Quickie : Update

WOW.

I can’t believe that I’ve been absent from this blog for over a year! Because my office system hates the WordPress platform, I’ve been attempting to transition over to my Tumblr account in the meantime, but haven’t been able to pull the volume of site hits over there that I get here icon sad Quickie : Update

My Tumblr account has also, and it pains me to admit it, been gradually…turning into a…MOMMY BLOG.

Yep! It was insane to read my last post over here and realize that at that time, just over a year ago, we were submersed in a battle with infertility, and today P and I are the proud (and exhausted) (and self-doubting) (and still amazed) parents of four month-old TWIN BOYS! The initial round of injectible meds that I referred to in said post were unsuccessful, but in our second go, we found twice the success that we were hoping for. These past four months have sped by at times, and crawled by at times, but here our the smiley centers of our lives these days.

DSC 0725 300x200 Quickie : Update

IMG 0018 300x225 Quickie : Update

In each picture, Jackson Lawrence (formerly Baby B) is on the left, and Hudson Joseph (formerly Baby A) is to his right. They are every bit as adorable in real life, twice as difficult, and thrice as worth every moment of it (although I’d nary admit the latter, as the level of sleep deprivation I’m presently enveloped by makes me a not so cheery mommy these days).

In other developments, we put our house on the market, planning to relocate to Chicago upon P’s acceptance for a job there.

Then, we promptly delisted it when we found out we were expecting two little ones.

P commuted for just over a year, before taking pity on me and the 13+ hours I was spending with the boys each day while he did so. He begins work at a local Milwaukee firm tomorrow (and I can finally exhale) (and maybe even clean my house).

WHEW! So on that note, I’ll drop off for now, to tend to Jack (did I mention that they’re both teething already) (the joy is palpable).

ChicIntrigue: Shopping in NYC

Over the last 2 weeks, P and I have been BUSY!  He’s been recruited for, has interviewed for, and has received offers for two jobs in Chicago…I’ve started and finished my first (and hopefully last) round of injectible fertility meds…whew!

Somewhere in there, I also received my first question for the site from a reader – HOLLER!  (yes, since one of our interns asked me yesterday where I go to school and was shocked that I work here full time, I’ve reverted to my coed days  c. 2002) (also, the incessant playing of the video for Christina Milian’s A.M. to P.M. at my gym has furthered this reversion.  I giggle just thinking of her dependence on a PAGER.).

1010 300x193 ChicIntrigue: Shopping in NYC

...somebody hit the lights...

Katie in Milwaukee asks:

I work with P and he suggested I check out your blog and contact you.  I am going to New York next month with two of my girlfriends and he stated that you would have some shopping suggestions.   Side note –   I did enjoy reading your blog.   Some of the stores you had mentioned I recently found on my own and if I was reading your blog I might have found them sooner.

Thanks, Katie!  Although I didn’t mention it here (yet), P and I did celebrate our first wedding anniversary with a jaunt to New York.  Since Paul is definitely not the shopper that I am, and it was the first time to NYC for both of us, we really focused on squeezing in as many cultural activities as possible.  As far as those go, I can’t recommend the Circle Line Cruise tour of Manhattan, brunch at Norma’s in the Le Parker Meridian Hotel, and seeing as many shows as you can afford, highly enough!

PJNYC 220x300 ChicIntrigue: Shopping in NYC

I'm a brat - love this pic, but it is NOT P's best icon sad ChicIntrigue: Shopping in NYC

Since shopping was secondary, we didn’t do much of it, but I was happy that we made a point to:

  • Visit Century 21 in the financial district – like a MUCH higher end and much more chaotic TJ Maxx, this place was a goldmine!  I scored a $450 cashmere tunic with paillette trim by Graham & Spencer for $90, and tried on a miraculous Malandrino gown (which was so far beyond my shopping budget, but was a masterpiece well worth waiting in the obscene fitting room line).  They definitely have more affordable options as well, and the selection of shoes and dresses was drool-worthy^max.
  • Spend a couple hours or a day in SoHo – Kate Spade!  Prada!  Catherine Malandrino!  Bloomingdales!  Searle!  (or was it Scoop?)  Big names = fun browsing, but there are enough staples to do some real damage without breaking the bank.  Although you may be inclined to sidestep bigger chains, remember that the selection offered at the larger NYC locations is often much more interesting.  Budget-conscious options would be Club Monaco, TopShop, and H & M.  Plus, you’re close enough to grab dinner and dessert in Little Italy (try Angelo’s)!
  • Madison and Fifth Avenues – Even if you can’t afford it, the storefronts and people watching are well worth visiting all the biggies: Tiffany, Hermes, Chanel…plus, there’s always a deal if you look hard enough at the department stores (Saks, Bergdorfs, and the HUGE Macy’s).
  • Vintage!  P and I unfortunately didn’t have enough time for one of my favorite pasttimes, vintage shopping.  New York has some of the best shops, but you’ll have to take the word of the internets as far as recommendations go, or prod P into another trip, so I can give you some tips!

Other miscellaneous tips for first-time NYC-ers:

  • People aren’t joking when they recommend comfortable shoes.  I brought a pair of flat motorcycle boots and my Tory Birch Reva flats, both with gel inserts, and my feet ached…Bloomies and P came to my rescue, but not until I caved on the last day:
UGGS 300x220 ChicIntrigue: Shopping in NYC

SALVATION in Uggs!

  • Bring your iPhone!  We used the default Maps app and a free subway map app to guide our goings, and didn’t get lost once (which is a FEAT for me!)!

Thanks, again, Katie!

If you have any questions, please, send them my way!

critique : blog roll

I know it’s been too long since I last updated here…but since, according to P, there is actual traffic at this site (!), I thought I should try to make a new habit (hoepfully easier than breaking a habit?) of actually following through with my blogging promises.

- and yes, I did specify that I haven’t updated here in a while…The truth is that I’ve been pretty trader-iffic in migrating over to Tumblr.   For some reason, my work computer dislikes the WordPress system, thereby trying my patience more than I’m comfortable with.

Hopefully ChicCritique will be heading from the .net realm to .com soon though, which P has been using as a reason to get me up and running over here, although I am still awaiting my customized layout from him, husband/developer^max.

With that said, I thought I’d let you know how I’m blowing my time (besides on the iPhone Boggle app) while I’m decidedly *not* here.

BTU critique : blog roll

If we’re being honest, I read many more times the “normal” amount of blogs, I’m pretty sure.  Here are the most delicious of my regulars:

  • Each morning, I start out with a little bit of Young House Love.  The cuties over there put my home decor, imagination, and willingness to undergo manual labor in the name of the former to SHAME.  The nursery they’re working on currently (and the baby so inspiring them) are my latest items of jealousy-fotter.
  • Next, I hop on over to Bryn Alexandra.  I won’t lie, there’s something in her…tone, maybe…that irks me sometimes…?  But, she has a decent eye, and I appreciate that she’s a real person, following her dreams (kind of corny, but par for the site?).
  • Miss Ruby, a local boutique that I adore, and whose owner has been infinitely more successful than me in keeping her promise to blog more regularly for ’10, makes my next pick.  Although my wedding is long over with, I have a few more years of bridesmaid-duty left in me, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to dreaming of moonlighting as an event planner.  Miss Ruby is as on-trend with her editting as once could hope to find in the midwest.
  • Ms. Lilien has got to be Kate Spade’s big sister, by the looks of her poppy blog.  I eat this up each day, along with the cheeky blurbs.
  • I save Ms. Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere for near the end of my list, as it’s something to look forward to each day.  I’m pretty sure I dream of being her, complete with envy-inducing legs…and hair…and eyebrows…(this is turning creepy, I know) – and her edgy style.  I love that she doesn’t take herself too seriously, as many fashion bloggers do once they get a whiff of their own awesome.
  • And finally, I go back to The Cut frequently throughout the day.  The best source of fashion news everyday (except during Fashion Week, during which WWD, is THE. Source for show coverage.) 

On that note, I *hope to* be back tomorrow, to relive a few of my personal best fashion days.

GPOY…F?

I kind of love my outfit today and figured it was a good a time as any to post my first-ever self pic instead of just an itemized listing of the items.

Unfortunately:

  • I still havent figured out how to take a decent pic with my iPhone
  • I didn’t think to do this at home, in a full-length mirror, hence, the lovely forescent lighting

oh well!

  GPOY...F?

Oddly hazy, so I tried again, closer:

 GPOY...F?

Cardigan:  Old Navy – found for $20 just after buying a bunch from JCrew (yes – I took the JC ones back on stocked up on these!

Top:  Banana’s Heritage Collection – and I love it!

Necklace:  From a local artist, bought at a boutique in the Third Ward that’s since closed icon sad GPOY...F?

Knit Skirt:  just from Target, always worn high on the waist

 GPOY...F?

My prized Tory Burch pumps!  I usually wear them only in the warmer months, but loved them today with tights.

 GPOY...F?

Any other tips on winterizing non-winter items?  I layer a tissue turtlenexk under just about EVERYTHING starting in November (white eyelet included!)

Any tips on taking iPhone photos?  I obviously could use them!

back to black

Gracias, The Cut, for mentioning this fab article from Daily Mail about our culture’s over-wearing of black even when it’s less than flattering! After loving my ‘fit today (black ruffle-neck wrap dress with chocolate slip underneath and a fab pair of paisley velvet pumps), I was reluctant to read and discover that I shouldn’t be sporting the hue…but aparently, I’m one of the lucky 20% of the population who should wear it:

“Wearing black detracts from the healthy-looking golden hue by ‘flattening’ it and bringing out tired-looking darker patches on the face. The one in five Britons who suit black close to their faces have ‘winter’ complexions consisting of pale, cool and dramatic colouring.”

nigellalawson 468x6232 back to black

I love that they chose the lovely Ms. Nigella Lawson as the rep (although the pic pretty tragic), and that I, completely dependant on Mystic Tan in order to wear yellow…or coral…or ivory, am actually happy to be iridescent pigmentless pale.

Read more here, and although the article doesn’t address it, there are so many gorgeous neutral alternatives to black! I am constantly trying to get my dark and exotic-looking cousin to embrace rich browns, and my tan sister to don navy or even charcoal more frequently.

GOALS: chicAspirations

Since our visit to NYC in October was the first (of many!) for both Paul and I, I knew while planning our outings that I’d have to keep our shopping excursions limited.  With all the shows, museums, and restaurants (Shake Shack! Pinkberry!) to try, we planned our shopping stops similarly – no stores that we have access to in Milwaukee!  With the exception of Macy’s and H & M, we followed through on it, but I also found some fashion-bucket-list items that I’m not able (yet) to follow-through on.

With that said, my someday-hopefully-if-slash-when-money-isn’t-a-concern-list-of-lifetime-must-haves is as follows:

  • A Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 or 40 – so classic and always sharp looking; Paul would have let me get one on this trip, BUT it’s been my reward item for years for fitting into a very specific (and fabulous! and one-of-a-kind!) dress again…someday…so I’m withholding from myself until I earn it icon sad GOALS: chicAspirations

louisvuittonspeedyad GOALS: chicAspirations

  • Missoni – I’ve been enamored with the signature zig-zaggy knit since my days of spacedyed sweaters from Kohls (sigh…middle school), and fell hard for a knit skirt while at Bloomingdale’s.  I’d be open to a dress of even a bathing suit in the print though.  SO HOT.

missoniAD GOALS: chicAspirations

  • Nude leather Jimmy Choo pointy-toed slingbacks – le sigh…the epitomy of class.  True story: I rewarded myself for my college graduation with a similar pair (pumps though, instead of slingbacks), in mint condition, via eBay when I was 21, only to find that I had no idea what European size I wear.  They were massive on me, and I ended up reselling them at a loss because I had no idea what I was doing on eBay!

Nude Choo GOALS: chicAspirations

  • Christian Louboutin Maezeps in Aqua – I’ve been e-stalking these lovelies for longer than I’m proud of, but they’re perfect and I don’t think my hunt will ever die down.  To me, deisgner shoes are the ultimate indulgence, so I love the idea of really indulging in something so fun NOT utilitarian.  If they were sparkly, they’d be the exact opposite of the Choos I crave above!

CL Maezep GOALS: chicAspirations

  • A Diane vonFurstenberg Wrap Dress – I’ve owned a couple of DVF items, but with limited satisfaction; however, I can tear up a wrap dress like no other.  The only thing that’s kept me from achieving this bad boy is deciding which iconic print to go with!

 GOALS: chicAspirations

My good friend, Kate, Me, and my DVF Naro

  • THESE EARRINGS.  They match my wedding ring and are stunning.  Enough. Said.

 GOALS: chicAspirations

And with that pipe dream, I leave 2009 behind and look forward to the new (and better!) year – Happy New Year!

GOALS: a casa de Gueller

How I love referring to our abode as CASA after two years of nesting in our former casita…The joy of homeownership wanes for me only when (1) it’s time to shovel, (2) it’s time to mow the lawn, (3) it’s time to clean, in any capacity, and (4) it’s time to plant our garden.  The last one is a bit tricky because I relish picking the fruits (and veggie and herbs!) of our labor in the garden, but last year’s “labor” resulted in a crying fit that I’m not proud of (really, who could be proud of stumbling about the yard in CROCS, slurring, “I hate gardening…” through tears? Not this girl.).

My goals for the home this year are as follows (and yes, they include dreaded cleaning – blegh!):

  • Do not let either laundry or dishes pile up to the point that addressing them is overwhelming and Paul ends up tending to them. 
  • Do not allow the fresh produce I buy to go bad; to this end, I’ll try to go shopping weekly and buy fewer items to ensure usage.

Wow – those are terribly boring goals!  I’m actually much more interested in my decor goals!

  • Unite the wall color with the rest of the living room, as it’s currently just a background color and a few tealy accessories would really brighten it up:

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

  • After looking at that picture, my second task is blatantly obvious: finally commit to artwork/portraits  for our main walls.  While we’ve put up a few items, the absense of the ones we’re dragging our feet on is glaringly obvious.  For the space above the couch, we’re thinking we need a couple of wedding pics and a large print of Milwaukee’s lakefront?
  • Do a better job of matching reality to inspiration (I think the carpeted floor instead of the hardwood I crave and the dark vs. light wall color is in part to blame here).  For example:

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

REALITY

tyh moorish rug GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

INSPIRATION

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

REALITY

Round Window Seat GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

INSPIRATION

  • Stop being a slave to geometric printed textiles; I’m thinking a mod floral for the living room drapes!  Notice a theme…?

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

  • Scour antique stores and flea markets with more regularity for unique finds.  My favorite so far is this mid-century modern lovely, with Paul was adamant would be much more difficult to fix up and install than I insisted would be the case.  I was right, and I think the change infitely ups the chic factore when compared to the original vanilla fixture.

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

OLD FIXTURE

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

NEW FIXTURE!

 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

And since I just spotted yet another spot where we’ve recently installed a geometric print curtain (the window above is now covered with the panel below…I just can’t help myself!), I’ll end now and get back to thinking about my lifetime fashion goals, the definitely more fun post I’ve got planned for tommorrow.

Stairwell Curtain GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

The guilty curtain

Stairwell Curtain2 GOALS:  a casa de Gueller

More menacing than it looks…

GOALS: in terms of fashion

In attempt to find myself again after the most trying year of my life (please just END, 2009!), I’m trying NOW to get things in order for a much-more enjoyable 2010.  Although I promised myself I’d be more regular in writing, as a means of at least engaging with my passions (fashion! design! art!) whilst otherwise stuck in this unending monotony of everyday (can you tell I’m at work?), I’ve again failed.

POO.

This time though, instead of dwelling on it, and feeling poorly about my lack of will/adult ADD/intimidation in the face of great challenge, I am starting today, i.e. NOT waiting until January 1, to begin making positive changes.  For instance, I’ve already taken two of my three daily baby-makin’ meds (seriously a coup on my normal scatterbrainedness; I just went the whole four-day holiday weekend forgetting to do so…)!

So there.

While my real-life goals are plentiful and lofty (have a baby, be more satified in my career, lose weight/be more HEALTHY for said baby, have more energy, clean up after myself, take meds/vitamins daily <– ALREADY DONE!,  etc…), my fashion/style goals are much more fun to think about!

2010 ChicGoals

  • Get items repaired straight away, instead of waiting to build up and immense mountain of them “to do at once”
  • Repair items in said mountail, which have built up over past several years (zipper on coach bag; fendi bag as a whole must be reconditioned; reheal black CK and RL boots; have Frye boots (vintage!  Paul’s mom’s from the 70′s!) altered to fit)
  • Dry clean clothes regularly instead of letting them sit around, and mostly instead of wearing them when I know better…
  • Keep closet in a state at least resembling orderly
  • Get real with self and put away clothes that no longer fit (TEAR!)
  • Identify wardrobe gaps and fill them – I realized this morning that I honestly don’t have a single pair of black dress pants…although I do have 109 dresses (yes, I keep a spreadsheet to catalog them. and my shoes)
  • Get back to my thrifting roots for some unique finds instead of being so designer-conscious
  • Sew myself some goodies with my favorite Christmas gift of the year!

FashionMate GOALS: in terms of fashion

Up next: Goals for my chicLIFE!

Style Trial with Flaire

This post should be subtitled: Where Has CC Been?  I know – I’m an absentee blogger, but in my defense, I’ve been BUSY!

In the last two months, I’ve:

  • been dealing with the tail end of a family crisis
  • been trying to have a (super adorable, I’m sure) BABY!
  • been trying to get my foot in the door with styling professionally

As far as the latter goes, I truly dropped the blog-ball on it.  For four weeks, from September to October, I participated in the First Annual (hopefully!) Milwaukee Style Trial!  I initally thought I’d be blogging my way through the competition, in which aspiring fashion stylists worked to coordinate a photo shoot and a runway show each week, culminating in a 15-look final show during “Milwaukee Fashion Weekend.”  The prizes included three additional styling oportunities (with M Magazine! and the Aveda Institute! and Flaire boutique!), along with cash and a few other perks.  I was thrilled at having been invited to participate, and looking forward to building my own portfolio in such a fun way; I knew I’d be stressed, but thought the blog would be the perfect outlet to hash out my thoughts,

In reality…the FUN was more theoretic though.  Working full time , putting a look (or three!) together between receiving the assignment late Saturday and doing the photoshoot Wednesday, and being present for hair and makeup made for an extremely packed week.  A couple of the stores were not located near the others, and since all were smaller boutiques, some had funky hours – eek!

Having not ever been deemed “Guilty” of a Fashion Sin, here are my looks for each week’s themes (all photos by Dan Zaitz Photography, courtesy of Flaire):

Week 1:  SUDDEN IMPACT!

LOOK2 Style Trial with Flaire

LOOK Style Trial with Flaire

I approached the challenge initially by knowing I wanted to play with prints ‘a la Prada Resort ’09 – YUM!

Prada Resort 09 Style Trial with Flaire

- But since I was limited in my pickings from the participating stores, from whence we were allowed to pull two pieces from each, for each look, I really had to be innovative in my pairings.  Although the theme was SUDDEN IMPACT!, I thought about things that would impact a fashion-forward girl upon first glance, rather than playing it safe and doing something totally overt.  More Sudden Impact than SUDDEN IMPACT!   The breakdown of my look:

  • Mixed prints – add a textural element to the look that deepens it rather than depending on solids to pull everything together.  By using a mostly neutral palette, we’re making a bold statement with depending on color (SILVER!) to make the statement for us.
  • Leather jacket – shrunken and on-trend.  I loved that such a tough piece was the grounding element of the look.
  • Accessories – embellished hoops and a delicate bracelet helped keep it from looking costumey (BIKER!).  I adored this purse and still may buy it for myself; it’s on-trend (metalic! quilting!), designer-esque, and ultimately did it job, by making the look more high-end.  My own shoes finished off the look, but I would really have prefered something a little more avant garde in shape, or really ramped it up with a contrasting color
  • Hair/Makeup – SO UNSATISFIED!  My inspiration for the makeup was really clean, glowy skin, doe eyes, and exagerated bubble gum pink lips (glossier and a little more pink than Drew’s here).  Here’s the shiny hair inspiration as well:

drew barrymore purple lips 240rb041709 Style Trial with Flaire

masl02 updo Style Trial with Flaire

At any rate, I squeaked by after being torn apart for being too safe, and being advised to really go editorial henceforth!  On a positive note, the judges loved how flawless the proportions were (thankyouverymuch!).

Week 2:  Earth, Wind, and Fire – and male models!

Week2 J.G 682x1024 Style Trial with Flaire

Week2 J G4 Style Trial with Flaire

What a DOOZY!  The week started with only three stores even offering guys’ clothes, but luckily one more was added – whew!  That means a total of eight pieces could be pulled, but luckily, the models could wear their own shoes.  Opting not to get pulled in too many different directions trying to fit earth, wind and fire together (and end up looking homeless and mismatched), I took my inspiration from my model.  Tommy was totally Abercromie-esque, with great blue eyes-I knew I’d have to dirty up his preppy baby-facedness, so we took the wind and made it mean, tornado-force wind, stirring up the earth and even including some lightening (fire! – also, will I ever grow out of hearing that word in Beavis’s voice??).  My look:

  • Scarves – used to create a rotational sensation; I’d envisioned a light, shear one trailing behind him as he walked, but couldn’t find anything that worked.  They photographed more tightly packed (they weren’t!) than as editorial as I would have prefered.
  • Outfit – the tee was great – fun, young, hip and I was pretty happy with the casual, wearable fit on the jeans (they were the smallest size I could find, so I didn’t have many options).  The jacket wasn’t a perfect fit, but the model didn’t know his size and I didn’t egt to fit him until the day of the shoot, so I had to guess on it.
  • Hair/Makeup –  Another dissatifying one icon sad Style Trial with Flaire The makeup was meant to darken his eyes in a stark manner and his baby cheeks were supposed to have been contoured for a stronger chin/jaw, but it ended up photographing almost as blush and “done” eyes, which counteracted the harsh masculinity I was going for.

Overall, I liked it.  It looked pretty great on the runway, I thought, but I got thrashed on fit, which honestly I wasn’t able to address.  I was deemed NOT GUILTY and invited to stay another week!

Whew – I’ll be back tomorrow – PROMISE – with the conclusion of the Style Trial.  To view my competition, hop on over to Flaire’s Blog!

Follow-up to FNO

I just wanted to share with everyone an email that I received from Erin, the über adorable, super sweet owner of Miss Ruby, the fab bridesmaid/cocktail dress boutique on Water Street in downtown Milwaukee:

Hi there -
I just found your blog online. Very cool! I am the owner of Miss Ruby and I just noticed your comment regarding Miss Ruby and that it is a good place to shop if money is not an issue.  Thank you so much for giving us a mention! We do appreciate it. But I wanted to let you know that we do offer reasonably priced dresses. For bm dresses our prices start at $150 and we have a selection of dresses in the $150-200 range.  Which is actually really reasonable for bridesmaid dresses. We have also added ready-to-wear dresses for cocktail parties and special occasions and those dress prices start at $60. Not sure if you have been to Miss Ruby or not but I just wanted to let you know that we are trying really hard to offer reasonable prices without losing any quality. I also hope that you stop in sometime to check us out!

Thanks so much and please know that we just wanted to let you know more about what we offer.  Can’t wait to see more of your blog!!
Erin

During my FNO visit to the shop, I definitely noticed that the cocktail dress selection had grown sizably since my last visit, but can honestly say I didn’t check out any price tags.  However, $60 for a cocktail dress and under $200 for a bridesmaid dress – definitely doable!

In a follow-up message from Erin, she added that, “the feel of our boutique, it’s location, and by-appointment hours tend to scare people away.  They think that they can’t afford us.  Most can and all of those pieces are what makes the boutique so great!”  Having been into the shop, I have to say that I adored the fact that it’s appointment-only when I went in to see about bridesmaid dresses; it really allowed for a stress-free trip and I was sure that all of my questions were answered.  Since the shop is stocking more ready-to-wear dresses, it might be nice to see some hours for drop in visitors though?  It was wonderful being able to stop by during FNO to browse the lovelies!

Thank you, Erin, for bringing this to my/our attention – and for bringing such gorgeous dresses to Milwaukee!

Be sure to check out the Miss Ruby website and blog (I LOVE the blog – Erin’s point of view is SO spot-on, as evidenced in this great shot she featured!!)!

  Follow up to FNO

 [picture from http://missrubyboutique.blogspot.com/]