Image Attribution

(Owlet header image found via a Google Image search, and came from Etsy artist Bestiary Ink)

29 September 2011


It's National Coffee Day as well as Banned Books Week - two important-to-acknowlege "celebrations/commemorations", if you ask me!

In honor of National Coffee Day, I bought myself a coffee this morning, instead of subjecting myself to the gruel sad excuse for my caffeine fix I normally consume (for free) at the office. And it was glorious!

(via Google Images)

As for the books... I like this celebration, because I rather dislike the idea of banning books. Duh. I mean, do we really need to discuss this? No. Here are 46 classic titles from the Radcliffe's Rival list of the 100 Best Novels that have been banned or challenged at some point or another in history:

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Ulysses, by James Joyce
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell
Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Native Son, by Richard Wright
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Book-banning is not a thing of the past, BTW. Here's a list (though not necessarily comprehensive) of 100 books that were banned or challenged somewhere or by some-body between 2000-2009!

I can't imagine not being able to read what I want, and I'm grateful for the freedom I have that enables me to do just that - read what I want, when I want to, wherever I please. I do not take this gift for granted. Any titles on these lists that you haven't yet read? Maybe to high-five Banned Books Week, try to read one or more of them in October?! I think I'll do that. It probably won't be Ulysses. Though I'm so glad I *could* read it if I had the urge (and time)!

Read more about Banned Books Week here. And if the mood so strikes you today, go pick up one of these great books and start reading with a cup of warm coffee in hand.

28 September 2011

Christian Jackson

My nerdiness and love of art have collided in these incredibly creative and clever children's story posters by Chicago artist Christian Jackson. They are just brilliant! I love each one and can't choose any favorites among them. Here are a few I guess I'd say are least obvious and most clever (though they are all beyond fantastic):

Aren't they just so fabulous - in every way?!

I found my way to Jackson's work via this blog. Then I contacted him directly (via his site/blog) to find out whether he had prints for sale. He does. You can find these and the rest of his beautiful and creative prints for purchase here.

Which is your favorite?

27 September 2011

What I'm Reading Now: September 27, 2011

Today's my half-birthday - yes, I celebrate my half-birthday. I just realized that by adding the date into this post title, so sorry for that side note, but I feel it warranted acknowledgment. I will never be one of those people who loathes their birthdays.

Anyway, I finished The Other Side of the Bridge last week and really really enjoyed it. Just an absolutely painfully real story of people and relationships. One of the elements of this book that struck me the most was the writing itself. It quite literally took my breath away many times.

And now I'm onto my next read: The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai.

In other nerdy news, I was contacted by a publisher about a week and a half ago who found my Reading Without Borders blog by way of searching for the title of a book he's involved in. He asked me if I wanted a copy of Zone One to read and review, and I said, why not?! So, I'm patiently awaiting the arrival of this book so I can dig my nails into *real* reviewing! Hopefully, it's actually coming. That could be fun! Speaking of Reading Without Borders, come join us! We're reading Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand for October. Let me know if you'd like to get in on the discussion!

Bauble Yum

Have you heard of BaubleBar? I hadn't until I read this post, but what a discovery. I'm also jealous, because I totally should have thought of this. I'm an accessory fiend, as I've mentioned before.

So, here's the back story: co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky were fast friends and co-shoppers when they discovered/agreed they needed to amp up their jewelry closets. However, they also agreed that while boutiques had too narrow a selection, department stores had too much, making the shopping experience more overwhelming than exciting and fun. They tried but couldn't find a reliable and consistent place to get higher quality pieces without the high price tag. They also did the research and discovered that many retailers were marking up pieces as high as 20 times above cost! And so they took matters into their own hands and started BaubleBar, where they work hand-in-hand with leading designers, and put together a collection of pieces across styles for any and every jewelry consumer. Their site and tools are fun, fresh, on-trend, and classic. Their prices span the budget, so there's really (really) something for most price-points. They also have a great blog with tips and promotions, such as the Friday one, Buried Bauble. Every Friday they "hide" a piece on the site which they will offer for a limited time (until they run out) at a discounted price of $10! They give you two clues and you can scour the site to find the gem. If you find it and like it, you can buy it for that price with the logo code offered. Fun, right?

I recently found the buried bauble and liked it so much I got this bangle in both offered colors:

(Marble Enamel Bangle)
I was excited to get my treasure in the mail, and when it arrived (just days later), I was even more enamored with this fabulous site. Here's the packaging:

(cute box...)
and here's what was inside (forgive my grainy iPhone photos):

(I know this is a bit dark, but my bangles came carefully wrapped and packaged, stored in simple and pretty protective velvet snap-pouches)

(PLUS! a hand-written note!)
A hand-written note, in my humble opinion, will get you everything in life. I honestly was so impressed that they take the few extra minutes while packaging their sales to make their customers feel like friends, like they value them personally, like they *want them to come back again*! This made a HUGE impact on me as a consumer, if you couldn't tell, but I think it really says a lot about the company, and the people who work there. I'm a BIG fan!

23 September 2011

Emmy 2011 Recap #6: Surprises and Honorable Mentions

This will be our last Emmy 2011 Recap post. I'd like to thank the Academy A, for partnering with me on this week's posting efforts. We hope you have found our commentary entertaining, if not enlightening and educational. JUST KIDDING! We really just thank you for hanging around and reading along. We'd love to know what you thought of our little collaboration, and if you think it's worth repeating next awards show... please comment!

Okay. For this last post, we're covering some surprising fashion successes on the Emmy 2011 Red Carpet, as well as some Honorable Mentions - those looks we felt deserved acknowledgment, but which didn't quite fit into our other post topics. Let's begin.

First, some goodies. My first "surprise" was Guiliana Rancic, but not for the dress you saw on the RC. Rather, her pre-show gown, of which I cannot find a photo anywhere. Can you? It was a beautiful orange color (matching nearly perfectly with her skin tone -- oops!), and very lovely, sweeping, and easy-feeling. Then she changed into the red number seen here, which really didn't do anything good or special at all. Plus the hair was bad and outdated. Too bad she didn't stick with the pre-show number.

A: I couldn't agree more, M. Guiliana looked amazing in the five minutes before the red carpet began. I was so excited to get the show started when I saw the orange gown and disappointed when she changed. If you watched the Fashion Police Emmy Recap, she actually made fun of herself for the red gown when she went to interview Nina Dobev since her dress was basically a junior varsity version of Nina's.

But here are some good ones for which we do have images:

(Sarah Hyland)
M: This is a surprise fashion thumbs up for me because it's totally age-appropriate, the color is a stand-out and looks amazing with her skin, the details are fantastic, and I think overall she looks great. It also scores well because at last year's Emmy's, while her hair and makeup looked excellent, I thought her dress was a little too old and sex-pot for her. She was 19!

A: I loved this dress as well. What a beautiful color! I believe she collaborated with Christian Siriano on this number and this was definitely his best Emmy look (see Heidi Klum below). She provided a preview on Fashion Police last week so I was eager to see it in person. Two thumbs up! 

(John Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt)
M: I picked this one as a high-five to Jennifer Westfeldt, because I think usually she dresses not to stand out, and maybe she feels like she's just there to keep John Hamm's side warm. But I think she looked absolutely fantastic at the Emmy's this year. She did yellow just right, and from the dress to the very last accessory and detail, I think the whole look works. I love that the dress is a little shorter in front to give those shes some camera time, too. Well done.

A: Wait - I didn't notice Jennifer Westfeldt because I was too busy drooling over Jon Hamm. Trying. to. tear. my. eyes. away. from. him. OK - she looked fantastic. More arm candy that shines! Some of the leading ladies could take some notes here!

(Anna Faris)
M: So her hair looks messy and her face looks like it needs some powder here, fine. BUT. This dress is glorious! It's cool and different and geometric (that can be good!), and mostly the gold just compliments her skin so perfectly. I bet before she got out into that hot, grease-inducing heat, her hair and makeup looked way better.

A: I agree. Love the geometric mod dress, however, I do wish it was a tad bigger in the bust - it looks a little tight.

And the Honorable Mentions go to...

Cobie Smulders:

M: The main reason Cobie needs mentioning is that she's A's long-lost celebrity doppelganger (can we bring that back to FB, please?! That was fun, and I never really figured out who mine was!!). Look at A's pic on her blog. Twins. But she also gets a shout-out for the color of this dress and her perfect makeup. Glam-tastic face, Cobie!

A: Wow. You are TOO kind, M. I would also give Cobie a shout out for her perfect hair. The beachy wave is a look I am always striving to achieve. I would have liked if this dress weren't so large looking in the bodice - just a smidge more tailoring and I would have moved the dress up a bit because the color is fabulous and i love the flowing style.

Kelly Osbourne:

M: I am not convinced Kelly knows she was working at the Emmy's. I feel like her look is just too much for hosting duties. Too much. That's what I wrote in my notes about her look. Also, I really dislike her hair. The dye job, as you can see in that close-up, has a hint of maybe purple in it? Whatever it is, it looks grey. And old fashioned. Her makeup looks good up close, though.

A: I agree that this look is too much for hosting. BUT, that said, I think she looked freakin' fantastic. I loved the dress, the fit was perfect, the color looked good on her for once. I feel like she often picks colors that do not look good with her skin tone. AND I am going to disagree with you, M. I actually like the platinum dye job in person (aka on TV). I don't think it looks the same in the photographs. Her hair was looking too brassy before this die job, in my opinion, so this was a fun step up. Her make-up was good - it reminded me a lot of Sharon Osborne.

Zooey Deschanel:

M: My notes on Zooey's look say "weird prom." I'm not sure what else to say about it.

A: Weird prom is a perfect descriptor. Yes. I understand Zooey is out there and has her own style, which most of the time I appreciate. MOST of the time being the operative word - this was not one of those times.

Heidi Klum:

M: So, Heidi here was wearing Christian Siriano, so I give her props for wearing a Project Runway designer. That's where my props end. I HATE this look. The dress, fine, it's over the top. And the bodice is rather pretty, in spite of that kook-a-looky skirt. But the styling--and for someone who often criticizes designers' styling--is all wrong. Her hair looks silly, her jewelry looks like plastic, and her shoes are b-to-the-oring. I just want her to look amazing on the RC once again.

A: Somewhere I read a critique that compared this dress to a pumice stone. I cannot top that so I am repeating it.

So there we are. Emmy Awards 2011 recapped. What'd you think? Did we miss anything? Did we do too much? Do you want to nominate us for the funniest-slash-most-brilliant-undiscovered-talent award? Does that award exist? Anyway, hope you enjoyed it. See you next week when we both return to our own blogs' regularly scheduled programming.

22 September 2011

Emmy 2011 Recap #5: Trend Report

Every time we do this post-awards rehash extravaganza, A&I dwell on what we expertly have identified as that particular awards show's/season's hot trends. We use words like "hot" to describe said trends because, as mentioned, we're experts at this (#stillnotgettingpaidthough). The biggest trend the other experts are yammering about is Red, which we already went over ever-so-cleverly here. So, without further ado, here are three additional HOT TRENDS we noticed on the Emmy 2011 Red Carpet (Note: we're going to try to whittle down our example photos for each trend so as to try to reduce the length of the post... we're not promising success in brevity, but we'll do our best, and that's all you can ask of us, right?):

A few examples of this trend were already provided in other themed posts, for sure. These include Gwyneth, Amy Poehler, Evan Rachel Wood, Lea Michele, and Kate Winslet. But short sleeves were everywhere, and I can only speak for myself when I say that I thought they were fantastic! I love love loved them. Even though Gwyneth's dress was ick, the sleeves were cool. Short sleeves on *fancy* gowns are unusual, and strapless-es, one-shoulders, and generally any other look that exposes arms and shoulders are more traditionally considered glamorous. But I for one found the sleeves new and fresh and pretty cool (I typed that in the SNL Miley Cyrus voice, FYI, so you should probably read it that way for full effect). Here are two others who rocked this trend:

(Jayma Mays)
M: Okay, so there's a lot (basically everything) about this look that I don't like, I do love what the short sleeves are doing. I like the lacy details and how delicate her arms look. Let's throw out the rest and redesign a dress around those sleeves.

A: This look gets nominated for the Pretty In Pink award - meaning, it looks like something Molly Ringwald's character whipped up. However, I do LOVE the sleeves and the color on Jayma's skin.

(Christine Baranski)
M: If this is what 59 looks like, then I'm okay with that. Christine Baranski look fan-flippin'-tastic. The sleeves just add to what is anyway a perfect black gown (win!). She looks chic, and sexy, and her body looks amazing. The short sleeve is only highlighting her fit, gorgeous arms.

A: When I grow up, I want to look just like Christine Baranski (or Helen Mirren). Period. 

M: What she said. 

Again, we've already mentioned at least one of these (Lea Michele), but we definitely noticed some other gowns that gave a little something from the back. But first, a close-up of Lea's back:

You know we both loved Evan Rachel Wood's gown, but did you know it also looked amazing in back?

And here's one we haven't mentioned, Olivia Munn. This dress looked a bit jacked-up from the front as it really didn't fit her well at all and made her thighs look huge, but it did feature a very pretty back (also, the color's lovely):

This trend could also be called No Effort or Fire Your Stylist. It includes what we'd say was a totally disappointing miss on hair/makeup/accessories. The principal offender here was Julianna Margulies, who we covered in Recap #1, and other examples mentioned in previous posts include Clare Danes and Kerry Washington. But there were others. Voila:

(Jennifer Carpenter)
M: With better hair (maybe a sleek low ponytail instead of ruffled air-dry?), this could have been a really gorgeous look. But for me, the Boo Hair ruins it.

A: Yes this dress is sparkly and non-strapless, two things which always grab my attention, however, the lackluster hair kills it. I feel like Jennifer Carpenter thinks she is Jennifer Aniston here. 

M: Interesting suggestion, A... 

(Ellie Kemper)
M: Okay, I didn't even recognize Ellie Kemper (from The Office) for a while here, and I blame her bad hair and makeup. Those heavy bangs combined with heavy eyes are just distracting and disguising. Again, I bet with the right hair and makeup I would have loved this dress/look.

A: Doesn't this remind you of the big bang curl you used to do in grade school and then spray it to death with White Rain hairspray?! 

(Kristen Wiig)
M: I rather loved this look in general, actually. But A nominated her for no-effort-on-the-hair, and I kind of agree. Something up-swept would have highlighted that fabulous plunging neckline, and she could have some awesome earrings under there, but we don't know, because she forgot to do her hair. The color and cut of that dress are amazing, though.

A: The dress is awesome. I love it. I do not love the hair that looks flat and lifeless.

(Rachael Harris)
M: I get the geek chic look, and I kind of like it. But here we've proven why cool nerdy glasses don't an accessorized finished look make. Blah, undone hair and zero bling anywhere. Without good hair and jewelry this black dress is just boring. And I submit that *with* good hair and jewelry, it could have been a stand-out in the black dress category.

A: SNORE. YAWN. What?! Sorry. I was sleeping.

So those are our big ones. Agree or disagree? Or agree to disagree? Did you notice any other trends at the Emmy's? What did we overlook? Speak up! <we're just joshin' ya, not really yelling at you!>

21 September 2011

Emmy 2011 Recap #4: Back to Black

Who doesn't love the LBD (Little -- or Long -- Black Dress)? We'll tell you who: Red Carpets. The Carpet is where stars have a big fashion moment, and quite often, a black dress is deemed "safe" or "boring" by the critics. As such, it's frequently avoided. But both of us are in the LBD camp all the way. When it's done right, we think the black dress can be the total scene stealer (as was the case with Evan Rachel Wood's stunner mentioned in Recap #1). Still, some celebs default to black and get it wrong anyway. And if you fail at the LBD, then shame on you.

Here are some black numbers from Sunday's show that caught our eyes... both yeas and nays:

Shawn Robinson

M: I think Shawn Robinson has been waiting since Prom '98 to wear this dress again. And it's doing nothing for her. Though I usually think halters do good things for a lady, this is not such a case. The proportions look off. Maybe it's that big dark waistband that seems too high, making her torso look all stretched out and weirdly elongated? Maybe it's that the halter is pulled too tightly, effectively mushing her boobs into her chest? Maybe it's that her hair is so tight that her head looks pea-sized in relation to her hips? This same dress in *all black* could have been a winner, I think. But the black lace over the cream underlay just looks a little too... not good.

A: I feel like Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight is on in the background and my wrist is itching from the elastic band of my corsage. In other words - I agree with your Prom-tastic assessment, M. The waist band is way too high - cutting into her ribs instead of her waist and therefore her real waist gets lost in the process. SHAME.

Naya Rivera

M: One sad thing about black dresses on the RC is that they're often difficult to photograph in such a way as to highlight all their fabulousness. This is a perfect example. I think this dress is glorious. And I think Naya looks absolutely beautiful in every way. But I think we're missing details in the photo that would have taken our breath away in person. Still, BIG DOUBLE thumbs up from me.

A: I loved this dress. The pleating on the bodice is interesting but in a subdued way. The dress hugs her curves and does fantastic things for Naya's silhouette.

Kaley Cuoco

M: Sweet and pretty. This is one where pattern/texture allow the lovely to shine through on black. I really, really liked this dress. It's a *great* cut, and I love that it hits above the ankle so she could pop out some perfect bright shoes.

A: Agreed again! I initially saw this dress from the waist up and was like, "Oh, ok." And then I saw a full-length view and instantly liked it. It was a fun dress on a fun personality and perfectly executed. 

Gwyneth Paltrow

M: FAIL! I hate this look, and it bothers me to say that. It's trying so hard, isn't it? I wish that the sheer part in the middle weren't there so badly I could fight someone about it. Does anyone disagree and want to fight me over it? I'm mostly bark and no bite, so you'd probably win by default. Back to the dress. Gwyneth just usually gets it better than right, and still looks like she had the calmest, easiest getting-ready experience. She personifies the overused "effortless" word when it comes to her RC fashion. But this. THIS!? No. That middle bit which makes it look like you're supposed to think it's a two-piece outfit but it isn't sucks. It sucks because it exposes the wrong part of her, thus making her look like she's got muffin top (where you know she doesn't) instead of making you want to kill someone over her rock-hard stomach. It makes her look soft. SOFT. On top of looking like she cares too much, instead of not at all.

A: Ok. Visitors from my blog KNOW how much I love me some GP. But this is awful for all of the reasons enumerated above. I think if this was one piece, I would have liked it but that is one muffin I will pass on. 

Mayim Bialik

M: Yes, this black number is not very exciting, we know. However, it is pretty. And she does look great. And I'm excited to see Blossom again, and not on What Not to Wear. Aren't you?

A: WOAH! I almost wanted Six to be right next to her. I am not a fan of this look. I think the dress is fine but paired with that hair she looks frumpy and matronly. I think I will pass on this. 

Michelle Forbes

M: I do not know this Michelle Forbes gal, but she's pretty, isn't she? So the dress isn't especially a wow. It reminds me of one or two RC dresses of yore that were in other colors and did in fact "wow" (I'm thinking specifically of Penelope Cruz at the Oscars in 2007), so for me it's not a black dress zinger, but a black dress meh.

A: I actually love this woman on both True Blood, where she scared the sh** out of me as the maenad Marianne, and more recently on AMC's The Killing, which left everyone hanging at the end of Season 1. I liked the dress but, as M pointed out, it reminds me of a look that has been done again and again. Penelope Cruz's version back in 2007 remains burned in my memory as such a wow moment that any follow-up is always met with "meh."

Anna Paquin

M: Anna likes black and gold, both separately and as a combo (Google-image search that. You'll agree). This is fine. Not exciting at all, not really bad per se. She was a presenter, and not a nominee, so I guess she didn't think she had to shine, but don't you always want to shine?

A: Eh. I was not a fan of this. I have nothing more to say.

Lena Heady

M: So, both A and I missed this dress on the RC Sunday night, and discovered it only thanks to E!'s Fashion Police last night. I have not decided how I feel about it. It's definitely a scene-stealer in terms of shaking things up, but it's also heavy and long-sleeved and witchy/Amish looking. Still, holy crap girlfriend is just absolutely gorgeous! I feel I'm going to start hating her soon, because she's going to be that could-be-in-a-potato-sack girl who still looks fantastic. For now, though, I'm just enjoying how pretty she is, how much I love her hair/makeup, and how she took a chance on the RC. Worth noting - she wore hot pink shoes with this that sadly didn't make the photo, but I think that's awesome.

A: This woman could convince me to abandon ship on the grow-my-hair-out plan. How beautiful is she?! I liked this dress because it was different from anyone else and it worked. Even the pose exudes this "who cares? I know I look great" attitude. I agree that it was probably a bit heavy for the occasion. Unlike M, I was not a fan of the shoe choice - I liked the color but they were too clunky for my tastes.

20 September 2011

Emmy 2011 Recap #3: Fashion Politics

By now, word is out that red ruled the "red" carpet. However, there was a lot of blue too.

We don't mean to get all political on you but are you a red dress or a blue dress?

1) Team Sparkles
Martha Plimpton in RED
Claire Danes in BLUE

A: Martha Plimpton ALL THE WAY. She got up on stage and I was like, "WHO IS THAT?" Great dress - I love the mini sleeve and the small train. The deep color is a beautiful change-up from all of the bright cherry reds. Even the cleavage amount is perfect. Way to go Martha!

M: I'm with you, A. It's Martha, and I'm so so so excited that a) she's arrived and b) she looks this freaking good, because I love Martha Plimpton! I feel like she's always been as under-appreciated as green beans (that's a great veggie/side dish option, people!). She's talented (with the body of work to back it up), charming (you cannot resist Virginia on Raising Hope if you try), brilliantly funny, and now people are seeing that girl cleans up like a royal RC champ. She looks amazing. This dress is perfection in every aspect A mentions above. And as for good ol' Claire Danes, I'm pretty sure she wore this dress in a different color/fabric last awards season, so let's get creative. PLUS, Martha gets bonus points for hair/makeup/accessories.

2) Team Ruffles
Nina Dobrev in RED

Heather Morris in BLUE

A: Nina Dobrev. I don't watch Vampire Diaries so this was another "Who is this woman" for me. She is so beautiful. The fit of this dress could not be more perfect. The ruffles on the tail of this add great interest and I think the long sleek dark hair over one shoulder was a great stylist choice. I am not the biggest fan of the choker - I personally am more of an earring girl so I would have worn this with long earrings. Who am I kidding - I would not even dare to wear this after seeing Nina in it!

M: I am going to say that maybe this is a tie for me? I'm not totally sure. I like the red a lot, but honestly, it looks painfully uncomfortable. It looks like maybe she has some bruised ribs this week on account of that number. On the upside of that, though, Nina has some fierce posture by mandate of that dress, so there's a win. While I think overall styling might give Nina the edge (as Heather's hair is prom-tastic), I do really love this blue dress, too. It hasn't received rave reviews all around, but I love how Heather has sprung out of the Glee-Diva shadows and is proving herself a beaut on her own merits. I remember seeing this dress in passing on E!'s RC show and thinking I wish I saw more of that, it looks really pretty. And I still think it is. So I guess dress-alone, it's a tie for me. But fine, for the overall look, Nina (Red) edges out Heather (Blue). Sigh.

3) Team One Shoulder. Ooh! It's an Office matchup!
Angela Kinsey in RED

Kate Flannery in BLUE

A: I think Meredith wins this one for me, but only by a bit. The fit on Angela's dress is too sloppy - it appears very shapeless throughout the bodice and the hemming is nonexistant. I also would have worn the bracelet on the other arm to balance out the assymetry of the dress. I think the blue color looks great on Meredith and the fit is better and shows off/gives her some curves. However IRON YOUR DRESS! It's a bit wrinkly on the bottom.

M: Meredith 100%. The color blue with her skin and hair is a perfect blend of tones. I agree that she/her stylist needs to invest in a steamer, but the dress looks great. It's slimming, it's flattering from every angle, she looks like a million bucks. The fact that I don't remember her from any other red carpet makes me think, too, that this is in particular her best look ever. Angela's hair is too white-blond for the punch of that red, I feel. I agree with A's accessory comment, too. AND, it's not doing anything for her bust. The piece that's going over the one shoulder is almost too wide. Too much fabric. And same for the cummerbund bit in the middle there.

4) Team Glee
Lea Michelle in RED

Dianna Agron in BLUE

A: UGH. As much as this kills me, I think I have to give the win to Diva Lea. I did really love the back of her dress, even though I wish she would have done something different with her hair to show the back off more. From the front, it makes her seem too boxy, although I did like the shoulder detail. Dianna was just not up to par here. She is beautiful - love her hair and makeup however this dress is too frumpy and too old. The fit is terrible throughout the bodice, even though I get where she was trying to go. The deep blue color is breathtaking on her - I'll give her that. 

M: Ditto. I really dislike everything besides the color on lady Dianna. And she's such.a.pretty.girl. It's a shame, really. I agree it was too old a look for her - from the dress itself to the hair and pose. Not fun at all! That dress on Lea got a lot of press and hype, and while I don't think it's knocking me over with it's amazing-ness, it is a beautiful dress, and it fits her like a glove. I, too, wish she'd worn her hair up, and maybe side-swept the bangs and shown off some long sparkly earrings. Plus a sparkly cuff would have worked, too. Her hair seems too casual and "square" (is that an okay hair descriptor?) for such a classic Hollywood Glam silhouette. The back was beautiful, but we've seen open backs before. The shoulders were kind of rad, and I wish the styling had been there to make them shine more.

5) Team Tight T-shirt
Kate Winslet in RED

Amy Poehler in BLUE

A: The win goes to Kate in my book. I thought this was a boring choice for Kate - a safe play. I thought it made her boobs look great, but I am finding that I just do not love red dresses on blondes. However, I really did not like Amy's dress. I wanted to like it but it seemed too shiny tight - like she was wearing a spandex tube. 

M: Ooh, we're finally deviating! I pick Amy Poehler! And here's why. Kate looks too boring for Kate Winslet. She has become such a RC powerhouse that this is just sort of half-assing it, if you ask me. Her hair and makeup and accessories are a MAJOR win (especially her hair - I love it), but this dress is bo-ring and totally uninspired. On the other hand, I like -- no, I love -- that Amy is letting herself be a sexy mamma. I think the color and sheen are unique, and I like that it's belted. Her body looks bangin', frankly. This dress was different enough to win me over. Plus, she gets bonus points for starting that Miss America thing with her category. I've not gut-laughed like that in way too long for my own good.

6) Team Lace-it-up!
Kerry Washington in RED

Minka Kelly in BLUE

A: Minka wins it for me. This was a dress that grew on me. I thought it was dowdy at first but I appreciated seeing something different than red strapless. The deep navy was a pretty color but the lace made it not so safe. I like that her hair and makeup were kept fairly simple and elegant so as not to compete with all of the dress detail. I'm not even sure what the bottom of Kerry's dress is made out of but I hated every bit of it.

M: Different strokes for different folks again. I pick Kerry. I think Minka's dress is pretty, but it's too wintery for the Emmy's. I also think the styling is poor, and she looks MISERABLE. For such a gorgeous lady, this dress feels too mumsy-lace to me, rather than sexy-lace. And I'm a huge lace fan. As for Kerry, I think the shape of that bodice is amazing. I think the red tone on her skin is insane-good. Her makeup looks great. I don't loooove the bottom of that dress, but I think the overall effect is a good one. On second glance, I think maybe the top and bottom of that dress don't actually go together, but I still like it better big-picture than Minka's look.

7) Team HOT MESS
Kathy Griffin in RED

Katie Holmes in BLUE

A: Who wins the hot mess award? Katie takes it HOLMES for me. OK. TERRIBLE joke. But that is what you get when you wear a dress that looks like a dress I wore to my Freshman year 1995. Piled with that terrible frizzy hair...{shudder}.

M: I'm glad we're ending in agreement. Though I pretty much hate Katie's look, it's mostly her apparent lack of effort/caring that makes me feel that way. Her hair looks terrible, like maybe she was swimming in a pool earlier and it frizz-dried and she left it like that. And while the dress is simple and a little casual (would have worked for the Independent Spirit Awards better, I say), the color is rich, and it's Calvin Klein... CK is often simple, clean lines and smooth fabrics. Kathy is in a prom dress, her lips are way too dark, and she looks a little alien-esque for my liking, in addition to chasing her lost high school acceptance. So Katie wins, Kathy loses. Red over blue for Hot Mess Victory.

In summary: we actually finish overall in agreement. We both pick Red as the winner, with each scoring 5 wins for red to 2 wins for blue, though we split on two different looks. Not sure what that means about our fashion politics, though... Where do you land?