After our mini-styling sessions (above and in the top image, I’m wearing a Tahari peacoat with my own shirt, pants, and heels), we got to hang out in the window and pretend to be supermodels (or at least mannequins) for a moment. Anytime I can channel Kim Cattrall is good by me.
There are lots of ways that you can get involved and show your support, including purchases of the LOFT Cares card or one of the limited-edition items ($5 from each purchase goes to the BCRF). Through October 31, you can also enter to win one of the LOFT Cares bracelets pictured above.
I spent last night in a post-apocalypic wasteland where buildings were falling down all around me, and I had about thirty seconds to run through my apartment getting everything I needed packed into a tiny bag before it collapsed. I remember being extremely concerned about making sure that I located the cord that lets me download photos to my computer.
My comments got all sorts of messed up yesterday, thanks to a switch-up in the commenting program I use and some resulting total confusion on my part.
And of course said messed-upedness coincided with a fabulous $100 TJ Maxx giftcard giveaway that I really want all of you to have the opportunity to win, because it’s fall, and fall fashion is the best, and I want you to have the chance to get all dressed up in fabulous hats and scarves and beautiful things for free.
So if you wanted to (or tried to) enter but your comment didn’t show up, please accept my sincerest apologies - go ahead and comment again under the Like A Rolling Stone post (you can also enter by voting for your favorite blogger’s look here), and you’ll be good to go. And FYI, you can comment once a day every day between now and October 12 for extra chances to win.
Let me tell you a sort of sad story about a twelve-year-old me.
I switched into a new school for seventh grade partially because I just wanted a change, but also because for the past couple of years I had been bullied pretty badly at my old school, and as Middle School began things only got worse. I’m not talking “Boys teased me for my skinny legs”; I’m talking about a genuinely miserable situation, more days than not. But I transferred, and as it turned out I really loved my new school: I developed some confidence over the interim summer and made new friends right away, and the creative, relaxed curriculum was much more up my alley than my previous school’s formal approach.
One of the most fun things about my new school: there were no uniforms, so for the first time in my life I could wear what I wanted, and the burst of confidence I felt about my new surroundings made me excited to experiment with style.
I still remember the outfit I chose for my the Community Service Committee introductory meeting, held at 8AM during the first week of school: a brown-and-white striped mock turtleneck, a short brown skirt, and white ribbed tights. I felt spectacular in it. I seriously thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever worn. And I sat in that Community Service meeting feeling excited, and hopeful about the year to come, and extra-special cool because I was at a “meeting,” which felt grown-up, and because I was drinking a Snapple Iced Tea, and that was the thing that year. We’re talking extreme sophistication.
Remember how, if you flipped over a Snapple and patted the bottom, the top would make a popping sound? Well, I thought I’d flip it over and pop it a bit, to enhance the whole “oh, just hangin’ here drinking a Snapple iced tea” vibe. And of course, because this is how things work, the moment I did that the entire glass Snapple bottle fell apart - I mean that literally, the thing fell apart - and iced tea poured out all over my brand-new outfit, soaking me from the waist down and completely destroying those pristine ribbed tights that I had been so proud of. I handled it OK and sort of laughed it off…but wow, did I ever wish that wasn’t something that had happened during my first week at a school where I wanted nothing more than to not be that dorky new girl.
What does this story have to do with this post?
One, something about the outfit I’m wearing here reminds me of that outfit, pre-Snapple-dousing. The colors, or maybe just how good I felt in it.
And two, after we took these pictures (Kendrick took them) up on the roof, we were just hanging out and chatting in the sun, and I thought to myself that…you know, lately I’m just so damn happy. Not in a blinders-on, rainbows-and-bluebirds, everything’s-so-perfect way…but in a real, full way, a way I don’t know that I’ve ever felt before. Sometimes I feel like I want to hit the pause button on the movie of my life, because it just feels so precarious, like at any moment something will break and all that happiness will come pouring out.
But you know, if there’s one thing that the past few years have taught me, it’s this: things sometimes get worse, and they sometimes get better, but they always change. There’s not a whole lot of use in worrying about making sure that things stay the same, because the fact is that they won’t.
But I’ve also learned something else: that the stuff that feels too insurmountable and too painful to handle almost never is.
And even if they don’t…you just roll on, pristine tights or no.
Switching gears, now.
For this post, I was presented with a little challenge: TJ Maxx asked me and four other bloggers to build a look centered around a cashmere ruana (it’s that shawl thing I’m wearing above; I had to look it up, too), using items found at one of their stores. And so for a hundred bucks even, I put together an outfit that’s everything I love about fall: October-forest colors, super-soft accessories, and layer after layer after layer.
And major bellbottoms.
These are kind of amazing, right? I couldn’t believe it when I spotted them: they’re the exact pair I’ve been coveting for over a year now…and they were $39. (My favorite cut for bellbottoms: a little loose through the leg, low-waisted, and with the biggest flare possible.)
This top, from Nicole Richie’s Winter Kate line, is the perfect thing to take me through the rest of this pregnancy…and I’m not exactly throwing it in the trash once the baby arrives (which should be any day now!). It’s just gorgeous…especially paired with that to-die-for chain link necklace.
On me: Hat, blouse, ruana, and jeans from TJ Maxx (purchased with giftcard provided for challenge); necklace c/o Chloe & Isabel; no-name sunglasses.
If you’d like to check out how the other bloggers styled the ruana, you can click through using the button below. And be sure to vote for your favorite (either here or by commenting on this post below; both work!), because a vote automatically enters you to win a $100 TJ Maxx gift card (you can vote once a day between now and October 12 for extra chances to win).
Above, that’s me at Nightmare: Vampires two years ago. It was absolutely mother-effing horrifying, and honestly? Not an experience I’m particularly eager to repeat, because I actually don’t enjoy being that miserable. But for those of you who like things like claustrophobia and strobe lights, be my guest, because this year’s incarnation, Nightmare: Fairy Tales (omg) opens this Friday and sounds especially scary.
Tickets start at $30 in advance and $35 at the door - less for students - and are on sale now.
I am a long-time reader and big fan. I’ve drawn a lot from your blog and your general outlook. Thank you for being so sunny, I hope you realize that attitude is infectious even over the internet!
I need some fashion advice. I have a very close friend who is getting married in February. The happy couple are musicians, and the wedding feel is more “rockstar party” than “virgin bride.” Even the bride herself is wearing a short, sexy dress.
I have no idea what to wear. The wedding theme colours are “peacock colours,” which also complicates matters because as a redhead, jewel tones are what look best on me. To add one extra layer of challenge for you, I always struggle with what to wear as a cover-up for formal events in the winter.
Thank you so much, and best wishes with the baby!
A. OK, so that sounds like the most fun wedding to get dressed for ever. It’s the Holy Grail of wedding attire. And contrary to your worries, I think you lucked out with the red hair and the peacock colors theme, because unless we’re talking lady peacocks, it’s actually all about the jewel tones. With your coloring, you’d look spectacular in bright teal, emerald green, or deep purple.
Let’s start with an inspiration board to talk overall look, color theme, and ridiculously-expensive-but-beautiful-to-look-at dress ideas.
So the overall look I’d do is nothing too short or tight (because it’s still a wedding), but dramatic in terms of color and cut. A sorta Studio 54 On A Sophisticated Evening look. Some more affordable dress ideas (all under $200):
And here are some options for accessories: I like the idea of pinning a sparkly vintage piece into your updo, or giving a literal nod to the peacock theme with some feathers.
And finally, you asked about wintry cover-ups: I’d do a cashmere wrap or capelet, and go for luxe grey (with teal or purple), or glamorous gold or silver (with any color)…just avoid basic black. If you’re in the mood to go big, try a short faux leopard jacket - amazing.
A great bridesmaids’ gift for those of you having weddings during months when the weather can jump from 75 to 45 overnight (and your girlfriends may not have planned to bring along something to protect them against the chill): Yoox 100% cashmere wraps ($135; available in a wide variety of colors).
First, I am extremely annoyed that I forgot my camera on Friday night, because my girlfriends and I went first to the Boom Boom Room (at the top of The Standard Hotel in Meatpacking) and then to Fig & Olive for dinner to celebrate Morgan’s birthday, and it was all so fun and beautiful, and full of things that I wanted to show you.
So this will have to do:
That’s the Boom Boom Room. How incredible is that space? It’s the kind of place where you absolutely must wear a glamorous dress and red lipstick, drink champagne served in a sky-high coupe glass while swaying to the live band, and recline luxuriously on the white leather banquettes to check out the city views before - oh, fine - dancing with a George Clooney lookalike. Now, none of this happened to me - save for the red lipstick and a sort of awkward version of the aforementioned luxurious reclining on banquettes - but I will be going back in the near future. (And I didn’t get a chance to see this myself, but I hear that the restrooms there are pretty jaw-dropping, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river taking up an entire wall of every stall.)
Saturday was arguably less glamorous, but just as lovely.
We started out at the Oktoberfest fair over on East 84th Street. This is prime time in the city for street fairs and festivals; check out all the outdoor goings-on here.
Schaller & Weber hot dogs are excellent. (Virgil agrees.) The store really is worth a trip uptown if you live in the city (or if you’re visiting) - the staff is super-knowledgeable and friendly, and even if you’re not in a meat-buying mood, there’s lots of other interesting and unusual stuff for sale.
Click here for slow-cooked short ribs made following a trip to Schaller & Weber last winter.
Always my favorite spot at a street fair.
We scored two like-new Angelina Ballerinas for a dollar each…
…and arrived home to find this guy waiting for us. I love these.
Saturday night, we headed to Blue Ribbon for some early 30th-birthday celebrating (above, that’s their famous bone marrow & oxtail marmalade). Last time we went was the day we found out we were expecting, so it seemed appropriate to make another trip as we rumble towards the finish line.
The waiter let me know that the restaurant is also famous for their banana splits. If you insist. (The thumb is there for size-documenting purposes; that thing was huge and wonderful.)
Above, a goofy shot of me outside the Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa over on East 65th Street, where I was invited for a prenatal massage (!) on Sunday. Can you tell I was excited? (I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile.)
I guess it seems obvious in retrospect, but prior to Sunday I was genuinely confused about how a prenatal massage worked. Namely…how do they do it? Are there special tables with holes in them? Do masseuses have special training, or is it pretty basic stuff? And do they avoid your midsection entirely, or do they concentrate on massaging out baby-related back kinks?
So, for those of you similarly curious and perplexed: some factoids!
- Prenatal massage is generally considered safe for women whose pregnancies don’t involve complications, but check with your doctor first, and be sure that your masseuse is certified in prenatal massage (most board-certified masseuses have had specific training in this field, but better safe, etc).
- If your doctor says it’s OK, you can generally go in for a prenatal massage at any point in your pregnancy, but some salons will refuse to treat a woman who is still in the first trimester (due to the elevated risk of miscarriage).
- Nope, no holes in tables, but some salons (like Paul Labrecque) provide O-shaped body pillows that you sort of lower yourself down on and burrow into so that your stomach feels supported but not smooshed (it’s all very elegant, as I’m sure you can imagine). If the salon doesn’t provide these pillows or if you find them uncomfortable, you can use a side-lying position (they’ll prop pillows all around you to keep you comfortable and supported).
- A prenatal massage differs from a regular one mostly because it’s much gentler, with a longer Q&A period beforehand about what spots might be bothering you (for me, oddly enough, it’s less about the lower back pain than circulation issues in my extremities, so Teresa focused on my arms and legs). They also are trained to avoid certain pressure points that could induce labor (yikes).
Now, some tips if you’re lucky enough to score an at-home prenatal massage:
- Use the side-lying position, and either hug one of those curved pregnancy pillows or use pillows to elevate your head and to support your stomach and lower back.
- Use unscented lotion or oil if you’re experiencing nausea; otherwise, try relaxing scents like lavender.
- To avoid the risk of those aforementioned labor-inducing pressure points, have your partner move extremely slowly and gently. This BabyZone article offers some great suggestions for positioning, techniques, and areas to avoid.
These might be the best fancy chocolates (I put those in a separate category from, say, Snickers) that I have ever eaten in my life. I would have taken a picture of the selection that Melissa brought me the other day as a Pre-Baby gift…but it’s gone.
Please order some, so you can see what I’m talking about for yourself. Recommended: the Mint Cream Patty (oh my god), the chocolate-covered Oreos, and the Marzipan Rolls. Check out their entire selection here.
And apparently there’s a location in Grand Central, which means that a trip to Midtown is happening today. You think I’m kidding? I’m not.
The new fall earrings from Lizzie Fortunato (from left: Smoky Prickly Pear, Brown Eagle, Prickly Pear) might be my favorite pieces that I’ve seen in awhile: they manage to be simultaneously incredibly unique and easy to wear anywhere, with anything (with jeans during the day, paired with a silk blouse at night). I’m crazy about Lizzie Fortunato generally these days (I wore one of her necklaces in this post); her stuff is just so different, so eye-catching, and so well-priced for statement pieces of this caliber.
Do not drink coffee in a fully horizontal reclining position while wearing your husband’s Little League jersey.
Just don’t do it.
But if you do, and the obvious result should happen to occur (oops), all is not lost!
Did you know I happen to be something of an expert at stain removal? It’s true; I am a total, full-on wizard with this stuff. (I posted the photo at left two years ago, when I spilled an entire container of bronzer onto a pair of snow-white jeans moments before heading out to my very first fashion show. And do those jeans look bronzed to you? They do not.)
OK, so let’s talk completely unscientific stain removal methods. What you have to do is be a speed demon and a renegade, and get that shirt or pair of pants off of your body and over to the sink immediately. This is easier when you’re home alone and can get naked with no worries, but I’ve been known to strip down friends who’ve doused themselves in red wine at parties to save their shirts (nothing I haven’t seen before, guys). And I have saved them every time, like a little blonde Stain-Removing Superhero.
My technique is simple, but effective: soak the stained area in water, throw on a little of whatever soap is handy (hand soap and dish soap are totally fine; what you use is less important than that you use it quickly), and rub the fabric against itself to remove the stain before rinsing the area. If the spot isn’t totally gone, just do it again. And then again. Persistence is key.
It’s not rocket science, but I swear, it works every time. And also probably isn’t recommended for certain fabrics (like…silk), but you know what? I’d rather take my chances and get the coffee (or whatever) out than get all fussy about the fabric and end up with a permanently stained top. Also, this is why I don’t buy fancy fabrics. Silk is the enemy of we fumble-fingered types.
And that concludes today’s Ramshackle Glam Life Lesson.
I’m a college student looking for a bag sturdy enough to carry my laptop and/or books but chicer than a backpack. I’ve been scouring the Internet for cute messenger bags but have had no luck so far.
Any help would be appreciated!
A. My favorite messenger bags are rugged, masculine styles in neutral colors like navy, olive green, and grey (the “Classics” below), but regardless of what your personal preferences are, there are plenty of options out there - just look for a wide strap and sturdy construction (check the stitching).
You didn’t mention a price range, so I included options starting at $34 and going up into the luxury-purchase category (mostly because they’re pretty to look at). Personally, I’d go for something in the $150 range that will age well; if you pick wisely and go for a nice, good-quality leather one (or canvas with leather detailing), the bag will only get better as time goes on. If you decide to go in this direction, you might want to check out local Army/Navy Surplus stores and vintage shops as well.
One note: Unless you’ve got something along the lines of a Macbook Air, which fits into pretty much anything, make sure to check the dimensions of the bag before purchasing to ensure that all your stuff will fit inside.
And if you change your mind and decide to go for a backpack (not to sound like a mom, but if you’re carrying around a lot of heavy stuff, it really is better for your back), click here for some grown-up backpack options.
I love hearing from readers who have started their own companies - love it. It’s brave, and fantastic, and such an inspiration.
As an example: reader Susannah recently wrote to tell me that she started producing a line of balms called The Lipper, and that they sell…wait for it…a lavender flavor. Boom.
She sent some over for me to try, and it’s lovely stuff - non-greasy, perfectly moisturizing, and, yes, smells exactly like lavender. I’m way early on this one, but it bears mentioning that this would make quite the stocking stuffer for those who are similarly obsessed with the stuff.
Lots more flavors available; check out the entire Acoustic Handmade shop here. (Susannah would also like to offer you free shipping on any order with the coupon code “ramshackleglam”.)
Kendrick’s 30th is coming up next week, and I’m quite proud of the surprises I have geared up for him, but I’m perhaps proudest of all of this (which I can tell you about because I already gave it to him last night):
That would be a copy of Batman #1 (DC Comics is doing a re-launch of all their titles starting from the very beginning) signed by Scott Snyder. That his nine months’ pregnant wife waited on an enormous line for. On Fulton Street. With a million comic book fans, who are generally lovely people, but who are also oftentimes a little excitable and prone to asking highly involved questions that make lines move extremely slowly.
I get lots of emails asking for help with guy gifts, which I totally understand, because man, they are tough. I feel like with guys, what most people are forced to do is pick a theme (like, say, golf)…and then run with it for pretty much ever, because they just have no idea what else to do. Guys - or at least the guys in my life - have this unfortunate habit of a) buying everything that they want for themselves when they want it, rather than waiting for a holiday, and b) answering the question “What do you want” with a foot-shuffle and an “I dunno…nothing, really.” So: tough.
But not impossible!
Two guy-perfect (or anyone-perfect, really) gifts that I’m into lately:
Retro Turntable, like this one from Ion (you can find lots of decent ones, often with LP-to-iPod conversion options, for around $100)
As I move towards the end of my pregnancy, I’m getting more and more questions from readers asking for pregnancy-related advice. Now, I’m not exactly a Preggers Expert, and any and all pregnancy-related information I offer up should be read with this in mind (in other words: if you have questions or specific concerns, especially medical ones, please please please talk to your doctor rather than…me), but that said, it’s been an incredible nine months, I’ve learned a ton, and I’m more than happy to share my experiences with you guys.
Because the questions I get on this topic are so wide-ranging (everything from “what moisturizer did you use to prevent stretch marks?” to “how did you pick a name?”), what makes sense to me is to divide these questions into categories covering everything from style to beauty to tips on staying comfortable and relaxed, and to post one every few days (so as not to bore those of you who really don’t want to read about this stuff). But before we get started on specifics, let me tell you the most important things that I learned:
1. At some point, you will feel like you screwed up.
2. You probably didn’t screw up.
There is SO much information and judgment out there about pregnancy and how to “do it right,” and the simple truth is that thereis no single “right” way to “do” pregnancy. Once you start showing you will get unsolicited advice often, and while the vast majority of it will be well-intentioned, some of it will be flat-out inappropriate and/or hurtful. All of it should be taken exactly the same way: with a big old grain of salt. Everyone who’s been pregnant or who’s known someone who’s been pregnant has an opinion about this stuff, and if you listen to everyone’s shoulds and should-nots you’ll go crazy. Be healthy, be smart, and listen to your body and to your doctor, and you (and your baby) will likely be just fine.
It’s also OK to have doubts, fears, and insecurities, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’ve talked here and there about my pregnancy-related worries, and have actually received a couple of emails and comments accusing me of being “phobic” about motherhood, and a couple more flat-out telling me that I’ll be a bad mother. These people have no idea what they’re talking about, and that’s just part of being on the Internet…but I’ve also been cautioned by people I know well not to let any negative thoughts seep in, because it’s “bad for the baby.” Again, well-intentioned, but the kind of attitude that makes women feel scared to express their feelings, lest others judge them for not having the “right” kinds of emotions, is not only hurtful, it’s dangerous.
Let me say it again: it is okay to feel nervous, scared, anxious, or insecure when pregnant. This is an enormous change both physically and emotionally, and it’s only natural that with all the positive feelings come some ambivalent (or even negative) ones. If you resent your body’s newfound aches and pains, if you’re having trouble feeling a connection to the baby while he’s still in your tummy, if you just really want the whole thing to be over and done with so you can get to the mothering part already…all these things are ok, and don’t mean that you’ll be a bad parent. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for having less-than-sunny moments, and if you’re feeling really bad, talk to someone, whether that’s a friend, a family member, or a professional.
So that’s just what I wanted to start out with before moving on to more specific questions, because I think it’s so important to understand that with pregnancy, as with so many things, perfection is not the point. In these posts I’ll be giving you information I learned based on my individual experiences, but none of it is gospel. To each her own.