazzle since her reality show with Bravo might get cancelled!


Rachel Zoe for ShoeDazzle

I know this is not necessarily a true designer collaboration, but indulge me a little. Rachel Zoe is the new chief stylist for ShoeDazzle, the online shoe boutique co-founded by Kim Kardashian that offers a curated online shopping experience for a more personal, stylized approach to internet spending. My guilty-pleasure love for the Kardashians aside, ShoeDazzle is a great place to try seasonal trends and other daring styles for cheap. There’s also free shipping and returns so the risk is low for those concerned about sizing issues (like my coworker whose feet apparently have changed three sizes!). Since Rachel launched her own line to try to become a designer in her own right rather than just a celebrity stylist (although becoming “chief stylist” of ShoeDazzle battles that image, in my humble opinion), I’ll categorize her work with ShoeDazzle as a designer

Blazer, Banana Republic, $100. Shorts, Pearl by Georgina Chapman for JC Penney, $50. Booties, Rachel Zoe for ShoeDazzle, $40. Sunglasses, Karl Lagerfeld, $180. Purse, Marc by Marc Jacobs, $320.

The dress clung in the wrong places even when I tried multiple sizes. As cute as it looks online, it was not a flattering piece.


I do have a minor addiction to divulge: I have more than fifteen pairs of ShoeDazzle shoes. I have VIP membership. Someone who knows of my ShoeDazzle love once mistook my Pradas for a ShoeDazzle pair. Now that there’s been full disclosure of my history with the brand, I purchased my leopard-print booties with the gold toecaps after Rachel moved over to ShoeDazzle. I have never ever gotten more compliments on a pair of shoes. They’re distinctive and comfortable enough for a day at work, and the shiny toes draw attention. I’ve gotten from both men and women: “Bomb shoes!” “Kick-ass heels!” “Damnnnn girl. Look at those shoes!” “Who did your shoes? (This conversation in particular happened at a Hearst Corporation event, which spawned a whole conversation about Rachel as a stylist v designer)” My point being: ShoeDazzle is worth it. If Rachel has any sense, she’d quit those designer dreams and wholeheartedly pour herself into ShoeDazzle’s designs. While not all designer collaborations are anything to wet your pants over, I can definitely say I’ve found my fair share of worthwhile options out there. I’ll do the research for you. I’ll fight the crowds. You can sit back and stay chic!

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My Marilyn Monroe moment in the East Village! It was a windy day. We definitely had onlookers on the set, even before the wind lifted my skirt!



Scott Fitzgerald is one of America’s most acclaimed writers of the 20th century. He created for us the haunted and dashing young millionaire Jay Gatsby and, in the process, gave us what is widely regarded as the prototype for the great American novel. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby spotlights the Roaring Twenties but suggests that, for all its glitz and glamour, there really is a dark side to the American dream. But there might be one respite for all of that obsession. Join us as we celebrate not only Fitzgerald’s great novel, but also the place to which Jay Gatsby himself tried to escape. In Gatsby’s words, “Let’s go to Coney Island, old sport!”

GATSBY’S CONEY ISLAND Gatsby’s undying fascination with fun and fantasy drew us to visit his personal escape from reality. Models Liz Whitcomb and Rickie Ashman travel with us to Gatsby’s Coney Island. Photography by Colette Choi Fashion editing by Caroline A. Wong

Right, on Liz: Top, La Lune & Moon, $16. Jeans, model’s own. Hat, H&M, $15. Necklace and bracelets, editor’s own. Purse, Lauren Merkin, $380. On Rickie, throughout: Blazer, Uniqlo. Sweater, Gant Rugger. Shirt, J.Crew. Pants, Topman.

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Above: Dress (worn as top), La Lune & Moon, $16. Jeans and ring, model’s own. Headband, H&M, $10. Bracelets, editor’s own.


Dress (worn as top), La Lune & Moon, $16. Headband, H&M, $10.

Dress (worn as top), La Lune & Moon, $16. Headband, H&M, $10. Necklace, Forever 21, $15. Bracelets, editor’s own.

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Yup, that’s The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his hand! Top, La Lune & Moon, $16. Jeans, model’s own. Hat, H&M, $15. Purse, Laura Merkin, $380.


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Above: Top, La Lune & Moon, $16. Jeans and ring, model’s own. Hat, H&M, $15. Necklace and bracelets, editor’s own. Purse, Kate Spade, $280.

Left: Top, La Lune & Moon, $16. Jeans and ring, model’s own. Hat, H&M, $15. Necklace and bracelets, editor’s own. Purse, Laura Merkin, $380.


Tides of Crimson

By Mollie McKenzie Photographs by Alexander Herman


t began one starless night, when the roar of cannons drowned out the sounds of crashing waves in the open sea. There were cries of agony as bullets tore into skin and swords cut through bone. An armada of ships littered helpless, bleeding bodies into the black seas. It was amidst these waters, crimson with blood, that a mermaid, with a bare chest soft and white as sand and a tail adorned with scales seemingly made out of sapphire, watched as sailors drowned about her. She watched in wonder as their limbs fluttered. These men would come and join her in her father’s castle, down where the depths were deep and the waters, calm and cold. She swam, singing a mournful melody and caressed their descending, mangled bodies. She thought their bleeding bodies were beautiful, tinting the sea with life. She continued weaving her way through the bodies until she caught sight of him. He was dressed liked any other ordinary sailor, in a blue uniform, but unlike his fellow sailors, he remained still, unmoving in the water, as if he had accepted his fate. She caressed his face and touched his chest. It was then that she felt it—a soft flutter pressed against her palm—a heartbeat. Wrapping her arms around him, she pressed her chest to his chest and for a moment savored the sweet sensation of the warmth that resonated against her skin. She knew that she was his only chance—that only she could save him, so she swam up, up through the water to the surface. Around them, the fighting went on. One of the ships had gone up in flames, lighting up the night sky with a hazy glow. But no one noticed the mermaid as she kept the sailor afloat and swam towards the shore. By the time the mermaid and the sailor washed up onto the pebbled beach, the sun had already begun to rise. In the soft pink rays of early morning, she gazed at the sailor in wonder, from his matted golden hair to his long legs and bare feet. She noticed how his chest rose up and down slowly, that he was

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bleeding from a small cut on his face, and how the slopes of his lips opened to take little gulps of air. And she couldn’t help but long for those lips, purple with cold, to be molded onto her own. She traced her wet fingers down his legs and imagined them wrapping around her. She yearned for his heart—to have it beat within her empty body. Then she would know what it was like to be alive, to feel the energy and power of a hundred riptides rush through her bones. She looked at the sailor and gently wiped the blood away from his cut with her long, white-blonde hair. She was so close to him that his breath stirred the tendrils of her hair. She longed to breathe him, to suck his breath and make it her own. A sudden shout from the cliffs above startled her. She crawled behind a large rock, watching as a group of soldiers ran to the sailor’s side. A tall older man, wearing a crown like her father’s, ordered them to carry the sailor. They lifted with him much care, for although the mermaid didn’t know it, she had saved the prince.

She swam, singing a mournful melody and caressed their descending, mangled bodies.

The mermaid watched as they carried him toward the castle. As the prince’s body was taken farther and farther away from her, she felt as if a net had been thrown on her, pulling her up toward the white heat of the blinding sun. It felt impossible to move or breathe. She thought she would surely die. While the mermaid lay in her trance, the prince’s fiancée stood silently at the cliff’s edge and stared down at the mermaid. She had been the one who called the soldiers and the king, after spying the mermaid and prince wash up onto the shore during her morning walk. Even when the soldiers went by her, car-

rying the prince, the mermaid and its shimmering tail mesmerized the fiancée. Mermaids only existed in tales of old sailors—or so she had always been told. Her mother liked to chide her for dreaming of things that could never be, like visiting a land where man traveled by machine and not by horse, or wearing those unfashionable trousers, or marrying a man who she truly loved. But for the prince’s fiancée, these could never be, for she was the daughter of a wealthy merchant, and with wealth came the weight of her mother’s expectations. But, she thought, if they had been wrong about merfolk, there was a possibility that her life could amount to something more than her mother’s plans for her.


The mermaid eventually dragged her dry, aching body to the sea’s cool waters. Even then, the pain in her chest persisted and she knew that it would only cease when she had returned to the prince in human form and made his heart her own. The only one who could make such a thing possible lived leagues below and beyond her father’s kingdom, past the stalks of seaweed that sucked the fluids out of their victims’ bodies with their sticky tentacles, past the jets of boiling water that burst forth from the earth’s crust. There, lived a sea witch said to possess unexplainable gifts. The mermaid swam far, down into the unearthly, black cavern that was the sea witch’s lair. The sea witch sat there, terribly deformed, with barnacles protruding from her scales and skin. But the mermaid was unafraid. The mermaid expressed her pain and furious desire to possess the prince’s heart. The sea witch’s deep, throaty laugh reverberated through the cave’s depths. She explained that only through even greater pain could the mermaid join her prince—and only through losing what she loved most could she gain what she really desired. The mermaid would have to sacrifice her tongue. Even then,

while it was possible for her to join the prince, if the prince were to marry, the mermaid would become foam that floated on the top of the sea by dawn. The mermaid nodded her head, for she thought nothing could be worse than living without the prince. She allowed the sea witch to cut out her tongue without even a slight flinch. Bitter and acidic fluid filled her mouth and dripped down the back of her throat, but she merely swallowed. In exchange for her tongue, the sea witch gave the mermaid a vial of potion that would turn her scaled fishtail into legs of white flesh. Grasping the vial tightly in her hand, the mermaid swam through the ocean waters until the sky turned to night and she reached the pebbled cove. Under the moon’s pale ray, she drank the vial and fell senseless onto the beach in pain. When the little mermaid awoke the next morning, small pebbles and seashells scratched and chaffed her skin, but she did not mind. She saw that where her fishtail had been, it was now parted into two slim, white limbs, tender and smooth. From the top of the cliff a voice cried out—it was the young prince and he was hurrying down the side of the cliff towards the mermaid. Digging her hands into the sand, she supported herself and slowly stood up, but as soon as her feet carried the full weight of her body, sharp spears of pain shot up her legs, as if she had stepped on a sea urchin’s poisonous needles. The pain became so unbearable that she fell back onto the sand and screamed, a guttural sound from her throat. The prince had now reached the beach and knelt down beside her, in awe of her beauty but his eyes also filled with sadness at her pain. Picking up the mermaid, he carried her to the castle. The mermaid quickly became the prince’s pet. She rode alongside him on hunts, ate from his gold plates, and slept at the foot of his bed. The prince gave the mermaid her own sitting room where she sat alone on days he was called away. Its walls were crimson and


reminded the mermaid of that fateful night they met. An ornate iron cage with canaries sat in the room’s corner, and she would often sit by the cage listening to the birds’ melody, wishing she could sing with them but feeling the emptiness in her mouth. It was on one of these days, when the prince was away and the mermaid was alone in her room that the prince’s fiancée came to visit her. The fiancée had heard the prince kept the mermaid in his rooms. Her mother called it disgraceful, reviling, an insult to their family. Their marriage was only a month away, and yet the prince spent most of his time with the mermaid, rarely visiting the fiancée. She knew she should hate the mermaid, but for some reason she couldn’t. She couldn’t even manage to be jealous. Opening the canary cage, she brought one bird perched on her finger carefully over to the mermaid. The mermaid smiled and nodded her head in thanks, not knowing what she had done to earn the gentleness of the fiancée. She knew of the fiancée, had heard of her from the sharp whispers of the courtiers, but had never seen her until now. The prince had told her he didn’t love the fiancée, and she was sure that when the time came, he would not go through with marrying her. It gave her hope, and with each day, the mermaid’s feet became stronger and she learned to manage the pain. She thought she could capture the prince’s heart and he would be fully hers. It was only as she faced the fiancée’s guileless smile that she felt for the first time a small bit of remorse. The fiancée sat down on the divan, next to mermaid. There was something about the mermaid that made her want to tell all her secrets, all her deepest dreams. Maybe it was the longing, empty look in the mermaid’s grey eyes or her small, shy smile. So she told the mermaid about the pipe she liked to smoke and how she had hidden it under a floorboard in her room, about her first kiss with the stable boy and her dream of traveling the world. She talked about her fears, how she didn’t

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want to become like her mother who always wondered what everyone thought, how she hated spiders and girls that giggled. As she continued to talk, she saw the mermaid’s eyes come to life as they transform from light silver to deep blue. Over the next few weeks, the fiancée continued to visit the mermaid. Each time she visited, the fiancée opened the canary cage, and as the fiancée talked to the mermaid, the canaries slowly flew out, darting playfully about the room. The mermaid’s sitting room would become a bright, golden flurry of canaries flying and singing a sweet melody that made the fiancée laugh and the mermaid cry. The mermaid came to love those visits, almost more than the time she spent with the prince at night, still curled up at the end of his bed. But she would still have him.


It was during one of the visits that the mermaid learned of prince’s love for dancing, and, with the help of the fiancée, she began devoting every spare moment to learning his favorite dances. She believed if the prince only saw how beautifully she danced, how her legs bent and her feet stepped in time with his, his heart would finally love her and his soul would be hers. She learned the dizzying steps of the waltz, the allemande’s twists and turns, and the galliard’s light-footed leaps. Even when the stinging and aching became so strong that she nearly fainted, she still stepped and glided to the music, hopeful of what was to come. A week before the wedding, the castle held an extremely lavish ball to celebrate their victory of conquering their enemies. While the prince had been recovering, the king had led a triumphant battle and had brought home the head of their enemy’s king. At the ball there were towering statues of ice nymphs, endless glass pitchers of wine and punch, clusters of fragrant, red roses and decadent crystal chandeliers that illuminated the

ballroom’s tile floors. The mermaid wore a dress as white as her ivory skin and as fine as the silky thread of a spider’s web. It clung to her sensually as she swayed across the floor. She spent the entire night gracing the prince’s extended arm, her body responding silently to his every move and word. They danced the waltz with their bodies molded into each other’s, his heart beating against her chest. A fire-like pain pierced her delicate feet each time they touched the floor, and yet the mermaid did not care. The prince did not notice her pain as he whispered endearments into her ears. And even though his father frowned

Only through even greater pain could the mermaid join her prince. Only through losing what she loved most could she gain what she really desired. The mermaid would have to sacrifice her tongue. and his mother shook her head, he continued to dance, pressing her body closer to his with each move. They continued dancing to the music even after the instruments had finished. Only when the king gave a speech of thanks did the prince finally halt and remove his hand from the curve of her waist. The mermaid felt a new fullness, as if some rare flower had bloomed within her. It tingled, sending shiver to the ends of her fingers and feet. She was so certain that the prince was ready to relinquish his heart to her. She was so enraptured that she failed to notice that the prince was no longer by her side but asking the fiancée for her hand in the next dance. Applause broke out and everyone stood aside as the prince and his quiet, beautiful fiancée stepped and swayed to the music.

The mermaid’s body turned cold. Her heart was shattered. Indifferent to the stinging of her feet and the throbbing of her heart, she fled down the castle’s passageways until she reached her sitting room. Listening to the canaries sing, she silently cried. She cried for their beautiful melody and for the beauty of the prince’s heart now lost to her. She gazed at the canaries and wondered how they could continue to sing even when confined in their cage. As her hand reached to open the cage’s iron door, the prince stepped into the sitting room. Crouching by her side, he asked the mermaid why she had left, why she was crying, but the mermaid didn’t respond. She couldn’t. He led the little mermaid to his room, to his crimson-covered bed and undid the back buttons of her dress. The mermaid felt free once more, as if she were back in the depths of her ocean. She pressed her lips to his chest above his heart, feeling the outline of his ribs. He lay on top of her, touched her. And then she was sure he must be peeling back her skin. She was sure she was no longer in her body. She was she was only watching from afar as he crushed her, taking her heart with just a violent touch. The mermaid didn’t respond. She couldn’t. For days, the mermaid avoided the prince’s room, spending most of her time listening to the songs of the canaries’ now tuneless songs. And the prince didn’t come to see her, absorbed as he was in the plans for his upcoming nuptials. Many times the fiancée tried to visit, but the mermaid had locked her door. She remained curled on the hardwood floor as her body slowly waned away, until she was little more than skin stretched across bones. She was fading. The day of the wedding came. The mermaid was surprised to see that she was still invited to the ceremony. Finding strength within her mind, the mermaid arose. She approached the canary cage and unlatched it, shaking the birds from their perch. Opening her sitting 69

room window, she shooed them gently toward the open blue sky. She chose a gown that the prince’s fiancée had given to her, one made of purple chiffon with amethysts and pearls woven into the bodice. Leaving her dancing slippers behind, she walked barefoot through her doorway and down the castle’s corridors. The wedding was held onboard an enormous ship, much larger than any vessel she had ever seen, and was decorated with off-white satin bows and buds of red roses. The mermaid sat still, as if turned to stone, and watched the fiancée smile—or was it a grimace—as the prince slipped a golden band onto her finger. As the ship sailed into the horizon, the prince and his bride danced to the rhythm and lull of the ocean, but the little mermaid did not move. Many times the bride’s eyes met hers, but the mermaid stood still. Only when the night came and the moon shone down on her and all the guests descended to their rooms did the mermaid finally stand. She walked to the side of the ship and bent over the railing, wondering whether she should throw herself over to the sea, to have the salty water fill her lungs first before she turned to foam by the light of dawn. As she watched, the ocean bubbled, and the sea witch’s face broke the surface. She told the mermaid that there was still hope, that she could still live with her prince if she pierced the bride’s heart with a dagger. Stretching out her hand, she gave the mermaid the very same dagger that had cut off her tongue. With the knife in her hand, the mermaid weakly crawled to the bridal suite. There they lay on a massive bed, sleeping on opposite sides. The mermaid silently crept between them. The prince breathed softly, soundly, but the bride moaned in her sleep. The mermaid’s heart filled with compassion for the bride. She reached closer and smoothed the bride’s brown hair until the sounds stopped. Then, with the sharp dagger poised, she plunged into the heart of the prince. The

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mermaid felt a new rush in her pulse, invigorating vibration from her renewed heart. Scales began appearing on her legs and her two limbs sealed into one, as if someone was sewing them together. With a heart beating like a bird’s wings, she dragged herself out of the room. Finally, she reached the ship’s railing and pulled herself over the edge. And although the mermaid didn’t see, the woman with curly brown hair was watching as the mermaid dove back into the sea’s embrace.

Throughout: Dress, Olive & Oak. Earrings and necklace, model’s own. Bracelets, White Stag. Model: Emily Van Guilder. Fashion editor: Caroline A. Wong


Wine Tasting with the Jolie-Pitts Brandon Gamble and Caroline A. Wong try Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s latest endeavor—wine.

Miraval Rosé is the wine from the French vineyard Château Miraval owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. When Miraval was first released online in March, the 6000 available bottles sold out within five hours and the website closed all future orders for the 2012 vintage. Luckily, we managed to get our hands on the elusive rosé and were surprised at its reasonable price—just $23.

For all its delicate pink color, most people might expect sweetness, but we found the taste to be on the dry and crisp side. Not surprisingly, it paired nicely with our chicken. We’re definite fans, but it’s not just because we love the Jolie-Pitts. Miraval has one of the highest ratings on Wine Spectator with a score of 90.

The Perrin family that partnered with the Jolie-Pitt duo to create Miraval mentioned that the couple was involved in the actual production process, so this was a more intense collaboration than just a high-profile name on a pretty bottle. We like to imagine that we’re drinking with both Jolie and Pitt as we sip on this delicate rosé.

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Photograph by Brandon Gamble 75

Profile for Tastevin Mag

Tastevin Magazine May 2013  

A Fashion and Lifestyle Tasting Menu

Tastevin Magazine May 2013  

A Fashion and Lifestyle Tasting Menu