Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some May Call It An Addiction...

You know that sick thrill you get when something good you have been waiting for finally happens? A pair of shoes you ordered arrive in the mail, you get asked out by a guy you like, that promotion you were up for finally came through... The butterflies in your stomach, the racing heart beat and sweaty palms, suddenly you are on cloud nine and nothing can bring you down.

I get this feeling when I buy a new nail polish -- some may call it an addiction -- I call it a relatively affordable obsession, which generally improves my overall outlook on life. It's not just the purchase, it's the feeling I get when my nails are perfectly manicured. Nothing can brighten your day more than pretty hands and here is why...

  1. Nail Polish is SHINY! What could be better than shiny, pretty nails?
  2. It is a great distraction. For example, say you are staring monotonously at your computer screen, suddenly you look down and what do you see?? BEAUTIFUL nails typing away. Your boring old key board is suddenly exciting and fun.
  3. It is a great accessory. Manicured nails can pull any look together. Just ask Zac Posen who used OPI nail color to add the perfect touch to his Z Spoke by Zac Posen show.
  4. Nail Polish is an affordable gift to yourself, a little pick me up after a long day.
  5. Manicured nails look polished (no pun intended), professional and most of all chic.
  6. And lets not forget the SPARKLES!! Sparkly nails = Sparkly outlook on life.
So I am sure by now you are wondering what my personal nail polish collection looks like. Well, here it is, 80 and counting. The newest additions to our family are OPI Cuckoo For this Color, OPI Ski Teal We Drop (currently wearing) and Chanel Paradoxal.

Soon to arrive is Deborah Lippmann Happy Birthday and Deborah Lippmann Across the Universe.

How do you feel about nail polish? What is your go to color?


P.S. Serena Williams is collaborating with OPI on a new collection called the Grand Slam Collection, the colors will represent different tennis tournaments. We can't wait to see it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Glitz Blitz

While I was perusing some of my favorite blogs, I came across a great DIY post on the Glamourai, how to make new jewelry look vintage or "instantly stately." Kelly, gave a quick tutorial on how to plus up some bejeweled accessories with photos and tips for success. 

To make these lovely pieces, you only need a few items: a black and brown sharpie, nail polish remover and Q-tips. It seemed pretty easy, so I figured I would give it a try. I headed to Urban Outfitters and picked out a glitzy necklace that would fit the bill and after a trip to Walgreens for a few sharpies, I was on my way home to make my own statement piece. 

While, Kelly picked a lovely floral necklace, I couldn't find a floral number that fit my style, so instead I went for a rhinestone clustered, bib necklace. As I began my little project for the evening I decided to slightly digress from the instructions. I took out a blue sharpie and added some color to a few stones of varying sizes. I think the color gives the piece a little more dimension and really makes the necklace pop.  Check out my progress and the final piece below. For full instructions head to the Glamouri. 

The original necklace
And so it begins...


Coloring is hard work...

Taking a break, its been an hour...

Halfway there

It's DONE!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lazy Weekend

I started off my weekend in Marin waking up late and getting some lunch at Comforts in San Anselmo. Having grown up in Marin, Comforts is one of my FAVORITE places to eat. It is a small local restaurant with a Chinese Chicken Salad to die for, it is always packed, has great service and very reasonable prices.

After a delicious meal, Marc and I decided to take a stroll around downtown and check out some of our favorite shops. San Anselmo, has some of the best shopping, and if you are in the market for a nice gift, some clothes or a doodad for yourself, there are quite a few shops that fit the bill. My two personal favorites are Fig Garden and French Nest.

Fig Garden, is a sweet little shop with some of the most unique and fun merchandise I have come across. There are amazing gifts, like patterned serving platters and salad tossers to collapsible plastic  vases and imported hand lotions. There is stationary, clothing, home decor and so much more. It is truly a shoppers paradise in many ways, a little bit of everything for people of all ages. 

French Nest, is any French obsessed girl's dream (so this is like my home away from home). It is completely shabby chic, and carries tons of antique furniture, beauty products, vintage clothes and home wares. There is always French music playing softly in the background, and I don't think I have ever gone in the shop and NOT purchased something.

Recently, French Nest started carrying a new beauty line Tokyo Milk. These cosmetics have some of the most adorable packaging. My favorite is the lip balm flavor "Let Them Eat Cake" a sparkly Marie Antoinette is on the box, and when you open the package a quote from Coco Chanel appears, along with a little pamphlet entitled: The Art of Kissing. The pamphlet lists the best movie kisses (Lady and the Tramp is among them...DUH), as well as a kissing tip. I got #28, Leave 'Em Wanting More. Pull back and look down, then look into his eyes. If he liked the kiss you'll most likely kiss again. Look at his lips, he will get the signal you want more! I also picked up one of the very delicious perfumes, Gin & Rosewater No. 12, the sweet and simple packaging mixed with the light clean scent made it an easy purchase.

Below are a few photos of the shops...If you're in the neighborhood I would definitely stop by. Hope you all had a fabulous weekend, I know I did.

Clocks and a Street Art coloring book, Fig Garden

Platters and plates, Fig Garden

Stationary, Fig Garden
Coin purses, Fig Garden

The French Nest
Tokyo Milk, Lip Balm "Let Them Eat Cake"


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MSB Chic's September Issue

For the first time ever, MSB Chic is launching its very own September issue. As I mentioned in my first post, this year I decided to do a little audit of the four major US fashion magazines' styles and trends featured for fall. As I paged through the very thick magazines, I plotted my attack on San Francisco retailers.

Every fashionista knows that before you go shopping, you should turn a very critical eye to your already overflowing closet. As I waded through the "organized" chaos I call my closet, I found that I didn't need much to pull off these new trends. Armed for battle, I made my way through the crowds downtown with a running list of what I needed to enhance my fall looks.

It is important to keep in mind that while magazines and fashion articles are AMAZING resources for inspiration, very few twenty-somethings can afford to completely revamp their wardrobe every season. Also, you don't want to look like you stepped out of a magazine, you want to draw on new trends to create your own creative look that is utterly and uniquely, YOU.

The looks I chose to focus on were as follows:
  • Military
  • Camel
  • Folk Rock
  • Baroque
  • Leopard
You may ask, "why these looks?" Obviously part of the appeal is that these looks are HOT right now, but I also try and think about clothing I can wear for a long time. Camel and Military inspired trends provide excellent neutral color palettes which can be incorporated into many looks in any wardrobe. Baroque and Folk Rock provide a little glitz/glamour as well as a rough side which can spice up an average outfit. I suggest not going overboard with these looks, choose statement pieces which can last and will also work in your wardrobe. Don't purchase a brocade jacket with shoulder pads for $500 if you're not going to wear it more than once, trust me it is NOT worth it. And lets not forget Leopard, this look is a personal favorite I have had as a part of my wardrobe for years, it is fun, can act as a neutral, and always adds a little flair to your look.

So after a long and fruitful shopping trip, a jacket here, a sweater there and a few beauty bells and whistles, I was set for the fall. Below is the MSB Chic September Issue. Let me know what you think!

Military Jacket: H&M, Shirt: Gap, Cords: J. Crew, Flats: Repetto
Sweater: Free people, Skirt: Aqua, Socks: Hue, Shoes: Pour la Victoire
Sweater and Belt: H&M, Shirt: Helmut Lang, Leggings: Alice + Olivia, Boots: Stuart Weitzman
bumble & bumble curl conscious, La mer face lotion, Paul & Joe Lipstick C in over the moon, OPI nail polish in Cuckoo for this Color and Ski Teal we Drop, Laura Mercier Cream Eye Shadow, Lauara Mercier gloss in Plum Noir, Chanel Paradoxal
Jacket and Shoes: Topshop, Pants: BCBG, Shirt: Nasty Gal
Shirt: Gap, Vest: Truth + Pride, Skirt: Vena Cava for Aqua, Tights: Spanx, Shoes: Dolce Vita

Jacket: Alice + Olivia, Jeans: J Brand, Shirt: Majestic, Necklace: Vintage, Shoes: Pour la Victoire

Sweater: Free People, Shirt: Nasty Gal, Skirt: Aqua, Socks: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Very Volatile


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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Online Sample Sales: The Future of Fashion?

At 8:55 a.m. PT consumers wait with bated breath, Gilt Groupe sales are about to start, and if you are not online early you are sure to miss out. Gilt Groupe followed by many other online sample sale sites (ideeli, ruelala etc.) have laid new meaning to the word recessionista. Gilt offers high quality, current designer duds, jewelry and makeup at shockingly discounted prices. Since Gilt was founded in 2007, the invite-only online shopping site has been tremendously successful. The site reports that between 9 am and 10 am PT on average 100,000 shoppers log on to browse the current sales. With over 2 million registered users, mostly affluent young females, this site is making a killing. Gilt is strictly promoted through word of mouth, and its invite-only exclusivity is part of its appeal. It juxtaposes a feeling of luxury retail with bargain prices. While Gilt’s success is undeniable, the real question is “is this good for fashion?”

I think there are a few stances you can take on this question. Many designers and retailers feel that discounting diminishes a brand’s integrity. Basically it is saying “I lied when I said this was worth $500.00 it is only worth $125.00.” The long-term ramifications of discount sites like Gilt, are unknown, but many designers worry that it promotes the idea that luxury products don’t need to come at a premium, thus contradicting the very foundation many designers have built their name on.

On the other hand, discounting provides many fashion-savvy consumers the ability to be part of something they might otherwise not been able to afford. In my personal opinion discounting has a plus side. It shows that even in a down economy, consumers still want to do just that, CONSUME. We want luxury brands, and while we are willing to bargain hunt to get them, it doesn’t mean we no longer will pay for the real deal. Sites like Gilt have made it easier to justify “frivolous” purchases in a down economy. I do not think Gilt’s business model in any way undermines a brand’s integrity, I think in fact they make a larger and more loyal customer-base. Trust-me once you fall in love with a brand, it is hard to give it up, even if it goes up in price.

Check out the discounts Gilt and others had to offer today…

Let me know what you think of Gilt and other sample sale sites...


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are Macarons the New Cupcake?

Similar to the cupcake, the French macaron is quickly becoming the nation's new love affair. I have long adored the delicious French pastry, from it's delicate meringue-like almond cookie to its creamy ganache filling, these pastel beauties are pure perfection. Recently, these traditional French cookies have become the trendy new confection. Once only found in fine patisseries, now you can find these delectable treats in a Starbucks pastry case or being served with tea at Neiman Marcus.

While the cookie became famous through the AMAZING French tea house LadurĂ©e, which is said to sell the best macarons in the world (which is true), they allegedly came to France with Catherine de Medici. Other tales source the cookie as originating in a convent near Cormery. No matter the origin, you don't want to miss out on these bite-size goodies.

If you are on the hunt for macarons here in the states, it is important to use discretion. Not all macarons are created equal. After living in Paris, I hate to say I became somewhat of a macaron snob. In San Francisco, the closest thing to the real deal can be found at Paulette bakery. Trust me. I know. I ate at least a macaron a day for 9 months when I lived in Paris and consider myself an aficionado. Not only did my knowledge grow, but so did my dress size so WARNING these treats are NOT low-fat.

Other San Francisco bakeries offer these heavenly cookies. Miette has even gone so far as to offer a macaron happy hour Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. so if you are in Hayes Valley and are in the mood for a fun, airy, and completely satisfying snaky, check out Paulette or Miette -- you will enjoy every bite.

Personal favorite is the framboise


Thursday, September 2, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: H&M and Lanvin Collaboration

H&M is a fashion mecca for budget-conscious fashionistas. If you need a new "it" item but don't want to splurge, H&M is the place for you. From t-shirts to party dresses they usually have it all. Over the years H&M has had some incredible collaborations:  Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel and Jimmy Choo. Up next is LANVIN!!! Can you think of a better choice? I can't.

H&M had played a bit of a guessing game the past few weeks with rumors of Carolina Herrera, Pam Hogg and other fabulous designers. Videos had been posted to their website of both a man and a woman speaking about fashion. When the announcement this morning arrived, it was greeted by a media frenzy. A first look at the collaboration, will be revealed in a video on November 2nd on hm.com. We can't wait to see what the genius Alber Elbaz is going to dish up for this affordable fashion house.

Check out what Elbaz has to say about the collaboration:


September Issue

What is it about the September issue of a magazine that sets your heart a flutter? Is it the promise of a new season, the celebrity who graces the cover or the beauty secrets hidden within the glossy pages? For me it's the many fashion spreads, displaying the latest and greatest of every "it" designer. With the change of weather, comes a change of attitude and style, and the September issue is probably the best way to usher in fall.

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, the changing colors and crisp air, back-to-school, and of course the undeniably AMAZING clothes that always seem to spark new inspiration for your wardrobe. This year I decided to try a little experiment. I purchased the four major US fashion magazines' -- Elle, Bazaar, Marie Claire and Vogue -- September issues and did a little audit. As I leafed through each of the very thick issues, I discovered a variety of trends that somehow all appear to be in perfect harmony.

Over the next few weeks as I begin my "back-to-work" shopping, I will be thinking about how to incorporate these fun, rough and quirky looks into my current wardrobe. Check out some of the spreads I plan to focus on and tell me how you plan to feature these new fall looks.

Stay tuned for the MSB Chic online September issue, which will debut here on September 15th.