Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Chance Recap!

I love going to Last Chance when I have a day off during the week. It stinks to work weekends (no spontaneous trips with the bf or weekends away with the girls), but it is nice to run errands on a Tuesday and have the whole world to yourself....Or so you think until you walk into Last Chance and then realize that the whole world is inside scavenging for deals.

Last Chance is not for people who fear crowds...or even for people who remotely value their personal space... but it is fun to see what you can find. If you have never been to Last Chance, it is the place where products sold at Nordstrom go to die. Really. If a shoe has a scuff and is deemed "unsellable" it winds up there. Same with handbags, clothing, and a few housewares. There is a lot of beat up junk there, but sometimes you find a gem that makes you want to squeal with delight and call your fellow shopping addicts to share the excitement. If you are ever in the Phoenix area, you need to check this place out-- deals + people watching = worth the trip!

I stopped in today hoping to find some cute ankle booties, but swarms of bickering women indicated they were few and far between before the hoards descended. I roamed for a bit to see what I could find and had a personal crisis in the handbag area. Not because of anything important, but because I found this Be&D satchel:

The Genesis Satchel. It. Was. Amazing. The picture does not do it justice, but it was so soft and slouchy and perfect-- just trust me! I found it in a great light gray color, but it was still $500, so I decided to pay rent instead ;) I have wanted a satchel for a while now, but I tend to buy either giant handbags or small crossbodies, so satchels really haven't figured into my wardrobe. This one is huge, though, and looked very Rachel Zoe/one of her Zoebots in the crook of my arm.
I love Be&D, but haven't seen much of this brand lately, so I looked at their website when I got home and found more pieces to love:

The Jenny Stamped Clutch. I love the texture, the taupey/blush/griege color and the metal trim that give an other wise lady-like envelope clutch (my fav style of clutch ever) a funky twist.

Garbo Tote. My inner rock star needs this! I love that the studs cover the entire bag and that this would be so slouchy and fun (unstuffed, natch). All you'd need would be skinnies and a great flat or a little ankle bootie like these:

My inner rock star also needs the Rocketeer bootie. I love the sweeping line and the chunky heel as well as the grid 'o' zippers. This would be perfect with leggings... or black jeans... or so many other things......

ANYWAY, back to Last Chance, I almost left without a fab find-- but then there was a little leather jacket waiting for me in the blazer section:

This Classiques Entier Ruffled Leather Jacket is ridiculously soft and the color is less stark than the picture suggests. It came to LC because of a pen mark near the top of the collar, but I figured that $59 for a $398 jacket warranted a trip to the cleaners or a personal commitment to wear my hair down whenever I have it on....

Have you ever been to Last Chance? Where do you find your best deals? And what decadence is currently on your wishlist?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Not So Perfect Timing....

I didn't join in on the Black Friday madness with the rest of the churning, surging masses, so I thought I might get in on some of the Cyber Monday deals. I woke up early to check out the sales, and write a blog post about my favs, natch, but.....
.......the internet was down.
(Yes, I could check my email on my phone, but it doesn't facilitate browsing websites with the intention to look at colors and textures). Anyway, all of the sudden, the wind was out of my sails. It felt like I was back in the Dark Ages....or at least the 80's.... and couldn't communicate with the rest of the world anymore. I am painting an over-dramatic picture, but you can relate, I'm sure ;)

Instead of scowling at my laptop, I decided to re-draft my Christmas list of what to get for my loved ones, begin to read a new book, and brainstorm color combos for scarf-making. I can knit- well, as long as you want a scarf and only a scarf- and I want to make cozy somethings for myself and for friends. For some reason today, probably the sharp temp drop, I am channeling the vibe of a certain scarf-making-maven on etsy.com. My friend (her chic blog here) sent me a link to the Ozetta boutique on etsy.com and I was immediately hooked on the pure coziness of her designs!

How comfy and warm does this look?! And the texture! Sigh.

As you might have guessed, the internet is back up but I have little desire to resume the cyber Monday hunt. I guess that, for today at least, being cozy is much more appealing. How did you spend your Monday?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday.... All hype?

I get it. The lure of getting a crazy digital KitchenAid toaster for pennies at your local Macy's is powerful. But is it SO powerful that you really want to get out of bed at 3:30am to get there for the store opening at 4am?

Not for me!

In my experience, unless you are one of the first 20 people in line at Best Buy for that plasma TV you want...why bother? Especially with clothing- it's not worth it! Take it from a gal with a lot of retail experience- most stores did their markdowns on Wednesday and will only have a few new "special purchase" items to bring out on Friday morning. Besides, there are so many sites like Gilt Groupe, Hautelook, and Rue La La to provide the rush of a good deal... from the comfort of your home and your jammies. My favorite of those is ShopItToMe. If you don't already subscribe, you should! I get emails twice a week that show me everything from my favorite stores (and in my sizes) that has gone on sale. I don't have to check my favorite sites individually, so it saves time- which is great if you are a slightly lazy procrastinator...(who me?)

Here are some of my favorites from my ShopItToMe email:

I am in love with the turtle brooch!

If you don't have a shopittome profile set up, leave your email in a comment and I will invite you. I get a gift card or something good for referrals, so it will encourage my already bad shopping habits ;)

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving yesterday and Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving often gets overshadowed by Christmas preparations or all the "Black Friday" sales, so I like to make a list of the things I am thankful for...even if it's only in my head...
Family, Friends, the Bf, warm sun and a cool breeze, Fashion, cheese (of course), a healthy body, a place to sleep every night, happy memories, books....
The list goes on and on, and I try to appreciate it all. It makes you feel a little decadent to think about how cushy your life really is, yes?
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you don't have to work and that there are pies a-plenty for you where ever you spend your holiday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Did I Miss...Valentino For GAP?!

...oh, because it debuts Saturday in Europe. Le Tragic! I had no idea the collaboration existed and I wish there were more photos of the looks... I am not sure about the ruffled pants, but I am sure there are some chic Parisians or Italians who could rock them. I am most interested in the adorable ruffly trench! And the shoes- so cute! (but not part of the collection). Has anyone else heard more about this? Or when it will hit the US?

Give Me "The Boot"

Sometimes I am a "late adopter" of certain trends, even though I might really like it. I have wanted a pair of wedge booties for months, but I can't seem to find the right pair. All the boots I have tried on seemed too clunky and/or too tall (that combo on a tall gal conjures up images of Frankenstein) so I have not made a purchase. Yet. I just realized that the outfit I have been envisioning for Thanksgiving Day really needs a pair of these booties, so I searched high and low for a cool pair. My criteria are simple: not too much of a platform, preferably lace-up, and in brown or taupey-gray... not orthopedic-looking is also a criterion, but that should go without saying ;)
Here are my findings...

For Drooling Over:
Just for dreaming about

From Left to Right: Rick Owens Leather Wedge Boots , Thakoon Wedge Boot, Balenciaga Two Tone Wedge Boot

For Inspiration:
Close to what I want, but too pricey for a trend

From Left to Right: Rag and Bone Odval Desert Wedge Boot, Coclico Wyllow Ankle Boot

For Wearing:
The price and style work for me!

From Left To Right: Trouve Focus Bootie, Steve Madden Marriano Boots, Pam Project 80917 Boot

Do you own lace-up wedge booties? If so, do you have any recommendations for purchasing? If not, are you a "late adopter" too or are you just not feelin' it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ain't Nothing Wrong With A Lil' Sparkle...

Inspired by the recent posts of some fashionable bloggers, Emily and the gals from Style, She Wrote, I got to thinking about extending my love of all that is sparkly to the realm of nail polish. And then today, wandering aimlessly through Forever 21 (that super exclusive boutique, remember?) in the overwhelmed way that usually befalls those who dare enter, I saw glittery nail polish! The third time in 3 days? It was fate-- I bought it. And other colors, too, because you can't leave with just one thing from that store ;)

Anyway, mi amiga Jackie came over for dinner and we had a nailpolish soiree. The results are delightfully silly:

All three colors!

I couldn't decide at first, so I tried out each one...

Jackie's Happy Nails!

The duo I ultimately chose (F21 sparkles layered over Revlon's "Steel Her Heart")

The Result

I love how sparkly my nails are; too much for every day on the fingers, in my mind anyway, so I will keep it mostly for Christmas and maybe New Year's if I let it venture beyond my toes again...

Are you nuts about the trend or is it just plain nuts? Any new polish colors you love to wear or that you are dying to get?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Boutiques.com Review!

Thank goodness my friend (she of chic blogger-dom) reminded me about the Google-owned www.boutiques.com- it launched on Wednesday- or I would have forgotten all about it! I just registered and took the style quiz to create my own boutique and I am happy to report that it is fun! I could easily spend hours on there honing my preferences and looking at the other boutiques.

It was interesting to see what they categorized your style as (mine was actually pretty accurate!) and I loved looking at the boutiques of celebrities like Carey Mulligan and well-known bloggers like Jane Aldridge. My only complaint was the lack of variety in my "recommendations" section. Everything seemed to be black or of 3 specific brands, but I think once I start saving more preferences, I should get more variety.... we shall see!

I also looked at style.com's photos of the launch party and was pleased to see some of my favorite fashionable ladies:

Rachel Roy, Iman, Alexa Chung and Carey Mulligan at the Launch Party

Have you gone to boutiques.com yet? Let me know what you think if you do, and find me under TheChambrayCountess! Happy Shopping and Happy Monday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

MAXI-mize Your Skirt Options

I have a new found love of maxi skirts. I have always liked the Rick Owens-inspired look, but being a tall gal means that most skirts end at awkwardly short lengths on me, so I wrote them off and decided to forget them. I did a great job forgetting until I found a long skirt in basic black knit that is the perfect length! Like a breath of fresh fashion air, I have been introduced to a very versatile wardrobe addition. I had previously sequestered the long skirt in the "summer" category of my brain- only to be paired with sandals on the beach. Now I see that it can be a cute alternative to jeans for running errands and love it with short boots and a leather jacket for colder weather (I posted a similar look here).

The way I see it, there are three ways to go maxi:

Simple and Cozy:
The Tumbler Maxi Skirt in Black at Anthropologie (I like that this one can be worn low across the hips, but would also look nice as a high-waisted option-- perfect for looking trim when you are layering up!)

A Bit 'o' Pizazz:
Lace Maxi Skirt at Forever21 (a super girly take that could be made a little goth or a little boho-romantic, a la Stevie Nicks)

All Out Glamorous:

Chie Printed Silk-Satin Maxi Skirt by Erdem (This one is like a wearable painting that you could dress down for dinner with flat sandals and a simple tank or dress up for a formal occasion or party...Love the colors!)

Given the choice- and unlimited budget- what would you choose the comfy options, glamourous ones, or somewhere in between? Are you going to be rockin' a maxi this winter?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Back in the day, (pretty sure I was in high school/early on in college), I became obsessed with Alexis Bittar when I saw one of his butterfly necklaces in Anthropologie. I didn't buy it then due to limited funds- not that my situation has changed ;)- but now that AlexisBittar.com has launched its "From the Archives" section, I occasionally check for the necklace from long ago... I have seen the gold version, the big and small versions, but I checked yesterday and- lo and behold!- the necklace is back!

I know it won't look iconic to anyone besides me, but I love that the butterfly wings look like they are encased in some sort of giant rain drop. Now I just have to decide if $425 is worth it for a nostalgic acquisition....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh, Delicious Memories

I finally got off my lazy bum and downloaded pictures from my LA roadtrip. I often forgot to take pictures at some places because I was having too much fun "in the moment," but here are a few of my favorites:

Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake at Cube

If you have looked at my profile icon, you know I am a sucker for succulent cacti...
(It was our centerpiece at L'Ermitage-which explains the dim lighting- cute idea!)

Painting of a chic girl with claw hands in the L'Ermitage bar lounge

Excuse the photo quality, but one night I noticed a shadow in an office window that is distinctly giraffe in shape... See it?!

The visit is never long enough--I wish I had more time for the delicious food and more time with my gracious hosts :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sequined Boots... Again!

I fell out of love with these Sergio Rossi sequined over-the-knee boots not long after I posted about them (here), but I was just looking at Tommy Ton's site for Sergio Rossi and saw them styled for day... I am almost back in love with them again ;)

Check out the whole site here- I love Tommy Ton's photos!

Some of my favorites:

Bright shoes are all it takes to jazz up a simple outfit!

I am getting into the maxi skirt-for-winter-trend....

Opaque tights + blush heels! Cute photo, too.

Love 'em or hate 'em? And have you ever fallen out of love with a trend and then been "converted" back into a follower? ;)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tribal Revival

I admired the ikat prints that exploded on the runway this summer, but they seemed "too much" for my currently pared-down aesthetic. I realized my feelings were such because I wear less clothing in the summer and the wild, graphic variations of the print overwhelmed my sensible side (an ikat maxi dress is A LOT of print for me). Now that fall has me layering like a fiend, I feel comfortable introducing a small item or two into an otherwise stable environment ;)
Here are a few of my favorite accessories:

Row 1:
-Rachel Bilson in an adorable ikat print skirt
-Tolani Gray/Pink Ikat Scarf (Love that the gray gets a lil' kick from the pink)
-Calvin Klein Ikat-Printed Blouse (could make work or weekend looks)
Row 2:
-Himalaya Trading Company scarves (Good deal and a variety of colors)
-Anthropologie Magic Ikat Tea Set (not an accessory, but SO cute)
-Velvet by Graham & Spencer Ikat Sequins dress (metallics = neutral = super wearable!)

Are you an Ikat fanatic or would you rather see the resurgence fizzle out?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Road Trip!!

This weekend I am taking a road trip to LA for the epic birthday of one of my best gal pals. I am driving by myself (booooring) but I will be doing a lot of talking on the phone, eating In N Out, and jamming to da beats. For some reason, I always listen to Kings of Leon and Margot and the Nuclear So And So's while I drive and I swear it makes it 50% better.... ;)

Below is a picture I took on my last LA roadtrip....
Not that I recommend playing photographer while driving...

Do you love or hate roadtrips? And what do you do to stay entertained?
Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DIY Project: Pant Drawstring Revolution!

I love a good DIY project and this one is especially great because it is so easy! An adult could complete the project in about a minute, or it could be kid-friendly-- if your kid happens to be Tavi ;)

The Project: Upgrade The Draw-String On Your Cargos (from InStyle magazine)

The Pants!
These are my Hinge paper-bag-waist pants. Nicely slouchy, but could use an update.

Forming Attachments
Attach whatever ribbon you choose to the existing belt with a safety pin and pull through

Tying Up Loose Ends
Once you've pulled the old belt out and the new ribbon through, you're done. It's that simple. I love the minimalist-yet-preppy vibe of this gray ribbon with black outside trim. BUT, I am not going to settle for just one belt....

...when I could have two options! I liked the sparkly belt in the magazine example, but I couldn't find anything glam at the fabric store that didn't look cheap. Then I spotted a ribbon embedded with snaps- just enough shine to make it interesting, but it can go from day to night in a cinch (hehe, get it?!)

Now I have two belt options to give a basic black pant more versatility. My only problem will be to restrain myself from wearing them every day! Any DIY projects that you love?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Could Brunettes Have More Fun?

I recently took the plunge and entered the world of the mysterious, chic brunettes. My dirty-blonde hair has seemed dull in recent years and I took to highlighting it at random times to give it a little life. Two weeks ago I thought about highlighting it and then, in a moment of clarity, thought, "Why do I keep going blonder? I don't even really like it blonde...why not go darker?"

So I did. I have to admit that it is strange to look in the mirror and see this brunette chick staring back at me, but she seems pretty cool, so I'll keep her around ;)

I also got to thinking about blonde to brunette (and often back again) transformations, and often times I think brunette just looks better. Here are my favs:

Better Brunette: Kiera Knightly
Her eyes might smolder more as a blonde, but her light skin looks much better with dark hair. I don't think the berry lip color she has in the brunette photo would have looked good when she was blonde.

Better Brunette: Jessica Alba
Jessica has a natural, glowing tan and when she is blonde, it all looks a little orange-y, like her skin hair blend into one color....

Toss-Up: The Olsen Twins
Whatever color these two choose, Mary Kate and Ashley look adorable and fresh.

Better Blonde: Cameron Diaz (you didn't see this coming, did you?)
She looks great with dark hair, but when you think Cameron Diaz, you think of a blonde-from-the-California-sun girl. Even in her movies- whether it is the goofy gal in Something About Mary or an Angel with martial-arts prowess, blonde just makes sense.

Do you agree with my biased reasoning? (hehe) And do you strictly adhere to being blonde or brunette or do you switch it up between both? Or do you love being a redhead? Or not coloring your hair at all?