Monday, January 28, 2013

SAG Awards Red Carpet

Another Sunday, another awards show! The Screen Actors' Guild Awards didn't become a "thing" until a few years ago, but I'm so glad they have. They now get their own red carpet special on E! and they're televised. They're televised on cable and apparently they land on the night Ryan Seacrest is too busy washing his hair and doing a moisturizing face mask, but they're still a thing! If you sat through all two hours of E!'s excruciating red carpet show helmed by Giuliana Rancic and Ross Matthews, I applaud you. They were awful. I've never missed Seacrest more. I'm happy to say, however, that there was some great fashion on display! Starting with my best dressed, of course.

Image via Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America
Marion Cotillard In Christian Dior

Marion Cotillard had some sort of plague last night, but you would have never known it. This stunning little Dior dress is my best of the night. I've said it before, but a full tea length/peek-a-boo skirt will get me every time. This deep teal blue is a fresh color and I love the color block. Her styling is impeccable, with a cute, modern bob, diamond necklace, and pumps. Magnifique! 

Image via Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America
Amanda Seyfried In Zac Posen

I was totally underwhelmed by the Givenchy dress Amanda Seyfried wore to the Golden Globes, so I'm really happy she redeemed herself here. She wasn't the only star in navy blue, but she was most certainly the best. No one does a mermaid dress like Zac Posen. The layers and detailing on the hem are so beautiful. I love the styling with the long necklace and the wavy hair. And I love that she's still Karen from Mean Girls.

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
Anne Hathaway In Giambattista Valli Couture

Going by Twitter reactions whenever Anne opens her mouth, not a lot of people like her. This makes me sad because I really like her! I get how she can come off as arrogant and insincere, but I don't think those are real traits of hers. I think she just has a slight awkwardness about her. But as long as she keeps wearing couture that literally walked the runway five days before she put it on, she'll be okay with me. Again, the tea length thrills me and the styling is perfect. I also love that when she went up to accept her award she ran up the stairs in five inch Jimmy Choos. That's my girl. 

Image via Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America
Jennifer Garner In Oscar de la Renta

I feel bad for calling Jennifer Garner a frump so often because she has completely knocked my socks off at the last two awards shows. This dark gold lace is gorgeous on her. I love the curly hair and light make-up. This looks like it's so easy for her, which is quite a feat knowing that she is a jeans and t-shirt girl through and through. 

Image via Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America
  Claire Danes In Givenchy

I never really thought of Claire Danes as much of a fashion risk taker until she regularly started showing up on red carpets. The asymmetry is very cool and it feels different and I love the modern detail on the slit. The dark lip color really works for me. Mostly because I have a similar color and it's my favorite at the moment ;) 

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
  Nina Dobrev In Elie Saab

I'll be honest, I don't even know what show this girl is on or what she does, but she always looks amazing on the red carpet. Elie Saab gowns are often a little too fussy for my taste, but this is stunning. I am as much of a sucker for a t-shirt top as I am for a tea length skirt, so this is a no brainer for me. Simple and perfect!

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
   Jessica Pare In Custom Jason Wu

I'm glad I noticed this one in a gallery this morning because she didn't get any red carpet time on E!. I love everything about this - the color (emerald is the color of 2013), the styling, the hair, the make-up. It's all very smartly done and I'm happy that Jason Wu is getting even more coverage! 

I have one look that's in fashion limbo. Behold:

Image via Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America
  January Jones In Prabal Gurung

I still have no idea what I think about this. It's very fashion forward, which I like. I like that January loves and gets fashion and does not work with a stylist. I love the orange lip color. I think it's the hair that's really throwing me. It's way too David Bowie and that weird little tail in the back is doing her no favors. But it's edgy and I love that she did something different. I think with different hair I would be all about this. 

Here are my worst to bring up the rear:

Image via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America
   Freida Pinto In Roland Mouret

I actually think the dress is okay here. It's a little too roomy up top, but it's not horrible. I have a major problem with everything above her neck. What the fudge is up with that horrible, unstyled soccer mom hair?! It's like they ran out of time! It was falling in her face all night! Ugh. A sleek, low chignon would have been perfect with this. What the hell happened?

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
 Sofia Vergara In Donna Karan Atelier

Dear Sofia, Fire. Your. Stylist. The fabric is tacky and the fit on her boobs is all wrong. Women this busty cannot wear strapless dresses! It just looks trashy. There is nothing new, interesting, or fresh about this. Blah. 

That's it! There are only two on my worst dressed list. Pretty good, huh? On the whole this was a really good red carpet and it makes me even more excited for the Oscars. Have a look through a comprehensive gallery here and tell me who you like and dislike. And please tell me what you think of January Jones. I'm dying to hear other opinions about it!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spotlight: Valentino Haute Couture S/S 2013

If you're a fashion watcher then you know full well that the Spring 2013 round of haute couture shows were held in Paris this week. I find that not a lot of people truly understand what haute couture or couture means. Who can blame them when you have brands bastardizing the word (rhymes with Lucy) and every Real Housewife from New York to Orange Country has a "couture" clothing line? Barf.

Did you know that there is actually a governing body in France that issues couture licenses to only a select group of designers? It's true. Paris doesn't mess around. Haute couture fashion houses must also follow a set of rules:
  • Design made-to-order for private clients with one or more fittings;
  • Have an atelier in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full time;
  • Must have twenty full-time technical people in at least one atelier;
  • Each season (twice a year) must present thirty five looks, both day and evening, to the Paris press. 
Pretty major, right? Couture looks take hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours to produce and always contain a certain amount of work that is done by hand. Some may think it's a little ridiculous that fashion has rules and laws, but those of us who appreciate fashion as art understand. When you consider that the criteria for haute couture designers has been in place since 1945 and wasn't amended until 1992, the totality of how special and important it is to be a couture designer sinks in. I thank Wikipedia for  the preceding information. Now let's talk about some clothes.

The house of Valentino has been in transition since its founder, Valentino Garavani, retired as creative director in 2008. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have gallantly been at the helm since. It took a few seasons, but I think they've finally come into their own and they're doing exquisite work. Their Spring 2013 offering is complete perfection from start to finish. Piccioli said in the show notes, "Couture has to be magical." If there is a better adjective to describe this collection, please share. Here are my favorite looks (all images via

The overlay is all hand rolled.

If Anne Hathaway doesn't wear this to the Oscars I will go on a hunger strike until Rachel Zoe tells me why.


Hello, wedding dress.

I really love that they kept the color palette fresh with mostly black or white looks. It makes the signature Valentino red pieces stand out even more. The red strapless gown is one of the most perfectly simple looks I've seen in the last few seasons. I don't think there's any doubt that Anne Hathaway will be walking away with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress on February 24th and she could have a real historical fashion moment in that dress. Rachel Zoe, I hope you're reading this.

This Valentino collection is proof positive why haute couture fashion deserves to be regulated, exalted, preserved, and given special treatment. Beauty like this should always have a place in the world.

You can have a look at the other haute couture collections here. Elie Saab and Giambattista Valli are also well worth a look.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nail Stickers 101

Nail polish and nail art are having a moment, aren't they? Walk into any CVS and you'll see more space dedicated to everything nails and nail care than ever before. Creative manicures are such a fun way showcase your personal style. My special occasion outfits always include a coordinating manicure. I don't know about you, but I always feel more put together and feminine when I have my nails done. I even went years - literally years - during high school and college where I refused to not wear nail polish. I even got away with it during sorority pledging when it was strictly verboten. Oops!

One of my favorite recent trends in nail art is the nail sticker. They're strips of real nail polish that stick on your nails, require no drying time, and last anywhere from 7 to 10 days. Awesome, right? Right! Imagine running late for a date or a night out and you have no time to do a manicure and wait for it to dry before trying on the entire contents of your closet and/or trying to resolve a bad hair day. It's not happening. Nail stickers are where its at. I get compliments on my manicures all the time and I've tried almost every brand on the market and will now present my unsolicited and uninfluenced opinions on them. Starting with the best:

Sally Hansen

It should come as no surprise that the queen of nails, Sally Hansen, puts out the best product. They're easy to put on and take off, they're thin so the ends come off cleanly, and there are a ton of colors, patterns, and designs to choose from. 

My current favorite is their new line of French tips, which come in the ultra chic black version. They take a little more time to put on because there are two layers, but if you have the patience they will turn out looking great. 

Variety is the spice of life right? Like anything new, practice makes perfect so the more you use these the easier to put on they'll be. With a steady hand they're hard to screw up. Go forth and apply. Buy here or in any major drug store.


I got these from Sephora early last year and in terms of design they're probably my favorite ones ever. Nautical stripes are always in! You know the impulse buy bins Sephora strategically places around the checkout line? These were in there calling my name. For style these obviously get a 10/10, but sadly I have to give them a 6 for quality. But that comes with a disclaimer. These particular ones get a 6 because they're far too thick and the tips did not come off smoothly. After a few days they became kind of jagged and scratchy. Not ideal. The disclaimer is that I'm pretty sure these were part of the first run of nail stickers Sephora did. I've tried the newer version (soz no pics) and they're much better. Try Sephora! They're available online and in any store.


It's strange that the drug store cosmetics lines were slow off the line with these. I only noticed them last fall and I think it's only because they were featured on an episode of Project Runway. Yes, they had to design around nail stickers. Eleven seasons in and they're running out of ideas. Anyway, Maybelline takes second prize in the battle of the nail stickers. They are thicker than Sally Hansen so there is a slight issue with clean tips, but they're not as bad as Sephora's first go round. They are long-lasting and come in lots of fun designs. I can't find these on Maybelline's website because I think they're limited edition, but you can buy at Amazon and they're readily available at CVS (at least the ones in my hood!). 


It pains me to do this because I think Essie nail polish is some of the best out there, but, um, these suck. I was so excited to try them because of said Essie admiration, but they're a total fail. They're very thick and it's almost impossible to get the tips to come off cleanly. I had to file many times and they just never set properly. The tips were so jagged that they caught on my sweaters. I had to take them off after two days because they were bugging me so much. Essie's problem is that their designs are far too embellished which require a thick strip. Thinness is the name of the game here, people. I do really love some of the other designs, but at about $13 a pop I don't think I'm willing to risk the disappointment. Check out the other designs and buy here.

Tell me if you've tried any of these brands and what you think of them. Or just share your thoughts on manicures in general. Are there any brands of nail stickers out there that I'm missing? I must try them all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Asian Lettuce Wraps With Ground Turkey

Chinese take-out used to be a guilty pleasure of mine. I didn't have it that often, but when I did it was always sinfully delicious. And loaded with crap and chemicals. But those crab rangoon are just so yummy and I still can't resist them if I find myself in a Chinese food situation. I haven't had Chinese take-out in at least 5 or 6 years and aside from the odd trip to P.F. Chang's (their pear mojito is one of my favorite drinks...for real) I don't eat or make Chinese or Asian food very often. My one attempt at a curry a few years ago ended in a broken sauce so the idea of Asian cooking was shelved after that.

I had wanted to make lettuce wraps for a while and last Sunday night provided the perfect opportunity. The Golden Globes were on and judging red carpet looks is always more fun with a friend. So my friend Julie came over and we ate food and did our best George Kotsiopoulos impersonations. George is my spirit animal.

I pulled this recipe from Pinterest and everything about it appealed to me except for the beef. I thought ground turkey would be a fine substitution and I turned out to be right. Here's the breakdown:

12 leaves of lettuce (Romaine, Butter, etc.)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb ground turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1-2 Tbs. chili sauce
1 Tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
4 green onions, chopped

First, wash the lettuce leaves, pat them dry and set them aside.

Next, do some chopping. The red pepper, onion (I cheated - more on this in a sec), garlic, and green onion. About the cutting board situation - I had a nice new one all purchased from Epicurious and then they cancelled my order. So I need to find another! And now about the onions. I hate chopping them so much that I've just been buying the container of pre-cut onions from Trader Joe's. Sorry I'm not sorry.

I did manage to get that shiny new chef's knife though! To go from a dullish knife to a brand new one is like night and day. Hopefully there won't be any dispatches from the ER any time soon because that sucker is SHARP!

Now, we need to cook. This is so incredibly easy. Add the oil to a skillet on medium-high heat and let it heat up. Then, add the red pepper and onion and let them cook for about three minutes or until they get soft. Make sure they don't burn.

Add the ground turkey to the pan and start breaking it up with a wooden spoon. This will become easier as it cooks. Sorry if you find pictures of raw meat gross.

Cook the turkey for about 5 minutes until it's browned. It's okay if some of it is still pink because it will cook more. Season with salt and pepper to taste and turn the heat down to medium. 

Now you're just going to add everything else in - garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, ginger, and rice wine vinegar. Stir everything so it's well incorporated and let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is thick.

When the sauce has thickened, stir in the green onion.

And that's it. To quote my hero the Barefoot Contessa, how easy is that? Add as much as you want to the lettuce leaves and chow down.

The flavor of these is pretty major. The hoisin sauce is delicious and even with only one tablespoon of chili sauce they were still pretty spicy. I am not a spicy food lover so if you are, by all means use a few tablespoons. If you are a Chinese take-out devotee I urge you to try these. They're so much more healthy and they're easy and the taste is legit. Now if only I could replicate that pear mojito.

Do you like lettuce wraps? What's your guiltiest take-out pleasure? Have you ever tried to make it at home?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Golden Globes Red Carpet: Meh?

Truth be told - I am a little underwhelmed by last night's red carpet. I'm not WOWED by anyone, but I also am not horrified by anyone either. Even Helena Bonham Carter kept it relatively together. For her I mean. I thought the show itself was great. I will join everyone else in singing the praises of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. They were hilarious. I just wish they would have been on more! I think there were some great surprises - Ben Affleck winning Best Director for Argo and Argo winning Best Drama for starters. I haven't seen it, but I will try to before the Oscars. It's really too bad he was overlooked by The Academy for a Best Director nod. Lena Dunham winning for Best Comedy Actress and for Best Comedy for Girls is awesome. That is a very polarizing show, but I like it a lot. I think it's very realistic and smartly done even though some bits are unpleasant to watch and there is really nothing likable about Hannah. Moving on to dresses!

I'll start with my best dressed of the night:

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Naomi Watts In Zac Posen

To get the full effect, you have to see the back. Gorgeous, right? I think long sleeves with an open back are such a great design decision. The styling is perfect and he hair is so complementary. It's simple, but it's beautiful!

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Kerry Washington In Miu Miu

No surprise here, right? Fresh off her incredible Django Unchained run, Kerry wore this amazing crystal beaded Miu Miu dress. I love the peek-a-book hemline (I wouldn't call this tea length) and the simple diamond vintage watch. She didn't need anymore jewelry with this. I love the edgy (edgy for an awards show) hair as well. Keep on looking amazing, K-Wash (sorry!).

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Michelle Dockery In Alexandre Vauthier Couture

Would we expect anything less from Lady Mary Crawley? Well, kind of if you remember her Emmys disaster dress. This is a complete redemption as far as I'm concerned. This dress is really chic and different. I love the white and gold together and the little pop of emerald on her ring. If only Sir Matthew was there to accompany her. I have a hard time separating TV from reality with Downton Abbey ;)

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Julianne Moore In Custom Tom Ford

Julianne Moore told Seacrest that she sent an e-mail to Tom Ford and asked him to make her a dress. IF ONLY, right?! This dress also boasts an open back and it's just as chic and smart as Naomi Watts'. As I've said before, black and white is a huge trend for Spring and no one does it better than Tom Ford. I love the bracelet over the sleeve and the little snakeskin clutch. I could have done without the earrings because I think they're a little too hokey for this dress. Her hair and make-up are sublime though. 

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
  Jennifer Garner In Vivienne Westwood Couture

For someone who dresses so frumpy in her normal life (harsh, but true), Jennifer Garner always looks so damn good on the red carpet. I think we still have Rachel Zoe to thank for that. This is a great color and it's extremely flattering on her. I love the look waves around her face and the gold accessories. Her best accessory was obviously her hot, award winning husband

Now the bad:

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Jessica Chastain In Calvin Klein

So close, yet so far. This color is gorgeous on her, but the shape is so wrong. I feel exactly like the woman behind her. I have no understanding of why you would want your boobs to look saggy by totally unnecessary fabric. This reminds me of the scene in The Proposal when Betty White puts her old wedding dress on Sandra Bullock and there's so much fabric that Betty can't find Sandra's boobs. Not good.

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Sienna Miller In Custom Erdem

I like that this is a skirt and a top, but that's about all I like. The colors are childish as are the stupid flowers springing off it. Erdem makes beautiful dresses like this and this. He could have done a lot better. Sienna Miller is such a style icon so this is pretty disappointing. 

Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America
Lucy Liu In Carolina Herrera

I looked at Carolina Herrera's Pre-Fall 2013 collection last week and I thought it would be interesting if someone wore this dress. Mostly because I wasn't sure how it would translate on the red carpet. The answer is badly. The print is just way too overwhelming and I hate the Rapunzel braid. This dress would/will be great in an editorial spread if it's butched up a little (leather jacket, rough make-up), but it's not happening here. Soz, Luce.

See what I mean about meh? No one blew me away and no one made me recoil in horror. But I guess that's okay. Hopefully this makes will see some amazing and crazy looks for the Oscars! Who was your favorite? Least favorite? Did you love Amy and Tina as much as everyone else?