Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010 Attire

I'm often at a loss for what to wear on New Year's Eve. (As evidenced last year... I needed your help choosing my outfit!)

So I was excited to see some stylish New Year's Eve attire ideas on one of my favorite style blogs, FabSugar. The looks range from 70s glam and Brazilian bombshell to Mad Men chic and classic glam. I identified with Jennifer Connelly's updated, feminine tuxedo style.

As seen here on

I'm going to use Jennifer's look as inspiration, using items already in my closet. Will post pictures in the New Year*!

(Here's more coverage of Jennifer's look on Shopping the Trend.)

What are you wearing tonight? Everyone be safe and enjoy ringing in 2011!


*Speaking of the New Year, I'll have an exciting announcement (and some giveaways to accompany) in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini Review: Herstyler Curling Rod

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I sometimes am challenged to go Christmas shopping without doing a little shopping for myself. Color me guilty — sorry!

One thing I'd been eyeing is a curling rod.

A curling rod is like a curling iron but without that pesky clip/arm piece. They are essentially ceramic or metal shafts that you wrap your hair around (then you hold the ends of your hair using a heat-resistant glove). My 20-year-old brother Paul told me about the wonders of the curling rod on a jaunt to ULTA a few weeks ago. He told me he has several thick-haired girlfriends who own them, and that they can curl their whole heads in under 10 minutes with the magical wand.

I've been googling and Amazon stalking ever since. I finally pulled the trigger at a hair appointment last weekend while spilling all the tool's deets to my stylist.

One reason I thought I'd be a good candidate for a curling rod is that I have naturally wavy (but not truly curly) hair. For some strange reason, the hair from my ears up doesn't really have much body or curl. I hoped the curling rod could give me some additional oomph.

Oh, and I forgot to mention another key element: usability. Some gals have a knack for doing hair. I am not one of those girls. I ride the short bus when it comes to doing my own hair or makeup. I'd heard the curling rod is less complicated/more user-friendly than it's curling iron cousin because you aren't trying to navigate your hair around the arm/clip of the curling iron.

Bleh semi curly hair (though I must say I'm very happy with the recent cut and color job I got with my girl Mary Verilli last weekend... highlights/lowlights with some fun chocolate foils underneath).


And this photo has nothing to do with this blog post but check out my beautiful sister and mom. :)

Okay, fast forward about eight minutes. I gave my hair a light hair spray then wrapped one or two-inch chunks of of hair around the barrel (I chose to curl under). You hold the end of your hair to the hot barrel using the heat-resistant glove. Hold for 10-15 seconds or until very hot, then release.


Voila! Because we were running late for the wrong holiday party (see post about that here) and because my hair has some natural wave in it anyway, I chose to only curl the front/top of my head. But given the time commitment, I would estimate it would only take another 5-10 minutes to do the rest of my head.

The good:
  • Curling rod gets super hot, fast
  • Construction seems durable
  • Heat resistant glove included
  • Amazon vendors ship quick so you can have this in-hand within 2-3 days
  • Easy, foolproof way to give yourself beachy waves or fun curls
The not totally awesome:
  • Best curling rod with decent reviews is $50 plus shipping (that's not awful but I wished there had been a more budget friendly option)
  • Kits that include more sizes of barrels (so your curls aren't all the same size) are more expensive
All in all, I'd vote this to be a win.

Do you have a curling rod? What do you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Shoe is Where the Fun Is

I'm helping with an executive meeting this week and needed to keep my wardrobe relatively tame and professional. I'm lucky that that we aren't business professional (i.e., suits only) or else it would make dressing creatively much more challenging.

So I chose a navy ruffly top, a black cardigan and black pants for today (I am a believer in navy and black going together just fine). But to keep things interesting, I dusted off a pair of fun shoes for the day.

What I like about these shoes:
  • Professional silhouette/shape (2.5 inch heels, closed toe... pretty much a classic pump shape-wise)
  • Funky design (if you can't tell from the iPhone photos, they're navy, light blue and light aqua)
  • A price I couldn't turn down (these were a Goodwill find - $4 I think)

And there you have it: A fun but appropriate shoe is a great way to de-boring-ize work look.

What are your go-to "fun" shoes?


p.s. I can't wait to take my friend Erica out on one of her first real thrifting excursions. Save the date (first full weekend in January), bb. You're about to be converted!

Oh, and BTW, for you Atlanta fancy handbag mavens... this is a pretty sweet deal:

Brahmin (New England-based, quality handbag company) will be supporting the Make-A-Wish foundation this year by hosting a holiday shopping day at their Lenox Mall store. This Friday, December 10th from 10:00 am-10:00 pm shoppers can stop by the Brahmin handbag store at Lenox Mall to purchase $5.00 donation coupons to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Atlanta. For every $5.00 donation, customers will receive a 20% discount off any full priced item in the Brahmin store. (Caveat: discount can only be used that day.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Etiquette: Not a Trend

'Tis the season for holiday dinner parties, having the boss over for dinner and being on our best behavior (Santa's watching, right)?

Dinner settings may be more casual than they were in our grandparents' days, but that doesn't mean we should let manners and dining etiquette fall by the wayside. Not to mention it's an honest truth that your dining and dressing can give lasting impressions — good or bad.

Here are a few things that are top-of-mind this time of year:

On eating:
  • Put your napkin in your lap immediately upon sitting down or just after your drink arrives
  • If someone asks you to pass the salt, pass both the salt and the pepper (like a bride and groom, they go together)
  • Don't salt your food until after you taste it (otherwise how can you know it needs salt? Not to mention you could offend the chef or host)
  • If you absolutely have to spit something out (like an olive pit), remove it from your mouth the same way you put it in your mouth (fork, fingers, etc.) — it's more discrete that way.
  • If you're served ice water or iced tea with a lemon wedge on the glass rim, put the lemon in the glass or take it off the glass altogether. This is one of the things that doesn't have a good explanation... just go with it.
  • Cut only one piece of food at a time (e.g., steak, chicken)
On party etiquette:
  • RSVP. Hosts need to know headcounts for food, drinks, seating, etc. RSVP isn't synonymous with regrets; RSVP means to tell the host if you're coming or if you're not.
  • Even when a dinner party host tells you not to bring anything to their party, consider bringing a bottle of wine for their home. If they aren't drinkers, consider a dessert or maybe even an ornament.
  • Make proper introductions so your date doesn't feel left out of a conversation; when you can tell your date is having trouble remembering a name so he/she can introduce you, step in to save them from the awkwardness of forgetting a name and introduce yourself quickly
On dressing/attire:
  • You don't want to be the most casually dressed person in the room at a holiday party — but you don't want to be overdressed either... talk to your friends to get a feel for what they're wearing
  • Society is slowly becoming more open to jeans at dressy events, but ask yourself if you want to be the one pushing the "are jeans appropriate?" envelope
  • And please don't wear white or off-white or anything like it to the winter weddings you're attending (or any weddings for that matter); especially in the south, most brides are offended when they see a wedding attendee donning white — it competes with the bride. This is debated among etiquette-istas but I wouldn't want to risk offending a bride. Just read the comments on that post)

What etiquette/traditions do you follow? What do you think is outdated?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Embracing the Fall

I much prefer fall and winter clothes over summer.

I don't know... there's something about the options of layering, scarves, denim, boots and bundling up that I gravitate toward. Sundresses and shorts just aren't my thing.

  • Black tee from Old Navy ($10)
  • Polyester (?) bandana-style scarf from Kohl's (gift from my mom last Christmas)
  • Bright blue, lightweight scarf (gifted by my good friend Lauren)
  • Banana Republic cropped jeans I found at Last Chance (Decatur, Ga.)... love these jeans and wish I could find them in size long at a Banana Store. They're great jeans.
  • Arturo Chiang boots gifted by my in-laws last Christmas and blogged about here

Oh, and for readers in Atlanta/Decatur, here's an event next Sat you could check out between football games or before you head out for dinner:

Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool's 2010 Auction Jubilee is Saturday, November 13th from 3 to 6 p.m. at All Souls Fellowship in Decatur.

The silent auction will feature many exceptional items including original art from local artists, unique hand-crafted apparel and gifts, memberships, vacation home rentals, gift certificates and retail items from Decatur and Intown
Atlanta's favorite stores and restaurants and much more!

Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool's Auction Jubilee is a casual, family-friendly event with something to interest everyone. There will be food, fun and entertainment including children's activities and live music.

The proceeds from this auction will benefit the special projects for OCP, including its tuition assistance program. Admission to the Auction Jubilee is free. Pre-register to bid during the event at For questions or to make a donation to the silent auction, please call 404-370-0257 or email


ABOUT OCP: Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool (OCP) is a nonprofit, parent-teacher cooperative established in 2005. The school was founded with the goal of creating an ethnically, culturally and economically diverse community that is united through its commitment to parental involvement in education.
Its student body has close ties with many area neighborhoods, such as Candler Park, Lake Claire, Druid Hills, Inman Park, Kirkwood, Oakhurst and Winnona Park.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Currently Loving...

Gold jewelry...

Bolder, edgier and brighter than its silver counterpart, gold (or faux gold in this case) is being mixed into my wardrobe a lot these days. It's also a good contrast with how much grey/black/dark brown we start wearing once the cooler months roll around.

Where to find it? eBay (use search term "gold costume jewelry") and local thrift stores are good (and affordable) places to start.

Charm necklace from some thrift store in Goleta, California (near Santa Barbara) for $3. Crystal and faux gold pendant neclace from eBay for about $10.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Audience Participation Friday: Black and White

It's time to publish you gals' outfits for Audience Participation Friday!


Digging Kate's slouch boots, argyle skirt and black top. Perf for fall, and for being comfortable and cute at work. (Kate, hope you enjoyed Nebraska!)

Here Erica is doing her best to put on her shoe after a fun night out. Love the houndstooth mini-shorts, black tights and simple black tank. The black rose in the hair is a nice touch!

"So as you know, I have to wear suits to work. I have black suits and could have gone with a boring black suit & white top. But since it's been atypically warm I decided to sport my favorite black and white dress, topped off with a black blazer for the office. The dress is by Donna Rico. I got it at Lord and Taylor on sale and it arguably has the best cost-per-wear ratio of anything in my closer. I've worn it to a wedding, graduation, work, and play. I'll probably be donning it again for my Godson's Christening in the spring if I don't find anything else. As for the blazer, it was part of a suit I purchased at Filene's Basement. It's been reworked into many outfits where a blazer is necessary. I think I've coupled it with almost every skirt in my closet at some point or another." - Mb

(I continue to be amazed at how Miz Mb keeps her business profesh look interesting and true to her fun and funky personality. And yes! A black blazer is a closet-must!)


Goodwill tee ($3), Express pencil skirt ($35ish), elastic belt from Mercedes Bien in D.C. ($18ish). Hand-me-down shoes from Miz Mb. This photo kind of makes me miss my hair short... I'm so torn!

I pulled out a few oldies. Needless to say, black and white are staples in my wardrobe (though I have more black than white... too clumsy for white).

Button up from Last Chance (Decatur) - $4, same elastic belt as above, Old Navy rayon dress from Goodwill ($5), green faux crocodile loafers were $14ish at Ross Dress for Less.

Thanks for your participation, ladies!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Business Casual Doesn't Have to be Business Boring"

"I guess business casual doesn't have to be business boring."

That's what an office mate said to me last Wednesday when I wore this outfit to work. And I agree; I mean, the office dress code of conduct isn't a mandate to wear sweater sets and lame-o slacks.

To be fair, the tights look more demure (more raspberry and opaque) than they do in this photo.

p.s. Don't forget about the latest Audience Participation Friday. Send me your best black and white get-up by 10pm tonight!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My First Look: Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar

When a restaurant publicist invites a host of bloggers to a social media/journalist preview night, it's a gamble.

On one hand, the restaurant is inviting a host of influencers into the building and footing the bill, which may lead to good reviews (hobby bloggers like free food!). On the flip side, a bad night of service could mean botched reviews all over the interwebs (comped meal or not).

Somewhat luckily, my experience landed somewhere in the middle.

First impressions:
  • The slightly off-the-beaten path location (City Walk in Sandy Springs) may deter street traffic
  • Friendly service (it was clear our waitress was out to impress)
  • Casual interior that doesn't over-do the seafood house theme (read: I didn't feel like I was in Joe's Crab Shack)
  • According to my date, the funky, modern features give the place a touch of class
  • Music was right on (just the right level to provide good ambiance)
But Tin Can... points off for the comic sans. I mean, it is a polarizing font!

First we ordered drinks. I decided to check out the beer menu (Abita Amber to start) where my foxy date took a chance and ordered a bloody mary (good test of bar staff). My date reported the bloody mary was satisfactory (complete with a thumbs up). Not your run-of-the-mill tomato juice with vodka, this thing packed heat, horseradish, Worcestershire and all the goodies. I tasted and approved.

Pretty sure I had the cutest date in the bar — enter friend Maria, a fellow food and drink enjoyer.

As far as the beer menu goes, you've got a pretty good selection with really reasonable prices. $2.50 each "Trailer Trash Brews:" Coors Original, Miller High Life, PBR, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee. "Blue Collar Beer" ($3.75): Michelob Ultra, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bud Light, Bud, Rolling Rock, Yuengling. $4.50 "Georgia Crafts:" Sweet Water 420, Sweet Water Sch'wheat, Sweet Water Georgia Brown, Terrapin Rye, Terrapin Golden, Terrapin IPA Hopsecutioner, Red Brick Pale Ale, Peachtree Pale Ale, Laughing Skull. Lastly, the "White Collar Craft Beer" offerings ($5) each: Abita Amber, Session Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Blue Moon, Shiner Bock, South Hampton Double White, Fat Tire, Leinenkugel October Fest, Sam Adams, Rogue Mocha Dark Ale, Guinness.

In part to my brother Ben, I've become mildly beer snobby. I would recommend Tin Can put a few more interesting beers on its premium craft beer list. Craft beer is so big lately that Abita and Guinness are a far cry from the Ommegangs, Bell's, Dales, Smuttynoses, etc. that Atlantans have been so spoiled with.

We were excited to order appetizers. After long days at our respective offices, oysters were sounding pretty dandy. Not to mention we had to order oysters if we were at a freaking oyster house.

Oysters Rockafella and raw oysters on the half shell were just what the doctor ordered. Spinachy, salty and laced with garlic, cracker crumbs and a little heat, these baked oysters were mighty fine. In fact, due to their spinachy-ness, these suckers were among Maria's favorite dishes for the evening. (6 good-sized oysters for $9)

To be honest, I usually eat raw oysters because other people are doing it. I can't say I crave the slippery mollusk, but I do feel cooler or tougher after I eat one. The (homemade?) cocktail sauce was fine but I prefer hot sauce — and a cracker — with mine. Like with the Rockafellas, these oysters were decently sized (and $4.5 for 6 - really reasonable).

I was really torn when it came to ordering my entree. The Thai mussels (cilantro, mint, curry, coconut milk, cream, lemons, ginger, chili paste) were really calling my name — but I eventually settled on a platter (my choice of 3 starters).

Pictured here: Ahi Tuna Ceviche, Conch Fritters, Crawfish Tails and Grits.

Tuna tasted fresh but was slightly overpowered by the jalepenos in the ceviche. Simpler would be better so the tuna could be the star of the show. The crawfish tails were salty but enjoyable — and I could have used a healthy sprinkling of chili flakes and sharp white cheddar in the grits (blame that on me not being born southern; plain grits just aren't enough for me — load 'em up!). The conch fritters were my favorite part of the platter. Light, fluffy, savory and sweet, the spheres of battered goodness are reminiscent of the Porter Beer Bar hushpuppies I like so much. I tasted hints of cinnamon and cumin. Yum chipotle mayo dipping sauce as well.

Points for the faux newspaper tissue in the fish baskets — cute!

Maria opted for a "catch of the day" entree (fish + two sides): mahi mahi with a sweet chili sauce glaze. The chili glaze came on the side versus on the fish but that was cool, too. The fish was as a whole tender and flaky. The okra was not unlike your standard meat-and-three-okra: breaded, a little gooey and a little mealy. The side salad was not your standard iceberg. "The bleu cheese, pecans and field greens were a good surprise," Maria said.

(Other entrees not mentioned: soups, entree-sized salads, stews, po-boys, peel-and-eat shrimp, fish baskets, paella, BBQ and chicken sandwiches.)

We considered walking down the row to the nearby Baskin Robbins for a cone but couldn't resist a thick slice of key lime pie. Despite being stuffed to the max, I happily made room for this creamy, tart slice of deliciousness. 4/5 stars on the dessert. Good cap on the meal. (Note: there's also a Good Humor ice cream cooler in the dining room to select from.)

Our total bill would have been about $60 for two starters, two entrees, three drinks total (Maria's bloody mary and my two beers) and a dessert. That is damn reasonable for fresh seafood and a good, laid-back atmosphere. I also appreciate the wide and varied menu — something for everybody.

I think Tin Can is going to be alright. And for its first week, the place seemed to be cranking food out pretty well. There may be some flavor/seasoning things to work through, but a reasonably priced (and varied) menu will keep a steady flow of customers. I will be back, likely for a happy hour where I can enjoy affordable oyster appetizers, cold beers and maybe some more of those conch fritters.

Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar

(404) 497-9997

Sandy Springs
227 Sandy Springs Pl NE, Ste 502
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Audience Participation Friday: Send Me Your Best Black and White

Image from

Image from

We are long overdue, my friends, for an Audience Participation Friday!

Taking a tip from my girl Olivia, I want to see your best Black and White.

Put together your best black and white get up (creative or conservative, fresh or funky, work approp or night-out-on-the-town) -- and I'll publish your photos here on the ole bloggy blog.

Send photos, and if possible name brands and prices, by 10pm Wednesday, Oct 27. I'll publish the post Friday, Oct 29. E-mail me here.

That gives you a week to put something together, BBs. Have fun!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Good Lunch is Hard to Find (Sandy Springs/Dunwoody Edition)

EL TACO VELOZ (Roswell Rd. location)

Someone created a Yammer network for my employer recently (it's a social network that connects you to other people within your company). It has functionality for status updates, sharing links, creating a profile, etc., etc., similar to Facebook.

Since I'm almost always thinking about food, I publicly posted the question, "Does anyone have any good food recommendations around here?" I got several good leads.

The first place I wanted to check out was El Taco Veloz on Roswell Road. The taqueria came highly recommended by a colleague of Hispanic descent, so I had a better feeling about it compared to your run-of-the-mill taco stand. I believe he described the joint as "authentic and cheap." Where do I sign up?

I'm pretty sure Taco Veloz was a Pizza Hut, Long John Silver or KFC 25 years ago, with the signage and booths painted over 14 years ago when Taco Veloz took over the space.

We approached the counter and Chad expressed his excitement that they had beef tongue on the menu. I was feeling a little less adventurous (but still open to a bite of Chad's) so I went with the carne asada (steak) burrito counterpart to his beef tongue.

I dug into the salsa bar (think like Willies') and also snagged a side of sour cream to slather on my handheld lunch. We apparently arrived just in time. As we were biting into our comida, the lines grew long with Taco Veloz believers. My steak had good flavor but was a teeny bit on the chewy side. My tortilla was also a little dry (I feared picking it up would = burrito juice on my dress) but all in all, the burrito was tasty and not too filling. The beans were actually really tasty — creamy and cheesy. (Gah, my sleepiness is inhibiting my ability to describe food very well tonight...). Chad reported that the beef tongue was very tender and well-seasoned, which was a pleasant surprise considering it's often overcooked.

The total for two burritos, two sides of beans and a coke? About $15. Score!

I enjoyed the meal and didn't mind the atmosphere, but I can't say Taco Veloz totally swept me off my feat on this first jaunt. Regardless, for the price and the interesting menu options, I'll be back to give this place another chance.

See what others are saying about Taco Veloz on Yelp!

Is Chad saying that Taco Veloz is number 1?

5670 Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA 30342-1158(404) 252-5100


A few weeks ago, I was struggling to find a convenient location to meet a professional contact for lunch. She works off Delk Road in Marietta; I'm basically at 285 and 400 (Perimeter). When I landed on information for Sushi Huku off Powers Ferry, I thought I'd found something promising.

My fellow diner and I both chose bento boxes. We had a long list of combinations we could customize our bento boxes with. I chose veggie tempura and spicy tuna as my two "mains" and elected to have a side salad over soup. The box also came with sticky rice and a few french fries (?).

I don't want to spend a tremendous amount of time on this post, so I'll just say that the meal was very enjoyable and fresh-tasting. (1 bento box - $13). If you're a fan of Nakato but don't mind no-frills dining rooms, you ought to check out Sushi Huku. Or if you have a colleague or friend that loves Asian food but hasn't ventured far from home, knowing about this little gem may help you earn some points. I'd like to come back some night after work for sake and a variety of sushi.

I wouldn't know for sure, but I would think that having a Japanese language menu option gives them some points for authenticity.

See what [good things] people are saying about Sushi Huku on

6300 Powers Ferry Rd NW # 800
Atlanta, GA 30339-2961
(770) 956-9559

Wednesday night I will be checking out the Tin Can Fish House and Oyster Bar with my lovely lady friend Maria.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You May Be Thinking It... But I'm Going to Go Ahead and Say It

When I go Christmas shopping, I can't help but start making a little wish list of my own. Here are some things currently on my radar.


I would loooove to have a Gorillapod. It's a flexible, malleable tripod. As in you-can-wrap-it-around-a-tree-branch flexible. How cool is that? And the price is right at $18 - $25 bucks.

Grey slouch boots

Digging these gray Steve Madden slouch boots (about $50). Gray is such a good neutral. Can't you just picture these with black leggings and a long sweater? Maybe even a lightweight, colorful scarf? Love. (I already ordered some in brown suede but would also love a grey pair to replace a pair of expensive ones I totally wore out. Am I bad?) My last pair was "faux suede" and lasted a long time, so I wouldn't be afraid to do manmade again.

Sturdy, leather bag that matches almost anything

This Tignanello Hobo (leather) is pretty budget friendly at $89 (via

Coach has some fabulous bags. This is the "Kristen Leather Hobo Bag." The price is so over what I would spend on a bag that I can't even talk about it. But I do love the shape, the size and the color.

Kindle light

Love me the Kindle the hubs got me two years ago. Unfortunately, though, the mini maglite I've been using to light it after he goes to sleep finally kicked the bucket on me. This one is by Belkin (via for $21.

Military-inspired jacket or blazer

I'm digging this one from OakNYC (out of my usual price range at $152 but it's really feminine, playful and rugged all at once. Would love to find one like this at a better price point).

This one is by Ambition and is $60 on What I like about this one is that it could go easily with jeans, pleated shorts or slacks (and be work approp.).

A yummy fragrance

A girl sitting next to me at the movie theater was wearing this. After the movie, I HAD to ask her what she was wearing. Whether I seemed crazy or not, at least now I know the name of this fab scent. Amazing Grace by Philosophy. $40 for 2 ounces.

Tennis Shoes

These Reebok Rematch shoes are cute, and they happen to be on sale for $49 on the Tennis-Warehouse site. Hell, I've been playing tennis in generic athletic shoes for the past few months, so I wouldn't be picky about the brand.

Trash Can

Odd thing to have on my wish list, right? We have a cheap, blue Rubbermaid tall kitchen trash can and I can't wait for it to become trash itself. Loving this iTouchless 13-gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can (via for $59.99)

Take Two: Zenni Optical Shades

After my eyeglasses faux pas a few weeks ago, I decided to try again to order my prescription sunglasses from Zenni Optical. (Find the Zenni Optical Web site here).

While I'm happy with the tinted shades, I have to admit I kind of like the untinted glasses better. Overall though, for $20, I'm a happy (and no-longer-squinting-in-the-sunlight) girl. Plus, the not totally opaque amber lenses feel vintagey to me.

(As a reminder, here are the same frames, sans tinted lenses).