Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Learn from my horrible mistake — don't think you need to turn your morning coffee into something more, like breakfast. There's no need to throw some ice and frozen banana into your milk and coffee, attempting to turn it into a caffeine smoothie. Shudder. Now that was a bad decision.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Yeah, I'm pretty much over Facebook.
I joined about six months ago — despite friends' warnings that it's an absolute time suck — because I discovered that my favorite stores post new arrivals and sales alerts on that damn site. What I do for retail.
These days, I just scan to see which stores or clothing labels have posted something new because I really don't need to know all the blow-by-blow minutiae of people's lives ("Just had a cup of coffee! Gonna take a dump!").
What a fun FB — as all the cool kids call it — discovery then to find photos from Australia's Fashion Week on Shopbop.com's page (that second picture is one from the photo album. I forget who that chick is — the artistic director? But, she is so stylish. I want to be her). Shopbop puts together the most effortlessly chic, cutting-edge looks.
If you're on Facebook, check out the photos. Otherwise, content yourself with the site's constantly updated lookbooks. They're stingy with the discounts, but man, those people are stylin'.
Monday, June 28, 2010
So I was mindlessly scrolling through one of my fav websites, Revolve Clothing, and checking in on some stuff I'd wishlisted — a Daftbird skirt (that I've since decided is too short) and a Torn loose tank — when I realized that the prices seemed to be a little lower. Sure enough, a few hours later I got an e-mail announcing new markdowns.
I may — MAY — spend too much time online. Regardless, it's a killer sale, and you should go look. One of the many great things about Revolve is its free ship/free return policy for everything, even if things are on super sale. The site also lets you use coupon codes, too, on sale items. Check to see if there's a code knocking around the interweb. "TULIP" used to be good for an extra 15 percent off.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Now back to our regularly scheduled, frivolous programming....
A favorite summer ritual around our house is painting watermelon toes. It's fun, easy and very DIY, so please don't look too closely at the photo.
Basically, it's a wacky French manicure. You slap on some red polish, leaving a little room at the top for the green "rind." Seeds used to be a fairly painstaking process involving black nail polish and a toothpick. But, this year, I finally sucked it up and bought one of the Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens that I kept seeing at Ulta. The pen's got a fine point, so it's fab for detail work (like seeds). It's water-based so if you mess up, you can easily wipe it up with a wet cotton swab without disturbing the base polish.
Find the Sally Hansen pens at Ulta and retailers like Target. Price is around $7.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I spent most of my day at work yesterday crying. Didn't break down into full-blown blubbering, but it was pretty darn close.
I was glad I skipped mascara.
The reason for the sob fest — my co-workers and I were judging a features writing contest and reading stories upon stories from some of the biggest and best newspapers around. The stories were unbelievable, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching. The dad who was shot multiple times — including through the head — but managed to live while his wife and two sons were murdered, their home set on fire. His teenage daughter had ordered the hits. Yet, he forgave and in fact begged for lenience for her and her cohorts. The young, vibrant mother of four who was burned over more than 80 percent of her body after a plane crash. This one made me cry the hardest as the reporter detailed her painful recovery and how her own children were scared of her.
Perhaps the most heart-shattering was the piece about the 6-year-old girl who suffered from schizophrenia. Her imaginary rat and cat friends were real to her and they taunted her to kill herself. She'd tried more than once. Her parents moved into side-by-side apartments to protect her younger brother, but at least that way, she could be home and not locked in a mental ward. She was 6.
Aside from the burning desire to hug the stuffing out of people after reading all that, I felt both guilty and grateful for my little life. Only hours before I was obsessing over finding the perfect, sheer silk cardigan that doesn't come with a triple-digit Winter Kate price tag (damn you and your great but expensive clothing, Nicole Richie).
So, today do what I'm doing — count your blessings. Hug your favorite people. Find joy in the little things, like finding a lady bug on a fat peach. It's a good thing to have worries like what skirt goes with what top and whether or not it's time to ditch a battered pair of shoes.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Clogs, clogs everywhere.
I found these in my closet.
Could these work? Dunno.
Shoe n' Tell: I remember spotting these very Nine West sandals in a magazine YEARS ago. I dogeared the page, and then moved on with my life. Months later, I actually came across them in a sales rack. I slid my foot into them and they immediately conformed. Some shoes are just meant to be. So, I've been cleaning out my closet for another swap party and looked at them. The clog craze is in full swing, but I don't know that these look au curant, what with the banding and the crazy chunk of a heel. But they're comfy. And they were featured in a magazine ad. Not ready to give 'em up just yet. But, I also don't know if I'll wear 'em right now either. It's a fine line between cool retro and just ew retro.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Two days shy of my two-week CND Shellac manicure anniversary, I found 'em — two (sensing a theme?) chips.
Everyone altogether now......"Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww."
It's OK. I am still just amazed at how long my nails were absolutely, positively perfect. Beat the old record by a good 11 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes. Yes, I suck at keeping my nails nice.
This weekend, I shall attempt to take the polish off (the manicurist says it's easy to do — you just have to soak in pure acetone for about 10 minutes). Truth be told, two weeks is about the max of my nail attention span anyway. The race-car red was fun, but now my hands are ready to move on.
You can see the previous posting about the Shellac manicure, which became widely available last month here. The gel-polish hybrid is supposed to last two weeks without chips or smudges — manicurists and customers I talked to say you can actually go three weeks. It costs about $20 more than a regular mani, but well worth it. I'd do it again.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I love that Bare Naked Ladies song "If I Had A Million Dollars..."
It's been stuck in my head for days.
And if I did have such a huge sum of cash on hand, I would buy.....
• This Alexander Wang trench coat, which would put quite a dent in my windfall since it's nearly $900. Holy crimoly. But, I'd be a millionaire, so what?
• The utterly charming, summer-y Leifsdottir dot dress. Sigh. All it needs is a blackberry mojito as a companion. Oh, and a nice rack since it's strapless. I don't have boobs, but I could buy a decent set of inflatables with my monies. The dress rings in at $278. Ah yes, champagne taste but malt-liquor-in-a-brown-bag budget.
• To balance out the super-girly dress, I'd need to add this military-styled cardigan to my closet. It's also from Leifsdottir, which explains why it costs $188.
• A chunky, jade ring. The cool Alex and Ani blue bauble would go with everything. This I might even be able to buy now — it's $58.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...I don't need a capelet...
Amazing how a good discount code (30 percent off at Shoprobertson.com) can make you lust after the oddest things, like this Fluxus capelet.
Monday, June 21, 2010
That was the first thing I thought as I stroked this unbelievably soft, smooth Gilligan & O'Malley animal-print gown (photo and link are of the chemise because I couldn't find the longer animal-print version online).
You always want to be comfortable when you sleep, but that need for comfort is amplified 10-fold when it gets disgustingly hot in the middle of the night and you kick off the sheets and just want to feel cool. This long gown — with its loose, flowy fit — is the perfect choice. It hit at just above the ankles on me. The bra-type straps are adjustable and the empire waist is incredibly flattering.
It comes in solid colors, but I love the hoochie "Real Housewives of New Jersey" animal print. It could almost be worn out as a maxi dress. Almost. In fact when I first put it on, Middle Child demanded to know why I was going to sleep in a dress.
Check your local target. The Gilligan & O'Malley long gown retails for $19.99.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
What do they put in that Aveda tea anyway?
I'm always in a hurry — ALWAYS — yet every time I attempt to dash into an Aveda store, I get lulled into a lengthy visit by the sweet sales girls who offer a Dixie cup of tea and then suck away half an hour of my crazy busy life. Poof — gone with a spritz of their chakra spray.
Still, Aveda's got good stuff, especially when it comes to their hair products. Never much cared for any of the makeup or skin things, but I keep going back for the Be Curly cream and Confixor liquid gel. My recent, not-so-short visit to the store was for...heck, I don't even know what I needed, I forgot after a sip of that tea. Perhaps it's got some sort of mind control herb in it? I was offered tea and before I knew it, I was plopped into the chair, listening to the spiel on the latest product, Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair ($24).
Now, leave-in conditioner is usually a big no-no because it weighs down my fine hair or strips out the wave. Still, the spot on my hair that received a coating of Damage Remedy did feel soft and silky. Plus, I had a coupon for a free trial size. After three uses, it's good enough that now I'll probably have to add it to my arsenal. Sigh. Well, Aveda does quite often have free shipping, that'll save me from the mind-control tea.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
It's an acronym just made for a government organization: A.S.S.
Yeah, my husband came up with that one — Absent Spouse Syndrome. He thinks it's funny. He would — he's the one who's absent. I am not nearly as amused.
He's in D.C. for a one-day conference, but he'll be gone for four — the other free time spent golfing, going to a Nationals game (or, as he called them the "Nats." Really? That sounds so close to "Nads," as in gonads. Appropriate, I s'pose) and more golfing. So I've been working, shuttling kids, refereeing (the many fights) and just trying not to collapse in a tired, wilted heap.
I decided I needed a little sumpin sumpin to reward my martyrdom. What better place to find it than Forever XXI, the adult equivalent of the drugstore I used to visit as a kid, where I could always find something to spend my meager allowance money on.
In this case, I went gaga digging around the ring bins. I've been in a ring mood lately and found some cute ones online, but I have no idea what size my fingers are. Stretchy rings like these take out the guesswork. Plus, in this trio, nothing cost more than $5.80. Money well spent, I'd say.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I suck at hair.
I'm bad at doing my own, even worse at doing others' (ask my girls). There is just too much real estate at the back of the head, and even though I told my son I have eyes back there (he used to dig through my hair, searching), I really don't. So, it's hard to twist it up into those effortless buns you see in all the cool fashion mags.
But yesterday my beloved Daily Candy e-mail arrived, and it was a video on a DIY messy bun. Lo and behold, it was easy enough to do, even for me.
Check it. Not bad, huh?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
So, there's this fun blog I've been following — Style Obsession.
Jessica does a great job of highlighting trends and has an engaging style. My favorite posts are the Tuesday Treats under $20 and Friday Finds Under $50. She does a bang-up job.
Right now, she's got a sweet
giveaway for this fabulous Wendy Mink necklace. The deadline is Monday. Click on over and get the scoop. Yes, I'll get an extra entry for telling y'all, but the fact that it means more people will enter the contest makes that a wash. Ah, well, all for the greater blogger good, right? I'm selfless that way.
I don't know what it is about foundation or mascara, but I just can't commit.
I'll buy a product and then turn on it a few weeks later — like a bitter "American Idol" judge.
I've tried some different MAC foundations (but I'll never cheat on its eyeshadows. Ever.), an Oil of Olay tinted moisturizer and now, a Boots No. 7 tinted moisturizer I spotted at Target. Oh Target, could I love you any more?
The moisturizer has some limited color options — just three. Luckily, someone had thoughtfully pried off the protective shield on a medium, so I could see that it was pretty dark. I wouldn't normally peg myself as fair, but in this case, that seemed the most logical choice.
The product (on sale for $10.79) is of medium thickness and rubs in well. It offers light coverage — as most tinted moisturizers do — so that keeps the limited color range from being an issue. Didn't leave the skin too shiny and was enough coverage to hide some subtle imperfections but not so heavy as to look caked on.
We'll see how I feel in a few weeks, but for now it gets two thumbs up.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
My love affair with beauty products started early, really early, when I received a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker for my 8th birthday. At least I think I was 8. Things get hazy once you have kids, and your brain cells die off at a much more rapid rate. Or, more accurately, are killed off by sheer fatigue.
I can't tell you what I ate yesterday, but I can see that oversized tube of bubblegum scented lip balm as if it were right in front of me. It was a giant tube, like big enough that Angelina Jolie could roll it across her pout and feel like everything was satisfyingly lubed. My lips are not nearly so lush, but I passed that tube over my lips until I had caked on a good inch of goopy pink balm. Seriously, it was so thick that chunks of Smacker clung to my mouth. I couldn't hold that fat tube daintily in two fingers, either — I wrapped my fist around it
Now, I've never used up an entire tube of lip balm, not because I don't use it every day but because I fall in love so easily and often with new stuff. Probably six tubes are scattered across the house and my purse. But when I spied the all-grown up version of
Bonne Bell Lip Smacker at Target ($1.87), well, I added another to the collection.
The company boasts that the product is 100-percent natural and doesn't have any yucky parabens or other equally toxic ingredients (what do you want to bet that stuff was in the earlier versions?). Instead Smacker 2.0 contains olive oil and vitamin E along with aloe. I took home the acai flavor, which is colorless and has only the faintest berry scent. No taste that I can detect.
The au naturel Smacker imparts the barest sheen and is wonderfully, amazingly moisturizing. The stuff lasts a long time before the ol' kisser starts to feel parched — and that's with much less than an inch's worth of Smacker, too.
Monday, June 14, 2010
I've had two professional manicures in my life.
For a girl who loves pampering, that's pretty crazy. But of all the many beauty services out there, manis are the biggest waste of money — for me. My nails chip even if I just look at them. The two times I let the pros have at my hands, I didn't even make it all the way home before at least two nails were gouged.
So when I heard about CND Shellac, needless to say I was intrigued. This new nail process promises two weeks — TWO WEEKS — of perfect nails. No chips, no gouging, no smudges. It's a polish-gel hybrid that's painted onto the nails. In between coats, the nails are cured in a special nail tanning bed. The top photo was taken the first day. The bottom photo taken just this morning, three days later. Unprecedented.
I haven't been sitting around on the couch having my children feed me peeled grapes either. I've been working and engaging in plenty of risky behaviors for polished nails — dishes, cooking, grilling, prying a dog bowl out of its elevated metal stand. My nails are impervious.
I'm actually chronicling my chip-proof mani for work to see if it truly holds up for two weeks. If it does, I could be a big trouble. Huge. Because I will have to do this all the time.
Check the CND Website to see if a salon in your area does this.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Online shopping is amazing and such a crapshoot. Unless you've tried a particular item before or seen it IRL, you just don't know what you're going to get.
In recent months, I've ordered items that have been shorter and more cropped than they were on the 6'2, 100-pound model who was wearing them. I decided the websites were likely going oversize and pinning things on for a perfect fit. It's frustrating. That's why I was so excited to see this description along with a Wildfox shirt on the Black Label Boutique website:
* Size Medium was large and pinned on our Size 0/2 Model
Thank you. Now that helps. If only every online store would do this.
On a side note, that there creepy hand is an example of how not to sell gloves. Could that look any less attractive? Stumbled across that on eBay and had to share. So weird, like cold zombies are trying to attack.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
About four years ago, I discovered Kooba bags at a local boutique.
Supple leather, tasteful hardware and impeccable workmanship — I'd never seen such nice purses. I didn't even know purses came with dust bags.
I fell in love with the Kooba Natasha. A functional, basic bag that was tote-ish but had these cool side turn-locks to make the bag look scrunchy. Awesome, simply awesome — as was the $695 price tag. Even if I could be that girl, I wouldn't be that girl. Paying so much doesn't make much sense for someone who schleps snacks and Matchbox cars and tosses her bag into Target and grocery store carts.
Still, the fashionable heart wants what it wants.
Off and on over the years I'd check eBay to see if any Natashas had come down in price. Maybe someone who uses high-end bags like Kleenex would get bored, and I could snatch it up for a song. That very thing happened last month. I was the first bidder, but then the auction spiraled beyond what I was willing to pay.
And that was the end of that. Until.....the seller contacted me with a second chance offer weeks later, after the initial buyer never paid. I negotiated that blonde beauty down and made her mine.
Forgive the less-than-professional quality photo — we're very low-tech here at SomeHotDishes Central. And, we obviously have no issues about using child labor. If you look closely, know that no child was hurt during the making of this. Middle Child's face is flaming red because she was the Queen of Hearts yesterday at summer camp and had her entire face painted. She'll be about 16 before that red fades.
But wait — there's more to the Kooba tales.
Last year, I'd crushed hard on this little Kooba pouch bag, loving the shape and chain strap but not the $60 price tag, marked down from $145. I carried it around the store, but in the end just couldn't justify such a purchase. I was sorry later, but by then it was too late. Went to a good home, though, a friend got it.
Well, the same exact bag popped up on eBay and I made it mine and for considerably less. It still has the tags attached, too.
That, my friends, concludes Great Ganga Week. It was a good run, probably my last for a long, long while since I'm taking a huge chunk of unpaid leave this summer. From here on out, it'll likely be fantasy shopping, like one of my husband's fantasy baseball leagues. Sigh. Glad I ended on a high note.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Holy crap it's hot.
Like, incinerator hot. Ah, the joys of living in the desert. You get your amazingly mild fall and winter and spring and then suffer for a good four months. The fact that it's gonna be at least 100 degrees today probably explains why I'm not in the mood for IRL photos — or even to post this. But, here goes.
Fell in love with this $200 blanket coat months ago when I spied it on the Bloomies Website. Blanket coats are my favorite trend of this year — they're easy-to-wear, dress up or down and just look so darn cute. I wasn't sure about the fringe, but I loved it because it's like nothing I own. That's been my unspoken fashion resolution this year: to buy what I don't already have. In triplicate. This rule, of course, excludes hoodies. I have been good about bypassing loose-fitting T-shirts and jersey dresses, though.
When the price dropped and then there was a coupon code and the thing was only $44, I had no choice but to pull the online trigger.
From Line knitwear, the "Elizabeth" coat is now sold out (except for an olive version on swayandcake.com). The cotton is thick and snuggly. It has three-quarter sleeves and pockets. As long as it's not paired with cowboy boots, the coat shouldn't look hokey. I think. But, I won't find out for another five months.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Anyone over 12 might find this shocking: Today's great buy comes from Wet Seal.
Yes, Wet Seal. And, if I hadn't seen this very roll-sleeve jacket ($21.50) in the latest People Stylewatch, ain't no way I would have been trolling that site.
But, the lightweight, safari-esque jacket seemed like the perfect neutral, throw-on coverup for cold offices and malls. Plus, it's dressier than a hoodie.
I opted for a medium since I have shoulders that would make a linebacker envious. Fits just fine and I can even raise my arms.
Outfit: Wet Seal roll-sleeve jacket; J. Crew serengeti tank; cut-offs of my own design; Stuart Weitzman "Phoenix" sandals.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
And now for a lesson in patience.
It was back in late December/early January when I received the Nordstrom catalog beholding this B. Makowsky slouchy leather ball shopper aka "Antigua."
"It's a B. Mak! It's tie-dye!" I could barely contain myself.... until I saw the price — well over $200. I could contain myself.
I gazed at it online and after I spotted it in my local Dillard's, I'd visit occasionally and stop by the purse section for a loving caress. Still, I did nothing. We never even got to second base.
When the price dropped precipitously last month during Nordstrom's half-yearly sale for women and children AND — this is the biggie — I had a $20 coupon, then and only then did I pull the trigger.
She's a beaut. As all Makowsky bags are, it's sinfully soft. Squooshy, like a good bag should be, plus the top opens wide enough to see inside. This is actually from the B. Makowsky Lites collection, so no leopard-print lining. That's a good thing — much easier to see inside. The only thing I don't get is why you dub a purse "lite" and then attach this vanity metal tag that weighs a good 2 pounds. Whatev. It's a great summer bag.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Ganga: pronounced GONG-uh, a Spanish word meaning bargain, great deal.
Memorial Week was good to me, bad to my credit card balance. But, hey, I'll deal with that next month!
If there's one thing I can't pass up, it's a screamin' deal and there were soooo many of 'em. A lot of things I'd been eyeing for literally months went on super-sale around the end of May. Huh, patience does pay off. Things are trickling in now, so I'm going to devote this week to killer online buys.
Today: Sauce jacket (if you click onto the link, let me assure you I paid nowhere near that price).
This would be one of my eBay scores. The jacket is only available (that I've seen) at The Hip Chick.
It's got this Breakfast With Tiffany's but with edge vibe, as in "I'd like the french toast, please. And — a beer."
The jacket has a Chanel-ish feel with the cut, but it's a soft cotton-poly blend. The studs add the rock n' roll, of course. My only hangup is that the edges are unfinished, so there's a fair amount of fraying thread. It's part of the look and charm, I know, but it still bugs. I think I'll get over it. Either way, it's such a great alternative to a cardi.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I have, in my hot little hands, the Ann Taylor Loft summer lookbook. Figured I'd share.
Please excuse the rustic photos. Technology hates me — first the photo disc got stuck in the computer and wouldn't load yesterday (and my husband was MIA on the golf course). Today, well, I'm not sure what today's issue was. The pix wouldn't upload perhaps because they're TIFs? I dunno. Dude, it's too early on a Sunday a.m. So, here are some old-school scanned pix from the actual book.
The Loft continues its Crewification, but the label does a darn good job with the genre. What I like about Loft is that it seems to slap sale tags on things faster than J. Crew does.
Some items are already showing up online, like that killer maxi dress. But I just don't know what anyone was thinking with the last outfit — doesn't that woman look like she has chest hair peeking out beneath the cute blouson top? Shudder. That's just nasty.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Ah, Internet shopping. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I lost with these scarves.
Oh, Old Navy, you are becoming the Victoria's Secret of online shopping, and that's so not a good thing. (Back story: Nearly every time I get excited about a clothing item from VS and actually pull the trigger, it arrives and is....crap. Pure, unadulterated crap. See Vextoria's Secret post from 2/13/10).
The Old Navy description of the floral orange scarf says "72"L x 43"W, with 1 1/2" pom-pom fringe." OK, person who wrote description and must've flunked geometry, it is a big ol' honkin' square! You can't do anything with a square except wrap it around your neck like a cowboy bib, a dorky look that I despise.
Back it goes.
On to Scarf No. 2. The green color is so fetching and, of course, it has those groovy pom poms. Alas, the description neglected to mention they're practically the size of testicles. Because this isn't that kind of blog, there's a golf ball next to the scarf, for comparison, rather than an actual testicle. Wow, now I can't even consider keeping the scarf because I've made that icky association with it. Eww. Back you go, ball scarf!
What's worse is that I paid shipping for these items. Hate to pay shipping. HATE.
But, don't cry for me, Argentina. I've actually done pretty well for myself recently with Internet buys. In fact, next week will be devoted to Online Shopping Successes! They've been trickling in, one or two a day. Really, there is nothing better than a brown box waiting outside your door. This is how old I am because loooong ago, I would have been pretty excited about the cute dude in the brown uniform to match the brown box.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I have many shoes
My closet so overflows
But, nothing to wear.
FTC-required disclosure: This isn't even all of my footwear. There's a guest closet that is stacked with shoe boxes (and shoes inside) and I didn't even snap pictures of all the shoes in a jumbled heap, running along the bottom of the closet.
I'm bored by my shoes. I love them, but I am bored. Need new ones. Stat
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Just when you think you've seen it all — think again.
Yes, iClothes, as in for your iPad. There's an Australian company making a pretty cute black dress and a T-shirt, each has a reinforced pouch for an iPad.
Now some may pooh-pooh the idea as a way to make you look, well, poochy. I say, "Brilliant! It camouflages the pooch with a pouch!" Seems like a pretty great alternative to Spanx, if you ask me. Probably more comfortable, too.