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Friday, February 29, 2008

Periodic Style Exclusive: Interview with Julie Teel, NYC Make-Up Artist, Part I

Isn't it amazing what a little Googling can do? While researching Gossip Girl beauty, I thought, why not go to the source? I looked at the make-up artists listed on the IMDb page for Gossip Girl and got to Googling.

And that's how I found Julie Teel, a New York-based make-up artist who's worked not only on Gossip Girl, but some other amazing projects as well.

Julie was kind enough to answer some of my questions about being a make-up artist, some of her projects, and to give us some great advice to share with our readers; thank you, Julie!

How do you typically get an artist job for a TV show/film? Is it based on networking, your portfolio, etc.? Is there an interview process?

Once you've "gotten into the circle", it's a small matter of networking and mostly hard work. Proving that you've got the skills and the ability to follow through on the requirements of the particular job is the trick to maintaining your presence. Interviews do happen when new projects start up. It's fairly harmless... meeting with some of the higher-ups and other established creatives on the team, ie: the producer/s, director, costume designer... making sure there is a chemistry. It may be required to show a body of work via portfolio or reel, so it is always a good thing to keep it up-to-date. Other jobs are attained through re-hiring... being brought on via producer/director or actor request. This happens a lot. Loyalty is quite rampant, which is a good thing!

Have you noticed a difference in what's required of you since the rise of HD for film/TV? Does this change the products used, the techniques, etc.?

Personally, this change doesn't affect me. I have a fine arts background & started out in fashion, doing photoshoots & model portfolios -- I am very detail oriented, and my style of make-up is clean and wearable for everyday even if it is dramatic. I like to show skin or, at the very least, make it look as if my client/actor is not wearing lots even if it is the contrary, so blending and matching skin tone is very important. There has been a push for using airbrush but I don't think it's the end all be all, only for certain fantasy looks, special effects and body make-up. Plus, there have been great improvements in the cosmetic industry. I'm always looking at what's new but I always seem to go back to many of the products I've used for years. So, it's all in the wrist! Making the most of what you have and BLENDING BLENDING BLENDING.

For Gossip Girl, are the make-up looks based more on characterization (for example, heavier eyeliner for former-bad-girl Serena) or on what flatters the actresses? Are the looks sketched out in advance on face charts, or adapted as the actress is being worked on?

Looks are designed based on character and the changes that that character may go through. Also, the comfort level (working with their personal requirements to feel camera ready... seasoned actors will know what works for them since the camera can change their proportions and features they will have learned the TWEAKING TRICKS for these quirks that are not immediately visible upon meeting) of the actor is taken into consideration and the approval of the director and other higher-ups may be required (so it can be a bit of a battle and artistic differences may be had).

Some looks are sketched out beforehand, especially if it more fantasy or special effects related . Also, there is usually a camera test to determine and get closer to finalizing the look of the character. And in that, it may still take a few episodes to really finalize it.

What are some of the products/brands used for some of the looks for Blair and Serena in Gossip Girl? (Particularly in regards to lips and eyes, but blush/bronzer too!)

Because I have only worked on 2 episodes and as an additional (no credit), I have not done those particular actors' make-up (it would be the key make-up or second who would do the Principle actors from scratch -- I was working on Canterbury's Law so I was only available for a few episodes toward the end, before the writers strike... bleh.), only touch-ups... and I don't even remember what was in their bags! So I suppose my answer to that is N/A, sorry... Although, the products I have seen floating around the set are definitely available and easily accessed by the public.

Would you consider those products easy for a regular girl with a regular budget to get access to (for example, brands that are available at Sephora or department stores)? If not, what would be your suggestions for recreating these looks?

Definitely accessible. You can even recreate looks via products purchased from the drugstore and other department stores, ie: Target, Wal-mart... etc. Pick and choose what is the most important item and spend your money accordingly.

Check back next week for Julie's list of must-have beauty products, and don't forget to check out Julie's portfolio at JulieTMakeup.com!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

WorkWear Diary for February 28th, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been struck by a somewhat inspired, somewhat self-indulgent idea. Since I have joined the workaday world after many years of living in the proverbial ivory tower, I yearn to be both stylish, smart, and office-ready during the week. Basic though my wardrobe may be, not to mention hampered by the currently frigid temperatures in New York City, I have begun to study my daily dressing routine for its flaws and merits. Behold, today's outfit:

This seems to be my normal palette--grey and black, with a splash of one dramatic color. Remember that I wear grey plastic geometric cat's-eye specs with black jewels in them all day. A woman just accosted me on the elevator last night with her goings-on about how lovely my glasses are, and since this is not the first time, I like to make the glasses the focal point (ha!) of my entire ensemble.

Now, about the outfit. I have always loved menswear tailoring and details--there was a pair of black tuxedo pants definitely worn to pieces in high school--so, barring the introduction of a fitted vest into my wardrobe, I wear a lot of straight- or wide-leg pants. This particular pair is from H&M (the example above is Bebe, ugh), totally on sale, in a grey/brown windowpane tweed-ish pattern. Not the most lady-like pair of pants I've ever bought, they make me look a little like Charlie Chaplin. Still, they match my shoes.

THE SHOES. Oh, Jeffrey Campbell and your Spanish-made leather shoes, I do love you so. Will you be mine forever? And could you add just a wee more padding in the soles, a la Sofft? I hate having to use insoles. The grey and black wooden-heeled spectator-style shoes lace up and I hate to admit it, but they cried out to me from a Williamsburg shop shelf. They make me feel like Clara Bow. I schlump about in the Converse low-tops when getting to and from the office, feeling all hip while bundled up in four layers of sweaters, and transform (a.k.a., change) into Super Office Girl upon my arrival at the 31st floor.

The shirt is actually a Target find, a high-necked faux wrap that zips up the back and makes my arms look WAY BUFF, my waist SUPER THIN. The watch was a present from my parents from a recent trip to Singapore, where my mother raided a local accessories market--it's not actually the lovely kitsch Betsey Johnson you see above, but a slightly punked-out red elastic band with silk ruffle and giant Superman-logo-shaped silver watchface. It's growing on me. The purse is a generic black possibly-fake-leather number, picked up on a whim in Tokyo this summer. It's a good size for all the junk I carry, but not so large as to be unwieldy. Well done, black purse! I salute you.

The finishing touch, a maroon cashmere scarf that was a handed-down regift, courtesy of my grandmother attending a second-cousin's wedding in Japan. All in all, I think this ensemble cost me less than US$150, with the shoes eating up most of that total. They are fabulous, after all. I think the verdict on today's outfit is that while it is quite mannish in a Tilda Swinton/Annie Lennox sort of way (one hopes), it is in keeping with a style that balances me out. What else can a broad-shouldered, thick-waisted, leggy girl do?

The WorkWear Diary experiment will continue, so bear with me as the daily outfit routine evolves through the seasons changing and hopefully, my increasingly fit body changes. Luckily, I have a fairly relaxed office environment for the Big Apple, I keep a black suit jacket on a hanger at work for official emergencies (a big meeting, lunch spills) and have yet to offend anyone with my outfit choices. I promise to try and break out of the Banana Republic pants + solid button-down shirt + necklace uniform of so many young working women. Office fashion should be experimental!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I went out to lunch with my old roommate last week when she was back in town (and by lunch I mean late-afternoon beers at the dive bar where her boyfriend works,) and she decided to ask me more about this blogging thing I've been doing.
"What exactly do you write about?" she inquired.
"Colored tights and headbands, mostly."
"...What do you write about colored tights?" was her dumbfounded reply.

What indeed. The Runways were still delightfully full of colored tights this February. While trends come and go so fast that it's easy to lose track of what's in and buy something that's out, investing in classic, basic clothing and using accessories to punch up and modernize the outfit means that the only new things you have to buy each season are the accessories themselves. It's perfect for someone on a budget (such as the majority of college students and post-college grads, like me.)

I am a follower of this theory, as evidenced by my wardrobe-- black dresses, black skirts, black sweaters, black boots-- you name it, I probably have it in black. But walking around in all black is way too goth for me, which is why colored tights are fantastic! I love surprising people with a bold pop! of color on my legs.

Where to buy?

welovecolors.com has a great selection of colors, they're upfront about the opacity of the tights. I have a couple of pairs in the cheap-o version, which are sometimes a bit baggy in the lower leg, but true to color. I'm thinking of getting some of the microfiber tights to compare the two, but since they're backlogged, it might take awhile.

If you don't want to wait for Welovecolors to get tights back in stock, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters both have a good color selection! The Urban Outfitters ones worry me because there's no size chart listed, but the price is right at 2 for $20. Does anyone have these and can tell us more about them? The American Apparel ones are good for multiple wearings according to Jeanne, and American Apparel is everywhere, so it's easy to check out the tights in person.

Now if you're looking for some tights that are just a little bit different, Sock Dreams has a great selection of patterned tights, or make your own gradient tights with this tutorial from The Coveted.

Image from urbanoutfitters.com

Monday, February 25, 2008

Scooting into spring with BeneFit

I almost wasn't going to blog about this. I wanted to keep this all to myself. But my commitment to sharing the good stuff overtook my selfish desires. (For once.)

One of my goals is to get a Vespa. After spending two weeks in Europe and two weeks in Japan, I knew that I wanted a zippy little scooter of my own. I've looked at the websites, I've sighed and admired them on the street, snapped paparazzi-esque pictures of them in motion (including my hero, a stylish girl in Kyoto zipping along on a pink Vespa, complete with a Louis Vuitton bag), and I've already started looking into getting my M-Class license, which is required for riding a motorcycle (which, ultimately, a Vespa is -- it's not highway-safe, but it is a motorcycle).

It's also very well-known that I can't say no to a beauty event, especially if it's BeneFit Cosmetics. So when I stopped by Sephora on Powell Street in San Francisco yesterday, and I spotted a sign-up list for a BeneFit event behind the check-out, I had to inquire.

Not only is it a BeneFit spring event, but they are giving away a Vespa.

I don't even have to tell you that my name's on that list, right?

The event is next Saturday, March 8th, at the Powell Street Sephora, from 12 noon to 6 pm. To make an appointment, call (415) 362-9360.

Even if I don't come away with a Vespa (cross your fingers for me!), it ought to be a fun event with a hometown crowd. Let me know if you're planning on being there!

image from allposters.com

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Science Fair for February 18th-24th

This week's Science Fair is slightly Asia-tinged, since I have been gallivanting about Manhattan finding the island's best Japanese restaurants, reading ChopsticksNY magazine despite the grammatical and spelling errors, and hell, we all love Asia to death.

-The Japan Times seeks out Tokyo's greatest themed bars. Now, shockingly enough, I have never been to any of those awesome-sounding places (GOTHIC LOLITA BAR WITH DELIGHTFUL COCKTAILS, you should live only in my mind) although I have spent a significant portion of my life playing in Tokyo. I did end up at once place in Kabuki-cho a couple of years back for my birthday, called "Yousei no Mori (Fairies' Forest)" that was fascinating, but strange, which pretty much sums up a lot about Tokyo. All of the wait staff wore shredded, foofy prom and wedding dresses with fairy wings and Converse. Needless to say, the food was overpriced and tiny, we had to leave and have hotpot at a markedly less swanky place. The next year's birthday was spent in a Tahitian-themed place with blue cocktails and horse meat carpaccio wrapped around cantaloupe chunks. God, Tokyo is such a trip, I love it.

-Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! I Shot the Chef has yin-yang sables for you. They are so adorable, I just can't get enough. Are they better than mooncakes? Maybe. My brother got food poisoning once from eating a box of possibly-old mooncakes, so there. You know, just in case you needed to Westernize Chinese culture a little bit more.

-Back to Japan, have you seen this fancy new Otoko-mae brand tofu in your local Japanese grocery store? My grandmother has been going on and on about how popular this new, hip tofu is in Japan and California. It's smooth, close to silken in texture but the main draw is entirely superficial. Namely, the shape of the packaging is so attractive and the brush-drawn anime dude on the label is pretty sweet. They're supposed to be marketing to men, but I can guarantee you that it's all ladies buying up that tofu like hotcakes.

-New York Magazine reports on Five New Yorkers Who Wear Only One Color Every Day. In the elevator at work the other day, some ladies were complaining about how everyone always dresses so drably in the winter, all in black or generally colorless. I realized as I stood there, zooming up thirty floors, that I was entirely monochromatic that day. What, monochomatism is so much easier than standing in front of the dresser in the morning wondering if anyone will notice that the tiny stripes in your blouse so cleverly match the stitch detail in your new shoes.

-On a more serious note, have you seen the World Press Photo of the Year for the 2007? It is quite breathtaking, and hearkens back to the trench warfare of our previous epic wars. It's amazing. What do you think, does it sum up your 2007 pictorially?

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spot the Brit: Brit TV picks.

The strike is finally over! Thank goodness, all the replacement reality TV series were enough to make me consider watching One Tree Hill. The last time I attempted to watch that show was three years ago when it was on after Gilmore Girls-- my roommate and I decided it was homework time after someone started doing coke during the pre-credits teaser.

While the strike may be over, it's still going to be awhile before our fave shows are back on the air. We'll be getting more of our favorite sitcoms and Gossip Girl this year, but a lot of my favorite dramas aren't coming back until the fall. So until we've got some new series to watch, here's a look at some fun British TV that you might have missed. It's Brit week here at Periodic Style!

British TV is great (I may be biased since I grew up on the stuff,) and most of the seasons/series are ordered for a limited number of episodes, which gives their writers a chance to set up and tell a complete story within their given span of episodes. There's no cliffhanger ending when a 13 episode order isn't given the back 7. There's no stretching out a great concept over five seasons when it would've worked better over one. Well, there totally is if you watch the soaps, but I may well be the only person who gets re addicted to Eastenders every time I'm back over there.

Anyway, here are my picks for some quick series to enjoy until our sitcoms and Gossip Girl are back on:

If you like the Office (US), OBVIOUSLY you should enjoy the Office (UK). It's a little meaner, a little more awkward, but Tim and Dawn are just as delightful as Jim and Pam (or, if you're Jeanne, more delightful times a million,) and the Christmas Special. OH THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.

Plus, as with anything on British TV, it is like a who's-who of British actors! There's Martin Freeman (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Hot Fuzz),Mackenzie Crook (PIRATE.) and Lucy Davis (Ugly Betty Fashion TV anchor and Shaun of the Dead).

Speaking of Hot Fuzz/Shaun of the Dead, who doesn't like Simon Pegg? If you do, Spaced is great for you. This series is hysterical, and weird, and everything you enjoyed about Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead (no really! There are zombies and guns and tiny dogs named Colin! And semi-ridiculous plots that have one foot still in reality land: Tim and Daisy pretend to be a couple in order to rent an apartment that is listed as being "professional couples only" and wacky hijinks ensue.

It's out on DVD in England, but now here, so consider this my official plea to get Spaced released on DVD in America! Until then, the episodes are occasionally played on Bravo, and you can find some of them on YouTube.

And last but not least of my picks is Doctor Who!
Now I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Kati, Doctor Who has like, seventy million episodes. Everyone knows it is Britain's longest running program." And you would be absolutely right. But what I am recommending to you all is ONE SERIES of Doctor Who, with a pretty much self contained plot arc and 13 episodes. Yes, The first series of the new Who is genius and j'aime bien it. I've enjoyed Billie Piper ever since her teen-pop star days, and she continues to be a delight here as Rose, and Christopher Eccleston (who you might remember as Claude from Heroes, back in the days when we were still watching Heroes) is great as the Doctor. It's obviously in the Sci-Fi Genre, so if that's not your cup of tea, this might not be either, but the relationship between Rose and the Doctor is compelling and kept me coming back for more.

And if you want to, you can just keep playing the "who's who in Brit TV" game with it too! Simon Pegg also does a guest-stint in the first series, and adorable Jessica Hynes (Daisy from Spaced!) guests in the third series.

Now who wants to come play Spot the Brit with me?

Images from www.spaced-out.org.uk and www.bbc.co.uk.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Battle of the Blonde Brit Pixies: Twiggy vs. Agyness Deyn

London is hot, hot, hot when it comes to fashion. I don't even need to tell you about the excellent Londoner Susie Bubble, do I? And, whatever you may think of Nylon magazine, you can't deny that their latest issue all about London is a good one. (And holla, Topshop is coming to New York!)

This current London movement has a particular face: Agyness Deyn. She's won raves for her look, but let's take a look back at the original London supermodel, why don't we? That's right: I'm talking Twiggy.

I'll be listing off things they have in common, then awarding points for style. (Naturally.)

Nicknames: Surprisingly enough, both Twiggy (okay, maybe not a surprise) and Agyness Deyn are not their real names. For stage names, I'm going with Twiggy, if just because it's easier to say and remember. Twiggy is forever. Unlike, for example, Wholahay.

Twiggy: 1 Agyness: 0

Real Names: So what are the real names? Twiggy's originally Lesley Hornby (now Lawson, as she's married) and Agy is Laura Hollins. I'm going to call this a tie and give both of them points. Also, identical initials!

Twiggy: 2 Agyness: 1

Height: I have a soft spot for Twigs here, because she's a shorty like me. Surprisingly, she and Kate Moss, who are arguably the most well-known models, are both 5'6". Agyness, at 5'8", does surpass America's Next Top Model's height limit of 5'7". So Agyness gets the point here.

Twiggy: 2 Agyness: 2

Product Placement: Because Twiggy truly started the fashion-model-as-celebrity movement, there are all sorts of things that came with her name. There are Twiggy dolls, Twiggy make-up, and (my favorite) Twiggy colored tights. Just take a look on eBay for Twiggy and you'll find all sorts of vintage Twiggy goods. Agyness has it a little harder, as she's still a new model in a much bigger field. But she has a t-shirt with her face on it! So clearly, the winner in this round is Twiggy.

Twiggy: 3 Agyness: 2

Health Rumors: There have always been grumblings that Twiggy is responsible for the unhealthy and unobtainable body image that's been put on girls for generations now, as she was the original prototype for the waif model. Twiggy herself has addressed the issue, but what can you do? Agyness, meanwhile, may have had pink eye at London Fashion Week. Ouch! No one wins this round, except for maybe Henry Holland. (I want that blazer!)

Twiggy: 3 Agyness: 2

Discovery: Twiggy was famously discovered by having her photo taken and hung in a salon, where a fashion writer saw her picture on the wall and then wrote a major article titled "Twiggy: The Face of '66". Pretty awesome, right? Agyness' best friend and former roommate is the aforementioned fashion designer Henry Holland, and so it's probably not as hard to break into the fashion business if you're the muse of an up-and-coming designer who puts you on and in his shirts, no? (Also, I suppose that means "Deyn" rhymes with "Bean". Glad to know!) I'm giving the point to Twiggy again, because everyone loves the serendipitous story... we're all hoping it happens to us, aren't we?

Twiggy: 4 Agyness: 2

I will admit to knowing more about mod London than I do about modern London, so I will say that perhaps I lean more in favor towards Twiggy. I can't help it. But you never know: Agyness Deyn's star will keep on rising, but I think she's got a long way to go before she reaches the same height that Twiggy's achieved.

Which is, you know, 5 foot 6.

images from twiggylawson.co.uk and style.com

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Science Fair for February 11th - 17th

Well, the Great Mascara Experiment is over two weeks old now! Only four weeks more! I guess the actual deadline for mascara is three months, not six weeks, but I think six weeks ought to be enough.

So, while I'm lashing it up every day, here are some links to check out!

- A daily pressing concern is the impending zombie apocalypse. There've definitely been discussions about what I, personally, can bring to the table and why I should be granted sanctuary in the zombie-proof bunkers that are surely being built as we speak (at least, I hope so). Kati and I have also had at least one drunken discussion on how to stop a zombie attack in a bar (not the Winchester). So the Post-Apocalyptic Workout is possibly the most amazing thing ever. What an awesome way to go about bettering yourself; not only is she preparing herself physically for the zombie attack, but by gaining skills such as First Aid/CPR training, growing her own food, and basic construction skills (and that includes sewing/mending, too). Very, very clever and inspirational, even if you are tired of zombies.

- I've been adding a whole ton of vintage and thrifty blogs to my Bloglines on the sidebar (yes, I read every blog that's in my Bloglines!), with some of my favorites being Liebe Marlene and The Goods!, who I found through the awesome video interview at The Coveted last week. I'm also super-digging PainfullyHip.com. I'm incredibly inspired by all of these blogs and have already darted off in the middle of one workday to go thrifting... and plan to make a fairly regular habit of it. (Oh dear.)

- Have I mentioned how much I love the interior design blog sfgirlbybay? Reading her blog makes me realize how much I really, really need a digital camera and an apartment of my own to decorate. I also really want one of her Keep Calm and Carry On posters. Once I have a place to put one that isn't my office, I assure you, I'm getting one.

- And finally, from Entertainment Weekly, an article on Tyra Banks and her plot to take over the world with a tub of bedazzled Vaseline. Or, you know, just to take over the world. Also, Top Model returns this Wednesday with a new set of girls, and they're back in New York after five seasons of being in LA. Fierce (or should I say, ferosh)!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Long Distance Love Affair: A Valentine's Day Mix.

Jeanne challenged me today on Gchat to make a V-Day mix-- saying: "it could be a 'woo happy love' or 'wooooo valentine's day suuuucks' mix."

I'm not a romantic by any means. Sure I love fairy tale love stories as much as the next girl, but I'm also planning on playing Interpol's "Slow Hands" as my wedding song. Compare that to my former (male and straight) roommate, who planned to have Etta James's "At Last My Love Has Come Along" as his. I'm not sure I'm the best one to compose a "yay, happy love!" mix for you guys.

And while I don't always absolutely love love, I'm still generally a fan, so a "Valentine's Day sucks/Love Stinks" mix is right out.

So what to do? Well, thinking back on my non-single Valentine's Days, the majority of them have been spent with boyfriends not in town (either temporarily or because I was in a long-distance relationship.) And voilĂ , my inspiration for this mix.

A Long Distance Love Affair (It Rains a Lot This Time of Year)

14 songs, 58 minutes.

1) The Like Young-- "The Hell With this Whole Affair"
2) Metric-- "Combat Baby"
3) Rilo Kiley-- "Wires and Waves"
4) Coconut Records-- "West Coast"
5) Ozma-- "Continental Drift"
6) Death Cab For Cutie-- "Transatlanticism"
7) Grand National-- "By The Time (Mondkopf Remix)"
8) Benny Goodman-- "Goodnight, My Love"
9) The Decemberists, "The Legionnaire's Lament"
10) Franz Ferdinand-- "Eleanor Put Your Boots On"
11) Minus the Bear-- "Puchaca Sunrise"
12) Sleater-Kinney-- "A Quarter to Three"
13) Yeah Yeah Yeahs-- "Maps"
14) Arctic Monkeys-- "505"


Images from acme.com/heartmaker/ and cintiadicker.org.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Edited 3/1/08: I have a more recent post on daphne perfume here, comparing three daphne perfumes, including Laboissiere and Demeter's Daphne perfumes.

I am someone who is very sensitive to scents and has an incredible scent memory; a perfume, once I'm turned off to it, is no good to me anymore. So I try not to wear perfume on a regular basis because not only am I worried I'll make myself sick off my own perfume (which has happened), and because I don't want to do that to my coworkers, either.

But because I have such strong scent memory, there are certain scents that I'll never be able to really wear because I just can't find it in a perfume. For example, for some, the ultimate lily fragrance is the elusive perfect scent.

But lately, for me, it's daphne. There's something about the smell of daphne, right when the weather's turning from dismal to cold and clear. Like my love of jasmine and gardenia in the summer, daphne is the beginning of the end of the winter for me. There are several daphne bushes in bloom on the street between my office and the train station, so I walk by it at least once a day, typically. It's the clearest symbol of the changing seasons, to me -- once the daphne and the plum trees are in bloom, it's easier to imagine that spring is coming.

So what's with the lack of daphne fragrances? Is it just that hard to get right? Somewhere we have a bottle of the Demeter Daphne perfume, but, of course, it's not right. In searching through the archives of Now Smell This, there were only a few fragrances with daphne as a note, and even when searching for daphne, most results came up for the perfumer Daphne Bugey, not the flower.

In fact, Laboissiere Daphne was the only pure daphne perfume I could find. But do I really want to spend $52 on something that might not be right? Or do I track it down and try to find it in person before I plunk down that money? Apparently there's a perfume boutique (Jacqueline Perfumery, on Geary) in San Francisco that may carry it (they carry other Laboissiere perfumes, according to a forum post I found in my Googling). Do I dare go on this quest?

Or do I just enjoy the real daphne now, and know that because I only get it so briefly and so sweetly, that I'll never tire of it?

image from demeterfragrance.com

Monday, February 11, 2008

Where does the time go?

I love Fashion Week as much as the next fashion and beauty blogger. The excitement, the drama, the... fall and winter fashions in the middle of February.

I'm sorry, maybe I'm just confused, but by the time February rolls around, I'm ready for spring. I'm really, really ready for spring. And so it's hard for me to think about "this is what you'll be wearing for next fall" when all I can think about is light silky dresses, bright colors, and feeling the sunshine.

I know, I know how it works. The fashion world is always thinking ahead for what's next, the buyers need time to think about what they want, and the whole thing is a business transaction, ultimately. Fashion is big (and serious!) business. They're already planning for next spring -- and by next spring, I mean 2009. I'm still waiting for spring 2008, and I'm in California, one of the places where "winter wear" doesn't mean snow pants, parkas, and shovels.

And so I get confused. Should I be rushing out and buying the next big thing now? My immediate reaction last February was to start looking for a vintage cloche hat as soon as the Marc Jacobs photos hit the web (seriously, one of my all-time favorite collections). And that was last year. Do I start incorporating this stuff now, in February, even though it's not due to be "in" until September? Or do I store it away in my head, thinking, "Okay, remember -- get the cloche. Cloches have always been awesome, but now they are super-awesome."

You know that I forgot about it between February and September, right? I didn't get my cloche. And now it's February again, and I've missed the boat on that Fall/Winter 2007-08 item, because now it's time to think about 08-09. And I'm not ready to do that yet.

So I'm looking back at Spring/Summer 08, because I'm... looking forward to it. You see how confusing this all is?

And yet my desire for juicy colors and things that make me think, "Ah, spring!", isn't really present in the forecast for Spring/Summer. Like I said in my steampunk post, a lot of the emphasis this spring and summer is on safari and military influence: the khaki, the white, sharp tailoring and brass hardware. Where are my brights from last year? The soft silhouettes?

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do. I'm looking back at the Rag & Bone (first two pictures) runways for inspiration, and that sherbert-ombre dress from Diane von Furstenberg satisfies my need for COLOR. But I'm still holding onto my summer tops from last year, because I love them, and they look good on me, and that's the important thing, right?

This whole year of fashion is going to be interesting, because it always is. I just need some sunshine, some time by the pool, and some spring before I can start thinking about coats again.

images from style.com

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Science Fair for February 4th-10th

Happy Chinese New Year! Here's a completely non-fashion week related roundup for you (I'm behind on my fashion blogs, sorry guys. Jeanne should be able to take care of you next week.)

- TV writers write the rest of the season for other shows. Here's to hoping that the current deal on the table is good enough to get them back to writing for their own shows.

-Via Trashionista: I am probably the only one excited about this, but Angus Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging trailer! I'm curious to see how they adapt it, and how much Dave the Laugh it's going to have in it (I don't dislike Robbie, I just prefer Dave the Laugh.)

-I saw Juno (finally) on Friday night, and it was good, but you know what would be better? Arrested Development movie. Eonline's got the skinny on the potential for one.

-In other news of shows that are completely awesome and need a million seasons, there's a petition on the Best Week Ever Blog to save Friday Night Lights. Sign it to keep Kyle Chandler's hair on my television screen, please.

-Via every beauty blog I read: Pixel Pink is out! Perfect for Valentine's Day, no?

I hope everyone has a great week! Eat some of those candy hearts for me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sweet Escape

A big aspect of fashion is the hypothetical part of it -- we admire the gowns on the red carpet, we marvel at the couture runways, and magazines are full of the "aspirational" items that we too could have if we were as rich as we deserve to be. So much of it is wondering what if. Fashion says so much about us and who we are -- who would I be if I were someone who would wear a Marc Jacobs fedora or a Galliano couture dress on a regular basis?

And so we love to play in our minds and in our dressing-up: who am I going to be today? What would I wear on the red carpet, and why would I be there? Everyone has their "someday, if I..." outfit tucked away in their mind.

The new custom-made boutique site Sweet Rococo takes it even farther: you can create your own outfit through their website, then have it custom-made to your specifications.

Sweet Rococo serves the Gothic Lolita market -- the fashion movement, based primarily in Japan, of feminine neo-Victorian appearance. Think of antique porcelain dolls with their beautiful lace dresses and slightly sinister airs. And, within the Gothic Lolita movement, there are the additional branches -- are you sweet? Are you sinister? Do you prefer pink, white, blue, black, red? You can choose for yourself.

The interface at Sweet Rococo is easy to navigate and a lot of fun -- how many bows, if any, do you want, and do you want them in ribbon or matching fabric? You can mix, match, and customize your dress to your heart's delight. You can then save them to your closet or have them ordered: before you check out, you are directed to a site that requests all proper measurements.

And let's not forget the accessories. My favorite part was discovering the side-bow headband in any color you want. Want the perfect Blair Waldorf red bow headband? You can have it made just for you. That's what I did.

Last year I spent most of the summer looking for the perfect white summer dress, and I couldn't find it. I wanted something pretty and feminine, ideally vintage or vintage-styled, but not see-through. This time, I think I'll order it from Sweet Rococo and have it in time for summer. You know, just in case I wake up one day and realize that yes, today is the day that I am someone who does wear a beautiful handmade dress... that I designed myself.

images from sweetrococo.com

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cocktail Dresses on the cheap:

I'm on a mission- I need a new dress for a formal, but I don't want to spend a million dollars. So welcome to my quick and dirty budget dress shopping!

My dress requirements:
1) Knee-length or above. I'm not Blair Waldorf, I don't even want to attempt dancing in anything that's floor-length.
2) Something interesting. I know most of the ladies there are going to be in classic pieces that they can wear again and again, which is great. Classic pieces are classic. I'm just absolutely in love with the trends this season, and I want to wear the shit out of all the mini-dresses and headbands I can while they're still in.
3) No strapless. I think this is self-explanatory, but if it's not, I very nearly had a nip-slip last week while wearing a tiny tank and doing the polka. NO REPEATS. (and yes, logically I know the solution would be to stop doing the polka, but my polka partner might have some issues with that.)

Now, if I had a spare 500 bucks, I'd be buying the Catherine Malandrino Dress that Serena sported on Gossip Girl, but since I don't, It's back to the drawing board for me. Here are my picks for some fun dresses under 50 bucks!

Normally I'm not a huge fan of babydoll dresses-- they're very sweet and young, and since I look younger than I am already, there's not point in exacerbating the situation. But I do like the pairing of the babydoll dress with the metallic- it's a great contrast from what you normally see in a metallic dress.

I love the sleeves and the neckline on this one. The whole dress is cute in a very sweet way-- a tiny bit too sweet for me, and a bit more holiday dinner with the family than I want to get down and boogie.

I love this little flapper inspired beaded dress from Urban Outfitters- great classic silhouette, and the beading keeps it interesting. I'm just trying to avoid so much black! I wear it a lot, so if I don't mix it up and buy colors when I'm shopping, I start to look like an emo kid from all the black. So on to the next shop!

Charlotte Russe can be really hit or miss for me. Their dresses tend to fit like a dream, but sometimes the fabric is looks the price, which is no good. I have to go into the store and try their stuff on instead of ordering off the website, which means I have to brave all the 13 year old girls that roam my local mall to try on dresses. Still, they're all affordable, and did I mention their dresses fit me like a dream?

I love the color stripes as accents here, and I'm a fan of empire waists that also show off your waistline slightly. I couldn't find this one at the mall though, so I have no idea how it looks in person, so surprisingly enough, this little red number below ended up being the winner!

I'm not normally a red girl (it can make me resemble a tomato), but the sweet bubble hem and the fact that the red was dark enough to work with my complexion won me over. Plus, who doesn't want at least one sassy red dress in their closet? I hardly ever wear anything red, so for one evening at least it might be nice to have a little pop of color!

images from macys.com, urbanoutfitters.com, charlotterusse.com and periodicstyle.blogspot.com.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Science Fair for January 28th-February 3rd

Oh, wow, have I been busy. I've moved three times, once across the country, started a new job, and somewhat adjusted to life without excellent cable television (PLEASE END, WRITER'S STRIKE, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE), all in the last three weeks or so. I've barely had a chance to catch up with my favorite blogs, it's absolutely tragic. Now is the time for a little relaxation and self spa-treatments, maybe a manicure--but definitely not a pedicure. Those things will give you foot infections for sure.

On to the week's review!
-Only the ingenious Erin of A Dress A Day could buy curtains at Target and make them into a MIRACLE. I can't wait to see the result.

-Hairless wonder twins kick cancer!

-Leave it to the Australians to come up with low-fat Nutella spread. Oh, YUM. I have definitely made a PILE of crepes at home just to eat with Nutella and thoroughly enjoy.

-Have you been to the Bento Corner yet? Mrs. Bento Corner makes the most amazing, cutest little lunches for her kids, all while surviving as a semi-expat in Japan. Why didn't my mother make lunches like these for me when we were living in Japan? All I ever got was a stale peanut butter and marmalade sandwich on sourdough (believe me, it's the worst combination ever)! Oh, the jealousy. You'll learn to love it, as I have.

-If you've enjoyed PostSecret in the past, I am last in the game and only just discovered its way more awesome cousin, FOUND Magazine. It's so bitterly life-affirming that strangers pick up and care about the little things we lose in life, and hilarious that most of these little slips of paper are found in the parking lots of big box stores across America.

-I think She's A Betty and I have very similar tastes in theory, because every time she posts her Vintage Finds, I covet every single piece. Now with a great tip for eBay vintage hunters!

Just as a side note, lest you all think I am the least girly of our fair coterie of co-bloggers, I'll have everyone know I've been using Benefit's BadGal lash mascara for work, and my eyelashes are CRAZY OUT OF CONTROL. I slap some of that stuff on and it's like KA-BAM, work-appropriate-sexy, with no need for liner or eyeshadow at all. It's great, and it's definitely true that putting mascara just on your upper lashes makes you look more awake--always a bonus. There are a bunch of oft-promised posts coming up from me, including praise for hair irons and lip glosses for cold weather.

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