Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Holes in My Head

My girls got their ears pierced this weekend. In a wacky, midlife crisis-like move, I got two extra piercings in my left ear. A few extra ear holes seemed like a better, less messy option than a hole in my head, which is what I felt like doing. Yes, it was a tough weekend.

For now the bonus holes are plugged with mini cz studs out of the starter earring box. But when I can wear what I want, I'm so putting in one of these darling cupcake stud earrings that I found on Etsy by CatherineMarissa.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hoodies Rock!

If there's anything I've learned from watching "What Not To Wear," it's that there is such a thing as too many hoodies.

That, plus it's pronounced "OM pyr" waist and not EM-pire. Did you know that? I sure didn't. Of course, I used to pronounce khaki "cocky" when I was in seventh grade, too.

But back to hoodies. I so love them. I love how throwing one over a silky, ruffled blouse instantly tones the fancy shirt down to appropriate Tucson wear. I love how they look with dressy, Anthropologie-esque skirts. J Crew does it best with its many hoodie incarnations — from sherpa to lightweight cotton to cashmere — pairing them beneath suit jackets or long pearl necklaces.

If a person can have two achilles heels, then one of mine would be for hoodies. The other, of course, is shoes.

What's worse still about my hoodie habit is that I'm gravitating toward expensive ones. Isn't that so wrong? Something noted for comfort and casualness costing in excess of $150? Insane.

Yet, I adore this Mike & Chris hoodie. The brand, known for its freakishly-overpriced, crazy-casual clothes added ruffles. What a great feminine touch to a unisex clothing item.

Haute Hippie threw in ruching on the front and sleeves of this hoodie. Love, love, love. It's whimsical and fun and — I feel dirty even just typing in such a price tag — $215. The MC hoodie, compared to that, is a bargain at $176. Now, that's just obscene. You could buy about 5 laptops for kids in third-world countries for that money. So, they won't be migrating into my closet any time soon. But if there's ever a 95-percent off sale, all deals are off.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ahhhh, a new credit card cycle

This is so bad — I'm only a week into the new credit card cycle and I already have to cut myself off. I'm not over-budget (yet), but I do want a bit o' wiggle room in case something I desperately need becomes evident.

This month, most of the damage was done at Stems — A Shoe Boutique on fabulous shoes of all heights. My surgically repaired foot is feeling good and the swelling's down. Obviously.

These Stuart Weitzman "Phoenix" shoes are teeteringly high, but thanks to the platform, I can walk. I wore them all day at work Friday and neither tootsie was barking.

My sensible purchase was a pair of these Ugg flats. They've got the cuddly-soft sheepskin on the bottom. After I'm done with this posting, I'm so going to Google Tucson's weather forecast for the week. It's got to drop below 100. It MUST. NOW. Because I so want to wear these.

And because two pairs is never enough, I got these Betseyville wedges. The purple patent just pops (say that three times fast). The oversized buckle is a touch witchie-poo in a good way. The mirrored wedge is just plain cool.

I bought this dress from From T by Alexander Wang, it's made of rayon so it just slides right on. Sadly, my badonkadonk is bigger than this model's, so the dress doesn't quite have the same slouchy drape, but I still think I can pull it off. I'm going to layer it over bright, cami-strapped athletic-type bras for a shock of color. But I really want to winterize it with black motorcycle boots and a grandpa cardigan over it (that'll camoflage the butt n' hips).

And, for my last unnecessary purchase — this metallic tank. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it does have a lovely metallic sheen. I missed out on some similar J. Crew molten tanks because they sold out so quickly. This Free People one I might like even better because of that ice-blue color.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fur! Motorcycle jacket!

Two words: Holy crap.

Another two words: Fur moto.

This Saks e-mail just found its way to my crowded in-box. The black moto jacket on the far left happens to be real (and spectacular).

I don't believe in wearing the real deal. But if I could find a faux fur moto, I think I'd snap up that sucker like a towel in a men's locker room.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Shoe Haiku

Brown and bodacious
New Stuart Weitzman sandals
Will they kill my feet?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When Mom Jeans Try To Be Cool

These are called Not Your Daughter's Jeans. Which is just a long name for Mom Jeans.

All the high-end stores are selling 'em, and Neiman is marketing them as cool and fashion-forward.

I'm sorry, but they're sooo not. See that not-in-a-good-trendy-way high waist? That's the same cut you'd find on $20 Wal-Mart jeans. And when the 98-pound, 6-foot-tall model wearing them still looks dowdy, there is no hope for us regular-size folk.

Thanks, but I'll stick to my low-rise jeans and just keep sucking in the gut.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making Scents

When I was little, my favorite thing ever was when the Avon lady came to visit. She'd bring a tote bag filled with new things for my mom to try. Naturally, I was right there in the mix, sniffing and trying on lotions.

What I really adored, though, was the perfume in those darling decanters. One Christmas, I received a kitty perfume container. Her white, plastic head had a pink bow, and she wore a white shirt. Her swirling blue skirt was ceramic. You unscrewed the top half of her body and inside was a girlish, flowery scent.

By the time I was in high school, I'd progressed to Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers. Then, I switched to Calvin Klein's Eternity. I happily wore perfume for years. But something happened after I got pregnant with my first child. Perfume became my enemy.

Now, I've always been sensitive to smells but it reached police-dog levels 10 years ago. My sense of smell was like a super power. (Wow — what would that costume look like? Big nose? Green uniform?) It's stayed with me. When I was pregnant with my second child, I actually wore a full-on respirator to change No.1's diaper.

These days, strong perfume or aftershave sends me over the edge. If someone hugs me, I smell the perfume for hours. The first thing I do when one of my magazines arrives is rip out all the scented pages.

Just a few days ago, this woman sat down next to me. If I had to guess, I'd say she owned three dogs — and that none of them had been bathed in at least a year. I moved.

So, fragrance is not my friend. But I sooooo want to be BFFs with something. I need a signature scent.

The Philosophy Grace scents were my go-to for awhile. They're quite light and fresh. I adored Baby Grace. But, once again, for some reason, I turned on it. I still enjoy Pure Grace, which has a light, soap-and-water clean scent, but not as much as I used to.

My dream fragrance would be like warm clothes pulled right from the dryer. Sheets hanging on a clothesline, drying in the warm sun. A freshly washed face. A just-opened bar of milky-white soap. The grass after a sprinkling of rain.

I think there's something perfect out there. I think I even know what it is. Clean — the fragrance line known for its, well, clean scents — has something new called Simply Soap. I tracked it down at Sephora, but would you believe it had just arrived and Mr. Unhelpful Sales Guy wouldn't open the bottle for a whiff? Seems only two boxes had arrived. Not enough to make one a tester. Phooey.

So, I'm still sniffing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hello, Luvah!

I wandered into a JC Penney today — very, very unusual behavior. The last time I set foot in one was to exchange towels I got for my wedding. Fourteen years ago.

This time, it was to scout a coat. A leopard print coat. My lust for leopard has reached obsession-worthy heights. I've NEEDED a coat for weeks now. Never mind that today's temp clocked in at 96 degrees. I've scoured the Internet and poked around the mall. I found a few contenders, but it's a tricky thing to do cute, faux leopard. More often it's cheap looking or matronly. Hard to say which is worse.

Then my eagle-eyed friend who specializes in helping other people spend money found this dreamy coat in the JC Penney flier.

Hello, luvah.

Moral debate over fur aside, it's just impossible that something this soft could be naturally occurring in nature. Something so sinful can only be manmade. The wide collar and three-quarter sleeves are perfect touches.

And, I only paid $40.

Technically, it was $79.99 (on sale), but i had $46 in cash so only $40 is showing up on the credit card statement. Oh stop — let she who has never done creative accounting cast the first stone.

Oh, and note to the IRS — I do not do the family taxes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Perfect Eyelid Primer

I have amazingly oily eyelids. Eyeshadow slides right off or else just melts into the crease. A lovely look. Usually this happens after about, oh, 45 seconds after I apply shadow.

I tested several different products, but nothing could help. While standing in front of this lid primer in a mini genie bottle at Sephora, a nice sales guy asked me if I needed any help. I told him my problem, and he led me away from the genie bottle to Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer. "This," he said, "will work."
Since Sephora has such a liberal return policy, I plucked it from his hands and marched to the register.
Dude knows his greasy lids.
The primer is creamy, similar to foundation and about the same color. It has a Q-tip-like stick, which I use to dab it on. Then I use a small, stiff makeup brush to blend it all over my lids. Next comes the shadow. The primer disappears beneath and turns my shadow smudge-free.
Love it.
You can pick up your own primer at Sephora for $20.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cool Find

I know, I know, it's still hideously hot out there. But, where I sit on the couch at night to watch TV is directly beneath the air conditioning vent. So I get a little chilly while "The Daily Show" is on.

Luckily, I just found this at Costco, land of the crazy-scary parking lot (on the east side anyway) and impulse bulk buys.

Despite the cute picture on the front, no actual lambies were harmed in the making of this reversible throw — it's all polyester, baby. I tell ya, I would never wear polyester clothes but this treatment of the faux fiber is sinfully, amazingly cuddly. One side is wooly softness and the other is plushy sleekness. Years ago, I fell in love with a Little Giraffe baby blanket. It was painfully expensive and about as big as a washcloth, so it wasn't mean to be. The softness of this throw totally kicks that throw's ass.

And, it's only $19. It's not even $20! If you're looking for something for snuggle in during TV watching, or you're stocking up on Christmas gifts early (Do it! Do it! You'll be so glad you did), this is exactly what you need. The throw comes in maroon, navy and sage green.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fun

Shoe Haiku

Oh, wondrous plaid pumps
They say "fall" and "hot cocoa."
Hurry, fall! Hurry.

Who Wears It Better
Lady Gaga and Miss Piggy show up wearing the same Marc Jacobs dress. Call me crazy but I think the pig in the fancy blanket wins.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A New Addiction

Darrell Lea's chocolate-covered licorice is possibly the most addictive thing since crystal meth. About as good for your teeth, too.

This sinful little confection from the land down under features a thick rope of strawberry flavored "liquorice" as the Aussies spell it. A thin, crackly dark-chocolate coating smothers the licorice hunk.

Each two-bite piece bite is chewy, sweet and creamy from the chocolate. It's a little drop of heaven, I tell ya.

You can pick up a package at Cost Plus World Market for $2.99. Go on — do it. All the cool kids are doing it.

And, I'll see ya in the 12-step program next week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rediscovering Express

After dismissing Express years ago as a hoochie hell-hole, I'm reconsidering.
Naturally the basis of my change-of-heart was a coupon.
A week ago, (bookmark it!) posted an amazing Express coupon — $10 off $20 or $25 off $50. That got me to snooping around the site, and I liked what I saw.
There's still a pretty high hooch factor, but tops and dresses are way more tastefully done than at, say, Guess, which — in my opinion — is Frederick's of Hollywood Lite.
Express offers a lot of fun tops in prints that offer a bit of tasteful flash, like this snakeskin tank. It's hard to tell onscreen, but the reptile print is nicely done and has a bit of metallic sheen. And if you haven't heard, snakeskin/reptile is the hot fall version of the animal print craze.
Sequins are popping up everywhere, and this tank isn't too Liberace. It's not clingy and could easily be toned down beneath a cardi or work as a casual date-night top. For those of you who actually have date nights.
I'm not sure if I love the "editor" pants for the name or the actual clothing item itself. I've tried them on and they're quite flattering. They also come in a wide range of material.
Express, I'm sorry I misjudged you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Recessionista Tip

Contrary to what my husband thinks, I do try to save money. I do.
Here's my latest sneaky trick. These fabric-y, elastic-type hair ties are all the rage. They do work really well and are more gentle on hair than the usual ponytail holders.
When Target launched its Shop Intuition stuff, including tie-dye headbands, I snapped up a set of three for $3. You can still find them in stores. They kinda suck as headbands — didn't stay in place when I wore them. So, I cut each one into two pony tail holders and knotted the ends. There ya have it — EXACTLY like the ones you can buy online for $10 a pack (plus shipping) but infinitely cheaper. And, you know what that means — mo' money for other shopping.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall Fun

Fall is in the mall, in the magazines, everywhere but our toasty, humid air. Ugh.
And speaking of Uggs, is there any surer sign that cooler weather is coming (please, oh please) than when a new bumper-crop of cuddly footwear arrives?
Now I can appreciate the extreme coziness and comfort of those moon boot-looking Uggs. But I don't like 'em for my own feet. So I'm happy to see several of this season's boots and shoes look oh-so-sleek.
Stems-A Shoe Boutique just got in a bunch of cute stuff. Topping my wish list: these skimmers with a metallic toe that adds a fun contrast and a bit of dressiness to an otherwise plain flat.
The Highkoo boots can be slouched and buttoned. Too cute.
But what I'd really, really, really love to find is this awesome suede-shearling wrap jacket. Despite my best 10 minutes of effort, I couldn't turn it up anywhere online. So, I scanned it from this month's Glamour magazine. For added authenticity, I included the rolled up part of the facing page. I didn't do that just because I have fewer computer skills than my 7-year-old. Really.
I s'pose it's just as well that I can't find that coat. Based on the prices of old Uggs jackets ($1,000, $500), it would be in the Paris Hilton price range not the poor journalist on a budget range.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Online Cruising

I spend an embarrassing amount of time online. Only 10 percent is spent trolling, soaking up tawdy celebrity gossip. The rest, my pretties, is allllll about the shopping. Or, at the very least, screen shopping.
So, it seemed like an extreme selfless act of humanity to share with everyone places I — no exaggeration — visit everyday. Who am I to hog such wonderful sites that make for great time sucking:

Elle magazine's shoe blog. Sometimes the shoes are as high-end as Givenchy; other times they came from Target. But, the photos of Elle staffers' kicks are always a well-shot treat. On at least on occasion, I feel so hard for a pair of Calvin Klein platform sandals that I spent a significant amount of time hunting them down. I found them. Oh yes, I found them and made them mine....Before returning them because they were too darn high. This is my top shopping site. Free shipping, free returns (I'm a sucka for the free ship) and a mindblowing number of brands are available on this site. Most of my wardrobe has come from here. Mondays and Wednesdays are the best days to look 'cuz that's when new stuff is posted. Another reason to love Revolve is that it lets you use discount codes on sale items. I have robbed them on more than one occasion because of this nicety. This Seattle-based boutique has a smaller selection, but I've raved before about the amazing customer service and that's what keeps me coming back time and time again. That, plus a great selection of private-label scarves that are very reasonably priced and my favorite Daftbird basics. Plus, there's free shipping. Swayandcake has good sales.
Stylenotes. This site lists the most updated sales and discounts (for bricks-and-mortar stores, too). If I find something I like, I never pull the trigger until I look here first and make sure I didn't miss a special. This is another must-visit site before you buy anything. Just type in the name of your shopping site, and you'll see if there's a coupon. What's nice is that people can post comments as to how reliable the coupon is. Yet another site that has a forum for posting special deals and discount codes around the Web along with a listing of sites that offer discounts. Perhaps the ultimate time suck. I could spend hours pouring over the in-house blogs (my faves: Shopgirl and the Beauty Department) and also its style and advice section, which offers both a cute staffer-of-the-day outfit along with "Fashion Copycat," which showcases a stylish chick whose look you can copy. Lucky also posts deal-of-the-day finds along with discount codes.
Fashiontoast. Rumi is a well-respected fashion blogger. How respected? Well, she gets flown out to exotic locales at designers' expense and was recently featured in Lucky magazine, which is how I first heard of her. Her photog-boyfriend snaps all the pictures. And, while I marvel at her ego, she does know how to put together a cool outfit. Even more, much of it is thrifted clothing, which is always amazing to me since I don't have the time or patience to root out gems in second-hand stores. She has a companion site, Shoptoast, where you can buy the the very things you see online. So, she's pretty and wicked smart.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wonder bra — for cheap!

So the other day I hit Forever XXI in search of a crystal bracelet that's an exact replica of an Ann Taylor one I really, really want. The AT bracelet: $85. Forever bracelet: $12.80. The additional shopping I could do with that money: Well, there's an exact dollar amount, but my math skills aren't that sharp so I'm gonna go with priceless.
Stretchy crystal bracelet was nowhere to be found, but I stumbled across this athletic-type bra instead.
Most pull-on athletic bras smoosh your boobs into nothingness, and I don't have that much to begin with. Anyone else ever receive this as a gift: A T-shirt reading "Objects beneath this shirt are larger than they appear"?
This stretchy bra has built-in cups that aren't super-padded like most of the bras from Victoria's Secret bras. I don't even need to be *in* one of those bras — I could just send it out without me.
Not only is the F21 bra extremely comfortable and offers some shape for those of us who are less-endowed, it's also $4.50. Yes, you read right — $4.50. I'll take one in every color, please.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Shoe Haiku

A pop of color!
Orange is so happy and fun,
Sunny shoes for feet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stuff I Just Don't Get

There's a lot I don't understand in life — all forms of math, football, why junior high girls are so mean.
That's just for starters. Here are some other things that have been puzzling me of late:
• Harem pants. Really? Who looks cool in these. I think designers are messing with us...again. Notice how "harem" rhymes with "scare 'em"?
• Puffer vests. The everlasting image I have of them — no matter how much J Crew does to tweak them and make 'em hip — is Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future."
• Nicole Richie. Seriously — why does she show up everywhere? And, while I conceded she may be wearing a cool outfit, she always looks hungry. Like she'd eat a donkey in one sitting.
• Jon and Kate Gosselin. If we ignore them, they will go away. I swear. Then, perhaps, maybe their kids — in private — can get on to dealing with two incredibly selfish parents.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Side Tails

That off-kilter look is popping up all over.
Asymmetrical tees, I s'pose, are infinitely better than asymmetrical hair, which also seems to be resurfacing. The most popular ones are from LnA and Splendid. You'll find 'em tank style, long-sleeved and everything in-between.
I'm trying to decide if I love.
• Hides the hips (a definite must with skinny jeans, which are even skinnier for fall)
• Easy-fitting and comfortable
• It can look a bit too Stevie Nicks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Perhaps it's my entry into a new demographic (late 30s, gulp, = cougar country) that has me lusting after animal prints. But, cougars are in, right? I mean, there's that new Courteney Cox "Cougar Town" show that's supposed to debut this fall about older chicks on the hunt for young meat.
Well, I choose to think this *is* cool.
All the online sights are crawling with animal prints. It's so hard to tell if they'll really look that cute, though. Faux fur leopard prints are becoming an obsession, but can anyone who isn't Sienna Miller wear it?
After ogling stuff on Spiegel and Forever 21, it seemed that the best (read: not cheap looking) leopard print was at Express.
This cardi is darling, but I decided the wide-strapped tank — at $29.50 — would not only satisfy those animal cravings, but would be able to be toned down with a nice cardi. You know, so I don't actually look like I'm on the prowl.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Work Is Never Done my kitchen.
I remember once my husband commenting — years ago — on the filthy mess piled high on our counter and saying he hadn't seen anything that bad since "Cops."
Well, this mess is even worse.
And, he's off to Denver for a mancation. Second trip in as many weeks. I am left to deal with this. Since it's 7:30 in the morning, and two of the three children still need to get off to school, cleaning up this mess is probably how I'll be spending my Friday night.
And, he wonders why I shop.

Friday Shoe Haiku

Oh, how I love shoes!
Flat ones, teeteringly tall
Right foot must improve!

Thought it would be fun to highlight shoes from my bottomless closet. I haven't specifically counted them up, but I'm guessing there are more than 100 pairs.
These are the most ha-cha-cha shoes I own. They're Michael Michael Kors "Brookville," and I bought them at Stems earlier this year.
Despite the crazy tall heel, I can walk in them. Normally, when I slip into anything with more than a 2-inch heel, I lurch around like a baby just starting to walk....who's had about three beers. But, the sturdy platform and thicker heel mean even a klutzo like me can stay upright.
I miss them.
I'm hoping that in another month the swelling from foot surgery will finally be all gone, and I can abandon flip-flops and enjoy my vast shoedrobe.
Here's looking at shoe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Random musings

From the Joys of Parenting File...
Recent exchange between me and 9-year-old:
Me: "Will you please do me a favor and throw some socks in the wash?"
Her: "Am I getting paid*?"
(*This summer, she earned $2.50 a load in her quest for a Nintendo DSI.)
Me: "Sure! You get the same amount that I earn for doing stuff around the house — nothing."

From the Watch Your Wallet File...
If you're trying to be good (i.e., not spend any monies), don't look at the Anthropologie Web site. I recently cruised through and saw at least six things that I NEED. Dangerous.
I think part of it might be fueled by the fact that the free shipping promo the store's had this summer is rapidly coming to an end.
Must.....stay.....strong. Especially since I just bought this Young Fabulous & Broke dress. It has a hoodie! I'm powerless to resist the hoodie.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Homeless camp fashion

No exaggeration — my husband, oldest child and I did about seven loads of laundry this weekend. Seven. All kids' clothing. When you have three rug rats running around, you end up with a lot of dirty duds.
How we managed to do that much laundry and not have washed a single pair of socks, I do not know. But, that was the situation yesterday.
Middle Child was in a frenzy trying to find socks. I pilfered a yellow pair from her older sister's drawer. They were not good enough — probably because they matched.
As we walked out the door for school, I looked down and she was wearing one hot-pink Hello Kitty sock and one, ultra-fuzzy, should-be-confined-to-the-house slipper sock.
Now, Middle Child goes to a school where the mommies wear the latest Tory Burch flats. Little girls skip to school with ribbons tied in their hair to match their clothes.
Middle Child looks like she just rolled out of the homeless camp.
My husband — the human Garanimal — tries his best to offer up tops and pants that actually go together.
I, on the other hand, have given up. Yes, it's ironic, isn't it? Part of my day job is writing about fashion and beauty.
Whatev. I'm tired and have little fight left in me. If it gets me out of the house 10 minutes quicker — and gives me a chance to chronicle outfits that will be a huge source of embarrassment to the offspring about 5 years down the road — then I'll let my kids look homeless.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guilty confession

Some things are just hard to admit.
But sometimes, you just have to suck it up for the greater good. So, here goes: I'm going to confess that I bought a lip balm. It cost $22.50.
I know that's horrible, awful, ridiculous. But, in my defense, I was having a crummy day and needed a pick me up and who among us, shopper girls, has not purchased something wildly, inappropriately overpriced because it made us feel good? It's not like I bought a Maserati, right? So, please don't judge me. And this frivolous purchase has a happy ending — it's one killer lip balm.
Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment has a very soft cherry-ish tint, so it deposits almost imperceptible color but it does leave a nice sheen. The stuff's not overly glossy, just gives your pucker a flattering, just-licked-your-lips look. But its main schtick is to be a moisturizing treatment and that it does quite well. I could argue that this was a must-buy because despite all my heavy, gloppy assorted balms and goos, I still had dry-enough lips that my MALE dentist told me I needed to do something about them.
That's pretty harsh coming from a guy.
Well, the Fresh lasts long enough that my lips feel hydrated for hours. So, I guess I could argue that this is like a medical prescription because it's solved my flaky lip skin problem. Hmm, wonder if it's an insurance write-off?