Monday, May 31, 2010
Ah, pom poms.
I love them. LOVE them. Despite my affinity for the fluffy things (which has existed since, oh, about age 5, judging from family photos), I was never a cheerleader. No, I was one of the kids making snide remarks about the cheerleaders.
The little balls add such a touch of whimsy, especially to warm-weather outfits. I'm waiting for this Old Navy scarf ($12.50) to arrive. Won't it look so cute with plain tanks and tees?
This crocheted cami ($198, it'll go on sale) over at Swayandcake.com is just plain fun. Man, 5-year-old me would have rocked that so hard. Incidentally, age 5 was the last time I showed my midriff. Much-older me will have to be content making jealously snide comments about the smooth-stomached girls who can wear such a top.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
While cruising Madewell's new commerce e-site, I stumbled across these sweat shorts. Yeah, they cost $48. Ppppbbbblt. That is just plain stupid.
With very little effort, I found these Mossimo Supply Co. bermuda sweat shorts at Target. Price: a mere $12. They are an absolute ringer, no?
The shorts are available online and in-store. It's junior-sizing, though, so I went up to a medium to get that slouchy look.
Knockoff Outfit: Liz Claiborne jacket (purchased from Costco!!); Limited denim shirt (so old it could be considered vintage) and Pucci-esque Sergio Zelcer wedges.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The cocktail ring is a simple — and often inexpensive — way to jazz up any outfit.
So many cool pieces are out there right now that it makes me wish I had more fingers.
Rings to love.....
• A sweater rose ring ($25). My friend Jenni just started making them and when I saw 'em, I hoped I'd get one. Well, she gifted me one for my birthday and I just love it. I immediately put it on and every store we shopped in that day, someone commented. Aside from the sheer cuteness, they're eco-friendly (made of recycled, felted sweaters). So really, you should have a few or seven because you're helping save the earth from being buried beneath avalanches of unworn sweaters. There, shopping justified.
• Marcia Moran amazonite oval ring ($138). How fabulous is that sheer-yet-opaque pale blue stone? It makes me think of beaches and pina coladas and relaxing vacations. Swayandcake.com has other equally fun, chunky pieces from this designer.
• Ettika Paisley ring ($45). A big paisley ring — who could resist? This one comes in a gold/chocolate version and a turquoise one. Maybe one for each hand?
Friday, May 28, 2010
Just in time for Memorial Day shopping, Madewell — J. Crew's sister label — is up and running.
Check it out.
Lots of cute stuff, including many things only available online. Previously you could only find select items online like Shopbop.com (and once I found a few things on J. Crew's Website. I am not counting the bricks-and-mortar stores because there aren't many of 'em). Anyhoo, the label appears to be more cas than big sis and maybe — maybe — a bit cheaper. Alas, shipping blows just as badly as it does for the original crack den.
I *heart* those damn $48 (!!!) shorts in the photo. How cutely are they styled? I think I need someone from Madewell to come to my house and dress me on weekends.
What will make purchasing tricky (for me, the cheapskate who hates to pay for shipping): You can only return to an actual Madewell store or mail it back. You can't return to J. Crew.
A shoe or weapon?
With those heels, it's hard to tell.
I am scared to wear.
Shoe n' Tell: Bought these Carlos Santana strappy heels on impulse several months ago — they were just $19. I periodically practice walking in 'em (they do have a platform, which makes that so much easier), but I'm still not quite confident enough to take 'em out in public.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
When Jean Godfrey-June talks, I listen.
If the Lucky magazine beauty director raved about cow mucus as the latest, greatest glowy-skin product, I'd....well, I'd consider it. Pretty much every beauty product I've bought on her recommendation hasn't let me down. I trust her.
So, when she touted Yes to Carrots hydrating body lotion with SPF 30 as non-greasy, non-whitening and all-around fab, I set out — within hours of reading those words — to track it down.
Found it at Target.
Well, once again, she's right. The lotion rubs in easily — and lotion is the right description. It isn't thick and gunky like most sunscreen products. It really, truly does double-duty as a moisturizer, too. Hours later your skin feels, not slick, but hydrated. Even better for those of us who have darker skin, it doesn't leave that I-was-just-wallowing-in-mud musty, chalky-looking residue.
It ain't cheap ($14.99 for a 4.2-ounce bottle), but your skin is worth it.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Do you think designers buy that line about imitation being the most sincere form of flattery?
My 10-year-old sure doesn't. She hates it when she draws something she thinks is phenomenally cool and then her brother and sister follow. I'm guessing most designers feels the same way about Forever XXI and its uncanny ability to knockoff just about anything pretty well.
Today's case-in-point: the tulip skirt (product number: 2000001789), which is eerily similar to the bottom half of this Alexander Wang dress. The dress'll run ya $465; the skirt $19.80.
C'mon, Forever XXI, you know you want to knock off AW's apron shorts! Do IT! Do IT!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I am going straight to hell.
As much as 80 percent of the world's population lives in abject poverty, according to some statistics, and I just bought ripped-up pants. On purpose.
That just seems so..... sinful.
But, I couldn't help myself. They're ripped, a trend I've never been a fan of, and paint-splattered, again, not a trait I'm into, but they're soooooo soft. And that I am definitely into. Softness is my Achilles heel when it comes to clothing: extreme, pillowy, baby's-butt softness. Can't......stay....away.
So, I bought the J. Crew broken-in, destroyed boyfriend chinos (no longer on the Website but these $19.99 chinos are close).
They were $19.99, which I figure will keep me in one of the cooler, outer circles of hell rather than smack-dab in the middle where everyone who paid the full $79.50 will end up.
Outfit: Ideeen nude mesh trench coat (my attempt at nailing the DVF Brady jacket everyone went gaga over when it was featured in Lucky magazine last year — see posting from July 2, '09); Victoria's Secret vintage beach tank (one of two things purchased online in the past five years that I wasn't completely horrified to see IRL); J. Crew destroyed boyfriend chinos; Klub Nico gladiator sandals; cheapie circle necklace.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Every gal has that one product that got away.
It was THE ONE that worked like no other, that was consistent and perfect and imparted so much confidence, it inspired panic to think of ever losing it.
For me, that product was Lavett & Chin sea spray.
A small indie beauty company, I'd read about L&O in a fashion magazine. Its sea spray and the promise of lovely tousled waves sounded wildly appealing, although the lust for beach hair really is kinda funny. Have these people ever seen hair straight off a day at the beach? Mine looks matted and dirty and gross. But, I love the romanticized idea, so I go along with it.
Well, this sea spray — which contained wacky herbs and had a strong smell...maybe lavender? — delivered the goods. My hair looked great. GREAT, those are deservedly capital letters I tell you.
Then one day, the usual online store I bought my Lavett & Chin from, listed it as "out of stock." I Googled the company, and its Web site was down. It was "reformulating," I believe it said. I tried to squash the sense of panic. I calmed myself, told myself things would be fine.
I hadn't seen it coming. Didn't even have a chance to stockpile, which would have been my first inclination at any sign of trouble. Well, it's been about three or four years. Maybe. I've developed this inability to keep track of time. I blame "Lost." Stupid show.
Anyway, I hung onto that metal bottle for a looooong time, long after spraying out every last drop, thinking that maybe it would be a good luck talisman and another bottle would find its way to me someday.
I've tried allllll the other sea sprays.... Bumble and bumble, John Masters Organics, John Frieda, countless drug store lines. I even loaded up a squirt bottle with real genuine San Diego salt water.
Nothing does what L&O did. I nearly bought this Sachajuan ocean mist, which Luckymag.com touted, but the reviews were "meh" and people recommended Philip B. Maui Wowie Beach Mist.
Well, it is a pretty blue color that makes me think of previous relaxing tropical vacations.... without kids. Though it's a good volumizer, it's no Lavett & Chin.
So, the search continues....
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Did you read the shirt? 'Nuff said.
Found — completely and utterly sold out, of course — on a sample sale Web site. I am now going to Google like a maniac until I locate it.
It will be mine.
I am nothing if not a sucker for joke-y T-shirts, which explains the one in my drawer that says "Necessito Un Mojito," even though I had one once and it was not at all pleasant. Still, it's incredibly amusing to wear for family gatherings. To me, anyway.
I LOVE but will resist these shorts only because of the $425 — yes, $425 — price tag. Sigh, the burden of expensive taste is hard to bear. That's more monies than my wedding dress. Guess I shouldn't brag about that, but I did get married a looooooong time ago.
So, I'll be content to visit these darling Alexander Wang apron-front shorts on the Barney's Web site where they live. I'll try not to smudge the computer screen as I pat their silky splendor. Maybe they'll get knocked down to, oh, $40, and then I'd snap 'em up like a shark going after chum. But I'm sure if I put a little effort into it I'd find a similar style at Forever XXI for $9.80, right?
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Behold: the latest eBay acquisition. It's a Marc Jacobs pendant watch.
For about a year, I've been pining for one of these, not necessarily an apple but just something to hang around my neck. For a while, I was in love with the Marc Jacobs mouse. Then I realized, do I really want to wear a rodent around my neck? No. The silver apple was the right price and is much classier the plastic-y looking hearts and stars from the same line.
The best part — wearing a watch around my neck frees up valuable arm real estate.
I paired the apple pendant watch with: Forever XXI cheap chains, J Crew graphic tee from last year; J Crew polka dot skirt from last year that I HAD to have and then promptly forgot it was in my closet and Klub Nico pink slingbacks.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Such a cool color
This metallic bronze called "smog."
Better shoe than sky.
Shoe n' Tell: Just bought these classic ballet flats by Hollywould a few days ago. I couldn't resist — they were 75 percent off. They're all leather, made in Italy and feel so sumptuous. I refuse to use the wrap-around ribbons that feed through a tab at the back.
The box has "Cabana" and "Hepburn" on it, so I'm not sure which is the style name. I went a-Googling and found a leopard-print style on Amazon.com. Interestingly, at the bottom of the page where it displays "Customers who bought this style also purchased...." had a photo of that old Dustin Hoffman movie "Tootsie." He plays an actor pretending to be a woman. Hmmmm, wonder what size those flats were....13?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
It's been happening every Saturday.
At about 7:58, my heartbeat quickens. I feel hot, flushed. Sweat beads on my forehead. It's almost time....for HauteLook's Saturday sprint.
I check a bunch of sample sale sites on a daily basis, but HauteLook's Saturday close-out sale is the one I look forward to most. I've scored major, major deals here — Haute Hippie cashmere-silk-cotton hoodie for $29 (regular price $229) and most recently this nifty Free People linen-silk cardi. (See previous posting about the joys of online sample sales - Feb. 8, '10.)
Note the regular price on the tag. I got it for $30. I am a loon and have been known to keep marked-down tags (somewhere in my jewelry box is a tag from a Cynthia Steffe jacket with the $258 price crossed out and $25 written over it. Brand new, too. Came from a boutique's going-out-of-business sale.)
I'm addicted to cardis and the more offbeat, the better. You can only have so many grandpa sweaters before you start to look like an old fogey, I fear. The stripes and flowy bottom on this Free People number are cool touches.
Outfit: Ann Taylor Loft v-neck; Free People "Out to Sea" cardigan, Current/Elliott stretch denim skirt; J Crew cherry blossom necklace; Anthro beaded bracelet; Jessica Bennett tortoise peep-toes.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Yay — Madewell, J Crew's sister line, is going to be available online early next month.
This is great news. You can find a small collection now at Shopbop.com and at J Crew's online site, but I can't wait to get my hands on the whole collection. Here's to hoping the shipping charges won't be as exorbitant as the Mother Ship's.
Call me weird, but I do think good dental floss is a thing to rejoice over. I've always had a bit of a teeth obsession, dating back to my years of orthodontic work. Kept a timer in the bathroom, so I knew I was spending enough time cleaning those chompers.
"You're not going to have any enamel left!" my mom would shout at me.
Maybe, but I wouldn't have that demarkation line from the braces, either, which was what I was really scared about. Many years and many dollars later, my teeth are straight, white and amazingly close together, which makes it hard to get regular dental floss between 'em.
Enter Reach Total Care floss. Flat like tape, it slides right between those pearly whites. Plus, it has a medicine-y Listerine taste, which I kinda like. It puts the finishing touch on the morning (and night) hygiene routine. It's $2.99 at Target.
About a year ago, I started to DIY dye with Garnier Nutrisse color. Hey, if it's good enough for Sarah Jessica Parker, it ought to be good enough for me, right? The color kit came with this amazing avocado conditioner that left my freakishly fine hair silky soft but didn't weigh it down.
I immediately hit the Interweb, hunting for a full-size version. No dice. The conditioner only comes in the kit. But, I did uncover Garnier Fructis Melting Masque, which has apricot and avocado oil and, like the stuff with the kit, is very conditioning but not too heavy. Of course now I can only find it online ($3.49 at Amazon). Garnier has apparently revamped its line. But, I'm in the middle of trying out a new conditioner to see if it's comparable. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
My friend has this saying — "Bitch it up!" As in, throw something with edge into that outfit.
Throw a tough leather bracelet onto your wrist to tone down an uber-girly dress. But my favorite way to punk up an ensemble is through shoes. This spring, bad-ass — or as Nordstrom more delicately calls it "urban edge" — sandals are everywhere. Love this look.
My three top favs....well, today anyway:
• Jeffrey Campbell "Buckles" — This might be my favorite because despite the surly-lookin' buckles, the heel is a sensible height. $125.
• Dolce Vita "Helix" — Again, another very modest heel but tricked out with lots o' buckles. I like how the stud action is minimal and very discreet along the heel. $170.
• Ash "Nailhead" — This pair almost has a western feel to it. It's lined with studs but since the metal is matte, the studs don't at all look gaudy, which sadly, is how so many studs come across. Love how the sandal is very open but has a closed feel at the same time. $180.
So, there you have it. And yes, I did notice the steep prices on all those. Expensive taste is my burden to bear, but I'm pretty confident a sale will come around soon.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I've been feeling like there's a hole in my life, like something's missing. I didn't realize what it was, though, until I started snooping around Cusp, which is where Neiman Marcus has shuttled all its cool, contemporary fashions. What I don't have: sequined hot shorts.
Really, Neiman Marcus? I expect this sort of thing from Frederick's of Hollywood, but not you. Apparently, someone else felt the void, too, because when I went looking for them this morning to do a direct link, they were gone.
Cusp is worth checking out, though. The site is very clean and easy to navigate. Good brands, too. Today is the last day for free shipping with "FSMAY." Neiman just sent me an e-mail advertising a sale and free shipping. Hop to it.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Meet the newest member of the fashion family — B. Makowsky's Alexandria satchel.
Ain't she a beaut?
Armed with birthday gift cards and money, I decided to make this leopard-print purse mine. 'Twas on sale and while for most of my life I've rarely spent more than $29.99 for a bag, I realized that of all things to spend money on, a good bag is worth it.
Love the squooshiness of the B. Maks and the amazingly soft leather. This opens wide, and while the hardware is a bit much for me, the animal print is understated and lovely. This bag speaks to me. Really — it kinda creaks when I open it wide because of all the metal. This not only amuses me but seems completely age-appropriate.
As long as we're admiring a new bag, let's also play a round of What's She Schlepping?
This roomy bag has space for (clockwise, kinda from left):
• makeup bag
• a cheap Target wallet that needs replacing (spent all weekend on ebags and can't commit to a double-zip wallet)
• monogrammed Kleenex (a gift, makes me feel very Mrs. Howell from "Gilligan's Island")
• Trader Joe's Espresso Pillows (the ultimate way for a sweet, caffeine rush)
• reusable shopping bag (the green ball; it folds into itself and is totally cool)
• iPad (gulp, yes, my hubby's extravagant birthday gift that prompted my friend's 17-year-old daughter to say, "Spoiled!" I'm not a tech girl — ask the IT department at work. I recently needed saving because I didn't realize these Tic Tacs behind my monitor weren't screwed in. Yet, I love this. LOVE it. Super fun and means I can shop ANYWHERE.)
• Miss A girl's army knife, complete with tweezers and a compartment for perfume
• lipstick-shaped pen
• dino fruit snacks, just in case someone needs a little somethin'
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Let she who is without cracked heels cast the first pumice stone.
Yeah, that's what I thought.
We all battle with our feet, don't we? Despite being religious about filing and slathering cream over my feet, I still have rough heels. Which, during sandal-wearing weather, is unacceptable. But, I've finally FINALLY hit upon some products that are making a difference. Be Natural Dry Heel Eliminator and Be Natural Callus Eliminator have made my heels much smoother and softer.
• About once a week, I soak my feet in a tub of warm water while I'm watching the tube.
• Then, I dry off the tootsies and apply the callus gel, which cautions that it'll take the skin right off your fingers if you touch it. OK, well, maybe the warning's not that dire, but it seems like it. Just to be safe, I use the nozzle-shaped end to smear it across the ol' heels. After 3-5 minutes, dunk the feet back in the water and wash off the gel.
• Slough off the yucky skin with the Swedish Clover foot file. This is what the aestheticians always use on those rare occasions when I get a professional pedicure. It's cheap, lasts forever and does the job.
• Rinse off tootsies again and apply heel cream.
• Enjoy softer feet.
• For regular maintenance, I use the file every other day after showering and apply the heel cream.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Crazy circle heel
These are tame for this label
Funky chicken shoes.
Shoe n' Tell: These are from Irregular Choice, which makes some of the weirdest shoes I've ever seen. As proof, I threw in a photo of the red pair. They look like oxford wedges as done by LEGO.
I HAD to have the purple shoes when I spotted 'em at Nordies years ago. The deep lilac color and corset-y ribbon hooked me. That round heel sure is weird, though. You don't really notice as much with pants, which is what I pair 'em with. I look at them now and think, 'really?' But, I hang onto them.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Because Friday's still a day away, here are a few funnies to make Thursday bearable....
• Tired Old Ass Soak.The name alone makes it worth buying, but this bath soak actually has glowing reviews from people. Sounds like good stuff. Starts at $5, and there's a whole line of Tired Ass products, including body balm.
• The Better Marriage Blanket. I dunno but it seems to me like this company is missing a golden opportunity — I'd market this fart smell-absorption blanket as a comfarter. The Better Marriage Blanket is supposed to wipe out any, um, flatulence problems. It has a layer of carbon fabric, the very same stuff the military uses against chemical weapons. Niiiiice. The video is priceless. This thing costs $30. Of course, blaming the dog is always free.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Think of this little guy as the cleavage cop.
"Nothing to see here. Move along, peepers; move along."
More and more these days, clothing manufacturers act like they're fluffers on a porn movie set, starting buttons at mid-naval. Low-cut T-shirts gape obscenely like we're auditioning to be Hugh Hefner's new girlfriend.
I, for one, refuse to look cheap. Well that, plus, really I have no boobs, so it's like false advertising.
The Bosom Button preserves modesty and actually injects an extra bit of style into an outfit. Buy a trio of buttons for $25 or an individual one for $12. It's like a giant earring — just push it through the fabric and the girls don't have to be on display. Much chicer than a safety pin.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Magazines are my vice.
I have nearly a dozen subscriptions, mostly to fashion mags, but the occasional food and entertainment periodical arrives, too.
I love flipping through them at night while the TV's on. Now there's an online mag called Glo. From MSN.com, Glo features a little bit of everything — fashion, beauty, lifestyle and food. You can scroll right down the page, but the small icons at the left, which highlight the current issue's features are a little behind and jitter maddeningly while you're scrolling. You can also click right onto a feature you want to see. Problem is, the screen jerks quickly, annoyingly, as you get to what you want. Small quibbles, but they bug.
Will it replace actual magazines printed on paper? Not for me. There's nothing like holding a magazine — or a book — and physically turning the pages. But, Glo is a fun, online diversion. It'll be interesting to see what other solely online "publications" crop up.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Knit — it's not just for hideous harem pants anymore.
Ah, comfy, stretchy knit pants that look stylish. Now that's a trend I can get behind. Designers have already revisited the harem phase again (ew) and high-end designers are even taking a crack at sweatpants. These Young Fabulous & Broke rayon bottoms are sleek and soft, thanks to rayon. (And the name has "harem" in it, but there's no sign of a baggy, dropped crotch at all so I don't believe it).
Pair 'em with an oversized shirt, and you're good to go. Sometimes it's nice to wear something other than jeans or chinos — and be incredibly comfortable. Without looking it.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I don't care what the army says — motherhood is the toughest job you'll ever love. Most of the time.
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. This is the most important job there is. And, if you screw it up, your kids'll put you in the crappiest nursing home ever. No pressure.
I work and have three kids and don't have enough money for all the help I need (nanny, driver, cook). So, I have to pick and choose what I do around the house. If you could see my home, you'd know that cleaning didn't make the cut. Instead, I cook nearly every day. On weekends, we feast on meals that take hours to prepare. Weekdays require less prep. I figure anyone — mom or not — could use a quick, easy recipe. This recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated "The Best Skillet Recipes" is a keeper.
Ramen Noodle Dinner
•1 lb stir-fry meat (it's already sliced and ready to cook!)
•8 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
•2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•1 package of shiitake mushrooms, cleaned* and stemmed (optional) and — if you're feeding kids — diced into teeny bits so they can't complain you used 'shrooms
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•1/2-1 teaspoon powdered ginger (go by your tastes, less if you don't like it; more if you do)
•3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
•4 3-ounce packages ramen noodes, throw out the seasoning packets
•3 tablespoons dry sherry
•2 teaspoons sugar
•1 12-ounce bag baby spinach
•2 or 3 green onions, chopped fine
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick pan. Toss the beef into the skillet with a few teaspoons of soy sauce. Cook until it's nearly cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add remaining oil and heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Stir in the broth. Break the ramen into small chunks and add to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook, tossing the ramen to separate. Cook until noodles are tender but there's still liquid in the pan, about 2 minutes.
Add the remaining soy sauce, sherry and sugar. Add green onions, if you're using. Stir in the spinach, a bit at a time, until it wilts down. Return the beef and any juices and warm until heated through.
And, that's it!
*I'm not really sure how to clean mushrooms. My mom always just wiped 'em with a paper towel. But, they're grown in dirt. Doesn't seem like enough. I had a special mushroom brush to buff those suckers clean, but ever since I caught my husband using it to scrape something off the floor, it doesn't seem right to use it on food.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
In an earlier post ("Frozen Flashback," April 29, '10), I lamented my need for maternity clothes because of hittin' the sweet stuff too hard in the past few weeks.
Well, I actually did buy maternity clothes — ta da!
I'll suffer the indignity of being a non-pregnant woman with a maternity label in her clothes, though, when it's the exact same high-ticket top for a fraction of the price. Allow me to explain.
The silk open cardi is from Nicole Richie's maternity line for A Pea in the Pod. I decided to put aside my extreme distaste for this pocket-sized trollop because I sooooo love this top. The exact same blouse — same name, same vintage silk fabric, same everything, well, except for the label — sells under her Winter Kate line for anywhere from $132-$145. This top, an eBay score, cost nowhere near that. AND it came with a free black maternity tank top. It has this super thick fabric that actually does a nice job of cinching in my post-baby gut.
I wore the top with a skinny belt, a cobalt blue tank beneath and a pair of boyfriend jeans. I think I'm going to start hoarding silk chiffon-y tops like this because they're so light and floaty and perfect for blistering summer heat. I just need to learn to stop catching the wide sleeves on my desk chair.