Friday, October 21, 2011

Fashion Fantasy: The Givenchy Panther-Head Necklace

This nearly-$1800 bauble is something straight out of my wildest fashion dreams. It's so elusive, Google doesn't even have a stock photo! The closest I could find was this similar double-panther-head necklace from the same Givenchy Fall 2011 ready-to-wear show:

Now, the version I spotted in November's ALLURE was similar, only it boasted a single panther head (instead of two) and a bolder, wider chain link. I audibly gasped after a page turn revealed this piece of serious fashion fierceness.

I adored statement necklaces loooong before they became a universal wardrobe staple. In high school when everyone rocked the Tiffany Bean on a delicate silver strand, I scoured the Ocean City boardwalk for the biggest, chunkiest, loudest piece I could get my well-manicured hands on. In fact, I had a friend who coined my taste in costume jewelry as "huge and hideous." I liked it that way. Still do, to a large extent, which is probably why my eye is so drawn to this Givenchy work of art.

I'll concede this particular piece certainly isn't for the fashion-faint-of-heart, but I'd love to know what you think! xo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Beauty Bucket List

It's been a bad week, which is sad, because I feel like I have a bad mood cloud hovering over my head during my favorite time of year. Freelance work has been light, and in my spare time I'm left to contemplate why my peers (and now people much younger than me) have moved leaps and bounds past where I currently sit (stagnate?) in life.

You would too if you were 25 and taking a class at BCC.

Anywhoodles, thanks to my extra hours of nothingness this week, I managed to catch one episode of Oprah's Life Class on OWN. Go ahead and judge, I'm a shameless Oprah fan (have been since undergrad at UMD) and you know what they say about sticks and stones...

The episode was about "fueling your passion" and featured some of Big O's fave guests over the years who managed to turn their true passions into major moneymakers. Anastasia Soare was one of those guests. The Hollywood brow expert (and Oprah's personal brow shaper) immigrated from Romania and since 1997 has been the go-to guru for all things arches.

The (wo)man. The Myth. The Legend. Anastasia Soare.
The segment got my wheels turning about several things. First, maybe my (our?) future isn't so grim after all, and that maybe (just maybe?) I'll eventually find a field that fits (and fuels my passion, as per Lady O's sage advice.) Secondly, it inspired me to jot down a few things on my long-standing Beauty Bucket List, which has been bouncing around in my head ever since my dear mother lit a voracious beauty fire deep within my soul with the simple purchase of my first Blistex Lip Tone in the checkout line at Talk of The Town. I was 11.

If you're still reading, you might be interested in a few highlights from my aforementioned list, so here they are:

1. Visit Anastasia herself for a professional brow shaping. No, not one of her cheesy little pop-up shops at my local Nordstrom. I just know the cross-country trip will be worth it.

2. Pull a Kim Kardashian and laser my whole, hairy self. KK's Armenian. I'm Italian (and Irish,) but unfortunately, inherited the oh-so-charming black body hair of my Italian ancestors. Waxing gets exhausting, and I'd love to never have to spend another minute on tedious hair-removal. One day. On the plus side, my Irish mother gifted me her emerald green peepers, so I guess it's a fair trade-off. Sort of.

3. Have my face laser-resurfaced. Sure, it's painful and costly, but it would be a small price to pay for the baby-soft cheeks I've never had thanks to a life-long struggle with problem skin (complete with a 6-month, unsuccessful tryst with Accutane.) Me no likey.

Oh, I have so. many. more entries on my Beauty Bucket List, but off the top of my head, these are the longest-standing items. I'm determined to make them happen!! I'd love to know -- do you have a Bucket List for something obscure? Confession: I also have a Fashion Bucket List that may or may not include a giant Birkin Bag. Share! xo

Fall Trees

The "school" I currently attend once a week is nestled deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. No matter how depressed or embarrassed I feel about taking a community college course years after earning my Bachelor's degree early from a top-notch public university, the sight of the gorgeous changing leaves on the trees lining the only road to "school" always makes me :) .

Because I'm not skilled enough to take a photo behind the wheel, how about a stock shot? Currently, my drive looks something like this:


The past few Mondays have been brisk and impossibly sunny, basically the most perfect fall days. The weather's made my near-hour drive borderline-enjoyable. And since fall's my favorite, and the trees are one of the only things motivating me these days, how about a few more pretty pictures?

Pretty Little Trees
Meanwhile, I have tons of class-related stuff to share, including a rather lengthy project examining the history (and projected future) of Nordstrom, and even a potential NYC field trip on Nov. 21 to visit the execs at Macy's Merchandising Group (MMG) and take a peek inside the Pantone Color Library. Squee! Stay tuned. xo

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Would Never Wear Em' -- But Gotta Share Em'

I'm talking about the amazingly artful Nicholas Kirkwood Spring 2012 shoe collection. *So* not my personal taste, but I caught myself drooling over sneak-peek photos the other day, and just had to share the beauty:

All that pastel screams SPRING, no?


Holographic. Snakeskin. OMG.    

See what I mean? Even if these aren't your style, any fashionista worth her weight in lip gloss can surely appreciate the amazingness. And who knows? If I had a spare $900 just taking up space in my diamond-encrusted Louis Vuitton wallet, I might pick up a pair or two come spring.

Interested in checking out more photos? Go here or here. xo

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Splurge or Not To Splurge? My Tory Burch Dilemma...

This post is difficult for me to write. Please excuse this proud bargainista for a moment and allow me to collect my thoughts and emotions while I actually consider dropping nearly $200 on a pair of leather flats....


Ahem. Thank you.


The Siren Song of these black-on-black Tory Burch Reva flats has been getting louder and louder over the past several weeks, and I'm not sure what to do about it. As we enter the lush, glamorous fashion season that is fall, I can't seem to stop thinking about these babies. Help?

When I get a bad fashion craving (and I swear what I feel is a true craving, not unlike the unrelenting pangs a pregnant woman or prescription pill addict must feel,) my sweet, supportive boyfriend often says something like, "Baby, you should get that bag/those shoes/that nail polish. You've earned that money and you scrimp and sacrifice in so many other areas."  He's right.

Ugh. Seriously, he is.

But this time, I'm trying to save, behave and resist! Right now, *no can afford.* Maybe I'll try meditation and deep breathing. Or maybe I'll just have to write, "I will not spend $200 on flats" on the dry erase board at BCC 100 times, Bart Simpson-style, until the craving subsides.

A little over one month into blogging, and already two Simpsons references? Weird.

Fellow shopaholics, what do you do when you get a nagging case of the fashion or beauty "gimmes?" Splurge, sleep on it or surrender? xo

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dancing, Drinks and What I Wore

It recently occurred to me that, for a blogger who has so much to say about other people's style, I've actually posted precious little of my own carefully-selected wardrobe. Fashion blogger fail.

Right? Let's remedy that.

True, I spend most days behind a computer screen, squinting at the day's assignments and reading the news through my Coke-bottles, while simultaneously donning yoga pants and a years-old sorority t-shirt. But that doesn't mean I don't know how to pull together a killa ensemble, especially when a special occasion warrants it.

On Saturday, my family celebrated an uncle's 50th birthday with a lavish bash at a local country club. Most gals grabbed their standby LBD and called it a party. I decided to go the skirt-and-blouse route. I knew I wanted to blog about my outfit, but *I iz stoopid* and didn't get a great photo. Boo. Here's the best I could do:

It's a rare (RARE) occasion that we're both dressed in real clothes. And yes, I desperately need a haircut.
Savvy Style on a Shoestring Salary: It can be done! Below, behold the bargain breakdown:

Black pencil skirt: $15 from Forever 21 (Plus another $18 in alterations)
Silky, sleeveless rosette blouse: $8 from BJ's Wholesale. I'm not joking. In fact, I feel like I should probably be embarrassed about this. I'm not.
Fierce rhinestone statement necklace: $12 OOP (out of pocket) after sales and gift cards at Jewelbilee
Serious black party pumps: $20 from Kohl's Simply Vera line. Originally $70.
NOT PICTURED: Cropped black blazer: $4 on clearance at Target 

For a measly $77, I think I cleaned up well. Let this be a lesson to every fashionista looking for fab style on a frugal budget. Have any great money-saving shopping tips? Please, share with the class, below! And happy bargain hunting! xo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bolster Your Self Esteem in Three Simple Steps

1. Graduate early from a top-notch public university
2. Work for a tyrannical boss for a few years, then for yourself for a few more
3. Enroll in community college and show off those hard-earned skills!

In that precise order.

I've struggled with my sense of self-worth and self-value for as long as I can recall being aware of such sentiments. I've always felt like a bogus, out-of-place sore thumb, which is probably why I've become Teflon for careers, hobbies, you name it. Nothing really ever sticks. I can honestly say that throughout my academic and subsequent professional life, I've felt like everyone around me speaks a secret language and no one's willing to let me into the club.

Until I begun fashion class at BCC. Our professor asks us to read a few things in front of the class and BAM! I'm a literate, articulate, sophisticated goddess among women.

I wish I were exaggerating. Today, I presented a paper about why I adore Kate Middleton's style, and after class, I quickly realized I had groupies begging me to share my secrets to thoughtful writing success.

Wow. I spoke about dresses and nude pumps -- I didn't write The Odyssey. Needless to say, today's class wound up being a cold, hard lesson in OMGIDONOTBELONGHERE.

If you have any ideas how I can somehow incorporate my love of (and quasi-talent for) writing with my eye for style (without moving to NYC and becoming a writer lackey at a big fashion publication, which wouldn't necessarily be a stable gig anyhow,) please enlighten me.