Image Attribution

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

29 February 2012

Oscars 2012: Oversized Details

When done right, the details are often what make a simple look turn to outstanding. In the case of this year's Oscars Red Carpet, A pointed out that some folks took the "small details" to the extreme, by over-sizing theirs. In some cases, this could work... in others, less so. Let's discuss:

Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli

M: Were it not for the fact that this dress is a redo of Nicole Kidman's Balenciaga version from the same Red Carpet a few years prior, I would love this look. I love red on a redhead, and this is a beautiful red. Now, the detail. That's a LARGE BOW there around your neck, Ms. Stone. But I like it. It's glamorous, not distracting (remember Charlize Theron's huge shoulder bow dress from the 2006 Oscars?). Plus, the styling here is perfect. If you're going to do a dramatic neck-bow, keep the hair and makeup simple, and the jewelry to a minimum.

A: I would have liked this way more had it not reminded me of Nicole Kidman. However, I do like how Emma's dress was flowy and the color was so complimentary to her hair and skin. She looked great. 

Stacy Kiebler in Marchesa
M: I love the hue of this gold. LOVE! But I don't love that big ol' gold rosette on her hip. Imagine how stunning this would look if it was just all drapey in that beautiful gold all the way down the skirt, with just that one shoulder (the bodice on this gown is perfection). This is a detail I could do without.

A: Agreed. When I first saw this, she was attached to Mr. Clooney and the flower was hidden and I thought she looked gorgeous. Then she turned and I audibly gasped. WHAT the WHAT?! No thanks. 

Penelope Cruz in Armani

M: It's hard for Penelope Cruz to go wrong, and if I'm honest, this isn't really wrong - it's just not crazy-good, either. The color is crazy-good, though. The detail issue I'm having with it is the off-the-shoulder bit. It comes off so heavy. Maybe that's nit-picking...

A: This dress is beautiful. However, on Penelope Cruz, it doesn't seem interesting enough to me - I mean it is a classic "Penelope Cruz" dress. I love me some "classic Penelope Cruz" but I wanted something else from her. I love love LOVED her hair though.  

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton and Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera

M: So the issue here is peplum, a.k.a., the extra skirt. Two examples here, neither that exciting to me, but one slightly better than the other. I hate it on Michelle's dress; it works better on Tina's, I think. Maybe it's the proportions? On Michelle's it just looks so much like a tacked-on other skirt in the same fabric, where as in Tina's it sort of... I don't know, suits the material better? Meh to peplum.

A: Oh Peplum. I think i like this trend much better on shorter skirts, or as attached to jackets. On long gowns - PASS. I thought both of these looks were not great. I really enjoyed the color of Michelle William's dress and thought it would have been a hit without the peplum. I didn't like Tina's take on it - it was blah.

Ellie Kemper in Armani Prive

M: Okay, obviously the "detail" here is excessive bangs. I'm sorry, but they're just... SO MUCH. I actually like everything else about this look. I like the dress, the sparkle, the simple jewelery and clutch... I even like the color of her hair a lot. But those bangs! I mean, I can barely see your eyes, Ellie!

A: I am laughing that you included this - good call. These bangs are TERRIBLE. Seriously - they remind me of the middle school look where you would curl one giant bang with the curling iron.

Milla Jovovich in Elie Saab

M: Okay, to me this is GORGEOUSSSSSS. I had to make the photo huge to give it its moment. Yes, one could argue that there's some football padding under that over-sized shoulder pad, but still, something about this is just so magical. It's like updated Old Hollywood. I love it. Triumph! Best Dressed nominee (did someone hire us for Fashion Police yet?).

A: AGREED!!!!!!!! She looked so great - completely Old Hollywood, which is always a win in my book. Or maybe that is just my sparkle bias coming out again?! Her hair and makeup were fanastic and I love that the shoulder pad is balanced by the cuff and bag in the opposite hand! The only complaint I have about this is the white nail polish. I am not a fan of it - reminds me of people who painted their nails with white out in grade school - a nice nude pink would have looked better.  


27 February 2012

Oscars 2012 Rehash-apaolooza #2

Carrying on our conversation from the previous post, A and I spent much of today back-and-forthing our way through Oscars 2012 fashion. Lots to sort through and digest, no? So, shall we continue? We shall. Here you go:

(reminder: A is in blue; M is in purple--but we're also identified by "A" and "M")

A: GP was definitely my best dressed. I didn't see her arrive on the Carpet but while perusing photos online I noticed she arrived with a CAPE. Holy God I want to be her. Also wasn't really sure why Cameron was there either.

Ok, let's go a little more controversial.

Michelle Williams? I'm sorry. I didn't like it. I liked the color, her hair and makeup looked good, but not a fan of the dress.

(I have to say, I like the color better in this photo than I did on live TV)
M: I also did not like Michelle Williams' look. And I usually really like her so much. Color fail for me, as well as the dress itself. Blah.

A: Tina Fey? More peplum. I thought this was an interesting choice for her - at least she was a little more fashion-forward with the peplum, but I don't know that it really did her any favors.

M: Tina Fey for me falls in the Eh category. Okay, fine, I guess.

A: Natalie Portman? Someone said it looked like the dress she wore last year. It was a bit similar. I wasn't the hugest fan but I didn't hate it. Put it in the "eh" category for me.

(Note: Neither A nor I noticed the polka dots on TV, and only saw them today in photos)
M: Natalie Portman wore a different (stupid) dress on the Carpet. Polka dots?! At the Oscars?! Excuse me? I'm just not an NP fan, but I thought she looked nice enough and much like she usually does--fine, that is--presenting. Moving on.

A: What did you think of Sandra Bullock? I liked it. I thought it was a good presenter dress.


Melissa Leo who I thought looked terrible.

M: Sandra Bullock… I agree with you, I think it was a good presenter dress. But I didn’t love it, really. She looks fantastic, though. And I like the ponytail trend, actually. Melissa Leo was TERRIBLE. She looked bad. She looked like she wasn’t wearing makeup. And she sounded so strange, didn’t she?!

Judy Greer looked really pretty, I thought, too. So did Jean Dujardin’s wife/ladyfriend.

A: I thought Judy Greer looked good - <A had to look up Jean Dujardin's wife/ladyfriend. Then...> oh she did look good! (M: they are an attractive pair!)

What did you think of Emma Stone? I felt like Nicole Kidman wore that exact same dress like 5 years ago.
M: I liked it, and I liked the color, but I think you might be right re: Nic Kid. (she was... here's NK in 2007:)

A: What did you think of Guiliana Rancic? I do not like her hair pulled back so severely!
M: Her hair (and as such, face) looked very severe, but the dress was great, I thought. Apparently I was a huge fan of white dresses this year.
And what did you think of Penelope Cruz, btw. I loved the color… and her hair/makeup. She’s just so gorgeous. BUT… I think the dress was a little heavy and overwhelming. I wish it had straps instead of the over-the-shoulder sleeves…
A: I agree entirely with you - it looked so heavy on her. I also thought it was pretty much along the lines of a Penelope Cruz dress. Which don't get me wrong - I love - but was rather safe for her.
M: But I did love that gunmetal blue.

Okay! That's it for today's verbal Oscar unloading. We'll organize ourselves a bit and be back with our categorized recaps starting tomorrow! What did you think of the show? Billy Crystal: yea or nay? Winners and losers: agree or disagree?

Oscars Rehash-apalooza!

We're baaaa-aaaaack! A and I are definitely going to be doing our little awards show highlights with the creme de la creme: The Academy Awards.

However, we thought we'd start out by just posting our day's email exchanges in which we totally digested everything because we just had to get it all out of our systems before we could think clearly enough to organize our posts for the week. So here's how it went down (with a little editing for flow), and I've added in some photos for reference. Tomorrow we'll start with our recap run-down. I will break these up into separate digestible posts today, because it's a lot. We have a lot to say. Also, in case you didn't know, we are really good at this (especially the more shows we recap!)... so if you want to suggest someone pay us to do this, we'd be on board. Enjoy.

We started the morning here:

M: First of all, I almost started hysterically texting you last night (and thought better of it, and saved it for today) because I couldn’t handle how alien-esque Angie looked. SERIOUSLY. And had her body been a little more… healthy looking, she would have looked great! Because it was a great dress, great makeup, and great hair. BUT GIRLFRIEND!

To which A responded with this (A is in blue; my responses to A's comments are in purple below the pics):

A: Oscars! so much to digest.

I thought Octavia Spencer looked great, as usual (loved her speech - made ME well up!). I thought Melissa McCarthy looked terrible, as usual.

M: I missed her speech because I was coming home from the airport, but I thought she looked fabulous, and she’s just totally won me over. <side note: I apparently *forgot??* to comment back on Melissa McCarthy?! Note my appended comments below>

M: Okay, I'm going out on a limb here... I liked the color. But please, I don't know how many times we can say this: HIRE A STYLIST. YOU CAN AFFORD ONE NOW. Also on the good side, though: hair and makeup. Pretty.

A: I actually thought Cameron Diaz looked good - and usually i think she is a fugly mess.

M: I thought she looked fantastic. But I’m curious about what the hell she was doing there.

A: Kristin Wiig made some upgrades too, although her boobs still look squished/strange.

M: She looked good, because she’s pretty, but yes, DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE BOOB SITUATION, LADY! I also wish she’d done a little more with her hair, perhaps.

A: I really liked Maya Rudolph's dress, but thought her hair did not go well with the dress - both were independently pretty.

M: (I couldn't remember this, so I had to look it up before commenting back later, at which point I said:) Also, I totally agree with you re: Maya Rudolph.

A: I loved Gwyneth's white dress. It was plain and simple but I liked it. Holy J.Lo!

(don't get yourselves in a tizzy -- we have extended commentary re: GP later, so there's a better photo coming)
M: Gwyn: best-dressed contender, I would say. She looked fabulous. All around. Dress was great, hair was simple and complementary, body looked SICK good. J.Lo… oh, J.Lo.

A: I wasn't a fan of Angie. I liked her dress, but like you said, she is wasting away. I thought her hair looked bad.

(can we talk about this pose that she had to do all night?!)

M: Go away you two. When Billy Crystal was doing the “what are they thinking” thing and it went to Brad Pitt, I was like, 'You look offensive. Move on, Billy.' Then when Natalie Portman did her Brad intro before the Best Actor award, I was like, 'Why does he have to pretend he’s so humble.' I wish these two would just “retire” like they keep threatening to do, so we can stop talking about them already.

A: What did you think of Rooney Mara? I can't decide. On one hand, I like it, but on the other, I don't like the mid-boob ruffle.

M: I don’t like it. I feel like it tried too hard. It had good potential, but it just didn’t pull through. For me, at least. Also, I feel like her styling and her dress didn’t fit – her hair (bangs) is too edgy to pull off such a feminine dress… she should have pulled her bangs to the side, or something… so that her hair/face looked softer with it. Look at me go!

A: What about Stacy Keibler? I thought it was a great color on her, but not a fan of the actual dress.

M: Loved the color… hair/makeup looked great. Boobs McGee, though. <side note: I realize this photo doesn't verify the "Boobs McGee" comment, but there was a moment in the telecast when the camera panned over to them and she was sort of leaned over strangely, and they just looked uncomfortably smooshed together and too high.>

Okay, our conversation continues shortly. Did you watch the Oscars? Did you participate in an Oscar Pool? I did - and I won! Woot!

23 February 2012

Aging Beautifully

Do you use a night cream?

One of the most drilled-into-me lessons I got from my Grandma was related to skin care. She'd sit me down on the edge of her bed, facing her vanity, as she got ready when I visited, and repeat the following mantra: "You MUST put lotion on your face, neck and ears every morning when you wake up and every night before bed. THAT is the secret to beautiful, youthful skin." I literally got that lesson on every visit. And to her last day, truly, my Gram had the most beautiful, softest, wrinkle-free skin you ever saw. So I take that lesson to heart.

There was a turning point in my skin-care regime five or six years ago when I realized I couldn't rely exclusively on my youthful vigor anymore. I adopted and have remained true to a routine that includes day lotion with SPF, eye cream, and night cream, as well as super hydrating lip care. I don't go a day without my morning routine, but I must admit that I'm less consistent in the evenings. This is mostly due, I think, to the fact that I haven't found a night cream that I love. I've tried lots of different store-bought brands, and samples from name-brand lines, and just can't land on one I can stick with. They either feel too heavy for night, or a bit oily, or they're too fragrant -- none of which I can handle as I try to get to sleep (also, regarding fragrance, my husband would be grossed out by heavy scents at night, and he wouldn't hesitate to tell me so in the kindest of words).

So I come to you, friends... do you use a night cream? What do you recommend? I'm open to any and all recommendations, and would love your input. Pharmacy? Makeup counter? What's your go-to? Actually, I'll take any skin care recommendations... I'm interested to know what you do to keep your pretty faces so pretty.

Thanks! Now comment away!

21 February 2012

What I'm Reading Now: February 21, 2012

Actually started this last week, but the photo I self-snapped was not so flattering, so I decided to try again this week.

Yes, I'm late on this series, I know. But I usually hesitate on books that "everyone's reading" and these just didn't call to me. Then suddenly they did. Flew through the first one, and now sucked right into #2. Did you read this series? Did you see the movie(s)? What are you reading these days?

13 February 2012

More Paper Love

I hate to reveal this one, because, well, it's so freaking great I want to keep it all to myself, but that's not right, or mature, or fair, because, well, it's so freaking great. So-- YOU'RE WELCOME. Seriously, though... for Valentine's Day or any other reason, this might be the best way to tell your friend how great she or he is. Check this card out:

Remember the "Best Friends" friendship necklaces from childhood - one half of the heart to each pal? Well, here they are in a cute, sweet, contemporary card, thanks to the paper genius pair of Lisa and Jen of FareWell Paperie (shop on Etsy). I seriously think this might be the best paper-related idea ever, and as in love with it as I am, I'm also kind of annoyed I didn't think of it first.

You just write on the back of one half of the card and give or mail it off to your buddy, then she/he carefully separates the cards along the perforated edge, keeps her/his half, and gives/sends you back a sweet note on yours! Perfection, right?!

And the rest of the items in their little shop are equally delightful. Trust me. Or don't, but that would be silly.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my beautiful friends tomorrow. I love you more every day.

08 February 2012

Who Wants to Make Me Some Pillows?

Or, fine, I'll just order some. But here's where this all started...

I'm in love with so much of Jonathan Adler's designs, it's borderline frightening. I've never indulged, but I want so many of his pieces so much that when I see them my tummy hurts. Recently I walked by the JA Chicago store, and saw these lovelies in the window display:

Logically, I fell in love. (see what happened there? like that "falling in love" play on words? it's clever, but also true.) I want to add them to our daybed, which doubles as a comfy lounging couch, in our multipurpose second bedroom. Alas, I just cannot justify a splurge on these, as much as I love them. So I need another solution. My sister in-law suggested scouring Etsy. Here are a few possibilities:

(here, also available in capital letters, as seen here)
Where else should I look? Or is anyone reading this crafty enough to create some magic for me? Or should I just splurge? No, I daren't! Dare I?

02 February 2012

What I'm Reading Now: February 2, 2012

Well, it took me the entire month of January to read The Marriage Plot, so according to Good Reads, I'm one book behind if I want to meet my goal of 25 for 2012. <shakes fist at The Marriage Plot>

Anyway, so now I'm reading two books, not because I'm forcing myself to catch up, but because I am. Bloodroot is for my online book group, and the other, is... just other. And also, Thank You Again, A. You rule.

And yes, I sure did get my nails did yesterday, thanks for noticing!

What are you reading now?

01 February 2012

Best Pal

Today is my sweet dog's "birthday." It's not her birthday, but her "birthday." And she's turning five-ish. We hit the lottery four years and two months ago when we picked up our sweet girl (from this amazing shelter here in Chicago), and she's been the best pal either of us could ask for! She was about 10 months old that day, so we counted back 10 months and called February 1 her "birthday" from then on. I know every dog owner says it, but seriously, there's not a better dog and furry companion to be found on the planet. We often joke that all of our luck went into our dog, and nothing else will ever work out as well for us in life, and that's okay. Our sweet Lanie (full name Penny Lane) is truly one of the coolest and greatest animals around, and she totally deserves the Dairy Queen delight she'll get in celebration of her "birthday" later this evening!

Do you celebrate your pets' birthdays? Do your pets have great names? I love pet names. There's a little puppy French bulldog in our 'hood named Gary. Every time I see him I crack up. Lanie is Lanie because she was "Bailey" in the shelter, and she was fairly well-trained by that name, so we wanted to keep the vowel sounds and syllables the same to ease her transition. How do you name your pets?

Happy Birthday, Best Dog Ever!

(now indulge me in a photographic tribute to the aforementioned best dog ever)

(still such a sweet pup after all this time! seriously, how cute is my girl?!)