(Originally published on Man Repeller June 2016)

Hello, [applicant’s name]!

Thank you for your interest in a position with L.E. Hook, LLC.* While not expressly hiring at the moment, we are always on the lookout for qualified applicants. (If you do not work out we will reference the above disclaimer with a kind but clear “I’m just not really looking for a relationship right now, ya know?”)

Congratulations on making it to the initial interview stage. This means you are handsome, have a 30 Rock quote in your profile, or, if the CEO was three beers deep and letting her friends swipe, seem like you “might be a great guy!” The board welcomes you.

A little about our ideal candidate:

YOU: know how to properly load a dishwasher (the CEO does not).
YOU: have a working knowledge of first aid care
YOU: are in favor of nine-hour Netflix marathons and snacks that mean business
YOU: are Greg Olsen, but in an old-timey lumberjack outfit

Here’s some information about the CEO the board thinks you will find helpful:

Her biggest pet peeve is when people say they love Harry Potter but have not read the books. She is, as we speak, contemplating a third day of dry shampoo instead of a shower. The CEO will, without question, spill coffee on your carpet.

She loves talking politics, even if you are diametrically opposed. A spirited debate gets the CEO razzed like a vodka Redbull (which, by the way, you should not let her order). She vacillates between party girl and bookish introvert — a Biden/Obama situation, if you will. Her heart seems crusty on the outside, but is surprisingly gooey on the inside, like a Peep found three months after Easter.

A word of advice from the board:

Due to a deep-seated insecurity and fear of rejection, the CEO will not make it totally clear that you are her candidate of choice for this position. It is up to you, the applicant, to make your willingness to accept clear, but not, like, stage-five clinger clear, as this will make the CEO immediately claustrophobic and terminate the interview.

The board has tried to reason with the CEO that this method is grossly ambiguous and harmful to long-term profits. All of the board’s efforts thus far have failed, and you are as likely to be axed for one wink emoji as you are for never texting in the first place.

Now, you might be thinking, “Who is in charge here? Head? Heart? Stomach?” or “Is this one of those trendy startups where napping is encouraged?” (Yes.). The board knows this is a complicated business model, but really, the CEO wants what everyone wants: to see, be seen, and be held close during Game of Thrones.

Please don’t read our reviews on Glassdoor.

*We are not actually an LLC. The CEO picked at her split ends and took Buzzfeed quizzes during her college finance courses. If you must know, we are more like a shell corporation for a shady but mostly legal overseas venture.



(Originally published on Man Repeller June 2015)

The best meal I ever had
wasn’t a meal
it was a Bloody Mary
every morning the summer of 2013, to be exact.
A mason jar full of vodka and heart-friendly polyphenols
with my best friend in the heart of our college town;
High July in Alabama and as at home as anyone can ever be.
I had a crush on every bartender in the restaurant.

The best meal I ever had
was spaghetti
sprinkled with inexplicable bits of bone
under a metal awning on a hillside in Greece.
(It was the best meal ever
because my grandfather,
with crinkly, mischievous eyes,
told my brother he ordered him beef
and later revealed it to be lamb genitalia.)

The best meal I ever had
was a bowl of ramen in Paris
with a new friend, in a city I had run to
to soothe the wound of being a post-grad.
The broth was mainly butter, bad for your heart but good for your soul.
We both woke at 4 a.m. with a stranded-in-the-desert thirst,
and yet, every Sunday, a text: “Ramen?”

The best meal I ever had
was the morning after New Year’s Eve
back in our hometown during our first year of college
at our favorite high school restaurant.
We began 2011 in giddy, morning-drunk laughter
because under my bootcut gray sweatpants I was wearing the only shoes I had:
glittering, black, pointy-toed stilettos.

The best meal I ever had
has happened many times.
It happens whenever my dad lowers his crab cages
into the murky Severn river
and we drink cheap beer and get Old Bay in our eyes
and I marvel at his picking skills, and feel grateful that he taught me.

You see, I could rhapsodize for days
about burrata, mille-feuille and tender medallions of ostrich,
crunchy golden beets, smoked bacon with caramelized bourbon sauce
and really anything in the sandwich family.
But ambience is nothing without conversation
and appetizers fall flat without affection
and after 23 years of loving food,
there’s one thing I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt:
It ain’t what you’re eating,
it’s who you’re eating it with.



(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, March 2015)

Feeling uninspired as of late by your 3-euro Monoprix sauvignon? Me too- so on March 30th the Planète Bière exposition was a refreshing and sturdy-glassed break, rekindling a love of beer that living in Paris had all but buried.  Upon my arrival rather late into the afternoon, the Tapis Rouge in the 10eme was still packed, with Parisians of all stripes testing the proffered 400 beers from 75 different breweries.  The majority of the breweries were French, but there were also Italian, Belgian, Japanese, and more countries happily opening their taps for the participants.  The event was in a gorgeous space, with an open enough layout to avoid elbow-to-elbow drinking (which can only end in spillage).  I myself am partial to blondes, and notable favorites included the lemony and crisp La Bercloise, as well as the ½ Ale from the Brooklyn Brewery that was spiced with a surprising-and very pleasing- dill note.  For a darker selection, I recommend the American Stout from Gallia and the amber La Bête.  The huge turnout and enthusiasm for the Planète Bière salon points to a new era in Parisian beer exploration; next time you’re out and the ubiquitous Kronenburg or 1664 isn’t hitting the spot, keep an eye out for an unknown label, and give it a try.



(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, May 2015 Violet7 Archive password: paris)

YSL Insults Fashion. YSL Collection Called ‘Bitchy’.  Saint-Laurent: Truly Hideous. These were a few of the choicest headlines from fashion critics following the debut, in the spring of 1971, of Yves Saint-Laurent’s “Liberation” collection.  The pieces that so upset Paris’s staid couture audience are now on show in Yves Saint-Laurent 1971: La Collection du Scandale, at the La Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent until July 19th.  It took some research on the part of this visitor to understand how a collection of pussy bows, wide lapels, and slinky ruched dresses inspired such vitriol. The emerald green fur coat and sheer halters tucked into high-waisted pants seemed positively made for the bright-eyed ingenues of the disco years, but the touch of luridness wasn’t the culprit behind the headlines.  It was, in fact, the blatant reference to the 1940s- and all its accompanying darkness in France’s collective memory- that brought the scandal.  In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, show curator Olivier Saillard explained, “To suddenly see on the catwalk a collection inspired by the slightly outré elegance of the forties was perceived as a form of irreverence toward those who lived through this period of restriction.”  The critics weren’t off-base in their assessment of his motives. Saint-Laurent himself flippantly remarked, “What do I want? To shock the people, to force them to reflect.” We are used to irreverence in fashion, even expect a few designers each season to toe the line of good taste.  But Saint-Laurent in 1971 was forging a new path for fashion, one where couture would become irrevocably linked with street style, and where high fashion could inspire real cultural discourse.

A view of the Yves Saint Laurent 1971 exhibit.A view of the Yves Saint Laurent 1971 exhibit.



(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, April 2015 Violet7 Archive password: paris)

From the 8th of March to the 23rd of August 2015 the Palais Galliera is hosting a Jeanne Lanvin retrospective, designed and curated by Alber Elbaz, artistic director of the house of Lanvin.  I had the immense pleasure of visiting the exhibition this weekend, and it truly took my breath away. Photos were not allowed, but that’s okay- to only look at photos of the pieces on display would be cheating yourself out of unbelievable grace.  With 90 examples of day and evening wear spanning from the aughts of the 20th century to the advent of World War II, the exhibition headily transports you through half a century in a glittering, bygone world.  The pieces are dazzling, with an intricacy made organic by Lanvin’s virtuosic eye for line and curve. While the fashion side of me salivated, I couldn’t help but think throughout the exhibition about the world inhabited by Lanvin’s customers before the war crumbled the last vestige of a genteel Europe; then, by 1939 gown, a quote from one Christian Dior: “Paris was rarely more sparkling…People flitted from ball to ball; dreading the inevitable cataclysm, they hoped desperately to avoid it, and whatever happened, they wanted to go out in style.”

Lanvin dresses 1Lanvin dresses 2Lanvin dresses 3



(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, March 2015 Violet7 Archive password is paris)

This weekend in the 1st arrondissement, upscale concept store Colette hosted a pop-up for Glossier, the new product line from Into the Gloss founder Emily Weiss and the rest of the Into the Gloss team.   Weiss started Into the Gloss in 2010 and has grown it into the go-to beauty source for the demographic that isn’t interested in just another rote slideshow of products and looks. With long-form interviews and essay-style product reviews, Into the Gloss turns the beauty routines of notable women into stories, allowing interviewees speak without constriction of where their products fit into their lives. As a longtime ITG devotee I was extremely excited to meet Weiss, and in person she was friendly, laid back, and eager to chat with those who came to the pop-up about Glossier products.


The four-piece “Phase One” set, which launched in October, contains the Balm Dotcom universal skin salve, Priming Moisturizer, Soothing Face Mist, and Perfecting Skin Tint.  More recently launched is a facemask duo- the Megagreens Galaxy Pack for detoxifying, and the Moisturizing Moon Mask for restorative hydration. The products were there solely to be tested, but Weiss says they are working to eventually sell in Colette (unfortunately she could not give a timeline).


The packaging and type are simple, cleanly color blocked, plastic and tin. A sheet of stickers accompanies your purchase: “Glossier” in a few designs, clusters of stars, the rogue three-eyed smiley face. The small-batch, unpretentious feel of the Glossier products is quite a feat for a company that is working to go multi-national, but to ITG’s readers, raised on the colloquial, wide-open nature of the site’s pieces, it will seem just right.