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Friday, November 12, 2010

Sex Symbols for the Intellectual Girl

My top 5 "I'd Do 'Em" List!

5. Liam Neeson. Who WOULDN'T do Liam Neeson?! He's allllllll man (as seen in Rob Roy). Unafraid to take controversial roles, he plays historical figures with grace and intensity. Top must-sees? Rob Roy, Schindler's List, Michael Collins, and Love Actually.

4. Barack Obama. We haven't had such a suave hottie in office since Kennedy. He may be too centerist for my liberal sensibilities, but he's tried. He's had a hell of a job cleaning up Bush's mess, and now he's going to have to fight harder. He most likely won't win the next election, unless the Fascists Republicans royally fuck up to the point where people won't vote for them (we can only hope), but we can support him to the best of our abilities while we still can. And kudos for picking an awesome wife!

3. Jon Stewart. I think this is a given. He's SUCH a silver fox, and he's also sane - something we rarely see in the media these days. A man who's intelligent, vocal, and hilarious?! Bring it.

2. Daniel Radcliffe. I know, you're probably thinking "The Harry Potter kid?!" Well, if you've seen him in Equus - and I have, TWICE - he is most assuredly *not* a kid anymore. He's a brilliant actor who's got an insanely awesome future ahead of him. I admire his avoidance of falling into the bratty child actor trap, his intelligence, his thoughtfulness and philanthropic tendencies, and his taste in music is SUPERB. Love him! And, I think he's beautiful, despite his short height. Must-sees - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (my fave of the series), David Copperfield, and December Boys.

1. Matt Bellamy. The man is Apollo incarnate, I am 100% positive. There is even a Facebook group called "Matt Bellamy doesn't play guitar, HE HAS WILD SEX WITH HIS GUITAR"... and it is SO TRUE. He's the lead singer of my favorite band, Muse, and their music is an aphrodisiac to any girl with an above average IQ. His voice sends shivers down my spine with it's ethereal vibrato, and I either get all hot and bothered or teary-eyed (or both at once) when I listen to their music. Their latest album, The Resistance, was inspired by 1984 and Confessions of an Economic Hitman. LOVE! I've seen them live 4 times, and honestly if I were independently wealthy, I would quit my job and become a full-time Muse groupie. He gets docked points a few points for currently dating Kate Hudson (ugh), but his ex, who he was with for 8 years, was a psychologist, so... clearly Blondie is just a rebound girl. I can forgive that. 

Who are on your top 5 list?!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What, what, WHAT are you doing?!

Ok, first of all, if you HAVEN'T seen Sassy Gay Friend, watch it immediately!

It's also irrelevant to this entry, other than the title. Heh.

No, this rhetorical question is referring to 1) Gretchen on Project Runway season 8 and 2) me this week. 

1) Bitch, please. Tim Gunn had it absolutely right when he told her and her team off at the end of this week's episode - she's a narcissistic bullying liar. And, her clothes are dull. Your "luxe" collection was ugly and boring, nothing fit anyone well, no one's design aesthetic (OTHER then Gretchen's and Ivy's) came through, and the color palette was a hot mess. Also, throwing Michael C under the bus? NOT COOL. Out of 8 seasons of this show, in which I have NEVER missed an episode, I have never seen anything like the steaming pile of bullshit she shoveled on to the judges this week. 

Tim Gunn is ALWAYS my hero, but I gave him the slow clap after his speech this week! I heart you, Tim!

2) And speaking of bitch please, um... I have been eating like shit this week and it's making me upset. If I keep going this route, none of my clothes will fit in a month. I've worked really hard to get over my compulsive eating issues, so I'm pretty pissed at myself. Oh well, the weather is nice - I just need to have a healthy, calorie-conscious breakfast in the morning and go for a walk or bike ride. No problem, right?

No, this isn't really fashion related, I am just venting. 

Other sadness from my week - got a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs pumps from DSW online this week for a total steal, and had to return them because the sizing was all wrong. WTF? 

I did finally get around to finishing Mad Men season 1 - I can see what all the fuss is about! Loving it! Though my food issues this week were scarily similar to Peggy's, and hearing all those guys bashing her made me feel like my (Freudian) superego coming to life through my TV speakers. 

Ok, done with my bitching and moaning. At least it's Friday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nina's Top 5 for Fall

On Target's styleboutique blog, Nina Garcia posted her "Top Five Fall Fashion Trends."

Some of these I can take or leave, and as I said in a blog recently - it's all been done already, so when is fashion going to pull out some NEW tricks?! Sure, I like animal prints, military jackets, and luxe fabrics as much as the next girl, but... Yawn.

I just got my September issue of Vogue this weekend, so I'll be interested in checking out what the high-enders are touting for fall this year. 

What are *your* thoughts?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bargain Hunting, Part I: The Basics

NOTE: Some of these stores are only in the US, but I will be talking about some worldwide or UK chains when I get to other topics. :-)

Ok, so I won't lie, and I won't even be modest - I have a black belt in bargain-hunting. That's partially out of necessity (recession, student loans, blah blah blah), and partially out of spending time with my sister who I freely admit is my deal sniffing-sensei. Ironic, because I was her fashion guru - she used to wear nothing but free t-shirts and track pants... but that's neither here nor there. Lesson? You can learn something from everyone you know, even if it's what *not* to do.

I'm planning to write a series of entries about this - first, the basics. Then individual entries on shoes, accessories, clothes, and finally, housewares/decor.

I won't even bother denying that I'm a name dropper. I'm not going to apologize for it, either. I used to feel like a shallow heel caring about that shit, but I don't anymore. And I will tell you why - ANYONE who has ever tried on a pair of designer heels knows that they just make you feel different. Sexier, more confident. It's an addictive feeling, and as someone who has struggled with low self-esteem my whole life, I can say that every little bit helps. And typically designer clothes are made better (and believe it or not, more ethically), which is an added bonus.

So how does a girl with a very modest salary have a closet full of designer shoes and clothes? 

I'll tell you! (Because I know you're just DYING to know...)

The key to bargain hunting is about planning and strategizing to optimize your shopping time. I won't lie - a good trip out usually takes several hours, and visits to at least a few stores, so save it for a dull evening or a weekend. Take a buddy with you if possible - s/he will be able to tell you if those pants suck, and laugh with you over the ugly old lady shirts (or even uglier 80s throwback day-glo fingerless gloves). You'll also have someone to have a coffee with at Starbucks when you take a much-needed break.*

There are 5 basic words/phrases you should always have in your mind when out on the prowl:

5. CLEARANCE (it's definitely worth mentioning twice)

So, rule #1 - ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS hit the clearance racks/tables FIRST. This definitely does take time and patience, but let me give you some examples of the crazy deals I'm gotten by investing time in this. $350 Givenchy wedges? I got them for $60. $248 Ellen Fisher pencil skirt? I got it for $15. And $120 Ralph Lauren sweater? I got it for $5. And that was NOT from a second hand store (er, not that I'm dissing the Goodwills of the world - I got a Diane von Furstenberg suitcase at Goodwill last summer for $8, and it was in super good shape!).

Best places to hit the clearance racks (in my experience) - DSW, Stein Mart, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Macy's, Target, Kohl's, JC Penney, Old Navy, and New York & Company. Honorable mention goes to QVC (see Rule #5 for online purchasing/shipping), Nordstrom Rack, and Saks Off 5th.

Rule #2 - BEFORE leaving your house for your excursion, check the web (and your junk mail pile, both in e-mail and your snail mail) for coupons. You can get some crazy good deals this way. For example, if you get a $25 off $75 coupon from New York & Company, and THEN hit the clearance rack, you can get A LOT for your $50. It all goes back to strategy. Some places will even send you coupons that are more like gift checks - you get $10 off with no spending limit. I get these from DSW all the time - you get $10 off any purchase, and you can just spend $10, and basically get a free pair of shoes, unlike my previous example where you have to hit $75 in order to get the savings.

Rule #3 - Sales are great, but proceed with caution, and be careful not to get carried away. When you are a seasoned bargain hunter, you know that certain stores (*coughcough* Target *coughcough*) usually put things on clearance after about a month. If you can be patient, that sweater that was marked down 30% will likely be down to 50 or 75% off within a few weeks. Sales are usually most effective when combining with coupons. Believe it or not, you can usually combine sales with coupons - just be sure to read the fine print. As much as it SUCKS, you really can get great deals on holiday weekend sales - especially at Kohl's and Macy's! Black Friday, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Memorial Day weekends are all great times to hit the sale racks... if you can tolerate the madness.

Rule #4 - Sign up for any and all free rewards programs, because that will entitle you for special sales, extra coupons, and sometimes even cool things like birthday gift coupons! My favorite store, Anthropologie, is not exactly a recessionista's friend (well, at least not when it comes to apparel), but I do always treat myself to something from their sale table during my birthday month, because they send you a 15% coupon (I know it's not much, but hey - it covers the damned sales tax!). And DSW? A $5 gift check!

I will give this warning - do NOT sign up for a store credit card unless you are a) super duper uber responsible and/or b) know without a shadow of a doubt that you can pay off the whole thing by the next billing cycle. My sister is awesome at using her store credit cards to get even *better* deals (she was a math major in college, and can figure this crap out in her head in seconds), but I am way less confident than she is with this, and tend to avoid this particular method.

Rule #5 - When shopping online, always try to get free shipping! OR, combine orders with someone to split the shipping. If you're buying something from an online source, check to see if you can make a return to the store in person instead of shipping it back at your cost. If you can, sometimes you can get free shipping by hitting a spending amount (for example, I think Old Navy's's is $50), then return the cardigan you don't want at the store. You get the free shipping and that item you really wanted without breaking the bank on UPS. Or USPS. But as with sales, read the fine print first on the return policies! I try to reserve online shopping for stuff I absolutely MUST have (either because they are practical, or because I just can't imagine my life without it ;-)), and stick to in-store shopping as much as possible.

Rule #6 - Check the warehouse clubs (Costco and Sam's)! They don't usually have clearance (but always check!), but you can get cheap basics - I've gotten 3 Calvin Klein tanks for $15, Kate Spade sunglasses for $35, and a London Fog trench in cherry red for $35! My sister has gotten Nine West jeans for under $20. Also, I ALWAYS get my glasses prescriptions filled at Costco because of their amazing designer frames selection - I got $400 Fendi frames for $99!

Added benefit to all this? It is a serious calorie burner! I once used an exercise calorie burning calculator that estimated a 4 hour shopping trip burned about 750 calories. AWESOME.

*As a bonus, I'll throw in my Starbucks money-saving tip! Instead of getting a flavored frou-frou latte/mocha/macchiato, get a regular coffee (hot or iced) with a flavor shot, and add plenty of milk or half & half. The savings add up, believe it or not! Also a breakfast sandwich from the Bucks is a cheap alternative to a bigger lunch out.

So... where have you found your best bargains?!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jeggings. Hmm.

This is one bandwagon I'm not entirely sure I want to jump on. 

In case you've been living under a rock, in a cave, on Mars, etc., you've heard of one of this summer's fashion phenomenons - the bastard child of leggings and jeans. Essentially, they are just stretchy skinny jeans. 

I don't really get the point. I *will* give props to Lane Bryant for having these available in plus sizes while they are actually still on trend. The problem? Plus size girls really don't look good in them unless they are going under something and not worn solely as pants. They simply aren't very flattering to our figures. (Yes, I definitely am including myself in this.) If you plan to wear them, you might want to stick to the darker shades, as they have a camouflaging effect. But, to each her own, I suppose. 

That said, I do wear leggings. Usually only under skirts or dresses, but I do admittedly wear them, so who knows. The jury is out. I don't violently hate them, but I am not overly enthused by them either. Why you don't just wear skinny jeans if you like the look is beyond me... Comfort, maybe? But it's rare that fashion loves a trend that's based on comfort alone. 

I don't know. I'm just a bit baffled by the whole thing, I think. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Hate Work Trousers (and Racists)

Rant of the week: I hate work trousers!

So, I think I've already explained in my posts that 1) I live in the Midwest, and 2) I'm not exactly the skinniest bitch in the world. And as such, I. HATE. work. trousers. (Have I said this enough to hammer the point in yet?!)

Let me elaborate on points 1 & 2 -  I have a limited store selection in which to buy said trousers, and even fewer styles look good on me. Would I bitch about trousers if, say, I could fit into a YSL Le Smoking? Hells no! (I'm ignoring the cost issue here as this is entirely hypothetical, and it is therefore irrelevant.) Instead, I usually resort to Target and Kohls for work trou. We don't even have a Torrid, or a Macy's with a decent pants selection!

That is not even to mention that fashion in the Midwest, or at least in my place of employment, is not exactly Le Smoking appropriate, even if I did own one! It would be like a peacock in a flock of pigeons or something - awkward and comically absurd. (Note to any colleagues who read this: I am not referring specifically to our office, I am talking about the entirety of the campus!)

Um, EW.
I currently have 4 pairs - black (these are the least offensive - the fabric is very nice, as are the cut and length, and I don't feel like a complete shmuck wearing them on the weekend), brown (oh dear gods - not only is the color atrocious, but they are too short to wear with heels!), gray (not *so* bad), and a small black & white plaid print. Note that I did not mention khakis here - I REFUSE to own anything that looks like a frat boy vomited them up. I would maybe invest in *tan* trousers made of a decent fabric, but I have yet to find a pair I like. 

I'm really more of the jeans or pencil skirt type. I like to pair jeans with dressy tops/jackets and heels, and pencil skirts with more casual tops and flats. But sadly, I can only wear jeans on Fridays.

And while I'm on a ranting spree, I also hate racists. Check this shit out: "There's a Battle Outside and It Is Still Ragin'". 50s vintage fashion? Awesome. 50s vintage discrimination? DEFINITIVELY OUT.

WTF, man?! Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this country? Everyone is going out of their fucking minds. We've socially regressed about 60 years in the space of a decade (and yes, I blame you, Bush administration). Unbelievable.

/end rant.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I want to *be* Marion Cotillard!

No, seriously. Just got my hair chopped so that I can emulate her in July's Vogue. It *sort of* looks like this, right? 

She's just so fabulously awesome! I also want her wardrobe in the Vogue spread. I am IN LOVE with that Nina Ricci get-up!

And speaking of Marion, if you have not yet seen INCEPTION, go see it. Here's the thing: I really liked it. It's absolutely visually stunning, the concept is interesting, and the performances (Ms. Cotillard especially!) are really top-notch.

I do NOT think it's a perfect film  - at least a half hour could be cut from it, the ending is trite, and it doesn't feel as original to me as everyone is raving it to be (a little too Vanilla Sky meets The Matrix, perhaps).

However, it is one of the best films I've seen this summer, and as much as I enjoy a good action and/or kid's blockbuster film, it's nice to have something a little more intellectually-driven. And hellllllllllo, Tom Hardy!! Hope we'll be seeing a LOT more of him in the near future.

But, back to Marion. ;-)

She's an Oscar-winning actress (if you haven't seen La Vie En Rose, well... I can't talk to you ;-)), a fabulous singer (have you seen her in Nine?!), and apparently a foodie. Gotta love that. And she has class in abundance.

Who *wouldn't* want to be Marion?!