Friday, December 31, 2010
Used to be on New Year's Eve — in the old days — I'd buy a new dress, strap on snappy shoes and go out.
Now, I'm just old.
New Year's is a special time for the hub and me, it's when we started officially dating. We would make special dinner plans and then hit our friends' rockin' party, always a crazy, good time. Back in 1999, when I was hugely pregnant and we begged off that year's shindig, party guests streaked through the streets of their affluent neighborhood. Everyone's thankful I missed that one.
This year, we're stayin' in. Again.
Friends are coming over with freshly-made tamales, and we're having game night with the new XBox 360 Kinect. Instead of the snappy B. Makowsky wedges, I'll be wearing these scruffy, fuzzy Steve Madden slippers.
Happy, happy, safe New Year to all of you in Bloggerland! Have a good one. See you next year.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
As a general rule, I don't do the resolution thing.
Making them only sets up failure. And, who wants to stress themselves out trying to reach difficult, maybe even unobtainable, resolutions in a fresh, new year full of potential. Instead, I keep my expectations low. It's a good way to be surprised. (This also works in parenting, and with the job.)
Is it painfully obvious that in the past I never met my weight-loss goal?
This year, I decided my frivolous, unapologetically shopping-centered aim for 2011 would be to acquire something Alexander Wang. Does it still count if I met this before 2010 came to a close?
Behold my new AW trench.
Because I am superstitious (and more than a little neurotic), I was sure I would be punished (in some way or another) when I saw Tobi.com's amazing sale and sat at the computer. On Christmas day. And shopped.
It was final sale, meaning than 90 percent off or not, I was stuck with it. I hoped that participating in such rampant selfish consumerism wouldn't sentence me to a beautiful coat that pinched my shoulders. It doesn't. The trench looks great, feels great and arrived just in time for a cold snap.
Here's to a new year filled with many, many shopping successes, no matter what you desire. ;)
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Floor-sweeping dresses always look so cool — on other people.
I mean, look at that chick on the upper right-hand side in the Who What Wear Daily post. She looks amazing in that brown maxi and cargo jacket — chic, effortless. When I slip on a long dress I feel like....a dork — or worse, like a fifth-tier wife from a polygamist Mormon sect.
Why can't I pull this off? Maybe it's because I'm not tall enough?
This H&M cotton, racerback dress is fun and so easy-to-wear. Maybe I'd feel better if it were shorter, say mid-calf length? Perhaps I just need to come to terms with the fact that I ain't a long-dress girl.
Outfit: Current/Elliott hooded denim jacket; H&M dress; Forever XXI cami; Target necklace; Michael Kors slip-on clogs.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
"Hey," my sister-in-law said above the oversugared chaos of Christmas No. 4, "are you wearing earrings or did you just put on stickers?"
These Gorjana stars do look eerily like the gold stars I used to accumulate on a regular basis in elementary school.
Simple and just the right size, they add the perfect finishing touch of superiority, dontchathink?
The gold version seems to be sold out on a few different sites, but Piperlime still has silver for $35. And, you know, silver's good, too.
Monday, December 27, 2010
And when I type "chill," I'm referring to feeling laid-back rather than the literal interpretation — not possible when it's in the toasty 70s. Seriously, where is December? This has been an unseasonably warm winter. I've had enough now. I have some seriously cute jackets that need to be worn and appreciated.
Outfit: Line drapey-pocket sweater, which probably does my hips no favors but I do love pockets; Express cami; cheapola scarf; jeggings; Blissful Epiphany necklace; Simple "Carousel" flats.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Hope your holiday was joyous, whether you celebrate Christmas — or feats of strength (a la Festivus).
Here at Some Hot Dishes Central, we had a sunny, good day with lots of laughs, off-key singing, quality family time and more gifts that we probably deserved (I could have sworn at least one of my children's names was Sharpied onto the Naughty List).
When you write and care about fashion, well, it's only right that your accessories should be properly accessorized. This leopard-print cover is what all the chic iPads are wearing these days. I got all googly-eyed after spying the calf-hair cover in Neiman Marcus' gift guide recently, and Hubby went above and beyond, including calling around and actually meeting up with a Fed Ex driver AND returning a previously purchased Etch-A-Stetch cover, to make sure this out-of-stock gift made it under the tree on time. What a guy.
And yes, those are serious fingerprints across the iPad screen. I am officially embarrassed. On the upside, I now have a name for the iPad — Smudge. We like to name our technology around here. We have a used iPod named Lorenzo that was recently acquired. The name was etched onto the back with, like, a knife — Apple didn't do it. But, it's way more fun to say "Where's Lorenzo?" than "Where's the blue iPod?"
Also, meet Alex, a holiday arrival (and a much, much better one than the year guinea pigs joined the fam). You may remember the cool, sanitary water bottle from a previous blog posting. Hubby did. Good job, Joe!
Only four people regularly read Some Hot Dishes on a regular basis but when one of 'em is the guy who buys you presents for all the requisite holidays, that's a very good thing.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
We've already established a distinct lack of formalness here in the not-so-wild West. That holds true, even for holidays. And quite frankly, I'm OK with that.
And so, I present, a most merry, mellow holiday outfit.
What I'm wearing: Line blanket cardi; Nation LTD v-neck; Fins jeans (the extreme '70s flare updated by the magical tailor); Daniblack Swiss clogs.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas is coming,
And the shoes are getting flat
So pleased are my feet.
Shoe n' Tell: I love Me Too flats so much that this is actually my fourth — and most festive — pair. Plus, I have two more of the peep-toe slingback version.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Hey, so did you know that the scent of orange blossom is supposed to be a mood lifter? A natural antidepressant?
Yeah, me neither. But I read that somewhere and now that I'm using John Masters Organics, I believe it.
The citrus and neroli detangler ($16) smells subtlely of grapefruit and neroli (the cool name for orange blossom). You can either use it as a rinse-out conditioner or leave it in, which I like to do. It's light enough that the potion doesn't weigh down fine hair.
The sweet orange and silk protein styling gel ($17.50) has a positively intoxicating scent. This one is really orange-y — it smells like sunshine and spring. Just one whiff makes me feel calmer and happier. I actually do sometimes open the lid on the bottle just to huff it. In fact, I think I could use a hit right now.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So the holidays are crazy and stressful enough. Now imagine having a birthday smack before Christmas.
Middle Child does. Today. She turns 9.
She was supposed to be a New Year's baby but popped out early, much to my husband's delight. "Tax deduction!" was what was on his brain. Can you tell he doesn't have to plan the birthday parties during the most hectic time of the year and when a lot of classmates leave town?
Interestingly, all the adults clucked their tongues and lamented the fact that her birthday is so close to Christmas. I figure, it's all how you spin it. So far, she doesn't feel the least bit slighted.
Her birthday is the prelude to the Big Day. It's the happiest, most exciting time of the year for the kids, and the other two practically turn Hulk green — they're so jealous that Middle Child's birthday is close to their favorite holiday.
These photos sum her up best: devilish, exuberant. Can you tell that she got ahold of the camera for that second shot?
She's a tough one, definitely lives up to her birth order. She has a lot of challenges, so consequently, so do all of us. A friend once described her as being like lightning because she's got such an electric personality. She adds such a charge to a room. That's the image of her I hold closest to my heart.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Is there any cooler trend than moto?
Well, if there is, I can't think of it. Motorcycle-inspired jackets and vests add a touch of coolness and edge to even the girliest of outfits. They work with dresses, boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans. The best part — moto never looks over-the-top. Anyone can pull it off unlike, say, socks with sandals, which should really be relegated to J Crew catalogs alone.
Well, here's an inspired take on the motorcycle look — a dress. This BB Dakota Claudia frock ($52) is loaded with zippers and made of rayon, so it'll drape beautifully. It's a winner.
Monday, December 20, 2010
This old, old commercial for Tootsie Pops featured a hooty owl asking "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?"
The answer was three because he just chomped into it at that point. This outfit makes me think of that ad — how many layers does it take to get to the center of Kristen?
What I'm wearing: Forever XXI blue cami bra top; Frenzii slip dress with a Target $4 special over it; random zebra scarf; Gap hooded sweater; fleece-lined Plush leggings; Target bamboo socks; Stuart Weitzman boots.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
William Rast for Target collection summed up in a word: "Meh."
So, about on-par with 95 percent of the other designer collaborations.
Amazingly, our lame (said with the utmost love and respect — and honesty) Target had some pieces. The past few times I've been interested in things and have called, the sales associates haven't even known what I was talking about. Cynthia Vincent's line arrived about a month after its debut and only select flats, relegated to a small end-cap. See? Lame.
Anyway, the pieces highlighted in magazines had promise. I was intrigued by the $29 tanks that looked sueded and had shimmery embellishments. IRL? The worst of the worst shiny poly. All the tanks looked like they belonged on a Ross clearance rack.
This vest had potential, but the zipper was quite sticky. It won't hold up. The twill jacket also looked cool but c'mon, $45? This is how the discount retailers screw themselves. We want stuff that's inexpensive. You just can't charge more than $35 at stores like Target and Walmart and expect people to bite. Well, at least not this person. I have a much cuter, similar jacket purchased at Wet Seal for $20.
Granted, most of the stuff that had the most potential — the leather jackets and the tuxedo jacket with lace-up sleeves — were MIA. Still, I'm passing on this — even once it hits the clearance rack.
Apparently Hello Kitty likes to get her drink on.
The adorable cat is now hawking wine. Yup, wine. Check it out — rose, sparkling, red, white. I guess I shouldn't make too much fun. After all at 50, she's nothing if not legal.
Someone needs to teach her a lesson about overexposure, though.
First there was the Doc Martens collaboration, now this wine thing and Sephora has a limited edition HK launch for beauty insiders that ends today. It hits stores and online for steerage (everyone else) next month.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
A favorite pastime in my house is "For My Birthday."
It's a really annoying game that goes something like this: "For my birthday, I want to go to Golf n' Stuff!" "For my birthday, I want a crayon box cake!" "For my birthday, I want a bowling party!"
This game is even worse than Monopoly. And, I really don't like Monopoly.
My biggest hang-up is that it starts immediately after a birthday, so for months you listen to these different demands. Things change on a weekly, daily, even hourly basis. It's positively dizzying to try and keep up with all the party planning.
Well, Middle Child's birthday party is up. You can imagine how "For my Birthday" has hit a fevered pitch. The guest list has been particularly trying since her Third Grade Shit List is under constant revision.
Awhile back, though, she was thumbing through a kids' cake book and pointed out what she wanted — poofy-skirted, individual Barbies. The skirt was made of cake and a plastic Barbie, her modesty protected by sugary frosting, topped the whole thing off. I'll bet Hugh Hefner had them at his last party.
Well, I remembered this little tidbit — and how my own mom had made these fanciful ladies for one of my birthdays — and so I rounded up Barbie picks from two different stores, uncovered icing bags and tips, all that good stuff. Then Middle Child says — just a few days ago — that she wants a Hannah Montana cake.
She had forgotten about the Barbies.
Well, not me. I pointed out the picture, and told her she wanted them — badly.
If I weren't so exhausted, I'd set them all up and take a picture of the whole bunch. It makes for a much more impressive (and creepy) photo. But, I'm tired. Obviously crazy, too.
Well, my sanity may not be intact, but my memory is. I remember how glorious birthday parties were back when I was a kid, when you laughed with your mouth full of frosting and proudly wore Kool-Aid mustaches and you never, ever worried about what all that cake and ice cream was going to do to your butt.
Friday, December 17, 2010
There once was the prettiest shoe
So lovely it made me say "oooooh."
But it cost nearly 4-hundey, way too much mondey
So now all I say is boo-hoo.
Shoe n' Tell: I just discovered these Loeffler Randall "Annie" low wedges. They are shoe perfection — not too high, sexy back zip, and the open vamp is such a great detail. The leather looks so buttery soft — I'm sure it molds to the foot like it was custom made. It's just plain mean that Loeffler Randall makes the perfect shoe for me, and it's so far out of my price range.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I am positively giddy.
As I write this, the house is empty of overly-excited children — and relatively clean. I have the day off of work. I am....FREE. No joke, the Peanuts theme music is cranked and I'm doing the happy, Snoopy dance. My ears don't flop like his, but my dance is no less joyous.
To reflect that carefree mood, some silly gift ideas.....
• Lip balm — Monkey Farts flavor. The product description says this all-natural lip balm ($3) smells like a mix of strawberry, banana, kiwi, grapefruit, vanilla and bubblegum. Really? I'd figure monkey farts would smell like bananas.
• Tired Old Ass products (starting at $7). This is just plain funny. Everything — from soaks to lotions — is designed to be relaxing. And who among us, especially at this time of year, doesn't have a tired old ass?
• Fake gift boxes. Hubby gets credit for this one. He found the prank gift boxes and contemplated getting me one but then realized that paying $8 for an empty box plus $5 for shipping was starting to sound like real money. He "gifted" me with the blog idea instead. A wise, penny-pinching move that I appreciate.
And now if you'll excuse me — I have gift-wrapping and some more dancin' to do.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In what could be no clearer sign of the techno times we live in, my kids always yell "PAUSE!" when they want things to stop. You might be reading a story to them or sitting at the dinner table, not even watching TV. They think life can also be dictated by remote control.
I'd have hit pause a lot, especially this week (which has only just started). Like most people, I'm stressing out over the holidays and all that needs to be done. A lot I pile on myself (baking). Wish I had time for yoga, I really think that would help. One day.
In the meantime, because I think everyone could benefit by hitting "pause" for a silly story, here's why kindergarteners rock:
On Mondays, my day off, I help in my little boy's classroom. Naturally, they're all amped up on Christmas spirit. As we worked on writing a story, one little dude wrote about how he was excited about the presents he would get — especially one that he knew would be under the tree.
His writing got impossibly small.
"Why is that word so tiny?" I asked.
His voice dropped to a whisper, "I don't want my mom to know that I know what I'm getting."
Monday, December 13, 2010
In junior high, we had to memorize a fair amount of poems. I made it interesting by going with goofy Shel Silverstein pieces.
One of my favorites is called "Almost Perfect" (see below). It completely applies to shopping. Being on a budget means never paying full price, which means a lot of things just aren't buyable. Like these Shakuhachi heels ($268, cough).
But, these B. Makowsky "Amie" cage heels mimic that strappy feel across the front.... for $53, with my coupon ($73 otherwise).
Almost perfect.....and quite good enough for me.
“Almost Perfect” by Shel Silverstein
“Almost perfect… but not quite.”
Those were the words of Mary Hume
At her seventh birthday party,
Looking ‘round the ribboned room.
“This tablecloth is pink not white—
Almost perfect…but not quite.”
“Almost perfect…but not quite.”
Those were the words of grown-up Mary
Talking about her handsome beau,
The one she wasn’t gonna marry.
“Squeezes me a bit too tight—
Almost perfect…but not quite.”
“Almost perfect…but not quite.”
Those were the words of ol’ Miss Hume.
Teaching in the seventh grade,
Grading papers in the gloom
Late at night up in her room.
“They never cross their t’s just right—
Almost perfect…but not quite.”
Ninety-eight the day she died
Complainin’ bout the spotless floor.
People shook their heads and sighed,
“Guess that she’ll like heaven more.”
Up went her soul on feathered wings,
Out the door, up out of sight.
Another voice from heaven came—
“Almost perfect…but not quite.”
From "A Light in the Attic"
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Happens every year — a holiday baking mishap of epic proportions.
'07 was the year of the Christmas screw-ups. I still hate Gale Gand over that one. The baker extraordinaire had done an episode on these darling mini chocolate Christmas trees. It involved those triangular drinking cups that accompany water dispensers and a roasting pan that you cut holes into to accommodate said cups. Major work, which made the resulting mess all the more heartbreaking. Trees didn't bake all the way or their tops fell out. Nary a one looked like a tree. I drizzled them with frosting and called them done. I didn't give any away, of course. They stayed in-house.
"They look bad, but they taste good," Oldest Child offered.
#)(_*%)(*)(&*# Gale Gand.
Well, this year I attempted salted chocolate caramels. I've actually made these before, and they were quite good. I figured I'd do it again since the recipe makes a ton, and I'm only baking a few things this year. (It gets harder and harder to do this baking thing. Does anyone really *like* getting treats any more? Seems like everyone's always watching what they eat.)
Well, after half an hour, that thermometer hadn't hit 243 degrees. I figured something must be wrong with it, and figured I'd move forward.
Five hours and the caramel still hasn't set up. I don't even have enough to scrape into decorative little jars to call it ice cream topping. Sigh. The worst part is, now I feel like I have to prove that I can make this recipe work. I'm sure I'll hit Safeway tomorrow, buy another thermometer and more cream and more chocolate and blow an hour I don't have to prove a point to myself.
Is anyone getting me a gift certificate to a psychiatrist for Christmas?
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Oh, Gray. Or, should I say Grey?
I owe you a big, fat apology. I once blew you off; dismissed you as the color of gym clothes. Proclaimed to people I knew that you are nothing but a non-color. Well, I was wrong. I admit it.
Now, I can't get enough of your versatility and style. You go with everything and aren't severe. In fact, you actually come across as quite warm and inviting — you're like a more approachable black.
Outfit: Winter Kate silk jacket; Express leopard top; J Crew Minnie pants; Ugg flats; Madewell necklace.
Friday, December 10, 2010
These boots are made for...
Snoozing! They are very plain.
Must try to zhuzz them.
Shoe n' Tell: These are Uggs. Yes, Uggs. I know, right? They don't look the least bit moon bootish.
They're sooooo fuzzy inside. I liked how basic they are when I bought them, but now I think they need a little somethin' somethin'.
These bootstraps could be the answer, but not at $50. It seems like a trip to Ace Hardware for jump rings and chain could yield basically the same effect. Or, it could end up like my other crafty projects — half done in the closet.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Trader Joe's Minty Mallows + the morning coffee = a perfect way to start the day.
I'm a major mallow fan, but these Trader Joe's seasonal specials ($2.99) had an odd texture, to me anyway. A little too wet.
But, if you float one in a hot cup of coffee — well diluted with milk, of course — the chocolate melts and the squooshy marshmallow dissolves into a fluffy, whipped cream. Ahhhhhhhh.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Now let's play a little game of Yay or Nay.....
What do we think of this Funktional Paul Fold Front Shirt?
Months ago, I fell for its gray-striped cousin, but it sold out before the price could drop to Kristen-like levels. I snapped up the plaid version, which is even cooler, when one lone shirt popped back on Tobi.com.
Don't bother looking, it's sold out everywhere — and just when Lucky magazine plastered its photo in the January issue. That shows you just how far out magazine deadlines are — it's been gone for weeks. But I feel just a little bit — OK, a lot — smug that I found it way back when. Now everyone will be looking for it.
What I like: It's unlike anything else in my wardrobe. I have very few button-downs, let alone one this grunge-ish. The detailing is quite cool — the front appears to be tucked in, but it's really a sort of elastic hem. The back hangs like a shirt tail. I love the wrap-type treatment.
What I don't like: It's seriously oversized, which makes me feel self-conscious. Does it make me look heavier? The 90-pound models who wear this stuff always look even more waifish in oversized clothes. A normal-sized person could easily look dumpy.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Kermit was spot on — it isn't easy being green. But, it is important for the planet and for our health.
Recently I made the switch to "clean" cosmetics. They can be a bit tricky to find (and more expensive), but I've loved everything. My newest acquisition — cheek tint from 100 Percent Pure. This company uses fruit extracts in its products. Get aload of the ingredient list for the Sugar Plum cheek tint: fruit Pigments of plum, pomegranate, red wine, cranberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry, Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), shea butter, grapeseed oil, cocoa butter, honey beeswax, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), natural strawberry flavor.
I'd spread that on my toast.
The tint — which smells as lusciously berry-ish as you'd imagine — smears on fairly sheer and leaves a nice flush, on lips, too. I'm anxious to try more.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Hey, all you anal-retentive ladies who need to know what time it is! Put a ring (watch) on it.
OK, that doesn't roll off the tongue like "all the single ladies," but hey, if you're single, what do you care what time it is?!
When you have kids, you gotta know because someone needs to be somewhere at sometime. Always.
I love my watches, but it's still fun to tell the time with other accessories, thus leaving the wrists open for stuff. My watch necklace is cute, but it's a little heavy. This watch ring isn't too big, and it doesn't look dime-store cheap, either.
Look for the Melody Ehsani Rolee ring at Karmaloop for $35. Although if you're as good a shopper as I am, you can score a deal (it was more than half off when I clicked 'buy').
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sometimes, settling is a good thing.
Not when it comes to significant others, of course. But with fashion, you can settle and usually be every bit as happy. Maybe even more so.
That's the case with this Alexander Wang skirt. Oh, how I wanted to. But it was nowhere to be found, which is beside the point anyway, because it's real, bonafide designer clothing. I can't afford that.
On a whim, I cruised Pixie Market's sale site and came across this perfect substitute — a shirt-sleeve dress. It has the same feel, same faux sleeves dangling in the front. I love it even more than the original skirt that I'm sure spawned its creation. Two out of two friends agree with me.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
It's funny how the older I get, the less I seem to know.
Or, worse, I find out that things I always thought are actually wrong. For instance, I grew up thinking the French are uber-chic.
I was wrong.
These creepy baby lamps are from the land of cheese and chocolate.
Get a load of the description: "part cool and part eerie, these pop baby dolls are actually lamps, with bulbs in their derrieres. produced by a company with over 100 years under their belt, the models are based on old celluloid molded dolls."
I'm not sure which is scarier, that these were even crafted or that they are sold out.
Who puts that in the house? On the upside, at least in France they used "celluloid molded dolls" 'cuz you know if they'd been made in, ahem, a certain other country that has some fairly horrendous manufacturing practices when it comes to baby formula and dog food, then real babies probably would have been used.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Platforms are quite bad,
Says the Manolo himself.
I bet he wears flats.
Shoe n' Tell: So shoe guru Manolo Blahnik was quoted in Elle magazine completely pooh-poohing platforms, a personal favorite of mine. What he said, "Platforms are so suburban, so fake, and the volume is all wrong. But I love a thin heel. Even on a big, fat girl, a thin heel is fabulous. But a too-high heel is ghastly. On someone who is too small, when the proportions are not right, it is...disgusting."
So there ya have it.
How many pairs of teetering stilettos do you think he's worn in his life? Despite what Manolo thinks, I ordered these Dr. Martens mary janes because, well, dammit, I am a suburban mom and I work and — most importantly — I often have to walk more than 10 feet, which renders me incapable of wearing a skinny heel. These have a Fluevog-ian feel, at a much cheaper price, and they'll look cute with tights or boyfriend jeans. They're really padded in the footbed, and the toe area has plenty o' room.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
• J Crew "Gibson" pumps ($275). I'm on Step 6 of my 12-step Crack recovery program, so I'm not completely immune to its lure, especially now that the retailer is doing platforms.
• Garnet Hill cashmere wrap ($98). I want to curl up in it right now and take a nap in all that soft snuggliness.
• Alexander Wang trench ($268). I've already decided that my goal for the coming year is to own an Alexander Wang piece. The price keeps dropping on this. Maybe after Christmas, it'll reach a real-person-budget price. A girl can dream.
• Leopard rollerskates ($199). Yes, they're a little "Boogie Nights," but they're also incredibly, amazingly AWESOME. I would blow those plain brown-skated kids away at our local sticky-walled skating rink.