Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Essie Mambo = the perfect nude

I finally found it. The perfect nude polish that doesn't look ashy or pasty or ghostly against my tan skin. Two coats was all I needed for good, smooth coverage. Essie's Mambo may not work on lighter skin tones, but on me it's a wonderful slightly shimmery pinky nude tone. How's that for descriptive? I'm guessing it would look great against summer tans as well. I bought it on a whim while making a return at J Crew, of all places...only to find out later that J Crew has been carrying Essie polishes since last year, and Mambo is not exclusive to the retailer. Oh well!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

review: H&M garden collection

I've mentioned before that I am loving floaty, floral, watercolor-esque type clothing lately. A floaty top with skinny jeans and a cardigan or leather jacket has become my go-to outfit formula lately. So, when I saw that H&M was releasing a "garden collection" full of floaty, bohemian pieces, I knew I wanted to check it out.

According to the website, the collection is made from "environmentally adapted materials recycled polyester, organic cotton and organic linen." Prices top out at about $60 for the more coveted pieces (jackets and the rose blazer), but most fall within the $20-$30 range. You would imagine the pieces to be soft, airy, textured, etc. My verdict? SOME are, MOST are not, and I found much of it to be pretty unflattering on me.

My closest H&M is notorious for slow cashier lines and congested and sauna-like fitting rooms. I just grabbed whatever I could find in my size and waited in line. When I finally tried everything on at home, I was a little unsure. The sizing runs a bit big, and while exaggerated batwing sleeves look fab on a thin, tall model...they seemed to overwhelm me. Same with the double-layered ruffles on the tops and dresses. I took a 4 in everything, and probably could have managed with a 2, save for the top and dress that have the babydoll-tie-top.

I don't know if it's because I am curvy yet small-boned and petite, but the 3rd top shown just overwhelmed me. The 1st top was cute but I didn't dig the elastic at the sleeves. The 2nd was also cute, but I doubted whether I could pull off huge bohemian sleeves. I'm still considering the last dress, but I feel like I might wear it once and forget it. Truth be told - I was on the fence about all of them. I mean everyone is raving about this collection...was I crazy? Then I tried everything on for Husband and he was very 'meh if that's what's in style now and you like it, you should keep it.' Coming from someone who rarely, if ever has commentary on my fashion choices aside from 'I love that on you' and 'no you are not and do not look fat,' this meant a lot to me. He didn't like a single piece, reinforcing my gut feelings.

The polyester items are unlined, and all of the ones I had purchased had some loose threads. I doubt the items would fall apart on me if I were to keep them, but still annoying. I will say, when I looked at the organic cotton items - they all felt soft and light. Coming in white and soft, pastel colors, they seemed like great pieces to pair with basics like khaki shorts. I didn't grab any of these, since I was shopping with tunnel vision for prints. But, they were available in plenty of sizes. I also saw a girl wearing the coveted red rose blazer, with some faded grey skinnies and a white tee. She was also super tall and model-thin. Of course, it looked great on her!

And I think that's the lesson here. Sure this stuff may have looked ok on me, but it wasn't flattering. Doesn't mean it won't look super cute on anyone else. I'd rather take the $20-$25 each piece cost, and put it towards one of the nicer pieces on my wishlist. Now, if that Ali Ro dress would only go on sale...

Friday, April 9, 2010

water, water everywhere

Every spring, I resolve to try drinking more water. I succeed for a few weeks, during which time my skin becomes glowy, my face clearer, and my bloat disappears. Then, I forget, or get lazy. There are various water calculators out there on the interwebs, which take into account everything from activity level to your number of alcoholic drinks per day. I usually just take half my body weight and assume that's what I should aim for.

Enter this awesome pitcher. It kicks up water in a refreshing way, and is super easy to set up. Cut up fruit (I'm sticking with citrus for now), drop into center cylinder, fill pitcher with water, attach lid, wait about an hour, and bamn! Perfectly flavored water. I keep it right on my counter for the day so I can easily keep my glass full.

I bought mine from the Crate & Barrel online outlet, but I've seen it on several other websites. Crate & Barrel Infusion Pitcher ($19.95)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

j crew cardigans that are cheap!

J Crew prices have been steadily creeping up over the last few seasons, and I'm surely not the only one who's noticed. Yes, their stuff has gotten cuter, but the quality hasn't necessarily kept up to warrant across-the-board inflation. Anyway, because of said pricing, I rarely even glance at the full-price stuff...only visiting the site when I'm tipped off via my GReader that there is an additional % off final sale (the in-store sales have been a sad sad mess, so I stay away).

But then I spotted this cardi...a hair under $40 and apparently machine-washable! In a cotton/modal fabric that could work year round. I find that modal fabrics drape much better than traditional sweater knits (my Rachel Pally long cardigan is one of my favorites because of this). No buttons, but it could easily be belted or cinched with a pin or brooch. I kind of want all 4 colors!

J Crew Always Cardigan ($39.50)
comes in navy, black, graphite, ginger (a light pink)

Monday, April 5, 2010

quotable monday

I just heard about Sunlove not too long ago and then I tried it out. It doesn't leave your face greasy, and there's no bad smell to it like other spray tans. I never used spray tanners until this one because I usually just went tanning. But you know after the taxing, you don't want to deal with that, and friggin' cancer—so this is a great product to replace all the bad stuff of tanning.

-- Snooki, when asked when she started using self-tanner

Thursday, April 1, 2010

confession: I'm still watching project runway

Yes I realize I'm a week behind on this, but I finally caught last week's Project Runway from my DVR. A few thoughts.

1) Is anyone still watching this, after the switchover to Lifetime and the last abysmal season? I think the talent is definitely superior to last season, but not as good as other seasons (I happen to think Season 4 where Christian Siriano won was THE best - I LOVED Jillian's designs).

2) I want to punch Emilio's smug look off his arrogant face. I hope he gets sent home, but is clearly going to be in the top three. I think the producers have a shady hand in this - especially with sending my beloved Anthony home!

3) To say Michael Kors is becoming bitchier is putting it mildly. Watching him ridicule Jonathan and basically laugh in his face was kind of hard to watch. Not sure if he's being egged on, but it's getting old.

4) Best line of the episode: You don't have to have the crown to be the queen. -Anthony upon exit.

5) Gawd I heart Tim (from his Blog on the Lifetime site)

Emilio wins. Please note that I do not include an exclamation point (!). I can't be insincere or duplicitous. Emilio's win left me questioning the critical objectivity of the judges. Let's begin with the print. I was underwhelmed by the scale, color and hand-drawn execution; it looked sloppy and childlike. There was no semblance of sophistication. Furthermore, I was extremely put off by the narcissism demonstrated by the use of his initials (though I had no idea that that's what the script was until he told me), at least at this stage in his career. Gucci? OK. Louis Vuitton? Fine. But Emilio Sosa? Not yet. There is a way, however, that he could have pulled this off; that is, by winking at us through the use of wit or whimsy. But I don't believe that he has the capacity to understand those nuances.

Jonathan created a beautiful textile that was all about subtlety and nuance. It was also about sophistication, as was his design. The dress was polished and elegant, and the corresponding jacket was a nod to innovation, which he needed...Imagine my incredulity when the judges descended upon him like velociraptors, using words like "appalling" and "catastrophe" and terms like "a disco straitjacket." Was that really necessary? I was proud of Jonathan for pushing back at them and standing his ground. As I remind all the designers: Chacun à son gout — it's a matter of taste.

Picture source