Thursday, April 28, 2011

review: Madewell high-riser jeans

Retails for: $125 (purchased with coupon code)
Verdict: The fit is amazing, no fear of showing the back crack, rich indigo color, super soft.

I read a recent interview with Bethenny Frankel, in which she stated that, she liked to 'edit her closet' in her spare time. Most people would roll their eyes at this, but it actually makes perfect sense to me. Women accumulate so much stuff over time...jeans here, a cardigan there, another pair of wedges to go with those....before you know it you've run out of hangers again and are cursing/rummaging through your closet for that old Rachel Pally cardigan that's lost in a sea of black cardigans. *breathe* I imagine this situation is only worse for someone in Bethenny's position, who is able to make countless frivolous purchases and is also gifted items on a daily basis.

My point (if you're still with me) is that I have come to love editing my closet. Every time I'm bored or have a few extra minutes, I'll stand in front of the closet and pull a few items that I want to evaluate. I'll try them on, lay out a few outfits with the pieces...and if I'm struggling to make them work...out they go. A few weeks ago, I pulled all of my cheapo Forever 21 skinny jeans and decided to toss them. I was never able to have a comfortable day in these. They would always fall down my hips, ending with baggy knees and a large drop crotch. I attribute this to the low low rise, cheap denim, and cuts for anyone other than women with child-bearing hips. The worst part? In my sad cast-off pile sat 6 pairs of $9-$11 skinny jeans...nearly $70 worth! Thankfully, I'd worn out the cost on all of them, so no love lost.

I've been reading about the Madewell High Riser jean for some time...almost always backordered on the website and universally flattering. Costing right around $100 with a coupon code, I decided these would be my investment skinnies. The verdict?

These are skinny and absolutely hug my legs, but have more heft than jeggings, while still being super soft. The waist is high (2 inches below my bellow button), but I love the extra material that holds in the tummy. As a sidenote, doesn't it seem true that our preferred pant rise is inversely proportional with our age? Ugh, there I've gone and embarrassed myself with nerdspeak. ANYWAY. Even with the high waist, there is no sign of mom jean butt. They stay put throughout the day, and never give me saggy knees. The inseam is a perfect-for-me 32'' that I can easily cuff in warmer weather.

As for the sizing, I chose my true size (right now a 27), but could probably have sized down to a 26 as they still have some give and will no doubt stretch with wear. Strangely, these are just about the only Madewell item I have that is tts...the sweaters seem to run small, while the tops and dresses seem a tad big (in no land am I currently a 0 dress size, I assure you). Back to the jeans...they fit well, the color is a perfect non-faded inky blue, and the price is right. Highly recommend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

review: GHD Classic Styler Hair Straightener

I didn't even begin to straighten my not-quite-curly, not-quite-straight hair until college. Seriously! My freshman year college roommate introduced me to the wonders of a round brush and a flat iron. What followed were 4 years of chatting with my girlfriends in one of our rooms, while we flat-ironed our hair into stick straight condition before going out. I managed to go through 3 (!) irons before graduating.

These days, I really limit my use of can be tough on hair to use regularly. I had an old Hot Tools piece that did the job for years...and then quietly stopped working a few weeks ago. At 30, I decided it was time to pony up and invest in a good straightener. After tons of research, I decided on the GHD Classic Styler. Although it does have the dubious distinction of being my most expensive beauty item to date ($185 retail oy!), the GHD isn't my first foray into expensive hair tools. I hemmed and hawed before buying my Solano Pro dryer, and have never looked back. With these types of things, you really do get what you pay for.

The first time I used the GHD was before dinner with friends on a rainy Saturday. I quickly blow-dried my hair (after coating with Moroccan Oil and Alterna Caviar Styling Tonic) and then used the straightener, working in 4 layers from the bottom up. I finished my thick, unruly mop in about 10 minutes (the Hot Tools took 20-30 minutes). The result was shiny hair that had amazing swing and movement, and felt so so soft. I've got nothing but good things to here are a few notable pros:

* Heats up in no time...and beeps twice to let you know it's ready.
* There is no temperature setting, but this is a good thing! The tool adjusts the heat after sensing porosity in your hair.
* Automatically shuts off after 30 minutes of not being used (eliminating that nagging fear I always had of burning the house down).
* 9-foot cord is long, and has a swivel cord, which really useful for placing this on various surfaces (under a heat-safe sheath or thick towel, of course).
* The body surrounding the plates doesn't get too hot, so no worries of burning an ear or your forehead.
* Barrel is rounded. I'm still getting the hang of using the GHD to curl my hair!
* For frequent travelers, this styler automatically adjusts to international voltage.

I purchased mine from Folica with a 20% off plus free shipping code, and recently saw the GHD display ravaged at Sephora during their 15% off special for Beauty Insiders. Still not a steal, but better than full price!