Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Oscar Awards: My Favorite Dresses

I only watched a few moments here and there of the Oscars, but I'm thinking that I must have been born in the wrong generation...

Because I much more enjoyed the "old Hollywood" presenters like Kirk Douglas and Billy Crystal than all the hipster presenters who seem so self-absorbed and, I don't know, ugh. In fact, I found most of the behind-the-scenes, lesser-known winners to be endearing and witty just the same (kind of what I wish the "stars" were more like sometimes....) I just read an article that apparently the Oscar producers basically discouraged nominees from reciting long lists of names in their thank-you speeches. I guess it worked, because they've all been quite good.

I thought the contrast of Jeff Bridges's making all the best actress nominees crying and Sandra Bullock's roasting all the best actor nominees was well played out and entertaining. A little obvious, maybe---Let's make all the ladies cry!---but I was glad to see some of the men tear up a little, too.

But, anyway, onto the fashion. Did anyone else feel like Reese Witherspoon was totally channeling Julia Roberts in her 2001 Valentino gown when she won the Oscar for Erin Brokovich? Just sayin'...

Photo Credit

Gwyneth Paltrow looked sleek and shiny in her Calvin Klein gown. I especially liked the unexpected deep, skinny V neckline. When most stars tend to think "more is more" when it comes to decolletage, it's nice to see a starlet think outside of the box when it comes to sexy elegance.
Photo Credit

 The pale lavender color and lacy delicacy of Mila Kunis's dress was breathtaking. She looked quite stunning, and it's no surprise that she seems to be the media's darling so far for Oscar red-carpet coverage. Her picture is everywhere! Great dress, Mila.
Photo Credit

I loved the necklines of Melissa Leo's and Hailee Stenfeld's dresses during the TV coverage, but I wasn't wowed by their dresses from the bust down OR how they photographed. 

I also loved the colors of the dresses worn by Natalie Portman (purple) and Jennifer Hudson (orange), but I wasn't in love with the dresses themselves. Pregnancy dresses are kind of shapeless by definition (though the wide v-neck was quite flattering), and Jennifer's dress just seemed a little too in-your-face with the, ahem, you know.

So, there you have it. That's all I've got. Congrats to all the winners, and must say I'm very excited to see The King's Speech!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner

Yeah, right, I know. Who writes a Valentine's Day post on February 26? I do---that's who!

Truth is, we kept everything pretty low-key. On the "real" February 14, Husband took me to Starbucks and reloaded my rewards card as a gift. Thanks, baby! Then, on the "fake" February 14 (um....that is to say....February 15....), we made reservations at a Japanese steakhouse we'd never tried before.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize until we were in the car and on our way, that it was basically one of those places where you sit around a table with strangers and watch the chef cook on the grill in front of you. Yick!

That's right. I'm not a big fan. Husband was actually surprised because we love bus tours and ghost tours and ...hibachi tours? Apparently, he thought that a chef "guiding" us through dinner was right up my alley. And the funny thing is that I'm the one who suggested this restaurant. I have attended several parties in my life at a similar-type Japanese restaurant---heck, I think I might have even had MY OWN birthday party at one of those places once. But it's one thing to have a group of people you know sitting at the table. In our case, our romantic Valentine's dinner turned into us sitting on the corner of a table, staring at a woman and her three kids. SMOOCH!

Luckily, we made it through the night without too much incident. The food was delicious, the chef was very understanding of our social awkwardness, and it was one of the kid's birthdays, which took most of the heat off us to be entertaining. I guess the main reason I don't like these type settings is that I feel realllllly bad for the chef because I feel like such a dud customer. I mean, I laugh at his jokes, but I'm not very outgoing or fun. Husband is the same way. That's why we wuv each other. :)

Anyway, the morning after our dinner, Husband explained to me that I shouldn't feel bad for the chef anymore because he realized that we actually gave him a 50% tip. Yeah. That's right. FIFTY percent. Apparently, the 18% gratuity they automatically applied (and that was pointed out in the menu) was NOT just for parties of 8 or more, which is what I assumed. Then, they didn't give us an itemized breakdown with the bill, and we were so flustered to get the heckola out of there, that we gave an additional 15 bucks.

So, Happy Valentine's Day, hibachi chef! I hope that our ridiculously huge tip will cloud your memory as to our fuddy-duddiness.

Martin & Osa purple rococo long cardigan, Limited criss-cross brown belt,
Anthropologie Night Blooming dress, HUE black tights, Seychelles Kiss at Midnight pumps

Today there is an Empty Nest marathon on TV so Husband and I are taping the entire day's worth of episodes to replay without commercials. I've never seen it before, but Husband liked it as a kid. And apparently it's a spin-off of The Golden Girls (or vice versa? we can't decide), and we watch that every night before bedtime. 

Tomorrow, Husband wants to have a Godfather marathon and make spaghetti and drink lattes. (OK, the drinking lattes part might have been my contribution...) 

Did I mention anything about our being fuddy-duddies, yet? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Plaid, Blue Plaid

I just discovered my love for flannel. Supplemented by a love for plaid.

I got both of these shirts from American Eagle last month, and I've seriously worn them both about 50 times already. (Don't do the math. It will only frighten you.) They're men's shirts (size small), and although they're cut a little too straight for my hips, the longer length makes up for any snugness. Because I can actually tuck them in without them coming undone!

I find that women's button-up shirts are often cut way too curvy/fitted for my liking. It's like, I know I'm a woman, I don't need my shirt to constantly remind me. And we all know that women are shaped in all different ways so the odds of comfortably fitting into a woman's shirt is drastically reduced. Men's shirts, all the way, people. Trust me.

This post also has the pleasure of debuting my new haircut! I've never really had a haircut that I love (excepting, of course, the haircut I got at my grandma's house when I was about 9, and we went to some hairstylist school, and they gave me a free black velvet scrunchie and braided my hair. Score!) But I lucked out this time and ended up really liking this haircut. These two pictures were from Day 1 and Day 2, so of course I haven't been able to replicate this beautiful flat-ironed do. BUT, the good thing about this haircut is that if I pull my hair back in a ponytail (which is what I end up doing 90% of the time anyway), and just flat-iron my bangs, then it actually looks presentable---hooray!

American Eagle men's plaid flannel shirt, Limited silver belt,
Canterbury Trousers, Tommy Hilfiger brown midcalf boots

American Eagle men's  plaid flannel shirt,
Loft jeans, Gola women's harrier green sneakers
In other news, I have been enjoying wearing my Gola bright-green sneakers simply for the funny reactions. My dad laughed and shook his head when he saw them. My dentist "oohed" and said I must be getting ready for St. Patrick's Day. They're also very comfortable; even though I had never previously heard of Gola, I would definitely recommend them if you're ever interested in a pair of sneaks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boden Remix: Laidback Denim Shirt

Happy Valentine's Day, readers! Husband and I will be celebrating on Tuesday night instead of today to avoid the crowds. I will be sure to post our dinner details, which are always international and always enjoyable. In the meantime, I thought I'd share an outfit I wore out a few days ago!

As part of my first order from Boden a few months back, I got their laidback shirt in pale denim. I got a size 8, and it's snug. If I had it to do over again, I would size up to a 10. But I was too lazy to return it at the time and figured I would make it work. The problem was that I bought it mainly to recreate this awesome look from their Website and catalog (below). And that requires it to fit over a SECOND button-up shirt. Quite a challenge.

Luckily, I had an old, short-sleeve, white shirt from Express (because there is no way I could get long sleeves under this shirt!). Seeing the product picture again, I realize that she has a few buttons undone at the bottom of her shirt, a look that I may or may not want to replicate. It would either look cool and "laidback"...or it would just look like my big old belly burst the buttons off my shirt...


Regardless, I felt very comfortable and put-together in this outfit. I even added to the outfit my Boden crossbody bag (the same bag worn by the model). But mine is the plain brown leather, and hers is the super-cute leopard print. I wore this outfit to go shopping, which ended up being a pain with all the layers coming on and off (minus), but I was also warm enough that I didn't need to wear a coat (plus).

I never would have thought to layer two collared shirts over each other, but I hope to play around with this look more often! Boden generally has offers for free shipping and returns, which makes me more willing to purchase more, even though I'm still wary about their sizing.

Right now, I have a few basics in my shopping cart at Boden: the Brittany Jumper and the Fab Plimsolls. I plan on getting the size 10 in the shirt, just in case, even though I'm thinking the style would be more forgiving. And I want the size 40 in the shoes, which translates to my regular U.S. size 9. I will keep you posted with how the sizing fares once I pull the trigger! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Spy Brent Spiner!

If you follow my sister's blog Princess of Taylor (which you probably do!), then you have seen some of her very thought-provoking posts about Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

And if you haven't seen them, then get crackin'! You can click here for a Brent Spiner birthday post, here for some Star Trek movie analysis, and here for a really good discussion about celebrities and how they handle fans. Now scoot!

But wait! Before you scoot, instead of my occasional "I Spy Anthropologie" post, the other day I was excited to spy ----you guessed it, BRENT SPINER!

I was watching the old, spooky TV show Tales from the Darkside, and all of a sudden a familiar face popped up on the screen. It's funny, though, because I wasn't even sure it was Spiner at first! He played a very Southern preacher with a heavy accent and an emotional plea to "Grandpa" that he is dead and should start acting like it! Very not-Data-like at all.

The episode ("A Case of the Stubborns") was from 1984 ---- three years before the character of Data was created ---- which made me wonder if perhaps a celebrity's "inability" to move past a role is somewhat self-imposed? Maybe an actor gets so used to playing a character, or after realizing that a certain type of acting worked for him in the past, he's unable to act without channeling that character or its idiosyncrasies. It almost becomes second nature to them. Then again....maybe he's just super young here and not wearing android-white makeup!

Just a thought. Anyway, you all lucked out because not only did my screenshot capture Brent Spiner, but it also shows a youthful Christian Slater and a decaying Eddie Bracken (later known as the toy store owner Mr. Duncan in Home Alone 2!) If that doesn't make you want to watch Tales from the Darkside, I don't know what will!


P.S. I just showed my husband this picture to see if he could identify any of the actors. Dear readers, I'd like you to meet Josh Hartnett (OK, passable), The Rock (????) no wait, Andy Kaufman (still a ????), and Grandpa Muenster (LOL).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tips for Styling Maxi Skirts in Colder Seasons

A few months ago, I impulsively bought the Tumbler Maxi Skirt in black. I figured that a long skirt is perfect for a person like me who shies away from showing too much leg. Also, it's a little dressier than just wearing pants all the time. When it arrived and I tried it on, I really liked it, yes, but I wasn't quite sure how to style it.

Then, it went on sale and I got a price adjustment to about $40 so.....let's just say that I was determined to make this work.

I pulled the skirt out of my closet to wear the other day, but ultimately gave up and hung it back up because I couldn't figure out what shoes to wear! Sure, in the summer, you can just wear some open-toed sandals or wedges, but when it's cold out, my toesies might not be so keen on that idea.

So like any good blogger, I took to the Internet. And apparently I'm not alone with the whole shoe-pairing question. The following is what I learned about my own preferences for maxi styling. I hope it also may help you!

1. I like the look of same-color shoes (for my purposes, black shoes with a black maxi skirt) or maybe cognac shoes for contrast. I like the look of "tough" shoes, combat-type flat boots or less-tough boots with a little height, but I don't want to look "too" urban. Maybe a lace-up wedge like my new Steve Maddens?
Free People Tencil Rib Maxi Dress
Free People Maxi Scoop Long Sleeve Dress

2. Playing with the skirt length is required. I like the look of to-the-floor skirts where your shoe doesn't even matter because it looks so flowy and bohemian. But I also like the look of ankle-length skirts that show off your shoes. What looks best on me will probably depend on my body shape and height. Lucky for me, my maxi skirt has a foldover style so I can either wear it as a tube dress or fold the waist over and adjust the length.

3. Keep it simple and think about proportions. I like the looks most with neutral colors and simple shapes/proportions. My favorite is this Michael Kors one---so classy, right? But I also like the look of a striped casual top and a cropped vest with a long skirt. It seems to work great with both casual and more formal looks.

Michael Kors Fall 2010 runway


Rachel Pally Skinny Long Skirt at Shopbop


4. Which also segues into the matter of belts. I like the look of emphasizing the waist with a wide belt, whether it be under or over another layer. I also think the idea of a hip-slung belt (though a little more hippie-chic than I'm used to) would be a great way to elongate my stumpy torso and fake some good proportions. :)

Elizabeth and James Taylor Long Skirt at Saks Fifth Avenue

Anthropologie Irresistible Maxi Dress


5. Long necklaces seem to elongate the body to keep the skirt-wearer from looking "stumpy." I'm of average height so every little would help, right?

Piperlime Promo Pic

With that said, after all my research, I finally decided the brave the world with my new skirt. And I'm pretty happy about my look! I don't own a hip-slung belt so I had to improvise with a Gap jeans belt that I purchased in a Large. All in all, I'm loving the proportions, and the LOFT grey topper I bought has met all my expectations and even exceeded them!
Tumbler Maxi Skirt, Gap leather belt, My grandma's hand-me-down necklace,
JCrew black turtleneck, LOFT grey melange cropped drape jacket 


Here are some more good links if you're interested in finding further information about styling, the trend itself, or helpful images:

How to Wear a Maxi Skirt at Diabolina Fashion Diary

Three Easy Tips for Pulling Off a Maxi Skirt at Glamour.com

OOTD with Plaid and Maxi Skirt at Style Pantry

The Maxi Skirt Fashion Trend at The New York Times

Thursday, February 3, 2011

All Choked Up

I've often heard of people who hate wearing things close to their neck---scarves or turtlenecks, for example----because they feel like they're being choked.

I happen to be of the opposite persuasion. Because I hate baring my neck, especially when it's cold outside. During college, I literally wore Victoria Secret ribbed turtlenecks every day. After I wore them all into the ground, I began to think that the only way to keep my neck warm was to wear a T-shirt or a sweatshirt, i.e. something with a high crew neck. But now I realize that I can wear low-cut tops and just tie a scarf around my neck! Hooray! This realization has definitely helped me to have more fun getting dressed when the weather isn't the best.

Unfortunately...my neck idiosyncrasy follows me into bed, too. Ever since I was little, I always had to sleep with the covers over my neck to ward off any vampire-type monsters. Even in the middle of summer, I have to at least have a light sheet tucked up to my chin. Unfortunately, the other night, Docker was sleeping at the bottom of our bed and I couldn't pull the sheets all the way up where I would like! It turned into quite the restless night for me. It didn't help matters that Husband had a cold and he kept making scary noises (think The Grudge) in his sleep. My only recourse was to elbow jab him in the ribs every time he started up again (and then to play dead so he couldn't yell at me). Maybe he'll just think it was a dream??

This outfit features one of my favorite Christmas presents this year! It's my J.Crew sweater in soft peacock from my wonderful sis at Princess of Taylor. I love this blue color, and it's so comfy. Thanks, sis! :)

J.Crew La Femme Cardigan in Soft Peacock (from my sister!), Old Navy grey leopard-print tank top,
Canterbury Trousers, Old Navy grey/white scarf, Tommy Hilfiger brown mid-calf boots

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My January 2011 Purchases


Well, January is finally over! I felt like I did *SO* good on my shopping this month, but I still got way too much, didn't I? The truth is that I went to the mall on the 29th and bought six of these items, sooooo....::sheepish grin:: On sale, people! ON SALE! :)

Overall, it helped pass the time that I had several shopping fiascos this month, including a rip in my new Canterbury Trousers and a charge-send for my Florist's Arrangement Sweaterdress that was almost all charge, and no send! Also, I ended up buying the Pointedly Skirt---twice. And apparently I'm a dumbbell and tried on the 12 in the store (and thought afterwards that it was the 8). So neither the 8 nor 10 fit at all---go figure! I kind of got over the skirt in the meantime, but I'm still bummed about all the dough I lost in shipping costs.

This month, I ended up getting quite a few neutrals---navys, and greys, and whites---which is a new goal I've latched onto. And I think it will serve me well as I try to build a "working wardrobe." I'm weary from trying to match all the crazy patterns in my closet, and I think the right neutrals will help tie them all together. Here's a breakdown of my purchases:

MENSWEAR: That's right. All four buttoned-down shirts I bought this month are cut for men. The two plaid flannel shirts are American Eagle, and I absolutely live in them. Fantastic purchase. The white and navy dress shirts are from Gap, and I think these will be great staples for work, and will be very versatile under all my colored cardigans. The American Eagle watch is technically a women's watch, I think, but I picked it mostly for its austere, men's quality.

CARDIGANS: At the end of the day, I love the ease of blouses topped with cardigans. Granted, as I get older, I run the risk of looking like every-other-preppy-mommy-on-the-go (without the little Square Root, of course). But, oh well. Maybe we're not all born to be fashionistas after all.... I loved the leopard and diamond patterns of these LOFT cardigans. They'd even be a great pop of pattern underneath a blazer, I think! And I have high hopes for the cropped grey topper (also from LOFT), that I envision wearing over longer tunic-style shirts, and maybe even with my black maxi skirt! I felt a little guilty after I purchased the navy cardigan because it's so basic, but it's a great length, very comfortable, and a nice neutral to top over almost anything.

DRESS PANTS: I've already worn both my navy/plaid and grey pants several times. I know pants can be more difficult to style and to find the perfect fit with, but I still ultimately prefer them to skirts and dresses. I'm still contemplating taking these both to the tailor and getting them altered to be jusssst right. But I admit it: I'm chicken. And I'm cheap. I just have to be careful not to squat too unladylike or I'll split my pants again, for sure!

I think all of these purchases fit into my true aesthetic, and I've already worn most of them at least once. I haven't yet tried on my sweaterdress because after all the trouble it took to get it...I'm afraid I'll have another Pointedly disaster! All in all, I think I made very thoughtful choices, but still could be less impulsive. On that note, I've already got my shopping cart at J.Crew sitting and waiting for me to pull the trigger! ::heh, heh::

February shopping----here I come!