Friday, July 30, 2010

If your shoe collection numbers in the triple digits and you truly believe that flats are for quitters, then do I have a website for you.

I have fallen head over heels in love with Your Next Shoes. As if I needed any help eliminating my measly paycheck every other week, I now have a virtual assistant to help make the job a little easier. It primarily serves as a blog, but also includes recommendations, a style guide, and coupon codes. Not to mention, what seems like an enless collection of photos to sift through and drool over. It's like a haven from the real world for shoe lovers everywhere... and what more could a girl ask for?!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Be Devilishly Good Looking

Color me a big, fat dork, but I have been a huge Disney fan since birth. I am also a huge fan of MAC make-up. Can you guess where this is going?

If you hadn't put it all together, this fall, Disney and MAC have partnered to create the "Venomous Villians" collection, inspired by none other than the most infamous Disney criminals around. I have to admit, based on the photos, it looks like their typical fare with Disney stickers placed on the front. Will this stop me from making such a ridiculous purchase? Of course not! I will, however, be interested to see this in person once it appears on shelves on September 30.

To check it out from the LA Times, click here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Swoonworthy Wednesdays

Sometimes when Wednesday rolls around, you just don't have the energy to think of something exciting to say. Today is one of those days. Instead, I've decided to share with you some things that have captured my heart and my eye as of late:

1.) Chloe Fall 2010 RTW

I know that this entire line is more than slightly out of my price range, but that won't stop me from shopping... or drooling. (For more, check out A Glamorous Little Side Project-- one of my favie fave fashion blogs.)

2.) The Shanti Bhavan Children's Project

I am a huge advocate for the global education movement, and the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project is among the most successful and innovative programs around. Not only do they provide a home and an education to children from India's lowest caste, they do so from age 4 all the way through to college graduation. Incredible.

3.) "Eat, Pray, Love" Elephant Teapot from Cost Plus World Market

I'm still a little unsure about the total homogenization of a book that is so deeply introspective and spiritual. At any rate, if I'm going to buy in at all, it's going to happen for this adorable little teapot. (Erin, from the amazing Elements of Style blog, has a much more in-depth post to this effect.)

4.) This GORGEOUS Wedding Cake

A friend from high school was recently married and I have not stopped swooning over this beautiful PINK cake. Love, love, love.

5.) New Lululemon "Push Ur Limits" Tank

I know it's nothing short of ridiculous to spend so much money on clothes you'll only wear to the gym, but I love the way every piece I own from Lululemon seems to fit as if it were designed with me in mind with no awkward or uncomfortable adjustments necessary, no matter how sweaty the bikram class may get. This new tank is not only adorable, but super well-suited to those of us who may need a little more support on top.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lucky Magazine: August 2010

Isn't she beautiful? Well, yes, the girl-- but I'm talking about that bag!
I love Lucky Magazine. I've been pouring over her every word for nearly a decade now--I think it's getting serious. The interesting thing is... my personal style isn't always represented in Lucky. Some issues it seems as if every single piece of clothing, every lip color, every shoe, was chosen specifically with me in mind. Other times, I can't even imagine taking a second look at a single solitary item. Regardless, I love it and I look forward to its appearance in my mailbox each month.

Now...So, I mentioned (see: the cake) that my manfriend and I attended an engagement party last weekend. While we were sitting and chatting, a friend of the bride-to-be walked over to say her farewells... I was stopped mid-sentence by the incredible bag she was carrying. It was a small, ivory, almost-messenger back with these adorable and oh-so-preppy tassels. To. Die. For. Upon closer inspection, it looked as if it were pretty clearly a knock-off of a more expensive bag. I'm not what you'd call a label snob, but I do want things that are well-made. This had rings attaching the straps to the base of the bag that didn't close entirely, and hardware that looked as if it had been spray-painted. Up close, it was slightly disappointing, by I decided then and there to figure out who made the original and if I could ever, in my wildest dreams, afford it.

Lo and behold, I am flipping through Lucky Magazine and BAM! There it is. Designed by Coach (according to the photo). By this I gather that it is expensive, but not "keep dreaming, you-sorry-Chanel-wannabe" expensive. I am overjoyed.

That was four days ago. Here I am, a week after the original sighting, and I've spent nearly 48 hours trying to locate a retailer online who carries this unbelievable bag. Would you believe I can't find it anywhere? Not even the Coach website! I've googled, I've shopstyled, I even went directly to the Lucky website. Nadda.

I'm slightly heartsick. (In the way you can only be over a handbag, not a legitimately heartbreaking occurrence, of course.) Do you think I could place one of those "missed opportunity" ads on craigslist?

3 Best Books of 2010

Since we're still in that awkward "getting to know each other" phase, I should tell you that I am a voracious reader. While I do have a soft spot for a good bit of chick lit, I'll try just about anything once. That being said, the list below is a little bit surprising (no romance? no Manhattan-ites in shoes as expensive as some cars?), but really representative of the state of mind I've found myself in more often than not this year...

Half the Sky is just plain incredible. If you can finish this book without feeling compelled to race out your front door and start making a difference, you might want to head straight to the hospital. Your heart is no longer functioning. Seriously, though, as a young woman who has grown up with so many opportunities at her fingertips, it was incredibly eye-opening to realize what a privilege it is simply to be educated and independent.

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything was another inspiring read. As a graduate of a Jesuit college, I'm often drawn to studies of Ignatius and his particular variety of spirituality. It's so easy to get swept up in the hectic pattern of trying to juggle work and family and boyfriend and friends and the innumerable other commitments we face... I barely have time to get my jammies on at the end of the day before I face plant into bed. It's this lifestyle that lead me to fall head-over-heels in love with the Ignatian outlook-- a contemplative in action. If you find God in every dimension of your life, it makes feeling connected so much easier and, frankly, more real. Not to mention, there are some really cute annecdotes about his years in the priesthood and before.

Finally, The Happiness Project... I stumbled upon this book earlier in the year and I'm so grateful that I did. Fumbling through those first six months after graduation was about as awkward and uncomfortable as it sounds... what am I doing with my life?! Where am I going? Why aren't I a phenomenally successful and well-adjusted actress/business owner/writer/professional already?! It was easy to be critical in my own self-delusion. The Happiness Project helped me to recognize the tiny little victories and to see how easy it can be to enrich your daily life with just the slightest shift in perspective. When you begin to appreciate something as simple as a clean closet, the inconveniences you run up against seem so much less... insurmountable.

It's interesting-- there's a sort of theme here that ties each of these books together: finding perspective. Whether it be via our place in the world, our relationship with God, or our relationship with ourself, it's something you might need a little help with while you figuring out what you want from life and how you're going to go about getting there. If this sounds like something you can relate to, you should probably check these books out... and, heck, even if not!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything's right."

In this case, it's these lovely little darlings...

These babies are GORGEOUS... and what a sale! Run, don't walk, to buy yourself a pair!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Closeted Affections

As a recent college graduate and lover of all things Big Apple, I'll admit that I'm not unfamiliar with cozy (read: tiny) apartments. That being said... I can live with the miniscule kitchen and the barely there bathroom. My real envy for suburban life sets in when you open the closet door. How can a girl with so many accessories manage in a space that can barely fit a winter coat? Perhaps this is why I feel all warm and fuzzy when my favorite home magazines or TV shows feature beautiful closets... here are just a few of my favorites:

This is a lovely space that appeared in Country Home magazine. I love how "real" it feels... an actual closet as opposed to a set designed for the shoot (though I know so many of them are...).

This stunning closet appeared in Sunset Magazine. I don't know about you, but it's enough to make me want to move West.

From House and Home Magazine, a closet I can aspire to...

Last, but certainly not least, the beautiful closet of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City 2... hey, a girl can dream!

P.S. These photos were saved in a file on my desktop entitled "Beautiful Closets." If they previously appeared in your blog, let me know and I will happily credit you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Baking Beauty

I love to bake. I wouldn't say I'm a terribly good baker, but I really do enjoy trying out new recipes. Over the weekend, we went to an engagement party for one of the man's law school friends. I decided to try out Paula Deen's "Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake" recipe and it was, naturally, simply delicious.

The recipe for the cake calls for the following:
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

I used a package of Dole frozen strawberries instead of a variety with syrup in the cake mix, and I substituted fresh strawberries on top. After a hunt that led me through at least five of the Upper West Side's various grocery stores, I gave up on making the icing from scratch (strawberry extract is nearly impossible to find!) and settled on some generic strawberry icing. Nonetheless, it was delicious! If you're looking for something summery to bring to a party, I would highly recommend it.

(You can find the full recipe, including cake and icing, on Paula Deen's website here.)

Guilty Little Pleasures: Pretty Little Liars

I'll admit it: I am a cheesy television addict. Right alongside a serious passion for cupcakes and celebrity "rag mags," terrible TV is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Lately, I've been obsessed with the new ABC Family series, "Pretty Little Liars."  It's such fun! ...and don't get me started on the clothing. I don't know anyone who wore Givenchy earrings to their high school homecoming dance, and if you did (or do), don't tell me about it. It will hurt too much to know.

Back to the matter at hand... THIS DRESS IS TO DIE FOR. I absolutely love it. Of course, it is custom, but I just had to share it with you. How unbelievable is this?!

This is the description provided courtesy of

Dress: BeBe
Shoes: Michael Kors
Earrings: Givenchy
Belt: Vintage

Costume Designer Notes: from Mandi Line:
We used a matte black sequin dress from Bebe as a base. Then added beaded epaulets that were removed from a t-shirt from H&M and put on the shoulders. Added a feather closure on back of dress. We used a vintage belt with added beading from ISW and crinoline skirt to give it a carnival feel and used vintage stretch lace fabric that was made into a cropped glove for one hand.

Check out the style slideshow from the Homecoming episode here... and definitely watch PLL!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eternal Beauty

Growing up as a young woman in today's culture, it can sometimes be difficult to inculcate a sense of elegance or sophistication into your daily style. After all, we are taught that "sex sells," and a swimsuit isn't a swimsuit unless one swift breeze would violate some indecency laws. Don't get me wrong-- I'm no prude. I love a killer pair of platforms, a mini that shows off the gams I work every day to maintain, or a top that is subtly suggestive with some shoulder action... just not all at the same time!

At any rate, I've always found Audrey Hepburn to be the epitome of grace and stylishness. In fact, each and every dorm room I ever inhabited displayed a different poster from one of her films. While I love, love, love the most iconic imagery of Miss Hepburn-- you know the Breakfast at Tiffany's shot to which I refer-- I love finding new images of her. It's as if I will never run out of inspiration in this one incredible woman because there is no end to the photos and books and films that focus on her. Without further ado, I present to you the woman who convinced me that class is always in style.

 (As a self-proclaimed "city girl," this image particularly resonates with me.)
Images via

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Discernment Exercises

As a kid growing up in Catholic school, we heard a lot about discernment and vocations. At the time, they were potentially terrifying words-- who wants to think about making huge, life-changing decisions in the second grade? Interestingly enough (and only fifteen years later), I'm revisiting these words with a new, fresh perspective on what they mean-- both in general and in my life, specifically. The trouble is no one ever told me what to do when you felt as if your life could have half a dozen "vocations." It had seemed to me like one day, square from the blue, a big lightening bolt would bounce off my head and all of a sudden, I would know. Decision made. Problem solved. Career found!

Alas, this was not to be. I've graduated from college, and was humbled to find a job with a company I've always admired amidst a team of people I adore. I know what you're thinking... LUCKY! I get it... I know that I am. At the same time, I feel strongly that this is just the first stop on a much larger path-- and this is where the trouble sets in. Would I like to be a writer? (Yes.) A Broadway Star? (Yep.) An advocate for at-risk children? (Obviously.) A Soccer Mom? (Naturally.) How about a stylist? (Yeah, I'd like that, too.) I mean, I think the only thing I can definitively cross off the list is butcher. But not baker. Perhaps candlestick maker. I've heard all the advice-- "you'll get there, don't worry, you have so much life ahead of you... boblablah." (Any Arrested Development fans?) I believe those things, too, but MAN this is troubling.

Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy the journey. I just wish there was a MapQuest for this one.

With that being said, I think it's time for me to behave a little more proactively-- grab life by the lapels, and go for it... so that's the plan. Now, sit back and be entertained as I try to figure out how!

"You'll seldom experience regret for anything that you've done. It is what you haven't done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it!" -Wayne Dyer