Monday, September 19, 2016

Fashion Review: Emmy's 2016

Last night were the Emmy's, which have traditionally been a bit of a grab bag when it comes to fashion. Sometimes, stars choose the moment to try fancy pants (we definitely saw some of that), shorter hems, funky patterns or crazy colors, which makes it an unpredictable red carpet. We saw some great turns, some bright colors, some slight missteps and some MAJOR missteps. Let's review, shall we?

Best Dressed


It was really just Sarah Paulson's night. She's been turning in rock solid work for years, most especially since the beginning of her collaborations with Ryan Murphy, and her turn as Marcia Clark was a tour de force. But then she had to do it one better and show up in Prada looking like she's hosting the most glamorous garden party you've ever been to, with the best hair and the best jewelry and the best make-up. Brava!


Priyanka Chopra began her career on the pageant circuit and her experience came in handy when she did a literal spin move to show off her gorgeous, voluminous Jason Wu gown. This is how everyone wants to look all the time, and I've been really impressed with her glamour since she started gracing red carpets last year.


Portia Doubleday is in a tough spot. She's on a critically lauded, but maybe not quite mainstream (yet) show on USA, she shares a name with an older actress who could be her doppelganger and even on her own show, she's a bit of a wet blanket. But these are all the kinds of problems that can be solved by wearing a head-turning red Armani dress, looking like Veronica Lake reincarnated and having everyone ask, Who is SHE? Smart move. Even smarter: keeping it modern with an extremely minimal makeup look. I couldn't do it, but she pulls it off.


I was swooning for Kristen Bell's princessy floral Zuhair Murad the minute she hiked up the skirt to ascend the stairs on the E! Red Carpet show. The elegant gown paired with the perfectly casual hair and simple, beautiful makeup made her look like 21st-century Grace Kelly with the daffy personality of Doris Day. So charming!


Emilia Clarke took one for the team and wore a gown I couldn't sit or stand in, for that matter, and looked flawless. Normally nudes have me kinda blah, but this Atelier Versace really is a model of outstanding craftsmanship. 


The tucks and folds on Regina King's coral/red Elizabeth Kennedy are just so elegant. She looks like a queen (or even a bit like Michelle Obama) — very regal and pretty, in a color that's absolutely perfect for her. 


Y'all know I've been having some problems with Kerry Washington on the red carpet the past few years, but this sexy mama pregnant Diana Ross look was hot fire. Who among us could ever look good in this Brandon Maxwell cutout dress? The answer is none of us.


Laverne Cox just has such amazing taste and never disappoints. I love the detail of this Naeem Khan and also, her chest was SO GOLDEN AND SPARKLY on camera, like she was starring in Goldfinger.


I really enjoyed the contrast of the very romantic floral lace print on Constance Zimmer's dress by Monique Lhullier with her 1920's-perfect sleek bob and pop of hot pink lip. I wanted her to win, partially because this would have looked stellar during her acceptance speech.


Abigail Spencer's sparkly night sky gown is what I wear in my dreams to everything. Doesn't it seem like something Katharine Hepburn would wear? Loved it.


Also, these littles from Stranger Things just slayed. I want them to stay little and adorable forever.

Battle of the Mellow Yellows


For some reason, yellow was majorly trending on the red carpet. I'm not against it; there was a time yellow was my favorite color, specifically because it's hard to pull it off. But God bless 'em, they try, and I'm going to give my first place Mellow Yellow award to Minnie Driver, for her modern yellow dress by Versace and the exact right amount of tanner.


Angela Bassett proved for the millionth time that she can pull off ANYTHING when she wore this dramatic, scene-stealing citron Christian Siriano gown, looking #flawless.


Mandy Moore, as always, looked her patented combination of twee and wan while wearing possibly the cheeriest marigold Prabal Gurung. It's a tricky color and I think she pulled it off, but perhaps only because her make-up was so on point.


Taraji P. Henson tried really hard to sell this 1990's Vera Wang bridesmaids dress like it was a high fashion choice with just-came-from-the-beach hair and make-up and I was not fooled.

Best/Worst


Taylor Swift pioneered the Best/Worst category here, and it's reserved specifically for people who were maybe the worst, but also kind of the best. No one deserves that title more than Claire Trump...er Danes, who complemented her breathtaking gold Schiaparelli gown with one of the most heinous and obvious and disturbing fake tans/bronzer catastrophes I've seen on my television since Jersey Shore was on the air. She. Be. Tripping.


Jill Soloway, creator of "Transparent," has made a name for herself by donning kooky patterned suits and platform sneaks and at this point, it's her thing and I love her for it. But this has a distinctly hipster Temple Grandin look to it that is sorta "worst" even for her. I dunno...I'm inclined to just let her do her thing.


I see where you're going here, Keri, but I'm just not able to go there with you. I know you want to be modern and edgy and sexy and cool and yet elegant and evening appropriate, but all of these things are hard to do in a hastily hemmed fancy white potato sack with curtains attached. Help me understand!

Good


Some folks are just solidly good, like Connie Britton in this interesting Talbot Ruhof gown and great fall nails. Her hair is always majestic!


I'm a little bit bored of seeing Sofia Vergara basically wear the same Atelier Versace dress over and over and over again, but I do appreciate her flawless fall make-up.


Not totally sure why Olivia Culpo (a beauty queen who used to date Nick Jonas) snagged an invite, but I'm glad she did because I am LOVING this Zac Posen confection. I love the sparkly white sequins over nude corsetry. An attention-getting dress, for sure.


JLD continues her streak of nice, sexy and interesting black gowns, this time with a pretty halter by Carolina Herrera.


Tina busted out a bright green Oscar de la Renta dress — a new fun experiment for her! — and voluminous curls and looked like a glamorous girl ready to hit the dance floor.


Sarah Hyland got adventurous and wore a Monique Lhuillier embroidered peplum top with black cigarette pants. I don't love it and I don't hate it, but I admire the effort. It does have a certain Audrey-as-Sabrina quality I can't deny.


Tracee Ellis Ross looked like a Grecian disco diva in her Ralph Lauren that may have been pants, but I'm genuinely not sure. I prefer it not to be pants, but if it was, I'm not really sure what the point might have been? Her earrings were to-die-for.


Kirsten Dunst looked like a sexpot in Givenchy, but the 1920's-1930's sexy siren look is such well-trodden ground for her...I'd like to see her experiment a little with more modern shapes and styling.

Meh


Michelle Dockery just needs a new stylist so bad, or her stylist needs to start ignoring her input. She is consistently choosing underwhelming, ill-fitting, blah boring dresses. This Oscar de la Renta is one of her best and still, it barely registers as an exciting Emmys gown. It feels better suited to a fundraiser in Argentina.


Viola Davis was just the most recent woman to fall victim to the plight of the distracting darts pointing directly to one's nipples. Her Marchesa isn't bad, but it's not great and felt like a rare misstep for her.


Sophie Turner's romantic goth girl look was okay, but not worth writing home about. This dress felt kind of blah for such a big event. At least her ring is sparkly!


Constance Wu wore a sparkly J. Mendel disco dress, but fell victim to overstyling that made it veer toward 1970s costume rather than homage. I would have liked to see her ditch the hoop earrings and go for beachy waves to let the dress shine, rather than compete.

Worst


Anna Chlumsky began her walk down the red carpet and Ashleigh and I started shouting in the living room, "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!" Where can I even begin with this? She looks like she's made of frosting. She looks like a couture tablecloth. She looks like she's wearing a pillowcase topped with a cape made of matching sheets. She looks like she gave a seamstress a picture of Kathy Bates' cellophane dress in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and said, "Can you make this, but with my grandma's upholstery fabric?" It's so bad, on so many levels, that it's almost hard to process. Even the fit is terrible. She is enjoying one of those rare Hollywood child actor comebacks and is somehow squandering the moment with a series of progressively weirder gowns. 


This Jenny Packham gown is probably fine, but for some reason, with this styling and at this event, Ellie Kemper just looks like she's a guest star on The Brady Bunch. I need/want her to turn up the glamour and also, find a stylist who can harness her desire to play with fashion and direct that energy in the right directions. Her hair was too mature, and the dress looks like a couch from the 1970's. It isn't right!


Mr. Robot fans will recognize Stephanie Cornelliussen as the frightening wife of an even more frightening character, and it almost seemed like she was theme dressing in this goth, slightly S&M gown. I'm afraid just looking at her in that dress.

And finally, Amy Poehler inexplicably suffers from a misplaced case of fashion derring-do like Ellie Kemper, and she needs someone to focus that desire AWAY from puke green inaugural gowns from the closet of Pat Nixon. This ain't cute, Amy! It's ain't cute.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Friendiversary in CLT!

View of the beautiful Hearst Tower

Did you have the most wonderful Labor Day weekend? I spent three days catching up with my childhood bestie of 22 YEARS in Charlotte, NC. Neither of us had been since 1999, when we visited to see NSYNC. It seemed like a good spot to have a friendiversary. 


We started our first full day with delicious treats at Amelie's Uptown, an adorable Francophile emporium stocked with amazing pastries and even more amazing decor, like this light fixture made of colanders. We had a great time giggling with my former coworker, Sam.  

 Just one of many adorable corners in Amelie's.


From there, we wandered through The Green, a charming park that was a literary tribute! It looked like an amazing place to spend a lunch break if you worked in one of the many office buildings nearby.


All signs point to Charlotte in the Green!


We had a great time checking out the Bechter Museum of Modern Art, a very manageable, edited collection of 20th-century jewelry, art, furniture and decor collected by one Swiss family. You can do the whole thing in an hour and feel completely refreshed.


Jamie loved this painting!


And I was pretty obsessed with the architecture. How cool is this view into the other galleries?


We also made a stop in the beautiful Romare Bearden Park, which was bustling with families and music and basically looked like a commercial for Charlotte. After a morning wandering downtown, we decided to switch gears, change outfits and head out to the burbs to visit the huge SouthPark Mall.

 But first, we stuffed our bellies with delicious Tex Mex at Paco's Tacos and Tequila, where I had the BEST margarita of my life. That's a pineapple mint marg that was so smooth, I basically drank it like it was water in the dessert.


I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy shrimp tacos and the chicken milanese tacos...every bite was delicious. But our good food adventures didn't stop there...

 I chowed down on this incredibly flavorful brisket and beef burger topped with gruyere and super amazing double-fried fries.


And before the weekend was done, we enjoyed one more round at Amelie's. I cannot recommend the roast beef and manchego croissant enough.


Until next time, Queen Charlotte! What a perfect city for a weekend visit!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekend Warriors: Two Weeks of DIY

I don't know what's gotten into me, but I've got some serious DIY fever.  Actually I do know what's up: my grandparents are coming to visit! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of spontaneous activity. 

My DIY fever kicked off when I decided I could not stand the wallpaper in the kitchen for one more night and — luckily — the glue was so old and worn, the wallpaper came off easily in sheets with just little tugs. I removed all the wallpaper in the kitchen and the scraps of backing paper in probably the equivalent of 1.5 hours after work while Sean made dinner. It's shockingly satisfying.


I also removed the cafe curtain on the hall window and now the room is insanely bright. 


Next up: a renovation (no, seriously!).


Meanwhile, I've been on the hunt for a while for the perfect lilac pillows for the living room to pull out some of the purple color in our painting. I looked EVERYWHERE, both at brick-and-mortar stores and online, and found only a few options. Then I happened to walk into World Market and they literally had a display right in the front of lilac velvet pillows in exactly the size I wanted, on sale. I don't ignore fate, so I brought home three pillows and seeing them every day has been delightful.


I had so much weeding to do but there was no way I was even attempting it before 5 p.m. when it got cooler, so I decided to tackle a long-delayed project indoors: hanging my beloved silhouette collection in the guest room. I did a practice layout first in the living room, and took a picture so I'd remember the arrangement. 


I also replaced our side table lamps with these modern brass beauties. I'm kinda in love. 


One of my favorite silhouettes: a watercolor painted silhouette of Oprah by my friend Sarah, who embroidered a pretty silver earring on top.


Another favorite: this custom Bill Murray silhouette gifted by my friend Bret.

And since I had all the hammers, drills and nails handy, I decided it was time to make our entry functional. When we moved in, there were already some screws in the wall in random places, and I basically plopped a mirror and my "mail box" up and left them in the same spot for almost two years. Now, we finally have a functional layout, with this cool zinc mirror from Target that my husband says looks like armor. 

All of this is just practice for our next big project: a kitchen reno. Not planning to actually DIY very much of that, but I have spent the summer pinning inspiration and fine-tuning my design ideas, which hopefully I'll share soon here.