Sunday, August 31, 2008

What I wish I would have known as a college freshman

Many of my closest friends have headed back to school already, as will I in a few weeks. I’m going to be a sophomore this year and while I’m glad to already know where all the buildings are and which dining halls have the best food; I’ll miss the excitement of freshman year. Here are a few things though that I think would have made my first year a little smoother.

1.) Know your alcohol limits. Coming into college, I basically had zero experience with alcohol. I was super-nerdy in high school (OK, still am) and my parents were never big drinkers so there was no liquor cabinet to sneak sips from. When you go to college, you will definitely be surrounded by alcohol even if you try to avoid it. If you weren’t around beer much in high school (and even if you were!), take it slow. Mark on your hand or plastic cup how many drinks you’ve had, since it’s easy to forget when you’re socializing. Eat before drinking and have water or soda in between alcoholic drinks. Know what you’re drinking- that mystery drink could have way more alcohol that you expected, or even contain a rape drug. And yes, drinking is illegal if you’re under 21. It’s easy to forget that, but don’t. And remember that alcohol is often the cause of the dreaded Freshman 15- in many instances, I’d advise being skinny and sober.

2.) Boys aren’t always nice, but they aren’t always pigs either. I’m sure you spent plenty of time around guys in high school, but in college you’ll get to be around them 24/7...with no curfews! (Unless you go to say, Wellesley or Wheaton. Great schools, but I wouldn’t recommend it!) Don’t be shocked to find that many boys simply want to party, get drunk and sleep with you. Freshman guys often want to really live the ‘college experience’ and many upperclassmen guys will approach you, seeing you as na├»ve and therefore easy to influence. Know though that there are guys who want relationships, some who even feel ready to get married soon. You need to communicate what you want- a sweaty make-out session one night only or a boy to bring home with you on Thanksgiving break?

3.) Make friends with upperclassmen first. At my high school, upper and under classmen rarely spent time together, mostly because we were in different classes. In college, things are totally different. Upperclassmen aren’t scary- they’re usually more than willing to show you the ropes. They also often have cars and if you’re school is Greek, it’s good to have some connections. Plus they’ll buy you beer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Either Or Tights

I fell in love with the quirky tights in this issue of Harper's Bazaar...think one sheer leg and one colored leg. I didn't think the concept could be pulled off easily in "real life" and I didn't know where I would be able to find such stockings. Until now.

This AMAZING pair can be found at Urban Outfitters for only $14. I'm ordering mine right now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fishnets: the ultimate sexy accessory

Sure, the shoes are cool, but my favorite thing in this photo are the stockings. Fishnets add a little spice to any outfit and make everyone's legs look a bit slimmer and more muscular. While I love the traditional pattern in matte black, my favorite is a brown pair with a slightly funkier pattern. Since fishnets are quite sensual, I would suggest keeping the rest of your outfit demure. Maybe a pencil skirt and slightly conservative sweater or button-down for the sexy secretary look?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Girl Crush: Amy Winehouse

OK, so I know I'm a little behind on this because she's been famous forever, but I LOVE Amy Winehouse. Sure, her lifestyle is questionable, but you can't deny that she has a fabulous voice. If you don't have her music on your iPod yet, get on it. Here are my five favorites:
1.) "Wake Up Alone"
2.) "You Know I'm No Good"
3.) "F*** Me Pumps"
4.) "Amy Amy Amy"
5.) "Love Is A Losing Game"
She has kind of a cool style too, although I think she looks better when she has some weight on her. Not a big fan of the beehive on her either, but I think some of my readers could definitely rock it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guy style #1 - Express Men

Ahh, Express Men...the majority of guys who I've dated have shopped there, some have even worked there. It's inexpensive and has a bit more of an edge than other mall stores like American Eagle or Hollister.
I am in love with this vest and it's currently on sale for $34.50. Here it's layered over a very basic tie and white shirt, which is a good idea. The idea of the vest these days is too look professional but have to be careful, because if you layer it over something too bulky it can look geeky.
A lot of guys who are on the skinnier side have told me that Express is the best place to go for their jeans, although I know football players who shop there too. I like the grey wash and the cut of these. I'd probably have my guy pair these with a brighter colored shirt. $69.50

It's August now, but if you live in the Midwest like me, you know that colder temperatures are on the way. This black military jacket would look great layered over almost anything. $103.60

Monday, August 18, 2008

Outfit Analysis #1: Mischa Barton

Usually I kind of like Mischa's style- she reminds me a bit of Blake Lively. They're both tall, long-haired girls with a bit of a minimalist, hippie style. Mischa does tend to take a few more fashion risks in an attempt to be trendy. I'm amazed that she's been able to keep herself in the media so much lately, as she doesn't seem to be appearing in many movies or shows as of late.

I really like her jacket here. It's like a basic leather jacket, but the shorter sleeves and texture spice it up. The bag is cute too, but it matches the texture of the jacket too closely. I would have used the pieces in two separate outfits. When you wear only one color, it's important to have a variety of textures.

I really don't understand her use of jewelry. I wear very little jewelry when I'm out at night- usually just earrings, so I can use a really glamorous clutch or top. Plus, this is cheap-looking, super boring jewelry. She could at least go for something bold or colorful. A lot of people just pile on the silver or gold jewelry thinking it will automatically make them look casually boho, but it can also just look mindless.

I am completely against the use of tights/leggings as pants. They rarely help out anyone's shape and it's not trendy at all. Mischa's legs are in fairly good shape, but the leggings make them look chunkier. Her leggings also look a bit sheer...I'm betting you would see a bit too much looking at her rear view.

No real opinion on the boots. I love leather boots in general and the cute little star on these, but they just don't seem to help the outfit much. These boots seem a bit more appropriate to toughen up a girly day outfit, rather than for use for a night out. When you're out on the town, I think you're shoes are the most important- it's good to have a heel, even if it's only half an inch high.

Overall, this outfit earns a C-. It's bland and not very flattering. What do you think?

Friday, August 15, 2008

My fashion influences

My favorite things are trenchcoats, brightly colored pumps, chic dresses and fur coats. I am completely influenced by the 40's and early 60's. When I'm in a fashion slump, I look to the following muses. I know that some of these are a bit overrated, but I like them none the less!

French & Hitchcock films- Glamourous in a way that's mature but sexy rather than uptight.
Edie Sedgwick- A tiny advocate of short blonde hair, black leggings, huge earrings and fur coats.
Kate Moss- While I like Kate in general, I love this photo in particular. I remember seeing it when I was 15 or 16 and going wow, my flat chest can be sexy!
Edward Hopper- I love the rich colors in his paintings, the feelings of both complete security and loneliness. A world in which men wear hats, women wear sexy red dresses and coffee and is always within reaching distance.
Kirsten Dunst- I don't know why some people are so against her. She has the most playful, comfy chic wardrobe of any modern celebrity.
Roy Lichtenstein- So classic America, with a touch of irony.
Betty from "Mad Men"- Blonde waves, red lips and gorgeous dresses are musts. Gun and cigarette optional.
Nancy Drew- The literary world's sexiest crime-stopper.
Princess Diana
Bridgette Bardot
Olsen twins
Marilyn Monroe
"The Great Gatsby"
Carrie Bradshaw

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The 80GB is for pretty album artwork

I will admit that I'm not always the most organized gal. My dorm room floor is currently covered with a nice layer of black underwear, CTA cards and old New Yorkers (magazines, not Manhattanites).

But I am obsessive about the organization of my iTunes. Every song must be labeled properly. The album listed must always be the original CD- never a "Greatest Hits" or "Best Of" album. I've even taken to naming my genres very specifically in order to be a hipster/jerk. Think "surf & garage revival" and "post-modern art rock".

Helping me in this task is spiffy free software called TuneUp. It helps you find missing album artwork and label all of those songs named things like "Track 03". I give it four out of five stars. Download it here.

Maybe diamonds aren't a girl's best friend

Ever see people wearing those shirts that say things like "Local Celebrity"? Even though they're completely dorky, I found myself doing a double-take when I saw a guy with one- just to make sure he wasn't Brad Pitt being ironic.

Here's another way to show off your popularity and make other people look twice. It's the Vanity Ring, which shows how many Google results there are for your name. I googled my full name (not Brainy Blondie, btw) and only had about 30 results that actually pertained to me!

America's Next Top Model

I've never been that into ANTM- it can get really slow, the girls often lack personality and host Tyra Banks drives me nuts. But I love fashion and some of the creative directions they take, so I always end up tuning in for a bit. The girls are so unbelievably gorgeous- I would love an American's Next Top Model: Male Version. ;)

A new season starts on September 3rd. Right now I'm loving the look of McKey, a fellow 19-year-old and Illinois-ite.

Most Popular Songs on My iPod

If you asked me to name my favorite music, I'd name lots of classical & jazz songs, plus several "indie rock" bands like Spoon, The Shins and Arctic Monkeys. But is that what I REALLY listen to?

Apparently not. The list of songs I listen to most on iTunes tells a different story.

"Vienna" by Billy Joel (50 plays)
Ah, how can you not secretly (or publicly) love Billy Joel? "The Longest Time", "Uptown Girl" and "She's Got a Way" are my real favorites, but since I'm not currently in a committed relationship, "Vienna" works better for me. As an occasional perfectionist, this song remembers me to chill out.

"Rehab" by Amy Winehouse (52 plays)
I looooove Amy, but like Billy Joel's "Vienna", this isn't at all her best. But definitely the most catchy.

"Black Cadillacs" by Modest Mouse (58 plays)
OK, so this one fits my typical M.O. for music. But it still perplexes me as to why I appreciate this song so much. (I promise that it's not because they say "f***" a lot.) Mostly likely because it has a few really good lyrics:
I didn't die and I ain't complaining, I ain't blaming you
I didn't know that the words you said to me
Meant more to me than they ever could you
I didn't lie and I ain't saying I told the whole truth
I didn't know that this game we were playing
Even had a set of rules

"Flavor of the Weak" by American Hi-Fi (62 plays)
Ah, this one brings me back to my summer camp days. This song had just come out and we'd blast it in our cabin. I was eleven or so years old and my hair was so sunbleached it was white. I had poofy bangs and a crooked ponytail.

"Happy Together" by The Turtles (64 plays)
I know, this song has become cheesy, being overused in television commercials and movies. But that little build-up in the intro followed by such pure, joyous song? It's as irresistible as baby kitties. Watch the video!

"Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson (85 plays)
Jack Johnson is mostly just good music to study with or fall asleep to, so I probably just stuck one of his albums on repeat while engaging in one of these activities.

Other popular songs on my iTunes include "Something" by The Beatles, "Where Do You Go To My Lovely" by Peter Sarstedt, "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5 (yes, it's pathetic) and "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears (yes, even more pathetic). Are there any embarrassing songs you listen to a bit too much?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Web Favorites #1

RSS feeds are a great way to stay updated on your favorite websites. If you aren't familiar with the concept, it's basically having one website that keeps track of your favorite websites, letting you know when these websites update their content. I use Google Reader. Please add me to your feed; here are some of the websites I have on mine.

Childhood Flames
Camille is really cute, especially if you're into a really minimalist aesthetic.

Fifi Lapin
A bunny dolled up in the chicest fashions? Even more adorable than it sounds.

Karl Lagerfield's Guide to Life
Hilarious, but you might tire of it quickly unless you're really fashion-obsessed. I'd like to see more funny fake celebrity blogs on the web.

Stuff White People Like
A usually funny commentary on white, middle-class America.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cheap & Chic #1

Can you believe that this absolutely adorable dress is only TWENTY SIX DOLLARS? No joke, kids. (It's not even on sale!) It comes in other colours and is from the amazing Twelve by Twelve line from Forever 21.

The only Olympic-related thing I've watched so far was a bit of a women's volleyball game. Hopefully this does not make me terribly un-American. I love the Olympics, but there have just been better things to do...going on dates, exploring Chicago's suburbs and eating too much cheesecake, for example.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

First date fashion

First dates can be the most exciting/intimidating/weird experiences ever. And what you wear can make a big difference!

I had a date last night, and two separate guys asked me for my number on my way to meet my date. Red heels can work wonders!

Any fashion advice for dates? Any bad first date stories?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I miss you, Anna!

Anyone else watch that teenage soap opera "The O.C." a few years back? I never got past the first season, probably because they dropped my favorite character, Anna (Samaire Armstrong).

Not only did she have good taste in artists (the overrated but still AMAZING Warhol), but she also rocked the short blonde hair. Holla! Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut, hallelujah. It's been way longer than 6-8 weeks. I currently looked like a drugged-out Kurt Cobain or greasy-haired Paris Hilton. Thinking of getting the Anna-style hair below, but I might keep with my current trend of getting it super-short in back and longer in the front. Think Victoria Beckham (without the fake boobs and sexy husband).