Monday, August 31, 2009

Wish list and a little J Crew rant

It's like Christmas in late August.....My wishlist is growing longer by the minute. And considering the price tags involved, this will continue to be just that — a wishlist.
Prowling the World Wide Web o' shopping yielded some cool finds. Here's what I'm lusting after now:
Anthropologie Plaza cardigan. I tried this on in the store, and it's pretty fabulous.
The cobalt blue is so vibrant and bold — and something we'll see a lot of in the fall. The ruffles are also on-trend. The jury's still out on the slouchy pockets. I like 'em alone, but paired with the ruffles it could be overkill.
This is made of a cashmere blend and is so soft, but I was sweatin' in the dressing room since it's still over 100 degrees. Plus, the $128 price tag is a deal-breaker.
• Now that I own one DVF, I want more, more, more. I'm a sucker for words on clothing, and this Julian wrap dress has that newspaper vibe (even though one of the words is "love").
I keep thinking that maybe if I dress to promote newspapers then maybe people will think they're cool and the medium may hang around for a bit longer. Read the paper! Read the paper!
Free People has been turning out some lust-worthy jewelry, and statement necklaces are huge this fall.
The vintage feel of this piece paired with an edgy vibe from the multiple chains is irresistible. Alas, the $168 price tag is not. Are you sensing a theme here? I have very expensive taste.
• Another on-the-mark find from Free People is this rockin' light-weight coat. Perfect for Tucson's non-existent winters, the We the Free Clash Jacket's got ruffle action paired with studs — also trendy — to temper the feminine frill.
J Crew has lots of must-own fall pieces, including this sleeveless blouse. Dammit.
I'm trying so hard not to buy Crew because the retailer keeps making me mad.
Most recently, I was trying to use double codes (free shipping plus a 20 percent discount). Everything worked fine on the faux checkout, but when I was ready to pull the trigger, only one code would work.
A call to customer service brought no help. "Sorry. The codes expire at eastern standard time."
That was it.
No offer to help, no consolation prize. Just sorry. will credit you if a discount code goes up after you've bought something. Free shipping and returns, too.
Order from and the online director, Erica, will actually try stuff on for you and clue you in to the fit.
Free shipping, too.
J Crew consistently has this screw you attitude.
Even worse than a scorned woman is a scorned shopper.....I was so bitter that I took back a shirt I'd purchased from the red phone in the store (free shipping when you order from the red phone). So take that — you got hosed on the shipping for that order, J Crew.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Keds and 'quins

Keds and 'quins — as in sequins — seem like strange closet companions. And yet, I'm completely drawn to both right now.
'Sup with that?
One is the epitome of practicality and the other is...well, pure hooch. If there is such a thing as bipolar fashion disorder, then surely I have it.
As a kid, I always got a new pair of Keds each year. Of course, they weren't true Keds, just some kind of knock-off. Now I'm more into Simple sneaks, when it comes to that kind of footwear. But, Keds are really looking cute these days. How could anyone not be smitten with the polka dots on these wedges? There's the tall, d'orsay style or the lower one. Can't decide which I like best.
As for the sequins, I've purchased one spaghetti-strapped bustier — a bargain for $15 at Forever XXI (true story: I called the store once, and the 14-year-old boy working there who answered the phone actually said "Hello, x, x, i" rather than 21). Anyway, I envision myself wearing it over a plain, white tee and pairing it with boyfriend jeans to tone down the hooch.
This purple, Free People sequin tank is calling my name. But then I hear it say, "Yeah, who are you kidding? When was the last time YOU went out on a date? Give a sequin top a break and let me go home with a cute, hip 20-something who'll show me some love."

Clothing crush

I am crushing pretty hard on the new Rachel Rachel Roy line, the clothing so nice they named it twice.
I originally fell in love with a rhinestone necklace-adorned tee that I spotted in — of all things — Teen Vogue. But when the designer's new site went live this week, I found tons more to lust after.
Roy — who's a ringer for actress Freida Pinto — has created a lower priced line (i.e., $70-$149 as opposed to $300 and up) that's edgy but very wearable. Items are allegedly available at Macy's (somehow Tucson always gets hosed in the lower-priced designer arena. Our Targets didn't even get the last big-name collection). You can buy on the Web site, — shipping's free. Naturally, all the stuff I want doesn't ship until October.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For your reconsideration

Finding the right mascara is about as easy as finding the right man.
Which is to say, it's flippin' hard.
Earlier (see Gettin' Jiggy Wit Mascara) I'd written about Maybelline's new pulsating mascara — the cheaper alternative to Lancome's smash sensation. It seemed pretty good. Well, after using it for more than a month, I'm changing my tune. It kinda sucks.
After coworkers started pointing out how I could be a linebacker with the heavy black smudges beneath my eyes, I stopped applying the mascara on the bottom lashes. Still, the stuff managed to slide down and make my undereye area look bad.
As if it didn't look tired enough.
So, I'm officially throwing it out and I'm back on the hunt.
I just read positive reviews about a new lengthening Cover Girl mascara. Perhaps I'll try that. Meanwhile, if anyone has suggestions, I'm open.
And, for my second recant of the day.....I need to soften my review of "Who What Wear" By Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ($18.95).
In a previous post (Gap jeans! "Who What Wear"! Hair powder!), I said you'd be better off saving your Benjamins and just subscribing to the authors' kickin' daily fashion/beauty e-mails instead (
Now that I've had it for a week and have examined it more thoroughly, I think it probably is worth getting as a supplement to the e-mails. It offers good tips on what to splurge on and what you ought to save on and suggested looks for specific occasions.
I still suggest looking through a copy first (I always like to give books a "test drive" before purchase) to make sure it's really what you want. I've passed on all the Lucky magazine books — and I adore the magazine — because to me, the books don't make sense. The monthly mags do the same thing and do it well. The whole point about fashion is that it's cyclical and changes. A book charting current trends isn't useful in a year or even six months from publication — if it's even still relevant when published. Which is why "Who What Wear" is useful — it offer guidelines on how you can pep up a timeless outfit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Losing it

Signs that I am officially losing it....
I inexplicably placed a glass jar of applesauce precariously on the top of the fridge. The minute unsuspecting husband opened the door, it came crashing down.
Then, this weekend, rather disastrous consequences ensued when I picked hair color based on food I like. Previously, this logic worked with "Chocolate Caramel." I thought I was safe with Garnier Nutrisse's "Truffle."
Now, I look like Professor Snape.
My right foot is still puffy and cranky like an alcoholic on a bender because of foot surgery. I can't wear anything other than a flip-flop. Yet, I keep buying shoes. I soooo desperately want to wear one of the, um, seven pairs that I've acquired while being unable to wear two shoes that I'm contemplating just slapping the post-surgical boot back on my right foot so I can at least wear a new shoe on leftie.
But perhaps the biggest, single sign that my mind is not long for this world....I'm obsessing over fur. Faux, of course. I really want this BB Dakota vest, I don't know why.
It's freakin' 90-plus degrees and will be through at least October and likely into November. I am no where near cool enough to pull of this look. If I wore it to school I'm afraid I'd look like that other crazy mothuh I've dubbed Day Time Hooker Mom. She regularly wears stilettos, a black long tank and leggings to drop her kid off. At 8:30 a.m. Perhaps that's unkind — the tank *does* cover her butt, so perhaps her career is more upscale. Like, an escort.
Of course, if I wore the fur, I'd still look like her pimp.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shopping with a vengence

Among the many things you shouldn't do when you're angry — shop.
Or, maybe you should.
Blind with fury, you don't see price tags or flaws, you just buy, buy, buy.
I hit La Encantada, a lovely outdoor mall here in Tucson, in a particularly bitter mood this weekend and did some damage at J. Crew and Anthropologie.
Of course, things will marinate with their price tags on while I mull over whether I really *need* another tee. Although this one with its chiffon flowers is just so darling. And versatile.
I'm probably about 3-5 pounds too big for these stretchy J Crew Minnie pants. But, I don't have anything else like them and I think with an appropriately badonkadonk-covering cardi, they'll be just fine.
As for the rosette tank....Well, my love of frilly rosettes has been documented (see previous posting "Everything's coming up...rosettes).
I'm sort of a shopping bulimic, so perhaps some — or all — will go back.
Haven't heard of that affliction? Well, it's a term I can't take credit for. That would be my editor Maria. But, it certainly describes me and how I shop. I buy like crazy in one big binge. Then, I feel guilty and return.
There's an incredibly satisfying feeling — maybe even more satisfying than when the original purchase is made — of relief that comes along with knowing that you can live without something. And, that allllll that money is going back onto the card.
For another day. Then, you get to do it all over again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shredded wear

This is (one of the many reasons) why I am not normal.....I had a pair of ripped jeans, I really, really liked them. Thought they looked super cute, but I couldn't bring myself to wear them.
I was afraid the rips would, well, get ripped and ruin the jeans.
Dumb, right?
And now I come across this incredibly cool, distressed Raw 7 cardigan made of shredded modal. You know that material is Charmin-soft — it looks so fine and gauzy. The approach is edgy yet sweet all rolled into one.
It's also more than $200, and I dunno, is it me but that just seems wrong to pay so much for something that's been partially destroyed.
AND if I did happen to wear something that expensive and it got snagged, I'd die. And not in the Rachel Zoe way.

Gap jeans! "Who What Wear"! Hair powder!

I'm sure I'll regret this next week, but what the heck — I'm blowing all my material right in one posting. We've got fashion, we've got books, even beauty products. A little somethin' for everyone.
Up first: Gap jeans.
Perhaps you've heard the buzz about the Gap's new 1969 Premium Jeans line. It's pretty much impossible not to. In interviews, designer Patrick Robinson flat-out calls them the best-fitting jeans in the world. Designers spent more than a year perfecting washes and cuts comparable to high-end denim and eliminating pesky problems like gap-y waistbands. All this, for less than $70.
Riiiiiight, I thought.
Nonetheless, I am a sucker for a smooth talker (and a new pair o' jeans). I wasted no time hitting the Web site when the jeans arrived last week.
Now, I do not need another pair of jeans. I have a pretty complete denim wardrobe (16-plus pairs). The one staple I'm missing — trouser jeans. I do have one pair from two years and 16 pounds ago, but they're a bit droopy in the drawers.
The Gap trouser jeans — which I got on sale for $40 — were unavailable here in Tucson, Ariz., so I decided to take a risk and buy 'em online.
They just arrived, and I have to say, Mr. Robinson was not just blowing smoke up our denim-wearing asses.
The jeans were made in Egypt and since the Egyptians know a thing or two about architectural splendor, I took this as a good sign.
The stretchy denim is thick with just enough give and lots of softness. There's nice detailing with a tab at the back and a different, large, brassy button above a teeny 2-inch zipper.
The rise is lower than I thought it would be and the slash front pockets sort of pooch out (probably because I could stand to lose a few more pounds), so I think those might need to be sewn shut. But this is a good pair of jeans, peeps. They feel substantial and well-made, and are the perfect deep shade of blue with some subtle fading. The jeans — as is true of all jeans — will need to be hemmed up a little. $40 was a steal.
Kristen's call: Give the Gap a chance.
"Who What Wear" By Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ($18.95)
One of my greatest failings — if not the biggest — is my complete lack of patience. So when I heard that Kerr and Power — the goddesses behind the brilliant style Web site — were coming out with a book, naturally I snapped it up as soon as it was available.
I should have waited.
Not that the book is bad, it's just not for me. It spends way too much time on the talky-talky, like how to find your personal style, how to find inspiration. Any fashion fiend already knows this stuff and just wants to get to the nitty gritty. The paperback really shines when it does what the Web site does best — highlighting outfits, pointing out how how to make something trendy versus classic and how to dress for specific occasions, everything from a daytime wedding to lounging on the weekend.
I think the hangup I have is that I paid money for something I can get for free daily on the Web. Quite frankly, I just like looking at purty pictures. The "Sex and the City" companion book to the movie was more my speed — snapshot after snapshot of great outfits. You don't need to have a lot of words in a fashion book — just let the clothes speak for themselves.
Kristen's call: Sign up for Who What Wear e-mails and regularly scour the well-done Web site.
Principessa hair powder
My hair is thin and fine. Anyone with hair likes this knows this means one thing: daily shampooing.
There are plenty of days I'd like to have that extra 45 minutes sprawled out in bed rather than diffusing and fluffing my hair into submission. Thanks to hair powder and a satin pillowcase, second-day hair is a new way of life.
I'd been using Oscar Blandi's hair powder. It was an impulse buy near the checkout at Sephora. The thin nozzle applicator does a good job of getting the powder right at the scalp where it does its business absorbing oil and making hair presentable for yet another day without extra effort. And, I was perfectly happy with it. But recently I discovered Principessa Bianco Breeze ($24), a hair and body powder.
This is the stuff.
The silky powder is even better at adding body and it has this lovely, freshly floral smell. Coming from me, this means something because I am part bloodhound and hate the smell of pretty much everything (that'll be a future posting. Try to contain your excitement).
Here's a little tip that I learned the hard way: Despite the spray of holes in the top of the container, you can't just open the top and shake it on your head. Your hair will be white. Not attractive when you have dark hair. Instead, sprinkle the powder into your hands AND THEN work it into the scalp.
My recipe for socially-acceptable second-day hair: Get yourself a satin or silk pillowcase to sleep on and Principessa powder. If your hair is really fine and thin, put the powder on before bedtime. I just get up, apply the powder, cover my hair with a shower cap and let the steam bring it all home.
Kristen's call: Principessa's powder is a must-buy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fashion Flash

Piperlime has a sneak peek at its new clothing. Even Rachel Zoe's already had her say on what's her fave.
Brands like Free People, Ella Moss and lower-priced but fabulous BB Dakota are some of the options.
Prices look OK, but you can't beat free shipping and free returns when it comes to clothing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bad case of lovin' you

Someone take my temperature.
I am not a jumpsuit person. Never have been. It was the threat of having to wear a school-issued, shapeless, blue jumpsuit in junior high that made me remember my PE clothes every day.
Aside from the worries of having a droopy butt and droopy crotch in a, ahem, romper, there's also the fear that I'd never get a one-piece outfit off in time if I have to pee. Mommies, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout.
So the fact that I'm drawn to this jumpsuit is......crazy.
Not only does this violate my personal no-romper rule, but it's strapless to boot! I am lacking two of the crucial anatomical items necessary to hold up such a fashion statement.
No, I attribute this suit's allure to two things: It's from the Daftbird line, and I loves the Daftbird (see July "I *heart* Daftbird posting). It's incredibly soft and well-cut. Secondly, the outfit's made of this crazy, cuddly poly-cotton-rayon blend that I adore. Adore. I would wrap myself from head to toe in that material, if I could. And actually, this is probably as close as I could get to that adult dream swaddle.

Weird obsession

I have this really weird obsession with...thumb holes.
Told you it was weird.
Thumb holes are perfection because you get soft snuggliness covering your hands but with the completely free and usable opposable thumb. It's fashion at its most brilliant.
For some reason, though, thumb holes are usually relegated to athletic hoodies. My first and only piece of clothing with built-in thumb holes is a decidedly non-chic, black Adidas hoodie.
I'm tempted to write C&C California a letter suggesting they cut a little hole into the sleeves. It would be the crowning touch to an incredibly soft, wear-everyday line.
I'm a busy gal, though, so I haven't done it.
Just for kicks today — because I'm sooooo wanting it to be cooler already although we still have at least another month of triple-digit temps — I set out to find things with thumb holes.
I found two pretty cute contenders. This bamboo hoodie wrap actually hits two obsessions (hoodies! thumb holes!) in one garment. But I love the ease and simplicity of this rayon top. Plus, it's nearly half the price. And I have a coupon code. C'mon new credit card cycle...Kick in! Kick in.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Everyone's a critic

So, my 9-year-old, after a summer of watching "What Not To Wear" with me nearly every night, has decided she's now a fashion expert. This, despite the fact that she's on a parent-imposed-two-for-$10-Old-Navy-budget.
This was my outfit today: awesome button-back Daftbird tee from (with a baby-pink cami beneath) and a Current/Elliott denim pencil skirt.
Pretty cute, right?
My daughter's response: "Uh, Mom, it looks like your shirt is on backwards."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rachel Rachel Roy

So inexplicably, I started receiving Teen Vogue. Far be it from me to dismiss a magazine just because I'm light years out of its demographic, so I started flipping through it.
And you know what? I liked it.
Really, the photos and trends pointed out in the magazine didn't skew too young. Sure, there was an article on battling acne (an awful, awful condition that strikes all ages), but mostly it seemed — to me — like it might be geared toward college-age women.
I have to thank Teen Vogue for making me aware of designer Rachel Roy's lower-priced line, which is available at Macy's. Rachel Rachel Roy is fresh, fun, and I MUST find the cute white T-shirt featured in Teen Vogue that has a built-in rhinestone necklace. So cool. Try as I might, I couldn't find a photo of it online.
The good news is that starting Aug. 26, you can buy her entire line on her Web site, Here's hoping that T-shirt shows up there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Identity Crisis

I'm so confused.
One day I'm an InStyle Trendsetter assigned to try out an old-lady moisturizer, and another day Teen Vogue arrives in the mail. With my name on it.
According to the label, my subscription just started.
I've been anxiously awaiting the September Vogue, so I'm not sure what this is all about. But, I have to say, I am happy to skew younger.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A new product review

My e-mail inbox overfloweth.
I can't turn down any free offer — I sign up for newsletters, alerts, everything. So naturally I signed on to be an InStyle trendsetter since I can't resist the opportunity to try new beauty products (my jampacked medicine cabinet will attest to that).
When my chance to test-drive a new moisturizer arrived, I was tickled.
Until the full-size product sample came in the mail.
InStyle thinks I'm old — it was Olay Definity Color Recapture, which "perfects skin tone layer by layer, helping you recapture youthful luminosity."
Translation: It hides your nasty brown age spots and Sharpei-like wrinkles.
I never felt so dejected after picking up the mail.
Still, a deal's a deal, so I dutifully applied the old fart cream to my face daily.
It's not a bad moisturizer, actually. The formula is very light and does leave skin dewy looking, which is a must when you're an elderly woman like myself.
Matte is only for the young.
My only beef is the limited colors — there are only three. So the moisturizer — which looks enticingly like chocolate and vanilla soft serve swirled together — can look like a mask if it doesn't match your skin tone. This was my problem. I ended up applying it very lightly and only in those areas where I needed a boost, and it did just fine.
Did it "recapture youthful luminosity"?
Meh. Plus, I now need to recapture my self-esteem.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Selling myself for fashion

Oh, the things I will do for money.
On vacation, I allowed myself to be pulled in an innertube behind a motorboat at an ungodly rate of speed — it had to have been at least 65 mph although my husband insisted it was more like 35 mph — because the spousal unit promised me a $250 spending spree.
Who wouldn't do it for that?
Minor whiplash and butt burn (dude, hitting the water is like slamming into concrete at high rates of speed) are small prices to pay for some yummy, ruffled, zipper-edged Pour La Victoire flats, among other goodies.
And then, I did something else undignified. I completely pimped myself for the chance at winning something free from Ever visit that Web site? It's pretty fab. Lots of great designers, very slick-looking photo shoots. I enjoy it quite a bit. Awhile back, I fell in love with a rosette bolero jacket — that cost more than $200 — so what did I do? Started making inane comments on the blog for the chance to win a $500 spending spree.
Well, got me again. This time I allowed photos of myself (gulp) to be posted and I talked about fashion....All for the chance at a free goodie.
It's a contest, and the more people who comment, the more likely you are to win. Check it out:
Please don't laugh. But, you could say something nice. :)
In the posting, I blathered about this super-cool Pleasure Doing Business bondage skirt. It's in the same vein as the Herve Leger skin-tight dresses. With its wide bands and rubberized fabric, that sucker would complete obliterate muffin top. But, who am I kidding? That is a date night skirt. I don't have date nights. I'm usually quasi-comatose by 9 p.m. In fact, on those very rare occasions when the hub and I go out, I fantasize about going to one of those by-the-hour motels — just to catch a nap. But the thought of those bedsheets skeeves me out.
So instead of the Pleasure Doing Business hot mamacita skirt, I opted for this Current/Elliott denim skirt. It's got that same vibe. But, with the longer length and tempered hoochiness, it's work appropriate.
Well worth the motorboat whiplash, I say.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A refreshing treat

It's hot.
Crazy hot — triple digit.
Now, I've endured these seventh-circle of hell summers every year since I was 6. So what makes it so hard to stand now? I just got back from San Diego. The thermometer never rose above 75. Seriously, if it weren't for the insanely tight and in short supply parking, I could do S.D. But, I failed the parallel part of my driving test. And, many, many years later, I haven't improved.
But, at least we can visit. And when we can't, we make watermelon juice. It's simple, delish and might actually be more refreshing than the fruit itself. Really.
You basically whir up watermelon cubes with water and add sugar to taste. The drink packs the taste of a heavy nectar but is thin, like juice. The top gets foamy and pulpy, and you can easily strain it, but I like the little bits. Sprinkle a touch of salt on top, and it's even better.
Try it.

Watermelon Juice
4-5 cups of cubed watermelon
5 cups of cold water
3 tablespoons (or more) sugar

First, put 2 cups of water in the blender. Add the watermelon. Whir it all up. Sprinkle the sugar; taste. I've added up to 1/4 cup of sugar — it just all depends on the sweetness of the melon.
Pour the puree into a pitcher along with the rest of the water. Serve with a light dusting of salt and enjoy. Pretend you're on vacation somewhere cool.

You know you're getting old when..... see a commercial for a MINI VAN on TV and say aloud, "Ooooooh" the way you used to appreciate Porsches. utter — more than once — "BECAUSE I SAID SO!"'re on vacation by the beach and people are partying and you just want to shout at them to shut up.....and it's 10 p.m.
....the arrival of the new, 60-gallon recycling bin makes you giddy. can no longer decipher song lyrics to the music the kids are listening to. But, in my defense, the Jonas brothers do kinda slur their words.
....granny panties start looking pretty darn comfortable.

I *don't* DIE

Ah, Rachel Zoe. She's kind of like the Omarosa of Fashion Apprentice. Or, the Richard of Fashion Survivor.
You get my drift — you don't really like her, yet you're still drawn to her. You have to appreciate her talent — Rachel does know how to put an outfit together. But I think I would hurt myself if I had to listen to her every day. Which is the hangup I have with her new e-mail newsletter — I hear her in my head as I read it.
Talk about bananas.
So, anyway, the newsletter. I started subscribing when I heard she had it, and she recently highlighted designer Raquel Allegra, who takes recycling to a whole new, weird level. I'm all for recycling — canvas bags litter my car, so I don't have to kill any plastic trees when I shop. I love Vy & Elle, a Tucson-based company that creates chic bags and totes and accessories from recycled vinyl billboards. But, I can't get onboard with Allegra's recycling. You see, she uses cast-off shirts from the L.A. county jail.
I don't care if it's been dyed and shredded and completely unrecognizable as jailwear, I would always be wondering if some suspected killer or rapist had just been wearing the very shirt I had paid more than $200. Naturally, I'm speaking in the hypothetical because I would never own something that had come out of the prison system OR that cost that much and was only a T-shirt.
Now, if a portion of the proceeds benefited victims' families, that might be a different story. But, it would still skeeve me out.