05/31/12

Coach Event + Goodie Bag Haul!

Last night was the Marie Claire hosted grand opening of Coach on New Bond Street and well dressed people sipped champagne amongst the seasons hottest trends. I was on hand to covet the goods (which are much more expensive in London than in New York, interestingly I found out that in London Burberry is seen as a cheaper brand than Coach). I desperately want their new Field Bag in brown leather -

- but at $495 it’ll have to wait.

The evening was awesome, Marie Claire put on a good show. Endless champagne and wine, mini hot dogs and hamburgers (there was a New York theme on the food). Pureology was offering hair consults upstairs but the line was out the door within ten minutes.

There was 20% and a few people did seem to be scooping up small products like clutches and wallets but overall the emphasis was on chatting and having fun, building brand relations if you please. They definitely did that for me. I already loved Coach in high school but their new leather line is sophisticated with a splash of trendy, and really just perfect for all of the Coach fans that have now grown up a little. Don’t get me wrong you can still get a heart and CC embroidered bag if that’s your thing but I’m a sucker for the brown leather.

Now for the goodie bag! We were pretty excited about this, and they didn’t disappoint.

Inside the pretty little bag was a set of Pureology hair care, shampoo, conditioner, volumizer, which I am eager to try. A credit card or photo purse, a hair clip, two bag hooks, and a nail polish (which came inside the new issue of Marie Claire). All together the lot was worth 80 bucks. I’ll review the hair stuff as soon as I try it!

05/23/12

Very Plane Attire

Ten days before I leave for a trip I begin to refer to myself as a jet-setter. Sure it’s quippy and maybe a tad ironic but I still feel a rush that this title can refer to me at all. Eight days before a trip I begin packing. Six days before I begin planning my outfit for the plane which generally consists of my small-ish carry-on, scarf, leggings, nightgown that I pretend is a dress, two pairs of socks, and a pair of boots I can easily slide off. Then, three days before the trip, I decide I need an entire new wardrobe for the 7 hours of sitting in coach. I mean, this could be my big break, I could sit next to a one-with-the-people hipster actress, she can tell me my shoes are fab, I can tell her I’m a writer and BAM! At the very least I’d like to look nice while a complete stranger feels my lady parts with the back of her hand at security (I always beep, always). Of course buying a plane wardrobe is a little silly since you feel so gross after the flight no matter what you’re wearing, and at some point you feel dumb wearing stilettos to teeter to the bathroom, where those $300 pumps get splashed by blue toilet water anyway. The solution to this was clear. I needed to go shopping to buy the all time best classic and eternal plane attire I’d wear until I was grey and old.

                                                                                                                                                            

Scarves – I like giant over-sized scarves (got a great tribal print one at Primark) since they can double as a blanket or be bunched into a pillow – or if they’re big enough both! (L) is Liberty of Londonand (R) is Urban Outfitters.

Dresses - American Apparel (R) dressed make for good basic dresses but can be a little skimpy. Karen Millen (L) and Anthropolgie also offer some good plain dresses, jersey is best since it isn’t supposed to wrinkle as much.                                                                          

Boots – I always wear my boots so they don’t dominate my suitcase. I adore these Balenciagas (L) although I’d fall on my face, these Comptoir Des Cotonniers flats (R) are more my speed. 

Although be aware your feet swell in flight so go for one with a bit of room of give. I once flew wearing my oh-so-comfortable Minnetonka moccasins and by the end my feet felt detached from my body.

Backpack – There are so many adorable duffels and totes with travel themes, vintage appeal, or the egg-shell elegance of Grace Kelly before she boarded a jet to Monaco, however if you have to walk around an airport for three hours killing time, run what can sometimes be miles to get to your gate, or waiting in passport control for eons these beauties lose their appeal. (Secret added bonus – the wheel whirrrr when you run with it so if you’re booking it to your flight people can hear you coming and move our of the way).

Baggallini is great because it’s small, keeps things where they should be, and can roll or be thrown on your back.

Bags aren’t hard to customize and its usually best to do a bit of re-decoration for the sake of baggage claim. I’m thinking I’ll do a DIY suitcase at some point. This way your bag is as pretty as the designer bags but as functional as you need it to be. I did do a bit of reno on my backpack, just a regular Jansport I got for like five bucks off-season at TJ Maxx, then I got patches from everywhere I’d ever traveled. It’s cliché but I love it and people love looking at it.

05/21/12

The Story of Gossip Girl 2.0

This is what I do instead of course work. Ridiculousness bordering on fan fiction.

I’ve been addicted to Gossip Girl since I was about 15. First the books and then the tv show. I went to the book signings, dutifully waited while they rumoured it would be a movie starring Lindsey Lohan, was excited for a TV show – oh the hours of Blair Waldorf – my favorite heroine, I was a little sad to see how un-exciting the Vanessa character was, loved the new Chuck Bass, spent many an hour as a devoted servant these past ten years. Now, its almost over and I’m afraid I won’t miss my old friend all that much.

Every series finale is a tragedy to me, even shows I never watched, they’re so final, it’s so hard to say good-bye to a world you can pull out of a box and envelope yourself in when things get rough out here in the real one. But Gossip Girl has lost something and for me, its likability. I won’t forgive the van der Woodsen’s for shunning Charlie, literally slamming the door in the face of the poor orphan looking for love. I can’t understand Blair and Serena still hurting each other in such unforgivable ways. I want to smack Lola every time she opens her mouth to denounce the tribe of Haves while she does the same things from her land of Have-nots. No one remembers why Elizabeth Hurley’scharacter was in the dog house so why hit her so hard Lola? Didn’t they teach you to play nice in public school?

As the season finale leaves us off repeating the sins of our past (Serena drugged up in the outer boroughs, Blair and Chuck making googly eyes and wads of cash, and Dan being a moron) I’ve started thinking about where the show is going. I’m pretty sure none of this will happen but I thought I’d imagine where it should go to please my heart of inconsequential hearts.

This is a new Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl 2.0. Gossip Girl post-recession, where their stocks have plummeted and Blair has to sell her old Chanel to pay for her newJenny Packham. The characters are older, slowly becoming more mature, and leading lives that the rest of us dream about but that are being built to last more than 24 episodes.

Charlie and Lola are gone, during their scheming they fell in love and instead of going Bonnie and Clyde on Lily’s sanctimonious ass they moved to L.A. and dressed up as those twins to get roles in a new Michael Bay film. Leaving the Upper East Side behind them is really in their best interest anyway.

Chuck and Blair got married. Officially putting the ‘will they?, why the F won’t they?’ to bed because at this point unless one of them turns into a vampire no one cares who she chooses. She has her fashion empire, which she realizes is a real job and not just a land where everyone bows when she walks by and lets her refer to them as minions. She’s busy proving her worth at a company handed to her on a silver platter while her new hubby is struggling to find a job himself. While he and Jack fight to regain their shares of the company they discover something (maybe a product or investor) and whoops actually start their own! A Gossip Girl character does good and begins on the ground with nothing but determination. What’s next an unpaid internship after their parents cut them off leaving them eating Ramen with the rest of us? Well no, that’s depressing, I’d never want to watch that without gratuitous sex and appropriately graphic foul language. (Thanks Lena Dunham).

Dan cuts his hair. This is the most important part of wherever his character goes. He can grow it longer a la John Tucker Must Die if he prefers but this length is too douchey to carry on. Has there been good press about it anywhere? He writes his novel and realizes he’s being a petty and pathetic jerk again, just like in high school. Georgina steals it and publishes it and when he scolds her realizes his life is literally repeating itself and sets about to change it. For once he write a short story about himself, tears himself a new one, and comes out an actual adult. Without the ‘why will no one play with me’ issues that have plagued him since season one he embraces the life of a hot writer on the rise. Think Tea Obrecht. He gets panned for his new novel, a derivation of his first, and sets out to become what he thinks is a real writer. He stays in creepy cabins, fights with literary agents, deals with the lonely and addictive nature of writing, not to mention the unavoidable ego that makes you think everything you have to say is important.

Nate’s company goes bust, let’s face it Nate is best suited to smoking pot not running a Fortune 500. He takes the loss well though and enrolls in college. Suddenly thinking that maybe he should know something about business or journalism before owning a newspaper. Here he meets his hot new editor at the college paper and together they form their own guerilla paper to fight against companies that are trying to use computer algorithms to write copy and save money. (Yes, that’s a real thing, I cried a little).

Last we saw, Serena was in a really awkward situation but she’s S and Salways bounces back. At a drug fueled rave over the summer she met a certain starlet who shared her illegal proclivities but also had the sense to earn a paycheck. Serena gets a part in a TV show about Upper East Siders running from a crazed-stalker (hmmm familiar), think Scream in 42 minute nuggets. It’s a massive hit and in a very special episode of Blossom… I mean Gossip Girl, Blair and Serena reconcile and Serena gets off the dope. Just circumvent her addiction the way Entourage did Vince’s self-destructive shame spiral in the final six episodes. I mean Gossip Girl got more than double that so there’s hope for a season 20 right?

Rufus finally realizes his now ex-wife (or never-wife since it wasn’t legal?) was a vile succubus but sadly also realizes he’s even dumber than his son. Where’s an illiterate ageing rock star to go? Well onto a TV dating program of course. While he and the producer-picked-winner don’t live happily ever after, he meets a hot divorcee and whisks her off to the suburbs where he is the coolest stay-at-home-dad ever to step into play group. Meanwhile, Lily and Bart reconcile, only to murder each other. Ok, that won’t work. Maybe they just decide to be miserable, selfish, filthy rich bastards together but apart. Lily shopping in Dubai, Bart brokering deals in Japan. The perfect Upper East Side marriage.

As for Gossip Girl? Nate, now that he’s a smart college joe and all, takes the footage of her theft straight to the cops who trace her website and shut her down. Who is it? Beverly Bancroft! Confused? That’s because Beverly is the house keeper’s daughter. She’s actually been in every important scene, she just wasn’t important enough to put in focus.

05/20/12

The New Girls vs. The Little Giants

Television has become somewhat of a parent in the past few decades, maybe its more the cool aunt who tells you what second base is and lets you sip their beer, but either way the boob tube plays a serious role in turning you in you. I grew up on Dawson’s CreekSex and the CityNora Ephron, and Christina Ricci.

Come present day, tv shows are being written by my generation and we’re correcting some of our forefather’s myopic stereotypes. First off is Girls, the Lena DunhamHBO comedy that hits back at 90s television with an exclamation point.

The comparison between this show andSex and the City is not only obvious but overtly stated in episode one. It’s the real deal, and as an un-employed serial interning single non-hipster New Yorker I can tell you it’s disturbingly accurate and often sends me to bed in tears. I knew countless girls who came from near and far to the isle of Manhattan gearing up for a life of lunches at Cafeteria, countless one-night-stands and a quirky dressing literary best friend to put an eloquent spin on their debauchery. Yeah they got all that, but they also had the STD panic of Hannah, the late-night realization that their life was not on track ofJessa, and the never-ending fear that because they didn’t know where the F train terminates that they didn’t fit in and weren’t a real New Yorker thatShoshanna character suffers with.

Sex and the City is great television but it is just television and not the foil for real life our generation took it as. Meta-tv (ScreamCommunity) has gained in popularity because all of the writers are thinking they’re going to ruin someone’s life by putting lies on TV. This is a bit of an overstatement, but within every drama and comedy there’s an invisible reign being pulled by someone thinking ‘this is sort of real’. Girls is the real Sex and the City, only it’s fiction.

While Girls is an example of fairytale re-telling, with a modern and ironic-glasses-wearing twist, New Girl is a bit more subtle in its approach. (I also love how Zooey Deschanel looks a bit like Shawna Waldron, all big eyes, pale skin, and awkward attitude, a model I connected with when I was young but which was rarely given air time in the big hair, crop top days. Now its the norm, who knew?) Waldron once starred in a movie called Little Giants with Devon Sawa, never heard of it?

Netflix it, it’s awesome. In it she was the tough as nails tomboy who felt she needed to girl it up to get the boy, only then in a final twist he was all ‘but I like that you play football’ kissy kissy.

While this subverted the norms of 1955 where girls wore dresses and boys wore jeans, it created a whole new batch of ideals all its own. Who would want a girl who blushed when she laughed, wore flowers in her hair, and didn’t really know the difference between softball and baseball? A girl who drank light beer or goodness forbid fruity drinks and who had never thrown a punch in her life? No one. Certainly not any character ever played by Devon Sawa.

Then came New Girl and the line, “I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours. I spend my entire day talking to children. And I find it fundamentally strange that you’re not a dessert person. That’s just weird, and it freaks me out. And I’m sorry I don’t talk like Murphy Brown. And I hate your pantsuit. I wish it had ribbons on it or something to make it just slightly cuter. And that doesn’t mean I’m not smart and tough and strong… I’m about to go and pay this $800 fine, and my checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch.”

I’ve never loved any female character in a movie who cried uncontrollably instead of helping her friends avoid the zombie, or ruined her life waiting for a guy (27 Dresses), and I almost hated Scarlett Johanson in Avengers until I realized she was playing us and she was tough as hell. But there’s no reason they can’t wear a dress, be a mom, giggle, decorate their room in pink, and tape DWTS over the world series too. While I appreciate what old school TV was trying to do, and I did enjoy being allowed to play in the mud if I wanted to, what I’m saying is, I’d like my Kaboodle back now, thank you. They will make the cutest case for my hammer and nails.

05/19/12

The Glass is Half Empty – and this is a good thing

Call me late to the party but I just discovered ‘empties’ vlogs. For all those as bewildered as I was, these are Youtube videos where people film the products they loved and used so much they’re now empty. A little weird but I got into watching it and immediately realized how cheap I am. So many of the vids have lippies half-used, foundation that just hit tin, or shadow with product still around the edges and people were tossing them out! I hit tin on a MACshadow about a year ago, have now dropped and broken the rest, and am using it as a powder. This is not empty!

I also started thinking about my own empties. The only products I’ve ever re-bought were Body Shop body shea butter, Rose Bud lippy salve, Covergirllipslicks in Daring which is a gloss but looks like a red lippy you can wear all day, Aveeno SPF face moisturizer. And I couldn’t afford it a second time, lack of gift card/ coupon, but I LOVED Diorshow mascara. I don’t use waterproof but this was amazing, never found anything this good and I’ve tried.

I guess the closest would be the green eye shadow I bought, a MAC in an emerald green and a Stila in chartreuse. I have hazel eyes so I thought green would bring out the green, but turns out I have amber eyes and the green clashes with the gold and I look washed out, so those go to my green-eyed sister.

I did just learn from a video that if you return six MAC lippies you get one free! I’m not sure if this is true everywhere, but it gives me a goal!

Happy shopping!

05/19/12

One Night in Rome

An important part of any trip to Italy is to try and fit in as many meals as possible. While food is usually a fun part of the travel experience I haven’t found it to be as good anywhere as in Italy. Skipping meals to save money doesn’t seem to make any sense in the land of truffle gnocchi and mushroom pizza.

When your arrive and check into your hotel they’ll give you a tourist map, the city is not very big and I used the metro for all transportation. Find a cafe and sit with a cappuccino and plan where you want to go.

The Coliseum is epic when it’s in front of you, a hulking mass of history, you can’t believe it’s just sitting there with cars zooming around it. Like Jupiter just sat down in the middle of a city and no one else sees it but you. The tour will take you about an hour.

The Roman Forum can be viewed from above and the Pantheon is free and a quick in and out. Neither is especially thrilling unless you’re a big Edith Wharton fan and want to re-read Roman Fever in the Roman Forum. There are a lot of yummy restaurants around here.

Sit in Piazza Navona to soak up the last bit of sun and pursue some art. Have a tartufo, a delicious little ball of chocolate and ice cream, in the spot it was invented.

Then head off to the Trevi fountain. The alleyways jutting off from the fountain are filled with fun shops of leather and cameos and gelato if you can handle it. The Trevi is such a nice and lively place to sit this is easy to do twice.

Sleep or Dance it’s your choice, a friend is moving to Rome so if she has good club recommendations I’ll update.

The Vatican takes almost an entire day. It is another country sort of. There are often morning viewings of the Pope which are long but an interesting experience. The Vatican itself is chock full of treasures from all over the world. The Sistine chapel is the best known, and oddly teeny.

If you follow the walls of the city you also wind up on a street filled with excellent pizza!

05/15/12

Covet: Demi Lovato’s X-Factor Dress

I’m absolutely floored by Demi’s dress for the X-Factor press event. It’s a stunning colour and the spider pattern is subtle and a bit of a secret. The dress looks good on a healthy human body which to me is a real design success. (Britney Spears looks awesome too but the dresses were a bit boring for her, where are the Circus days?)

The dress is by Falguni and Shane Peacock whose 2012 collection looks ripe for the red carpet. If this is how the husband and wife fashion team debut I’m excited to see what comes next. Already stars are picking up the shorter than short edgy but bedazzled pieces for various events (Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Fergie). While these are some hot numbers they are a little hard to wear to let’s say the office leaving party.

But they reminded me a bit of the interesting cuts and strappy accents on dresses curated by Moose Limited. While still on the higher end of the price budget ($80-$200) they are a bit more wearable if you don’t have a film premiere to go to.

The black below is pretty simple but the sleeves are awesome, very Buffy the Boring Dress Slayer.

05/14/12

One Night in London

You have two days in London and you want to make the most of it, what ever are you to do? Broken down over forty-eight hours these are my fav things to do, a mix of culture and experience.

Westminster Abbey has some of the worst tourist lines and is by far the coolest of all the main London attractions. The history, the weddings, the architecture everything about the Abbey screams visit me.

From here you’re a five min. walk to Big Ben. Take your obligatory tourist shots.

Hop onto the tube and ride out to Queensway. From here it’s a quick walk into Kensington Gardens where you can have high tea (only 20 pounds and the cheapest/best by far) at the Orangery. You feel like royalty overlooking the Palace.

Let your meal digest with a walk through the park to the marble arch which leads to Oxford Street, the most famous shopping street in London. Start at Primark and work your way through TopshopMonsoonUrban Outfitters, and many many more. Stop and get a Ben’s Cookie if you have room!

Gordon’s wine bar is right out of Embankment tube in a small and endearing alley way. The bar itself is an old school basement, very Sherlock Holmes. Then after some wine or champagne Opal, a nightclub, is right next to you!

Possibly grab a few hours of sleep.

If it’s a Saturday or Sunday go to Portobello Road. Yes, Camden is the market everyone went on about in the 90s but now it’s mostly junk (although with more time the horse market is worth seeing for atmosphere). Portobello Road has a number of antiques and jewelry stands and while not inexpensive you can pick up some interesting souvenirs here. My friend recently bought a camera from the early 1900s, I’ve gotten art deco rings and compasses, there’s also plenty of Banksy art and prints. If you’re visiting on a weekday, marketing is better at Covent Garden’s Apple Market. The market itself is hit or miss but if the pickings are slim it’s a quick walk to either the Tower of London or Seven Dials shopping area. If you settle on Covent Garden you can also find your way to SNOG, the best frozen yogurt I’ve ever had.

Everyone who visits me wants to go out to Abbey Road and take a few pics, which can be fun but is time-consuming and in the end it’s just a picture opportunity. You can take the tube out to St. John’s Wood and walk to it, there is heavy traffic there so be careful. I always recommend the better option – head over to the British Library, this is frequently overlooked and besides their illuminated manuscripts and other historical items they have the original song lyrics and notes to many a Beatles tune.

Now you’re only a twenty min. walk from the British Museum. Must-sees here include the Rosetta Stone, Crystal Skull, Portland Vase, Elgin Marbles, and a very nice Moai. Free entry.

More shopping can be had at Harrods. The food hall is fun to taste things in but don’t show up too hungry as a hot fudge sundae can run you 20 quid. A blanket maybe 100,000. Amazing to see, I will decorate my mansion just like this.

Perfect night to see a show on the West End. Tickets can usually be purchased online or in the morning for sale tickets, standing can be around 5-10 pounds. Much cheaper than Broadway and the stars are brilliant!

05/14/12

Clashing Patterns

To say that I’m not sold on the new trend of clashing patterns is an understatement. The entire concept threw me and then when I saw it on models I still said “Eh. You don’t match. Like at all. Even if you are a Nylon cover girl.”

I never match but at least I don’t dress like I’m five, and when I was five I decided my personal style was to wear every single nightgown I owned to bed and to my mother’s dinner party. They said it was cute then, but now it would be very Mother Bates. Just when I’d decided to scrap this trend I came across this Dorothy Parker quote which gave me a bit of perspective on the matter.

“A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.”

While I’d interpret this into my wardrobe as a sensible dress in a single outlandish pattern with neon green cowboy boots I suppose that isn’t so different from clashing casual. Parker is one of my favorite writers so I’ll have to yield that when dressing yourself not only should you take off the last thing you put on a la Coco Chanel, you should never put on two matching items at once, lest you be boring and everyone knows more lives are lost to being boring than being dead.