Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm singing in the rain...

The Texas dew has been coming down kind of heavy but I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Theory Fur coat, Joie tank, and Current Elliott boyfriend jeans

Michael Kors watch, Club Monaco gloves, and shoes I purchased from London's Heathrow airport (I cannot recall the name of the store)

Ciao chicas, till the new year:)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Observation of the week: Return of the Decolletage

About every four to five years, the world of fashion, pioneered by a "visionary" scion (in this case Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton), gets together and decides that the curves of a real woman is once again fashionable. Of course, what they usually consider a real woman, D-cup boobs, 24 inch waist, 32 inch hips on a 5'11" frame makes us all wonder what species we actually belong to- I guess the 1/2  Homo sapiens, 1/4 pecan pie and 1/4 bluebell vanilla ice- cream species is just as good as any for us real women to be a part of.

However, since I am somewhat flat chested, I have learned not to fall prey to the hoopla surrounding the different versions of Giselle that pops out during these epiphanies and have remained partial to the heroine sheik look ala Kate Moss or whatever shape Naomi Campbell falls under.

Unfortunately for moi, I have been unable to break free from the congo line this time around and have quickly become obsessed with this season's token "real" woman, Lara Stone.  Her pictorials for January's issue of Vogue were simply amazing and affirmed what men, LA housewives, and Hugh Hefner have known for decades; big boobs are great. Even though I am not blessed in that department, I salute all the big breasted women out there and hope in another four years, the return of the decolletage will be placed on a frame a little thicker than a 24 inch waist, thereby getting us closer to a world where carbs are allowed and photoshop is banished.
Until then, enjoy some of this season's "boobified" women as seen below

Lara Stone, January Issue of Vogue

Lara Stone with Husband, I am guessing he is a boob man!??  Love the dress

She is slowly growing on me...

She has already grown on me-My sis

PS: I predict 2011 will be the return of the derriere, not that it ever left thanks to the Kim K's and J Lo's of the entertainment world.  As for us straight figured women, I guess we had our time in the 90s.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Dress for the life you want, not the life you have"

After every shopping trip, I start to feel guilty about my purchases-even if I just bought one item.  Usually coinciding and throwing me deeper in this feeling of buyer's remorse is any segment out of CNN's Black in America series.  If you are familiar with the series, you will know that the journey down to the cave of self and financial doubt,  is an expedient one laced with Soledad's seemingly factual and  condemning voice.

Thanks to the series, I now believe that due to my minor "on sale" purchases, I will no longer have a retirement income, my unborn children's chance of receiving a stellar education and possibly having a trust fund like all other kids of a different race is out the window, and lastly, as an educated black woman, I will never be married-even though outside of the "Fear in America" segments, I am.

Usually, to escape my race's prophesied fate, I diligently study return policies and meditate on the teachings of Silas Marner (i.e Repeatedly saying to myself: I shall keep every penny I earn and not waste on frivolous wants from now on...). However, during my most recent studying and meditating session, a light permeated my trance and a voice, in the form of a Life time movie character, crooned, "dress for the life you want and not the life you have".

Well, as you can imagine, I crawled out as fast as I could with my battle wounds patched up by my new passport for grandeur-I purchased the following brilliance in that moment :)

CL's sparkly. This shoe deserves its own halo-I have an application out to Archangel Michael...

I paired it with one of my own designs for my Mum's 60th bday.

Close up of the material used in making the dress.  Material is referred to as African Lace
PS: I hate my bangs, ready for a change:(

Pictures: Courtesy of NLG Studios

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For fashion picture lovers and those with clear faces...

On my way to H&M for the Lanvin collection

H&M Skirt, American Apparel top, and Dior belt.  Necklace is from Express circa 2002

Our room at the Hotel de Crillon (Paris), an excellent place to stay if you are ever in the area.

Lanvin window display for H&M

For dinner that night, I just changed my shirt to an animal print scarf and headed out the door-was having a very lazy fashion night.

D&G wool Jacket

As promised; Dark Skinned Girls- Part deux

In hopes of eliminating my face from the genus of tortoise species, I am currently engaging the following acne remedies:
1) The Clarisonic Mia brush- the equivalent of a Sonicare toothbrush for your face.  It leaves your face feeling cleaner than just washing with your hands or a wash cloth.  I love!
2) Water-I have been drinking insane amounts.  By insane, I mean 4-5 bottles a day.  You can increase this amount; however, I must warn you-you will probably end up reciting "gotta go, gotta go, gotta go" at inopportune times.
3) Try snacking on grapes or cherries daily-I swear by this.
4) The control element of this experiment was Proactiv-I used it as my cleanser with the Clarisonic brush and also used it before the brush so I am currently not attributing any of my improvement to it.

Below are some before and after pictures (not as good as Proactiv commercials but definitely more truthful)

Before Picture

After pictures

My forehead looks a lot better since the Mia

My new friend

Please do not hesitate to let me know of any tricks up your sleeve when dealing with acne/blemishes.  Sharing is caring:)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Likable Odometer

Born with a good amount of self-confidence, an apparent trait in most people of African descent, I find it necessary to sporadically engage in confidence diffusers in order to successfully inhabit our world of encouraged self-loathing.  
My confidence diffuser of choice usually arrives promptly, every month, in the form of my Vogue subscription.   However, there are some moments in life, like in December, when the Victoria Secret fashion show comes on television, or anytime Jolie, Berry, or Ms. Knowles decide to increase their public appearances, where, I unwillingly get more than my monthly dose of self confidence diffuser and slip right into an overdose state of self loathing.   

Per societal norms, my plunge into self hatred is in direct relation to how much I am liked by others.  The more self doubt I cultivate in a given period, the more I am liked. It is understandable, really, who wants to have lunch with the Lil Kim's (circa early 2000) and Kardashians (circa now) of the world? An oversized ego just does not go well with a Caesar salad.

This has led to an addiction of sorts where I go chasing after additional confidence diffusers.  My current relapse was when I agreed to attend the famous French cabaret show at LIDO in the Champs- Elysees.  Lessons learned are listed below and in no particular order:

1) Throwing one's legs high up in the air so it can touch your nose or your neighbor's nose is a true sign of sexiness-this action must be repeated over a hundred times for any production where you want to come out on top.  Be it foreplay, an argument with your significant other, or a job interview; a leg up in the air is always a portal to upcommance.  I am doomed since I can barely touch my toes.
2)  My stomach is not ideal and sucking in is a waste of energy; this part of the human anatomy can actually be concave without the help of photoshop so there is no use in trying
3) My breasts are also not ideal.  I never gave this a lot of thought but I bet a man my age has probably seen more breasts than I have-I am a woman, I do not go around looking at breasts.  It was this lack of experience that had me thinking I had a decent rack.  Thanks to LIDO and the endless topless French women, I am now acutely aware of my shortcomings
4) The French will always win in fashion 

Please do not worry about my welfare as I am now extremely popular with a highly coveted social life.  Also, as  someone who never sees the glass as half empty, I learned at this production that singing is overrated. If one can successfully apply red lipstick and mimmick the perfect pout, you can one day headline your own cabaret show.  I have been practicing ever since- I need my "mojo" back.  Of course, this means I will slip down on the likable odometer and will have to start the cycle over again.

For the occasion, I wore a red Dior dress and a vintage snake belt

Cheesing, I had no idea what was in store for me

Paired dress with Louboutin pumps

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last day in Paris

One of my favorite movies, Pretty Woman, contains one of what I consider the scariest things that could happen to me in a lifetime-going to a designer store and being treated like Vivian when she was without her Rodeo passport, Edward-ABSOLUTELY HEART WRENCHING.  I feel a tear coming just thinking about that scene, "nothing here is your size..."

As a result, I do not browse high-end stores, I only enter with the intent of purchasing and do all my "fashion browsing" online.   Since I was in no position to purchase anything during this trip, I did the next best thing.  After our last supper in Paris, I bribed my hubby with things I cannot divulge on this PG page to accompany me window shopping.  This worked perfectly in Paris because the window displays of all the high end stores were to die for.  I included my favorite, Hermes, with pics below of what I wore.  Hope you enjoy

For our last supper, I wore a Zara dress, vintage earrings and Max Mara boots.  The tailoring on this dress is exquisite, it allows one to eat and also helps in making your stomach look flat (Yes, ladies, Christmas arrived early in the form of Paris' Zara).

Hermes window display, I could live in this store.  It sure beats the hell out of some of the Parisian hotels...

I braced the freezing weather so you can have a better look at the dress.  I know my eyes look like I am pretending to be sober and about to walk the dreaded line, but oh well...
I am standing in front of la Madeleine, a Greek temple located up the Rue Royale from the Place de la Concorde

Day time view standing on the steps of La madeleine

Another Hermes display; I have yet to do my research on this lovely bag but I am sure it is definitely worth a car note

Saturday, November 27, 2010

ooo lala!

The hubby and I decided to visit Paris for Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, it is so cold out here I am unable to stalk fashionistas and post their pics.  The city is all bundled up.  It seems like navy blue, black and sometimes fur coats paired with knee-high riding boots is the Parisian uniform. I tried going out without bundling but ended up not being able to give up warmth for fashion, see my progress below...

Dress and belt from Zara

Still cold, boots from Max Mara

I was reminded that it was not your fault I was freezing so I should try smiling.  Had to scream, since my mouth was frozen shut

Finally, bundled up ala the whole of Paris...

If you think I am making this up, check out the onlookers-all bundled!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dolly's 9-5

This play is currently in Houston and since I related to the movie, well let me rephrase, I currently relate to the movie with minor adjustments, I decided to be in the audience.  Minor adjustments include, but not limited to: 
1) Pour myself a JUG of ambition
2) Refill a hundred times because it never quite does the job
3) Working, 9-7ish
4) Feel guilty if I work 9-5 on any other day than Friday
5) Promotion!?!?!!?!? possible but not without a job change or a penchant to working reminiscent of Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada. On this note, why is it that in movies, every time a woman gets a promotion she has given up her life to earn it and a man just gets it for existing!!?!?!!??!!? 
6) Happy hour is a must; with the exception of the "doobie" scene, I do not recall them having enough drinking time as required in my work week 
7) Bosses are not blatantly disgusting-although I have heard stories...
8) Women currently have impressive titles.  Unfortunately, we also have to sit through Friday afternoon meetings and experience de ja vu because we are still discussing items that were on the previous four agendas or hear phrases such as "let us table this" or let us get back to this offline".  If I am here, damn it, let us just finish it 

Let us circle back (also a worthless friday meeting phrase) to the discussion at hand, I just love the backwards barbie in charge of this play.  For the occasion, I wore a black Milly dress, that reminded me of Paris-I meant Paris, TX so no harsh judgement

Black Milly dress; I paired it with my Aldo necklace and a vintage hat

Giuseppe zanotti boots

I pinned the Aldo necklace to the sleeve of the dress to give it a bib like effect.

Hope you enjoyed:)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Latest bargain find

Tip of the week- make it a point to visit at least one CRT (consignment/resale/thrift store) before a major shopping trip. If you are lucky, you might starve off spending loads of money at the mall by finding something as magnificent as this 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent dress for less than half the original price.  Miracles do happen:)

I took my new find out for Sushi.  I could not really have Italian or anything substantial in this dress for fear of busting out...

I wore a bracelet as an anklet to jazz up my dainty gold strappy sandals.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A letter to Mr. Lagerfeld

Dear Kal, 
I am a woman of color so in love with your brand and designs, my part time job, albeit to no avail, is researching ways to have my paychecks directly deposted into your company's bank account.  So as not to discard me as someone living in the clouds before I even begin, I am painfully aware that it will take multiple pay days for me to afford any of your clothes. Thank heavens some of your purses are missing the extra zeros prevalent in your evening wear and couture dresses.  I will make a terrible debtor's jail bird.  

So, with the amount of devotion I have for all things Chanel, I was gravely disappointed when you filled your shows with only white models and made the following statement, "there are no models who are women of color in my show because I want all the models to look similar so that all eyes are focused on the clothes"?  Would it be too much to ask that you do not insult me and other women of color who adore and spend their money on your brand?  And just a side note, a beautiful woman commands attention due to her beauty alone. And it is this attention that sheds light on the clothes she wears.  As we all know, beauty knows no color, so having beautiful women regardless of color, showing your clothes should be the key goal in your fashion shows.
I am clearly not on your speed dial or your FB friend, but If you can please do me this little favor-show less bigotry and more class.  

Granted-- to keep your white shirts stout and proud, you have singlehandedly kept the starching industry in business for all these years; so another "charitable act" might be too much to ask of you.  In any case, please try harder Kal. You owe it to all the rappers that have made your love of bling "street".  More importantly, I am really close to succeeding in my quest for making you the sole recipient of my earnings, hence, I would appreciate it if you do not insist on making a fool out of me:) Thank you bunches!!

Ava Drake


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Back up Plan????

So this morning, as I rolled out of bed and my hip connected with the wood floors- an enacted form of shock therapy highly recommended for use in one's waking up process- I started to wonder why me, a self proclaimed right brainer, had a life that channeled Dolly Parton's 9-5 instead of Springsteen's Glory Days?  My profession, a Corporate Accountant, is a testament that God indeed has a sense of humor.  I am blessed or cursed with an innate inability to add without the help of a machine and possess a serious case of unrequited love for all of life's  frivolities.  So with me constantly fighting allergic reactions due to fluorescent light, stark carpets, and unnecessary smiles before sun down; I just had to wonder why my fall back plan is now my life. 

As an African child, an education that leads one to become a  Doctor, Nurse, PHD carrying Professor (the title Doctor is mandatory if this route is chosen ) , Engineer, and just recently added to the list a Corporate Lawyer or Accountant, is the only accepted choice for one's future.  An African's notion of education must not be confused with that of North America or Europe's.  The Arts is not considered a viable educational choice and therefore a career in this field is highly discouraged; there will be no "Save the Music" campaign going on in Africa anytime soon and aspirations to be a writer, movie star, model, athlete, or a fashion designer are equivalent to a child signing their parent's death certificate.

I am not exactly sure why most African parents feel this way, but I came up with one plausible answer.  While American parents on the same caliber as African parents are pushing their kids to be that "one in a million", our parents are pushing us toward the fool proof choices in life.  This of course is highly commendable if one is to take it at face value.   However, I sometimes feel that our parents are choosing this form of parenting because they are fresh of the heels of scraping  knees and elbows just to get the bare minimum offered.  This form of black tax that our parents and most of us are still encountering has resulted in parents curtailing any delusions of grandeur a child might have thereby limiting how high one can fly.  With this type of upbringing, most of us start on a fall back career in hopes of multi tasking our way to our dream career.    

Unfortunately, we are only allotted one life in this journey. So, while I have been busy working on a fall back career, a chance of me possibly finding a job that agrees with my personality is slowly disappearing.  Forget what everyone keeps telling you; spunkiness, a direct product of innocence, does not last.  I am starting to believe that back up plans, like the back up guy prominent in most of my failed relationships is the unsung smoking mirror of my adult life.   

Since multi-tasking life as a whole is not a gift most of us have been granted,  I now wonder if I should engage in extreme shock therapy and give up my back up plan.  Just like my enacted hip bone to wood floor shock therapy, would life be a lot clearer if I lived it for only the things I know I want?  No back up plans, just the plan? Would I have skipped my quarter life crises? Could I be happy living on Art and Fashion alone? Of course skipping the back up plan will make affording this seasons Burberry python thigh-high boots impossible.

I must state the fear all unsatisfied young professionals know but choose to ignore, I am not entirely sure we truly can have it all. So, what gives? 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Observations of the week


 Beyonce seems like a woman that possesses a decent amount of self awareness.  So it just amazes me that she chooses to kill the senses of her avid followers by being in movies.  I am definitely not obsessed with her acting chops and can definitely fight the temptation to witness her prominent unwavering accent present in all her movies. With that said, Beyonce, like Carrie Bradshaw and shoes, KNOWS her weave.  I doubt I will be in line for food if this country ever experiences a famine, but I will definitely be in line for B's tell all book on weaves.  You might not agree with this hairstyle and might liken it to Paris Hilton's poodle, but I see sexy fiery curls.  I definitely cosign it.  Crimper here I come.

A couple of days ago I came across an article where Katie Holmes was giving fashion advice alongside her Holmes &Yang partner.  Yes, the lady that went out in public looking like above had the nerve to tell people what fashion is about.  But who are we to blame to her?  Fashion has now become the fall back career for all failed actresses, models, singers, reality stars and the Jersey Shore cast mates (their antics put them  in a genre separate from other reality stars).  I am highly enraged that Ms. My style has turned to shit ever since Victoria Beckham stopped dressing and limiting my food intake is now a voice we should be listening to.

Epitome of Chanel.  I want it all.

Is it me or is Naomi Watt looking better than a twenty-five year old? Someone please write a "tell all" on how to keep the quarter life glow sans surgery.  I nominate Halle Berry.

Lost in translation.  She does prove my earlier point of not getting on the fur vest bandwagon.  For now, only an Olsen is allowed to do this trend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Conversations by the coffee pot-10/06

Shit that I talk about with my friends during work hours....
A proposed two weeks notice written for me by a friend. Apparently, I have been complaining mercilessly about my ex job... 
"Dear Sirs,  
It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I offer this submission of formal resignation from my post as Senior Associate. After much soul searching, heavy imbibing of spirits and consultation with my spiritual advisor the esteemed Mahatma Rashneesh de Jesus, I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my professional journey elsewhere (or perhaps not at all).
Please do not take this resignation as a negative reflection upon your firm. I have enjoyed my experience here immensely (not), but I must be moving on. You see, I have never felt quite at home here – in this environment or this city. Seattleites are, well, both boring and passive (I know you’re seething inside at this insult, but you’ll likely just bottle it up and use it as inspiration for your next open mike poetry night at the local Starbucks). As a result, I must return to my homelands – Ghana where I can frolic barefoot in the open tundra of Northern Africa, free from the confines of society and functioning bathrooms – and Houston, where I can stuff face with all manner of fried foods while I wander the streets unmolested by lust-filled eyes in my favorite short shorts.
Do not try to stop me. Please, no passive-aggressive Seattle guilt trips. My decision has been made. My last day will be August 31st and I promise to show up every working day until then, although we all know I won’t be motivated to accomplish much other than attend the perfunctory “we’ll miss you” lunches and obligatory going away party (I prefer chocolate cake).
Ava Drake  
 P.S. Also, I am pregnant. Twins, actually. Please start the standard office pool to guess my due date. I’ll take my half of the pot up front since I won’t be here to collect. 
P.S.S. The baby is not Justin’s. I think it might actually be the offspring of one of your partners here (not sure which partner yet). If so, we can work the paternity payment into my final check."
Truly written by a somewhat witty person.  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ode to Summer

As we wave good bye to summer and the onslaught of catchy, vapid tunes that summers always provide (California Girls, anyone?), I just thought I should show some of my favorite and hopefully lasting summer wears. 

I was in an "All American" fashion mood this  summer so I lived in basics such as Levi cut offs and anything from American Apparel.  True to point, shirt is from American Apparel.  Shoes are by Balenciaga.   

Pardon my surroundings, just wanted you to see what the outfit looked like on a human:)

My "big pimping" or for that matter any rap video that comes out in the summer attire.  If you have not caught on,  this is my yacht outfit-if I ever get on one that is.  Shirt from H&M, shorts from Zara.

Vintage finds: Jumpsuit and gold snake belt.  Hat from Nordies 

I dressed up for below shoot to show the use of accessories, I hope you enjoy.

My top is an American Apparel body suit and the shorts, which embodies Prozac cheeriness, is by Erdem. 

I paired the outfit with tear drop pearl earrings, a gold strand necklace, and bangles.   I wanted to keep it light; but, alas, I am a whore for anything gaudy-I added the necklace and bangles.

Necklace is from ALDO and middle finger ring is vintage Chanel I got from an estate sale in Seattle.

Prada wedges.  I have always been of the belief that women should wear skinny sexy heels  and try not to buy into the clunky heel trend.  A woman's ankles are suppose to be dainty and not used as an anchor for one's footwear.  Now with that said, there are instances where chunky heels can be excused.    I purchased these because I had to go to a BBQ and  did not want to plow my friend's grass with my stilettos.  I enjoyed them and now have a modicum amount of respect for wedges.  

More views of the Prada Wedges.  I really love them and have replaced my flip flops with them-if you were not already aware, flip flops is not a viable option for any event that drinks, food, and titillating company is provided .  It is disrespectful to the host-one of my "isms" :) 

One of my own designs.  I prefer dresses in the summer to anything in the jean family.  Performing squats after every wash and secretly unbuttoning your jeans after a good meal is an "all American" notion I can do without in the summers.   

Close up of the material used in making this dress.  Bangle is from Mishu Boutique in Seattle.