Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wine Club Hearts Valentines Day!

Last week, Wine Club had its annual Valentine's celebration, minus two for work and illness (that's just how February goes, it seems). Without even planning it, most of us turned up in red dresses, which is just a sign of our sisterhood vibes. For fun, we used this cool website to draw names for secret valentines, our own love-themed spin on Secret Santa. We set a limit of $15 and got the cutest little presents, from fancy hair-ties to gourmet sugar cookies to a feather pen fit to write a senator!

We chose wines with "love" labels, and sampled:

  • Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais-Villages: The internet tells me Deboeuf was at the forefront of the Beaujolais movement among growers in France, so it was fitting to sip his fresh, fruity and flavorful wine.
  • Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc: Ashleigh brought this crisp and refreshing New Zealand sauvignon blanc with notes of peach and citrus.

Erica prepared a beautiful spread, with spinach dip and our favorite — Fritos.

She also made a lovely strawberry and chicken salad and hand-dipped chocolate strawberries, plus petit fours, rock candy stirrers and gummies.

And of course it wouldn't be a Wine Club without a fruit-infused wheel of cheese! We also nibbled on mushroom pastries, garlic pastries and puff pastry bites stuffed with camembert and cranberries.

Love to you and yours on this made-up (but delightful!) holiday!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Grammy's Fashion Review 2017

In my opinion (which is the only one that matters), each awards function has its own dress code. Obviously you don't treat the Grammy's like the Oscars. It needs to be funky and rock-and-roll and a little bit glamorous and a little bit crazy. And this year, some stars really delivered and some kind of underwhelmed and some really went out there, with not too much success. Let's review, shall we?

Best Dressed

I mean, Blue Ivy won the night in this mini Prince suit, right? This kid, I swear.

But for real, Rihanna looked not only glamorous in this perfect Armani Prive orange and black skirt combo, but she looked super comfortable!

Truthfully, I could do without the bow at the center of Celine Dion's Zuhair Murad gown, but she looked like a goddess and I just love her whole deal.

I was not familiar with Diana Gordon, but I thought this was such a chic twist on a little black dress with cutouts. Very elegant, but not boring, and accentuated with perfect makeup and gorgeous hair.

Beyonce looked incredible all night, and I loved how she decided to show off her sexy pregnancy body in this Peter Dundas red sequin dress fit for Jessica Rabbit. She looked so cute bouncing to Tribe Called Quest. My cleavage doesn't look this good ever, so kudos to her.

Chrissy Teigen just gets it. She always dresses event-appropriate and excels at straddling the line between trendy, classic and sexy. This bondage-meets-macrame gown was the perfect choice for the Grammy's.

I don't know who Kriss Mincey is and I've never heard of Miri Couture, but they're a great combination. I thought this was an inspired twist on what can be a tired trope: the frou-frou nude gown. The pattern of the lace is almost reptilian, which gives it intrigue, and the exposed shoulders are very on-trend.

There's a chance this might be a hideous gameboard-inspired Maid Marian costume, but I don't care. I thought Adele looked gorgeous in this olive Givenchy, and it was a delightful departure from her usual safe black. Her make-up, too, was looking very California and she brought so much real and human emotion to the night. I just love her.

This is the most sane thing Solange has ever worn and it's still basically stolen from Blanche Devereaux's closet. This pleated gold Gucci was a fantastic choice for the night she won her first Grammy!

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, still bringing it after all these years. Are these people getting hotter or am I crazy? Also, was anything cuter than when Faith Hill said she also wished Beyonce was her mom? I love the modern sexy simplicity of her Zuhair Murad gown, and red lipstick suits her!

Carrie Underwood stepped out in a similarly cut Elie Madi red gown, but with a different vibe and much more intricate detailing. I thought this was a fun departure for Carrie, who tends to gravitate to sparkly neutrals or princessy dresses. This felt modern and old-world at the same time. If I could change anything, I'd put a little more color on her lips and maybe ditch the bellowing part of the sleeves.

Laverne Cox just GETS it. I don't know if she works with a fantastic stylist or not, but she seems to perfectly get the personality of each event she attends and dresses accordingly. This Bryan Hearns sheath manages to look completely S&M and yet, a little bit proper in its shape. Very rock and roll, and ideal for the Grammy's.

In other circumstances, I might think Kelsea Ballerini's Ines de Santo gown was a little overdone, but for a first-time performer at the Grammy's, it seemed perfect. It was like the sartorial equivalent of a flower field at sunset in Tennessee, which is the look every country singer should be going for. 

Best Worst

Speaking of people who "get" it when it comes to theme dressing, ain't nobody better than Lady Gaga. I mean, obviously this is pushing many, many boundaries but I love it as a big F-U to everybody who dared suggest she had "flab" after the Super Bowl. Plus, she was there for a Metallica duet, so why not dress as a dominatrix? This would be the absolute worst on anyone else, but somehow she's primed us over the years to just nod and move on when she turns up wearing a feather shrug that shows off her underboob and leather hot pants.

Katy Perry's Tom Ford sequin turtleneck looked like absolute slouchy poo from the side, which might be why she posed this way, proving she does indeed have a waist. This is a little bit robot, a little bit Zelda Fitzgerald, and I can see the appeal. Her hair looked like crunchy straw, but her make-up was flawless. It might be ostensibly terrible, but it's at least one of the best worst outfits!

I Mean, It's Good, I Guess

J.Lo was at peak J.Lo in this sexy lavender Ralph & Russo Couture gown accented with a tulle bow from a baby shower gift. It's fine. It's not her best. It's not close to the worst.

This Julien MacDonald design is a slightly more interesting gown than what Demi wore last year, and the macrame detail was obviously a theme for the night. It still doesn't stand out to me, and I have to say that I miss her cute short hair from the "Cool for the Summer" era.

I'm 100% on board for Lea Michele's sexy floral Roberto Cavalli two-piece that almost looks like the windows of a cathedral and shows off her enviable abs. I'm 2% on board for her pink eye make-up. It's just so hard to pull off that look without seeming like you're dying of influenza in 1918.

This starry night Jenny Packham gown on Hillary Scott is really simple and pretty. I would totally borrow this from Rent the Runway. It's not a tremendous standout, but I think it's a great choice that suits her personality and her style.

Tori Kelly here must believe in the luck o' the Irish, because she wore green last year, too! This is a fun dress for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, or even formal night on a Caribbean cruise. I don't know if I think it's exciting or special enough for the Grammy's. I do commend her on taking an eensy teensy chance, though.

There is no scenario other than the Grammy's that I'll give a pass for wearing something THIS unabashedly Disney princess, but I kind of liked the contrast of Elle King's Teuta Matoshi gown and Snapchat flower crown with her tattooed arms and sassy red carpet attitude. Fun fact: she's Rob Schneider's daughter! 

Maren Morris's Thai Nguyen Couture gown was, for me, a bit of a head-scratcher. When she stood up to collect her Grammy, I thought, "Oh, okay, that's pretty" and then I saw that it's essentially a lace leotard with an apron and I rolled my eyes. I didn't like it when Taylor did it, and you ma'am, are not Taylor Swift. The color is pretty, the lace is pretty, but this also feels underdesigned. Just cribbing a lot of ideas from other designers and calling it fashion.


The BEST thing about the Grammy's is that people go hard and use it as an opportunity to demand attention. I have never heard of Girl Crush, but I won't quickly forget her ill-fitting ball pit craft project gown. So many questions: How did she sit? How are the balls adhered to the dress? Did she leave them in her wake? Why does the bodice look like it might be made of crepe paper and has the fit of a paper doll's outfit? I mean, good for this girl. There has to be an absolute worst, and she went for it.

No matter your politics, Joy Villa's MAGA Trump dress is just not cute. It could say SHE PERSISTED all over the train and I'd still be side-eyeing this girl's transparent attempt at grabbing headlines. I hope everyone ALL NIGHT asked her specifics about policy, because you don't get to pop out wearing something like this and then dodge questions.

Halsey wore Hugh Hefner's discarded pajamas. They say this was "designed" by Christian Wijnants, but I know the truth: she stole this from T.Boz and owes her credit.

Exhibit A:

Mya wore a pantsuit with a hastily tied ribbon bra situation. Girl, this was your chance to remind us how we really liked you from 2001-2003? Why did you opt for a very daring and ill-fitting ensemble to wear to give a PowerPoint presentation?

Sophie Beem here is apparently an X Factor alumni. She also is wearing a Poison Ivy-inspired Elvis jumpsuit with legs so wide that they appear to be melding back into a skirt, which I have to imagine is a real tripping hazard. She looks so happy, bless her.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

SAG Fashion Review 2017

Y'all the SAG Awards red carpet is just weird. It's always been one of my favorites because people get a little experimental...which means there can be more "meh," "bad" or "worst" outfits than anything I would deem "best." Also, two trends emerged: white (I think everyone is trying to convey peace at the moment) and what I would call "gothic florals," pairing flowers with sheer black. Let's get into it!

Best Dressed

My queen Viola Davis looked especially regal in this white satin Vivienne Westwood gown, accented with a beautiful crystal necklace (unless it was diamonds? I genuinely couldn't tell). But especially big shout-out to her hairstylist, who gave her a cute, modern, neatly trimmed bob. She hit all the right notes.

My fashion roller coaster with Kerry Washington continues. One month she looks like this — a frothy and sparkly Maid Marian Renaissance queen in Cavalli Couture — and the next month, she'll turn up essentially wearing a satin trash bag and trying to tell me it was a good idea. This was very pretty and elegant, and I appreciated that she accessorized with a safety pin on the sleeve.

I kind of really wanted Bryce Dallas Howard to win because her episode of "Black Mirror" was haunting and incredible. But at least she won a really coveted and lofty award: a redhead finding the perfect shade of red! I thought this ruby Dress the Population dress was a really lovely shade on her and loved it even more when I read that she again bought off-the-rack at Neiman Marcus. Most of all, I thought her multi-colored gemstone necklace was an unexpected and sophisticated touch.

This dress manages to make Brie Larson look like she has the proportions of a Barbie doll. I can't decide if I'm fully on board for the slightly off-center neckline, but I do know that when she appeared on screen, she looked like an elegant peace dove. I appreciated the minimalism.

I think this is one of the best Tadashi Shoji dresses Octavia Spencer has ever worn! It's flattering, it's sexy, it has a lot of visual interest and she looked really comfortable and elegant all night. I especially enjoyed the turquoise pop of color on her earrings.

I was getting so bored with the Sofia Vergara va-va-va-voom mermaid dress formula, so it was a happy surprise to see her pop up in a tulle ballerina skirt confection. Her Zuhair Murad was a perfect fit for the occasion and she played up the fluffy skirt up and down the red carpet.

In a night full of florals, Rashida Jones' Vivienne Westwood gown was my favorite. I love the delicate layers and froth at the bottom, but most of all, I love how its vaguely 70's vibe so perfectly suits her aesthetic. Perfect match!

There were a surprising amount of experiments in stripes at the event, but none as successful as the Naeem Khan gown worn by Yara Shahidi (of Blackish). I love when a very young starlet perfectly hits the right tone for her not-a-girl, not-yet-a-woman moment. It's fun and youthful and so flattering with her gorgeous skin.

So Close to Great

I just can't with this flower. I'm trying really hard. Kate Hudson's Dior gown is definitely interesting and she struck the right vampy tone with her make-up. But the flower seemed like needless distraction. But without it, would it be too boring to even remember? Would I like it better if the flower was in her hair? I just don't know.

Emma Stone also donned a vampy floral Alexander McQueen gown that gives the impression she was caught midway through disrobing and decided to just wear it that way — half underpinnings, half robe. I don't hate it, but it wasn't an immediate hit for me, either. I appreciate the effort, though.

This is the best thing Sophie Turner has worn in my recent memory! She looked cute and sexy, but it's still a little snoozy for my taste and I don't think the bust fit is what it could be.

This is by far the most successful outing Anna Chlumsky has had on a red carpet since Veep debuted. I still wouldn't say this Elizabeth Kennedy gown is a perfect choice, but the color and silhouette look great on her and she doesn't look 100% miserable as she so often does.

I thought Meryl Streep's Valentino was one of the prettiest things she's worn in recent memory. It's flattering and ethereal and dotted with tiny birds, which is super cute. It just wasn't the most exciting thing.


Natalie Portman looks like she felt meh, right? Her white Dior is elegant, but that's a LOT of volume, and I got the vibe she has entered the super uncomfortable phase of pregnancy and would have much preferred to be home. 

I think this is Amy Adams' "Y'all didn't nominate me for an Oscar even though Arrival was solid AF and I STILL haven't won an Oscar but the movie is getting accolades, so I have to show up" plain and sophisticated black dress by Brandon Maxwell. She accessorized with a kind of weird, but maybe interesting silver metal sci-fi egg necklace and bracelet combo and pretty much let them do all the work.

This Louis Vuitton is bad, right? On TV they said it was good. I can almost see it as good in a Studio 54 kind of way, but she doesn't really have the personality or verve to sell it. Picture it on Tracee Ellis Ross. Now it's fantastic, right?

I just couldn't work up an emotion about Emily Blunt's Roberto Cavalli gown. It felt like Granny's handkerchiefs meets a giant tattoo sleeve meets a Persian rug. It's not bad, but it's not spectacular either.

I promise I'm not a 12-year-old boy but every time I saw Taraji P. Henson, my eyes were like BOOBS! I couldn't stop staring. This is a slightly overdesigned pretty princess dress by Reem Acra that I just don't like as a concept very much. The tiny bows at the collar and waist, suspended in the nothingness above and below her boobs — spare me. What a silly little unnecessary accoutrement. However, I do like the color, and the beadwork is lovely.

Janelle Monae is at peak Janelle Monae and as we discussed for Golden Globes, the rulebook is different for her. She's pulling off this Chanel, even if it's essentially an Elizabethan take on Cruella De Vil.

I guess this could be worse. But it's basically a Thanksgiving table runner by Lela Rose. Not the most boring thing, but not setting my imagination on fire either.

I am having an existential crisis over this dress on Thandie Newton. From the bodice up, I am officially On Board. It's pretty and different and interesting. And then you scroll down and it's like...is this a Westworld-themed dress? Do I want to endorse show-themed apparel that is this literal? When I read that it was by Schiaparelli, famous for a humorous approach to fashion, I was swayed a little bit toward appreciating it more. 

The Best Worst

Longtime readers will recall there is a special category for The Best Worst, an award for someone whose outfit is the worst, but also maybe actually the best? I mean, Nicole Kidman deserves a Best-Worst Hall of Fame award for valor in this fit-for-Cabaret dress adorned with the heads of her enemy parrots. One can only assume she emerged from a rumble in a jungle with these trophies and demanded Gucci create a wearable tribute that would put parrots everywhere on notice.

Busy Phillips also achieved a rare and confusing success wearing a sequined purple camouflage gown that looks like something they rejected from the Never Been Kissed prom scene. But it's kind of working, right?

Worst Dressed

Claire Foy is trying really hard to win me over and convince me she is a daring fashion risk-taker of the highest order, but honey, you gotta crawl before you can walk and you are NOT Julianne Moore or Nicole Kidman. This Valentino dress has split personalities...demure secretary on top, then black lingerie over a sundress? Cheery, sexy pilgrim-meets-Morticia? I just couldn't make enough sense of it to understand the appeal. I bet I'd love it on the runway, hahahaha.

This is a person named Samantha Isler who is apparently in Captain Fantastic when she is not giving costumed historic tours of the Winchester Mystery House. Textbook example of what Tim Gunn means when he says you're straying a little too close to "costume."

Woof. Naomie Harris donned a simultaneously tight and drooping wrinkly satin negligee-turned-prison jumpsuit by Lanvin and it was a crying shame because she is beautiful and deserves better.

There is no scenario in the entire world in which I could be prevailed upon to select this yellow Gucci dust ruffle that is, inexplicably, further adorned with a pink ribbon and a pink flower. It's one of those ill-conceived color combo dresses you would have only seen in a 1970s wedding.

As a cocktail-length dress worn to CBS upfronts to court advertisers, Mayim Bialik's dress could maybe pass for cute. The colors scream holiday popper, and maybe more appropriate to wear for a Christmas Eve cantata with the choir (if she weren't Jewish).

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Michelle Dockery needs a new stylist. Here's what's crazy: she has the same one as the always-flawless Lupita N'yongo. I just have a feeling Lupita has a better sense of who she is and what vibe she wants to project. This isn't actually 100% terrible — in a slightly more casual cut and fabric, it would make for a fabulous "night out" dress in the Caribbean. But this Elie Saab is just not a fit for her complexion, in my opinion, and even more than that, I have no clue what her taste really is because her style is all over the place.

Lori Petty is such a reliable, lovable kook. Last year she made my worst-dressed dreams come true with her Barbie JNCO outfit and this year, she slid into what I assume Maria Von Trapp would have made if she had to combine her nun's habit with a tablecloth. She paired it with comfy orthopedic shoes for a night out!

Next up: Grammys!