Monthly Archives: July 2011

TREND ALERT: FEATHERS!

I don’t know where all these feathers came from but they seem to be the big accessory of the moment. & I have to say I’m a fan. I think the bohemian look is very cute & adds a touch of glamour meets rock n’ roll. However, the best part is you don’t have to spend over $25 to rock this trend….. or at least I wouldn’t. Whether you want to wear them as earrings or even as a hair extension, you can pretty much find a feather on pretty much anything & everywhere!

 Check out a few choices below:

Bakers $12
Claire’s Clip n’ feather clip $8.50
Bebe Mix & Match Feather Crystal Earrings $24

Nordstrom $8

Aldo $12


 What do you guys think? Are you feeling the feather craze? Personally the earrings are my favorite…..

I D.efine E.very A.spect of my L.ife”

The "Bucket List"

Have you ever seen the movie “The Bucket List”? Me neither, but I quite get the concept. People making lists of things they’d love to do before they erm…kick the proverbial bucket. I’ve seen some outlandish bucket list items, some of which might contribute to the person’s earlier than expected demise. I have a bucket list, and mine mostly includes seeing pretty much every important battlefield in human history and surfing all the world’s great beaches. But I also have a fashion bucket list. This list includes items that are rare and exceedingly expensive, bags and shoes that were all the rage five and six seasons ago, but who’s elegance and chic-ness are forever burned in my memory (wow, that sounded so poetic!) These five items, if I were to ever be hardworking and diligent enough to afford, would make me “complete”, in a fashion sense. Had I these five items, I might not want for anything else (except shoes…one can never have enough shoes…)

1. The Chanel 2.55 Bag in Cream: I alluded to this purse in an earlier post here. While the classic staple, created by Coco Chanel herself, is consistently available for sale, you’d be hard-pressed, especially in this economy, to find it slung over the shoulder of your local soccer mom at the Kroger. The smallest size of this bag is $3400, and the largest size is an astronomical $6300! But she (yes, SHE) is sooooo worth it!

2. The Fendi “Spy” Bag: Now I’m about to switch it up and get ghetto fabulous on ya! The Fendi Spy was THEE bag of all pro athlete baby mamas, video “models”, and newly famous reality stars in 2007. It was also heavily knocked off. You can find Armenian men hawking garishly colored faux python version of this purse in your local mall kiosk, usually not far from the Dead Sea lotion people. But somehow, in the midst of all that flagrant name-dropping (Fat Joe actually said he wouldn’t sleep with a chick who didn’t own one, I feel as though I’ve dodged a bullet there), my love for this bag still endures. Its a bit flashier than what I usually go for, but I guess we all have a little hood in us, right?

3. The Hermes “Kelly” Bag: HA! You thought I was gonna say Birkin, didn’t ya?! Well, I wouldn’t kick Birkin out for eating crackers in bed, if you know what I mean (apologies if you don’t, its an old Rodney Dangerfield phrase), but the Kelly has always been nearer and dearer to my heart. For starters, I love Jane Birkin, especially her bangs, but she’s a little too “hippie” for my tastes (I’m am second only to Eric Cartman in my hatred of all things hippie). Now Grace Kelly on the other hand…Grace is my GIRL! So, because my personal style leans more towards Her Highness than Madam Birkin, and because I don’t “do” oversized bags that one could fit a toddler in, I’m on #teamKelly. I would buy this bag in any color if I could, but I really really like the camel colored crocodile skin!

4. The Jimmy Choo/Hunter Wellington Collection: Switching it up a bit to long-coveted, non-affordable shoes, these Wellies are positively drool-worthy, in my most humble opinion. First of all, I love Jimmy Choo. I love Tamara Mellon, I love that Jimmy Choo is HER company, and I love her style. Second, I love Kate Moss. And Kate Moss was once iconically photographed at the Glastonbury Festival (back in the Oasis days, before it got all “cool” to go) wearing a faded black tank top, slung in that oh so Kate Moss way, cut off jeans, and Hunter Wellington boots (it used to be quite the muddy affair, that Glastonbury. Not anymore, can you really see a Beyonce fan doing the Single Ladies dance on a blanket in the mud?) Wellingtons have always been the shoe of choice for avid English gardeners, so Kate gave it a level of cool previously unseen (I would also like to mention, my grandmother, ever the proper lady, bought me a pair of navy blue Wellies in kindergarten. Unless you actually looked at my mother’s paychecks, you wouldn’t have known by looking at me that we were far from rich.) In 2009, Jimmy Choo and Hunter collaborated to come up with sleek, crocodile skin versions of the English classic. These are way more affordable and accessible than the previous mentions, and when I went to the Jimmy Choo website (www.jimmychoo.com), I discovered that they’re on sale for $212.50! OMG! (SN: They’re only in limited sizes, hence the sale price, but you can give them your email address and they will notify you when your size is in stock again.)

5. The Cartier Tank Americaine: This is where my history nerd comes out full force. The grateful Monsieur Cartier created this watch in 1917 with the liberating Allied troops in mind after WWI. The strap is meant to resemble the tracks our tanks make, hence the name. It was the de rigeur watch for high-ranking French and American military officers after that. Then, in 1959, one of my favorite First Ladies, the indomitable Jackie Kennedy Onassis, saw the watch, which was strictly a man’s watch at the time, in her husband’s drawer, and decided to wear it while on vacation in Europe. Everything Jackie O. did back then made headlines, and this was no different. She virtually pioneered women wearing strong watches! If I could only have one thing on this list, more so than the Kelly bag, I would wear this watch!

Fall Inspirations

This fall is a big one for me. I turn 26, make CPT, and start the next phase of my career, so the wardrobe I’ve been building since age 18 just isn’t reflective of the woman I’m becoming. While I was pregnant, my younger sister stole a majority of my clothes, so in addition, I just don’t have anything to wear anyway! Most stylists agree that the key to building a great wardrobe is having a few staple pieces that will take you from year to year. Things like a good coat, even if you live in a warm climate, a few pairs of jeans in classic styles (skinny, bootcut, wide-leg, etc.), a little black dress, some great pumps, a leather or canvas bag in black and brown, some nice jewelry (think diamond or pearl studs), and an accessory that never goes out of style are good items to spend a little extra $$$ on because you can build around them and they’ll last longer.

The Coat: I’m partial to the peacoat myself. I’ve decided on this Michael Kors number here:

It retails for around $225, but its a classic style and fits really well. If they run out this particular coat, however, I don’t need to worry, everyone makes a peacoat!

The Jean: Skinny jeans are here to stay, I think, but I wanted to capitalize on the 70s trend that’s swinging into fall without going all bleached and hippie. This 7 for all Mankind trouser pant can be worn with a blazer for a more conservative look, or you could throw on a poncho (not that I ever would, I ABHOR ponchos!) and look like something straight out of Burning Man or whatever it is hippies and hipsters do for fun!

The LBD (Little Black Dress): The ASOS LBD comes in other colors, and I was actually thinking I wanted to create a look like “Val” from “Single Ladies” with this. She wore a white Giambattista Valli structured tutu dress with black tights and black YSL Tribtoo pumps. I wanted to pair this ASOS dress, which is cut similarly, with a pair of black or lace tights (or PATTERNED, now that would be something!) and wear it with a pair of black pumps I adore and never wear.

The Pump: The pump I’m currently obsessed with is the “Faran” from Jessica Simpson Collection. It comes in three colors, and has just the right amount of height and detail to make it stand out without being garish.

The Bag: I have something to admit: while I’m not a label-whore by any means, I am, let’s say, finicky, about my bags. I started off with a classic Dooney&Bourke bag in the 8th grade, graduated to Coach throughout my teens and early 20s, and recently acquired a Louis Vuitton Speedy, which, in the bag world, is like entry-level management. I’m currently vying for a “promotion” of sorts to a classic Chanel 2.55 bag in cream, but that’s gonna take about six months of belt-tightening. Even once I have it, you can’t take Chanel to the playground (unless you’re Victoria Beckham, and I’m not), so these Ralph Lauren bags are to be my day to day staples. Not a lot of muss and fuss, good fabric, and go with pretty much anything.

The Jewelry: When I was pregnant, I just KNEW I was gonna have a daughter, and so made plans to start buying “real” jewelry, like diamonds and emeralds, so that I could pass them on to her. Once I found out I was having a son, my enthusiasm for tres expensive jewelry dropped like, 10,000 points. But boys pay attention too. A friend of mine recently proposed to his girlfriend of two years. What set her apart from the rest? The jewelry she wore, and the fragrance, reminded him of his mother, who he sees as the classiest woman ever, and the standard for any woman he would ever date. I want my son to marry a well read, well traveled, well heeled lady with an adventurous side, like moi, who can scale a fence, curse like a sailor, and quote Shakespeare, at the same time if necessary. So I want to invest in both funky, statement making jewelry like these earrings made from the firing pins of actual handguns by Ken+Dana Designs (www.shop.kenanddanadesign.com) as well as timeless pieces like these Mikimoto cultured pearl studs.

The Accessory: Did you ever go into a store and try on something you knew you couldn’t afford? I don’t suggest you do, or else you’ll spend the next 11 years obsessing over that item like I’ve been obsessing over this Burberry snood. When I was 15, I went with a friend to Tyson’s Galleria Mall in VA, walked into Bloomingdales, and tried on this snood. I felt like Ivanka Trump. However, I worked part-time at my church’s preschool for $6.75 p/hr, so it would have taken my entire paycheck to afford it. I had several opportunities to purchase the $375 scarf in college (can we say “net check?”) but I went to school in Florida, so it didn’t seem necessary. Now I make a healthy salary and live in North Carolina, which is SUPPOSED to be in the South, but you wouldn’t know that if you looked at a picture of my front yard in January and my cousin’s front yard in Brooklyn! So now that I have the disposable income and the weather to do so, one of the first things I’m gonna do once the temps hit the 50s, besides buy my son his Ralph Lauren winter coat, is BUY MY SNOOD!


SHOP-A-HOLIC TIP: July is thee PERFECT time to shop!

………..Why? SALES!!!!

Believe it or not, its already July! Can you believe how quick this summer is going by? Anyways, right now is the perfect time to shop & get some of the best deals because stores are trying to get rid of most of their summer clothes to make room for the new fall apparel. However, fall clothes are on sale now too as they try to lure you into buying for the next season! Case & point? Nordstroms! They are having their AWESOME anniversary sale right now through August 4th! Everything from riding boots to shorts are being sold at a discounted price. Even the Michael Kors watches that I’ve been drooling over for the longest are on SALE! I’ve witnessed this sale 1st hand and the customer’s were wandering around like giddy school girls, trust me! So don’t miss out!

HAPPY SHOPPING!
”I D.efine E.very A.spect of my L.ife”

Wadrobe Necessity: NUDE/BLUSH tone pumps!

Just like the “little black dress“, the nude pump is a must have for every woman because of its versatility. With the right style it can be worn with virtually anything making it a staple for any wardrobe. I use to shy away from a nude shoe because I thought the color looked too pink against my skin tone and figured it would limit what I could wear with it. However, that way of thinking is just as played out as wearing clothes that are “matchy matchy”! Although it may not be an exact fleshtone, its still a great look overall!
No one has convinced me to believe in the power of a great nude pump better than my style maven Rihanna! She’s clearly a girl that definitely knows the cost that you get out of an item per wear should always be your ultimate goal in making a smart purchase. & she did just that.
Check out some of her style choices with her nude stielettos below:

Whether rocking a sexy black dress, hitting the red carpet, or just hitting the streets, the singer managed to make her nude Christian Louboutin Pigalle pump work for all of the occasions.

As a die hard platform pump kind of girl, I also loved her nude ankle strap Prada pumps. Again, three totally different looks with the same shoe & it was a hit every single time!

The Luifer pump was actually my favorite because the spikes gave the nude pump an edge. Dressed down with tapered pants or paired with a simple white dress either look is SUPER CUTE right?!
 However, even though I loved Rihanna’s looks I just can never pull off a pointy toe shoe. So, after searching the web here are my top two contenders!

#1


Camilla Skovgaard “Saw” pump

I am in love with this shoe! Its definitely not the lucifer pump, but the “saw” bottoms give them a cool factor. These are actually on sale for $297 at forward.com! To me they are charge card worthy!

#2
Express platform pump $98

I found these browsing shopstyle.com. I’m such a platform pump gal and I fell in love with these. The arch is so sexy to me. They remind me of the Alejandro Ingelmo “Sophia” pump but at a significantly lower price point. Steve Madden also has a similar style as well.

Have you guys found your signature nude shoe yet? I’m telling you, you need at least one pair in your closet!

I D.efine E.very A.spect of my L.ife

You Should Know About…

Kinky, curly, and coiled women the world over are going au naturel , and ladies, I fully support the movement! But for those who still relax their hair, you should know about…

PhytoSpecific Relaxer System! This French beauty company uses plant-based extracts like egg and soya to help you achieve a sleek and straight look (see the FAQ here http://phytospecific.com/faq.html) I’ve been using it for the last six months, and gurl, lemme tell ya (*New Orleans accent inserted here*). Unlike those other relaxers which claim to be “no-lye”, PhytoSpecific is odorless and doesn’t cause burns! You can buy PhytoSpecific at Sephora (www.sephora.com) and BeautyBay, a British online beauty supply store (www.beautybay.com). Its a welcome alternative from the Brazilian and Japanese keratin straighteners, which contain formaldehyde (eeew!) and will make your hair brittle if used too often.

You Should Know About…

Hey IDEALists, its Dana again (get used to me ;)! You know how clothes and shoes and getting your hair/nails done used to be THEE most important things in life? And then you graduated and got a real job/got married/had a baby or some kinda combination of the three and now you have to decide on paneled draperies v. Roman shades (#teamRomanshades, btw)? Yes, well, I used to be tres resistant to any and all forms of domestication until I had my son. The more pregnant I got, the more HGTV I watched, and slowly but surely, I got bit by the decorating bug! Decorating a home can be daunting, its harder to replace a couch that doesn’t match than it is to replace a belt, and the idea of painting makes people so nervous for some reason! But you should know about…David Bromstad from HGTV! (Like how I pulled that together, dontcha?!)

A living room done by David Bromstad

David’s a color GURU! He was the Season One winner of Design Star on HGTV, and currently has his own show, Color Splash: Miami on the network as well. He’s known for his intricate weaving of textures, patterns, hi-low decorating, and of course, vibrant splashes of color! My personal favorite was a recent episode he did for a Miami ER doctor, where he redecorated not one, but THREE rooms for her! His signature is the custom artwork he does for each client, and now, you can purchase reproductions of some of his paintings through www.pennylanepublishing.com. I’ve already ordered the high heeled sandal myself!

Artwork is one of the easiest ways to ease into a personal decorating style, and, should your tastes change, its as simple as taking the picture off the wall! I was totally a “neutrals only” girl until I started watching David’s design, now I’m slowly integrating colors into my already existing neutral designs. This morning, via Twitter, David also announced that he’s doing a bed and bath collection with 1888 Mills (www.1888mills.com/products)! David Bromstad is definitely becoming one to watch for in the world of interior design, and I love that he’s getting more and more accessible. Kinda like a Martha Stewart with tribal tattoos…

Hullo Guv’na!

Hello Idealists! My name is Dana (or as Dionne and many others like to call me “Dana Dane”) and I’m a product/shoe/bag junkie. (Now you say “hello Dana…”) There, felt good to get that off my chest. In an effort to make something constructive come from my impulse Sephora shopping sprees (that’s right, I don’t have impulse buys, I impulse SPREE!), I will graciously contribute to the I.D.E.A.L blog as a beauty consultant of sorts. I’d like to start off with skin. I am beyond OBSESSED with skin. You can have the hottest bag, the nicest shoes, the flyest outfit, but if your skin looks like a bad section of I-10 (Louisiana girl here), to me, you just wasted money. Having nice skin says you care about your body, since what you put in is what you get out. Here are some time-tested (and wallet-friendly) tips on how to achieve that flawless, poreless, “maybe she’s born with it” look:

1. If nothing else, invest in a good three step system you can use daily. I personally love Clinique’s Three Step System. (www.clinique.com) On the website, you can taste a quick “skin quiz” to figure out what your problems are (e.g: dry skin, lack of radiance, anti-aging, etc.), and Clinique will tell you which combination of their cleanser, toner, and moisturizers will help you achieve the look you want. Also, for the luxe ladies, Dermalogica (www.dermalogica.com) has a similar customization, as well as a cool “speed  mapping” feature that gives you even more customization for items like exfoliators and masques. Dermalogica is what they typically use in day spas.

2. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. And no I don’t mean feel off two layers of skin with a chemical peel. Several brands such as Murad (www.murad.com) have exfoliators that are gentle enough to be used 2-3 times a week. I use Clinique’s Gentle 7 Day scrub exfoliator nearly every day to keep blackheads away and make my skin glow. L’Occitane, (www.usa.loccitane.com) the famed French beauty brand, has a shea butter face scrub for ladies with dry skin who think exfoliating might make the issue worse. At $34, its a little pricier, but its totally worth it!
3.  Never to early to invest in eye cream! Remember the old Pond’s Cold Cream ads? Me neither. Today’s eye creams are less heavy, and more nutrient rich. I’m a big believer in preventative maintenance, and since the skin around the eyes is thinner than the rest of the body, its the first place to show signs of aging. A drugstore fav is Yes! to Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel. The Yes! to brand is noted for its inexpensive price (most items are under $20), organic ingredients, and wide availability (I buy mine at Wal-Mart). This eye gel is good for hiding the effects of late night study sessions (or partying) with its soothing cucumber and eucalyptus.
4. You are what you eat! (and drink!) All the above tips are meaningless if you don’t watch what you eat and drink. Water is the single most important thing a body needs, and when you’re not getting enough, the skin will tattletale on you! Also, you ever notice how fruit and vegetable extracts have become big in beauty in the last couple of years? From cucumbers to acai berries to carrots, product developers and marketers know that when a person sees “honey” or “vanilla” or “blueberry” on the label, its gonna be a big seller. So why not skip the middle man and eat the blueberries? A good recipe for clearer brighter skin is a smoothie. Blueberries are considered a “wonder fruit” because of its antioxidants, and Hub UK, a British foodie site (www.hubuk.com) has a wonderful list of smoothies and their beautifying qualities. Here’s a recipe for a blueberry smoothie

1/2 bag of frozen blueberries2 tablespoons blueberry preserves7 or 8 ice cubes1 1/2 cups of soymilk1 banana                                                                 

Simply toss all ingredients into a blender, turn to the highest setting, and let ‘er rip until you have a smooth, drinkable mixture.

5. Mama was right: you need to take your vitamins. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on your favorite cleanser and wondered “what the hell am I putting on my face?” Well, God Bless America, and God Bless Google, because upon doing some research, I learned that most of these poly-hydro-carbonides are just fancy schmancy scientific names for amino acids. Now, I was a Poli Sci major, so I can’t/won’t get all into what amino acids are, but I CAN say that lutein, keratin, and biotin are three amino acids that are essential for healthy skin (and hair, and nails…but more on that later.) All it takes is a quick trip to Vitamin Shoppe or GNC (which sells these in convenient little packs at http://www.gnc.com/), and voila!, now you’ve given yourself a booster shot of essential amino acids!