Saturday, March 31, 2012

What I'm Listening To: Dry The River- New Ceremony



This week, I was listening to my favorite radio station, NPR (All Things Considered), when I heard Robert Siegel and Melissa Block interviewing a British band that recently played at SXSW, Dry the River, as music played from their soon-to-be-released-in-the-U.S. album "Shallow Bed". And let me tell you kiddos, I think we will all be hearing a lot more from this band in the future. Check out their music video above, and if you're interested you can find the NPR story on the band here. As always, feel free to leave your comments below.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Previouslly On Project Runway All Stars: Episode 12

Aka. The Finale Part 2
*spoiler alert: this post reveals the winner of Project Runway All Stars*

Previously on Project Runway, the designers said goodbye to their studios, The Flathotel suite, and infinite amounts of makeup and hairspray and finally showed off their mini-collections which were as different as their personalities. The judges had a really tough decision to make this season, as none of the collections were BAD and none were perfect, but all were really well done. In the end, the judges struggled to decide if they valued high fashion/ showmanship vs. commerciality vs. creativity (or the starlet vs. the underdog vs. the tortured artist) and whether or not the judges judge solely based on the mini-collection or based off of the designer's looks throughout the season. Let's take a look at their looks:

Austin

 Austin should win the award for best collection description as he said "It's called: 'Austin Scarlett' and it's a story of a vampire from the 18th century who has lived many hundreds of years and now resides in Williamsburg and occasionally borrows clothes from her Hassidic dandy friend." I'm not sure I saw enough "Hassidic Dandy friend" in the looks except in the hair, but I think Austin succeeded in creating a very Austin Scarlett high fashion collection. I wasn't in love with Austin's opening look, and the judges commented that they felt Austin had created 2 or 3 separate collections because his collection didn't appear cohesive and they felt that some of his looks had difficult proportions. Even thought the judges agreed that Austin was already very commercial and they all loved Austin's lacquered lace and wedding dresses, the judges told Austin that he was out and then awarded him with a trip to Paris.








The scrap fabric look




Michael

Michael made the mistake of jumping out of his comfort zone for the final challenge. Even though Michael is a self-confessed ball-gown/red carpet designer, Michael's final collection was resort wear with an African Safari theme. I thought Michael did an excellent job creating a commercial collection that was ready-to-wear. However, the judges criticized that animal print fabrics can sometimes cheapen the looks, and the judges wished that Michael had gone more over-the-top with his final collection. In the end, Michael was safe and was awarded a trip to Paris.

The scrap fabric look

Mondo

If you remember, Mondo's collection was inspired by his feeling that participating in Project Runway All Stars drove him crazy. Mondo stuck mostly with a black, white and red color palate with prints, thus continuing to demonstrate that he is the pattern mixing master. Overall, Mondo's clothes were more my style and appealed to me the most and I felt that his collection was the most youthful, whimsical, quirky and fun. The judges commented that some of Mondo's pieces seemed a big "cartoon-y" with the oversized pockets on the dotted mini-dress and the hounds-tooth jacket look. But, the judges also felt that Mondo's collection was the perfect combination of high fashion and commercial fashion, and Mondo was awarded with the win.

The scrap fabric look

 Did you catch the finale of Project Runway All Stars? Who made your favorite collection? Do you feel like the best designer won? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mad Men: The Game

Hello everyone! After a year and a half hiatus, Mad Men season 5 finally premiered on AMC this past Sunday. For me, the break didn't seem as long because I only just recently got caught up with Mad Men on Netflix, but I was still super psyched for the premiere. Did you catch the 2 hour premiere? Were you as excited as I was? Well then you need to check out this cute and cleaver Mad Men video game which combines two of my loves- Mad Men and old school video games. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's Makeing Me Laugh: Wichitawesome

Last week on  Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel made a faux tourism ad for my hometown of Wichita which is driving it city wild. Some places (i.e. the Scotch and Sirloin) are loving the ad and are now using the catchphrase as part of their promotions and have publicly announced that they want Jimmy Kimmel to come and visit. Others are upset by Jimmy's depiction of Kansas folk with Minnesota-like accents and parka's (FYI: most people around here have a mixture of mid-western accent, with an occasional southern drawl; also, temperatures were in the mid- 60's and were rainy all through spring break). So if you missed the ad and want to see what the fuss is all about, check out the video below.


Friday, March 23, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Hyjinx

This weekend, I decided to spend St. Patrick's Day visiting some friends in my old college town. Highlights included:

  • Watching the St. Patrick's Day Parade which went on for nearly 2 hours!
  • Playing Dominion.
  • Shopping and eating yummy food.
  • Photographing store kitties.
  • Chasing down my friends in the streets.
  • Watching the film A Dangerous Method on St. Patty's.


Walking to the St. Patrick's Day Parade

the opening of the St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Shamrock Express


I'm not 100% certain that this man was actually a part of the parade

Green Ponies

Allen Fieldhouse Jayhawk Float

I found Waldo!


Cupcakes!

Getting ready to eat my Guiness and peanut butter cup cupcakes (mint chocolate chip and key lime already consumed)

Book Store Kitty

Music Store Kitty


How did you spend your St. Patrick's Day weekend? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Previously on Project Runway All Stars: Episode 11

A.K.A. Season Finale Part I

Previously on Project Runway our final 3 designers (Austin Scarlett, Michael Costello, and Mondo Guerra) got to visit Joanna Coles of Marie Claire magazine at her office where the designers were asked to create a mini-collection for the runway. Unlike past Project Runway seasons where the designers had 3 months to create a collection of 10 looks, Project Runway All Stars has given the designers just 4 days to create 5 looks. But wait! There's a twist! Besides the fact that Austin Scarlett shaved off his mustache and the Project Runway work room got divided in to 3 separate spaces, the judges also asked the designers to create an extra look using the designer's scrap fabric that has been cast aside throughout the season. The designers were also allowed to seek the assistance of an ex-cast member.

  • Austin chose Anthony
  • Mondo chose Mila
  • Michael chose April
Austin chose to get his help from The Help (or, as Austin described him, Austin's fellow aristocrat Her Serine Highness The Princess Antoinetta if you prefer) because he felt they had similar design aesthetics. Austin's collection was self described as "Fragonard (French painter)/ Madame de Pompadour (official chief mistress of Louis XV)/ meets 21st century rock star and Williamsburg Hasidic gentleman." From what I could see, Austin's collection looks to be full of evening gowns with lots of poof, girly prints, and pinks, and will include a wedding dress. In other words, it's a very Austin Scarlett collection. However, none of what I saw in this episode really wowed me, but I still think the judges will pick Austin to win in the end.


Mondo chose Mila because of her technical abilities, approach to design, and work ethic. On the first work day, Mondo stomped around in a funk, declaring that he didn't feel inspired, thought about quitting, and he didn't sew ANYTHING! During a dinner scene, Mondo stomped off from the dinner table before desert and Michael reminded Austin (and us) that often Mondo produces some of his best work after his funks. So, on day 2 Mondo reported that he was drawing his inspiration from the feeling that Project Runway All Stars had driven him crazy and began creating a Rorschach print inspired design. I just hope he remembers that there's already been a Rorschach inspired dressed (seen below). Mondo's theme has me the most intrigued and seeing as Mondo won the previous challenge by mixing 3 printed fabrics, I don't think he'll struggle with the extra challenge.



Michael picked "that silver fox, April," as his helper because he felt that her technical abilities were better than his. Michael decided that he is going to create a resort wear collection inspired by the African Safari (or maybe Micheal felt like he needed to tame the wild Mondo while Michael was trying to play peacekeeper between Mondo and Austin throughout the episode). Michael's collection got the least amount of face time, so I don't know what to expect. But, his theme of African Safari inspired resort wear has totally been done before, and Michael appeared to struggle the most with finding scrap fabric for his sixth look to match his theme because Michael has worked mainly with prints this season but has not taken on animal prints until now. In the end Michael reported that he was able to use some left over white fabric from the flag challenge, but I wonder how a white dress will fit in with his theme.

Are you planning to catch Part 2 of Project Runway All Stars on March 22? Who do you think will take home the prize? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I'm Listening To: St. Patrick's Day Edition

Well, I was planning to post some music videos by a few of my favorite Irish bands, but then I did a Google search and discovered that BBC America had already done so. So instead of writing a whole new post, I'm just going to link you to their article about Five Great Irish Bands Who Art Not U2 who's list includes music videos from Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats, The Pogues, The Undertones and My Bloody Valentine. Enjoy!

P.S. I hope you remembered to wear green today, or else consider yourself online pinched.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Previously On Project Runway All Stars: Episode 10

Aka. The Final Four

Previously on Project Runway, the designers were asked to create ready to wear looks for Nanette Lepore's boutiques. This week's challenge tested the designers business savvy skills as well as their design skills, as the designers had to design a sellable look, meet pricing standards and keep their designs within the pre-approved budget. This meant that the designers had to sketch their looks and have their designs appraised and fabric approved before they could begin construction. And the designers got to shop for fabrics in Nanette Lepore's own fabric store (I loved her prints!). Let's take a look at the designs:

Top 

Price: $500
Fabric budget: $65


Austin jumped out of the box this week by choosing to make a rain coat (that could be worn as a dress) instead of gravitating towards making a dress like his peers. I thought Austin was going to nail this challenge for the win right from the get-go as his sketch earned the top price and biggest fabric budget. Although the judges seemed to love this coat/dress as well, they criticized Austin's choice of fabric which showed too many wrinkles on the runway, so the judges just chose to keep Austin safe.


Austin
Price: $300
Fabric budget: $32

During the sketching period of this challenge, Mondo declared that sketching is not part of his process before showing Nanette Lepore his sketch which she dubbed "the tin can". Mondo's comment later stirred up drama between Kenley and Mondo as Kenley openly commented that people shouldn't be in the fashion design industry if they don't sketch. Mondo pulled on his strength of pattern mixing and matching and opted to select swatches of several different Nanette Lepore fabrics to create his look. Initially I thought Mondo might end up going home for this shapeless look and the judges even commented that they wished Mondo's dress had more waist definition as his outfit wouldn't be flattering on every body shape. But, the judges declared that they loved Mondo's masterful pattern mixing and awarded Mondo with the win.

Mondo
Bottom 

Price: $380
Fabric budget: $48


Michael reverted back to his old tricks, creating another caftan utilizing his expert draping techniques and some beautiful Nanette Leopore printed jersey. I can't deny that it is a pretty dress (although I'd never wear anything like this myself because of the plunging neckline and inability to wear a bra. Maybe J-Lo could pull this off), but I'm disappointed that Michael chose a design so similar to what he's already done rather than take advantage of the opportunity to show us and the judges something new. The judges had a touch decision in deciding who was going to get the boot this week as they debated over wearable fashion vs. dramatic runway fashion and ultimately Michael was kept safe this week.
Michael
Price: $350
Fabric budget: $41

Kenley created a very cute and wearable dress with a fun print- much like I'd expect to see from Modcloth. However this week, Kenley made some very fatal mistakes. 1) Kenley forgot to listen to the judges urgings to push her designs and show us something different. 2) Kenley's original design had a key-hole front which Nanette Leopore loved, but Kenley chose to edit out of her final outfit 3) Kenley forgot to match the prints at the seams. In the end, the judges decided that although Kenley created fun, young and wearable looks, that Michael would deliver the better runway show, and Kenley was sent home.
Kenley
So, now we're down to the final 3 and it's all male designers. My prediction for the finale is:
  1. Austin for the win.
  2. Mondo will show some fun and innovative designs
  3. Michael will show some beautiful gowns, but will end up with 3rd.

What did you think of this week's episode? Do you think the right people won/lost this week? Who are your picks for the winner of Project Runway All Stars? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Stuff: 3/10- 3/11

This weekend was The Boy's birthday weekend, so I'd like to give an extra special shout out to The Boy!

In honor or The Boy's birthday, we went to our local IMAX  3D theater to see the newly released film, John Carter. The Boy was a huge fan of the 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel that the movie is based on, "A Princess of Mars," and he's been showing me the movie trailer almost daily ever since the movie trailer was release. I'd warned The Boy that perhaps he was setting his movie expectations too high, but the movie was action packed an pretty gosh darn entertaining. I even took back my initial comments that I thought this movie might be as disappointing as Avatar (it's not). If you have an IMAX 3D theater in your town, I recommend that you check out this movie...and then start crafting your John Carter themed Halloween costumes. I call dibs on Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium!

 
 John Carter trailer
Immediately following the film, the Boy and I met up with his co-workers at a local Old Chicago where I discovered my new love for Schlafly Biere De Garde (if my love for Schlafly continues, I may consider moving to St. Louis just for the beer. The menu described the flavor as malty, caramel-y and nutty) and I fell into like with Buster Nut Brown Ale (which had some awesome label art and was described as extra nutty and caramel-y).

What did you do this weekend? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What I'm Listening To: Gotye- Easy Way Out


Gotye's got a new single release and video from his latest album, Making Mirrors. And let me just say that I love the use of animation in this video. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Previously On Project Runway: Episodes 8 & 9

aka. Fashion Around the World

Previously on Project Runway, the designers were taken to the U.N. to look at all of the flags. Then, the designers were asked to select one of 6 flags and create a look inspired by their chosen flag. Let's take a look at their looks:

Austin chose the Seychelles who's flag has a rainbow of colors in blue, yellow, red, white and green. However, Austin also chose the flag of the country most people know the least about, so Austin ended up resulting to his fall-back design of making a flowy gown which didn't represent the fun of his flag. In the end, Austin was safe.
Austin
Kenley got a top spot this week with her Chile dress. To me, this dress was very Kenley (= young + retro throwback), but it didn't really represent Chile or the Chilean flag to me. Kenley was safe this week.
Kenley
Michael immediately picked the Greece flag because of his Greek heritage and I expected him to utilize his expert draping techniques to make a very lovely gown. However, Michael was not safe from ridicule this week as Michael's design was too obvious, the draping was off and the judges felt that the big blue bow made the gown look like a Miss Universe Pageant dress. The judges kept Michael safe this week.
Michael
Mondo selected the Jamaican flag and was the clear winner this week. The judges only criticized the back of Mondo's dress saying they felt the pattern was too "in your face", but I think the stripe is what made this dress special.
Mondo
Jerell made a crazy Indian costume this week, prompting me to make "What the hell, Jerell" my new Project Runway All Stars catch phrase. It was totally cringe worthy! I don't know whose bum Jerell kissed this week, but the judges kept him safe.
Jerell
Mila jumped outside of the box in creating an a-symmetrical hemmed dress inspired by the flag of Papua New Guinea (which was composed of very Mila-like colors).  I thought the dress managed to complete the challenge and constantly represent Mila's body of work, and although it was not my favorite dress nor my favorite Mila dress, I didn't think it was worthy of going home. However, the judges felt differently and sent Mila home. 
Mila
----------
aka. the Black light Challenge

Previously on Project Runway All Stars, the designers were asked to create a look utilizing technology and innovation by creating a look wired for light. The looks would be judged by guest judge Pharrell Williams and the winning look would be worn by one of his artists. Let's take a look at their designs.

Top
Mondo's dress had some seriously weird boobs, but that was the only aspect of this dress that was "avaunt guarde". To me, this dress was a disappointment for Mondo, but I'm glad the judges kept him safe. 
Mondo
Kenley kicked her designing up a notch by adding some black light reflective tape to her basic dress pattern to create a plaid and then added a lattice jacked up top. It was a likable outfit, but I still felt that Kenley should have gotten slapped on the wrist for not listening to the judges and using a different dress pattern. 
Kenley
Austin created a look inspired by the night sky. I was worried about Austin while he was in the workroom and worried that his look would be too dramatic and girly to impress the likes of Pharrell Williams, but Pharrell liked the outfit and awarded Austin with the win.

Austin
Bottom 

Michael really struggled with this challenge and created several different looks, finally choosing to sent the ninja look down the runway.  This look totally reminded me of a female Scorpion from the Mortal Combat video games and would have been more appropriate if this were a costume challenge. The judges also pointed out construction issues with the glow tape, and felt the glow belt and giant bow on the back were not figure flattering. It was a close call, but the judges kept him safe.

Michael
Jerell was inspired by tribal culture and the use of fiber optic lights and created a kookie, rave culture, tribal inspired monstrosity, which prompted me again to use my catchphrase "What the hell, Jerell" !? Thankfully, the judges had their heads on straight today, and the judges sent Jerell home.
Jerell
What did you think of these two episodes. Did you feel that Mila was wrongfully kicked out of episode 8? Did you think the judges picked the right winners? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Impulse Purchases

I had a hugely stressful week last week (we're talking terribly long days, clients in crisis, fear of job loss...and I caught a cold). So, after surviving last week's work week, I decided to do some impulse shopping at Target (aka. Tar-Jay) to reward myself. Here's what I picked up:


1) I managed to get my hands on the Jason Wu for Target dot print dress in Cream. The fabric is kind of thin, so I'll have to get a good white slip before I wear this out in the summer.


2) The moment I laid eyes on this red and black polka dot cuffed blazer, it was love at first sight.



3) I've been seeing a lot of neon and florescent colors popping up on trend lists for Spring and Summer 2012, so I was happy to spot this florescent satchel at Target that was just my style.

ASOS scarf- similar to leopard and chain print scarf


4) I picked up a very similar looking black and read leopard print scarf with a chain print boarder at Target to class up my outfits.

Have you been to Target lately? Found any good buys for spring/summer? Let me know in the comments below.

Note: I was in no way reimbursed by Target for this post. I just simply wished to share my recent purchases with my lovely readers.

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