Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Has Not Yet Sprung: So Buy Cashmere!

While the weather enjoys its little schizoid episode down here, I find myself dreaming of spring days where the air is balmy, I actually feel like wearing shoes with soles as opposed to sneakers, and people suggest going out for drinks on a Tuesday just because.

Of course, even during these mythical spring days...I will need to stay fashionably warm, which is where Uniqlo comes in!

Uniqlo is a Japanese import which has alternately been called the H+M or the Gap of Japan. This past winter, they assaulted New York with a variety of pop up stores and massive flagship on Broadway in SoHo. They are known mostly for the candy store-esque variety of high quality cashmere and wool sweaters at totally reasonable prices. Seriously, walking into this store is amazing...just colorful sweaters stacked as far as the eye can see. I could hear the Oompa Loompas singing in the background (actually it was probably just Japanified emo).

I picked up an eggplant cashmere turtleneck and and pink merino sweater over New Years in New York and barely broke $100. I was also dying to pick up a pair of skinny jeans that I had tried on previously but hadn't been brave enough to buy at the time, but they were gone! Hell hath no fury like skinny jeans scorned, I guess.

Oh well, this spring Uniqlo is making like every other cheap and chic line (et tu, Target and H+M) and collaborating with a few well known designers for capsule collections.

First up is the line from cashmere designers Lutz & Patmos who are known for luxurious million ply sweaters emblazoned with skulls and pot leaves on them. The sweaters for Uniqlo appear DEA cleared, chunkier knits in mostly soft neutral colors with architechtual silhouettes. Yuh-mee. Check out more info about the sweaters at The Shophound and for more photos.

The store is also carrying designs from two lesser known designers (at least on non-rising sun shores) Kino and HALB. From the picture I've seen of the Kino stuff (HALB is menswear), they look feminine, delicate and cool. Color me interested.

I'm headed up to the city this weekend and plan on doing more than a little damage at Uniqlo, but what I'm most excited about is the next wave of capsule collections, expected to hit shelves in mid-April. One of my absolute favorite designers, Philip Lim is helming one collection, while Alice Roi fronts the other. Check out more with pictures and drop dates for more collections at nitro:licious, who seems to have all the scoop.

In the meantime, I'm off to learn Japanese and try to send Uniqlo nasty messages about bringing back some shipments of skinny jeans and asking them why New Jersey seems fit for stores, but not our Nation's capital? I mean, Menlo Park? Seriously?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So, I've Got this Bridge...

I simply don't get it.

And by "it" I am referring of course to "smart makeup" or makeup which adapts to your unique skin tone and changes to match it perfectly. All the magazines and Sephora stores have been hyping one product in particular. That's right Smashbox's O-Glow, I'm talking about you.

Now, let me be frank here. I am a HUGE sucker for all things new, cool, in nice packaging, etc. But this really smacks of the Emperor's new clothes.

The Sephora web page touts "the first intuitive blush, this clear gel reacts with your personal skin chemistry to turn cheeks the exact color you blush, naturally in just seconds! O-GLOW works on every skin tone, from the lightest to the darkest, to give everyone a naturally gorgeous glow. "


It's intuitive. Like a pyschic. Or a mood ring. Or maybe a clear fuschia blush gel???

But you don't have to take my word for it. Check out personal experiences from The Beauty Addict and The Non Blonde.

Also, I'm skeptical of anything with goji berries. I once saw a Law & Order: Criminal Intent where a serial killer ate them for energy. I'm just saying.

Oh, and Almay Smart Shade? This post applies to you too. You are totally on notice.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Don't Make Me Choose!

If I had to play Sophie's Choice with my beauty products, I think I would pick lip gloss.

My list of praises to sing is long: it's cute, it's fun, there are endless choices, and it wipes off easily.

But I could never choose just one lip gloss. NEVER. At my most recent count, I was carrying precisely six lip glosses around with me.

No yelling, Mom!

I actually like to wear different lip glosses during the day and my newest favored gloss (yes, "favored status," like a concubine) is the Balm Shelter from TheBalm. The cute names of the glosses make it easy to adapt each gloss to a personality or mood.

Right now, I'm digging on Girly Girl, a peachy shimmery gloss that feels very spring in light of the actually appearance of the sun and temperatures above Arctic levels. It translates well to a late afternoon briefing where I actually like the people in the room or when I went for my very first caffeine pick me up of the season without a scarf.

My next favorite of the bunch is Daddy's Little Girl, a sheer sparkly berry color. It looks like my mouth, but better. Perfect for those times I like to look polished but not wanting to attract too much attention (re: skeevy member on the loose) or simply want to be authoratative without everyone staring at the my mouth.

The neatest part about the glosses is that they smell exactly like Hubba Bubba bubble gum. It took me the longest time to figure out exactly what that scent was. Also, you can pick up a limited edition set of three glosses at Sephora and keep swapping glosses all day long!

What about you? Any preferences for lip glosses for certain times of day? Any good luck glosses that you wear before an interview, big presentation or date?
photo courtesy of

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Glory Days

There is something magically and frustratingly chic about Britain. Brits always seem to have a cool streetwise sense of beauty and fashion that simply doesn't transfer over to the US. Maybe it's a lingering sense of inferiority as a former colony, feeling related to a country yet not able to participate fully in their sense of patriotism.

Whatever. I'm a mutt of Eastern European immigrants who came over in 1900. I can't exactly cry "Don't tread on me" with much authenticity.

All the same, there is something about the stuff they have there that just seems better than it is here. Case in point...they totally stole the Bliss lady!!

Marcia Kilgore started Bliss spas in the 1990s and it quickly blossomed into THE spa to visit. Without all the fussy trappings of older spas, it appealed instantly to a younger set and the cheeky (like the witty british slang?) titles of spa treatments and products bolster the hip image.

While Bliss took off, offering a fab catalogue with tons of products and opening spas all over the country, Marcia Kilgore faded into the background of the brand. But recently I read an article about how she was thriving in London and creating a new line of beauty products called Soap & Glory.

Designed to look like tabloid headlines, the names of the products are a riot (i.e. Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss, The Righteous Butter Lotion, and Clean On Me Shower Gel) and it comes in the hottest pink packaging. I got those "new beauty product jitters" for about three seconds until I read that the line would be offered exclusively at Harvey Nichols and Boots stores in the UK and Ireland.


On my weekly stroll around Georgetown today, I nearly spewed my double tall skim latte all over the Barney's Co-Op. And those salespeople would have been royally pissed about that, major sticks you-know-where on those people. There were those sleek pink tubes! Soap & Glory! In the US of A!

I thought the best thing about the products, besides the hot-ass packaging, was the light scents. I took some big heady whiffs and none of the products made me gag. Sweet. Also, the hand cream was excellent. Perhaps not as intensive as my normal Kiehl's, but it dried completely on contact without any greasiness. Seriously, my next stop was Barnes and Noble and I was able to hold the door open for someone else!

According to the website, Soap & Glory is only being offered in Barney's Co-Op stores here in the States. But check out the merch on the website and drool over all the other stuff we can't get over here.

photo courtesy of
And yes, I chose a Springsteen title for a reason.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dedicated Efforts

Recently, I heard that a friend of a friend had taken my advice and bought herself a tin of Smith's Rosebud Salve. I happen to love this product and use it much like Nia Vardalos's family uses Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. However, my friend did not love them smell.

I believe the phase was "granny-smelling."

I understand.

I was at first a bit offput by the smell, but it inured itself to me the more I used it. However, I fully support ditching a product due to smell. Hell, I've ditched jobs for the same reason. Luckily, I have come up with some other options:

First, Smith's makes a Minted Rose Lip Balm. This came out around Christmastime and was prominently displayed at all Sephora checkout counters. Some people raved, but personally, I felt it smelled kind of like your grandmother's purse. You know, her perfume mixed with those old clear mints you find near the hostess station at Italian restaurants that were in there so long that they got crushed up at the bottom? Yeah, like putting your head in there and taking a deep breath.

Not for me.

Second, Smith's also makes a Strawberry Lip Balm. This tin has a different look to it, not quite as old school, but it has its charms. The smell is rather nice, very fruity, and not at all grandmother-y. Actually, I used to have a doll that smelled just like this.

Third, is not a Smith's product at all. My lip balm of choice before the Rosebud Salve was Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. It comes in a handy stick (sometimes the germaphobe in me gets a little grossed out by sticking my fingers in the Salve), has a smooth matte waxy feel, and has the most intense peppermint scent. I used to keep it out for exams and apply whenever I was feeling a little woozy. Perked me right up. I'm actually convinced it help me pass the bar exam.

Well, that, and the constant crying jags, the 4000 practice questions and abject terror as a motivation tool.

Also, as an aside, I want to give a big congrats to the friend in this post and to anyone else who matched today!!

photos courtesy of and

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Heebie Jeebies Begone!

I don't know about you, but pedicures can really freak me out sometimes. Once, my mom and I watched a Dateline episode detailing how this mother and daughter contracted some hideous incurable disease in their legs from a dirty nail place. We shrieked at each other for about an hour afterwards. So, whenever I see those pedicure chairs with the swirling foot baths, I get a case of the creepy crawlies like no other. Seriously, if I didn't have to operate heavy machinery to get to the salon, a Xanax might be a prepampering necessity.

Most of the time, I try to chose my place carefully, watch for reused instruments, and try to calm my racing heart with Lamaze breathing and wishful visualization of a fictitious autoclave in the back of the salon.

But I think I found a solution!

Last week during the F4 tornado that was my week getting ready to go to my friend's wedding (insert Wicked Witch of the West music here), I made a last minute appointment at the Red Door Salon in Chevy Chase for a mani/pedi. After some mix-up whereby a facialist thought she would have to perform a pedicure (a thought which blanched her with terror) I sat down to what may have been the most sanitary and nicest pedicure ever.

While the salon did have the chairs, my pedicurist brought over a stainless steel bowl (stainless! it can go in an autoclave! or at least the dishwasher) filled with warm water and small pebbles. She proceeded to use all new instruments and files which had stick-on filing surfaces. They were brand new! The woman even wore gloves. I was in germaphobe heaven.

The manicure was equally antiseptic and efficient. I also watched my manicurist use a technique I've never seen before. To clean up the area around the nail, she swiped carefully around the nail bed with a paintbrush dipped in nail polish remover. It worked brilliantly!

My only complaints? The price is a little steeper than my regular place, but for a pedicure that clean and stress free, I could be willing to shell out. Also, the selection of polish colors was not my favorite. They only carry their own line, so if you want your favorite, BYO. Then there was the tickling factor...but that is really my problem, not theirs....


I can barely contain myself. One of my favorite stores is opening in DC!

That's right....Lululemon Athletica is finally opening a little outpost right near me...and a bigger store is on the way!

Seriously, there is nothing like cute clothes to make me want to exercise.

For those of you who haven't had the fabulous opportunity to check out a Lululemon yet, let me just it! A Canadian company, I discovered Lululemon while visiting Toronto a few years back. They make the sweetest yoga clothes that can take you from yoga to brunch to shopping to errands and back again. They have a wide selection of sports bras for every level of chestiness, pants to flatter every bottom and colors to make even the couchiest potato fashionista drool...

I have patiently planned every trip to LA to include a stop off at the Santa Monica store (opened years ago, damned healthy earthy crunchy Californians!), and begged my mother to stuff my stocking with their clothes this year (New York got their store this past November!). But no longer!

Another great thing about Lululemon? They do extensive outreach in the community to promote yoga, which means free classes, demonstrations and just general happiness. Hop on the mailing list asap and peruse the website to plan your spring yoga wardrobe!

Friday, March 02, 2007

And we have a winner!

Okay, I had reviewed all comments on the nail polish issue and have made my decision.

Arguments were made that the neutral look was classic and would not end up looking dated in 15 years, like a teal taffeta pouf skirt, that a neutral tone was more appropriate for a wedding, and that a light shade of pink would mesh seamlessly with the chocolate brown of the bridesmaid dress.

There were also a few who suggested a deeper shade of pink (excellent suggestion, I'm thinking maybe Essie Fiji?) Those who suggested a french manicure (normally, I love all things Gallic, but I must admit my deep burning hatred for the French manicure.) There was also one person who wanted to know if I had asked the bride (I did.)

However, on the Go Vamp! side, commenters told me to do what I wanted, that this was chic and stylish. There were also alternatives suggested, like a brown shade to match the gown. Plus, the bride did tell me to do what I wanted...

However, the vast majority of the votes were for the neutral/pinky tone. And while I fully believe in protection from tyranny of the majority (can I get a shout-out for James Madison?) I think neutral is the way to go.

Right now, I'm leaning towards Lippman's Sarah Smile...but feel free to post your favorite Essie or OPI pinky pale shade here!

Thanks for all the advice...and if anyone knows of a great nail salon in Austin, I'm all ears!