Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Birthday Post

Greetings from 25! I am so excited to celebrate my birthday tonight with some of my closest friends! After much deliberation, I ended up wearing the Robert Rodriguez Black Label sequined number - which you all voted for (though it was VERY close). So far, so good, Rent the Runway.

For now, I'm ended to brunch with my fiance and two of my best friends at El Centro DF (can we say bottomless food AND tequila? Ai yi yi! Let's hope I can still fit in my rented dress).

After that, I'm definitely checking out MidCity Dog Days. I really want to head to Muleh to check out their KILLER sales. Last year, I was thisclose to buying a 3.1 Phillip Lim jumpsuit but I just couldn't pull the trigger. This year, I'm not sure I'll be so resilient. Other boutiques like Junction, Urban Essentials and Rue 14 will have sales, and restaurants will have fun events and specials on food and drink!

There will be lots of fun happening up and down U Street and 14th Street, so be sure to check it out!

Enjoy your Saturday!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Marta Experiments: Sally Hansen Nail Effects

Let it be known: I suck at doing my own nails. A long-time nail biter, I almost always had short nails until I got engaged and I was like, hey, I should probably have nice lookin' nails now that I have a nice lookin' ring to show off.

But I cannot master the art of left-handed nail painting, and I'm pretty unsteady. Being a neurosurgeon was never in the cards for me.

So the idea of Sally Hansen Nail Effects excited me. Foolproof nail color, right?

Well, sort of (for me anyway).

I am sort of a mess. You'll see from the photo.

I would ask for my money back if I left a salon looking like this.
My biggest issues were finding the exact right size for each nail then tailoring it perfectly to my nail. I also had a hard time getting the strip to stay put in the top corners of some of my nails. Finally I picked the color - Squeezed - thinking it was more of a yellow, but it turned out the front strip that showed at the store had been faded by the light! You can see in the picture below (lame iPhone pics) that it's a totally different color from the rest of the strips!
The middle strip is a pretty yellow - but the rest are orange. As you can tell, my fingers did not need the skinniest strips (or the fattest, thankfully).

What I'll do differently next time:
1. Line up the the bottom of the strip with the top of my cuticle more perfectly.
2. Do it in a slightly warmer room (it was pretty chilly, and made my hands cold. Sally Hansen advises warm hands for better pliability).

My other critique is that so far, they've already chipped quite a bit. Maybe if I do it better, this won't be as big of an issue?

However, even though I need some practice, I will definitely be trying these again. I'm eager to try the lattice-looking Misbehaved as well as some other neon colors!

Does anyone have any tips on how I can not suck at using these?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TruOrleans Still Getting Its Sea Legs

Hurricanes at TruOrleans

On Monday night, some fellow Tulane alum friends and I headed to H Street to check out the two-week old TruOrleans, a restaurant which boasts New Orleans flair, food and cocktails.

You might say we're something of a critical crowd, having spent the better part of four years in the Crescent City and also searching for the best po' boy in our new city.

We had high hopes for TruOrleans. Its exterior could come straight out of Bourbon Street, with a cute French Quarter-esque balcony. We settled into the bar for a cocktail, and three of us ordered Hurricanes, one of New Orleans signature drinks. TruOrleans offers three levels of strength - Categories 1, 2 and 3. Tyler ordered the 3, which I thought tasted the most authentic. I stuck with a level 2. (Don't bother with the level 1 - I tried it Friday and it was not good). We agreed that they were pretty tasty, but we missed the side of piano bar that comes with the Hurricane's New Orleans home base, Pat O'Briens.

But that's pretty much where the good times stopped rolling. We sat to eat, and when two of my fellow diners tried to order Abita (a Louisiana beer) on tap, they were told they had none on tap (even though the menu advertised three kinds - later we discovered tons of empty kegs in the basement - guess the restaurant had a fun weekend?). Settling on Turbodog bottles, we moved to order.

First, they were out of three sides: maque choux, grits and hush puppies (of course, those were three we wanted to order). The waitress didn't tell us until we were making our orders (my pet peeve), so we had to regroup. We were wondering, how can you make corn bread and not hush puppies? Better yet, how can you make corn bread and not CORN (which is the main ingredient in maque choux)? Then, the kitchen was entirely unaccommodating for my vegetarian friend's request to get a large order of red beans and rice without the sausage on top (she was willing to eat around a little meat - just didn't want giant chunks of it). So we started off the meal a little salty.

I settled on a fried platter of soft shell crab, which comes with two sides. I chose red beans and rice and cole slaw (I really wanted maque choux - bummer). This is definitely the best bang for your buck at the restaurant - $15 was not much more than what my other friends spent ordering sides and appetizers a la carte. The fry batter was so-so. The cole slaw was fine. We all agreed the red beans were a little different/less authentic than we expected or wanted. It needed some Tabasco also. Tyler really enjoyed his BBQ Jalapeno Shrimp appetizer, but wanted more food, so ordered a salad - which didn't arrive until all of our plates were cleared. Our cooked entrees came out faster than a plate of bagged lettuce.

Basically, this restaurant was a huge letdown to us. The service was mediocre at best and the food left a lot to be desired. We agreed we'd go back for hurricanes and Abita (if they ever have any).

My dining companion Jenna said it best when she said, "It's like they told me in grade school: You have a lot of potential; you're just not living up to it."

So we're not writing off TruOrleans forever, but we left wanting a lot more.

Loving Right Now: Current Elliot + Kate Spade

A few years ago when boyfriend jeans were all the rage, I had to have the Current Elliot brand - low slung, torn to perfection and also the most expensive jeans I ever purchased. Since then, it's been love.

And looking back even further - like eleven years ago - I had to have a Kate Spade black backpack. You know what I'm talking about right? My friend went to NYC and I gave her $20 to hit Canal St. She came back with a knockoff with a stuck-on label. I carried it everywhere (don't worry I wouldn't do such a thing nowadays). But the Kate Spade label envy stuck around, and now it is my shoe of preference.

So now you have the back story on my love for these two brands. And so you'll understand my excitement that the two labels are collaborating on a line of handbags.

Via Refinery29

I didn't think love at first sight was possible, but it is.

The Westward by Emily & Merritt for kate spade new york collection, a capsule range of six handbags with prices between $245 to $1,295, hits stores in August.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My First Foray Into Rent The Runway

Have you guys tried Rent the Runway yet? I haven't, but I know some girls who have and who loved it. I'm sort of torn on the whole concept though, because - if you couldn't tell - I'm sort of a clothing pack rat. I really regret giving away the Behnaz Sarafpour for Target silver skirt I bought years ago. I think about it a lot.

So why would I want to pay the price of two Forever 21 dresses to rent designer for 4 nights?  (Or, if we're being perfectly honest, what I'd really do is take the $50 right down to Neiman Marcus and buy the real thing.)

Well, smart people over Rent the Runway sent me a $50 birthday credit, and I'm aiming to find out how I like the service while also looking AMAZING on my 25th birthday

But what should I pick?

Sweet and sleek in Tibi
Sexy in sequins from Robert Rodriguez Black Label

Pretty Peacock from Nicole Miller

Which dress do you think I should wear to ring in my new year? Let me know in the comments or at the poll to the right or tweet at me!

Sign up for Rent the Runway for access to renting these fabulous dresses today.

A Word In Wedge Wise

Wedges are totally resurging in popularity. You can pretty much find any style of shoe in a wedge now, which is awesome for klutzes like me who are much more graceful with a little more sole support. I have wedges for work, wedges for play, crazy high wedges, cork-heeled wedges - the list goes on. Wedges are comfortable and now more stylish than ever.

For summer, the sandal wedge is obviously the best choice. Right now, I'm loving bringing fun fabrics to your feet for summer - denim or linen accents. I'm also loving incorporating hints of neon on my feet. 

As a side note, I feel like every summer, espadrilles are super popular, and yet fashion magazines are always like, oooh espadrilles, new and hot for summer! Just keep your espadrilles around, folks - they'll always be wearable in summer.

1. Diane von Furtstenberg Opal Linen Wedge, available at Net-A-Porter: $295
2. Tory Burch Lucien Crochet Wedge: $395
3. Stuart Weitzman Alex Espadrille, available at $365

For fall, suede wedges couldn't be cuter. These are work appropriate choices that will also look good with your skinny jeans for the night out. How cool are the wedges on these DV by Dolce Vita heels?

1. Loeffler Randall Deena, available at Piperlime: $395
2. Elizabeth and James Hali, available at Piperlime: $275
3. DV by Dolce Vita Dahlia, available at Piperlime: $109

Looking for a bang for your buck? Any of these wedges would be great any time of the year. I'm not so sure suede is a cold month-only fabric, but keep it light - a neutral taupe or beige. Animal print is always fabulous. These leopard wedges are vaguely reminiscent of some Alexander Wang booties, but a little more universally wearable.

What do you think of the Tinley Road pair? I have a similar pair of heavy black wedges that I got last summer from Forever 21 - and I wore them long into the fall. I actually think these would look pretty cool with some socks if you dare to try the trend.

1. Kate Spade Deb, available at Piperlime: $298
2. Jimmy Choo Folly, available at Net-A-Porter: $795
3. Madison Harding Blair, available at Piperlime: $295 (or a similar, $59 version here)
4. Tinley Road Amy, available at Piperlime: $19.97

Monday, July 25, 2011

J. Crew Collection for Fall Classic Cool

We're coming off a heat wave and the LAST thing you want to think about is long pants, long sleeves, wool, jackets and coats. I'm sweating just thinking about it.

But I can't not post J. Crew Collection's fall offerings because they are just awesome. Think: staples like pencil skirts and cashmere sweaters in rich jewel tones; warm coats with unique cuts; and super cute strappy satin heels. It's pretty preppy stuff, but it's pretty cool also.

My shopping hiatus should end just in time to pick up some of these beauts. That navy coat has my name all over it.

Via FabSugar

For more J. Crew fall goodness, check out this post at Elements of Style.