Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twinkle Toes

If you're anything like me, I'm sure you thought that light-up shoes were only marketed to two very different clientele: teeny sneakers for those who frequent the playground, and lucite platforms for those who frequent the stripper pole.

And that's where we were wrong.

Both Jimmy Choo and Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte have created grownup variations of the novelty footwear. The Jimmy Choo version (above) comes with a price tag of $2,495 - and a glorified glow stick attached the heel.

While I won't exactly call the Rodarte pair "understated," they are considerably less garish than the Choo pair. I'm intrigued.

Tell me, would you wear light-up footwear? Or should we leave this trend to the wee ones?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Forever21, Solid Pleat Front Dress, $10.50
Kingsley, Silver Blue Enamel Pill Box, $14.50
Urban Outfitters, Flower Ball Post Earrings, $12
Anthropologie, From the Deep Salad Plate, $14
IKEA, Lumbar Cushion, $19.99

Monday, March 29, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Banana Republic dress; Guess sandals; Banana Republic bracelet

My summer-like mood hasn't dissipated. I'm willing to withstand a few goosebumps and chilly drafts if it means easy knit dresses - like my latest conquest from Banana Republic.

The beaded neckline negates any need for an over-the-top necklace - a definite plus for summer's sticky weather when the last thing you want is a chain touching the base of your neck.

As luck would have it, the dress is a perfect match for my standby summer accessory: a chunky gold bracelet.

Note: If you're interested in purchasing the dress online, it does run large. Be sure to choose the smaller size if you're wavering between two.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chanel's Photoshop Failure

Chanel may be willing to charge thousands of dollars for a handbag, but they're not willing to pony up the cash for a barnyard photo shoot. Case in point:

Sure the fashion house could have recreated a stable with plywood and hay bales. But where's the fun in that? Instead, Chanel asked a poor sap in the graphics department to Photoshop the models into a country scene - a la the Spring 2010 runway show. Little did they realize, a PhotoshopDiaster would be on their hands.

I'm sure chiffon is one of the most difficult things to Photoshop. But if you look closely, you'll see that the graphic artist was a little too liberal with the transparency - giving her a translucent leg.

Now, I don't think the graphic artist is entirely at fault for this mess. I'm sure an executive thought it would be a fantastic cost-savings maneuver to use some design magic on the shots from the runway show. Too bad Photoshop can't always work miracles - no matter how talented the artist is.

See the entire train wreck at Chanel's Web site.

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

The Limited, Striped Canvas Bag, $29.99 (on sale)
Forever21, Asymmetrical Striped Tunic, $13.80
Kimchi Blue, Striped Skimmer, $19.99 (on sale)
Anthropologie, B&W Wall Hook, $18
Topshop, Stripe Bandeau Playsuit, $50

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Fling

Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress; Tahari sandals; Simply Vera fishnets; Yves Saint Laurent ring; CC Skye messenger bag

Spring is tantalizing close, even if early morning temperatures haven't shown promise of warmer weather. All week I've left the apartment bundled in a heavy winter coat, clutching a warm coffee mug. Thankfully Mother Nature has been more accommodating during the evening commute, encouraging me to shed the winter layers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Forever21, Spotted Feather Straw Fedora, $12.80
Sparkly Pineapple Earrings, $4.80
My Best China Hook in Lemon, $18
Crate and Barrel, Summer Lemons/Lemonade Glasses, $3.95 each
Kimchi Blue, Garment Dyed Eyelet Top, $19

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Can the contents of our bags yield insight into our personalities? I'll let you decide as I spill my essentials, thanks to prompting from Tanya over at Moosette.

I'm schlepping:
  1. My new CC Skye "Edie" messenger bag (via Gilt)
  2. Banana Republic silk scarf
  3. Handful of toiletries: Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer in "white citrus", miscellaneous Clinique lip products, Renu eye drops
  4. Motorola Razr phone (Obviously I'm not concerned with being high tech!)
  5. Lauren Merkin business card case in "Eggplant"
  6. Keys to my car, apartment and heart
  7. Pen
  8. Paint samples - I'm searching for the perfect navy blue for the bedroom.
  9. Banana Republic wallet
  10. Coach planner
  11. Camera (not pictured)
I'm a bit of a voyeur and would love to see what everyone else is carrying! I encourage everyone to play, but I'm going to specifically tag: A Wonderfelle World, Suck My Savvy, The Beauty File, Cafe Fashionista, La Rue Neuve, Style Symmetry, Chic 'n Cheap Living, Glammed if you do ..., Pudding and the Post-Fab Princess, and Chic on the Cheap

And, while we're at it, a heartfelt thanks to Chic on the Cheap for tagging me for the "I ♥ Your Blog" award. The rules are simple: post the award and pass it to 15 people. But, I encourage all readers to post it. If you ♥ my blog, then I certainly ♥ your blog, too!

Coffee Break

Five minutes in Target yielded one 12-pack of Cherry Coke Zero and one cheerful impulse buy - a Liberty of London for Target mug.

Have you picked up anything from this collaboration?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Arden B., Colorblock Tube Dress, $46.40 (on sale)
Kate Spade, Sweet Nothings Stud Earrings, $38
Arden B., Stud Front Tote, $34.99 (on sale)
Skinny Pyramid-Studded Belt, $36.50
DV by Dolce Vita, Dina Flat, $39.90 (on sale)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inspiration Board: Emerald City

Some people may choose to honor St. Patrick today, but I prefer an indulgent toast to one of my favorite colors: emerald green.

Inspiration: Keira Knightley's breathtaking gown in Atonement.

Wish List

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Rebecca Minkoff, Flowerstud Clutch, $330 (on sale)
Swarovski, Nirvana Emerald Ring, $220
Roberto Cavalli, Draped Animal Printed Dress, $1,645
Charles by Charles David, Pompadour - Green Suede, $114
Robert Rodriguez, Emerald Silk Chiffon Belted Dress, $237.99*
W 10th by Alexa Garner Sidaris, Gemstone Drop Earrings, $175
Blu Bijoux, Emerald Shara Earrings, $55

*Edit: It looks like the Robert Rodriguez dress has sold out this morning! I swear it was available last night when I created the collage!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

Ancestry aside, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. Celebrate tomorrow with an array of budget-friendly shamrock hues.

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Gap, Coverstitch V-neck T, $19.50
Tie Stripe 20" Pillow, $12.95 (on sale)
Sephora by OPI,
Leaf Him At The Altar Nail Colour, $9
Hobnail Tumbler, $10
Forever21, Crystal Rock Ring, $10.80
Miss Me, Gemma-4 T-Strap Sandal, $19.95 (on sale)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Forever21, Flounce Ruffle Wrap Skirt, $17.80
J.Crew, Printed Mini Pouch, $24.50
Kenneth Cole,
Layered-Circle Ring, $26
Aldo, Arnoldoa Pump, $39.98 (on sale)
Kate Spade, Canining Half Stud Earrings, $45

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Event Architecture

For the last few weeks, I've been running ragged organizing an event for work - but last night's reception made all of the hiccups worthwhile.

Setting up the event before everyone arrives is my favorite part of my job. I'm on auto-pilot, checking items off the last-minute to-do list. I no longer have a chance to worry about things that will go wrong; I just have to assemble cocktail tables.

I chose tulips for our small centerpieces - a little self-serving since tulips are my favorite flower. But with the promise of spring on the horizon, I didn't think we'd have any complaints.

Besides, we didn't need an elaborate centerpiece to overshadow the breathtaking view of the Wisconsin State Capitol.

The Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery generously donated tiers of mini cupcakes for dessert at the cocktail reception.

If you're ever in Madison, definitely stop by the cafe. Each cupcake is created from all-natural ingredients and there's a wide variety of flavors to choose from. I've been delighted with each one I've tried, but the mocha-flavored cupcakes are one of my favorites.

In related news, I'm petitioning to change my title from Event Manager to Event Architect - I think it's a much more accurate title for event planners.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Bathroom: A Transformation

A few months ago, I casually mentioned that my boyfriend and I were embarking on a home renovation at his place, starting with the nearly-dilapidated bathroom.

I wasn't kidding, was I? The "before" version was disgusting. The hard water stained all of the fixtures orange. The wall behind the shower was rotting away. And the window in the shower overlooked the backyard deck, allowing visitors an eyeful (if you were brave enough to actually shower there - I never did).

During the deconstruction phase, we quickly realized that nothing was salvageable and (thankfully) decided to gut the entire room and start over - including removing the window from the shower. As Nate was tearing down the moldy drywall one evening, he excitedly called me:

Nate: Alright, I was working on the bathroom and I have something to tell you.
Me: Oh no! Is everything alright?
Nate: Well, just listen. I was tearing down the drywall and I discovered, get this, an extra two and a half feet of space behind the wall! So, do you want a bigger bathroom? A bigger closet in the bedroom? Or ... and I've always wanted one of these ... a secret room?!

The bathroom was about the size of a cell block. A discovery of two and a half feet of space along one wall, added much-needed square footage. This gave us the opportunity to put the vanity on the other side of the bathroom and create a built-in closet alongside of the shower.

One of the first reconstruction projects was tearing out the linoleum flooring and laying tile. (And see that shiny new tub?! It's beautiful, aside from the sticker on the front that just won't come off. I'm hoping a squirt of Goo Gone will work miracles.)

When we chose a paint color, I narrowed down the choices to five shades of aqua and let Nate have the final say. He was fine with the hue one a one-inch square paint chip, but was shocked to see it on the wall. Fortunately it grew on him; I'm in love with the color and had no intention of repainting (even though I offered to).

Moving the vanity and medicine cabinet to the opposite side of the wall quickly made the bathroom feel more spacious.

We finished building and painting the shelves in the built-in closet. Next week, we'll hang the door and affix the knob I chose from Anthropologie.

Just a few final touches remain: touch-up painting, hanging towel racks and choosing bath accessories.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Finds Under $50

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Silence & Noise, Knot-Front Slip, $48
Urban Posh, Gold Ring in Smoke, $36
ASOS, Satin and Lace Ballerina, $37.61
Gorjana, Oxford Tear Earrings, $40
Emile Henry, Bake for the Cause 9-Inch Pie Dish, $44.37

Urban Outfitters, Skeleton Key Bottle Opener, $12

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

5 Essential Extras for Your Wardrobe

Tips on the perfect wardrobe basics litter magazines each month. While I won't deny the power of the quintessential little black dress, what about the pieces that add something special - that little je ne sais quoi? Here are five essential extras that are sure to add oomph to your closet - and become just as well-loved as your go-to basics.

01. Hands-Free Bag
I know many of you rely on a bevvy of bags to get through the week. The workhorse tote trucks to the office with you, with your high heels in tow; a spangled clutch is more reliable on a night out than your relationship with wine. Trust me, I understand. But I'm still going to recommend one bag you should rely on more than any other: the crossbody bag. Nothing, I swear, nothing will make you enjoy shopping more than having both hands free to snag the last pair of Choos in your size.

pictured above, left to right: Rebecca Minkoff Linear Studded Leather Rocker Crossbody Bag ($295); Nine West Drawstring Bar Crossbody ($69); See by Chloe Cherry Small Crossbody ($435); Poppie Jones Fashion Crossbody Bag ($19.95)

02. Stockings
There's a reason we've seen chic legwear worn on nearly every runway and by each influential blogger: it's the easiest - and most cost-effective way - to transform an outfit. Even your standby essentials take on an entirely different personality depending on which tights you choose. Fleshtone fishnets add subtle sexual overtones. Quirky touches are perfected with fire engine red tights. Or you can be staggeringly sophisticated with opaque black hosiery. In short: accumulate as many different colors and patterns that your closet can bear.

pictured above, left to right: Jonathan Aston Feathered Rumi Tights ($20); See by Chloe Lace Tights ($85); Jonathan Aston Vintage Sweet Roses Tights ($21.50); Hue Opaque Tights ($12.50)

03. Statement Something
Choose a statement bauble that shows off one (or more!) of your favorite features. Do you prize your hands for their ability to transcribe your thoughts? If so, choose a bold cocktail ring. Does your slender neck and collarbones make you feel particularly feminine? Don't cover them up - pull attention upward with a pair of dangling earrings. Love your cleavage? What better way to adorn your upper half than by draping a necklace around your neck? And jewelry isn't the only statement you can make. If you favor your hourglass figure, lean toward a staggering belt that cinches your outfit, accentuating your curves.

pictured above, left to right: Trina Turk Cabochon Ring ($66); Amrita Singh Jewelry Bonbel Bangle ($75); Torrid Gold Leaf Cutout Earrings ($12); Kate Spade Gumdrop Necklace ($82.90 - on sale)

04. Printed Frock
It's easy to be a wallflower in basics; sometimes your little black dress simply isn't going to stand out in a sea of noir-adorned women. Infuse both your closet and your mood with a printed frock. There's sure to be a pattern to suit your sartorial personality: a romantic floral, an arty brushstroke, or a modern graphic print. If you're not keen on dresses, try a printed blouse. It'll perk up your work wardrobe, leaving your tired grey turtleneck in the dust.

pictured above, left to right: Forever21 Ruched Pattern Dress ($24.80); Sass & Bide Midnight Runners Printed Tank Dress ($170); Anna Sui Silk Wrap Dress ($455)

05. Lingering Fragrance
A spritz of perfume completes your signature style - or transforms your persona. Instead of limiting yourself to one preferred spritz, try creating a scent wardrobe. Follow your nose to a clean, crisp scent for daytime; a flirty floral for winking at gentlemen; a sophisticated perfume in a designer bottle for special occasions. I prefer to spritz at the nape of my neck - it's an intimate statement discovered only by those who lean in close.

pictured above, left to right: Guerlain Mitsouko ($118); Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Perfume Solid ($75); Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss Solid Perfume ($195); Van Cleef & Arpels Feerie Pure Perfume ($250)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Treats Under $20

When Erika of Cafe Fashionista suggested a lower-priced edition of Friday Finds, I grimaced a little. Creating the Friday Finds posts can be awfully time-consuming; scouring online retailers, hoping to find an item worthy of your hard-earned dollars - and then realize the item is just over the $50 limit.

To reduce that budget by $30 to create "Tuesday Treats Under $20" is a bit daunting. But it's doable - and an important reminder that a savvy pick-me-up doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Without further adieu, the debut edition of "Tuesday Treats Under $20":

(pictured clockwise, starting from upper left)

Old Navy, Watercolor Print Scarf, $12.50
Old Navy, Ruffled U-Neck Tank, $14.50
Forever21, Sophie Vintage Shoulder Bag, $17.80
Urban Outfitters, Flower with Rhinestone Earrings, $14
Crate & Barrel, Cupcake Holder, $3.90 (on sale)
Pop Deluxe, Bird Whisks, $9.99

Monday, March 1, 2010

Alice in Chains

Banana Republic Earrings; Diane von Furstenberg Tank; Norma Kamali for Walmart Skirt; Simply Vera Tights; Nine West Shoes; Yves Saint Laurent Ring

In January, I was delighted to win Cafe Fashionista's giveaway with Shopbop. I put the gift card toward the Dalmas Top by Diane von Furstenberg.

The chiffon-wrapped chains are perfectly subtle by day - shimmering only slightly in the sunlight.

But at night, the flash of a camera illuminates an undeniable edge to the otherwise understated tank.
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