Hurricane Chic

Friends, I’m BACK! It was a rough weekend on Long Island but I was glad to be hunkered down with some of my favorite people. Mom baked little peach pies before we lost power, and we stocked up on plenty of alcohol and other nonperishables.

Twapped!

A giant tree was struck by lightning and fell, blocking our driveway. When the police commissioner came to tell us we couldn’t leave the house for a few days, we broke out the pipecleaners and the beads, the books and the paper cups and decided to have a little party. Charades by candlelight can be more fun than you think. Living in sweats was pretty fab, too.

Here are some of our best shots. Send me yours!!

We gathered candles from around the house–47 in all–and this created a lovely atmosphere for parlor games.

As some of you are aware, I have hoarding tendancies. This weekend trapped at Mom’s house allowed me some time to clean out the closet, and two of my best girls scored tons of new duds!

Lanz in a white maxi from the Jensy Collection

Our neighbor-turned-hero hopped the fence to bring over strong Indian coffee and showed us how to heat up milk on the stove with a match. Thank goodness, because being stuck in a house with your family for a few days can be tough without caffeine!
 

Our Lady of Polka Dots enjoys some coffee on the back porch post-storm

There was also plenty of time to play with makeup, and baby bro even let us have fun doing his eyes!

Note my pipecleaner bracelet (thank you Di), and self-braids. And scary old polo shirt from God knows where...

Snake? Charmer!

I must admit to a harrowing fear of slithery creatures. My one concession is these Coach shoes from a few seasons back that I do admit to loving.

My beloved Coach sandals

But this fall, it seems python is everywhere, so it might just be time to suck it up. Admittedly, the pattern is beautiful and flatters most skintones. Furthermore, snakeskin prints work in a variety of mediums from skirts and dresses to shoes, bags, and more. But what about the whole cruelty factor? (And the general sense of ick that goes with actually wearing a snake).

I’m really digging the latest from All Saints, where the python aesthetic comes not from actual skins, but careful bespoke embellishment from dyes, sequins and expertly done beading. Amazing, no? The collection features beautiful skirts, dresses, tops, and accessories to fit and flatter every girl. Here are some highlights from the Fall Winter 2011-2012 lookbook. Hisssss.

 
For the girl who wants to flaunt her gams:

Embellished python skirt, allsaints.com, $270
If you’re ready to take a walk on the wild side, but want to keep the fit loose and funky: 

Embellished python tee, allsaints.com, $395

If you’re only willing to work it with a pop of snakeskin:

Python curse scarf, allsaints.com, Only available on the UK site

Canned

Ever just want to say “f-all” and do your hair up in Diet Coke cans like Miss Gaga did last spring? I know it’s been a while since our Lady of Pop debuted this crazy look, but I was thinking about it this morning while musing about my love of Diet Coke.

I drink two or three a day (sorry Mom, but that’s the truth) and it’s reached the point where even the sight of that familiar silver-black-and-red logo is comforting. I love the snap and hiss that occur immediately upon opening a fresh can, and I’ll settle for the soda fountain variety if nothing else is available. But to wear Diet Coke as a fashion accessory? Genius… still genius over a year later.

PS. Am seriously considering pink highlights. Methinks the big-deal corporate boyfriend might be a tad upset should I make that choice. Perhaps in a temporary capacity tied to that lovely excuse for pushing the fashion envelope we know as Halloween? Until then, I’ll be thinking it over with a Diet Coke in hand.

Hello, Kelli

Three years ago my dear friend and former colleague Kate introduced me to Calypso. A whimsical Upper-East-Side-Princess-Meets-Boho-Babe brand, I became completely enamored with the raw silks, cool jersey knits, tie dye patterns and bead details that comprised the breezy line. My instant favorite was a dress called Pazzi, a little silk shift that glinted and glimmered in the light, in a rainbow of inspired hues from turquoise to crimson, lavendar to white, black to cobalt and beyond. Universally flattering, the Pazzi makes everyone look tiny in some miraculous way I still haven’t figured out.

The Pazzi in one of several purples. Are you in love?

Kate owned the sheath in two stunning hues and, not to be outdone, I bought three. A shimmering blue-green, a cherry red, and the surprising favorite–crisp white. This was in 2008, and I still rock my seasonless Pazzi’s all the time. In the summer they look great against a tan with some gold sandals. In the fall, they work with a Frye boot. In winter, a pair of thick black tights, pumps, and a cashmere cardigan makes them a go-to. You get the idea. In fact, I see Pazzi’s all over town–from upscale restaurants to subway platforms, on young PR girls, stroller-pushing 30-something’s, and regal women in their 40’s and well beyond.

The best thing about Calypso was that they turned out these signature dresses every season, careful to appeal to their loyal customer but always branching out to bring a new demographic on board. For the past year or so, I’ve been saddened to see the affordable, precious, named little dresses all but disappear. They’ve had a few failed attempts at a revival to these signature looks, but this morning I was thrilled to discover a note in my inbox introducing me to the new Kelli.

The original Kelli in navy lace, calypsostbarth.com, $265

The previously existing Kelli is a cowel-necked, lacy delight with an ever-so-slightly cinched waist that falls just above the knee. Simple and sweet, it’s a crowd pleaser that works on everyone. This morning, Calypso’s mailer announced that Kelli now comes in my old favorite…. Velvet!!

calypsostbarth.com, $385

Yes, my loves, this delicious day-to-night dress is now available in the most cuddly-chic fabric there is. I love the three colors they have now–blue, “malt” (a toffee-tan), and “acai” (a rich, royal purple), but let’s hope they offer even more fun choices come fall. And, while this option is a little pricier than it’s lacy cousin, the beauty of a Calypso dress is that it is not only timeless, but expertly constructed. You will love–and live in–your Kelli for years. Happy clicking!

New Obsession: Cole Haan Fall Shoes

I will preface this one by telling you that I am not an ankle boot person. I find them wimpy, clunky, and frankly unflattering in most cases. Season after season, I’ve watched my friends and favorite fashion icons parade around in booties and thought,“Tsk, tsk.You think you look good, but you would look better in something else!”

colehaan.com, $328

Well, if anyone can prove a shoe girl wrong, it’s Cole Haan. This season, the brand puts forth stylish heels that ever-so-casually cling to the very fringe of booty-dom. I am obsessed. I nabbed these black ones the second day they entered stores and am literally counting down the minutes until I can finally incorporate them in an outfit. (Fall, I’m not quite ready for you, but with these shoes, I just might get there). In addition to black leather, they also come in “maple sugar suede,” a lovely brown leather, and a punchy blue suede. Talk about your blue suede shoes! But then…

colehaan.com, $328

Today, I was cruising the Teen Vogue blogs and came across these delightful eye-poppers from the brand. Directly on-trend with the laceless holes, Oxford aesthetic, and chunky heel, I love how the Cole Haan version pushes the envelope with these bold color choices. While they may not make for the same great long-term investment as my black ones, these are a conversation-starting pair that will brighten up your darkest fall day, and they’re comfortable to boot!

One Happy Hour that Will Make You Very Happy

I recently met an editor friend for drinks after work. My happy hour history is spotted with too-sweet margaritas, short glasses of crappy pinot grigio, and other sad favorites. Hey, if it’s cheap, it works, right? So, being a know-nothing on the topic of where is “good” for happy drinks, I was relieved when my friend suggested we head to Simone martini bar on First Ave and St. Marks Place.

Red, strong, delicious. The perfect $4 beverage!

This charming spot offers a proper happy hour menu including $4 well drinks, wine, sangria and beer; $5 martinis, cosmos, and more. Happy Hour is Monday-Thursday and Sunday from 2-7 pm midnight to 2 am, and Friday and Saturday from 4-7 pm. The perfect place for a summer evening, we sat outdoors and enjoyed a light breeze and the local color of passersby and their dogs, boyfriends/girlfriends, and experimental outfits. I savored two delicious glasses of red sangria and was in and out for about the cost of one pre-tax drink elsewhere in the city. Oh, and though we didn’t eat, the bites at adjacent tables looked delicious.

Easy tip: Make Your Lashes Last

For the wedding we attended Friday evening, Mama treated Pookie and me to professional eye makeup. It had sadly been a while since I’d had someone else do my makeup, and I was thrilled. After delivering lovely, demure smoky eyes to my mom and Pook, Rachel at R.J. West in Huntington asked me what direction I’d like her to take with my eyes. I told her not to hold back–the bigger the drama, the better.

What Rachel delivered was an absolutely gorgeous, shimmering pink-and-purple-and-gold smoky eye with false lashes in three different lengths that made my peepers look at once glamorous and ultra-sexy. Josh was swooning. Rachel warned me not to pull on the falsies and added that, if I took extra-special care of them, they could last up to a week. I decided to put her to the test. I’d never attempted to keep a temporary lash going longer than one night, so it’s been trial-and-error since Friday. Here’s what I found:

Rule #1: Leave your lashes alone!

The night of, I went home and washed the lower half of my face as usual. For the forehead, I utilized a gentle dabbing method so as not to have a river of water and soap running down towards my eyes. On me, shadow tends to melt away by the end of an evening, so to remove the rest was easy. I simply took a Q-tip and dabbed it in water-based eye makeup remover, applying it as you would an eraser to the remaining makeup left on my eyes. Basta!

Rule #2: Be a sleeping beauty

I tend to sleep on my stomach for two reasons–first, if I’m on my back the snoring keeps Josh up all night. Second, it’s more comfy than the side. But if you fall asleep on your stomach with false lashes on, you will wake up looking incredibly wonky. Try to fall asleep on your back. If you need to be on your side, move your pretty little face to the very edge of the pillow so that you can blink without feeling any lashes brush against anything more than air. Rest easy knowing your lashes will bounce back in the morning beautifully.

Rule #3: Shower with care

Steam from hot water can melt lash glue, leaving you with missing chunks. Yikes! I took a cool shower in the morning and kept my face away from the stream of water the entire time. Wait till after your shower to wash your face, so you can repeat the method detailed above.

Rule #4: Chill with the makeup

First, heavy liner atop false lashes is too much for day (even for this makeup buff). Second, the more makeup you apply, the more you’ll have to remove, which is risky when trying to keep your falsies intact. I left my top lids entirely alone, adding only some black pencil smudged along my bottom lid line, bronzer all around, and a smear of pink gloss. Perfect for day! If you must doll up in the evening, use a narrow line of black liquid liner on your top lid, and let it flake off naturally rather than using makeup remover at the end of the evening.

Rule #5: No tears! Crying will melt your lash glue and also lends to rubbing, blotting, and other non-lash-friendly gestures. It might sound vain, but when a family member made me so angry on Saturday I felt I might cry, I looked up toward the sky to keep the tears at bay and then focused on other things in the hope of keeping my lashes intact. It worked!

That’s about it! I’m on Day Four and going strong. Hope these easy tips work for you too! Have fun dolls.

What to Wear to a Wedding: Part Two

The verdict, after all, was that my dress was just this side of slutty. In order to avoid stares, baby brother suited me up with a gold and moonstone pendant on a gold chain and a dripping Chanel belt-or-necklace wrapped twice around my neck. He left this to dangle in the deep V of exposed skin and decided to leave my waves untended so as not to look too “done.” Talk about a stylist! This kid should charge.

Little floating CC's made for a perfect skin concealer and dressed up the outfit without drawing the attention away from my face. Pookie looked ravishing in a black silk chiffon number, dangling crystal earrings and her signature radiant smile.

What to Wear to a Wedding

A dear family friend is tying the knot with her longtime love tonight, and I can’t wait to watch the magic. The attire is cocktail, which should be a simple enough concept to navigate, but when you’re a clothing addict who tends to over-dress for every occasion, the possibilities are overwhelming.

Short and sexy yet easy to dance in? A-line and dramatic with a vintage flair? Backless but otherwise demure? Sigh. I’ve driven my Pookie (remember her? Best-friend-turned-sister-in-law) absolutely mad with phone calls and emails on the topic. I feel fairly confident that she’ll settle on her tiny go-to strapless Moschino worn and loved since college. But Jensy is at a loss. Oh, and far too broke to make a purchase.

Ali Ro dress, purchased on Gilt three seasons ago for about $100

While hunting around in my own closet, I found this little number. It does look smashing on the body, with a deep V in the front and some criss-cross action in back. I think this might be the choice. But, if I could buy something new, these would be the top picks.

(In ascending order, from doable to just-beyond-reach to all-out dream dress)

Little girl grows up in a gorgeous blue lace frock with Peter Pan collar. ASOS lace dress, asos.com, $77.58

Upper East Side party girl with a girly flair. Alice + Olivia ruffled one-shoulder cocktail dress, saks.com, $330
Elegant and lovely with a sheer panel and a sexy neckline. Temperley London, net-a-porter.com, $1,325.

And remember, dolls… only the bride wears white!

White Out

Misty New York weather means dreary attitudes, no? Manhattanites are so big on black and gray that when the sun is in hiding, these tend to be the first colors we turn to. I try to make an effort to turn the other color cheek, opting for bright pops of colors on days like this. However, to break my personal mold, today I have paired white skinnies with a long, sheer-at-the-bottom white top and my new gray-and-white Toms.

Why not stick out in a pale-on-pale combo? Here are some more white out options that are truly sublime for summertime.

This pretty young thing rocks a sweet lace dress and 80's-esque white power pumps to perfection. Love how she keeps it edgy with bright pink dipped hair and lips!

Feeling less ladylike and more punky? The great thing about all-white is, anything goes! Why not try a vintagey oversized silk blouse and little spandex shorts? Bonus: this pairing miraculously (and surprisingly!) hides a tummy and makes your legs look thinner. A win-win for whites!

This photo and the above borrowed from lookbook.nu