Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top Nine Idol Fashions

I had a lot of fun with my first American Idol fashion post last week, and hope for some better looks from the contestants tonight. I'm blogging this live. Well, my live - which means after I put my kids to bed and caught up on Twitter and e-mail, but before I do the dishes. And I'm on Pacific Time. Thank goodness for TiVo! A special thanks to Dayton Daily News, who seems to have the pictures before anyone else.

Holy hairstyles! I'm seeing several new ones just in the introductions - I can't wait to see those up close.

Anoop Desai looks pretty good. That jacket is interesting - but in a good way I think. He looks like he's dressing up as a pop star. I think he needed a little more fitted pants though - and some less casual shoes. I wish he would try a new hairstyle too. I wonder what he'd look like with a shorter cut?

Megan Joy - I almost can't see Megan's clothes over the terrible dancing. I don't like this look as much on her, although I suppose it matches the tattoos better. She's got free-form, crazy hair - which just looks messy. I quite like the higher-waisted jeans and the green bustier. But all those necklaces and the hair is pretty distracting. She needs a cleaner look. I like layered necklaces, but hers are too big, chunky, and crazy - there's like 10.

Danny Gokey is my go-to guy for solid fashion. I love his hair tonight, and his signature glasses, as always. Again, necklaces on a guy are not my favorite - but that just might be a personal preference. The rest of his ensemble is basic black. Good pants & jacket - and an interesting tee underneath. Nothing too flashy though.

Allison Iraheta - She's got some crazy, rocker-chick hair tonight. I think she looks great though. Rock star fashion is not the same as an editorial in Vogue. Plus she's 16. I love the cute bow, it adds some femininity to the edgy hair. The pink dress is the same - rocker edge, but with plenty of pink and lace to keep it from being manly. Funny that Randy hates it. I'm even like the white detailing down the front - which matches the shoes. I hate the shoes personally. Again - the outfit is pretty crazy, but I think it suits Allison and her music.

Scott MacIntyre - Somebody got a haircut. Now he looks like a 70s performer. Kind of like Danny Osmond. Hmm. I like the leather jacket a lot though. And the shirt underneath. The lower neckline, and the mandarin collar on the jacket gives him a clean, modern look. Too bad I can never see his pants because of the piano. This is the best outfit he's ever worn! And my favorite tonight so far. But please - don't tease the hair too high.

Matt Giraud has the clean look going on tonight too. I like his jacket - a little retro, but still current. I like his tee and basic jeans. Not much to say about his look, but sometimes that's better. There's nothing to distract from his performance - which I loved this week, despite the bad critique from the judges.

Lil Rounds - I love Lil's hair in her video. The short cut complements her face. She is very beautiful and it's nice to be able to see all of her face. The hair in her performance is completely different. I don't like it as much. The dress is okay. It shows off her nice arms, but I think a different color would suit her better - maybe more jewel toned, or even white. Again, Lil has got some serious boo-tay going on. And this dress just emphasizes it. Last week's outfit was way better and more fun. She looks too old tonight.

Adam Lambert - interesting to see him continuing with his new look from last week. But instead of Elvis, now he looks like John Travolta. But in a fun way. I like that Adam feels comfortable enough to try out all these looks. He is amazing! And I think these looks just add to his talent. I love the bell bottom pants and shoes. And the jacket,/sweater combo is classic, while the bright blue color keeps it fresh. As does the little pop of lime green and zebra at the neck.

Kris Allen - The shirt is pretty boring. It's like a non-color. His hair, sideburns, and hints of facial hair look good though. The jeans and cowboy boots look much more interesting, but you can't see them as well while he's sitting down. I think Kris could pull off the modern country star look quite well, even if he doesn't do that kind of music.

For great American Idol recaps, read BooMama. For fabulous Fashion Friday posts, read Big Mama.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top Ten Idol Fashions

I love American Idol. I only starting watching last season, but I'm hooked. And not only is the music amazing, and sometimes bad - but so are the fashions. I've written about Idol fashions before, and with some prodding from my friend, Jane, I have decided to post every week on what Season 8 contestants are wearing. I'm not going to comment much on the music, but you can read BooMama's lovely recaps. And if it's just fashion you're interested in, you can't go wrong with Big Mama's Fashion Friday posts. I intend to have pictures with my weekly post, but can't get them online until later and don't want to hold off posting - so check back later!

Jumping right in: it's really weird to me how the judges are walking in now - but it suits my purposes well because I can see their outfits. Paula's dress is flirty and fun, just like her. But stays quiet, unlike her. I like the very feminine look on her. I don't like the hair though. It's too flat on top. Kara has a much more classic, subdued style - her navy, satin dress is smokin! And I love her hair. Volume on top is good. Now I'm totally going to ignore Simon - fashion boring! And Randy was wearing some green & white striped cardigan. I don't know how he can get away with horizontal stripes - I can't.

Matt Giraud - Mister JT-look-a-like himself. But Matt could not look less like JT tonight. He's wearing a diamond print old man cardigan. The jeans are okay, but he kind of favors tight pants. So he really shouldn't wear such a tight cardigan too. He should play up those curls though, rather than keeping his hair so short.

Kris Allen - I think a lot of girls love his looks. He's cute, but in a boyish way - not really my type. Man, this military style that's been going around is a bit much I think. And he has a tie on with it. Then it's too boring on the bottom half & the whole thing is pretty blah. What are the weird lines/patterns on the bottom half of the shirt?

Scott MacIntyre - I will not be able to get over the pink pants. Wow. It's a good thing he sat at the piano during the song so that we could pay attention to his singing. The shirt was a bit feminine, but could have been pulled off with jeans and that jacket. The jacket was nice. Scott's hair is a mess too - not attractive in my opinion, although it looked better tonight than it has before. The pants were so bad I couldn't even find a picture of them.

Megan Joy - She is so beautiful (except for the tattoos that totally ruin her look). And her stylists have outdone themselves this week. She looked amazing last week, but not really like herself much, which the judges commented on. This week was perfect - youthful, fun, and gorgeous. Love the old-style updo with the flower. Love the statement necklace. Love the cute floral dress. Love the flats. My only criticism (fashion-wise) is that she had on too much makeup. Like pancake looking. Last week she had a lot of eye makeup, but this week it seemed like it could have been anyone under that mask.

Anoop Desai - I want to say that he was the first guy who looked decent out here tonight. But I can't. But if he took off that jacket... he would have nailed it. It was just the ribbed cuffs and collar on the jacket that ruined the whole thing. The shirt, sweater, and tie underneath looked great - very Anoop Dog cool.

Michael Sarver - He looks near-perfect from the waist up. I hate necklaces on men, but maybe it's a Southern thing or something. (Any thoughts, BooMama?) The shirt and jacket are fabulous! And they go great with jeans. But different jeans would have been better. These were too casual, with a boot cut and some distressing/rips. I think a darker wash with straight legs would have looked nicer.

Lil Rounds - um, I didn't recognize Lil this week. She has different hair, and looks a ton smaller, like she lost 20 pounds. I think it's the dress. Somehow she looks better in a loose, swingy dress than in the tight stuff she's been wearing. It hides that major booty pretty well. The dress looks good, and highlights her amazing legs.

Adam Lambert - um, not sure who he got to be the body double for him tonight. Holy cow! He looks different, but good. I love that he dressed for Motown night. The suit is perfect and the hair is super cool! Like Elvis. Why didn't he take the earrings out though? Can't say much about modern fashion, but perfect for tonight.

Danny Gokey - he always looks good, he's just cool. I love his glasses too. The jeans and shoes are perfect, and the shirt is a good combination of casual and put together. And he looks good in black. He always seems to hit the mark, fashion-wise.

Alison Iraheta - Oh, will she always have that bright red hair? She has an interesting style, but she sticks to it. I think it's smart to go with dresses and stay more feminine, but there were too many layers in this look. I know she's only 16, and that the junior look is very layered right now - but she's a little too big for so many. I liked the dress and black leggings, but the lace patterned tights were too much, as was the crazy chain belt. And the white jacket was cute, but needed to be a little longer - the whole thing made her look a little short and cut up into pieces. The shoes were killer though and I liked the necklace too. And her hair was cute, despite the color.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Almost as Good as Being There: Artists Series #3

For the third installment in my Artists Series, I'm featuring a talented photographer Jennifer Squires. Based in London, Ontario, Jennifer has two photography degrees, as well as teaching experience. She has been taking pictures professionally since 1996, and has amassed a beautiful portfolio. One of the great things about buying a print from Jennifer Squire Productions is ordering in any size from 4x6 up to 24x30. There are some beautiful floral shots:

I love Jennifer's tagline - "fresh photography for hip homes." I want to have a hip home. So naturally I must get something from Jennifer Squires Productions. But what to choose? If we lived nearer to each other, I'd go with custom portraits like these:

But since Ontario is pretty far away from Arizona, I'm planning to order something from Jennifer's collection of shots from Greece. I have always wanted to visit the Greek Isles, and all the recent movies shot there have only solidified this desire. As does this collection, but which to choose? I'm leaning towards a very affordable 8x10 print of the image below left.

In addition to her gorgeous photographs, Jennifer is a big proponent of environment awareness and responsibility. Here's a great question and answer from an interview she did:

Q: With your Love Earth program, you have reduced the waste typically
associated with photography and have found ways around printing contact sheets,
sending out paper promotional items, and using harmful chemicals. What prompted
you to start doing this?

A: Good environmental practices are nothing new for me; I've been looking for ways to save our earth since my childhood. I've been dreaming about solar panels since I was at least ten years old and I've hated any sort of waste or garbage for much longer than that. I remember two of my favourite non-fiction books from my elementary school days were by David Suzuki and were filled with environmental science experiments for kids.

In line (in my mind) with Jennifer's love of the earth, she has an ongoing series of shots called Closed. From her shop: Closed (2005-ongoing) is a body of work that candidly captures the unadorned shop fronts of various downtown areas that have closed their doors and moved on. These images are a slice of how urban life is evolving. Customers are moving away from the small retail businesses in the downtown core, being lured towards the edge of town to big box stores promising low prices and one stop shopping. Service and convenience have been given up to save a buck. As our downtown retail spaces are fading we are becoming acutely aware that cheap really is expensive.

Kudos to a talented artist who wants to save the planet too! Please visit Jennifer's etsy shop and her website and see for yourself why I love her work!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Are You a Follower Too?

Sometimes I am really persuaded by other bloggers, especially on products they post about and love. I've seen Japanese masking tape all over my google reader in the last 6 months, in the category I call Design & Crafty Blogs. The online retailers were often sold out but I finally found some here, and spent a total of $9 of my mad money to order 3 rolls of green patterned tape. My husband thought I was crazy. But they are so cute!

When I opened up the package, I was a teensy bit disappointed at first. Because the rolls are teensy. I had imagined them as regular-sized rolls of masking tape. Below is the shot of the tape next to a AA battery, and my well-known marker - a can of Mt. Dew. BUT, I really love them. Actually the narrower tape is much better for any crafty kind of stuff I might use it for. So far I just taped up my 32 Goals on the back of my bedroom door. But I am imagining many more uses - even in my boys' bedroom.

I also saw many posts about the Charley Harper kids' items at Old Navy. And when I was finally at a store this week the little board books kept my baby occupied for quite a while during my shopping. And on a whim I had a sales associate check the price for me, because they were at the back of the store and I knew they had been out for a while. And despite the lack of sales stickers or signs - all the products were on clearance! I bought the ABC and 123 books for $3 each and a set of Memory Cards for $4.50. I played 3 rounds of memory with my four year old today and while he loved the game, I loved the amazing pictures. Charley Harper was one talented guy! (May he rest in peace.) He might be a favorite new designer. I would add Todd Oldham's book about CH to my Christmas list except, you know, it's $126. I'm not finding many of the products on Old Navy's website now - and they are marked at full price. So run on down to the store now. IF, you're a follower like me. (I also found some of these products for reasonable prices on Amazon.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kiss Me, I'm (pretend) Irish

I must deck my blog in green today to avoid a cyber pinch. My husband and I enjoy St. Patrick's Day, partly because it was the birthday of our beloved Brittany dog. But also because I love green and I love our yearly meal of corned beef, red potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. I wish we had it more often, but the grocery stores don't carry it year round.

Today we are headed down to Tucson to see Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage: A Circus Comes To Town, thanks to MomSelect. Should be fun & I will post pictures of our green finery and the show.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Fashion Trends

Boo Mama recently linked to a fashion news article from Fox and mentioned that perhaps her friend, Big Mama would expound on the trends. I follow Big Mama's Fashion Friday posts but she didn't mention the article at all this week, so I volunteered myself for the challenge. Fox kept all their picks under $30, and most of mine are too. I did add some items that were more because I liked them so much - but I don't think I would ever pay more than $30 for an item of clothing. Except maybe jeans or a swimsuit - items that get worn multiple times a week. I'm a big fan of Target, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc. but they are not all online. I like to look for cute things at department stores, then search out their look-a-likes at discounts.

10 Top Spring Recessionista Finds
Categories by TLC's Andy Paige, details from the Well-Rounded Woman

1. White jeans - I have always been a fan of white jeans and chinos. Most people seem to shy away, and plenty of moms have told me they wouldn't want to try and get stains out. But I've never had any problems. Denim comes clean, even in white. And if you pick a heavier weight chino, you won't have problems either. Ankle length is best for jeans, and longer trouser length for chinos. I found pairs at Kohls, Gap, Old Navy, L.L. Bean, Land's End, etc.

2. Neon or day glo colors- I'm not sure about neon, so I'm going for bright yellow with this trend. Or maybe a turquoise. A bright pop of color is especially good in jewelry or accessories. I like this head scarf that can also be worn as a belt. Although not around my well-rounded waist.

3. Scarves, I'm totally skipping this one because I live in the hot, hot Arizona desert. I do think scarves are very cute though - and they have plenty of light-weight ones for spring.

4. Ruffles - I like them and they seem to be big for spring. But in last week's episode of ANTM the judges said one of the models looked like she was wearing pajamas, rather than a pink, ruffled top. It may be better to go with this edgier plaid top. I like this bright, solid red tee too, and it seems more modern & less girly because the ruffles are down the side.

5. Florals - I could use a shot of femininity in my wardrobe. Enough of the solid tees. This floral top with lace trim from Kohls is gorgeous. Florals are everywhere right now - from larger, bold graphic prints, to pastel, floaty designs.

6. Jewelry - I hear stacks of metal bangle bracelets are in, as well as big stones for necklaces or other pieces. I'm not sure this would work for me because the things I see in my price range always look so fake and cheap. I guess I like a more classic look for jewelry. I do still love the layered necklaces look, and a bright pop of yellow or red.

7. Aviator sunglasses - I've so been in on this trend for years now. See, I'm not totally out of it. Classic aviators never go out of style, but you can also try some trendier ones with colored rims or lenses. I've seen some with aviator shaped lenses, but wider plastic arms in fun prints. Check out me & my sweet hubby out at our wedding almost 8 years ago.

8. Nautical - I love sailor-themed fashion. This skirt from Victoria's Secret is very versatile- plus I'm starting to think VS has the best white tops. I've always wanted a french sailor's shirt, except I worry about horizontal stripes for me. They are tres chic though.

9. Bright Cardigan - for me a spring cardigan must be short sleeved like this cashmere one from Land's End. Even then I can only wear it until the end of March really.

10. Colorful handbag - I like this one from Kohl's, which is colorful AND floral.

After those nine trends, I'd like to add a few things of my own, that might not necessarily be trends, but signify spring to me. And usually I need to add these to my wardrobe in spring.

1. Skirts - I have been hungering for this denim skirt from Gap ever since Marta posted about it in January. I could use a jersey knit skirt or two to wear practically every day this summer. And I could live in this Victoria's Secret outfit as shown.

2. Polos - I like polo shirts, but they must be feminine with a long, narrow placket and shirred sleeves. Old Navy has them for $15 in lots of spring colors.

3. New Shoes - I want to find some cute and comfortable neutral-hued sandals that I can wear often. I also really need new flip flops every spring - I wear them about 75% of the time. I used to swear by J. Crew's, but they went to a narrower design and I don't like them. This year I'm trying to decide between these L.L. Bean's and these Reef's.

6. Hair Accessories - I am seeing gorgeous flower clips, pins, and headbands everywhere lately - especially featured on blogs. I love them and have even imagined myself making some (I know lots of people who do). But I worry that I will look too much like a follower. Hopefully I'll do it anyway. My hair needs some excitement!

7. Swim Suit Cover-up - This comes from Big Mama's latest list. Mom's spend plenty of time at the pool with their kids and the point here is COVERAGE. I want to pull this on as soon as I exit the pool and am not completely dripping, prefereably before I tend to my children. And if I have to run into a store or to a friend's house I wouldn't be embarassed by this gauzy dress from VS or this comfy jersey dress from Gap.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Me & Famous People

I had a great time a couple nights ago at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, in Scottsdale, AZ. I met a the author, Joanne Fluke, whom I've written about before. She talked about her Hannah Swensen series, and about her writing, and signed copies of her new book, Cream Puff Murder. I am amazed at Jo's prolific publishing schedule - she's putting out more than a book a year in this popular culinary mystery series. The recipes are as loved as the books and her publishers have finally agreed to a cookbook next year featuring all the recipes (from 12 books or so) and some new never-before-seen dishes and treats.

Thanks to my friend, Susan, from Bloggin' 'Bout Books for going with me. I invited her only a couple hours beforehand and was so glad she could rearrange her schedule. It was much more fun with a friend.

Pick up Cream Puff Murder at your local library, bookstore or favorite online retailer. I can't wait to try out more recipes. The Poisoned Pen even served homemade goodies, recipes from Jo's new book. The brownies were particularly good, and Jo told me you use any brownie mix you want, and just put flat candy bars in the middle of the filling. The piece I had contained a middle of rice crispies, obviously a Nestle Crunch bar. Very tasty & easy.