Everything’s Bigger (or Tighter) in Texas!

It’s the first full weekday in my new town of Dallas. I’m thrilled, I’m warm, I’m a little tired, and mostly I’m just excited about the fashion. Joshy and I went out to dinner with some (new) friends on Saturday night. I decided to rock my neon pink jeans because I didn’t know how AC-ed the restaurant would be. Let’s just say this. I am NEVER wearing jeans on a Saturday night in Texas again. I looked cute, but everyone else looked cuter.

No, showing this much butt cheek is not unacceptable down here. Well, as long as your butt looks like hers!

It wasn’t just about the big hair (that I am loving, and trying to emulate in my own small way.) There is also a major need to show your bod down here, and I’m into it. All the girls had on super-tight, short dresses, or dangerously low-cut rompers, or very loud ruffly dresses and sky-high heels. And perfect coifs, fake lashes, the works. It’s so fabulous.

Floral stretch mini’s are a major part of the regional charm. i could get down with that!

A typical day dress is feminine with a good shape. And makeup and hair are important at all hours here.

And while I’m not planning to give up my boho sensibilities, I feel totally cool about playing into the local trends and pushing my limits a little. Of course, my abs need some work before I can bare all in a body-con mini, but hey… when you have a pool at your apartment building, don’t you kind of have to start thinking about your abs anyway?

Ok, so when I start looking like this (thanks to the bridal diet, it might happen!), I will rock the body con dresses at night.

Resolutions for a New Me

Do you all feel the pressure? It’s the first week of the new year and it’s time to assess what mistakes we’ve made and figure out how to make better choices in 2012. My personal resolutions follow a new and different trend this year than last. Before, I was very concerned with eating in a healthier way, drinking plenty of water, and spending more time listening than speaking. I’m glad I made those decisions at this time last year, and they’ve certainly paid off. I’ve lost some weight, am feeling generally healthier, and have forged new friendships with amazing people due to my adherence to the listening plan.

But this year–can I say this??–it’s more about me. I am ready to embrace the things about myself that I want to improve for personal gain. I hate to really admit this in a public space, but I have (finally) realized after a slew of downs (yes, there were ups, but mostly there were downs in 2011), that I need to commit to myself or no one else will. It is time to kick that novel into high gear and get it done. It is time to moisturize every single night without making a single excuse. It is time to preserve myself even if it means cutting out people who are not there for the right reasons.

On New Year’s Eve and in the days before, I spoke to many people who were absolutely certain that this year is going to better than the last. Socially, economically, personally. Whichever motivations fuel you, you should follow them. You should believe wholeheartedly that this is your year. I know that this is my year, and I am going to do whatever it takes to shine. Not for anyone else, but for the girl in the mirror. It’s time for me to make me proud. I hope you all are working diligently on your own dreams, and remembering that you owe yourself the best that you have. If you build it, they will come. Let’s build it. This is our year.

Post-Present Melancholy

Chrismy has come and gone, and I’m tired and a tad too “well-fed.” The good news is that I got some majorly great presents over the past few days, and I’m really excited about all of them. And while we’re no longer kids, there still is that deflated feeling lingering after all the packages have been opened, and the promise of Christmas morning is gone. How to beat the blues? Enjoy the stuff you have!

Ah, the glory of opening presents under the tree!

This morning I got my Kindle Fire (thank you, Joshy) all sorted out, buying a few books on there to keep me entertained on the train, starting some Words with Friends games, and so on. I’ve been wearing my new earrings and sweaters from Mom, and I put the cash from Dad toward the last bits of my debt. Everything else has been folded, organized, hung on the wall, or otherwise incorporated into my real life. This way, the presents have started to feel like things I own and not just items in boxes wrapped up in love.

The next step is creating a list of everyone who gifted you, and writing thank-you notes. Nothing says “I love you” like a hand-written card explaining how meaningful each individual gift was. Furthermore, you relive the opening of every present as you pen these notes. I find it very cathartic.

Finally, remember that the revelry is not over. New Year’s Eve will be here soon, and in the meantime, there are plenty of great sales and ample excuses to get manicures and other fun treats. Relax this week. Remember the true meaning behind all of this “holiday” madness–friends, family, and love. And enjoy those presents! They were given to you for a reason, and that reason also stems from love.

Heaven on 14th Street

A friend and fellow writer, the lovely Jennifer Rice, sent me in for a very special birthday surprise last week. I arrived at the Face Place and was welcomed by an uber-relaxing, lovely white space filled with smiling people. There was absolutely no wait time–I had barely turned back the cover of Cosmo before my name was called and I was ushered back to begin.

What followed was the most luxurious, relaxing hour and a half of my life. Aesthetician Angela gave me a facial that took my combination, acne-afflicted skin from sad to glowing like a teenager’s. Erica worked my rough end-of-summer feet from please-hide-me status to fresh, smooth and lovely. Oh, and did I mention that while you rest (yes, I literally passed out during the extractions of my facial. That’s how gentle Angela is!), your pedicure and manicure are happening simultaneously.

Peridot, one of the amazing fall colors from Chanel. Chanel.com, $25

When I awoke, I found my tootsies done up in the latest Chanel greeny-gold, my finger nails a beautiful taupe by Butter, and my skin absolutely flawless, dewy, and not even red. If you treat yourself to one special thing this fall, loves, it should a facial-mani-pedi at the Face Place in the meatpacking. And tell them Jensy sent you!

Full of Lace

Thank you lookbook.nu

The word is out: this season’s go-to fabric of choice is lace. And aren’t you lucky that it looks good on everyone, and can be found within every budget? Flipping through all the September magazines, it’s hard to find one not featuring a lace story. I’ve always been a girly girl and am thrilled to know that I’ll be on-trend while rocking one of my favorite fabrics this fall. Let’s discuss.

Get Leggy

Elegance is easy when you throw a cotton dress on with lacy leggings or tights. Here are some high-low options:

Reach.

Kiki De Monparnasse nuit lace leggings, shopbop.com, $495

Reality.

American Apparel stretch floral lace stirrup legging, americanapparel.com, $42

Long Story Short:
A long sleeved mini dress will always work, and this seasonless classic goes day-to-night effortlessly.
 
Reach.

Marchesa embellished stretch-silk and lace dress, net-a-porter.com, $3,995

Reality.

Rare 60's lace swing dress, asos.com, $102.45. Leggings or black tights could turn this into a dress instantly. Gorgeous! And red lace is all the rage.

Top it Off:

If you’re a shy girl, you can rock the trend with a simple lacy top. Here are some ideas.

Reach.

Ladylike and glamorous with a vintage feel. L'Wren Scott houndstooth lace shirt, barneys.com, $1,875

Reality.

O'Neil truly blush pink lace top, lulus.com, $46

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...

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.

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.

New obsession: Need Supply Co.

"Un Peu De Femme" one current lookbook theme at Need Supply Co

The little bro and I have a push-pull teasing scheme set up around our respective shopping issues. He’s been known to breeze into Barneys after a bad (or good!) day, and clean up with a few hundred tossed carelessly onto his store charge. Recently, after a particularly disapproving comment from yours truly, he retorted that I do just as much unnecessary damage, I just tend to stick to the comfort of my computer. Talk about an “A-ha!” moment; the kid was right. I’m a bona fide online shopping junkie and my click control hovers dangerously on the edge. Trolling the internet in search of designer goods for less, or big sales at Urban or American where I don’t need to feel guilty in the slightest is a treasured pastime of mine. What’s a dot-com shopaholic to do? Only go clicking on a set schedule: the first Monday of the month, for example. Shop brands you’re familiar with–at least vaguely. Size up if the damn reviews tell you to. And most importantly, find a site you can actually (for the most part!) afford. My new obsession: needsupplyco.com.

The super-cool site pulls from a smattering of designers at the low end of the price spectrum, offering awesome duds that won’t break the bank. Everything is crafted with exceptional, expensive-looking details and it’s all directly on trend. No matter what current favorites are on your must-buy list, I guarantee you will find it here for less than you were planning to spend. The best part about the site is its offbeat, vintage-inspired blog that serves as an endless source of fashion-world info, bits and bobs of interest, and beautiful photos. Here are some of my top picks from Need Supply Co.’s current collections. What are yours?

My Pet Square "Cry Baby" dress in pale pink silk, ON SALE for $122

Aztec scarf, $20

"Dahlia" red suede pump by Dolce Vita, $115

Long Sleeve Sheer Button shirt, $44.

Crew neck cotton dress with longer hem in back by LNA, $140.

I was born in the wrong era

Recently, Josh and I read a book together. It was fun having our own little book club and sharing ideas about the characters and themes as we went. But mostly it was enjoyable because the book was set in the late 1960’s, a time that feels very close to my soul. Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” is the story of her special friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, following them through back alleys at grimy-chic hotel rooms of Manhattan in 1967 and beyond. As Patti and Robert work on their respective crafts, smoke cigarettes, and explore New York, stars like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Jimi Hendrix weave their way into the cloth of this rare story. I could not put the book down, filled with a glittering nostalgia that doesn’t really belong to me. I know Josh felt it too.

Patti Smith, shot by Robert Mapplethorpe

Growing up, my mom held onto her favorites from a bygone era; it was the late ’80’s but her loyalty was with Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and their cronies. Though it had moved from records to cassette tapes (and later, to CD’s), this became the music of my childhood. I remember vividly the draping silks and velvets, the strands of beads and pearls, and the dotted cotton voiles that comprised my dress-up duds. Mom’s most treasured outfits from her college days and the years that followed in New York became the stuff of my childhood, and I loved it all dearly.

Warhol gives Debbie Harry a touch-up, 1970's.

My first college course was an intensive workshop on Andy Warhol, taught by a contemporary of and expert on the artist (who had also taught my dad, back in ’72). Of course we learned about Warhol’s beginnings and every step that took him from corporate commissions in the 1950’s to artistic actualization and the complications therein. But it was the stuff of the late 1960’s through the mid-70’s that really struck me and fired me up for a string of some of the best papers I believe I’ve ever written. The Warhol seminar was an enriching class and a perfect way to set the tone for the next four years of my life, making my own choices out in the world. I also would feel continuously connected to my parents over that period of time, as I started my days, sat through classes, and sipped cheap wine in the same buildings they had, and as I explored the same rivers, small towns, and mountains of Vermont that had been their backdrop during college in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.

The easy, organic beauty routines of this time are part of what I love most. Ali McGraw, 1970

The stories that have always moved me the most are set in the time between 1968 and the mid-70’s where I picture a blur of long, wavy hair, the crooning of some uber-talented twenty-something paired with the strumming on a guitar, dark rooms, bright summer days, and love. I reference much of my personal fashion and beauty choices off of this period as well; whenever I get close to looking like Mom did in ’74, I feel a surge of cool wash over me. I almost feel like I remember this time, though of course I do not. But today, cueing up my iPod, it’s almost always the stuff I turn to first. Joni’s Blue, Joan’s Diamonds & Rust, Simon & Garfunkel, Lennon, and more. They may not be my own memories, but they sure have impacted more than just their own generation. If you were born in the wrong era too, I suggest you pick up “Just Kids” today, and catapult yourself back to where you belong.