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Beauty in the Movies: The Devil Wears Prada

I had a job interview this week, and on my way I couldn’t help thinking of The Devil Wears Prada. That might sound silly, but it was reassuring to know that even if the interview went badly, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as finding Miranda Priestly (or Anna Wintour) sitting at that desk across from you.

The Devil Wears Prada is the story of Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a Midwesterner in New York, fresh out of college and desperate for experience. Andy wants to be a journalist, but she finds herself at the world’s top fashion magazine, Runway, interviewing to be the assistant of Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a job a thousand girls would kill for. Miranda isn’t just an editor at a fashion magazine, she is the voice of fashion. Her word is the last word, and all other opinions be damned. She is cold, brutal, and unsympathetic, but also elegant, successful and respected beyond compare.

Miranda hires Andy despite her “frumpy” (ahem, I have the j. crew coat she wears in the opening sequence—it’s cute, ok?) appearance in the hopes that she is different from the fashion obsessed girls who usually land the job. While Andy is up for the challenge, the demands of her new position put her relationship with her family, best friend (Tracie Thoms), and boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) into jeopardy. Andy has to choose what’s important to her, but in the process of self discovery there’s also a bunch of montages, a few Madonna songs, a makeover, and some great designer clothes.

This is not the most unpredictable film, but it certainly has its charms, most specifically Meryl Streep’s perfectly frightening portrayal of Miranda. It’s hard to take your eyes off her, everything from the way she enunciates her words, to the cruel flicker in her eyes while torturing Andy with impossible tasks, further propels the believability of her character. Miranda Priestly makes Working Girl‘s Catherine Parker look like a whiny, disheveled brat. Rumor has it the character was based on Anna Wintour, the notoriously steely editor-in-chief of American Vogue, but Streep creates her own Miranda and delivers a woman who is both vicious and awe-inspiring in her approach to life and business.

Emily Blunt is fantastic and funny as Miranda’s other assistant (the 1st assistant), she is the stand-out among the supporting cast and steals all her scenes right out from under Anne Hathaway. Stanley Tucci is also charming, while stereotypical as Nigel Runway’s Art director who is adored by both Miranda and Andy. Simon Baker plays a roguish writer and Valentino and Giselle (proving she shouldn’t quit her day job) make appearances as well.


Most people have had a boss or supervisor whom they’ve found less than pleasing, but this film takes it to new levels. Miranda’s treatment of Andy could be seen as character building—a tough love of sorts, after all she does learn a lot and come out on top in many ways. Unfortunately the ugly side of that coin is that her sadistic treatment virtually ruins Andy’s life, and as we learn, Miranda’s personal life isn’t all roses and sunshine either, leading the viewer to believe that great success comes only with great sacrifice. It’s an issue I wish the movie explored a bit more, because it feels like we’re meant to believe Miranda must be evil in order to be respected, which forgives her cruelty just a tad too much. There is too much of a shine put on everything in this film and the minute you think you might get to look deeper, you’re placated by pretty clothes, which is fine and can be really enjoyable, but it doesn’t make you think too hard either.

The Devil Wear Prada is a fun, entertaining, possibly unrealistic look at the fashion world. It’s also a coming of age film, and a film about figuring out who you want to be as a professional and as a person—but most of all it’s about really pretty clothes, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana and Patricia Field’s beautiful styling. I’d take a film like this over a bland rom-com with Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl any day, because while it might not be groundbreaking, it’s about something other than just men and cliches. Don’t expect to be surprised by the twisting plot or unconventional characters, just get lost in the brilliance of Meryl Streep and the beauty of Chanel while you sit back and wish you could afford designer clothes.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada by justinez featuring peep toe shoes

PAUW SS10/42330 009 COTTON –
172 GBP – farfetch.com
Wrap blouses »

Trimmed Cardigan by D&G Dolce&Gabbana
153 GBP – my-wardrobe.com
Knit cardigans »

Whyred Pasca pleated mini skirt
145 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Pleated mini skirts »

Lanvin T-Strap Sandal
$955 – barneys.com
Peep toe shoes »

Bianca Patent Platform Pump
$735 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Christian louboutin pump »

Christian louboutin shoes BLACK
535 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Peep toe shoes »

Gepa Vitello Daino Tote
$1,650 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Prada handbags »

Marc by marc jacobs bags DARK BLUE
440 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Leather totes »

Susan caplan vintage jewellery GOLD
475 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Gold jewelries »

CA & LOU Bracelet
315 EUR – colette.fr
Couture bracelets »

Chanel Gold Medallion Chain Belt
$900 – cmadeleines.com
Chanel belts »

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Beauty Peeves: Products That Disappoint

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about products I love, but even when you love a product you can have issues with it, and sometimes when you buy a new product, you kick yourself for wasting money on it. This post is devoted to my current beauty peeves, I’m sure I’ll accumulate many more along the way, but here are a few that have been bothering me recently.

First off is this OPI nail polish, Here Today…Aragon Tomorrow, it’s from last year’s Spain Collection. Since it’s a richer color I was waiting until the Fall weather blew in to try it out. I was hoping for a lovely deep emerald-green, maybe with a touch of shimmer. Well, let me tell you, I was pissed because this is about the 3rd color from OPI that is sold as being “a deep shade of ___” and is really just black with a slight tint of color. Maybe it’s my incredibly pale skin-tone, but I think not. Look at the color in this spread from Allure Magazine as compared with the color on my nails. Yes, it has a subtle green undertone, but nobody would look at it and think “green”, they would more likely look at it and think “black”. I’m still on the lookout for a shade that is more like the color in the picture. If you like black nails (or nearly black) then this color is perfect for you, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

A product I use pretty much every day is Urban Decay’s Potion Primer, it’s an awesome product and the best eyeshadow primer I’ve found, the major drawback of this product is the packaging. It’s a lovely bottle, reminiscent of genies and magic, but the problem is you can’t get half the primer out of the darn bottle. Due to the shape of the bottle and the long straight wand that comes with it, you loose all the primer on the sides and bottom of the package. Some might simply think they have used everything up and throw out the bottle, but that would be foolish, because as you can see by the tub next to it, there is a LOT more primer in there. The process of extracting the remainder of your potion primer involves a large knife, a cutting board, steady hands, and a make-up spatula. When there are YouTube videos with over 80,ooo views devoted to the stupidity of your packaging—perhaps it’s time for a change. There’s a chance Urban Decay has gotten wise to this problem, because they’re offering the product in a “professional size” which comes in a far more convenient vessel, unfortunately it only comes in the original nude shade at the moment.

(The cats don’t take kindly to me photographing in their window, they always have to be in the spotlight)

Next up is this Chanel eyeliner which I still regret spending $34 on. You see, I have a liquid liner obsession, I’ve been wearing it nearly everyday since high school so I always feel compelled to try new brands and formulas. This is the most expensive one I’ve ever purchased, and the most disappointing. It’s also a perfect example of why it’s so NOT worth it to spend extra cash on cosmetics from major fashion houses. While Chanel might make the most gorgeous, classic, beautiful garments on the planet, their make-up kinda sucks in my opinion, at least for the overblown price they charge for it. The problem is this; when you turn the bottom of the pen it releases liner onto the brush tip, seems simple enough, except that it distributes it in one big spurt of liquid which bubbles up on the brush, making equal distribution nearly impossible and application to your eyes very messy.

This is the best photo I could get of the liquid blob, it’s not pretty, and definitely not worth spending $34 of your hard-earned dollars on.

Last on my beauty peeves list are these bobby pins from Scunci. They look so cute in the package, you think “they’re just like regular bobby pins but with a little pizzazz” but what you really should be thinking is “dear god how could something so small be so painful?” I keep giving these pins another chance, but frankly—they suck. Each time I use them I have to very carefully extract them so as to avoid ripping all my hair out—and I still usually end up painfully losing a few strands. So, if you see these in the drugstore don’t be fooled by the fetching black and white palette, you will regret it.

Now that I’ve gotten myself all annoyed and regretful at having spent money on some of these products, I ask you to share your own beauty peeves. Have you ever bought something that looked great at the beauty counter or the drug store only to get it home and realize what a mistake it was? If so, do share it with us, warnings are just as valuable as recommendations!

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Beauty Grab Bag: Please Help Me Choose a Wedding Nail Polish!

I need to choose a nail-polish color to wear for my wedding, I’ve narrowed it down to five and I need help. Let’s meet the finalists.

Alright starting with my pinky we have Orly nail-polish in “Charged Up”, on my ring finger is OPI in “A Grape Fit”, on my middle finger is OPI in”Rumple’s Wiggin”, on my pointer is OPI “Do You Lilac It?” and on my thumb is OPI “Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not”. Right now “Do You Lilac It?” is the top contender.

And I’m thinking of having the nail salon do white tips with a nail pen or something too. Or maybe something like this, with purple instead of black?

Anyway, any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Also, at first I was going to paint my nails one shade after I took the pictures, but then I kinda liked the multiple shades of purple, so I painted the other hand and went with it. I kind of dig it. I apologize for my less than perfect manicure job and the fact that I’m covered in shiny sunscreen in this image (it’s not sweat I promise!).

Speaking of nail-polish, Chanel debuted its new Fall nail colors, they aren’t available until september 10th but I’m already totally bored with them. I know everyone is going crazy for greige (grayish beige), and don’t get me wrong, I love a gun-metal or even true gray nail polish, but these just don’t get me excited.

The green one might look nice, I’d try it, but not for $23, and I’m sure Essie or OPI will be coming out with similar colors soon (if they haven’t already). Also if the military trend is so hot this fall then won’t these colors just look boring against the already toned down army-like palette? I like rich colors for fall, so I say “meh” to khaki and also to Chanel.

Alright, I have to go work on some bridal boxes, but in case you’re having a rough day, I stole this picture from Jezebel because it’s so effing cute and makes me smile every time I look at it, so enjoy!

Corgis are ridiculous, look at his little legs! Too cute, I can’t take it. Alright, meet me back here tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies, this week I’m featuring a recent film, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut—Whip it!

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Perfect Scents

Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. Catch a whiff of fresh-baked pie, or the shampoo a friend used in high school, and suddenly you’re transplanted back in time. You could see a picture taken at a specific moment, or hear a song that reminds you of a guy you used to date, but when you smell something—good or bad, it causes a visceral reaction unlike any other.

I have a sweatshirt that belonged to my grandfather, it smelled like him for years after he passed away. When I’d wear it, the scent would bring me back to the happy memories of planting snapdragons with him in his garden, or making gingerbread houses every December with my cousins in my grandma’s kitchen. I didn’t want to lose that connection to the past, and I feared that when the scent faded, the memories would fade as well. I can still remember those moments, but they aren’t as vivid, in some ways the lingering scent is like a crutch that eases you slowly out of grief. If by chance, we re-discover the unique fragrance of someone we loved, either from the perfume of a stranger, or from opening a box in the attic where the scent has been preserved, we experience that life all over again, it’s a bittersweet experience, and it’s why smell can be so meaningful.

I’ve had awful allergies all my life, it was a running joke that I couldn’t breathe through my nose for most of my childhood. I still feel like scent is the weakest of my senses, maybe that’s why I’ve always been so fond of perfume. When I was in Junior High I was all about body splash, specifically the Plumeria or Vanilla Bean scents from Bath & Body Works. To me, body splash is what teenage girls are supposed to smell like. The spray comes in plastic bottles, it’s icky sweet, and once the odor starts to fade what’s left is a not so pleasant chemical undertone—and that’s when you know it’s time to spray on some more!

If I smell Chanel Allure I am instantly seven years old, sitting on my mom’s bed watching her get ready as I wait for my favorite babysitter Tatiana to arrive with taped episodes of Kids Incorporated (she was the best). When I walk past someone wearing Navy perfume by Dana, I’m stuck in the nauseous heat of Miami in August, the smell mingles with the scent of dinner being served in the old age home where we’re visiting my grandmother. The smell still makes me sick — all I smell is nursing home food, it’s just part of the memory. There are hundreds of memories linked to scent in each of us, and when we choose a perfume it’s not just the pleasure of the smell, but it’s how each note makes a different impression on your brain based on experiences in your life.

Once I hit high school I started looking for a more mature scent, something in a pretty glass bottle. I went a little overboard when I discovered Poison by Christian Dior. It’s an incredibly strong scent and I layered it on, feeling mature, and mysterious, and dark. I still have a bottle of it, and sometimes I can’t help but spray some on just to feel the rush of memories it brings.

I think there are women who love perfume and women who hate it, I guess there are a lot of in-betweens too, but people usually have strong feelings about it in one way or another. On a job interview I was once asked by the woman I would be sharing an office with, if I would mind not wearing perfume, she was snapped at by her superior, but obviously she felt very strongly about it. I don’t think she could smell perfume on me, I usually don’t wear perfume to interviews, but I’m not sure what exactly constitutes perfume either. Do essential oils count? Some deodorants are really strong, even some hair products give off incredibly strong scents. Often when people hate perfume it’s due to an allergy, and I myself have had allergic reactions to perfume too. But humans have been dousing themselves with all sorts of aromas for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Perfume is such an intimate thing, there is a sensuality about it. The bottles, the way you mist it on, the gesture itself is romantic. There is a reason that a gift of perfume is meaningful. I’ve heard of lots of men who buy women perfume, but not too many who buy them moisturizer or eyeshadow. Scent in itself is sexy, pheromones, those chemicals in our sweat that another person may find alluring without even realizing, they’re scientific proof that humans are driven by their noses equally, if not more than, their eyes.

By college I was actively seeking out perfumes. I would go to Sephora, or Macy’s and spritz them on my wrists, my forearm, my neck, or any other accessible skin— because you have to try it on your own skin. The same perfume can smell different on every woman. Part of the beauty of perfume is that it mixes with your personal scent and they settle together, to work in harmony. I’ve tried on perfumes that I thought I would love based on the scent in the bottle, but on my skin they smelled awful. One of my favorite perfumes, La Dolce Vida by Dior, isn’t very pleasing sprayed from the bottle, but I love the way it smells on me at the end of the day.

Currently I alternate between two perfumes, Anna Sui’s Sui Dreams, and Lolita Lempicka’s signature scent. I also change things up with essential oils from C.O. Bigelow’s in Manhattan, and various other samples that I’ve collected along the way. I’ll never stop looking for new scents, you never know where you’re going to find them, but when you do, it can be like finding a whole new aspect of your personality.

What’s your signature scent? Do you hate perfume? Love it? How does it make you feel when you spray it on?

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