Thursday, July 31, 2008

Project Runway: Mock away!

Kenley's winning dress. Meh. I was surprised the judges went so ga-ga over it. I can deal with the 1980s silhouette and almost garish pattern, but I can't get past the unbalanced hips.

I laughed all the way through "Project Runway." I don't think I've ever seen a single hour of TV so full of people, phrases and clothing just begging to be mocked on "Saturday Night Live."

Too bad Chris Parnell isn't on SNL anymore -- I can't be the only one who thinks he'd do a great Suede. Heck, even Suede even does a great Suede, jazz-handsy thumbs up and all: "Suede rocked it!"

And there couldn't be anyone better suited to play all the indistinguishable pseudo-"surreal" and "underground" designers (yeah, I'm talking about Jennifer, Emily and Leanne) than Kristin Wiig.

I can see her now, doing her rendition of Emily's defense of the losing Carmen Miranda dress: "Hell no, this was not the losing dress for the challenge. That dress was beautiful, it was finished, it showed personality ..."

My faves: Terri's backless dress and pants, Korto's jumpsuit and Jerell's ruffly gown. What's your take on the looks of episode three?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to school shopping tips

Adalaya Brasington, 9, of Burnsville, tests a backpack in the aisle at Target on July 26. "We are looking for a backpack, tennis shoes and a bike helmet, but we may find some other things," said her mother, Whitney Brasington.

Sure, the school supplies showed up in stores after July 4. But the real back-to-school shopping frenzy starts this weekend, when North and South Carolina suspend their sales tax on select items. Here's a few tips to help you navigate the minefield of backpacks, binders and school clothes. Read Thursday's Style section for more.

Don’t get tricked by tax-free. Under normal circumstances, would you rush out for a 7 percent-off sale? If you spend $200, your out-the-door savings would be $14 if no other sales are involved. Do the math and make sure the tax-free savings is coupled with another deal or sale. Consider the percent-age and how it works, as well. For example, a buy-one, get-one-half-off sale isn’t as good as it sounds. It’s 25 percent off each pair of shoes.

Do check return policies and hang on to receipts. No one needs to remind parents that children grow fast. Make sure you’re familiar with the store’s return policy before buying, and leave the tags on items that won’t be used immediately. Put all receipts in a central location (an envelope labeled “Fall 2008”), so if a return is necessary, you’re all set.

What are your tips for successful back to school shopping?

Listen up!
I'll be on the Matt & Ramona show at 3:45 p.m. today to talk about back to school shopping. Listen in at 107.9 FM or

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A bad 1980s faux flashback

I don't see many TV commercials (thanks TiVo), but I did happened to see the JC Penney spot that is a modern spin on some of the best scenes from "The Breakfast Club."


It's so wrong on so many levels. The song is a weak cover of Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)." The clothing? Please. Not even close.

Molly Ringwald was a huge fashion crush for me. I can't tell you how much time I spent trying to find the pink dress she wore to the dance in "Sixteen Candles" or the boots she wore in "The Breakfast Club."

I'm not the only child of the '80s put off by the sacrilege in the church of Hughes (John, that is). A couple days after I saw it, my friend Amber emailed the video to me and only said in the subject line "Have you seen this?"

I can't figure out which is more frightening -- that I'm fired up over a cheesy homage to a beloved movie from my youth or that there's a good chance that many of the targeted audience for the commercial aren't familiar with the original.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ohhh ... shiny purses ...

I call dibs! Which one? Maybe both. Botkier for Target hobo bags in gold and silver, $49.99.

Target's latest capsule collection of handbags -- this time, from designer Monica Botkier -- is welcome, luxe-inspired change.

I wasn't too wowed with the offerings from the previous collection from Gryson. I was fired up when I got the look book, but when I saw the bags in the store, my desire to spend up to $49.99 disappeared quickly. I'm not the only one who felt that way: Target's clearance racks are now jammed with Gryson bags that are 50 (or more) percent off.

The Botkier bags fun and functional -- hobos, satchels, clutches, wristlets -- in metallics, faux-snake skin and funky metallics.

I was doing my best Elaine from "Seinfeld" impersonation (you know, slapping people's shoulders and yelling "Shut up!") when my friend showed me her Botkier for Target faux gray python clutch that she got for $19.99.

What's your take on the Botkier for Target collection?

Contact Us: What are your secrets to successful back to school shopping? What tips top your list of dos and don'ts? We want to hear it all for an upcoming story. If you're interested in talking to a reporter, send your tips to along with your name and phone number (not for publication).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Project Runway: Over the excuses

Rachel was so pleased to see Suede embrace the sameness of his materials rather than complain.
He turned out a sexy, flirty, punk, inventive dress that will be sold on

In honor of Suede, the winner of the episode 2 green challenge, Rachel will write this entry in the annoying third person.

Rachel loved the twist -- having the models shop was genius. Rachel initially thought all the designer drama following the announcement was funny, then it was just boring.

Yes, Rachel thought, we get it. You are a bunch of control freaks. And Stella really likes leather. Please move on!

Nina and Heidi were deliciously catty when discussing Wesley's puckery brown silk dress which ended up sending him home. Rachel laughed out loud when Nina said: "I think shiny, tight and short is the quickest way to look cheap." Rachel immediately wanted to add the quote to her Facebook page.

In the almost-forced hip verbiage department, Rachel will give the adorable Tim Gunn (he said caucus! And he wasn't talking politics!) a pass for invoking a phrase from season four when he told Korto her dress may be a hot mess.

Rachel would like to hear what you thought about the episode. Are the designers really a bunch of whiners, or is Rachel just a crabby armchair designer wannabe?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'Brideshead' style

Julia Flyte (played by Hayley Atwell) wears the most stunning clothing in the film.

Earlier this week, I saw a screening of the film "Brideshead Revisited," based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh.

The tale of love, lust and high society set in the pre-WWII era is full of drama. The film, which opens in theaters in Charlotte on Aug. 1, stars Emma Thompson as Lady Marchmain, the matriarch of the family who call Brideshead home.

The story is interesting, but I was most impressed by the luxe 1920s and 30s fashion for men and women. To reiterate the cyclical nature of style, many of the trends expected to be important this fall could be found on screen.

Among them: fur as trim, red lipstick, smoky eyes, jewel tones, hats and large, elaborate necklaces.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Project Runway: Wha? Diaper boy stays?

Kelli won the first season five challenge -- use items from a grocery store to create a look.

I was underwhelmed with the creativity of the season five "Project Runway" cast.

Checked table cloths? Ugh. I love retro-cuteness as much as the next person, but dios mio, did everyone think they were the only ones making a beeline for the table linens?

In the end, I was pleased to see Kelli win -- I loved her innovation and attention to detail.

I was bummed that Christian Siriano-wannabe Blayne didn't get the boot for his horrific diaper ensemble and his blatant attempt at coining a "fierce" catchphrase.

Girlicious? How about gaglicious. Mr. Tanorexic needs to go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

H&M: I went, I bought, I lusted

I want that, and that, and that ... Freshly styled mannequins at the Atlantic Station H&M.

As luck would have it, an unplanned family visit took me to Atlanta this week. Hm .... what is there that I needed to check out? Oh yes, the newest H&M at Atlantic Station!

Like a cheap-fashion stalker, I waited with my peppermint latte in the car until the shop opened at 10 a.m. I buzzed in and quickly started snatching up items to try on.

Sadly, the store isn't as large as I hoped. It's two floors, and mostly women's clothing, but I was strangely underwhelmed (that never happens to me at H&M!). While paying for my purchases, I quizzed the clerk, and she dished a bit: the Atlantic Station store is the flagship of the southeast, and expansion would likely take the chain to Florida next.

Fashion headlines: lots of purple, and jewel tones. Also a decidedly '80s vibe -- stretchy colorblock dresses and bright colors. And, as always, the crazy-cheap accessories drove me to distraction, especially the earrings.

Have you been? What is your review?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Project Runway designers announced

Detroit in the house! PR season five contestant Joe, 41, from Troy, Mich.

Bravo announced this morning the designers and guest judges for the fifth season "Project Runway" which debuts at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16.

At first glance, there's no one with obvious Carolina ties among the cast of designers. On a personal note, I'm fired up to see someone represent Detroit (I grew up on the eastside of Detroit and the eastern burbs).

The most exciting info released was the list of guest judges, which include: PR alum Austin Scarlett, Natalie Portman, Sandra Bernhard, Apolo Ohno, Brooke Shields, RuPaul, Rachel Zoe, Diane Von Furstenberg, Francisco Costa (creative director at Calvin Klein), Cynthia Rowley and LL Cool J.

Tim Gunn, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum are back in action too.

What do you think about all the pre-debut secrecy?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trebek & Montag: Sign of the Apocalypse?


Heidi Montag
, former BFF and current nemesis of "The Hills" star Lauren Conrad was the answer to a question on "Jeopardy" this week.

I'm pretty sure the locusts will be descending any second now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Treat yourself at Potion

Not only was this scrub a steal at $10.50, it smells good enough to eat and claims to decrease the formation of cellulite. I'm sold!

It's time to treat yourself to an at-home spa treatment at a bargain price, thanks to the killer sale going on now through July 19 at Potion (in Huntersville and South Charlotte).

The sales are sick -- in a good way. The Maile Kauai line is 75 percent off. I snatched a coffee macadamia nut body polish for $10.50 (marked down from $42) and a delish mango butter cup (not for eating!) for $5 (marked down from $20).

Other lines included in the sale, at varying percentages off include Chantecaille and Bare Minerals.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What's up with Project Runway?

Why all the season five secrecy Tim and Heidi? Why?

So I'm indulging in my Saturday ritual -- you know, the one where the world stops spinning on it's axis until I finish reading the Entertainment Weekly that just arrived in the mail -- when the story about Heidi Klum sets off a light bulb. Isn't "Project Runway" supposed to be back on the air in July?

Hot tranny mess -- it's back on Bravo at 9 p.m. July 16! How did I almost miss this? Why haven't I heard anything about who's on it?

I was momentarily freaking out about my lack of in-the-know-ness until I checked in with the boys over at my favorite PR blog, Project Rungay. Tom and Lorenzo are at a loss too, but have some amusing theories on the reason behind the lack of pre-season hubbub.

What are your thoughts about season five? About the show's drama-filled move to Lifetime and production in Los Angeles?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fireworks at Capitol Boutique

There is plenty that will elicit oohs and ahhs at Laura Vinroot Poole's Capitol boutique, which has completed its move from Phillips Place to the Morrison development (at Sharon and Colony roads).

I stopped by for a quick preview of the space, which Poole says she and her staff are aiming to open to the public on Saturday.


The total space for the Phillips Place store was around 2,500 square feet, buyer Ruth Caldwell says. The new tw0-story space is more like 6,000 square feet and includes a court yard, an elevator and numerous exeterior display windows.

The courtyard will soon have a vertical garden installed by Patrick Blanc.

And the clothes? Impressive. I had a hard time taking my eyes off the Lanvin bridal collection.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fab Find: Too Faced Lash Injection

It’s definitely time for a change when you have been using the same brand of mascara since the eighth grade. Or when people say “Really?” when you tell them you are, indeed, wearing eye makeup.

Enter the miracle worker that is Too Faced Lash Injection in Hot Chocolate. It is directly responsible for my obsession with lashes. I love the plump, thick look it brings, and the fact that it does not smudge, slide or flake. It’s serious mascara – 3-4 coats will produce a dramatic, near-falsie effect, but it's also great for everyday. $19.50;

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Can you do neon?

I proudly wore a neon yellow shaker knit sweater back in the day. I am beyond thankful that no photos exist of me wearing that monstrosity (at least that I know of). I remember lusting over neon green and orange bracelets at Express.

That being said, I wasn't too fired up about the return of fluorescent colors until I saw Essie's summer neon collection of nail polish in Ulta recently.

The yellow, orange and pink are a little too much for me. But the purple (called Bermuda Shorts)? I was in love instantly.

So long black, navy and deep metallic purple polish. I'm a neon girl. Again.