Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

I've been a little busy lately with the subject matter above, but I'm looking forward to getting back into the beauty blogging game soon!

In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter and I'll catch up with everyone soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ten Things That I Really Hate About the Rachel Zoe Project, but that Don't Stop Me From Watching it Every Week

Lately, each week I engage in an exercise of pure self flaggelation...I record and watch The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo.

It is torture for me because I really kind of hate everyone on the show, but am mesmerized by the clothes and the celebrity name dropping. I want to like it in an ironic way, but that's not really it. So, I've decided to purge some of my demons by listing my top 10 things that infuriate me about this show, but not enough to just stop watching...

10. They refer to celebrities only by first name, as if we and everyone else in their world are all that familiar with them. News flash! Even in Hollywood, there is more than one "Kate."

9. Every Starbucks order seems to require at least three cups of varying materials. Why?!?

8. Rachel and her staff insist on treating every event as if it is a national disaster and compare themselves to brain surgeons. I understand taking your job seriously, but really? I know actual brain surgeons who are way more relaxed than these people. At the end of the day, there is literally no way someone will die with or without Rachel Zoe's intervention.

7. Oh, the improper and overuse of the word "literally."

6. For someone who loves clothes so much, Rachel seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time in a fluffy white bathrobe. PS How is it always so fluffy?

5. Rachel constantly attributes illnesses to her "extreme stress." Season 1, it was a possible ulcer. Season 2, it was vertigo... Ulcers and vertigo are real diseases that have actual identifiable etiologies which can be diagnosed and treated by a real physician. Not some rando woman who happens to have an office, a pressed lab coat and is called Dr. [insert first name here].

4. I am baffled by the importance placed on her wedding anniversary, which does seem to fall during her busiest and filmiest time every year. Just celebrate a week or two later.

3. The nebulously vague references to "betrayals" and "things that happened" between Rachel and others, like Nicole Ritchie and ex-assistant Taylor without actually giving us any information but then saying nasty things and wishing them ill. Until Brad up and calls Taylor a thief, which is practically slander.

2. It's just plain criminal to take up a table at Babbo when you are clearly not going to eat anything.

1. That floor and wall composed entirely of shoes.

There it is...I feel a little better. At least until after I watch the season finale tonight.

Mediocre to the Last Drop


I have some kind of perverse puritanical need to finish makeup products that are just mediocre.

Not the ones I love and cherish and save for special occasions. Nope, I feel the need to force feed myself a makeup product I don't like just to get to the bottom of the tube and move to the next one.

A few months ago, I was similarly moved to try a new tinted moisturizer.

I had been using the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer in Light, but I felt trapped by my own success. It all seemed too easy, too....safe.

So, as my Kiehl's dwindled low....I wandered into the MAC store one day and scooped up their brand new (at the time) Studio Moisture Tint. I was all excited and brought it home and eagerly relegated the Kiehl's to the gym bag and started using the MAC product.

But here's the thing. It's so...meh.

It's not bad. It's not the wrong shade, it just doesn't wow me. Sometimes it's a little too light...resulting in a slightly chalky color. Sometimes, it doesn't sink in as fast as I would like and leaves an unattractive film on my iPhone that is visible across a conference table (damn those multi-use devices!).

But for some reason, I toughed it out and waited until the tube got significantly lighter and it took a fair amount of shaking to get the product on my makeup sponge. And then I ran back to Georgetown and picked up a bottle of the Kiehl's.

Readers, that was like four months ago. And I haven't opened my new bottle.

This tube DOES NOT QUIT. I mean, it's like that Valentine's Day movie...you just want it to end. I know I should just throw it out and move on, but I'm in some kind of weirdo staring contest with this thing.

I think I've finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel as the tube does a sputtery death rattle thing now, I think I've almost won...

Moral of the story? Don't be like me. Just get rid of something you don't like. Return it if you can, if not, write off the loss and move on.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 3

Time was, I used to roam the halls of Tyson's Corner and catch a glimpse of a cool outfit in the corner of my eye. When I would turn to see where I could obtain such an outfit, I would notice that it was from A Pea in the Pod, get mildly embarrassed to be coveting maternity wear, and move on.

So, when I got pregnant, I was all excited to shop in maternity stores, only to find that it was not easy to build a maternity wardrobe for several reasons. I had to do some hardcore "research" to find out where the good stuff is and I'm still kicking myself for not taking advantage of a few things early.

I also found shopping for maternity clothes difficult to downright depressing. As a seasoned shopper who loves the order of a nicely merchandised store and sales people who actually helpful, maternity was a shock. Half of the stores are a jumbled mess, the other half put the maternity section hidden in the little boys department. Hey, news flash retail America! I'm pregnant, not a 7 year old boy who wants to look at Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirts.

Hopefully, they newly preggo can benefit from my experience and mistakes as I sit here 8 and 1/2 months pregnant and cranky.

Store Recommendations!

The Preggo Only Chains

Ok, the mass maternity market is dominated by the Destination Maternity chain. They consolidated a bunch of the smaller stores of varying price points out there into one megaline. In non-knocked up speak, it is the Gap of maternity clothes.

(Not to be confused with the actual Gap, which also has its own maternity line)

So, following that analogy, A Pea in the Pod is like Banana Republic with the "Collection" being the highest end of the spectrum. Mimi Maternity is sort of like Gap, and Motherhood Maternity is the Old Navy.

Stuff at the Pea in the Pod is really nice...they carry all the best denim lines with stretchy panels and tops and dresses designed by labels you've actually heard of, like Ella Moss and Splendid. However, you will pay dearly for it. To be totally honest, I got all excited about these, only to never purchase anything, because it was just too expensive for maternity. However, I was pregnant over a summer that set records for hellatiousness. If I needed jeans, this would be my first and only stop. I did get my main pair of grey work pants from PITP and they served me well.

Most of the Mimi stores are a jumble of private label stuff, some Collection things, the Heidi Klum lines etc. I found these very hit or miss.

And then there are the Motherhood stores. Ugh. These places are scary. They are typically smaller than the Rosetta Stone kiosk at the mall and tucked away down a side alley near a lonely gold-plating jewelry store. The tables and racks are overflowing and messy and obnoxiously pastel. The sales clerks actually look like they would rather slit their own wrists than help you find a size, because hello! You're pregnant, just take the largest one. Seriously, after fruitlessly visiting one of these stores, I actually burst into tears on the way home. But, I have found that their basic t-shirts and tanks are the best and cheapest out there.

However, there are also the megastores, like the Destination Maternity in New York. This is, if you can get it, your best option. They are huge, nice, and well merchandised. Even the lowest end stuff. Plus, they have the strap on fake bellies in the dressing room, which is hugely helpful at the beginning.

Bottom Line: If you can't make it to a Destination Maternity store, resolve yourself to spending a lot at Pea in the Pod, or make a quick blitzkrieg trip to Motherhood for basics and invest the extra money in therapy and ice cream.

Target

I include Target in this category because it's the largest major chain to have maternity in all their stores, unlike the ones below which only seem to have one spot per time zone. This was probably my biggest disappointment. After hearing for years about the Liz Lange line and seeking out basics at Target, I was psyched to get stuff there for maternity, only to find that the tank tops are almost indecently thin, some of the stuff fits oddly, and the selection was poor. If you really want to, prove me wrong, but these were always the things that ended up last in my wardrobe rotation.

The Real Stores that Make a Maternity Line


I had great success with Gap maternity, but not until the end of my pregnancy. Since it's just a regular Gap store, it's hard to figure out how things will look without the fake belly, and I shied away from most things. Once I was a solid baby belly, things looked better. I actually scooped up a kick-ass pair of white jeans on sale in July with a soft panel (some really dig in after a while, which, believe it or not, are uncomfortable. Also, those seem to seriously piss off my baby.) Their tees and tops are nice, and they come in real colors, not pukey washed out pastels (I mean, really? Do the manufacturers think it goes well with green-tinged skin or something?) that you see in a lot of other stores. You can also get some stuff on for-serious sale.

My only complaint? I went in during a clearance promotion where the sales clerk told us everyone on sale was an extra 30% off. Giddy with excitement, I scooped up my things and headed to the register only to be told that that was just for "women's clothes." I think I may have flipped the salesclerk the bird.


Honestly, I never got a good look at the Old Navy stuff since they hid it in the kids section and had about four items of clothes. Boo.


Ann Taylor Loft apparently has a great maternity section, but it's all online. I have heard people swear by it for work basics and I believe them. I wasn't a big online shopper during pregnancy (shopping was my cardio once my OB nixed running) so I never tried, but I recommend based on the feedback from others.


I totally heart Topshop Maternity. I got two fantastic pencil skirts there, as well as a pair of my favorite skinny jeans with a panel. The clothes are actually on trend, fit well, and don't try to make you look like a baby just because you are having a baby. Unfortunately, there is only the one store in New York, but the online shop is worth checking out. Also, it's stocked right next to the shoes, instead of some random corner of retail hell like stores.

H&M

H&M does stock a limited selection of maternity clothes, but they can be hard to find. I managed to get a pair of cargo pants, but I had to dig through a lot o' crap to find it. From what I've heard, this section of their outfit has gone way downhill recently. There are better options out there...plus, there is nothing online.

The Special Stores, Literally and Figuratively


This store has two branches, one in New York, the other in Chicago, as well as a kick ass website. This was the first place where I went shopping with my mother, only 4 months pregnant and watched her burst into tears when I put on the fake belly with an outfit. They have a really nice selection and salespeople who are knowledgeable. They also make their own line called NOM, which is super cute. A warning though, this is not the place to get tees...go for work basics like a pencil skirt or a nicer dress instead. Your unborn child's 529 plan will thank you.


Ah, Rosie Pope. Prominently featured in the Bethenny Getting Married? show, this place is amazing. The clothes look beautiful and I want to buy everything. Unfortunately, unless you are a model or are planning on being pregnant as many times as that Duggar woman, it's hard to justify spending this kind of cash on maternity.

I met the designer of this line at an event in DC (she's a local!) and ended up buying her "Favorite Dress" in an ikat print that she was actually wearing to the event! Not only is the MoM stuff cute, well made and not outrageously priced, it looks good when you are not pregnant! I've worn that dress to several nicer parties, including my baby shower and plan on keeping it in the rotation for a long while after the baby is born. Plus! Her website features a few of her favorite things, constantly rotating.


If I hadn't moved and started working from home, I would have picked up a few things from this online only retailer which stocks nice classic clothes, made to work for maternity. Their dresses appear on stars all the time and would be great, especially for fall pregnancies, when you might have trouble getting away with jersey dresses the way I did.

Places that Stock Maternity and the Newcomers

These are a few of the places I didn't even know stocked maternity until fairly late in my pregnancy...

Shopbop...yup. It's true. Strange, but true. It's mostly jeans, but they also suggest a few regular items that will work for preggos.

Zappos...also, according to their ads recently, they sell deep-fat fryers.

Forever 21...blame Bristol Palin and Secret Life of the American Teenager or the general decline of family values in America (jk!), but Forever 21 has entered the maternity market. I was curious to try their leggings, but never got around to it.

Asos...similar to Topshop, this British retailer stocks maternity online at reasonable prices. It's too late for me, but some of this stuff is CUTE.

I'm sure that there are lots of retailers that I'm missing and I would like to reiterate that you can make a lot of things that are already in your closet work throughout the pregnancy. I think it keeps you feeling normal and saves money...but buying some nice things that make you feel cute as you rapidly expand is really important. So...happy shopping!

Friday, August 13, 2010

RHODC: Disloyal to the Party

Oh, hello friends.

I promised you a recap of the Real Housewives of DC. Yes, I did. But I will not begin at the very beginning, mostly because that was well covered by the numerous publications that reviewed the show (New York Times, Washington Post) and the many many recaps of who these women are and why we should care. Plus, two of the "stars" have already testified before Congress! So, we'll start with episode 2.

Mary

Oh Mary. Who in the last episode informed us proudly that she lives in McLean, right next to Dick Cheney. Congratulations! I lived right next to him too. When he was living at the NAVAL OBSERVATORY and actually had a heartbeat. Please, rest of America, in DC, everyone lives next to a politician. Do not be impressed with this.

So, Mary's big problem this episode is the fact that her 23 year old daughter is incapable of using a coin operated laundry machine (Really? Why was a biometric lock on the closet necessary? This Lolly girl doesn't seem like Hudson Hawk over there.) and has a huge dog who sheds all over her mother's house. To resolve these problems, Mary leaves her daughter huge tips at Leopold's (they probably pool tips...) and speaks in English punctuated with Spanish words to a housekeeper who undoubtedly speaks fluent English.

Stacie

In the intro episode, Stacie seems like the most normal person in this show. She actually lives and works in the District and her husband works in Fenty's administration. She is also the only non-Caucasian primary character in a city that is 80% black. Therefore she decides to invite all the "Housewives" to her aunt's house for soul food....especially Cat, who Stacie suspects is racist or at least bitchy and British. Because she likes GW Bush and hates Tyra Banks. And sake.

Ok, let's talk about how ill conceived this whole idea is. Besides the fact that inviting a big group of people to someone else's house for dinner (even if they are family) is just strange. Trying to make it some kind of social experiment is even weirder. I mean, I'm Jewish. So, if an acquaintance who I am forced to hang out with due to a contractual obligation starts talking about how Joe Lieberman is such a douche because he snubbed her in Social Safeway and how she hates John Stewart and his smart-aleck liberal intellectual brand of humor, maybe I think she's not a huge fan of Jews. What I do not do, is invite her over to my grandmother's house for Friday night brisket and kugel. Unless I'm making a TV show. Because it did make for some awesomely uncomfortable moments and a chance to bag on Cat later in the basement.

Oh also, her husband has some bizarre patent application for measuring penises. That is what it is.

Cat

As mentioned, Cat made a bad situation worse by...well, pretty much breathing in this episode. She practically spit out the little cordial of wine she was served and then was off like a prom dress the second dinner was cleared. I'm surprised Bravo didn't get audio of her purging her collards in the bathroom the way she ran out of there.

Then, she lecturers Mary on parenting by telling her to push her adult child out of the nest. I mean, clearly, her fourth graders are cramping her style...although I'm not sure why she doesn't just send them to boarding school. Isn't that what Brits do? That way they don't have to move across an ocean every time their mother gets married and divorced. Oh, snap! I went there!

Michaele

Had a birthday. And picked out her "presents" from the six things that some dude brought to her house. And then "got" a horse. That she named Sparkle. I shit you not.

Oddly, that was the only moment of Michaele's scenes that did not seem prescripted or planned.

Also, invited Cat and Mary over to her place to ride horses and marvel at her skinny jodhpurs and bizarre husband. Also, planned to "host" a birthday party for Paul Wharton (does anyone else totally only know him from that old episode of MTV's Made where a girl wanted to be a model? Just me? Alright. I'm a loser.). Where she "arrived" in a white limo like in Pretty Woman with a "police escort." Do you notice the use of quotations? That's because everything this woman does is fake. Unless the police escort was required by the court.

Lynda

Oh, Lynda is my favorite. Not just because she drinks a lot of Scotch (did you catch Ebong trying to take her drink at the end of Paul's birthday party before she drains it? A girl after my own heart.)

Among the other things she does that I like? She calls out Virginia wines as totally mediocre, even though I suspect that was mostly a dig at the Salahis, but is totally true. She tells Michaele to her face that she told Paul to galvage her like a goose because she's too skinny. Eats fried chicken. Seems mildly horrified to leave the condos at the Ritz Carlton for Virginia residency. Has a relatively normal DC-person conversation with Cat's husband about working with Bush and Obama.

For this, I will overlook all the weird "number one modeling agency in DC" talk and the fact that she allows her son to date an employee. Or that she hired her son's girlfriend. Or whatever.

So...what do we think so far? Is it just me or are the fake shots of DC just recycled from Top Chef? Aren't we just in countdown mode until the State Dinner?

Friday, August 06, 2010

NARS Fall Palettes

I love a palette for travel. It can drastically cut down the size of one's makeup kit without sacrificing options. Since I just dropped my Trish McEvoy Pretty Face palette on the floor, I'm in the market for a new one.

The Fall palettes from NARS are pretty sweet looking...Beautiful Life looks great for an Indian summer style trip somewhere warm and relaxing with margaritas and Only You would work great for a city vacation with lots of dinners and dancing and smoky eyes and drinking...

I miss drinking.


NARS Cosmetics introduces two new palettes for fall boasting new packaging with a compact in a NARS-logo zippered case. Enclosed in a black carton, NARS continues to surprise and experiment with iconic casing by bringing the logo from traditionally black and white to vibrantly bold color. Both palettes include two signature NARS cheek products chosen to complement the lips or eyes-whether deep and sultry, or light and fresh. Complete with a range of shades to be worn together or alone, the glamorous combinations are limitless. Are you all about the eyes or all about the lips? You decide. Or, choose both to have everything you need at your fingertips.


BEAUTIFUL LIFE LIP AND CHEEK PALETTE

Top Row (left to right): Sexual Healing Lipstick (sheer, shimmering pink blossom)

Honolulu Honey Lipstick (satin, flesh-toned beige)

Roman Holiday Lipstick (sheer, delicate pastel pink)

Funny Face Lipstick (semi-matte fuchsia)

Bottom Row (left to right): Copacabana Multiple (glistening pearl)

Orgasm Multiple (peachy pink with shimmer)

Price: $55.00


ONLY YOU EYE AND CHEEK PALETTE

Top Row (left to right): Alhambra Duo Eyeshadow (left side: metallic rose mist)

Mekong Single Eyeshadow (espresso fused with gold)

Eurydice Duo Eyeshadow (left side: electric aubergine)

Pandora Duo Eyeshadow (right side: matte black)

Bottom Row (left to right): Hungry Heart Blush Duo (left side: iridescent gold ivory)

Orgasm Blush (peachy pink with shimmer)

Price: $65.00

Both palettes are currently available at narscosmetics.com.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sleeping Beauty, Not So Much

I lucked out on my first trimester...things were going great, I never got sick, never felt bloated, I ate gummy worms by the bagful.

Ok, I'll stop.

The one thing I did notice was that my skin broke out like a 12 year old.

I'm not sure if I can blame my hormones or the fact that I was falling asleep face down on my couch every night at 7:30 pm. But for whatever reason, things got YM in my house superfast.

The main problem was that, being a good little science nerd, I happen to read all the advice about steering clear of most acne and other skincare acid products during pregnancy.

Overkill?

Over abundance of caution?

Totally ridiculous considering the gummy worms and coffee I continued to ingest?

Yup, yup, and yup.

Did it make me feel a little better about the coffee/corn syrup fiesta?

You betcha.

But I wasn't capable of giving up beauty products entirely, especially when I had a Level 5 breakout on my hands. So when I put out a query to the Twitter-verse about face scrubs and Belle over at Capitol Hill Style recommended Ole Henriksen's New Beginning Scrub and said it was all natural...I decided to check it out.

Besides, Swedish things are so hot right now.


Not willing to pony up for the whole jar just yet, I got a sample and really liked it. The texture is a little honey-like, with a mild and pleasant smell. The best thing was the fact that the scrubbing beads are made from jojoba wax as opposed to salt or sugar or apricot kernels. This made the scrub far more gentle than other scrubs I've tried, something I really prefer.

Eventually, my skin cleared up. Again, who knows if we can chalk it up to the scrub or the fact that I was actually washing my face at night, but I like to think it's the scrub. It's either that or the fact that I finally stopped eating gummy worms after totally OD-ing on them one afternoon at work.

You know, whatever.

photo courtesy of sephora.com

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

From the Archives: Ask Capitol Hill Barbie

Given my current state of with-childness and general lack of ability to post about anything with a waist or chemicals, I thought I'd post something from the archives once a week to fill the void. It's like catching an old episode of 90210 on television...you know you'll like it...even if you know how it ends.

This week: I do believe the fact that the biggest magazines show up at the beginning of August recess is NOT a coincidence. And for that I am grateful. Here's an oldie but goodie from August 2006.

In other news, I am apparently Casey Kasem.

CapHill Barbie,


I'm sitting here at my makeshift corner office dreaming about when my boss leaves town on Friday. I'm thinking about all the things I can do!!

I can go back and forth to the bathroom without my Blackberry in hand (that buzzing sound in the stalls is seriously disturbing) and walk at a normal pace, instead of a sprint.

I can finally cure that case of scurvy I've gotten from eating out of the vending machine all the time.

And I can actually read something other than the Congressional Record, Roll Call and The Hill (well, and of course, your blog!). I'm super excited about the September issues of magazines that are bound to be hitting the newstand soon, but with all that reading material, I need a strategy! What to do???

Thanks...Daydreaming in Dirksen.

Hey DiD!

I know how you feel! The second that gavel hits announcing the recess of the session I'm running out of the building like those kids in Dazed and Confused with "School's Out for Summer" playing in the background. Anyone want to haze the incoming staffers by paddling them and spraying them with ketchup and mustard?

I too have been dreaming of the days where I can tote around an issue of Vogue the size of the Peoria phonebook and pore over glossy photos of clothes which would cause certain death by heat exhaustion if I wore them now.

But with so many magazines arriving, you must have a plan.

First, if you are like me and subscribe to most (okay fine, almost all) fashion magazines, the September issues can cause serious Mailbox Buckling.

It is important NEVER to let your mailbox go unemptied during a day in August, lest both Vogue and InStyle arrive on the very same day. It is possible that your mailman will keep one or both until there is more room, creating a neverending cycle of backlog which is very bad.

It also helps here to grease the palm of your mailman so he doesn't get mad at you for contributing several extra pounds to his sack. Since federal employees cannot accept gifts worth more than $10, try to catch him on a hot day and offer to buy him a Frappucino or a cold glass of iced tea or something. A little goes a long way here. Your magazines will arrive in pristine condition from now on.

Second, this is a good time to throw away all back issues of magazines clogging up your apartment, blocking air vents, hiding pets, etc. This also creates goodwill with anyone with whom you happen to be sharing an apartment. Especially if he is prone to saying, "How many magazines can one person read??? And why can't you ever throw any of them away??"

Third, since you are cleaning out your stash, this is also a good time to bring the most recent month's stack to someone who likes magazines but doesn't actually read any, like a friend or coworker. This can also be a sly way of saying, please throw away those acid washed jeans or short sleeved seersucker number you've been swanning around in. Newsflash, even though a Bush is in the White House and despite what you see on VH1, the 90's are over.

Fourth, if you simply cannot wait for the ones which you have already subscribed to, go for a fast-food-esque fix with one that you wouldn't normally read. The ones hitting the stands first are Marie Claire and Shop Etc.

Fifth, once the good ones start trickling in, prioritze. I like to save the best shopping ones for last if I can, especially Vogue, Allure and InStyle. Lucky gets consumed first, because it comes early in the month and is conducive to a second read-through later. Bazaar next, because there really isn't ever anything to read.

Sixth, when they arrive, flip through and rip out any card inserts right away. Even if you will not read it until November, trust me, it saves time, energy and frustration later. Imagine you are enjoying a day of leisure, sipping iced coffee at Patisserie Poupon in your best faux-Euro-cool outfit flipping through Vogue (the only acceptable magazine in the presence of someone French) and a card for a "free PINK panty" from Vicky S. falls out and skids across the courtyard. Can you spell gauche? I can.

Seventh, make lists!! Make lists of what you want for fall, use those little tabs in Lucky, rip out articles, etc. This will help you prioritze when the weather is actually cool enough to shop for wool without dry-heaving.

Eighth, yes, I am a total anal retentive lunatic. But only for this month....

Also, seriously, email me with questions. Otherwise I plan on making up softball questions for myself like those lobbed by Jeff Gannon. Make like Helen Thomas!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 2

Ok, this is it. The main fashion perk of being pregnant...

Part 2: Stretch, plus how to minimize spending and a little philosophizing

Stretchy Waistbands

Ahhh, the golden savior of all pregnant women. When retailers figured out that they could put a stretchy band on top of pants and skirts or whatever and pregnant women could wear normal looking bottoms, the angels sang. The stretchy waist comes in two varieties, as one friend puts it, you must first decide if you are going "Texas or Florida" with your pants.

In this case, "Texas" is a lower, usually thicker stretchy band that rests below your belly as it grows, as opposed to the "Florida" which is a large, thinner, panel which goes over the belly, generally resting somewhere near your bra strap. I've found that many of the Florida is popular on dress pants and generally anything made by Pea in the Pod, whereas Texas is the media of choice for Target and Topshop. I have pants in both, and like both for different reasons. Sometimes the Texas variety can be a little binding, especially on days when I feel like my entire body has grown exponentially overnight (oh, yeah, that happens), but wearing a stretchy panel that comes to your armpits can be a little sausage-esque.

Repurposing, Plus a Little Personal Philosophy

This gets a little tricky. Part of this will depend on what you already have in your closet. If you are like me and wholeheartedly/bothfistedly embraced tent dresses, you are kind of set. However, I recognize that most people did not think this was the greatest fashion revolution since the zipper and therefore do not have an archive of poofy dresses at your disposal.

Throughout the first and most of the second trimester, I was able to get away with very little actual maternity clothes, thanks to an empire waisted J. Crew shirt, my Bella Band and thin long layering tees. I am also a big fan of cardigans, so I wore those over t-shirts and just tried to accessorize the crap out of everything so people wouldn't notice that I'd worn the same pants three days in a row.

My philosophy on maternity fashion was mostly: buy things that will last me throughout the entire 40 weeks and after, and buy as little as possible that is maternity specific. For me, this meant buying one pair of maternity dress pants for work, two pencil skirts, two t-shirts, one long sleeved shirt, and five sleeveless shirts (three of which are white tank tops). This isn't to say that I won't buy a few more things before this whole thing is over and I was lucky enough to be pregnant over the summer and to work from home during most of the third trimester when things might get freaky big over here.

Also, cotton jersey is pretty much God's gift to pregnant women.

I had a dress from Banana Republic that was at least five seasons old that looks better now that I'm packing a belly. I also picked up a J. Crew jersey dress and a maxi-dress from Ginger in Bethesda. Seriously, I wear these dresses non-stop in a constant looping rotation. I'm like the playlist on a Ryan Seacrest radio show.

So, before you run out to the maternity store in a panic (because I did) at the first sign of a bump, really go through your closet and try everything on and keep doing this throughout the pregnancy.

Coming soon! Store recommendations!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 1

I've been pregnant now for 28 weeks.

I spent at least 5 of those weeks in total ignorance of this whole situation; about 1 in total denial; 10 waiting for something, hell ANYTHING, to feel different; and the past 7 trying to figure out how to clothe myself while not getting fired for wearing sweatpants to a PAC event. Then I moved and have just been wearing the same cotton dress for like three weeks.

Yup, ever since I went from the post-Thanksgiving bulge to full on baby belly, things in my closet got a little sad. First of all, a lot of maternity stuff on the market really doesn't look good unless you have a nice round belly that you are proudly showing off, which doesn't happen until you are at least a solid 20 weeks along. Second, nothing else in your closet will still fit you. So...right.

Miracle, my ass.

Despite only recently being able to look decent in maternity clothes, I've surveyed the interwebs and the maternity floors and the drapey sections of regular clothes in order to give you all a field guide to maternity clothes.

Part 1: The basic species of clothing you will find in maternity stores, plus some ways to still shop at normal stores.

Things that Are Ruched

The first thing I noticed when I started to shop for maternity clothes was how many of the shirts had ruching along the sides. At the first shop I visited with legitimate intentions of buying something, Belly Dance Maternity, the salesgirl explained that this was to allow the shirt room to grow with your belly. When you are early in the pregnancy, it looks a little drapey and soft around the midsection, then fills out as you grow. This is especially fun if you get a shirt that has a design like polka dots or stripes which change shape as you get bigger. Pregnancy! Fun shape shifting for everyone!

Things that Drape

This is one of the categories you are most likely going to able to find in the regular sections of clothing stores. With the resurgence (well...surgence, I guess) of open draped cardigans, it's like everyone is wearing maternity! No seriously, check out Anthropologie and Forever 21 and it's cotton knit open front sweaters as far as the eye can see. Also in this category are oversized sweaters meant to be worn over leggings, etc. These items are nice because they will last through multiple seasons and can be worn post-pregnancy.

Things that are Tent-Like

About two summers ago, every dress in the stores was either empire waisted or just plain tent like. Seriously, like everyone was wearing a bell made of fabric. And I loved it. On someone who is a little shorter (like me!) whose best assets are arms, bust and lower legs (like me!) this was a dream come true. Except that one dress I wore unbelted to work sparked some serious controversy about whether my wedding was of the shotgun variety. But, the trend passed and I put my beloved tent dresses away, vowing to exhume them when I was legitimately with child. And I DID! They look awesome. Moral of the story, if someone tells you you look pregnant in a outfit, don't burn it. Save it until you are pregnant.

Tomorrow! Part 2 where I explore stretchy waistbands, or, why you will be the envy of all your non-preggo friends.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Coming Clean

So...a lot has happened over the past 12 weeks or so. Stuff I haven't shared publicly on the interwebs.

You see, my husband has one of these jobs whereby people are occasionally forced to relocate for training purposes. So, after eight blissful (well....whatever) years of calling the District of Columbia my home, I've moved.

To Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Now, we can spare me the jokes about becoming Squirrel Hill Barbie (my family came up with that gem early on) and I'll try to forget that DC gave me a send off in 100-plus degree heat that caused me to fall up a flight of stairs (yes, up) that landed me on a monitor in the labor and delivery ward of Sibley Hospital for four hours.

(Sounds like fun, right? Not always.)

The bottom line is that I'm here for at least a year and a half and I'm planning on making the most of it. Basically, I will be consulting for my old job until El Bebe arrives which may even leave me more time to blog, which should make you all pleased! Right? Right?

So, while I've found a few solid fashion blogs based here in Pittsburgh like Looking Sharp! and Stylish White Female, I'm always looking for more! So...if you know about Pittsburgh, let me know!

And I promise to keep my hand in the DC scene...lord knows I'm a CSPAN junkie and the local news here is just not cutting it. PS, If Real Housewives of DC doesn't turn out to be totally unbearable, I'm considering recapping....what do we think?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mottos to Live By

For a long time after I found out I was pregnant, I was in denial about how things might progress...you know...body changing wise.

I'm not sure how I envisioned it, but I sort of assumed I would go from looking normal to looking pregnant.

So, yeah, no.

Right around 11 or 12 weeks, I noticed that pants were getting a little tight. But I didn't look pregnant. More like I ate a whole Chipotle burrito in one sitting.

So I paid my friendly Pea in the Pod a visit, just to check it out.

And the women there kind of looked at me like I was one of those women in an episode of ER who come in and swear that they are pregnant but it turns out they have one of those tumors with the hair and the teeth or they go crazy and steal a baby. Or both.

So I did what any sane savvy person would do. I googled.

(OMG. Let me tell you something about googling while pregnant. You can find a similar google search to ANYTHING by combining it with "pregnancy." Scary stuff)

On the Urban Baby website, among the mean girl snipes about white trash baby names or women who, gasp!, drink coffee while pregnant, were several references to a Bella Band by Ingrid & Isabel.

And let me tell you. This thing is gold.

It's just a stretchy tube of white or black fabric and you wear it over your normal pants while they are unbuttoned and even unzipped!

Which leads me to my newest motto:

Life is just so much better with your pants unbuttoned.

It did get me thinking...doesn't everyone need a Bella Band?!? For Thanksgiving? Or a birthday party at Fogo de Chao? Or that Chipotle burrito?

Well, probably not. I must say, I've been happy to be able to wear my suit pants and my favorite Topshop skinny jeans comfortably for a while longer and would highly recommend it to anyone preggers.

But walking around in public with your pants unbuttoned is a privilege of pregnancy, like getting a seat on the metro or getting to decide what the office eats for lunch.

Sorry.

So, if you are overly full one day, have a friend who has one, and want to try it out, I won't judge.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What to Buy When You Can't Really Buy Anything

So, I haven't been completely honest. I mean, did you really think I was able to refrain from buying anything for spring?

(insert maniacal laughter here)

But I really tried to be strategic about the whole thing. I knew there were going to be things getting, well, larger. But also things that would stay relatively the same. So, I opted for jackets and drapey things that would last me for a while through the early stages of the pregnancy, but also remain stylish for afterwards. And had buttons. That open.

Enter...the sweatshirt jacket.

Yup! It's a blazer! But it's made from the same material as those t-shirt sheets boys had in college! And they're everywhere! It's CUH-razy.

Take this one from BCBG:


Or take a gander at this one from Anthropologie that eventually ended up in my closet:

There was also one at Zara that I had my eye on, but it sold out and there is no pic online.

What I liked about this jacket is that it's (a) warm, for early spring days and nights; (b) casual, for weekends, yet; (c) tailored and crisp enough for a Friday at the office, or even a low key day when I don't have any meetings. I've been especially enjoying pairing the light grey with dark pants or jeans and a colorful draped scarf over a white t-shirt.

Plus, the button is high enough that I can still get it closed...for now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The News

Spring is absolutely one of my favorite times to dress during the year.

This is due to a myriad of reasons. A veritable plethora.

It gets warmer, so I can wear lightweight pants (hello Theory darlings!) and skirts without tights (hello deep breathing!).

The sun is shining and I can therefore SEE the colors I want to wear. Getting dressed in the dark of winter just makes me wear black and grey and navy all the time.

There is no longer snow or slush or other manner of muck to trash pretty shoes.

Purses no longer need to fit over bulky jackets and my options just increased tenfold.

You get to wear real outfits. A skirt paired with a shell and lightweight sweater, belted with a jacket. Yet, you are not freezing and/or you are not stripping off clothes throughout the day to prevent schvitzing.

Trenchcoats.

Typically, as spring approaches, I rush into stores picking out a new crisp navy skirt or white shirt and fantasize about shift dresses lining my closet as far as the eye can see.

But not this year.

This year, I have stared forlornly in the windows of Georgetown shops...wistfully thinking about body conscious pencil skirts and slim cut cigarette pants. For months, I waited and watched as others pared down their spring essentials while I did not buy a single thing...

About three months, to be precise.

Yup. I couldn't buy anything because I honestly had no idea how anything was going to fit.

Because I'm pregnant.

At least my trenchcoat still fits.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Confessions

Alright, I'm going to just come clean. Things around my home have been a little strange lately. Not as weird as that spoke word interlude about the necklace from the Titanic in the album version of B. Spears' "Oops (I Did It Again)," but weird nonetheless.

More exciting weird than anything else.

There are lots of announcements to make, but I'm not ready to share all of them.

But first, a few confessions...

I haven't watched Gossip Girl in 3 weeks. And I don't miss it. Weird, right? Although I continue to love Blair's clothes and Chuck's quips, I think they lost me when Serena uttered Barney Frank's name. In THE SHORTEST SKIRT KNOWN TO MAN.

I'm in a style/makeup rut of somewhat epic proportions. I blame it on the weather (blame it on the rain! Sorry.) and the fact that I see flip-flips everywhere even though it's still 40 degrees out, but I need a serious inspiration. Stat.

It could also be blamed on the fact that the dry cleaners is holding my tax refund's worth of clothing hostage.

I never got into Kell on Earth. I just couldn't do it. There was just so much crying over such low stakes. I mean, get an IT guy. This isn't brain surgery or even lawmaking.

Conversely, I still love Real Housewives of New York, even though I feel a little dirty after I watch it.

I'm seriously peeved that I cannot seem to a nail polish in the color I want. I'm looking for an opaque (not sheer!) cafe au lait color. Not putty, but maybe taupe? Chanel colors need not apply.

Already, enough whining. I promise to let you in on these changes soon and start getting inspired soon. Soon.

Oh, ok, fine. I'll give you one now.

My sister is engaged!!!

Yes, it's awesome. It's all the fun of planning my own wedding, but BETTER! Because I don't have to get married! So...expect some bridal beauty posts in the future!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Events Galore!

It's a good week to live in DC.

Tonight (Thursday) Cusp in Georgetown and Lucky Magazine are hosting a party with the Lucky Alpha Shopper and generally awesome person Betsy Lowther of Fashion is Spinach.


Then! Saturday, Betsy is hosting a vintage pop-up shop at Proper Topper in Georgetown. She is opening her cache of vintage items to the public and you better believe I'm going to be first in line.

So...aren't you glad you live in DC? Raise your hand! Oh, wait, I can't see you over that 12 foot snow drift on the corner.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

NARS Spring 2010

Things I am a sucker for...Catherine Deneuve movies and pink lipglosses.

Damn you NARS and your wiley ways!!

NARS Spring 2010...read it and weep...before I buy the whole collection.



Inspired by Catherine Deneuve’s role as Lucille in La Chamade, the NARS Spring 2010 Collection features soft, sexy shades that are as elegant as they are versatile.

“I love Catherine’s makeup look in this movie,” says Fran├žois Nars, Founder and Creative Director of NARS Cosmetics who chose supermodel Amber Valletta for the campaign. “It’s very sophisticated and bourgeois in a Parisian ‘16th Arrondissement’ way. She is the perfect reference for this collection, and apropos for spring, a time to embrace color and get noticed.”

NARS Cruising Lipstick- $24
This subtle, sexy pink lipstick hue provides a sheer natural long-lasting color

NARS Lip Gloss- $24
Easy Lover-Serious luster meets sexy color in this ultra-sheer hot pink lip gloss
Ophelia- This high-shine strawberry nectar lip gloss is deliciously sweet and seductive

NARS Purple Rain Nail Polish - $16
This intensely gothic purple is a bright and audacious shade destined to become a modern classic

NARS D. Gorgeous Single Eyeshadow-$23

This dusty lilac powder eyeshadow yields just a hint of flirtation, but never misses its mark



NARS Camargue Duo Cream Eyeshadow-$32

Named for the deep, dancing, sun-cast hues found in the French river delta, this pairing of golden moss and sienna, with multi-colored reflections comes in a soft-blending, glistening cream eyeshadow formula



NARS Kuala Lumpur Duo Eyeshadow-$32

Like its Malaysian city namesake, this perfectly harmonized gold infused rose and boysenberry pairing is influenced by contrasts—rich and subtle, traditional yet modern



NARS Glitter Pencil-$24

This bright sky blue, silver glitter-infused hue delivers powerful, vibrant color that slides on smooth and remains creamy for blending

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Do the Draper

I'm *kind of* a huge fan of Mad Men.

And by that I mean that I drop everything on Sunday nights in the summer to watch.

Then race into work in the morning to flout our internet policy and read recaps all over the web.

Then spend time thinking about how uncomfortable underwear must have been back in the 60's...yet they all looked so chic.

Ok...so, I was anxious to see January Jones walk the red carpet in all of her Betty Draper glory.

And she did not disappoint...

While I loved the black satin dress with the dramatic shoulder and headband (I know, I know, some didn't like it, but I totally did), it was her red lips that blew me away.

Since one of my resolutions was to wear more red lipstick, I combed the interwebs for a breakdown...and found one easily from Amber at Beauty Blogging Junkie.

CHANEL Rouge Coco Lip Colour in Paris...but it's not out until March.

But it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.....

photo from justjared.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Golden Globes Hair

I know I'm running late but...well...blame Massachusetts.

While I'm not the fastest or even remotely the best at this, I do love a good red carpet roundup.

One of the most talked about walkers was Sofia Vergara in a grey and burgundy Carolina Herrera. Honestly...I've never seen anyone as happy to be hanging out in the rain with a munchkin like Seacrest like she was.

Heidi Klum and Kate Hudson should have been taking notes.


In addition to her fab gown, she had a hairstyle by Oscar Blandi...maker of some of the best smelling products EVER.

To create the look, Oscar primed Sofia’s wet hair with Oscar Blandi Volumizing Spray then blow-dried it and pined pieces around the crown of her head and the nape of her neck. Oscar used a medium barrel curling iron to create soft waves and finished the look with Oscar Blandi Lacca Hairspray

Oscar Blandi Volumizing Spray - $18, available at www.sephora.com

Designed to target the root area as well as the entire style, this spray adds lift, fullness, and bounce. Oscar applied his volumizing spray before blow-drying and curling Sofia’s hair.

Oscar Blandi Lacca Hairspray - $23, available at www.sephora.com

To finish Sofia’s look, Oscar applied his Lacca Hairspray. Combining the moisturizing powers of sugar with the shine-boosting properties of honey, this hairspray provides a soft, touchable, all-day hold. The formula boosts volume, controls frizz, adds shine, and leaves behind a subtle honeysuckle scent.

I will also say...I loved her matte rose lip...does anyone have the 411 on that?

Tweet!!

A little roundup of tweets from my week!

Totally digging the American Apparel nail polishes, esp. Mouse, Downtown LA and Passport Blue.

The undisputed winner of the night is inner side boob. Got more screen time than Guiliana's tin foil dress.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Resolved

Ok, everyone's doing it, and I'm a sucker for peer pressure.

Ten Resolutions for 2010

Figure out Polyvore.

Wear more jewelry.

Learn to layer so I look like one of the girls in Lucky, not like Joey in the Friends ep where he wore all of Chandler's clothes.

Wear more red lipstick.

Fix my many heels which are worn down to the metal and never hear the horrible metal-on-marble noise in Rayburn again.

Seriously weed through my closet and get rid of clothes which are not third decade appropriate.

Make it to a District Sample Sale.

Avoid a sunburn.

Learn how to properly apply liquid eyeliner.

Blog more, or you know, ever.