Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Craving Chanel!

I AM OBSESSED. I either need to get my mind off of the Chanel Jumbo Classic Flap Bag in Caviar Leather or I need to start saving my pennies... or hundred dollar bills. This is one of the dangers of the internet- when you are becoming obsessed with something, there is too much info out there to fuel the fire! At $2,995, there is no way that I will ever be able to afford a new Flap bag unless I really, really save. Even then, maybe Ebay is a better route, as long as I can make sure its real. Then I'll only have to save, oh, say $2,000. I even already have a fake flap bag from Chinatown. I just never wear it because I know it's fake, it makes me feel like a phony.
I guess that's why it's a luxury brand, eh?
Everyone from Coco Chanel herself, to the elite of the 1950's and 60's, to LC from the Hills has rocked this bag; it's not going anywhere, it's iconic, beautiful, simple, and only getting more expensive. I better save fast. Maybe as a graduation gift to myself...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another Jewelry Experiment: Grandma's Costume Jewelry

I was rummaging through my costume jewelry, back from when I was in elementary school, and found a few costume pieces that I used to love wearing as a kid. Most of them belonged to my great-grandmother or grandmother, and are all truly "costume" jewelry; after all, they were given to a little girl to play with. One piece, a cameo pendant on a dirty, knotted chain, inspired me to do a little updating.
Cameos have been made since the 3rd century BC in Greece, and have enjoyed resurgences of popularity in many centuries since, especially including the 18th and particularly 19th century when Queen Victoria further popularized them.

I decided to ditch the old chain (literally cut it off, it was so knotted) and add a simple black ribbon (1/4" grosgrain, but satin would have also looked nice) instead to fit the Victorian/ antique vibe of the cameo.

-I threaded the ribbon through the jump ring on the pendant and knotted it because I wanted the pendent to remain stationary on the ribbon.
-I then threaded each end of the ribbon through a slightly larger jump ring, to which I attached a lobster claw on one end and a larger ring on the other end for a clasp.
-The rings were just threaded onto a piece of ribbon at this point- not secured. I used my sewing machine to secure them by folding the ends of ribbon back over the ring and sewing the ribbon down, forming a secured loop in which the clasp was located.

I think that this will ultimately be nicer than knotting the ribbon in a bow to tie it because with this necklace I want to be sure that it won't fall off. I also think it makes the overall presentation a little more expensive looking and less homemade.

I've been thinking about supergluing this bow to the ribbon- what do you think? I think it might be a little too large in proportion to the cameo. Maybe if I could find a smaller one...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Favorite "Dessert" Drink

While in the city this weekend, my friend ordered one of the tastiest "sweet" martinis I've ever tried- it was a Raspberry Chocolate Martini. Yum!

I love having drinks when I'm out, but every once in awhile it's nice to be able to mix up a classy cocktail at home too. This drink only has three components, so it is really simple to make. The ingredients are:

Kahlua (coffee flavored liqueur) 1 oz.
Chambord (raspberry flavored liqueur) 1 oz.
Half and Half Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Last night, the bartender garnished it with chocolate shavings, which gave it a chocolate taste and was very pretty. I would also add one or two raspberries on top!!! So pretty...

If you like sweet drinks or are looking for a go to, "in place of that piece of cake" drink- try making this cocktail! Fabulous.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Handbag: Two for One

I'm spending tonight in the city, and tomorrow I'm not coming back until late, and I will not have a hotel at which to keep luggage or any similar luxury. To avoid the hassle of getting a locker at the train station, I decided to pack for the night entirely in my purse. Yes! My purse! That's a total of two tops, one dress, jeans, flats, flips flops, a belt, pajamas, and makeup. (subtract whatever I would be wearing on my person at the time)

What purse is this you ask? The huge Longchamp that everyone has, yes. In pink of course, but the very same. I realize that these bags are really commonplace nowadays, which I don't necesarily like, but I just cannot help loving all of my Longchamp bags. They're just so classy looking! You really can't underestimate how handy these bags are; the big one can literally fit all of these things, and prevent me from looking like a dork wearing a backpack in the city for six hours on Sunday. Thank you Longchamp!

I just spotted this new one on their website:

I do not have the funds for it right now (and may never considering I already have three- I do have priorities of a sort) but isn't it fabulous?!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Accessory Boom?

Baby Boom Poster with Diane Keaton, 1987

Check it out: another movie inspired post, sorry, but it's summer break! I've seen Diane Keaton in Baby Boom (80's classic!) before, but I never picked up on how awesome her belts and purses are! Considering that absolutely everything else about the movie, both plot wise and fashion wise, is hard core 80s, the wide, waist cinching belts that Diane wears over her suits and the cross-body satchel/ saddle bag type purses that she wears in addition to carrying a suitcase are very much today. I've actually been on the look out for a nice, warm brown leather cross-body bag. I don't know if it was just an 80s thing, a Keaton thing, or if everything that comes around goes around, but I like it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lotsa Lace

I watched "To Catch a Thief" today, one of my favorite movies, and it got me thinking about Grace Kelly. Was she not something or what? I still think that her wedding gown is the most beautiful dress ever made. Isn't interesting that the gown was made by the MGM costume department, as a wedding gift to Miss Kelly from the film company?
Princess Grace's dress was obviously highly conservative; it was, of course, for a royal wedding. I found a few dresses that honor the traditional and elegant feeling that Grace's dress conveyed, but are still modern.

The above dresses are both by Sassi Holford, a British designer, and are called Grace (hmm..) and Annabelle from top to bottom. I think that the overall effect of "Grace" is very Kelly. The bodice, the cap sleeves, and the enormous, airy ballgown. The shape is absolutely classic. Annabelle on the other hand has different elements which lend it that 1956 movie star appeal. It is made completely of exquisite lace and satin, and I am crazy about those bell sleeves and simple deep V neckline!

Both of these dresses (David Fielden above, Kensington by Christos below) just have small touches that echo the famous Helen Rose and MGM dress. The Fielden has just enough bulk at the neckline to give it that sense of having a lot of lace and substance without, really, having that much lace at all! It gives the dress a "covered up" feel, great for a conservative bride or a church ceremony. The same goes for the Christos dress, which only has lace in the charming little jacket which accompanies the dress. This jacket comes off to reveal a plain strapless dress underneath for the reception or dancing. (although I would never take it off, it's beautiful!)

This is what "Say Yes to the Dress" has done to me, I swear.

DIY Jewelry

After reading a handmade jewelry how-to on I was inspired to try out one of the examples: a ribbon necklace. The blurb on the slide show remarked that you only have to buy one strand of beads to complete the look, because only the bottom part of the necklace should have stones (the rest is just pretty, satin ribbon). I thought I would give it a try, and yesterday when I was near the craft store I stopped in to see if anything spoke to me.
I made two necklaces, one is a ribbon necklace similar to the one described on, the other is just a simple, one strand necklace that I made to go with a top that I just bought. Don't you just love it when things match a little? Not too much of course...The necklace on the left is made with fresh water pearls, pink crystals, and a flat, smoothed chartreuse stone (it was unlabeled with a type). I used regular old jewelry wire, a plain clasp, and crimp beads to complete the project. If you have never made jewelry before, all you need to start is some wire, crimp beads, clasps, and crimping pliers, all of which are inexpensive and available at any craft store or superstore. Doesn't it look nice with that fabulous chartreuse in the top? The ribbon necklace was very easy to make, although I think I deviated from the Martha directions a bit- I just strung my beads (fresh water pearls and dark pink, plastic rose beads) and then put each end of wire through a needle, pushed through and back through the half point of each piece of ribbon, and then crimped it on the side with beads, running the excess wire back through the beads. I knotted the ribbon near the beads for aesthetic purposes and also to make the ribbon a little sturdier. All of the materials cost $17 at Joann Fabrics, excluding the inexpensive basics I already had (wire, crimp beads, pliers). If you're feeling crafty, check out the slide show that inspired my afternoon of jewelry making:

Or just be creative and make something beautiful on your own!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Now where can I find a bow that large...

I found this poster at Joann Fabrics today and fell in love. I think the composition is so balanced and the fashion- everything from the dress, to the bow, to the hat, to the bling, to the fabulous couch in the background- is completely my style. The photographer is John French, and the original is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. A couple years ago I had numerous black and white movie posters plastered on my walls because I love them so much: Audrey, Grace, Katharine, Marilyn, you name the movie star and she was probably hanging in my dorm room, or was at least in my "to buy" list. But I've realized that one can only hang so many of these posters without seeming a little juvenile; it's a room, not a film academy lobby. What I love about this photograph is that it conveys all of the chicness, retro-glamour, and simplicity of the others, but instead of a being a movie-still it is truly a piece of art. It is, after all, hanging in a museum in England! Why not in my room too?

Monday, June 21, 2010

You know you have too many purses when...

Yesterday I bought a really pretty raspberry pink cocktail dress for an event that I have coming up. I was just trying to figure out what accessories I could pair with it, rummaging through my bags, and I found this ignored clutch which I absolutely love! It has at least three shades of pink in it, (so it matches every pink you could possibly wear!) the fabric is actually a very dressy quilted satin, and the style is so retro and timeless. It's by Vera Bradley (called Millie) and I just checked- it's on sale for $30 online. It oozes 50's glamour, as if my dear Vera was designing specifically for the iconic Grace Kelly. I'm definitely pairing this with my dress, and I'm going to start using it a lot more! How much more fabulous can you get, seriously.

Weekly Wino Report

Ok, so I love wine. Duh, look at the title of this post. I'm a wino! But unfortunatately I don't have a very large budget for trying new wines; I normally stick to what I know, is cheap, and has proven itself to be consistently good: Barefoot, Yellowtail, Mondavi, you know, the ones that come in big bottles! Not great, but they have the consistency that only a wine from a huge, commercialized vineyard could maintain.

I'm going to attempt to post once a week about a new wine that I've tried (let's say... under $12.99 a bottle) or maybe a new and classy cocktail that I've shaken or stirred. I'll share my opinions and a rating for each item to serve as a college girl's guide to wine, and hopefully I'll expand my knowledge of wines at the same time!

This first post is not reviewing a wine however- it's a gadget! Who doesn't love gadgets? I actually have a lot of experience with this particular product. My parents own one and I plan on buying one as soon as I go back to school. It's a red wine aerator by Vinturi, and it is awesome. I know that there are tons of wine aerators out there, but this one produces a really obvious result and takes zero extra time. (you pour the wine through the Vinturi into your glass)

I did a taste test the other day using the Vinturi and the Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, a very "cost conscious" wine. The wine before aerating was sharper, slightly more alcoholic tasting, and just generally had that "cheaper" wine taste. I then aerated that wine and VOILA! Softer and lighter, and much tastier. I don't know if I would have disliked the Mondavi on its own, but when compared to the after, you can't help but acknowledge how much better it is when aerated.

It's important to note that if I was drinking a really nice wine, I probably wouldn't aerate it, just decant it a bit. This gadget is genius for those of us with a wine budget who want to make wine with a delicious price taste delicious too! The Vinturi ranges from about $40 to $50, depending on where you buy it. It definitely is an investment, but if you drink a lot of inexpensive red wine and are interested in making that wine taste better, you should try it!

Vinturi Red Wine Aerator: YYYYY

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." - Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about perfume… I’ve never been much of a perfume-y person though. I love the idea of wearing perfume but every time I’ve bought something in the past I either stop wearing it after awhile out of sheer forgetfulness or the scent, while lovely, starts giving me a migraine after half an hour. Since I’m home for the summer and trips to the mall (and the mothership, Sephora) are plentiful, I’ve been sampling many different fragrances. I’m determined to find a signature perfume! I think if done correctly it’s very elegant to have a “scent.” I have this dream of having a silver, mirrored tray to display all of my beautiful bottles… if only it was that easy!

First I tried Vera Wang and Vera Wang Bouquet. The floral notes immediately appealed to me, and both of these perfumes smelled much less chemical in the store compared to others. (after smelling dozens of perfume that day) While I really did enjoy both scents, they dried down very quickly to a dry, powdery floral which was a little too mature for me. After trying Miss Dior Cherie, Clean, Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, Daisy, Lola, blah, blah, and blah (lots of perfume) I finally rediscovered the BURBERRY line!

I owned Burberry Brit and Brit Sheer in high school, which I had long forgotten about before my little self exploration exercise. After testing Burberry Classic for Women, I was hooked. It’s fruity, with notes of peaches and oranges, but it’s also sweet and spicy with vanilla and lots of oriental spice. Yum!!! In a grown up way of course. And the best part? None of the Burberry Perfumes give me a headache!

I’ve since started using Brit Sheer again. It reminds me of fruity soap with a floral, lily of the valley heart. Aah Summer…

These combined with Chanel Chance make up my rudimentary perfume collection for now. I hope that it's enough that Chanel would grant me a future! Not worthy of a chic mirrored tray yet, but time will tell...