Oscar Sunday!

Happy Oscar night, everyone! One of my favorite nights of the year, mostly because I love seeing the dresses.

I saw six of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, so I had seen enough to have opinions as to who should win. I was pretty happy with most of the results — “The Artist” was my favorite, by far, so I was thrilled that it won.

The dresses were lovely this year! It’s hard for me to remember all of my favorites without looking at them, but the ones I remember most are Jessica Chastain’s, Natalie Portman’s and Ellie Kemper’s (though I had to look her up to figure out who she was!). I don’t remember too many horrendous fails, either, which is good.

I dream of someday snagging an invite to the Oscars, but for this year I contented myself with throwing a party at a friend’s house. I demanded that it be a formal event — my guy friends were told that it was okay if they wore normal clothes as long as they added a tie, but I would love for them to wear actual suits. And you know what? Every single one of the five who came to the party did. How blessed am I to have friends who will dress up to sit on couches and eat cake with me? That’s a better prize than any Oscar.

Practicing my red-carpet pose, with my Oscar for Best Reporter. Someday.

Belatedly, a Valentine’s Day post

Sorry for the lengthy absence! It’s been a crazy two weeks — traveling, schoolwork, work-work, sporting events, bad weather, the usual. But, don’t worry — I have some good posts coming up! I have a few new sweaters and nail polishes and styling tricks to show off. Stay tuned.

Before I get to the good stuff, though, I have to post my Valentine’s Day outfit, just because I liked it. It’s nothing crazy, I didn’t go full-out heart-spangled, but I never pass up an opportunity to dress for a holiday, even in college, so I had to go somewhat pink and flouncy. I tried to tone it down with brown accessories, and eventually I added a light gray cardigan, too. I don’t think I’ve ever belted this skirt before, and I’ll do it again, for sure — I really like the shape it creates.

Look at that flawless hand heart. You’re impressed.

I had a low-key but fun Valentine’s Day; four of my friends and I had  “Singles Awareness Soiree,” where we baked cake, watched a movie and laughed a lot. Overall a great night. How did you celebrate? And at what age do you think I have to give up dressing up for holidays? 😉

Happy New Year!

No big New Year’s Bash for me this year — just a night of baking and quality time with my friends, which is pretty much better, anyway.

The cookie on the right is a “Cranberry Garcia” cookie — we used the Cherry Garcia cookie recipe from About.com, but with dried cranberries instead of dried cherries, and without the macadamia nuts. Delicious.

The monstrosity on the left is one of my new favorite treats: a very minorly adjusted version of the “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar,” by Amanda of Kevin & Amanda. I follow Amanda’s directions for layering and baking, but I use my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, the Nestle Tollhouse one (with some extra baking soda!). I’ve made these three times now, and they never fail to amaze everyone I share them with. I’ve decided to nickname them “Behind Bars,” because when I brought them to work one of my bosses told me they should be illegal. They’re just that good.

2011 was one of my best years so far, and I have high hopes for 2012. Can’t wait to see what it holds. Cheers.

For New Year’s Eve: Party glitter nails!

What are you doing to ring in the new year? My friends and I are keeping things low-key, probably just baking and watching movies, but I couldn’t help painting my nails for the occasion! My nail blogger friend has been on a glitter topcoat kick lately, so I bought a fun, colorful one with New Year’s in mind. Application was tricky, but I’m happy with the result!

Two similar-but-different pics, one for color, one for shine:

This was a $2 Wet n Wild polish, with a variety of glitter pieces: big silver ones, medium blue and magenta ones, tiny red and green ones. I had dreams of wearing the glitter coat on its own, just layering my nails with glitter, but it didn’t work out so well — the glitter wasn’t packed densely enough, so I ended up with a lot of clear polish and only a few glitter pieces on each stroke.

For this look, I used two coats of silver as a base, then followed with two coats of glitter. The best way to do it is to drop a huge glob of the glitter coat on each nail, then push it around with the brush for sort-of-even coverage (don’t use actual brushstrokes, that’ll lift the glitter off). Finish with two coats of clear polish. And make sure you allow drying time between coats, or it’ll all get messed up! I couldn’t believe that this look took about an hour and 6 coats of polish to produce, but the end result was super worth it. Cheers.

Silver: Wet n Wild Wild Shine in Metallica. Glitter: Wet n Wild Fast Dry in Party of Five Glitters. Clear: Wet n Wild Wild Shine Nail Protector Clear.

Sweater dress and small-town fun

For as long as I can remember, it’s been a tradition in my family for my mom, sister, aunt and I to go out for tea for one afternoon over Christmas break. We live close to Chicago, so we’ve always gone to a fancy hotel in the city, dressed to the nines, and sat in a beautiful room, drinking tea out of delicate teapots and sneaking sugar cubes when Mom wasn’t looking.

This year, we decided to switch it up and take a more laid-back approach to the tradition. One of the nice things about living in Chicagoland is that you can drive an hour one way for a major metro area, and drive an hour the other way and end up in a tiny, quaint town in a farming area. My mom found a cute little teashop in a 5,000-person town, and it was perfect. Casual, but totally charming.

I was still on a dark-color overload after wearing black so many days in a row for the holidays, so I went for my purple sweater dress, white tights and my Missoni for Target flats. I would have been way underdressed for the city, but for where we were, it was just right.

My feet got caught off in this picture, but I like it anyway — love the pink tree, and the shadows are cool. Not bad for autotimer.

After a delicious tea, we went roaming around the town — mostly shopping in Christmas-y, vintage-y shops, but some wandering, too. I could never live in a small town, because I like a bit of hustle and bustle in my life, but they’re always fun to explore for an afternoon. So many cute sights to see, especially around the holidays. Cheers.

Dress: Macy’s (old). Belt: Forever 21 (old). Flats: Missoni for Target (out of stock). Tights: Target (recent — they sell them in stores very cheap in a million colors, and they’re awesome).

Christmas nails!

I don’t paint my nails often, but one of my favorite things to do is to paint my nails for the holidays. Fourth of July? I’m probably sporting red and blue. Halloween? Look for me with the orange and black nails.

I have to say, my “nail polish sophistication” (probably the most ridiculous phrase I’ve ever invented) has gone up this year, since I’ve befriended someone who blogs about nail polish professionally. Can you tell from this year’s Christmas nails?

I have a thumb, I promise. I just couldn't figure out how to take a not-weird nail photo.

I usually alternate red and green for the holiday anyway, but my blogger friend tells me the trendy thing to do is to paint just your ring finger a different color, so that’s what I went with. I discovered (and fell in love with!) Sally Hansen Crackle overcoat in black back in September, and last week I finally caved and bought it in silver, too. Thought it added to the festive feel.

My favorite part of the whole thing? I joked to my mom that she should let me paint her nails to match for our family Christmas celebration, and she went for it. We were definitely the coolest people in the room. Cheers.

Red: Forever 21 L.A. Girl Flare in Red (Similar here). Green: Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Emerald City (Similar here). Silver: Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat in Fractured Foil.

Wedding Day!

Taking today off from the Color Rotation for a special occasion — my aunt’s wedding! I’m excited, not only because I am extremely happy for her but also because it’s my first wedding. Crazy, right?

I had been a little concerned about not knowing what to wear, but it became a lot easier when I found out it was a Black & White themed wedding. I bought the perfect black dress at Macy’s over Christmas break, and today’s my first chance to wear it.

I loved this dress from the moment I tried it on. It’s just so adult looking, isn’t it? The fit is beautiful, the length and sleeves make it appropriate for formal occasions, and it’s got a super cute black belt, too.

My mom picked the shoes — faux-snakeskin peep-toe heels. Love it.

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