Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall 2013 Fashion Trends: It Was All Yellow

Fashion is so funny. I just spent the past couple weeks looking at the spring runway shows and then remembered ... duh, I need to know what the trends are for this season! I went back and looked at my favorite looks I'd pinned last spring to see what common themes emerged, so this week, I'm featuring my own little spin on each of them. Get ready to feel like shopping for fall!

Fall Fashion: Mustard

More than in recent seasons, this fall's trends were really .... fall. Does that make sense? Classic colors, like pumpkin, burgundy, black and, to brighten it up, yellows from mustard to chartreuse. It brings a bit of sunshine on darker days, but also perfectly complements a classic fall palette. Yellow popped up on the runways of (left to right) Matthew Williamson, Emilia Wickstead, Elie Saab, Oscar de la Renta and Lela Rose.

Use it sparingly with these much more affordable options:

Fall Feeling Yellow

  1. If you've got it, flaunt it in this body-con yellow dress, $130 by Karen Millen.
  2. It might seem counter-intuitive, but I feel like this is the go-anywhere citron blazer, $228 at J.Crew. Wear it with gray pants, black dresses, plaid trousers, jeans and leopard flats...seriously, it could be just the thing a fall wardrobe needs. 
  3. Brighten up the office in a yellow pencil skirt, $49 from Dillards.
  4. Another go-everywhere piece: a mixed-print gauzy mustard scarf, $28 from Nordstrom.
  5. Stay stylish in the football stands with this beanie, $6 at Target.
  6. Channel Mad Men in a funnel-neck sweater, paired with a midi plaid skirt or a pair of cropped pants, $64 from Topshop.
  7. Pad around town in chartreuse loafers, $56 at Threadsence.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Best v.173

A chrysanthemum painting by the great Egon Schiele.

Life this fall is BUSY and only about to get busier! I seriously don't know how people with pets/kids/houses/etc. do it, because I can barely keep our fridge stocked or our clothes clean! Today, we're watched football and just biding our time until Breaking Bad's series finale...shew, it's gonna be crazy.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wine Club Tours Washington State

For our most recent tour across the wine-making United States, wine club made a "stop" in Washington state via our lovely hostess Jen. 

Washington is actually the second highest producer of wine in the U.S., behind California. Most of the wine production happens eastern half of the state, where it's much less rainy, has mostly consistent temperatures and long sunlight hours. Rieslings have been Washington's calling card in the wine world since the 70s, but the state has gradually become recognized for its Merlots and Syrahs. 

  •  Radius Cabernet Sauvignon, with hints of black cherry and chocolate. I'm sure it was good, but it's the whites that are standing out in my memory.
  • Red Theory Red Blend, with notes of plum and blackberry. I'm sure this flies in the face of purists' tastes, but I really love red blends!
  • Wildhaven Pinot Gris, a citrusy pinot with a hint of ginger.
  • Bridgman Riesling, a fresh and bright citrus riesling, not too sweet, but not too sour. This was highly recommended by my Total Wine employee helper, and I was not disappointed!
  • Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling was my favorite, and we've actually had it before! It has notes of oranges, peaches, honey and clover and if you like Riesling, totally hits the spot. I don't remember it being overly sweet, either.

 Inspired by the hippie-crunchy granola vibe of Seattle, Jen made her own trail mix! She also served the most scrumptious Washington state cheese.

 But even more scrumptious was the hot sweet onion dip ... it seriously made her house smell amazing. Washington is known for its vidalia onions, hence the dip!

 She outdid herself with her veggie lasagna florentine, which was seriously delicious. Melissa took a bite and was like, "Jen. This lasagna!"

 My favorite was actually her carmelita housemade focaccia with potatoes and fresh rosemary, a nod to Washington's Yukon Gold potatoes. This bread was seriously moist, but dense and tasty.

 I also loved the corn, sweet onion and tomato salad, with cilantro and rice vinegar. It tasted super fresh.

And finally, you can't have Washington night without a little Starbucks. We had slices of an apple-berry crisp with scoops of Java Chip ice cream and it was the perfect ending.

Next stop on our cross-country tour: New York state!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fashion Review: Emmy's 2013

First of all, let me apologize! Monday somehow ended up really busy for me, with almost no time at home in front of the computer, so I'm behind on my usual picking apart of celebrity outfits...something that should always be a priority (lol).

Second of all, it was hard to get excited or upset about anything anyone wore. With the exception of Melissa Leo's crazy town outfit, nothing made me gasp, in a good OR a bad way. That's what we're dealing with in the age of stylists these days, folks. Some people need a new one, who will push them out of their comfort zone, and some people need to ditch theirs, because they've locked them in a safe box. I'm not saying fashion should be the most important thing on an actress's mind. But if I had basically limitless options and a rocking body, I'd at least have a little more fun with it than so many of these gals do. In fact, there were so many non-offensive, but non-exciting dresses, I could have done  a post of just those. So if you don't see your favorite here, it probably means I thought it was fine and just that.


Claire does it again in Armani Prive. The gown could have been another boring nude dress, but the very sexy plunging neckline and the pattern of the lace gives it interest. The real winner here, however, is her faux bob. It reminded me of her in the late 90s, when she was wowing folks in a Narcisco Rodriguez cashmere sweater with skirt.

You have to give Julia Louis-Dreyfus credit for basically looking almost exactly the same as she has for 30 years, minus some hair changes. I loved how classic, yet modern this shiny Monique Lhuillier gown was and the fit is impeccable. Up close on the red carpet interviews, you could see the beading looks like mirrors. 

Rose Byrne winningly pulled off the sliver-of-midriff trend, looking classy and modern and sporty in her Calvin Klein ensemble. I thought the color, which seems really difficult to pull off, was perfect on her and her makeup/hair accented it perfectly. I could see how it looks a little like a big Band-Aid, but for some reason, it works for me. Also, was everyone aware she is dating Bobby Cannavale? My mind was blown.

I love that Kate Mara showed up looking so. fierce. Usually the media is gushing about how fierce and futuristic her sister, Rooney, always looks, and it was cool to see her work this J. Mendel gown. I like how the fabric looks really sporty — kind of The Fifth Element if the bandages wicked sweat — but also looks extremely covered up in a 40s way. She's also giving great face here.

I'm pretty sure very few people would recommend a platinum blonde like Anna Faris should wear a Big Bird-yellow Monique Lhuillier gown, but I thought this really, really worked. It was daring, but extremely classy, and her simple hair and jewelry makes it work.

She barely appeared on screen, but I was impressed when I saw this shot of Sarah Hyland in an emerald green CH Carolina Herrera gown with beautiful lace framing. It's the accents here — the dark lip, the emerald jewelry — that makes this really shine. She also looks a LOT like Mila Kunis here.

I saw this pic and was like, oooooh pretty, but...who is that? I seriously mistook Linda Cardellini for Kate Beckinsale and that is a pretty huge accomplishment for someone best known for wearing an army jacket on Freaks and Geeks. Linda's sculptural Donna Karan gown fits her perfectly, is very glamorous and was a gorgeous shade on her. The only thing I don't love is the sideswept seems a little forced, if that makes sense.

I liked Kerry Washington's ethereal Marchesa gown when I saw it on TV, but I wasn't in love. The bust seemed a little busy and frankly, a little Renaissance Faire, but the skirt detail really wins it for me in this shot. She always looks so stunning, though, I'm pretty sure she can wear almost anything and look great.

I love Edie Falco because she's not someone I ever expect to look fierce and yet she always, always does. She takes big risks and isn't afraid of interesting cuts or hot colors, like this electric periwinkle Escada gown. The cut is super modern, and the color really brings out her eyes.


We must take a moment to give praise for something I've waited for...a perfectly fitting, perfectly flattering gown for Christina Hendricks! Can you hear the angels singing? I love this Christian Siriano gown because a) way more of us look like her than Claire Danes and b) she is so gorgeous, it's been depressing watching her parade so many ill-fitting or terribly colored gowns. My only quibble is that I find it a bummer that it's black....I feel like most designers, when faced with any body bigger than a size 2, figure black is best and a beautiful dark green would have really popped against her red hair.

Those Mad Men girls knew what was up! Elisabeth Moss also suffers from an addiction to ill-fitted, bandage-colored gowns that age her a ton, so it was nice to see her look youthful and pretty in this Andrew Gn gown. That said, it still feels a little old for her and I'm also pretty sure I've seen this exact dress 1,000 times.

On one hand, I think this totally works. I love the details and the Old Hollywood aspect of the shape. It fits perfectly, too. But it felt a little bit like a dress from Dallas or Dynasty, and I think a big part of that was the peach color. Put this in a gunmetal or even a bronze and it might have been my favorite of the night. But in this shade, I'm getting 80s bridesmaid vibes.

I love Mindy Kaling SO much, and I think this eggplant Georges Chakras is interesting, flattering and definitely not boring. But something isn't connecting for me here, and I think it's the hair. It seems really flat to her head and kind of makes her face look really wide to me, and I just don't love it.


Times are bad when my husband proclaims a dress "boring as hell." Allison Williams is a stunning beauty with great fashion sense, who always looks classy like she's been doing this for years. I love the color, but this Ralph Lauren frankly looked a little cheap. The fabric, on camera, did not look almost looked like the dress was made out of the really cheap cotton you buy at Wal-Mart to make costumes.

What's that? Sorry, January Jones' custom Givenchy put me to sleep. This LEGIT looks like an old vintage wedding dress that wasn't dry-cleaned in time and suffers from major accessory deficit disorder.


You have to just love Melissa Leo. I could have pinched her cheeks when she strode on stage dressed as the Artful Dodger on his way to a wedding, just because it finally gave me reason to shout WTF. I mean, this is a dressy Hoovertown outfit, right? Beyond that, the pants just aren't doing her any favors. They look like off-the-rack Talbots for Much Older Women pants and that just doesn't make any sense when I know this lady is fit.

I LOVE Honor and I love Zosia for reliably always taking risks, but I just didn't think this gown worked. The bust line is, to say the least, troubling. If the black fabric took up the whole bust, I think it could have worked much better, but I'm not totally sold on the colors in this watercolory print either. It comes off less artsy and more blood-and-bruises.

I think Lily Rabe is someone who could really benefit from a good stylist who can harness her will to be daring into better results. Her Vionnet dress just isn't great...I don't like the Two Face nature of it, especially with the white heel and not great posture. The vampy lip, with feminine lilac, also isn't working. I love her on American Horror Story, and would love to see her look really, really gorgeous and get tons of attention.

I thought Emily Deschanel's Houghton gown was particularly old for her and not very flattering. It looks very Mother of the Bride, and the pattern doesn't read as sophisticated, but rather more like Old Rich Lady drapes.

I didn't see Amanda Peet appear on camera, so I'm not sure how much it matters what she wore, but this Erdem gown looks like a Victorian mourning gown interpreted by a 90s Delia's catalog. Her hair looks super rumpled, like she just got back from a jog and she even looks sad about this, like she ordered it online hastily and when it came, she was like, "oh shit, this might look terrible, but my husband writes 'Game of Thrones' so I guess I have to go."

Believe it or not, I actually really struggled with whether I liked or disliked Lena Dunham's Prada dress. It's so her, and it's happy, and it's very Prada. The print is really lovely, and if it were a cocktail dress, worn to a talk show appearance, I think we all would have really loved it. My greater quibble is not the print, actually, but the shape. Everything fits well, but I just don't think it's particularly flattering. I also think she has a tendency to shy away from looking like a grown up, which is fine, but I'd like to see her try it. The hair is also just not working for me at this in-between stage. I am, however, happy she's happy.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Best v.172

Beauty and the Beast by Slim Aarons

It's officially fall! We've got football and the Emmys on TV, tortilla soup on the menu and pumpkin candles burning. Gotta love it. Here are some links I enjoyed that you might, too:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Jams of the Week

I normally hate Yankee Candle candles because I think all the scents smell the same, and I generally don't love colored candles, or their jars BUT the Apple and Pumpkin Picking candle is really doing it for me. It's a perfect fall scent — not too spicy — and relatively inexpensive at Target. I recently picked up the gold striped vase at a thrift store in Newport News for $2. It reminds me of something Kate Spade would have in her home line, and really dresses up these grocery store mums.

I popped into Taste Unlimited the other day to grab a drink and ended up also picking up this Lemon Ice Truffle Bar by Seattle Chocolates. It was so unique and delicious. Not only was the chocolate itself really high-quality, but the lemon bits were such a nice surprise! I love lemon everything, so it's no surprise I enjoyed this.

I'm transitioning into fall-themed cosmetics, so I recently picked up this new Essie color, Cashmere Bathrobe. I love the gunmetal's dark, but it doesn't look black or silver. It's definitely in-between.

I've been following the spring fashion shows as much as possible, and even though the show was for spring 2014, I thought the make-up for J. Mendel looked really fresh for this fall. I love the spice-colored lip, coral-bronze cheek and bronze eye shadow. I've been replicating the look with Maybelline Modern Metallics eyeshadowRevlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Coral Reef + Nars Satellite of Love highlighting blush and finish off with Cover Girl Queen gloss in Flame (yes that's the dark-skinned collection, but this color would work on all skin types). 

How are you getting into the fall mood? Pumpkin-spiced EVERYTHING? Trying to wear boots yet?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sage Brown Butter Chicken

I have to admit, I've been lazy lately! Am I the only person who finds it really hard to adjust back to life after vacation? That includes cooking!

We came home to a fruit fly problem. It seems to be solved now after we took two actions:

  • Put out jars of apple cider vinegar, topped with saran wrap with toothpick-sized holes poked through. This TOTALLY worked.
  • Completely cleaned out the fridge just to be on the safe side.
Starting back from scratch, with a completely cleaned out fridge, got me back in the mood to cook, so last night, I tried a new chicken recipe: sauteed chicken with sage brown butter.

First, I pounded two chicken breasts, salted and peppered them, and dredged them in all-purpose flour.

I sauteed them on medium-high heat in a pan heavily sprayed with cooking spray. Here's where I'm a bad blogger: I had to move so fast during the butter sauce-making period that I was unable to take any pics!

I turned down the heat a little bit (probably could have turned it down a little more) and added about 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and two springs of sage. When the butter started to brown, I removed the sage sprigs and added minced garlic and thyme. I cooked for about 30 seconds, then added a little lemon juice and cooked for 30 seconds more. I added the chicken back to the pan, generously coated it in the butter sauce, and served it up with green beans!

This is a tasty, rich dish and the sage really makes the flavor. Sean said I can add it to the regular chicken rotation, so that's the highest endorsement a chicken recipe could get!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Best v.171

A look from the spring 2014 collection by Prabal Gurung

It's the most wonderful time of the year, y'all! Long sleeves and flip flops, short sleeves and boots, easy running weather, football Sundays, pumpkin everything, dark nail polish. Gotta love fall! I'm enjoying catching up on fashion week while procrastinating from doing laundry and cleaning out our fridge (something in there is stinky...ugh). Here are some favorite links from the past week or so:

Friday, September 13, 2013

DC Recommendations: Restaurants and Attractions

I will never see everything I want to see in DC, especially not on a 4-day vacation, but researching our quick trip put a lot of cool stuff on my radar for the next few times I'm in town. Here are some must-sees and lesser-known spots that are on my to-do list, thanks to recommendations from a bunch of trusted friends.


Founding Farmers offers farm-to-table eats, and has a damn catchy name.
  • Lincoln: This restaurant opened to fanfare this year when everyone got a look at its floor tiled with real pennies. Known for seasonal small plates; Obama and Colin Powell have stopped in.
  • Pearl Dive: An oyster palace with a touch of Southern hospitality, recommended by our friend Jeff.
  • Art & Soul: Helmed by a James Beard-winning chef, another spot for Southern flair.
  • Jaleo: Somewhat legendary spot for Spanish tapas. Has been recommended by everyone!
  • Tony Cheng's: Our friend Liz, a DC native, says this is the spot for dim sum.
  • Belga Cafe: Authentic Belgian food...I'm dying to go try their french fries.
  • Meskerem: An Ethiopian restaurant hailed as the "best ethnic restaurant in DC."
  • Tea at the Willard: I didn't know, but Liz tells me afternoon tea is a big thing in DC. I want to go be fancy and do it up one day!
  • Restaurant Nora: Not cheap, but Nora's is the first certified organic restaurant in the country. 
  • Matchbox: This Chinatown pizza place gets high marks from our friend Andi.
  • Graffiato: One of several DC restaurants headed by a Top Chef contestant, Graffiato has been hyped by several of my friends for its inspired take on Jersey Italian...with seriously great prices to match!
  • Ted's Bulletin: My friend Paige says this is a great breakfast spot near the Capitol, with homemade Pop-Tarts on the menu!
  • Vinoteca: Mindi, who takes wine seriously, says this is a great wine bar.
  • Kangaroo Boxing Club: Good food, good drinks, broad menu choices and decent prices. What's not to like?
  • Meridian Pint: Great bar for craft brews, but the menu is adventurous, too.
  • Rasika: Modern Indian cuisine, recommended in all caps by Holly.
  • Le Diplomate: Classic French bistro, with cozy red banquettes.
  • Amsterdam Falafelshop: Comes on high recommendation from Samieh, who says their falafel tastes like her mom's.
  • Tabard Inn brunch: My friend Becky says this meal is nothing short of life-changing and a must-do. Needless to say, this is top priority for the next weekend I'm in the area!
  • Old Europe: A classic spot, open since 1948 and serving up authentic German food.
  • Zatinya: Innovative Turkish and Greek cuisine that Lindsey called the best spontaneous food decision she's made.
  • Teaism: Great tea-and-sandwich spot with four locations.
  • Clyde's: Legendary spot, now a chain all over the DC area. Was the first to serve brunch in Georgetown, which is pretty landmark.
  • Old Ebbitt Grill: A legendary oyster bar and political watering hole across from the White House.
  • The Source: Wolfgang Puck has gotten high marks for the Asian fusion spot located at the Newseum.
  • Good Stuff Eatery: Everyone loves these burgers, fries and shakes, now with several locations.
  • Founding Farmers: Farm-to-table American classics, with a menu sure to please everybody.
  • DC Empanadas: Of all DC's food trucks, this is the one I most want to try. Because empanadas are my jam.


 An installation at Dumbarton Oaks

Most of us have been to the Smithsonian museums, White House, Capitol and monuments. Here's a list of other stuff still on my wish list.
  • National Archives: Where you can see the real deal Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution.
  • Library of Congress: There are some amazing things in the library's collection, which is often organized into exhibitions. Plus, who doesn't love a grand and amazing library?!
  • Botanic Garden: Houses a collection of both rare plant species and natives to the U.S. My grandparents checked it out and really enjoyed it!
  • Arboretum w/Old Capitol columns: Tucked in the National Arboretum are the columns for the original Capitol.
  • Phillips Collection: I've been, but I'd love to go back. Beautiful, impressive art collection in a gorgeous house.
  • Newseum: A museum on the news, featuring thought-provoking exhibits and the largest chunk of the Berlin Wall outside Germany.
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts: It is sinful how many major art museums have very few works by women. I'd like to check this place out to see what I've been missing.
  • Corcoran Museum: Another impressive art collection I haven't seen yet!
  • Lincoln's Summer Home: Lincoln kept a retreat for himself in Northwest DC. My mother-in-law gave it two thumbs up!
  • Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center: Many people aren't aware the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage program presents a free performance every day at 6 p.m. Amazing way to check out music, dance, one-act plays and more.
  • Old Post Office Pavilion: Supposedly the top of this building offers one of the best views of DC.
  • Octagon: Supposedly the most haunted house in DC, the Octagon served as a temporary home for President and Dolley Madison following the burning of the White House in 1812.
  • Hillwood: A fabulous estate once owned by the Post Cereals heiress and packed with her collection of Tsarist tiaras, high fashion and antiques. Also known for its immaculate gardens.
  • Dumbarton Oaks: Also known for its beautiful gardens, Dumbarton Oaks is a Harvard institution dedicated to Byzantine, pre-Columbian and garden studies.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DC Trip: Monuments & Museums

On our last day in DC, we packed all the really touristy stuff into one day and night. I wouldn't usually recommend this, but if you only have a couple days in the city, you might consider it! We started with a tour of the U.S. Capitol, which has a gorgeous new visitor center and great guided tours. I reserved our tour through my congressman (but you can book tickets on the premises) and if you ask, you can also get passes to view the House and Senate galleries. Congress wasn't in session, so we didn't see the galleries.

The Capitol is exactly what it should be — dramatic, breathtaking, maybe a little pompous, but altogether awesome. I was in love with all the little details. The rotunda's ceiling is painted to depict "The Apotheosis of Washington," and is very grand.

There should be a jewelry line based on the details of the rotunda.

The most valuable piece of art in the whole dang place is this Rembrandt Peale portrait of George Washington, which hangs in the old Senate gallery, which the Senate eventually outgrew by the 1850s.

Warning: the entire tour, from check-in to finish, was nearly two hours.

After our tour, we split up to hit the museums of our choice. I picked the Hirshhorn Museum, which houses a very contemporary art collection.

 I especially loved this piece, made of paper-wrapped hangers by Dan Steinhilbur...

and this hilarious giant dog sculpture, made by Peter Coffin.

The Hirshhorn is also known for its incredible sculpture garden, with pieces by artists ranging from Auguste Rodin to Roy Lichtenstein.

Gotta love this spidery Alexander Calder sculpture!

We finished the trip by taking the Monuments by Moonlight trolley tour. If you've never been to DC, I would recommend taking the tour on your first night, so you can go back and visit the things you would have liked to explore further, but for a quick hit, this is a great option. The city was beautiful at sunset; the Supreme Court's facade is being worked on at the moment, so this is a shot of the evening light hitting a faux facade they put up!

We stopped at the FDR and Martin Luther King memorials, Iwo Jima and at the Lincoln Memorial, where you could also walk over to the Vietnam and Korean War memorials.

Lincoln never fails to leave me awestruck.

The Washington Monument is being repaired right now, following the earthquake that shook Virginia in 2011. The Park Service had the brilliant idea to light it up more than usual, and with the light peeking through the scaffolding, it looks really cool and modern. I was kind of obsessed with snapping pictures of it.

It was a great finish to a great, quick trip! After researching things to do and places to eat, I have about 40 day trips planned in the future, lol. I'll post some of those recommendations tomorrow.