Sunday, October 31, 2010
I used to mock my husband over his caffeine addiction. "You're just weak," I told him while I skipped around with loads of energy.
Then we had kids.
Yeah, now guess who can't function without a constant caffeine drip. Honestly, if I don't have a shot of espresso first thing followed up by a good two-three glasses of green tea throughout the day, I'm quasi-comatose by 2 p.m. I want to curl up under my desk, George Costanza-style, and snooze. I'm addicted. Hopelessly, painfully addicted.
But, here's the thing: I can't stand the way coffee tastes. Love the smell — adore it. A whiff of coffee as it bubbles away in a maker takes me back to my childhood and my grandparents' Missouri farmhouse with its linoleum floors and vaguely hay-ish smell and chicks and ducks waiting to hatch in the incubator tucked in the family room. Good times.
Back to the coffee.
Unless it tastes like ice cream, I can't stomach it. Properly diluted with ice and milk, it is palatable. But now it's chilly in the mornings, so iced coffee doesn't cut it. Instead, I make hot chocolate — white hot chocolate is even better because of its ultra sweetness — and cut it with the bitter brew. Coffee that tastes good and, more importantly, gets me through the morning without thinking I ought to do shots of, um, something else, like Jack Daniels.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I think what Mother Nature wants — what she really, really wants* — is a McDLT.
Remember that McDonald's short-lived gem? It kept the hot side (burger) hot and the cold side (tomato, lettuce) cold?
Anyway, here in Tucson, it's hot, it's cold, it's hot, it's cold. Not necessarily in that order. ENOUGH already. Let's leave the weirdness to ill-conceived fast-food marketing.
In the mornings, it's chilly enough to warrant some sort of jacket-y thing. Yet by early afternoon, it's shorts and flip-flops time. I think this outfit works with the wacky weather: J Crew short-sleeved t-shirt dress layered with an H&M jacket from its awesome Garden Collection. The shoes are H&M leopard-print wedges. The Citrine by the Stones necklace was an eBay steal.
*And yes, Spice Girls song references mean it's been a long week and I'm wiped, wiped, really, really wiped.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Dainty ballet flat?
No, pricey temptress! Vixen!
Still, I *heart* you, Tod's.
Tod's Deg Ball Mulitmateriale, a whopping $395. But, free shipping! Ha. Just gave my husband a heart attack there. But, it's his own fault really. He brought me the Wall Street Journal's fashion mag, which not only had stories on investment bags (bonus factoid: Victoria Beckham has 100 Birkins!) but an interesting story on Italian-made Tod's. They're crafted by hand and amazing. I like them even though Gwyneth Paltrow once did its ad campaigns (she bugs so, so much).
So, as I was pondering these fabulous shoes and bags, I thought, Well, what if I didn't spend my money on cheap trendy things? What if, instead, I saved up for one or two amazingly timeless pieces that would be treasured until I farted dust?
Could I? Would I?
A friend admitted she's moving more toward that way, and it makes sense — especially when I see what I move in and out of my closet at our quarterly swap parties. But, I'm fickle. I like trends, and I like that I can buy into one for about $20 and then when I'm sick of it in a year, I'm not out of that much money.
I honestly don't think I could spend hundreds of dollars for a thing — that did not come with four wheels and guzzle gas.
What about you? Are you an investment shopper or do you throw down your wallet and snap up every good buy?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
So normally this would be the part where I offer some illumination into this product in the form of a review. Except one of my kids went all Jackson Pollock on the counter with the mascara wand. So, that was the end of that. Too bad too because this stuff seemed promising.
I only had one shot at the stuff before it was rendered utterly and completely contaminated. I liked how it stroked on and seemed to make my lashes - the righties still recovering from that unfortunate grilling incident over the summer - seem longer. Guess I'll have to pony up for another tube.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
If monkey, er, money were no object, this dress would be mine.
But since it is, I settled for this shirt instead. I wear it when I volunteer in my little boy's kindergarten classroom. It's a crowd-pleaser.
Go check out Hazel & Melvin's Room and look at all the clever sock monkey stuff. Too cute.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
A coupla things I do not possess, yet I am obsessing over:
• This Nightcap vest is so rock n' roll. I love how it looks like a scarf in the front and has that ha-cha-cha back to it. I would not, however, wear it with a pseudo shirt and lace bell bottoms. Even on a dare.
• I'm now about a month into my cosmetics freak-out period.
I've made about five trips to Whole Foods and umpteen visits to assorted websites in search of beauty products that won't make me grow a third eye. I carry "No More Dirty Looks" by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $14.95) in my purse like some sort of Jehovah's Beauty Witness. The authors gave props to a natural makeup line by W3ll People, which is out of Austin, Texas, so it has to be good (Austin is so very cool). The raved about W3ll People Nudist lipshine. Other online reviews back 'em up, and I was all set to bite until I saw that shipping was $12.95. I'm obsessive, but not crazy.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
For the love of all that is fashionable, please, it is sequins, people. S-E-Q-U-I-N-S.
If I come across one more eBay listing that proclaims how fabulous a particular "sequence" dress is, I will not be responsible for my actions. Honestly, that word ought to be taught in kindergarten.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Not referring to the outfit, although I could be, but the weather. 70s! Yay! This is a time for rejoicing in the desert. It's funny how people just seem happier, even a little giddy, when the thermometer dips.
Of course, this isn't fall just yet. Oh no, we'll get hit with at least one or two more heat waves. But for now, I'm going to revel in the fact that I was able to pull out this Line "Elizabeth" blanket cardi and wear it for reals after snagging it back in June.
I'm feeling pretty smug right now because Southwestern-inspired jacket/sweaters seem to be everywhere right now. And I bought mine way back when — and for only $44. Regular price was $200.
The rest of the outfit: C&C California v-neck (the best tees ever because the sleeves are extra long. I love to pull 'em over my hands); Forever XXI boot necklace; Fins denim flared jeans (RIP, Fins. A killer jean maker that went away. Luckily I've been able to score about a half dozen pairs — that's how much I love 'em — on eBay); Lucky clogs.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Work at home? Good. Bad.
Good 'cuz I get a lot done.
Bad — I turn hobo.
Some people (ahem, Lisa at Respect the Shoes) who work from home manage to look cute and charming and perfectly respectable for the occasional Jehovah's Witness who stops by.
That would not be me. I am a bum. Because it was chilly (Yay! 70-degree weather! Finally!) and I had to pick up kids crazy early, I went ultra casual. I believe those are actual pajama bottoms I am passing off as sweats. But, my shoes are cute.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Outfit Inspiration comes courtesy of that "High School Musical" chick.
The mix of military (the jacket), feminine (sweetly sexy, loose top) and boots strikes the perfect note. I figured I could give it a shot. Immediately after shooting this I realized two things: 1. The top is not nearly long enough for adequate badonkadonk coverage, and more importantly, 2. I am so not ready for skinny-jeans weather.
So, if you'll excuse me, I'm on to the elliptical. This time, I'd better plug it in.
Copycat outfit: Jacket from Costco (Lizwear?); Aqua rayon bow top; Joe's Jeans leggings (a smokin' Anthro deal at $19.99); Express necklace and Stuart Weitzman wedge booties (amazing eBay score).
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sale goggles are a mighty thing.
Not familiar with those? Think beer goggles — but without the possibility of STDs.
In shopping circles, sale goggles means you see an item — previously dismissed — in a whole new light after the price gets knocked down low enough. That's the case with this Winter Kate "Eden" silk jacket.
When it first showed up on the Interweb, the open jacket seemed like it had the potential to skew old lady. Early-bird dinners in Boca. That old TV show "Maude." Shudder.
Then I started developing a crush on that boho look of a flowy silk jacket over cut-offs or skinny jeans or simple tank dresses, and I could find no decent substitutes. Once the price on the jacket was slashed (cheaper than any price I'd seen on eBay) and I had a coupon code, well, I started to look at it differently.
Hey, I started thinking, that print is kinda cool. It's dressier than a regular cardi. I ended up ordering it because A) I am competitive and it was the last one and B) I really wanted to see it IRL.
Once it arrived, the coloring and print looked quite elegant. You can't tell from the photo, but there's an occasional streak of jade that adds a nice pop. The jacket's lined, nice touch. The kimono sleeves — with the slit under the pits that I thought would drive me batty — are cool. Really — it's like having your own personal air-conditioning, a definite positive in a desert climate.
So, here is my boho outfit: Winter Kate "Eden" jacket; Daftbird tee; J Crew necklace, which picks up the green in the jacket; Bella Dahl cropped cords and Simple "Carousel" slip-ons.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Never gave much thought to highlighter. It didn't really seem...important. But, when I had a MAC-over one day at the counter, the makeup artist used it, and I actually kinda sorta looked like I might have cheekbones. And so another step in the beauty routine was born.
But you know how you do things day after day and don't give them much thought and then one day, you look in the mirror and have this epiphany like "Holy crap — I thought that looked good?!" Well, that's what happened to me. I'm looking in the mirror at work — in those horrifying fluorescent lights that only office bathrooms and detention centers have — and realize that my sparkly highlighter powder has migrated, leaving glittery specks all over my face. Probably a little too showgirl for my everyday life.
I realized this even more after trying RMS Beauty Living Luminizer. Because I am on a cut-out-the-chemicals kick, I ordered a sample from Spirit Beauty Lounge. Pay attention, other beauty sites, this is a revolutionary thing — allowing customers to order samples.
Though the name kinda makes me laugh — Living Luminizer? What do zombies use? — the natural, organic highlighter kicks ass. It's one of those unsung hero kinds of products. You know, the kind that make people say, "Wow — you look great! What did you do, get nine hours of sleep? A facelift?" And you did neither of those things. It's all due to using something top-notch.
The luminizer makes skin glowy. You look more awake and like you're constantly in good lighting — like what's in my bathroom at home.
You can use a make-up brush (or your fingers) to stroke a smidge on the tops of cheekbones, beneath eyebrows and in the bow of your top lip.
The stuff ain't cheap: $38 for a tub, but I suspect it'll last a looooong time. And, if I'm willing to pony up for it, you know it's gotta be good. It is available at other sites, but I now pledge my allegiance to Spirit because it lets me try before I buy.
Monday, October 18, 2010
No, not frou-frou. I mean Fou-Fou, as in Little Bunny Fou-Fou hopping through the forest, scooping up designers and bonkin' 'em on their heads, which would account for the forest-friendly clothing and accessories that keep popping up.
What's the deal? Such a baaaaaad trend, perhaps even worse than socks with sandals.
This stuff is cute on the demographic that still eats glue (and boogers) and hits the hay by 7:30 p.m., but for those of us a little more mature, it's sorta ridonkeylous.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
This is the recently blogged-about Patterson J. Kincaid "Salvador" dress (read about it here).
Love the easy-breezy silhouette — it isn't clingy — and has that fun, sheer thing happenin'. The attached slip (which increases the difficulty level of actually pulling it on) chases away the hooch factor. For our crazy 90-something-degree weather now, it's fine as is. If it ever gets cooler, I'm going to layer with a moto jacket, tights and black wedge booties.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
I am a clog hog
A girl can't have too many
Two colors? Rock on!
Shoe n' Tell: This would be my amazing purchase from Neiman Marcus' Last Call Columbus Day sale. Don't bother lookin' — these Daniblack Swiss clogs are no more. Although, you can still find 'em on Zappos at their normal, crazy-high price. Evil laugh — bwahahaha.
The strap is sheer brilliance since rocky-rolly clogs can be tough to walk in, and the two-tone action is killer.
Side note: My dyslexic fingers kept mistyping "clot" for "clog." Ew.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Yeah, I was gonna be funny and come up with new lyrics to "Whomp There It is " (which is a fairly feeble rap, as it is), but it's Thursday and I'm already runnin' on empty. So, this is all there is — a photo of the American Apparel rose, one-size-fits-all top.
Yup, I did it — signed up for e-mails, got myself a discount code and bought the next-best-thing to the "Sex and the City" Givenchy/Members Only jacket. The top is kinda heavy and does shed, as reviewers on the AA site have mentioned. It's also pretty rad, cute and in all ways fabulous. Of course, after I bought it in ivory, the pink color showed up. I consoled myself with the knowledge that pink plus roses would be way too little-girl cutesy. Don't tell me otherwise.
It's very likely the classiest thing AA has ever made.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I am not especially original when it comes to fashion. I have my moments of inspiration, but a lot of the time I get ideas from other, better-pulled-together people.
Boutique to You does a great job of highlighting sleek celebs like swimsuit model Bar Refaeli and showing you how to recreate the look. When this e-mail arrived, I immediately recognized things from my own closet. Yay!
Not that I am at all comparing myself to this chick — there definitely will not be any attempts at lookalike swimsuits — but I do have similar clothes.
My attempt: Guess tuxedo jacket (a thrifted gift); cotton knockoff scarf of unknown origin; Daftbird gray tank top; tights (they're patterned, which is hard to tell); swap-party purse; Dr. Martens Hello Kitty boots (black laces subbed for the original pink ones). The hot pink gives a pop of playfulness and color, don't ya think? :)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
So, I'm on this insane, cut-out-the-crap-cosmetics kick. That means checking ingredient labels on my copious beauty and skin care products for bad chemicals. Next step is finding suitable alternatives since my current stuff could make me glow in the dark, at the very least.
In a twisted way, it's kinda fun because it gives me an excuse to restock.
Of course some of the worst offenders filled with parabens and other assorted yucky things are lip products. I'd already been on a tinted lip balm kick anyway, so it didn't take much persuasion to try Burt's Bees lip shimmers. They're cheap ($4.99 at Target) and readily available. The color range was limited, but I loved the way the stuff rolled on with a refreshing peppermint kick. No one can tell if you ate garlic at lunch after putting on the Burt's Bees.
The raisin color, one of the deeper berry ones, offered good coverage and had a bit of shine. It wasn't especially long lasting, but that's fine — especially since reapplication doesn't mean subjecting yourself to any nasty ingredients.
Monday, October 11, 2010
No, I don't mean the kind that the bride wears.
I was invited to my first wedding in.....well, a really, really long time. In another few years, I'm sure there will be another cycle of weddings as people embark on their second ones.
For the occasion, I broke out the H&M Garden Collection red dress that was purchased back in March. This is, ahem, the first time it's been worn outside the house. Now, are you ready for the funny part? The bridesmaids were in STRAPLESS, RED, FULL-SKIRTED dresses. Really. AND, it was at a Mexican restaurant with fat, paper roses everywhere. I totally blended in.
The lovely girl with me in her fanciest duds in Child No. 1. She was my date — she was much, much more excited than my husband about the prospect of attending her first wedding. It was a good girls' night out.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
That title most definitely does not refer to the alcoholic beverage. Shudder. I'm more a frou-frou drink kind of gal, as this outfit suggests.
The scoop: J Crew three-quarter sleeve scoop tee (scored, still in the bag and tags attached, from the most recent swap party); J Crew skirt (again, from said swap party); J Crew necklace and Shoes for Lovely People wedges.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Years ago, I sifted through the racks of Last Chance in Scottsdale. Not a pleasant experience.
I'm fairly sure that one of the shirts up for sale was stained with real blood. And, the store smelled funny.
That pretty much scared me away from the physical outposts of fancy stores' discount locations. I much prefer the sanitized online version. Much cleaner and odor-free. Prices are good, stuff is still in-season, AND there's a free ship code (FSLAUNCH). AND, there's a Columbus Day sale for an extra 30 percent off. I nabbed a pair of Daniblack clogs that I'd been eyeballing forever at a significantly lower price than every other retail site. We'll see if they come smeared with blood.
What is up with all the Columbus Day sales anyway? All kinds of stores are having 'em. I don't even know when Columbus Day is.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Hey, killer red shoes
Killer 'cause they hurt so bad
What the **, Aerosoles?*
Shoe n' Tell: These patent red d'orsay pumps were such a deal and that heel height is dead-on — not too high and not too low. I couldn't believe they were Aerosoles. I always forget I have them and when I drag them out, I remember why: There's something freakishly wrong with them. They are Aerosoles for heaven's sake, and they are not comfortable! That goes against the laws of shoedom. Something about the cut-out at the toe causes all the problems. Yet, I still keep trotting them out.
*and no, the asterisks are not counted as syllables.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
My bags aren't so much purses as they are carry-on luggage. Huge, full of all the important (and not so important) stuff and heavy enough to cause a chiropractor to cringe.
Needless to say, I need big wallets, too. Seriously big.
My favorite one had tons of slots for cards and extra zip-around pouches for receipts (I hang onto those forever). It was freakishly orange, cost all of $14 and was made of the fauxest faux leather. In a matter of weeks, it looked really bad. In fact, on a shopping trip when I whipped it out of my purse, my friend gently suggested I ought to retire it.
My next super-sized wallet was (and still is) a double zip-around from Target. It cost all of $5. It looks it. I also constantly unzip the wrong side every time. That bugs me to no end.
Enter the Pelle Hidden Assets Organizer Clutch aka a really big wallet. I saw it at the Wilsons Leather store in Phoenix over the summer and even though it had everything I could want — tons of slots, calculator for figuring out discounts, extra pull-out pouch with slots — I didn't get it. For the past few months, I've regretted that decision. So, I signed up for Wilson e-mails, which got me free shipping and when an extra discount kicked in, I bought that sucker for less than $20.
It is truly a wonder wallet, and I apologize if you — like me — now have Oasis' "Wonderwall" stuck in your head.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
This Patterson J. Kincaid dress arrived this week.
I had been coveting it because I loved the idea of the sheer with the lining and just the easy, overall shape of the dress. I apparently wasn't alone — it sold out on Shopbop.com lickety-split. I didn't even realize it was the daintiest cheetah print until I pulled it out of the bag. Nice surprise.
It looks really cute, so I guess I can forgive that it took me 20 minutes to put on a pull-on dress. Seriously. The lining is attached to the shell, and it was all quite a complicated tangle. I was afraid I'd have to call 911, and I so did not have the appropriate undies (well, or ass) for that.
And just look at this great outfit from my beloved Swayandcake.com. Everything about this look is perfect — it's edgy; the long trench dress is a fun twist on the military look, and those boots, which speak to my inner construction worker, are too cool. I'm quite smitten with this creative ensemble.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Time to shop.
After reading "No More Dirty Looks" by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $14.95) and hyperventilating over my lack of nontoxic cosmetics and products, I've been trolling the World Wide Shopping Web like a mad woman.
Some sites to browse:
• RMS Beauty. The authors raved about makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift's line, which contains pretty much everything you'd need: a concealer/foundation, lip gloss, cream eye shadow, a luminizer and intriguingly, raw coconut cream, which can be used as a makeup remover, cleanser and moisturizer.
• Spirit Beauty Lounge. The site not only carries many of the products recommended by "No More Dirty Looks," but you can order sample sizes. Brilliant. I bought a slew Thursday night, and there they all are! Such fast shipping, Spirit Beauty Lounge. Impressive. And only the coconut cream melted. I'm sure it will firm up again. Expect reviews soon.
• Beauty Kat. I only came across a handful of stuff in the medicine cabinet that was "safe" and Japanese label Komenuka Bijin was among those precious few. Komenuka offers a very, very clean line. I've used the body cream and moisturizer and liked both. This site offers wickedly cheap shipping ($2.88 or free for a $40 order), so it's worth checking out.
• Soap.com. Fortuitously, I got a coupon in the mail for Soap.com on the same day I finished up this book. It carries Alaffia coconut and shea butter shampoo, which is recommended, along with Dr. Bronner's soap, also recommended (you can find it at Target and Ulta, too). I pulled together an order (I don't need much prodding when coconut is involved) and also received a referral code to share — KCXX8864. It's good for 15 percent off your first purchase. Feel free to use it if you can't find a better offer out there. I allegedly get $10 credit if people use the code, just to be completely forthcoming.
• Thanks to S, who shared the link for the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetics safety database. It's a good place to do some sleuthing and find safe stuff because, let's face it, we're not gonna go makeup-less and stop coloring our hair, are we? Of course not.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Generally, I'm not an over-reactor.
Well, I do often self-diagnosis spinal meningitis every time I develop an unexplained neckache, but that's hypochondria. Different dealio.
I'm talking about when you hear about the latest, horrifying study: Fish is full of mercury! Meat is full of genetically-engineered crap!
I figure, something's gonna get you. As long you don't do or eat anything in excess and you're properly careful — well, as careful as you can be; we all know how labels touting "organic" and "totally, completely natural!" can be fudged — that's the best anyone can do.
So, it's odd that "No More Dirty Looks" by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $14.95) has completely freaked me out.
The paperback details how the United States cosmetics industry is basically poisoning us. Remember the 2009 FDA study that showed all of the lipsticks it studied had lead? Well, beauty companies pretty much have no oversight, and many of the substances companies use here have long been banned in Europe. The companies actually reformulate to sell over there.
I've been doggedly pulling out all my products and cosmetics and cross-referencing the ingredients against the list of no-no substances in the book. Guess what? Not good. My much beloved Lush "fresh and natural" shampoos and conditioners? Yup, each and every one has some sort of cooties. I was horrified at all the questionable chemicals in my children's shampoo and body soap.
What's a product-loving girl to do? Well, I'm not going to go as far as use beets to stain my lips, as the book suggests for a completely natural, safe alternative to lead-tainted lipsticks. Nor will I stop washing my hair as one of the authors did. I am however, going to start being a lot more cautious about what I buy and checking the ingredient labels.
For beauty junkies, "No More Dirty Looks" is a must-read. It's like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" for chicks. Perhaps it'll have the same impact.
Coming tomorrow: where to find clean cosmetics and products.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Oh, P.S. I Made This — you with your ingenious crafting skills, turning an old T-shirt into a trendy, fringed scarf or pimping out a plain tank top with coffee filters. Sure, you have a popular website and a newly published book and probably Martha Stewart's number on speed dial, but does your kid's soccer team have a banner like this?
Oh yeah. That's what I'm talkin' about.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Seinfeld had Newman.
I have Poly.
Hate that bitch.
Sure, she acts like she's my friend — all cute and low-maintenance and even wallet-friendly. So, I get sucked in. We become pals and what happens? She turns on me. First triple-digit day and Poly — full name Poly Ester — gets hot and nasty.
Knowing that backstory, you can understand why I turned up my nose at the Tucker for Target collection.
Yuck. Then, my friend — whose aversion to the synthetic is even stronger than my own — brought home a camisole.
Naturally, I needed to go investigate. You see what happened. Poly, in this instance, was cute. And cheap. And....doesn't feel half bad. I'm giving her a second chance.
Outfit: Tucker for Target butterfly camisole; Mossimo Supply Co. skinny cargos; Diego DiLucca wedges; Rebecca Minkoff wrap bracelet.
Friday, October 1, 2010
I have better shoes.
Flashier, taller, more fun
But, my pod likes these.
Shoe n' Tell: At first, I was horrified. Wear these flip-flops? They're no Havaianas, that's for sure. But, my podiatrist sells them, approves of the arch support, so this is a case of form over fashion. Truth be told, they are quite comfy. They are my shoe of choice for walking the kids to school and schlepping to the grocery store. Altrec.com sells the Sole flips for $69.95.
Outfit: Black T-shirt with rosettes (can't see 'em on that black) from a swap party, J Crew polka dot skirt, Vita Fede star-studded leather wrap bracelet and Juicy Couture candy corn charm worn on a necklace.