Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Ruffle of Disappointment

If you remember from previously, I adored this top while it was online. And just my luck...I found it at my local Urban, reduced to $9.99! But unfortunately I wasn't able to buy it, because it was really not flattering at all. If you're looking to order this top online, I would definitely try it on at a local Urban Outfitters before buying, because on some people the ruffles can be a little much. When I tried the top on, I had the straps shorter than the model, so that may have had something to do with it, but on me, the ruffles were a tad bit...much. The top looks soft and delicate in the promotional shot, but on me I felt like the vibe I was giving off wasn't soft and boho, it was froufrou and poufball. As far as petite people go, my chest is a pretty good size (sigh...awkward), so that may have been part of the reason why the top two ruffles just seemed to stick out way too far.

Is it bad that in theory I still kind of want it? It's only $10.00...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Makeup Mishaps and Redemptions

Tea at the Drake was so much fun! But the beauty parts of the trip were a little iffy...then sorted themselves out in the end. To begin with, my friend and I stopped by Sephora to pick up the fragrance for my other friend who was the one celebrating her birthday. Unfortunately, after browsing for a little bit we realized that we had five minutes to walk halfway down Michigan Avenue (which, for those that do not know Chicago, is an impossible feat in heels). Thankfully, we were on time, but the beauty lover in me felt unsatisfied. So, after an amazing time at tea with my friends, I headed down to Macy's with another friend and we counter hopped, visiting different booths and getting our makeup done. Because I got home late, I didn't have time to take pictures of anything, and I didn't buy anything...but I did snag a free gift from Lancome (my friend bought some stuff, so the sales lady gave us two!), so I'll swatch that and maybe do a look tomorrow. But here are just some things I noticed, beauty wise...

MAC Pro Longwear Lustre Twins need to come in more natural colours! I know plenty of people, like myself, that are looking for an everyday lipcolour that's as long-wearing as the prolongwears. Unfortunately, all of the ones I've tried have been far too bright. Today, I tried Ripe and Ready/Soft and Lush, and wow, it's bright. I put on just the stain at first, and my lips were far too orange, so I tried it with the no avail. I've seen the colour look lovely on other people, so I'm definitely not slamming MAC for this product at all, I'm just warning anyone who's planning on using these as an everyday, muted colour to not set their hopes too high, otherwise you might end up with orange lips, like me! I ended up having to blot out what I could, and then cover it with a nude lipstick. Maybe next time I'll try Custom Rose/Pink Virtue.

I love MAC Tendertone in Hot 'n' Saucy (bright red). I've always said that my favourite products are tinted lip balms, and this one is definitely no exception. It looks incredibly bright in the pot, but especially on my tanned skin, it comes out to be pretty natural-looking; it was pretty much a "MLBB" (my lips but better) product. I didn't buy it mainly because it doesn't last very long, the little pot is pretty tiny, and it's $14.00. For that price, I can just dab my lips with a lipstick and brush on some Minted Rose balm, thank you very much! This is definitely something not for recessionistas like myself...even though I kind of still want it and I'm kind of still kicking myself for not trying Hush, Hush (shimmery gold) out.

For all of you paler girls out there...give Lancome's elephant bronzer a try. I'm really not much of a bronzer person at all, because my own skin is fairly tan and I'm usually striving to make it paler (don't worry, I don't own any sort of Asian bleaching products). However, a friend of mine was having her makeup done at Lancome and she had the bronzing powder put on her. She is also pretty wary of bronzers, just because she's relatively pale and they often are too dark. But this one gave a nice, light glow...and the design of the compact was adorable. For me, $36.50 is way too much for a bronzer, but if you're planning on using it for a long period of time it could definitely be worth it.

And finally...I am officially in love with Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Graphite Shimmer Ink. I don't care if the container is miniscule...the colour is so unbelievably gorgeous. However, I try my best not to make impulse beauty buys so I'm going to wait this one out a week or so to see whether I truly love the product.

Le Drake

I'm off to the Drake for tea!

It's one of my close friends' birthdays, so we're celebrating it in a very ladylike manner :) My friend and I got her a small bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy, so we're passing by Sephora to pick it up...but not without doing our own makeup first, of course! I'll be back with little beauty tidbits and details on what I wore.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Grecian Goddess

I will never ever tire of beautifully draped, Rami Kashou-esque Grecian gowns.

Claudia Schiffer at the premiere of "Burn After Reading"

Diane Kruger at the premiere of "Valentino: The Last Emperor"

I would die of happiness if I could wear Diane Kruger's dress to prom. My closest alternative...well, I suppose it could be called a steal at $358.00

Aviation 101

So at the beginning of the summer, I convinced myself that I was going to buy a pair of aviator sunglasses. I've never really spent money on sunglasses because I don't wear them that much, but I really really want a pair of aviators. However, at the beginning of the summer I was going through my don't-buy-lots-of-small-things-save-up-for-big-things phase, and thus I was convinced I would be able to save up for a $100+ pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs aviators, or even Ray-Bans. It turns out being a teenager without a job doesn't exactly lend itself to investment spending. So now, the philosophy is still saving up for things I really want, but in this case what I really want is a pair of aviators and unfortunately they aren't going to be quite as designer as I had hoped.

I'm trying these pairs on next time I hit up Urban:

Metal Rimmed Aviators, $14.00

70's Aviator, $18.00

Charming Little Tidbits

My current mission, fashion-wise, is to do a complete closet re-evaluation/revamping before school starts. It's a little far-fetched, since I have about a week, but I've adopted a main style mandate that will help to shape my future, school-ready wardrobe.

Though it seems simple and obvious, my wardrobe will be composed of several basic items, which I love (like a good black cardigan, a few pairs of dark skinny jeans, a white wifebeater, etc.), and then be peppered with interesting items. Recently, the "interesting items" have been taking over my closet, which unfortunately means that I've often felt myself at a loss for things to wear. Things that I buy as a spur-of-the-moment sort of thing never really turn out to be good long-term investments, and they end up in the back of my closet. So for every single piece I buy from now on, a full thought process will be put into whether or not it should be purchased. Let's hope I stick to it!

Another idea that I'm hoping to circulate more throughout my wardrobe is fun accessories. When I was younger, I was very involved in arts and crafts, especially jewelry making. As a result, I was often seen sporting unbelievably flamboyant earrings in all sorts of interesting colours. But in the last year or so, I've completely turned around my jewelry/accessories vibe, wearing only very plain and basic jewelry. So, in my effort to invest only in pieces that will spice up basics and that I love and adore (and will wear for more than a few months), I'm going to try and revamp my jewelry/accessories wardrobe with some cute pieces that add a bit of spice to my outfits.

I found three items that fit the agenda at Nordstrom's accessory of which I am currently pining for, and two of which are from an unexpectedly enjoyable brand.

First, there's a very "now" Marc by Marc Jacobs resin ring with a lock detail. I like this ring, first of all because it's Marc by Marc Jacobs, and second of all because it's only $33.90 for a piece of Marc Jacobs. However, because I'm a petite person the rings I wear are usually much more delicate, so I think I'll be giving this one a pass.

Second, there's a pair of adorable little violet earrings from Juicy Couture. In case you haven't guessed, Juicy Couture is the "unexpected brand" I was talking about earlier, just because it's known for unflattering tracksuits and other velour things proclaiming "Juicy." But these earrings are darling, and pretty reasonable at $27.90.

Finally, my one great love and something I am hankering to own...this Juicy Couture camera charm. I love the kelly green colour, and I think the detailing on this charm is adorable. I almost want to buy two and make them into earrings, but I think I'll have to settle for one, to wear as a necklace, because the charm itself costs $33.90. Note to Juicy Couture: You guys make necklaces and bracelets for your charms, why not make rings for them too?

Another place I'm looking to find cheap accessories to amp up my wardrobe is a thrift store. In Chicago, the pickings aren't that slim, but I have to say that the usual romance associated with thrift stores isn't always present here in Chicago. However, after reading fellow blogger Thrift Eye's accounts of secondhand shopping, I'm definitely going to check out Chicago's Buffalo Exchange, a shop she mentions frequently as stocking some interesting finds for less.

Mismatched Marc

Just a short lesson on why you should shop around for more expensive items.

Daisy Marc Jacobs (the fragrance) in the 1.7 oz size is...

$55.00 at Urban Outfitters

$57.00 at Sephora

and $58.00 at Macy's

Though it's only a few dollars' difference, little things like this can add up. So be smart with your shopping!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Urban-Loving Lips

To continue the last post about Urban Outfitters and its mystery beauty section (I had no idea!), here are three lip products that caught my eye...each for different reasons.

The first product is this lip marker, by Bella. I love the idea of really natural-looking lip stains, and I think that this would do wonders on those days when my usual lips are looking totally non-pigmented and when I don't have time to do a full face. Plus, they're useful at places like the beach where you really don't want to look like you have too much makeup on. Even though $12.00 is a pretty good price for a lip marker, I probably would leave this beauty wish on the shelf, because sometimes these lip marker-esque products can go horribly awry. I'm fairly sure they won't let me test it out at Urban Outfitters, either.

The second product is this amazing mini lip gloss set by tarte cosmetics. Like I said in my previous post, I love any sort of product that's miniature, because it allows me to indulge my beauty product-loving self without having to feel like I'm wasting too much. Plus, these are perfectly purse-sized! My usual problem with travel-sized items is that they usually come in sets where I only want some of the items but to be honest...I think that I would love every single colour in this set. Some may look a little strange at first glance but I've learned (after a lot of misconceptions) that you should always purchase a louder lip gloss colour than you think you need, because they always sheer out. That could just be because I don't enjoy globbing on my lip gloss. But the red/pink duo seems safe and fun, as does the gold gloss. The coral colour looks a tad orangey, but I imagine it will be something like the High 90s slimshine from MAC, which looked a tad bit scary in the tube but turned out to be a lovely coral colour for lips. The two nude shades look like they would be great for work...the brown colour does look a bit dark, but I'm willing to bet that it's a lot more nude in real life. Did I mention that this entire set is on sale for $20.00? I am so hitting up Urban Outfitters tomorrow to see if they stock it.

And finally, another one of those items where you never really know who came up with the original idea. Everyone loves Crazy Rumors' tea and coffee flavoured balms...especially this company called Tea Time. The set includes lip balms in the following tea flavours: sweet lemon tea, vanilla chai, orange spice tea, peppermint, ginger peach, apple cinnamon and strawberry mint. Sound familiar? I thought so.

Urban Decay/Outfitters

I made this amazing discovery recently that I wanted to share with you guys...the beauty section at Urban Outfitters! Well, at least, But still! Who knew that the indie crew that fosters Anthropologie and Free People would have a beauty section? Granted, it's pretty limited, but I found something that you might like.

A recent trend for those that love colour but don't want to go overboard is to use coloured eyeliner. A simple line of navy blue or teal can add instant spice to a look without going crazy. Plus, for those that are used to a line of black eyeliner, using navy blue or dark purple can often help to make your eye colour pop without looking that different from black.

A product I've recently heard a lot is Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliner pencils. I've been wanting to try them out, but I haven't really gotten the chance to. So, imagine my surprise when the perfect opportunity to give these little pencils a spin popped up at Urban Outfitters! This set of 5 Urban Decay eye pencils is only $29, which is about $6 a pencil. Personally, I love anything that's travel-sized, especially if it's in a set like this, because I love to vary my beauty products and I inevitably will never use up a full-length eyeliner pencil. Not that I'm planning on using up a travel-sized one either, it's just that I don't feel as bad buying more beauty products when they're mini.

This set contains 5 colours, Lucky (dark copper), Zero (black), Covet (blue-green, or teal), Electric (light blue), and Lust (indigo-purple). Well, at least, I'm pretty sure those are the colours. What's unfortunate about this set is that 3/5 of it is really loud colours, which is good for those people that want to try something new or that like loud colours, but bad for me (aka the queen of neutral colours). If you're unsure about what the colours will look like, you can test them out at your nearest Sephora, or head over to KarlaSugar, which is the most wondrous blog for those who often harbor beauty lemmings. She's got swatches of most of the pencils, so you can get a sense of what the set offers (and what the other colour choices are).

My personal favourites, after looking at that swatch, are definitely Gunmetal (dark grey/silver), Baked (gold), Rockstar (dark purple), and Stash (dark green/antique gold). My love for Stash hasn't been helped by the fact that I saw it on Temptalia as well. Sigh...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Feather Fascination

While watching this past week's episode of Project Runway, I noticed a fashionable hair accessory on one of the more fascinating designers, Kenley. Some may love her and some may hate her, but I often find myself on the fence. Her own fashion often fascinates me, and I often try to take accessory tips from her, but the clothes she makes are not always within my taste. She is a great designer though, even with her personal notes (such as the ever-famous Kenley laugh) which may or may not have been a figment of Bravo's editing team.

The accessory that caught my eye was Kenley's feather fascinator. Fascinators, I should say. She wore one in the opening sequence, where Heidi brought out the bedazzled drag queens...

...and another one in the final portion, where the judges critique the designs.

Though feather hair accessories have been bouncing around for a little bit, I never found myself drawn to them until now. I'm trying to expand my accessories range, currently, to spice up my neutral wardrobe, and I'm thinking about purchasing a feather hair accessory of my own. What do you guys think?

If I were to purchase one, it would most likely be from Urban Outfitters. Here are a couple of selections, each around $18.00.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Imitation or Inspiration?

I'm tempted to go with inspiration on this one...a lot of shoes have been displaying an interlocking design, and these pairs are no exception. Plus, the LD Tuttle shoes don't have the little "buttons" at each intersection. But, as with many inspirations...the LD Tuttle heels, while beautiful, don't quite do it for me when I look at Christian Louboutin's pure genius.

LD Tuttle, The Exhibitionist Cage Sandal, $130.50

Christian Louboutin Button-Web Strappy Sandal, $1,345

An Accessory Rainbow

Halle Bag, Kooba, $495.00

Zero Haircalf Slash Vamp Flat, Eileen Shields for Zero + Maria Cornejo, $148.50

Studded Patent Flat, Kalliste, $102.00

Dr. Q Key Pouch, Marc by Marc Jacobs, $92.00

Festival Tall Boot, Hunter Boots, $145.00

Resin Clutch, Tory Burch, $295.00

...but sometimes you can have a little too much of a good thing
Rainbow Oversized Bag, See by Chloe, $135.00

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Runway Rants: Erdem

Erdem caught my eye with this lovely purple pleated strapless dress. It's very on-trend, and reminds me of something Jillian Lewis would have created on the last season of Project Runway.

I love the subtlety of this dress, and the fact that it remains chic without showing too much skin. I could see this working on someone like Reese Witherspoon, but only at the appropriate occasion...a Cannes film premiere, for example.

I'm loving the structured trends in dresses these days, and it is no exception with this dress. The texture of this print has a vaguely Asian tone to it, which I've seen in many dresses lately. I would love to see a more mature actress rock this dress, which doesn't show off much skin but will hug a fit body.

And finally, doesn't this trench look a bit Burberry to you? I remember falling in love with Burberry's lace trench just a few years back, and I do like this version, but I will say that I liked Burberry's version better, because it did not have the minor frills at the bottom.

Runway Rants: Marc by Marc Jacobs

This collection had pretty slim pickings, if not for the fact that a large part of the collection was geared towards men. I did have a few favourites, though. Coincidentally, my top two picks were black...I say coincidentally because my wardrobe happens to be mainly black as well.

Ms. Posh Spice was affiliated with the Marc Jacobs brand for a little while, and something makes me think that her influence must have come into play here, if just subconsciously. Though Victoria Beckham has been looking a tad bit more relaxed lately, I think this dress would still be completely up her alley, complete with huge sunglasses.

This is pure Jacobs genius...Blair Waldorf runway, done right. The mixture of textures is perfect, as are the black lace-up boots that add just the right edge.

Also, is this the new trend in high-waisted skirt-like items? The sweater knit would contrast well with a flimsy tank, though I don't think I see myself wearing anything like it.

Dillards Deals

A pleasant surprised arrived in my email today, from Dillards -- they're offering an additional 40% off all items already on sale. Unfortunately for me, no physical Dillards store exists in the vicinity of Chicago, but I still love looking through their offers. Though they may have a grander selection, sometimes, than my neighborhood retailers like Nordstrom and Macy's, the shipping costs often do not make purchases worth it. However, during sales like this, I often try to find formalwear at a discount. It requires a lot of wading through unattractive clothing, but this time it has most definitely been worth it. I often find gems like this tank top, which retails for only $20.40 but looks like it could have been found at a high-end boutique...or at the very least Anthropologie. I could see this worn with black skinny jeans or a black high-waisted skirt for a girls' night out, or under a cardigan and with shorts for a summertime barbecue. And for those of you in the professional world, feel free to stick a cute tank like this underneath a dark grey or black suit...though I'd pick one with smaller flower detail.

This khaki skirt also could be part of a chic urban boutique's repertoire, with its pleated details and banded bottom. I styled it, bargainista style, with a top and flats from Urban Outfitters. The total? Just around $30.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MK and Tan-shley

Sorry I haven't been posting much, I've been taking practice ACT after practice ACT. It's getting to be sort of ridiculous, as this time of year is with all seniors in high school feeling the college crunch. Thankfully I've been able to garner some "me" time, which I used today to have a lunch with some friends and meander around Borders. Has anyone read Nina Garcia's Little Black Book of Style? I flipped through it, and was pleasantly surprised. Often fashion-based books like that can seem sort of gimmicky, or without substance. But I thought Nina Garcia's book was a pleasant read that made me think about my own wardrobe. Now, I'm not expecting to have a major wardrobe makeover after this, complete with a whole new outlook on life, but I definitely am contemplating buying a copy of the book for myself. From's independent sellers, of course :)

One of the things that "The Little Black Book of Style" mentions is the importance of shoes. It also, of course, has a requisite section about buying really classic pieces that will last you a while, instead of giving in to trends.

A little while back, I probably would have taken a second glance at these Michael Kors jelly sandals. Yes, they're jelly sandals, which automatically brings them down to "tween fashion" level, but they have an unobstrusive logo. I'm not much of a logo person, but a while back I used to purchase items based on how much "bang for my buck" I got. So, although I probably wouldn't get this pair of jelly sandals, if this was $30 and if those straps were made of leather (even fake), then I probably would have sprang for them.

Fast forward a few months, and I'm thinking about buying a $50 pair of flats. Well, $47.99, but that's a minor discrepancy. Though it may anger the bargainist in me, I've been looking for a pair of flats like these for quite awhile. Even in the summer, I tend to opt for ballet flats rather than sandals because I often feel like they add a tiny bit of polish to an outfit. So even if I'm wearing a T-shirt and shorts, pairing those items with flats makes them look nicer. The only problem is, it's so hard to match flats to outfits, because most of the ones I own are "statement" flats instead. Though I may not be that tan, these flats are pretty close to my skintone, if a tiny bit darker. So, these would be like the more relaxed younger sister of a nude heel, which in my opinion goes with a million different things. I may not buy them now, just because the season when I would wear them is almost over, and I tend to wear my more standout flats (of which I have many) during the cooler months of the year. But who knows...Nina's little novel has been inspiring me lately...