Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Oscars: Best Dressed

When I immediately considered Oscar night, I felt like there were tons of great gowns.

But in the stark light of Monday, I really only loved a handful of looks. I guess there were a bunch of people who looked "fine," but only these five ladies really blew me away with their dresses:

1) Mila Kunis. Keeps picking great looks. This color was pretty on her, but I especially loved the beige nude contrasting color that showed through on the skirt. The cut of the neckline was really flattering on her. And the swaths of lace were just interesting enough to make this a fairly non-traditional dress. Love it!

2) Nicole Kidman. I know some people hated this, but I really loved it. Anything with an architectural structure really gets me, and I thought the embroidery was really gorgeous. Love the red shoes too, and the necklace. I will admit that this dress did not look great from the side profile.

3) Hailee Steinfeld. The young nominee from True Grit dressed so age appropriately, and also in a glamorous manner befitting a nominee. She looks like a young lady out on the biggest night of her life thus far, which is exactly what she is. Her makeup was lovely, but didn't seem overdone for this young actress. And the headband is very cute. Tina Fey/SJP wore this kind of dress for a long time, which I did not enjoy. But Hailee makes the same style look fresh and pretty!

4) Cate Blanchett. Whatever you may say, I love Cate Blanchett and her boundary-pushing fashion choices. This armor/Joan of Arc style dress is very dramatic, but absolutely Cate and absolutely awesome, in my opinion. The color, with neon yellow at nape of neck that stretched around to the back, is just so interesting and cool!!

5) Amy Adams. In many ways the most effortlessly best dressed of the evening. This dress stood on its own, looked great, and she looked happy and comfortable. I just adored it. The necklace isn't neccessary, but I didn't hate it either. My favorite!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mall Freebies

My friend L and I attempted a Freebie Triple Header yesterday, at the mall at Columbus Circle. There was a buzz of Fashion Week affiliated action, which turned out to be rather minimal compared to what we'd expected...

First, we had prosecco and strawberries at the Wolford shop on the ground level. It was nice, but there are only so many stockings to browse in this jewel box-sized shop, and as it got more crowded we had to seek sanctuary upstairs.

Upstairs, they were prepping a central atrium "Club Coca Cola" lounge with free Coke products and nuts/finger food. We couldn't wait to get in there, and I took this photo before the event began: We bided our time in Bebe, where they were serving champagne, sparkling water, and very very undercooked/overhandled hors d'ouvres. After a short while the potent smell of bad perfume and terrible crowding drew us back upstairs to see about the Coke event...

...only to discover there were door guards armed with RSVP lists. Agh! Freebie Faux Pas! I didn't know it was an RSVP event! While all the less-deserving-looking people walked in, we were negged at the black airport style barrier (so embarrassing!) and we headed down to Whole Foods to lick our wounded egos.

Luckily, Whole Foods gives out freebies to all, and we enjoyed sampling gourmet pickles, this amazing granola, and kimchi.

All in all, not a bad way to spend an hour!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birthday freebie

One of the easiest ways to enjoy more freebies is to sign up for store's preferred customer programs (But always make sure there are no fees/drawbacks!)

I am a member of Sephora's Beauty Insider program, where you basically earn points every time you shop at Sephora.

Imagine my delight and surprise when I got an email from Sephora this morning telling me my birthday present was ready for pick-up at any Sephora store!

I love my birthday!

I love presents!
At lunch I wandered to the closest Sephora, and soon this little beauty was all mine, completely free of charge: It's a shampoo/shower gel from Philosophy called "Happy Birthday Beautiful!" It smells like vanilla birthday cake...mmm! And it's BIG. You can't really tell from this photo, but it's about the size of a can of soda.

Some of you will recall my short-lived obsession with Jessica Simpson's beauty line that smelled like baked goods. I can enjoy a cake-flavored soap from time to time...

Best of all - no strings attached on this freebie. All you have to do is sign up to be a Beauty Insider. I walked up, said I got the birthday email, and they scanned my BI card and handed me a free bottle of soap. No purchase neccessary - Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2 for $5 Valentine Smoothies

Though not a freebie, this is a great deal and available all over the nation!
Jamba Juice is offering a 2 for $5 deal on their Sweetheart Smoothie, from 2/7-2/20. Just click here, print out the coupon, and grab a buddy for some smoothie fun!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thinking Theater

Slowly, but surely, the freebies are returning from the immediate post-holiday draught! Hooray!

Last week, cousin T brought me to see Encores! staged concert of Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars." It's a rarely-performed piece set in South Africa. Really heavy, serious material that weighs in on issues of class, race, culpability, and moral vs. legal judgment.

Though "Lost in the Stars" doesn't leave you humming any tunes, Encores! did a really nice job of casting and staging this tough piece, and bringing something onstage that wouldn't ever get a big buck revival in today's Broadway market.

Thanks, Cousin T, for a one-of-a-kind night out and some mentally challenging musical food for thought.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Free Coffee February

It appears for the entire month of February, Seamless Web is giving away free coffee at a variety of locations. See by clicking here.

Feb 1-6: Midtown East
Feb 7-13: Midtown West
Feb 14-20: Upper East/Upper West Sides
Feb 21-27: Lower Manhattan

Go out and get some free coffee!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Worst of the SAG Awards

Just as there were some great looks at this year's SAG Awards, there were some not-so-great ones too. Not SOOOO bad overall, but here are my "Bottom 6."

1. Kim Kardashian. Blech. This dress seems both outdated and poorly suited to Kim's body. It looks really droopy, and I'm sparing you the horrendous open back too. Why is she even at the SAG Awards, anyway? 2. Kate Mara. Herve Leger dresses can look amazing. Note my use of the word, "can." They're called bandage dresses for a reason, and Kate Mara looks positively immobile and uncomfortably bound in this dress. And the bottom of the gown looks like a bottle brush. Perhaps it could look OK on someone, but all I'm getting from Mara and her posture is that this is one unpleasant dress. Also, with the beige headband and beige purse, this is altogether too much beige.

3. Eva Longoria. This dress looked even worse when she was onstage presenting. Let's just say it felt like Longoria took "SAG Awards" literally. The drapey top flaps made this stunning woman appear top-heavy and nearly-nude, and not in anything but an offputting way. She also got a strange muffin-top effect (cringe - I hate the term, but I can't think of another way to paint this picture for you) from the taut waistband, which again, I know is not from Eva Longoria ACTUALLY posessing a muffin-top, as she is a perfectly proportioned human.

4. Claire Danes. Anger!!! Danes looked so good at the Golden Globes and then she wore this positively wrong dress for her figure. I refuse to feel badly for women who have small busts, since there are so many amazing styles that they can wear that the better endowed ladies cannot. This dress needs some boobage, and Danes shouldn't have worn it. I love the fabric. I love the dress. I hate it on her. It looks like it's falling down, and only accentuates her non-chest. Small extra credit for her wonderful lipstick hue (and for her wonderful Hugh too!)...

5. Amy Adams. Love Amy. Such a versatile actress, such lovely coloring, such a great "real" figure. Hate this dress, unfortunately. The top is all wrong for her torso proportions, and the color is very draining on her. Worst of all, if you saw her in motion you saw how horrendous it was for her to wrangle with the frontal train. Nothing looks worse than walking while holding your crotch fabric. I'm just sayin'...

6. Angie Harmon. Worst dressed, by far. The only look I actually cannot find a redeeming characteristic about. This woman is gorgeous and could look fantastic in almost any dress. Almost. Not this one. The feathers, bustier seaming, baby pink, and voluminous bottom would be too much for even Barbie to handle. Fashion FAIL.

(all photos courtesy of Just Jared)

Intermission Freebie

Last night, the inimitable J and I attended Roundabout Theater Co's production of "The Importance of Being Earnest," by Oscar Wilde. We cemented our friendship as co-stars in a college production, so it was a wonderful, fun-filled excursion and traipse down memory lane.

And there was also a very nice freebie to be had.

About a week ago, the Roundabout sent me a letter that offered two complimentary cups of coffee or tea at the theater bar either before the show or at intermission. Of course, we availed ourselves of the coffee option: Thanks to J for taking such a graceful looking shot of my hand, and thanks to the Roundabout for the free coffee!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fashion Freebie: Best Dressed of SAG Awards

I've made the executive decision that since watching awards shows is free, and since I love reviewing awards show fashion, I will be doing a "Best" and "Worst" dressed of awards shows on this blog!

Sunday was the SAG Awards, and there were some truly awesome looks on the red carpet. Here are my top five:

1. Kyra Sedgwick. Boy, is she is picking great dresses this season. Every now and then a solid black dress is just right, and this was one of those times. I believe this is velvet, and I know I read somewhere that it's vintage. The dramatic neckline is SO COOL with the little points on the ends. I slightly prefer her Golden Globes look, but love this too.
2. Mila Kunis. Mila's slowly sneaking up the Hollywood AND fashion food chains this season, with her undersung turn in Black Swan and better and better dresses. This Alexander McQueen dress is the best yet, and I think almost everyone loves this look (including Michelle Obama, who rocked a similar look at the China state dinner!). What an amazing dress, creative pattern, and perfect color combo for her. A-plus!

3. January Jones. It's easy to look beautiful when you're January Jones, but a lot of time her dresses are kind of "eh" or oddly offputting like that dramatic red one at the GGs. This Carolina Herrera looked simply spectacular. I can totally see Jones as a Herrera gal. She should do an ad campaign for the brand. She's starting to realize that we all want to see her in Betty-Draper-esque styles. Not old fashioned, but looks that show off her classic beauty. This photo doesn't even start to give this dress justice. The gold/black lace just popped and fit her to a T. The hair looks odd here, but onscreen I just looooved the whole thing.

4. Hilary Swank. I know, I know...We've all seen her in dresses just like this before. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I'll say that she knows what works on her very muscular body (unlike Claire Danes, ahem! To be continued, in Worst Dressed tomorrow...) and this is it. The color is flattering, the bejeweled asymmetrical neckline gorgeous, interesting gathering on the fabric that DOESN'T actually have to be carried around like a frontal train (I'm looking at you Amy Adams) and my only problem at all is with the not-quite-right hair. I think I would have preferred a low ponytail/bun. Otherwise, me likey.

5. Nicole Kidman. Ah, Nicole...Best dressed of the night, in my opinion! This dress was incredible, creative, unusual, and very very flattering. I wish I could find a photo of the tremendous back, which you saw on TV when she was presenting. This looks very Chanel-y, but I'm not sure who made it (Nina Ricci, apparently). The sleeves are divine. The floral necklace she is wearing is truly lovely and also quite unusual. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
Tomorrow: Worst Dressed!
(photo credits: all from Just Jared)