Sunday, February 28, 2010
Today we interrupt our regularly scheduled frivolous programming for something of substance, something important, something so significant that it can truly change your life. Or, at the very least your breath.
We're talking toothpaste.
But not just any paste, oh no, this is Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Mint Experience, a toothpaste so transformative that now that I've squeezed out my last drop — and I have regular ol' Aquafresh around — I must make a trip to Target in the pouring rain to get more. It is that amazing. It is that addictive.
The listed ingredient is sodium fluoride, but those wiley toothpaste people can't fool me — I know it's got crack in it. How else can you explain that I've been completely addicted ever since I tried it about a year ago? Once, I had to use my kids tooty-fruity/sour watermelon/cupcake-flavored toothpaste because I ran out, and my mouth actually felt dirtier than before I brushed. Well, that's the feeling I get every time I don't use the extreme clean stuff.
The peppermint flavor is incredibly strong — too much for some people — but after you're done brushing, your mouth almost feels like you've had a professional cleaning. Seriously.
Try it....if you dare.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The older I get, the more I shy away from lipstick. I dunno why.
Maybe it's that I prefer the lower maintenance and more moisturizing lip balm, or maybe it's because I end up buying pretty much the same shade all the time.
I think, actually, that it may be that I'm old enough to realize that my lips are a decent shade and they look best mostly left alone.
Whatev. I've been collecting balms and lip stains like nobody's business. So many tubes and pencils clutter up my huge makeup tackle box that it's hard to find things anymore. While rummaging one day, I unearthed a slim, shiny black tube of MAC's Slimshine lipstick in "Bare," a lovely pale pink-nude shade. I eagerly twisted up the tube. It had been used to much that I had to mash a lipliner brush down inside to get out every last bit. But I did.
So, I actually had to rebuy a lipstick. That has never happened. Usually, I tire of it and junk the tube.
What's so great about the Slimshines ($14.50) is that they are lipstick-y, in that they deposit a fair amount of color, but they're quite hydrating, too. They have enough shine that you can skip the gloss, and they're slim enough that it's easy to do a no-look roll on.
Friday, February 26, 2010
My friends, I bought these.
Such flirty, spring-y skimmers.
We are sole sisters.
Shoe 'n Tell: Mossimo Supply Co. Odell Floral ballet flats, a great $13 bargain.
So, I have two friends — the dynamic shopping duo — whom I e-mail more than I see IRL. Together, we swap links and pix of our latest must-have items, debate over what we should buy, share daily outfits. Well, S recently sent a photo of these flats and said that all her online fashion-board friends were abuzz over them. J and I both immediately set out for them. They are quite cute, but they're also super flat (beware those with arch-support issues). The rubber soles are a nice touch, no-slip touch. They're wide but the toe-box runs short, so I ended up buying my usual size. Narrow-footed types will have to go down half a size, I'd bet.
So love the asymmetrical pattern — one foot might have more flashes of pink while the other might have more yellow. Darling. Worth your lunch money.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Fashion trends come and go — and then come back again. Really, some should just stay away. I'm talking specifically about harem pants. I mean, c'mon. How can anyone — who's not 1980s MC Hammer — go for this? How can a baggy crotch be sexy to anyone? Yet, the look is EVERYWHERE. Some people seem to think it is hot, hot, hot. To me it says, 'Hey, I'm totally stealing snack cakes from Circle K and hiding them in my pants and no one knows! Want a Chocodile?"
Look No. 2 that I just can't rock: socks and sandals. I have seen it done well, but I just can't go there. It's practical — a good way to stay warm while still strutting around in cool shoes — but I just don't think I can pull it off. Plus, it makes me think of my fashion-challenged elementary school years, when I did do stuff like that. My younger brother and I also wore matching overalls and red-bandana-print shirts that my mom made us. That's another look I don't plan to sport again.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Something unique happens here in the Southwest this time of year.
It's called — cue the whistle-y western music here — rodeo. That would be ro-DEE-oh and not ro-DAY-oh, as in the chi-chi drive in Beverly Hills. No, this ro-DEE-oh doesn't involve high-priced duds and ladies who lunch and drive Mercedes Benzes. This one is dusty and sorta stinky and involves children riding scared sheep. It's not really my thing.
School is out for two days, and horses pulling wagons clop across the street for the parade. People pull out their boots and hats and Western-wear shirts. I'm fine with that, but it's just not a look for me. Pairing cowboy-ish boots (amazing blond Jessica Bennett boots) with something girly, like say, a J. Crew ruffled cardigan, J. Crew cherry blossom necklace and an army-green James Perse tank dress is more my speed. Urban cowgirl, perhaps?
Another possible rodeo look is the cheeky, Forever XXI boot T-shirt (if you've ever tried to search for something on F21, you know what a nightmare it is. Here's the product code: 2073632823). How cute is that? And, it's only $13.
Apparently, shoe lust is big this month at the knock-off emporium extraordinaire (and rightly so). Look at all the other cute shoe tees! Sneakers (product code: 2074079421, $14), flats (product code: 2074879737, $13). I bought the high heels shirt ($9; 2073907593) because I'd so much rather wear those bad boys on a shirt than my feet.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
An incredibly cute spring look is the baggy tank with a bandeau or athletic-type bra underneath. So easy, so fun.
T by Alexander Wang and Kain make great baggy tanks. So does Patterson J. Kincaid (which is the pink one in the photo). Problem is, each and every one of those will set you back at least $50. Yikes.
Normally Forever XXI is my go-to for knock-offs, but apparently their prepubescent 11-year-old fit models have never birthed multiple children (which is a good thing), so the fit was off for me — too fitted around the tum.
Old Navy, though, has these watercolor racerback tanks on sale for $6, from $12.50. They're a cotton-modal blend, so they're lightweight and not too oversized, if you're not fond of the gym-rat, baggy armpits look. The tops are long enough to balance out skinny jeans. How to style: They look darling layered beneath moto jackets, cardis and even tuxedo blazers. Another option is to throw a vest over one.
Try 'em out. For $6, how can you not?
Monday, February 22, 2010
When Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain hard-core porn he said, "I know it when I see it."
Well, same goes for the successful pairing of patterns.
I can't really explain it, but I recognize it when it's well done. Lately all the fashion mags have had spreads (and matching patterns happens about once an episode on "What Not to Wear"), and it can look really cute. I just don't have the confidence to do it.
Now, take this Michael Stars match that Revolveclothing.com recently had on its site. I think I know why it works: The clothes share some — but not all — of the same colors and the stripes are quite thin so they balance out the bolder zebra print. I think.
I tried to pull off the same trick with this Target cardigan and Express top. It comes close, but I'm not sure it successfully mirrors the original.
Yikes, looking at it on the screen, it doesn't quite work. The stripes are too wide, and the camisole pattern too busy. It kinda makes my eyes hurt. Maybe with the cardi buttoned up, this ensemble might work?
Hmmmmmmm. Back to the closet.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
This is Take 2 on the ripped jeans.
In a previous post (see "Shredded Wear" from Aug. 21, 2009), I talked about how I couldn't keep the ripped jeans I bought, though they were so en vogue, because I was paranoid about them. Worried they'd rip even more. I just couldn't handle the pressure.
Well, a sample sale gifted me with these Current/Elliott slouched crop jeans for $20. Nothing like a super sale to make me rethink my values. So, I gave the trend another shot. Still feeling a little paranoid, but I plan to reinforce the rip with a patch. That'll make me feel better.
In the meantime, as much as I think the ripped/distressed look is cute, I'd prefer to not look like an extra from "Slumdog Millionaire." So, I think dressing up — cute, frilly top and three-quarter sleeve cardi — is a good way to balance the extremely casual look of well-worn denim. The boots bitch up the girlish top.
The outfit: Michael Stars cardigan, J. Crew watercolor "Lydia" blouse, Current/Elliott cropped jeans, Sweet Life by Dolce Vita peep-toe booties from Urban Outfitters.
P.S. Even headless, I find it incredibly painful to pose for photos. How do those celebs do it?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Three words: Come to Momma!
These Ash wedges are called "Lovely."
The studded gladiator style walks that line between edgy and sexy. I love how it's covered, but has all those skin-bearing cut-outs. And, since it's a platform wedge, it's quite walkable. Even for me.
They'd toughen up boyfriend jeans, denim cut-offs, even skinnies or a simple T-shirt dress.
Alas, they are $230. If they drop to at least 75 percent off (hey, it could happen), I am sooooo gettin' those.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
OK, I give.
Now that every March magazine issue that's been stuffed into the mailbox in the past few weeks has spotlighted taupe nail polish, I had to try.
Attempts to find OPI's Over the Taupe and a Sally Hansen shade called Commander in Chief failed. I'm intrigued by RGB's Toast, which reportedly started the trend, but, it's $14. Not that I couldn't rationalize paying that much for a nail polish because it does last for a long, long time. Have you ever run out of a polish? Me neither.
But, I'd rather go cheap on a trend. Luckily I found Orly on sale for $4.99 (plus I had a coupon) at Ulta.
The Orly color is called, inexplicably, Prince Charming. Nail polish color names are always a little odd, but at least OPI's tend to be clever puns. Quite frankly, I'd be worried about any dude galloping in on a white steed with a complexion like wet cement. I'd be calling for a doctor — not a preacher.
But anyway, while the shade would look less than fetching on a prince, the mushroom-y, putty-ish hue is quite lovely on nails. It's neutral, but with a little oomph. I like it.
And, let me officially give ample props to those bloggers who do polish reviews and post nice pictures of their nails. Good job! It's hard to shoot hands and have them look normal, as you can see from my less-than-fab, um, handiwork.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Fashion — like life — is all about balance.
Wearing loose, boyfriend jeans? Pair 'em with a slimmer-fitting top, lest you look big all over.
With skinny-minny pants, wear a flowy top. Unless you want to look cheap.
And, to tone down these hoochie-to-the-max Michael Michael Kors Beverly platforms, I paired 'em with casual boyfriend jeans along with a demure J. Crew cardi. It's a good blend of laidback and glam. I think.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Tarte's new lip hybrid (It's a stain! It's a pencil! It has LipSurgence to increase moisture content!) has been racking up enough press to make me wander to the other end of town and into Sephora. I'm generally a fan of Tarte cosmetics — the cheek stain gives off a very natural, rosy flush and lasts FOREVER, and the lip balms are, well, the bomb. So, I expected big things from this little stain pencil ($24).
It's only available at Sephora and comes in six shades. The colors range from a muted pink to a deep berry-ish red, enough to give plenty of options. Particularly lovely was "Moody," the berry-red, "Lush" a true red and "Charmed," a light pink.
Now, even though Sephora is adequately air-conditioned, these pencils were so smooshy and squidgy that I don't think I could carry one around when the temps start topping 80.
The best part is the pencil point, which makes it easy to paint your lips. The soft formula rolls on easily and leaves a nice glossy finish. One pass leaves subtle color that just amplifies your own natural color. Keep layering for a deeper hue. The gloss dissipates pretty quickly, leaving behind a subtle, decent lasting stain. Did my lips feel especially hydrated? Not really.
For people who aren't good about re-applying lip color (moi), this is worth trying. It's a decent product. Again, I was disappointed that the glossiness wore off so quickly, but slicking on lip gloss would take care of that.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Oh! And one more way to incorporate Simple tennies is pairing them with fancy skinny pants, like these Minnie pants from J. Crew.
On non-Amazonian sized people, these pants actually go well below the ankle. Pair the charcoal Minnie pants with a tee, tuxedo blazer and either a long rope of pearls or long silver necklaces for a polished, casual look. AND, the Simples come in a snappy purple color, which would be a fun way to add punch to the outfit.
This blog isn't quite a year old and though it was started with me (sort of) kicking and screaming, I have to say, it's been fun and a nice outlet. And, whenever someone who's not a friend or not being paid* to read it chimes in, I just get all warm and fuzzy inside. It makes me feel honored and thankful and all Sally Fields-ish ("You like me! You really like me!" even if you really don't and you're just mindlessly trolling the Web). So when Ady — someone I don't know but took the time to post a message — commented on Friday's Shoe Haiku that she needed to see the Simple Satires styled, well, how could I not?
So, Ady, this is for you.
Outfit No. 1: J. Crew ruffled cardi, Victoria's Secret tank, J. Crew necklace and J. Crew chino shorts. The blue checked Simples finish off a casual look.
Outfit No. 2: Young, Fabulous & Broke hooded tank dress, thrifted Guess tuxedo blazer, Converse for Target scarf. It's a little punky, a la Kristen Stewart at whatever awards show she attended and threw on Converse with her Yigal Azrouel red dress.
Outfit No. 3: T Luxury wrap tee, Forever 21 cami, The Battalion "veggie fur" vest (I dearly love this even though it looks like skinned Muppet), J. Crew matchstick jeans. The black Simples add edge. I think my pink checked Simples would look cute, too, and would soften the ensemble.
Best part of all: wearing sneaks means your feet feel fine all day long.
*Don't get any ideas — I'm just kidding. I'm not paying people to read this stuff. Although, there are plans to start some nifty giveaways, so if you haven't fanned Some Hot Dishes yet, you should. Oooooh, such blatant marketing. Yes, I am trying to plan for a second career should the bottom really, truly fall out on the newspaper industry tomorrow. Which, I would not bet against.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
This was perhaps my first beauty product obsession.
Cameron Diaz — who was starring in the 1996 movie "She's The One" — was featured in the pages of InStyle magazine wearing MAC Spice lipliner topped with Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It was (and still is) such a great look.
MAC has since changed its Spice lipliner — the color's more pinky, not as brownish and neutral so I use Oak instead. Black Honey ($14), though, is still the same. It's scary looking as you roll up the tube — inky as a starless night. But slick it on, and your lips turn just a bit darker and have a lovely, sheer deep red hue. It's glossy enough to lend some sheen. For those who are scared of full-on red lips, this is a good gateway shade.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
...because I'm adequately caffeinated and amped up over the potential chaos of this evening — seven girls, one slumber party.
If you're looking to jump onto the uneven hem, open cardigan/wrap thingie, look no further than Forever 21's pretty amazing, under $30 version. Comes in black and white stripes, too. It's called the Errand cardi. Cute.
Oh, Victoria, you minx.
You always suck me in with your offers ($10 off any purchase $10 or more! Free shipping!), and then I'm invariably disappointed when I order.
When Victoria's Secret is good, it's very, very good. As in this fabulous
French cuff shirt, which typically sells for under $30. It's a great fabric with some stretch so it looks form-fitting but not slutty (sometimes an issue with VS items). It's the kind of thing you order in triplicate.
When VS is bad, it blows. Hard.
I was completely enamored of this wide-sleeved sweatshirt. It drew me in with the promise of soft fleece and adequate butt coverage for leggings. Doesn't it just beg to be worn while curled up on the couch with InStyle magazine? Yeah, notice how I, in my red top, look nothing like that come-hither model from the Web site. It was only $15, so it's not worth it to send back. But that's one of the frustrating problems with Victoria's Secret — what you see often isn't what you get. The views of pieces online rarely show front and back options, you just get a bigger image of some sexy chick with floatation-device boobs, mouth slightly agape because the clothes are so tight she can't quite breathe.
One of our VS outposts has a fair amount of Pink clothing, the casual line geared toward the collegiate set. It ought to add even more clothing. This is stuff that definitely must be tried before buyed. In the meantime, order online with caution. You've been warned — by the chick dressed in a giant red pillow case.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Do I love Simple?
Ah, well let me count the pairs
One, two, three* — so yes!
Simple Satire, a truly great shoe for doing podiatric penance (i.e., I can put my orthotics in them after a week of wearing heels).
*I actually have three more pairs of Simple skimmers and one pair of Simple peep-toe flats. I think I've blogged them; they're cute.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I *heart* Alexander Wang.
Whenever I flip through one of my many, many fashion magazines, invariably something designed by him is what I fall for — and fall hard. His stuff is just....freakin' awesome, for lack of a better description.
The clothes are basic but never boring, sporty and hip and yet wearable by the average person. He even has a zip-up sweatshirt/poncho thingie.
He's my hero.
And the best part: He uses the most exquisite fabrics. Gilda Radner once said that her fashion sense was dictated by what didn't itch. I'm discovering we share the same aesthetic.
And his shoes? Oooooh. Excuse me while I do a Homer Simpson impression, tongue lolling out of the mouth. The shoes, too, are freakin' awesome.
What are the odds that he would happen to pop into Tucson, Ariz., perhaps to sample a local delicacy like the Sonoran hot dog and observe the casual, laid-back desert fashions and stumble upon me — mother of three who dyes her own hair but loves and appreciates truly good fashion even though she's purchased Norma Kamali for Walmart ONLINE — and make me his muse?
How cool would that be to slap the term "muse" onto your business cards?
Really, it's already like he designs just for me (remember — zip-up sweatshirt?). What I wouldn't give to lounge around all day in those wonderful, sumptuously soft fabrics. Plus, have you seen him? He looks like the sweetest, most down-to-earth guy. He would no doubt be a much better, nicer boss than the three tyrants at my other, unpaying, on-call, 24-7 job who nag me to take them to gymnastics and soccer and wash their clothes and feed them — but not the crap that I've made, something good like from McDonald's — and, oh, do it snappy, Mom.
Yeah, I think I can handle being someone's muse for awhile instead of someone's bitch.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Here's an online shopping trend I would like to see disappear: the use of the celebrity sniper shot to highlight the particular article of clothing for sale.
How does this snapshot of Courtney Cox in what may be a short-sleeved T-shirt help us decide we have to have it? You see nothing. And, it's the only photo supplied for the shirt. Gee, wonder why it's on super sale?
More and more sites are picking up on this practice. Just don't like it.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Friends, Romans, online shoppers, lend me your wallets;
I come to praise Sample Sales, not to bury them
The evil that we do is in over-spending
The good is...
Yeah, that's about as much as I can riff on that Caesar speech. And, I have no idea why it's stuck in my head now, years after junior high. But the point is, if you have not yet discovered the joys of online sample sales, now is the time.
A host of different sites — Rue La La, Beyond the Rack, HauteLook — offer brand-name stuff at fire-sale prices. As an example of the amazingness available: Billion Dollar Babes recently had all-cashmere scarves for $25 and clothes from designers like Michael Kors for under $30. See that awesome pair of Current/Elliott jeans? Scored for $20. Regular retail is $100-plus. That cool scarf? Just ordered from Beyond the Rack. Regular price: $85; my price $25.
Some sites do require you to be invited first, but it's not that hard to get in. Usually, you just have to get on a waiting list. Generally, all you do is fork over your e-mail address and create a password. Then, you get daily updates on sales. Shipping is reasonable. The only real hitch is that it takes about two weeks (!!!) for your booty to arrive. And in some cases, the sales are final, so you must know your size and be absolutely positively sure you want it. You can always resale on eBay for probably more than you spent, if you change your mind.
My favorite sample sale sites:
• Beyond the Rack
• Billion Dollar Babes
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
And they're mine — all mine.
My aunt brought me a box of See's assorted chocolates. It's a tradition in our family — she sent them for our family every year at Christmas. After dinner, my brother and I would stick our faces into the box, trying to will our eyes to see what was inside because you got what you got. If it had the nasty orange filling inside, you couldn't put it back. Your only choice was to eat it. Or throw it. And, nobody wasted treats in our house.
Now that See's is up to about $18 a pound, I never buy 'em. A box of candy is a luxury. And, since two of my three kids have nut allergies, they can't eat 'em. Husband doesn't care. Oldest child, who has no allergies and a sweet tooth to rival mine, does not know about them. Nor will she.
So, I will pick my way through the box, and unlike when I was little, if I bite into one and discover something nasty, I'll move on. Maybe I'll come back to it, maybe I won't. More likely, by the end of the week, about two-thirds of the box will be empty wrappers and the rest will have nibbles out of the ends.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to remember if my beloved mocha bordeauxes are the rectangular ones with sprinkles or the roundies.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
My toes never go naked. Never. They look so much better with polish. My fingernails, though, are another story. If I even dare to inhale after brushing the polish on, it smears. And that's after my nails already look like a blind monkey suffering from spasms painted them. With a roller brush. Yes, it is truly that bad.
But, Sally Hansen Natural Shine — despite its incredibly toxic smell — is a handy product for people like me.
It comes in clear and a very subtle pink tint and dries pretty much on contact. The natural shine isn't as wet and glossy-looking as a top coat — rather, it gives your nails a just-buffed look. A few coats makes them look, well, polished.
If you're completely inept at slicking color on those fingers, this is the stuff for you. It costs about $6 and is available at Ulta and drug stores.
Today's poking around the Web unearthed these: pajama jeans.
They apparently pull on and are made of some freaky-cool, no doubt pat-pending material called Dormisoft that's a cotton-spandex hybrid. The cheesy infomercial on the Web site gives me pause, but I'm still intrigued by the $40 jeans that are allegedly as comfortable as sweatpants but don't get all droopy in the drawers. I'm also leery of the sizing (xs, s, m and so on). But, there's no denying that the model in the photo looks comfy.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
True Story: Last night, I was writhing in bed, convinced I wouldn't live to see the morning.
Ta-da. I did.
Some weird spinal meningitis/stomach bug slammed me hard yesterday, and I swear, I didn't think I'd make it. The sharp flashes of abdominal pain were actually worse than the pain from my unintentional natural childbirth (epidural didn't work). My neck was kinked and sore (that was the part I attributed to meningitis), and I couldn't get warm, even with socks and a thick, terry robe and a down comforter. It was awful. But, as I expelled half my body weight from one end or another, I had a crazy thought of trying to make it to the playroom to get onto the Wii Fit board, just to have it exclaim — for once — that I seemed to have dropped poundage. Usually, it flashes up this rude, dismissive message that I "seem to have put on some weight" since my last session. But, since it was hard enough making it the 10 steps to the bathroom, I didn't do it.
What I did manage to do, amazingly, was buy the Fossil polka-dotted scarf, seen in microscopic view here because I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to make it bigger. Plus, I still feel absolutely gross and woozy and unable to think clearly. Anyway, it was critical to get the scarf stat because a) I'd been obsessing over it since I laid eyes on it in the Fossil catalog last week, and b) a coupon for free overnight shipping was only good this one day.
The clock was ticking... I didn't think I could will my frigid fingers to go through the whole laborious process of inputting all my information. I had to stop twice to do my crazy hunch-walk to the bathroom. But, I did it. Got that sucker before free shipping ran out. It better be pretty damn amazing, too.
ADDENDUM: How the barf scarf story ends: Free overnight shipping ended up being three-day shipping, which annoyed me. You know how drunken dudes talk about "beer goggles"? Apparently there is such a thing as barf goggles because when I opened up the package, I was most underwhelmed by the object of my week-long lust. Meh. Not worth the $38, so off it went. Guess I learned my lesson — no more feverish shopping even with a free ship deadline looming. At least not from Fossil.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Proof that the Internet is the biggest and bestest (as my younger kids would say) time-suck ever: I cannot stop reading product reviews. Just can't help myself. I even read them for stuff I don't want. And sometimes, I get rewarded with gems like this from Zappos for the Calvin Klein Parma heels pictured here (which I don't want and I don't even know how I ended up looking at them):
Posted: Oct 1, 2009
Reviewer: Manwearsheels from St. Louis, MO
Overall: Comfort: Style:
I adore these heels! As a male high heel wearer, who owns many heights and styles, these sexy sandals have become one of my favorites. Even though very high, they are remarkably comfy and I could, and do sometimes, wear them all day. Yes girls, there are men than that enjoy wearing (secretly and openly), the same womens' shoes you do.
I don't even have a response to that. I'll bet y'all are gonna start reading more product reviews now, huh?