Monday, March 31, 2008

what i want today: ruffle trench

not much to say about this darling except: perfect. spring. coat.

love the ruffle, the bright orange-red color, the 3/4 sleeve, and the flattering, fitted silhouette. i even love the price, which is much more reasonable than i was expecting.

nab it for $198 at jcrew.

Friday, March 28, 2008

etsy of the day: ceramic trinket buns

i am so in love with these little cupcake trinket boxes by EmmaLitten, i hardly know where to begin. i am forever lacking in a place to put my "daily wear" jewelry - it somehow ends up on the window ledge in my kitchen, thrown haphazardly on my nightstand, or on the itsy bitsy shelf above my bathroom sink. all really safe places to keep some of the more valuable things i own, don't you think?

but the reality is i'm just too plain lazy to seek out a better locale when the time comes. i'm thinking i can buy one for each of those locations i mentioned, and then i'll be so excited to use the ceramic trinket bun (don't you just love the name?) that i might actually put my valuables into something safe.

i also love (love) the idea of using these in a home office or craft area, as homes for paper clips, thumbtacks, and so on. the moral of the story? pick up a handful (they come in two sizes) and you'll find uses for them absolutely everywhere. and don't forget to check out the rest of emma's positively gorgeous wares...i want one of just about everything this amazing potter makes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

what i want today: rebecca ciccio handbags

i've been lusting after rebecca ciccio's gorgeous handbag line for the longest time, but can't seem to bring myself to invest in neutral colors for some reason. so when her fabulous octavia bag showed up in burnt orange, and in lusciously soft deerskin to boot, it was love at first sight.

this is one of those bags that's big enough to work as a work tote, but it'll slouch just beautifully when it's less full, so you won't feel like you're carrying around a huge sack. the styling is perfectly chic and timeless, but the color isn't so trendy that the bag will end up in the back of your closet by this time next year. in fact, something tells me this beauty will be the one you can't keep from using day after day.

rebecca was sweet enough to share a preview of her spring colors with me, and they're every bit as divine as her originals (they'll be available online in a few weeks). there's a very yummy butterscotch color (just like it sounds, a fabulous, rich, deep yellow/orange), and a teal that would be just the perfect pop of color all summer long. but, my heart still belongs to that fabulous burnt orange.

not all of rebecca's bags are deerskin - she chooses the hide based on what will work best for the color. but each and every one is handmade, which is music to my ears. i love the octavia best, but the noe is a darling little mini-version that's fantastic (though i wish it were available in more colors). for those of you that are messenger bag addicts, i think you'll find the robertson is absolutely perfect.

most of her bags run about $500-600, but since her styles are so timeless, and her craftsmanship is so impeccable, this is a great way to purchase a bag with the traits of a really high-end piece without the pricetag. order online from rebecca's website or, for my bay area readers, check out the goods in person at dress in san francisco, or number 5 in ross.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

lucky mag redux: april 2008 edition

i remember the days when lucky arriving in my mailbox was the highlight of my month. lately, though, it feels like little more than a catalog, with a few useful coupons in the back. am i the only one?

anyway, it's gotten to the point that i really feel the highlights of any issue can usually be summed up in about 5 minutes. let's see if i'm right...

p. 86: i kind of liked that peach suede clutch by hype ($125, no online sourcing, sadly) - but probably not enough to buy it.

p. 95: i did love a couple of these 'ethereal tanks' - particularly the ones by eva franco (also, annoyingly, no online sourcing - are we sensing a trend?) and forever 21, the token bargain throw-in. the forever 21 version is long gone from the website, naturally, but you can get 25% off the eva franco top if you love it enough to call & order (see p. 254).

p. 243: randomly useful write-up on shopping in oakland, CA...hey, this i can actually use! you know, if i remember to tear out the page and not lose it in the sea of paper on my desk.

p. 247: love that knit necklace by jorge morales...and it's under $100. fabulous!

p. 249: ooh, gorjana discount code?? hmm. no...just another stupid giveaway. how i've never won, given the sheer quantity of lucky mag giveaways i've entered, baffles the mind and defies any odds i can come up with.

p. 252: hmm, 25% off at hayden-harnett (code luckybreaks4) and tulle (code luckybreaks2)...that's not bad. off to browse now...

p. 258 (for you bay area girls): that laptop case is actually pretty cute, and again, a rare under-$100 find. and, wait, is that online sourcing i see?? surely not!

hmm. yeah, that's about it. glad i'm only spending $12/year on this.

and yes, i realize this turned into more of an exercise in snarkiness than anything. but aren't we all entitled to a little snarkiness here & there?

Monday, March 24, 2008

a fashionable quandary...

okay, all, SMC has a fashion dilemma of her own, and i need your help.

you should know by now that i'm obsessed with french sole's rebel flats - they're in my top 5 favorite shoes in the shoe closet, which is serious praise indeed.

so, when the new spring colors came out, my lovely friends over at barefoot tess (totally digging their new website, by the way) torturously let me know the minute they arrived. naturally, i ordered both. but even i realize that three pair of the same shoe is too many.

so, between the stone (which is actually this lovely dove grey in person) and the blue (a fabulous, electric color that is just perfect with jeans), what's a girl to do?

the stone color is clearly the more flexible option - they're sure to go with just about everything, making them the perfect travel shoe too. and i love the passing similarity to a certain oh-so-iconic ballet flat (yes, that photo is of a gross, fake's for illustrative purposes only, do not purchase!).

but the blue is just so pretty!! (can you hear the whine in my voice even through the internet?) they're definitely more divine and striking...but shouldn't utility be a major factor?

sigh...i need guidance, dear readers. WWYD?

Friday, March 21, 2008

what i want today: barbara bui satchel

and, in the category of "things we covet from afar" is this stunning pale-rose satchel by barbara bui. one of the ultimate under-the-radar designers, barbara bui is notorious in europe for her stunning, timeless and elegant pieces. this bag definitely qualifies.

i adore the color - this is probably the only shade of pink i'd dare attempt in a handbag. it's the ultimate secret neutral - it would really be stunning with just about any neutral shade (black, grey, brown, camel, white), and perfect for the warmer months ahead.

the structure and quality of this bag are just so understated and elegant, it has that amazing ability to look expensive but unplaceable. in fact, the leather is so thick and luxurious, it reminds me of styles from a much pricier french design house.

at just over $1,800, this is definitely an investment piece, but a very worthy investment, if you ask me. i'll be looking for any excuse to splurge on this beauty in the coming months.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

sale of the day: thomas pink

thomas pink isn't known for trendy, but classic is the name of the game today. if you're in the market for The Perfect White Shirt, or something a little more fun, look no further than the annual sale happening at thomas pink right now. their timeless, impeccably tailored button-downs are marked down from about $200 to the $60-80 neighborhood, so it's well worth your time to take a look.

i love this old-school rosette placket version, which would be so chic with a colored tank underneath, and a funky blazer or sweater on top.

and i have to admit that i think this black tuxedo version, subbing swarovski crystals for the normal pleating, is pretty fabulous too. with slim black pants and a lacy camisole underneath, this would be amazing as a cocktail dress substitute.

loads of classic options available as well, but shop quick! your work wardrobe will thank you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

random rant: scary spring shoes

i just want to say that not one, but both of these frightening apparitions appeared in my email in-box over the weekend. it's enough to put a girl off her cappucino.

i have no idea what's in the water but honestly, am i expected to wear this madness? i wasn't that familiar with the 80%20 brand before, and now i know why. and really...michael kors, i expected more of you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

asked and answered: summer party dress

hard to believe, but i'm already getting reader questions about summer wedding attire. is it really that time already?

no matter - i have a fantastic solution to this annual dilemma. this darling dress by theory just screams spring to me. i love the ruched bodice, love the length, love the pockets - i would wear this beauty to every wedding, baby shower, and bar mitzvah between now and september.

the color is fantastic, flattering on pretty much any skin tone, and perfect for warm weather. the silhouette is forgiving enough to allow for that second piece of wedding cake. and the style is simple enough to allow for multiple wears without anyone pointing at you and screaming "hey, you wore that to nancy's wedding last month!" after one too many trips to the open bar.

to restyle this piece and really make it your own, try adding a huge, chunky necklace in cobalt blue one day, and a dainty strand of pearls another. cardigans, blazers, sure...but i'd even consider layering a white button-down over it, and using the belt to tie the whole thing together (no pun intended). or, scrap the belt entirely, and substitute a gorgeous scarf.

that's a lot of mileage to get out of a dress for $250. oh, and free two-day shipping (hurray for avoiding their notoriously slow-boat shipping) with code NMFAST.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

vogue - march 2008

if you do nothing else this month, if you buy no other fashion magazine, don't miss the stunning (truly, stunning) mario testino photo shoot beginning on page 526 of the march issue of vogue (US edition).

my horrible, "picture of picture" versions are below...but really, these are just to get you to go check it out in person. please don't consider them a substitute. i think it's one of vogue's most iconic spreads in years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

but what i really want is...'s been a looooong time since a wallet really tempted me. but there's a new girl in town, and boy, do i have the hots for her! there's not a single thing about this beauty i don't adore. and, as the bag snobs appropriately point out, it could easily double as a stunning clutch. so really, it's practical too.

a big thanks to the fabulous girls at bag snob for the scoop, and for yet again forcing me to hoard my lunch money for months to come...

what i want today: liza shtromberg jewelry

(this post is especially for JB, who i knew would love these gorgeous pieces as soon as i spied them.)

liza shtromberg's jewelry just reminds me of being somewhere warm, relaxing and tropical - and really, isn't that a feeling we could all stand to have a daily reminder of?

her 'flowers' collection is my favorite - this baby blue flower pendant, made of amazonite and carnelian, would be gorgeous on someone with dark hair and ultra-tan skin (told you this was for you, J). and at $75, it's a gift that's easy to give. i also love this carnelian flower ring, which is such a fabulously casual take on the mega-cocktail ring trend that's so hot right now.

for something a little less tropical, but no less gorgeous, i adore this peridot and apatite necklace - it would be just lovely with my green eyes.

these super simple "ringlet" earrings are so organic and lovely - they'll go with anything and everything, which is fabulous when you consider they're under $50.

enjoy checking out the rest of her pieces. i'd particularly recommend the sterling silver collection, the gold collection and the flowers collection.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

what i want today: anya hindmarch spring bags

i've been wanting an anya hindmarch bag for years. there's something about her style that i just love. but i was never really "in love" with any of her designs...until now. her new 'spider' clutch is just about as perfect as perfect gets, i think. that rich tan leather keeps it casual enough for day, but the metallic gold bottom and hardware make it perfect for a night on the town. plus, i love that the size (10x5) is just large enough for it to work as a day clutch, without being so huge that it joins the "mega clutch" trend, which will be out in mere months. and the price ($485) is actually reasonable among her high-end counterparts.

when it rains, it pours. this cooper tote is so lovely, i hardly know where to start. again, i love that metallic bottom, but the shape and color are just so perfect for spring. it's striking without being too "in your face" - really just fantastic. the chloet bag is the same idea, but she's added on those fabulous studs i couldn't get enough of from her aretha bag, but made the style a little more casual. plus, that grey color is so very fantastic. sigh.

you can check out everything for spring at or net-a-porter. i honestly don't know whether i should just snag that stunning clutch now, or save my pennies and hope the chloet bag isn't gone by the time i can actually afford it.

decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

when did the gap start making cute stuff again?

i can't think of the last time i really "wanted" something from the gap...usually, it's more along the lines of "i need a cheap cotton tee, and american apparel is too far away". but for spring, it's either a combination of my deciding i need some more basics in my closet, or of their actually improving their design - either way, i'm happy.

loving this ruffle cardigan, though i'll be ordering it in a tall size to avoid that cropped look that really only flatters 14-year-old bodies.

this yellow-and-grey rugby-striped cardigan would be just perfect on my dear friend A, who is hereby commanded to order it, stat.

i realize this probably means i'm spending too much time at home in sweats, but this 3/4 sleeve raglan sweatshirt actually looks like it might be a presentable way to wear my ratty PJs outside the house.

you know, i've been trying for weeks to decide on the perfect summer bag, and i almost think this one might be it. orange is so hot right now, i love the contrast trim, and i'm always lugging around magazines and books everywhere i go in the summer, so maybe a simple tote is just the thing.

best of all, with every single one of these items in my shopping cart, i'm barely topping $150. nothing wrong with that.

and no, i'm not going to drool all over the pierre hardy collection for gap, which was overpriced, largely unexciting, and sold out in about 30 seconds.

Monday, March 10, 2008

what i want today: marc by marc jacobs spring '08

i am so very, very pleased with the marc by marc jacobs spring '08 line, i had to share. it seems like he's finally shaken the "despondent teenage grunge" vibe, in favor of something a little more retro, a little more colorful, and definitely a little more fun.

take this silk "scarf stripe" dress ($458) for example. an updated but classic silhouette, a fabulously retro print, but the details are still signature marc. this is a look that would be perfect for the office, but you could so easily dress this down with a long cardigan and colorful flats.

this darling silk tank dress is another great example of the new-and-improved marc. the shape is much more tailored than i'm used to seeing from him, and i love the '60s vibe, but those bright enamel buttons make it clear he's sticking to some of his signature style.

i hate shopbop's styling on this piece (i am so not wearing a sweater vest with short shorts), but i love this cropped knit vest ($228). check out the close-up pics for better detail - it's the perfect way to add personality and style to just about any ensemble. this is one of those pieces that you're not sure about, until you get it home, and then you suddenly find you're wearing it with everything. ditto for this gorgeous crocheted cardigan ($348), which i'm pining for in a very serious way.

and once spring officially hits, i'll be dying for this gorgeous silk striped cami ($188). the violet/navy combo is so striking, yet i know it'll be incredibly versatile in my closet.

even this simple silk jersey tee ($158) has me swooning. the color is the ultimate neutral, and the sailor-style tie is so of-the-moment. this would be gorgeous as a layer, or solo when the weather warms up.

i even love his new take on old marc classics. this turnlock teri tote ($428) has become notorious in seasons past for its sinfully soft leather, but this new grass green shade makes it completely irresistible to me.

check out all of the gorgeous options at or net-a-porter.

Friday, March 07, 2008

etsy of the day: satsuma press

i admit it. my name is shoppingsmycardio, and i'm a paperholic.

my holiday cards this year were from satsuma press, an amazing letterpress designer selling on etsy. the moment the cards arrived in the mail, i knew i'd be back for more. her work is really exquisite - the colors are amazing, and the designs are original and so sweet. truly, the photos don't even begin to do her work justice.

i want to buy her cards just to frame them - they're that gorgeous.

deisgns average about $3 - $5 each, but they're worth every penny. for the first time ever, i actually managed to get holiday cards in the mail - due almost entirely to the fact that these were so gorgeous, i couldn't wait to show them off. i can't wait to receive my next package in the mail!

SMC beauty buys: darphin 8 flower nectar

i know, i know - two beauty posts in a row! but there's a lovely deal going on over at darphin that i just had to share. through march 8 (that's saturday, ladies), if you spend $75 at darphin's website, you'll get a sample of their fabulous 8 flower nectar and their hydraskin light. use code BEAUTYBLOG to score this offer.

in general, darphin's products really strike me as the best of the best (though i will admit to really disliking the scent of their body lotion). i was first introduced to them when i had that fabulous facial at bluemercury a while back. their aesthetician used only darphin masks on my face, and i can tell you that my skin was incredibly grateful.

i haven't tried the hydraskin product that comes in this offer, but the folks at darphin were kind enough to let me check out the 8 flower nectar, and i have to say that it's one of my new favorite products. the scent is completely amazing, and it makes my skin ridiculously soft, even in the yucky winter weather. the website says it better: "Rejuvenating, nourishing and it helps to firm and minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles, restores natural radiance, suppleness and resilience for overall youthful-looking skin."

yeah, what they said.

it is pricey (i gasped, i'll admit it), but i can tell you i've been using it for a week, and the bottle is still completely full - so i think you'll get serious mileage out of this purchase. or, better yet, pick up one of their other lovely products (i love their aromatic bath and body oil - just smelling it relaxes me, and again, it makes my skin so amazingly soft. yum.) and snag the free sample of the 8 flower nectar, so you can check it out gratis.

i hope some of you get a chance to take advantage of this lovely offer from darphin...these opportunities don't come around often! and in the meantime, i'll see if i can check out a few more of their facial products and let you all know how they fare.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

SMC beauty buys: bobbi brown shimmer brick

i'd been hearing so much about the bobbi brown shimmer brick compact lately that i finally just couldn't take it any more, and had to try it for myself. friends had raved that it had near-magical qualities to brighten, highlight, and just generally make your skin look amazing - with almost no effort on your part.

after trying it, i have to admit: the stuff is pretty fantastic. i have just about the palest skin imaginable, so i tried out the pink shade. it works as something between a bronzer, highlighter and blush - i actually use it for all three. if you use the right brush, you can even use each of the shades separately as an eye color. i do so love a product that multi-tasks. when i'm feeling really lazy, i just throw a little on my cheeks and forehead, add a bit of mascara, and call it good.

in all, the shimmer brick compact is an excellent way to spend $38 of your beauty budget. you can pick up any or all of the colors at bobbi brown's website.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

what i want today: badgley mischka scarlet tote

i am positively head over heels for this stunning tote by badgley mischka. i love the slightly greyish tint to the white color, and i love the contrast black stitching and gold hardware, which make this a white bag you'll definitely turn to year-round.

best of all is the price - it's so reasonable, i almost think saks may have messed something up in their system. the site says the bag is ostrich skin, and it looks to be - but the bag is only $475. i'm honestly not sure if it's just embossed ostrich and they've made an error in the listing, but either way, it's a gorgeous bag that looks twice as pricey as it is. don't miss this one!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

what i want today: abigail percy's jewelry

i've been wanting to write about abigail percy's gorgeous jewelry for some time, but when i saw her anemone necklace show up on 3191 (an absolutely gorgeous online art project - highly recommended), i knew it was a sign.

i absolutely love abigail's style, and the way in which she mixes nature with modernism. my favorite is that anemone necklace, above, but i also love the hollyhock and the sweet horse chestnut. when i first saw her pieces, i assumed they were laser cut, because they're so intricate. but when i dropped her an email to ask, turns out they're all made by hand! she told me:

All my designs are actually hand absolutely no casting or lazer cutting involved. I hand-saw each piece out of sheet sterling silver...and will then file and sand them to a lovely finish, before soldering on any findings needed, before finally finishing them to a chalky matt, attaching the chain and the hand-made clasp and plating with 18ct yellow gold (which I also do myself so I can get the colour just the right shade of ochre!)....

The hand-made nature of the work ensures each piece will be ever so slightly different from the next, thus totally, I have always found that people really enjoy knowing that each piece has been made entirely from scratch, by me, rather than on a production line! So, when it comes to making multiples of items in my catalogue - there is no more to it that hours (and hours!) at the bench :)

Equally - all the ivory pieces are hand-carved by me too...(from ivory substitute) and I then stain the carvings to age them. All the necklaces are hand strung as well.
wow. now i know why i didn't become an artist. no way do i have that kind of patience.

anyway, check out all of abigail's stunning work at her website - happy hunting!

Monday, March 03, 2008

designer of the day: brontibay paris

it's not often that a designer sneaks up on me these days. so when i stumbled across brontibay paris, i was so giddy, it was a little scary, actually. my poor hubs had to endure at least an hour of "oh my god, this is so cute!" squeals as i went through their website at least 10 times. what can i say...he's very tolerant (or just selectively deaf).

anyway. brontibay is a leather goods designer based in france. their designs are remarkably fashion forward and fun, but also incredibly functional. the first piece i saw that made me fall head over heels was this darling venise tote ($175). i love that it can serve the same basic function as the longchamp totes that i think just about everyone owns by now (seriously, i saw a homeless person carrying one was distressing), but it's much more unique. plus, the colors are fantastic, and i love the contrasting handles! and you can pick this one up stateside at delfino, one of my favorite online bag sites.

when i couldn't find any more of their bags anywhere, i started digging a little deeper. turns out brontibay will ship to us poor americans straight from their website - yay! the good news: no VAT, so the prices shown on the website are cheaper once you get to the checkout & tell the site you're stateside (roughly 20%). the bad news: heinous shipping fees. i've decided they just about balance each other out, but just be aware - i don't want anyone suffering a stroke when they see the $40 shipping cost.

so, i figure, as long as i'm ordering, i should really order! i mean, if i'm going to pay that much for shipping, there should be a lot of stuff in that box, right?

i've been looking for a new makeup bag for my purse for months now, and brontibay's rebecca bag (about $80 when you take off VAT) is exactly what i've been wanting. bonus is that it's big enough (11"x5") to double as a clutch. the only problem is picking a color.

and i love the shape of this sonny tote as well - it almost looks like origami. the silhouette reminds me of a certain designer's classic silhouette, but the colors and casual styling are unique enough to set this bag apart.

i'm loving this nylon "tutu" tote, which is just about as girly as can be. it comes in a whole rainbow of colors, and would be just fabulous as a spring/summer bag.

and really, when i saw this caracas passport case, i thought "well, that's cute enough. until i saw the inside.

totally squeal-inducing. i may have actually gotten a little shrill.

have loads of fun browsing their site, and don't forget to let me know what you picked up!

tip: shopbop.comdoes stock a few of brontibay's pieces, but at a pretty dramatic mark-up (like $100+ per bag). makes those international shipping charges seem pretty reasonable, doesn't it?

random movie review: the other boleyn girl

saw the other boleyn girl over the weekend. i had been absurdly excited for it to come out...even more than i am about the sex and the city movie.

now, i know that the movie is never as good as the book, and i did read the book twice, so i'm probably more critical than most. but the entire thing was just ridiculous. at least 2/3 of the plot was completely missing, and what was left was so smashed together, and went by so quickly that it was like watching the movie on fast-forward. i said to my hubs at one point, "who's running this tivo remote?". dreadful.

so, for those that loved the book, save your $10.50, and re-read the's a much more satisfying experience.

(the fashion was fantastic, though. love those corsets and the sweeping silk gowns...and couldn't get enough of that stunning emerald dress natalie portman couldn't seem to stop wearing.)