Monday, April 30, 2012

White House Correspondents Dinner 2012

DC was buzzing this weekend with the one event that draws in all the stars in their red carpet finery.  The White House Correspondents Dinner!  Also known as the "Nerd Prom" in the blogosphere -- which I highly resent!  Why can we not have a fashionable event that honors more than just the same old entertainment standards?  Adding in some journalists and politicians is exciting to me.  One can get really tired of the consecutive award show red carpets in which the honors and awards begin to overlap and who is wearing who starts to get a bit boring...  Combining fashion, celebrities, journalists, news personalities and politicians is anything but nerdy, it's downright fabulous!  After all, they're not slow dancing to the Star Wars theme music (which I also think would be pretty cool... ah, my inner nerdlinger cannot be silenced).  There!  I said my part and can move on.

The amount of celebs attending and wearing beautiful gowns was a sight to see.  And there were so many wonderful fashion choices! As well as a couple of misses here and there. but overall, everyone seemed to look very well put together and styled to perfection.  It's so exciting for us DC fashionistas since this doesn't happen every day!

Check out the slide show below.  Apparently black was the most polar choice, followed by green, white and red, with a few embellished dresses, silver, blue, prints, pastels and brights thrown in for good measure.  And yes, I do realized the pictures below include both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanssen attending from different years.  Let's get this show on the road!

I realize these pictures are a bit on the teeny side so feel free to click on them to get a larger view in Polyvore! Also of note, these photos on Polyvore were mostly provided by Getty and Just Jared.  Happy viewing. 

Lovely Ladies in White: Look at these gorgeous gals. Check out the sweet and sexy white satin number Claire Danes is wearing. It's fitting that she is attending this event since her series Homeland (which I've recently discovered and am now hooked on!) is based in the DC area.  Eva Longoria is fresh and sweet in her cocktail length dress and up-do.  Kate Upton (of Sports Illustrated fame) is still sexy in a toned down, long sleeve gown and balances out the demure look with leaving her hair down. Great choice.  Malin Akerman takes a risk with an oddly shaped boob-cup bodice, but I love how the bottom of the dress fits her shape.  I know she doesn't have gigantic boobs, but that neckline is killing me!  I just think it would be a lot better if she didn't have that huge space between the boobs showing.  That's just a super wide expanse of real estate there...   Just my two cents. But I do like that look she was going for with a slightly more tailored/less plunging neckline...  Just an inch more material covering the very open middle area...  That's all!  Of course Ginnefer Goodwin is going to take a more fashion-forward (is that what you would call it?) approach.  She seems to accomodate her style for those who really appreciate a more editorial fashion approach (Thank you Project Runway, Tyra Banks and the Devil Wears Prada (both the movie and book) for teaching me so much about fashion and about editorial versus commercial).  Her dress is a bit bridal (Actually this might inspire a whole new crop of ruffled bottom high neck dresses!) but I really like it.  This dress may actually be a bit more gray in person but it reads white in pictures.

Basic Black:  Black was in and I must say these ladies rocked it!  Of note, Both Reese Witherspoon and Anna Paquin are looking gorgeous and, might I add, pretty slim in their black gowns although they're both expecting (babies!). They are definitely doing a great job at selecting the right gowns for their growing figures.  Sofia Vergara, Charlise Theron and Elle Macpherson are looking gorgeous as usual.  Goldie Hawn is rocking a cute little stole over her shoulders which I think is great for her age, not wanting to show too much although she definitely could.  Even Lindsay (Lohan) is trying! Keep on going girl!  It's going to be a long way back to restoring what she lost of her "star power" with her antics in the past few years but she's doing OK so far.  Baby steps girl, baby steps...  And then there is Sigourney Weaver...  She pretty much kicked butt in Alien and Aliens so I can give her a pass, but not without at least saying "C'mon! You can do better!"

Green with Envy:  These dresses are pretty much OKon all four ladies from the front view. But looking at Kim's from the back (no, not just because of her booty! sheesh!) and Rosario's from the side view, these two actually look a lot more figure flattering.   In the front shots of these two, I thought that Kim's was kinda of blah, and the middle part of Rosario's dress had a stuffed sausage vibe going on, which is ridiculous because she has a FABULOUS figure and beautiful face.  I wish Rosario would wear her hair a different way though.  And in case you're wondering who the other two are, that's Gayle King on the far left and Rashida Jones on the far right.

UPDATE:  Okay now seeing Rosario's dress again on the show Fashion Police on E!, I realized that she is showing way-ay-ay-ay too much cleavage for that to be appropriate for a White House dinner event, or really, for any red carpet event.  The girls look almost alien!

Ravishing in Red: These ladies all rocked this color.  Although Kris Jenner's hair is doing its own strange standing up on its own thing, I like the red dress on her.  Viola Davis and Elizabeth Banks rocked this color and their looks. Both dress shapes work for their bodies.

And the Rest:  Kate Hudson, Dakota Fanning, Ivanka Trump, Zooey Deschanel, First Lady Michelle Obama and Kerry Washington are stunning.  I would copy any of these ladies styles and know I got it right!  Barbara Walters did pretty well too and looks great for her age. I mean really, she's been a household name for years before I was even born.  She picked a good color and style for her body too!  Alicia Keys is just a gorgeous woman but her look was a little too casual for me.  Sorry girl!  I still love your voice!  I can't forget the cute little dog -- you're workin' that scarf pup!

Finally check out some of the night's super hot men! Stephen Moyer (I love him as Vampire Bill on True Blood and when he utters "Sookie" in that really low voice...oh boy!), Jimmy Kimmel, and our Commander in Chief all rock a traditional black tux.  Although I love Gorgeous George's look with the slim black tie.  He always manages a classic debonair style that's effortless.  Here, he looks like he is having a blast.  Of course I had to include a photo of Kim with Kanye, which was taken the day after.  He definitely owns his personal style.  I like the casual urban vibe he's wearing for a day out with his lady!

So what do you have to say about the so-called "Nerd Prom?"  Nerdy? I think not!  This event oozes all that style and grace which is to be expected when stars from different worlds collaborate for a unique affair.  You can learn more about this history of this event here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Great Looks for a Daytime Gathering

The warm weather and flowers blooming has put me in the mood to put together some cute dressy and dressed up day to night looks for the spring/summer months.   While I created these looks with specific occasions in mind like a summer wedding, a brunch date, a gathering with girlfriends etc., they are versatile enough for numerous occasions, and not just in the daytime.

Spring and summer often evoke a casual vibe so I always like to find looks that are a bit more casual but can be dressed up with shoes, bags and jewelry!

Because these looks do not include a list of items with information on where to get them,  you're welcome to click on the collage you are interested in and will be redirected to my collage page in which the items are listed.

As you can see above, I picked out two of the coral color blocked dresses from the color blocking post to put together a sweet look for a summer wedding.  Actually my sister gave me this idea when she saw the color blocked dresses post and found a great dress to wear to a summer outdoor wedding in the Catskills.   Add in nude wedge heels, a nude shawl for the evening chill and a neutral bag in a black or nude, and you are the most stylish and put together guest at that wedding!  Thanks for reading sis! 

Check out the second look with the color blocked dress and nude accessories.  I love pairing it with some simple gold studs and a bright but not matchy cuff.  This look is effortless, put-together and right on trend for any of the more dressed up events.  You can even change the pumps out for nude or neutral flats or sandals to attend a summer outdoor concert, as we have in D.C. with the Jazz in the Garden concerts where the National Sculpture Garden holds free concerts every Friday evening in the summer time.  They also include food and sangria for a price.  It is a wonderful way to get together with friends after work and start a relaxing weekend off right!

I loooooved that mint peplum skirt so I had to build and outfit around it.  According to Vogue Magazine, which I now get for free (more on that later), mint was in for the spring!   I can see this color transitioning into summer by adding a bright coral/orange blazer.  I also love the neutral aspect of the gold foil floral tee and the nude mary jane pump.  This outfit could do double, triple, or even quadruple duty being appropriate for work (at least in my business casual environment), going out on the weekends, dressed up for a date or even to a casual outdoor summer wedding!  As I said earlier, I just LOVE that skirt!

I also love the look of cobalt blue and yellow, however, as the model in that still also paired her look with red heels I thought that was a bit too much of the primary colors, which are so bright on their own that only Snow White could pull off the yellow, blue and red look!  Actually, I know this from practice as I planned to dress up as Snow White for Halloween (insert irony here because my skin is so tan!) and those colors DO NOT WORK for anyone!  Trust me, it's better in a picture than on a person. My roommate at the time, who was a lot closer than myself to the Snow White's skin tone wouldn't even try that costume on!  But I digress.  I love the short sleeve blue dress from Anthropologie.  A friend of mine had actually tried this on a couple of months ago when we went shopping there and I tried so hard to convince her to buy it because it was so fitting with her personality and style, it was interesting because of the woven-like texture of the material, and so sweet because of the flattering shape.  Paired with a yellow blazer and yellow wedge heels, blue-toned bangles, and a gold bag or earrings and one is ready to hit the town for any dressy occasion.  Dinner at Blue Duck Tavern or 1789 anyone? 

The floral dress paired with the bright red heels can be a sweet look for a trip to the Kennedy Center, a nice dinner date, or even a summer wedding look.  I love that the floral pattern is really prominent on the dress and then picked up in the shoe and accessories.

Finally, I found an adorable nude colored dress and paired it with colorful accessories and a bright green cropped blazer for a sweet summer lunch date look that could also work as a cute casual date night outfit. How about that House of Harlow necklace? AAA-mazing! Who knew Nicole Richie knew her stuff with accessories? 

What do you think of these looks?  Are there any favorite summer looks that you would include for a dressed up occasion in the upcoming warmer months?  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Trend: Fun With Color Blocking

Color blocking is everywhere this summer!  The best thing I like about this trend is that you can rock it as simple or as loud as you want.

Scope out these great new finds in all types of color combinations and figure flattering styles!  I love the fuchsia and purple Adrianna Papell dress.  I've also been eyeing that black, white and coral BCBG dress.  And I just love that coral, white and yellow dress from Mango.  The best thing about this trend is you can take a color blocked dress that's appropriate for work (i.e.  one that's at least longer than mid-thigh length, not too low cut and which doesn't show your bra) and also wear it out on the town or to a brunch date or gathering with your girlfriends.  All you need is the one right style that suits your own personal taste and lifestyle.  But that's up to you how you want to wear it and when.  There are numerous possibilities!

On Trend: Fun With Color Blocking

Vintage cocktail dress
$135 -

A Wear wrap dress
$58 -

Long dress
$78 -

Adrianna papell dress
$118 -

Aqua dress
$70 -

GUESS by Marciano shift dress
$113 -

JULIE DILLON chiffon dress
$168 -

Oonagh by Nanette Lepore knit dress
$228 -

Jessica simpson dress
$98 -

BCBG Max Azria sheath dress
$178 -

Charlie Jade silk dress
$158 -

Vince Camuto chiffon dress
$138 -

T shirt dress
$70 -

Miss Sixty mini dress
$55 -

Red dress
$51 -

Mango sheer dress
£43 -

Donna Morgan wrap dress
$168 -

Warehouse dress
$136 -

BCBG Max Azria a line dress
$168 -

Adrianna Papell sheath dress
$118 -

Madison Marcus short dress
$215 -

Halter dress
$89 -

Donna Morgan silk dress
$138 -

BCBG Max Azria evening wear dress
$248 -

Party dress
$58 -

Aqua dress
$78 -

Lipsy party dress
$59 -

Yellow dress
$54 -

Bcbg max azria dress
$238 -

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our Virtual Home

Looking at our condo, I realize how far we have gotten with furnishing and decorating and how far we still have to go.  Working strategically room-by-room, my husband and I have tirelessly put together our living room, bedroom, office and dining area, trying to get the big furnishings in place and still working on the details.  We also have a third bedroom that has yet to be touched except for storage of miscellaneous items, including artwork that still needs to be hung and our bikes.  In addition, there is plenty of empty wall space and lots of remaining furnishings to be purchased all over the place.  Since neither of us are great at DIY projects, our updates rely on saving enough money until we are ready to purchase the exact furnishings we have found by scouring catalogs and going through furniture stores.

This is our living room currently:

Why yes, that is a curious kitty entering my perfect shot on the bottom there!  In case you're wondering, that is some good ole  E! News on T.V.   You can make out Guilana Rancic a little better in the first shot. 

As you can see, right now it's fully furnished.  But we've found that the living room furniture, the couch, lounge chair, ottoman, end table and coffee table take up so much more space than they had previously done in my husband's apartment.  They're so big, only one end table fits in this room with this configuration.  The other end table with matching lamp to the one shown above has been annexed to the third bedroom until we can find a permanent home for it.  Also, the lovely indentations in the ottoman and on the top of the couch are due to the frequent cat napping in the same three spots.

A few things I love about this room are:
  1. The comfort
  2. The rug (a gift from my parents)
  3. The lamp
  4. The large windows
  5. The remote controlled gas fireplace
  6. The floor to ceiling windows and doors which exit to the patio
  7. The wall sconces
  8. The built in cabinets on either side of the fireplace
  9. And the open layout -- you can even see the open doorway to the second bedroom/office space right off the living area
While I love it overall, there are a few things I wouldn't mind changing in the future:
  1. Exchanging the glass top coffee and end table for round ones with non-glass surfaces -- I really love these tables and they look great, but the glass must be cleaned constantly from cat hair, dust, paw prints and fingerprints.  It is also not very kid friendly  (just thinking about the future!) with all those sharp edges.  And dust gathers like wildfire, which is very hard to get rid of completely because the glass shows every individual piece of dust we may have missed when the sun shines on it!
  2.  The window shades. I like them too but the minute we moved in they stopped working.  These would normally be the kind you could pull on and lock in place and then there is a small spot on the wall to tie up the remaining cord.  But the locking mechanism stopped working on the two in the living room so now we hold them in place by tying the cord around the hook on the wall.  Needless to say this is kind of a pain and the hook on the wall has been loosened several times by all the weight pulling on it and had to be refastened in the wall. 
  3. The over-sized leather couch and lounge chair.  While they are super comfortable, they've sustained many cat scratches over the years due to the kitties running and playing around on them, particularly the large ottoman, and they're just a bit too big.  If we did replace them though, a great thing about leather is that it is much easier to clean cat hair off of than any other material so another leather couch or chair in a slightly smaller size would definitely be an option.  That being said, I don't see this happening anytime soon.  These are just too good to give up and would be perfect for a man cave in any future home :)
  4. I'd also probably add in a cat friendly plant or two and a small console table under the second sconce.  It's so ridiculous to think how many plants are poisonous to cats and why they would still try to eat them!  How do these guys survive on the streets?  One of my cats gets riled up whenever I eat a spinach salad or fruit and has been known to get up on the dining table and eat part of a spinach salad when no one was looking until a guest pointed her out.  It was very funny and cute but very, very naughty!
As you can tell my design revolves a little bit around the cats because I have to account for the amount of hair and scratching furniture can sustain.  That being said, we always end up buying the things we really like regardless of the potential damage in the future, but that is always a consideration.  I mean, you can't account for everything or revolve your style around two little fuzzy napping vandals.

While playing around with interior design features, I found a template that looked a bit like our condo's living room.  Once I discovered this, I couldn't stop until I re-created a look similar to our place, with a few updates and changes here and there.  Notice the different furnishings below.  I also couldn't resist including a light fixture in the style that I loved but which my husband absolutely did not.  Since this is our virtual home, I had the only say in the design and I said this light stays!

What do you think of this virtual place compared to the real one?  I really love the gray couch, the white tufted chair and ottoman (if only they were cat hair/scratch proof!) and the lighting fixture!

Our Virtual Home

Vaughn Left Arm Corner Sectional Sofa
$1,499 -

Metropolitan Round Coffee Table
$40 -

Blossom Wall Art
$100 -

Metallic Vase Tan
$15 -

Flared Glass Hurricanes
$9.99 -

Cooper Small Vase
$9.95 -

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You Can Stand Under My Umbrella, Ella, Ella, Eh, Eh, Eh...

After enduring buckets of rain over the weekend and yesterday, I realized my practical rain gear needed an update.  I turned to to find some new styles in rain gear.

I have a fabulous practical black trench by DKNY from Macy's, a pair of black quilted rain boots by Naturalizer, and a large golf sized umbrella that's black with rainbow stripes from Target that I love, which also folds practically into a size I can carry in my purse.  When the weather is not only rainy but super cold and windy, I also have two back up coats with removable insulation.  One is a stone colored "Girl on the Go Insulated Trench" with a hood from Eddie Bauer that is great for work and the other is a North Face rain coat with an additional insulated jacket insert that you can zip in or out depending on how cold (or warm) it is outside.  The latter two jackets got a lot of use this weekend and on Monday, because baby, it was cold outside!

I'll be discussing The North Face rain coat in a separate, later post.  For now I'm sticking to the stone colored trench from Eddie Bauer.  This was my "dressed for the weather and ready to commute" look yesterday morning:

With my rain boots, I was thinking this look was a bit "heavy" or "bulky" in appearance.  The boots didn't necessary balance out with the jacket, which was not very fitted, even though when I had bought it, I got the smallest size available.  As you can see above, I stick to neutrals a lot.  Also, in case you are wondering, I took the picture of myself off of a floor length mirror on our closet door--hence the trusty camera phone in the picture.  I also realized that, while there was a 100 percent chance of rain yesterday, there wasn't exactly a downpour in the morning so I might not need the rain boots after all.  Especially if I didn't venture out much during the day.  Actually, it is a truth universally acknowledged that when I don my rain boots when it is not raining at the moment, there will likely be little to no rain to wear the boots in.  (Got in a little twist on my girl Jane Austen there for all you classic English literature fans! Boo-ya!)

So to balance out the outfit (I admit, I consider these things like "balancing out my outfit" before I get ready to step out the door... also smelling nice and remembering to put on deodorant are on that list), I changed my shoes to some fairly water proof flats.  At least they are water proof when I don't step in large puddles of water, which happens when I forget I am not wearing my rain boots that can withstand raging streams!

Here's the outfit after I did my balancing act:

Whew! That's a lot better... and more balanced!

Finally satisfied, I stepped out the door with my trusty umbrella from Target, my Eddie Bauer coat and my tights and flats (and of course I'm also wearing clothes underneath).  And what do you know?  I barely got caught in any rain, but there was a whole lot of cold and wind going on.  When did it start being OK for Mother Nature to screw around with us give us gorgeous 70 degree sunny days and then bring in cold 40 degree, rainy weather so that we have to run for the puffy coat?  It's not right I tell you. Not right at all...

Anyhoo, I got inspired to take a look at what options are out there for looking cute while protecting yourself from Mother Nature's cruel sense of humor and found a ton of cute rain weather gear on that fits with sporty, girly, trendy and work appropriate styles.   This inspires me to be more creative when dressing for the rain.  I had no idea Anthropologie carried rain flats and rain wedges!  They're super cute! I'm not too sure about the peep toe in the rain wedges though.  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of keeping rain out?

I also love a classic tall rain boot, and even more so when it comes with a wedge heel.  Check out the finds below and see what inspires you!  Don't forget to click through the slide show to see the outfits I put together with these great finds.