Look of the Day: Sugary Sweet Leighton Meester

Leighton Meester is one of my favorite fashionable celebrities to watch right now. She is the epitome of sweet and ladylike in this photo, and her shoes are a dream.

Photo credit

Good things come to those...

I recently scored some items that have been on my perpetual wish list:

  1. Steve Madden Bruffler bag – I mentioned a similar bag (here) about a year ago. And though it fell to the back of my mind, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it had finally hit a price point I was willing to pay. The Bruffler, still $98 at Stevemadden.com, was snagged at Marshall’s for $40.
  2. Steve Madden Miami Glitter pump (multi-colored) – There is an abundance of glittery shoes sparkling about, and I’ve wanted to get in on this trend (also mentioned here) that reminds me so nostalgically of the red glitter Mary Janes that helped Dorothy travel from Oz and back home to Kansas.
  3. Vera Wang “Princess” – Princess is a fitting moniker for a very girly girl and for such a lovely light scent. Though the 1.7oz bottle is still $60 at Nordstrom.com, my nose for a deal led me to a gift set with Eau de Toilette Spray, Roller Scent, Lip Gloss and Satiny Lotion for just $40.

Fashion in Film: Mahogany

Photo credit IMDB.com

I'm a huge fan of classic movies with fabulous leading ladies. I finally got my hands on a copy of Mahogany--the 1975 film starring Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams; directed by Berry Gordy--for the first time. While I certainly revel in a romance and do find a good rags-to-riches story quite endearing, the REAL story of Mahogany for me, lay in the clothes.

The basic plot is that Diana Ross plays Tracy, an aspiring fashion designer who is putting herself through design school by working as an assistant at a high-end Chicago department store. In her neighborhood, she meets the dashing Brian (Billy Dee Williams), a political organizer and they fall in love. Tracy’s job allows her to meet a world renowned photographer, Sean (played by Anthony Perkins) who decides that she should be a fashion model and eventually, whisks her off to Rome where he graces her with the moniker “Mahogany”--because she too is “dark, beautiful, rich and rare” . Mahogany becomes a supermodel and fashion designer, as she’d dreamed, leaves Sean (who randomly becomes sort of a psycho-haha) to become the kept woman of a mega rich older gentleman, then ultimately realizes Brian is the love of her life and returns to dark, gray Chicago—richer, wiser and infinitely more fabulous (as you may note by the fantastic fur coat and matching hat she’s wearing in the final scene).

Despite much of the plot being way over-the-top, interspersed with complete corniness, I rather loved Diana in this film. Her acting is actually pretty good, she looks beautiful and her hair is just this crown of full flowing, bouncing tresses. Sadly there are not a ton of images to be found of all the clothing, but I was able to locate: a “head shot” of the amazing cape and wide brim hat combo in which Tracy arrives at her new modeling agency in Rome; a black and white of the one-armed, paper-thin fuchsia evening gown and muffler the character wore while shooting at a fountain in Rome; and a waist up photo of the polished white trench coat and white hat with black ribbon she wore while patronizing a newsstand. I would absolutely recommend you watch the movie so you can see the movement and life of the clothes for yourself—and so that when Tracy’s teacher in design class tells her to create a basic sketch with, “No sequins. No rhinestones. No ostrich feathers.”-- you can laugh too because, really—what would life be without those?!

Styling Session: The Perfect Pump


The Dress Junkie has a birthday coming up and is planning outfit options that will make her the belle of her ball. She requested style advice on the perfect shoe to accompany the seriously sexy dress that’s currently the front runner. 

Bebe Chained Satin Dress

My first question was whether or not she plans to don pantyhose or tights under the dress—certainly it will be cold in December, but sometimes we are all too willing to sacrifice warmth for fab, aren’t we darlings? But yes, she will wear something on her legs for warmth, and since the dress is so short. 


1. It looks like the model has on sheer black pantyhose in the pic, in which case, a strappy sandal with some sort of bling would be in order.
2. Another option would be to go with a thicker opaque black tight and black booties that TDJ already owns, which could look nice depending on how "heavy" looking the bootie is. She wouldn’t want to overpower the daintiness of the dress with too much shoe. This would definitely need to be tried on in advance. She thought that yes, the booties are "heavy" on the feet, so we passed.
3. A satin d'orsay heel could look cute too; since it's cut out there is less shoe but your feet are still fairly covered.


She decided on a d’orsay heel and I sent her the following options:

  1. Stuart Weitzman Black satin d'Orsay open-toe pump (Classic. Nice grosgrain bow accent)
  2. Caparros Heaven Pump (Great neutral color)
  3. Nina Women's Electra Platform Pump (Fantastic height, beautiful bow accent, and removable ankle strap) 
  4. AK Anne Klein Women's Kalei Peep Toe D'Orsay (The color almost matches the dress perfectly!)
And the winner is……

The Nina Women's Electra Platform Pump, due to the duality of the removable ankle strap. 

This is definitely an outfit meant for celebrating!

New Jewelry Club: JewelMint

Kate Bosworth and Cher Coulter have started JewelMint, essentially a jewelry-of-the-month club featuring designs that consumers can choose from based on a  pre-selected group of products. The jewelry is designed to be one-of-a-kind—I checked out the photos on the site and what they feature is actually fairly adorable.

So for $29.99 per month, your JewelMint membership is activated, and after a short quiz to determine your preferences and personal style, you’ll receive individually selected recommendations every month. If you love something, you can purchase, but if you don’t you have the option to skip the month.

The model is glaringly similar to the concept behind Kim Kardashian’s Shoe Dazzle (which I meant to write about when I joined, but never did) where the item of the month is shoes. You’re given a quiz upon initiating membership, and Shoe Dazzle brand shoes are recommended monthly for you to purchase if you choose, or you can skip the month if you’d like. Shoe Dazzle has also recently added Dazzle Avenue which features handbags and costume jewelry sets.

Based on the growing popularity of Shoe Dazzle (I personally have several pair from the site that I adore), I’d say Miss Bosworth and  Miss Coulter have a jewel of a concept on their hands, provided the merchandise is of good quality and the customer service is good (Shoe Dazzle’s rocks!). I personally do not need another shopping addiction to contend with, but head on over if you’re interested and decide for yourself.

Splenda vs. Blue Agave Nectar | Health Savvy Life

I tweeted yesterday about my conversion from Splenda to organic blue agave nectar as my regular sweetener. There are several reasons for this change: 

-          I’ve read the reports on the negative long term side effects of Splenda and upon starting to use it, had decided it would just be a temporary thing. I wanted to cut the calories I was taking in from sugar. Here we are one-year later, and I’m still emptying those little yellow packets.
-          I’ve recently re-read some of the short term effects of Splenda including stomach problems and bloating—both are issues my body already has, so I’d say it is probably a good idea to cut things that could be contributing.**
-          Splenda is chemically produced which is completely counter to my desired dietary choices that include mainly organic, fresh and locally grown items. As I continue to work to move my diet and my son’s further away from processed foods, it makes sense to cut Splenda as well. 

So, to the benefits of organic/raw blue agave nectar: 

-          Agave is 25% sweeter than sugar so you can use less.
-          It is also sweeter than honey, though it has about the same calorie content per serving (approximately 60 per tbsp) but 0 calories from fat.
-          Low glycemic index means agave is absorbed slowly in to the body and thus prevents spikes in blood sugar that can sometimes occur with regular sugar.
-          Agave nectar is gleaned from the agave plant and then heated into simple sugars—not chemically compounded. 

I’ve tried two different brands of blue agave and Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave light has come out on top so far. It has a slightly higher viscosity than the other brand and I’ve found it to be sweeter.  I purchased my blue agave nectar here, but I have also seen it for sale on Amazon.com if you’re not familiar with the natural foods options in your area. 

As a side note, I have never given Splenda to my son. With all the negative reports, I felt it better not to subject his young system to anything with claims of such highly adverse health effects associated with it. I have nothing against sugar and do continue to purchase organic sugar for him, while closely moderating his usage. My choice to switch was based on caloric intake and my own excessive use of sugar. 

**There is a fantastic post by Erika at Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss (that you can read here) on the ills of Splenda, aspartame and diet sodas, etc. that goes into a mind-boggling (yet mind-opening) amount of detail on the topic. Erika’s writing pulls no punches, so proceed with caution if you’re feeling sensitive about the topic. Or go there for that very reason and contribute to the conversation. 

5 Items to Pamper Winter Skin

Colder temperatures can wreak havoc on your skin. Beat winter at its own game by developing a routine now that pampers, luxuriates and leaves you with supple skin, perfect for snuggling against under the covers. Here are some items I’ve recently purchased:

Alba Sea Salt Body Scrub / No More Rough Stuff Pumice
Alba Sea Salt Body Scrub helps rid your body, hands and feet of dead skin cells as the Hawaiian scent conjures memories of recent summer warmth. Use a pumice stone, like this one from The Body Shop, to smooth away extra roughness from heels and the bottom of your feet. The oil infused in this scrub will leave your skin super soft even after you’ve left the shower.

St Ives Swiss Formula Invigorating Apricot Scrub

Treat that beautiful face a little more gently with St Ives Swiss Formula Invigorating Apricot Scrub. It’s gentler for the thinner skin—especially that around your eyes—and is not oily, so it rinses clean.


Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil

Hard cuticles and hang nails are no fun for anyone. Treat your nail beds with Essie’s aromatic Apricot Cuticle Oil, applied twice per day for optimal softening power. It can even be used over polish and doesn’t cause it to chip.

Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil works as effectively externally as it does as an internal supplement, and it is great for both skin and hair. Apply liberally before bed when the extra oiliness won’t ruin your favorite clothes. Use on your face in lieu of your regular moisturizer when going sans makeup for a healthy glow.

Black Girls Rock!

I would be remisce if I did not mention how absolutely wonderfully positively mind-blowing BET's Black Girls Rock presentation was tonight. It spoke to every beautiful, strong, caring and fabulous thing that there is about Black women. We are so much more than we are often portrayed to be. I wrote a more detailed post about it on the blog I co-author with my bestie GG, which you can read here. And I also wanted to share a fantastic and oh too true post from another good friend, A,  that you can read here.

I rock because I'm chic inside, not just on the outside. I rock because what I wear or carry on my arm is only part of what represents me. I rock because I'm a mother and I've given birth to the most rocking little Black child I know.

Why do you rock?

“I know enough to know I’m not yet where I’m going to be...I’m always becoming.” ~Ruby Dee

Leather is Clever

Leather jackets are the ultimate in fall cool—they’re edgy, sharp and a little bit rock  n’ roll. I love how last season’s trend of jackets with lots of softer feminine touches has carried over into this year. Throw a leather (or faux leather) jacket over even the simplest outfit like jeans and a tee shirt, to instantly make a statement.

  1. Maybe you haven’t just hopped off your hog, but you can look like you did as blue leather gives this biker look a fashionable makeover with the Leather Strap Biker Jacket from Topshop.
  2. Cognac is officially the new brown, and when mixed with a stand collar and zippers galore--a la the Bagatelle Washed Leather Jacket at Neiman Marcus—it helps forge the perfect union of classic cut and vintage style.
  3. Girly meets tough in this Alfani Faux Leather Jacket. Ruffles and slight tapering make this style ultra feminine.
  4. Asos’ Oasis Victoriana Military Leather Jacket  is neutral enough to blend with any color palette in your wardrobe, and gives the season’s military trend a slight twist—a concealed zipper under a plate style front (so you get the double-breasted look of a military jacket without actually having to fasten all the buttons), and feminine pleating detail in back.