Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Song Etc.

Dear Jamie,
I must like this:

I mean, right?  I've been listening to it over and over again.  I must actually really like it. But, darn it all, I'M(obviously) NOT SURE.  I guess the question is, do I really like this, or do I just love The Boss and want other people to love The Boss and to prove said love by covering him.  Or is it that I just really like Vampire Weekend's cover?  Or is it that I'll take Bruce any way I can get him?

I await your thoughts.

J. Benny

Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Happy Birthday Song

Dear Garrett,
Here is a happy birthday gift, special for you. They are perhaps my new favorite band, which I've been hiding from you and Kristin and the world. Actually, I already showed Kristin. Hi Kristin!

(Happy birthday Garrett.)

They're called GROUPLOVE (although they may not be capitalizing the whole name anymore) and they're fro LA and I'm excited for their existence.  I'm sure you're not surprised.  They're slightly grating with large chunks of rock and hints (hints) of country and screams and clapping.  I taste Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel and something peppy.  There's talking and awkward repetition.  These are things I like. 

And, um, a Nirvana something (bass/guitar/cheer)?  Maybe ?  Sometimes they sing about the beach.  Which, I mean, isn't one of my things.  But it don't hate it.  There's a (Weezery) jauntiness there.  I even sense a little 90s Wallflowers in Getaway Car, which actually was my thing when I was fifteen. 

Anyway, it's a little early to call it love.  They've got about five songs to their name.  Still, I think I've got a lasting crush.

J. Benny

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Best Dressed at the Emmys: The End

Dear Mom,
A top twelve.  I've exhausted the early image galleries and, overall, I'm thinking mostly meh.  I'm not disappointed, I'm just a wee bored.  These ladies, though, really brought it.  I'm sure I missed some spectacular someone - there are only so many hundreds of pictures a girl can ogle before her eyes cross - and there were a few interesting choices that, while admirable, didn't quite work for me (read: Anna Paquin, Dianna Agron, Nina Dobrev, Heidi Klum).

Anyway, Glee did extremely well for itself:

Above is Heather Morris in Ina Soltani, Lea Michele Oscar de la Renta, Jayma Mays in Burberry Prorsum, and Amber Riley in Melissa Masse.

I enjoyed how Mad Men Represented itself:

Here we have Christina Hendricks in Zac Posen, January Jones (again, Atelier Versace), and Elisabeth Moss in Donna Karen (I include with the caveat that I'd like to chop or fluff that shoulder growth).  Also, I cannot ignore the very happy addition of Kiernan Shipka, who plays little Susy Draper on the show.  She really was one of my favorites for the night:

I also dug these ladies:

This is Julie Benz of Dexter fame (most beloved by me for her Buffy days) in Pamella Roland,  Jennifer Carpenter in Awesome (designer forthcoming, full length here), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her usual, Narciso Rodriguez.  They all dressed for there body, showed it off a bit, but remained covered.  It's controlled sexy.  I'm kinda into that now.

Oh, and Kyra Sedgwick.  But I mostly want to drink wine and eat cheese and paint my nails a shiny black with her.  So maybe she doesn't count in my twelve, because of my having been blinded by her (TV)personality.

My favorite, my clear number one, was Kerri Russell:

It's just light and pretty and something I would wear to feel light and pretty.  I'm afraid of pink, sure.  But lately I've been toying with it a bit (I feel it'll probably be making a big return in the next year or two) and think she nailed the Emmys.  It's not perfect, but it is charming.  And I want it.  Especially if it is vintage Jean Louis Scherrer Haute Couture from Decades (and Jimmy Choo heels, Cathy Waterman jewels, and a fresh-looking Jennifer Behr flower).

My top three, if you were to make me choose, which you aren't, because you are asleep, but you will, when you are less asleep, are: Kerri Russel, Jennifer Carpenter, Jayma Mays. These are ladies who not only looked lovely, but who wore gowns I'd happily to borrow, should we ever become best friends.

Oh, and here are some runners-up:
Jenna Fischer in Versace, Amy Poehler in Max Azria, Susan Sarandon in Donna Karen, and her daughter, Eva Amurri, in Thierry Mugler. 

I'll explain my choices more tomorrow, but as far as the worst dressed are concerned, this is a blog for that-which-makes-me-happy, not that-which-makes-me-misty-eyed-or-slack-jawed.

J. Benny

P.S.  Serious stuff that will be helpful in your finding every single dress worn by a famous person to this years Emmy's:  I uncovered many designers and photographs at and, though a handful also came from (mostly Getty images).  Also, she is great., though I didn't really use her this time around.

Falling in Love, Kyra Sedgwick: The Emmys

Dear Mom,

And love:

And glasses:

And glasses!  She makes me want to watch The Closer and marry Kevin Bacon.  It's not so much the dress, the shape and fit of which I adore, but which is otherwise fine.  Nice.  Very "get the job done" (NEVERMIND, see my P.S.).  It's her.  She was so charming onstage, it made me feel like she'd be charming all over the place, you know?  That her charm would seep into a show about a Deputy Police Chief who runs the Priority Homicide Division of the LAPD in "an unorthodox style," with an "innate ability to read people and obtain confessions."  At least that's what IMDB says.  And I get it.  I already feel like I could sit down for coffee and pie and secrets with her and we were only just now formally (via formal television) introduced.  Thanks, NBC.

J. Benny

P.S.  That dress, as it turns out, is quite special under proper lighting:

(Kyra Sedgwick in Moniquee Lhuillier, photo from

Funny + Handsome = A Joy: The Emmys

Dear Kristin,
I made you this collage:

(Clooney, Modern Family Men, Jon Hamm, Will Arnett, Neil Patrick Harris. 
Also, Betty White and Keri Russel look lovely.)
You are welcome.

J. Benny

Smiles: The Emmys

Dear Mom,
These are nice, too:

I see this and I feel big.  Like, big happiness.  Their dresses are quite nice, too, but it's the faces that do the trick.  Anyway, both Tina Fey and Lea Michele are in Oscar De La Renta.  And here's a bit more Lea, still smilin':

J. Benny

So Far, So Little: The Emmys

Dear Mom,
My only real love so far:

January Jones's Atelier Versace Skirt.
And the bust.

And her face, to be added later.

J. Benny

P.S.  And ohmygosh:

(Miu Miu shoes, I believe; photo from

Blueberries Are the Best Berries

Dear Kristin,
Today I'm wearing mixed stripes. 

It's discreet, but it's there.  Like, hello!  Surprise! Awkward stripes.  I really want to find a way to layer patterns this fall, especially of the contrasting stripe variety.  I think it'll continue to be a thing.  As will exposed bras.  Still. 

(Chris Benz Fall 2010 RTW,
And blueberries:

But not really.  Blueberry season is, tragically, coming to a close.  Navy is still a favorite, though.

As, too, is army green:

(Newly purchased a Ricky's NYC,)
That's right!  A 50s style headscarf!  Two trends in one. Just another little something for fall. 

In conclusion: Layered patterns, blue(berries), army green, thick head scarves.

I'm excited.

J. Benny

P.S.  Happy Sunday:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rap Thing

Dear Clark,
This is happening:

Lyrics not safe for sensitive ears.  I mean, maybe don't play it in front of M&D.  That parental advisory is there for a reason; the parents will not like.  Anyway, it's, um, good?  I can't quite tell.  Sometimes, at some points - especially the beginning and Kanye and Nicki Minaj points - I know it's good.  But there are some low(ish) points, too.  I guess my opinion is: nice to have around, just slightly uneven.  Needs pruning.  On the other hand, it's free and Kanye's posting a new one every week, so maybe the whole point it that they're messy and new.  And I guess I like that.  It's an experiment.

J. Benny

P.S.  Here's the first one he put out, Power.  And here's a fun and foul-mouthed Cee-Lo.

Make Me Happy Mix: Want Much

Dear Kristin,
It is the weekend and you are busy.  But when are you ever too-too busy for cute?

(Emma Watson.  Short hair = fetching, as you well know.)
Never!  She's cute.  I have a thing for her (a Harry Potter bias - case in point: I spent at least half an hour just last night talking to/at a semi-stranger about the wonders of HP and his new, highly photogenic Wizarding World at Universal Studios).  Am I worried dresses over jeans might be making a comeback?  I am.  But do I feel threatened by the possibility of 'strend returning, rearing it's ugly head and reminding us what frump looks like?  Not so much.  I like our day's eclecticism and, besides, the misbuttoning of the grey cardi overshadows the jean/dress combo. It's adorable.  Here's hoping we'll always have some to deflect attention from the jean/dress pairing. 

And here's hoping you'll never be too busy for carrot cake (not pictured) or soft things (a sea of bunnies? not pictured) or Dinosaur Comics:

He makes an excellent point.  Copper is great and our ideas of sexy do change.  As do, thank goodness, the seasons.  What I'm getting at here is: FALL'S COMING FINALLY IT'S GOING TO  BE SO GOOD.  I think it was in last Thursday's New York Times (which I read only this morning) that I stumbled upon an otherwise agreeable style piece that began with a lamentation of summer's end.  This made me feel as though the narrator was unreliable.  And crazy.  It's an article about fashion.  I presume the author cares for fashion.  Summer is fashion's worst season.  And it's New York City.  New York City is not equipped for heat.  Our north eastern air-conditioners, when they're actually employed, are much too feeble.  Anyway, this troubled me.  Because summer's not over and next week's highs will likely prove that.  But I am happy because fall fashion nearing and the air is crisp and I'm creating a Want Much list. 

The first item I'll divulge from the Want Much list is, DA DA DUM, copper and mixed metal jewelry.  Yup.  I don't buy jewelry.  I will buy a piece of copper and/or mixed metal jewelry.  Or I'll make it (buy a trinket, buy a chain and/or buy a necklace).  And while any coin adorned chain might fit the bill
(Belmacz, thousands of dollars, photo found on
or a useful gold sliver on a chain of brass

(Joan Halloway style pen necklace, found here.)
this is my first want:

(Etsy again, found here.)

Aw.  I'm the cutest, right?  Anyway, a laughably long Want Much list is coming.  I'm probably going to post it piecemeal over the next week and it will be the focus (with a bit of mood music taped to the introduction, for your listening and looking and shopping pleasure).

Here's a little something to end your Saturday with:

(A reimagining of the best friends charms.)
(If you ignore the death part and the car part, IT'S US!)

J. Benny

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dear Kristin,
You looked really pretty the other night:

(Jessica Alba in Balmain and Louboutins, found at
I wish you really were Jessica Alba and not just for clothes borrowing purposes, but because then I could really like (nay, love) her, instead of just being confused by her.  (CONFESSION: I have never seen Dark Angel and suspect this to be the source of the problem.  On the other hand, I've never seen Alias and I like their lady

(Garner about a month ago in the choicest gown maker, Alberta Ferretti)
quite a bit.  But maybe that's because she reminds me of our fair and dimpled friend Leanne, in both manner and appearance, where as you and JALBA only look similar.)

Also, are we dressing like this one now:

(Alexa Chung in cute things, including a see-through
blouse I want but pretty much already own)
That is not a questions.  It seems like we are.  I'm kind of hoping we're not (she's usually so downcast, no?), but I do appreciate her wears and layers and she is smiling here and is likely charming in person and I want many of her Madewell goods

Plus, as Refinery29 so astutely pointed out, Alexa C. kind of started the ombre hair trend, which I totally owe/adore her for, because I've been sporting two-tone hair for the past year and now I know it's allowed.  It might even look good!  Phew. Please don't go away lazy/cheap person's hair trend; I need you, even if sometimes you're abused by others.  That doesn't make all of us wrong.

J. Benny

I Wanted Knives to Win

Dear Kristin,
In the end, Ramona Flowers did little for me.  Too blank.  Knives just wanted it more.

I felt like, you know what, I'M KNIVES!  And then I thought, wait, WE'RE ALL KNIVES.

And this is our shared song of heartache, the soft one that plays during our break up scene:

J. Benny

P.S.  But, on the other hand, we all Scott/Romona.  It's a pretty deep thing, this Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Make Me Happy Mixtape: Girl Music

Dear Kristin/Dannielle,
Good morning ladies!

I mean afternoon.  Good afternoon!  "Good morning" just sounds chipper. Anyway, this is a double dedication because it was spurred by dual inspiration.  The above is a new favorite Kristin song.  Or, rather, it's a new favorite Jenny song - no predicting that Kristin, she's a pistol.  And the video, unlike most I post (as a mode of sharing the song) is worth a serious viewing.  I mean, the pleather dress!  That accidental smile!  The bouffant!  I'm almost in love.

So I'm thinking "girl music."  When it was first mentioned last night, and I thought, "WORD. Grrrl music":

I like Grrrl!  Which, as it turns out, was simply a mental misspelling on my part.  Girl, not grrrl.  And then it got hard for me - because what is that, girl music?  And do I still like it?  Yeah, still.  Because I used to be all about the girl music, if by girl we mean girl + piano and/or guitar, which we do.  Last night, I said I'd found some knew girl-type music and Kristin made a face, like, no, you didn't.  Like I don't still enjoy girl + piano and/or guitar.

But the truth is, of my somewhat unreliable iTunes 50 Most Played Songs, only one features just a girl's voice (Kathleen Edwards, my goodness) and another three play up a boy/girl pairing or the girl's voice within the group (The XX, The Dutchess and the Duke, Camera Obscura).  These gals, boy band members or not, should really count:

Oh!  And I'm a little bit into her:

Ha.  Get it?  A LITTLE BIT!  I am not, however, as nuts about this band as most:

They're brand new, but they're not the best thing since brie on baguette.  I mean, RIGHT? Good video.  Fine band. I like, but I do not love.  There are, however, some girls I'm still spinning toward, even if they're a little less my go-to but:

She's nice.

And she' a classic.  With a piano!  And is also nice.

J. Benny

P.S.  Another piano, she makes me tear up and shiver.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Make Me Happy, Late Night (Not So Mixy) Mixtape: Talbots

Dear Kristin,
Are you telling me you don't want a little bit of this action?

Or a hint of her:

(Okay, so who wouldn't want a hint of whatever this face is wearing?)
In fact, to heck with a little.  I want all.  And you know what?  I SHOULD!  Because, as it turns out, I'm beginning to fancy old Talbots for a reason.  They want me to.  They want us (the youngsters) to rethink what we knew about the brand, to forgive it as we did J. Crew, to learn to love it as we did/do the new Gap (this, at least, is my guess).  Because how great is the Gap now?  Great!  And how terrible was it five years ago?  Terrible.

I rather like this news.  Not because we'll ever be able to afford this, shoes or $250 skirt:
But because I like pictures and I get their catalogue in the mail.  Which is because Talbots is my grandma's favorite store and I buy her scarves there.

J. Benny

Song Etc.

Dear Garrett,
You will like this:


A little something to occupy your inevitable two day stay at the DMV.  Thank me later.

J. Benny

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Darker, Music Cont.

Dear Kristin,
A good, kicky murder song.

J. Benny

Make Me Happy Mixtape: Darker

Dear Kristin,
This will be a mess.  I've got a lot.  It started with these, taken on my drizzly walk from Broadway and 8th, to Broadway and Bleeker, to 9th and C.  I had a halfway broken umbrella and still stopped for them:

This is on Bleeker.  Bleeker and, like, Broadway.  It's a happening sidewalk.  I love it because what, on earth, could it possibly want from us, the sidewalkers?  WARNING.  EARTH MAY CAVE.  And, should the earth cave and we're all crushed beneath the rubble, well, we knew better.  Nobody's fault.  I, for one, plan on never knowing better.  And that's a promise.

No halfway ways, no:

The day was darker, but it made ugly things pretty:

Firehydrant in watercolor. Always something to love:

I'm kind of a cornball like that.  Love love.  I pranced around all day in my standard

tied eighties style at the bellybutton.  And ended my longish journey here:

And here:

Phosphorescent isn't brand new, as the other bands have been, but they are new and welcome to me:


Hate to half-ass this, but I've got an evening to photograph for you.  Clothes come tomorrow.

J. Benny

Shopping Flash

Why, oh why, aren't we doing this tonight?  I mean going to this.  I mean buying this.  All of this.
(Confessions of Three Shopaholics Sale)
Nuts.  Would that we could.

Love and miss,
J. Benny

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Kristin,
My mom is my first follower!  Hooray!  Wait.  What? 

J. Benny


Dear Kristin,
One time I dressed up as Sad Panda for Halloween.  I had droopy black eyes, chalk white cheeks, and a XXL white hooded sweatshirt with the arms cut out, under which I wore a black turtleneck and black leggings.  And pink ballet flats.  I looked mopey and ridiculous.  If only I had a picture for you.  Alas, I do not.  But even if I did, it wouldn't be as wonderful as this:

Which is more wonderful than words and pictures combined.

J. Benny

Shopping Flash

Dear Kristin, 
This is happening:

I can't, but maybe you can. Most of these Outnet goodies still have a pretty price tag on them.  They deserve it, though.  They're lovely. 

You've been warned.

J. Benny

Make Me Happy Mixtape: Weather

Dear Kristin,

Let's talk about the weather.  You know, I do love that about best friends. WE CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING. Comedy, tragedy, silly crushes, tragic silly crushes, fried egg sandwiches, the weather. Important life things. I realize it's boring, but I need the weather to be fair game, because this breeze is the best thing to happen to me in months/  Twelve months, to be exact.  Since the last first fall breeze.  It's just so refreshing!  It's spontaneous!  It's alive! It's wearing pants!

(The 70s Wide Culotte.  You'll hate these on me.  Can't wait.)

Okay, so those are TopShop and, although not a breeze, are most desirable.  In person, they do resemble a long, drapey skirt, yes.  But they're also jacquard and light and navy.  And pants.  They could be folksy; instead, they're refined.  I want.  This next photo does the look better justice and although I don believe they're the same pants, they are both TopShop and both almost fancy pajamas:

(Skirt or pant or jumpsuit?  TopShop Unique, found at

And both lovely.  But look!  The breeze is wearing a sweater today:

(Shareen Vintage belt, UO sweater, Earnest Sewn high-waisted cropped skinny jean)

What an adorable, chunky wrap-around belt that breeze has on.  I'll take a light rain any day if it means New York gets to be 68 degrees. I didn't quite wake up with it this morning (my windows were closed), but I did wake up with something like a cool breeze:

(This is my first viewing of the video.  I'm not sure what to make of it.  But I do like the boy in the hat.)

My brain switched on, then came Zorbing by Stornoway. I've been tossing this tune around, unsure whether or not I really enjoy it.  But here's what I'm thinking: it doesn't matter. I obviously respond to it; it's compelling enough for me to wake up with it every day for the past week. For better or for worse, it's my internal alarm-song. When it came on this morning, before I'd opened my eyes, I couldn't have known about the weather. Which is a shame, because the two work together nicely. They're crisp in an unexpected (though somewhat conventional) way.  They're both a breath of fresh, rich air.

So here we are, on our second day together, and it's just another day.

J. Benny

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear Kristin, Your First Mixtape

Dear Kristin,
You're right. This is/will be easier. Now we can share all our inner and outer most secrets on the internet.

Here's a secret: When I first introduced this to you two days ago, I believe you thought I was joking. Well, I wasn't. It's mind blowingly delicious.  Close your eyes if you can't separate the video from the voice, but hot holy hell, I love this man-child.  The name's Diamond Rings and he's already important to me:

The almost glowing, florescent makeup! The green screen! The off-putting dance moves! The 90s! They are as back as can be – think Buffy in leather pants,

chunky knits Claire Danes (okay, Angela Chase) would be happy to hide under,

and camel coats and blazers in slightly oversized, easy (read: ill-fitting) forms.

That's Chloe, Fall RTW 2010, found on

And you know where this is headed. That's right, Elaine Benes wear:

Or make that Seinfeld style, because all of these folks are looking pretty good to me.  And, as it turns out, The New York Times agrees!  Hooray forvalidation!  I only discovered this article while picture-hunting, which is neither here nor there, but it does (probably, I haven't read it) make me feel important and on-the-cusp and hungry for floral prints.  Here's what I'm thinking: this is the old 90s with a dash of some newfound irreverence and (hopefully) a world more body-consciousness. I mean, we're still living out the Herve Leger bondage dress.

Which makes me feel sort of oh, well.  But at least I don't have to worry too much about clothing's future.  And, anyway, I kinda love the chunky and the tan and the leather and the layered. It wouldn't be here if I didn't (although I could give or take - or really just give - the bandage dress). But I'm still on a mission to dress for me. 

I'm done with frumpy-for-fashion's-sake.  Or at least that's the hope. And, nineties or no nineties, I think we need these:

They're Forever21

Now back to the beginning, Sade-inspired beats (smooth, trip-hoppy, almost complex elevator tunes):

Do we like this? It's our Bon Iver boy, Justin Vernon. Does that change things for us? Do we inevitably like it by virtue of our already wanting to marry him (Vegas-style, to be annulled when/if necessary)? I will now create a comments sections for your feedback and general enjoyment.


J. Benny