Monday, February 28, 2011

Who knew?

I’ve mentioned this blog is continually evolving.  In a previous entry, I was musing about starting a monthly briefing of what I found interesting in the scads of emails I receive.  From retailers to e-news from magazines and other sites, I seem to have oversubscribed myself to virtual publications (I think I get 30+ emails daily).

Last week was supposed to be my first such lasso-ing of sights and words I wanted to share.  But, those damn engineers won that round.

So, today!  Today, I present to you my initial “month-in-review.”  While something might not gefaellt mir per se, there was something about it that made me think, “Hunh.”  Might be a dress.  Might be fashion news.  Might be something random I saw.

Without further ado...

I have to kick this off by letting you  know my old Benetton sweater (the one from the Wayback Machine post) decided it was still cool enough for work and play in 2011.  So, off to work we went.  And happy hour.  And a nice steak dinner at Manny's.  I was surprised by how many compliments it fetched - and I'm pretty darn sure some people had NO idea it dates back to 1988.  Here are a couple photos:

That's right, the outfit wasn't complete without my Swatch watch!

OK, now that we've had our retro laugh, on to other news...

Ever since J. Crew launched a bridal collection a few years ago, it seems like every retailer is jumping on the bridal train lately (ooo, bad pun, I know).  I noticed Nordstrom opened their own bridal department sometime late last year, and while they probably didn’t chuck the snowball that started the current avalanche, it sure feels like, all of a sudden, everyone's tossing themselves into the swiftly expanding mass as it careens down the hill towards us.  For the past few weeks, Shopbop has been advertising their bridal store as “Coming Soon” (I'll link to that once it's up and running).  Then, just last week, I get an email from Anthropologie, telling me to check out something very cryptic-sounding, called BHLDN.  Turns out it’s a wedding site with semi-autonomous ties to its big sis.  Even private sale sites Gilt Groupe and Rue La La started including bridal events in their line-ups.

Fashion/trends/shopping site Daily Candy made me about fall over with their advertisement for Lisa Loeb eyewear.  She’s sported cute glasses for years, so I suppose it makes sense that she created her own line of stylish specs.  (Now I need to track down her Tails CD and blast that mid-90's girly alt-anthem "Stay" – I happen to like that album, although it's a surefire way to make hubby run screaming from the room).

Crackbook, er, I mean Facebook, recently alerted me to the news that Nordstrom is apparently buying Hautelook (another private sale provider).  (Note:  I'm trying to find the source link on FB and cannot locate it, will do so as soon as I can find it!)

Fashion sites went cuckoo for cocoa puffs during the recent New York Fashion Week, posting tons of photos and news from all the shows and those who were lucky to attend them.  Luxury e-tailer sent me NYFW email with a photo of a super cute outfit from an attendee:

I covet.  The whole outfit, really.  Yoox, by the way, has a mind-blowing offering of designers, many of whom I’m not familiar with.  Lots of good stuff to check out.

In the same NYFW spirit, Neiman Marcus sent me an email for Donna Karan's fall collection.  Loved this:

I see that Urban Outfitters is now peddling perfumes.  Hmm, I might spring for the “Whiskey” scent, shown below:

Melikes my Jameson on the rocks.  OK, so maybe it isn’t trying to recreate happy hour…

To keep in touch with retail news in my hometown, I signed up for the Chicago edition of both Lucky Magazine and Refinery 29’s city-specific newsletter.  I got a kick out of the blurb about this store featured via Lucky.

In closing, an email from the Onion’s online store boasted the heading:  “Want Free Shipping?  It’s A Surefire Way To Accumulate More Possessions.”  Yeah, that's all I need.  Free shipping is my kryptonite (especially when it’s combined with a sale!).  Don’t let my husband see that one.  He already thinks we're contenders for a future episode of Hoarders.

In fact, that thought might make him freak out more than another round of “Stay” J

Images (links to retailers in text above):

Benetton sweater & Swatch:  my own
NYFW fan outfit:
Donna Karan outfit:  Neiman Marcus
Portland "Whiskey" perfume:  Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All Aboard!

OK, so I'm not talking about *that* sort of engineer but...

It's Engineering Week at work here.  That's right, five days* dedicated to those who spent their school years, and continue to spend their careers, buried in calculations, circuitry and other technical fun.

As an architect, I get to work with a lot of you ladies and guys.  A number of you are friends, a few dating back to high school.  Besides working alongside you (and probably exasperating you on more than one occasion, heh heh), I've compared shoes, played soccer, and definitely spent many happy hours with you "technical" people (hey, the tag comes from the blurb at work, not me).  From architecture firms to the videogame design company I worked for to random social circles...  engineers everywhere!  And now you have a special little week all to yourselves.  Awww...

Sooo...  it's fitting that I saw this shirt on Threadless's email today:

Ladies, fear not, they've got girly sizes, too!

It's also fitting that one of my favorite e-tailers, Shopbop, offered yet another version of Frye's popular boot today, called the...  wait for it...  Engineer!

I'm not sure what about the design evokes engineering, but whatevs, it's a cute boot.

Off the topic, I just have to share the new album cover for Radiohead's upcoming album...  sigh, I love it.  They've had a lot of great album artwork, and I'm a big fan of their tunes as well. 

While I can't think of any blatant connection to the engineering theme here, I suppose all produced music does necessitate a sound engineer, right?  Right.  Works for me.  The image comes from an article from our very own Minnesota Public Radio / The Current, which is also all sorts of excited about the new release, called The King of Limbs.  Read it here.

Well, Happy Engineering Week to all you, um, engineers out there (calling you "technical" people just doesn't do it for me).  Whether you're dealing with HVAC systems, a decrepit bridge, algorithms for videogame physics, or just us artsy-fartsy architects ("can't we just make that precast panel thinner?" hahaha...) - enjoy your week!

*Note:  As in business days.  Yeah, I know my engineering pals probably doubted my ability to count for a minute there ;)


"Maths" t-shirt - Threadless
Frye "Engineer" boots - Shopbop
Radiohead album art - Minnesota Public Radio / The Current

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: It's More Than a Cheesy Hallmark Holiday For S.O.'s

Today is a day some people love, and others love to hate (I know, there are a few of you saying, "Meh, no lovey, no hatey, whatevs.").  While many of us like to dismiss February 14th as a day for cheesy attempts at romance and bad Hallmark cards, there are others who truly embrace it all (sans irony) - the flowers, the dinner, the whole thing.  Even engagements and weddings!  Of course, many singletons flock to those anti-Valentine Day's parties - bring on the tequila shots and trashing all things lovey-dovey, dammit!

Whatever your stance and plans for this ueber-marketed holiday, I want to wish you Happy Valentine's Day anyway!  It's not just about your spouse/significant other/bus crush, but your family, too.  And as far as I'm concerned, it includes your friends.  Yeah yeah yeah, it's about Cupid and his arrows and all that, but today should celebrate good friends as well.  I'm jus' sayin' :)

As I know many of you might do, I got myself a little Valentine's Day gift.  My partner in retail crime and I hit the Galleria this weekend for some birthday shopping (for her - no, really).  I stopped into the lovely accessories store Styled Life and lucked into finding these vintage earrings and ring:

I liked them so much I am wearing them today.

Also, they passed out candy at work, some of which is chocolate, so that also makes me happy:

I'm not sure how widespread Valentine's Day is around the world, but hey, while I'll stop short of wishing you a bathtub full of roses, caviar, unicorns and double rainbows, I do command you to at least score yourself some chocolate and a glass of bubbly.

Also, I noticed quite a few of you readers are international - are there any special customs in the UK, Hong Kong, the Ukraine, etc, to celebrate Valentine's Day?  I'd love to hear about it.  For you fellow US readers, do you celebrate?  Any special traditions you observe?  (Hey, keep it clean, my grandma could be reading this for all I know ;)

Back to eating all the chocolate I can find,

Images:  my own

Monday, February 7, 2011

Apparently It IS Easy Being Green (Kermit, You Lie)

You know what Monday means, of course.  A fairly short but sweet post!  Today, it's about some beautiful green pieces I've spotted recently.

To start with, I spied this Treesje purse on one of my sample sale sites today:

I looove the rich, green hue.  It's the color of those perfectly manicured lawns in summer (which, by the way, if you live in the desert, isn't so "green," I guess).  Also, the tote's amply sized for all the crap we women oft tend to carry.  Wallet, cell phone and glasses aren't enough for me.  Oh-ho, no!  I will totally cram in my 4" heels, a scarf, water bottle (uh, also not green but needed for random coughing spells), iPod, plastic baggie full of random cosmetics, and maybe a cardigan.

They also offered a different style in the same color:

Tory Burch has a pretty sweet purse, too:

There's a bit more blue in this green (sorry, Miles Davis, I'm sure women's accessories weren't what you had in mind, heh heh).  Still, I wouldn't kick it out of my closet.

Here's a gorgeous image from a Neiman Marcus emailer this week:

More of a late-summer green...

And here's a gorgeous image of some pants on a Shopbop email that, when you see the actual product page...  well, I just thought, "Oh."  Like, oh damn you, deceptive draping!

Yeah, same pants.  The green seems more washed out in the second picture, most likely thanks to different lighting.  Well, four outta five ain't too shabby.

Even though it feels like we're barreling through February, I know Spring isn't exactly around the corner up here (yes, it's not unusual for us to get snow in April or even May...  and no, I don't live in the mountains).  So I'm thanking retailers for providing me with plenty of greenery to try and cheer up my winter blahs of exhaust-fumed dirty white.

And guess what?  It's easier than I thought :)

P.S.  Though I am a Chicago Bears fan, I will tip my Bears cap to my many friends who bleed green (and cheesehead yellow) for last night's Green Bay Packer's Superbowl victory.  It's very easy being Green for them right now - congrats, you guys.


Treesje purses:  Hautelook (private sample sales site)
Tory Burch purse:
Michael Kors email:
Willow pants:

**Note to self and you guys:  Since I receive so many retailer emails - and since some of them have very pretty images, I plan to start including select said images to share with you.  Heck, I might try and dedicate a monthly post to them, stay tuned...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Trip in the Wayback Machine

Last week, I flew home for a quick trip.  While I looked forward to the typical things I used to do, like ride the El train and try out the latest restaurants on the scene, I had an unexpected treat in store.  Staying in my parents’ guest bedroom (they've moved a couple of times since my childhood, so I sadly no longer have "my" room), I noticed the closet door was ajar and nosed my way inside.

I’ve got a coworker who likes to quip that we’re going “in the wayback machine” whenever some project or issue from the past comes back to haunt us.  Holy high school!  It’s like I got zapped back to the late eighties and early nineties in a flash.  This, however, was a welcome haunting.  Crammed in with my mom’s old clothes, I was greeted by some great threads from my days of study hall, braces and marching band (yes, I was a band geek).  There were also some fabulous old formal dresses and oversized J. Crew sweaters from college.  Even the white satin dress from my eighth-grade dance – yikes (honestly – it ain’t so different from what I see online these days)!

While I gleefully started sorting through all the treasures, I nearly died with delight when I spied two of my all-time favorites:  my green Esprit sweatshirt and my blue and white Benetton wool sweater.  Here, take a look:

For northwest suburban Chicagoans of a certain age, I’ll bet you remember the local department store called Crawford’s – and that it had a juniors department that I loooved browsing.  That’s where the Esprit sweatshirt came from.  The Benetton sweater came from a decidedly more snazzy place called the Ice House (someone local needs to tell me if it still exists), which proudly housed a Benetton store.

I also stumbled across my boxy, old Gap jean jacket (well, it’s Levi’s but was sold at the Gap back in the day…  can’t you just hear their old jingle?  “Fall into the Gap…”).

OK, the top sweater is from college, when half my wardrobe consisted of J. Crew – as in, men’s J. Crew, size XL.  I still don’t know what the heck we gals were thinking back then!  Fun and cozy, but not flattering.  The bottom is another Benetton sweater.  Hey, I live in the north - no shortage of woolly knits up here!

Other slivers of clothing that peeked out at me from the crowded rack: 

My first thift purchase from high school...  a dark-reddish, plaid men's blazer I found on Newbury Street in Boston.  I can't stress enough how underwhelmed my parents were by my newfound interest in thrift stores - ha!

A beautiful, turquoise blue blazer I bought in Venice, Italy during my college semester living in Germany.

Oh, and that eighth-grade dress…  bought in Scottsdale, Arizona on a family trip.  I’m telling you, Shopbop is selling a slew of dresses like this.  Halston Heritage, anyone?

I intend to dedicate future posts to my insane emotional ties with these clothes, my love for vintage Esprit, and the memories and nostalgia they invoke.  Depending on what I can dig up, more photos, too!  Some of my high school brands (and stores) have long since faded away, others have changed, and a few still endure.

For now, enjoy these images, and if you have a beloved article from high school days, tell me!  Guess jeans?  Z Cavaricci pants?  Extra points if you’re older than Gen X or reading this outside of the USA (I know you’re out there ;)  I’d love to hear what you wore to shreds while snoozing in Spanish class or passing notes in Algebra.

In the meantime, I suddenly feel compelled to queue up some Simple Minds and OMD on my iTunes.

Like a giddy sixteen year-old with her Seventeen magazine,