Friday, July 27, 2012

Shoe Review: Madewell Manuscript Mini-Wedges

I saw the Manuscript Mini-Wedges on Madewell's website and said "Shut. Up." out loud to no one in particular.

Peep toe. Tassels. Suede upper. Leather lining. A 1 1/4" wedge heel that would make them both work-appropriate and comfortable. And they come in RED (specifically Bandana Red, as well as Saratoga Blue and Amber Brown, which you can see on Rose HERE).

When they arrived, I lifted them out of the box and immediately morphed into this guy:

"I will call him George, and I will love him and pet him and squeeze him."

You can see for yourself how cute they look design-wise, but I was immediately impressed with how they feel in person. The suede is very soft and supple. I wore them to work the very next day with zero time for breaking-in, and there were no rubs, pinches, or blisters to be found 9 hours later. Plus, the leather lining feels SO NICE to sink your feet into. This is the only pair of shoes I have ever owned where I've actually considered buying an identical back-up pair in case something happens to them.

I bought my usual size 8 and they are on the roomy side of TTS. If you are in between shoe sizes, go with the smaller one. One bit of caution: if you have wide feet and/or thicker ankles, these might not work for you. Madewell shoes in general tend to run pretty narrow, and I'm wearing the ankle straps buckled into the last hole even on my little bird ankles.

I had texted my mom about my adoration for these new shoes, and she requested a picture after they arrived. The BF has been working nights recently and the bed was feeling kind of empty, so I decided that my new shoes could bunk down with me on their first night in a strange place. Here is the picture I sent to mom:

Mom: What, you didn't tuck them in?
Me: I was afraid they would get too hot.

YAY! London Olympics 2012 Equestrian Events

I give less than two sh*ts about most professional sports. I hate football. I fell asleep in the stands at a Pirates game once during college. I played basketball in Jr. High and I sucked so bad that the coach usually just sent me to the end of the bench, handed me some towels, and told me to give pep talks to the first string girls when they came in for a water break.

But I LOVE the Olympics. I don't think that one even needs to care about sports at all to be able to appreciate true athletes who are at the peak of their physical shape, have trained practically 24/7 for their entire lives, and get ONE CHANCE - sometimes only a few seconds long - to prove to the world, their country, and themselves that they are truly the best of the best. CHILLS!

I'm especially interested in watching the Equestrian Events, most especially to see Reed Kessler compete in Jumping. She just turned 18, and is the youngest equestrian to ever qualify to compete at the Olympic games. How awesome is that!

Here is Reed competing on her Belgian Warmblood mare, Cylana. I can't wait to cheer her on - I just wish I could be there in London!

Image from

So cool :)

The equestrian events are thrilling for me to watch because I rode horses for years when I was a tween/teen, and even competed in little local shows in the Short Stirrup Hunter/Jumper and Equitation classes. I wasn't able to keep it up once I started working part-time in high school, went to college, etc. (plus, it ain't a cheap hobby by any stretch of the imagination), but I miss being around horses and riding all the time and would love to get back into it. Maybe watching this year's Olympics will be the thing that finally pushes me to make the time to start taking lessons again!

Here I am, grinning like an idiot, accepting my Reserve Champion ribbon at a local horse show in 1994. I rode a school horse named Cash, an old chestnut gelding who always took very good care of me.

The Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics begins at 7:30pm EDT tonight. The Equestrian events start tomorrow, July 28th at 10am EDT with the Independent Dressage competition. The full schedule can be found on

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Costume Crush: Can a Song Save Your Life?

I've been a movie buff since I was a little girl, and one of my favorite parts about any movie is the costume design. Period pieces always offer up the best costume porn, and fashion-y movies are fun even though by the end you're like "Enough already - I want jeans and tees!", but my favorite costumes are the ones that can take perfectly normal clothes and style them in a way that lets you know exactly who that character is. I'm seeing a lot to like in these images from a movie called Can a Song Save Your Life?, which stars Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo and is due in theaters in 2013.

That is a great red dress. You could wear that shirtdress on a hot summer day in any city in the world and look perfectly pulled-together. I'll take the car too, please.

According to, this movie tells the story of a dejected music business executive who forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan after he discovers her singing in a coffee shop. I'm assuming that Ruffalo is the music executive, mainly because he's the one wearing the (adorably rumpled) suit. Knightley is the singer-songwriter, and I'm really digging the easy feminine/tomboy vibe I'm getting from her character's wardrobe. She and I could go shopping at Madewell together :)

Hailee Steinfeld is also in the movie. You'll remember her from her Oscar-nominated performance in 2010's True Grit. She looks cute and age-appropriate here (she's almost 16 irl), and I think it's always nice for teens to see how you can find your own "look" without showing lots of skin or coating yourself with glitter.

How adorable does she look here in her pencil skirt???

Keira Knightley has been in some of my favorite period movies (the green dress in the library in Atonement? SWOON), but it's so refreshing to see her in modern clothes. I'm sure it's a nice change for her too, not having to shoehorn herself into a corset every day for three months straight. If you look at the place where her dress meets her upper thigh, you can see her Spanx peeking out. I hear that most of the starlets in Hollywood wear Spanx even if they are very slim - shapewear gives you a smooth line under your clothes and can even squeeze inches off of hips and thighs. It's rumored that Beyonce will double Spanx for red carpet events.

Another red dress and I LOVE it. Simple, polished, flattering, with a romantic quality. Keira has a long narrow torso with shorter legs and fuller hips (well, full being a relative term for a movie star), and this style of dress is perfect for her figure. That's something else I do when I watch movies: if one of the actresses has a similar figure to mine, I pay attention to what looks most flattering and try to incorporate those ideas into my wardrobe. Keira is pictured here with Adam Levine of Maroon 5, who apparently plays her boyfriend at the beginning of the film. Nice beard. I guess he's sporting the... Amish Hipster look? He's got the moves like Jedediah.

This is obviously her "creative working artist" look. Cute brogues and boyfriend jeans.

Yeah, now I'm convinced that the costume design team spent some time shopping at Madewell - Keira looks like she walked right out of the catalog.

Digging this look. Very cool. Simple silk blouse, linen trousers cuffed just so, perfectly worn in leather accessories, and a messy ponytail. She's your always stylish yet low maintenance best friend.

Get it, gurl! Kiss that Ruffalo! Mark Ruffalo is such a terrific actor - I've loved him in every role I've seen him play. He was so perfect in 13 Going on 30, and he was the only thing that made Just Like Heaven watchable. I haven't seen The Kids are Alright yet, but it's on my Must Watch list.

Keira is obviously enjoying her job. "What did you do at work today?" "Oh, not much, just made out with The Incredible Hulk on a sidewalk in Manhattan." What a strange life that must be... no wonder most of them are batshit crazy.

Nice little bit of on-set cameraderie here, and I love the addition of "Creepster Neighbor Guy" in the window in the background. This movie already looks fun to watch and I like the cast a lot, so it's likely that I'll fork over $12 to see it in the theater next year.

All images from and The Daily Mail online.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Martha Stewart Bites Kitten. Kitten Doesn't Mind.

I was looking through Martha Stewart's blog when I saw this post entitled "My New Kittens!", which is about her brand new little Persian kittens, Ch'in and Kublai Khan. It pretty much made my day, since I have a recurring daydream in which I play with Martha's kittens on the floor while she looks at my design boards for her NYC apartment and says, "This is exactly what I had in mind and you've made me very happy." BLISS.

Also, I needed to see some pictures of kittens after the horrifying news events that were reported on this long, sad Friday. My heart hurts for Aurora, CO.


This image cracked me up:

Martha says: "As with all my new pets, I gently bit each kitten on the face. This is how I let my animals know that I am now their mother."

Is it wrong that I kinda want Martha to bite me on the face...? I like to imagine that this was what she did to all of the other inmates while she was on extended vacay at Alderson. "Just line up, ladies, this will only take a second. Afterwards we'll go to the lunchroom and I'll teach you how to make Apple Tarte Tatin in the microwave."

Here is little Kublai Khan.

Squishy face kitteh!!!

Oh, and Martha also talked about how she found these Persian kitties:

"I first became aware of Pam (owner of Top Shelf Persians) when my friend, Grace Coddington, the Creative Director of Vogue, used some of her cats in a photo shoot for the magazine. I really wanted her cats."

And I really want her life. Imagine being the only person in the world who can boss Anna Wintour around? Go watch The September Issue - it's fascinating.

"There's nothing like a new kitten, except for two new kittens!"


Image sources here and here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Katie Holmes in Madewell Dress and J.Crew Ballet Flats


Obviously I am TEAM KATIE, and I have been not-so-silently cheering her on in her separation and divorce from Tom Cruise (and The C of $). I loved Tom when I was 8 years old, but crushes fade when faced with CRAZY. Now I can stop referring to her as RoboKatie, and it feels so good! Here is why I, personally, have been TEAM KATIE for years:

~She was Joey Potter on "Dawson's Creek", and I was addicted to that show in college
~She always wears subtle, interesting jewelry
~She isn't afraid to experiment with short haircuts, which I love b/c everyone in Hollywood worships extensions
~She's tall, and I know what it's like to be a tall girl
~She's trying to break into the fashion design world, which I admire even though she doesn't seem to have much affinity for it (Holmes & Yang has not been impressive so far)
~She apparently loves J.Crew since she wears it all the time. I can relate....

Here is Katie in NYC yesterday with her daughter, Suri, and mom, Kathleen. I'm 100% sure that the dress is Madewell, and about 80% sure that those are J.Crew's Cece ballet flats. She's looking great, is able to have her own friends and family surrounding her again (as opposed to the last 6 years when all of her "friends" had to be Scientology approved), and is starting a new chapter of her life as a young single mom in NYC.

Katie Holmes: BAMF.

Madewell Chambray Songbird Dress

J.Crew Cece Suede Ballet Flats in Oasis Green