Friday, February 6, 2009

Monji Monji Monji...

Monji means "massage" in Japanese, and I always enjoy saying the word because it sounds exactly like what it is! I think a massage is one of the kindest gifts you can give someone, whether treating your best friend to a camellia oil hand rub or walking on your dad's back after he pulled a muscle trying to prove he could still pitch horseshoes like a 25 year old. But as we also know, when you invite your sweetie to let your hands soothe the stress away, a massage can be a very tender and intimate experience.

Here at A La Folie, us girls agree that a sweet, sensual massage is something we can all enjoy... and we've done the product testing to prove it! The JimmyJane Ember massage oil candle is staff favorite and, as we've discovered, a favorite of it's lucky test subjects as well. Housed in a clean and modern white porcelain vessel, the wick is lit and allowed to heat. In a few moments, the natural, cosmetic-grade wax melts into a lovely warm oil, scented with fresh, urgent and almost edible flavors that are unlike the cloying sweetness of many perfumes... and act as natural aphrodisiacs! Just a tiny pour onto the skin will last an hour, and the natural essential oils in the liquid help to penetrate the skin and allow your hands to glide attentively over the muscles. Trust us... it's really nice.

Try it for yourself! From now until Valentine's Day, mention this post and receive 20% off of all JimmyJane Massage Candles. Mmmmmm...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gros Bijoux!

Sometimes, despite your best attempts to adhere to the vows of constant pep you took when you became Head Cheerleader, you unwittingly find yourself in a pit of despair. Who's gonna tell you to put down the ladleful of cookie dough and come have a good cry? Your girlfriends, that's who. I can't think of a better time of year than the second week of February to invite the lovely lasses in your life over for a little soiree... just to say thanks for helping to turn the bitter into sweet since last Valentine's day.

When I was 10, one of my girlfriends had such a party... and instructed us all to bring a wrapped Valentine's gift, which we exchanged with one another. I shook all the presents and picked the one that made the most noise. It was a pencil box filled with Hershey Kisses. Just my style, cute AND edible! Now that we are, ahem, a bit more grown-up, it would be fun to resurrect this girl gathering with a slightly more sophisticated treat:

  1. Set a price limit and have everyone bring bijoux - a necklace, earrings or even a ring. It would be great to pick something from a local artist, or scour the flea market for a vintage find.
  2. Get the girls together in the kitchen, crack open a bottle or two (or ten, if you're my friends) and cook up a meal together. I'm thinking angel hair pasta with pesto and walnuts, lots of cookies, and fennel with blood orange salad... pick dishes that are seasonal and able to be scooped (with hands, if necessary) from a giant bowl.
  3. After the feast, exchange the jewelry with one another and regale your guests with anecdotes from your "wild years..." By the end of the party, you'll all know MUCH more about each other than you did when you came in, and you'll have a wonderful new bauble to remember it by.

Come to our Accessory trunk show! February 5th at A La Folie from 6pm - 9pm. Local designers Irenea Kundlicki from Flint Jewelry and Kelly Sperbeck from K. Autumn Hair Flora will be on hand to showcase their pieces. All purchases made during the sale are 20% off!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Great Cinnamon Caper

I was enjoying a chocolate frozen yogurt doused with extra M&Ms with my friend Jeremiah the other day, when he mentioned he saw a documentary on good ol' PBS about the science of the human brain. My eyelids started drooping immediately, until he began telling me about how he learned that the sense of smell stimulated men and women differently.

"Oh really... by all means, continue!" I said, now at rapt attention and crunching on frozen chocolate. He said that a psychologist had given some advice to a lovelorn patient who was having problems rekindling the intimacy in his marriage. An unusual prescription, it included rubbing baby powder on his skin.

"Apparently, it's a powerful aphrodisiac to women," said Jeremiah.

"I see," I said, chomping thoughtfully. "And... did he happen to mention anything about the reverse?"

"Actually, yes!" said Jeremiah. "For men, it's cinnamon." Fact noted. As soon as I got home, I tore open my jar of ground cinnamon and rubbed it all over my wrists, putting a little bit on my neck and hair for good measure. It's a bit trickywith the application technique, because the cinnamon turns your skin brown if you put too much on. You have to use a gentle touch and layer to get the right amount.

When I went to the city to pick up my boyfriend, I gave him a big hug. I went to pull away so I could put my purse down, but he squeezed me tighter and wouldn't let go. His nose was buried in my neck.

"Oh my God, you smell so good... like... apple pie! What is that? Did you make pie?" He held my hands up to his nose and inhaled deeply. Success! Oh, the scientific community would surely give me some sort of award for excellent work in the field.

"Um... well, it's cinammon. I, uh, spilled some... on... myself," I finished lamely. Now what? I didn't want to tell him about my devious experiment, but I hadn't exactly planned on such... exuberant results. It turns out I didn't have to say more, because my mouth was being covered with some very spicy kisses. My scientific conclusion: CINNAMON IS NATURE'S VALENTINE! Please use it responsibly.

TODAY'S SWEET DEAL: We've got gorgeous cinnamon brown satin bras from Huit's Jeanne Collection, and today they are 20% off! Mention this post and receive the discount at the register through Wednesday, February 4th. Now, if someone could only try out that baby powder...

Picture Parfait

I have a confession: I love gratification, and the instanter the better! I often cook things simply for their ability to be eaten from the pot on the stove while standing up and, having inherited my grandmother's penchant for photographing blurry feet, I think the digital camera was the greatest invention of the 20th century. There are so many ways to snap and share images with one another without ever having to print anything, and I know I'm not the only one who's become totally obsessed with Facebook tagging. But even amidst all that instant delight, well... let's admit, a bit of the intimacy has been lost. So how to turn a common photo back into a sassy little secret?

Enter the photo booth! That old friend from the days of double dates at the discount movie theater is here to serve you once more. There's a really good one tucked into an enclave outside of Bancroft Clothing in Berkeley. It makes the colors appear a bit blown out, all dreamy and vintage looking, which is perfect for a Valentine's vignette.

Now, it's time to get creative. Doll yourself up! Wear something that makes you feel daring or indulge in a little fantasy. If you're feeling vintage, channel Lulu Brooks or Josephine Baker. If you want to be cheeky, find a pink apron and bake a heart-shaped pie. Be sure to wear something pretty underneath. If you're worried about intruders, bring a friend with you to guard the protective curtain. Oh, and bring a lot of dollar bills.

Now, Un... Deux... Trois... Quatre... start with a smile, then a flirty glance... and how you finish is up to you! No one has to know but you and Mr. Booth. Et Voila! Now you have a one-of-a-kind photo "strip" to tuck in your honey's pocket or send in a card on Valentine's day. Sharing on Facebook - optional.

A Bientot,