Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Incentivize

In my line of work, we try to think of ways to make people do things that they wouldn't ordinarily do without being forced.

Yeah, I work in the wonderful world of government policy.

Most of the time, that boils down to somehow rewarding people for good behavior.

Read: paying them.

Sneaky. But effective.

Which I why I totally respect Kiehl's for their new "Recycle and be Rewarded" program.

Here's the deal:

You bring back your Kiehl's recyclable empties and they stamp your card. The more you bring back, the more rewards you reap!

3 empties gets you one of their famous Lip Balm #1.

5 empties gets you a 2.5 oz travel collection product (perfect for styming TSA or for gym-goers)

10 empties gets you a full-sized product worth up to $25 and a new card.

Since I am a devotee of many, many Kiehl's products, I plan on getting some free stuff! I used to just include my packaging in the recycling in my house, but I think it's worth the trip to take them back to the store.

Color me incentivized.

(yup, it's a term of art)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Open Letter to Department Store Cosmetics Salespeople

Dear Salespeople in Nordstrom, Neimans, Bendels, Bergdorf's, Barneys, etc.

So...times are pretty tough, huh?

Sales are down, I know.

I know sometimes when you work in an industry that thrives on commissions and people spending money on frivolous things an economic downturn is pretty deadly. I understand the panic that I see in your eyes when I walk into the overly perfumed air near your counters.

And believe me, I am sympathetic.

I want to buy lipglosses I don't need and mascara that promises to make me stop traffic like like a five car pile-up on the Jersey Turnpike on a holiday weekend.

However, when you come swooping down with your crazy eyes and pleas of "CAN-I-INTEREST-YOU-IN-ANYTHING-NEED-ANY-HELP-CAN-I-SHOW-YOU-THIS" I just want to run away. And then I do in fact, run away. To be perfectly frank, I actually have credit to several major stores and have entered on multiple occasions intent on buying, only to be driven away by the Marrakesh bazaar-like atmosphere.

While I do love the DIY charms of my neighborhood Sephora, I've always enjoyed picking the brain of an expert at the department store. I like getting a makeover and picking my favorite product then walking out of the store feeling pretty. I like having someone show me something that I hadn't thought to try on my own.

But lately it's gotten out of hand. I think I even had a nightmare recently where the monkey from Raiders of the Lost Ark was running after me with a bottle of L'Air du Temps and the latest Juicy Tube and tries to force me into buying both.

So, this has been pretty disturbing to me as well. I'd like to broker a cease-fire.

If you stop trying to harass me into trying your stuff and let me peruse the counters at my leisure, I promise to buy some stuff. In fact, be a little aloof. Read "The Rules" or something. But be there when I need something. And all will be well.

If I get wind of any attempts to slather unwanted creams on my skin or get screechy about limited offers, I swear I will take all my disposable income to the nearest Sephora and never come back.

So please. Stop the madness. Back off a little. And I promise I will start spending.

Sincerely,

Caphillbarbie

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

World Gone Mad


Some days I feel like the whole world is officially on sale.

Everyone and their roommate are renting out available square footage in the DC area for the inauguration.  

(Seriously, if you want to pay me $100 bucks a night, you can crash in my tub.  It will be just like An American Tail.)

And my inbox is flooded with desperate emails from retailers all but paying us to take merchandise off their hands.

I've been ignoring most of these, just like I ignore friends who have "suddenly" gotten back in touch through Facebook, but one caught my eye.

Starting November 21st at Cusp, basically the whole store will be 40% off.

The sale will be in stores and online, so feel free to do a little browsing at work.

Just tell your boss I said it was ok.   In this topsy turvy universe, that just might fly.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gossip Girl: Bonfire of the Vanity

Finally.  

Clothes.

On Blair, at least.

Looking gorge in an Alice and Olivia dress....

Mixing it up in a Bill Blass top (available online in the Queen's currency and altered to be backless)...
Continuing her love affair with Marc Jacobs Scribble fabric (looks like it was only on the runway)...




And with the other love of her life, Milly, but this one seems to only be available in Canada.

Damned Canucks.

My favorite ID?

Gossip Girl: There Might Be Blood

Sorry for the delay!  This will be a quick double header, mostly because Serena has decided to display her chest instead of actually wearing clothes and Jenny has forsaken pants altogether.

Exhibit A in pants-less-ness.

Tights are not pants people!

Live it.

Alas, only Blair shows brilliance in actually wearing clothes, as shown by her gorgeous red silk Catherine Malandrino dress.

Tune in for the next episode where hopefully the stylist earned his paycheck but putting together whole outfits, not just halvsies.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gossip Girl: Pret-a-Poor-J

Sorry for the belated recap, election stuff, blah blah....

This episode was chock full o ugly, what with Jenny chopping her hair and going buck wild with a black eyeliner.

Serena's handbag is my favorite here...not her uber-skintight outfit.  The Devi Kroell hobo bag is fantastic, I've long coveted one of these bags.  But alas, even if I sold my soul to the Devil, it wouldn't cover the cost of that bag.


A more affordable luxury would be Blair's Marc by Marc Jacobs plaid skirt, a nice twist from the standard black watch.  It was available in the Chicago store when I visited, but be warned...skirts are shorter than they appear on TV.

The only thing worth looking at at that RISD post-student show was Blair's Temperley London dress.  Certainly not that doofy guest star artist.  Blech.

Lastly, and I can't find a good picture, Blair wears a green Rachel Comey blouse that would be perfect with a pencil skirt for a day at the office.  I'll race you to Barney's in Georgetown...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Grey Skies Ahead

I've always considered myself to be very progressive and open minded when it comes to most things.

But when the issue of nail polish colors, I'm practically Strom Thurmond.

I like pale pinks, dark reds, and well...that's it.

I never got into the black trend or it's bastard sister navy.  Don't even get me started on neons.

I guess I always felt that they could look ok on others, but certainly not on me.

But I was flipping through a Marie Claire and was literally struck dumb.

The model had perfect manicure of slate grey nails.

And it looked AWESOME.

Chic, demure, sophisticated and unexpected.  

The caption helpfully informed me that the shade was Rescue Beauty Lounge in Stormy.

So...here's the issue, I'm planning on trying it after an upcoming wedding manicure (a friend's!  not mine!  despite the dream I had where we restaged our wedding.  Bizarre.  I know) but I am looking for a facsimile....anyone see any perfect greys out there?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Protect and Serve


A coworker told a story recent about her mom getting a small skin cancer removed.

The scariest part?  Her doctor told her that she probably was exposed so much simply due to driving in her car and the sun through the window.

So, when a daily moisturizer with SPF showed up at my door, I lunged at it.

Despite my fear motivator, I've been really pleased with the moisturizer, DDF Correct and Protect UV Moisturizer SPF 15.  It definitely has that sunblock smell, which is making me a little wistful now that it's fricking freezing out.  However, I did get a little overzealous one morning and used a little too much.  Bad idea.  I ended up having to blot with a tissue while running out the door.  Use sparingly!

Best of all, I know that I am putting on sunscreen every morning.  And that makes the day a little easier to face.

(pun intended.  and lame.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gossip Girl: Chuck in Real Life

Welcome back for another exciting episode of "Check out Blake Lively's Side Boob!!"

Featuring.....

Side boob!

Courtesy of McQ by Alexander McQueen!!

Also lounging in this episode...Vanessa!  Who knows where this chick gets so many party dresses on such short notice?  Anyhoo, this one is Eskell.

The last interesting outfit...well, I'm not going to show you a picture for fear of being not suitable for work.  Blair's gorge satin lingerie (I'm sure pervy pictures are abundant if no one monitors your office) is Agent Provocateur.

Until next week...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Special Clothes for Tough Times


Let's not ignore the elephant in the room.

The economy blows.

I know, right?  This must be total news to those of you whole only rely on my blog for information!  And if you live in a cave.  Or don't understand any language of any kind.  But even then, you could probably decipher Jim Cramer's dejected little face.

It's hard to be promoting anything consumer-ish these days, but I think now is the time to emphasize the need for quality over quantity when it comes to special items.

And lately, my go-to boutique for the unique is Sangaree in Georgetown.

I have actually only bought one thing there, but it was a fantastic suit with interesting details and I can easily wear in spring, summer and fall.  They carry smaller labels and have an amazing selection of dresses for upgrading for work.

It wasn't cheap, but I'll wear it to death, and I'm sure I won't run into another lobbyist in the halls of Russell wearing the same thing.  Which is pretty much a guarantee with anything from Ann Taylor Loft.

So, if f you are local, I urge you (whoa, writing too many action alerts) to go check out Sangaree, if only to browse.  

Just a warning...they are having a sale this weekend...

3288 M Street NW near 33rd Street

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gossip Girl: New Haven Can Wait

Ok....I'm not even going to go there with the falsitudes in this episodes.  

Suffice it to say:  Blair's description of Brown is totally accurate and kids, wear a bra to you college interviews!

For a hot outfit totally NOT suitable for an Ivy League first impressions.


Her boobie-baring halter is courtesy of Alice and Olivia, the jeans are Rich and Skinny, the blazer is Ralph Lauren and the books are Michael Kors.

Also...NOT APPROPRIATE FOR COLLEGE VISITS...Serena's Black Halo dress.  But otherwise very cute.

However, for a more appropriate college interview ensemble...

Blair's Diane von Furstenberg skirt, Catherine Malandrino blouse and Paul Stuart sweater.  Also, her Chloe Oxford pumps are the rare case of shooties gone right.

If you didn't think that the plots could get any more ridonculous than Yale accepting someone who forgot to take the SATs, next week it's Dangerous Liaisons slash Cruel Intentions hijinks!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Branching Out


I've never been a big fan of my toes.

Weird, I know.

But, as a result, I've always veered towards the pale pink colors for pedicure and saved dark for my fingers.

But a while back, I received a sample of NARS nail polish in Chinatown, a dark dark red that I couldn't wait to try out.

But alas!  It was summer and dark nail polish just felt too fall for me.

So I took the plunge and got a pedicure with the bold color.

It's....weird.

I definitely notice my toes more and the color looks great with an open-toed shoe.  The polish itself has stayed chip free and glossy over several weeks, no small feat considering how I abuse my toes on a daily basis.

However, since the weather has taken a turn for the chilly, I think I'll revert back to my comfort zone.

But it was fun while it lasted!

photo courtesy of beauty.com

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gossip Girl: Serena Also Rises

This episode was chock full o' good fashion!

The problem?

You can't buy half of the best outfits.

The finale dress that pushed Serena's boobs up to her chin?

Nope.

Jenny's maternity top slash ass bearing dress?

Nien.

Blair's blue dress with the sash?

SOL baby.

These were all made by the show's stylist himself.

Crap on a stick.

Well, there were some good pieces that ARE actually available.  Specifically, blouses, which I'm totally crushing on blouses for work in the fall, and this episode had some sweet ones.


Lily continues to impress with her jewel toned Rebecca Taylor top that would look kick ass with a grey suit.

While it's covered by a cardigan, the Milly blouse here is totally cute, and again, great for work under a jacket and then later minus the jacket.

And now, I know I focus pretty exclusively on the women's fashion, but I'm going to take a second out here and issue a fashion fatwa on Dan in vests.

STOP.

Please.

That is all.  As you were.

photos courtesy of gossipgirlinsider.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gossip Girl: The Ex Files

Finally.

Back at school.  

Not that I don't have a bone to pick with their attempt at reality, but more on that later.

First, I had a specific request for Blair's rhinestone headband.  

It's Jennifer Behr, but the real mystery is the cape.  No one on the internets can find it!

Apparently, the uniforms are coming from French Toast, which is actually a uniform store.  Who knew?  The real covetable item?  Her shoes, which are Nine West!  I'll race you there....

The parents in TV shows are typically a snoozefest (see 90120, My So-Called Life) but I perked up when I saw Lily in this Stella McCartney floral top.  

But I came crashing down to reality when I found that it was sold out everywhere.  

And now!  Field hockey!!  

As a chick who knew how to handle a stick in high school, I am well versed in the art of traipsing around the halls in a game outfit and hiking up that skirt.  (Actually, I knew a girl who had hers professionally altered to be shorter and poufier.)

Although...I accessorized with a mouthguard, not gumball sized pearls.  Maybe that's why we smoked the all girls schools when we played them.

Also, holy Herve Leger Batman!

No mortal should attempt to wear this dress.  Ever.

And now for my reality check.  

No way that girls from Constance Billard (aka Nightingale Bamford) would hang out with Dalton guys.  They would go for Collegiate or Trinity for sure.

Gossip Girl: The Dark Night

This episode just proves the theory that satin equals evil.  Witness Catherine's omnipresent Diane von Furstenburg wrap tops.

This episode revealed little that was covetable for me.  it was more about the one liners and teenagers not knowing who's tongue was in their mouth.

I did like Blair's 3.1 Phillip Lim pleated silk grecian dress....


but it seems to be out of stock everywhere!

Also interesting in this episode...Jenny seems to be wearing maternity tops as dresses!

Oh, those wacky high schoolers.

This one is Rebecca Taylor and you can find a similar dress/top from her here.

So, the plot in this ep?  Good.  The clothes?  Meh.

Next up?  Back to school!  Field hockey skirts!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On the Move

I'm headed to Chicago this weekend!  So, I'm looking for recommendations of places to shop, cool, neighborhoods to hang in and cafes for a caffeine fix!  Help me out!

photo courtesy of chicagophotos.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gossip Girl: Never Been Marcused

Honestly, I thought this episode was a little filler-ish and I had a devil of a time tracking down most of the good outfits from this one.  Especially Blair's toile dress from the party at the Hudson.  

I've also noticed that as Serena's plot line gets lamer, so do her clothes.  The stylist seems to rely heavily on shiny silk.  A sure sign of poor plot twists to come.



Blair's headband here is Forever 21!  While most of the headbands (and there are many) come from Jennifer Behr and are beautiful, I have to say that the selection at Forever 21 is pretty great and a much easier price point.

Her necklace, however, will set you back a cool $1200 at the Garland Collection.  So, yeah.  I'd probably go for the headband.

Serena's only decent outfit (because I was NOT a fan of her boho maxi dress with the boobs hanging out) was courtesy of Wayne.  See...with the shiny silk.  Portent of dull conversations with Dan to come.

Blair's dress is Marc by Marc Jacobs and was on sale at Cusp sometime in mid-July.  I believe it is officially sold out and this one is definitely tailored on her.  I tried it on.  I know.

Ugh, enough with summer!  I want blazers and tie blouses and tights!

photos courtesy of gossipgirlinsider.com

Monday, September 08, 2008

Third Time's the Charm: Part Two


In which I try desperately to fulfill my need for thick glorious lashes at the drugstore.

My new office building has a CVS in it.

I'll let that soak in for a second.

Yup, so that means that on my way into the office, out of the office, to grab lunch, to go to a meeting, coming back from a meeting (you get the point) I can stop into the drugstore and browse the new mascaras, eyeliners, shampoos, etc.

It's very dangerous.  Especially since I jones for new mascara like Heidi must jones for synthetic fillers.

So, on one of these trips, I noticed that Maybelline mascaras were two for one!  I picked up a tube of my current love of the moment, the XXL and was struck by a fat yellow tube labeled COLOSSAL.

Since I didn't have the foresight to have someone lash (no pun intended) to the mast of a ship or something, I could not resist the siren song of the promise of thick glossy lashes.

So imagine the let down when I busted open the tube and discovered a similar wet formula like the Lash Blast.  Seriously....are these the same?  The Colossal was distinguished by an uber funky smell.

That was special.

I tried once or twice to use it again but was put off by the smell.

And into the trash it went.

to be continued....

No joke, as I was writing this post and watching The Hills (that's right, I multitask) the commercial for this mascara came on.  No mention of funk smell.  Call the FTC.

photo courtesy of drugstore.com

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Gossip Girl Fashion: Summer, Kind of Wonderful

Welcome to the belated first edition of my Gossip Girl fashion recaps!

The main problem with this episode is the fact that all the summery fashions that they featured are not looking as interesting right now since wools and jewel toned fall clothes are cramming all the stores.

Still, with a DC indian summer almost guaranteed, there were a few google-worthy dresses.

First up, Serena's silky looking tank dress was Vena Cava and is currently on sale at Revolve Clothing.  Although, like many of my friends did with their field hockey skirts, you'll have to hem it about six inches to achieve this look.  

The bag is Chanel, and, as a note to costumers, make it look like she's carrying more than a lipgloss in there.  Real New York private schoolers carry about 8 tons of crap including three half empty cartons of cigarettes, crumpled receipts from your parents' credit card, an oversized Gucci wallet and three electronic devices.  That thing would be bulging at the patent seams.

Blair is sporting the Garden Party dress from Alice + Olivia and good luck if you want one.  It seems like it's sold out across the internets.  However, if you just love the pattern, there is a blouse in the same pattern available.  The purse is Kate Spade.


At the White Party, which is super trashy in real life, Blair's adorable mini dress is Marc by Marc Jacobs, also shortened to crotch baring levels.  However, her shoes like the crappy ones that came with Barbie dolls in the late 1980's.  

Clunky!  And not in a good way.













Serena's fabulous grecian looking dress is Oscar de la Renta from Spring 08. If you can find it or even find a price tag, god bless. I also think this would make a stellar wedding dress if you are so inclined. Maybe with a little less boob, but still. Also, why does Serena kissing look like a bob and weave act?  It's freaky.
















Last, my favorite dress for real life is Blair's green Milly dress.  If this episode had aired in June, I would have dropped everything and bought the dress, but alas, with fall looming large, I'll hold out and see what kind of preppy blazers and knee high boots are in store in future episodes...


Until next time...well, you know the line.












(just a caveat about these, I'm only picking the fashions I liked best.  If there is something I can try to track down, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best.)

photos courtesy of gossipgirlinsider.com and teamsugar.com

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Third Time's the Charm: Part One

In which our heroine (that's me!) tries out various mascaras to find one that meets all of her needs.  



Ok, we've all seen the ads with Drew Barrymore flaunting her huge fat lashes on tv while hawking Cover Girl Lash Blast.

The tube echoes that fat volumtastic lash appeal.

But in practice?

Not blowing my skirt up, if you know what I mean.

It was not really a thick volume boosting formula, but a thin wet coat that made my lashes stick together and smudge on my lower eyelids.

So, Drew, I think much like Charlie's Angels 2, I'll pass on this offering.

photo courtesy of drugstore.com

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Peace Offering

Some of you may have noticed the lack of Project Runway recapping this season.

Wellllll....

To be perfectly frank, my heart just isn't in it.

I'm not sure when it happened.  Maybe it was the thirtieth bubble skirt walking down the runway.  Maybe it was the faux hawks gone mad.  Maybe it was the perfect storm of the third person narratives, forced catchphrases, and guest star judges.

But somewhere along the line I lost interest and I haven't been able to muster the snark to produce a recap of any decent quality.

For recaps worth your reading time, I direct you to New York Magazine's The Cut and all the good stuff from Blogging Project Runway.

And, as the aforementioned peace offering, I propose doing a weekly recap of the fashions of Gossip Girl.  Since I often find myself googling frantically at lunch on Tuesdays to find Blair's cute dresses or Serena's knee high boots, I thought others might be doing the same.  

Truce?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fashion Catfight

Over my mini-break, I got a chance to catch up with some of my magazine reading. It was a little jarring to read something NOT in the three column Federal Register style, but a welcome break.

In the Fall Fashion issue of New York magazine, there was a fantastic article about the behind-the-scenes infighting at Elle Magazine between Nina Garcia and Anne Slowey.

The rival camps, the loyalties, the clothes!

A great read and it gives an interesting insight into how Project Runway took off and a preview of the new fashion reality show, Stylista (which happens to feature DC's very own Johanna!) premiering this fall.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Read All About It!

Sorry for the lack of posts here, but I've been enjoying a little downtime in Vermont without access to internet...a weird feeling for any modern girl.

So I didn't get a chance to post on Wednesday about my interview with the Washingtonian!

It's a part of their Blogger Beat series, where they catch up with DC bloggers and chat about the stuff we know best.

Read all about my must haves for beauty, my style pet peeves, and a little bit about the inspiration behind the name of my blog!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Asking

Does anyone else want to punch that chick in the Secret Flawless Deodorant commercial?

So Familiar, Yet So New


A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my eye doctor at my yearly appointment.

You know...shooting the breeze about glaucoma, contacts and detached retinas when the subject of eye makeup remover came up.

Don't ask.

He asked me what I used, to which I proudly responded, Almay Oil Free!  Most popular eye makeup remover in America!

I like to vote with the majority, you know?

Much to my surprise, he told me that the BEST eye makeup remover is actually diluted Johnson's Baby Shampoo.

The yellow stuff.

That everyone uses on their child's head.

HUH.

Color me shocked.  

But I tried it, and no joke, it's really good.  I mix a little of the baby shampoo with a little water and put it on a cotton pad and wipe away.  I still have trouble with some of the waterproof mascara, but it works as well, if not better, than the Almay pads.

It's super cheap, especially if you already have it in the house (presumably for your baby).

And the best?  

No more tears.  For sure.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Target, Here I Come

Target continues to impress me with their sheer awesomeness....

I spotted an ad for a Jemma Kidd makeup line hitting stores soon!



But it gets better, not only is it Jemma Kidd, but also Napoleon Perdis and Pixi.  Not only are these lines you normally only find at department stores and Sephora, they can be difficult to find, even there!

However...no word on when these are hitting shelves...Has anyone seen these yet?

Also in Target news, I've heard disappointing things about the Botkier bags, but the Richard Chai GO line looks pretty wearable.  I'm digging the rose print sweetheart neck dress.

I've also spotted these Isaac Mizrahi gladiator sandals on just about everyone.


Super cute.  Super cheap.

What more can a girl ask for?

Except that they not give you a rash or fall apart after a week.

photos courtesy of nylonmag.com and target.com

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday News!


Cancel your plans to take a summer Friday RIGHT NOW.


That's right.


You will want to be glued to your desk at 2 pm when Kelly Taylor herself (I have trouble with that fourth wall thing) will be hosting a Washington Post Chat!!
In case you've been living under a rock, Kelly will be back on the new version of 90210 where she will be back as a guidance counselor at good old West Beverly High.
She's almost as old as the actress who played Andrea now.
So, now that the theme music is totally stuck in my head, let's remember some the Kelly Taylor highlights in this American TV masterpiece:
The sleepover at the Walsh's when that bitchy one-episode friend makes Kelly tell the story about how she really lost her virginity, which was actually date rape. This show was about MORALS, people!
The one where she chooses "me" over Brendan and Dylan's weird proposals.
When she became a coke fiend!
The one where she almost got raped by that football player. Wait...I think that happened a few times.
The mother daughter fashion show!
Oh man. I miss the 90's. Ok, got to do some work, but post your fave Bev Niner moments in the comments and check out the chat later today!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Take That, Slow Economy!

Monday's paper is usually pretty dreary for me.

I mean, after the Sunday Styles and the wedding announcements the day before, there's not a whole lot to look forward to.

Except any ACTUAL news. But let's not get crazy.

But this Monday was different!

The Washington Post Business Section had a big feature on one of my favorite beauty stores, Bluemercury.

The article goes in depth to talk to the store's founder, Marla Malcolm Beck, who is a whipsmart business school grad who opened a website with her favorite products after spending a lot of her time tracking down the beauty products she loved. Unlike many beauty sites which opened and then fizzled when the internet bubble popped, Beck opened up two brick and mortar stores in DC and expanded from there. In the face of a slowing economy, where Starbucks is losing money (which basically means the apocalypse has come), Bluemercury is EXPANDING. AND THRIVING.

When I first arrived in DC for law school, I sought out the Bluemercury on Connecticut Ave. for my beauty fix. I've been a patron ever since.

I love Bluemercury because it combines the best of Sephora (multiple brands hard to find brands and they let you test out stuff without getting in your face) with department stores beauty floors (someone who is actually trained to apply makeup) with a splash of salon services (I've heard Lance at Georgetown is a genius with the brows).

They carry some of my favorite lines: Trish McEvoy, Molton Brown, Kiehls, NARS, Bumble and Bumble, and L'Artisan.

When I heard that one was opening up around the corner from my parents' pad in New York, I dragged my mother but was shocked to see that they carried Bobbi Brown!

Holy Hell!

Why not in DC?

Well, the article answers that question, stating that new stores will be carrying the line, and the construction in Georgetown indicates that it will be better than ever.

Any fond memories of local beauty business that made good?

Monday, August 04, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Today, I walked out my door to find my September issue of Lucky Magazine sitting on my doormat.

And Congress is in recess so I'll actually be able to peruse at my leisure!

Happy August!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Project Runway: It's Not Easy Being Green

Wow.  It has become apparent to me that Bravo is phoning it in this season of Project Runway.

Wakey wakey scenes are business as usual with much fluffing and gelling of hair and crass over confident statements about how everyone else's work sucks.

There is the model choosing scene, where I think one person switched and said something along the lines of "She was just better, it's not personal, I'm here to win it!"  And the person who's model was taken said something like, "Bitch.  I see her true colors now."

Then it's back to the workroom for a debriefing by Tim Gunn.  It's an ecofriendly fabric cocktail dress challenge!  

Can't you picture the production meeting?  

"Green is so trendy."  

"I know, it's like totally a trend."  

"I know!"  

"Let's do a challenge!"  

"Okay, but how will we make it even remotely interesting?"

"Make the models buy the fabric!"

"OMFG!"

"It's brilliant."

"Can we make sure that they are dumb enough to totally screw at least half the contestants?"

Intercom noise.

"Susan, get extra dumb models this year.  Thanks."

Sheer television genuis, people.

So the models go shopping for fabric and rave about the UGH-mazing selection of eco-friendly fabrics.  So much to choose from!  But...wait...how long is a yard again?

Yeah, the models buy like two feet o' fabric and think that it will cover their tiny bodies.  Well, the designers try to tell them nicely that that's not going to happen and it also seems like half the models picked the same two fabrics.  A pale yellow shiny silk and a shiny brown silk.  Hmmm....guess the selection wasn't so stunning after all.

Everyone starts working away and it's clear at this point that Wesley and Korto are up a creek yet down a paddle.  Wesley is starting on a tiny wrinkly looking dress and Korto is cooking up something with fins!  Tim seems dismayed!

Meanwhile, Leanne is adding many panels to her dress at odd angles, and ignoring Tim's suggestions to EDIT.  Kenley is chucking her model's nasty jersey fabric, having deemed it unsuitable for a cocktail dress, and is working on a nice looking bland sheath dress.

In other news, Blayne continues to try to make "licious" happen.  

Bro.  

Let it go.  

As a backup schtick, Blayne has started to mimic Stella, riding her about her accent when it comes to the word "leather."  Which, granted, is annoying.  But hearing Blayne say it just makes me want to take an axe to his head, not Stella's.

Suede talks about Suede some more.

Honestly, no one else even registered for me.  Except Jerrel's line of the episode where he summed up everyone royally screwed by the brown silk as "Team Ugly Brown Fabric."  

On to judging and our mystery guest!  Oh, it's Natalie Portman.  Who is like a total midget.  And makes vegan shoes.  Super trendy!  Production team working overtime here!

I know I'm in the minority here, but I am not a fan of Portman and her non-witty attempts to be nice to everyone. 




In the end, Suede's yellow and red crisscrossed bandage dress is clearly the winner here.  I could have lived without the tutu bottom and the fact that it was made by a dude with a blue faux-hawk who refers to himself in the third person.  But, hey, that's life.

Kenley got high marks for her sheath with the dramatic high collar, which seems to be the ticket to not leaving lately on Project Runway, and I envision will soon become the bubble shirt of '08. 

Also praised?  Stella's leather-but-not-leather-lace-up mini dress.  Go figure.  Or fig-yuh, as the case may be.

Singled out for Nina Garcia's special hatred is Wesley of the Skinny Shorts.  In the greatest one liner ever, she sums it up as "Shiny, tight and short is the quickest way to look cheap."  

Words to live by.

So, goodbye Wesley, my sweet Wesley.  I'll miss those startling glimpses of your upper thighs!

Let's pray that Bravo's production team starts sniffing glue or something to try to liven things up here.  I like my challenges a little cracked up, you know?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Project Runway: Let's Start at the Beginning

Cue the lights, cameras and the Germanic accents...Project Runway is back!!

Contract breach be damned, Bravo has rolled out a new season of crazy stitchers and they are planning to push them to the edge of sanity.

Well, break out the Thorazine and get this party started!

The beginning is always so difficult for me to differentiate between all the effete men; rockers with tattoos; guys who are STRAIGHT, dammit; girls with ironic bangs; and the just overconfident wackos.

So, as the curtain rises, the designers are all moving into their generic "luxury" apartments and introducing themselves around.  To keep them straight (pun intended) I will group them just as the casting people must have.

Effete men:

Jerrel:  Oh yes, he's rocking it shirtless.  Doesn't Parsons have a "No Shirt, No Service" rule? Can they make one?

Wesley:  Who wears short shorts?  This guy.

Daniel:  The man has birds in his audition video and a "windswept" hairdo.  Need I say more?

Girls with Ironic Bangs:

Emily:  There will be rompers.

Leanne: Her clothing line is called Leanimals and she is rocking the jolie-laide glasses.  And she's from Portland.  Look for her to get annoyed that she has to make something commercial looking.

Kenley:  Ooh, an interesting twist...the Bettie Page look with bright red lipstick.  Expect references to forties glamour and ironic nudity in the future.

The Tattooed:

Kelli:  This girl actually reminds me of my wedding hairstylist.  And she was great.  So I will not snark.

Stella:  To quote a doctor friend of mine, this chick has packed a lot of living into her years.  

Keith:  Who?  Oh the guy who looks like the military jerk on Lost.

Joe:  This dude is like totally normal.  WTF?

Overconfident Wackos:

Suede: This is like the perfect storm.  Blue faux-hawk.  Refers to himself in the third person.  Use of snipping in a Z formation.

Blayne:  SWEET GOD.  The producers hit the jackpot.  Sloppy hats, tanning beds and tank tops, oh my.  

Jerry Tam:  Ah, the "established designer" who sneers at everyone else.  Comeuppance is near.  

The Jury is Still Out:

Jennifer:  Huh.  So normal. Weird.

Korto:  Also normal.  Bizarre.

So, the designers find their Tyra Mail telling them to go to the roof for kudos and champagne!

But no challenge.

For that, they must be awakened at four freaking thirty by Tim.  FOUR THIRTY people.  That is just plain cruel.  And why was that one chick already in the shower?  Methinks that reality television has elements that are not totally as they seem!  But Tim looks as fabulous as ever at that hour.  Like you thought it would be otherwise?

They head to a Gristedes where Austin Scarlett drops by to remind them how awesome season one was.  Do you remember Wendy Pepper's edible necklace bikini?

Anyhoo, this is the most well stocked Gristedes I've ever seen.  Seriously, can I shop here?  This is better than Social Safeway for crying out loud.  They all grab whatever they can and head to the check out.

Then it's back to the workroom for some sewing and sneering.  There's a lot of throwing stones.  Living in glass houses, you get the drift.

Then Tim comes in and after seeing the same picnic tablecloth sewn three different ways, he tells them that they SUCK.  And are SLACKERS.  SUCK!

Kelli and Daniel escape his wrath by actually doing something good, and Tim looks like he's talking to a "special" person when he greets Blayne and his placemat-maxi pad bikini.

Duly scared, the designers try to save their dresses, but there is no hope.  Also, Stella has not chosen the Hefty bags, and therefore see through and crappy.  I use this segment to show my husband why we don't buy generic.

At some point, Blayne calls his model fat.  And "girlicious."  God, I hate this guy.

On the runway, there is a huge pile of mediocrity, with several standouts on the high end, and the poo end.  


Kelli, Korto, and Daniel are singled out for their designs.  Kelli worked up a nice looking dress with tons of unique materials and Korto has a very bright paper dress enhanced by some roughage.  Mmm, kale.  Daniel stands out for his Balenciaga-esque bag made from Solo plastic cups.  His workstation looked like a frat party on a Sunday morning.

On the stink end, the judges heaped on the quips for Blayne's diaper unitard.  My husband called it "crotch feathers."  Stella's garbage bag toga got equal bewilderment as being just dumb.  But special praise went to Jerry for his American Psycho raincoat.  I'm guessing he was thinking about returning some videotapes after the show.

In the end, Jerry got the boot, and Kelli took the win.  And I still have no idea who half these people are.

Except Blayne.  Oh please Bravo gods, let justice come swiftly and have him axed from the show.  I'll pass along my first born to be featured in "The Real Kids of Capitol Hill" (debuting in spring of 2020).  Pretty please?

As always, check out Blogging Project Runway for the scoop.  Plus, Washingtonian and New York Magazine are doing recaps as well!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Fabulous Return of Ask Capitol Hill Barbie

That's right boys and girls!  It's time for another exciting installment of Ask CapHillBarbie!!!

(I'll wait for the applause and catcalls to die down)

Let's get it on!

Dear Barbie,

All those people who claim that Washington wasn't actually built on a swamp obviously never spent a summer here. The oppressive heat and humidity that seem to take over from late-May until practically November always does a number on my makeup. No matter how many (or, in fact, how few) moisturizers, primers or setting sprays I use, every last fleck of makeup I so diligently apply in the morning is suspiciously missing by noon. What's worse, it's been replaced by a full-fledged oil slick! What can I use to make my made-up face stay fresh and clean at least until the workday's over?

Thanks!
Melting in Foggy Bottom

Melting,

I feel your pain.  Seriously man, I feel your pain.  No.  Wait.  I feel your pain.

Summer in D.C. is a full fledged beast.  A natural phenomenon which assaults your beauty routine and leaves you a broken shell of a barely mascara-ed fool when it retreats around Daylight Savings time, only to rear it's ugly head again sometime in late April.

So, like the Boy Scouts and high school boys trying to get into a bar for the first time, you need to come prepared.  However, instead of a Swiss Army knife or peach fuzz and a peeling homemade ID, you need budgeproof beauty tools.

I like to think of K.I.S.S.

Keep It Smudgeproof Stupid.

First, think of the base.  You mention that you've tried all manner of primers and setting lotions.  I know the feeling.  Like when you walk outside and you feel like your face is pooling into a puddle of flesh colored sludge.  

My solution?  

Put on as little as possible.  Try to just use concealer if possible.  If you are not comfortable going naked, skip regular moisturizer and go directly to tinted moisturizer.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect Tide To Go pens for your collar.

Next, powder blush.  Forget anything creamy.  I prefer NARS blushes, and because I can turn 5 shades of fuchsia in the heat, I skip my normal rosy Sin in favor of the peachy Orgasm.

Eyes can be really tough for me, since I find the most creasing and smudging occurs in this area.  Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner is fantastic for this.  It'll stay on through a cloture debate occurring on the Mall at noon.  If you can, again, skip the shadow.  If not, I think MAC Shadesticks are the best for crease resisting color.  However, use a light hand and think sheer light colored shades.  

Then, curl your lashes and put on the most waterproof mascara possible. 

Finally, I like a slick of Rosebud Salve just to put a little shine on the lips.  Sticky lipgloss in the summer will just attract mosquitoes.

Just keep in mind that this too shall pass and we will get that one beautiful week in October where it gets cool and crisp before the Indian summer and straight to rainy winter.

And that air conditioning is a right, not a privilege.  It's there under the right not to have soldiers quartered at your house in wartime.  I promise.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Vocab Lesson

At the risk of sounding very Daily Candy...

"Sale Goggles"

The phenomenon whereby items on sale instantly become more attractive to the eye.  Items which you would never wear in real life, you being to rationalize as being perfect for all occasions.  This syndrome can become heightened when shopping in a competitive environment like a sample sale.  Derived from frat boy nomenclature.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sex and the City: The Makeup

I'm going to refrain from weighing in on the SATC critics versus fans battle and officially abstain from offering my opinion on the content.

I will, however, comment on the makeup.  

It was pretty spectacular.

Googling ensued, and I found a makeup magazine that gives the beauty breakdowns for Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte.  Unfortunately, the only one I could read was SJP. 

Here is is!

Artist: Judy Chin

Foundation
Tarte Smooth Operator mixed with TheBalm Tinted Moisturizer

Concealer
Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge; The Body Shop Lightening Touch; Lancome Maquicomplet

Powder
La Mer The Loose Powder; MAC Blot Powder; Clinique Stay-Matte Pressed Powder in Stay Buff

Cheeks
Paula Dorf Cheek Color Cream in Playmate; Benefit in [Dandelion]

Eye Shadow
Paula Dorf Eye Color in Slinky; Armani Eye Shadow #4

Eyeliner
MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved

Brows
Shu Uemura H9 Formula Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown

Mascara
Nars in Black Orchid

Lips
Face Stockholm Lip Pencil in Barbro; Tarte Cheek Stain dabbed in the center; Elizabeth Arden Crystal Clear Lip Gloss

An eclectic mix.  I'm particularly intrigued by the eye color.  I thought her lids looked great! 

So did the lighting.

Ooops!  Ok, I'll shut my opinions up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Waaaaannnntttt

There is just nothing worse than finding a great makeup item and not being able to possess it right then and there.

I like instant gratification.  Can you tell?

When I stopped by MAC for the Friends and Family sale concealer that I desperately needed, and found a Paint Pot that I desperately wanted.

Bare Study.

It's a pale shimmery white cream shadow and it gives your eyes that little bit of brightening that just lights up your face.  I smeared a little on after a walk in some nasty afternoon heat and instantly looked a little less bedraggled.  That takes some magic, let me tell you.

But they were out of it!!

It leaves a little eyeshadow shaped hole in my heart.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Closet Chronicles

So, just in case I didn't have enough changes in my life (switching jobs, merging my financial future with another human being, etc.) we're moving!

Yeah, we are a "we" now.

Ok, it's only like three blocks away, but I'm hoping to build myself a little blogging office closet!

But before I can think about future closets, I need to clean out my overstuffed current closet.

Now, if you aren't Carrie Bradshaw, and don't have access to multiple bottles and champagne and friends for a clothing montage, this might be kind of brutal.  So I offer you my rules for closet blitzkrieg.

First.  Put something on the TV, play music or something to distract your subconscious.  Do not attempt to do this with booze!  You will get sentimental and no progress will be made.

Second, pull out clothing in stacks.  Really get in there, take a big chunk, sort, and then go back for more.

Third, be RUTHLESS.  Like Atilla the Hun or Tom DeLay or something.  If you haven't worn it in a year and it's not something that appears on those "Classics Forever" articles, chuck it.

Fourth, when you get sentimental about something that you bought, but then only wore a few times, think about someone less fortunate than you wearing it.  

Fifth, do not...under any circumstances...try to donate things that are hole filled, stinky, or underwear.  No one wants that.

Sixth, if you get discouraged, flip through Domino Magazine or peruse Apartmenttherapy.com and drool over the glorious clutter free-ness.

Seventh, if you bought something from a relatively upscale retailer but it just didn't look great on you (BCBG seersucker bermuda shorts, I'm looking at you) - keep in a separate pile and bring to a consignment shop or other such place.  My fave is Mustard Seed in Bethesda.

Eighth, use some Force Flex garbage bags to bundle your giveaways and throwaways.  Those babies do not tear.

Ninth, once things are bagged, get rid of them!

Tenth, now that everything is neat and you have trimmed the closet fat, treat yourself!  Now is time to booze it up.

I'm doing my best to practice what I preach, but this is not easy...godspeed, all!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Breaking Sale News!

As noticed on All About the Pretty...



MAC Friends and Family Sale!!!

Ahhh, just in time for a much deserved end of the week present! 

hello?  Surviving the insane heat wave?  I deserve a MEDAL.

I'm planning on stocking up on a badly needed new concealer and picking up a new Shadestick or two...

Scoot on over!

image via allaboutthepretty.net

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Botkier for Target

Big news!

Botkier for Target is debuting July 20th!

I happen to love Botkier to death.  I bought one of her "Trigger" bags years ago and wore it to DEATH.  I find her bags edgy without being weird, with a soupcon of sophistication.

Check out the pictures below, but as with all Target designs, I think it's really important to see the bags in person.  I've been really impressed with some lines (I get constant compliments on my Rafe bag) but not so much with others (some of the metallics are particularly bad).





I'm eyeing the chain-link handle white bag above.

Up soon for Target?  Anya Hindmarch, who is positively my mother's favorite handbag designer. (happy face!)

But not until holiday 2008...(sad face)

photos courtesy of target.com via The Cut on nymag.com