31 August 2007
Yesterday was one of those days where everything from the big to the small to the everything in between went not just right but really, really right.
Thanks to Monte's insistence I take a "me" day, I enjoyed my first almost eight hours of sleep on a weekday in recent memory; knowing I'd burn it off later in the day during my run, I had the rare pleasure of eating the carbtastic salt-heavy-heaven that is the side-slice of Cosi bread; I took a liquid stroll down memory lane with two heavy-on-the-Grenadine Shirley Temple kiddie-cocktails during a fabulous girls night out on the Local 16 rooftop; and best of all, on my way to pick up my morning skim, extra-hot capp at the Mudd House on the corner of 17th/M, I saw sitting behind the glass showcase a glorious sight I hadn't expected to see for a good four to six more weeks: the first pumpkin muffin of the season.
Couldn't get any better, right?
Well, as Spencer so famously said to Heidi on episode 2 of Season 3 of "The Hills," the answer to that question is a resounding, "Ennnnnnhhh."
In other words, yes, it could get better. Way better, in fact.
Like, Holiday Party Season '07 dress finally arrived better:
Why do I have the urge to just wear the cummerbund?
Ladies, don't wait until the last minute as I unfortunately did last year with my Winter coat (the result of which was so impulsive and regrettable I already have a fund set aside for its replacement) -- go now, look for great deals on pieces you might not need today or tomorrow but you know you'll need in the near future. Scoop up that perfect party dress before the masses beat you to it and leave you with nothing to choose between but a generic looking J. Crew shift and overpriced (shudder) suburban-Mom Caché leftovers.
Your ability to out-dress your friends this holiday season depends on it!
Kailin sateen skirt by BCBG Max Azria ($138 at nordstrom.com)
30 August 2007
29 August 2007
As I told you many a month ago, I simply adore this glittery-gold, cap-sleeved, slim-cinched Monique Lhuillier mini with front keyhole and sweet, pleated neckline. It's prim, it's showstopping, it's unique in its cut, fabric and color -- for lack of a better term, it's one of those dresses I would describe as "to die for."
You can understand, then, why I had to delay the piece on Fall handbags I'd intended to post this afternoon to address this, only the second instance I've come across in seven plus months of blogging in which I feel wholly justified in using the term "dressphemy."
Before today, I didn't know much about Hayden Panettiere other than the fact she celebrated her coming-of-age with a "tasteful" FHM spread, that she has a Mom even more intent on out-hotting her daughter than LiLo and that she plays some cheerleader on some show everyone keeps telling me is worth skipping Friday night reruns of "To Catch a Predator" for, but after a scant bit of Internet research, I've come to learn that what I suspected was in fact the truth -- Hayden, listed on IMDB.com as 5'1" (which in real life translates to 4'10") has a figure that both in height and width is akin to that of an Olympic gymnast's.
Oh, and that she has a thing for tight, unflattering gold dresses.
Maybe by lunch, maybe not.
Until then, enjoy the trailers of two of my favorite lesser well-known films - Chopper and Sexy Beast - both of which I saw solo back in the day at the Avon's discounted midnight showing, both of which boast heavyset, unscrupulous men whose allures I've not been able to shake in seven years and both of which are such good cinematic rides they rightly deserve to bump 300 to take top billing in your NetFlix queue.
28 August 2007
Having done a good deal of long-term, luggage-restricted travel myself, this is a question for which I am well-suited.
Like mine was, your experience sounds like it will be a predominately casual one. You're not there to impress wealthy expats at exclusive dinner parties or to tink-tink your glass at museum galas, you're there to study, explore the sights on-foot, travel overnight on trains and indulge in dressed-down late night debauchery in whatever local watering hole you and your friends happens to stumble across.
As such, you need to bring along pieces that can easily intermingle with one another - both in terms of ease of layering and color/style coordination - to create as many unique outfits as possible. You also need to think about sticking as strictly as you can to practical, non-dry-clean, non-iron, non-high-maintenance, high-quality materials like jersey, denim, washable wools and non-wrinkle cottons. For those few items you can't leave behind but on which you can't compromise treatment, be prepared to hand-wash or to entrust these to a local (read: likely unreliable) cleaning service. Anything unnecessarily impractical (e.g., a pair of bright, funky flats, a satin-trimmed peasant blouse) must out of deference to your limited suitcase space fall to the bottom of your to-pack priority list. Never fear, though, for some of my all-time favorite wardrobe components were those I serendipitously - and cheaply - picked up in-country while finding my way from the bootleg DVD district back to my apartment.
While it sounds like your trip will be for the most part an informal one, a woman always likes to have in her back pocket the option to dress for the different gradations of formal, whether it be first-date formal, school reception formal or just feel-like-looking-prettier-than-normal formal. Rest assured, I have taken these occasions into consideration when selecting the items I did.
Lastly, we need to think about temperature. I checked the weather for your two destinations - Moscow and Budapest - between September and December, and the range you should expect to experience is between 65 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit -- a Fall-to-Winter transition similar to that which most of us in this country are accustomed.
Without further ado, here are my recommendations for those essential items* a fashionable woman should pack for an extended Fall/Winter trip:
27 August 2007
So that you, too, can waste hours and hours searching online for that perfect dress or find more easily that pair of shoes you'll never be able to afford but to which you masochistically pay homage every night, late at night, with the lights off, I'm sharing with you for a second time my newly-updated trusty list of online links.
If you have additional websites you'd like to share with the group, please raise your hand and the talking stick will be passed your way.
On an unrelated but equally important note, not that I need to remind any of my readers, but just in case it slips your mind between that rerun of "Frontline" and settling into the 'United States' section of The Economist (ahem, Miss Teen South Carolina), tonight is a "The Hills" night, and in this newest half-hour we get to see the ever-charming Spencer begrudgingly turn down a Malibu barbecue to meet Heidi's family in Colorado, Brody and LC (who, above is wearing the dress - another of her own design - I wish I'd worn to my senior prom) reunite for a pensive "I lost my best friend last year, too" convo, and perhaps most anticipated of all, Justin-Bobby-ditches-Audrina part deux -- a classic episode in-the-making. Oh, and don't forget the after-show immediately following at 10:30; none of my girlfriends caught it last week, and as a result, I was the only one among them who knew Justin-Bobby was not in fact a Brown educated trust-funder who just happened to look like a vagrant but instead a stylist who "does hair for like, Vogue and stuff."Now if you'll kindly excuse me, my heavy legs, unhealthily bony shoulders, fug face and I have to head down to Dr. Cosi for what I like to think of as my daily vitamin injection -- an ice cream scoop heaving with Gorgonzola.
Happy shopping, ladies...
It's embarrassing, it's regrettable, but it's true -- ask anyone who knew me between 1994 and 2002, and they would all say, without a whit of hesitation, that I had the market cornered when it came to wearing pink anything.
Pink velour track pants? Check.
Pink turtleneck sweater? Check.
Pink strapless cocktail shift? Check.
Pink tie-front bandeau bikini? Check.
Charlotte ringer tees in Easter pink, raspberry pink, electric pink and red-faded-into-Hawaiian-punch pink? Check, check, check aaaand check.
I wore so much pink so often during high school and college that literally, one day shortly after graduation, I woke up, looked at my two-thirds pink wardrobe arranged neatly from dark-to-light in my closet, turned away and said, "No more."
And since then, aside from my Georgetown University entrance ticket (i.e. the super-fitted, baby pink Izod polo), I haven't put a single dollar toward anything remotely resembling the color of fabulosity, according to Kimora Lee Simmons. Not an eyeshadow, not a nail polish, not a lip gloss, not even a pair of for-the-bedroom boyshorts.
After five solid years of living a pink-free lifestyle, I neither missed it nor honestly thought I'd ever wear it again.
But then, out of nowhere, came this:This serene scene of the lovely Katie in a rich berry, thick-knitted coat-dress and catch-your-breath beautiful black Giuseppi Zanotti knee-high stiletto boots carrying a sleeping Suri en route to a flower shop after a taxing two-hour private tour at the Louvre not only affirmed the sentiments I've shared with you in posts like this, this and this but also opened my eyes for the first time in years to the possibility of reintroducing pink to my wardrobe.
Naturally, it would be a different kind of pink. A grown-up pink. The kind of pink a woman would wear not to boldly assert her femininity but rather as an every-now-and-then alternative to classic black that would allow her to feel "brightened up" but still well within the confines of her hallmark prim, elegant aesthetic. I may not have reached Holmesian-level perfection with the rose-hued, funnel-necked, structured-twill trapeze dress I liberated from Zara after work last Friday - the exposed zipper, for example, would not have been my first choice - but considering the perfect fit, the coveted neckline, and of course, its palatable $99 price tag, I'm confident I came as close to her gold standard as a girl on a budget could.
Whether I wear the new frock with my vintage croc-embossed pumps, my rosette-adorned satin peep toes, or, after I finally nail down a good time to take that two-week hiatus to have an egg harvested and earn that easy $25K for which I have only three more years of eligibility, these cognac almond-toed Alta Arielle Talon stiletto boots, I'm confident I'll feel just as sophisticated and sleek in pink as I do every other day in my signature all-black.
So, for the rest of you think-you-hate-pink people out there, I urge you to give this hue another chance. Not a nostalgic throwback-to-the-pep-rally chance, not a frilly feminine chance, but a thoughtful, adult chance. Go for deep mauves, clean and subtle ballets, rich matte magentas or, if you're not ready to take the full leap, at least indulge in a pop-of-pink item like this dress from Milly or this blouse from Harkham.
Before I go, I should also mention that what truly made acquiring this precious-'n'-pink dress so satisfying was that I found it shortly after leaving behind a different one, one I loved so much I actually seriously considered reallocating a quarter month's rent toward its purchase.
Where? At Cusp, of course, where everything - except these - is a wishlist item and nothing aside from Spanx, a few pairs of Sam Edelman flats and the judgmental, "Why should I give you a fitting room if you and I both know you're not going to buy anything?" eyerolls costs less than $295.
Which dress? This sweet, sequined-belted, bubble-hemmed tweed cocktail dress with keyhole back from Vera Wang's Lavender Label collection. Recognize the pleated neckline? Yeah, I did, too. I wanted so badly to give my two sateen-cotton girls a wool sister, but alas, sometimes finances force families to stay small.