Covet: What We Have to Have Now

With the changing of the season (don’t you miss summer already?), it’s time to go back to those Fall essentials that will get you ready for the coming cold.


The Black Turtleneck
Instant chic. Every ParlourMaid should own a good one … or you will be forced to recycle every season, and who has time for that? Beside, a good t-neck is the perfect way to pull together any ensemble, especially on those “I don’t know what to wear” days.

Left to Right:
3.1 Phillip Lim Turtleneck | $350.00 | La Garçonne, Drea Turtleneck Sweater | $17.80 | Forever21, Turtleneck Tunic | $450.00 | Barneys New York, Rick Owens Turtleneck | $285 | Net-A-Porter


Theme Music!!!
Just like every hero has her theme song, be sure to take time to assemble your seasonal soundtrack. Think old, new and undiscovered to give you that motivation on those cold mornings. Here’s some inspiration:

Left to Right:
Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly Sountrack, Piece Talks by CRAC (Blu & Ta’Raach), Algo Especial Para Recordar by Celia Cruz & Tito Puente, Planet Pimp by Soil & Pimp Sessions – all available at Dusty Groove


New Season? New Journal.

If you are like us, no blackberry, treo or iPhone is better than a good pen and piece of paper to keep track of what’s in your head. However, you are really like us, the summer did a number on your journal, offer your thoughts a new home with these:

Left to Right:
Bare Journal | $9.50 | Myndology, Fabric Covered Notebooks | $25-35 | NeuGalerie, Turn Over a New Leaf Journal | Sukie | $16.95 | MoMA


A Good Boot
Next to the turtleneck, you absolutely need to have a good pair in your repertoire but that doesn’t mean that you have to break your neck:

Left to Right:
To-The-Knee Boot | Loeffler Randall | $795 | CUSP, Saigon Mid-Calf Boot | Chie Mihara | $651.59 | Footlux, Caron Multi-Buckle Boot | $190 | TopShop, Petler Boot | BCBGirls | $179 | Zappos


An Escape Plan
Fall is the perfect time for that three-day vacay. Fridays were meant for being sick and jetting off to one of our warmer neighbors, didn’t you know that?

Left to Right:
Royal Palm Resort
– Miami Beach, Florida, Tensing Pen Resort-Negril, Jamaica, Paradisus Palma Real– Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


A Denim Jacket
You can never have enough of this Spring/Fall staple that goes with just about anything and now the cuts are just as diverse as the washes:

Left to Right:
Corey Denim Motorcycle Jacket | $54.50 | Delias, Latin Club Blazer | $118 | Anthropologie, Indigo Jacket | $80 | TopShop


If you’re anything like us, summer weekends mean one thing: time to tackle that stack of unread books. Though we begin every summer with ambitions of finally reading that Tolstoy or Virginia Woolf that’s been prominently displayed on our desks, we all know what really gets tucked, guiltily, into the beach bag. There’s no shame in it, ladies! In fact, Parlour supports your need to tune out and tune into a brilliantly trashy read every now and again. Here we present the brightest of the baddest.

Confessions of a Video Vixen, by Karrine Steffans

The notorious Karrine takes plenty of heat from all sides, but we can’t help but respect her ability to claim her little slice of the game and go running, no sharing and no take-backs. She writes like a woman with nothing to lose, and none of the many men she takes on, from Jay-Z to Ja Rule, are spared. Karrine’s follow-up, The Vixen Diaries is at the top of our personal summer read list (we’ll just tuck it inside a copy of The New Yorker when we’re reading on the train).


I‘m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, by Pamela Des Barres

Take Karrine and place her in the freewheeling ’60s, and you’ve got Pamela Des Barres, the original super groupie (and inspiration for the lovely hangers-on of ‘Almost Famous’). Her memoir describes a boy-crazy California teen who grew up to make music (and male) appreciation her art. We loved the enthusiastic descriptions of flower-power love affairs with Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page, as well as the glimpse at the lazy days of a sun-dappled 1960s Laurel Canyon.


Front Row: Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue’s Editor in Chief, by Jerry Oppenheimer

A must-read for those of us who are on the come up in media, or any industry, for that matter. Oppenheimer lends the same unflinching eye for drama and details that enlivened his unauthorized biographies of similarly steel-willed overachievers Martha Stewart and Barbara Walters. Front Row is an absorbing portrait of a woman with unstoppable drive. Our favorite tidbit? When Bob Marley shows up in town and Anna disappears for several days, allegedly enjoying a fling with the superstar!


Bling, by Erica Kennedy

With its loving descriptions of Juicy sweatsuits and Jacob diamonds, Bling is almost vintage. One can’t help but picture Ashanti as the plucky hip hop heroine Mimi, finding herself among the hustlers, opportunists, and honeys in this sexy music industry melodrama. The difference between Bling and typical chick lit? Kennedy can actually turn a phrase, and she has an ear for radio hits. We devoured this book on one coffee-fueled Sunday morning when it first dropped, and still haven’t found a naughtily addictive read to rival it.


Edie: American Girl, by Jean Stein

We’re almost loath to include this book in our list of the trashiest reads, because it is truly one of our favorite books of all time. Still, the tale of original it-girl Edie Sedgwick, and her rise and fall among Andy Warhol’s superstars in the 1960s, is just the sort of thing that would go down smoothly with a mint julep on a hot summer afternoon. Stein and editor George Plimpton pull together her story from the voices of the people who knew her growing up in a suburban gothic of Santa Barbara, California, and later in madcap ’60s New York. Sad and thrilling, Edie is perhaps the most delicious teenage-girl read ever.


It‘s No Secret: From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal, a Hip-Hop Helen of Troy Tells All, by Carmen Bryan

Hip-Hop’s “Helen of Troy” spares no one, lest of all herself! The autobiography that surely cost Carmen Bryan (aka Nas’s baby mama) a dinner invitation of two makes for a great guilty-pleasure read. We love the portrait of Jay-Z as a rather lovestruck and bumbling suitor. Implausibly, Nas is painted as a thoughtless boy-man with a taste for kinky sex. And Bryan does not pass up the opportunity to call out Kelis as a self-obsessed rhymes-with-itch who even her daughter doesn’t like. We’ll take these depictions with a grain of salt, but as Bryan balances raising her daughter with club-hopping and gigs at Def Jam and Capitol Records, a giddy portrait of an era unique to hip hop in New York also emerges.


How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale  by Jenna Jameson and Neil Strauss

Hands-down, without a doubt, the king (or rather, queen) of all trashy reads. One does not need to have an interest in porn to enjoy this tome (though an interest in sex is recommended), which is a classic coming of age story about a girl who triumphs over a nightmare childhood to succeed as a superstar and businesswoman. Though we’ve never seen any of Ms. Jameson’s work (oh come on, you know we’d tell you if we had) we still came away from the book impressed by her sheer determination and ambition. The happy ending of the book is no longer, Jenna has since divorced her husband but she tells her story with such openness and honesty that one can’t help but root for her. The devilish kiss-and-tell-all details of encounters with Marilyn Manson, Damon Wayans, Tommy Lee (of course!) and others is just icing on the cake.


– Angela Cravens

Only Angela could put our dirty reading list out there with such class! Based in Brooklyn, NY, check her out at

[Ed Note: Honorable mentions- anything by E.Lynn Harris and P.G. County by Connie Briscoe!]


We ParlourMaids love our green; green money, green eyes on cuties and green grass in the summer as well as other green things…but most of all, we love living green. We’ve been doing our best to be environmentally responsible way before it became fashionable, in addition to saving the earth – it’s been saving our wallet!

Now, don’t believe the hype, going green is really MUCH easier than you think. Lately, a bunch of new “green” product lines have popped up-but if you look closely around your home and ‘hood, you probably have everything you need already, take the time to educate yourself and you will be on your way….


1. A Fly Tote
A reason to go shopping, and help save the planet while maintaining a while looking good. Plastic shopping bags build up, don’t decompose and are overall just bad for the environment. Paper bags actually use more resources to produce. A tote is your best bet. A good rule of thumb is to keep three totes for various types of shopping (grocery, clothes, drugstore, etc). Besides, anything is better than a plain old bag! Here are a few of our favorites…


Marc Jacobs Tote $15 (for all you bag snobs); Envirosax Graphic Series Totes, $8.50 ea., Seabags Small Single Digit Tote, $95, Trails to Bridges Recycled Cambodian Tote Bag, $30

2. Got Vinegar & Baking Soda?

Most household cleaners not only are harsh on the nose, they harsh release chemicals into the air, ruining your air quality and our environment. One of us was a diehard Windex fiend (like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding), but really? There was life before Windex. Simple and effective (we tried them) these cleaners are easy on the earth as well as your hands and face. Try Vinegar & Water (for your windows) or Baking Soda, Water & Lemon Juice (for scrubbing), more recipes can be found here. If you are diehard product girl, try the MrsMeyers line, which uses biodegradable and natural ingredients.

3. Turn off the lights…and light a candle.

It sounds simple, but most folks in our clique still manage to leave at least one light on in an empty room or even worse, when they leave the house. Not only does cutting off la luz help save energy, but it also helps out on your utility bill! It’s simple. Empty room? Turn off the light! Want a dim look? Try candles instead of a dimmer…they make any room look great and are much, much sexier…


Henri Bendel Lemon Verbena Candle, $28; Slatkin & Co. Figural Candle (signed by the artist), $12.50; White Barn Coconut Vanilla Candle, $19.50; Aromatherapy Sensuality Candle, $10.50

4. Stay Online. Seriously.

Shopping for things (music, movies, clothing, etc) online is much safer these days and with over 10 million websites that we know of, the selection is much better. In addition to saving on the fuel needed to get to your destination and the need for multiple shopping bags, you also help curb the need for product cases and packaging from DVDs, CDs, and other goods. Just be sure to opt to have everything shipped once (if applicable) and recycle your shipping boxes! Some of our favorites:

Bergdorf Goodman
Dusty Groove
Uncommon Goods

5. Recycle Those Gadgets…

How many ipods are out now? If you are two steps ahead like most tech-mavens out there, chances are you have a few “older” gadgets in a drawer somewhere, or maybe an old TV or computer? If you are not up to selling your old wares, try recycling them or donating them to a charity in need, anything is better than them going to the local dump! Also, did you know that old ipods make great portable hard-drives?

6. Bottled Water is for Lames…

If you take a trip to your nearest landfill, next to plastic bags you are gonna see A LOT of water bottles. With the onslaught of “designer” water recently, all of those bottles have to go somewhere! Wanna kick the habit? Get off your butt and go to Target for a Brita water filter pitcher for the crib and 2-3 refillable water bottles (you can throw them in your tote!) Chances your job has a water cooler, bring your own glass! Redoing your kitchen? Invest in a kitchen sink filter for purified water on the fly.

brita bottle

Brita Deluxe Water Pitcher, $25; Trudeau Refillable Water Bottle, $10
7. Time For A Recharge.
Got batteries? Outside of them being expensive these days, you can never find batteries when you really need them! Today’s rechargeable batteries, when properly charged are a great investment and will save you money in the long run, as well as ease the impact of their toxic waste on our planet.

8. Green Style

Green fashion still make you think of Woody Harrelson and his hemp phase? There are a ton of great lines and finds made from recycled and sustainable materials. Still not feeling it? Go vintage…better cuts, cheaper price point (if you know where to look) and vintage doesn’t impact the planet by using our natural resources to produce.


Niki Robinson Nafika Wedge, $365;Organic Cocktail Dress, 3.1 Phillip Lim, $595; Tarma Semilla Necklace, $55

9. Make Your Own Morning Shot.

In addition to the coffee that we provide, we bet that if you curbed your Starbucks habit, you will end up with some more change in your pocket and less waste in the trash. A french press, which are chic and very easy to use, or a classy teapot, and a cute thermal container are all you need to reduce waste and get your morning fix! When buying coffee or tea, buy green as well-from fair trade and organic labels.

10. Gotta Drive? Drive Green. In Style.

Nothing is better than rolling the windows down and bumping your favourite track on a sunny day–and with the recently released new models of hybrid cars, you can drive in style, while releasing less toxins in the atmosphere. We aren’t exactly the Prius type, but Lexus has unveiled one of the sexiest luxury hybrid models to date–don’t worry, there are Lexus hybrid options for all price ranges, we just aim high!:

LEXUS LS 600h L Luxury Hybrid Sedan, $117,119

Not in the market for a new car? Keep it vintage but with a twist–switch out the engine to biodiesel.

Happy with what ya got? Then make it a friends affair–carpool it! It’s amazing that we will carpool to the club, but not to work right? Pick a central drop-off location and take turns driving, in most major cities like San Francisco, carpooling means free tolls and a faster commute.

These are just 10 of many steps you can take to make your world a little greener, and your life a little sweeter.

– The Parlour Fam



Our Sunday night routine is always a little off since we’re in denial that Monday is coming, but with HBO’s The Wire officially over– it will never be the same. Outside of great writing, acting and a story line that was as gritty as it was beautiful, let’s face it-– The Wire crew was hot. For our debut edition of the Covet list, we give you, in no particular order, the covet-worthy faces of The Wire.


TheWire_Weebey1. Roland “Wee-Bey” Brice, played by Hassan Johnson
Damn if this man wasn’t hot for no good reason! That swagger, that accent, the attention he paid to his pet fish was even a turn on. Though we hated his baby’s mother, and her weave, we wouldn’t have minded being her for one of those steamy nights.

TheWire_Stringer2. Russell “Stringer” Bell, played by Idris Elba
So conniving, so aspirational and so damn sexy. Even while he was sleeping with D’Angelo’s girl, we knew he was so wrong, but we couldn’t wait for him to take his shirt off. When Stringer was gunned down shot, with a shot gun and a pistol– we knew he wasn’t coming back from that one– we all teared up. He was one man that was just too fine to die.

TheWire_Cutty3. Dennis “Cutty” Wise, Played By Chad L. Coleman
Hitman-cum-community boxing teacher Cutty dropped into our lives during season three. Maybe it’s our fetish for thick men but between his broad shoulders, well-manicured beard and pensive demeanor–and saving Baltimore’s babies didn’t hurt either–we were smitten. We’ll make you apple pie any day Cutty, you just let us know.

TheWire_Lester4. Detective Lester Freamon, Played By Clarke Peters
We loved Lester’s bow-legged case-cracking self! Clearly he was putting it down because he literally turned the stripper from season one, Shardene, into a flower-skirted, pearl-rocking house wife and nursing school student. Now that’s game to believe in.

TheWire_McNulty5. Officer James “Jimmy” McNulty, Played By Dominic West
Ok, so he was a slore (slut + whore) but you’ve got to admit that his ambition, misplaced as it was, was attractive. Plus, we like British men, especially those that can pull off believable Baltimore accents.

TheWire_Carver6. Sergeant Ellis Carver, Played By Seth Gilliam
Correct us if we’re wrong, but this is the kid that dated Vanessa on The Cosby Show, right? We were not mad at the baby-faced results. And while we were a little suspect of him during season one, (remember that late night ride to the towers that ended up in a torched squad car?) he tried to save Randy and gave us hope for the Baltimore Police Department.

TheWire_Avon7. Avon Barksdale, Played By Wood Harris
Stringy but sexy. We admit it. There’s a certain allure about a powerful man– legal hustle or not– and Avon had that swagger down. The body may not have been as built as we’d like, but we have to imagine that he was packing another surprise…

TheWire_Gus8. City Editor Augustus “Gus” Haynes, Played By Clark Johnson
Like Lester, Gus possessed a certain older man charm that tells us we wouldn’t mind being the wife who comforts him for choosing principals over his career. If you can’t believe in your man, what’s left?

TheWire_Michael9. Michael Lee, Played By Tristan Wilds
We have accepted our inner Cougar! But Tristan’s legal…now. We’re not gonna bring up how we’ve liked him since season four when he was just 17 years old. But with that face and brooding demeanor, can you blame us?

TheWire_Bodie10. Preston “Bodie” Broadus, Played By JD Williams
Like McNulty told him in season four, “You’re a soldier Bodie.” Whether managing to escape lock-up (he straight WALKED OUT!), wriggle his way out of questioning or manage his crew, Bodie was our soldier for the last four years. We were speechless when Marlow’s muscle killed him on that dark, empty corner. R.I.P.


Honorable Mentions…

TheWire_SyndorDetective Leander Sydnor, Played by Corey Parker-Robinson
He’s our favorite good guy, with just enough street in him to be one of Baltimore’s finest. Plus, he ended up being the new McNulty and we can always use another one of those.

TheWire_ChrisChris Partlow, Played By Gbenga Akinnagbe
Ok. Before you kill us, have you ever seen him in real life? Chris ultimately had a good heart, (looking out for Michael when Marlow wanted to kill him…) he just didn’t use it the best way….