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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thoughts on Three New CDs

I've been pretty excited music-wise last month because three new CDs by artists I like were just released.

Hilary Duff ~ Dignity
The first time I heard the album all the songs sounded like one very long song: all the songs were basically disco-ey dance songs. But seeing new photos and watching videos of Hilary Duff busy promoting the CD in fantastic outfits encouraged me to give the CD more chances (-yes, I'm shallow this way). After listening to the CD a few more times, I was in love with most of the songs.
The lyrics are actually well-written and the songs are just so fun without being dumb. I think Hilary described it best in an interview with Girlfriend magazine: 'There are many records on the air that are like, "Shake your ass, blah blah blah." I love that kind of music, but I wanted my record to have some meaning too.' And surprisingly, most music reviews thought the album was better than expected too, so if you like this kind of music, give it a try. Songs I am loving: With Love, Dignity, Happy, Burned
Good Charlotte ~ Good Morning Revival
This CD got loads of bad reviews, but I liked it mostly. Partly because I like pop rock and this album is it; partly because the melodies are easy to the ears and the beat just makes one bob their heads along; and a tiny bit because I think Joel is cute (I actually miss his and Benji's eyeliner-smudged eyes!). Yes it is very different from Good Charlotte's early albums but hey, they grew up. The only thing I didn't like was that it sounded too polished. I liked it better when it sounded like they were a band from the neighbourhood. Songs I am loving: The River, Break Apart Her Heart, Keep Your Hands Off My Girl, Misery
Avril Lavigne ~ The Best Damn Thing
Err, I don't know what to say. I mean, the songs aren't bad, but they're just so... cheerful. I loved her previous albums, Let Go and Under My Skin, but this album felt a bit immature for someone who had made those albums. Yes, Girlfirend is seriously catchy but I just expected more from Avril. On a side note, did anyone else think it was really weird seeing Avril dance in Girlfriend's music video?
Maybe this is part of the reason I don't like her CD that much -pink frilly dress, seriously? And that eye makeup does not look good. I liked her so much more when she wore more black and white clothes and Converse or Vans sneakers. So ya, I just thought The Best Damn Thing was just ok and the slow songs are definitely better than the fast ones.
Obviously I am no music critic, but I thought it would be fun to share and see what everyone thought of the CDs. Anyone else heard these new CDs? Which CDs and songs are your favourite?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Perfect Gift ~$30

So here is the dilema: birthday present for a 18 year old girl. She's a family friend of mine and I want to get her a very fabulous present that she would absolutely adore that her family wouldn't think of giving her. So I thought, what would a girl who is about to go to college want?- MAKE-UP! She doesn't usually wear make-up (not when I see her anyway), but a girl has got to start some time right? And who doesn't love make-up? I have capped the price at around $30 and here are a few things I am considering:
The first thing that comes to mind is the classic make-up essential, mascara. You really can't go wrong with mascara. So I thought of getting her this DiorShow Blackout Mascara ($23) in conjunction with . . .

. . the Shu Uemura eye lash curler ($18). She'd be all set for perfect lashes. Except now I am way out of my budget.
I could get her this wonderful MAC pencil eye liner ($16 I think) with the eye lash curler. .
. . and throw in a cheaper mascara, like this one from Maybelline (which also works great!), because it would be too strange to give someone just an eye lash curler and a pencil as a gift. But still, how weird is it to give a gift of 2 black sticks and a metal contraption even though it makes complete make-up sense?
Presentation is the key after all. So I next thought of getting her an eye shadow palette. I personally LOVE eye shadow palettes. Like this Spring Eye Shadow Trio by Stila ($32) (I got their one last year and absolutely LOVED it and actually used it all the time. Actually I still use it!). . .

. . and this Tokidoki eye shadow quad by Smashbox ($30). They even fit the budget perfectly. My only problem is deciding which colors to buy, everyone's taste and skintones are different after all. . .

Now this one I'm seriously considering: The Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes kit. For only $30, you get eye concealer, 2 eye shadow shades in pink and brown, a shimmer eye shadow, a concealer brush and a contour/liner brush AND instructions on how to apply. Its a bargain AND a great starter set of make-up for anyone. The only thing is that it looks very tiny like a sample case and not very awesome present like. But I guess the best gifts comes in small boxes?
And just to throw in as another consideration, the classic Nars blush/bronzer duo in Orgasm ($36), another make-up staple.

So thoughts? What would be the perfect gift for a 18 year old birthday?
Photo Credits: Sephora, Mac, Maybelline

Prom 2007: The Trendy

I guess not everyone shares my sense of nostalgia for the classic prom, but then again I kind of had 3 proms/dances back in high school, so I had plenty of opportunities to play around and try everything. So for those of you who want something more special and trendy for prom, here are a few more fun ideas:

Volume is all over the place this season. So play it up in these adorable bubble dresses from Tracey Reese (left) and ABS by Allen Schwartz (right). Doesn't the ABS one look sort of reminiscent of the white Chanel dress Marissa wore to prom in the OC?
One of my favourite dresses this season is the sparkly shift dress. Its so simple but glamorous at the same time. For something a bit more girly and feminine, I like the sequins and the delicate material of the Tracey Reese dress (left). For all out glam, check out this sparkly white shift from ABS (right), its like a simpler version of THE sparkly shift dress from Burberry Prorsum this season.

In case you haven't noticed already, I am loving the Tracey Reese collection. Here are a few more gorgeous dresses from her that are both flattering but different.

Lets not forget the silk dresses! I rather like these two less fitted cuts from See by Chloe (left) and ABS (right). The dressy silk material with the casual cuts makes a refreshing combination.
Something a little bit bolder. These two simple black/white striped dresses from BCBG (left) and Betsey Johnson (right) are just great. Simply add on a shrug, a necklace or even a tshirt and you're ready to rock prom!

Personally I'm not a great fan of the prom ideas from Teen Vogue this year. They all look really pretty and romantic, but they also look kind of casual and are super difficult to put together if you don't have your own personal stylist and an unlimited budget. To achieve the same personalized effect, I suggest getting a simple but chic dress, like these two black strapless numbers from BCBG(left) and Derek Lam(right) and adorning it to your hearts content. Throw on a necklace, a shrug, a cropped jacket, long earrings, a belt, a shirt or even funky leggings- just have fun! Though do try not to overdo it and only do 2 or 3 of the things I suggested above, have a focus.
And I couldn't resist adding these two more classic but oh-so-stylish and elegant dresses by the masters of dresses: Vera Wang (left: the Lavender Label) and Carolina Herrera (right: CH line). SO GORGEOUS!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

US Vogue's New Favourite Models

Every fashion-lover out there has been so excited to hear that the May's US Vogue cover will finally feature models instead of celebrities. And here it is: Lily Donaldson, Hilary Rhoda, Doutzen Kroes, Sasha Pivovarova, Caroline Trentini, Raquel Zimmermann, Jessica Stam, Chanel Iman, Coco Rocha and Agyness Deyn, all wearing Gap's Designer Edition white shirts.
First off, I have to admit I'm not a fan of the cover. I definitely prefer a model over a celebritity to be the covergirl of Vogue but there's something about this cover I just don't completely like. Maybe it's because it's a full-body shoot and you can't see the girls clearly, unlike the Sept04 cover, which was the previous cover of models and was beautiful. Or maybe because the editors didn't feel that a cover with only one or a few models would be a strong enough cover, (which they're probably right and it's just sad how few Americans appreciate covers of models for a fashion magazine.)
Anyways, I suppose this is better than no models' cover. Thankfully, the article inside, called Hit Girls, is a great article that manages to talk about each of the ten models. I certainly love the models who I already liked before more now, such as Lily D. (who always looks great on the runway and I love her sophisticated British looks,) and Stam. (The pic above is of Lily D. and Trentini.)
This is obviously not an interesting pose, but it's my favourite shot in this editorial because of the clothes, colours, Stam and just. Stam is one of my top 5 favourite model -her eyes are SO stunning.
My favourite of the ten is Sasha. She's sometimes a bit awkward on the runway but her editorials are usually amazing, especially the edgy ones -she does the sophisticated, dark look and young, angsty look really well. I have her editorials as my desktop wallpaper a lot!
Ah Raquel. She's one of this season's star as many big brands have her in their ads, like Fendi. I have to say I didn't like her at first (in last season's Louis Vuitton ads,) but she was perfect in the new Fendi ads.
I have to admit I've never noticed that much about Doutzen, but she's certainly got some really good contracts, including some 'mass brands' like L'Oreal.
Coco Rocha aboslutely rocked the Balenciaga ads. But other than that, I don't notice much of her.
And now onto two who I don't think really belong with the group (or I just don't like them): Aggy and Iman. OK, so Aggy supposedly has a lot of personality and has got a more unique feel. And she wears spunky outfits herself, but so what? I just really don't like her. As for Iman, who you cannot have missed because she's Teen Vogue's new star, I'm just not liking her much. I mean, I really remember in the Teen Vogue interview, she's like, have you heard of Chanel, the brand? Umm, ya. And I guess I just don't get her appeal in general. At the moment, I just of her as Vogue's new Liya (who I think is gorgeous.)

I totally respect Vogue's editors' choices, but I just want to know how did the editors decide not to include Freja, Natasha Poly or Du Juan?
Photo credit:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Prom 2007: The Classics

Its prom season again! Oh those good ol' days seem so long ago. As much as I've gone on before about how I love cocktail dresses for dances, looking back, I think every girl should have a typical prom experience complete with the long flaring skirts, sparkles and shiny material. I mean, a girl doesn't get too many chances in her life to wear such dresses. So here are a few of the classics to choose from.
The long black dress. There'd be no wincing when you look back at your prom photos with this one. You will probably even be able to wear it more than once! And just to keep it from being boring, subtle details like the assymetric cutting and stripes on the left (ABS by Allen Schwartz) and the black satin striped layer over beige on the right (BCBG) are an excellent touch. I would also like to add that I've personally tried on the shorter version of this BCBG dress and the cutting is simply divine. It is SO flattering to the figure, I LOVE it. I WANT it.Prom is your chance to let your inner princess out. So bring on the tiara and slip on a gorgeous pink dress (left: David's Bridal, right: ABS by Allen Schwartz). I remember HG had on a pretty pink dress similar to that one on the left one year as well and she looked soo pretty!
Then there are the elegant designs that simply never go out of style. I am loving this godess-like flowing midnight blue dress (left: ABS by Allen Schwartz). And this black and white dress here (right: David's Bridal) is simply so elegant and timeless. The black and white contrast, the subtle sparkles and the and the assymetrical design is just SO flattering. My friend had a similar one during my prom (see how timeless it is?) and she looked fabulous!

And just because I said classic don't be afraid to try something fun (but tastefully so please!). You're only young once after all. Here are two by Jessica McClintock. I especially like the champagne color one because a) the scrunched up skirt gives it some amp but the whole dress still has all the qualities of a prom dress and b) I've been wanting a champagne colored dress recently!

So while you girls are out looking for your prom dresses, don't forget to check out the classics!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

SS07 Lookalike Bags

Ages ago, a friend requested that I do a post on the affordable versions of hit bags. So last summer, I compiled a bunch of 'inspired' bags with their originals in this post. It's been awhile, bags have come and gone so I thought I would do a new one.

The Dior Black Cannage Lambskin Bag has really caught my interest this season. Mostly because I'm desperate for a black bag and a tiny bit because Ashley Olsen and the models looked so cool holding and swinging it. It's available online for 1290USD.
The 'inspired' version by Bebe is at an overpriced cost of 198USD. It looks decent enough, although maybe a bit too small.

The Chanel Cabas was last winter's it bag so new versions of it in different colours and material were released this season. Not sure about the cost though.
And the high street followed of course. The bag on the left is by Nine West (at 120USD and also available in silver and white), and the bag on the right is by Bebe (239USD). OK, is there a reason Bebe bags cost so much?

I'm not a big fan of the spot-my-brand-from-30-feet-away Prada bag (1052USD), but nevertheless I present you a very similar looking one by Guess (75USD). Although obviously, no one mistake your Guess one as Prada.

Chloe bags must be one of the most copied brands out there. Here is the black Betty bag by Chloe (right) selling at 932GBP and the high street version by Oasis (a UK high street chain,) selling at 65GBP.

Again, another lookalike by Oasis at 40GBP (left) but this time it's Chloe's double-pocket Edith at 924GBP (right).

Ahh, Marni's quirky little purse. I've always found these Marni purses so cute, but I haven't figured out an unquirky way to wear it yet (which is why I can't actually imagine owning a Marni purse).
These lookalikes are by Top Shop -they look good for a quick run to the supermarket on weekends. The Marni one is now on sale for 415GBP and the Top Shop ones are 55GBP each.

And finally, tha bag I was drooling over last summer -Botkier's medium Bianca satchel. I still haven't gotten over how pretty it is, esp the dark brown one (no pics here)! I would have totally gotten one if it costs less than it's 595USD!
A similar-looking one is available at Urban Outfitters at 68USD. Ok, it doesn't look that much like Botkier's but there are some similarities. Unfotunately the leather is no where as divine as Botkier's. Sigh...

Phew, that was a lot of sites! I assume that you all as fashion lovers are able to exchange basic currencies speedily so I didn't bother to convert. Gosh, the prices of bags have really gone up haven't they? Both the high end and high street ones!

Photo credits: The sites linked to the label of the bags.
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