Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Labor Day

Hello and Happy Labor Day!

(Or, more recently, Happy Tropical Storm Ernesto-survival Day... ahem, whatajoke... if you're in my neck of the woods.)

Just an announcement that I'll be taking a mini-vacation back to Upstate New York (with the outlet malls of wonder, remember?) through Monday, so have fun and be safe (and be stylish) in my absence.

I'm sure I'll return loaded down with armloads of last season's bargains and lots of great stories. In white shoes? Maybe, maybe not.

I've been a little slow with the updates lately, I'll admit, but I've got a few posts lined up, so see you next week!

Hmm, now how am I going to pack all of my beauty products so that I don't set off every security alarm at the airport...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Worth Repeating

From a makeup blog I enjoy, I am pretty nyc:

"Fall Commerce

kim | 20 August, 2006 20:18

As you are leafing through the tonnage of the fall magazines, making your lists and getting the look just so, think about this: fashion and beauty are businesses helmed by creative and financial masterminds who have figured out how to bring out your most primal ache of desire. Mostly by putting skinny, naked, shiny people in ads, but it's perhaps a little more complicated than that. In any case, just remember the people on their yachts who own those yachts only because people have bought a million of their dresses and shoes because they are so talented at tapping your innermost desire for, well, more. So this season don't just be in fashion; have style.

I can't enforce those ideas enough! Thanks, Kim.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Love. Want. Need. ~INC Sweater~

What can I say? It's beautiful.

And it happens to fit beautifully and feel luscious. Which I know, because after carrying it around Macy's for a generous amount of time, I did try it on.

I also finally got to see Angela's winning outfit from Project Runway firsthand. It was all right; I wasn't a big fan of the shirt. I would wear the grey trousers if they weren't so ubiquitous right now, and so identifiable.

The real kicker was this picture, featured right on the front page for, mocking me for not purchasing the coveted sweater while I had it in my hands this weekend:

As if to say, "Bard, doesn't this soft, cozy, form-flattering sweater look great on tall curly-haired brunettes?" Yes,, thanks for pointing that out! Any generous readers out there? I wear a size medium.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Project Runway S3E6

Last week's episode which sent Bradley home was fairly plain to me, with the expected loser being dismissed and everyone's champion, Michael, taking his first win. So I completely neglected to add my own comments to it; the episode spoke for itself and I was looking forward to moving on.

Which brings us to this week's episode.

First, I've got to admit that when it initially aired, I fell asleep. (I know! I was tired! My bed was comfy! Don't stone me!) But I left my tv on Bravo, and so when the episode aired about five million more times during the night, it influenced my dreams. I dreamed the entire episode- some, in the first half, as it had happened when I watched it. The second half was narrated by the television, but my mind created everyone's garments, since I hadn't seen them completed before konking out earlier. In the end, in my dream, Robert was kicked off. Interesting, hm?

Then I woke up and the last fifteen minutes of the show were on (which, believe me, had me really disoriented at first, due to the fact that it was the middle of the night and I had just been dreaming the same premise, thinking I was already watching it). So I got to see the breath-holding moment wherein Kayne was spared and Alison was sent home.

Alison! What? How?! I really thought she was one of the most talented designers, and I don't see how the judges overlooked that fact. Not only is Alison consistently making beautiful garments, but the dress that led to her booting actually looked much nicer on the mannequin, and help me but I want to blame the model. Actually, I wish Alison had stuck with her initial vision- I liked where the colored paper skirt was going. But I have to take her word that it wasn't working. However, do the designers' previous efforts not factor in at all when they're on the chopping block?

On America's Next Top Model, at least progress and potential are considered! On America's Got Talent, the judges keep the big picture in mind throughout the many reprisals of the contestants- overall, do they deserve one million dollars? Overall, hasn't Alison consistently demonstrated more talent and potential than almost any other designer?

Stolen from because I'm lazy, but isn't her dress rather cute in this picture? I think, if not the model, it was the hair-bow that did Alison's dress in.

Vincent, who was spared by some twisted god (or judge's) mercy alone, managed to slip by with a dress which showed no eye for style, no personal flourish (or fleurchon), and no construction skills. It was barely clothing at all, as the model couldn't take a step in the thing. At least Alison really worked that paper! Despite what the judges had to say about Kayne's garish piece, Vincent's alone looked truly like an art camp's ( Paris... for 6 year olds?) construction paper project.

I completely understand why Laura began lashing out at Vincent when Alison got kicked off. How could the troll of the designers cause the Princess to be sent home? That's not how fairy tales work, damnit!
I felt this way when Santino remained on last season during the makeover episode, when his jumpsuit was attacked by Kara Janx and fellow designers, and it was revealed as being taped and glued together- much too late.
I just really wanted to see Alison's collection go to fashion week. I'm kinda gonna have to hold on to this disappointment for awhile until Vincent gets his dues and is thrown out on his ass. He'd just better not make it to the final four, or I will be seething.

The winner- okay, okay, okay, okay- I do love Michael. It's kind of like a contagion in the blogosphere, if you can't tell. And while I was ecstatic to see him win last week, because he so justly deserved it, this week his back-to-back win (accompanied, of course, by the revelation of his little wallet-note-mantra to win, and aren't we all so moved and if we hadn't already been drooling over the boy, wouldn't we be now?) felt less rewarding. And with the fondling of his wall of fame Pam Grier outfit... it's almost too much, it's like a bias for Michael. He was the invisible underdog and won our love, but now he's so prominent and pampered that I.. sort of fear for his future. We can't be too easy on him or Michael-the-neglected-and-underrated, the prodigal designer that we fell for, will be compromised.

And by the way? Jeffrey should have won. Sorry, but yes. This was truly Jeffrey's moment to shine, with a beautiful, wearable, creative, but oh-so-personalized garment. It was colorful, it was unique, it stood out amid the rest of the, well, trash. I don't think Michael's lovely-but-bland dress should have won, when Jeffrey went out on a limb and put his crazy, bitter, tattooed heart into his gown- and actually pulled it off! I shared his pain every agonizing second in the room with Michael just after the win. The Prodigal Designer seemed stupefied by his own self-fulfilled prophecy, while Jeffrey could do nothing but sulk in the glow of Michael's glory. I desperately hope Jeffrey gets one win and has his own day to shine before he gets sent home, or else he might carry this resentment for Michael all his life (especially once we all get to see Michael win it all, because he's going to).

What can I say? At least Robert and Kayne were spared. More bitchy, flamboyant conspiring and designing, please! Carry on.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Sole Risk

I confess: I kind of hate shopping for clothes and shoes online. Rather, I adore browsing online, and I am perfectly willing to make purchases online, but when items involve sizing, I must have had the chance to try the item on in person at some point before I'll risk ordering it. Is this paranoia? Or an admirable, alert wariness? Buying items- especially shoes- in person can be enough of a deliberation. But when you haven't had the chance to parade around the entire shoestore to make absolutely sure that they're comfortable (and to make sure you didn't miss a different cute pair)? It's asking for trouble. This bard's mother always insisted on making that second trip around the store before a pair of shoes could be considered for purchase. (Or a third.)

And what happens when shoes are the object at hand (or foot!) and there's no return policy?

Well. Usually this would be a certain no-no.

Alas, the bard, she fell for these lovely shoes on eBay.

Like any lovestruck fawn, she pranced about her item of attraction for awhile, dancing in indecisiveness about the next move. I thought I must.have.these. to go over tights for Fall. Not that I live somewhere that gets cold. Not that I own tights. But come on, we all read the glossies! Tights are happening and they will happen to you. Ahem. So. For the spectacular Buy-It-Now price of $22.99 with shipping and handling, I decided- throw caution to the wind! Dismay your mother and defy her rules! Buy these shoes!

And I did.
But with one little promise to myself (that I share now with you): if these do not fit, if they are scratched, if they are mussed or messed up in any way and I regret buying them? I will never again buy non-returnable clothing or shoes via 'www'.

Only time will tell how this little, one-time-only test turns out, and I will be sure to let you know.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Secret ~Tide To Go~

How have I not written about Tide To Go wand yet? I practically worship the thing (no, really. Tide To Go- Tide Wand, to me- is a portable stain remover that costs about $4 at CVS. I keep one of these handy tools in my purse at all times and it has saved me from the utter destruction of favorite clothing more times than I can count. Because I am a hopeless klutz. And I know that if you're not, there's certain to be at least one in your circle of friends and immediate family.

The instructions say to 1) Remove excess residue from stain. 2) Press the tip onto the stain several times to release some stain remover solution onto the stain. 3) Rub the stain gently across the stain to remove it.

My only concern, sometimes, is in the pressing-down action itself (#2). We all know to dab, dab! the stains on your delicate beloved clothing! Or else you can set the stain further! When you actually want to be lifting the stain out. So, for fear that I will damage my stained clothing, I usually apply the pen and release the liquid on the outside of the actual stain, and then use the tip to guide the liquid over the area from the outside in. The packaging also warns against leaving a treated stain in direct sunlight, and if thats necessary, then to remove any excess solution with a napkin or cloth.

The other day, I reached into my bag and (to my dismay!) discovered that the top was off of the wand. Oh no! I thought, worried for the inner liquid contents. It's dried out, it's GONE! Take this red wine away from me right now! My mother was with me at the time, and due to the sheer alarm on my face, went out the next day and bought me a new one as a gift. It's always good to have a backup. It's also always good for people to understand the urgency and importance of the Tide Wand.

I first encountered it last Thanksgiving at the residence of a family friend where we always gather to celebrate the holiday. My sister managed to get a pen streak across a pair of my light green trouser pants, a favorite pair, during Scattergories. The ink was dark blue. It was horrible! I was instantly upset, when lo and behold, the matron of the household rushed to her own purse and grabbed her Tide Wand- the first I'd seen. She was so perfectly confident in its ability to remove the stain- did I mention it was DARK BLUE INK?!- that I used it with utter trust, though bated breath. I pressed the wand down, covered the marred area, and let it dry. Ten minutes later, my pants were dry and the stain was nearly invisible (unless, I admit, you are specifically looking for it). The pants remained wearable, and in ten mere minutes, you'd never know anything had happened. I was instantly hooked, forever convinced. It took me another few weeks to locate the pen in my own local CVS, because it hadn't been released everywhere yet at the time. The first time I actually found it, I literally yelped with excitement, much to the shock of my shopping companion of the time.

Since then, I have personally used the wand to remove ink stains from pens, red wine from my clothes, and pomegranate martini- yes, with real pomegranate juice involved- from my white blouse (this one was hailed as a miracle even by the young male bartender serving us- it also convinced him not to make a rule against me drinking dark liquors). These are just a few of my tales (and all of this just since last November).
Most recently, I was wearing a new pair of Citizen jeans out to a hungarian restaurant where- brace yourself- there was by some gross happenstance a mysterious, disgusting, dark brown gravy-sauce underneath the tabletop. So when I, unwittingly, crossed my legs under the table like a young lady should, my knee went directly into this goop. And it wasn't for at least an hour, when we went to leave, that I pushed my chair back and noticed this hideous, already-drying stain. On.mynew.pants! I was very upset, tease if you must, but I was almost in tears. I was thinking of suing the owners! Or writing a mean worded letter to the local newspaper. Or to Zagat's! They should mention this in their restaurant guide, don't you think?! Instead, while the waiter came over and tried to apologize and soothe me (and to keep me from freaking out the rest of the patrons with my dirge-like wails of woe), I whipped out my pen and began to furiously work at the knee of my pant. I'd never tried the wand on denim before, so this was a real test. I was also rather worried about the solution removing the dye from a pair of pants that had yet to be washed for the first time, but it had to be done. In the end, the wand removed most of the stain. It took a full drying of the pants and a second application to remove the rest (at least, you can't see it without your nose against the fabric, looking past the outer threads). But it worked, and it really saved the day for me (and probably for the owner of the restaurant, heh).

The Tide Wand is an absolute 'must' for any fashionista worth her Jimmy Choos. How can you claim to love your clothes if you don't maintain them with 24/7 vigilance against their possible destruction? Like a boy scout, be prepared! I think the Tide To Go should find a nook in every kitchen or laundry room, and in every woman's purse. Not only will it repeatedly cover your ass in precarious spill situations, but the wand will make you look like an absolute magician in front of those who haven't caught on to its miraculous abilities yet. You'll wow and impress friends by always saving the day when stains seem iminent- at restaurants, parties, meetings.

And don't forget, this goes for you, men, too! Maybe you can't have it on your person at all times like the ladies, but try keeping a wand in your desk drawer or glove compartment. It'll not only keep you neat and tidy, but trust me, the ladies will notice that you make an effort to take care of things that matter to you.

And of course, for such a cheap price and such ready availability, it will always make a thoughtful little extra gift. So go buy one!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Project Runway S3E4

I've missed posting about the last few Project Runways- I've been too busy reading up on threads and theories on BPR, and throwing my comments at their pages instead! (So... addicted...) But though the temptation to lose myself among hundreds of comments on their site was mighty, I decided to get back to my own blog to talk about the episodes. And what better episode to cover than that of the coveted kicked-off contestant conspiracy?

Well, the cat's out of the bag, and may I just say: sew in peace, Keith. I'm personally quite heartbroken over his departure, since he was providing me much needed eye-candy and bitchiness this season. But rules is rules, and as far as rules go... day-um, Keith, was there one you didn't break or did you just decide to go whole-hog? I loved wondering what truncation would get him booted, it was a delicious debate at BPR, but when Tim Gunn came on and rattled off not one... not two... but THREE infractions, I couldn't help but giggle and shake my head. And all of this after we see Keith price-haggling at Mood and blithely confessing that he likes to tweak rules when he doesn't believe in them. From the outset, I loved Malan and Keith the best, and we all see how far my support gets a PR designer. But tonight's episode made me much less sad than when Malan was kicked. With Keith you just have to cluck and sigh and say, 'oh, you' and let it be. (Let it be noted that I felt that way originally about last season's Santino, but then his act wore more and more thin, and he seemed quite fake by Fashion Week. As far as Keith goes, I am proud that whatever he was and did and said, he was truly himself right up to his too-soon end.)

With Keith and Malan gone, Michael is my new favorite- but only as of this episode. Quite frankly, we've never seen much of him before now. He's been speculated as a Top 4 by numerous assessments, but I never gave him much mind. Until- and this was my favorite moment of the entire episode- he was rolling around on the table in the design room, whining to Angela 'nooo nooo' about 'her' 'signature' rosettes. The Little Sister was watching with me, and she cannot stand Angela, and frequently interrupts any of her comments with 'NO. SHUT UP', so I'm glad someone on the show was representing those sentiments. Of the rosettes, Little Sister merely said, 'What, you learned this on the first day of design school and can't let it go?' I feel more like maybe she was practicing her rosetting while missing the lecture 'The Importance of Sketching in the Design Process.' Uck, Angela, you'll have to learn to sketch to win this! Get over yourself, it's a competition; you bend to it- and not the other way around! (Have we learned nothing from Keith?!) And Uli, that goes for you, too: learn to work in groups. Your personal preferences do not matter here.

Speaking of Uli, not that she could have possibly known, but has anyone noticed yet that she stole Keith's model (to steal his advantage, or something) just before he gets kicked? Ouch.

As for the contest itself, I think that the winner and loser were chosen fairly. While I liked Keith's design more (and I think it would have added to the episode's drama to have the poor, stranded Alison and Jeff win despite the loss of Keith), Angela's was ultimately more sellable and wearable. This happened in the Banana Republic contest, too. The more innovative designs that would win other challenges aren't always appealing to the broader market. As for Bonnie? Well, it really could have been her or Robert, and I like Robert more- he's shown far more personality. As designers they both rather sucked at this challenge. I hated Robert's more, but Bonnie's was just... wrong all over, shamelessly wrong, not merely executed wrong.

And then, still, I wonder why Robert's and Bonnie's were chosen at ALL by the Macy's rep. I mean, I rather liked some of the sketches presented better than those two. In the sketch, Bonnie's cowl neck was over-sized and less boring, and the rest of the shape was slimmer and more feminine. Vincent: 'I hear that brown will be the new grey' ... WHAT? As a designer, you are to be decreeing trends, not overhearing them. That sentence alone would have lost the vote from me, buddy.

Well, Bonnie's gone, I won't miss her, and now Bradley doesn't have to shave his beard. Which is probably good, because I sometimes wonder if it's only there because it contains his magical design powers! That must be it... because otherwise, it just looks scruffy, and I've taken to imagining that Bradley could actually be handsome (and stable) under that disguise of facial hair and crazy.

To summarize: Keith is gone, Bonnie is gone, Angela won (what?!), and Michael is the Style Bard's new favorite. Alison, if it must be a woman. She's just too damn hard not to like. If you don't already love her against your will, check out this recap at FourFour.